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Issue 37, No 11, 2013

The voice of Uniting Church SA

December 2013

Love is aging joyfully at all stages of life


Clothing production and

intergenerational worship

human trafficking in India



Pilgrim Uniting Church in the City


12 Flinders Street, Adelaide

FEATURES Presbytery & Synod summary


Young and old, together Breaking the cycle of conflict and poverty For love, not money New Times survey

9 13 16-17 23

REGULAR PAGES Moderator’s Comment Getting to know...

4 18-19

Displays of Nativity Sets in the Church Monday 16th December - Friday 20th December 12noon - 2.00pm

Christmas songs and stories 5.00pm Sunday 22nd December For children and their families, including refreshments Will be held on the front steps of the Church

Blue Christmas Service 6.00pm Wednesday 18th December For those who feel sadness and grieve the loss of loved ones in the Christmas season.

Christmas Eve 6.00pm Festival of Readings and Carols with Pilgrim Choir and organ

Diary 20

10.30pm Christmas Eve Contemporary Worship With Communion

Letters 21

Christmas Day

Editor: Catherine Hoffman Editor-in-Chief: Bindy Taylor Advertising: Loan Leane Design: David Lombardi Print: Graphic Print Group For editorial inquiries: p. (08) 8236 4249 e. m. The Editor, New Times GPO Box 2145 Adelaide SA 5001 For advertising bookings: p. (08) 7007 9020 e.

9.30am Christmas Day Celebration worship service includes communion Music with Pilgrim Choir, organ and brass

Pilgrim Uniting Church 12 Flinders Street, Adelaide p: 8212 3295 e: w:

Ministers: Rev Jana Norman & Rev Sandy Boyce

Uniting College for Leadership & Theology

w: 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 Articles and advertising do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor.

Print circulation: 10,000 Uniting Church SA Level 2, 212 Pirie St, Adelaide p. (08) 8236 4200 f. 8236 4201 country callers. 1300 766 956

Next issue: February 2014 New Times takes a little break over January – but we’ll be back with an edition in February. We’ll spend this time mulling over theme ideas and poring through survey results, aiming to create a news-zine that appeals most strongly to you, our readers. If you are interested in reviewing books, writing articles or proofreading in 2014, please contact Catherine Hoffman on 8236 4230 or

Big Year Out 2014 Living the big questions: Who am I? Where am I going?

Why am I here?

A fantastic year-long journey for young adults to go deeper in your faith in a loving community, exploring God, yourself and life. Study in Certificate IV in Christian Life & Ministry. Suitable alongside Uni, TAFE or part-time work. We will be holding 2 info nights: 3 Dec 2013 and 4 Feb 2014 7:30 pm at *Uniting College, 34 Lipsett Tce, Brooklyn Park S.A. * Please note change of venue

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 Adelaide College of Divinity (ACD), a registered Higher Education Provider and Registered Training Organisation.

CONTACT: 08 8416 8420


Wednesday 8 January 2014

UCS-CLT-001_Advert_DECEMBER_2013 final NEW TIMES.indd 1

11/11/13 1:32 PM


Big love I recently viewed a sermon given by the CEO of World Vision Australia, Tim Costello. In his talk, Tim focussed on what it means to ‘love big,’ sharing a passage from 1 John to demonstrate what he meant: “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possession and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person?” (1 John 3:16-17 NIV). From this, Tim then posed the following questions: Will we lay our lives down for others? And, if we are unprepared to do this, how will we ever know what big love is all about? Tim spoke of the challenges of growing older whilst remaining open and prepared for any new situations that may confront us during the course of our ongoing faith journey. As we age, some of us are tempted to begin winding things up, handing things over to the young ones – the ones with the energy and idealistic visions. At this time of life, many of us are also beginning to let go – of hair, health, habits and, sometimes, even of life itself. But letting go does not have to be a negative process, it is also a part of maturing, and can lead to new opportunities and areas of ministry. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, all who live in it,” says the writer of Psalm 24:1. In addition to the passage from 1 John, this psalm encourages us to express big love and continue opening ourselves to the world because our actions, here and now, matter – they are retained and will form part of the big love of God’s rule on Earth.

Challenges greet us at all stages of our lives, but we are called to action, not to ‘wind down’ from our faith. We are called to lay our lives down for others, knowing that this place and time belongs to the Lord. This is loving big.

Bindy Taylor

Cover details

The gentleman featured on this month’s cover of New Times is called Harry. This happy fellow has participated in a Community Aged Care Package (CACP) with UnitingCare Wesley Bowden since the beginning of 2008. During this time, he has often assisted in promoting the CACP program and has been involved in the auditing process. Harry is an extremely bright, cheerful and engaging character with an energetic, positive outlook on life and a great sense of humour! He is part of a large family that is very supportive of each other and, since his wife passed away in 2009, he travels for part of the year to spend time with close family in NSW. Harry enjoys attending and participating in community events, and continues to be an active member of numerous groups within the local area. He loves watching TV and listening to music; he is currently learning to play the organ.

Bindy Taylor pictured with a woman from the Tamil Nadu region in India. The woman was a victim of human trafficking and needs to remain anonymous after sharing her story of her abuse. To learn more about human trafficking in India, please refer to the article “For love, not money” on pp 16-17.



Christmas unwrapped Christmas. It’s a story of epic proportions – a long and treacherous journey, an ancient prophecy, strangers arriving in the night. It is also a children’s story. Each year churches witness children in dressing gowns with tea towels around their head, cute toddlers with angel’s wings, older children vying for the best roles, and sometimes even children playing with an alpaca. Yes, I attended a Christmas Eve service here in Adelaide where a live alpaca visited the baby Jesus! This is our story as the people of God; it is our experience of Christmas. While it is very familiar, fresh insights and a myriad of contemporary interpretations emerge as we hear again God’s word to us through its retelling. Every year, for as long as I can remember, our family has attended a Christmas Eve service. As we gather for the service in the dimmed light of the church with candles flickering and people gathering in anticipation, I am drawn again into the heart of Christmas. We sing our hopeful songs of faith, and we welcome the coming of Christ again. Wrapped in the warm half-light of the church, we are surrounded by the love and grace of God at its deepest and most intense – God come among us, embodied here, right now. The compassion and vulnerability of God is revealed in a baby; a baby who grows into an adult and turns our lives upside down.

Jesus challenges our views of God. Jesus redefines who is included in the gracious embrace of God. This God, who we thought might come as a mighty king or a harsh judge, comes as one of us, born to a teenage girl, part of an oppressed people. Who would have thought under all those layers of Christmas wrapping, presents, pageants and decorations, we would find this? The compassion of God. This is the compassion that is expressed most fully in the incarnation: God opening Godself to us in the person of Jesus. God risks becoming one of us to enter into relationship with us. The God who Mary praises in her beautiful song in Luke’s Gospel is the God who calls us today. This is a God who does things we consider impossible; a God who cannot be controlled within our system of doing things; a God who, in Christ, calls for a reform of the social, political, economic and cultural systems which oppress people and keep them in poverty. This is a God whose song of liberation is heard in Mary, is heard in Jesus, and is heard in the countless number of Christians today who have heard God's call to freedom, justice, love, peace and reconciliation. Hope is born!

A laying on of hands at Deidre's installation service on Wednesday 30 October.


