Mar 27, 2024 | News, Newsletters

Fiona Green will always carry with her the profound image of a moment from the Mparntwe/Alice Springs section of last year’s Wellspring Care for Creation Listening Pilgrimage. She was sitting amongst a circle of people. The circle of Indigenous and non-Indigenous, young and old, gathered on the sandy and dry Todd River under the dappled shade of gum trees. To Fiona, it symbolised much about the five-week pilgrimage that was supported by Highways and Byways.

“The circle was about being present and listening. We learned from retreat leader Celia Kemp and Arrerente woman Shirleen McLaughlin of the harm and abuse that happened in this place and of the hope for the future. We were also encouraged to wander and find a still, listening place to hear what this land had to teach us,” Fiona said.

Celia said the week at Mparntwe/Alice Springs “… felt like many golden threads coming together and that something that mattered happened. It was a wildly diverse group and a wildly diverse range of input and so it crossed many of the fault lines of our time, but it held together, and it was live, it was catalytic and very meaningful in so many ways.”

Mparntwe/Alice Springs was one step along the way of the Pilgrimage, involving the Iona and Wellspring Communities that focussed on listening to Indigenous and Celtic voices. The pilgrimage began in Western Australia and finished in Queensland and involved more than 1,000 people at 29 events along the way.

Joy Connor, a co-leader of the Wellspring Community, said different people attended various parts of the pilgrimage, but each had the same desire to listen to the voices of Indigenous people and to help care for creation.

Along the way, there were yarning circles, prayer gatherings, church services, campfires, and shared meals. A Creation Tree banner was developed with participants writing words on fabric leaves that described what creation meant for them and how they were taking steps to care for it. The leaves were sewn onto the banner and reflections were written into the roots and branches of the artwork. The banner will be touring at events in Australia in 2024. Click here to find out details.

Image top: a circle of yarning at the Mparntwe/Alice Springs as part of the Wellspring Care for Creation Listening Pilgrimage in October 2023.

Image insert: Grandmothers Elaine and Doreen at White Gums.


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