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Harmony Day/IDERD

21st of March this year will mark the 24th year that Harmony Day has been celebrated in Australia. Since its inception, the main message of this day is “Everyone Belongs,” an inclusive motto that promotes multiculturalism and diversity. It’s now ‘Harmony Week’.

21st March is also the United Nations  International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination – IDERD (and a remembrance of the Sharpeville massacre in South Africa on 21st March, 1960). In present-day South Africa, 21 March is a public holiday in honour of human rights and to commemorate the Sharpeville massacre.

It’s a harder day to ‘sell’. It speaks plainly about ‘what is’ – that racism and racial discrimination still exists, including in Australia.

Harmony Day was introduced in 1998 by the government of the day as a more user friendly, accessible way to promote multiculturalism and harmony. It has positive connotations of cooperation, inclusiveness, belonging, mutuality, respect, understanding. Such positivity is to be applauded, but not at the expense of naming the reality that underlies the day.

(Read this article for a longer history about the development of Harmony Day, including the Eureka research findings).

The Hon Andrew Giles MP, Minister for Immigration, Citizenship And Multicultural Affairs, has issued this statement for Harmony Week 2023 where he includes an appeal to the international community to step up its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

“Welcome to a week of celebrating our wonderful, diverse and vibrant multicultural society. We’re privileged to share this beautiful country with the world’s oldest continuing culture. This is a fundamental part of who we are.

For more than 60,000 years First Nations peoples cared for country. Appreciating and understanding this truth is a vital part of what it means to be Australian.

We’re also a majority migrant nation. In 2023 more than half of all Australians were born overseas, or have a parent who was. We have different backgrounds and life experiences, but we all believe in our shared values based on freedom, respect, fairness and equality of opportunity.

Harmony Week also begins with International Day of the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; a day that called on the international community to step up its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination.

We’ve come a long way as a nation but there is still much more work to do. We’ve grown and we’re increasingly not afraid of having difficult conversations about our past, present and future, of questioning our ways and acknowledging our mistakes, and finding new ways to live better, in harmony.

We’re working together to ensure diversity and equity are part of our everyday reality. It starts with little things. Whether it’s at school or the workplace, at our many cultural or sports centres, this Harmony Week share an aspect of your culture, engage in meaningful conversations, make an effort and learn something new.

Happy Harmony Week”.

The Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Council of Australia (FECCA) writes:

We believe it is important to acknowledge that racism exists and that we should all work collaboratively to eliminate it. It is time that the community reclaim the original UN-declared day, rather than undermining lived experiences of racism in favour of promoting the idea of harmony. In the process, we can still celebrate the great diversity of cultures that makes Australia unique, and without addressing racism, we will not achieve harmony. 

One of the first steps in overcoming racism is naming the problem, and this is one day of the year in particular where this should be done.

The United Nations theme for 2023 focuses on the urgency of combating racism and racial discrimination, 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This is an opportunity for Australians to reflect on the nation’s history of racism and recommit ourselves to implementing strategies that tackle this complex issue.

The Challenging Racism Project in a 2015-2016 survey found that 20% of Australians surveyed had experienced racial discrimination in the form of race hate talk, and 5% had been attacked due to their race. This is particularly relevant amongst First Nations peoples, as the 2022 Australian Reconciliation Barometer published by Reconciliation Australia revealed that 60% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had experienced at least one form of racial prejudice in the past six months.

Furthermore, Australians are becoming increasingly aware of the prevalence of racism in their country, as according to a report compiled by the Scanlon Foundation Research Institute, 60% of respondents thought that racism in Australia was a ‘very big’ or ‘fairly big problem’, compared to 40% only a year prior.

Everyone has a part to play in shaping the Australian culture, and contributing to a society that is fair and equal – for all. This IDERD, let us unite to reshape the meaning behind the day, understand the roots of racial discrimination and inequality in Australia, challenge the status quo, and take action to create positive change within our communities. In the process, we can still celebrate our rich multicultural tapestry.

The following resources discuss the history of Harmony Day and the reframing to IDERD, and what meaningful action you can take to fight racism today, and every day.