Dr Deidre Palmer

Placements News

Placements finalised since the November edition of New Times: Rev Adrian Clark (Church of Christ) to Dulwich Rose Park United from 1 March, 2014 Rev Simon Dent to Coromandel Valley Uniting Church from 1 May, 2014 Rev Mark Schultz (MOP) to Glenunga Uniting Church from 1 January, 2014 Upcoming Induction Services: Rev Lawrie Linggood, Colonel Light Gardens Uniting Church on Sunday 19 January Rev John Lucas, Hawthorn Uniting Church on Sunday 19 January at 2pm Rev Matt Carratt, Echunga Uniting Church on Sunday 26 January at 4.30pm Vacant Placements: Profiles available – Bordertown, Buckingham and Mundulla; Burnside City; Goyder Ministry Area; Kent Town (0.7); Mallala and Two Wells (0.6); Morialta; Para Hills (0.4); Port Elliott (0.5); Rosefield; Waikerie; Western Eyre (Cummins, Cornerstone, Lock & Yeelanna). Profiles not yet available – Aldinga-McLaren Vale Linked Congregations (from 1 January 2014); Clare; Clearview (0.5); Klemzig (0.5); Newland; Port Augusta Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress; Windsor Gardens (0.5); Whyalla. For more information on any of these placements, please visit

A celebration as the new Moderator is installed.


Beyond our walls

Supporting the Philippines

Morialta Uniting Church is embarking on a new strand in its mission and ministry. Like many congregations, Morialta has a long involvement in tape ministry. For many years, services were recorded and distributed on cassette tape and, later, on CD. More recently Morialta has also uploaded parts of its services to the internet as podcasts. Following some discussion within the congregation, and with representatives from Mission Resourcing SA, Morialta has decided to take up a new initiative, a project called “Beyond Our Walls.” This pilot program involves recording one 9.30am service at Morialta each month. This service is then put on to a DVD, which can be shared with other congregations, groups and individuals. A technical team works with cameras, projection, audio equipment and vision switching to ensure each recording is of high quality. This project grew out of an awareness that some congregations and faith communities are finding it increasingly difficult to resource leadership in worship. Some also have difficulty in getting to a place of worship, mostly due to distance. “Beyond the Walls” provides these groups with an opportunity to experience a service within their own community – a television and a DVD player are all that's needed. Those congregations, faith communities and individuals who would like to find out more about how to access this service are invited to contact the Morialta Uniting Church Office on 8331 9344 or

On Friday 8 November, destructive Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. The typhoon destroyed communities and left thousands of people displaced and without a home. The number of fatalities and injuries resulting from the disaster is also monstrously high. “People in the Philippines are familiar with natural disasters, but this is on an unprecedented scale,” says UnitingWorld National Director Kerry Enright. UnitingWorld contacted the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, a partner of the Uniting Church in Australia, seeking to support the church in their relief efforts. UnitingWorld is also working through the ACT Alliance network to coordinate relief, responding to the needs of the Philippine people through on-site networks and emergency response units. UnitingWorld is seeking support in these efforts through prayer and donations. To make a tax deductible donation to the UnitingWorld Philippine Typhoon Appeal please call 1800 998 122. For more information, updates, or to donate online, visit A number of other organisations also have appeals to assist relief efforts in the Philippines, including Act for Peace. To donate to the Act for Peace Philippines Typhoon Emergency Appeal, call 1800 025 101 or visit

Uniting women

A Christmas message

In September of next year, the current Uniting Church SA Moderator, Dr Deidre Palmer, will speak at the inaugural Uniting Church Australia National Women’s Conference. UnitingWomen 2014 is a conference for women who share faith in Christ, providing space for learning, worship, celebration, sharing, reflection and friendship. It is hoped that this conference will bring Christian women together, crossing boundaries of congregations and states, to pray for, nurture and support one another in faith. Key speakers besides Deidre include: Rev Nadia Bolz-Weber, a leading voice in the Emerging Church in the United States; Rev Elenie Poulos, National Director of UnitingJustice; and Rev Myung Hwa Park, Moderator-elect of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW/ACT. The conference is open to all women 16 years and over, and will be held from Friday 12 to Sunday 14 September, 2014. Registrations are now open with an early bird discount available. For more information, please visit or contact Sureka Goringe on (02) 9489 1762 or

The President of Uniting Church Australia, Rev Prof Andrew Dutney, will release his Christmas message later this month. Andrew’s message will focus on journeys – both that taken by the Holy Family, and those taken by individuals in their daily lives. He also addresses inclusivity and the feeling of community created by the Uniting Church, encouraging people to connect with congregations. “Whatever your journey, sharing it with others will make your burdens lighter and your joys even more joyous,” Andrew says. Andrew’s full message will be released in mid-December with audio, video and multiple subtitle language options available. For more information, or to access this message, please visit

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Decisions, developments and discussion At the meeting of the Presbytery and Synod of South Australia, which began with a service on the evening of Wednesday 30 October and ended on Saturday 2 November, a number of exciting ideas were presented, important decisions were made, lives were celebrated and Dr Deidre Palmer was installed as the new Moderator for a three year term. Below are a few snapshots of the meeting, held at Adelaide West Uniting Church.

Installation service

Music and lyrics

The new Moderator of the Uniting Church in South Australia, Dr Deidre Palmer, was installed in a special service on Wednesday 30 October at Adelaide West Uniting Church. The evening began with a traditional smoking ceremony and greeting to country, both led by Karl Telfer. The night continued with singing, worship, prayers, and bible readings before the formal installation and commission. Deidre’s focus on “Community in Christ: Living Compassion and Hope” was unveiled as part of her official logo for her three year term as Moderator. A beautiful work of art, which reflected the logo and theme, was also incorporated into the service and remained in place for the entirety of the Presbytery and Synod meeting. Elizabeth Finnegan, the first woman to become Moderator of the Uniting Church in SA, also attended the service.

Malcolm Gordon, a Presbyterian minister and music director from New Zealand, came to the meeting to promote Songs That Unite, a Uniting Church worship resources website. In building the site, local musicians have been approached with the aim of encouraging a community of musicians and photographers. “Songs That Unite is about sharing the talents of creative people in communities, who are serving their communities and their church,” Malcolm commented. Songs That Unite provides inspirational music and lyrics for congregational worship and communal singing. To find out more, visit

Ex-Moderator’s report Rev Rob Williams reflected on his time as Moderator, detailing some of the challenges and highlights of his time in the role. Rob discussed the many things he had learnt about the church, and celebrated the successful ministries he has been a part of over the past three years. He also shared his great pleasure in visiting both rural and metropolitan churches, meeting many people within the life of the church. Rob thanked his family, staff, chaplains and colleagues for supporting him throughout his term.

Recognition of lay preachers Words of recognition were given to those celebrating 40 years of lay ministry – Wes Bray, Barbara Glen, Enid Ninnes and Margaret Pope. Roger Waldron was recognised for his 60 years of lay preaching.


Changing Landscapes Last year, the Changing Landscapes Working Group was formed to explore general and specific issues around the future direction of the Uniting Church in SA. A report was written and a proposal (Proposal 12) was put before this meeting of the Presbytery & Synod. With only two minor changes, this seven-parted proposal was passed. The Changing Landscapes Report and Proposal 12 can be viewed by following the links to the 31 October – 2 November 2013 meeting here:

Remembering ministers Members of the meeting stood in silent prayer to honour the life and ministry of ministers who have passed away since the previous meeting of the Presbytery & Synod. The following ministers were remembered: Rev Ray Gifford, Rev Janette Greig, Rev Milton Hopkins, Rev Bryan Michie, Rev Ivan Goss, Rev Dr Geoffrey Scott, Rev Sir Keith Seaman (KCVO, OBE) and Rev George Wright.


Relationships with agencies

Bible studies

Rev Rob Brown, Executive Officer UnitingCare SA, and Rev John Watt, Chair of the UnitingCare Commission, facilitated discussion around the relationship between the Uniting Church and its agencies and schools. Both risk management and the benefits of the relationships were taken into consideration before discussion time was held. A reworded proposal was passed by the Presbytery & Synod, requesting that UnitingCare SA continue its intended dialogue with all agencies and schools with a view to discussing the issue further in 2014.

