Issue 32, No 3, 2013
The voice of Uniting Church SA
Love is volunteering sharing time, talents and truth
TONY, THE FOUNDER
A summary of
Order of Australia
responses p. 5
recognition pp. 10-11
two NEW locations for study
Contents FEATURES New Times survey incites change
We can't show you a photo
Tony, the founder Empowered to volunteer It's no secret - Kayla loves to volunteer
21st Century Disciples
What does it mean to be a modern day disciple of Jesus? Lecturer: Tim Hein, Director Of Christian Education & Discipleship
REGULAR PAGES Moderator’s Comment Getting to know...
Letters to the Editor
You choose: Location: South or North Option: 6 or 12 nights South: Monday evenings (7.30-9.30pm), Seeds Uniting Church (Aberfoyle Park), commences 29 April 2013 North: Thursday evenings (7.30-9.30pm), Hope Valley Uniting Church, commences 2 May 2013 For more info, download brochure at www.unitingcollege.org.au
Uniting College for Leadership & Theology is the ministry training and theological education agency of the Uniting Church SA. Uniting College is a member college of the ACD (Adelaide College of Divinity), a registered Higher Education Provider and Registered Training Organisation
Editor: Catherine Hoffman Editor-in-Chief: Bindy Taylor
CONTACT: 8416 8420 firstname.lastname@example.org unitingcollege.org.au acd.edu.au
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New Times GPO Box 2145
Adelaide SA 5001
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newtimes.sa.uca.org.au facebook.com/NewTimesUCA ISSN 0726-2612 New Times is the voice of Uniting Church SA. Published monthly, February through December, New Times represents the breadth, diversity and vision of Uniting Church members in SA. News policies, guides and deadlines appear online at newtimes.sa.uca.org.au. Articles and advertising do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor.
Print circulation: 10,600 Uniting Church SA Level 2, 212 Pirie St, Adelaide p. (08) 8236 4200 f. 8236 4201 country callers. 1300 766 956
Love is united Love crosses barriers of culture, individual belief and personality. The population of the Uniting Church is diverse but the people within it are united by their desire to innovate and grow, to proclaim Jesus Christ, and to transform God’s world.
DEADLINE FOR MAY Wednesday April 10
Seeking more news? UC E-News is the weekly, internal email newsletter of the Uniting Church SA that is distributed every Wednesday afternoon. It seeks to connect the Uniting Church SA community and help church’s communicate with each other - it's part of our core activity of Uniting People. Want to find out about the latest youth events? Does your congregation have something to give away? Are you looking for a new job? Maybe there's an event you'd like to promote? Well, UC E-News is a great communication tool for all of these. We recommend that all people interested in hearing from the Uniting Church sign up to UC E-News to keep in touch with the latest news from South Australian congregations, the Uniting Church SA head office, the Assembly, and much more. It's a part of connecting in community! For more information, or to subscribe, visit sa.uca.org.au/uc-e-news/
Finding time to volunteer Volunteers have always had my respect, and I have often felt a desire to join up with causes that spark my interest or are connected to a cause I feel passionate about. As a student, both in high school and at university, I found it easy to volunteer my time when approached about it. I volunteered for a number of organisations, benefiting a wide variety of causes – from the Red Shield Doorknock Appeal to taking up an unpaid position as editor of the University of Adelaide’s student publication, On Dit. However, as I began to work more hours at my part-time job before moving into full-time work, I found it more and more difficult to motivate myself to give away precious spare time to those who asked. While I still admire volunteers and think that volunteering is a very admirable way to spend one’s time, I do not act on these sentiments. Having spoken to others, I am very aware this is a common problem those who work full-time face. It is therefore unsurprising that many of our volunteers with the Uniting Church are either students or, more commonly, at retirement age. While there are definitely others who make time for volunteering alongside full-time work, they tend to be the exception.
Reflecting on this concept, I began to consider the ways in which people are able to volunteer their time and gifts to assist others in a more informal manner. Can actions such as sitting and listening to someone, cooking them a meal or driving them somewhere be considered as volunteer work? While an individual may not impact the lives of as many people through these kinds of voluntary actions, they can be of tremendous benefit to the person being cared for. Perhaps this kind of action cannot truly be considered as ‘volunteering,’ but I was encouraged by the idea that, in sharing my time and gifts voluntarily in this manner, I could truly help others in a way that fits in with my hectic, messy lifestyle.
‘Volunteering’ is a word that encompasses a number of actions, at the core of which tends to be the idea of doing something for other people, or for a cause, without seeking payment of any kind. When put this way, perhaps volunteering encompasses a wider range of actions than just those performed officially through organisations or churches.
Catherine Hoffman (right) posing for the cover of On Dit’s Winter-themed edition in 2008.
Note: On page 23 of the February edition of New Times a photo was mislabelled. The names below the photo should have been those of Pastor Errol Meaney, of Balaklava Uniting Church, and Fiona Chapman, Emmaus camp coordinator. We apologise for any confusion or inconvenience.
The power of love Well, we’ve made it through the season of Lent. The joyous season of Easter is upon us. How will we celebrate our joy? What will be our response to all this newness bursting out around us from the empty tomb? The theme for this edition of New Times is “Love is volunteering”. As the focussing blurb for this edition states – “Love in action is a powerful thing to behold – volunteering is one of the most impactful ways that love can be expressed” . In a world where many people don’t expect to do something for nothing, I find it refreshing when I have the opportunity to talk with volunteers. These are people with a passion for what they do, whether it is through community service such as Meals on Wheels or by driving a community bus. Volunteers within the church are no different. In my travels as Moderator, I’ve had my eyes opened to many exciting community projects facilitated by members of congregations or through various agencies of the church. Volunteers are the key to many of these initiatives. One observation I’ve made is that many of the volunteers in the church and in the community are senior adults. Some, whilst maintaining their passion for volunteering, freely admit that they can’t do what they used to do because of failing health
or just plain tiredness. Sometimes there is a heartfelt expression of deep concern that their volunteering may have to cease – followed by the fear that there is no one willing or available to fill their role if they should leave. It has been put to me on more than one occasion that ‘nothing lasts forever’ – recent changes in the community and in the church sometimes make it difficult to engage people’s passion for volunteering. However, I am concerned that the quality of life for many within the church and the community will be diminished as volunteering opportunities, and willing volunteers to fulfil such opportunities, decrease in number. Maybe this Easter season will be a time when we are motivated by the love of God in Christ to offer ourselves as volunteers to meet discerned needs within the church and the community. “Love in action is a powerful thing to behold.”
