Vulnerability and ageing: recognising elder abuse

The Australian Government recently announced a national plan would be developed to address elder abuse in Australia. Many organisations in the sector have welcomed the announcement, which was one of the key recommendations of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s 2017 report on the issue, Elder Abuse: a national legal response.

Elder abuse is widely seen, rightly so, as an abhorrent crime. But sadly, the World Health Organisation (WHO) report that 15.7% of people aged over 60 have reported abuse, which means that
75 000 people in Western Australia are potentially affected. It is estimated that many cases go unreported. Most cases are forms of financial abuse; however, there are many different types of abuse. WHO defines elder abuse as “a single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust, which causes harm or distress to an older person.”

As well as financial, reported types of abuse also include psychological, social, physical, neglect and sexual.Continue Reading

Deep Listening with those on the edge

The inaugural Deep Listening Festival is hitting the South West in April and is packed full of storytelling, art, music, workshops and time to reflect. It will be held at Margaret River Uniting Church from Friday 6 to Saturday 7 April.

The festival is inspired by the Sacred Edge Festival of Queenscliff Uniting Church in Victoria, which Revive has reported on in the past. However, it will have a local voice.

Rev Cathie Lambert, Minister at Margaret River and Augusta Uniting Churches, said the festival is designed to encourage us to listen to the stories of  people on the edge. The name is inspired by the Indigenous word ‘Dadirri’ which is a practice of deep listening based on respect.

“The way to get to know people and to get to know what their struggles are, to connect more as a community and to understand each other better is to listen to each other,” Cathie said. “The idea of this festival is not to problem solve, but to listen to the stories of people who are on the edge. In doing that we learn to appreciate their perspective and understand their situation better.Continue Reading

A new church of humility

Summer Spirit, a Uniting Church WA event, will be held on Saturday 17 February at All Saints Floreat Uniting Church. This year, the event will explore ‘A  different church for a different world,’ in response to the Uniting Church WA’s new Strategic Plan.

Rev Lindsay Cullen, one of the new National Consultants in the Assembly Resourcing Unit of the Uniting Church in Australia, will be sharing his thoughts and expertise on how the Uniting Church WA can become that different church at this year’s Summer Spirit.

The world has indeed changed a lot over the last 40 to 50 years. Lindsay explained that in the Western World, the church has gone from having a strong  voice in the community, to now having a voice more on the margins.

“I think we see all around us that the world is constantly changing. And in particular, in the last 40 or 50 years, we’ve seen not only the changing of western societies, but also the changing place of the church in society,” he said. “In the past, the church was seen as one of the central pillars of society and a natural place where people congregated and where people would turn for spiritual sustenance or to ask big questions of life. I think, we’re seeing very clearly, that is changing and shifting and the church finds itself much more on the margins of society. Continue Reading

Congress National Gathering: Trauma and Healing

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Aboriginal and Islander members of the Uniting Church have boosted resources for youth work, mission and evangelism at the triennial United Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (Congress) National Conference, held from Saturday 13 to Thursday 18 January in Geelong, Victoria.

Congress will employ a full-time National President and a full-time youth worker for the next three years, to build on the strong work being done by young Indigenous church leaders in local communities around the country. Congress also rang in a number of generational leadership changes, electing Rev Garry Dronfield to the new role of National President.

Garry is a Bundjalung man in placement at Sylvania Uniting Church in Sydney, who served as Deputy Chairperson on the previous Congress National Executive. Garry is well known for his association with the God Squad motorcycle group. At his installation service, Garry preached on Daniel 3:1-30, The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace, urging Congress members to stand firm in their faith and be confident in their belief in Jesus. Continue Reading

When Christmas is blue

Christmas is such a joyous time. The kids are excited, the tree is glowing, and friends and family come together to share gifts and food to celebrate the season.

But as we go through life, it’s inevitable that each of us will suffer grief, loneliness or sadness. Christmas can be a painful reminder of those times.

Christmas can bring back memories that are hard to live with; for some it’s a reminder of the physical distance between loved ones, others may be separated from their children as they spend a happy Christmas with their other parent, or maybe it is a reminder that a friend or family member is no longer with them to celebrate the season.Continue Reading

A heart for encouragement

Priya Cooper is a Paralympian World Champion Swimmer who also earned the title of Young Australian of the Year for Sport in 1999. She won an amazing nine gold medals spanning Paralympic Games in Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, and Sydney in 2000. She’s also competed in a range of other sporting events, winning medals and breaking world records across the globe.

Since her time on the swimming circuit, Priya has become an inspiring leader in disability services, having sat on a number of high profile boards and as an Ambassador for various organisations. She is currently Deputy Chair of the Disability Services Commission, part of this role has been working with the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS); President of WA Disabled Sports Association; and on the Board of the Ability Centre.

She is also a Perth suburban mum of two with a heart for encouraging mothers to live their best lives.

Born with Cerebral Palsy, Priya has had limited use of her legs for her whole life. Cerbral Palsy is a neurological disorder which affects a person’s movement. It can affect people in many different ways and there are also many different types of the disorder.Continue Reading

God’s love breaking confines of the church

The 2016 Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey, which released its  findings in February this year, found that Australian school principals are increasingly under stress due to their workloads. YouthCARE, a WA organisation providing chaplaincy in our public schools, is looking to address this problem through its new pilot program aimed at providing chaplaincy to principals.

There are currently two School Principal’s Chaplains employed in this program, both in regional areas of WA. Jill Clements is one such chaplain, working in the mid-west region; the other is based in the Great Southern. The pilot program began in term three of 2016 and will run until the end of2017, when it will be reassessed.Continue Reading