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Issue 27, No 7 August 2008 www.sa.uca.org.au/goto/NTaug08

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Working globallyfor a better world inside…

Australia not religious 3 • Country hospital concern 4 • Hope Valley to expand 5 Working globally 7 – 12 • Aldersgate’s 50th Birthday 13 • Revving up Port Lincoln 16


NEWS

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New Times

2009 - Year of Faith Tourism People of faith are being encouraged to travel next year – as the World Religious Travel Association (WRTA) designates 2009 The Year of Faith Tourism. The WRTA says Faith Tourism has evolved from a niche market, driven primarily by budget pilgrimages and retirees, into a vast and dynamic industry comprised of all ages seeking a diverse range of quality travel experiences. Faith Tourism includes pilgrimages, missions, volunteer vacations, events, conferences, cruises, leisure vacations, adventure trips, retreats, camps, monastic guest-stays, attractions, and many other forms of travel. To learn more about The Year of Faith Tourism, visit the official website at http://www. faithtourism2009.com.

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Time for a green economy The Uniting Church has expressed its support for quick and decisive action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and has urged an immediate end to the language of winners and losers. “We have one atmosphere and one planet. Either we all win or we all lose,” said Rev Elenie Poulos, national director of UnitingJustice Australia. “The Garnaut Review Draft Report has pulled together the best science in the world. This is not scare-mongering, but it is frightening. We are suffocating the planet and we are running out of time to make a difference. “We are particularly concerned about the lack of trust some of our political and community leaders and opinion makers appear to have in the world’s leading climate scientists. “The Christian church has a poor history of not trusting scientists and most of us have learned from our mistakes.

“No matter how much we would like it to be different, the world is suffocating from humaninduced climate change and the problem is urgent. “We must put a price on carbon as soon as we can. We must ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are well supported as we change our economic base. We must do it together, working co-operatively not competitively. We must be bold, creative and, above all, courageous.” Uniting Church offices, agencies, congregations and members are working to improve their own energy efficiency and reduce their carbon footprint. “Like so many Australians, we want to live more sustainably and we want our governments to do all they can to help,” said Elenie. “It is time to move to a green economy that takes seriously our responsibility to the planet, all its creatures and future generations.”

Don’t send money up in smoke Instead of spending money on New Year’s Eve fireworks, we should be donating money to a pressing world need, according to the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL). The ACL wants us to ‘Pause for a Cause’ during New Year’s Eve fireworks celebrations around the nation, so that the money saved during that pause can be donated each year to a worthy global cause. “In common with all Australians, I enjoy the New Year’s fireworks,” says ACL managing director Jim Wallace. “However, I am always conscious of the irony of us sending so much money up in smoke, when there is so much need in the world.” The proposal is simply that, each year, the dollar savings from one minute’s worth of fireworks be given to appropriate charities to support an urgent need in the world. The ACL also hopes that media broadcasting

the event will use the minute break to highlight the need to which the donations are being made. “It is ironic that the timing of tsunamis and other natural disasters has sometimes coincided with this time of celebration in the West,” says Jim. “I know there will be no shortage of worthy causes for the proceeds from the pause in fireworks. “Importantly, this initiative is also an effective way of raising greater public awareness of some major world needs. “Our being one of the first nations to celebrate the New Year and the high profile of Sydney’s celebrations centered on the Bridge, gives us an opportunity to create a global example in generosity.” The ACL will be approaching local governments and sponsors of New Year’s Eve fireworks with the proposal and hopes ‘Pause for a Cause’ will be introduced in 2009.

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ISSN 0726-2612 Editor: Jill Freear, Ph 8236 4230, email newtimes@sa.uca.org.au Advertising: Russell Baker, Ph 8361 6822, email ribad@bigpond.com Circulation: Jo Watts, Ph 8236 4260, email jo@sa.uca.org.au Production: Joie Creative Printer: Cadillac Printing Circulation: 12,000 Distribution: On the first Sunday of the month Editorial deadline for September: 12 August Advertising deadline for September: 14 August New Times is published 11 times a year by the Uniting Church SA Communications Unit. Articles and advertising content do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or of the Uniting Church. New Times articles and policies are published on the Uniting Church SA website www.sa.uca.org.au. Office: Level 2, 212 Pirie Street, Adelaide. GPO Box 2145 Adelaide, SA 5001.