Rev Rob Williams
Placements news Placements finalised since the March edition of New Times: Rev Carol Chambers to Ardrossan (0.5) from Monday 1 July 2013. Upcoming Special Services: Rev Gerry Hodges at Eldercare Cottage Grove on Wednesday 3 April at 10.45am. Vacant Placements as of Wednesday 6 March: Profiles available – Bordertown, Buckingham and Mundulla, Kangaroo Island Linked Congregations, Mallala and Two Wells (0.6), Mt Gambier, Woodville. Profiles not yet available - Ascot (0.8), Colonel Light Gardens, Glenunga, Klemzig (0.5), Morialta, Port Augusta Faith Community Congress, Rosefield, Windsor Gardens (0.5). For more information on any of these placements, please visit sa.uca.org.au/pastoral-relations/placements-vacant
New Times survey incites change Bindy Taylor
New Times received an overwhelming 450 hard copy replies to the readership survey placed on the back cover of the February 2013 edition of New Times. Of these responses, 30% were male and 70% female with 75% over the age of 65, 19% aged 51-64, 5% aged 36-50 and 1% under 36 years of age. The majority of these respondents identified themselves as members and attendees of the Uniting Church. 9% volunteer or work for the Uniting Church or an associated agency. Most people (90%) receive news about the Uniting Church in SA from New Times, and 98% read the publication in print. Almost none of the hard copy survey respondents read New Times online. This contrasted with the online survey responders, of which there were approximately 100, with 82% reading only the print version and 17% reading both the print and online version. Completed surveys came from right across the state with an even number of both country and city readers providing valuable feedback.
There were very different opinions on what attributes of New Times readers liked most, with the length and frequency of the publication being the only thing rated as very satisfactory by the majority of readers. This said, most agreed that the current news-zine is easy to read with good photographs and layout. There were mixed views regarding the cover – a number of people made comments about ones they specifically disliked. Other common dislikes included: political biases, text on coloured backgrounds, a lack of rural stories, a narrow view of the Uniting Church, too positive a view of the church, a lack of theological articles, a lack of biblicallyfocussed articles, and the use of website addresses as the only source of more information. The diversity of people in the Uniting Church in SA ensured there was an equally diverse range of likes, with different people valuing very different sections of the publication. However,
the survey identified two main topics of interest to a vast majority – “Letters to the Editor” and news about local congregations. Many readers also identified a desire for more personal testimonials and stories, articles on controversial topics (with more than just one point of view), stories of people helping others both inside and outside the church, rural news, stories to strengthen faith, and articles about mission and successful outreach. The New Times production team is currently sifting through the many helpful suggestions and recommendations made by readers, which will assist in shaping future editions.
We hear you! As new editors, Catherine and I are grateful for the invaluable feedback we have received on the current New Times publication. It has provided us with the tools to keep progressing the news-zine into one that reflects the breadth, diversity and vision of the Uniting Church in SA. You will notice several changes in the content, style, look and feel of New Times as we continue into 2013. We encourage you to keep sending in your feedback, letters, article suggestions and photographs. Email us at email@example.com
“Mentor your youth” Bindy Taylor
Making a strong argument in favour of his theory, Brian shared his belief that most churches remain at either the Simplicity or the Complexity stage. The majority of young people who grow up attending church are similarly likely to stay in the initial stages – comfortable either with having a simple, black and white mentality and learning from religious writings or spiritual leaders in a community setting. However, this often changes when these children leave home, or enter tertiary studies – this is usually when young people are led to the Perplexity stage in a natural progression of their faith journey. It is a period of questioning for young people, as they become exposed to the realities of life away from the safe haven that is home, their local church and school. New avenues of learning and different people to learn from, especially at university level, open up new experiences and ideas that change the way individuals examine the world around them. While some people will stick through this stage and move on to Stage 4, Humility, many will get stuck in the Perplexity stage. Brian McLaren On Saturday 16 February, prominent Christian pastor, author, activist and speaker Brian McLaren addressed the Presbytery and Synod on progressive Christian thought. Recognised by TIME magazine as one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America” in 2005, Brian McLaren delivered a thought provoking and informative full-day seminar to audience attendees. Brian began the seminar by introducing his “four stages of faith development” – outlining four different ways of viewing and experiencing faith and God. Each stage is complex, with a variety of strengths, weaknesses and ways of viewing the world – what follows is a simplified summary of these stages: Stage 1: Simplicity. A simple, dualistic way of viewing the world – dividing people and things into categories like us and them, right and wrong, good and bad. Stage 2: Complexity. Pragmatic and goal-oriented – there’s more than one way to do things. Stage 3: Perplexity. Relativistic, critical and questioning – everyone has a different opinion; who knows who is right? Stage 4: Humility. Seek first God’s Kingdom; love God and love neighbours – a focus on unity and a few grand essentials.
Witnessing people at the Humility level is important for youth going through the Perplexity stage – Brian highlighted how important it is for young people to observe those for whom questioning has ceased, leaving a deep and passionate love for God and his kingdom. He stressed the importance for people in Stage 4 to mentor and guide youth through the tricky, questioning of Stage 3. However, he also identifies how rare it is to find a space where people at these two very different stages can co-exist, question, learn and grow. Throughout Brian’s talk there was a focus on youth and young people. He identified the importance of this age group in securing the future of the church. His concluding remarks were specifically directed to the younger members of the audience. “You didn’t ask to be born when you were, you didn’t asked to be called to Christian ministry at this time, but here you are. I believe in you, we believe in you. We need you to open up space in your heart for the dreams and visions that the Holy Spirit will give you, and we need to work together to imagine those new possibilities being evoked.” More information on these stages of faith can be found in Brian’s book, Finding faith: a search for what makes sense, available through MediaCom Education 1800 811 311 or by visiting slideshare.net/brianmclaren/stages-of-faith-1920055
Grappling with hostility Catherine Hoffman
On Thursday 14 February, the day before the Presbytery and Synod met, Brian McLaren led a public forum at Adelaide West Uniting Church. The topic “Christian identity in a multi-faith world” connected with Brian’s most recently published book, Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed cross the road? Brian began by looking at the way in which people of different faiths treat each other, drawing a comparison with the way he imagines religious leaders such as Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed would interact. The conclusion he draws is an obvious one – these leaders would probably treat each other much better than their followers do. He supports this argument with examples of how Jesus always looked for the best in others and spoke to those he didn’t agree with or to those who had sinned. “It is not our religious differences that keep us apart,” Brian theorises, “but something held in common across all
religions – we build strong religious identities through hostility to ‘the other.’ We tell our stories about who we are by vilifying others.”
is benevolent towards other religions, breaking down walls of hostility, moving towards the ‘other’ and saying “because I follow Jesus, I love you.”
Continuing to address the hostility that exists between so many religious groups, Brian went on to examine the way that Christianity in particular relates to others. He identified two ways in which Christian churches and individuals tend to view the world. The first of these he labels the “Strong-Hostile” – a strong-hostile church or person that has a strong Christian identity and is hostile towards people of other religions; the second is “WeakBenign” – a weak Christian identity that is benign or benevolent toward other religions.
With questions, sharing and participation from those people in attendance, Brian went on to explore how to deal with difficult passages in the Bible before moving on to church rituals and four different challenges that he sees the modern church facing. He also examined the different ways in which people read the Bible.
There are obvious strengths and weaknesses in these two models, and Brian argues that we need to focus on an alternative model – the “Strong-Benign.” He sees this type of church or individual as having a strong Christian identity that
Underlying this continuing discussion was the idea that there is a need for balance and a deeper exploration of the ways in which Christians view both their own religion and the wider world. For video and audio of the sessions run by Brian McLaren, please visitsa.uca.org. au/resources/brian-mclaren or contact Communications on 8236 4249.
