Bert Humfrey 1920 – 2014: A true Christian gentleman

Bert was born on 11 April 1920 to English migrants. His commitment to the church and his service to the community is truly inspirational. In 1942, Bert was accredited as a Lay Preacher in the Methodist Church, and in September of the same year, he married Joy Finlay in Fremantle Wesley. The marriage lasted an amazing 69 years and 8 months, until Joy passed away  in May 2012.

Bert joined the Navy in 1940 and did further training in submarine detection at Flinders in Melbourne and Rushcutters in  Sydney, qualifying as an ASDIC operator. He saw active service on a Motor Launch deployed around Bougainville (in the Solomon Islands) during the latter part of the war. Over the years, Bert lived in Northam, Kalgoorlie, Albany, Geraldton and  Perth working in management for Lockes furnishers while also holding positions with Sunday School, retiring in 1981. Continue Reading

Free the children – End the abuse

The Uniting Church in Australia is calling for the immediate release of all children and their families from Australian-run immigration detention centres, after the publication of a shocking report by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

The damning report, The Forgotten Children, is the largest survey of children in detention ever conducted anywhere in the world. It details brutal and damaging treatment on Nauru and Christmas Island. In the 15 months to March 2014 there were 233 recorded assaults involving children and 33 incidents of reported sexual assault.

“Australia’s state-sanctioned abuse of children must end,” said Uniting Church President, Rev Prof Andrew Dutney.

“The level of mental distress and long-term harm suffered by children as a direct result of their detention is appalling. These children are losing the most important years for their growth and development and some will be scarred for life by their experiences.

“For the sake of the children, to protect them from further harm, the Government must release the children and their families, including those from Nauru, into the community,” said Andrew.Continue Reading

Alan celebrates

Rev Alan Matthews will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of his ordination, in March. Throughout his ministry, Alan has held placements in Birmingham, England; Victoria, Australia; Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory; and Nedlands, Swan View and Cockburn in Western Australia. He has also had an active involvement with Uniting Church in WA Presbytery and Synod, including in the areas of social justice, Christian unity and world mission.

He retired from ministry in 1992, but since then has kept active in the Uniting Church including taking services in various congregations and representing Frontier Services.
Continue Reading

Faith Formation follow-up

In a follow-up from John Roberto’s visit to Perth last year for the Faith Formation 2020 workshop, Craig Mitchell, national director of Formation, Education and Discipleship (FED) at the Uniting Church in Australia, will be holding a workshop in  Perth designed to refresh and build on what was learnt. Due to the onset of technology, there have been significant  changes to the way we communicate and learn. We now live in a ‘mobile revolution’ where mobile devices have changed the  way we access information, making it portable and personal. Thanks to social media, anyone can now be a ‘content creator’ and engage in online conversation on any topic. Continue Reading

UnitingCare welcomes new support for people with severe symptoms of dementia

The Government’s announcement of $54.4 million in funding that will go over four years to a new initiative to support people with severe symptoms of dementia in residential care facilities is very good news,” said Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia.

“Our agencies provide the largest share of aged care in the country and we are consistently hearing that the challenges of caring for people with dementia are growing. Additional support to assist residential care providers in meeting this challenge is most welcome.”

Approximately 1 in 4 people aged 85 and over have dementia. With an ageing population it is expected that by 2050 nearly 900,000 Australians will be living with dementia. At the moment, more than half the permanent residents in Government-funded aged care facilities around the country have been diagnosed with dementia.Continue Reading

Uniting Church in Australia stands for mercy

The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) has joined churches, NGOs and others in voicing concerns about Indonesia’s resumption of the death penalty.

UCA President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney is one of 14 organisational leaders who’ve written to both the Indonesian Ambassador to Australia and to the Australian Foreign Minister, expressing grave concerns for at least 11 people facing imminent execution.

Signatories to the letter are asking Indonesia to commute the death sentences to terms of imprisonment. They’re also asking for a moratorium on all executions in Indonesia with a view to abolishing the death penalty. Two Australian citizens Myuran Sukamaran and Andrew Chan are among those facing imminent execution.Continue Reading

New leadership for the UAICC

The National Conference of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress has made two new leadership appointments.

Rev Dennis Corowa is the new National UAICC Chairperson. Dennis is also currently Chairperson of the Queensland UAICC Regional Committee (Calvary Presbytery), Dennis has been involved with Congress since 1985, working in congregational ministry and school and prison chaplaincy. He is one of the authors of Rainbow Spirit Theology. He has a vision for First Peoples to claim their strength and dignity, and life in all its fullness, and to struggle against all that stops people claiming that life.

A new Deputy Chairperson was also appointed – Rev Garry Dronfield of NSW-ACT Congress. Garry is a Bundjalung man, presently ministering at Sylvania Uniting Church.

Tributes were paid to outgoing Chairperson Rev Rronang Garrawurra of the Northern Regional Council of Congress whose work in the last three years has been widely acknowledged across the Uniting Church.Continue Reading

Swan View celebrates

Swan View Uniting Church recently celebrated 13 new members. A Service of Celebration was held where these new members were welcomed into the church.

“We gave thanks for our diversity of members with three members being interviewed about their hobbies and how they  shared these activities with our community,” said Laurel Butcher,  member of Swan View Uniting Church.

80 years of ministry

A quiet lunch for four in country Victoria was the recent setting for the celebration of eighty years of ministry in the church between Rev Dr John Smith and Rev Peter Batchelor.

John and Peter were both born in the Wagin district and went on to service through the Methodist and the Uniting Church. Both were ordained at Wesley Church Perth (now Uniting Church in the City, Wesley Perth) on 13 of October, 1974. On this fortieth anniversary they met with their loved ones around a table to celebrate the occasion.

John was born in Wagin, and after a stint at the Eastern Goldfields Methodist Mission at Boulder as a Home Missionary in 1968, he studied at the Methodist Barclay Theological Hall and the  University of Western Australia. Commencing in 1974 John served in five Parishes in Western Australia and worked for the Uniting Church Synod as the Division of Mission and Nurture Co-ordinator. In 2000 He moved to Hotham Parish Mission in North Melbourne where he pastored to a varied flock including many notable academic and community leaders. John retired in  2013 and continues his reading, writing and occasional teaching on his interests and – always a country boy – commutes between his city home and his country retreat in Castlemaine. Continue Reading

Reflecting on Como Manning

The closure of a congregation usually brings to me a tinge of sadness at the concept that memories won’t be created there anymore. I never considered Manning Uniting Church to be a quiet  peaceful church. It was full of life with a variety of activities for us kids. I have fond memories of plays, preparing the sets and rehearsing. Come Christmas time we would relocate to the hall for church instead of our chapel. Here we would make murals using one and two cent coins with the money going to the Christmas Bowl.

Church camps were a time for all of us to really be a community eating, worshiping, and learning together. I had many sets of parents and  grandparents looking out for me as well as friends  close to my age and older. This is where I developed the skills to move and work within a diverse age setting. Continue Reading