Uni life in lockdown

In February 2020, I travelled to Melbourne to begin my studies as part of candidating through the Uniting Church WA to become a Minister of the Word.

My studies and ministry formation took place at Pilgrim Theological College and I lived – and worked as the chapel verger – at Queen’s College, University of Melbourne. At the time there were a few articles about a new virus and some travel restrictions to a province in China, but it seemed far away. Continue Reading

The road to Badjaling

Rev Dr Alison Longworth, retired Uniting Church WA Minister, shares her experience of revisiting Badjaling, while traveling from Perth to Quairading to lead worship.

After the easing of restrictions due to COVID-19, Western Australians were being encouraged to ‘Wander out Yonder’ and I was preparing to travel into the wheatbelt. On the Sunday morning I was committed to lead worship with the Quairading Uniting Church and in the afternoon I had arranged a visit to the Ballardong Noongar community at Badjaling, a few kilometres east of the town.

My connection to Badjaling began in 1987 when I visited the former Mission site with my family. The recently erected memorial plaque acknowledged two missionaries, and the thirty-nine Noongar families who lived on the Reserve near the railway siding from 1930 to 1954. My Great Aunt Mary Belshaw was the founding missionary, hence my initial interest.Continue Reading

On the banks of the River Pumba: Moderator Elect travels back to her childhood church

Susy Thomas, Moderator Elect of the Uniting Church WA, was invited to attend an annual Christian convention at the church she grew up in, in Kerala India. The conference was held in February this year, just before COVID-19 restrictions came into place. She shares her experience. Continue Reading

Lessons from Bourke

My wife and I were lucky enough to travel through Bourke in western New South Wales on a trip through central Australia to visit our son’s family in Melbourne.

I have been involved with the Mowanjum Aboriginal community for over ten years as a member of the Boab Network, which grew out of All Saint’s Floreat Uniting Church. Through the network, we have become very familiar with the issues that confront Aboriginal people in the Mowanjum community and the nearby town of Derby. Continue Reading

Larapinta Trail reflections

In early September 2018, I walked the Larapinta trail. The Larapinta is a bushwalk starting just out of Alice Springs and traverses the West Macdonnell ranges, ending 230km later at Mount Sonder.

I have enjoyed bushwalking for a while, but what drew me to this place was a question we were asked in church the year before: How do you see and experience God? Continue Reading

Going home: a bittersweet journey

In October last year, we travelled to England for a holiday. This visit was primarily to visit our daughter Alison and family, but as usual when we visit England we caught up with various members of both of our families and some friends, as we both grew up there. Upon reflection, this visit was a mixture of both good and sad experiences.

On the way to England we met with Floss’ cousin and her husband in Amsterdam. Both couples celebrated Golden Weddings in 2018 and we had our own special time of celebration together. They travelled to Holland in their car and so we had a new experience of travelling overnight on a ferry – the nearest we have had to a cruise! We docked in Newcastle-upon- Tyne which is where our daughter, Alison, lives.

For Floss, the trip up the north east coast was special, being the part of England where she was born and lived for her first 42 years. Watching familiar landmarks from the sea was an exciting experience and brought some tears. Continue Reading

Working with our sisters and brothers in Bali

When you’re going to Bali, it’s rather cool to be able to say you are going “on work!” Especially when talking to other West Australians going there for the usual reasons.

Rev Marie Wilson and I were able to say this as we fronted up to the Jetstar flight out of Perth on a recent Saturday night. We had a job to do! Our task was to introduce some of the senior clergy of the Balinese Protestant Church (Gereja Kiristen Protestan di Bali – GKPB) to the discipline of professional supervision.

We soon discovered they knew a lot about ‘supervision’, but that what they knew was more about top-down management than professional supervision, and anyone who has experienced that kind of top-down management tends to steer clear of supervision. It’s a common misunderstanding, even among our enlightened Uniting Church ministers.Continue Reading