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No laughing matter

Viewers of The Project were shocked to hear a comedian who was a guest on the show tell a crude and distasteful joke this last week that tried to be clever in linking a commonly used word (‘nailing’) for a sexual act with the crucifixion of Jesus. Waleed Aly appeared stunned at the joke, while other panel members laughed at the joke. The Project issued a public apology.

The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia has issued a carefully worded and thoughtful statement.
It is with a deep sense of sadness that the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia expresses its profound discontent and denounces the extremely distasteful and rather deplorable content aired on The Project, on Tuesday 28th February 2023 relating to Jesus Christ and the contemptuous derision of His suffering and crucifixion on the Cross. Equally inappropriate is the fact that such suggestive and disparaging remarks of a sexual nature were aired at a time in the early evening, 6.30 pm, when children were more than likely to be viewing such material.
It is well known to all who believe in Christ – and indeed have done so throughout the centuries, with countless Christians suffering martyrdom and death for their faith – that the selfless sacrifice of Christ on the Cross is the most striking and compelling reminder of God’s boundless love for the entire world. Whilst formerly a most brutal instrument of torture and defeat, a most scandalous form of death in Roman times, the Cross, through Christ became the most pre-eminent symbol of life, love and freedom, of renewal and eternity. It is for this reason that such scorn and ridicule to more than half of the Australian population for whom Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross is considered sacrosanct, was both highly offensive and openly disparaging.
At a time when all people seek equal rights and justice – and do so rightly – it is equally important to be reminded of our common responsibilities, our common efforts and goals, as one human race, which are far more congruous than are our differences. Indeed, it is quite unfortunate, in our day and age, that many are quite happy only to lay claim to their rights but neglect their requisite responsibilities. Everyone is free to believe in Christ or not, but no one has the right to disparage the Christian God, Christian teachings, and sacred symbols – or in fact those of any other religious faith. Rather, it is incumbent upon all of us to foster a culture of peace and solidarity, creating bridges and opportunities for dialogue; promoting ways in which all people can have the right to exercise their religious beliefs in a spirit of amity and fraternity without fear of violence or ridicule. Anything less can only be a negation of our human dignity, nobility and mutual self-respect.

In Sydney, on the 4th day of March, 2023
With fervent prayers
† Archbishop MAKARIOS of Australia
Primate of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia

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Ecumenism & young people

Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay, the new general secretary of the World Council of Churches. Here he reflects on the ecumenical movement and ‘young people’.

The ecumenical movement can never succeed in the future or present without the involvement of young people. Young people are the ones who bring new ways of thinking, new changes, new insights, a new appreciation of things, and new levels of engagement. Because young people bring this to us, we cannot neglect the young people. We cannot say, “they can wait until later.”

The WCC 11th Assembly said that young people should be involved in WCC’s governance, they should be involved in our programs, in our reference groups and our commissions, and they must be involved in the life of the WCC. I believe young people bring a greater understanding of spirituality different from what some of us have been accustomed to, yet challenging and engaging, relevant, and contextual. Young people make us think differently about many issues but help us realize the need for spirituality, the need for recreating the one human race, and dealing with environmental issues – I find young people are so geared up about environmental issues.

We need them to bring new life to our churches. We need them to speak into ecumenical organizations and into every aspect of Christian life and living. We don’t want tokenism. We want challenge. We want insightful movements. We want engagements. We also have the Bossey Ecumenical Institute that actually focuses on young people and theology. Without young people, we are in trouble!

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Nick Cave: Faith, Hope and Carnage

The Sunday Times on 4th March featured an article by Sophia Spring, following an interview with singer Nick Cave on the publication of his book, Faith, Hope and Carnage.

Nick Cave grew up in Wangaratta and sang as a choirboy in Wangaratta Holy Trinity Cathedral. Throughout his career he has startled his audiences with lyrics saturated with God and echoes of the Bible. He is not exactly a stranger here.

In his recent book of conversations with the music journalist Sean O’Hagan, Faith, Hope and Carnage, he speaks with raw clarity about how his creative energy has been fed by the experience of agonising grief and loss. At the heart of this is the death of Arthur, his 15-year-old son, in 2015, after falling from a cliff edge near Brighton — one of many bereavements in his life. Heartbreakingly Cave has since lost another son, 31-year-old Jethro. All this has come to be bound up for him with the awareness of the holy. He has been drawn back to some sense of belonging within the battered, inarticulate and compromised community that is the Church.