Cover photo: Uniting Church SA International Mission officers Lyn Leane and John Minchin.

AUGUST 2008

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace wants some of the money spent on New Year’s Eve fireworks to be donated to world charities.


NEWS

New Times

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Australia is not Godzone

It’s official – Australia is one of the world’s least religious countries, according to an international survey carried out by the European Bertelsmann Foundation. The Religion Monitor survey found that although twothirds of Australians identify themselves as Christians, religion plays an important role in the minds and everyday lives of only a minority. Twenty-eight percent of Australians see themselves as not at all religious, with religious practices and beliefs barely featuring in their lives. A similar number classify themselves as deeply religious (25 percent) while 44 percent of Australians say they consider themselves religious but that religion does not play a central role in their lives. Forty-eight percent of Australians do not pray and 52 percent never or very seldom visit a church, mosque, synagogue or temple for religious reasons. Thirty-one percent of Australians do not believe in God or a divine power or in life after death. Religion scored lower than all other parts of daily life, with 50 percent of Australians considering religion the least important aspect when compared to family, partners, work/career, leisure time and politics. In terms of religiousness, Australia was ranked number 17 out of the 21 nations polled. The only countries to show less interest in religion were Russia,

France, Germany and the United Kingdom.  In Australia, religion is strongest amongst Pentecostal Protestants and Charismatic Movements. Religious belief in Australia is also very much a women’s thing. While 34 percent of Australian women are deeply religious, the proportion of deeply religious men is less than half that figure (16 percent). There is also a wide generation gap when it comes to the importance of religion. In the over 60 age group, 40 percent are deeply religious and 37 percent are religious. In the younger age groups, only half that number considers themselves deeply religious. However 72 percent of Australia’s young adults believe in God or a divine power and/ or in life after death – this is even more than in the over 60 age group and flies in the face of the assumption that religious belief is dwindling. Australians also have a largely positive perception of God, viewing God as a loving, kind-hearted being. The most frequent feelings they associate with God are gratitude, hope, happiness and love – followed by security, help, awe and justice. The majority of religious Australians are not just “Sunday Christians or believers”. Their belief is highly relevant to their everyday lives. Their belief influences the upbringing of children the most, coming next is religion’s role in supporting occasions such as births,

An international survey has revealed 72 percent of Australia’s young adults believe in God or a divine power. (Photo of worship at ‘Out of the Valley’). weddings and deaths. At third place is the role that people’s religious beliefs play in how they treat nature. In contrast, religion has much less influence over sexuality, leisure time and work and it has the least influence on people’s political views.

As in other industrialised countries, there is a clear trend in Australia towards a “patchwork” belief structure, one comprised of individual interpretations and belief models drawn from different faiths.

Further information may be found at www.bertelsmannstiftung.de and at www. religionsmonitor.de. On the latter site users can compile their own individual religious profile and compare it with the average values for their country.

Church insurance changes Congregations should keep a look out for the Uniting Church SA’s new ‘Risk Management and Insurance Handbook’ which highlights several changes to church insurance. Copies have been sent to parish and congregational secretaries. The handbook has an improved index and highlights several changes such as: • The need to remove cots, car seats, pushers and prams from Op Shops

• Relief of the need for ‘sit and talk’ type groups to produce evidence of Public Liability insurance

• Removal of the need to obtain evidence of Public Liability insurance from some user groups • Revised Licence Agreements for hirers of church premises. Further copies of the handbook are available on request; phone Chris Gerke on 8236 42224.

