19th March 2024

Celebrating Cultural Diversity

There were smiles all round and plenty of audience participation at Donnybrook Community Church (DCC) and Olivine Community Group’s first International Expo in January.

Around 90 people shared in the vibrant event, enjoying a banquet of delicious international foods, dance, music and poetry.









DCC Pastor Kathryn Jensen said many community groups collaborated in the expo, which was supported by a $3000 Whittlesea Community Grant. “In the preparation and the running of the day, so many beautiful friendships were formed, and that’s where the real fruit and value of this event was. Our team included people of Filipino, Aussie, and Indian cultural backgrounds – and they are the main cultures represented in our community here. It was really lovely to see, after months of planning, the friendships that have developed amongst different community groups here.”

Kathryn said that honouring people of different cultures was a significant part of the event – for example, in the affectionate titles that she now shares with one of the team members.

“I’ve been meeting with one lady for a while and reading the Bible with her, and she has been drawing close to Jesus and started coming to church a few times. Her way of honouring me was to call me her ‘guru’ which means a spiritual teacher in her culture; and I call her Aunty, which is a term of respect in her culture. She’ll say things like that in a public setting, even though she’s older than me. Others looking on probably see this friendship, this beautiful interaction across generations. It’s a lovely friendship that has developed as we organised the Expo. It was really important that we honoured one another during the event and in the planning.

We’ve got so many nations here on our doorstep in Donnybrook. It used to be that you had to travel to the other side of the world to share with people of other cultures, but now you just have to step outside your front door. With the Expo, our aim was to bring the community together, and to build friendships that will be lasting ones.

Community response has been very positive and the team would love to organise future events. One attendee wrote on Facebook that through the Expo, she had found her “tribe” – “those I can walk with, sing with, share food and laughter with, pray with, etc, from amongst my multicultural neighbours”. She said Kathryn and the team were “ever-hospitable and vibrant”.

Brett Mitchell, from the BUV Support Hub team enjoyed attending the Expo – “Well done for all the hard work to bring people and cultures together to celebrate what is good in our community’s diversity and charm.”

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