Modern discipleship Ever wanted to learn what it means be a modern day disciple of Jesus? Uniting College is providing an opportunity for people to educate themselves by offering 21st Century Disciples, a course led by Tim Hein that will provide a deeper study of discipleship. Held one night a week at two Adelaide locations, 21st Century Disciples will commence on Monday 29 April at Seeds Uniting Church (South) and on Thursday 3 May at Hope Valley Uniting Church (North). At each location the course will be held in the evening from 7.30-9.30pm. A variety of study options and a flexible pricing structure will ensure that no one misses out on this unique opportunity. The options are as follows: 6 nights (non-Adelaide College of Divinity) – $70 (supper included) 12 nights (Adelaide College of Divinity, audit, no assessment) – $275 12 nights (Adelaide College of Divinity, degree enrolment) – $1008 For more information on the 6 night option contact: Lisa Laws (Hope Valley) on 8396 0788 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Wendy Perkins (Seeds) on 8270 1233 or at email@example.com For more information on either of the 12 night options contact Lynda Leitner at the Adelaide College of Divinity on 8416 8464 or at Lynda.firstname.lastname@example.org
L ove i s vo l u n t e e r i n g “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth,” (1 John 3:18). Love in action is a powerful thing to behold – volunteering is one of the most impactful ways that love can be expressed.
We can’t show you a photo Catherine Hoffman
It’s 4.30am. Amer* wakes and turns on his computer. In the 25 minutes that the old machine takes to start up, Amer converses on spiritual matters with his ever-supportive wife. They are quickly drawn to Psalm 27. The chapter resounds with Amer; he hears the voice of the Lord – “Amer, your name is engraved upon my hand.” His computer is finally ready. Amer checks his email and sees that a friend has sent him Psalm 27. A Jordanian Christian, Amer frequently travels to Syria where he endangers his own life to help improve the lives of others – particularly Iraqi refugee women. He is a man who has need of the reassurance that Psalm 27 provides. There has been a significant past tradition of Iraqi people seeking refuge from war or seeking better opportunities for work and quality of life in Syria. A 2010 estimate from Amnesty International states that the number of displaced Iraqis in Syria is well over a million. While some wealthier Iraqi families manage to flee from Syria together, the majority of refugees belong to families that have been split up, have experienced the death of an immediate family member or have fled Iraq by themselves. A large number of women feel pressured to move after losing a husband or their family as Iraqi society does not look kindly towards women on their own. A 2007 field study into Iraqi refugees estimates that, of all the Iraqi households in Syria that are run by women, about half have no source of income to support themselves or their families. Unfortunately, many who find themselves in such dire financial straits turn to prostitution as a way to survive.
Recognising this growing issue, in 2008 Amer joined with Margaret, a former Anglican CMS missionary in Jordan and Syria, to care for Iraqi refugees – particularly women alone (many with children) who have been working in prostitution as a means of survival. Their ministry has been steadily increasing, with the project starting in earnest in 2010 under the name Women In Need in Syria, or WINS. “The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1). Amer frequently enters Syria where he ministers to approximately 70 women in Damascus. He brings them food, gifts and messages of love. He helps some women gain better employment and assists others with gaining entry to college courses. He teaches them more about Christianity – and has even seen a number of Muslims convert and accept Jesus into their hearts. In doing so, Amer is putting his own life at risk. There is continual unrest in Syria due to the civil war that is raging – a war that often crosses the paths of civilians and is especially dangerous close to the country’s borders. When entering Syria from Jordan, Amer has witnessed a number of armed clashes involving firearms and even explosives, and has only narrowly avoided being caught in the violence. But this is not the only danger that Amer faces. In December 2012, the UN issued a report stating that the Syrian civil war was becoming “overtly sectarian.” While the majority of the friction is between the Sunni majority (backed by the rebels) and Alawite minority (who back the government), both groups have been reported as persecuting Christians. There
are also a number of minority religious groups who are openly hostile towards Christian groups. For this reason, we are unable to show a photo of Amer or the women he works with – they could be targeted if their identities and beliefs were made public. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart.” (Psalm 27:14). Despite the danger, Amer continues to visit with women – offering them hope for a better future, and letting them know that there are people who care about them. On Sunday March 3, Amer spoke to the congregation at Sunset Rock Uniting Church in Stirling. He was visiting Australia to raise awareness for WINS, as well as to thank churches like Sunset Rock for the love and support they provide. He is especially thankful for the prayers and messages that Margaret has emailed to him from concerned Christians around the world. “More than money, these women need prayer and love,” Amer emphasised. If you would like to support the work WINS undertakes – financially, through prayer or by writing a letter – or would like further information, please use the following contacts: a. WINS SUPPORT, c/- PO Box 70, Aldgate, 5154 e. email@example.com p. 0466 539 749 Donations to WINS will assist in providing food and milk powder for children and babies, warm clothing and blankets, and will also pay for college courses for the women. *Amer’s full name has been withheld for security reasons.
L ove i s vo l u n t e e r i n g
Tony, the founder On Australia Day this year, Rev Dr Tony Nancarrow was recognised for his outstanding and ongoing contributions to the community and was made a member in the general division in the Order of Australia (AM). Tony’s tireless work for the community in which he lives and the church he loves has led to this official recognition. In this article, Tony shares more about his ongoing journey and what has inspired him along the way. BINDY TAYLOR.
As a minister in his second appointment out of theological college, a young Tony Nancarrow was looking for his first big break. An editor’s role at the Methodist start-up newspaper, Central Times, soon presented itself. With no experience and youth not in his favour, the young Methodist minister from Broken Hill was the sole applicant. With no other candidates, the Rev Keith Smith, who was Secretary of the fledging Board responsible for the paper, recalls that some members were anxious about entrusting such a major responsibility to someone so inexperienced. Tony was appointed on the strong recommendation of the Board Chairman, Douglas Dunstan, one of Adelaide's leading publishers. Undeterred by the perceptions of others, and fuelled by a sense of call, Tony worked around the clock to make the seemingly impossible, possible. “I never put a clock on ministry,” Tony reflects. “Working 50 or 60 hours a week was not uncommon, but you take the good with the bad and do your best to make sure you’re looking after yourself.” The continuation of the newspaper seemed more than a little risky with no funding from the Methodist Church and newsprint skyrocketing 100% after its first year of operation. But Tony is a leader and one of the things he feels most thankful for is being able to use his God-given talents to progress initiatives towards successful new ventures. In 1985, after 15 years at the helm, Tony saw the circulation of the newspaper, now titled New Times, reach 11,000. At this time he made a
decision to leave the publication and put his energy into MediaCom, a notfor-profit ministry that Tony and his wife, Christine co-founded in 1980. The ministry was established to meet the needs of congregations for resources in communication. “I have always enjoyed seeing a need in the life of the church and finding a way to meet or resource it,” Tony reflects. “The fact that MediaCom continues to exist today, in a rapidly changing communications environment, is remarkable.” Tony doesn’t dwell on or boast about his achievements, and humbly points out his appreciation of the many volunteers and workers who go unrecognised in local congregations. “There are many silent achievers out there, they are the first in the kitchen and the last to leave, they move about unacknowledged and unrecognised. “Think about how many people it takes to prepare worship – someone needs to open the door, someone has to arrange the flowers, and then there are the musicians, data projector operators, sound people, welcomers, and worship leaders. Everyone works together to make worship uplifting and enriching.” Tony received over 200 letters, phone calls and emails of recognition acknowledging his AM award. This included letters from highly respected individuals such as Sir Eric Neal and original Central Times board member, Rev Keith Smith. “It has been a privilege to watch the phases of your development and to see the unfolding of your latent talent,” Keith
wrote. “I give thanks to God for your pursuit of a personal dream which has been a source of blessing to the church we both care about so much.” Both Keith and Tony recognised the important support offered by Tony’s wife, Christine (pictured here with Tony). “Nothing that I have achieved would have been possible without the total support of my wife,” Tony states. Tony is currently filling in as Chair of the Uniting Church SA Presbytery and Synod Resources Board, and is also the honorary office chaplain for the Uniting Church SA head office. He will receive his AM award at a formal investiture at Government house on Thursday 18 April amongst his family. This is to be followed by an Order of Australia luncheon with family and friends.