Few books have brought home more completely the way in which grief and creativity work together. The book also reveals the way in which faith, without ever giving a plain, comforting answer, offers resources to look at what is terrible without despair or evasion. Cave’s faith is not that of a man looking for shortcuts or consolations. At one point he speaks about the “spiritual audacity” that he felt coming to birth in the wake of Arthur’s death — “a kind of reckless refusal to submit to the condition of the world”. 

He has rediscovered what can only be described as joy, through “an altered connection to the world”: “spasms of delight”, a brightness uncovered in things, coexisting with the “dark, vacuous space” of loss. This is a joy that has nothing much to do with “feeling happy” or with satisfaction. “It’s there, despite ourselves … not attached to anything.” This double vision, Cave says, is fundamental to the religious impulse. It explains why in church he feels able to hold together both the doubt and pain and the sense of anchorage.

The full article can be read here.

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Veneration of the Icon

Photo: 5th March 2023 Greek Orthodox Church North Altona and districts

The Triumph of the Veneration of the Icon celebrated with a procession of the icons around the church.

(from an article by Fr Stephen Freeman)
No spiritual activity permeates Orthodoxy as much as veneration. For the non-Orthodox, veneration is often mistaken for worship. We kiss icons; sing hymns to saints; cry out “Most Holy Theotokos, save us!” And all of this scandalizes the non-Orthodox who think we have fallen into some backwater of paganized Christianity. It is not unusual to hear Orthodox who more or less apologize for this activity and seek to minimize it. “We are only trying to give honor to the saints, etc.” What is lacking, all too often, is a vigorous explanation for the work of veneration and its central place in the Christian life.

The normal mode of “seeing” in our daily world can be called “objective.” We see things as objects, and nothing more. Indeed, we see most people as objects unless we have reason to do otherwise. Sometimes we see people as objects in order not to see them as otherwise. But this objective viewing is an extremely limited and limiting way of seeing anything. Veneration brings us to a different form of seeing.

It is carefully noted in the accounts of Christ’s resurrection that he is unrecognized at first, and on more than one occasion. Mary Magdalen mistakes Him for the gardener. The disciples on the road to Emmaus talk with Him while they are walking but do not recognize Him until the moment at which He disappears. The disciples who are fishing do not recognize Him until after they have a miraculous catch of fish.

The silliest explanations of these failures to recognize are the ones that try to attribute it to grief. The stories clearly have something else in mind. This “something else” is particularly revealed in Christ’s encounter with Mary Magdalen. She thinks He is the gardener and wants to know to where the body of Jesus has been moved. But suddenly this “gardener” calls her by name, “Mary.” And she recognizes Him.

What has taken place is the change from an objective seeing to a personal seeing. It is only in the realm of personhood that we experience communion. We do not and cannot commune with “mere” objects. The Resurrection, among many things, represents the triumph of the personal over the objective. The Resurrected Christ cannot be seen in an objective manner, or, at least, He cannot be seen for who He is in such a manner. It would be more accurate, or helpful, to say that He is discerned, or perceived, rather than merely seen. Both “discerned” and “perceived” imply something more from the observer than simple seeing. (In truth, “seeing” should be more than “mere seeing.” In Greek, the verb, “to know,” is derived from a root meaning “to see.”)

Veneration is far more than the acts of bowing, kissing, crossing oneself, offering incense or lighting candles. Those things become veneration when they are offered towards the person who is made present in an icon. An icon that becomes an object ceases to be a true icon and becomes mere art, or worse, the object of a fetish. The Fathers taught that an “icon makes present that which it represents.” The veneration of an icon is an encounter with a person.

It is worth noting that in one of the better treatments of the theology of icons – saints are generally painted “face-to-face” rather than in profile. Judas and demons are frequently seen depicted in profile, on the other hand. There are exceptions to this rule, some by the hands of very competent iconographers. Nonetheless, the general observation remains important. We encounter persons, as personface-to-face. The impersonal, objective treatment of another person is an act of shaming and inherently hides our own face from them.

