Green Rider

If you are looking for a stocking filler for Christmas or just to fill in some relaxing time over the break, then this captivating heroic fantasy adventure is for you.

Green Rider, the first book in the Green Rider series, recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Following the success of this book another five were added to the series – First Rider’s Call, The High King’s Tomb, Blackveil, Mirror Sight, Firebrand and a novella, The Dream Gatherer. On 14 September 2021, a seventh book called Winterlight  was released.

The Green Rider series is suitable for both young adult and adult readers, falling into the categories of supernatural/classic fantasy. The underlying message of the series is that running away from a problem does not solve it and choosing to do ‘nothing’ at times is also an action.

The book begins with our protagonist, Karigan G’ladheon, a merchant’s daughter, who has fled from school following a duel in where she bested a wealthy aristocrat, an incident that will likely lead to her expulsion. As she makes her way through the deep forest, a galloping horse pounds up to her, its rider impaled by two black-shafted arrows.

With his dying breath, he tells her that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary elite messengers in the king’s service and makes Karigan swear to deliver their message he’s carrying. Giving her his green coat, with its golden winged horse brooch, the symbol of his office, and whispers on his dying breath, “Beware the shadow man…”. This promise given changes Karigan’s life forever.

Pursued by unknown assassins and following a path only her horse seems to know, Karigan unwittingly finds herself in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand. Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the message, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

In a world with kings, elves, and monstrous creatures emerging from a breach in the wall, this book manages to step outside of the typical cliche fantasy without losing its heritage. All in all, it is a great read.

Andrea Garvey

Help build the Archive collection

Uniting Church WA Archivists,

The Uniting Church Archive has long been a vibrant and bustling hive of activity and this year, celebrated 39 years since its inception in 1982.  As we look to the future of the Archive, there is much eager anticipation for its 40th anniversary in October next year and all the activities that this celebration will bring.

There have been many changes over the past 40 years, but what has been consistent has been the dedication and enthusiasm brought to the Archive by the many wonderful volunteers who have generously given their time and expertise. We currently have nine active volunteers who are working on a variety of projects such as digitising marriage registers, collating photographs and updating people and place histories.

We are also grateful to the members of the wider Uniting Church community, who continue to identify and value items that reflect our history and then send them through to the Archive for inclusion in our collection.

The past 39 years spent archiving the Uniting Church’s history has created a collection that is an  eclectic one. It is a mix of physical items such as a stained glass window, textiles, books and photographs from the 1800’s, through to the digital records of today.

As we look forward to our 40th celebrations next year, we would like to send out a call for any items that may be suitable for inclusion in our collection. Items such as Baptismal, Marriage and Death Registers, minutes of meetings, correspondence, historical and biographical records, photographs, financial records, parish newsletters and brochures, architectural plans, membership rolls and so on would be gratefully received.

Any queries can be directed to the Uniting Church of WA’s Archivist, Marissa Krajcar at archiveswa@wa.uca.org.au or by calling 9260 9865.

Shout out to all our Church Councils and Elders!

The Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership (CEDAL) is offering training for Uniting Church WA Church Council Members and Elders.

These leaders bring a wealth of knowledge and wisdom from their own faith, life experience, professional skills, community participation, and involvement within the church.

They give their time, energy, enthusiasm and so much more, so that our congregations, and the broader church, can run effectively. Yet, rarely do we take the time to help them shape what they bring for leadership into the specific demands and context of leadership in the councils of the church.

Within the Uniting Church constitution, we ask church councils and elders to do spiritual oversight and pastoral care, build-up the congregation in faith and love, sustain its members in hope, and lead them into a fuller participation in Christ’s mission in the world. The training starts looking at the DNA of the Uniting Church. We also consider the language we have to talk about spirituality for ourselves, with the people in our congregations, and the communities beyond. We also think about the dynamics in church meetings, and how participating in Christ’s mission requires taking time to consider our communities and how we might connect, and how to develop new ways to engage.

We have now run this program twice, with great feedback. Participants have enjoyed the interactive space and the chance to develop deeper background into the work of leading our churches.

