Christmas Lollies –As Swansea Parish is unable to make up jars of lollies as we have in past years, we are asking for gifts of Christmas fare – packs of lollies, chips, fruit cake, mince tarts, tin hams etc.
Also Christmas Gifts – such as gift vouchers, toys, sports equipment, beach towels, bags and books etc for Children, youth and adults. No soft toys or gifts which require batteries please. Do not wrap gifts but wrapping paper may be donated.
Please have all gifts and lollies in early in November as Samaritans have a large demand in November. Thank you for your continued support!
Each the Mission to Seafarers prepares Christmas Care Packs for each crew member visiting the Port of Newcastle at Christmas time. This means so much to seafarers who are away from home at Christmas time and missing their loved ones.
This year we are aiming to prepare 1000 Christmas Care packs.
Donations can be delivered to the Mission any day of the week, and we would appreciate delivery by 6th December so that we can begin putting the care packs together.
Suggested items for a care pack include:
- – Prayer cards
- – Religious Icons
- – Words of encouragement
- – Small Bibles
- – Religious tracts or booklets
- – Pictures of Australia
- – Toothpaste
- – Tooth brushes
- – Hair combs
- – Nail clippers
- – Razors
- – Shaving cream
- – Deodorant
- – Soap
- – Aftershave
- – Lip balm
- – Antiseptic cream
- – Sunblock
- – New Socks
- – New men’s underwear
- – Magnetic photo frame
- – Fun toys such as stress balls, small puzzles
- – Decks of playing cards
- – Batteries
- – Little torches
- – Beanies
- – Sealed lollies – nothing that melts or attract ants
- – Small head phones
- – Let your imagination take over and have fun.
Some groups or individuals donate presents for the whole vessel crew, such as:- Basket balls – Dart bard and darts – Jigsaw puzzles – Christmas cake.
AW Spring Celebration, when this project was launched. Speakers Eunice & Margaret, 9/2016, at St Andrew’s, Mayfield, showing the Teddies and cushions that are hand-made for guests at the weekend.
$7,500 has been raised through the Anglican Women’s Thank You Boxes for the Kairos Outside for Women-Hunter weekends over the last year. Their Chaplain, The Revd Jan Deaves, advises that this is enough for 15 women to attend a weekend. Here they can receive support and encouragement in facing the experience of coping when a family member is serving a prison sentence.
Thank you to all who have supported this worthwhile project!
Members of Swansea’s Mothers’ Union plus a few extra parishioners, enjoyed a visit from Diana Rah and Carol Law from the Newcastle Muslim Women’s Assn, at their meeting in October. It proved most informative as Diana shared something of her life journey – both geographical and spiritual.
Born in Newcastle, at 18 she left Australia on the ‘FairStar’, living and travelling simply in Africa, India, Asia etc, then 22 years in Kashmir with her husband and 5 children. She returned to Newcastle following the death of her husband. Diana told of her conversion to Islam and spoke of some of its principles, including the five Pillars of Islam. She and Carol hoped that they were able to clear up a few misconceptions about Islam. Suicide and terrorism, they said, were not condoned by Islam. Unfortunately the statements made by the moderate leaders seldom receive any publicity in the media. There is much, including the full hijab, that are cultural issues, not specified in the Koran.
An invitation was extended to attend the Mosque’s Open Day on 28 October at Wallsend.
The wisdom of a traveller
An article published by Aurora (magazine of the Catholic Diocese of Ncle /Maitland) invited Diana Rah, Vice-President of the Newcastle Muslim Association, to share something of her story.
DIANA RAH PUBLISHED MARCH 03, 2015
I’ll begin with recent events and work back to a little about my life, which has led me to the conclusions I’ve reached and the reasons behind the things I do. Rather than say too much about myself, I prefer to share observations I’ve been fortunate enough to make through personal experiences. I’ll begin with a recent encounter.
Members of the Newcastle Muslim community were privileged to have the opportunity to meet Bishop Bill Wright, Father Brian Mascord and other members of the Catholic diocese. Although there wasn’t a large attendance, word of the event was passed around and Bishop Bill’s very thoughtful words were warmly received.
