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PP 565 001/00190 ISSN 0726-2612

Issue 29, No 3 April 2010 www.sa.uca.org.au/newtimes

Celebrating Jesus

living Easter all year round

Kids Camp Out

Tasting Thailand

fun, friendship & adventure at Barossa Tourist Park, p. 8

pondering contrasting flavours, p.16


Ed&Mod

2

New Times

Shine Hope Smile Love As we entered the theatre, a table heavy with adornments awaited our eager choosing. Perusing the bright colours in front of me, a smile spreading wide across my face, I donned a suitably festive, brightlycoloured Indian headdress and entered the ‘Carnevale’.

assured, I understand that this brilliant 23-piece band are not God but, indeed, human beings.

After the concert, the crowd - now one joyous community - spilled onto the streets mirroring irrepressible grins. Indian headdresses and bright beads were proudly worn out into the dark night, professing the glorious colours of love and hope, into an often dark world.

facing each other Together we’re better, together we’ll find We try to crawl (better together). To live, to know (better together).”

I wanted to call every person I knew, hug strangers and shout from every mountaintop.

We Crawl, The Polyphonic Spree

But, gosh, to be lost for that hour or so in a world where all that existed was the beautiful utterances of a community that embraced each other for love’s sake... I re-found God that night, There, waiting, excitement the God who invented hope, levels bulging, I anticipated a love, smiles and shining, yet still great show. understands and meets with us It was more than a great show. in our darkness and difficulty. My life was reconfigured by the What God proclaimed band’s simple message: to me through frail human mouthpieces that evening was a Shine. Hope. Smile. Love. bright reminder that, These four simple words, “I know that it’s better proclaimed by The Polyphonic Spree, re-birthed my awareness When we stick together, that the world holds whispers our love is alive. of wonderment and that life is beautiful. Through ups and down of

My companions similarly confessed their overly-exuberant desires to ‘Spree-share’. We reflected our earnest need to be with people ‘who understood’, and share the good news we’d experienced with everyone we met. Now, before I receive many, many letters about the dangers of worshipping false gods, rest

‘Big wigs’ of the Uniting Church, Moderator Rev Rod Dyson and President Rev Alistair Macrae, got into the fun of KCO in SA this March with compere, Nick Greb (centre).

Proclamation: it’s word and deed Rod Dyson, the Mod.

During election campaigns there is a lot of proclamation. While many of us are sceptical about what is said, there are two things that particularly help me.

Caryn Rogers, the ed.

The first is the manner in which things are said (the deed) and the second is the content of the ‘proclamation’ (the word). Proclamation is, for me, word and deed.

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 sa.uca.org.au/newtimes. Articles and advertising do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor.

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APRIL 2010

The small group that I attend is currently studying the Book of James. This epistle states that faith and works are inseparable, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if a person claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such a faith save that person?” (Jas 2.14) We might well draw the conclusion from this verse that faith proclaimed without any practical outworking might have a limited affect on others as well (notwithstanding the efficacy of the word which does not return to God empty – Isaiah 55).

way that he lived in his local community. His words were consistent with the way he lived. The way we live can draw people to not only acknowledge God but even to praise God. One of the concluding statements following the beatitudes is, “In the same way, let your light shine before people, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven.” When a political party makes an assertion about itself we will immediately look to see if that is matched by their actions. Likewise I think any proclamation by the church must be matched by actions that demonstrate what we are saying.

We all know that actions speak louder than words.

When I look at the content of proclamations made by political parties I unashamedly ask, ‘does the content of the political proclamation match the values of the Kingdom of God?’ Likewise, at every stage in the church’s life we need to ask whether what we are proclaiming matches the good news of the Kingdom of God.

On the Saturday of the recent Synod weekend, Dave Andrews talked about the beatitudes. His input was especially powerful for me because it was matched by the

As I am writing this article, the gospel reading in the lectionary is the story of the prodigal son. This is one of the best known parables in scripture and most of us have

heard this passage exegeted in a variety of ways. After last year’s Global Leadership Summit I dipped into Timothy Keller’s book The Prodigal God. He noted that the introduction to the parable of the prodigal son is found in the opening verses to Luke 15 – “The tax collectors and sinners, however, were crowding round to listen to him and the Pharisees and scribes complained saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” Keller makes the point that repeatedly in scripture ‘sinners’ flock to listen to Jesus; the religious ones found him offensive. At that point my antenna was up, and tuned in. I find that the words said to religious people in the scriptures often speak most loudly to those who are church members today. I respectfully suggest that we draw more religious people to our churches than sinners. Keller goes on to say that if the church is drawing different types of people to those who were drawn to Jesus perhaps it may be because our message (our proclamation) is different to that which Jesus proclaimed. Proclamation is serious business. I pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire us all.


News

New Times

Making new friends

3

Caryn Rogers

After taking up the position of National Chair for the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) last year, Rev Ken Sumner added another feather to his leadership cap in 2010, with his new role as Covenanting Officer for Uniting Church SA. While not many of us can relate easily to the term ‘covenant’, we all understand the concept of friendship. Because everyone can relate to friendship, it means everyone can covenant. “Friendship is covenanting,” comments Ken. “Friends are people who respect you, love you - even if they don’t understand you sometimes.” Ken sees covenanting as deliberately practical and deeply Biblical. “Jesus gave us those two commandments: love God, love your neighbour - we’ve been preaching it for centuries. I think covenanting is putting ‘love your neighbour’ into action. “People still find it difficult to accept our spirituality even though we belong to and worship the same God - many think our spirituality is evil. And that makes covenanting difficult.” Covenanting has, of course, been a hot topic recently under the microscope of changes to the Preamble of the Uniting Church in Australia’s Constitution and approved

Rev Alistair Macrae, Uniting Church Australia President, with Rev Ken Sumner, National Chair of the UAICC, at Assembly 2009. in formal proceedings at the February South Australian Presbytery and Synod meeting. “What’s exciting about accepting this Preamble is the possibility of our Church being a place where everyone can be accepted,” reflected Ken. “When the covenant was formalised in 1994, we were recognised as peoples seeking to understand one another.” While we continue to work through covenanting as a

Church, the changes to the Preamble ensure our intentional friendship will continue, with a firm policy foundation, for generations to come. “The Preamble affirms our relationship again, but goes further, acknowledging us as Indigenous people. It’s the progressive outworking of a Church growing to accept Indigenous peoples more and more.” “That acknowledgement part is critical though. In the past,

non-Aboriginal people didn’t have to acknowledge us – it’s a bit like being dismissed everyday or being present but people acting like you’re not.” “This renaissance of our relationship through the new Preamble is a new thing, a refreshing – this will shape our future church. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity to shape the Uniting Church. “Covenanting, like the changes to the Preamble, doesn’t just ‘mean something

for Congress’; it means something for all of us. Covenanting means opening up our hearts and minds to each other; it’s recognising and seeing God in each other.” “I feel I’ve got some gifts to offer in bringing about friendship.” To discuss covenanting, get in touch with Ken Sumner on 8236 4235 or ksumner@sa.uca.org.au – he’s always keen to make new friends.

Uniting Church condemns shameful political comments

Tuckey and Abbott stuck in the dark ages

Natalie Shymko, Uniting Church National Assembly

Ramon Peachey, UAICC Communications

President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Alistair Macrae has condemned recent comments by Liberal Leader Tony Abbott and other Liberal members, concerning the acknowledgement of traditional Indigenous ownership of land, as ignorant and destructive. Tony Abbott has criticised Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his Ministers as engaging in ‘tokenism’ and unnecessary political correctness when they acknowledge traditional owners while speaking at functions. “Such comments reveal a concerning level of ignorance about the significance and function of the regular acknowledgment of the traditional owners of land,” said Alistair. “They are extremely unhelpful in building bridges between Indigenous and nonIndigenous Australians.