CEDAL will be running this program again in 2022 at a place near you! To host the training for Uniting Church WA congregations in your local area, get in touch by calling CEDAL at the Uniting Church Centre on 9260 9800,  or email cedal@wa.uca.org.au.

Discovering mission for God’s world

Rev Rob Douglas, Uniting Church WA Presbytery Minister (Mission) reflection on termite mounds across the Kimberley landscape.

Perception can be an interesting thing.

Prior to starting work with the Uniting Church WA, my wife and I were in the Kimberley region in the far north of WA doing a locum ministry with a Baptist church. For well over 12 months, I had been producing good news stories on video for my YouTube channel and blog (inspirenewscast.com) and the Kimberley was a rich source of stories.

I had produced a number of inspirational videos for residents of the Esther Foundation and decided to do a reflection on the termite mounds that dotted the landscape across the Kimberley. I was thinking along the lines of these mounds representing the church and the great work that people were doing in working together. Termites basically chew, spit and poo. Hey presto! They produce a massive mound that serves as a means of climate control for their nests.

But the more I thought about it, the more I realised that there was something wrong with this first perception. Yes, that’s what the church is often like – a safe and secure place where we can work together and achieve our goals – but is that what God has really intended for us? That became the question for the video I finally produced, which you can watch at inspirenewscast.com/2021/08/27/what-about-mound-building

In September this year, I commenced as the Uniting Church WA Presbytery Minister (Mission). I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with congregations within the Presbytery discovering more about God’s mission in the world, and how we can connect with what God is already doing.

Recently, a team of people, organised by the Presbytery of WA’s Thrive Mission Committee, spent a weekend being trained as mission coaches. These people will be available to work with congregations that are seeking to discover the mission God has called them to and help them in their mission journey. I am excited to see the possibilities that will emerge from this training.

Mission has long been the thing that makes me tick. I’ve been a Baptist pastor for nearly 40 years and for about 15 years served as a bivocational pastor. As the name suggests, I served as a pastor part-time and was part of the regular work force for the rest of my time.

Rather than think about my ‘secular’ work as just a way to make money to keep the family alive, I saw everything I did as mission. This gave me a deep sense of purpose and I hope to share this as I carry out my work in the Uniting Church.

Perhaps it comes down to that ‘perception’ thing I talked about earlier. When we are involved in our local church, do we perceive that we are building a termite mound that is safe and warm, where we can work together with our friends? But when we go to work, or look after the grandchildren, play golf, participate in the local Rotary club, study at university, that’s something else altogether?

I have a sense that God has called us to serve in this wonderful world and our purpose is to discover God’s fingerprint in everything that we do.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to go on a journey with you as we together discover God’s mission for us. I’m really hopeful that just as I began to get a different perception of the story of the termite mounds as I thought about what story to tell on video, we can also develop some different perceptions of the nature of the church.

That we can begin to tell stories about a church that is no longer isolated from society like a mound that has been created through the spit and poo of busy termites; but instead, we will have vibrant stories to tell about the Spirit blowing a fresh wind of new life through our local communities.

I look forward to our journey together.

Blessing the animals

NorthWay Uniting Church Beldon/Carramar 

In conjunction with St Francis of Assisi Day, on Monday 4 October, the NorthWay Uniting Church  Mission Team organised a Community Celebration and  Blessing of Pets Service on Saturday 2 October. A total of 32 people came long, including children, excluding pets!

Our guests of honour were City of Joondalup Mayor, Albert Jacob and Caitlin Collins MLA, Member for Hillarys.

The informal morning celebration opened with that beautiful creation hymn, ‘All things bright and beautiful’ followed by the much-loved ‘How much is that doggie in the window’ and ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’, which were sung lustily by both pets and their owners.

After each animal was introduced by name, each pet received a special blessing.

A brief reflection was shared by the Minister and the service ended with the singing of a locally written song about kangaroos and cockatoos, fish and fowl and moths and sloths. The half-hour celebration was followed by an elaborate morning tea. 

