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Thursday, June 22nd
“All you need is love” sang the Beatles. Surprisingly, love is not a word often used in human services. Perhaps because we all know how easily love can be misinterpreted. At L’Arche, we experience how love that can give a person confidence to grow to their fullest potential.
L’Arche opens up the question: where is the place of love in human services?
Finance report – let’s dance!
In L'Arche, we do things differently. But a Finance Report with a dance in the middle? That was something new, this morning! And we actually sang, “when I think of finance, I hear music in the air!” But then again, why not? Nathan Ball, International fundraiser: “in L'Arche, we really need to make friends with money. Each of us can reach out to people with money and invite them to share our mission. Even in the queue at the supermarket!”
And this is making friends with a serious purpose. Jacques Jaubert, the International Treasurer, informed us that the poorest communities receive nothing from their governments. They depend almost totally on L'Arche International for their existence. These people are some of the poorest, economically speaking, on the planet: and they are also our brothers and sisters! They need us to make friends.
For anyone thinking fundraising ‘that’s not my thing’, let’s learn from Eileen Schofield, a core member of L'Arche Greater Washington (USA). Eileen shared her own experience with the Federation Assembly, via a filmed interview: “other people in L'Arche can do what I do: I like talking about money. When they listen to me, they are like friends.”
Let’s go and make friends! They are waiting to share our mission!
Today, L'Arche has changed the geography of the world!
Haiti next to Slovenia, which is now beside Ireland… The Philippines rubbing shoulders with Belgium? India cheek by jowl with the Dominican Republic… what on earth is going on?
Nothing prepares you for the L'Arche Market of the World: it’s the buzz, the splash of colours, the pride in the exchange: “I and my friends have made this and we want to sell it to you…” and let’s not forget the happy chink of the coins, and especially that ever so friendly rustle of banknotes.
Truly, you could find the world in Belfast this afternoon. The goods are produced with great pride and then carefully wrapped up and transported over land, sea and air. All just for this sale today, tomorrow and the day after at Queen’s University. Indian pepper and scarves, Haitian honey and peanuts, Filipino candles, even a Honduran hammock, not to mention the famous recycled books from Wales! And much, much more…
It is fun, of course – but even more it says something vital about who we are: L'Arche is about building bridges that connect the world; we are about helping each person discover the gift they can offer. OK we are small, and with many limits. But this afternoon, in our Belfast marketplace, you could honestly believe that bringing the world together is really not so difficult. Why not build some more bridges today? First, with another L'Arche community. And then take our vision to the market. This particular market is open 24/7- and many people are waiting to buy!