Assembly Update October 2008

The latest edition of Update is now available online and in PDF format. It includes the latest news from our Agencies and Working Groups as well as Uniting Church resources.

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Just a Thought
UIM News
Adult Fellowship News
UnitingJustice News
Frontier Services News
Evangelism and Missiology News
Postions Vacant
Diary Dates
Books and Resources

Just a Thought

From: Terence Corkin
Assembly General Secretary 

When I used to read my daughters bed time stories it would often end with her pleading with me to tell the story again. In my cynical moments I was sure that it was designed to let her stay up later than she should. However it was such a regular cry that I thought there must be something in it. As I have reflected on the importance of stories it seems to me that we re-tell them because we want to understand them more fully or deeply; or because they touch some emotion inside us that we cannot bring to the surface without the benefit of the story. Stories connect us to people — people we never knew, to the person who shares their story and even to ourselves. And of course the stories we choose to tell each other communicates profoundly about our values, commitments, hopes and fears. Story telling is a powerful thing. What are the stories that you tell? Why those stories? Have you noticed the stories that you tell change lives? In the latter half of 2008 the Assembly has published two very important “story books”. 

Theology for Pilgrims is a compendium of all the foundational documents of our church. There are documents on the faith of the church, our understanding of the character and identity of the church as well as its core practices — baptism, Eucharist and ministry (with specific documents on ordination, including why the UCA ordains women). There are also documents on the church’s vocation as expressed through its two statements to the Nation, the Covenant with Congress and the statement on being a multicultural church. This large book (641 pages) reminds us that we have a lot to share about ourselves.

Introducing the Uniting Church is a new book written by Rev Dr Andrew Dutney who has written several works on the Basis of Union, including his earlier book Where did the joy come from? We want to tell this story to each other and we hope Andrew’s new book will help us to do that.
 
The Uniting Church is a community that will benefit greatly from people telling each other stories about what is important to them; but also stories about who we are as a people called by God to a particular vocation in Australia at this time.

 

UIM News

From: Amy Goodhew
Communications Coordinator, UIM

New Positions

Uniting International Mission has recently been advertising for an Executive Assistant and a Pacific Partnerships Coordinator. For more information please visit the UIM website at www.uim.uca.org.au

Uniting Church Overseas Aid has also been advertising for an International Projects Officer, applications have now closed for this position.

Everything in Common

Uniting International Mission’s gift catalogue, Gifts of Love, has a new name. Look out this month for the Everything in Common — Gifts of Love for a world in need catalogue arriving in your mailbox.The catalogue lists projects offered by Uniting International Mission, People in Mission, Uniting Church Overseas Aid and Young Ambassadors for Peace that you can directly support.This is a colourful, comprehensive and compassionate catalogue of gifts that really make a difference. Please visit the website.

Pastor Berlin Freed

Kerry Enright, National Director of Uniting International Mission, has received word that Pastor Berlin Guerrero has had his case dismissed by the Philippine Court of Appeals.

The court order was “to lift and/or recall the warrant of arrests and alias warrants of arrest and directed the lower court to quash the information therein and dismiss the criminal case of murder against Pastor Berlin.”

This is a tremendous result for Pastor Berlin and his family and all his supporters.

For more information go to our website.

People in Mission placements for 2009

Looking for a life changing experience? Please visit the UIM website to view the full list of available placements in a host of wonderful communities.

Uniting World

Our October edition is full of stories, photos and information about the doings of the Uniting Church international community and reflects on the concept of reconciliation.

Too often in the work of UIM and UCOA, we see a world divided — east and west, rich and poor, sick and well are separated. Christ came to bring reconciliation and this issue shows some of the ways that we work towards a world reconciled.

The October Edition will be hitting mailboxes mid October. UIM staff abroad

Joy Balazo, Young Ambassadors for Peace Program Coordinator has travelled with Hannah Hoskin, Communication Officer for Uniting Church Overseas Aid, to Papua New Guinea to witness the signing of the peace treaty between 32 tribes. The process to this treaty has been facilitated by Joy and the treaty represents a turning point for the tribes of PNG’s highlands who have been at war for generations.

Kathy Pereira, People in Mission Coordinator, has visited Kiribati exploring future mission placement opportunities and meeting with our partner church in Kiribati.