PLC Pipe Band celebrates 40-year anniversary

The Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC) Pipe Band is celebrating 40 years since its first performance and its unique status as the first girls’ school pipe band in Australia.

Historically, pipe bands have been an all-male pursuit, however, thanks to the foresight of PLC’s then Musical Director, Eric Page, the introduction of the PLC Pipe Band has gone from strength to strength and is now a source of immense pride for the school.

Throughout its four decades, the PLC Perth Pipe Band has been a  regular feature at events throughout Perth, including ANZAC Day Parades  in Perth city, the Perth Royal Show,  Lilac Hill cricket matches, and many military events.

Marking this momentous occasion, a book has been published, celebrating the 40-year milestone.

Historian, Old Collegian and current parent, Lucy Hair has researched four decades of the PLC Perth Pipe Band to bring together an amazing collection of photographs and stories about the origins of the band, its tours and awards and fascinating insights from across the 40 years.  Lucy has also compiled a comprehensive list of every pipe band member since its inception in 1981.

To purchase a copy of this piece of history visit trybooking.com/events/landing?eid=752222&

Local community connection delivers new Foodbank facility in Yanchep

Uniting WA’s Financial Wellbeing Services team member, Paul Jordan, has been instrumental in facilitating the delivery of a new mobile Foodbank service in Yanchep.

Living and working in the local community, Paul identified an exceptionally high need for food relief in Yanchep and surrounding suburbs and a lack of services extending beyond Joondalup.

Understanding that travel to Joondalup was out of reach for many people, Paul went above and beyond to facilitate the delivery of a new Foodbank service to meet the needs of families in Yanchep.

Harnessing his community connections and working closely with Foodbank WA, the City of Wanneroo and Yanchep Men’s Shed, Paul played a significant  role in sourcing a new venue for  the service.

The Yanchep Community Men’s Shed kindly offered ongoing use of their facility, and the new service to help families struggling to put food on the table was launched on 24 August 2021.

Amanda Hunt, CEO of Uniting WA, said a significant number of people in Yanchep and surrounding areas are living under food stress.

“With the government’s COVID support removed, pressure on working families has never been greater,” she said.

“Evidence tells us that place-based solutions work.

“We’re proud of the work our team has done with Foodbank WA to facilitate a solution that will meet the specific needs of the local community.”

The mobile Foodbank truck distributes food hampers from the Yanchep Men’s Shed Bracknell Street carpark every Tuesday from 9.30am to 10.30am.

One of Paul’s former clients, Margaret, who received financial counselling support after being made redundant at the age of 70, is volunteering with Uniting WA to support delivery of the service.

If you need help or know someone who does, free-call the Foodbank Emergency Relief and Food Assistance Hotline on 1800 979 777, Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.00pm.

Intentional relationships bring new life across the church

Some members of the St Martin’s Forrestfield and Kalamunda Uniting Church’s combined Covenant Yarning Circle with a copy of the A Guide to Congregations in WALKING TOGETHER AS A FIRST AND SECOND PEOPLES.

Life is better when it’s shared with others.

This is true for us as individuals, and can also be applied to our groups and organisations. Working in collaboration and partnership is a foundation of the Uniting Church.

In this vein, some Uniting Church WA congregations are finding support and renewed life by creating mutual partnerships. Our congregations are diverse geographically, culturally and theologically. Each has its own gifts that they bring to life, which through an intentional relationship could be shared for the benefit of others.

St Martin’s Forrestfield and Kalamunda Uniting Churches have, for over ten years, held a Memorandum of Agreement for a shared arrangement. Included in this is a Joint Co-ordinating Committee, which consists of members from each congregation whose role is to facilitate the process, as well as encourage opportunities for shared ministry and for growth in leadership. The two congregations work together in mission, share ministry costs, have two joint social justice groups, share discipleship and formation studies, and hold regular joint worship services.

Noranda and Margaret River Uniting Churches have also recently formed an intentional relationship, holding a virtual joint worship service where pre-recorded elements were played out in each congregation’s worship. Other congregations, both metropolitan and rural have also enjoyed these kinds of relationships.