“Mr Abbott’s comments give tacit approval to others to make ignorant and racist comments which can only unravel the goodwill that exists between so many Indigenous and nonIndigenous Australians. “The acknowledgement of traditional owners at public and community gatherings is the least that we can do in the light of the invasion by Europeans and the consequent dispossession experienced by Australia’s First Peoples. Hopefully such acknowledgments represent substantial commitments to reconciliation and spur the community to engage with more than words. “For the Uniting Church in Australia, repeating that acknowledgement in an attitude of deep respect whenever we gather serves to remind us that we are committed, together with our Indigenous brothers and sisters, to the ongoing work of reconciliation.”

The Indigenous arm of the Uniting Church in Australia has delclared that the comments made by Tony Abbott and Wilson Tuckey concerning acknowledgement of Indigenous traditional owners of land are nothing more than a political party desperate to maintain its relevancy. National United Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) Administrator Rev Shayne Blackman and UAICC Chairperson Rev Ken Sumner said the venomous and archaic comments were deeply offensive to all Indigenous people and would unravel any goodwill the Opposition may have made in recent times. “It is now clear that the Leader of the Opposition and his learned underling have no genuine understanding of how to politically or culturally align themselves to Aboriginal people and

their struggle,” said Rev Blackman. “Regrettably their comments and stance will cost them down the line.” “These are elected members of parliament who cannot be allowed to use their tax payer salary to incite contempt under the guise of genuine political commentary - it is one thing to make legitimate political statements, it is another to belittle any group within the nation for sensationalism.” Rev Ken Sumner said Tony Abbott’s recent ‘getting lost’ in the outback was indicative of planned media attention. While it may have been amusing to some, the line was drawn in the sand over obnoxious ‘media driven’ comments which cut to the very heart of the respect and recognition Indigenous people have been struggling for since this country was invaded.

APRIL 2010


4

News

Currency reform affects North Korea’s most vulnerable Tomas Ganderton, UnitingWorld Communications Coordinator North Korea is little known to most Australians. Shrouded in mystery, the country periodically crops up in major news headlines; most recently featured were the economic issues currently facing the people of North Korea. UnitingWorld is currently involved in local humanitarian work in Rason, North Korea to care for the most vulnerable. In light of the most recent news, the project in Rason is now of great importance.

All use of foreign currency was also banned.

economic problems as well as food and energy shortages.

Already, this is proving to have a huge impact on the everyday life of North Koreans. Take, for example, the cost of rice, which is the national staple in North Korea.

The current situation is set to worsen these problems into the future. Many hospitals and clinics lack vital medicine, equipment, water and electricity. Infectious diseases such as tuberculosis (TB), malaria, and hepatitis B are thought to be rife.

Previously, one kilogram of rice would cost 20 won (about A$0.15). Now, depending on the location, the same quantity of rice can cost anywhere between 400 to 600 won (about A$4.00).

In November 2009, the local currency, the North Korean Won (KPW) underwent a major reform which revalued local currency; the ‘won’ at a rate of 100 to one.

Additionally, there is a daily shortage of energy, raw materials, and other daily necessities. National food production levels have fallen by about 20 per cent as a result of extreme cold in rural areas.

As a consequence the price of all food and non-food items rose between double and 30 times the previous price. Most people’s entire life savings became worthless.

While free healthcare and medical treatment exist in North Korea, the health system has been in decline since the 1990s as a result of natural disasters and

Despite the state of the economy, UnitingWorld’s multi-faceted project in Rason is continuing to battle through these tough times – thanks to your support. The various elements of the project, including an orphanage, computer school, nurses’ school and tuberculosis hospital, are continuing to care for some of the country’s most vulnerable people. John Barr, Associate Director for Church Solidarity (Asia), is concerned about the effect that the reform will have on a country whose people are already struggling economically.

“What is happening now is similar to the start of the famine that struck North Korea ten years ago. Food will become harder and harder to find and prices will rise.” Despite the current downfall, John is pleased that the project is able to support some of the most vulnerable people in North Korea through this time. “The project in Rason is currently caring for some of the most vulnerable people, including orphans and the very ill. “The work we are doing with our partners is becoming more vital as the situation worsens. “It really is a heartbreaking situation. I urge everyone to pray for the people of North Korea through these most difficult times.” Read more about the new volunteers and the project in Rason at www.unitingworld.org.au

The Rason project in 2010 The project this year will be managed by two new volunteers, recently commissioned at the Korean Church of Melbourne. The pair (unnamed for security reasons) have committed themselves to supporting the great work that is happening in the project in Rason, North Korea. They are continuing to work on a number of projects that will build the capacity of the local community, particularly focusing on the safety of orphans. Projects include a children’s home, computer school, TB hospital, nurses’ school and a mobile medical clinic. This is a huge commitment for the two Melbournites, but their perspective and energy will be an asset to the people involved in the project and ensure its success into the future. We ask that you uphold them and this project in prayer.

Lenten results construct Klinik Lyn Leane

The Gereja Kristen Injili (GKI) church in West Papua invited Uniting Church SA to engage with them in the provision of medical facilities and healthcare training through our partnership areas of Biak and Numfor Island Presbyteries. The 2007 Lenten Appeal raised funds toward the provision of a ‘Polyklinik’ or multi-purpose clinic, as we know it, in remote Wansra, on the south of the Numfor Island. The Klinik will focus on maternal healthcare and delivery of babies as well as some general medical support for common problems like chest infections, malaria prevention, tropical diseases and sores. In February 2010, I visited West Papua with a team from Blackwood Uniting Church, joining in with the construction process (project pictured at left). Peter Muller from Blackwood was privileged to nail the first aluminium sheet to the roof, enthusiastically followed by representatives from the GKI on Numfor. Pak Pdt (Rev) Herman Awom, former vice-Moderator of the GKI Church, has expressed his thanks to Uniting Church SA for the provision of funds and encouragement over the years, and especially to Henley-Fulham Uniting Church who provided significant funding for this Klinik. The locally owned Klinik is to be named after Herman’s late wife, Ibu Jacoba Imbiri-Awom, the first coordinator of this project, on behalf of the GKI. All materials were sourced from within Indonesia and built by workers from the area. We anticipate completion in May this year. This is a very exciting demonstration of the remarkable difference our Lenten gifts make in areas of need.

The times, they are a’ changin.. Yes, New Times is changing! Next month we will be refreshing our format and taking on a new shape and design style. For any advertising queries associated with this facelift, please contact Russell Baker on 8361 6822 or advertise.newtimes@sa.uca.org.au. Otherwise, watch this (changing) space!

APRIL 2010

Next issue:

Parenting and Childhood


Proclaiming Easter

New Times

5

Leaning on Lent, while shriving and ashing Caryn Rogers If I’m honest, there are a lot of Christian terms around the Easter festival that I don’t understand. Some of them we all know. Others have funny names which I confess I’ve never understood but often just nodded ‘knowingly’ when discussing them. First, we have Shrove Tuesday, the day for ‘shriving’. To ‘shrive’ simply means a time of confession and absolution; in this instance referring to confessing our sins as Christian preparation for Lent. We usually eat pancakes on this day, often thanks to UnitingCare’s Pancake Day, as part of the traditional ‘eating up the fats’ and feasting prior to Lent’s fasting. This is why the French phrase ‘Mardi Gras’ – literally ‘Fat Tuesday’ - started to be used. While this day has grown in popularity as a hedonistic event,

it is said to have roots in the Lenten period as the ‘last party’ before the preparation season for Easter. Following Shrove Tuesday, we commemorate Ash Wednesday which, until about a month ago, I thought was in solidarity with the awful Ash Wednesday fires in Adelaide, 1983. Ash Wednesday kicks off the Christian Lent calendar and is the day to ‘get ashed’ by smearing an ash and oil mix into a cross on our forehead as part of this day of penance. Then we have Lent. Ah Lent. The time of year when we fast and aren’t entirely sure why, and give to Lenten appeals. Lent urges us into a season of fasting, self-denial, Christian growth, penitence, conversion, and simplicity. It prepares us to celebrate the pinnacle point of our faith, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in a manner honouring to

