Dear Inner Circle,

There is a Maori proverb: He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata…

Translated to English it means:
What is the most important thing in the world? It is people, it is people, it is people..

Forget Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, here are my heroes, our people, our staff, who pour out unconditional love every day. Please enjoy watching this little gift from us to you, if you have a spare three minutes. Watch it here.

No other group of people hold the power of exclusion and embrace like that of our family. Many of us have learnt through this time to rely on family to survive. Others have not been so lucky. It’s pretty easy to pinpoint the precise moment that a heart breaks, and a family bond is broken. A beautiful young man who I first met when I was a prison chaplain, described how his heart shattered when he was just five years old. With his face pressed up against the glass door of the local swimming pool centre on his birthday, ready to join his party, he waited for his dad to come. Sadly he never joined the party, and neither did his dad. “That was the moment I was done, I just stopped caring” he confessed with a downcast face.

As our teams have hit the footpaths to visit and care for people who are still on the streets, in temporary hotels, boarding houses, and isolated at home over the last few weeks and months, people often joyfully call out to us with open hearts saying, “You are our family!” For the people who are not fortunate to have friends, family and neighbours to help them get through difficult times; we will always be here, with the continued hope that with our support, hearts will heal.

So when people ask what we are doing now, I proudly tell them, “The same thing you are doing, caring for family!” At a time when our world runs the real risk of descending into tribalism, finding membership in the ‘Family of Humanity’ is perhaps more important now than it has even been.

Thank you for being part of our loving community.

Jon

PS. If you are interested in hearing about some of our life-changing stories from our frontline staff, and about the three programs we have adapted to best help throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, I invite you to join our special virtual live crowdfunding event next Wednesday 27 May at 5.30pm. Join me to witness the power of community in action, live and direct in the comfort of your own home. Register here. It’s going to be fun!

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