Two Bible studies were held over the weekend, both led by thinker and blogger Ben Myers. Ben led the meeting attendees through the work of two historical theologians, and focussed on celebration and song in scripture. Ben will be back in Adelaide for the Fringe Festival in 2014 when he will present a gospel message at ‘God at the fringe,’ a Uniting Church SA event held at House International on Thursday 13 March. For more information on this event, please visit god-at-the-fringe

Constitutional recognition

Declaration of ballots

The Covenanting Coordinator for the Uniting Church in SA, Denise Champion, put forward a proposal that asked the Presbytery & Synod to urge the Federal Government to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian constitution – this would require holding a referendum. The proposal was passed with an addition made to request that the Covenanting Committee resource Uniting Church SA congregations, networks and associations to support this work. The Uniting Church in Australia will also take part in a Week of Prayer and Fasting that will act as an expression of grief for the continuing injustice experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This will take place from Monday 17 to Sunday 23 March in 2014, and will include a vigil in Canberra. All in the Uniting Church are encouraged to take part.

Members of the Standing Committee, Placements Committee, Presbytery Strategic and Planning Team, and Leadership Development Council were declared on Saturday 2 November. Standing Committee – Rev Sandy Boyce, Rev Sue Ellis, Rev Tim Hein, Michael McClaren, Rev Dr Tony Nancarrow, Danica Patselis, Bronte Wilson. Placements Committee – Rev Roger Brook, Rev Wes Howland, Rev Rebecca Purling. Presbytery Strategic and Planning Team – Rev Philip Gardner, John Harris. Leadership Development Council – Rev Dr Dean Brookes, Rev Cheryl Wilson.

Assembly news Rev Glenda Blakefield, the Acting General Secretary of the Uniting Church in Australia, gave a report related to recent Assembly news and detailed plans for the coming year. She spoke on a wide variety of topics which will be focussed on in 2014: the need for biblical literacy, and resources to support this; the three President’s conferences to be held throughout the year; planned discussions around marriage; changes and challenges facing Frontier Services; the Week of Prayer and Fasting; Songs That Unite; and the appointment of a National Disaster Recovery Officer. For further information on any of these items, please visit the Assembly website

Millennium Development Goals The United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals were discussed with an emphasis on the fifth goal, “Improve Maternal Health.” Members of the Uniting Church in SA agreed to assist in the training of midwives in South Sudan, a project that will be conducted in partnership with UnitingWorld and the Uniting Church SA International Mission team.

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Celebrating ministry A celebration of ministry was held on Friday night of the meeting. The celebration opened with song, before moving into a time to honour retiring and recently retired ministers. Also recognised were ministers moving from Phase 3 to 4, and Rev Phil Webber, a minister transferring from the Church of Christ to the Uniting Church. Rev Dr Ian Price presented a message based on the Gospel of John before a time of prayer and worship, enhanced by the lighting of candles. The retiring ministers who were recognised were: Rev Dr Gillies Ambler, Rev Jo-Anne Fulton, Rev Bruce Grindlay, Rev Brant Jones, Rev Len Jude, Rev Sue Langhans, Rev Kevin Sarlow, Rev Rob Williams, and Rev Dr Donald Wilson.

CommUnity Day awards CommUnity Day awards were presented by Dr Deidre Palmer and Bindy Taylor, Uniting Church SA Communications Manager and New Times Editor-in-Chief, to commend the work of those involved in CommUnity Day events. Appreciation awards were given to key people from each event, and three major awards were presented with prizes awarded by MediaCom. The full list of CommUnity Day award recipients was featured in the November edition of New Times (pp.9-11).


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L ove i s a g i n g j o y f u l ly Love is aging joyfully. Creaking bones and aching joints are things people commonly associate with growing older. But we are all aging, at all stages of life, and there is much to embrace during the entire process. As God’s people, we are encouraged to live as an intergenerational community, learning and sharing with one another in joy and love.

Young and old, together Mary Jo Zwar

Picture this. It’s Sunday morning. My car battery is flat – again! I’m determined to get my children to church, if it kills me. I manage to get some breakfast into them and odd clothes on them. We rush out the door. The last few metres to the bus stop are a race between us and the bus. But we make it. Finally we are seated and on our way, kids standing on the window side of the seat, me on the aisle side, hoping they won’t fall. At another stop a woman gets on. She’s the epitome of a ‘little old lady’: white hair, neat suit, pearls, and a walking stick. The driver patiently assists her and asks, “How are you going, luv?” To which she replies, “I woke up. The sun is shining. I’m on my way to worship my Lord. Things can’t get any better!” My eight-year old punches me and asks: “Is that why we’re going to church?” The lady’s comment and his question have stayed with me for a long time. Try saying the question out loud, several times. Emphasise a different word each time: Is... that... why... we... go... to... church? And picture this: It’s Wednesday evening. Several families have come together for a meal and Bible study. The study that night is in the form of a board game tracing Paul’s missionary journeys. Each player picks a card, reads a portion of the story from the card, and moves their counter. When it’s four-year-old Bianca’s turn, she picks up her card and automatically hands it to her sixty-something-year-old friend Barry, and says, “Please read it for me. I don’t read very well yet.” Spiritual growth can happen in intergenerational settings. I’m sure that everyone who reads this article will be able to think of a similar story; a time when your Return to Contents

An intergenerational community formed at Playgroup in the Park.

faith has been nurtured by someone older than you or someone younger than you. What better time than Christmas to start being intentional about bringing all generations together for worship and other events in our churches. In worship, God speaks to and through people of all ages, and they respond to God and to one another. When people of all ages accept, respect, welcome and value children, as well as elderly and differentlyabled people, in worship, all are blessed. And faith formation can occur in ways that go far deeper than anything that may be preached from the pulpit or sung in a hymn. Australians see Christmas as a family time. We want our worship to add to, rather than detract from, the family experience. This applies to church members and the extended family that often joins them at Christmas time. It also applies to guests, fringe-members and people in the community who are drawn to do ‘something religious’ at Christmas. We do not want to exclude anyone who comes – by inference or by what we do and say.

That’s why the Children and Family Ministry team prepares all age worship resources, which are available to download for free. A new Christmas resource is currently available and is titled “Hope is Born,” linking directly to this year’s Christmas postcard promotion. The resource packet includes information and ideas that can be used in congregations of any size – you might even use parts of it in your home. To download the Christmas 2013 resource, or any other all age worship resources, please visit


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Lisa Birch and Bindy Taylor

Kevin Tutt is an inspirational man. At the age of 57, entering what he has called the “twilight years” of his career, Kevin has made the life-changing decision to move to Cambodia where he will assume the role of Head of Teaching and Learning with the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF). Exiting his role as Headmaster of Prince Alfred College (PAC) after 16 years, Kevin will follow his passion for teaching, establishing an educational program for 1,500 orphaned and disadvantaged children. Kevin was first introduced to the CCF after viewing the founder of the fund, former film executive Scott Neeson, on the ABC television program, Australian Story. After travelling through Asia on a minisabbatical, Scott’s life changed when he visited a toxic landfill, Steung Meanchey, located just outside the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. The rubbish dump was home to countless children, many without families, who made their living sifting through rubbish to on-sell. What Scott saw inspired him to make a complete lifestyle change – a change Kevin will replicate. Scott established CCF in 2004, giving up a multi-million dollar role as president of 20th Century Fox International. Originally developed to provide a safe haven for 45 children in desperate need, CCF now offers refuge, medical treatment, health care, training and childcare for approximately 1,500 children. It has only been in recent years that Kevin has explored a relationship with CCF and Scott, but he is no stranger to the needs of children in Cambodia. For the past seven years, Kevin has actively participated in annual PAC trips to Sunrise Children’s Village, visiting and supporting the organisation’s three Cambodian orphanages in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. Although the PAC community has reacted with some sadness at seeing the popular Headmaster depart the school, there has also been a great deal of admiration. Kevin’s family have been similarly supportive of his decision to take on this new role, aware of the passion he has for the work. Kevin’s hope for the future of CCF is to create a replicable model of education which can be repeated across the country. “I have always possessed a passion to make a difference in third world environments,” Kevin explains. “Education can make a huge difference; it can change lives and communities.” Having always dreamed of building and creating his own school, Kevin intends on remaining involved until the completion of the project, which is set for 2020.

