To provide the safety, security and permanence of a home to a group of men and women who have mental illness and/or other disabilities. By this means, to assist them to develop living skills and become independent.
Gethsemane community Inc. works to achieve this Vision by two means:
- By providing a physical home for a small group who are assisted to develop the skills to live independently, and to make choices about their living.About fifty have been helped this way thanks to a partnership with Amélie Housing who provides this structure.
- By providing support and advocacy for hundreds of people living in ‘insecure’ housing in boarding houses and other places. We operate a large initiative called the Christmas project to provide those in ‘insecure’ housing with the basics for living with personal dignity. Many groups and individual volunteers form an informal partnership with Gethsemane to action this initiative..
Christian Framework of the Vision
Some elements of our Constitution explicitly reflect the Christian underpinnings of the founding of Gethsemane Community as its very name reflects:
- Just as Jesus appealed to his friends in the Garden of Gethsemane to stay with him as he approached a time of suffering, we at Gethsemane Community aim to live and spend time with people who struggle with illness, disability or addiction.
- To encourage members to embrace their personal faith and beliefs.
- To invite community members to participate in faith celebrations, but in such a way that the freedom of members not to participate will always be respected.
- To see all people as deeply loved by God and remind members of every individual’s innate dignity and worth so as to prompt them to refrain from over-protective caring, and instead to trust in the resilience of the human spirit.
- In the financial affairs of the community to demonstrate a willingness to trusting the providence of God who has a special love for the very poor, by relying upon donations and whatever financial contributions members are able to give, rather than government funding.
Practical Aspects of the Vision
Some aspects of the Vision focus on the practical organisation of the community and requirements for living together in a safe and peaceful place.
- To keep the financial contributions made by the members low, so that members have sufficient money for their personal needs and to encourage persons who come to share in the community’s life to support the requesting of donations from groups such as schools and parishes in order to supplement such contributions.
- Through regular time spent visiting people in boarding houses, to contemplate the life some people experienced and to stay in touch with the very poor.
- To welcome people who wish to share in the community’s life in any way, in particular, those who make a commitment to spend time with members on a regular basis and who form friendships with individual members of the community.
- To ensure that all members of the community have a say in inviting people to join, although recognising that the final decision rests with the Committee.