Innovative aged care services hub milestone in the Kimberley

Creation of an innovative aged care service hub in Kununurra has taken a big step forward.

Juniper, a Uniting Church WA agency providing community and residential aged care, has announced that Pindan Contracting, an experienced construction company, has been appointed to build the organisation’s new 30-place care facility.

Juniper chief executive, Vaughan Harding, said the project was a boost for Kununurra, delivering important infrastructure and services to the town and wider community.

“The commencement of construction is a significant milestone and we will see over the coming months the creation of a modern facility that will serve as a ‘one-stop-shop’ for aged care services designed to meet community needs and aspirations,” he said.

“The project will help stimulate local employment, career pathways and opportunities for student placements.”Continue Reading

New national director for Frontier Services

Jannine Jackson has been appointed as the new national director of Frontier Services.

Jannine comes to the role with extensive experience in fundraising and marketing in the faith and non-profit sectors, both in New South Wales and nationally.

Her background includes senior leadership positions at the McGrath Foundation, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Mission Australia. She is a member of Toongabbie Anglican Church in Sydney’s west.

The general secretary of the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly, Colleen Geyer, said she was looking forward to working with Jannine.Continue Reading

Pancake Day supporting community

Pancake Day at Dongara Uniting Church has become a celebrated event around the town. Having started their event back some years ago when it was a Uniting Church WA sponsored event, the  congregation have continued running Pancake Day as a local fundraising activity for community services provided through their church.

Setting up a dining area at the church, with a yellow tent they bring out each year, the event is quite popular. Guests can dine in, or pancakes are also delivered to local businesses.

Wendy Small, from Dongara Uniting Church, said that the event is well supported by the town. Continue Reading

Bible Society bicentenary

This year, the Bible Society Australia turns 200. A number of celebratory events have and will be taking place over the year, including the widely talked about and controversial partnership with  Coopers Brewery.

The company had created a commemorative Coopers Premium Light Beer to celebrate the bicentenary. After the Bible Society Australia produced a video as part of their ‘Keeping it Light’  campaign, which featured two Liberal MPs having a ‘light’ discussion about marriage equality over a Coopers beer, Coopers found themselves in the midst of a boycott. Coopers have since stated that they have cancelled the commemorative cans. Continue Reading

We can do better for refugees and asylum seekers

Uniting Church members from congregations across WA will come together with other churches and community groups at 1.00pm this Sunday 9 April for the fourth Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees at St George’s Cathedral, 38 St Georges Terrace, Perth.

This year, it will be led by a couple of particularly special guests: two donkeys will be heading the walk, as part of a re-imagining of the original Palm Sunday story. Rev Steve Francis, moderator of the Uniting Church WA, went to visit the donkeys with James Jegasothy, vice-chair of the Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD).

“They are very cute,” said Rev Francis, “but they are also a symbol that Jesus deliberately employed to communicate the nature of his message. A message of humility, peace and love, especially for the outsider and the stranger.”

The Uniting Church will be an active participant in Palm Sunday walks which are happening in cities around Australia. The Uniting Church has continually advocated for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees as reflected in the Assembly’s statement Shelter from the Storm

The Perth event has over 40 community organisations, churches and human rights groups calling for humane policies for asylum seekers and refugees (see list http://justice4refugeeswa.com/about/).

Rev Steve Francis, moderator of the Uniting Church WA, said, “The people stuck on Manus Island and Nauru are suffering, even though they sought our help.

“Australians are compassionate people. We know that we can do better than the limbo to which we sentence asylum seekers.  Whether it is offshore or onshore detention, bridging visas or temporary visas – people cannot lead fulfilling lives amid such fundamental uncertainty about their futures.” 

The voices of refugees themselves will be centre stage at the beginning of the walk with messages from refugees on Manus Island to be read out.  Iranian poet and refugee, Arad Nik will also be present to perform one of his pieces. Here he shares an excerpt from Boat and Pain (English translation):

My sad face, asks for your sympathy.

In my dream is a poor child.

‘Sleeping’ boat children on the beach, makes you distraught.

City mindlessness is poison for my thought.

Moaning buried in the sea, makes you sad.

The passion of this poetry – gives them voice anew.

Hearing tears from over the ocean, leaves us in sleepless vigil.

Participants are invited to bring a palm frond to St George’s Cathedral this Palm Sunday before peacefully following the donkeys on a brief circuit through the city.

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Support for communities affected by Cyclone Debbie

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan, has asked church members to lend their support to Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) appeals for communities suffering in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

“Our Church will be there to support people in need and help Queensland and northern NSW recover,” said Stuart.

“Please continue to pray for the safety and the welfare of all affected communities, as they come to terms with their losses.”

“I ask all UCA members to please try to support our appeals, which go to support ministry in these communities.”

Cyclone Debbie made landfall on the Whitsunday Coast as a Category 4 storm with winds of more than 260 kilometres an hour on Monday 28 March causing extensive damage.

Five days later water, shelter and communications are still limited into towns of Ayr, Bowen and Proserpine.

Torrential rains from the weakening cyclone have also seen rivers in south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales reach record peaks, causing major flooding in Beaudesert, Lismore and the Tweed Valley.

Tens of thousands of residents had to be evacuated.Continue Reading