Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Jean Vanier 1928-2019

Jean Vanier, who has died of cancer aged 90, was the founder of L’Arche communities for adults with learning disabilities, living alongside those without them. He once said: “I had no plan, I just met people and people with disabilities awoke my heart.”
In August 1964, having giving up his job teaching philosophy at the University of Toronto, he bought a small, rundown house without plumbing or electricity in the village of Trosly-Breuil, north of Paris, and invited two men with learning disabilities – RaphaĆ«l Simi and Philippe Seux – to share it with him. Both had been living in an asylum and were without family.

The initiative was prompted by Vanier’s visits to the long-stay hospitals that housed many people with learning disabilities at the time. “Huge concrete walls, 80 men living in dormitories and no work. I was struck by the screams and atmosphere of sadness,” he said.
Read full text  of Obituary from The Guardian here
Irish Times Obituary
New York Times Obitury

Jean Vanier, in an undated photo, leading a demonstration in support of people with disabilities.CreditCreditPierre Michaud/Gamma-Rapho, via Getty Image

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Summer in the Forest Brisbane Premier

L'Arche Brisbane invites you to a special Premier Q & A Screening of SUMMER IN THE FOREST Monday 13 May 2019 from 6.00pm- 8.30pm Cineplex Balmoral, 168 Oxford Street, Bulimba 4171
Described as "An extraordinarily tender documentary" (NY Times), the film will touch your heart deeply and remind you of what it truly means to be human.

All are welcome, with complimentary drinks and nibbles provided from 6pm. The film screening will commence by 6.45pm and be followed by a live Q &; A, where you will be introduced to members of the Brisbane L'Arche community.

Ticket sales at $25 per head will support the ongoing work of L'Arche in Brisbane.


Film Synopsis:

Like countless others Philippe, Michel, Andre and Patrick were labeled 'idiots', locked away and forgotten in violent asylums, until the 1960s, when the young philosopher Jean Vanier took a stand and secured their release - the first time in history that anyone had beaten the system. Together they created L'Arche, a commune at the edge of a beautiful forest near Paris. A quiet revolution was born.

Now in his 80s, and still at L'Arche, Jean has discovered something that most of us have forgotten - what it is to be human, to be foolish, and to be happy.

SUMMER IN THE FOREST invites us to abandon the rat race and forge new friendships. Amid the ancient trees, Philippe, Patrick, Jean and the others welcome us into their lives. If there are rules to break, they will be broken and if there is a truth to be told, they will tell it. Michel reveals his war torn past, Andre is desperate for a date, and young David will prove himself a hero in the fight against the forces of evil.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Harmony Through Solidarity Gathering

This Sunday, 24th March 2019 we are celebrating Solidarity at the end of Harmony Week. The theme of Harmony Week 2019 is "Everyone Belongs" This fits in well with our vision of L'Arche and our commitment to solidarity across our communities. We will be gathering as usual at St Oliver Plunkett Catholic Church Hall, 21 Beauvadia Street Cannon Hill from 6pm .

You might like to wear something orange for the gathering as this is the colour theme of Harmony Week.  We will have Table Conversations where we can tell stories of our experience and awareness of different cultures. You will  also have an opportunity to decorate our table covers with art and words.

To help the conversations Tony will lead us . You might like to think about some of the following stories  which will guide our conversation:

Tell a story about your family name and the country it comes from
Tell a story about friends you have met from another country
Tell a story about your neighbours who come from another country

We will share a simple meal as is our custom on Solidarity night and you are invited to donate the cost of a meal to our solidarity bowl which supports L'Arche communities in developing countries.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Lent Week One

Lent Study 1: Sharing and Giving

Readings: Deuteronomy 26: 1-11 and Luke 4: 1-13
The land of milk and honey
After the Jewish people had been led by God through Moses out of Egypt to their new land they finally were able to lead a good life. It was the land of milk and honey.

