Fundraising concert for Bush Chaplaincy

Swan View Uniting Church is hosting a fundraising concert on Saturday, 1 May at 7pm in aid of Bush Chaplaincy.

Bush Chaplains all over Australia fulfil a difficult, yet much-needed role. They are often on the frontline and can identify any issues being faced by communities and individuals in the bush through sharing a cuppa and a chat.

They lend a sympathetic ear, refer people to other service providers as appropriate and provide practical, pastoral and spiritual support to those in need.

Travelling tens of thousands of kilometres each year, our Bush Chaplains collectively visit thousands of families and individuals, but getting to remote locations is one of their biggest expenses. 

Pastor Lindsay Ginn is both the Uniting Church WA Bush Chaplain in the Remote Area Ministry, Goldfields Patrol and a talented musician. He will be performing a range of music from iconic musicals and films such as Phantom of the Opera and Chariots of Fire. Plus, there will be opportunities for audience participation through singalongs and a game of ‘guess the song’.

The concert will run for approximately one hour with supper served afterwards. 

Donations to further the work of the Bush Chaplaincy will be gratefully received. 

Please RSVP to Ray or Winsome Richards on 0488 504 285 for catering purposes.

To read more about Lindsay Ginn, check out this article from the March edition of Revive.

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

Calling for Justice for Refugees on Palm Sunday

Justice for Refugees WA, a network of more the 40 community organisations, faith groups and human rights agencies, is calling on Australia’s political leaders to abandon the current harsh and unjust policies of detention, uncertainty and limbo, and to instead provide permanent protection for people seeking safety. Instead of prolonging the despair of people seeking asylum, the group calls for political leaders to provide protection, security and freedom, through a fair and just process.

Over several years the group has coordinated the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees along with groups around the country. This year, as a precautionary approach in light of COVID-19, the group hosted a live webinar event at the Uniting Church in the City Hall, Perth, which was watched by small groups gathered in community centres and homes across the state.

Farhad Bandesh, a Kurdish asylum seeker who was recently released from a Melbourne immigration facility following eight years of detention, called into the Perth Palm Sunday event to share his experience. Mr Bandesh said, “I can’t describe how good it feels to be out of detention – freedom is beautiful. We just need everyone to be free.”

Joanna Josephs, General Manager of the Centre for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD) was a guest speaker at the event. CARAD provides essential case management, emergency relief and volunteer support for people from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds in Perth, and they are concerned at the increasing demands on their service.

Ms Josephs explained that it was a particularly challenging time at the moment, saying, “We have been experiencing a significant increase in need among our client community.

“There continues to be drastic cuts to the Department of Home Affairs’ (DHA) Status Resolution Support Service (SRSS) program. In WA, out of the thousands of people seeking asylum living in our community, only 78 people remain eligible to receive just $36 per day from Centrelink (through the SRSS program). All of the other people seeking asylum are completely ineligible for any form of Centrelink.

“The federal government must not continue to deliberately force people seeking asylum to live in the community with no financial support while they take years to process asylum claims.”

Associate Professor Caroline Fleay, Co-Director of the Centre for Human Rights Education at Curtin University added her voice to the call for a humane response to people seeking safety saying, “Let’s be guided by compassion in how we respond to others. Instead of limbo and uncertainty, we can offer freedom and a future where people seeking asylum and their families are safe.

“The cruelty of immigration detention, forcing people to live on temporary visas indefinitely, and refusing to reunite families, none of these are humane solutions for those who have turned to us for refuge.”

Susy Thomas, Moderator of the Uniting Church Western Australia said, “Australians have had enough of the cruel marginalisation of refugees. People want to see some real change in the way people seeking asylum are treated. Indefinite detention and temporary visas create terrible anguish that we cannot, with good conscience, continue to allow.”

Refugees and people seeking asylum currently languish in either the limbo of detention or the uncertainty of temporary protection visas. People in Papua New Guinea and Nauru are approaching their eighth year in limbo.

Approximately 30,000 refugees in Australia (the “legacy caseload”) await visa grants or live on temporary visas with their futures shrouded in uncertainty and limbo. Many families are separated with no hope for reunification due to the cruelty of current policy, and live in constant fear of deportation to danger.

For further information contact the UCWA Social Justice team at social.justice@wa.uca.org.au.

To watch the livestream of the 2021 Justice for Refugees event, click here.

Help support ministry in fire affected communities

As part of the Uniting Church WA’s pastoral and material response to people affected in the recent Wooroloo and Hills bushfires, a $20 000 donation has been committed to the Lord Mayor’s Distress Relief Fund (LMDRF), Western Australia’s official State emergency fund, to help ease the financial burden of people’s loss.

During the fires, the Uniting Church WA’s Disaster Relief and Community Recovery Working Group held emergency meetings to discuss immediate support to congregations who are ministering in affected communities.Continue Reading

Time for some deep conversations

Sometimes it’s easier to talk about a difficult topic by being part of a group of friends talking about the subject. This brings in a variety of other people’s experiences. Having a chance to tune in to  other people’s feelings and reactions without directly having to give your own views can help you shape your own thoughts. Once the conversation is proceeding in a respectful manner you can choose your moment to reveal your personal views, experiences or concerns. Continue Reading