L ove i s a g i n g j o y f u l ly

Youth gathered at SAYCO in 2013 for a time of growth, learning and joy.

Faith and friendship Mary Jo Zwar So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. (Romans 12:1-2a MSG).

The theme of this year’s South Australian Youth Camp Out, lovingly known by its acronym SAYCO, was “Inside Out.” With the above biblical passage as the guiding vision behind the event, young people between the ages of 12 and 17 joined with leaders for a time of fellowship and fun. The Uniting Church event was held at Woodcroft College from Saturday 5 to Monday 7 October, and provided a safe, friendly environment for youth exploring their faith. SAYCO is held on the October long weekend each year, and joins together groups from Uniting Church congregations across the state. Although the camp caters to youth, volunteers also play a vital role with adult and junior leaders often learning just as much as the teenagers they’re leading. In sharing together at SAYCO a truly intergenerational community is formed. Coming all the way from Compass Church in Victoria, Pastor Phill Brake led SAYCO Return to Contents

attendees through the theme of “Inside Out,” exploring topics such as: expecting the unexpected when God’s in control, how to take care of ourselves so we are ready for what God calls us to, and what we will do with the life God has given us. In addition to the talks led by Phill, campers were encouraged to take part in discussions, prayer, worship, workshops and games (including the popular ‘Messy Games’) over the course of the weekend. “It was great to see the intergenerational community having fun as well as exploring big issues at SAYCO,” says Jo Lohmeyer, the SAYCO Event Officer. “The event gives young people the opportunity to engage with the wider church, as well as strengthening young people’s and leaders’ relationships with God,” she continues. “This was clearly indicated in the feedback we received from leaders about how attending SAYCO effected their youth group.”

The young people who attended SAYCO this year clearly felt the impact of the “Inside Out” theme. Feedback from campers ranged from improved self esteem and confidence to increased faith. Some youth gave their lives to Christ over the course of the weekend, while others recommitted to the Lord. Many felt challenged and inspired to go forth and do God’s work in the world. When asked to reflect on a significant SAYCO moment, one teen readily responded: “When I became an ‘I am ready for anything God challenges me with’ person.” Team members, leaders and youth worked together to make this year’s SAYCO weekend a time of sharing, learning and growing. SAYCO is held annually; the next event will be from Saturday 4 to Monday 6 October in 2014. To find out more about getting involved, please visit the SAYCO website at au/sayco or call 8236 4246.


ch r i s t m a s

Into every time and place Rev Christine Gilbert

I am one of Australia’s many Northern Hemisphere immigrants. How well I recall my wonder and amazement the first time I encountered this land not too many years ago. The kangaroos, koalas and emus were the fanciful creatures of childhood storybooks. The red dust appeared ancient, the cold south and hot north winds were surprising, and the birds and trees were like none I had encountered before. In my experience, an immigrant or visitor is given a kind of grace to see with fresh eyes the beauty and wonders of a country others might miss because of its familiarity. That said, the Christmas season remains a dislocating time for me in Australia. It is when I most intensely miss the symbols I know and, more significantly, their meaning for my faith. I’ve always known Christmas to be about the Light of the World coming into the darkness – a perspective celebrated by nature itself in the land of my birth. How I valued the burning candles and decorative lights glowing in the late afternoon darkness of winter! But here I find the Christmas lights pale in comparison to the summer sun whose harmful blaze we so often seek shelter from. In response to my feelings of Christmasrelated ‘homesickness,’ I have sought to know this land, and the symbols and meanings it provides, even more fully. Rather than pining for that which is no longer in my midst, I try to listen to the time and place of my present, open to what it will reveal. As a result, I find myself writing poetry, liturgy and music about growing light, jacaranda trees, harvesting fruit, and the relaxing mood of summer. I often ask myself the question, ‘how are these signs of the season shaping a distinctly Australian faith within me?’ I find paying attention to my surroundings, and the creative expressions that flow from this, provide more than just nice poems to tuck into Christmas cards. In this process,


Preparing for the nativity at St Andrews by the Sea Uniting Church.

I discover that the One who is coming into the world has come, and is coming, into all of it, the world in its entirety. With imagination, I see the stable in a field of vibrant canola, the face of Christ in the ancient peoples of this land, and the magpies raising their voices with the heavenly hosts. The incarnation – God among us – is an event for all times and all places, right now, right here. In this spirit, St Andrews by the Sea Uniting Church will celebrate its first ever living nativity this year. Tucked in the shelter of our courtyard, we will embody the narrative in a way that hopefully communicates the wonder of Christ coming into our little space on Jetty Road in Glenelg. The living nativity will include two performances per night with a simple script, movement and carols. The story will be framed inside a stable scene that includes animals and characters in New Testament-inspired costumes – an unusual appearance in our beachside community. While this traditional scene will be out of

context for Glenelg, we hope the message of the incarnation will nevertheless resonate in the hearts of all who come – for there is no place on this earth, and no time in history, that is untouched by the sacred Spirit who was, and is, and is to come. The living nativity will take place at St Andrews by the Sea Uniting Church, 92 Jetty Road, Glenelg on Thursday 19 and Friday 20 December. Performances will begin at 7pm and 8pm, and will last for approximately 30 minutes.

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Breaking the cycle of conflict and poverty Karen McGrath

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela Act for Peace, the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia, met nine year old Adela whilst travelling to a small school in the remote Qarghayi district in the Laghman province of Afghanistan. Afghanistan is one of the hardest places in the world to be educated if you are a girl. It is one of the poorest and most conflict-affected countries in the world. Thirty years of chronic instability and conflict, and the almost complete lack of educational opportunities for children under the Taliban, have had a dramatic impact on children’s education and well-being in Afghanistan. But things are changing. Afghan women and local communities are confronting injustice all over the country and education is proving to be the key to a better future. Act for Peace is working to confront injustice, providing young girls with an education to give them the chance to escape the cycle of poverty and conflict that has enveloped Afghanistan for countless generations. There are now 2.4 million Afghan girls Return to Contents

enrolled in school, compared to just 5,000 in 2001. While the numbers are encouraging, Afghan girls still face many barriers to receiving an education. The quality of education is highly variable, school conditions are often poor and nearly half a million girls who are enrolled do not attend school on a regular basis. Act for Peace is working with its local partner, Church World Service – Pakistan/ Afghanistan (CWSPA), to confront the injustice in Afghanistan on a grassroots level. The CWSPA education program is underpinned by well-established links to local communities, recognising the need to prioritise grassroots support as both a strength and a leverage point for the acceptance of girls’ educational rights. Adela is part of this program. Without an education, Adela would face a future scarred by poverty and violence. Without schooling, she could expect to be married young, have more children and find it harder to make a living. It’s likely she wouldn’t know her basic rights and would be excluded from decision making in her own home and in her community. The most tragic thing is that she could expect to watch her children fall into the same vicious cycle.

