A time to reflect
A time to reflect
Meliata Thomason, Chaplain
The past month has been a particularly busy one for St Bart’s. We just recently celebrated the inaugural launch of our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) to show our commitment to providing a culturally safe place where inclusive relationships can flourish. We are committed to enabling a culture of support and security for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents and staff to thrive at St Bart’s.
We are also committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of residents and staff of the LGBTQIA+ community. We were thrilled to all share in a BBQ lunch to celebrate Pride Month in November, with some staff members also joining in the Perth Pride Parade.
St Bart’s was honoured to welcome the Reverend Bruce Hyde with the Parish of Bull Creek-Leeming to lead a beautiful service for Remembrance Day recently. St Bart’s consumers, aged care residents and staff came together to commemorate, and a very moving rendition of The Last Post and Reveille, played by Robert McCormack, echoed throughout the Lime Street buildings. Afterwards, we all gathered to enjoy lunch together, which was provided by St Bart’s Patron Graham Edwards.
And now as we enter the Christmas period, it is a time to remember the birth of Jesus, the coming of our saviour, ‘God with us’.
Why would God have his son, Jesus, born in a stable in Bethlehem to a young mum called Mary? This poor and humble beginning to life on earth seems so remarkable in its un-remarkableness. Why didn’t God have Jesus born into a wealthy, ruling family? I like to think it is because Jesus being born into a poor, humble family gave him the deep understanding, acceptance and love for all people, particularly the vulnerable and minority groups that are often forgotten. I believe this reflects that all people are welcome, worthy, and loved into God’s family and no one is excluded.
Many people have Christmas celebrations with family, friends, food, fun, and gifts. At St Bart’s, Christmas can be a difficult time for many of the vulnerable people we assist. It often brings to the surface past experiences of trauma and separation from family and friends. It can be a time of hardship, suffering and uncertainty, much like Jesus’ life beginning in a community of hardship, suffering and uncertainty. ‘God with us’ came not in a time of peace and prosperity, but in a time of difficulty.
For this reason, each year St Bart’s family of staff aim to lift the spirits of our consumers in a variety of ways. Together, we organise an annual Christmas Hamper Appeal to deliver delicious Christmas treats and small gifts to every resident, generously donated by local businesses, schools and parishes. We also host traditional Christmas lunches for our consumers, and Santa visits our Family Service with gifts for the children. Meanwhile, the Chaplaincy team and Anglican parish volunteers share in Christmas carol concerts at several St Bart’s locations.
I pray this Christmas that we extend our hearts and hands in welcoming those less fortunate to our Christmas celebrations.