At some point, the Church’s use of iconography became distorted and became the Church’s use of art. Art is interesting and serves the end of beauty (when done well). But this development in the Church (primarily in the West, and occasionally in the East as well, as certain styles were copied) represents a turning away from the icon as encounter and the objectification of human beings and nature. It is among the many serious steps that created the notion of a secularized world.

Jesus, as an artistic subject, is equally accessible to all. His use in art renders Him as object. Indeed, Jesus is frequently used to “make a statement.” But this is the anti-icon, the betrayal of the personal as made known to us in the Resurrection. Christ becomes historicized, just one object among many to be dissected and discussed.

Of course, Christians are free. We may decorate our lives with art as we choose so long as we don’t confuse art with iconography, nor religious sentiment with spiritual encounter. But our engagement with art can easily overtake our experience of icons. Our culture knows how to “see” art, but icons remain opaque. Only the true act of veneration reveals what is made present in an icon.

I can recall my first experience with an icon. I had bought a print from St. Vladimir’s and mounted it. I would have it in front of me during my prayer time. I would look and think, and look harder. I think I expected to “see” something or for there to be a trail of thoughts inspired by my looking. But it was simply empty. I was a young college-age Anglican at the time and had no idea how to find my way into the world of an icon.

Some decades later, I became Orthodox, having written a Master’s thesis on the theology of icons and come to understand them. The summer following my conversion, I visited St. Vladimir’s Seminary for my first time. I was surprised when I walked into the chapel to see that the icon of the Virgin on the iconostasis was the original of the small print I had begun my journey with. And then I could see her. All of the journey seemed intensely personal, without accident or caprice. She had brought me home!

This is something that veneration begins to reveal to us. We do not think about the saints or imagine them. In their icons and our veneration, we come to know them. We see them face-to-face and even learn to recognize them and their work and prayers in our daily lives. The world is not accident and caprice. It is deeply intentional and personal, and conspiring towards our salvation.

The “objects” in our lives are nothing of the sort. It is only the dark and callous objectivity of the modern heart that has so disenchanted reality. We imagine ourselves the only sentient beings marooned on a small, blue planet in space. We wonder if there is “life” out there, as if there were anything else anywhere.

The world is icon and sacrament. But it cannot be known until we see it face-to-face. And you will not see anything face-to-face unless and until you venerate it. Veneration is a word that describes the proper attitude to the whole of creation.

On the veneration of the Icon, St. John of Damascus stated the following:
“I do not venerate the creation over the creator, but I venerate the creator who became creation like me, and came down into creation without humiliation and without being debased, in order to glorify my nature and make me to be partaker of the divine nature …. For the nature of flesh has not become deity, but, as the Word became flesh without change, remaining as he was, likewise the flesh became Word, without losing what it is, identifying moreover with the Word hypostatically. Thus, taking courage, I represent God, the invisible, not as invisible, but insofar as he has become visible for us by participation in flesh and blood. I do not represent the invisible deity but I represent the flesh of God which has been seen.” (P.G. 94, 1236Bc).

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Valentine’s Day: “Love heals, not hurts’

As Valentine’s Day approaches, the World Council of Churches (WCC) is sending a message about healthy relationships: “Love Heals, Not Hurts.” The campaign, now in its fifth year, is part of the WCC Thursdays in Black global movement for a world free from rape and violence.

The special Valentine’s message, also shared via social media cards, is an annual tradition that’s part of the WCC’s work toward gender justice.

In a video reflection, WCC general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Jerry Pillay noted that the Bible tells us that love is the greatest of all spiritual gifts.

“It is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person, or a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep care for a parent, child, family member, or friend,” he said. “Love values and respects the other person, supports their wellbeing, and demands nothing in return.”

This is the love, Pillay continued, that many share and receive in familial, platonic, and romantic relationships. “In this season of celebrating love, sharing symbols of love is natural and healthy,” he said. “At its best, such sharing strengthens us as individuals, communities and society.”

The WCC, in 1998, declared sexual and gender-based violence a sin, and reiterated condemnation of such acts in 2018. Yet, violence against women and girls, men, and boys continues daily, as tragic statistics show.

Approximately 81,000 women and girls were murdered across the globe in 2020, or one female every 11 minutes. Among them, 46,980 women and girls died as a result of intimate partner violence. 