Assembly resources The National Working Group on Doctrine has prepared the first three discussion starters of what are being called ‘DocBytes’ They aim to encourage theological thinking on specific topics across the Uniting Church. These two-page discussion papers are especially aimed at groups, although they can also be used for personal reflection. They provide some input, questions and also point to further reading options. The first three are on: Apologetics, Doctrine and Marriage. Further ‘DocBytes’ are being prepared on Evangelism, the Christian Life, Baptism and Peacemaking. They are available on the Assembly website and can be downloaded free of charge at: www.assembly.uca.org.au/resources/ newbytes. Glossy copies can be purchased from the Assembly: $10 for 10 Bytes. Contact the Assembly Communications Team on 02 8267 4233.

AUGUST 2008


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NEWS

Concern over country hospitals Rural ministers are concerned over the State Government’s plans to restructure country hospital services. The government wants to move country health services to four key regions, Whyalla, Port Lincoln, Mount Gambier and Berri. There will be 11 Country Community Hospitals and up to 43 other South Australian hospitals may be down-graded or closed. Rural communities are concerned about the lack of detail in the plan and say country hospitals face an uncertain future. In June Rev Marty Rosenberg and Pastor Naomi Rosenberg (SYP), Pastor Gary Ferguson (Ardrossan), Rev Ian Giles (Moonta) and Rev Gladys Moeller joined with Yorke Peninsula ministers from other denominations in writing to

their local paper to express concerns over the uncertain future of Yorketown Hospital. Marty and Gladys were two of an estimated crowd of 700 people who attended a public meeting to express concerns about Yorketown Hospital. Since then Health Minister John Hill has allayed fears slightly by confirming that Yorketown Hospital will be a ‘GP plus Emergency Hospital’. However this is subject to the hospital being able to maintain present staffing levels. Peterborough Uniting Church community minister Robyn McKay believes the State Government’s plan should be a concern for all South Australians. “If Peterborough people need to be hospitalised, they will be sent to Whyalla or Berri - both are a long way from

home,” said Robyn. “It will be very difficult for relatives and friends to visit and will distress the sick and elderly who will be sent to an unfamiliar hospital in an unfamiliar town. “This has huge implications for all ministers in country areas – how are we to care for those in hospital if they are half a day’s journey away. This is a matter of justice. “The Uniting Church is investing a lot of money and effort into maintaining rural ministry, as well as helping those affected by drought. This is another opportunity for us as a church to demonstrate our concern for rural South Australia.”

From left, Rev Marty Rosenberg (SYP), Pastor Naomi Rosenberg (SYP), Pastor Gary Ferguson and wife Kris (Ardrossan) and Rev Gladys Moeller (aged care chaplain) outside Yorketown Hospital.

Robyn is urging church members to sign the online petition at www. saveourcountryhospitals.com.

Uniting Church was one of hundreds of people who protested against the country hospital restructure at a rally outside Parliament in June.

Meanwhile Rev Dr Phil Marshall from Tea Tree Gully

In a letter to the editor in this month’s ‘New Times’ Phil has

called on the Uniting Church to advocate on behalf of rural communities. Formal feedback about the plan may be delivered to country hospitals and online at www.health.sa.gov.au.

New manager starts at Uniting Foundation The Uniting Foundation has a new manager. Valerie Williams took over the role from the foundation’s interim manager John Munchenberg in mid July. Valerie has worked for the past two years as an editor for KBR, an engineering consultancy company. Prior to that she was the executive director of SA Divisions of General Practice, where she managed the organisation and was active in health policy and planning. Valerie is keen to use her skills to further the church’s mission and is looking to make a difference in her working life. “Part of my role will be to encourage people to think about giving to the Uniting Foundation and to ensure people are confident with the grants process,” Valerie said.

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AUGUST 2008

“There are plenty of charities out there, but I strongly believe church members want to give to something to which they are strongly committed – the Uniting Foundation is not just another charity option, it can reflect the big part that the Uniting Church plays in their lives.

Valerie Williams took over the role of Uniting Foundation manager in mid July. “I’m also keen to help congregations write successful grant applications – and if the Uniting Foundation is unable to help them, I’d like to be able to direct them to other funding sources.”

