National Update August 2011

Welcome to the August edition of National Update with latest news from the Assembly

arrow Just a thought
arrow From the President
arrow Youth and young adult ministry
arrow Outback care and community services
arrow Worship, theology and discipleship
arrow Cross cultural and international ministry, relief and development
arrow Justice and advocacy
arrow Resources
arrow Synod news

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Just a Thought


Rev. Terence Corkin, General Secretary, Assembly

Recently I went to a closure of ministry service for one of the significant Ministerial leaders in the life of the Uniting Church. I attended because while it was an event to mark the closure of a particular placement it was also the last placement for this Minister who had served long and effectively in Assembly placements. Read more

When one comes to the end of formal stipended ministry the questions around “have I made a difference in the lives of people” becomes more pronounced than usual. Being in ministry for 40 years is a major commitment and it is understandable that people might reflect in that way.

Some might wonder whether anyone who works in an Assembly placement could possibly have an impact on the lives and faith of people in the life of the church! Of course Frontier Services Patrol Ministers and Defence Force Chaplains are also Assembly Placements so at least some of them certainly measure up.

What became clear as I listened to the people speaking about this man’s ministry was just how many people he had profoundly affected. Quietly and faithfully this faithful servant had offered ministry in remote communities, congregational settings, in national leadership and in various other places. To an outside observer it may not have appeared obvious how so many people were affected and assisted through these callings. What I was reminded of is that it is not the outward appearance of what we do, or how other people assess our relevance that matters, but what God does with our acts of faithfulness.

It seems to me that one of the great liberations of Christian discipleship, and in my experience ordained Ministry too, is that it really doesn’t matter how other people (or we) assess the effectiveness of what we do. How wonderful not to be caught up in that treadmill of seeking affirmation, endorsement and approval for what we are called to do. Rather the key to a satisfying life of discipleship is living out of a deep discernment of what God wants for us. God will certainly use that kind of faithfulness. If we are really lucky we might just get to hear about how God did that. 


From the President

Last week at the invitation of the Christian Conference of Asia I participated in a church leaders' solidarity visit to Jeju Island in South Korea.

Read more at Alistair’s Blog.



Youth and Young Adult Ministry

About FACE 2012 with Congress Communities
About FACE 2012 is open for applications until the end of August. People 18 and over, young adults through to mature adults are welcome to apply to participate. Who could you personally invite to About FACE 12? Read more

There have been lots of expressions of interest and inquiries already which is great. Applications close at the end of September. You can download application forms and promotional resources from the website.

Indigenous people from Congress will be hosting the About FACE participants and helping them grow in their understanding of how better to be the people of God together. About FACE is a time to make great friendships, do some soul searching, enjoy great fun and expand our life experience and world view in Christ.

Check out the updated website or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Stepping Stone Events
Are you, (or could you be), running an event to help build bridges between our indigenous and non indigenous peoples? Read more

You can promote this event as a Stepping Stone event on the About FACE website. We’d love to let people know of all the different ways people are creating stepping stones of reconciliation that people can cross to come together in harmony.

Whether it is a simple bbq together or a “Walking on Country” experience, we’d love to know about it.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let us know that you're doing and ask us to list it as a Stepping Stone event! Your event might inspire others to try the same sort of thing with their peoples.


Outback care and community services

New dementia resource for remote Indigenous carers
A new resource that provides activity ideas for carers of Indigenous people with dementia was launched on Wednesday, 10 August in the remote community of Wugularr, 120km southeast of Katherine. Read more

The book Dementia: things to do, Activity Ideas for Carers is designed to assist carers and aged care service providers in rural and remote Indigenous communities, where the incidence of dementia is estimated to be up to five times higher than the general population.

Frontier Services NT Dementia Behaviour Management Advisory Service (DBMAS) developed the book after identifying a gap in resources for carers in remote Indigenous communities.

Funded by the Department of Health and Ageing, Dementia Community Grant 2009, the resource aims to assist carers in improving the quality of life for people living with dementia and also reduce some of the behavioural symptoms of dementia.