One in three women face physical, sexual, or some other form of abuse in their lifetime. “We may not realize that this translates to more than one billion women and girls being affected by abuse and other forms of violence, and 736 million girls and women being subject to intimate or non-partner physical or sexual violence,” said Pillay.

Love is not easily provoked and is not evil, concluded Pillay. “Love heals, love restores, love redeems,” he said. “This Valentine’s Day and always, the WCC stands against rape and violence.”

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Catholic Bishops – Oceania

Archbishop Peter Comensoli and a number of Australian Catholic Bishops are part of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Oceania* which gathers every four years for a continental gathering**. They are meeting in Suva, Fiji, 5th-10th February 2023. (Videos from each day are available on the Federation of Catholic Bishops Oceania YouTube channel)

Discussions will primarily focus on care for the oceans, which is an important part of caring for our common home, as set forth by Pope Francis in Laudato si’. Participants will be listening to the cry of the earth and vulnerable peoples with visits to villages that bear the impacts of sea level rise and resource extraction

Another important focus of the Assembly will be finalising the continental (Oceania* region) response to the Synod of Bishops ‘Document for the Continental Stage’. This is a most significant document on synodality – well worth a detailed read.

Since the beginning of his Pontificate, Pope Francis has been highlighting the importance of cultivating synodality in the Catholic Church. In his own words, synodality is the path “which God expects of the Church of the third millennium” because it is “a constitutive element of the Church.”

The fundamental question that guides this consultation of the People of God is the following: A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, “journeys together:” How is this “journeying together” happening today in your particular Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our “journeying together”?

Pope Francis called for a Synod on Synodality, to take place from 2021 to 2024. Pope Francis’ call to focus on synodality is a call to restore and deepen the understanding that the People of God journey together in a common mission as followers of the Way, Jesus Christ. It indicates a way of listening to each individual person as a member of the Church to understand more fully how God might be speaking to the whole people of God. Synodality is a reminder that the Holy Spirit works in and through each of us and draws us to work together for our common mission.

In October 2023, the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will meet in Rome under the theme, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission”.

*The Oceania regional grouping comprises the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, the Catholic Bishops Conference of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands and the Episcopal Conference of the Pacific (CEPAC) – which includes Cook Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, New Caledonia, Northern Mariana Islands, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna.

** There are 7 Continental Synodal Assemblies happening around the world during the first quarter of 2023.

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Prayers for Türkiye and Syria

The latest death toll from Monday’s catastrophic earthquake has passed 11,000+. There are fears that the toll will rise inexorably, with World Health Organization officials estimating up to 20,000 may have died. A WHO senior emergency officer said about 23 million people, including 1.4 million children, are likely to be affected by the quake. More than 8,000 people so far have been pulled from the debris in Turkey, said the Turkish vice-president, Fuat Oktay. About 380,000 people have taken refuge in government shelters or hotels, with others huddling in shopping malls, stadiums, mosques and community centres, and in trains being used as emergency accommodation It’s bitterly cold in the northern winter. A state of emergency in the region has been declared for 3 months.

Holy One of mercy and peace,

as you walked across the stormy sea so long ago,

walk in the rubble of broken buildings

destroyed by devastating earthquakes in Turkïye and Syria.

Hold tenderly all who mourn today

for loved ones who have died

for those who are waiting for news, and identifications,

for those who are missing to be found.

Be among those who care for the wounded –

rescue workers, medical teams and emergency workers.

Sustain those who wait in emergency shelters.

We pray especially for Syrian refugees already in dire need

and now facing this new catastrophe.

We pray for families and relatives now living in Australia

as they deal with the shock of this tragedy.

May resources might make their way quickly to where they are most needed,

and for targeted aid to reach those who can best use it.

May compassion stir generosity in the nations of the world.

We ask your spirit to guide our words and thoughts.

Stir compassion and imagination, as we seek our best loving response.

Enlarge our hearts, so we can respond with you. Amen.

(adapted from prayers by Maren Tirabassi and Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler)


For those trapped in tragedy,
We pray.

For those caught in disaster,
We pray.

For those full of desperation
We pray.

For those swallowed in a well of sadness,
We pray.