Valerie is a committed Christian and a member of St Stephens Lutheran Church on Wakefield Street.  In her spare time she plays netball, follows the footy and also writes short stories and poetry.


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New Times

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Big plans for Hope Valley Hope Valley Uniting Church members have dug deep – pledging more than a $1m over the next three years to help fund a major redevelopment of their church. The Uniting Foundation has promised $1m and the Federal Government has already granted $875,000 towards the project. Hope Valley lead pastor Kynan Brookes says the anticipated cost is upwards of $3.275 m. Already the congregation has purchased three adjacent blocks of land. In April the congregation launched a ‘Building for life’ campaign to help raise further funds. Over several weeks congregation members met for small group studies and daily prayer meetings – building up to ‘Pledge Day’ on Sunday June 1. “It was a huge all-ofcongregation effort,” says Kynan. “We prayed for the project and people shared their

testimonies of what God is doing in their lives. “We thought if $500,000 could be committed, that would be a great response; $750,000 would be incredible, and $1m unbelievable. “People have been unbelievably generous. Cash and cheques on the day totalled $182,000 and people promised a further $1m over the next three years. Even the children were involved – filling their money boxes and donating $315.65c. “The $1m worth of pledges over the next three years means we will have enough to service the debt on the new building. “It’s been an amazing faith building time – the unity and momentum generated is incredible. “On Pledge Day we had a Bible, a kerosene lamp and the bell from the original Hope Valley Methodist chapel which was built in 1867.

“The bell hasn’t been rung in 35 years (since moving into the present church building), but we rang it that day.” The following week the congregation held an “electric” celebration evening – setting up the outside of the church to look like a construction site, and projecting images of the old chapel and new development onto the building. The proposed redevelopment will have a 450 seat auditorium, which will be added onto the eastern side of the existing church building. The present worship space will become a foyer and it will be surrounded by new offices, a children’s ministry area and kitchen and toilet facilities. The new facility will provide at least double the floor space of the existing church building and should house the 500 regular worshippers more comfortably as well as being well utilised by the broader community.

Hope Valley Uniting Church lead pastor Kynan Brookes with his wife Rachel and their three children.

Oh what a feeling! Oh what a feeling – there’s nothing like a Toyota Prius when fuel prices are sky-rocketing and carbon emissions are a major concern. Corner Uniting Church minister Rev Wes Howland is the first to lease a petrol-electric hybrid vehicle through the Uniting Church SA’s car fleet. He is delighted with the Prius, as it is in keeping with the Corner’s clean, green image. (The new church at Warradale has many environmentally friendly features, such as solar panels, and rainwater tanks). “Driving the Prius will send a strong message to the community that the church is concerned about the environment and is taking practical action to safeguard the planet for future generations,” says Wes. The Prius is reputedly the cleanest family car in the world, emitting just 106g/km of carbon dioxide. Fuel consumption isn’t bad either – at just 4.4 litres/100km.

Corner Uniting Church minister Rev Wes Howland (left) and CMI Toyota fleet manager Robert Gubbins jumped for joy as Wes picked up his new Toyota Prius from the car dealership last month.

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WESLEY KENT TOWN UNITING CHURCH AUGUST CONCERTS WOODWIND RECITAL “A Tribute to Nairn Kerr” Friday 8 August, 2008 at 7.30pm Featuring soloists: SALLY DEAN - Solo Oboist of the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra and Professor of Oboe at the Lisbon National Orchestra Acade and the Lisbon Metropolitan Music Conservatorium. NUNO SILVA - Principal Clarinetist of the Lisbon Metropolitan Orchestra and Professor of Clarinet at the Lisbon National Conservatorium . the National Orchestra Academy of Lisbon. and accompanist: ALEXANDER HANYSZ - Soloist, accompanist for singers and instrumentalists, chamber musicians, repetiteur and orchestral pianist. Program will include works by: Bozza, Milhaud, Carrapatoso, Gershwin, Resanovic. MIDWEEK WINTER CONCERT 2pm Wed 13 August 2008 Fleurieau Male Choir with Father Bruce Naylor on Organ. Tickets available at door $8, $5 conc. includes afternoon tea. 27 Grenfell Street, Kent Town, SA 5067

