Christmas with UnitingCare West

While Christmas is a time of joy and celebration, almost one third of West Australians feel the stress of disadvantage and isolation during the festive season.

Many people will seek help from charities for their basic needs such as food, or for assistance paying bills. Many more feel lonely and disconnected from family, friends and their community.

This Christmas, UnitingCare West expect to see more than 2 000 people at their hubs in Perth, Fremantle and Merriwa. For the first time, UnitingCare West’s Tranby Centre in Aberdeen Street will be open every day during the Christmas and New Year period, from 7.00am to 7.00pm. Continue Reading

SHARE and humanity thrives

Rev Roy Surjanegara is the Minister at GKI Perth Uniting Church, an Indonesian speaking congregation in Mosmon Park. This edition, he writes about this year’s Family and Culture Month at their church.

September is the month to celebrate family life and Indonesian culture for GKI Perth Uniting Church. We call it ‘Family and Culture Month’. Each Sunday, one ethnic group is highlighted in the service through the use of the local languages for the Bible readings, songs, and prayers. Musical instruments, clothing, decorations, and traditional food also play an important part in creating the atmosphere of being in Indonesia for a day. This year, we celebrated the Batak culture of Sumatera, the Sunda culture of West Java, the Dayak culture of Borneo, and the Tionghoa culture of Indonesian-Chinese descendants. Continue Reading

No mistakes in Creative Endeavour

In the bushy surrounds of Perth’s hills, a Uniting Church congregation is bringing life to the community through art and creativity. Kalamunda Uniting Church’s Creative Endeavour program is reaching people in ways the congregation could not have initially expected.

“It’s all about the journey,” Elizabeth Bishop, founder and leader of Creative Endeavour, tells me. And what a journey it is.

There are many ways to appreciate art; but for those who are using artistic creativity for personal enjoyment, it’s the process – the journey – that often leads us to new places. Continue Reading

Community refugee sponsorship: a local solution for a global issue

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) forecast that 1.44 million people will be in need of resettlement across the globe in 2020. Meanwhile, last year less than 7% of people in need of global resettlement were settled into new homes.

Australia currently offers the Community Support Program to help resettle refugees into the country. Under this program, individuals or businesses can support refugees to begin their new lives in Australia. This may sound great, but critics point out that the program has some major flaws, and is actually inaccessible to most people.

As global conflict is creating more and more refugees each year, the Uniting Church WA is calling for a new compassionate and generous refugee sponsorship program in Australia; supporting the introduction of the Community Refugee Sponsorship Initiative. Continue Reading

70 years of the Christmas Bowl: Australian churches unite

1300 churches spanning 15 denominations across Australia have come together to stand-up to injustice and respond to the urgent needs of men, women and children who are fleeing conflict and disaster worldwide.

“It is heart-warming to see that in an age of increasing division, churches in Australia from a wide range of faiths and traditions have pledged to take action together in order to share God’s love with our brothers and sisters in urgent need around the world,” said Hannah Montgomery, Act for Peace, the International aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.

The pledge has been made to support the 70th anniversary of the annual Christmas Bowl appeal – a pioneering fundraiser launched in Australia in 1949 to provide support for the millions of refugees suffering after WWII. Continue Reading

Looking for people with room in their hearts and their homes

UnitingCare West’s Futures Foster Care service is looking for people with empathy and compassion to provide a home to young people with high care needs who are no longer able to live with their families.

Futures provides long-term disability and therapeutic foster care options for children and young people who may have significant trauma and abuse histories, as well as developmental, physical and/or medical care needs.

Neil and Beth Reynolds fostered their first child around 18 years ago, after raising five children of their own. They now share their lives with five foster children, aged 29, 11, 10, seven and five.Continue Reading

Sustained by faith, hope and love

Rev Nalin Perera, Chaplain at Wesley College shares his reflections on faith, hope and love through the journey of life.

Throughout my adult life journey I have discovered with each passing year that life, first and foremost, is a journey of hope, with its twin companion, faith. Ultimately, by necessity, life has to also be a journey of love, otherwise it will lack depth and any real sense of purpose.

In the early weeks of January, I was struck down by a mystery illness, so serious that I was rushed to hospital and admitted to intensive care. Continue Reading