7 August 2017
Lieut-Colonel Lyn Edge suggests the most pressing needs of Australians: ‘Community, a sense of belong, and of place… Including a physical place to live. For many of us who are homeless in Australia, there is a need for a place to live and establish a home. But also, there is a need for many to have a place where there is a strong sense that we belong.’
Download this article
e-connect talks to Lieut-Colonel Lyn Edge about the future of Australians and of the Salvos.
e-connect: What do you think are the most pressing needs of Australians?
LE: Community, a sense of belong, and a place…
e-connect: Including a physical place to live?
LE: Yes; for many of us who are homeless in Australia, there is a need for a place to live and establish a home. But also, there is a need for many to have a place where there is a strong sense that we belong.
Extended families continue to fragment. Kids used to have loads of uncles and aunties and cousins. My parents’ friends were like aunties and uncles, and kids used to go to scouts and other children’s groups. As society changes, children have less ‘safe adults’ in their lives, and less extended relationships.
That stuff matters; and the church can help to fill those needs. For me, and my generation, it gave us a community we could belong to beyond our immediate nuclear family and it could be very nurturing.
Community means safe housing, meaningful work, nurturing faith, in lives free from violence and abuse…we need a sense of belong and the space to grow in a safe place.
e-connect: There is a lot to be grateful about in life for many Australians – what do you thank God for in your life?
LE: I’ve had an incredibly rich life, really rich. I don’t take for granted the fact that I live in a safe country where there is health care and education. I stay humble about those things; it’s not the case for so many people. I am grateful for the opportunities I have been given for education and travel...
I say grace – I am grateful – before a meal; but GK Chesterton has a beautiful quote about not only saying grace before a meal, but before you read or write, etc. I like that notion of saying grace before I watch TV or send an email. They are all gifts to my life, and I don’ want to take any gift for granted.
e-connect: Much like the age old concept of mindfulness? Brother Andrew’s washing of dishes as an act of prayer and gratitude?
LE: It is a lot like that, yes. Mindfulness is an ancient principle.
e-connect: What motivates you when you are tired? When you are sad?
LE: The beliefs in what I’m about. I believe in a world where everybody can flourish. I’m privileged to be part of an organisation that’s about that. I’m sold out to a world where ‘shalom’ is realised and everybody flourishes. That’s very ‘motherhood’, but it’s true. On a very immediate setting, if I am having a miserable day I want to put on a fun song and sing out loud in the car. I want to go for a run or a swim, and I want to be with good people.
e-connect: You were part of the team that came up with our Salvation Army mission values – integrity, compassion, respect, diversity, and collaboration. Which one/s do you think will give us the most difficulty, culturally and logistically?
LE: Diversity, I would have thought.
e-connect: What do you think the future holds for The Salvation Army?
LE: That we, somehow, are the best of a local organic ministry, one that is deeply connected in community – and because we are large, we are able to also have a high quality impact through communities of practice that inform each other, with high standards.
We will have a voice in social policy, and be able to influence the structural reasons for the stuff that we deal with locally. We can do both/and, not either/or, and the local stuff will inform our national efforts.
Local is holistic. The high level policy stuff is also holistic. They inform each other.
interview by Barry Gittins