Perth faith groups join global demonstration for climate justice

Increasingly impatient that governments, corporations, and financial institutions have not addressed the climate crisis despite decades of warnings from scientists and mounting climate impacts, the Uniting Church WA joined with the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC) and diverse faith communities around the globe in a co-ordinated action under the banner of Faiths 4 Climate, in October.

Ann Zubrick, Presiding Clerk of Quakers Australia joined the Western Australian branch of ARRCC as they gathered outside the office of Federal Member

for Swan, Hon Steve Irons MP. Supporters in Bunbury also gathered outside the office of the Federal Member for Forrest, Hon Nola Marino MP.

“We have already seen with fires and floods what happens when the science of climate change is not heeded,” Ann said.

“By contrast, we’ve seen during this pandemic that good outcomes are achieved when scientific advice is followed but, when governments do the wrong thing, it’s the poor who are hurt the most.

“Climate scientists are urging the strongest action possible to mitigate climate change, hence our call for much stronger action by 2030. Governments like Australia’s need to wake-up out of their complacency.”

Geoff Bice, Executive Officer: Social Justice for the Uniting Church WA and President of ARRCC WA said, “Western Australia needs to play its part in reducing emissions too. There have been some encouraging developments in renewable energy, but the State Government seems to avoid talking about emissions from the gas industry which is by far our biggest polluter.”

The action in Perth was part of a global series of events organised by the GreenFaith International Network, a global, multi-faith alliance. Actions took place all over the world, including in New York City, London, Jakarta and Sydney.

The worldwide action gave voice to a set of demands developed by grassroots people of faith which surpassed those included in a statement issued by the Vatican and high-level religious leaders on 4 October.

These demands include: an immediate end to new fossil fuel projects and tropical deforestation; universal access to renewable energy; policies creating green jobs and a just transition for impacted workers and communities; support for those forced to migrate due to climate impacts; and reparations from countries and industries responsible for the lion’s share of historic greenhouse gas emissions.

Over 200 high-level faith leaders and 100 religious groups representing more than 100 million members have signed onto these demands.

Find out more about ARRCC WA on their Facebook page.

Hospitality fundraiser for the IDPC – Leeming Uniting Church

The Uniting Church WA International Partnerships and Development Commission (IDPC) is engaged with four key partners: in West Papua, Timor Leste, West Timor, and Sri Lanka.

During COVID-19, all the partners have had to adapt to the crisis to promote health advice, support access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and basic sanitation and hygiene, as well as support access to emergency food supplies due to broken supply lines. With the impact of COVID-19 on our international partner churches, there was a call for more support.

Leeming Uniting Church responded by donating the money from our annual fundraising dinner to be held in February to this worthy cause. The congregation also agreed to match all money raised dollar for dollar.  Sadly, due to a COVID-19 shutdown this was postponed to later in the year. Due to the need for urgent funds, Leeming donated $2 500 in anticipation of raising that amount. 

The event was eventually held on Saturday 9 October with Rev Brian Thorpe and Lyn Callaghan, members  of the IDPC, speaking at our service prior to that, inspiring us with stories of IDPC projects.

At our annual fundraising dinner, held at Leeming Uniting Church member’s Shirl and Roy Francis’ home, we normally aim for 60 guests where we serve a three-course meal with alternate plate drops. We ask for a minimum donation which is collected on an honour basis. With raffles and the generosity of those attending who enjoy their meal and are willing to pay more, we are usually able to raise a generous amount of money. 

Although this is a fundraiser it is also an opportunity for us to build relationships with those in the community as we invite our friends, family and neighbours to share a meal with us. A team of volunteers under the co-ordination of Shirl Francis work hard to make this happen. We have chop-slice-dicers, those who help set-up, those who plate up, serve, clean-up and of course those who spend the time to invite their friends – as without that we would not raise much money. 

Our attendance numbers were down to 41 in October due to many various circumstances. All we could do was place it in God’s hands and hope that we could raise the $2 500 already gifted.

God never disappoints. Despite our low numbers we exceeded all expectations and made a profit of just over $3 200. This means that the IDPC can expect the balance of about $3 900 shortly.

Thank you to all those that attended and helped, and to Brian, Jan and Lyn who volunteered to help serve. Never underestimate the gift of hospitality. God can use that in a powerful way.

Aussie Divinity Candy

Christmas is just around the corner! This Australian version of an American treat makes for great, sugary homemade gifts, or addition to the Christmas spread.

The ‘Divinity’ candy is believed to have originated in the south of the United States of America as early as 1915, when corn syrup started to become widely used as a substitute for sugar.

