Going further together

The Eastern Wheatbelt Uniting Churches welcomed their new minister, as Rev John McKane was inducted into the region on Sunday 24 August at Mukinbudin Uniting Church. John is now the new minister at Muckinbudin, Merredin, Bruce Rock and Southern Cross Uniting Churches.

John has come to the region fresh from Johannesburg, South Africa, where he had been serving as a minister to the Linden Presbyterian Church. He said that he considers the local church to be the hope of the world.

“If you want to go fast, you go alone,” John said. “If you want to go far, go together.” Continue Reading

Become a worm farmer!

Want to give more life to your garden and to the planet? One way to recycle our food waste is to make a worm farm. Composting worms will turn your old food into healthy soil that can  then be used to grow more food. By using worm fertiliser there is no need to buy chemical ones which can be bad for the environment.

1.Find a polystyrene box with a lid that sits  securely on top. Ask at your local fruit and veg store if they have any used broccoli boxes that you can have.

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2. Use a pen or pencil to put holes about 8cm apart. This allows air into your worm farm but won’t let the rain in.

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3.  Tear newspaper into strips and put it in a bucket and wet it with water. Once the newspaper is wet, tip out the water and put the wet newspaper in your box. You want the paper to be wet but not dripping.

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4. Add your worms. Make sure you buy ‘red worms’ or ‘composting worms’ as they are not the same as earthworms.

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5. Place the lid on your farm and keep it in a shaded place. Let your worms settle into their new home for a month before you start feeding them food scraps. They will begin to eat  the newspaper so will not be short of food.

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Happy worm farming!

Bonnie Wykman

Sue Ash awarded Order of Australia

UnitingCare West CEO, Sue Ash, was recently awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. The Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) is awarded for distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or humanity at large. Sue’s award recognises her “distinguished service to the community, particularly in the area of social policy development, reform and implementation, and to the provision  of services to people in need”.

As CEO of UnitingCare West, Sue brings a deep and passionate commitment to UnitingCare West’s mission. This commitment has been shaped over a lifetime by Sue’s strong Christian ethos, and by her desire to ensure people are heard and provided with access to life-enhancing opportunities. Sue has been a part of the community sector for over 45 years and is  passionate about building a civil society for future generations. Continue Reading

Church leaders hold prayer vigil inside Josh Frydenberg’s Melbourne Office

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Advocates for children suffering in detention welcome today’s decision to release SOME of the children from detention, but intend to stay until they have a timetabled commitment from the Government for ALL children to be released.

Christian leaders concerned about all vulnerable children in Australia’s detention centres are holding a prayer vigil inside the Camberwell electorate office of Josh Frydenberg, Liberal Member for Kooyong and Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

The group entered Mr Frydenberg’s office at 10.00am and say they intend to remain until they get a timetabled commitment from the Government that all children will be released from immigration detention centres.

The group welcomes today’s decision by the Government to release a small contingent of children and celebrate this as victory for the whole movement and is a step forward in the right direction.  However, there are still grave concerns for the 662 children outside the criteria of release who will remain in detention and we will not stop until every last child is released from the cruelty of detention. Continue Reading

God next door

Recently, I had cause to re-read Simon Carey Holt’s book, God Next Door: Spirituality and Mission in the Neighbourhood. Holt argues that mission, in our current context, where the  overwhelming percentage of the population have nothing to do with the Christian church, should happen in our own neighbourhood (as opposed to in our churches).

Jesus’ designation  of two commands “love God” and “love your neighbour as yourself” as the essence of discipleship should have always given us a particular focus for ministry in our  neighbourhood.If then the church is to be in ministry and mission in the neighbourhood, what should we practice? Holt suggests four neighbourhood disciplines. Continue Reading

We’ll take families out of detention, West Australians offer

Western Australian churches and leading non-government care organisations have offered support and housing in the community for families with infants being held in offshore detention, following reports of desperate mothers self-harming and attempting suicide on Christmas Island, and offers like this being made by organisations in Queensland and South Australia.

Organisations including the Anglican Diocese of Perth, the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, the Coalition for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees (CARAD), and the Salvation Army have written to the Minister of Immigration to make this offer. The organisations have joined with other not for profits in Australia who are making this sort of proposal offering to house and support detained families with young children, allowing them to live in the Australian community while their claims are processed.

The Acting Moderator of the Uniting Church in Western Australia, Rev Ken Williams said, “We must always remember that asylum seekers are human like us. We find it deeply concerning that nearly 1000 children remain in detention and yet both major parties remain unmoved in their position on asylum seekers. What we are saying today is that alternatives are available. Detention is no place for any child and as a first step towards the release of all people in dehumanising detention, we offer to care for families with newborns and infants.”

At least 71 children have been born in Australia to women seeking asylum. Some mothers are brought to the mainland to give birth before being returned to off-shore detention, while others in the on-shore network have been deported to Christmas Island with their young babies.Continue Reading

Education journeys in the North West

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Just four weeks before this edition of ‘Revive’ went to print, Gail Cresswell packed up her things in Margaret River, in WA’s south west, and moved to Mowanjum, a remote Aboriginal  community in the north of WA on the outskirts of Derby. With a passion for education in Indigenous communities, she is starting up a Montessori program for kids under three.

Montessori is an alternative form of education that encourages independence by creating an environment for children to learn at their own pace. Gail said that the system focuses  heavily on learning by observation and involves lots of one-on-one interaction. “It’s about each child,” she said. “It’s a learning journey for each child.”

“It’s about the kids learning to be resilient and learning to be responsible to themselves.”

It is also a system that has been highly successful in Indigenous communities around Australia. Towards the end of August, Gail and her assistant, Daphne Gilbey, a member of the  Mowanjum community, will be attending the Thursday Island Montessori Summit where they’ll be exploring the benefits of the Montessori approach in Indigenous cultures. Continue Reading

Attacks on innocent civilians in Israel conflict must stop

International humanitarian and development organisation ACT Alliance and Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, have condemned the attacks on civilians and called on the international community to act immediately to stop the escalating violence between Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory. The alliance is calling for an urgent ceasefire, followed by intensive diplomatic intervention involving all parties including the international community, to deal with the actual causes of  the conflict. The call comes as the world witnesses the worst violence between Israel and Palestine in recent years. More than 500 people have lost their lives and thousands more have been injured with over 900,000 being displaced from their homes.Continue Reading

UnitingCare West celebrates 8 years

On 1 July 2014, UnitingCare West will celebrate its Founding Day and 8th Anniversary with an all staff and volunteer day. The event is a chance for all of those involved with  UnitingCare West to reflect on the work that has been achieved over the last year, and to celebrate the progress and growth the organisation has experienced since it commenced  operations as a newly formed community service agency of the Uniting Church in Western Australia back in 2006. Continue Reading

Forming a faith in new times

John Roberto, author of Faith Formation 20/20 and president of Lifelong Faith Associates, is coming to Perth in August to share his experiences, insights and ideas on faith formation.

John has a lifetime of knowledge in faith formation for kids, teenagers, young-adults and older adults. Faith formation is not just something that happens at the beginning of coming to  faith, it is an evolving process throughout a person’s life. He says that in the 21st Century we are in exciting times for faith formation, even though churches can be disconnected  because of rapid changes that have taken place over the last few decades. Because of these changes, many churches are operating in a world which is no longer relevant to a lot of  people. Continue Reading