Dale Appleby

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Weekly Reflections

G’day, my name is... 14 Feb 10

G’day, my name is...

Len was a visitor to Canning Vale over Christmas. He wrote this week from Cardiff where he lives. He was feeling depressed, he said, about a football match the Welsh had lost to England. But he was grateful for the fellowship he had while he was in Perth. He has taken back the idea of running the Everybody Welcome Course (which emanates from just over the border in fact).

He asked how we were finding it. I said it has been very good for us in that:

  • It has allowed us to talk together about what we actually do and don't do
  • It has allowed us to evaluate many aspects of our life in a non-threatening manner (the survey sheets allow everyone to comment - and after they are collated everyone reads what the group has said - so a very flat playing field - no outside experts telling us how bad we are)
  • It has provided lots of good ideas - a bit British but relevant to us overall.
  • It has generated lots of ideas of our own

We have responded very enthusiastically.  "Having a say" has been a big feature of it.  Overall I think it has shifted our mind-set so that we are more aware of the existence of beings called 'newcomers' and feel that we should do things that somehow make it easier for them to join in.

We have spent a fair bit of time on outward matters such as signs and advertising and building arrangements. We have also started to look at the more fundamental matters of greeting and speaking to new people.

One of the first things is to be able to see them. And then to know what to do. One good first step is to say, “G’day my name is .... Good to see you/ the peace of the Lord be with you.”,  or some such. “Come and have some morning tea. You can get coffee or tea here.... The food is outside on the table.”  “Come and I will introduce you to ...”   “Did anyone give you a blue welcome leaflet?”

And so on. But it is the second and third week that we also need to pay attention to. One of the first things is to be able to see the people who have been once or twice before. And then to know what to do. One possible thing is to say, “G’day, my name is ..., we met last week didn’t we? [and for people whose hard discs are nearly full - ... tell me your name again.] I’m really glad to see you...”

Dale

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