him, following in his 40 days ‘fasting in the desert’ footsteps. Easter’s final preparatory day is Maundy, or Holy, Thursday, which is the consecration of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Christ, for what he has done and ‘will do’ in memoriam over the next few days. Maundy itself comes from the Latin word ‘mandatum’, meaning ‘command’ as per Jesus word’s in John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you.” On Good Friday we remember Jesus’ death. A sombre attitude is adopted, most especially during the hours between noon and 3:00pm. Christians are encouraged to stay in this ‘mood’ to remember, with grieving, the weight of our sin, the death of our Lord and suffering around the world – through oppression, slavery, faithlessness and more. On Sunday, we celebrate

because Jesus is alive and because of this truth, so are we. With our many reasons to party, it is no wonder that we often gloss over the preparatory stages. But without adequate preparation, we lose the significance of our celebrations. Often I feel like the true, gutwrenching Gospel is getting lost. While Christmas is a relatively ‘easy sell’ to encourage non-churchgoers inside church walls at least once a year, Easter is quite the conundrum, from a Christian marketing point of view. It’s easy enough to ‘sell’ coming to church when it’s cool, fun, family-friendly and moderate. We just jump on board the ‘come to our church’ advertising train. But Easter is predominantly gore. We’re not dealing with a cute baby in a surprisingly

clean manger. We’re dealing with a death and ghoulish after affects - the resurrection, which atheists often refer to as the ‘Jewish zombie’ story. The reality is, even if we manage to draw people into our churches with our Christmas promotions, at some stage they’ll need to come face-toface with the severity of Easter. We all desperately need the Good News that Easter brings and this festival period is our most prominent opportunity to bear the cross publically – for all it’s worth. I think in that endeavour we, as a Church, can do better. At Easter, we see a great win, but one which comes at great cost, through confronting sacrifice. So what will you and your church do next Easter?

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APRIL 2010


6

Proclaiming Easter

Starting the conversation Call for

prison reform

Sarah Urmston

As I write this, Mad March is drawing to a close, KCO is over for another year and it seems we hardly draw breath before the next big thing is upon us: Easter. And as much as I feel like I need a break from what has already been a hectic start to the year, I will always welcome Easter with open arms. Aside from the excuse to legitimately eat chocolate for breakfast (like I needed one anyway), catch up with family and enjoy a four day weekend, Easter is a time when the community spotlight swings to Jesus and the Church. Although, we do need to acknowledge that the Big Two (Christmas and Easter) are under threat by some of the most friendly characters society has created; Santa, elves, reindeer, Easter Bunny and a great, big wall of chocolate. As fun as some of these things are (who doesn’t like a bunny that brings free chocolate?), there is a danger in their attention-grabbing; heralding themselves as the ‘reason for the season’, they detract from the real Good News our community so desperately needs to hear. It’s more important than ever for us to ‘seize the day’ and make the most of the opportunities these seasons afford us, steering attention and conversation back to Jesus when it is already started in people’s minds. That said, in my experience, our Uniting Churches already do a great job offering thought-provoking services and activities for people over Easter. The few I know through my role coordinating the Easter postcards are testimony to this fact. Easter does also highlight the importance of raising our profile - key direction five in our Uniting Church SA strategic plan. For people to be able to visit a church and investigate Christianity - they need to know your church exists. Raising your profile doesn’t mean boasting about how good we are. It’s about putting ourselves out there for the sake of others. Around special

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Shannon Short The Uniting Church SA has called for prison reform and weighed into political debate following the ground work of the church’s prison advocacy task group. The church has become increasingly concerned about this issue as prison chaplains and church members report growing despair with the prison system. The Moderator issued two media statements in March and received coverage on Channel 7, ABC radio, and in the Australian, Advertiser and Independent Weekly.

Political advert ‘offensive’ The Uniting Church raised concerns about a political party’s television advertisement promoting the government’s ‘tough on crime’ stance. The advertisement featured the faces and names of prisoners. “This was a blatant political stunt. The ads crossed the line of decency,” said Uniting Church SA Moderator, Rev Rod Dyson. “There seemed to be a complete lack of compassion for the effect these ads would have on the family and friends of the victims of these crimes. “Regardless of the crimes committed, we also believe that the dignity of the three individuals shown in the advertisements was violated. “To use the faces of individuals who are doing what they are legally entitled to do – apply for release – is degrading and offensive.” “It is inappropriate to use such tragic circumstances for political point scoring.”

Prison-system overhaul needed The Moderator also voiced concerns about the growing rates of imprisonment in SA and called on our politicians to offer a more humane prison system. “The government seems to think high incarceration rates are a sign of strength. In fact, they are a reflection of the fundamental failure of our community,” says Rev Rod Dyson. “The more people we have in prison the more broken our society is.” Uniting Church SA has five key concerns:

(1) Increasing incarceration rates

In the last 10 years the prison population in SA has increased by 40%

(2) High Indigenous incarceration

In that same period, the number of Indigenous prisoners in SA is up from 18.3% to 22.9%. While they constitute only 2% of the Australian population, a staggering 25% of the national prison population are Indigenous.

(3) Prison infrastructure occasions it might mean buying postcards to give to people, or putting an advertisement in your local Messenger or, perhaps most importantly, mobilising congregation members to be ambassadors, opening up conversations about Jesus to their own family and friends and inviting them to find out more - at their own church. An encouraging aspect of Easter is that, despite the surrounding commercial fluff, people are generally more open

about discussions of faith and Christianity. Conversation about who Jesus is and why He died on a cross are seasonally less awkward to instigate. Yes, it’s still a very busy time of year and you might be at the point where you feel you can’t possibly offer any more of your time and energy to the church – or anyone, for that matter. But I urge you to continue on with the goal of the Gospel in mind, as we ‘seize the season’ and take the opportunity to invite people to meet Jesus.

Despite the growing prisoner population, little has been done to improve prison facilities.

(4) High numbers on remand South Australia has the highest proportion (35.5%) of unsentenced prisoners in the country. ‘Presumption of innocence until found guilty’ is a difficult standard to live up to when we put remandees and prisoners in together.

(5) Mental health

The prison population is three to five times more likely than the general population to have a major mental illness.

“All the signs point to a flawed system that is failing our community.” says Rev Dyson. The church will continue to lobby for change. You can read the media statements in full on the Uniting Church SA website, www.media.sa.uca.org.au


Proclaiming Easter

New Times

7

Proclaiming Jesus Christ: risen from the dead Deane Meatheringham

Absolute surprise has always been the response to hearing that the corpse of Jesus has been raised from the dead. None of Jesus’ disciples expected the resurrection to come in the man whom they had followed, intimately, for three years. At first they were terrified by the news that Jesus was alive and then moved with unspeakable joy at the realisation of the inconceivable event. Worship and doubt occurred simultaneously as they saw the servant figure of Jesus garbed in the glory of God.

Beyond the Chrysanthemum Mother’s Day is an important celebration of the role women play in raising families but for some it unearths painful memories. This is why Westbourne Park Uniting Church hosts an annual service to remember those who grieve lost opportunities to have a family or the loss of a child. As chrysanthemums are traditionally given as a gift for mothers on Mother’s Day, our service is named ‘Beyond the Chrysanthemum’. The idea originated from the church’s Wednesday morning playgroup when one of its members was mourning a miscarriage. The playgroup leaders found that many people had not been given an opportunity to grieve these difficult times; they decided to hold their own

special, reflective service prior to Mother’s Day. In 2009, the service drew more than 50 people from across Adelaide and the hills including some elderly couples who, decades after the event, still felt the pain of losing their child. “We wanted to offer a safe and supportive place for people to come, reflect and remember, whether their grief was recent or from long ago,” said Jenny March, one of the organisers. “People are invited to name their child before God and light a candle to reflect and remember their child or their situation. We offer encouragement, comfort and consolation to show that nobody is lost to God,” said fellow-organiser Judi Hartwig. Beyond the Chrysanthemum is a gentle service recognising

the pain of empty wombs, empty arms and empty homes. Open to anyone, the service acknowledges the pain of infertility, miscarriage, termination, stillbirth, infant mortality, having given a child for adoption or estrangement; whoever considers themselves to have lost a child has a place. The feedback that we received from the service last year encouraged us to make it an annual event. One person who attended found the service to be, “a positive step in the process of coming to terms with what has happened. It enabled me to let go, and let God take care of me and the whole situation.” This year Beyond the Chrysanthemum will be held on Saturday 1 May, 6.30pm at Westbourne Park Uniting Church, Sussex Terrace, Hawthorn.

