The unexpected sources of resilience

Moderator-Sharon-Hollis (second left) with panel members Alison Overeem, Kae Campbell and Luke Sayer

Moderator-Sharon-Hollis (second left) with panel members Alison Overeem, Kae Campbell and Luke Sayer

Attendees at Wednesday’s Moderator’s Luncheon in Devonport heard how resilience arises out of relationships and understanding.

About 35 people braved cold and wet conditions to attend the event at Devonport Uniting Church, where they received a warm welcome and hearty lunch from the local congregation, which expressed its delight in hosting VicTas Synod Moderator Rev Sharon Hollis.

Ms Hollis was part of a panel that discussed the need for resilience in a region that has had its share of natural disasters and economic challenges.

Kae Campbell played a prominent role in the Latrobe community’s recovery from devastating floods last year. She said at times of crisis sometimes the most important thing a person could was to just sit and listen.

“We need to talk…to hear the sad stories as well as the funny stories,” Mrs Campbell said.

“As a result we have developed friendships with our local community and it has created a bond between the Lions Club and our community.”

Mrs Campbell said helping others was about engaging and learning what sort of assistance they really wanted rather than coming with a set agenda.

Luke Sayer, editor of The Advocate, said his newspaper aimed to promote resilience by highlighting the robustness of the region’s communities in times of local crises.

Mr Sayer said he had great faith in the communities of North-West Tasmania to band together in times of difficulty as their resilience had been tested time and again.

“It is a bit like the rings of a tree trunk. Each ring has a connection to the next. That is what makes our communities resilient, by being connected, and it is certainly something we want to hang on to.”

Ms Hollis said support often came from unexpected sources in times of difficulty or challenge.

“Sometimes those you don’t expect are the ones who really stump up for you,” she said.

Ms Hollis said it was always worth taking the risk to approach people to see if you could offer assistance or support.

Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress-Tasmania’s Leprena centre manager Alison Overeem agreed that sometimes it was better to risk saying the wrong thing rather than saying nothing.

She also said people were far more open to ideas when they believed it was coming from a non-judgmental perspective.

The event at Devonport Uniting Church was the third Moderator’s Luncheon resilience-themed lunch event organised this year. Past luncheons have been held in Albury and Warragul.

Mrs Campbell said change was a constant for all communities and it was important to accept that and be prepared to work with it.

Managing change successfully required listening to what everyone has to say and giving the information people need to form their decision-making.

Ms Overeem said change should ideally be anchored in a sense of stability and safety.

Mr Sayer said it was important that people affected were not left with a feeling that they had no involvement in the change process.

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