“I NEVER PUT A CLOCK ON MINISTRY,” TONY REFLECTS. “WORKING 50 OR 60 HOURS A WEEK WAS NOT UNCOMMON, BUT YOU TAKE THE GOOD WITH THE BAD AND DO YOUR BEST TO MAKE SURE YOU’RE LOOKING AFTER YOURSELF.”
Rev Dr Anthony George Nancarrowâ€™s significant service to the Uniting Church in South Australia: Founding Editor, New Times (formerly Central Times),
Chairperson, Centre for Spirituality, 2007-2008.
Chairman, Epworth Trust SA Inc, 2005-2008.
Communications Director, 1977-1985.
Chairman and Deputy Chairman, The Memorial Hospital,
Founding Executive Director, MediaCom Education Inc,
Director, Adelaide and Community Healthcare Alliance
Associate Minster, Rosefield Uniting Church, for over 40 years;
(ACHA), since 2000;
Chairman, Parish Church Council, 1990-2000;
Chairman, ACHA Foundation;
Chairman, Mission Council, 1990-2000.
Chairman ACHA Pastoral Care Committee.
Director, Resources Board, Uniting Church SA Synod, since
President, Hyde Park Rotary Club, 1985-1986.
2001; Chairperson, 2001-2008.
President, Adelaide Rotary Club, 2000-2001.
Member, Standing Committee, 1977-1995 and 2007-2012.
Paul Harris Fellow.
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L ove i s vo l u n t e e r i n g
Empowered to volunteer There are a number of people who volunteer as pastoral carers at different hospitals in Adelaide – but more volunteers are always needed. Heather Baxter, a volunteer at Memorial Hospital, shares some of her story and experiences of caring for others.
Prior to finishing up work as a hairdresser, I had the great fortune to meet Jeanette Lennon, the Chaplain of Memorial Hospital. I shared with her some of my heart’s desires – I felt passionate about sitting and listening to people talk about where they were at, letting them know that they were being heard, and that their stories and opinions were valued. Some time after our conversation, I was given a message from Jeanette. She said, “Know that you are always welcome to come and work as a volunteer at the hospital.”
A couple of months later, we met again and had a long conversation about my heart for pastoral care. It was decided that I would come into Memorial Hospital to visit some patients. Before long I was popping in on patients on a regular basis. One afternoon, a few months after I started regularly visiting people, Jeanette contacted me about an upcoming course called CPE. “What on earth is that?” I asked her, baffled by the acronym. Jeanette was quick to inform me that CPE stood for Clinical Pastoral Education, explaining that undertaking this particular course would assist me in visiting patients. After prayerfully considering my participation in CPE, I decided to go for it. This was a highly unusual decision for me to make, as I would never normally say yes to something I didn’t have a full understanding of. But I trusted Jeanette, and I was eager to explore the new paths that volunteering was opening up for me. There was a lot of hard work and selflearning involved throughout the 20 weeks of training, but it was incredibly rewarding. Each moment that I learnt something new or explored a topic in more depth, my spirit cried ‘YES, YES, YES!’ I felt that
I had finally found what I needed to help grow this deep, heart-felt passion I held for pastoral care. The CPE training taught me to really hear what patients were saying to me, and how to allow them to take the conversation where they wanted it to go. During the course, I came to recognise the way I often steered conversations to my own comfort zone, which was not necessarily what the patient needed. Once I realised this, I became much more relaxed in the way I related to patients – I no longer needed to engineer the conversation and could instead journey with the patient. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had this volunteering opportunity, to have had the hospital assist me to grow with it, to have the encouragement of Jeanette throughout the process, and to have tasted the compassion of pastoral care through the people I have met. I enjoy my pastoral care volunteer work, and am amazed at the privileged position I am in, being able to share in the lives of so many people. To be allowed – even if only for a moment – into a person’s sacred space, to see their heart, and to maybe make a difference to their day is truly special. If only I could, I would do this volunteer work full-time. More pastoral care volunteers are needed at Memorial, Ashford and Flinders hospitals. For more information on how you can be involved, please contact Jeanette Lennon on 8366 3809 or email Jeanette.Lennon@acha.org.au
L ove i s vo l u n t e e r i n g
It’s no secret – Kayla loves to volunteer Developing a passion for helping others early in life, Kayla Garreffa has spent a lot of time contributing meaningfully to charitable organisations and assisting with events – including Uniting Church SA’s “Suicide: it’s no secret” campaign. Here she talks to Catherine Hoffman about study, suicide prevention and spending time serving others.
Kayla Garreffa’s excitement at being interviewed about volunteering is palpable. In an area where recognition is unfortunately rare, this reaction is entirely understandable. Despite being only 19 years old, Kayla feels a strong call to help others and already has a number of volunteering positions under her belt. “I have a great passion and determination to become a youth worker,” Kayla states. “Soon after completing high school, I started a Bachelor of Psychological Science at the University of South Australia. “The one thing that really stood out for me during this study was a comment made by one of my lecturers – ‘every one of you in this room wants the same job; what will make you stand out from the crowd?’ It was at this time that I realised I needed to do something different and practical. Volunteering for causes I have a passion for seemed like the obvious next step.” In 2012, Kayla took a gap year in order to focus on her volunteering efforts. One of the projects in which she took part was “Suicide: it’s no secret” – an initiative of the Uniting Church in South Australia. This suicide prevention campaign was started in 2011 by Uniting Church SA Moderator, Rev Rob Williams, and Solidarity and Justice Officer, Rev Sarah Williamson. “I heard about balloons being released in the city in 2011 in an attempt to raise awareness about suicide and the silence around it,” recalls Kayla. “Interested, I contacted Suicide Prevention Australia who put me in touch with Sarah [Williamson]. “During my high school years, I witnessed a lot of teens struggle with depression and self-harm,” she continues, explaining why she felt called to get involved with this particular campaign. “I have often felt that suicide is something that should be spoken about more openly. I’m sure that more discussion on the topic would have a positive effect. This is an issue that ‘Suicide: it’s no secret’ specifically addresses.” Kayla also volunteers with a number of other organisations, usually dealing with youth and the issues that modern young people face. She is a volunteer with Anglicare’s Star Bear and Star Bound camps, two grief support programs for children and teens. She also works with the Salisbury local council where she has just taken up a position as a youth member, undertaking a project
focussed on the mental health of young people, as well as assisting with their midnight basketball program. When asked what she likes about volunteering, Kayla’s answer is emphatic. “It’s something you can’t describe – money can’t buy what you are doing for these people by giving them your time.” This year Kayla has gone back to study, starting a Certificate IV in Youth Justice with a different mindset and a wealth of experience under her belt. “Going back to study after learning so much during my time volunteering has given me a much deeper understanding of the topics being covered,” Kayla says. She will continue to volunteer as she studies this year, encouraged by the impact she has been able to make on the lives of other young people. “The feeling of volunteering and making a positive difference in the lives of others is indescribable. I would do it all again in a heartbeat.” To find out more about “Suicide: it’s no secret” visit nosecret.org.au or contact Communications on 8236 4249.