This visit was highly valued in times that have proven more than “trying”. Negative media coverage leading to verbal abuse and attacks, especially on women who are more identifiable than men, has obviously created a sense of fear among the Muslim community. This visit from the Bishop was a great comfort to our community and gave me a sense of pride in my involvement in multi-faith programs.
Fear isn’t restricted to the local Muslim community; frightening images of violent crimes against humanity are a constant theme in the media, leaving people of all faiths wondering what is happening, and creating fear and division. Simple things like Bishop Bill’s visit and sharing tea together help to break down that fear.
I was born in Newcastle and as a child, living near the ocean and watching cargo ships come and go, tales of faraway places and people of different cultures always fascinated me. I had an uncle, an anthropologist and linguist, who travelled extensively. Drawing on his colourful stories, of which I never tired, I could envision other ways of experiencing life. Growing up I reflected a lot on life, both the material world and the inward spiritual world. These thoughts, whether conscious or subconscious, led to my saving up to travel to South Africa at a young age.
South Africa was under apartheid rule, which was quite a shock to my system. Although I had heard and read about it, to actually see and experience it was quite confronting. Such injustice was difficult to comprehend. After a year I slowly travelled up the east coast to Kenya. An image of pristine rainforest comes to mind with the warm hospitality of local communities all along the way.
Travelling the hard way, village to village on local transport, I often had the pleasure of being exposed to the elements of nature: strong wind, gentle breezes, scorching sun, light showers in the heat of the day or the night sky alive with bolts of lightning and thunder. I felt a much greater awareness of the presence of God. Growing up in a family which was not religious, I realised later in life that I was always searching for a spiritual home.
I bought a deck class ticket on a ship called the “State of Haryana” and travelled 12 days from Mombasa to Bombay (now Mumbai). The ticket cost US$50 and it was the ship’s final journey before being scrapped in Chennai. It was the early seventies and there were many travellers on these routes so it was much safer than the same journey today.
On arrival in Bombay, in contrast to the serenity of many of the places I visited on the east coast of Africa, I was thrown into chaos. An ocean of people, loud noises of all kinds, aromas of spice, smoke, cows and no place to hide, were the immediate images that greeted me. But then I saw people of all faiths and cultural backgrounds co-existing peacefully, each respecting the other. The chaos turned to peace and I saw that everything was as it should be. I observed that the temples, mosques and churches were vibrant and alive with activity.
I made a couple more trips to India and South-East Asia and it was during this time, after a long search with many experiences and much contemplation, I embraced the religion of Islam and became a Muslim.
I finally settled and married in Kashmir, a valley in the top of the Himalayas, where I spent the following 22 years. In 1976 Kashmir was a very peaceful place, tourism being the main source of income. However, in 1989 an armed struggle was declared which led to a proxy war. My husband and I ran a business as well as raising five children.
Life was very different at first. As a traveller I am grateful to all the amazing people I met along the way, who have taught me so many lessons to help me through life. But as a traveller I was always “passing through” which meant I could observe from the outside. Now I had settled in a culture so different from the one I had known. I could now observe from the inside. I found that so many of the little things were done differently from the way I had always known. Many things seemed to defy gravity and science as I knew it, but somehow, in an unknown logic, it worked. As time passed I started to realise that the same outcome could be achieved using a different process. It led me to understand that there were many different ways to do things and my arrogance had hampered my ability to see this.
This revelation may seem insignificant but it opened my eyes to the fact that difference and diversity are to be celebrated.
Along with everyone else in Kashmir, our family endured seven years of war before returning to Australia after the death of my husband. I was lucky to have such a refuge when many are still trapped in the realms of war.
Currently, I am the Vice-President and spokesperson for the Newcastle Muslim Association, which represents the Newcastle Mosque and the local Muslim community. This community is made up of people from many different cultural and lingual backgrounds. Part of my work is to help to dispel myths and misconceptions about Islam and to separate and define the differences between cultural and religious practices. This is a practice used in reverse as well, allowing the Muslim community to adjust to life here and dispel their own misconceptions about our non-Muslim brothers and sisters in humanity.
In my life there have been many inconsistencies and challenging times, with the one constant in my journey being my evolving relationship with God and the consequence of a faith that has given me strength beyond my human comprehension.