For those lost in loss,
We pray.

For those crying for hope,
We pray.

For those whose world is hurt,
We pray.

For those whose future is uncertain,
We pray.

For those in need of help,
We pray.

For those who can help,
We pray.

God help where help is needed,
We pray.

(Source: Jon Humphries, Uniting Church in Australia)

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WPCU 2023

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2023 (May 21st-28th, 2023)

Churches in the Northern Hemisphere traditionally celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in January. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is usually celebrated around Pentecost.

This year the date is May 21st to 28th, using the theme ‘Do good; seek justice’ (Isaiah 1.17).

The resource has been adapted for the Australian context, and will be available in February 2023. Start planning for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in May. Even better, collaborate with churches in your region to plan a service together.

The resource for 2023 has been prepared by a team in Minnesota, USA. Rev. Dr Curtiss Paul DeYoung, co-chief executive officer of the Minnesota Council of Churches, helped convene the team of authors.

What were the biggest challenges the authors faced in drafting this year’s materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity?

Dr DeYoung: The work of composing the materials was very personal for the team of authors. They all had direct experience with racism, intense feelings of grief and outrage at the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and subsequent involvement in the protests that resulted. Engaging scriptural texts to call for racial justice and unity required revisiting the very personal nature of the work. Another challenge was selecting language that would convey a Minneapolis or United States perspective of racism in a way that could be understood by a global audience. A third challenge was how to speak to an institutional church that contains both those in power and those who feel powerless. Calling for Christian unity requires a balance of both a prophetic and pastoral approach that acknowledges complicity and offers healing.

For people that would term some of your resources “political” rather than “spiritual,” what would you say to them?

Dr DeYoung: Issues of racial and social justice cannot easily be divided between political or spiritual. The Hebrew prophets often spoke truth about injustices to the political leaders of their time. Jesus preached a gospel that was good news and liberation to those oppressed. The spiritual is political; and the political needs the spiritual.

What is your personal hope for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity?

Dr DeYoung: I hope that this resource created by a team of Minnesota Christian leaders will motivate Christians around the world to address the injustices in their context that divide society and the church. This begins with dialogue that creates a biblically-informed shared understanding and is followed by a commitment to the long haul.

Can you tell us a little about how the team was selected?

Dr DeYoung: Given that George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis in 2020, the World Council of Churches reached out to the Minnesota Council of Churches to form a Week of Prayer for Christian Unity writing team that represented racial justice activist voices here. We organized a team of six Black, two Indigenous, and one Latine Christian leaders in Minnesota. All equally contributed in the writing and editing.

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NDIS advocacy

A free training event is being offered at Brunswick Uniting Church, in collaboration with Merri-bek Council, aimed at NDIS service providers who assisting people who may be eligible to access, or are accessing the NDIS, under the psychosocial disability stream.

Interested people can register for this free event here.

‘Applying for NDIS support and understanding the system can be very confusing and difficult to navigate’ said Ellisa Scott, Project Coordinator at IMHA. ‘This training aims to increase the skills of NDIS service workers, to be able to train others at their organisation to help people experiencing mental health issues to self-advocate for what they need’, she said.

‘Peer support workers from mental health services and carers were involved in every stage of the development to ensure the training provided real-world solutions for people, at any stage of the process of engaging with the NDIS’ she said.

The package builds on a 2019 co-designed workbook ‘Self-Advocacy for the NDIS (Mental Health)’, developed in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Designated mental health services; VMIAC and Tandem. It covers everything from applying for the NDIS, to plans, appeals and reviews. Originally in-person trainings using the workbook were planned.

What is in the training?

In response to our changed environment due to COVID-19, the online training package includes two eLearning modules that participants can undertake in their own time, which focus on knowledge development. These will be followed by two interactive webinars that target skill development, co-facilitated with a peer support worker. Attendees at the training will also be given exclusive access to the Self-Advocacy for the NDIS trainer online hub, where they can share learnings with other participants of the training.

A pilot of the training was recently conducted. ‘This training was thought-provoking. Although I’m not new to advocacy, it gave me food for thought as I go forward in my role of supporting NDIS participants, and how I can support them, to best support themselves’, said one attendee.