John Barr, Asia Secretary for Uniting International Mission is heading off to Denpasar, Indonesia and Jayapura, West Papua to meet with some of our Asian Church Partners.

Laurie Fitzgerald, Director of Uniting Church Overseas Aid has recently travelled to India to visit the new UCOA water projects that have been set up in 10 different villages.

Rob Lutton, Community Relationship Manager for Uniting International Mission is travelling to India at the end of October. Rob will be filming some of our projects for future fundraising and promotional material.

Stand With Us Appeal

Uniting International Mission is raising funds for our “Stand With Us” appeal. For more information, visit our website.

South Pacific area seminar Tonga, September 2008

From: Angela Lester
Adult Fellowship

The South Pacific area seminar was held in Tonga from the 13-19 September. The theme for the event this year was ‘Women making a difference through knowing Christ and making him known.’ Angela Lester, Vice President of the Assembly’s agency, Adult Fellowship, attended this event. This is her report.

From the moment we arrived at Fua’amotu Airport to be greeted enthusiastically by the Welcome and Transport Committee with an accompanying band after 11.00pm, the members of the Australian contingent knew Tonga would be an unforgettable experience.

The Seminar was held in the Assembly Hall of Queen Salote College, which is a day and boarding secondary school with an enrolment of 800 girls. Before the Seminar began the students of Queen Salote College entertained the World Officers, Unit Leaders and those who had already arrived with a “Sitting Down Dance” following the presentation by the Form one students of a ha’unga. This was very spectacular and the first of its kind as traditionally such a performance is done by men. The change was made as Queen Salote College is a girl’s school. This gave a small insight into some of the celebrations which had been part of the coronation of King George Tupou V.

The Seminar began officially on Sunday 14th, with an opening service in the Centenary Church of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga, Nuku’alofa. The preacher was the Queen Mother, Her Majesty Queen Halaevalu Mata’aho who is the Unit Leader of Tonga.   The text was found in Hosea 10:12-13 and the theme of the sermon was “In Christ we make a difference”. During the service the Queen Mother officially opened the seminar.

On Sunday evening a spectacular scene lit the Centenary Church as the Seminar participants took part in a candlelight ceremony and sang the theme song “In Christ we make a Difference” written especially by Area, President Rev Mele’ana Puloka. Three choirs took part in the service with the highlight for me being the Sia’atoutai Theological College Choir singing, Zadok the Priest.

The daily program included bible study followed by with group discussion time. The focus of this time was on how women making a difference as: courageous women, ordinary women, women of faith, women who prioritise.

The choice of 35 workshops covered topics from prayer and intercession, hospitality, stress management, the environment, carer to a dying loved one, to Tapa cloth painting and spiritual gardening ensured something for everyone. 

Each unit presented a report of their activities over the last five years and a cultural presentation. Australia’s unit included a power point presentation showing where we come from, our Adult fellowship activities and some of the features of the Australian landscape, flora and fauna. The Thursday Island ladies danced and sang, we all sang some uniquely Australian hymns and songs and our Multicultural representatives danced. We enjoyed the reports and songs and dancing of our friends from Fiji, New Zealand, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Tonga. It was also good to hear from the three Helen Kim scholars: Rowena Connan (2001-2006) of Australia; and 2006-2011 scholars ‘Ilaisaane Kapani (Tonga) and Mataiva Roberts (New Zealand). They spoke during the Youth Night during which time we were entertained by a number of singing and drama groups.

Two bus tours around the east and west sides of Tongatapu, enabled the delegates to appreciate the beauty and history of the small island which Captain Cook visited in 1773 and Methodist Missionaries made contact in the 1820’s.

The closing service of Holy Communion took place on Friday morning the 19th September. Lead by a group of ordained women from across the Pacific, this was a spiritual conclusion to a week of sharing how women can make a difference through the South Pacific by knowing Christ and making Him known.

UnitingJustice News

From: Jennifer Whyte
Research Officer, UnitingJustice Australia

Climate Change News

The Uniting Church has continued its involvement in the climate change and emissions trading debates with a submission to the Australian Government’s consultation process on its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper.

