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The art of the possible

Almost 190 people attended the Mission Possible social work presentation and forum on Friday, 26 July. Asked what challenges the faith-based organisations faced in the pre-federal election and electioneering processes, guest speaker Chick Yuill told e-connect that defining an organisation's mission is an ongoing and important process.

Churches sometimes see social welfare and social work as the prerequisite for evangelism,' he explained, adding that a simplistic approach  is' dangerous, as you are using people as a project'. 'Social work has value in and of itself. The theological roots of social work lie in resurrection, and if God is that concerned about "the whole person" then we should be too. That's our challenge.'
Yuill also cautioned on faith-based organisations that may end up 'becoming reliant on government money...we need to be careful that we don't release the State from its responsibilities to create a caring and compassionate society.'
Divisional commander Major Winsome Merrett officially opened the event with a greeting to attendees and the hope that 'today is motivating, encouraging and inspiring. We appreciate you, and we appreciate that you deliver the mission.'
Keynote speaker the Rev. Tim Costello, noting that public discourse amongst Australians was

increasingly becoming 'aggressive, discourteous, grumpy and fearful',  praised 'hope' as the factor 'that gives you strength' and noted that 'a lack of hope leads to a loss of perspective'. That lack of perspective was especially evident in terms of federal policies and responses to refugees and asylum seekers. Costello attributed the absence of hope and perspective in Australia and its position in the global village to 'a failure of leadership - our leaders are weak' and called for NGOs and churches 'to try to "live" and provide some leadership'.
Urging those present to take heart in hope, 'the core of resilience', and the catalyst to answers to national and international challenges, Costello said a person is not just ' a biological freak in a cosmic zoo' but someone of worth and value. Attendees were encouraged to pursue clarity and 'the deeper purpose that keeps us going. In all things our problems are usually relational - hospitality, connection, relationship and belong are incredibly important.'
A panel discussion, facilitated by Major David Eldridge including Rev. Costello, Mr Yuill, Wilma Gallet and Marg Hamley, then addressed various topics including 'identity in mission', the role of NGOs and faith-based providers, professionalism and engagement, holistic approaches to pain and issues of flexibility and integration.