“In our experience people caring for older Indigenous people in communities were seeking advice and support that the work they were doing was engaging the person with dementia,” said DBMAS Program Manager Judy Ratajec.

“The resource explains why activities are important and provides prompts and ideas for carers.”

Some of the activities listed in the resource include going back to Country, collecting bush tucker, bush aromatherapy, painting and weaving, storytelling and physical activities and games such as chair football or boomerang golf.

Each activity is accompanied with colour photographs, many of which were taken in Wugularr.

Alongside the distribution of the book, DBMAS will conduct training and education on how to provide activities in dementia care.

“We have already done some education in the Kimberley region around the resource. The feedback so far has been fantastic,” Ms Ratajec said.

Frontier Services and Roper Gulf Shire Aged Care Service Wugularr hosted the launch of the book.

Great Outback BBQ hits the centenary
The Frontier Services Great Outback BBQ now has more than 100 registrations.

Don’t miss your chance to be involved in the inaugural fundraising event this September. Clean the grill and find your passion for the Outback while you raise funds to assist those of us that need a hand in remote Australia. Read more

Gather friends, family or workmates in the backyard, paddock or courtyard to enjoy each other’s company around the BBQ. Anyone who signs up will be sent a BBQ Host Pack including posters, invitations, recipes, fundraising ideas and more.

All money raised will go towards the work of Frontier Services. Go to Frontier Services's website and look for the Great Outback BBQ logo to download your registration form or call 1300 787 247 and ask for Jacqueline to register your event.

Bonny Hills great-grandparents lend a hand in the bush
Brian and Lola Milsom, from Bonny Hills on the mid north coast in NSW, are using their spare time and years of experience to lighten the load for families in the outback. Read more

The great-grandparents of three and grandparents of 10 are volunteers with the Frontier Services program Outback Links that provides support for families in the bush.

Mr and Mrs Milsom, aged 74 and 73, recently travelled 19 hours north to volunteer their time for a family on a cattle station near Duaringa, west of Rockhampton.

Previous to this, they have volunteered to help repair a run-down historic pub in the tiny town of Fifield, 150km west of Parkes, and provided an extra set of hands at a property in Thargomindah in southwest Queensland.

Mr Milsom said they first learned about Outback Links at the Bonny Hills Uniting Church, where they are members. The idea of supporting families in the outback immediately struck a chord with them. “People say they get a call to do things. We really feel that we were pointed in this direction,” he said.

“We have a lot of experience between us,” said Mrs Milsom. “It’s a shame to sit back and do nothing with it.”

They seized on the opportunity to use their experience to help others with Outback Links.

Travelling in their four-wheel-drive and caravan in tow, the Milsoms travelled to Duaringa and spent two weeks at the cattle station, assisting wherever they could.

“The family was extremely happy with what we achieved,” Mr Milsom added.

Mr and Mrs Milsom went away feeling blessed too.

“Most of the time, we are helping out with the mundane, everyday jobs that have to be done, but the honest gratitude and thankfulness that we receive really brings home that these are the things they appreciate the most,” said Mr Milsom.

Outback Links volunteers provide an extra set of hands to help families cope with added pressures, such as an illness, financial strain, seasonal workloads or any other situation.

Volunteers come from all walks of life, including retirees, backpackers, tradespeople, teachers and others. All that is needed is a willingness to pitch in.

To find out more go to or phone 1300 731 349.


Worship, theology and discipleship

New resources for Calendar of Other Worship
The Working Group has decided to develop resources in relation to the Calendar of Other Commemorations that can be found in "Uniting in Worship 2". Read more

The Calendar commemorates significant and influential people in the life of the Christian church from the first century until the present. The intention is to offer biographical and inspirational material regarding each person in the Calendar. Anyone interested in contributing material for this project is invited to contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for full details.