The Green Paper discusses the Government’s preferred position on a range of issues relating to a national emissions trading scheme, known as the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

The Church’s submission stressed the following principles:

  • we must urgently do all we can to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
  • as a priority we must ensure that low-income households and people affected by poverty doe not suffer further as a result of the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.
  • the protection of the environment for its own sake and for the sake of our children and future generations should take precedence over maintaining and growing the already large profits of big industry.
  • the development and use of renewable energy sources is a greater priority than cleaning up existing carbon polluting energy industries.
  • we must begin to transform our economy from one based on fossil fuels to a “green” economy that reflects respect for the limited resources of the planet and the need for justice and equity among all people.
  • Australia has an obligation to assist our Pacific Island neighbours to adapt to the effects of climate change already impacting Pacific communities.

 

In addition, UnitingJustice has produced two fact sheets for Church members wanting to know more about emissions trading and climate change. These, along with a range of UnitingJustice resources on climate change and environmental sustainability, are available from our website.

Please visit the UnitingJustice website to download this submission or any of our range of resources.

UCA appointment to CCA

From: Gregor Henderson
President

Charlie Ocampo, a member of our largely Filipino congregation in St Alban's in Melbourne, commences in a new role with the Christian Conference of Asia in November. Charlie has been appointed as Joint Executive Secretary for Justice, International Affairs, Development and Service.

Charlie will bring a wealth of ecumenical experience to the position, having previously worked over many years with the Victorian Council of Churches and then for Christian World Service in the National Council of Churches in Australia. This new job means a move to Chiang Mai in Thailand. Charlie is the first Uniting Church member to be on the CCA staff in approximately 20 years. Congratulations Charlie, and be assured of the prayerful support of your home church as you commence this huge new responsibility in Asia.

Frontier Services News

From: Rosemary Young
National Director, Frontier Services

Concerts sing up the Bush

In a curtain-raiser to the Red Centre to Gold Coast car rally in September, country music stars Troy Cassar-Daley, Sara Storer and Warren H. Williams got the audience’s blood pumping at the Heartland concert in Alice Springs.

The concert was organised by Frontier Services, the charity partner of the rally, and raised funds for its work among Outback families. The rally traversed many of the areas where the organisation’s founder, John Flynn, worked last century.

A little over a week later Troy took to the stage for the second Heartland concert, in Townsville. Joining him on stage were The Songbirds — Beccy Cole, Sara Storer and Gina Jeffries.

Townsville was another stopping point for the more than 70 rally cars on their way to Longreach. Over 2000 locals heard Troy talk up the work of Frontier Services and I was interviewed briefly on stage during one of the breaks.

Following the concert, Troy offered to assist Frontier Services by recording a series of community service announcements aimed at regional radio stations throughout Australia.

Along the route Frontier Services also organised events, including breakfasts and bush poetry readings, to raise awareness of their work.

Evangelism and Missiology News

From: Theology and Discipleship

The National Assembly Working Groups on Evangelism and Missiology will deliver their discoveries to the Western Australian Synod in November.

Different theological positions have often encountered division rather than communion when they attempted to find ways forward in Australia’s declining denomination. Since the last Assembly this group has found this conversation to be enriching and challenging. Many good ideas have been raised and some old ideas have found their way back. Marshalling these ideas has been a daunting task.  From decisions of the Assembly Standing committee in March the working groups from the next Assembly, July 2009 will become a self -funding network, which will allow more participation from Synod mission practitioners and other interested people. Other such networks have been facilitated by the Assembly; the social justice network and the lay leaders and lay educator’s network.

The Assembly through its new National Theology and Discipleship Consultant, the Rev. Dr Chris Walker, with the working groups will facilitate this network. It has been a bit of a bumpy road for the working groups, especially with the usual hiatus that occurs securing a new staff appointment. The usual staff support has been sadly missed.
 
In Perth, the group will prepare for a major Colloquium with the Doctrine Commission in late 2009, marshalling their creative resources in ways accessible to presbyteries, congregations, schools and agencies.

The new national consultant with the working groups will also look at the funding for this network, given the resource shortages in the Northern, Queensland and Western Australian Synods and the Assembly. However the Uniting church has always been good at working together and finding new ways to do important work.