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NEWS

Submerge at Converge More than 2000 young delegates will get their feet and their faith wet when they get ‘submerged’ at the next National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC) in January. On Tuesday January 6, delegates will engage in action, service, lobbying, public liturgy, protest, political stunts, simulation and culture jamming across Melbourne. It will be a day of faith in action, concluding with a public celebration, where all the delegates will gather to reflect on their collective submersion actions. Some of the ‘submersions’ that delegates can expect include flash mobbing, singing outside a detention centre, cleaning up a creek, backyard blitzing, random acts of kindness, protesting an issue, a prayer vigil, a public liturgy about peace making, helping to make or serve food, and visiting the elderly.

Submersions team leader, Merryn Bairstow says delegates need to choose their activity by working out what they are passionate about. After the day of service there will be a gathering to celebrate God’s love and compassion for all people. Adrian Greenwood, who is part of the Submersions team, believes it’s a chance for people to state what type of world they are for and against. “Submersion activities will be familiar to previous NCYC delegates,” Adrian said, “but NCYC09 will offer a new experience. “We don’t want to visit an agency or group; instead we want to join the groups in helping to build a better world. “Another difference is the public nature of our actions with public liturgy and political action. So while it’s familiar, it has a radical twist.”

Adrian Greenwood is part of the ‘Submerge’ planning team for NCYC 2009 in Melbourne in January. Submersions are the central point of the NCYC week-long program. The days prior will be spent preparing delegates for their day of service and the days following will provide opportunity for reflection and discussion.

engaged in social and service. If we pick up our cross and follow Jesus wherever He goes, we need to expect to be in similar dangerous places and in service to others. That’s why I think it’s important. That’s why I’m a part of it.”

“I think our faith is best understood by participating in the kingdom of God, not talking about it,” said Adrian.

NCYC09 will be held in Melbourne this January. To register as a delegate or adult volunteer visit: http://ncyc.org.au, call 1300 00 6292 or email converge@ ncyc.org.au

“The Christian church has always

Would you trust a minister? Shannon Short

As I sat in my doctor’s waiting room recently, the July 2008 ‘Readers Digest’ caught my attention. Stamped across the cover was the question “Who do we trust?”

Northern Synod Moderator Rev Wendell Flentje holds up a copy of the Djambarrpuynu Bible at a Dedication Service at Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island in June. Rev Djininyi Gondarra looks on.

Inside were the results of a ‘2008 Trust Poll’. The ‘Readers Digest’ had commissioned Independent Research Firm, The Leading Edge, to survey 750 adults to find out Australia’s most trusted professions.

Project takes 30 years

Ambulance officers came in at number one, followed by fire fighters, pilots, nurses and pharmacists.

Congress in partnership with the Bible Society and the Australian Summer Institute of Linguistics. More than ten people have been involved in translating over the years. The work was carried out at the Bible Translation Centre at Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island in the Northern Territory.

How did ministers rate? Religious practitioners were ranked 28th – right after bar tenders, cleaners and financial planners.

It’s been a 30 year labour of love, but finally the New Testament has been translated into Djambarrpuynu – the Indigenous language spoken by people in North East Arnhem Land. The translation project has been administered since 1976 by the Northern Regional Council of

Refreshment for our Souls A 48 hour retreat for leaders with Rev Marjorie Thompson from Upper Room Ministries USA. When? September 14th-16th (4pm Sunday-3pm Tuesday) Where? Nunyara Conference Centre, Belair What? This is an opportunity for leaders to nourish their own souls, and to discover resources and practices for ministry. Registration closes August 28th 2008 Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Community Ph 8178.0048 stillpoint@internode.on.net AUGUST 2008

