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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 20 July 2019
LETERS TO THE EDITOR 24 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 20 JULY 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Your say: Readers respond to our stories CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION My excitement that at last the rights of indigenous Australians for constitutional recognition as first people of Australia and a Voice in all matters affecting them, advisory as it may be, modestly but triumphantly announced by Minister Ken Wyatt, was soon turned to sadness and indeed anger. For the Prime minister moved quickly to endorse the deniers of meaningful reconciliation that an authentic indigenous voice will not be part of any constitutional change. But it is this voice, the Uluru Statement from the heart that makes the difference between real and lasting reconciliation and the colonialist attitude of ‘we know best whats good for you’. I also looked forward to opening up a public discourse and political action, to see the end of another historical anachronism, that is the deletion of section 44 of the Constitution that divides Australian citizens in two categories, those who could stand for the Federal Parliament and those who cannot,those who can have their Australian Citizenship taken away and those who have it protected. In an increasing multicultural country like ours these divisive positions are anything but helpful in fact anathema to social cohesion and nation building. George Zangalis Hawthorn The Uluru Statement from the Heart remains as relevant as ever. GEORGE LEKAKIS LEAVES FRONDITHA Mr George Lekakis has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian community, championing and advancing the cause of multicultural affairs and has been duly recognised for his distinguished service and sector leadership spanning 30 years. He was of course one of the architects of the multicultural movement in Australia and through his role as the longest serving Chairperson of the Victorian Multicultural Commission he led major initiatives which transformed the Victorian socio-\cultural landscape and he championed the rights of multicultural communities with tenacity, grit and passion. And those same qualities are what he bought to the leadership of Fronditha Care. George came to Fronditha Care when strong leadership was needed the most. Under his stewardship the organisation reconnected to the vision of its founders, contributing deeply to the Greek community. It has moved forward into a modern era of services for the aged with 700 staff, a turnover of $45 million and assets of over $100 million. George’s leadership has been characterised by tireless efforts to increase the credibility and visibility of the organisation across the aged care sector and provide a true bounty of care for the elderly. His dedication and significant accomplishments - across his career and especially the past eight years - leave an indelible legacy to the Greek Australian community. Over the past few years, as President and Vice President, I have watched the amazing Fronditha Care community – staff, volunteers, members really come together - work together, nurture and support each other and help grow this unique dynamic organisation where our combined efforts have created a genuine sense of place and home for our beloved elders to live and provide a truly culturally centred model of care. We thank George for the passion and commitment in building and growing Fronditha Care to what it is today - a truly collaborative innovative and professional organisation and an exemplar - what so many other organisations aspire to be. There are no words, though, that can express how sincerely grateful I am, and the Board and staff are, for the privilege of working with such an inspiring CEO – a genuine leader. Fronditha Care is forever changed. That we have gotten to spend this time working with such a strong, kind, humble, compassionate and unstoppably inspiring CEO is a blessing. We thank George wholeheartedly for every single day of the eight years he spent at the helm of Fronditha Care – and for the formidable legacy he leaves us. And of course great blessings to him and his wonderful family in his retirement So we mark the end of a remarkable eight years of leadership at Fronditha Care and celebrate the beginning of a new chapter for the organisation. I want to note on behalf of the Board our great admiration of the work of our Executive team which will be led for the time being by Mr Jim Scantsonihas in the role of Acting CEO. As with any organisation there is always the opportunity and potential for growth and our great opportunity, as we look to appoint a new CEO, is taking on the challenge of enhancement in the delivery of culturally specific care to our residents and their families and the broader Greek community. As one of the most respected providers in we remain committed to our role and to building on the great accomplishments of George. Faye Spiteri President of Fronditha Care GROWTH OF THE GREEK CHURCH Jeana Vithoulka’s article, ‘Greek Church must adapt to grow’ (Page 23), was posted in an Orthodox Facebook group to which I belong, and I read it with much interest. I was interested in it because I think the same thing, but in a very, very different way. Keep in mind, I am no theologian, and my depth of Orthodoxy is medium at best. I was born Roman Catholic, and was not deeply involved in church in my younger life other than attending Mass. I converted to Orthodoxy about 20 years ago, five years after marrying my wife, who was born into Orthodoxy. We attended a Greek Orthodox Church for 15 years before moving to a new state. I assumed we would continue to attend a Greek church, and I went to the cathedral for many weeks in advance of my family moving to the new state with me. Not once, at coffee hour after church, did a single person greet me and introduce themselves. After my family joined me, we went again for several weeks, again never greeted by anyone during the social hour after Liturgy. That’s when we left to seek another church, and this is what I think needs to change about the Greek Orthodox Church. But, you’re suggesting that one of the most fundamental precepts of the church change to accommodate a “pluralistic” society that we live it? Now, don’t get me wrong... priests and bishops who react angrily, or who berate others, are not acting in the most Christian way. However, they are - like all of us - flawed humans, prone to sin and mistakes. However, that itself is not an indictment on the core beliefs of Orthodoxy. Do you know exactly does the sacrament of Holy Communion means within Orthodoxy? It’s about unity -”communion” - in a singular faith, and a visible sign of that. How can you reasonably suggest that anyone, regardless of their faith, belief, or overall “goodness” be allowed to partake in that most sacred sacrament? It’s bewildering to me. Could any particular priest convey that more gently? Of course. But changing the core precepts of our faith to help make people “fell better” about it? That’s crazy! That’s how Christianity went from basically one faith up until 1054 AD, to more than 20,000 denominations today, celebrating a very different, virtually unrecogniseble form of Christianity from what the Apostles taught. Does that make them bad people? Of course not. Most of my Christian friends - most from non-denominational churches - are wonderful people. That doesn’t mean that I agree that the practice of their faith is what was taught by the apostles nor practised throughout the world for 1,000 years. The leaders in our church - particularly the older, ethnic leaders - could certainly use some training in communication, and how to better articulate what guides our faith. But, in our small mission church - with about 35 families - we’ve had at least 15 converts in the last few years, and my son’s church has had 25 this year. People from other Christian faiths are looking for something deeper, more authentic than the rock concert entertainment shows that many Christian churches have become. They find it in the orthodox church, and I wouldn’t change that for any reason. Andy Roussey N eos Kosmos welcomes robust dialogue on matters concerning the expats living in Greece and the Greek diaspora from around the world. 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