Just before the Christmas close of the FinUCAre office, I was submitting a Home Utility Grant Scheme (HUGS) application on our front office administrator’s computer as all the office computers had been stolen during a break-in. An elderly lady came in, very distressed, and spoke to Corryn, our front office administrator, about her Synergy bill and her need to see a specialist about her medical condition who required payment up front or she wouldn’t be able to see him.
Three mates headed out to sea on Tuesday 4 February, not realising they were about to experience the ordeal of a lifetime. Stranded at sea for 16 hours, Rev Dr Les Brockway, Derrick Fayers and Anthony Solomons held on to hope through prayer and courage.
The three men, aged 72, 78 and 60, set off from Woodman Point towards Carnac Island on one of their regular fishing trips, anchoring at around 6.00pm. They had already caught a number of fish when Tony hooked quite a large one and was determined to land it into the boat. Meanwhile, the back of the boat was gradually sinking lower and lower. Within a few minutes the trio were in serious trouble.
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.