Category Archives: streets

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This too shall pass

“This too shall pass” is a phrase with a long history. Abraham Lincoln sums that history up well in a speech he gave in 1859 – Lincoln said;

It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations. They presented him the words: “And this, too, shall pass away.” How much it expresses! How chastening in the hour of pride! How consoling in the depths of affliction!

For some people this has been a great week. A new grandchild; a new job; a long deserved holiday; it could be a thousand different reasons.

For some people this has been an awful week. A relationship breakdown; bad news at work; an unwanted sickness; again a thousand different reasons.

Our sign this week can be read and understood by both of the above groups, it should teach us to enjoy the good times for the do not last forever and also have hope in the bad times because they, too, do not go on indefinitely.

There is a verse in Paul’s letter to the Romans which reminds me of “this too shall pass” – Paul writes “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” To me it reminds me to be in the moment with people, if they allow you to share in their lives then sit with them, be with them, show up and live the moment with them. Reading my Gospels I find that this is what Jesus did. He shared with people where they were, in what ever circumstances he found them, with a grieving centurion or a joyful healed woman. 

Over the past few weeks we have been opening the church hall on a Sunday evening to serve food and offer shelter to anyone who wants it. Those who have helped out have had the privilege to sit and eat with many people – the happy ones (like the chap who learned he had just been granted housing), the unhappy ones, the addicted ones, the lonely ones, the ones who just want to listen. We have also been heard and helped by those who have joined us, this community stuff is not just a one way street – we (the volunteers) get as much out of it as those who join us week by week.

Last night I arrived at church to find the place buzzing – people everywhere, eating, talking, joking, one even crying. There was rejoicing and weeping going on and Jesus was there sharing in all of it. I cannot thank the Melbourne Welsh Church, and the elders in particular, for allowing us the opportunity to minister like this every Sunday evening.

So wherever you are in life; with whatever is happening remember that this too shall pass – enjoy the good moments, have hope in the bad for, as in all things, this too shall pass.


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SHUT UP FOR A MINUTE AND LISTEN!!!!!!

A recent conversation on the street went like this.

Giday mate ( Australian greeting) what do you do for a living?
I loiter with intent, I replied, and you?

I am a mercenary in South Africa Game Parks, shooting poachers, came the reply,
I love the travel and the adrenalin rush!!

I was then offered a pouch of tobacco and papers to roll a cigarette, which I politely refused, as I prefer cigars!!

Its a bad habit anyway came the response, that and amphetamines have been my downfall exclaimed the stranger!!

We chatted for a little longer and as we parted company , it got me thinking about the strangers story.

Did it matter if it was not true? I figured it didn’t , what was important, was the fact the story was true for him, and it was important for me to listen to it, allowing the stranger to be heard.

Sometimes we are not good at hearing others stories, believing our own are more important.

I recently, heard someone exclaim that they did not understand people leaving church because they had been hurt by it, ‘no one has been hurt more by the church than me’!! they said, and I still believe in it and attend.

Responses like this stop others from telling their story, because it seems no longer important!!

If we fail to listen, we fail to care.

While the strangers story may not have been true, he was allowed to tell it and maybe just maybe its the only time someone gets to hear it.

Category : Bubba , LISTEN , respect , STORY , streets


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Where you stands depends what you see

Getting around Melbourne by various means of transport, including Car, Motorcycle, on foot, Tram and Train, has provided some observations about us humans.

Depending on which mode of transport we take, often depends on what we expect from others, and our own actions or behaviours.

One thing tat appears not to change is our expectations on others to put our needs first, our biggest need, or so it appears from my observations is, the need to get where we’re going.

This then may mean we need to ignore the usual rules around obeying traffic signals and rules, even if it means putting ones self and others in danger!!

So we’re guided by our needs and mode on getting around, as to how we act and react.

I wonder how it might look if we put others needs before our own, it could get messy!!

Category : Bubba , Community , Family , News , streets


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Debt Paid

‘M’ came and sat next to me the other day on a Mall in Melbourne.
‘M’ was the first person I met as I started loitering and lurking just over a year ago, we met on March 20th, 2014.
I enquired as to his well being and he started sobbing, I put my arm around him as he told me why he was upset.
After a while we decided it would be good to eat, so I invited ‘M’ to choose where we would go.
Upon arriving we were met with some suspicion, and as soon as we placed out order we were asked to pay. I explained we may want more food and or drink and that I was paying and would do so at the end, ( as in normal practise).
I approached the owner of the cafe and asked if there were a problem or if ‘M’ had been before and gone without paying?it transpired he had so I offered to pay the whole $2.00 !! She politely refused and then proceeded to ‘warn me of giving any money to ‘M’!!
I returned to the table and asked ‘m’ if he owed the owner money, he did and knew it was $2.00, I gave him the money and he paid his debt in full!!

I so am blessed to get to hang out with crooks!!

Yes people its almost Easter!!


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Still Small Voice

In the bigger scheme of things, where you have your morning coffee in not that important…..right?

Maybe not, but sometimes you have to listen to that ‘small still voice’.

Recently as i was riding into the city for my daily loitering activities, I had my mind made up where i would go first and get a long black!!
As I neared my destination, something, I call a ‘still small voice’ suggested an alternate venue.

I listened, and went to another cafe instead, had my coffee and you guessed it nothing happened, that is until I was skulking back to the bike, when out of nowhere a pair of arms came around me from behind and I got a bear hug.

It was a bloke I had met once, at the funeral for Les, which I wrote about last year.