The proclamation of Jesus being raised from the dead will cause us to put aside Easter bunnies and chocolate. American sociologist and theologian, Peter Berger, once reported that instead of the Church reading the signs of our society in order to have a relevant message to reflect back to it, we should ask if it has ever occurred to us that we might write some of these signs. The resurrection of Christ proclaimed is a gob-smacking sign. If we have reduced Easter to a mere symbol of new life that requires our energy and spirituality to make an empty metaphor come to life, then we are back to merely bunnies and chocolate. It will not be a public truth but a spiritual, inner, private experience consistent with the premise that Christians need to stick

with inner religious matters and leave the real world to the politicians. In his recent publication Surprised by Hope, Tom Wright, by implication, asserts the public truth of Easter. “Easter has a very thisworldly, present age meaning: Jesus is raised, so he is Messiah, and therefore he is the world’s true Lord; Jesus is raised, so God’s new creation has begun – and we, his followers, have a job to do! Jesus is raised, so we must act as his heralds, announcing his Lordship to the entire world, making his kingdom come on earth as in heaven.” The first Christian communities were not founded on a belief in ‘life after death’. Christians were persecuted and put to cruel deaths because they proclaimed the resurrection of Christ. They virtually never spoke of ‘going to heaven when you die’. It is misleading to speak of the resurrection as meaning life after death. It is also misleading to say resurrection means that after Jesus died and was placed in a tomb that his spirit went to be with God. Resurrection was not a dramatic way of speaking about the state people went into immediately after death. Resurrection denoted a new bodily life after death. Proclaiming the resurrection of Jesus can mean that in our human witness Jesus himself speaks to people. The risen Lord is the crucified one. This power shakes up our preoccupations of what is possible and what is not. Faith comes from hearing the Word of the risen Jesus and not from dancing around some stationary god.

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2:30pm Sunday 25 April Free admission Recitals in second half of 2010: Thomas Trotter 2:30pm Sunday 25 July Philip Scriven 2:30pm Sunday 15 August

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APRIL 2010


8

Proclaiming Easter

New Times

Discovering the Gospel at KCO On March 13-14 2010, 1300 children from across South Australia, aged seven to 12 years old, descended on the beautiful Barossa Valley Tourist Park for KCO 2010: KCOnia United. KCO (KUCA [Kids Uniting Church Australia] Camp Out) is a 24 hour camp committed to helping children explore faith, through their own discovery and encouraging sharing and relationships with their peers. KCOnia United was a whole lot of fun for the kids, but the brave 680 adults lending support as leaders, cooks, general helpers, first aid volunteers, KCO Radio, security, crafts, carnival and more had a lot to smile about as well. “Relaxing venue, great weather and program. The kids enjoyed the adventure of travelling by bus to and from the event as well,” commented one volunteer. “We all had a great time!” noted another. “Thanks for your support and care,” a parent said. Even those managing the Barossa Tourist Park over the weekend were overwhelmed by the size and smooth-running of the event.

Thanks! Thanks to those who volunteered their skills over the weekend to help the campers celebrate community united under the cross of Jesus - while participating in crafts, carnival fun, general adventuring, scavenger hunts and much more. Special thanks also to local Uniting churches, Gawler and Nuriootpa, for their delicious catering for the KCO team.

If you feel like you missed out on the fun and games - you did. So we’ll look forward to seeing you there, next year!

APRIL 2010


Proclaiming Easter

New Times

9

Doing maths, Mother’s Day-style Tomas Ganderton, Communication Coordinator at UnitingWorld

What’s your plan for Mother’s Day this year? This question usually lurks at the backs of our minds from the start of February until the last-minute ‘must buy a gift’ dash ensues. However your family celebrates, it’s all about telling mum how much she’s appreciated, but, did you know that sales figures for Mother’s Day rival Christmas spending? Mother’s Day started for Westerners in the US, back in 1912, with Anna Jarvis. After instigating the celebration, Anna soon became a vocal opponent to its commercialisation as retailers increasingly took advantage of the occasion. Almost a century on, Anna’s initial concern still begs the question: have we lost sight of what really matters? There are millions of mothers living in Africa, Asia and the Pacific who lack access basic needs like clean water, health care, and sufficient food for both themselves and their family. There are mothers and girls who, due to issues of gender inequality, must walk hours daily to fetch water for their families. But what does this have to do with our Mother’s Day here? Individual actions, like supporting UnitingWorld’s overseas projects by purchasing a gift from the CLARE VALLEY RETREAT May 14-16 “A Holistic Approach to Body, Mind, and Spirit” Lena Lapinska on Body Gentle Yoga Nicholas Rundle on Mind Meditation Bruce Stocks on Spirit Reflection

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Everything In Common gift catalogue, can make a huge difference to mothers around the world.

This year, rather than lashing out on pampering packs and chocolates, I decided to show Mum how

Number Crunch: Every May, Australians spend a staggering $6.5 billion on gifts about $170 million worth of ἀflowers, $94.5 million on perfume and pampering packs, and $35.3 million on chocolates. This equates to approximately $60, per mum. Why not consider a $60 gift from the Everything in Common gift catalogue instead? You could provide two pigs for income generation in West Papua, school books and pencils for three students attending a community school in Zambia, or provide vital vaccinations for three entire villages in West Timor. Gifts can be purchased online at

much I love her by spending her gift money on supporting girls in rural India attend a local high school. It’s something I know Mum will feel good about, and other mums will feel good about too. By spending the money on something that will create

positive change in the lives of another mum and her family, I feel like I’m showing my Mum just how important her influence has been on my life and helped make me who I am today. So, what’s your plan for Mother’s Day? (It’s Sunday 9 May, in case you needed a reminder...)

Too many clothes? Clothes you haven’t worn in years? Clothes you’ve out grown?

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Mother’s Day? Gifts from Everything in Common support the overseas work of the Uniting Church and make a difference to communities most in need.

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APRIL 2010


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Proclaiming Easter

New Times

Asylum seeker or refugee? Penny Harper, Blackwood Uniting Church

“My name is Suthan Jegatheeswaran, and I come from Sri Lanka. I was held in Australia’s Detention Centres for four years while my visa application was processed. Finally I was released in 2005. Since that time I have been living in Blackwood, and at the end of last year I become an Australian citizen. The Circle of Friends have helped me a lot; they give plenty of support to newly arriving refugees who, like me, have just arrived in Adelaide.”

fall into. Detention brutalises both detainees and guards alike. Release does not always mean Asylum seekers/refugees the end of problems though. what’s the difference? And who A local family I helped had are they anyway? spent four years in detention, This is the title of the next with two young children. They public forum at Blackwood were released, but were not Uniting Church (BUC), as part of allowed to work, get Medicare its ongoing series: Life & Faith at or any benefits from Centrelink, the Roundabout. were only allowed to study It has special relevance for for three months and were not me, a member of BUC and even allowed to do voluntary secretary of the Blackwood Circle work. They were therefore of Friends, a support group for completely supported by the asylum seekers and refugees. Blackwood Circle of Friends - this continued until they I have had close contact with finally received their Australian a number of asylum seekers citizenship. and wish everyone knew them as human beings, with all the They are now a model family, feelings and frailties that entails. with children doing very well It’s very poignant at the time at university and school and of Easter when our Lord went parents in work. But why did through his time of trial as a they have to go through hell to human, with his feelings and get there? frailties. In holding this public forum, Having visited refugees Blackwood Uniting Church is in Baxter Detention Centre, hoping to bring the common I understand the terrible humanity of asylum seekers to depression these detainees can the local community.