Lectionary printing error
Those using the Lectionary Card for 2011-2012 will be aware of a printing error that identifies the Sunday after Trinity as Pentecost 8. Read more

The Sunday after Trinity is always Pentecost 2 and subsequent Sundays are numbered accordingly. All the other information, including the actual readings and the numbering of the Sundays according to "Ordinary Time", is correct. We apologise for any confusion. Future editions of the Card will include an explanatory footnote regarding the numbering of the Sundays after Pentecost.

Discipleship training course
A Discipleship Training course which has been introduced to people across the country as a tool for helping people to grow in their faith and understanding as disciples is now on the Assembly website. A course outline and leaders’ notes are provided along with a commendation from the first course conducted and a sample advertising flyer.

New Doctrine resources
The Doctrine Working Group assists the Assembly to develop teaching which guides the church’s life. At various times papers are written, presented to the Assembly Standing Committee and published. Read more

“Discerning the work of the Holy Spirit’ is one current topic, offering guidance to church members and councils. When the church is facing new questions, and where there is disagreement, how are we to know that we are listening to the Holy Spirit, and not simply mimicking the ‘spirit of the age’? The paper will be made available on the doctrine webpage, and will be translated into a variety of languages. Secondly, a discussion paper is being developed under the title, ‘What does it mean to be Church?’ prompted by the debate about the relationship of agencies to the wider church. The range of Doc.bytes is being expanded: current ones being developed are on ‘Worship’ and ‘Conversion’.

World Methodist Council and Conference
Chris Walker will represent the Assembly and be one of ten people from across the Uniting Church who will attend the World Methodist Council and then Conference in Durban, South Africa from 1-3 & 4–8 August.  This once in five year conference will bring together people from around the world who share a common ancestry and connection through this heritage.

New World President of WFMUCW
Mrs Ann Connan (former national president of UCAF) was elected and installed as World President of WFMUCW at the World Assembly Johannesburg last week.


Cross cultural and international ministry, relief and development

Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress news
The latest Message Stick from the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress is available to read here.

Horn of Africa Crisis Appeal

Horn-of-Africa-Crisis-Appeal(caption: “This is the last of my food” Lucia Muvilo Ngotho, north eastern Kenya)

In recent weeks our media has been flooded with images and stories from the Horn of Africa, depicting the humanitarian crisis that is threatening to affect over 11 million people. Read more

Drought and severe food shortages have already caused a number of areas in Somalia to be categorised as being in famine, with communities in Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Djibouti suffering as well.
As part of a network of Australian faith-based NGO’s, UnitingWorld is responding to the crisis to support relief efforts at the Dadaab and Kakuma Refugee camps located in Kenya. These camps are receiving over 1,300 people daily and the struggle to provide immediate relief is constant. The camp was originally created to accommodate 90,000, but with over 400,000 now residing in or around it, there is great strain on basic necessities like water, sanitation and food distribution. Please consider supporting relief work. For more information, please visit UnitingWorld's website.

New Experience Placements for 2011-12
Part of connecting communities for life is the opportunity for people of the Uniting Church to connect and share life with our partners in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. Read more

UnitingWorld facilitates relationships between church partners who request assistance and volunteers who are willing to work and experience the life of partners in practical ways.

A range of exciting new placements are now displayed on the UnitingWorld website and there are opportunities for anyone – young or old, skilled or unskilled!

Why not consider volunteering for a time. We need people who want to share the hope of Christ and learn more of what He is doing in His world. Our primary need is for people who will live in communities, sharing lives in a real, day-to-day way.

For more information, please follow this link.


Justice and advocacy

Productivity Commission report – a welcome start for disability care and support
UnitingCare Australia welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s final report into disability care and support and the Prime Minister’s endorsement of a National Disability Insurance Scheme. Read more

Commenting shortly after the release of the report National Director, Lin Hatfield Dodds said: “Together with the aged care announcement earlier this week, these reforms signal that the Federal Government is stepping up to the social challenges of our time.

“We welcome the Government’s intention to take this to COAG and make disability care and support a priority of all governments through a special select council on disability reform. The creation of an advisory committee, including experienced community representatives, is a demonstration of the partnerships needed for a better deal for people with disabilities. “The expertise and commitment of communities and carers has built the momentum for this reform, and this experience will be essential for the successful design and implementation of the changes.”