1.     What does that mean?
If you decided that this meant that they had good food and enough of it you would be right!
In the reading from Deuteronomy it says that the Jewish people were to show gratitude by taking the first part of every crop and putting it in a basket to take to the priest to say thank you.
So the people actually had to give something away! They had to do this to show they were really thankful for being given what they had.
2.     Can it be hard to give things away?
Especially if they are good things?
Sometimes it is not hard to give away something we really do not need or want any more. It’s a bit harder to give away something we would like to keep and eat – like the first carrot from the garden or the first tomato.
But the Bible actually says the Jewish people were to give these away.
3.     Should we also give things away to show we are grateful for what we have?
We need to think about giving things away.
Lent is often a time when we think about:
·       giving something away
·       or not doing something we like to do so we have time to help someone else. Giving up something we like to do.
1.     That can be hard? Why?
2.     What can we give away?

One day, just after Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, Jesus was asked to do something very hard. This story is in Luke 4: 1-13. 

At the end of this video there are some questions: Let’s think about a couple of them:

1.     I wonder what Jesus and God talked about in the desert?

2.     Was it hard for Jesus to say “no”? Is it hard for us to say“no”? 

So we have heard how we can give up something to show we are thankful. We know it can be hard. But Jesus was asked to do something tough and he managed it. How? 

Maybe we too can ask God to help us when we give something away or give something up. 

Other L’Arche Communities

Something we like to do in our L’Arche community is to think of other communities in the world who may need some help, our help.

3.     Is there someone from another community you may know? A former assistant or someone who visited our community    Or someone you visited on travels?

4.     Who do we know from L’Arche communities in other countries.?

5.     Are there ways we can help these communities?  Are there ways we can contact these communities in friendship?

Closing Prayer  (This is the L’Arche Brisbane Prayer)

God you call us into L’Arche. You invite us to give life. You are with us in calm and troubled waters. Be our hope. As we continue the journey together. Amen.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Advent 2018 Week Two

Advent 2018

 Hand in Hand


Desire for the values of our faith tradition

Voices of advent: Isaiah, Gabriel, Mary, John


Time, seasons and rhythms of the year,

moving from ‘ordinary’ time to ‘Christmas’

Advent Song
Come Lord Jesus by Carey Landry

Come, Lord Jesus.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Come, Lord Jesus;
Come, and be born in our hearts.

Come, O Prince of Peace.
Come, O Prince of Peace.
Come, O Prince of Peace;
Come, and be born in our hearts.

Hearts are open
Hearts are open
Hearts are open
Come, and be born in our hearts.
Come, Immanuel.
Come, Immanuel.
Come, Immanuel.
Come, and be born in our hearts.

Come, Lord Jesus.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Come, Lord Jesus;
Come, and be born in our hearts

Week One: Solidarity
Week Two: Generosity

Light 2 candles



Matthew 2: 1-2, 9-10


Come, Lord Jesus. 

Sit quietly and let your hands rest in your lap
Look at your hands and think of all they have done during the day
What have they done for ourselves and others
Look at the picture of ‘hands in generosity’ hold out your hands in the same way.

How do we show generosity? In our home, community, in our world

2 Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the time when Herod was king. Soon afterward, some men who studied the stars came from the East to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews? We saw his star when it came up in the east, and we have come to worship him.” ….
9-10 And so they left, and on their way they saw the same star they had seen in the East. When they saw it, how happy they were, what joy was theirs! It went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 11 They went into the house, and when they saw the child with his mother Mary, they knelt down and worshiped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, and presented them to him.

When the wise men followed the star to find God’s great king, they didn’t come with empty hands. They brought some very generous gifts with them to give to the baby. When the wise men came in the house where Jesus was and worshipped him, they laid these precious gifts at his feet. They gave him gifts because they knew that Jesus was God’s great king and they wanted to show him honour. The Bible says that the wise men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold was the most valuable and beautiful metal they had. Frankincense and myrrh came from special trees and were burned to make sweet-smelling incense. They were both used in the temple in Jerusalem.
Fom Henri Nouwen
“We choose love by taking small steps of love every time there is an opportunity. A smile, a handshake, a word of encouragement, a phone call, a card, an embrace, a kind greeeting, a gesture of support, a moment of attention, a helping hand, a present, a financial contribution, a visit - all these are little steps towards love.”

Write a prayer together
Thank you for ...who showed generosity towards me. Help us to show generosity in how we live our lives.
We pray for whoever will receive this gift. We pray for L’Arche Zimbabwe. Amen