Fortunately, Adela has a brighter future ahead of her, and is building a life – not only for herself, but for future generations of Afghan women. Going to school means that, when she grows up, Adela will have the power to earn a decent living and support herself and her family. She will know her rights, and have the confidence to confront injustice and help build a more peaceful society. This year, Act for Peace plans to reach 14 more schools and empower nearly 3,000 more girls to transform their futures. The national Christmas Bowl Appeal in 2013 is supporting girls’ education in Afghanistan. Act for Peace believes in giving many more young girls like Adela the chance of a better future; a future filled with opportunity and peace, free from poverty – the greatest Christmas present anyone could give. Every year, Uniting Church congregations across Australia generously give to the Christmas Bowl Appeal. Through this support, Act for Peace is able to undertake vital programs every year. Please consider giving in 2013 to help further girls’ education in Afghanistan. To find out more, please free-call 1800 025 101 or visit christmasbowl


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Come ye to Bethlehem – and behold the ‘little town’ circa 2013 Rev Gregor Henderson

“So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David.” (Luke 2: 4 NIV). We read each year of the long journey undertaken by Joseph and Mary, and of how this journey became one of joy upon the birth of the one we call the ‘Prince of Peace.’ As we hear sermons and sing Christmas carols, we are invited to think of Bethlehem on the night when Jesus was born. This year, let’s think also of what Bethlehem has become today. To make the journey from Nazareth in Israel to Bethlehem in the occupied Palestinian territories today, Mary and Joseph would have to cross through approximately 70 Israeli barriers – checkpoints, fences, walls and other barriers, which would involve multiple interrogations and delays. They would be lucky to be allowed through at all. These same barriers prevent shepherds watching their flocks, either by day or by night. Most people in Bethlehem have been cut off from their grazing lands, something that has had a significant effect on the economy. Being granted a special permit is vital to finding work in nearby Jerusalem, but these are few in number and difficult to obtain. The magi would probably not have been able to get anywhere near Bethlehem, and the Holy Family certainly couldn’t have fled to Egypt when the threats to life began. As I write, news filters through of Israeli settlers throwing rocks at Palestinian cars entering Bethlehem, and destroying Palestinian olive trees. A new film made by Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers about Bethlehem has been dubbed a ‘dark thriller.’ When reflecting on this, it can be hard to equate modern Bethlehem with the special place mentioned in our carols.


So, is there a bright shining star over Bethlehem today that guides us to Christ? I would say to this, indeed there is! Ask any who have taken the road to Bethlehem and they will speak of the life of Christ lived out among the people. In this place, there is such “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1 NASB) that, while the reality of life is often bleak, people know without a doubt that God continues to dwell amongst them and that the love of God will prevail. Convictions of Christ can be heard in the messages of church leaders in the region, as they speak the words of the prophets, calling for justice and mercy. In addition to this, there are many people in numerous Christian organisations in Bethlehem who are devoted to following the way of Christ – to both resist evil and love their enemies. The parallels of the suffering of the people today with the story of Jesus’ entry to this world allow us to enter the story of the Christmas journey and Christ’s birth in a profound way. The journey of Christ, though it comes through suffering, is always a journey of joy, and it is one we are invited to share in. Rev Gregor Henderson recently visited Bethlehem through the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network (PIEN). This organisation is a network of Australian Christians seeking lasting peace for the people of Palestine and Israel. PIEN aims to equip, inform, inspire and influence Christian leaders and congregations in Australia, providing resources about the Palestine-Israel situation. To read more on this topic, visit the Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network website at For advent reflections from Christian Palestinian leaders, please visit


Healing powers – hope, love, acceptance, friendship Rev Naomi Rosenberg (Deacon)

Forming friendships and connections is the central aim of SHARE, an ecumenical program run by Adelaide Hills groups to support those with enduring mental health concerns. In partnership, Sunset Rock Uniting Church, Aldgate Baptist Church, the Christian Outreach Centre in Mt Barker and the Country Mental Health Department offer numerous activities through the SHARE program – weekly social outings, a friendship program, working bees, an annual music concert in Mental Health Week, cooking, games, art, fishing, and connections with a Strathalbyn Sister Program. SHARE was designed in recognition of the crippling social isolation that is connected to the constant cycle of readmission that many people with mental health issues experience. The program was formed by Millie Davey in the aftermath of tragedy. After the untimely death of her husband, Millie experienced strong church support and effective healthcare ministry – things she later credited with helping to make her life bearable. “The church shared its passions, gifts and talents with our family,” Millie reflects. “I discovered the truth of John 13:35, where Jesus said, ‘By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’ God was glorified when God’s church met genuine needs.” Millie’s experience inspired her to create SHARE, a program which has had incredibly exciting results. Love and friendship have proved to be powerful healers – none of the program participants have been readmitted into mental health services, and several participants later opted to become volunteers. As part of the SHARE program, Sunset Rock Uniting Church members run fortnightly cooking classes called Cooking at the Rock. or CATR. Each communal cooking class caters to 10-12 guests who suffer from various degrees of depressive illness. Approximately eight volunteers are present at this fortnightly event, helping to prepare and serve a two-course lunch. Amongst these volunteers are Sunset Rock Deacon, Rev Naomi Rosenberg, who is the healthy ministry coordinator; Lindy Gower, a home economics teacher, who is the activities coordinator; and Millie Davey, who offers her assistance as a supportive mental health nurse. CATR has now been running for 18 months – many lasting friendships have been developed over this time, and there is a real sense of the Lord’s presence. With the support of the Sunset Rock congregation, Lindy recently created 21-day ‘Doing life together’ Hope Packs. Handed out to attendees of the CATR program, these packs offer daily encouragement, treats, small tasks, Biblical verses of affirmation, inspirational booklets on hope and faith, healthy foods, vitamins designed to improve serotonin levels, ‘love letters’ packaged in bright yellow ribbon, and much more. Lindy felt inspired by God to create these packs after a lived experience of depression. “Hope is the confident expectation of good – it never disappoints, and it is the anchor of the soul,” she says. Return to Contents

Depression is often accompanied with poor diet, apathy, lack of nutrients, exercise and sunshine, all of which have a destructive impact on mood and health. The inclusion of samples of nutritional foods in each pack is given with the intent of promoting the recommended daily five food groups in line with the Australian Dietary Guidelines. “The Hope Packs taught me vital nutritional habits, and improved my overall lifestyle and diet,” one client commented after using the pack over 21 days. Along with encouraging healthy eating, the content of each pack promotes healthy thinking. Inspired by Job 22:28 and Proverbs 4:2022, the creators of the Hope Packs invite clients to memorise vital truths to assist in building healthy conscious thoughts. Clients are also encouraged to write down daily blessings, particularly those things they are grateful for. This is in accordance with psychologist Martin Seligman’s belief that gratefulness assists in improving depressive symptoms. The Hope Packs are given to clients by a ‘buddy’ who plays a crucial role in supporting them in their daily routines over three weeks. The friendships created, as well as engagement with the resources in the Hope Packs, assist in bringing people out of isolation and into the community. An information session about these Hope Packs, along with a buddy training session, will be held at Sunset Rock Uniting Church (40 Spencer Street, Stirling) on Sunday 8 December, 2-4pm. Hope Packs are also available for purchase for $35. For more information, please contact Lindy Gower by email or phone 0419 601 966. Alternatively, queries can be directed to or 8370 9361.

Participants and volunteers enjoying the fruits of their labour at Cooking at the Rock.



