A recent letter to the editor at Neos Kosmos wrote how much joy and enrichment he felt by his weekly attendance at his local club in Coburg. Equally he thanked in the gracious tone his sincere appreciation for the work undertaken by the Moreland Greek community.
The above letter highlighted to me that the role of community groups in Victoria is complex and meaningful.
Each community group has a purpose.
The Argosorestikon community group valued the need to perpetuate their name through the work of another community group such as the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne.
Equally, the Springvale community group hosts a Friday night of live entertainment where the board undertakes all of the cooking and service. While the Broadmeadows Greek community offers a free luncheon on Tuesdays for local Greeks.
When the Greek Community of Melbourne announced it would seek to build a 15 story cultural centre, 70 different community groups undertook fundraising, concerts, dinners, and embraced this cause. Equally, when 3XY sought to raise funds for the victims of the fires at Mati, I was impressed (but not surprised) at how many community groups donated funds.
So when we talk about where the communities will be in 10 or 20 years from now, the answer is undoubtedly a positive and bright one. The filotimo and deep cultural practices of those who currently serve on these boards will ensure progress and survival.
This is because we are always finding ways to help one another and to come together. It is something that is inherit in us as Greeks, but also inherit in all of us as humans to seek contact.
Hence I sense a bright future for the community groups in Melbourne. We are an evolving community that continues to offer new leaders and exciting initiative.
When I was at university 25 years ago, I imagined that NUGAS was at its zenith. Equally, the former president of the Greek community of Melbourne, Mr Fountis who gave so much of his time to the organisation, would have also believed 20 years ago that his organisation was at its peak. However, when I look at the thousands of people today who attend the NUGAS functions and the extensive programs offered by the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne then none of us can be sure that we are at the zenith or height of our communities’ actions and activities.
The Archdiocese Christmas carols last week demonstrated all of this when thousands attended and many hundreds were unable to be accommodated and waited patiently outside the Melbourne Town Hall.
So without doubt, our communities’ futures are bright. More importantly they will prosper without us (meaning those of us who are currently servicing these groups) because much of what we do rests within our cultural practices which we consciously and sub-consciously pass on to those that follow.