Kairos Outside extends unconditional love and acceptance
By Marion Willey
President Anglican Women Newcastle
Over the first week of September, ladies from KOW (Kairos Outside for Women – Hunter) shared their stories and told Anglican Women around the Diocese about the work of KOW in the Hunter. It will be the recipient for Thank You Box giving for the next 12 months.
What does Kairos offer?
Kairos offers hope. The inside program to the offender who must serve their sentence, and the outside program to the family of that same offender, who often do time as well, even though they did not commit the crime.
Can you imagine what it is like to have a son or daughter, a parent, or a spouse who has been convicted, sentenced and imprisoned? Life is about to change – for them, and also for you. “How am I going to cope with everyday life?”
Doubt and fear drive you away from your usual support networks. People turn their backs on you, out of fear or misunderstanding, shame or embarrassment. You don’t go out. You become isolated, and you feel rejected.
At Kairos Outside weekends, guests find a safe environment where people are willing to listen to them. They are blown away when they discover other women who have been through these same experiences, and these same feelings. Imagine their surprise when they discover women who have not only survived, but are also doing well. This is the beauty of Kairos Outside. We offer a listening ear without condemnation, as we seek to love them as we listen.
Kairos Outside weekends
Two weekends a year are held at Myuna Bay on Lake Macquarie, the next will be in October. The program is based around eight talks on Choices; Isolation and Rejection; The Church; Communication with God; Anger; The Home Environment; Relationships; and Perseverance through Community.
What happens after a weekend?
The ladies bond through the discussions that they hold around their table as well as through the singing, and all the little fun surprises that we like to spoil them with. There are the Reunion Dinners. Some later come on Team, if it is appropriate for them. Or they might join the Craft Group that makes the little agape gifts showered on Guests, whilst sharing some afternoon tea and chatter
How can you be involved?
You don’t have to come on team, to be able to participate. There are many other ways you can help.
Each weekend costs about $16,000 to run and so we need to fundraise in order to make it happen. Each team member contributes a voluntary monetary gift of $250, however the weekend is provided completely free of charge to the Guests. We typically have about 32 people on Team and between 10 and 20 Guests on a weekend. Most parishes will have “Thank You Boxes” provided by AW.
Join the Prayer Vigil. Each weekend is covered in prayer 24/7. Attend the Closing service on the Sunday afternoon, when the wider Christian Community is invited to come along and show their support, as well as hear something of what has happened over the weekend. You might like to offer some agape gifts for the tables, or something for the birthday present they receive.
Each weekend has its own theme. Copies of the banner are made onto A4 paper and handed out for people to colour in. These will then decorate the walls of the room where most of the weekend is spent. They show that complete strangers have been thinking and praying for them.
There are Reunion Dinners which are held at the Grove Church in Adamstown on a Saturday night where we catch up with each other, new friends and old, share a pot luck dinner, have some singing, do some sharing, and occasionally have a guest speaker. You are welcome to attend these.
How wonderful it is to see these women, both young and old, impacted for good, impacted by God, and impacted for life. Lives are changed!
For more information visit anglicanwomennewcastlenewcastle.org.au or the Kairos web site.