Friends of L'Arche, Perth
To celebrate the unique value of every person and recognise our need for one another.
Following a meeting with Community members to hear their dreams and aspirations for a Community in Perth The Friends of L’Arche Board developed a strategic plan, which aims to:
Expand community membership, especially to those who do not have a family member with a disability who would be able to support those who do;
- Secure financial viability
- Establish a geographic location - a place of belonging, a house of welcome;
- Engage a Coordinator;
- Continue to work towards membership of the Federation.
We have received a development grant from DDC (Developmental Disability Council of WA Inc) which will enable us grow our membership base and to tap into events and resources available in other Communities in Australia.
The call to establish a L’Arche Community in Perth came originally from a group of families who had been meeting for many years to plan the best possible future for their adult children with intellectual disability. A hit on the L’Arche Australia website led to a conversation with the national coordinator, who in turn put us in touch with a surprising number of people living in Perth who had lived the L’Arche experience in various parts of the world.
Meetings with these people and visits by some of our families and friends to most of the L’Arche Communities in Australia led to the regional coordinator encouraging us to form a seed group in Perth.
We held open public meetings to introduce the concept of L’Arche to the wider community, with the aim of forming a supportive community that shared L’Arche values. We received support and encouragement from the National Coordinator in Hobart who sent videos and discussion questions to stimulate debate.
We developed a social events program that would keep us connected as families and formed a Leadership group and a Reflection group that meets monthly to examine more deeply the philosophy behind L’Arche.
In 2007 and 8 both the national coordinator and spiritual leader, Eileen Glass, were brought to Perth by the Edmund Rice Centre for Social Justice to conduct L’Arche-based Retreats.
The group is fortunate to also have the support of Roger Herft, Anglican Archbishop of Perth who was then the Anglican representative on the International Federation of L’Arche. He has conducted annual Retreats for the group since 2011.
In 2008 we were granted Friends of L’Arche status and appointed a mentor, Catherine Carah, former founder of the Brisbane Community. A Board of Management was appointed at the inaugural AGM in May ‘09.
In 2009 / 10 we started offering L’Arche-style weekends for our core members so they could experience what living L’Arche might be like. These weekends included a Community Gathering on Saturday afternoon.
Through Rev'd Stephen Gibbs, strong links have been forged with Crosslinks, a group of intellectually disabled people, their families, friends and other supportive people that meets monthly for worship and fellowship at St Nicholas Church Hall, 84-6 The Boulevard, Floreat.
Over the years members of our group have visited Communities in Australia. In 2009 two members joined the Jean Vanier Retreat in Trosly, France, organised by Hunter Friends of L’Arche, while another family made a private retreat there in 2010.