Introducing the Centre for Spirituality of Care and Community (CSCC)

The Centre for Spirituality of Care and Community was established in 2019 as a new organisation inspired by, and honouring the life and work, of the late Rev Roy Bradley, one of the leading figures of pastoral care in Australia. The Centre was formed by some of his friends, colleagues and family members who are eager to see the continuation of Roy’s pioneering work in pastoral care, and commitment to the importance of community, in the wider Australian society.

Background

Roy Bradley was a major figure in the introduction and development of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) in Australia. He died on Saturday 26 August 2017. Two days later, the Australian and New Zealand Association of Clinical Pastoral Education paid tribute to Roy as a pioneer of CPE in this region. In 1987, the Association presented him with a special award recognising his work in pioneering CPE programmes in Melbourne, Perth, Darwin and Hobart, Ballarat, Albury and Warrnambool. In his retirement Roy continued to support the ongoing growth of CPE in this country.

Earlier, from 1982 to 1987, Roy was able to deepen his interest in spirituality and community in his role as Warden of The Avalon Community. Over those five years, he and his wife Margaret hosted conferences and retreats, and provided pastoral care, counselling and a safe haven for many from a broad cross section of our society. He also lived out his commitment to community by helping to establish the Ruach community with his extended family.

Roy’s sense of spirituality and community was one that actively engaged with social justice, including the environment, gender equality, marriage equality, and supporting the rights of Indigenous peoples and asylum seekers. He participated in protests, discussions and spiritual reflections over these matters right up to his death at age 91.

Aim, Purpose and Activities

The aim of CSCC is to promote a greater understanding and awareness of the spirituality of care and community for the well-being of individuals and society within a broad notion of spirituality. Spirituality is defined as ‘the process and experience of meaning making in the life of individuals and community as we find our place in the world and beyond’. Spirituality is embraced as an integral part of a wholistic approach to health, incorporating physical, psychological and spiritual wellbeing. We are inspired by the Australian Aboriginal understanding of the inseparable nature of spirituality and the well-being of individuals, family and community. The Centre wishes to work collaboratively with a wide range of institutions and organisations, religious and non-religious, to achieve its aim.

One of our key tasks is hosting the annual Roy Bradley Oration on Spirituality of Care and Community. Funding and resources permitting, the organisation will seek to deepen our understanding of this subject through scholarly research, seminars and forums, and increase awareness in the wider society through strategic partnerships with organisations with established networks and infrastructure for extended outreach. It will publish discussion papers and books in a variety of formats.

Governance and Funding

CSCC has been established under the Associations Incorporation Reform Act 2012(Vic) with a committee of management drawn from a potential membership of 100. Funding of the organisation is from its membership fees, donations and bequests.

Support, Friends and Members

CSCC is seeking support from all who share in our vision for a greater understanding and awareness of the spirituality of care and community in all areas of personal and communal life. You can support our goals and activities through participation and financial support.

We are seeking a hundred Foundation Members who would each contribute $1,000 (either as a once off contribution or $200 a year over 5 years) towards an endowment fund of at least $100,000; the interest from this will support the Annual Roy Bradley Oration.  You can also be a Friend of CSCC and any donation or other support in kind will be appreciated.

Committee of Management

Eugen Koh (Chair) is a consultant psychiatrist at St Vincent’s Hospital and psychoanalytic psychotherapist in private practice where he specialises in helping individuals with childhood trauma and works with traumatised communities in Central Australia, Japan and Northern Ireland.  He is a Senior Fellow at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne. He was previously Director of the Dax Centre and Founding Chair /Director of CASSE.

Gillian Henderson (Vice Chair) was introduced to chaplaincy and pastoral care in 1991 and trained in CPE and supervision at the Austin Hospital where she worked for 17 years and was accredited as a Clinical Pastoral Supervisor with ASACPEV. Gillian has valued the opportunity to also have rich supervisory experiences at Barwon Health, Monash Health, Epworth, and RMH . Roy Bradley and Gillian’s father worked together at Larundel Psychiatric Hospital. From her parents she heard of their high regard for Roy and over time experienced this for herself. Gillian had the privilege of being supervised by Roy for some of her supervisory training.

Bill Couche (Treasurer) has more than forty years leadership and consultancy in community service organisations, involving both direct service to children, youth, families, the homeless and people with a drug dependency and high level advice to Governments at both the state and federal level. For approximately ten years, he and Roy Bradley were colleagues in the development of Anglican Health and Welfare in the Diocese of Perth.

Jill Webb (Secretary) is a lawyer who has been working in native title for the past 10 years. She is currently Manager of Nation Building at the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations. Jill has a background in social work and management and was previously Senior Manager of Child and Family Programs at the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Jill has also served on the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne’s Selection Conference. For more than a decade, Jill has been on the board of ANTaR, a national advocacy organisation working to support the rights of Australia’s First Peoples.

Margaret Bradley is a retired social worker whose work over many years in the health and community sectors included working with childhood cancers and liver transplant patients and their families. She is deeply committed to communal living and with her husband Roy ran the Avalon Community, providing counselling and spiritual support to a wide range of people.  She is also a member of Ruach, a family community cooperative. Margaret has a strong commitment to social justice and has for many years been an advocate for the rights of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Peoples and asylum seekers.

Cath Bradley is passionate about social justice and health equity. She is a Social Worker who has worked in both government and community service organisations with a particular focus on Women’s rights, asylum seekers rights, housing justice, Indigenous rights and improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Cath is interested in advancing the cooperative movement and lives in an intentional community. She is currently team leader of the Ngarra Jarra Health Programme at Austin Health.

Dr Helen Austin has practised Palliative Medicine for many years. In the in-patient units at Caritas Christi and Bethlehem she learned of the value of pastoral care in the practice of holistic medicine. Much healing occurred at the end of life. Community palliative care practice incorporated the family and friends as the emphasis shifted from management of disease to care of the person and family in the setting of their choice. The last 5 years of her practising career were spent in developing training programs for doctors of all backgrounds.

Shirley Nash is a Clinical Pastoral Educator who completed CPE, and has supervised, at two campuses of Austin Health where she learnt of Roy Bradley’s work and wisdom.  Her previous roles have been in Education in schools and in Staff Development Units, including time at what was then the Repatriation General Hospital Heidelberg.  She was more recently Anglican Chaplain at The Royal Children’s Hospital. Most recently Shirley has co-ordinated a unit of CPE in Bendigo (with North East Victoria CPE Centre). She has a passion for supervision with those working in spiritual care.