Australian Christian Men’s Choir

Dutch musician Arjan Breukhoven will visit Australia for the sixth time for a series of ten organ concerts in the Perth and Albany regions of WA. Arjan is well-known in the Netherlands as an organist, pianist and conductor. He is musical director of three large Christian male choirs in the western part of Holland and is starting a new choir project in Western Australia.

You are invited to join this project by singing in the Australian Christian Men’s Choir with Arjan as conductor. This Christian men’s choir will have five rehearsals in the Free Reformed Church of Kelmscott on Thursday evenings, starting on 5 July at 7.30pm. During the rehearsal there will also be a break, since it is important to connect with the other singers and socialise. After these five rehearsals there will be a concert at St John’s Anglican Church in Fremantle and it will also join in with a community hymn singing in the Free Reformed Church of Kelmscott.

The repertoire consists of well-known Christian hymns. Beside these hymns the choir will also sing spirituals and classical works during the program.Continue Reading

Discerning the faith journey

Sixteen members of the Presbytery of WA and one member of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (Congress WA) gathered for a retreat on Saturday 24 February, to give serious and prayerful consideration to the ways that they discern the will of God.

The group included six people who are engaged in a Period of Discernment (POD); one Candidate for a Minister of Word; five Faculty members of Perth Theological Hall; and the convenors and  some members of the Candidates for the Ministries Committee (CMC) and the Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership (CEDAL).

The group gathered at Kalamunda Uniting Church for the retreat, facilitated by Rev Gordon Scantlebury. The theme for the day was Discernment. The group used the tools developed by Ignatius of Loyola, to consider how we open ourselves to God’s Spirit, how we seek the leading of God, and how we discern and decide in our faith journey. The retreat ended with participants each sharing the burdens that they felt personally, and their best hopes for their own futures. Continue Reading

Cyclone Gita update

Rev Dr Stephen Robinson, National Disaster Recovery Officer for the Uniting Church in Australia, recently visited Tonga, in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Gita, which affected Island nations in the South Pacific including Tonga, Samoa and Fiji. He shares some of his experience with Revive.

On Monday 12 February, Tropical Cyclone Gita devastated the islands of Tonga, with winds of 230km/h whipping the Southern Coast of the main island of Tongatapu. Locals had taken warnings seriously and prepared as well as they could, but lightly built houses were no match for the monster storm.

The fact that it struck at night probably saved scores of lives, as people were bunkered indoors and avoided injury from flying roofing iron and falling trees. The negative is in the lasting memory of families who huddled together through the terror of a sleepless night of pitch darkness and screaming wind, hoping and praying their place of shelter would hold together.

With the dawn’s light, people ventured out to assess the damage and found this particularly confronting. Many houses lost all or part of their roofing, torn metal and splintered wood, thousands of fallen trees and palm fronds scattered. Rain continued to inundate many houses that had escaped the worst of wind damage. Power poles leaned precariously or snapped off completely, and power lines lay across muddy roads. Continue Reading

Juniper appoints new Chief Executive

Juniper, a Uniting Church WA agency and one of WA’s largest providers of aged care and community support services, has named Chris Hall AM as its new Chief Executive.

Juniper Board Chair, Fred Boshart, welcomed Chris’ appointment and paid tribute to retiring Chief Executive, Vaughan Harding, for his service to the organisation which has spanned almost three decades.

“Under Vaughan’s leadership, Juniper has prospered and stands as a 21st Century organisation serving more than 4 000 older people from Wyndham to Albany, one of the largest care footprints in the nation. More importantly, Juniper now provides some of the most forward-thinking services available,” Fred said.

“Since joining Juniper in 1989 Mr Harding oversaw decades of change. More change and a higher pace of change seem inevitable, as ageing ‘Baby Boomers’ change the population profile, funding levels are reduced, red tape and regulatory burdens increase and an increase in ‘user pays’ creates a more competitive marketplace.”Continue Reading

UnitingCare West induction

On Friday 16 March UnitingCare West formally welcomed their new Chaplain to the team, Rev Sophie Lizares, at an induction service attended by UCW staff, Board members and the members of the Uniting Church WA.

Sophie has a rich history of working with communities both here in Australia and overseas to belong and thrive. Sophie was ordained as a Deacon on Saturday 3 March at Willetton Uniting Church. Read more about Sophie’s ordination here. Continue Reading

Uniting Church welcomes Gary van Heerden

Rev Gary van Heerden, Chaplain at Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC) was admitted as a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in Australia on Tuesday 13 March, at the college.

Dr Kate Hadwen, Principal of PLC wrote about this joyful occasion in the PLC newsletter.

“Inspiring is a word that’s often used within our community, and rightly so,”she wrote.

“This week, we celebrate with Rev Gary as he is admitted as a Minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in Australia. Originally a Methodist minister, this transition has been a journey for Gary over the past almost seven years, since he began working at PLC in 2011. Gary has served in seven churches in South Africa along with spending two months working as a gardener in a silent community in Switzerland and three months as the van driver on the Isle of Iona in Scotland. In addition to serving as a minister, Gary is a qualified psychologist and has lectured in this subject at the University of Fort Hare.

“At a quick glance, synonyms for inspiring include encouraging, heartening and uplifting. Far greater than his qualifications or experiences, Gary brings to our PLC community an unparalleled combination of humility and inspiration. Perhaps this is what makes him so unique and so loved by staff and students alike,” Kate wrote.

“Gary leading circle conversations with small groups of girls is one of the most powerful experiences to witness. His passion for outsider witness practices and narrative therapy is such a gift to our students. For the past three years after the student leadership retreat when we ask the girls what was the most powerful experience they had, most cite the session with ‘Rev’.

“Beyond the knowledge and skills he brings to the role, is his strong sense of service and humility. In speaking after the Service of Admission, in true Gary form, he thanked the Uniting Church for ‘taking a chance on me’ and spoke of his desire to serve both the Uniting Church and PLC.

“At times, we look to famous role models to find inspiration when often the ones in our lives who are most inspiring are right beside us, in the background, quietly encouraging and lifting us up,” Kate wrote.


Easter art engaging with the life and journey of Jesus

Uniting Church in the City (UCIC), Wesley Perth, one of the oldest and most iconic churches in Perth, is for the ninth time preparing to present the Stations of the Cross Art Exhibition in the lead-up to and over Easter.

Curated by Claire Bushby, the exhibition will feature newly commissioned artworks by fifteen Western Australian contemporary artists. The fifteen artworks correspond to the traditional Easter story and ritual of the ‘Stations of the Cross’. While pertaining to a religious narrative of the final days in the life of Jesus, participating artists each interpret a single ‘station’ through their personal and unique understanding of Easter and the human experiences  and themes that underlie it. The exhibition will bridge between sacred stories and the issues and events that are present in our contemporary world.

The vision of Rev Craig Collas, minister at UCIC, is an open one – he hopes audiences of all spiritual persuasions can enjoy the imagination, imagery and conversation that the unique works of art will offer. Continue Reading