Mercy Works Updates
April 22nd 2020
The ‘Mini’ Bilum | April Edition
April 14th 2020
Special Edition CONNECTIVITY for Mercy Connect
Some of our volunteers have commented on how sad they feel about losing two of the highlights of their week.
Their day as a volunteer mentor and the time spent in their grandchildren’s company have been taken away for an unknown time as people observe social distancing protocols.
April 8th 2020
Easter Message & Reflection
Happy Easter from all of us at Mercy Works!
Wishing you an Easter season filled with peace, strength and new beginnings! We want to thank each and every one of our supporters whether you are new or have been with us for a while, the support you give is invaluable and we could not do what we do without it.
The New Decade 2020…
We are only four months into this next decade and we are in the midst of one of the biggest challenges we will ever see in our lifetimes. As this pandemic grips our world, we need to remember that the challenges we face today, we face together and the light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer with every passing day.
As uncertainty becomes a new reality for our global community our Mercy mission has never been more important. As a community we must ensure we are taking the necessary precautions to protect not only ourselves but those around us. With each new beginning comes an end with the hope that what has come with this pandemic won’t be a part of the future.
Mercy Connect has plans to expand this year. Moving into the city of Bendigo has shone the light of hope and progress, as we connect with new schools and new volunteers. Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste are no exception to this growth and development with the hope that many existing programs will expand into new communities as other projects are now completed.
Any further updates on Mercy Works’ response to this crisis will be emailed to our supporters, posted on our Facebook Page and updated on our website.
“Our Portion of Easter Grace”
- For some years Mercy Works in Papua New Guinea has hosted a weekly radio program across the Highlands. We believe as many as 600,000 people tune in to this program. The message is always one of challenge in the face of tough issues and hope to overcome these with community support. The issues include – skills to promote right relationships and non-violence, the empowerment of youth and women and girls, and stories of positive change.
- We even experience life and energy in what could sound like boring tasks. In February the Mercy Works Board directors and staff in our Parramatta office met to discuss and review our Strategic Plan for the next three years. It was certainly far from boring! Instead the room was alive with a creative, positive spirit as together through our many projects we believe we are making a real difference in the world.
- In Mt Druitt, western Sydney, where there is a large indigenous community, Mercy Works supports a project that changes lives! As part of the Baabayan Aboriginal Corporation, young Mums and their little ones meet every week to honour their cultural richness through stories, art and dance. Intergenerational healing happens. Friendships are made and strengthened. A sense of community is alive and well. When I visited in early March, the women welcomed me with a sense of pride in all they are creating together.
- Every Friday the Mercy Connect Program in Melbourne, has been running an Adult Literacy Class at the Dandenong Library supporting refugee and asylum seeker adults learn English. In the June 2019 edition of The Bilum, we shared the story of Bibi and her father Daud who arrived in Australia as refugees in 2015. Becoming part of this program has given them the tools to rebuild their lives in Australia, all the while deeply missing family members back in the refugee camp in India. Earlier this year, those important pieces were brought back together, as the family was reunited. We know how first-hand how this program gives indelible support to some of the most vulnerable members of our society.
During this Easter season together let us all pray for ‘our portion of Easter grace’ and so multiply this gift of hope in our world. A virtue that is so needed in our fragile world at this time!
Sally Bradley RSM
March 25th 2020
An Update to our supporters regarding Mercy Works and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Due to COVID-19 crisis both locally and globally we are all facing an uncertain and a rapidly developing situation.
Mercy Works is closely monitoring advice provided by government and relevant authorities and following their directives to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all our project participants and our staff.
In terms of both our staff and Board, most of us at Mercy Works are therefore working from home, so are able to be contacted by email and by phone (where calls can be diverted to the individual staff member if required). We are also valuing regular online meetings where we can stay in contact and give support to each other.
As always Mercy Works remains committed to our mission amongst marginalised communities in Australia and in the Asia Pacific region.
The current status of our various projects is as follows:-
- In Papua New Guinea we hope to start new projects in the province of Simbu later this year. We plan to continue our projects in Kiunga into the future. Projects in Goroka, and Mt Hagen continue till mid 2021 as we transition into Simbu.
- In Timor-Leste we support one health project in the Suai Covalima district and if funds permit we are hopeful of partnering with new projects in the Baucau district later this year.
- Mercy Works Mercy Connect Refugee Student Mentoring is running in schools which remain open and where the school and the volunteer have deemed it is safe to continue. We are also exploring possible creative ways to continue this
- The Mercy House of Welcome in Kilburn in Adelaide continues to offer support to asylum seekers via telephone while the Centre has been closed to comply with social distancing guidelines.
- We are still exploring possible new Indigenous projects in Australia to start later this year, and we will keep you posted.
In the words of Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters ~
‘The Poor Need Help Today, Not Next Week’
I recently received this beautiful reflection by Lyn Ungar and I offer it to you to ponder ~
What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath –
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love –
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.
‘Compassion’ – Mary Southard CSJ
Yours in mercy,
Sally Bradley RSM