We hugged and chatted for a time, which was good for the heart!!

We parted company a short time later, and I now listen more carefully to the ‘small still voice’, maybe just maybe its God and maybe I should listen.

PS Please don’t tell The Ruth, she says I never listen!!!!


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Community Humanity

Loitering on the streets of Melbourne over  fourteen hours during the white-night festival is a little different to the ‘normal loitering and lurking’ i undertake.

The crowd was intense the  creative expressions and emotions of humanity are out there for all to see, sadly so were those ‘other’ human traits we try to hide.
For me it was not so much about the art in all its expressions rather the people and their interactions with each other.
Putting thousands of people into the city precinct, for a 12 hour festival is an interesting idea.
I did not see many of those friends with who I spend time, although a generous, warm hug from one ensured the evening got off to a good start.
It was the stranger and the interactions which made the night.
Extracting a smile, the giving of a high five, a hello or an intense conversation about a dead brother, an upcoming coronal inquest, a request to visit some of his mates’ doing time’ or the connection with a young man from one of the schools I worked at years ago, now living of the streets or the warming conversation with a young Maori girl abandon by her ‘mates’.
These ‘strangers’ and the interactions made me wonder, who and what they encountered as we connected together as fellow humans??


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What we ‘wear’ may identify us.

Travelling around Melbourne on the train, I get to see and hear some interesting stuff.

On a recent trip, a woman boarded and a conversation started between her and a stranger.

This stranger, a male was very observant, during the conversation he asked which part of Russia she was from.
The woman was surprised at his accurate ‘guess’ and enquired as how he knew, he replied, it was the unique jewellery she was wearing.

He had purchased some for his partner and knew it came from a particular jeweller in Russia.

It made we think, what is it we ‘wear’ that identifies our residency??


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even everything is not everything

As December 25th approaches I’m hearing that it’s beginning to look a lot more like Christmas??!!

I’m not quite convinced, but then I suppose it depends on what Christmas is supposed to ‘look like’??

If its supposed to look like,more extravagant gifts, more excessive giving,more abundance of food and more alcohol, then perhaps for the minority of the world it is indeed beginning  to ‘look a lot  more like Christmas’?

So what of the ‘others’, those facing more loneliness, more suffering, more hunger, more war and so on?
What of them?

Perhaps we all need more, more Peace, more Hope,and more Joy?????

Imagine this: it’s possible to have less stuff and have more life as its supposed to be for all!!!

Now that looks more like Christmas!!


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Sparrows

A discussion with a bloke on the street recently about respecting those who die on the streets.

Both of us we unaware of the death of a young sports person, for which the out pouring of public grief, the lowering of flags and other symbolic acts were quite staggering.

In contrast, those who die on the street largely go unnoticed.

No symbolic gestures, no public ‘mourning’, no media coverage and no special events as a mark of respect.

‘Bob’, not his name, was deeply distressed, that people from his circle of friends go largely unnoticed when they die.

I know this to be so. Last year I took a simple service at the back entrance to a crematorium of a bloke who died alone on the street.
Disconnected from family his body arrived in the cheapest of caskets, with a cloth covering it, no flowers no tributes, just a few people who new him and me a complete stranger who had been asked to say a few words of hope.

I reckon ‘Bob’ has a point, on this I believe he gets the heart of Jesus.

All are created in God’s image, we are all broken and struggle, but, if you entertain, people or are a ‘hero’ even those who don’t really know you, will mourn your passing and the world is made aware of it.

Not even a sparrow dies with out the creator being aware!!

Thank you  ‘Bob’ for reminding us to respect all who die regardless of who or ‘what’ they are.


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Doing and Being

Hi Fred how are you today?
I’m busier than a one legged man in a bum kicking contest!!

Being busy, it seems to me, has become a badge of honour over the years.

Growing up in a farming community describing someone as a ‘hard worker,’ was seen as a good thing, even if the reality was that same person was bad tempered and sometimes violent.

I find myself some days falling into the same trap, making myself busy as if to justify my own existence and self worth.

I had time to reflect on this recently as I ‘loitered’ with intent on the Melbourne Streets.

As I wandered around one of the usual locations watching the world go by
that  troubled  feeling that I was not ‘doing’ anything engulfed me.

Continuing to wander and watch, catching peoples eyes and smiling, I noticed a elderly lady, who was sitting not far from me.
She caught my eye because she looked at peace with the world.
I noticed after sometime she was struggling to get up from the seat.
I wandered over and asked if she would like a hand. She agreed and after I helped her up, I went back to loitering and  watching.

The struggle of ‘doing’ and ‘being’ was again foremost on my mind, when a bloke, approached me.
He was no stranger, we had chatted only weeks earlier, when he reminded me we had met at his cousins funeral some eight years earlier, which I had conducted.

Battle scared from living rough, he was on for a chat, so we did.
After a while he thanked me for the time spent with him, and he hugged me.

This man was homeless and alienated from his family through drug abuse and violence was grateful for the time spent with him, reminded me again, that ‘being’ is a good thing/

As we parted company we agreed that next time we met  we would have a meal together.

I returned to where I was ‘loitering’ vowing to never underestimate the value of ‘being’.


Upcoming Events

Mar
1
Sun
3:00 pm St David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
St David’s Day Gymanfa Ganu
Mar 1 @ 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm
Guest conductor from Wales National Eisteddfod of Wales blue riband winner / soloist 2 other blue riband winners 5 local Welsh voice choirs Congregational hymn singing Projected 700+ in attendance. Wow….should be wonderful!!!