Reflections/Memories of Redfern Community

So many memories and reflections come crowding in as they have for everyone else, no doubt; the following are a few random ones:

Arriving at Redfern (St Vincent’s) for the first time was like coming home. I loved the "place" for being raw, earthy, sparse. I loved its gutsy Word, and its liberating unpredictability. I both loved and hated its dis-comforting challenges. I marvelled at the birds-in-residence.

Aboriginal spirituality. Thrilling at being introduced to Aboriginal spirituality via Ted’s experiences, convictions and explanations

Women. Noting how easily women took an equal participatory role.

Announcements. Wanting to listen to the people &n their announcements – new joy & inspiration.

Celebrations. Joining Faster ceremonies preceded by the cleansing smoking fire, and a wonderful Eucharist at Barbara’s in Forbes Street with Father Doug (and Uncle Leo’s famous damper bread!) Sensing real personal connections: after we were married at St Vincent‘s, Frank invited everyone to come to a reception at Maureen Flood’s place, and the whole Community immediately burst into a cheer.

People.

"Everybody" – crowding-in for coffee after Mass in the "four-person" tables of the milk-bar down the street.

Uncle Leo – sitting in the same place at the end of the seat each week – with his hat., which was finally seen on top of his coffin so proudly carried by who-knows-how-many-Koori-men.

Lawrence – serving as altar boy (with Vernon and Ken); he was too small to see over the altar so he just hung on and peeped over.

Harold – promenading in a different set of clothes each time one saw him, and making naturally aristocratic entrances.

Winiata – singing exquisitely, accompanied or unaccompanied.

Mum Shirl and a chocker-block car of kids – dropping them home after Sunday Mass and the regular stop-off at the Hot-Bread shop.

Tamba – getting & giving the Kiss of Peace. Many will remember our much-loved and accepted, “very regular attendee” for whom Frank gave a beautiful, befitting Eulogy; she was part of the Creation spirituality of the place. & often “sang” ooooooOOOOooooo for the children after Mass. She was also happy to give one of their pups a ride on her back, (to the quiet delight of the greatly-respected Sir William and Lady Deane, present that day). Mum Shirl called her the “merrigun who is just so well-behaved”.

The wonder is to belong in the melting pot of this community – a far-reaching "church" which has no walls. Even if one does not see others for some time, there is immediate recognition that the friendship which drew and holds one to the community is always there. There is plenty of place, space, and room – for one, and for all.

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