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Reading between the lines, the average Aussie is more likely to confide in their local bar tender or hairdresser than their local reverend. Quite possibly, more Australians would let a cleaner into their home each week, before they’d admit a minister. While it is a relief to know that ministers still rate

higher than psychics and telemarketers, the ‘2008 Trust Poll’ provides food for thought. We know the days of ministers being put on a pedestal in their local communities are long gone. Sex abuse scandals have done much to damage reputations across all denominations. So should we still assume we have a place of relevance and respect in our community? This poll reminds us that we can’t presume that people value what we have to say. We can’t expect people will listen simply because we are “the voice of the church”. This poll is a poignant reminder that the church needs to do more to earn respect. Our actions and ministry in our communities should demonstrate God’s love in a tangible way. What has your church done lately – outside of your church building – to earn the trust and respect of the local community? (Results of poll are available at: http://www.readersdigest. com.au/content/australia-mosttrusted-professions-2008).


WORKING GLOBALLY

New Times

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Outside their comfort zone

The eleven South Australians who visited our partner church in the Philippines last month were definitely moved outside their comfort zone.

One of the most confronting experiences the group faced was a visit to Smokey Mountain – a Manila city rubbish dump where 10,000 people live amongst the waste and debris. Those on the trip, which was organised in conjunction with the North Luzon Jurisdiction of the United Church of Christ, included young people from the ‘Big Year Out’ program at Parkin Wesley College and two members of the Goolwa Uniting Church. Uniting Church SA International Mission officer Lyn Leane was one of the trip’s co-leaders. She said the 20 day visit was definitely not a glamour tourist trip, but an opportunity for participants to see how a church operates in a totally different culture. The South Australian visitors travelled around North Luzon which is spread over 76,000 square kilometres and has a population of 20 million people. Within the area the United Church of Christ has approximately 500 congregations; some of which have more than 1,000 members.

The group visited congregations in rural villages and towns around North Luzon as well as Baguio city where the church partnership is based. They also visited Pastor Berlin who is imprisoned in a Cavite jail. (See story below). They saw some tourist destinations, including the famous Banaue rice terraces which are 2,000 years old and Vigan - a Spanish colonial settlement.

Lyn said the participants had regular debriefings and the opportunity for theological reflection throughout the trip because of the challenging nature of some of the experiences. The Philippines is a country with enormous contrasts; some Filipinos live in great wealth, but at least 40 percent, or more than 30 million people, live in abject poverty. Many people have been jailed unjustly and killed after speaking out on human rights abuses. Before the journey, 22-year-old participant Peter Grant from Ascot Park Uniting Church said he was looking forward to experiencing a different culture. He also saw the trip as an opportunity to discover if overseas mission would be a part of his life. “I can’t wait,” said Peter. “As I become more passionate about global justice issues, I am thirsty to see naked reality.”

‘Big Year Out’ participants Ellen and Grace Mitchell (Rosefield UC), Sharnie Pattinson (Nairne UC) and Peter Grant (Ascot UC) preparing for a mission trip to the Philippines. Eighteen-year-old Ellen Mitchell from Rosefield Uniting Church said she welcomed the confronting nature of the trip as it would allow her to grow, to reassess her own life and be more appreciative of it.

A year in jail It’s been more than a year since Filipino pastor Berlin Guerrero was abducted in front of his wife and children and unjustly imprisoned by the country’s military forces.

Pastor Berlin works for the North Luzon Jurisdiction of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) – a partner of the Uniting Church SA. More than 18 pastors from the United Church of Christ have disappeared across the Philippines in recent years. There are also regular reports of bishops, priests, journalists and judges being abducted, tortured and murdered. Uniting Church SA International Mission officer Lyn Leane said this is not

To the right is an excerpt uncommon treatment for from a letter written by pastor anyone who stands up on Berlin in jail. Human Rights issues in the Philippines. Last month Lyn and a group of 10 South Australians visited pastor Berlin to express our church’s support and solidarity. The Uniting Church SA regularly provides funds to support the families of Filipino pastors who have been imprisoned or murdered. Lyn is in regular contact with pastor Berlin’s wife Mylene. The family is asking people to support a letter writing campaign asking for pastor Berlin to be released from jail. Information about the campaign Filipino pastor Berlin Guerrero continues his ministry with is available at: http://www. inmates inside Cavite Provincial globalministries.org/news/eap/ Jail, southwest of Manila. free-pastor-berlin-letter.html.

