Tag Archive: purpose

Lent word: Sent

Sent but not delivered. Here but not arrived. The message isn’t getting through… neither is the toilet paper. #Sent #tonoamai

We enter a new season

It’s getting darker in the mornings. It feels portentous. We are at the beginning of Iuk (Eel) Season, when the hot winds stop and the temperatures cool. The days are getting shorter – equal length with the night – but we know that will shift towards darkness.

This is the time to savour the harvest fruit, enjoy the last blooms, and store up what we can against colder and leaner times to come. The word Lent comes from the Old English lencten (lengthen) because it’s observed in spring, when the days begin to get longer but that is not so for us here. Time is running out. Can you feel it? Share the joy of a common table now… Share pancakes.

an abundant heaped pile of warm pancakes

The tradition of Shrove Tuesday arises out of using up fat and yummy things before the fasting of Lent, using up anything that might go off in the 40 days that you’re not allowed to have them. On this day, we are meant to confess and be forgiven (or shriven), starting Lent with a clean slate and I wonder…

I have sometimes been flippant about what we give up for Lent. As if the idea is to make us think more about God in the sense of: “Oh God, I’d kill for some chocolate right now”. But what if it can be a chance to re-set, a chance to work for that balance of day and night in equal parts in other areas of our life. I find looking at ‘What to give up for Lent’ lists a daunting read. From chocolate or social media to negative thinking or laziness.

The previous season to this was Biderap, the time of year when the rivers are most likely to run dry and the risk of bushfires was highest. What does it look like to drink your fill now the river runs again? What does it look like to think about investing in what safe space look like? Or rebuilding? The leaf litter and undergrowth have been cleared, the air is clear of smoke, maybe this the furthest you have been able to see in a long time. Maybe this season has clarified something about what matters most to you and invites you to commit to that. What will we let go of and what will grow anew in this season?

bright red shoots of regrowth starting to peep out of a charred and black tree trunk
Photo credit: Jacob Bolton

I have healing hands

hands touching colourful crotchet balnket talitha fraser nz poet

I have healing hands
did you know?
They heal when I hold you,
they heal when I reach out for you.
They heal, these hands;
hole, hold, whole
They heal, these hands
when you hold them.

Talitha Fraser

yellow daisies Australia Jon Cornford sustainability

Australian economist and theologian Jon Cornford’s latest book ‘Coming Back to Earth: Essays on Church, Climate Change, Cities, Agriculture and Eating’ is a wonderful resource and invitation for thinking deeply about personal and corporate ways  of responding to critical issues of our time such as:  “climate change; species extinction; resource depletion; pressure on the global food system; widening international tensions and conflicts; economic instability and fragility; persisting poverty and economic exploitation…” (p.9).

God has appointed us to be stewards of this earth, its water and land, its trees and flowers, its animals and birds.  To work it and keep it. To observe and serve it. God created it and saw that it was good – what do you say that it is?

You can read the full blog piece here

Copies of the book and further resources from Manna Gum are available here.



Trigger warning for suicide. If you’re feeling down, please reach out to friends, family or support agencies like Beyond Blue, Lifeline: 13 11 14, Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467, Kids Helpline (for young people aged 5 to 25 years): 1800 55 1800.


There was a suicide in my sphere recently. Not someone I knew but it impacted lots of people that I know and in the aftermath we talked, trying to make sense of it. It’s not something easy to make sense of. We tried to find out details, as you do – who/why/when – and learned for a variety of reasons that further information wouldn’t be forthcoming, people worry that a suicide might lead to more suicides. I hear that but at the same time, I wonder: if we don’t talk about it, if we don’t know it’s happening, how do you prevent it? This person, whose name we don’t know, who we don’t know anything about – we have shed tears for them, we want to acknowledge their life and their family, want time back to tell them they were loved because we know the surety of that whatever else we do not know. Now that I am conscious of my not knowing, I look it up. More than 8 people a day in Australia, one every three hours… more than from cancer (ABS, 2015). I don’t know that we really begin to understand how the comings and goings of people in our lives matters deeply.  My coming and going matters, your coming and going in my life matters whatever context of work, of community, of relationship… A life lived shorter than it might be is always tragic.  I felt a grief inside me that didn’t feel appropriate to show, didn’t feel appropriate to share – it wasn’t supposed to belong to me because this person didn’t belong to me except that we all belong to one another.  So I asked myself: Where is appropriate to show grief? And took myself on an excursion to the local cemetery (as you do). The following poem is made up of words entirely taken from words written on people’s headstones. It  isn’t intended to be some macabre or nihilistic exercise… but the opposite. What words of comfort or solace could we have said if there’d be time? What message of love? Read them and be comforted, be solaced, be loved now. Hear them deep in your soul, take them in and let them nourish you.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will know the essence of life.

v1 bw

v3 bw

v4 bw

v5 bw

v6 bw


Peace, perfect peace,
let your song be delicate,
the flowers can hear.
In God’s care.

In the midst of life we are in death.
Let not your heart be troubled
neither let it be afraid.
In God’s care,
not here but risen,
Love’s Tribute.

Always loved, always in our hearts.
Sadly missed.
Behind all shadows standeth God.
Some time, some day, we’ll understand.

So deeply loved, so deeply mourned,
till we meet again, at rest,
in heavenly love abiding.

Abide with me: fast falls the eventide
the darkness deepens, Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.
Thy will be done always in our hearts.
Loved and always remembered.

