Editorial: An ability to include other points of view

Easter, a time of rebirth, will next year see farewell to Bishop Stuart Robinson, who has announced his intention to resign from the position, as vicar-general Trevor Edwards becomes the diocesan administrator.

In praising the diocese, the Robinsons said they would conclude their ministry for family responsibilities.

As the 10th Diocesan Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Bishop Robinson is well-liked and respected, and has overseen many public occasions extending from his faith and duties as a form of pastoral care.

A recent public statement, arising in the same-sex marriage debate, acknowledged views “nuanced from or significantly at variance” to his, while calling for “empathy and appreciation of different points of view”.

The latter inclusiveness, a keystone of his personal approach, was welcome in the, at times, divisive debate.

Inclusiveness as a community conversation has, thankfully, replaced the previous language of “tolerance,” and is more genial in tone, constructive in meaning, and in touch with the realities of life as it’s now lived.

Such as on Friday, a big day at the Recreation Area, which hosted a basketball competition, sausage sizzle, stalls, music, performances, activities, short film festival and an art show. What a fun day for all! (See page 9)

And it was for all, though under the auspices of the International Day for People with a Disability (officially on December 3), which was this year themed ‘Transformation towards a sustainable and resilient society for all’.

The general feeling was that disability should not divide, but unite us; and the differences celebrated. As one in five Australians lives with a disability, says the Bureau of Statistics, that’s an important message to hear.

What disability means depends on the individual. The late disability rights activist Stella Young, a lifelong wheelchair user who was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, helped many to understand those meanings.

Some with disability need full-time care; others can pursue guided employment; while the rest live and work independently. Binding this spectrum of opportunity is that notion of inclusiveness, that there’s a place for all.

International Volunteer Day (Tuesday, December 5) shares this ethos. Do you?