Media Release from the New Board of White Stone

The Maronite Eparchy of Australia aims to further its apostolic, social and charity work based on the teachings of the Church, and as stated in the Seven Pastoral Priorities announced by Bishop Antoine-Charbel Tarabay in 2013, and in particular the fifth priority: identifying pressing social problems and developing appropriate measures to address them.
Over the past years, Sister Rose Therese Tannous, Maronite Sister of the Holy Family, founded the White Stone Association to develop projects and programs aiming to raise awareness on the dangers of drug addiction and to provide pastoral care for individuals suffering from addictions and their families. It has also agreed to lease land in Bilpin, NSW from the Maronite Eparchy of Australia to build a drug rehabilitation centre.
Due to the apostolic, spiritual and social importance of the work of White Stone, and following the resignation of Sister Rose Therese Tannous in November 2016, the new Board of White Stone wishes to announce the following:
1. The Board is deeply grateful to Sister Rose Therese Tannous and all the individuals who worked with her, as well as the organisations and persons who supported this important humanitarian and social project.

2. The White Stone Association which was previously an independent registered association is taking steps to incorporation under both the Canon Law of the Church and the law of our land, Australia.

3. We emphasize our commitment to caring for individuals suffering from addiction and their families, especially the young people who have fallen victim to drugs, through White Stone. A new committee for White Stone was elected in December 2016 with Mr Daryl Melham, formerly the Federal Member for Banks, Subdeacon Danny Nouh as Public Officer, Mr Gerard Lahoud, Treasurer, lawyer Charbel Azzi and Ms Jeanette Samawi, as directors. 

Subdeacon Joseph Maatouk was appointed by the Board as Executive Officer and Secretary of White Stone, effective 1 March 2017.  The Board considers Subdeacon Maatouk as an exciting and suitable appointment due to his extensive experience with counseling of persons affected with drug addictions. 

4. MaroniteCare, the charitable and social works arm of the Maronite Eparchy of Australia, oversees the work and mission of White Stone. The new Board of Directors of White Stone has taken responsibility of the activities and assets of White Stone, effective 31 December 2016. The handover was conducted in a spirit of cooperation and ongoing collaboration. The summary of the assets is: 

a. Bank accounts to the value of $398,042, less arrears in loan repayments of $86,530, resulting in a net balance of $311,512.
b. A Toyota Hiace Commuter Bus (12 seater)
c. Office supplies in Harris Park and equipment for the property in Bilpin 

5. The new Board values the "Kadisha Centre" project in Bilpin, which includes, in addition to White Stone, several other community and social projects, most importantly a spiritual and retreat centre for young people and families.

6. We confirm that White Stone will be collaborating with skilled professionals and experts in social work, especially in the area of addiction, to develop a clear and organised vision to address the epidemic of addiction amongst our youth. This problem which claims the lives of a significant number of young people every year, leaves behind a gaping wound and great pain to their families and their church.

In conclusion, we renew our deep gratitude to Sr Rose Therese Tannous, and to the Congregation of the Maronite Sisters of the Holy Family, to the former Board members and to all the individuals who supported the launch of White Stone, this humanitarian project reflecting mercy and care. We pray to the Lord to increase in our community and the wider communities the spirit of love, cooperation and giving. 

For further information, please contact MaroniteCare on 028831 0000.



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