written by Shirley Wheeler
Persian carpets festooned the walls and intricate brassware and Persian artefacts enriched the exotic atmosphere.
Long tables and seating were set up in the two church spaces.
Our Chapel and the adjacent Hope’s Café were transformed into a lively Persian restaurant for our fund raiser on the night of Saturday the 23rd of August.
The grand evening was booked to capacity with paying diners and refugee volunteers and other guests.
Attendees were treated to an authentic Persian feast of dishes rare and delicious, served on two large heavily laden tables.
There were koresh dishes which combined meat and fruit, kebabs cooked on an outdoor open charcoal grill by Iranian (modern Persian) asylum seekers.
The rice dishes were flavoured with pomegranates, saffron and other amazing ingredients. Vegetarians were not forgotten, with a succulent eggplant dish, salads, pickles, and this is just a small sample of the sumptuous buffet.
Fesenjoon, a Persian special-occasion dish, included meat marinades with walnuts in pomegranate juice. Some of the food was decorated with brightly coloured vegetables, such as carrots and corn kernels, such that it resembled a beautiful work of art.
A wide range of drinks was served in the Hope’s Café area, including a full barista service.
Desserts included some Australian favourites, such as cream puffs, cream sponge roll, waffles with ice-cream and coconut cookies.
However, the mounds of different varieties of halva made with sesame seed paste and the delicate nutty Turkish delight were Persian treats worth getting your elbows out for.
Everyone had the chance to eat their fill and enjoy the company and entertainment.
Music and singing were provided by the ‘We Women Sing’ choir and the JACI acoustic duo, which were uplifting and joyous.
A Persian song enhanced the atmosphere of the cultural ambience.
The refugees mingled freely and provided some attendees with their first chance to engage in conversation with someone who had survived a perilous journey to be in a free country.
Some refugees had escaped extreme danger and death in their home country as they had converted to Christianity, which was viewed as a crime that attracted torture and the death sentence.
The stories of injustice and hardship endured by the asylum seekers were eye opening for many.
Community detention has a prohibition against doing any paid work whatsoever and the provision of much less support than any other Australian resident.
Despite all their deprivations, the refugees demonstrated resilience and cheerfully served as volunteer helpers on this special occasion to raise much needed funds for their English classes and the Hope’s Café program.
At the end of the night, there was still some food left over for takeaways.
All expectations for the event had been met, and largely exceeded.
Thank you and well done to all involved!
Thanks to everyone who joined us to raise funds on Saturday the 23rd of August, at our Persian Dinner.
The money raised will help us continue our work at Hope’s Cafe, helping refugees with English classes, meals and friendship.
The successful dinner was sold out and had some great music, entertainment, interesting people and the opportunity to select from a menu of delicious Persian treats.
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Church Historian Geoffrey Bishop has come across this beautiful photograph of a wedding at Clayton Congregational Church.
The photo provides no clues as to who the people are or the date it was taken, on the reverse side.
Geoffrey’s keen eye for history tells him that from the style of dress, it was probably taken around 1900.
If you have any ideas, email email@example.com
Clayton Wesley Uniting Church site has become more vibrant, with a new mural painted on our toilet block.
Effie Chaniotis is a qualified art therapist who offered her time and talent to beautify what we here at CWUC have coined, the ‘Cistern Chapel’.
Originally from Melbourne, Effie was looking for projects, and the opportunity to paint murals around town while she is here in Adelaide visiting her family.
Effie overheard our Reverend Paul Turley talking to someone in a café about The Spire Community’s projects happening here on site.
She offered her time to paint a mural and of course, Paul jumped at the opportunity.
Within days, the proposal was put to the Church Council for permission to paint the toilet block and to cover the cost of Effie’s paints and supplies.
Effie says the design is inspired by Persian art, as well as the beautiful paintings of South Africa’s Ndebele women put on their homesteads in their town of the same name.
The artwork was completed in February 2016, with the help of other artistically-inclined community members.
If you’re interested in learning more about Effie, head to her website.
The generosity of the Clayton Wesley Uniting Church congregation has helped Mansoureh Ghanbari to take her first step into a new career.
Since becoming a part of the church congregation, Mansoureh has advocated to get her two daughters into school so they can develop their English language skills and have a bright future.
The three women regularly volunteered at the church and assisted in starting up Hope’s Café, donating many volunteer hours in cooking, planning, waitressing and welcoming patrons.
The church congregation recently donated money for both Sepideh and Fatima to attend school and buy uniforms, with the help of the advocacy of congregation members and Uniting Communities.
Mansoureh was so thrilled and has since considered her own future vocation, expressing to other members of the community that her ambition is to work in aged care, assisting and caring for the elderly.
Today Minister Paul Turley announced to those at the café that the Church Council on behalf of the congregation, would provide an interest-free loan to Mansoureh, so she can attend a 10-week Red Cross course to obtain the qualification she needs to follow her dream.Mensoureh has
Shocked and elated, she hugged Bev Watson, who was one of the advocates for the money that would send her back to school.
“What a wonderful surprise!”, she said.
We wish her all the best.
Mensoureh began a paid position at Aldersgate Aged Care Facility in April! Congratulations Mensoureh, we wish you all the best for your future!!
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young shared some time with us at Hope’s Cafe on Friday July 4.
She spoke with most people there, keen to get an insight into the plight of the many new arrivals who regularly attend Hope’s Café for English lessons, a good meal and advocacy.
She addressed the gathered, stating that she wanted to learn more about refugees who have suffered injustice and hardship so she could advocate for them.
The Senator said she is fighting to make everyday life for people on bridging visas easier, so that life does not have to be a continual struggle.
“I’m standing up and trying to make things fairer,” she said.
Many of the new arrivals with stories to tell spent some time sharing their thoughts and opinions with Sarah.
We hope to see her again soon as the activities at Hope’s Café progress.
Clayton Wesley is again part of History Week’s ‘About Time’ activities. Sessions led by church historian Geoffrey Bishop, recently showed groups of people the church’s rich history.
Geoffrey told them all about the church’s early history, its organ and its beautiful stained glass windows. Dr Ray Booth was also there and gave a wonderful demonstration of the beautiful 1897 pipe organ.
If you’re interested in joining a history week tour, another will be held on Wednesday the 21st of May from 1.30PM. Clayton Wesley Uniting Church takes part in this wonderful South Australian event every year.