Public forum on asylum seekers/refugees Thursday 8 April, 7.30pm Blackwood Uniting Church; 266, Main Rd, Blackwood Four very knowledgeable speakers have been invited to present and answer attendees’ questions. Kevin Liston, past President of the Australian Refugee Association now working with migrant families with Families SA, will explain the different types of refugees, how they come, etc. Libby Hogarth, a migration agent who has been working in Christmas Island Detention Centre, Libby has helped many, many refugees, over the years. She will discuss the conditions and processing systems on Christmas Island as well as circumstances in asylum seekers’ countries of origin. Damien McInerney, a clinical psychologist with the SA Department of Migrant Health, Damien has worked for many years with the mental health issues caused by detention. He will discuss the effects of detention on already traumatised people. Sarah Hanson-Young, Federal Greens Senator, will be talking about what the Government is doing and its dealings with the issue of asylum seeking. Supper will follow the presentations and question time. For more information, contact Penny Harper, pharper@senet.com.au or 8278 7699. We hope to see you there.

Church leaders voice concern for Christmas Island asylum seekers Natalie Shymko, Uniting Church National Assembly President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Alistair Macrae and Anglican Archbishop of Perth, the Most Rev Roger Herft have voiced concerns for the wellbeing of asylum seekers on Christmas Island following a recent visit. A delegation of church leaders, including Rev Alistair Macrae, visited Christmas Island in late February to see firsthand the conditions under which asylum seekers are detained, and to meet with key personnel and asylum seekers. Alistair described the facilities as adequate, yet basic, for short-term needs.

speed appeared to be happy enough but there is a high level of anxiety amongst those whose cases have taken longer to process,” said Alistair. “Those most distressed have been detained on Christmas Island for seven to eight months or more. Accommodation overcrowding was clearly evident. “It is disturbing to approach the detention centre, which is surrounded by a high fence topped with electrified wire. It looks like a high security prison.” The Uniting Church in Australia is a strong advocate for closing the detention centre on Christmas Island and processing asylum seekers

“Asylum seekers being processed at a reasonable

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APRIL 2010

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on the mainland. While recognising the detention centre is unlikely to be closed in the short term, Alistair has called for families and unaccompanied minors to be immediately transferred to the mainland for processing. “There is no reasonable justification for vulnerable children to be held in such a remote facility,” he said. The delegation will now seek to meet with MP Chris Evans to discuss specific issues arising from the visit.

A delegation of church leaders visited Christmas Island earlier this year to see firsthand the conditions in which asylum seekers are detained as well as to meet with asylum seekers and key personnel. The delegation, pictured above (L-R), included Rosemary Hudson Miller, Associate General Secretary (Justice & Mission) for the Uniting Church Synod of WA and chair of the Coalition for Asylum Seekers, Refugees and Detainees; Rev Alistair Macrae, President of the Uniting Church in Australia; and the Most Rev Roger Herft, Archbishop of the Anglican Diocese of Perth.

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M a g a z i ne

New Times

11

Family goes for gold For one carer, working with UnitingCare Wesley Bowden’s Young Carers Program ‘Plan B’, the Special Olympics 2010 National Games is just one of the highlights of being a young carer for two brothers, each with an intellectual disability. Stephanie Bettens, 16, helps her mother Val, care for her two brothers, Bradley, 18 and Todd, 15. Both brothers are members of Special Olympics South Australia, the not-forprofit organisation which transforms the lives of people with an intellectual disability through sport.

Stephanie is already a published author at age 16 and her brother’s carer as part of UnitingCare Wesley Bowden’s Young Carers Program. Thanks to her support, Bradley is one of the 72 South Australian athletes hoping to be selected for the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer Games.

Held in Adelaide 19–21 April, the Special Olympics is a national event for people with an intellectual disability. Bradley is one of the 72 South Australian athletes who will join over 850 athletes from all over Australia who are not only going for gold at this event, but hoping to be selected for the 2011 Special Olympics World Summer

Games being held in Athens, Greece. “If it wasn’t for Stephanie, I wouldn’t be able to take Bradley and Todd to their swimming practices,” explains Stephanie’s mother, Val Bettens, who will also be a technical delegate for swimming at the Special Olympics. “When Bradley was selected to compete at the National Games, his training schedule increased, and I have relied heavily on Stephanie to be my back up.” Stephanie, 16, has been on the carers program for three years and as well as speaking in Canberra at a Young Carers conference recently, through the Young carers program, has written a book about her experiences of being a young carer and living with a brother with autism. Published last year, the book, It’s Just a Window, has been sold to schools, organisations and the general

public to increase awareness of Young Carers. Staff who work closely with Young Carers at North & West Metro Respite & Carelink are aware there are many young people in South Australia who have large caring responsibilities - the book is an opportunity for unidentified Young Carers to realise they are not alone and can get help. “I’m really proud of my brothers’ achievements especially as Bradley is representing South Australia at the National Games,” says Stephanie. “When I get my driver’s licence I will be able to help mum more with the transport.” For more information about the Special Olympics National Games log onto www.specialolympics.com.au or join the SOSA group on facebook. If you would like to buy a copy of It’s Just a Window please contact Val Bettens by email on vbettens@bigpond.net.au.

Knitting squares with care Anne Cooper, Gumeracha Uniting Church The 2010 knitting season of the Gumeracha Uniting Church Knitting group commenced on Monday 1 February at 10am, meeting alternate Mondays. These charitable ladies have added another charity to knit for this year the ‘knit a square’ initiative for Save the Children - which will see their

contributed squares made into rugs for babies in India. In 2009 the group was very successful in attracting several ‘new’ knitters as well as sharing their gifts for the benefit of others. This group, with other nonattending knitters from the district, sent away 900 articles to Byron Place Community Mission, Guardian Angel knitting and Adelaide Women’s and Childrens’ hospital for the premature

babies and children’s intensive wards. The Torrens Valley Lions Club very generously donated a large sum of money to purchase wool - we really appreciated their generosity. Our group also received donations of wool which have now been all knitted up because 900 articles use a lot of wool! Anyone wishing to join this group is welcome. We meet from 10am at Gumeracha Uniting, with morning tea

provided. Feel free to stay for an hour or two, or bring your own lunch and stay for the afternoon! If you’d like to knit for this group or have wool to donate (no matter how small the amount) we’d love to hear from you. Please contact Anne Cooper (8389 1062), Heather Lee (8389 6220) or Valda Hanna (8389 1195). We will be very pleased to hear from you.

APRIL 2010


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M a g a z i ne

New Times

Stamping love on the world Didn’t know that your used stamps still had some usefulness left in them? Save them for Sally and help mission agencies around the globe! Every Monday morning, the Sally Stamp team gather at the Uniting Church SA office, scissors at the ready to cut, sort, save and sell used stamps. Sold in aid of mission funds, the team’s work predominately funds shipments of used school books to countries around the world via South Pacific School Aid Inc. “Please could all church members and friends remember to save their stamps, both at Christmas time and all year

round,” urges Maxine Haines, Uniting Church SA Stamp Convener. “We would also ask people to approach any businesses in their areas who may wish to save their envelopes – what a waste if they just end up in recycling bins!” Of course, Sally Stamp are also very pleased to receive any stamp collections that are no longer required by their owners. Stamps may be left at the Uniting Church SA Office reception, level 2/212 Pirie Street, Adelaide. For further information, please contact Maxine on 8297 2417 or jimmax.haines@bigpond.com.

