Multi/Cross Cultural News
The National Multicultural Womens Conference will be held on 4-5 November at Parramatta NSW. It is organised by Settlement Services International (SSI) and the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) and there is a powerful lineup of speakers.
Gathering in prayerful thought and worship, members of the Niue National Conference came together in Sydney over the weekend of October 2-4.
Holroyd Uniting Church Merrylands opened their doors to Niuean members of the UCA who gathered from around Australia, reflecting on the theme “Stop Doubting and Believe Jesus is Christ”.
The will for peace and reconciliation permeated the three-day South Sudanese National Conference in Brisbane from 25-27 September.
With the fitting theme “Building Bridges of Hope”, the conference brought together around 40 South Sudanese members of the Uniting Church from Darwin, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and regional parts of Queensland.
Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan preached at the opening worship of the South Sudanese National Conference in Brisbane from 25-27 September, 2015. His sermon is below.
This is the Rev Dr Gawirrin Gumana AO. I am his son by adoption. When you are in relationship with Australia’s First People, who continue to practise their law and who have retained their language, it is important for them to know how to relate to you. So I was adopted into a Clan/Nation. There are over 50 in North Eastern Arnhem Land. This means I use relationship terms for people in all these Clan/Nations of Arnhem Land, indeed across the Top End and Centre of Australia.
More than 1200 Tongan members of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) came together to grow their Christian faith and share in fellowship in the Hawkesbury highlands of Sydney from 5-8 June.
The Tongan National Conference (TNC), now in its 28th year, is the largest annual gathering of Uniting Church members. The event continues to go from strength to strength with this year’s TNC recording the biggest attendance yet.
Celebrating 30 years of being a Multicultural Church
Mulgrave Uniting Church Indonesian Congregation in the Presbytery of Port Phillip East in the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania is one of the many growing, culturally-rich and spirited communities which make up the multicultural Uniting Church.
Rev. Gaby Kobrossi, the Minister at Bankstown District Uniting Church, knows what it means to be a multicultural church.
Within his congregation, there are more than 20 nationalities and 17 different languages are spoken.
“At Bankstown we don’t talk about being multicultural. We are multicultural,” says Rev. Kobrossi. “When you live it every day, you don’t need to talk about it. We come from different cultures, but we are one family.”
The congregation meets in three different locations, including worship spaces for its Tongan and Arabic ministries.
Once a month, the whole community comes together and shares worship in each other’s languages. It is a joyous celebration of their cultural and linguistic diversity.
On 31 May, Bankstown District Uniting Church will feature in the documentary A Sunday in Sydney by French film company Un Dimanche À screening at the Museum of Contemporary Art at 6pm. The 55-minute film takes a look at how people live their Sundays in Sydney with a special focus on multiculturalism.
Rev Kobrossi says the filmmakers were amazed by the way Bankstown Uniting Church embraced its cultural diversity.
“They had never seen anything like it before. The service they attended was in six different languages, the Lord’s Prayer was sung in Samoan and Tongan and our young people came in their cultural dress.”
Rev Kobrossi says his vision is for Bankstown to be a community where all people feel welcomed and valued.
This commitment to cultural diversity takes place at all levels of the congregation, including the Church Council whose members speak six different languages
One of those members is Alan Zhang who with Rev Kobrossi’s guidance and mentorship has also taken on some preaching.
Mr Zhang says the Church Council has made a special effort to learn about each other’s cultures.
“Working cross culturally requires mutual respect and understanding of each other’s cultures and particular ways of thinking. The Church Council has been working very hard at finding ways of working that are acceptable to each other’s culture.”
“One of the things we have in common is our faith and what Jesus taught us. This faith building and discipleship draws us together.”
Fellow Council member Joseph Karikari says what he enjoys about Bankstown is the way people are made to feel included.
“You are always given a task to be involved in and you feel you are a part of the Church community and you must fulfil your role. If I did not come here each Sunday, I would feel incomplete.”
Dorothy Wildbore, a chaplain at Bankstown Hospital, has attended the Church for 29 years. Despite moving 45 minutes away she continues to drive to Bankstown each week and remains active in the Couples Club ministry.
“I cannot leave Bankstown. We all get along so well,” she says.
The congregation extends its open hospitality beyond the Church walls. The Church will soon open a Multicultural Centre for all members of the Bankstown community, including a café run by young people from the congregation and a book shop.
Interestingly, the people at Bankstown District Uniting Church are reluctant to describe themselves as ‘multicultural’.
“When you talk about being multicultural, it divides people into their cultures, but we are all Australian,” says Judith Wilson who has attended the Uniting Church in Bankstown since she was two weeks old. “We remember and we respect our different cultural backgrounds, but we are one family.”
Rev Kobrossi adds, “At the end of the day we all worship one God. We all believe in Jesus Christ our saviour. Especially as the Church today we need to understand we are one in Christ.”
The Filipino Congregation at Quakers Hill Uniting Church in Sydney's west held a joyous celebration to mark the 16th anniversary of its formation.
More than 100 Church members and visitors shared in worship and festivities guided by Rev. Rodel Palma and Hazel Ann Palma on 26 April.