Rev Ron Larkin, moderator of the Uniting Church in WA has responded, extending prayers and care for those who have been affected and giving thanks for the courage and dedication to people who helped fight the fires and who are caring for those who have lost so much.
Helping to strengthen family bonds under pressure, Mount Hawthorn St Peter Emmaus Church recently helped families with a parent in prison celebrate Christmas. Through Angel Tree, incarcerated parents can ask to send a gift to their child along with a hand written card as a way of celebrating Christmas together.
Uniting Aid, a community service organisation of Nedlands Uniting Church, has for the past 32 years supported marginalised people living in the City of Stirling. Here, Uniting Aid secretary John Ward and long-time volunteer Gaye Goddard express their delight at the 25 laundry baskets full of food and gifts collected by students at St Stephen’s School for distribution by Uniting Aid. A Uniting Church school assisting a community service of the Uniting Church.
You know you’re doing ministry right when it involves trips to a comedy festival and the consumption of copious quantities of rum. That, at least, is the lesson Paul ‘Werzel’ Montague and Rev Chris Bedding have learnt from the last year.
The cult sensation, Pirate Church, had a sell-out season at Perth’s Fringe World Festival. Then the boys embarked on a national tour, taking in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and appearances in Sydney and Melbourne. Later in 2013, they launched an innovative addition to the Pirate Church brand – the deliciously naughty A Week at St Bastard’s.
Over future years the Uniting Church is going to see some significant change. Figuring out how that change will take shape, however, is going to be a major task for the church of today.
Rev David Kriel, mission planner for the Uniting Church in WA, will be facilitating a process, starting in early 2014, where the whole church is invited to help form future directions. Using the method of ‘scenario planning’, four future scenarios will be mapped out, helping the church to plan a way forward in each scenario. The first stage, David said, is to individually interview around 40-50 leaders in the Uniting Church in WA and analyse the data. This will then be followed by two ‘listening’ workshops which are designed to get feedback from members from all over the synod and presbytery.
Within a period of eight months, UnitingCare West, a community service provider of the Uniting Church, has come into contact with over 180 families who are at risk of homelessness in Perth. That is over five families a week in crisis situations. Responding to this need, UnitingCare West opened the Family Foundations Service to support families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Perth and the surrounding suburbs.
Revive has previously reported on the relationship between All Saint’s Floreat Uniting Church and the people of Mowanjum, a remote Aboriginal community near Derby. Volunteers from the congregation have been running school holiday programs for the Mowanjum kids for several years now, in response to disturbing statistics on youth suicide in the area. The program has had a positive effect in Mowanjum, and people from the Floreat congregation are also seeing effects among their own community.
Following a visit to Scarborough in 2012 from UnitingWorld representative Lee-Anne Burnett, the Scarborough and Waterman’s Bay Congregations agreed to sponsor a student from the Indonesian province of Papua to be a part of a group of students undertaking a three-month intensive English language course in Perth early in 2013. A good grasp of English enhances the employment prospects for Papuans.
When Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines in early November, thousands of people were killed, and many more injured, displaced and left to rebuild their lives.
Since launching the Philippines Typhoon appeal not long after the tragedy, UnitingWorld has received over $30,000 from the generous support of individuals, businesses and congregations within the Uniting Church in Australia.
The actor Aaron Pedersen got it in one.
When Australians get a chance to come together and vote at a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our Constitution, he said earlier this year, it would be “a simple act of humanity.” He’s right.