Reconnect with the Covenant

The Uniting Church WA, through the Social Justice Commission, has released a Covenanting resource for its congregations.

A Guide to Congregations in Walking Together as First and Second Peoples encourages and supports councils of the church to re-commit to the Covenant with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC), to engage and deepen covenantal relationships, and to inspire the church to take action for creating change. Continue Reading

Tranby Engagement Hub a WA first

Uniting WA is thrilled to have opened the doors to its transformed Tranby Engagement Hub (Tranby), Perth’s first co-designed and purpose-built crisis intervention space for people experiencing homelessness.

Minister for Community Services, Simone McGurk, officially launched the newly renovated Tranby, made possible by a $1.7m grant from Lotterywest, at an event in June.Continue Reading

Uniting Church WA calls to protect LGBTQA+ community from harmful ‘conversion therapies’

The Uniting Church WA calls on the Western Australian Government to work closely with the LGBTQA+ community and survivors of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts (SOGICE), including people of faith, to introduce legislation to protect people from harmful ‘conversion therapies’.

This practice, which encourages efforts to directly and indirectly attempt to change or supress a person’s sexuality or gender identity, has caused serious, ongoing, and tragic harm to those affected. Continue Reading

Looking forward, looking back

One of the great pleasures I have enjoyed in my first year as Moderator has been the opportunity to travel outside the metropolitan area into the wide expanses of this great state, and being able to meet with so many community leaders andcongregations. Often, I have been overwhelmed by the tenacity and improvisation evident in people’s lives. Even in the midst of flood, fire or cyclone, fatalism and defeat take a back seat to picking up the pieces and starting all over again. Continue Reading

Earth, Sea and Sky: Sustainable September 2021

Each year, the Social Justice Commission of the Uniting Church WA resources the church for Sustainable September by preparing and distributing worship material for congregations within the WA Synod.

This year, the theme is ‘Earth, Sea and Sky’, which focuses on nourishing and caring for our natural resources. The worship materials, including a full liturgy outline, sermon reflections and PowerPoint slides, cover the four Sundays in September.

Each Sunday concentrates on a different aspect of the theme – soil, waters, skies and humankind’s relationship with the Earth.

Wendy Hendry, Uniting Church WA Social Justice Officer, said, “We are encouraged to know that congregations set aside the month of September to reflect, pray and take action on issues of sustainability and our Christian call to care for creation.

“The statement made at Assembly back in 2006 is as relevant in 2021 as it was back then, and continues to underpin the work we do, including our focus on Sustainable September.”

The statement, For the Sake of the Planet and All its People, said “we renew our commitment to move towards sustainable non-exploitative living, believing that God’s creation — the Earth itself and all the life that it supports — is precious and the Earth’s resources exist for the good of all now as well as future generations.”

Wendy said “We’re thankful for the work Rev Gordon Scantlebury has done in creating so much of the resource material, which are designed to be a user-friendly package for churches with or without a minister in placement.

“Worship leaders can use the material as is or adapt according to their congregation style. We encourage you to get creative with it, connect with relevant examples of sustainability and environmental issues in your community, and facilitate discussion within your congregation.”

Sustainable September 2021 worship resources are available to download at ecochurcheswa.net/worship-resources.

For more information, contact the Social Justice Unit at social.justice@wa.uca.org.au

Mikaela Turner

Life in our time and place

My wife Deb and I moved to Como and joined South Perth Uniting Church just before the first Pandemic lockdown in 2020. Typically, such a transition would have involved spending time adjusting to our new neighbourhood and faith community. Instead, we had the unique opportunity to be part of a congregation that rapidly adopted to new ways of meeting online, on-site and adjusting to an influx of new people.

The challenge has been navigating through different expectations, styles of communication and age ranges that includes four generations. We experimented a lot, in order to deepen and grow fellowship together as followers of the ways, works and words of Jesus. The pandemic constricted all of us to local places, as well as accelerating a bunch of societal changes. How are we meant to think, talk and act as followers of Jesus in our ‘new normal’ time?

I often remind myself of Jesus’ promise that the Holy Spirit will teach and guide us at the right time with what needs to be said and done (for example, in Luke 12:12).

As I look back over the past 18 months, I’m struck by Bible stories, set in a very specific time and place, that we explored – and which became meaningful to us – in our time and place. Using the Godly Play material’s ‘core stories’ we started with Creation, Noah’s flood and Tower of Babel, before exploring the journeys of Abraham, Jacob and the Apostles, and finishing with the stories of saints like Eric Liddell, Amy Carmichael and John Wesley.

We have discovered that each of these witnessed to God’s presence, protection and provision and have acted like anchors in our own stormy season of change.

Is it strange that the unique experiences of people in their place and time can help us in ours?

Generation after generation have discovered and rediscovered the Bible as a valuable “light unto our path” (Psalm 119:105) with its ability to “equip (us) for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). One claim for the Bible’s power to bring peace and hope is that it’s God’s overarching revelation and explanation of history to humanity. We are the beneficiaries of that slow and intentional unveiling that culminates in Jesus, and is unpacked in the early church and subsequent disciples by the Holy Spirit.

Suppose when you die, you come to God with a list of questions regarding the point and purpose of creation and  specifically humanity. You might ask God:

  • why did you create us, particularly if you knew we were going to rebel and be so destructive? or
  • why did you not just wipe-out all the bad people and start again? or
  • why are there so many languages that makes communicating so hard between people? or
  • why didn’t you choose a good family to be your spokespeople on the earth? or
  • why didn’t you send someone to tell us directly what we are meant to do? And so on and so forth.

All these questions and many more are answered in the Bible. Of course, we might not like the answers and in that case we might want to read Job Chapters 38 to 41 and find God’s response to such a disagreement.

I wonder what stories from distant places and long ago times encourage, comfort and challenge you?

Its winter here in the Southern  Hemisphere, making it an ideal season to curl up with the mostpopular book in the world, the Bible, and refresh yourself for the days ahead.

You must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. Many of you have been taught the Holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true, and to make us realise what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work. (1 Timothy 3:14-17)

Rev Mark Illingworth

With love in an app

With Love to the World: A Daily Bible Reading Guide, first published in 1976, is now available as an app that includes access to the daily biblical texts and commentary in an easy-to-use format.

Many people seek meaning, encouragement, and hope for life. With Love to the World has been meeting these needs for the past 46 years with its daily commentaries on lectionary and associated Bible passages, prayer suggestions, and questions for individuals and groups.

Designed to help users prepare for Sunday worship, nurture their faith, and strengthen us to live faithfully amidst the hopes and hurts of everyday life, With Love to the World is a resource for individuals, as well as for leaders of worship and small groups. It is widely used in the Uniting Church across the country, and in other churches.

“With Love to the World is an inspiring Australian resource which supports the daily practice of prayer and reflection on Scripture and the light it shines on our daily lives,” said Dr Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia.

“I commend this resource to local churches and individual members of the Uniting Church.”

To subscribe to the app visit the App Store or Google Play Store. The cost is $24 per year. For booklets, email wlwuca@bigpond.com or call (02) 9747 1369. Visit the website at withlovetotheworld.org.au or email the Editor, Dr Peter Butler, at editorwlw@bigpond.com.