Bringing Peace and Hope this Season

Ian Carter AM | CEO | Anglicare WA
Ian Carter AM | CEO | Anglicare WA

Homeless support benefits everyone

‘In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.’ (Luke 2:1-4 NRSV)

The first Christmas Day arose from tumultuous times in 1st Century Palestine. The occupying Roman Empire had announced a Census which was part of their system of oppression and control that they used on their subjects. It made sure they knew who was where and how much they should pay to keep the Empire in operation. It was all part of the often violent and controlling Roman regime. It was in this social context that God’s remarkable intrusion into human existence took place through the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus, as ‘God with us’, ushered in a new era of peace and hope.

As we fast approach Christmas, Anglicare WA knows that we will see a spike in oppression and violence of a different kind. Christmas Day and the holidays highlight the ugly reality of family and domestic violence. Sadly, we will see more women and children leaving their homes in fear of their safety than at any other time of the year. Last Christmas, police reported a spike of more than 24 per cent in domestic violence incidents.

Recently we spoke with Hannah* who shared her story with us: Hannah said that many times her husband hurt her in front of their children. He was unpredictable and controlling, always threatening to hurt the children too. Hannah lived in constant fear, feeling powerless and wishing the abuse would stop. They desperately needed to escape, but she felt trapped with nowhere to go. One day her husband’s temper spiralled out of control over something trivial. The abuse escalated to breaking point. Hannah and her children fled their home.

They were forced to leave everything behind. They had nothing. No change of clothes. No money in the bank. No home.

These are some of our most vulnerable Western Australians and it is Anglicare WA’s mission to provide them with safety, support and an opportunity to create a better future filled with
peace and hope. Family and domestic violence is about oppression, violence and intimidation. This makes escape very difficult. Women and their children often cannot imagine a different way of living. Our call, as an Anglican organisation, is to stand beside women and their children as they explore ways to re-establish themselves and find safety and love. This is the life God intends for all humankind. We invite you, as part of our Anglican Community, to join us in this important work.

Please consider contributing to Anglicare WA’s Christmas appeal so we can support people like Hannah and her children.

*Name changed to protect privacy

Article published in December 2018/January 2019 Messenger magazine