Worth their weight in church gold Earlier this year, Uniting Church treasurers from across the state gathered to further their skills and understanding of the financial reporting processes involved in managing their congregations finances. The group of 42 met in two sessions to discuss how to prepare for auditors, profit and loss statements, Mission and Services Fund expectations and more. A further 45 support packages were sent to treasurers who were unable to attend. The afternoon was led by Marie-Ann Ellis and Anne-Marie Richardson, Uniting Church SA’s Financial Services team members responsible for congregational bookkeeping and auditing. They were encouraged by the strong attendance, the investment of time demonstrating churches’ commitment to these important processes. If any treasurers require further help from the Congregational Bookkeeping Unit, please do not hesitate to get in touch on 8236 4215 or cbu@sa.uca.org.au.

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APRIL 2010


M AGAZI N E

New Times

13

South-Eastern KCO finds great treasure David Hogarth, Naracoorte Uniting Church The annual South East Kids Camp Out was held at Naracoorte High School oval, on the weekend of the 27-28 February. Entitled the ‘Greatest Treasure Hunt of All’ the theme of the camp this year explored the great reward of finding Jesus, Saviour of the world. The 24-hour campout welcomed 190 primary schoolchildren from Naracoorte, 50 from Mt Gambier and Padthaway as well as 150 volunteers; leaders, instructors, musicians, tent riggers, cooks and infrastructure providers. On Saturday afternoon, campers enjoyed fun activities including: abseiling, swimming, canoeing, ice-block tobogganing, box hockey, crafts, icing biscuits, face painting, slippery pole and the ever-popular dunking tank.

A shuttle-bus service between activity venues was provided by Norton’s, Longridge and Bulls, enabling for fuller participation in the afternoon. The evening program included lively inspirational songs led by Mt Gambier’s ‘Friday Night Life’ band and challenging dramas written by Ian Dow and Heather Edwards to help open up quality discussion and sharing at ‘Tent Talk Time’ with leaders after supper. On Sunday morning the theme was further explored through five fifteen-minute ‘Bible Track’ presentations with drama, story telling and band music. The campers’ offering of $1200 went to ‘Camp for Kids’; a Kairos outreach to families of prison inmates. I, along with my fellow cocoordinators Yvonne Hogarth, Diana Agnew and Wendy Scott, believe this Camp Out to be the

The South Eastern Kids Camp Out 2010 was a huge success for the 240 primary schoolchildren from Naracoorte, Mt Gambier and Padthaway who attended. most socially and spiritually rewarding event held so far. Naracoorte Uniting Church organises the south eastern Kids Camp Out as a gift to the community, especially the children, with leaders and helpers from all of the

churches in Naracoorte working together to make the event happen. We are grateful for the tireless efforts of Ian Dow, Ken and Wendy Scott, Lindsay and Chris Parker, Joy Bricknell and their teams, Bernie Lundberg in preparation for the event, and

the voluntary support from Mt Gambier, Padthaway and Naracoorte Uniting Churches, Naracoorte High and Primary Schools, Naracoorte Lucindale Council, community groups, businesses, service clubs and St John Volunteers.

Faithfully vego, once a week Ed Shiell, Act for Peace Committing to one red-meat free day a week not only provides a tangible, personal and immediate step that Australians can take to make a positive impact in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is a powerful way of standing in solidarity with 1.02 billion undernourished people in the world today. This translates to one in nearly six people who do not get enough food to be healthy and lead an active life. For example, in South Sudan the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that communities will need food assistance for at least eight months and in Kenya over ten million people face starvation due to massive food shortages. If people in comparatively well-off countries such as Australia (where per capita meat consumption is ten times higher than in the poorest countries) reduced our meat intake slightly, there would be more food for everyone. This is a poignant time where we have the potential to make inroads as concerned people of faith in regard to environmental protection and global food justice. One less red meat serving a week would be the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking an eighth of Australia’s cars off the road. That’s a powerful thought and a small sacrifice for the environment and those who live without food security in poor countries.

Elder Margaret Pope and Rev Tony Goodluck congratulate Rev Clarrie Hore on his 60 years as an ordained Minister of the Word.

Celebrating 60 ordained years Mal Warnecke On Sunday 7 March Rev Clarrie Hore was honoured at a special service at Para Vista Uniting Church for attaining 60 years as an ordained Minister of the Word in the Methodist and Uniting Churches. We understand that Clarrie is the oldest ordained minister in the Uniting Church of South Australia. To commemorate the occasion, a framed certificate was presented to Clarrie by the people of his now home church, Para Vista. Clarrie and his wife Elsie have served the church in many parts of the state, including Kangaroo Island, Cleve, Summertown, Alberton, Campbelltown, Gawler, Burra, Maitland and Prospect.

Australian Tour With or Without God: Why the Way We Live is More Important than What We Believe.

Gretta Vosper Canadian Centre for Progressive Christianity Tuesday 20 April 2010, 7.30pm Venue: Pilgrim Church, 12 Flinders St City Cost:

$20 Tickets from Pilgrim Church Office and Effective Living Centre. Ph 8271 0329

Gretta Vosper’s visit is hosted by the Progressive Christianity Network of South Australia and follows her keynote presentation at the Common Dreams 2 Conference in Melbourne. For further information: Email: pcnet@effectiveliving.org Phone: Effective Living Centre 8271 0329 Mon, Wed, Fri 9am-3pm

APRIL 2010


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R E V I E WS

New Times

See you in the afterlife

The Lord’s musician

Book: Surprised by Hope Author: NT Wright Recommended for: reflection of the resurrection, heaven and the mission of the Church In short: Contemporary opinions and thoughts on the afterlife are muddled, or so says Wright. RRP: $29.95

Mass for you at The love that home casts out fear

Book: J.S. Bach Author: Calvin R Stapert Recommended for: music lovers interested in learning more about the life of perhaps the greatest composer to grace this earth In short: Bach lived a simple but wholly engaging life, demonstrating how the Lord can use talents far beyond an owner’s lifetime. RRP: $27.95

Book: At Home with the Word 2010 Author: Margaret Nutting Ralph, Daniel J. Scholz, Mary Caswell Walsh, John P. Imler and Maria Leonard Recommended for: reflection of the Bible In short: Weekly readings and insights from the Roman Catholic Lectionary. RRP: $13.95

Book: The Courage the Heart Desires Book: Henri Nouwen: A Book Author: Kathleen Fischer of Hours Recommended for: Author: Compiled by Robert discovering spiritual Waldron strength in difficult times Recommended for: a In short: Practical ideas and different approach to spiritual exercises to aid prayer and experiencing the healing of fear. the presence of God RRP: $24.95 In short: Contemporary application of the Book of Hours. I expected this book to be yet another self-help spiritual guide RRP: $39.95

Jackets lay draped over the backs of chairs set back from the table. On one chair sits a cat that looks intently into one of the open Bibles which lies amidst the disarray of cups, spoons, pens, a small pedestal cross and candle. Cezanne-esque cover art never lies, this book was intended for the sort of devotional reading group which requires the use of hot drinks and a comfortable space to chat. At Home with the Word is an annual publication which, for more than 25 years, has supplied Roman Catholics with the full (NAB) text of the weekly readings along with a homily, a prayer and an activity related to the liturgical or environmental season. As a Catholic resource it presents scripture from the Apocrypha and celebrates various uniquely Catholic feasts alongside the texts and festivals more familiar to Protestant readers; since it is an American publication some activities are reversed in season. In most cases, the New Testament and gospel readings align with the Uniting Church lectionary, and in 2010 the Year of Luke is the central theme of both calendars. Each weekly reading includes a ‘Practice of Virtue’, a social or justice activity related to the themes or anniversaries for that week, and the responsorial Psalm is presented as ‘Practice of Prayer’ to encourage lectio divina. This book will appeal to current readers of scripturecentred devotional material, particularly those interested in making ecumenical and practical applications of the Word. - Damien Tann