Kayla walks with a banner (right) while volunteering for the “Out of the Shadows” walk on World Suicide Prevention Day, Monday 10 September 2012.
Suicide prevention support At the February Presbytery and Synod Meeting, Rev Darren Lovell, minister of Burra and Mannum Uniting Churches, spoke of the need to raise awareness about the high level of suicide in young males. More than five male suicides have occurred in Darren’s local community in the last 18 months. Last month, the Ski for Life event was run for the first time in order to raise funds for the Menswatch program. Menswatch provides training to key men in communities, workplaces and organisations with the aim of equipping them to provide support to other men in dealing with personal issues, relationship difficulties, and mental health problems. The program promotes early intervention support and referral, teaching people to recognise when someone needs support. To donate to this cause or to find out more, please visit menshealthsa.com.au or phone 0417 920 074 (Bill Stockman, Chairmen of the Menswatch Action Group) or 0407 678 234 (Peter White, Media and Public Liaison Officer).
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L ove i s vo l u n t e e r i n g
Finding a home at Wartaka Station Jenny Rossiter
A new Tonka grader was in the back of the red-dust coated four wheel drive Toyota. It was the sole subject of the conversation coming from the boys in the back seat – it was even more exciting than having lunch at McDonalds. I had just alighted from the Premier Stateliner coach from Adelaide to Port Augusta. The next nine days would be spent at Wartaka – a sheep station 75 kilometres inland from Port Augusta. A complete change of scenery for a beachloving city girl. Country life had long held an allure for me, and now I had the opportunity to experience it as an Outback Links volunteer lending a hand to Lucy and Craig McTaggert and their two boys, Dougal and Jock. Between Port Augusta and Wartaka Station lay 50 kilometres of bitumen and 25 of dirt, but we finally reached the 769 square kilometre property. After a tour of the homestead, including the main house, a school room and a guest cottage, the boys were keen to drag me outside to show off the grader. Once this had been done, I was introduced to Jack the pony and the boys’ cats, Buzz and Woody. A mutual love of Toy Story seemed to be a sign that I had come to the right place. One ‘city girl’ mistake I made – for several days running – was to call Dad’s four-wheel drive Toyota a truck. I was corrected by the boys each time – “That’s not a truck, that’s a car!” A few days later, when I met Dad’s real truck, I understood
the full meaning of what they had said. I was quickly offered a ride, and the boys and I clambered into the cab of the big Mack truck. We watched out the window as Craig slopped lots of grease around before skilfully reversing the Mack cab onto the trailer. Over the next few days I witnessed both the new grader and the truck at work, digging trenches and laying pipe.
spectacular expanses of sky all formed a photographer’s paradise. My shadow was a five-year-old budding photographer who always wanted to borrow my camera – he took some great shots! It was about work, being part of the environment, sharing skills, experience and willingness to learn. It was a privilege to walk in someone else’s shoes at Wartaka.
Jenny almost became a part of the family in her time at Wartaka Station – cooking and playing with the boys, eating the delicious food that Craig made, celebrating Lucy’s birthday, wandering the property and generally getting a taste of rural life. It was a blessing that went both ways – Jenny was able to look after the boys at a busy time of year for the McTaggert family, while the stay with the McTaggerts opened up new experiences for Jenny, and gave her the opportunity to take many beautiful photographs.
Jenny Rossiter volunteered with Outback Links, a Frontier Services program which matches up skilled volunteers with families in remote Australia who could use a helping hand for a short period of time. To find out more, call 1300 731 349 or visit outbacklinks.org
It was interesting to contemplate our different perceptions about the outback – I felt far removed from civilisation in this place of red dust, but Lucy did not feel isolated on her “suburban bush” station. She had admiration for those who were more isolated and unable to shop in town or enjoy the benefits of one-day-a-week classroom school and accessible medical treatment. There were so many blessings in being an Outback Links volunteer at Wartaka. I was welcomed into family life. It was fantastic being in the great outback. The stone buildings, old vehicles and
Further details about Jenny Rossiter’s time at Wartaka Station can be found online at frontierservices.org in the “News” section.
Faith, action and the community “Have you ever felt so happy you could burst? That’s the bigness I’m talking about,” said Rev Paul Turley, addressing a group of about 40 people who attended a community engagement workshop led by Uniting Communities last September. “Flourishing is what is at the heart of the gospel. Every story, every teaching, and every miracle of Jesus was about human flourishing – about the ‘bigness’ of life, of abundance. Jesus is about flourishing, about bigness. He's about breaking the barriers that keep us small.” Uniting Communities Mission Minister, Rev Peter McDonald is looking forward to the next workshop. “I’m very proud of our inaugural Putting Faith into Action workshop,” states Peter. “We received so much positive feedback that we thought we had better run it again!” For anyone who has thought about community development and outreach, this workshop will put flesh and bones onto the theory of Assets Based Community Development (ABCD), providing a beginner's guide to ABCD and connecting it to the gospel. “The aim is to create resilient and inclusive communities that reduce the impact of social problems and disadvantage,” Peter says. Putting Faith into Action is not limited to only Uniting Churches and agencies. Several people from the Church of Christ participated in the workshop last year, and in the second half of the year a visit will be made to Marion Church of Christ’s LIFE Community Centre, where people have been working with ABCD in ministry for some years. Peter believes that the best learning occurs through sharing experiences with one another. “Our aim is to host a space for
People at last year’s Putting Faith into Action workshop. experiential learning and learning from each other. It keeps you feeling at your best – like you can make a difference in the community.” “A Beginner’s Guide to Assets Based Community Development” will be run by Peter Kenyon on Saturday 25 May at Western Link Uniting Church. Further information about the workshop or about joining a community of practice can be obtained by emailing email@example.com or by calling 8202 5880.
Free workshop to assist church councils The Urban Mission Network is partnering with the Uniting College of Theology and the Community Outreach Mission Network to offer a workshop to congregations throughout the Presbytery. The Workshop for Church Councils will be run on Saturday 27 April from 9am-12pm at Pilgrim Uniting Church (12 Flinders St, Adelaide). It will assist members of church councils in understanding their decision-making preference and style, identifying how governmental authority is expressed at the local level, and maximising the missional effect of their properties and their signage. The workshop is free, but registration and an indication of preferred elective is requested. If you have internet access, the registration form that gives the outline of the program can be obtained from the Urban Mission
Network website urbannetwork.org.au and can be emailed or posted to Christine Secombe (details below). If you do not have access to the internet but would like a registration form, please call the number listed at the bottom of this article. It is hoped that congregations will take advantage of the multiple electives and register several members who will elect to participate in different streams. Another workshop will be run on Saturday 27 July, and the opportunity will be given to register across a slightly different range of electives. For more information, please call Christine Secombe on 8332 8339. Please send registration forms/information to Christine: a. 23A Devitt Ave, Payneham South 5070 e. firstname.lastname@example.org
g e t t i n g t o k n ow. . .