The Productivity Commission has proposed a 7-year timeline for the full implementation of the Scheme, beginning with a trial in Victoria in 2014. Over time the Scheme would then be widened to include the other States and Territories. Ms Hatfield Dodds noted that, “The true value of an NDIS will be seen in the lives of people with disabilities, in their communities and in their interactions with services. This is where we need to focus our energies.

“People with disabilities have struggled for long enough. It’s time for us to stand together as a community and say that we will no longer accept the unfair, rationing- and crisis-driven system we currently have. “This Scheme will change not only the lives and experiences of people with disabilities, but will make Australia a more equitable and just society.”

Ms Hatfield Dodds concluded, “UnitingCare Australia and the UnitingCare network is committed to positive change in the disability sector and look forward to working with the State, Territory and Federal Government to implement this much needed reform.”

Social Justice Sunday - 25 September 2011
On the occasion of Social Justice Sunday this year, church members are invited to consider the many issues that surround Australia’s prison system. Read more

The Social Justice Network of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) has prepared an A4 booklet on this theme, I Was in Prison and You Visited Me as a resource for church members, small groups and congregations.
I Was in Prison and You Visited Me includes many alarming facts about prisons in Australia, for example that Indigenous people who comprise about 3% of the Australian population make up 26% of the total prison population and that 25% of the Victorian prison population comes from 14 postcodes (out of 647). The resource also includes personal accounts of people serving ministries within prisons and suggests ways to advocate for a more just society.

This years Social Justice Sunday material may be used on or around 25 September or throughout the year.

Printed copies will be available in early August. Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. your Synod office or UnitingJustice Australia or phone (02) 8267 4236. It will also be available on the NCCA website.

Climate Change Conference - The Climate Crisis as the Crisis of Humanity, 20 September 2011
United Theological College are hosting a full day seminar on the crisis of climate change on Tuesday 20 September 2011. Read more

The guest speakers are:

  • Ernst Conradie, Professor of Systematic Theology and Ethics at the University of Western Cape, South Africa, one of the world’s most respected theologians working on environment and climate change, whose publications include Christianity and Ecological Theology and Hope for the earth: Vistas on a new century
  • Clive Hamilton, Professor of Public Ethics, Centre of Applied Philosophy, one of Australia’s most recognised public intellectuals and author of such well-known books as Affluenza, Growth Fetish and Requiem for a Species.

The cost is $40 (waged), $25 (unwaged) or $10 (exclusive of lunch).

For more information or to register by 13 September, contact:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., United Theological College
Phone: 8838 8927



Interfaith September

During September, congregations within the Uniting Church in Australia, as well as other interested individuals or groups, are encouraged to create a community of hospitality, conversation and friendship with people of all faiths throughout their neighbourhood. Read more

Beginning the first Sunday of the month, ‘Interfaith September Sunday’, congregations and groups are invited to select an activity to complete throughout the month. This might be as simple as completing a book or DVD study or as ambitious as hosting an interfaith festival. Resources for several potential activities are available in the Interfaith September 'Activity Tool Box'.

Throughout the following weeks, congregations and groups will be taken on a journey of reflection across the anniversary of September 11, the International Day of Peace, culminate in groups bringing their chosen activity to life on ‘Interfaith Community Sunday’; when neighbours become friends and a deepened understanding of each other blossoms.

Click here to download interfaith September resources.

Uniting Ministry email
Are you engaged in ministry? Interested in developments and resources in ministry? Want to stay connected with the work with other Uniting Church agents of ministry?

Why not This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to sign up to the Uniting Ministry monthly email for new resources, news and features on ministry from around the Uniting Church.


Synod News

To find out about what is happening across the country visit the Synod news sites below:

New South Wales and the ACT - Insights

Northern Synod - Northern News

Queensland - Journey

South Australia - New Times

Victoria and Tasmania - Crosslight

Western Australia - Revive

To learn more about employment and other Assembly news go to