The idea of a ‘book of hours’ will probably be unfamiliar to many of us, but well known by other traditions. In the Middle Ages it was a popular prayer book to help make each hour of the day part of prayer and was often carried around in the pocket to be referred to at the appropriate time as a means of coming into the presence of God. The introduction of this book outlines the monastic day and its seven canonical hours of prayers and reflections, both personal and communal. Waldron then uses Nouwen’s writings to compile a lectio divina (sacred reading as a way of prayer or meditation) to read along with more traditional prayers and invites us to ‘attend’ ie pay close attention, heed, wait and be ready to serve. Four weeks of daily prayer and readings are outlined. For modern readers it may not be practical to carry the book around and stop at the set times. Perhaps just take the morning and evening readings and use them or leave the book close by and dip into it. However it is read, it will prove to be rewarding. In addition there is an epilogue outlining Nouwen’s Theology of the Home of Love and a bibliography of all excerpts used. Not to be read in one sitting but to be taken slowly and reflected upon. - Glenys Badger

What do Christians hope for? To leave this wicked world and go to heaven? For the Kingdom of God to grow gradually on earth? What do we mean by the ‘resurrection of the body?’ And how does all this affect the way we live in the here and now? So reads the blurb on this richly stimulating and persuasively argued book. In this book, Wright examines and exposes what he sees as muddled thinking about the afterlife, then grapples with some of the questions that arise from his resurrection theology. Significantly, he shows how the Christian hope of bodily resurrection forms the foundation for understanding mission, social action, evangelism and spirituality today. According to Wright, ‘as long as we see salvation in terms of going to heaven when we die, the main work of the church is bound to be seen in terms of saving souls for the future. But when we see salvation in terms of God’s promised new heavens and new earth and of our promised resurrection to share in that new and gloriously embodied body – what I have called life after life after death - then the main work of the church here and now demands to be rethought.’ Wright is provocative and will certainly upset people across a wide spectrum. However, this was a startling book that reframed many questions and sent me back to the New Testament for another more careful look. - Alan Dutton

Most are familiar with the music of 17 and 18th century German composer Johan Sebastian Bach, but how much do we really know about him? Most of what we do is drawn from his eulogy and historic government documents, despite much of his music still evident today. Adding realism to this book, Stapert reveals the hardships faced by Bach despite his amazing musical talents. As his life proceeded it became evident that this was not a pampered life characterised by open door after open door, but a complex life filled with many jobs, hankering for promotions, missing out on positions, getting wage raises and moving from town to town for new vocational opportunities. Lending poignancy to this reflection of his life, Stapert describes Bach as a humble man and a loving servant of the Lord. His music was a reflection of the heartache he felt through the death of many children, a wife and numerous family members. Evident from this book, the most inspiring part of Bach’s life was how he initiated his compositions. Each morning he would spend time with the Lord, reflect on the Scriptures and write down inspired words. He would then take these words and create his works with them as the backbone. He was industrious, obedient and ridiculously talented, and thankfully we are still blessed with many of his pieces. - Callum Iles

APRIL 2010

for overcoming stress and fear. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that in her book, The Courage the Heart Desires, Kathleen Fischer encouraged an acceptance of fear, rather than regarding it as something to be mastered: “The best way to deal with it is to allow fear to be simply what it is.” Denial of fear, she writes, dulls awareness like a cataract clouds the pupil of the eye. The book is rich in practical ideas and spiritual exercises to aid the healing of fear and encourages living in the present, recognising what to fear, and the more obvious practices such as meditation and prayer. Kathleen Fischer illustrates the book with examples from her own life and draws upon the experiences and spiritual practices of Buddhist, Jewish and Christian mystics. Getting well-acquainted with fear, anger and sadness, and recognising what triggers them, and how they register in the body is the key, Fischer says, leads to emotional wisdom. The advice to find a ‘stillpoint’ choosing a favourite image like for example, water, love or mercy, as an anchoring point to meditation and prayer is not a new idea, but still helpful in troubled times, when fear should not be allowed to dominate, control, or define us. - Linda Sutton

Attentive to find God within and amongst us


15 M AGAZI N E

New Times Goolwa Uniting Church is seeking 10 copies of the large print version of the 1977 Australian Hymn Book, either to purchase or by donation. Contact Anthony Presgrave on 8555 3311 or anthony. presgrave@bigpond.com.

Atheists have enjoyed a fairly good run in recent years. But it might be just about over. Atheists have tried organising for themselves alternatives to organised religion: One method being conferences where negative speeches can be applauded by negative-minded audiences. Another has been to dabble in ‘humour’. But is not an atheist comedian a contradiction in terms? What is there to laugh about in a world that has no purpose or meaning? Does not atheist humour turn out to be merely dishing out insults and mocking others’ beliefs? Few grown-ups find bitterness and sniping cute. If atheists want to be part of a better world, they must learn to motivate themselves by unselfish love. Then they will be close to God. A. Jago, Mildura

Send your letters to:

newtimes@sa.uca.org.au 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.

A ‘Hymn Fest’ featuring Wesley’s hymns will be held on Sunday 18 April from 1.30pm at The Corner Uniting Church (cnr Diagonal and Oaklands Roads Warradale). All welcome. Wellspring SA (inspired by the Iona Community) invites you to hear Michelle Coram speak about her visit to Nepal in October 2009 to build a house as a part of Habitat for Humanity. The meeting, on 21 April, will be held in the chapel at Disability SA, 103 Fisher St, Fullarton, beginning with a shared tea at 6.30pm and Michelle’s story at 7.30pm. Enquiries: Brian Ball 8337 8517. Listening to God Together – Working with discernment in church communities is a new resource booklet offered by the Stillpoint Centre. It provides a guide for Christian communities and congregations wishing to use discernment principles

of decision-making in their meetings. Authors: Ann Siddall and Rev John Blanksby. Cost: $12 plus p & h. To order: 8178 0048, stillpoint@internode. on.net or www.uca.sa.org.au/ goto/stillpoint. The closure service for South Rhine Uniting Church will be held on 25 April 2010 at the church, Mathew Road, Eden Valley. The memorial service and reunion begin with a picnic/shared lunch in the old school hall before the official closing ceremony in the church at 2pm. More info at the website: http://southrhine. biznz.net. Please register online if you plan to attend. The Grange Uniting Church Coffee Shop (5 Beach St, Grange) is open every Tuesday from 11.00am - 1.30pm, offering soup, sandwiches, desserts, tea and coffee at very affordable prices. Everyone is welcome. Visit our op shop or new beachfront at the jetty. Group bookings ph Lorna 8356 8032.

FOR SALE Baptismal font and Overhead Projector. Make an offer. For information phone The Corner Uniting Church on 8350 5400. APARTMENT 3br apartment on the Esplanade at Victor Harbor. Relax in cosy comfort away from the crowds and watch the waves roll in at a special winter rate of $462 pw (min 7 nights). Contact Dodd and Page P/L ph 8554 2029 and ask for “By The Sea”

The art exhibition at Blackwood Uniting Church (Main Road, Blackwood) will be officially opened on Thursday 15 April at 7.30pm. The exhibition includes painting, sculpture, textiles, photography, and other mixed media representing ‘Community’. Open to the public on 16 - 18 April from 11am to 4pm. Steps toward healing: A service for those who have been hurt by the church. Pilgrim Uniting Church (12 Flinders Street, Adelaide)

To advertise in New Times contact Russell Baker p. 8361 6822 f. 8361 6833

Support Frontier Services as they hold a fundraiser featuring the South Australian Police Band (Dixieland Band and Saxophone Quartet) in concert at the Church of the Trinity, 318 Goodwood Rd, Clarence Park on Friday 14 May at 7.30pm. Adults $10, children $5; includes supper. Phone 8359 8879 for tickets. Finniss Centenary celebrations May 16 2010, commencing at 2pm at Finniss Church. Enquires to 0438 195 506.

