KCO dreaming

This year, Kids Camp Out (KCO) was postponed in March due to significantly lower registrations. Unfortunately, this was not unexpected as the number of campers have been noticeably declining over the past five years due to Uniting Church WA children growing up and being in high school, with some now being young adults.

KCO has been a Presbytery wide event for primary school aged children in the Uniting Church WA for around 40 years.

Continue Reading

Sharing stories for healing: NAIDOC Week at BKI

Beananging Kwuurt Institute (BKI), a Uniting Church WA Aboriginal community services organisation in Queens Park, Perth, held a NAIDOC Week storytelling event on Wednesday 7 July. Guests were invited to listen, learn, share, and enjoy kangaroo stew and damper together. This year’s NAIDOC theme is ‘Heal Country!’

In the 1930s, the site where BKI now stands was set up as Sister Kate’s Children’s Cottage Home, an institution for Indigenous children taken from their families, who are now known as the Stolen Generations.

Auntie Helen Skiadas, Board Member of Beananging Kwuurt Institute, spoke saying they are hoping to bring healing to people with a past connection to the site.

“We hope that as we slowly restore some of the land, it will heal some of the dark past,” she said. “We haven’t stopped dreaming of change here at BKI – and renewal – and we hope for happier times of joy and gladness for all our people.”

After a Welcome to Country by Kevin Fitzgerald, Board Member at BKI, and the raising of the Aboriginal flag by Tramaine Dukes, RAAF Indigenous Liaison Officer Flt Lt, Jo Abrahams shared some of the history of Beananging Kwuurt Institute and her personal connection to the place. Jo is a Ngarluma woman with ties to Roebourne. She has worked with the WA Stolen Generations Aboriginal Corporation, and has spent the last ten years reconnecting with her past.

Jo’s grandmother and great uncle were taken as children from their parents in the Pilbara region to be raised at the Sister Kate’s site. She said that Sister Kate’s intentions for the mission were well meaning, but with AO Neville’s government policy at the time, this is not how things played out.

“Children were selectively chosen for this place based on the colour of their skin,” Jo said. “Almost white children were actively targeted and slated for removal. These children were thought to have the best chance for assimilation into the dominating European culture.

“Generations of Aboriginal families in this state existed on a knife’s edge. The colour of a child’s skin making them a target of removal. Neville’s obsession with skin colour resulted in insulting, painful and ludicrous practices. Especially given that siblings of the same mum and dad could be graded differently by his designation, not actually by their bloodlines.

“Under his policies of assimilation, Aboriginality was something to be escaped, denied, watered down and eventually bred out. It sowed seeds of shame and guilt, self loathing and lostness.”

This policy of removal stayed in place until 1964, with amendments.

“What do we do now in WA with the hangover from previous generations? What have we inherited that needs to be disinherited?” Jo asked.

“One thing Neville didn’t factor on, is me and many others like me who are so proud of their Aboriginality. And that Aboriginality has got nothing to do with colour, and all to do with bloodline. We’re proud of our bloodline and where we’ve come from and the people who’ve come before us.

“There are still Aboriginal people who believe the lies that were told in this place – that they don’t matter. Be patient and understand there is a deep brokenness that’s hanging over from places like this.

“We don’t need more police officers in this space, we need more grief counselors to help us to deal with our brokenness, and support to give us spaces where we can come together and heal with each other.

“It’s a shared experience and understanding that brings space for healing.”

Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, blessed the gathering, before guests enjoyed a lunch of kangaroo stew and damper.

“May God bless you and guide you, and help us to walk alongside with you,” she said.

A Dreaming Session for BKI will be held on Wednesday 21 July, 10.00am to 4.00pm. Guests are invited to come along and share their dreams for what they would like to see happen at Beananging Kwuurt Institute, 188 Treasure Rd Queens Park, into the future.

Heather Dowling

India’s ‘Corona Tsunami’

India’s COVID-19 surge has overloaded its struggling heath system and is causing thousands of deaths per day.

Uniting Church partners, the Church of North India (CNI), are not immune. Battling to keep people fed as a second lockdown wreaks havoc, and spreading critical health information to help beat the spread of the disease, they’re on the front-line of the response in their communities.

Continue Reading

Refugee Week launched in the city

Refugee Week (20 – 26 June) was launched with an inspirational event held at the Uniting Church in the City, Wesley Perth on Monday 21 June.

The free, collaborative event, which was co-hosted by the Uniting Church WA Social Justice Unit, included speakers from various refugee backgrounds, music, art and an all-important food truck.Continue Reading

Recovery after the storm

Cyclone Seroja crossed our coast at about 8.00pm on Sunday 11 April, beginning its destructive journey in Port Gregory, just south of Kalbarri. Winds of up to 170km/hr, the strongest recorded in more than 50 years, tore homes, businesses and trees apart, leaving behind masses of debris.

Coastal areas south of Kalbarri saw about 70 per cent of homes damaged. Residents huddled in bathtubs or hid in pantries and toilets. Yet, miraculously no-one was injured.

Continue Reading

Keep our kids out of prison: Raise the Age

Most Australians don’t realise that we put kids in prison. In a public opinion poll by the Australia Institute, 73% of Australians had no idea that children as young as ten are currently locked up in our prison system.

It’s not surprising, since most people imagine kids at that age to be, well… kids.

But the facts tell us that for some, this is not the case. The Commissioner for Children and Young People in WA reports that in 2018-2019, 143 children in WA spent time in unsentenced detention. This unsentenced detention can range from an average of 25 days for non-Indigenous children and 46 days for Indigenous children – keeping in mind that 78% of kids in detention are Indigenous.

Continue Reading

Social Justice Church: Living the Gospel every day

Years ago, Alison Xamon began to envisage a new kind of ministry. A church community that would be truly welcoming and safe for all. A group that would see the fight for justice as simply part of being Christian.

It was a type of worship that Alison longed for, but over time it became clear that if she really wanted it to happen, she would have to make it happen. So, she did.

Continue Reading

Donate now to Uniting WA’s Winter Appeal

Uniting WA are proud to support hundreds of people experiencing homelessness every day, but there are still up to 900 people sleeping rough across Perth every night and more than 9 000 people experiencing homelessness in WA. 

With Winter and the cold weather now upon us, it has never been more important to support people experiencing crisis and homelessness.

Uniting WA’s recently renovated Tranby Engagement Hub provides all the basic services you would expect from a homelessness service, as well as some you might not.  It’s the first purpose-designed-and-built crisis intervention space in WA that supports an active referral and engagement service model for people experiencing homelessness. 

A simple: “How can we help you?” to every person that walks through the door marks the beginning of a support journey that includes all the basic services you’d expect, as well as some you might not.  As well as access to food, showers, laundry and medical support, the Tranby Engagement Hub also provides customised support that’s focused on understanding the individual needs of each person we meet and working with them to identify the challenges they need to overcome to move forward in their lives.

But together, we can do more

Your donation will help Uniting WA provide more warm breakfasts, showers and wellbeing packs, and enable them to support more people with the understanding and support they need to achieve positive outcomes that drive long-term change in their lives.

Learn more about how you can help and donate today.

Sock appeal

Did you know that socks are the #1 requested item at homelessness centres globally? A clean pair of socks can make the world of difference to someone experiencing homelessness. And they’re in short supply.  Uniting WA are welcoming socks for men, women and children in all sizes, which can be donated at your local Uniting Church.

To learn more about the Uniting Sock Appeal, visit the website.