The Presbytery is encouraging congregations to consider whether they too are called to develop relationships with another – not as an amalgamation, but as an intentional partnership which works for the benefit of both congregations.

Alison Xamon, Chair of the Presbytery of WA, said there are an exciting range of reasons for congregations to form intentional relationships with each other.

“We’re quite excited about what intentional relationships can offer for congregations,” Alison said. 

“It’s an opportunity for meaningful relationships beyond their immediate congregations with other members of the Uniting Church. And to learn different ways of worship, to gain ideas about different ways to do mission and an opportunity to deepen connections across the Uniting Church.

“This is an opportunity to expand, strengthen and grow congregations through increased connection.”

The Presbytery of WA is offering to support congregations as they discern if this is something they would like to pursue, by connecting congregations who might be a good fit for each other.

Alison invites all congregations to prayerfully consider how they might be able to connect in this way and whether this is something they would like to pursue. If your congregation would like to know more, contact Rev Dr David Ferguson, Presbytery Officer for the Uniting Church WA, on 9260 9800 or email david.ferguson@wa.uca.org.au.

Scarborough celebrates the harvest

In October, Scarborough Uniting Church celebrated a special Harvest Service led by Darren Mouchemore, one of our Elders.

Darren’s family have been involved in the fishing industry in Albany for many years. Darren had his father’s last fishing net which he used in Mosman Bay, he decided to make it a service celebrating the harvest of the sea, as well as a harvest of the land. We took the opportunity to invite folk who haven’t worshipped with us for some time. Although some weren’t able to come as it was a long weekend, those who did helped to make it a special service.

The theme of harvesting the seas and the land was reflected in the display in the church.

Darren draped his father’s fishing net, which is 76-years-old, over a frame behind the display of food. Some of the food was brought forward by the congregation during the showing of a film on the fishing industry in Albany and was placed on the display. 

Displayed was wheat grown from seeds provided by a farmer friend of another Elder, Margaret Hockridge, and as Darren tells us we were lucky to have it to display, as a friend’s dog decided it looked pretty good to eat! 

Margaret and Alan Hockridge’s daughter, Nerida baked a pastry sheaf of wheat for the display. Darren is a keeper of bees and although he wasn’t able to provide a full frame of honeycomb, he was able to place in front of the display what was available on the day.  It was a family affair as Darren’s wife, Judy was on the flower roster for that Sunday.

It is a number of years since we have celebrated a Harvest Festival and it was good to set aside that Sunday to reflect on the bountiful harvest God provides.

The congregation was very generous in providing food for the service.

At Scarborough, the congregation brings non-perishable food to church for Uniting Aid each Sunday. All the non-perishable food was taken by Denis Guyatt and Olwen Henley to Uniting Aid, an agency of the church supporting people in the City of Stirling. Darren took the perishable food to Chrystal Halliday Juniper, in Karrinyup. 

Delys Griffith

Worship Together this Christmas

Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church WA, invites you to the Worship Together Christmas Celebration.

It will be held on Sunday 12 December, on the Lower Great Court lawn of Methodist Ladies’ College (MLC), 356 Stirling Highway, Claremont. Gates will open at 4.00pm, with Christmas Carols to begin at 5.00pm.

Chris Lock, from 98five Sunshine FM will MC this fun, family friendly evening.

The event will be a sunset Christmas celebration for the whole Uniting Church WA family, and the wider community, to come together and enjoy the Christmas season.

Come along to enjoy music by the Victoria Park Brass Band, as well as from members of the Uniting Church WA. There’ll also be a sausage sizzle, plus ice-cream and coffee vans.

Bring down a rug, picnic chairs, and a picnic dinner to enjoy carols and community.

“Come and join us as we celebrate the birth of Christ together as one people of the Uniting Church WA,” said Susy.

“Christmas is such a special and joyous time. I am delighted to be able to share in this Christmas event with you, and to spend an evening praising God and reflecting on the birth of Jesus, as one church.”

For more information, email maree.kemp@wa.uca.org.au or call the Uniting Church Centre on 9260 9800.