To have your upcoming event or message published here, email notebook@sa.uca.org.au with ‘Notebook’ in the subject line.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH Worker/Pastor Athelstone Uniting Church seeks a person to fill an exciting full-time position with a focus on providing leadership, support, training and ministry in the areas of: • Community connections • Youth and young adults leadership • Family ministries For further enquiries and an employment description contact the Church office on 8336 9905 or email office@athelstonechurch.org.au This is a full-time position but part-time applicants are encouraged to apply.

All letters are published at the editorial team’s discretion.

EXPERIENCED HANDYMAN Home maintenance with gardening $20 per hour. “Your spare pair of hands” Phone: 8346 0933

The Corner Uniting Church (corner Diagonal & Oaklands Rds, Warradale) presents a ‘Mother’s Day Art Exhibition’ from 2 - 23 May. Tuesday to Friday: 10.00am – 3.00pm (Cafe open) and Sundays 1.00pm – 3.00pm. Coming in late May: Indigenous Art Exhibition. All displays support Suneden Special School. Further information: Pauline Shinkfield, 8376 2666.

hosts the second ‘Steps toward healing’ service on Tuesday 27 April at 7.30pm. Open to all, offering the opportunity to invite God into the healing process. More information: Rev Tony Eldridge or Rev Sandy Boyce, 8212 3295, www.pilgrim. org.au.

Manager, Pastoral Care Department

Chaplain

- The Wesley Hospital

- St. Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital

Applications are invited for the position of Manager of the Pastoral Care Department – The Wesley Hospital. This exciting opportunity offers the successful applicant leadership responsibility for a highly trained, committed pastoral care team, and the leadership of the department in line with the Values of UnitingCare Health.

Applications are invited for the position of Chaplain to St. Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital. This is an exciting ministry opportunity that is diverse, on the edge, Spirit filled, and mission driven. The successful applicant will be a member of a dynamic ecumenical pastoral care team, and will minister within the Gospel driven Values of UnitingCare Health.

The appointed Manager will be a suitably qualified Minister of the Word, Deacon, or Pastor; will have education and experience in Hospital Ministry and Pastoral Care, will hold suitable leadership and management qualifications and/or experience. For an information pack, please contact Rev Robyn Kidd robyn.kidd@ uchealth.com.au . Completed applications should be sent to Rev Dr. Marian Zaunbrecher, Associate General Secretary Qld Synod, GPO Box 674 Brisbane Q 4001.

The appointed chaplain will be a suitably qualified Minister of the Word, Deacon, or Pastor and will have education and experience in Hospital Ministry and Pastoral Care. For an information pack, please contact Rev Robyn Kidd robyn.kidd@ uchealth.com.au . Completed applications should be sent to Rev Dr. Marian Zaunbrecher, Associate General Secretary Qld Synod, GPO Box 674 Brisbane Q 4001.

Applications close 27th April, 2010

Applications close 27th April, 2010

APRIL 2010


16

World

New Times

Tasting Thailand’s contrasts Jill Freear

It’s been several weeks since I and six other Uniting Church members returned from a Mission Awareness trip to Thailand. My mind is still struggling to digest the richness of the experience and the enormous extremes of the country. As soon as we stepped off the plane in Bangkok our senses were assaulted. Humidity does have a smell; the air a hot, sultry, musty quality. Around 14 million people live in Bangkok - many of them struggling to earn enough for life’s basic necessities. There appears to be little in the way of building codes and zoning here. Residential, commercial and industrial are all thrown together in an amazing hotch-potch. The city pulsates with life by day and by night. The streets are a microcosm of life – where people live, eat, work and sleep. One woman sits behind her sewing machine on the footpath offering clothing alterations. Another rips pages from a telephone directory as she makes papier-mâché toys. Others crouch, washing dishes in huge plastic buckets at the curb. Everything is for sale – at a price. The sing-song tonal language of the Thai people surrounds us. Showing a passing interest in any item at the markets draws an immediate response. “You like, madam? I do you good price,” rings in my ears. Some of the merchants are of uncertain gender and sexuality; all engage in rather forceful selling techniques. The food is both delectable and strange. We keenly sample the sweet and sour, the hot and spicy; flavoured with

chilli, fish sauce and peanut paste. Contrasts abound; rich and poor, old and new. The wretched poverty of the slum buildings - houses made from advertising signs and rusty sheets of corrugated iron - punctuate the city with polluted waterways and hazy skies. They’re juxtaposed against the decorated gilded splendour of the Grand Palace with its immaculate topiary gardens. The sleek, modern, airconditioned efficiency of the sky train is in stark contrast to the hot and humid ride on the river ferry where we are squashed like sardines. I’m scared to move, afraid that I might accidentally brush a sacred Buddhist monk. The Thai people appear gentle, polite and humble. It is not part of their culture to show anger or frustration. Yet ‘officialdom’ also reigns. There are armed police and guards in uniform everywhere, controlling everything from traffic movement to tourists. The Thai flag and the King’s flag are evident nearly everywhere – lining city streets and country highways. Thailand is clearly patriotic; the King is deeply revered. The images and experiences from this trip will stay with me forever. The pathos in the eyes of a small child crouching, one leg bandaged, a skinny arm extending a begging cup towards us. But not all is as it seems. We hear stories of children who are deliberately blinded or injured by their carers to evoke sympathy and more generous giving from foreigners. We know about the sex industry, but looking into the bars in the red light district and seeing the scantily clad girls is another matter when you have a teenage daughter at home.

It seems incredible that many of these girls are sold into prostitution by their families so they can send money home to the village for food and better houses. We are taken to meet three middle-aged women who are squatting in a Chiang Mai slum. One woman is blind in one eye – a complication of HIV/AIDS. They tell us their lives are good because they have now have access to anti-retroviral medications through the aid of the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) and can earn a living selling flowers and recyclable materials. They accept our prayers and squat cheerfully around their camp fire as we leave. Suddenly our standard of living seems superfluous, if not obscene. We met a number of amazing Christians who have dedicated their lives to improving the lives of others – dishing out compassion and food to foreigners in prison; liberating and rehabilitating prostitutes with grace and mercy and alternative employment; empowering trafficked and exploited Hill Tribe women through education and vocational training; dispensing health care to illegal migrants; fighting the commercial sexual exploitation of children; encouraging selfreliance and independence amongst those living with HIV/AIDS – the list goes on. Thailand has certainly challenged my thinking and troubled my soul. The pilgrimage took the members of our group to the limits, stepping well outside our comfort zones. We return home forever changed, with much to ponder. Jill attends Morialta Uniting Church and was the previous New Times editor.

Education with Uniting Church Schools

89 Greenhill Road Wayville

2-30 Surrey Farm Drive

Campus Drive, Aberfoyle Park

PO Box 571 Kent Town

Carruth Road Torrens Park

546 Portrush Road

Alison Ave, Marion

South Australia 5034

Golden Grove 5125

South Australia 5159

South Australia

South Australia 5062

Glen Osmond 5064

South Australia 5043

P: 8422 2288 F: 8272 0142 www.annesley.sa.edu.au

P: 8280 1700 F: 8289 2677 www.pedarecc.sa.edu.au

P: 8270 3033 F: 8370 7734 www.pilgrim.sa.edu.au

P: 8334 1200 F: 8363 0702 www.pac.edu.au

P: 8274 4333 F: 8274 4247 www.scotch.sa.edu.au

P: 8303 9000 F: 8303 9010 www.seymour.sa.edu.au

P: 8 8276 0276 F: 8 8276 0277 www.westminster.sa.edu.au

Our seven independent schools provide education for around 6,000 students in South Australia from Early Learning to Year 12. They offer a variety of learning environments, and a world-class standard of excellence in facilities and academic standards. While these schools respect the faith diversity of all students, the story, values and practices of the Christian faith are expressed with integrity in order to nurture young lives for sound learning, faith, compassion and responsible service.

APRIL 2010

New Times - April 2010  

Celebrating Jesus: living Easter all year round

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