Balaklava Uniting Church Driving though the sleepy little town of Balaklava, you could be forgiven for thinking that not much ever happens there. Approximately 100 kilometres from Adelaide, Balaklava’s roads are ‘off the beaten track’ for tourists. But although the town may look quiet, newcomers will quickly realise that is not the case. Its churches are busy, vibrant places that cater to a diverse range of people, spreading the gospel and creating an atmosphere of spirituality in the town. God’s grace, care and provision are all around. Balaklava Uniting Church has been a place of mission since the 1870s when a preacher was supplied by the Methodists during the town’s planning stages. Today, it is just one of seven churches in this town of 1,500 people. Led by Pastor Errol Meaney and ministry assistant, Lee Cunningham, Sunday morning services aren’t all Balaklava offers. Once a month, the newly renovated church hall hosts noisy, fun services with lots of singing and leading from children who are part of ‘junior church.’ There’s also an ecumenical service called Celebrate Jesus that is held once a month on Sunday evening, also in the hall, with a range of speakers who bring the gospel to a wide variety of age groups. Underpinned by weekly prayer meetings, the church maintains a vital presence in the community, reaching out with the love of God. Eden, a gathering for young people, began with a vision five years ago. The dedication of Caroline Cunningham has helped this outreach grow into a regular event. There is an average
attendance of 80 people, all between the age of 20 and around 40, who gather together from far and wide to share a meal and their faith. The Mothers’ Encouragement Group, which is open to all mothers, meets fortnightly during the school term to listen to a range of speakers and to encourage one another. With the help of others they provide several meals for families after babies have been born. Involvement in Men’s Shed programs, ministry to aged care, a combined youth group, FISH (Fellowship In Someone’s Home) groups, Day Fellowship, Green Team, school chaplaincy support, food parcels for families in need, skate park ministry, July youth camp support, a festive Christmas lunch for those who would be alone on Christmas (about 60 people) and oversight of both Emmaus Camp at Halbury and Mews units, which provide accommodation for the elderly, all form part of this vibrant church. Balaklava’s heart for ministry doesn’t stop at the town gates – they also have a commitment to supporting schools and children in Uganda, Thailand and Mwandi. The Balaklava congregation hopes to continue to reach out to their community and their world, enabling more people to know the love and grace of the Lord. Ministry assistant, Lee Cunningham, and helper, Alice Parsons, provide food at a recent Eden dinner for young adults in the newly renovated church hall.
g e t t i n g t o k n ow. . .
Belair Uniting Church In February 2013, Belair Uniting Church celebrated 85 years of ministry from their 18 Sheoak Road home. This began their year of telling stories with the congregation focussing on discerning their identity as people of God, and listening to where and how God is calling them together to bear his love in the world. Worship services began in homes in Belair around the 1850s. After combining for a time with the Methodist church in Blackwood, the group moved to a school hall in Belair before establishing the Belair Methodist Church, laying the foundation stone in 1928. Over the years, the life of the congregation has grown and changed with alterations to the building made to support and facilitate its activities. The current congregation, led by Rev Sarah Agnew, is strong, and its members are involved in a wide range of community activities including music, sport, volunteer work and environmental care. The Belair faith community gathers for worship together once a week at 9.30am on Sundays. The service is relaxed and traditional with approximately 40-50 people of many ages in attendance. Primary-aged children meet for Sunday School on three Sundays of every month (four if there are five Sundays in a month) while high school students meet up twice a month. Both of these groups are actively involved in the life of the wider church. This year the Sunday School children created a prayer
garden for the Lent season, inviting the congregation to reflect and pray. The teenagers are creating a tapestry nativity scene for the Christmas story. In 2011, Belair joined its youth and young adult ministry with that of Blackwood Uniting Church to create Spirited Conversations, a space for 18-30 year olds to explore the deep questions of life. Belair enjoys good relationships with organisations in the wider community â€“ and provides a home for many of them. It is host to the Blackwood Uniting Church Bike Shed, the Hills Choral Society, Hawthorndene Probus and the Friendship Centre for retired folk, as well as serving as a base for many music teachers and students. Belair also began holding a playgroup in 2011, something that has inspired changes to the church property in order to better support families in the community. Beyond the groups that meet at Belair, the church supports a number of local and international organisations, providing financial and relational support, as well as food, to initiatives such as Beacon, and the Sunrise Childrenâ€™s Home in Cambodia. Relationships are growing deeper, and Belair hopes that renovations to their hall and garden will be able to provide safer spaces for children, better storage facilities for the church and the organisations using it, and a more appropriate space for all to gather and share life together. In 2013, the Belair congregation hope to further deepen relationships with the local community, continuing to grow as followers of Jesus and forming a healthy community of faith. People gathered at Belair Uniting Church on Palm Sunday in 2012.
letters to the editor Faith in action?