For love, not money Bindy Taylor

The connection between clothing production and human trafficking is one of the world’s best kept secrets. As a general rule of thumb, if you’re paying ‘not much’ for a piece of clothing, it’s likely someone has been trafficked somewhere in the production process. The Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh on 24 April this year was a tragic incident that made the world stop, look and listen. The scenes splashed across our TV screens, social media sites and smart phones presented horrific images of bodies amid rubble from the eightstorey building collapse – a collapse that claimed the lives of over 1,000 people, young men and women who were taken far too soon. The garment workers were well aware of the death trap they were entering on the day of the collapse; they had witnessed large cracks in the building walls the day before. Warnings to avoid using the building were ignored by the factory supervisors and managers, who threatened staff with pay cuts and job loss if they chose not to enter. Some reluctant workers were beaten with sticks and herded into the building. The incident at Rana Plaza exposed the ugly reality of cheap fashion to a largely unaware audience of global consumers. The underhand workings of many well-known fashion labels were exposed to a worldwide audience, and people wanted to know why these brands were shirking their responsibilities. The lucrative Bangladesh textile industry injects 20 billion dollars (AUD) into the economy each year; similarly, the textile industry in neighbouring India contributes 62 billion dollars (AUD) annually. India was the destination chosen for Women of Strength, a human trafficking prevention trip operated by Stop the Traffik and Amor Ministries. These organisations, dedicated to justice and mission, developed an eight-day program that would delve deep into the murky underground of the billion dollar textile industry. In August this year, a small contingency of women, including myself, undertook this journey into India. What we experienced over the course of this trip had a powerful impact on all of us. The program took our group into the region of Tamil Nadu, the manufacturing hub of India’s clothing and textile industry. Situated in

the Central South of India, this region comprises over 2,000 textile spinning mills. Young girls growing up in the Tamil Nadu region have few employment options and are commonly contracted by the mills for a period of one to five years. A ‘broker’ organises the contract, and receives a royalty for this in addition to an ongoing commission for the term of the contract. The broker is expert in wooing girls into factories, often showing pictures of resort-style scenarios that include swimming pools, gourmet meals and exciting activities. The majority of girls are employed under contracts referred to as ‘Sumangali Schemes.’ Sumangali means ‘happily married woman’ in Tamil – its name relates to the lump sum payment (usually between $500-$1,000 AUD) made at the finalisation of the girls work contract. This payment is often used as a dowry. Dowries are prohibited under Indian civil law, but providing a dowry remains a common illegal practice. In addition to the lump sum at the termination of her contract, a girl is sometimes paid a miniscule wage throughout the period of her employment. This wage usually equates to approximately $5 (AUD) a week once missed working hours have been tallied and expenses such as accommodation and food have been taken into account. Upon visiting the Tamil Nadu region to hear stories from girls employed in Sumangali Schemes, I began to understand why around 80% never make it to the end of their contract. The girls our group visited shared stories of physical and verbal abuse. During the course of their frequent 15-16 hour work days, usually over six days a week, many were yelled at or struck by supervisors who wanted them to work harder and faster. On an average day, girls are not provided with protective equipment. When an audit is scheduled they don a complete set of protective clothing – a mask, hat and apron. However, as soon as the auditor leaves, the clothing has to be returned. One girl shared a story about a friend who repeatedly asked supervisors for medical help. When she was finally taken to a hospital, it was discovered that she had 2kg of

Spinning mill factory located in the Tamil Nadu region

Indian girls gather together to share stories with Women of Strength participants


magazine cotton residing in her stomach – she had inhaled this in the workplace. Inadequate training also leads to fatalities. One girl was scalped to death after the manager failed to inform her that the spinning loom would take half an hour to wind down once it was powered off. In addition to the harsh conditions suffered during the work day, girls are also often abused outside of their working hours. Pills are given to them, disguised as ‘vitamins.’ The drugs stop the girls from menstruating, which factory managers think will make them more productive. The food served is bland – meals often consist of plain rice, and occasionally a dahl. The girls are not allowed to exit the confines of the factory property unless it is a special holiday. Many are denied any contact with the outside world, and are cut off from their families. So, why hasn’t anyone stopped this? Why are major brands continuing to fuel modern day slavery through their ignorant negligence? There are several reasons. The most predominant of these is the ownership of the factories – they are entirely owned by Indian politicians. In addition to this, exposure of malpractice occurring within spinning mills can lead to closure, which is not usually very effective. Mills and factories that are shut down simply relocate to a neighbouring country, such as Bangladesh, and the trafficking process is repeated in that location. The closure also leaves the people of the Tamil Nadu region with few employment options, resulting in extreme poverty. The spinning of yarn is only one part of the 15-stage clothing production process. It is difficult to pinpoint unethical behaviour in each stage of the process, and this poses a challenge for consumers wishing to purchase an entirely ethical piece of clothing. In an attempt to help consumers confronted by this problem, Baptist World Aid recently released their Ethical Fashion Guide, which details as closely as possible the ethical authenticity of a number of big brand retailers and clothing brands. My experiences in taking part in the Women of Strength trip, and the stories I was privy to whilst in India, have altered my own behaviour and outlook in many ways. My purchasing habits have changed significantly as I strive to avoid unethical clothing brands from companies I now refer to as ‘human traffickers,’ a term which feels more appropriate. These are commonly

The Indian textile industry is worth 62 billion dollars (AUD) to the national economy each year Return to Contents

brands or stores that continuously offer low prices. If you dig a little deeper into the workings of these organisations you will discover a disregard for human life, fuelled by greed and a determination to grow profits with wilful ignorance. As consumers, we can make a difference. Christmas provides an opportune time to begin thinking about possible purchases with an ethical mindset when gift-giving this year. The girls I was fortunate enough to meet are a constant source of inspiration to me. When my life presents challenges or work feels relentless, I think of the girl in remote India – working 16 hour days, reporting to an abusive manager, imprisoned in a factory and kept from her family, existing on a diet of rice. This thought spurs me onwards – energising my desire to make a difference in the lives of these girls and making me appreciate the comfort of my own circumstances. I am fortunate; I was born in a beautiful country where I have choices open to me, and where opportunity and justice are more readily attainable. In 2014, Stop the Traffik will launch a trafficking free cotton campaign. To find out more about Stop the Traffik or to donate, visit stopthetraffik. org/Australia To learn more about global mission trips operated by Amor Ministries, visit The World Baptist Aid Ethical Fashion Guide is available online at

Clothing production process 1. Farming 6. Calendaring 2. Ginning Compacting 3. Spinning 7. Cutting 4. Weaving 8. Stitching 5. Dying 9. Printing Bleaching 10. Embroidery

11. Labeling 12. Checking 13. Ironing 14. Packing 15. Export & Sale


g e t t i n g t o k n o w. . .

Ironbank Faith Community Ironbank, nestled in the Adelaide Hills, is a small township with around 560 residents. It is home to a lively faith community, made up of loyal members who worship once a month in the town’s only church building. The Ironbank Methodist Church was constructed in 1885 with local community members banding together for the construction effort, even gathering rocks from the local hillside to help form the structure. Today, the Ironbank Faith Community still gathers in the original church, with an average of 35 people attending on a regular basis. Services are held on the third Sunday of the month, beginning at 6pm with a shared meal before worship commences at 7pm. There is a designated committee of

passionate individuals who come together to plan these gatherings. The committee includes a worship team who work together to present the service with volunteer ministers and lay preachers. Nearby Coromandel Valley Baptist Church also leads a service for the Ironbank Faith Community on behalf of the committee once a year. The Community has been able to transition with their members over the years by delivering services at times most appropriate for the township. “We look after each other. If someone is sick in the community we hear about it and help them,” says Betty Frith, an attendee at Ironbank. Betty is an active member of the community and assists in running the

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fortnightly Chat and Craft group run out of Ironbank. Ladies are invited to bring their own lunch to these gatherings and to share a meal together. Those who don’t participate in craft activities are welcome to come along for a chat. Additional community outreach undertaken by Ironbank includes a regular lunch for members of the CFS and other community groups. It is a chance for these volunteers to join together for community and a delicious meal at Fresh Choice, a restaurant in Sturt. The Ironbank Faith Community’s vision for the future is to see the continuation of their work. They continue to pray for younger people to settle into the community.

g e t t i n g t o k n o w. . .