All losses are restored and sorrows end
in God’s care.
Those we love don’t go away
they walk beside us every day
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.

Love lives on.



As a nation we have not been taught about our own black heroes, we learn about great civil rights leaders from around the world. Dr Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks are familiar within our vernacular however the black freedom fighters of our own country are left out of the history books.  From first contact through to today we have Aboriginal leaders like William Cooper that have shifted the course of history, that have resisted the colonial order of the nation and have led us in the ongoing goal to de-colonise our space, for equality, for better living condition, for health and legal care, for land rights.  These are the legacies that are left to be continued by the next generation of Aboriginal women and men.

The ‘tide of history’ has not washed away our connections to country or culture, it is our sovereign right and it is our obligation to our old people to maintain these.


“We must continue seeking for our rights”
William Cooper 1934

“We must realise that there is a greater purpose for us than to exist for ones’ own life”
Uncle Alf ‘Boydie’ Turner 2009


William Cooper
Source: Museum Victoria

Yorta Yorta man Mr William Cooper had a vision for his people to live a better life, to be treated as equal citizens in a land that as he stated, by ‘divine right’ was theirs.  His story is remarkable and of great courage and strength, he fought for not only  his people but for others around the world being persecuted.  William was a humanitarian on a mission to create change.

Born on the banks of the Dungala (Murray River) in 1861 William lived his youth witnessing the frontier of change.  He saw the destruction of his homelands and the dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people across the country but his strength as a proud Yorta Yorta man could not be taken and he dedicated his life to fighting for better rights of his people.

William had many hardships in his life, losing two children including Daniel Cooper who lost his life fighting in the First World War and also two wives, in this time raising his family in regional Victoria and NSW travelling to where he could work.  As an elderly man he moved from Cummeragunja mission to Melbourne to be able to receive the old age pension.  This was a time where many Aboriginal people were fleeing missions across the state, walking off in the hope for better living conditions and making their way to Melbourne.  The West, Fitzroy and Northcote were community hubs of Aboriginal people congregating, building a life in the city.

In this time he formed the Australian Aborigines League (AAL) and they would meet at his house in Footscray.  The AAL demanded that Aboriginal people should enjoy the same rights as all Australians. William became secretary and began writing many letters and petitionings to government on behalf of the AAL calling for civil rights and changes in government policy.  In this time he led many significant protests including a petition to King George V calling for Aboriginal representation in parliament.  He and the AAL also supported the Cummerangunja walk off in protest of the appalling living conditions and brutality inflicted on the community.  In 1938 William led a deputation from Footscray, walking into the city where thy presented the German Consulate with a letter demanding the Nazi government stop the ‘cruel persecution of the Jewish people’, this is the only known protest of its kind recorded in the world at that time.  Both his petition to the King and the deputation’s letter to the German government were refused.  William in his life time wrote over eighty letters petitioning for Aboriginal rights, equality and human rights and he never gave up the fight and his vision for a better future for his people.

This legacy has been carried on by his descendants including his grandson Uncle Alf ‘Boydie’ Turner who in recent years has accomplished his grandfathers work getting a new petition to Queen Elizabeth.  With his great nephew Kevin Russell and other family and supporters, he re-enacted the deputation to the city, marching to the German Consulate and handing over the letter that his Grandfather had tried to do many years before.

Four Koorie artists in this exhibition respond to notions of legacy and current political realities for our community.

Kiah Atkinson is an emerging artist and a relative of Mr William Cooper, Kiah’s sound piece tracks William’s journey from Yorta Yorta country to Footscray, creating an audio journey.

Paola Balla is an artist, writer and activist whose work ‘the homes that we had known’ is a personal story of connection to William through her Great Grandmother Mariah or ‘Puppa’ as she was known, who travelled 1500km on her own to attend the Day of Mourning in 1938.  Paola’s installation includes a bed frame with earth, leaves and flowers from her country; a poetic reflection to the hardship of mission life that her grandmother Rosie describes in a poem.  Paola commemorates the struggle of our ancestors whilst highlighting the strong Aboriginal women who were protesting and raising families in some of the most challenging conditions.

Tim Kanoa is a photographer who has been capturing the recent rallies against the forced closure of Aboriginal communities in WA.  Tens of thousands of people gathered to protest in 2015 and Tim’s work Ignite looks at how the legacy of protest and standing up continues to burn strong.

Arika Waulu’s work legacyliveson is a powerful meditation on sovereignty and the next generation of activists.  Arika’s projection of the 2015 rallies led by the Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance along with an illustrated portrait of William is projected onto a wall of paper bark visas which are representations of sovereign nations.

Kimberley Moulton
Yorta Yorta

The ‘tide of history’ has not washed away our connections to country or culture, it is our sovereign right and it is our obligation to our old people to maintain these.

Reflection questions:

What does  the term ‘legacy’ evoke?

What is the significance of the actions of Uncle Alf ‘Boydie’ Turner and Kevin Russell?
What do you think Uncle Turner means when he refers to a ‘greater purpose’?

What ways do you/do you not feel connected to country and culture?

What vision do you have for a whole or healed world?
What could/are you doing to participate in building that vision to be a reality?

Do you think Aboriginal people have the same rights as other people in Australia now?

You called me


You called me
You created me
and called me by name
in every echo of every
need, want, exclamation
I know I am made
I know I am named
I know I am Yours
made, named, Yours


Talitha Fraser