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Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 30

23 October, 2016

This past week has been Anti-Poverty Week; a week when all Australians are encouraged to organise or take part in an activity aiming to highlight or overcome issues of poverty and hardship here in Australia or overseas. It was established in Australia as an expansion of the UN's annual International Anti-Poverty Day on 17th October. At Diocesan Synod this week the Rev'd Michelle Trebilcock, BSL Chaplain, and St Peter's Curate, the Rev'd Louise Lang, moved that: "this Synod (1) Grieves the persistent existence of poverty which diminishes the innate value of individual human live and falls short of God's ideal for human communities. (2) Urges Anglican parishes and agencies to persist in developing informed and compassionate responses to the problem of poverty theologically, prayerfully, and practically — through intentional, missional engagement."

Think Prevent (See here...) a prevention of violence against women initiative, published an article this week on St Peter's:

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster is an Anglican Vicar whose city parish, with Anglicare Victoria, serves breakfast to between 60 and 80 homeless people, seven days of the week, and has done so for the last twenty years. Over recent months he has noticed a growing number of women presenting at the breakfast program and sleeping rough in the city of Melbourne. He recalls: 'One woman came to church on Sunday, asking for help with accommodation; she is in her early twenties — that's only a few years older than my daughter.' Dr Kempster was told that an argument with her boyfriend had became violent, and forced her to flee their home. 'It's a story that is all too common' he said. When asked about finding solutions to this problem, finding ways to stop young women winding up homeless, he said: 'It has to start with a change in our culture; a change in men's attitudes towards women. The American Presidential debate has brought up the issue of a so-called "locker-room" culture. It is not OK to talk or act as if women were mere objects for male gratification. Respect in our relationships is the glue that helps everyone feel valued, positive and safe. When this is missing women and children, in particular, are vulnerable to abuse; and far too many of these find themselves homeless. Non-violent men should be pro-active' Dr Kempster added. 'We should not stand by and watch, but take responsibility by actively interrupting the harmful and abusive behaviour exercised by our friends, work colleagues, and even total strangers. It's just the Golden Rule really: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.'

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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