A Safe Place to Heal
St Bart's - A Safe Place to Heal
by The Revd Ross Jones | Wellbeing Chaplaincy Service
New life is all around us, if we have but the eyes to behold it.
Many years ago as a newly ordained person, I observed a canon of the Cathedral who put on a marvellous colourful cope decorated by various embroidered butterflies. I expressed my confusion, what had butterflies to do with the Christian faith? The patient and wise canon simply smiled and said that these fluttery creatures were symbols of our resurrection life in Christ. It was a new and insightful awareness for me, the depth of which I carried through many years of Christian religious education in various state schools, where I shared the story of the caterpillar’s transformation in the cocoon.
St Bart’s vision is for a community where everyone has a safe and secure place to call home. It is unnatural for a person to not have a home. We know from extensive research that the effects of trauma on a person leads to changes in their physiology, inevitably impacting their nervous system and sleep patterns, appetite, memory recall, decision making, and relationships.
A question addressed to me recently, asked: ‘As a taxpayer, are you not concerned that people who receive government payments are using that money on drugs and alcohol?’ I put aside the generalised stereotyping and inaccurate assumptions that this person made, and instead replied with my hope that, as a member of this beautiful country, we have a caring, compassionate system in place that supports people with their required needs and that we empower them to make decisions around their own life’s journey.
Here at St Bart’s our trauma-informed practice is very much recovery focused, whereby we consider the individual circumstances in each person’s life that has led them being unable to maintain stable accommodation. It is the ongoing encouragement and support of St Bart’s staff that enables people to rebuild their lives and live independently.
A rich image for resurrection life is that of homecoming; to enter into the place that is right for them, where we feel welcomed, non-judged and accepted. A healing place that looks beyond the behaviour and to the cause, where a person can overcome the impacts of trauma on all aspects of their life. A place not too dissimilar to the caterpillar’s cocoon, right before it transforms into a butterfly.
For more information on St Bart’s services, please visit stbarts.org.au or get in touch with us by calling 9323 5100.