CentaCare Wilcannia Forbes

Sunday August 5, 2012

I’m sitting by myself at Parkes Airport in NSW, an hour and a half ahead of my scheduled REX departure for Sydney. There is nobody about. The sky is mottled with cloud, the temperature is about 19 degrees. I have a warm inner glow because of the weekend I’ve just enjoyed.

I’ve been in Forbes since Friday afternoon where I facilitated a staff conference for the 150 or so people who work for CentaCare, the social services arm of the Catholic Diocese of Wilcannia Fobes. Today, I did a speech and presentation workshop as part of the conference.

What a tremendous group of people! What passion for their mission and the work they do. I was genuinely impressed and moved by their commitment and their dedication to their clients.

I was also very moved and mightily impressed by Tom Powell. Tom is a Warramunga man from the Wiradjurri people and his program called Red Dust Healing has been instrumental in helping many Aboriginal people turn their lives around. It is the sort of tool, as Tom describes it, that is now beginning to spread through Aboriginal communities replacing despair with hope. I particularly love their catch phrase “Spread out and stick together” Go hard, Tom! You are doing seriously good work.

Bishop Kevin Manning addressed the conference this morning and spoke about the relationship between the Church and CentaCare. In a well thought out presentation he described one of the big challenges facing CentaCare as alleviating the feeling of not being loved. Its been a while since a clergyman inspired me, I have to say!

As I had some time to kill before my flight from Parkes, I also visited the McFeeter Motor Museum in Forbes. I didn’t get his name, but our guide had a genuine passion for old cars. Mind you, you know you are getting on a bit when you see a couple of examples of cars you once owned now in a museum!

Thanks to Phil Lawler, Emma Gosper, Sarah, Kate, Possum, Amy, Brian, Ralph, Sonja, Victoria, Phoenix and the many, many other great people I met. I thoroughly enjoyed the conference and the warm glow from Forbes will remain with me for some time to come.

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