Mandjar: A sense of hope and purpose

mandjar 1 022“I go to three-day conferences and end up exhausted. This one has been full on, yet I feel so energized.”

“Best conference I have been to in its feel and purpose.”

“A time for renewal and rest in God.”

As feedback on conferences go, Mandjar, the National Lay Preachers Conference, was tops.Max Howland, Chair of the National Lay Preachers Committee described it as “wide-ranging and well-balanced”.Continue Reading

Farewell and blessings

Rev Ian Pearse and Rev Marie Wilson breaking the ties.

Rev Ian Pearse and Rev Marie Wilson breaking the ties.

On Sunday 8 June the Uniting Church in Australia congregation in Mandurah held a special Breaking of the Ties service as they said farewell to Rev Ian Pearse. Ian has accepted a call to Bacchus Marsh in Victoria.

Ian and his wife Bev have been in placement in Mandurah for 5 years serving the community. Ian was a member of the Interagency Group who organise the annual Christmas Hamper distribution, Youthcare who support the Chaplains in schools, Peel Homelessness Night shelter group and Rotary. He supported the Mandurah Rainbow lunches providing a range of care for those who attended.Continue Reading

Health seminar unlocks perfect portions

Juniper, a Uniting Church in WA agency and one of Western Australia’s largest providers of retirement, residential and home aged care, brings a free information session for seniors, families and friends to help people maintain a healthy weight.

Ever wanted to know the difference between a portion and a serve and how it can enable you to lose weight? Or how to read those confusing numbers in food packaging?Continue Reading

Christian groups’ budget response

The Uniting Church in Australia and some of its agencies have spoken out against the recent Federal Budget announcements. Rev Prof Andrew Dutney, president of the Uniting  Church in Australia, said that the recent funding cuts would hurt some of the most vulnerable Australians.

“The Federal Budget lays out an extensive range of program cuts and structural changes,” he said. “Cutting more than half a billion dollars from Indigenous programs, tough new  conditions for youth support, and making all Australians pay to see a doctor are just a few of a number of measures that have the potential to harm those who really need our help.” Continue Reading

Pentecost – A time to celebrate Christian Unity

All World Council of Churches member churches – including the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) – are invited to study the latest document from the (WCC) The Church – Towards a  Common Vision, and respond formally to the series of questions posed. Some study sessions around the four chapter headings could also be an option for your congregation or faith  community.

“The Church – Towards A Common Vision provides a great resource for us to consider how we, as members of the UCA, live and work to promote  the unity that we have as members of  the body of Christ,” says Maureen Postma, convenor of the Uniting Church in Australia’s Christian Unity Working Group. “This  important document is now also supplemented by a  Study Guide, to be found at http://assembly.uca.org.au/unity/resources.”

To order hard copies of the text contact Rev Dr Chris Walker at cuwg@nat.uca.org.au. Cost is $10 plus postage and handling per copy,  with discounts for multiple copies. Chris would  also be keen to hear your comments from the studies.

Comings and goings: Church life is full of them

Sunday 4 May was a significant date in the life of Willetton Uniting Church and in the ministry of Rev Caroline Gepp. It marked the conclusion of her 10 year placement with this congregation. Caroline conducted a special liturgy of Eucharist and as part of the service the moderator, Rev Ron Larkin, presided over the formal release and breaking of the ties from her induction vows made at Willetton 10 years ago.

With a full church and some joyful singing – not to mention the sumptuous morning tea – the occasion was well and truly marked. Caroline leaves with the love of the congregation and the expectation that her future ministry will be fulfilling. Continue Reading

An open space to share passion

Port Hedland picEvery church in community has its unique challenges and the Uniting Church in Port Hedland is no different. Port Hedland is an industrial town. The majority of people who come to  live here come to work and they work hard, long hours, odd shifts with little time to engage the community outside of  their working environment and for a comparably short length of  stay.

The average turnover of stayers at the last count was 13 months. Some of the social issues that reflect the harshness of this environment include the high incidence of  aggressive working environments, resulting in workers experiencing bullying and intimidating managerial tendencies; high incidence of hidden and exposed domestic violence, broken and struggling relationships, sexual assault, unwanted pregnancies, depression, isolation, and suicide. We have found ourselves being drawn to the quiet, meditative, and  reflective space for worshipping together. Continue Reading

Carnarvon in community

This last Sunday I was driving back to the church building with a congregation member I normally pick up for our services and someone shouted out from a verandah, “I’ll be coming  to church!” I did not recognise him but did know the person he was sitting with, so I called back “see you there” and gave him the thumbs up.

Ten minutes later he arrived at our service, asked if he could share in our time of prayer for others when the time came, and introduced himself after the service. He was visiting Carnarvon for a relative’s funeral held  the previous day. He explained he had been telling the relatives he was staying with that he wanted to attend church that day. Soon after, I had driven past and his relative had said to him “That’s a pastor, he’ll be back shortly with the lady he picks up for church”. Continue Reading

Shaping a future not our own

“Instead of asking what the church can offer young people,” Dr Alec O’Connell, headmaster of Scotch College said, “we should be asking, what the young people can offer the church. “They are walking and living theologians, but we need to give them the structure,” Alec added.

Thus began Summer Spirit, WA’s annual event which this year revolved around the theme ‘Shaping our future’. Rather than exchanging  scenarios based on future studies, the  conversations revolved around identity and relationship building, meaning making, and the realisation that the church’s task is to lay the foundations of “a future not our own.” Continue Reading