My Days With The Refugees In Calais, France

On the forecourt of Liverpool Street station in London sits a memorial to the “Children of the Kindertransport”. The plaque says it is in thanks for the 10,000 unaccompanied, mainly Jewish children who were allowed to escape to England shortly before World War II.  The look on the children’s faces is one of grim determination, pain and suffering and in spite of all that a sense of profound personal dignity. We all know what happened subsequently to those left behind. Millions of people died particularly children.  Eli Wiesel talks about being haunted by the small frightened face of his beloved seven-year-old sister as she, with her mother, was separated off by the Nazis from him and his dad to what we eventually learned was her death. World War II was such a horror we hoped we would never see it’s like again. Ironically, World War I before that was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Racism, bigotry, extreme nationalism, we all know what that leads to: – war, death, pain and suffering. Yet we let it happen! We sit by and let it happen!  Like Pontius Pilate we sit on our hands and let it happen. Perhaps one reason we let it happen is because we don’t go out and stare that suffering in the face. We prefer to stay at home, read the newspapers or watch television and, out of our comfortable circumstances, make comments. Full of our own problems, we don’t want to look any further. Others prefer the abdication option. That is to ‘leave it to our leaders’, assuming they will do the...

My Soul Restored

I am in Dharamsala the current home of His Holiness the Dalai Lama visiting friends. When here, I visit the Dalai Lama’s Temple to light a candle and pray. I find a visit there restores my soul.       On this visit the 23rd Psalm which includes the words “restores my soul” was rattling around in my head. If you don’t know it, here it is:-   The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. As you can see, this Psalm concludes with the words “I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever”. I was contemplating those very words when I actually witnessed them come to life. Behind a large temple pillar, I noticed an elderly man on a piece of foam matting praying. He looked like he had been there for a long time. I asked who he was and was told he was a retired former high Tibetan official who now spends his days in the temple praying. So,...

My 2018 Christmas Highlights

 On Christmas Eve two of the former homeless kids I took in years ago and slept on the pews of the church came and visited me. I love Jesse and Lois with all my heart. They have both made real successes of their lives. We all cried as we were so happy to see each other and be with each other again.   For me the highlight of our Christmas Day free lunch for the poor needy and homeless was when I just sat randomly at a table. The woman sitting next to me was a child care worker and we began to talk. “I had to get divorced two or three years ago and it’s been really hard”. She told me that her children were with their father, she was estranged from the rest of her family members, was alone in life. She had been to our Christmas lunches twice previously and she said she would not know where she would cope if she didn’t have Christmas Lunch with us. She told me she was planning to live in Queensland from next year.   We talked for quite a while and the sadness and pain on her face was haunting. As we were talking, I thought “I don’t care if no-one else really doesn’t need to be here, this woman actually does” and for me it made the whole day worthwhile. Of course after that someone else said exactly the same thing and then someone else. There were so so many people who really needed to be there.   Just a few of the thousands who turned up. John Singleton turned...

Why I love Christmas at Exodus

    Every Christmas Day at my Exodus Foundation we hold a giant Christmas party. Thousands of  poor, needy, lonely and homeless people turn up for a free hot traditional Christmas Day lunch with all the trimmings and a present from Santa. 2GB broadcast from there.  We all have such a good time.  Here’s a four minute video of it to put you in the mood for Christmas.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A1Gxx6btso  And by the way, Merry Christmas   God Bless Bill  ...

I was there as abuse survivors got apology

Yesterday I was honoured to be amongst the 400 invited guests in the Great Hall of Parliament House Canberra to hear the National Apology to the Victims of Institutionalised Child Sexual Abuse. Just getting here was a difficulty. I was told I could not attend because I was a so-called “religious” person. The distrust the victims have for religious institutions is palpable and the mere thought of somebody coming in that category was enough to cause a lot of hurt. I persisted saying how for the past almost fifty years I have been taking their stories to the authorities and demanding action from people whose moral compass should have made them behave better. I vividly remember working with one little Aboriginal girl who I later took to the Royal Commission. She had been repeatedly raped by the authorities and church people who were supposed to look after her. She believed she was being raped because of the colour of her skin and so would rub her body against stone walls trying to get the blackness off. It was my involvement with kids like her that made me determined to be there. Ultimately the authorities agreed. As the apology got underway I sat next to a survivor I knew. We held hands, hugged and cried together for the whole time and I could feel her body shudder at the memories. Surprisingly, many of the victims did not respond well to Scott Morrison’s speech. Some even cat-called. Perhaps they thought he was too close to the churches? I personally felt the Prime Minister was treated unfairly as he was obviously moved...

Help me teach the poorest kids to read

I want to share some exciting news with you! I’m overjoyed to let you know my Bill Crews Charitable Trust has launched a brand new reading program for the most disadvantaged children in our community. Called “Everyone Can Read”, the program is specifically designed to fit in with regular school life and its structure makes it even more appealing to the kids who attend. We are rolling the new program out to the most needy kids in NSW and the Northern Territory, with an initial intake of 80 students. We’ve already taught 3,000 kids As I’m sure you know, in the past 20-years we have taught over 3,000 kids to read. Our new and improved program will enable us to give even more children the literacy skills they need to succeed. We have also introduced some important initiatives to support the kids in our “Everyone Can Read” program, like a breakfast club where kids arrive early and have a meal before putting their heads down to catch up on literacy. This is especially important as many of our students come from impoverished families who can’t afford breakfast. Our new program can teach even more I’m sure I don’t need to spell out the benefits of literacy to you. Suffice to say many of our past students have grown and gone on to university and prosperous careers, rather than facing a years on welfare. Indeed, we calculated that over their lifetime these students will save the government $553-million. That is the power of reading and the power of what you and I can achieve together. I am passionate about giving...