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A Good Life - Part 2

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Chris Thomason, Chaplain

Firstly, let me say a big THANK YOU to all who responded to my request and gave me a snapshot of what they believe is their good life or would make a good life for them.

I enjoyed the different perspectives and whilst there were numerous interesting stories there is one, I wish to share with you.

Smiles, given and received.
mazing memories made and shared as part of life’s story.
aring Christ centred community.
elationships nurtured and nourished.
nvironment, the beauty and the energy.
iversity, a world full of wonder to discover.

Thank you, Robyn, for your acrostic summary of what makes a good life for you, it resonated with me.

Not surprisingly I didn’t receive any responses that said winning the lottery is what makes a good life, as we know it might alleviate some financial issues but wouldn’t necessarily lead us to the good life. After looking at the responses and looking for themes or patterns, I have concluded that there were two main themes in your responses that tells me what makes a good life. Both are mentioned in Robyn’s summary of what makes a good life, they are relationships and community.

So, can we see evidence for this in academic study? Recently, I completed a university post graduate unit in Clinical Pastoral Education and one of the assigned readings talked about the medical system being time poor which means it ends up concentrating on the symptoms and doesn’t see the whole person, doesn’t take time to develop a relationship with the patient or their families. In the book, See me as a Person, the authors Koloroutis and Trout argue, that approach maybe time efficient in the short-term, that failing to see the bigger picture, to look at the effect in the community can miss the reason behind the illness.1. The book suggests that spending time investing in the community, building relationships with patient and families can, in the long term, provide better health care and result in less repeat visits. Although written with the American Health system in mind I can see some similarities with our health system.

Last year I did a short presentation to a group of fellow students about the similarities I saw with another book, this second book, Radical Help, is written with the British welfare system in mind, a welfare system not unlike ours2. In Radical Help, the author, Cottam, suggests that we could revolutionise the welfare system by building community and relationships. Cottam states, ‘Relationships – the simple human bonds between us – are the foundation of good lives1.’

My analysis of the responses I received confirm what the textbooks tell me.

How does this fit with Anglicare WA and Anglicanism? Anglicare WA is committed to tackling disadvantage. In the last paragraph of our current strategic plan it states, ‘Our intent is transformational – designed to take care of everyone in the community, by developing capability, creating possibility and growing good lives. Above all, it is about human relationships [emphasis added].4.’

To learn more about how we are using community and relationships to journey with people towards their good life, stay tuned for A Good Life Part 3.

There might even be a way in which you can help.

1. Mary Koloroutis, and Michael David Trout, See Me as a Person: Creating Therapeutic Relationships with Patients and Their Families. (Minneapolis, Minn.: Creative Health Care Management, 2012.)^
2. Hilary Cottam, Radical Help: How we can remake the relationships between us and revolutionise the welfare state. (London, Virago, 2018.)^
3. Cottam, Radical Help, 205.^
4. Anglicare WA, Strategic Plan. anglicarewa-strategic-plan-2022-2025.pdf Accessed 13 April 2023^

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Published in Messenger May 2023

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