While in Perth, members of the working groups will hold discussion sessions and panel discussions to assist those attending from WA Synod. In this way, we hope that the art of an open-hearted conversation and the consequent creative “gospelling” may be modeled as well as discussed.

Positions Vacant

UAICC

National Communication Officer and
National Policy and Research Officer

The Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress is seeking to fill the positions of National Communication Officer and National Policy and Research Officer.

The National Communication Officer is required to provide high level advice to the National Administrator and the UAICC on the effective management of issues and various media and communications and to develop and facilitate Public Relation opportunities for the positive promotion of the UAICC.

The National Policy and Research Officer is required to write draft policy and position papers, briefing notes, submissions, information resources and advocacy materials for the UAICC.

For full position descriptions and information packs visit the website.

NCCA

General Secretary

The National Council of Churches in Australia is seeking a General Secretary to act as chief executive officer of the NCCA, exercising ministry on behalf of the member churches by:

  • promoting the unity of the churches;
  • providing vision and encouragement in ecumenical matters to the member churches of the NCCA;
  • ensuring implementation of the decisions of the National Forum and the Executive;
  • facilitating the relationships between the NCCA and its member churches; and supervising the NCCA’s activities.

A position description and application guidelines will be available on the National Council of Churches in Australia website soon where more details on the major responsibilities, skills and gifts required will be outlined.

Please visit the website for more information.

Diary Dates

October

16-17 National Christian Education Reference Committee, Adelaide (Nunyara).

17-19 National Youth Activities Reference Committee, Adelaide (Nunyara).

21-31 Adult Fellowship National President Mrs. Alyson Madsen will visit Victoria as one of the guest speakers at the 2008 AGM and fellowship day on Wednesday 29th October. Contact local groups for more   information.

 

Books for Unitings

 

Books for Unitings are available from UCA bookshops. For info contact Hugh by This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit his website.

Wasps, Tykes and Ecumaniacs
Benjamin Edwards 

Protestant-Catholic rivalry has long been an undercurrent in our socio-cultural life; this new book traces an important and painful part of our religious history in Australia. 

(Acorn)
ISBN 9780908284740                             $36.60 

Ancestral Grace
Diarmuid O’Murchu 

Argues that since God has been with creation throughout its millions of years of evolution, we need a more expansive understanding of the Incarnation and of our relationship with the cosmos. 

(Orbis)
ISBN 9781570757945                              $34.95 

Minister’s Manual 2009
Lee McGlone 

The single most comprehensive resource for preaching and worship available today. 

(John Wiley)
ISBN 9780470229422                              $27.95 

Just Passing Through
Margaret Guenther 

Tackles many poignant themes such as moving, growing old, the magic of words, defending Martha in the Scriptures, spiritual life in cyberspace, holy agnosticism, the importance of asking the right questions, things never to do again, and much more. 

(Sea bury)
ISBN 9781596270503                              $21.95 

50 Ways to Pray
Teresa Blythe

A book for leaders, ministers, youth workers, worship planners and everyday Christians looking for ways to take steps in the lifelong walk with God. 

(Abingdon)
ISBN     9780687331048             $23.95

 

New from MediaCom

 

For more information and to order resources, visit the MediaCom website.

More Services For The Advent Wreath Cycle B
By Robert S Jarboe 

Robert Jarboe offers a wide selection of adaptable resources for any sized congregation that firmly places the Advent candles in the context of the day's scripture readings. There are complete orders of service based on each Cycle B lectionary text for every Sunday in Advent, as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Each service is conveniently formatted, with reproducible sheets that can be given to participants. 

(CSS)
Product code CSS380                           $22.45 

Come to the Manger
Scripture for the Church Season Advent 2008 

  • Lectionary-based; five sessions; one session for each Sunday of Advent, plus readings for Christmas Day
  • Covers each Old Testament, Epistle, and Gospel reading in the lection; each lesson includes commentary on the Scripture

(Abingdon Press)
Product code AB711                              $10.45
 

* Leader’s Guide also available              $10.45 

Doing December Differently 
By Nicola Slee, Rosie Miles
 

Doing December Differently explores how people of faith and goodwill might mark the midwinter season and the Christmas festival with integrity and simplicity.  

(Wild Goose Publication)
Product code WIL023                             $44.95