Pic: Ellen Smith.
High-profile priest says "belonging" is a community responsibility
By Lachlan Pollock, Our Community
Outspoken Anglican priest Father Rod Bower called on Communities in Control delegates to foster a greater sense of belonging for all people in his keynote speech "All justice is social".
His address came just days after the unexpected federal election result that led commentators to describe Australia as a nation divided.
To combat this, more must be done, Father Rod said, to help all people feel that they belong in the national community.
He was careful to draw a distinction between "belonging" and "fitting in".
"Fitting in is the responsibility of the individual. But belonging is the responsibility of the entire community. And that's what we have to be on about," he said.
"To fit in you have to deny something of yourself, and that is the opposite of belonging. We can only belong when we are truly ourselves."
Policies that seem aimed at dividing Australians have seen a renaissance in recent years.
Father Bower attributed this to people's threatened sense of belonging in a country that is rapidly changing.
"If those people who push policies that divide people continue to believe they don't belong, then we won't get anywhere."
"We have to find a way to build an inclusive community, even for those who don't want one."