Moderator’s Morning Tea: Encouraging one another and working together

This year’s Moderator’s Morning Tea was held on Thursday 19 November at Trinity Residential College, giving Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, a chance to thank leaders of the Uniting Church WA family for the work they do, as well as providing them an opportunity to come together and share their experiences and hopes.

Amanda Hunt, CEO of Uniting WA, Melanie Kiely, CEO of Good Sammy Enterprises, and Dr Alec O’Connell, Headmaster of Scotch College were the guest speakers who shared on the theme of ‘Encouraging one another and working together.’

Amanda spoke about the legacy that has been left by the Uniting Church, and the importance of partnering with the Uniting Church WA schools.

“I wouldn’t be standing here today if it wasn’t for the work of all the people before us in the congregations who acted just as fearlessly as our staff did over the last year,” she said.  “Who put themselves on the line, who made sure people weren’t left behind, who stood with children who were at risk, who made sure that people who were experiencing homelessness were supported by their community, who held their elders in education and lifelong learning as well.

“One of the great privileges we have is to work with our schools and to educate the next generation to make sure that who are coming through to be contributes to our society are leaders, people who want to make change to their community.”

Alec O’Connell shared some of the background of Uniting Church schools, explaining that while they have evolved into today’s elite schools, they highly value teaching students how to make a positive difference in this world. Some of this is done through their Service Learning programs. He explained that the schools have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work with the Uniting Church agencies where possible.

“When our boys are working in service or in teams, they learn so much more as a group,” he said. “It improves self confidence, that’s why we have an involvement in these programs. A lot of the benefits of some of these programs we may never see.

“I quite often say to the boys, ‘if you feel you’re lucky for being at the school you’re at, there’s nothing wrong with that, don’t apologise, it is what it is. But go and do something with it. Make a difference. You can make a difference because of your background.'”

Melanie Kiely presented a challenge to those present to do more together.

“I want to talk about the Uniting Church building caring and supportive communities out in the world – not in a building, not on a Sunday, but out in the world,” she said. “I do feel deeply that as a society we’re not doing enough to put the church into action and out there.”

Melanie said she’d like to see more involvement with Good Sammy Enterprises and Uniting Church WA schools, through their new Containers for Change program and through student projects and excursions.

“I want an action plan to how we can make your pupils better leaders for the future and how we can help the people out there,” she said. “Lets put the church out there, lets live by example and lets have people want to come and be part of the church because we’re actually changing the world.”


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