The Emmanuel Centre’s Staff
Joe O’Brien: Coordinator
After much prayerful discernment by Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, the Curia and Archdiocesan Executive Team, Mr Joe O’Brien was selected as the new Coordinator of the Emmanuel Centre in 2021.
Exceptionally qualified, Joe was the Coordinator for Prison Ministry at the Archdiocese of Perth and is highly experienced at organising support from both lay people and religious, with a mind to the impact that acts of mercy and compassion can have for all involved.
“We’re really excited about the future of the Emmanuel Centre and are looking forward to welcoming our friends and family back to help us realise the full potential of this amazing opportunity for renewal that we have been given,” Joe said.
“Re-engaging with the community in 2021 and identifying the gaps in the current service delivery model on offer within WA is a real priority for us yet at the same time, we are commited to ensureing that there is a high level of continuity for our existing clientele.”
“I look forward to the challenge that God has set for us and would like to extend an invitation to all of those people who have been involved with the Emmanuel Centre over the last 40 years to get in contact and to stay engaged with what we are doing: you are the reason for our existence, your story is our story and we want you to be a big part of the future, part of the vision that we share.”
“To quote Romans 8:28: ‘We know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to His plan and purpose.’”
Geoff Scott: Auslan & Artist
The Emmanuel Centre would not be the place that it is today without Geoff Scott, who for some 30 years has been both a volunteer and employee. Everyone who has worked at the Centre during the last three decades has been taught Auslan by Geoff, who is amazingly patient with our struggles to learn a new language: our huge, ungainly signs; constant errors and the slow pace of our adult learning. All of which he takes in stride with his great sense of humor and ready smile.
Geoff was gifted with a vision from the Holy Spirit one Sunday morning (March 20) in 2011 which has been his source of spiritual inspiration in ministering to the other members of the Deaf community.
Geoff is a jack-of-all-trades here at the Centre and when he’s not teaching Auslan, he is busy taking care of the gardens, repairing things, managing the recycling program (drink containers and newspapers) and leading the Tuesday morning art class for our nuerodiverse guests.
Judith Wirawan: Administration Officer
“My name is Judith and I’m the admin person here at Emmanuel Centre. That means I do admin and paperwork such as database, bills, receipts, etc… but as we’re a small team here at Emmanuel Centre, we all do our bits when there is a job that needs lots of hands, such as cleaning, preparing for events, moving office, and others.
“I started here at Emmanuel Centre as a volunteer about seven years ago now, mainly helping with the newsletter preparation. After a year or two, I started working part time in an administration role, and I am still here now!
“I love the idea of working for a Church agency, in an organisation that is trying to do good things. And when I come to work and see the happy faces of our regular participants, I feel like my choice is confirmed. And it doesn’t hurt that I have kind colleagues who all also want to do good things for people around us. I always feel the friendship and support from them in whatever we do here.”
Rachel Felix: Project Officer
“I started my journey at the Emmanuel Centre 5 years ago, volunteering to assist in certain projects. My task has been to assist the members attending this centre, as well members of our deaf community, involved in meaningful activities such as growing and juicing of wheatgrass, growing of fresh herbs and vegetables in our vege-pod, upholstery etc.
“I have also been involved in the compilation of the religious sign language document. The Deaf have always been a big part of the Emmanuel Centre and hence learning of sign language has been crucial to our communication with them. Learning this language is very much a ‘work in progress’ for all of us here at the Emmanuel Centre.
“I am excited about the new plans and projects our Centre is planning for the future.”
Shannon Saunders: Activities Coordinator
“Hi, my name is Shannon and I run the activities sessions on a Monday and Tuesday each week at the Emmanuel Centre. We have a great group of people who regularly attend, having fun creating things, making foods, having a cuppa and socialising.
“On Mondays we run a craft session in the morning. This year we’ve made some great things like travel neck pillows, personal heat packs and our own Red Poppy brooches to wear on Anzac Day. We also have our wonderful volunteer Judy who comes in and shows us how to do spinning of wool into yarn and weaving on looms. On Tuesday mornings I assist our deaf artist, Geoff Scott, with the painting session.
“Each day we create a meal and eat together, while our afternoons are revolved around a rotation of activities such as playing Skittles, scrapbooking, cards and board games etc.”
Eric Martin: Pastoral Worker
Hi, I’m the newest member of the team, starting in the role of Pastoral Worker at the beginning of 2020, two days a week, working with our clients and members of the Deaf community. I am also employed as a medical journalist and deal with the latest research on mental health and wellbeing, disability services and policy. My sister (a long-term resident with Identitywa) has both a physical and intellectual disability, and our journey as a family through the many unique challenges that came with her situation has given me a passion for supporting people in this area. Similarly, my young son is on the Spectrum and as we embark on our NDIS journey with him, I firmly believe that this process can only add to the knowledge and approach that I bring to the Centre.