It’s unclear where the name came from, but a popular theory is that when first tasted it was declared to be ‘devine’. We invite you to make up this sweet treat and experience the sugar rush for yourselves! 

Ingredients (makes 16):

1 large egg white

1 1/2 cups castor sugar

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup glucose syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped

1/2 cup glace cherries, roughly chopped

rice paper sheets (optional)


Place egg white in bowl and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare mini cupcake tray with mini patty pans, or line the bottom of a loaf pan with rice paper, cutting to fit.

In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and glucose syrup; bring to the boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Cook, without stirring, over medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 146°C.  Just before the temperature is reached, beat egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form.

Slowly add hot sugar mixture in a thin stream over egg white, beating constantly and scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add vanilla. Beat until mixture holds its shape, about 5-6 minutes. (Do not overmix or mixture will get stiff and crumbly.) Immediately fold in macadamias and cherries.

Quickly drop heaped teaspoons onto prepared patty pans. Let stand at room temperature until dry to the touch. Store between baking paper in an airtight container at room temperature. If using rice paper, pour into prepared pan. Press firmly into the base. 

Top with the remaining rice paper sheet. Set aside in a cool, dry place for 4 hours to set. Turn candy onto a chopping board and cut into 3cm squares to serve.


Use chopped Turkish Delight and pistachios instead of cherries and macadamia nuts.

We want to share your recipe! If you have a recipe you’d like to share, send it in to

Making room for all the colours of Christmas

What is the colour of your Christmases past? 

As a child, the Christmas colours I recall are mainly green, red and white. There were cards with snowy scenes, holly and evergreen trees and table decorations in these colours.  Most people decorated pine trees. Santas were red and white (influenced by Coca-Cola).

I was still a child when I knew a person who bucked the trend. He had an orange flowering Western Australian Christmas tree, or Moodjar. 

Not everyone approved. It seemed that most people thought we ought to use northern hemisphere – English and North American – colours.

The colours of our Christmases may not suit us as we conform to family expectations or traditions which we might otherwise not follow. 

What colour do you associate with Christmas present? 

For many, Christmas this year is bright. 

In some places, especially where it is celebrated in the shadow of COVID -19, Christmas is muted or dark.

This may affect us if presents do not arrive because of world supply chains and the sheer volume of post and parcels. This may affect us if those dear to us have had a hard time or continue to live with deprivation, uncertainty or consequences of the times that are hard to manage.

I know some for whom a dominant Christmas colour is blue.

‘Blue’ symbolises Christmas being sad or hard, including for those feeling losses keenly or a particular reminder of some distressing experience, such as a gap in our gatherings for Christmas. 

Not everyone finds this a ‘wonderful time of the year’. Over time, a deep blue Christmas may become lighter, yet never stop having a bluish tinge. One Christmas letter I received last year said the person had known over 20 people who had died in 2020.

The message of Christmas is for those for whom Christmas is blue.

What colour do you associate with Christmases yet to come? 

The good news of God’s work is that the season when we celebrate the coming of the light has the power to encompass all the colours of the spectrum. 

At times the colours shift and different ones dominate – that is inevitable. A time that is bright for us may not be bright for everyone around us. John’s gospel reminds us that the light of Christ shines in the darkness and the darkness will never overcome it. 

So, we hold to the Christmas hope, peace and joy whenever we can and remember that the core of the season is a message of God’s love for all. This is a gift we can always offer each other.

“Joy to the world… Let every heart prepare him room…”

The love of God which is embodied in Christ and the Christmas stories has a particular focus in the gospel for this year.

For Luke, God was revealed not to the powerful, the confident or comfortable, or people central to social life or the power structures, but to those whom others saw as inferior or not to be included in the circle. 

‘Shepherd’ in some minds in the first century meant ‘unclean,’ dirty, smelly, crooks and cheats, even when the poverty they lived with was beyond their control. In Luke’s story, these are the ones who have a central place. 

There are many ways of experiencing being outside the circle. It may be that our colour doesn’t fit with some others’ expectations, it may be that we feel unable to share what is really going on with us. 

There are many versions of Christmas, many experiences of Christmas. Different versions speak to different people. 

Some enjoy the frills, and some prefer plain. Some may attract us, and some repel. As there are many different colours of Christmas, there are many dimensions to  be explored. 

What about you?

We are invited to come with hearts prepared to make room – for the joy – and for whatever is real for us, whatever colour or combination of colours are ours this year.  Making room means allowing for God to reveal new dimensions of Christmas to us.

Rev Ian Tozer

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 or by calling 9260 9865.

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 ( 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

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. 

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.

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 or call the Uniting Church Centre on 9260 9800.