Jamestown Uniting Church The foundation stone for Jamestown Uniting Church was laid by Mrs Richard Williams in 1877 before the church was officially opened by Rev Thomas Lloyd, President of the Wesleyan Conference, on 4 August, 1878. The church hall was built in 1968, as a memorial to those who served in World War II. Features of the church include memorial windows, which were placed in the church to honour early pioneer families. Picturesque gardens, in front of the church building and on its north side, have been well tended. The space in front of the church is also used throughout the year to display Christian messages, and features a nativity scene each year around Christmas time. The mission of the Jamestown congregation is to reflect the life of Jesus to the people in the community, also aiming to maintain a community of welcoming and caring individuals. At present, a leadership team, made up of 10 people, is working towards these goals. The cross-section of ages

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of the leadership team members enables them to care for the needs of every member of their church, as well as helping them to relate to the wider community. The congregation meets weekly, with approximately 40 people attending each Sunday service at 10.30am and staying on for morning tea afterwards. On the first Sunday of every month a popular luncheon is held in the church hall after the service. In sharing food and conversation, the congregation builds community. The members of Jamestown Uniting Church are involved in a number of outreach programs in their community and beyond. People from the church regularly visit Belalie Lodge, a Helping Hand home, as well as the local hospital, enabling friendships to grow and deepen. The adult fellowship group works to provide a catering service for the community. The money raised from this endeavour is donated to charities, such as The Bible Society,

Frontier Services, Christian Blind Mission, Uniting World and Leprosy Mission. Last year $1,700 was donated to these organisations. The money is also used to upkeep the church buildings and manse. The connection between the Uniting Church and the other churches in Jamestown is very important. Collectively, the town’s churches support the local Christian Pastoral Support Workers, Living Word bookshop and run interdenominational services at Easter, Pentecost and Christmas. In the future, the church hopes to keep the doors open to encourage people of all ages to participate in activities, such as regular Sunday worship, adult fellowship, prayer time, Bible study and God’s Time for Toddlers (a group for pre-school children, operated in conjunction with the Anglican Church). They also would like to organise a regular Messy Church for school-aged children.




AGED CARE CHAPLAIN Full Time Eldercare Inc. is a UnitingCare agency providing residential care for aged persons in South Australia. We wish to appoint a full-time chaplain from January 2014 at our Seaford site. Pastoral Care is a key developmental priority in Eldercare. The successful applicant will join a team of highly motivated Chaplains who are committed to delivering leading edge pastoral care for our residents, their families and our staff. The person we are seeking will be firmly grounded in practical theology and be convinced that they have something unique to offer in this developmental quest. We want a lifetime learner passionate about pastoral care and an ability to work in a team environment. Applications are to be written and received by 20 December 2013 and must address the job and person specifications available from: Rev. Jim Spiker Coordinating Chaplain Eldercare Inc. PO Box 600 FULLARTON SA 5063 Telephone: 0408 698 122 Email:

diary MESSY CORNER at The Corner Uniting Church. All welcome. Sunday 8 December 3.30-5.30 pm. Messy Church is a fresh new way of experiencing church. 3.30pm – craft activities for all ages; 4.45pm – meal together in the cafe area. $5 donation. Visit: AN UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS at Hope Valley Uniting Church. For seven nights leading up to Christmas, Hope Valley Uniting Church will be displaying Christmas lights and showing a short family film about the story of Christmas. All welcome! This is a free event and a great opportunity to invite friends along to hear the Christmas message. An Unexpected Christmas will be shown every 20 minutes from 8.30pm to 10pm from Tuesday 17 December to Monday 23 December at Hope Valley Uniting Church, 1263 Grand Junction Road, Hope Valley. Enquiries 8396 0788. HYMN-LOVERS SING. An afternoon of singing favourite church hymns will be held at the Mannum Lutheran Church Hall, Cliff St, Mannum, on Sunday 12 January, 2-4pm. Ideal for those on holiday in the Murraylands, or those who’d like a day’s outing to visit the mighty Murray River – Mannum is less than 80 km from Adelaide. Afternoon tea will be provided to lubricate the vocal chords. All welcome. For more details, ring Carl or Lyn on 8569 7392, or email ADVENT TWILIGHT RETREAT. The Australian Christian Meditation Community SA is holding an Advent Twilight Retreat at St Columba’s Church Hall and Gardens, 3 Rosevear Street, Hawthorn on Tuesday, 3 December from 6-8pm, with tea, coffee and the bookstall available from 5.30pm. The theme is “Bringing Christ to Birth.” Entrance is free. Contact person: Bev 0407 392 809. To have your upcoming event or message published here, email with ‘Diary’ in the subject line.


Youth Pastoral Assistant

0.2 – 0.4 of full time (3 year term from 1/1/14)

Naracoorte Uniting Church is seeking a person with an understanding of the challenges faced by rural young people to be a youth pastoral assistant. The purpose of this position is to support the evangelisation and faith formation of young people, especially teenage girls. A certificate 4 in Youth Ministry (or equivalent) would be an advantage. Applications close 15th December. Enquiries to: Rev Ian Dow Naracoorte Uniting Church 8762 2370 Email:

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 HOLIDAY APARTMENT. “By The Sea” on the Esplanade at Encounter Bay, Victor Harbor. 3br a/cond nicely appointed. $170 pn –(min 2 nights) or $574 pw prior to Christmas. (not available schoolies week) January booked out- get in early before 2014 increased rates apply. Beautiful views over Granite and Wright Islands – relax and watch the waves roll in. See photos on Dodd and Page – Managing Agent web site – ph Kerry 8554 2029 or email – CAROLS AROUND THE WORLD. Kapelle Singers will present their annual “Carols Around the World” concert in St. Peter’s Cathedral on Friday, 13th December 2013 at 8.30pm.

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Beautiful carols old and new from many different countries will be sung beginning with a candlelit procession. Readings will be given by the Very Rev. Frank Nelson – Dean of St. Peter’s Cathedral and Mrs. Christine Nelson.  A harp and Cathedral organ will accompany the choir. Bookings through Bass or choir members.

letters to the editor

All the world’s clamour

Thanks for a smorgasbord of the spirit of God in action in your November edition. There are so many competing demands for people's hearts, minds and souls out there. It takes a very committed spirit to find rest amongst it all. I have found the words of the psalmist most revealing: “He [God] quiets the raging oceans and all the world's clamour” (Psalm 65:7). This rings so true, as it seems the ‘clamour’ of our world has always been around us – demanding, overwhelming and pursuing us. It is helpful to share our stories in the midst of all the clamour. J.Esots, Willunga Send your letters to: 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.

