Since World War II many changes have taken place in the world in which we live. With the arrival of the Age of Technology and the spread of materialism and secularism Toc H, like so many other organisations, has had to find new directions and new ways of functioning. In the Main resolution of Toc H there are the words ‘behind the ebb and flow of things temporal stand the eternal realities’, and many books and articles were written about these words and what they meant to members of Toc H. They provided the philosophical framework for so much Toc H activity for the first sixty years of the Movement. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges to a movement like Toc H today is that the eternal realities have become blurred and in some cases lost altogether. Standards have changed, standards in morals, ethics, truth, honesty, loyalty and commitment. Toc H’s values, ethos and principles are as relevant today as ever, and it is important that, as a movement, we base our activities on them and set a good example for all. People today are much more mobile and are more prepared to make short term commitments than long term commitments. This is reflected in the decline in membership numbers and the increase in the number of Toc H Helpers who are prepared to assist with Toc H Projects. This has resulted in excellent support for many Toc H projects from people who are not Members – the Camping Program in South Australia, the National Youth Leadership Courses, the EKKA Outing, the ANZAC Concerts and the Midnight Services on ANZAC Eve in Brisbane, and the Confidence Courses in Cairns. So although the number of Toc H Branches and members has declined, it is true that Toc H today continues to touch the lives of many people around Australia.
At the national level the Toc H Australia Council meets once a year and besides dealing with practical, everyday issues like providing Badges and Certificates and printing literature – leaflets and the National Journal, The Link – it also helps determine the future direction of Toc H in Australia, and supports its development in the two regions where our Movement is active – the Southern Region (South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia) and the Northern Region (Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory).
Being a member of Toc H in today’s world involves:
Caring for people
Face to face contact with people
Talking to people
Sharing people’s joys and sorrows
Giving generously of time
Listening to what people have to say
Being open and honest and not wearing masks
It challenges all of its members ‘to give and not to count the cost’ and to accept the words in the well known saying in Toc H that ‘Service to others is the rent we pay for our room on earth’. History shows that where Toc H has been most effective it has followed the lessons of Talbot House in Poperinge which were learnt in the War years, 1915 – 1918. This lesson was spelt out clearly in the July 2003 Newsletter of Toc H in Vlaanderen, in which the Chairman of Toc H Poperinge said:
"Over the past year, the world’s news bulletins were marked by tales of war, misery and poverty. Toc H sends out a different message to our world. Our movement promotes international cooperation and reconciliation between cultures. Our members listen with an open mind to the ideas and values of other people, without denouncing their own. Our movement shows that it is indeed possible to work together in a peaceful way with people who are different. This is the lesson of Talbot House and it is what we should continue in the future. By making the public aware of our activities we can show that there are still people who can cooperate in an atmosphere of trust and with an open mind with other people’s ideas and ways of life. We look forward to the future with confidence, and hope that you – in one way or another – will contribute to our mission."
IN WAR AND PEACE by Ray Geise
This is the title of a new book on the Story of the Origins of the Toc H movement and its presence in Australia since 1925. There are several things about this story which should be of interest to many people:
There are many descriptions of projects which have been undertaken by Toc H members, such as the Ekka Outing, the Junior Farmer's Movement, the Blood Transfusion Service, Youth Leadership Courses, Youth Forums, The Bush Children's Health Scheme, Camping programs for children with disabilities, as well as smaller projects like visiting people in aged care homes, cutting firewood for elderly people, arranging concerts in old people's homes, or just simply taking the time to be available to chat with someone who is lonely.
Throughout the book are many profiles of people from all walks of life who have made significant contributions, not only to the Toc H Movement, but also to their communities. These make interesting reading.
There are many photos throughout the book which support what has been written. They help us to understand that Toc H is about 'doing something - putting words into action.
Copies of the book may be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and placing an order. An invoice will be issued with bank details for a direct deposit. Cost is $40 plus $10 postage and handling. Local pickup is available from Toc H Bribie Island or Ray Geise in Brisbane or limited supply from David Hall in Adelaide. Please email for contact details and bank details for a direct deposit payment unless paying in cash.