Asking for truth
UC Invest just doesn't seem to "get it." It is not intended to be an aspiring mainsteam [sic] agency whose only difference is that profits are directed to the church rather than shareholders. It is meant to be an ethical investment fund, an integral part of the Christian community, a model of "faith in action." Instead of which we get bunnies and buns for Easter, and belligerent bulldogs defending our wealth at other times. Unfortunately, these advertisements typify an organisation more attracted to the ways of the world than one with an enlightened view of Christian stewardship in a secular society. B.P. Ward, Marden
I was reading the current issue of the New Times, when on page 24 I came across a letter written in by Tony and Di Price, and their statement regarding the Cornerstone church in Salisbury. The revelation that a church building was sold to an Islamic community, instead of our vibrant and growing community of Sudanese brothers and sisters, is disheartening. So I am inquiring as to the truth of the matter, particularly when pages 14-16 of New Times focus on how the Synod is aiming to grow the church. The propagation of the gospel must ALWAYS be the priority of the Synod, whose members are entrusted with ensuring the church GROWS spiritually and numerically. For myself, I feel that it would be obvious to support the Dinka community, instead of selling the property for the benefit of Islam. M. Prior, Highbury
Rabbit offends If I, who live in the suburbs, am disturbed then how upset must be our country readers to see the rabbit in the UC Invest advertisement on page 8 of the March edition of New Times. The rabbit has caused untold damage to our environment as well as to our farmers’ livelihoods. The ad could have been just as well served with a bilby or an Easter egg. Perhaps you could suggest to UC Invest that an apology would be appropriate. P.S. otherwise this is a very good edition. J. Dow, Clapham
Responding to the criticism Our ad was intended to be a light-hearted advertisement, certainly not conceived to irritate rural Australians. We agree that rabbits have caused much damage to the ecology of Australia since their importation, along with foxes, goats, horses, camels, cane toads, sparrows, donkeys, pigs and cats. On another note, UC Invest takes seriously the matter of ethical investments. The Synod/Presbytery of SA have processes that enable them to determine what industries/companies are not ethical and should not be invested in by UC Invest. This is documented in an Ethical Investment Policy. However, this is a complex policy area because often it is difficult to reach a consensus on what is vice and what is virtue. Sometimes difficulty arises because companies have multiple activities, of varying sizes, in different countries, and it is only a part of a company’s activities that might be seen as questionable or objectionable. Uniting Church people have $59 million of their own money invested in UC Invest (3237 accounts as at 31/12/12). We believe we invest their funds wisely, and protecting their life savings is something we take seriously. I am sure if we didn’t, those investors would be quite within their rights to question UC Invest. UC Invest clients receive a good return but at the same time are proud that they are assisting the Uniting Church in bringing the gospel to the people of SA. UC Invest is granting $1.7 million to the Church in 2013 to help further that work. Paul Barnett Manager – UC Invest
A few questions May our Sudanese brothers and sisters know the Father as their refuge and strength after being betrayed by their hosts our local Synod. They already know the reality of life and faith lived under persecution by those who hate them. Did the Synod have an alternative venue for them? How does this align with [2007-2012] Key Direction 6 Championing Justice? E. Hill, St Marys
Cornerstone not an option I am writing in response to the letter published in the March edition of New Times titled “Discouraging Dinka Decision.” In 2009 the Presbytery and Synod of SA made a commitment to what is now the Playford UC to sell the Lynay Centre, the Cornerstone and Gateway properties to fund a new worship centre on land specifically earmarked in the Playford Alive development. Cornerstone was physically run down at the time and a stewardship decision was made to let it deteriorate knowing it would be sold. The property was put up for sale using the normal sale processes. The Presbytery and Synod policy allows sales to other non-Christian faith communities. Housing the Dinka speaking community in the run down Cornerstone building would have taken over $20,000 per annum away from the funds available for Dinka community ministry. It would also have failed to honour the commitments to the custodial users being the Cornerstone Uniting Church community and the previous commitments made to Playford UC. It is also worth noting that the Uniting Foundation is partially funding the Dinka ministry for the next three years and that this ministry is in ongoing dialogue with the Playford UC and Presbytery and Synod leaders about future ministry support and property options. Barry Atwell General Manager, Resources Send your letters to: email@example.com or PO Box 2145, Adelaide 5001. Be topical, be brief, be timely. Letters over 150 words will be edited; responses to previous letters /articles will be considered within two months of the original item’s publication only. All letters are published at the editorial team’s discretion.
diary Glengowrie Uniting Church Fellowships celebrate 60 YEARS OF FELLOWSHIP during April 2013. (Young Women’s, Women’s, Men’s, Ladies Guild, Evening and Day Fellowships). Former members and ministers are welcome to attend. Monday 8 April at 2pm or Sunday 21 April at 10am at 33 Butler Crescent, Glengowrie 5044. RSVP to Des on 8295 2530 or Yvonne on 8296 1665. EMMAUS HALBURY CAMPSITE 50TH ANNIVERSARY. In 2013, Emmaus campsite celebrates 50 years of service to the Uniting Church. The anniversary will be celebrated on Sunday 14 April 2013 at the campsite in Halbury, near Balaklava. There will be a morning service at 10.30am, followed by a shared lunch; an evening service at 6pm will be preceded by a barbeque tea. Anyone with a connection to the campsite is invited to attend. For more information contact Maragaret March on 8862 1338 or 0428 621 339. FRIENDSHIP CLUB. The Western Link Congregation Friendship Club, 93 Crittenden Road, Findon, invites everyone to come along on Thursday 18 April at 1.30pm and be entertained by “Irish Albert” who will present a bright afternoon of music and comedy. Community singing, “Thought for the day” and entertainment followed by afternoon tea - all for just a $4 donation! All welcome. Please contact the church office on 8445 2332 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. HYMN FEST on Sunday 21 April at 2pm. Come join us at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale, corner of Oaklands and Diagonal Roads. We will sing a selection of well loved hymns, followed by tea, coffee and biscuits. For further information ring Mavis Thomas on 8377 1926.
positions vacant HYMN EVENT. Another wonderful afternoon, singing the old Hymns to the accompaniment of the organ, piano and brass quintet, will be held at Mt Barker Uniting Church on Sunday 21 April at 2pm. Guest flautists. Admission is free. Opportunity to support Christian charities. Afternoon tea to follow the singing. Enquiries to Margaret 0427 734 071. ART EXHIBITION titled “Treasured Memories” at The Corner Uniting Church 93 Oaklands Rd, Warradale with official opening by Rev Anne Hewitt on Sunday 28 April at 11.45am (open until 3pm). Devonshire tea/ coffee will be served. Viewing times thereafter: Tuesdays – Fridays 10am to 3pm until Friday 24 May. Well known artists participating with proceeds from sales supporting our Community Work Programs. Also a collection of teapots will be on display in the cafe. For further information contact Reception at The Corner or Pauline Shinkfield on 8376 2666. DIAMOND JUBILEE LUNCHEON celebrating 60 years of The Corner Uniting Church Adult Fellowship (formerly Hamilton Park, Wesley Warradale and Oaklands). Thursday 27 June at 12 noon for 12.30pm. Donation $10. Music by Trevor Fletcher and Graham Nicholls. Booking essential before 1 June for seating and catering purposes. Contact Mary Harding on 8296 1694. To have your upcoming event or message published here, email email@example.com with ‘Diary’ in the subject line.
RESTORE your phonographic records or tapes to near original quality & preserve them on CD Restore your faded 35mm slides to bright colour and preserve them on DVD. Ask us about VHS or MiniDV video tape & 8mm film to DVD conversion, SA MEDIAWORKS, Kent Town SA Ph: 8362 2251 firstname.lastname@example.org. Holiday Rental – Victor Harbor 3 br ground floor apartment on the Esplanade at Encounter Bay with glorious sea views across to Granite and Wright Islands. Relax in a/cond comfort and watch the waves roll in. Cafes nearby. Sleeps 5 in self-catered accommodation. School holidays (ex Christmas) $602pw, Winter $510pw or $170 pn (min 2 nights). Managing Agents- Dodd and Page 8554 2029 or email Kerry@doddpage.com.au to view web photos. Conductor needed The Cornish Association of South Australia Choir is looking for a conductor to lead the Choir beyond the end of May 2013; our concerts are arranged to give us a winter recess. The Choir is a voluntary group of about 30 singers, with a mixed repertoire from traditional Cornish to more recent SATB arrangements, both sacred and secular. Prospective applicants are welcome to listen to the choir in rehearsal or concert. For enquiries please contact Margaret Johnson (8382 5559 or email@example.com ) or Noel Carthew (043 254 6904 or firstname.lastname@example.org ) Being Cornish is not a prerequisite! Wanted Sump oil, few 5 litre lots or larger lots. Delivered free of charge to Kester rd, Para Hills. South Australia-ANY? Please phone 8265 3018
Dazzling, but without much heart Bindy Taylor
Film: Oz the Great and Powerful Rating: PG Release: Wide release, from Thursday 7 March
Made in 1939, The Wizard of Oz remains a much-loved film today. As such, fans of the original production will either be relieved or disappointed with Disney’s new Oz the Great and Powerful – a movie quite dissimilar to its precursor. While Oz the Great and Powerful does borrow snippets from the original film – the yellow brick road, the Emerald City, the flying monkeys – it ignores the four popular characters that were central in the original. The film opens in black and white – a decision made by director Sam Raimi that strongly echoes that of the 1939 film. Set in a Kansas City fairground in 1905, the film focuses on Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a man struggling to make a dollar with his worn-out magic show. While fleeing an angry crowd, Oscar is swept up in a tornado and carried off to the Land of Oz. The contrast between black and white Kansas and colourful Oz is even more apparent in this film than in The Wizard of Oz.