Wynarka Methodist centenary service Nancy Bundett

On Sunday 13 October at 10am, the centenary of the old Wynarka Methodist Church was celebrated at its present location – Pioneer Park in Karoonda. Wynarka was constructed through the hard work of local volunteers who received the required building materials only four days before the opening service was due to take place. After long hours of work, the building was complete enough for Rev John Blacket to hold the church’s opening ceremony as planned. This was not the first service held by John on these grounds. Previously, while visiting his two sons who had taken up scrubland, John had conducted the very first service at the bore with 19 men and two small boys present. A photo of this occasion was on view at the centenary service. The church building was lent to many functions after it opened, operating as a school, hall, bank, venue for exhibitions and a general meeting place. The history of the church was remembered through research undertaken by Dorothy Blacket , as well as stories told by those present, including descendants of the pioneers of Wynarka. A message centred on faith was prepared by Dorothy Loller and read by Gladys Marchant. A number of apologies were given, and a small group of people shared lunch together after the service. The old Wynarka Methodist Church can be visited at Pioneer Park in Karoonda, which is host to memorabilia and original artefacts from the Karoonda area.

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May peace prevail In October, Pilgrim Uniting Church unveiled a Peace Pole on the church grounds and became one of many churches around the world, including Seacliff Uniting Church, to join in the Peace Pole Project. The Peace Pole Project started in Hiroshima several decades ago and is run by the World Peace Prayer Society. Through this project, Peace Poles have been erected all over the globe, each bearing the message ‘May peace prevail on earth’ in a variety of languages. Peace Poles are used as silent, visual reminders to prompt people to think, act and speak in a spirit of peace and harmony. Pilgrim’s pole features the central message of peace in English, Dinka, Tagalog and Kaurna: English for the predominant language spoken in Australia; Dinka to recognise the significant relationship that Pilgrim has with the Northern Suburbs Dinka-Speaking Faith Community; Tagalog for Pilgrim’s relationship with the United Church of Christ in the Philippines – Middle Luzon; Kaurna for the Aboriginal people of the Adelaide Plains. To find out more about the Peace Pole Project, visit The Peace Pole at Pilgrim Uniting Church displays the message ‘May peace prevail on earth’ in English, Dinka, Tagalog and Kaurna.

National and World Mission Support At midday on Tuesday 14 January, National and World Mission Support will hold their regular gathering at Brougham Place Uniting Church. This occasion will provide an opportunity for those interested in international mission to meet people who have recently returned from overseas posts. Attendees will get to share with each other over a meal, and are asked to bring food to contribute. Cold drinks, tea and coffee will be provided. While on the topic of National and World Mission, a clarification should be made about an article on page 22 of the November edition of New Times, which detailed the work of the State Mission Fellowship. We wish to advise readers that the State Mission Fellowship is a function of the National and World Mission Support committee.



The miracle man The September 2012 edition of New Times featured a review of Field of Miracles a book written by Brian Jeffries, a man with rich knowledge and deep faith. Brian has just released a new book – a volume of weekly devotionals titled Miracles by the Day. Lisa Birch spoke to Brian about his new book and the theology behind it.

Brian Jefferies has a long and rich history with faith. He fondly remembers his greatgrandparents’ involvement in their church, and his own participation in Christian life from a young age “[But] God has no grandsons,” Brian states. His decision to be a Christian was not inherited but was one that he made on his own when he answered an altar call at the age of sixteen. Since that time, Brian has shared his faith with many. Through his work as a sheep breeding consultant, he travelled extensively, sharing his knowledge of God with people across the world and ministering to hurting people. Brian draws on his wide variety of personal experiences to compile devotionals for Miracles by the Day. One chapter shares how Brian came close to deciding to train as an ordained minister. The commitments of home, work and even church had become stressful and demanding – he had seen ministry as an avenue out of his work responsibilities. But God had other plans, and Brian stayed in the agricultural industry. “I’ve been able to go to places where ministers cannot go and do things ministers cannot do,” Brian reflects. By staying in agriculture, rather than entering ordained ministry, Brian was able to travel extensively and minister as a lay preacher. His work drew him to many different regions, particularly in South America where he has been ministering to people from all walks of life for over fifty years. In more recent years, Brian believed that his opportunities to visit South America were over. He was wrong. In 2012, Brian attended the Camps Farthest Out International Camp of Faith and Prayer in Peru. Brian brought along new stories to share, intending to add them into a revised second edition of his first book, Field of Miracles. At the urging of others, he instead made a decision to incorporate these anecdotes into a new volume. And so,


Miracles by the Day was born. The volume contains 52 weekly devotionals related to encounters with God. Amongst the personal stories shared, Brian includes reflections on the work of other theologians and authors, often quoting their work to support his message. He particularly dwells on Surpassing Glory, a book written by Ryan Sletcher, a South African Christian who runs a ministry called The Finished Work, which focuses on seeing power, freedom and truth restored to the church. This book, which challenges some of Christianity’s traditional beliefs, has brought new theological revelation to Brian’s life. While he does not always agree with the author, he has been able to grapple with the text to glean new understandings, sharing these with his own readers. Through his different reflections, Brian has a focus on the challenge presented in Luke 9:2: “and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” He believes that preaching and healing are ‘two sides of the same coin,’ and that both commands should be equally heeded. As with his previous book, healing plays a central focus in Miracles by the Day. Brian has ministered for many years using the gift of healing. He has seen many miraculously healed of their ailments, but has also seen others whose pain has not eased. “It’s not me doing it - I’m only a servant and following the command of Jesus,” Brian explains. “Don’t look at the problem, look at the answer. We must be willing, like Peter, to step out of the boat. He could do it for us, but he chose to work with us. “God won’t wait until we’re perfect,” Brian says. “Seek to be a channel of blessing – he will pour through us if we are willing and obedient to use his Spirit.” Brian currently worships at Rosefield Uniting Church and has been a lay preacher for over 60 years. He is currently working on another book, focussed on making the Bible come alive

through limericks and cartoons. Miracles by the Day is available from or through Greenhill Publishing. Brian also writes his own blog, which can be found here:

s u r vey

New Times 2014 Survey In the February 2013 edition of New Times, we featured a survey inviting you, the readers, to respond and help us to create a news-zine that suits you. Throughout the year, we’ve undergone a number of changes and we want to see what you think of them. Please help us by answering the questions in this survey – it should only take you five to 10 minutes. Thank you for your time! Please complete and return this survey by Friday 10 January 2014 to: New Times c/o Uniting Church SA GPO Box 2145 Adelaide SA 5001 Alternatively, complete the same survey online: 1. How old are you? Please circle. Under 18 18-25 26-35 36-50 51-64 65+ 2. How do you generally acquire information about the Uniting Church in South Australia? Please choose all that are appropriate. ☐ Congregational newsletter ☐ Uniting Church SA website ☐ “Uniting Church Uniting People” Facebook page ☐ New Times ☐ UC E-news ☐ Church noticeboard ☐ Mix of some/all of the above ☐ None of the above ☐ Other (please specify) 3. My postcode is:________________

4. Please rate the quality of the publication by numbering the following aspects. Please give a value between 1 and 10 for each listed item, where 1 = Poor and 10 = Excellent. __ Content __ Ease of reading Return to Contents

__ Writing __ Layout and design __ Cover __ Photography __ Length of publication __ Frequency of publication If you have rated any aspects below 6, please indicate what you would specifically like to see changed.

5. Please rate your interest in the following items covered by New Times. Please give a value between 1 and 5 for each listed item, where 1 = Completely disinterested and 5 = Very interested. __ Feature articles __ Book reviews __ Movie reviews __ Local congregation news __ Agency news (UnitingCare, Uniting Justice, Uniting World, Schools) __ Uniting College news __ World news __ Assembly News __ Articles from the Uniting Church President __ South Australian Presbytery and Synod news __ Personal profiles “Getting to know…” __ Moditorial (Page 4) __ Editorial (Page 3) __ Letters to the Editor __ Diary __ Positions Vacant __ Other (please specify and rank) Are there any stories you would like to see more or less of?

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New Times - December 2013  

Love is aging joyfully: at all stages of life

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