Parents reflect on L'Arche Hunter

April is a time of celebration for L’Arche Hunter as it marks the 14th anniversary since a small group of people began a journey with L’Arche in Newcastle.  From those early beginnings, the community has grown. Wendy and Henry Ponsen joined L’Arche Hunter early − here they share their journey with their son, Jonathan.

Our son Jonathan is 32 years old.  We have been blessed to have been involved with the L’Arche Community for the past 15 years.  Upon hearing of L’Arche, Wendy became involved in Sydney L’Arche and stayed there for a particular weekend which was so beautiful.

We first heard about L’Arche from a personal friend, subsequently making so many lovely friends throughout this time.  We have a wide circle of friends especially through our L’Arche Community.  This has so much to do with our son whose disability is really responsible for the lovely connections which help to sustain us, right to the present time.

The world really doesn’t give us the quality of these connections which lie close to the heart of L’Arche Communities everywhere.  The value which is clearly placed on every person with disability is inspirational and so affirming for all involved.

Our son’s uniqueness and love for others, through L’Arche, gives us confidence that we have nothing to fear for our future and that the Lord is in control, having plans and purposes that we may not be immediately aware of.

We have seen Jonathon grow into the lovely young man that he is, especially through L’Arche.  He is much loved in our church and everywhere he goes.  He is kind, loving and considerate of others and friendly to everyone he meets.

Our L’Arche gatherings have played such a role in this, as has the ministry of particular Board Members who have readily become part of his wider family.

We have been privileged to share much of this with folk we meet.  Of particular note is the fact that we have regularly spoken to groups of trainee doctors concerning our journey, of course telling them about L’Arche and what it does.  We have had many positive responses both from lecturers and student doctors.

We are eternally grateful to be involved with L’Arche and its Charter.

L'Arche Hunter, in partnership with the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, warmly invites you to attend an afternoon of story telling of how people with disability build relationships and become valued members of the community on Saturday 30 April from 2pm - 5pm at the diocesan offices, 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle West. For more information please visit the website.

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