The colours are more vivid, and both these and the visual effects are heightened by the use of computer-generated imagery (CGI). The visuals are further enhanced by the option of viewing the film in 3D – making it well worth the extra few dollars. Soon after his arrival in Oz, Oscar is entangled in a prophesy stating that a wizard will come and save the land from an evil witch. Sisters Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Theodora (Mila Kunis) send Oscar on a dangerous quest, during the course of which he is brought into contact with Glinda the Good Witch, a character brilliantly captured by actress Michelle Williams (pictured). Based on L. Frank Baum’s series of books about Oz, Oz the Great and Powerful is basically a prequel to The Wizard of Oz – a film which did not mimic the books very closely. However, there are definite links in the storyline and there is an overwhelming feeling of knowing – if you have seen the earlier
movie, you know how much of this story is going to ‘turn out.’ Despite this, there is still an interesting story arc and the special effects really are dazzling. The tale of redemption hidden here is also interesting. Throughout the movie, Oscar puts his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity and even a bit of wizardry before transforming, not only into the great Wizard of Oz, but also into a better man. For all its positive points, the movie did seem to lack a bit of depth and heart. Personally, I think it would have benefited from the presence of Dorothy and Toto and, although my five year old enjoyed it, she didn’t chatter on about it as she usually does with her favourite films. This movie is entertaining but, running at 127 minutes, it is long so be sure to stock up on snacks.
reviews Community work in action Book: Down under: in-depth community work Author: Dave Andrews Recommended for: those looking for a practical community development guide for organisations and churches, and who are engaged in outreach and empowerment of people In short: Some thought-provoking perspectives on community work from someone whose experience has been collated from work in Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal. Available from: Koorong RRP: $24.99
Poetry and Peace Book: Through corridors of light: poems of consolation in times of illness Editor: John Andrew Denny Recommended for: those who are living with illness and those who minister to them In short: A varied anthology of poems in seven sections. Available from: amazon.com RRP: $17.95
In this book, John Denny has pulled together a wide variety of poems with authors from William Blake to Dylan Thomas and Emily Dickinson, drawing on the understanding that poetry has the power to express our thoughts and feelings in times of intense emotion. While some people may write their own words, for others these poems may express what they are feeling at the time and offer a soothing balm of language and imagery. Denny claims that relevant poetry can bring therapeutic benefit by stimulating physical responses, as well as providing emotional and spiritual comfort, also describing the effect poetry had on him during his own illness. I found the poems entertaining and enjoyable to read. However, I was not so sure that these were poems I would turn to in times of illness, or that I would ever take them with me to share with those fighting illness. Glenys Badger
Dave Andrews is an Australian Christian author, speaker, social activist and community worker. He has written a number of books based on his experiences, including Building a Better World, Compassionate Community Work and People of Compassion. This particular book gives a distillation of his many years of experience as a community worker across a variety of settings. It features a number of personal stories, including one by Dave’s wife, Angie, who shares a ‘hands on’, practical example of in-depth community work, reflecting on her experience working with refugees. Dave has produced a book solidly based in theory, as well as practice. He looks at the need for in-depth community work and the different characteristics of community workers. He is very realistic about the potential for difficulties the practitioner will face, stressing the need for resilient workers and strategies. Churches engaged in outreach could find this book very useful with its practical ideas about how to work in and around bureaucracies, and its exploration of the dynamics of power. Jan McClelland
A book for our times Book: The healer's tree Author: Annie Heppenstall Recommended for: people seeking to connect their spiritual journey and practice In short: A study calling us to reflect deeply on the connection between ourselves, God and creation. Available from: MediaCom RRP: $21.95
This truly is a book written for our times. Annie Heppenstall has gathered together stories from the Bible and the Celtic tradition, and has woven these into the fabric of contemporary life and issues. She challenges and inspires us to work for peace and justice, with regard to both human society and our relationship with the created order. The strength of this offering is in its invitational nature. Again and again, Heppenstall invites the reader to engage with both the story as well as their own spiritual journey and practice. She does not offer readings that are merely meant to inspire, like so many coffee table books of late. Instead, Annie presents these readings with the aim of encouraging and enabling readers to take them a step further. This book of reflections would be helpful for anyone seeking to deepen their spiritual life and practice. It could easily be used in a group setting or alone. There is ample opportunity for discussion and reflection, but be warned – this book might just change the way you view yourself and the world around you. John Hughes
Never underestimate the power of a hug Ellen McCauley, a self-confessed sports fan and retired teacher, is a very personable lady. The 75 year old mother of four has nine grandchildren, including two step-grandchildren, and has lived a long and faithful life. Here Ellen shares one of her beloved passions – her volunteer work at Maitland Retirement Village. BINDY TAYLOR.
llen McCauley had a strong interest in Maitland’s aged care facility even before its inception. The original congregational church, which her husband Malcolm attended, was demolished in 1977 to make way for the retirement village. Ellen’s late mother-in-law contributed funds to the build project and was also a resident for many years before passing away 14 years ago. Initially Ellen went to the village to visit her mother-in-law, but even after her passing Ellen’s visits did not cease. Helping with the monthly communion service and making regular visits to the residents became part of her weekly routine. One such lady has touched a special place in Ellen’s heart. This woman, a victim of stroke and a survivor of breast cancer, has had many difficulties thrown her way. Her husband died of bowel cancer and she has lost two children. “I admire the way this woman has had so many difficulties and yet she has bounced back. She still can’t bring herself to join in with church services but she accepts me even though I am a practicing Christian. I know she appreciates my visits.” The stroke has left the lady with impaired speech, making her difficult to understand, but Ellen doesn’t let this get in the way of their weekly catch-ups. Ellen highlights her help with communion as a special part of her volunteering work. “I think it is wonderful that all denominations join in,” Ellen smiles. “Even though the residents are elderly, and most can no longer chew a little piece of bread, it’s nice to just walk past with a smile or to squeeze their hands and say ‘God bless.’” A few years back, Ellen recalls, a widower who lived on his own came along to the communion service. “After the service I gave him a great big hug. He told me how wonderful it was and that no one had hugged him for many years. “We often forget a lot of people don’t get hugs – we now live in a society that is very much anti-touch. When I was teaching little children I could put my arms around a child to comfort them. We have created so many barriers these days.” When asked about the future of children in the church, the doting grandmother and ex-teacher becomes solemn.
“Church in the next generation is a grave concern; I feel all I can do as a Christian is pray for the church,” she reflects. “It concerns me that there is a generation that hasn’t really heard the gospel – and if they don’t hear it, who will pass it on?” Ellen is now looking forward to the arrival of chaplain, Rev Cheryl Wilson who will work in Eldercare’s aged care facilities across the Yorke Peninsula. One thing is for certain, Cheryl will be blessed to have such a caring and compassionate lady such as Ellen by her side – with free hugs if she wants them, too.