Four new Augustinian Volunteers and two of the newly established ‘Fair Go Mentors’ have commenced service in Sydney in the past weeks, having completed the official Justice & Peace formation program at Augustinian Priory in Brookvale and at the diocesan Broken Bay Institute.
The formation program lasted the first three weeks of February and covered two University Master’s units in theology and spirituality. As well the course was also grounded in the day-to-day experience of poverty and marginalisation in places like Redfern and Mt Druitt in Sydney. The six volunteers coped well with the dislocation of entering into the less structured worlds of Commission housing in Redfern and western Sydney.
This year there has been a sense of refounding the mission of Augustinian Volunteers. AVA (Augustinian Volunteers Australia) commenced in 2008 and had grown over the past six years to operate in a number of Australian capital cities, and with the first overseas AVA commencing last year in Thailand. In 2015 we have contracted to having new volunteers begin only in Sydney so as to commence the second specific AVA ministry with Aboriginal people. This new initiative is located at the suburb of Emerton in Western Sydney. (See the final two paragraphs on this page.)
Thus AVA now has two ministries working as a not-for-profit organisation under the public banner of ‘Fair Go Australia’. Accompanying this development is the introduction of the less strenuous service position of ‘Fair Go Mentor.’ This latter form of volunteering requires fewer hours and therefore less preparation than the six-year-old AVA position, and will fit more easily into the schedule of numerous persons interesting in volunteering. AVA is proud of the new arrangements that broaden its range of volunteers.
In the photo at the left, four Volunteers are to the back row and front-left, while the other two in the front row are ‘Fair Go Australia’ mentors.
AVA ministry at Emerton
The new team of Augustinian Volunteers 2015 has focused its efforts in service on a new ministry emerging in the suburb of Emerton, which is near the Mt Druitt area of Western Sydney. As it happened, a good proportion of the Volunteer group for 2015 are from Western Sydney.
Two years of preparation led to the commencement of this journey with the Aboriginal people of Emerton. It was greatly assisted in our desire to assist by the efforts of Shane Phillips at Tribal Warrior and by Anna Newman, a former Indigenous Juvenile Justice administrator in Western Sydney.To read the entire Augustinian Justice and Peace Bulletin published at Sydney, Australia in April 2015, click here.