Movers in thier prime

For Monica Phillips, life was not meant for slowing down. Chair of the Gosnells Uniting Church Council, at 82 years of age, Monica leads three Prime Movers classes each week – including at the most  recent Regional Gathering for the Metro East Region of the Uniting Church in WA, where Monica led those present in a mini-class to help energise people for the day ahead. Prime Movers is a voluntary organisation running exercise classes for the over 55s.

Monica became involved in leading the classes 15 years ago, after her husband passed away. While he was alive, the couple spent their lives volunteering with the church, including a large involvement in youth work. After joining the classes as a member, however, Monica found that volunteering with older people was a natural progression. As for the fitness side of things, her health has never been better.  Despite having arthritis and sometimes having to take time away from the classes for treatment, she is always itching to get back. Continue Reading

Uniting Church in Australia: Part of the fastest growing church on earth

The view from the pew in an Australian Uniting Church isn’t always inspiring. Many long-term congregation members are all too aware of empty seats, voices that waver on beloved hymns and the lurking spectre of a budget committee meeting when the service ends…

It’s true that church attendance in Australia is in decline, as it is throughout much of the Western world. But that’s not the full story. Globally, and particularly among our Asian neighbours, Christianity is still the world’s largest and fastest growing religion. In China, three new churches have been either re-opened or newly built every single day for the past thirty years. And as a global church, partnering with brothers and sisters throughout Asia, Africa and the Pacific, we’re renewed by this growth.

Through an historic new partnership with the China Christian Council, we’re also faced with a unique opportunity to shape the future of global Christian leadership.Continue Reading

Faith formation in a digital age

The John Roberto Faith Formation conference was held from 22-23 August in Perth and was hosted by the Uniting Church in WA’s First Third team and the Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership (CEDAL) in association with Anglican Youth Ministry and Catholic Youth Ministry. John guided participants through a weekend of building faith formation in their communities – including  online. Here’s what some of the attendees thought. Continue Reading

Christians and Muslims: 100 years of love

Uniting Church leaders from across Australia have joined interfaith and ecumenical friends in a statement of solidarity with Australia’s Islamic community. Uniting Church in Australia President, Rev Prof  Andrew Dutney, is one of thousands of faith and community leaders who’ve signed on to a declaration that “We’ll Love Muslims 100 Years.”

The statement was a reference to the banner headline in the Weekend Australian on 9 August “We’ll Fight Islam 100 Years.”

“Recent public statements and media coverage about Muslim-Australians in some sections of the Australian media have been inflammatory and divisive,” said Andrew.

“In our multi-faith society, Jesus’ call to love your neighbour means that Christians are called to meet, befriend and care about our neighbours who are Muslim.” Continue Reading

WA’s newest faith community

With joy, members of the recent Annual Meeting of the Synod and Presbytery recognised and welcomed the Eaton Millbridge Community Project (EMCP) as the  Uniting Church in WA’s newest faith  community.

Almost three years ago, a fresh expression of church, the EMCP was planted as a form of church for our changed culture and primarily, for the benefit of people who currently have no connection to the  church. The EMCP practices incarnational mission through acts of loving service, listening and  radical hospitality in the community of Eaton and Millbridge. Regular events held in local parks, such as  Easter egg hunts, Movies by Moonlight, Christmas events and most recently a Spring Fiesta draw in crowds from the local community. Continue Reading

Billabong: Not holding back

It has been fifteen years since the 1.6 hectares at 225 Campbell Road was purchased in hope for the new Canning Vale Uniting Church faith community. The consultation, planning and  crowd funding for The Billabong Community Centre has taken too long, the final piece coming through a generous grant from the Presbytery earlier this year. It was therefore with much  disbelief that the Billabong congregation met onsite on Sunday 15 June for a time of worship and encouragement together in preparation for the new building. It has been three and a half  years since the on-site tent we used to worship in was packed away.

The new building plan was marked on the ground using stakes and string and a balsa wood model helped people imagine what is about to be built. Everyone gathered on the ‘verandah’  for afternoon tea served from the ‘kitchen’. They were then invited into ‘Multipurpose Room 2’ to take a seat on one of the camping chairs. After a time of singing and prayer I  took up a  small trenching shovel that I was given at my induction as the church planter in February 2000. The battered looking shovel had seen a lot of work and was a great symbol to break the  dirt for the construction of the long envisioned Billabong Community Centre.Continue Reading

Supermarket ministry

While the congregation at Dowerin Uniting Church may be low in numbers, Shirley Hagboom, member of the congregation, is a life-giving member of the community – a ‘go-to-girl’ for  spiritual needs.

Shirley is the chaplain for two days a week at the local school, Dowerin District High School, but said that her role reaches well beyond those walls. Often, while she is out running errands  around town, people approach her in the street to talk about things which are troubling them.

“I thoroughly enjoy being chaplain,” she said. “It’s not always at the school site; it could be down the road. You just never know when God is going to use you. God uses us as a conduit to  help people.”

These meetings in the street occur so often that Shirley has started packing a ‘chaplaincy grab bag’ which is full of pamphlets and bits of information that might be helpful to people she  meets while out and about. Continue Reading