Dignity and Respect
Stories from St John's Care by Sue Jordan
Sue Jordan’s stories about St John’s Care are well-known to Anglican churchgoers in Canberra. For over seven years, Sue wrote a weekly story about working with people coming into SJC for support, for food and for someone to share their worries with.
Deranie Jackson, who had read many of the stories in her Holy Covenant parish bulletin, came up with the idea of putting some of them together in a book, as a way of more permanently capturing their message. Sue agreed, and provided me with all the stories she had written during her years as Director of SJC.
The collection of stories here is a very small, edited selection of the stories Sue wrote. From around 350 pieces, this selection includes just over 40 stories. The stories that have been chosen are those that best convey the varied and complicated reasons that bring people to St John’s Care, and the connection they make with SJC, whether just for a single morning or over a longer period of time.
While the main focus of the stories has always been the people who come to seek help, they also tell the reader about the myriad of ways in which SJC offers support, and many of the chosen stories strongly reflect the atmosphere in which this help is offered.
The stories have been selected to display the full reality of St John’s Care, made up as it is of clients, staff and volunteers, its location, services and events and its connections with the wider Canberra community, all joined together by a philosophy that is reflected in the title of this volume.
The stories have been organised into themes that represent the way SJC works, the sense that Sue conveys of the challenges facing her clients, and how SJC responds. Some changes have been made to the stories so that the individual pieces, originally written to stand alone, make sense as a complete volume.
As the stories appeared Sunday after Sunday, each would finish with a wish list—usually groceries in short supply that week, but they sometimes included less tangible items. You’ll find some wish lists in this collection; a reminder of the context in which the stories were first written and the realities of the SJC world.
Photo: Sue Jordan wearing an SJC apron at a volunteer's breakfast.