Milton Parish to open bushfire recovery storytelling and healing space
October 12, 2020
Bushfire crisis, Parish life
A new community initiative sponsored by St Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Parish Milton to support Shoalhaven Local/regional people impacted by bushfire and other challenges held a “soft opening” of the new Rising from the AshesStory Telling and Healing Space at Wason Street, Milton, on Saturday 3 October 2020.
The soft opening included an information sharing day with some exhibits and great music to cheer and welcome all who may be interested in the possibility of telling their stories through the arts, as well as those who are willing to offer their support by providing workshops in various art forms.
The official opening for the Story Telling and Healing Space will be at 10:30am on Saturday 7 November 2020.
The parish is inviting anyone living in the area who has been touched by the bushfires or other traumatic events to join them in their story telling space. Sessions will be held every Tuesday to Saturday from 10am to 2pm. The aim is to bring the community together towards healing through personal, art-based storytelling in a welcoming, happy and safe environment. People can just drop in for a cuppa and a chat, or join in on a short local bush walk.
The community is vibrant, creative and resilient, but they know that over the last few years some natural and other events have created considerable challenges for many. They are providing a safe space so that all can share their stories of sadness, resilience and hope.
Project manager Vivienne Benson-Hodge said, “We know that it is a natural, inherent human reaction to want to express and share what has happened to us in adverse times. One way of doing that is to tell our stories using an art-based approach. We can story tell individually or we can story tell in groups.
“We are offering a range of artistic activities run by professional people, mostly from our community, who can, if you wish, assist you to express your story. For example, we will facilitate the running of free workshops in artistic areas such as painting and drawing, ceramics, mosaics, dance, wood-turning, quilting, photography and video. You can come to us to create your story in our story telling space using our art resources, or if you prefer, you can bring your artistic stories to us. We will keep you safe.
“In about twelve months we will celebrate ‘Our Stories’ in a community event.”
The parish has initiated the story telling project under its recovery banner, Rising from the Ashes, in partnership with a wide range of community organisations charged with the mental health and well-being services in the community, including NSW Mental Health, CatholicCare Wollongong, Knights of Malta and other government and non-government rescue and recovery organisations and businesses in the community.
For more information, contact Vivienne Benson-Hodge on 0407 264 665 or [email protected].
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Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.