On the banks of the River Pumba: Moderator Elect travels back to her childhood church

Susy Thomas, Moderator Elect of the Uniting Church WA, was invited to attend an annual Christian convention at the church she grew up in, in Kerala India. The conference was held in February this year, just before COVID-19 restrictions came into place. She shares her experience. Continue Reading

Refugee Week 2020: academics and activism

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From 14 to 20 June we celebrate Refugee Week, welcoming those who have come into Australia and celebrating the valuable contribution refugees and people seeking asylum make to our society. The Uniting Church has always been a strong advocate for the rights of people fleeing persecution – but we are not alone in our calls for justice.

Wherever possible the Uniting Church seeks to collaborate with service providers to ensure we are reflecting the needs of people most in need. In the complex field of immigration issues it is also handy to have assistance from academic friends – like Dr Caroline Fleay. Continue Reading

A girl and her horse: Minna’s Creations

I’ve never met anyone who loves horses as much as Minna Sanders. And from this love of horses, a beautiful endeavour has grown.

Minna, having just finished Year 12 at Seton Catholic College, recently won a Good Sammy Business Start-up Award. This bubbly, passionate teenager was one of six recipients who received a cash grant to go towards setting up her own business.

Good Samaritan Enterprises (previously Good Samaritan Industries), is a Uniting Church WA agency providing employment options for people living with disability. They’re lovingly known throughout WA for their ‘Good Sammy’ op-shops, but they also provide a range of services helping people find meaningful employment. The award has been a huge asset for Minna, who will use  the grant for advertising and supplies for her micro business – Minna’s Creations. She is now well on her way to getting her pyrography woodwork into the market. Continue Reading

Hope and recovery this bushfire season

This summer’s bushfire season has left Australia damaged and sore. In true community spirit, we’ve also seen some amazing stories of people coming together to volunteer their time, donate their money, and support each other in harsh times of need.

The Uniting Church in Australia has been, and continues to, provide a range of support for people and communities affected by devastating bushfires around the country – both in crisis care and long-term recovery. In the first 11 days of 2020, 63 Uniting Church chaplains were engaged at 36 bushfire crisis centres. Together they volunteered 1 677 hours of chaplaincy with people directly  affected by the fires, some of them experiencing the worst days of their lives. Continue Reading

Ministry into the unknown

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Rev Simon Goddard, a Baptist minister from Fresh Expressions UK, will be visiting Perth to share his experiences and knowledge in pioneering ministry and church leadership.

Simon will be a keynote speaker at two events in March: The Pioneer Ministry Gathering; and Tools for Resilient Church Leadership in Changing Contexts, which will also feature Rev Dr Adam McIntosh, the Associate Director of Mission (Pastoral Care) for the Uniting Church Queensland, and Peter Kenyon, from the Bank of IDEAS.

Brought to you by the Uniting Church WA’s Thrive Mission Committee, these events will encourage those attending to explore Pioneer Ministry, while sharing their own experiences and learning from each other.Continue Reading

SHARE and humanity thrives

Rev Roy Surjanegara is the Minister at GKI Perth Uniting Church, an Indonesian speaking congregation in Mosmon Park. This edition, he writes about this year’s Family and Culture Month at their church.

September is the month to celebrate family life and Indonesian culture for GKI Perth Uniting Church. We call it ‘Family and Culture Month’. Each Sunday, one ethnic group is highlighted in the service through the use of the local languages for the Bible readings, songs, and prayers. Musical instruments, clothing, decorations, and traditional food also play an important part in creating the atmosphere of being in Indonesia for a day. This year, we celebrated the Batak culture of Sumatera, the Sunda culture of West Java, the Dayak culture of Borneo, and the Tionghoa culture of Indonesian-Chinese descendants. Continue Reading

No mistakes in Creative Endeavour

In the bushy surrounds of Perth’s hills, a Uniting Church congregation is bringing life to the community through art and creativity. Kalamunda Uniting Church’s Creative Endeavour program is reaching people in ways the congregation could not have initially expected.

“It’s all about the journey,” Elizabeth Bishop, founder and leader of Creative Endeavour, tells me. And what a journey it is.

There are many ways to appreciate art; but for those who are using artistic creativity for personal enjoyment, it’s the process – the journey – that often leads us to new places. Continue Reading

Community refugee sponsorship: a local solution for a global issue

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) forecast that 1.44 million people will be in need of resettlement across the globe in 2020. Meanwhile, last year less than 7% of people in need of global resettlement were settled into new homes.

Australia currently offers the Community Support Program to help resettle refugees into the country. Under this program, individuals or businesses can support refugees to begin their new lives in Australia. This may sound great, but critics point out that the program has some major flaws, and is actually inaccessible to most people.

As global conflict is creating more and more refugees each year, the Uniting Church WA is calling for a new compassionate and generous refugee sponsorship program in Australia; supporting the introduction of the Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative. Continue Reading