The Spirit of Palms

The Spirit of Palms

An Update From the Executive Director, Roger O’Halloran

Palms staff have been consumed over several months by the need to find and move into a new office. It threatened to derail our annual recruitment drive, end of financial year fundraising and the planned Diamond Jubilee Luncheon. Yet in this knowledge we decided that the Sunday luncheon should be preceded by an Organisational Review on Saturday June 18th.

We are still in the midst of the move so the stress is not over, but I feel somehow that calm, invisible palms are holding us and even pointing the way forward with almost implausible certainty.  Perhaps the notion of a Holy Spirit is difficult for the evidence-based world view required by the Thomas in us all, but, in the Palms community at least, a wholesome spirit seems to be moving us in unison.  Indeed, but for this feeling, this camel’s back might have been broken by any one of a number of recent challenges.

When we were disappointed, plus, by Sydney Archdiocese overruling our agreement with the Dulwich Hill parish to lease rooms in their Parish Centre, many supportive palms emerged.  The owners of these palms were unaware of our pressures.  A couple emerged in the form of stories from the field that reinforced for me how all who come to Palms: Catholic, those of other faiths, and those who claim no faith at all, are guided by the shared values of this nourishing spirit.

The bigger doubters will rightly dismiss this as evidence of an invisible palm just as I dismiss the so called “invisible hand” of the pure market economy, but there’s more…

  • A new donor with $10,000 and several others who doubled, or significantly increased already good donations;
  • a very gentle and understanding commercial real estate agent with a serviceable office at half the normal rent;
  • an organisational review that developed strategies around networking opportunities uncovered via some innovative contributions to the earlier SWOT analysis and
  • the Jubilee luncheon facilitated by an MC employing her extraordinary gift for helping us link the many palms present across the tables and the decades.

The new strategies provide exciting, sound, innovative and more inclusive ways to achieve Palms Vision and Mission consistent with and informed by our values and approach.   We really are looking forward to further developing and sharing them across the Palms network after we settle in to our new office digs at 1/464 Parramatta Rd. Petersham.  I have great confidence that our staff have a competent and dynamic set of palms to engage you and our network afresh in assisting to achieve Palms important vision especially within Australia.