Australian Church Library Association Conference

Healing Through Story Is it time for you to get fresh ideas on how to start or maintain an exciting church library ministry? You are invited to attend the Eighth Biennial National Conference to be held on the 26th September to 28th September 2008 at the Nunyara Conference Centre, 5 Burnell Drive, Belair SA Phone (08) 8278 3370 for a registration form or visit our website http://www.acla.asn.au/conference.htm or email webmanager@acla.asn.au

Last year the Uniting Church SA reaffirmed its partnership with the North Luzon Jurisdiction of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. The original partnership agreement was signed in 1992 with the Mount Lofty Presbytery.

Berlin’s letter Pastor Berlin Guerrero One year ago, operatives of the Naval Intelligence Security Force (NISF) snatched me away from my family. Terror and shock was written on the faces of those who witnessed the late afternoon abduction. No warrants were presented by the men in plainclothes. I was handcuffed, blindfolded and subjected to physical and mental torture for more than twelve hours. Finding nothing to convict me of any crime, they turned me over to the Cavite Philippine National Police (PNP). The Police tried to cover up the abduction by saying the arrest was legal and presented two old warrants of arrest – one was for inciting to sedition and the other for murder. The first one was served on me in 1991. The case did not prosper and there was no court litigation. The arrest warrant for murder issued in 1992 arose from the killing of a union leader that I had nothing to do with. I believe President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s administration is responsible

for my abduction, torture and incarceration through its socalled anti-terrorism program now implemented under the Human Security Act of 2007. My case is clearly a counterinsurgency operation which has violated my rights as a citizen. A year of prison life has taught me valuable lessons. I have experienced the dismal subhuman conditions and government neglect of jails and detention centres and the deliberately sluggish, almost lazy litigation of court cases. I have listened to numerous inmate testimonies of police brutality and the use of torture to force people to admit to crimes they have not committed. Stories are commonplace about some judges and government prosecutors being bought and bribed. I wait for the Supreme Court decision on my petition for freedom. As I suffer the consequences of professing my Christian faith, I will continue to serve the people, especially those who suffer with me in jail. AUGUST 2008


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WORKING GLOBALLY

New Times

The church’s mission is global The Uniting Church SA has five international church partnerships - in Thailand, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, West Papua and South Korea. Nationally the Uniting Church in Australia has partnerships with churches in Asia, in the Pacific and in Africa. Through these special partnerships our church shares human resources, engages in dialogue over issues and concerns, provides advocacy and support on human rights issues and offers financial support and practical aid. Through sharing in the life and mission of our partner churches we are able to participate in God’s mission in the world. The church is always looking for people who may be interested in mission exposure trips or serving in actual placements, usually for periods from three months to a year.

Volunteers in mission usually pay their own travel and living expenses. Often accommodation is provided by the host partner church. Recently several South Australians have been actively engaged with our partner churches in Papua New Guinea (Daryl Burford and Ruth Sellick) and in Thailand (Jan and Jeff Hudson). Nita West has served as a volunteer chaplain at Vellore Hospital in India; Bev and Trevor Watson are in South India and Alan and Mabs Light are in Tonga. Within the broader framework of Uniting International Mission partnerships, Fiona DixonThomson and Heather Scrimshaw continue to work in Zambia and Christine and David Schreiber and family are in East Timor. Anyone interested in serving overseas or partnering with a church overseas may contact Lyn Leane on 8236 4239 or John Minchin on 8236 4203.

Uniting Church SA International Mission officers Lyn Leane and John Minchin would like to hear from people interested in serving in overseas mission.

Finding God in unlikely places Robert Lutton, Community Relationship manager, Uniting International Mission Have you ever met someone who restores your hope for the future, yet also raises some rather unsettling faith related questions?

Robert Lutton from Uniting International Mission with Protestant Church of Maluka, Interfaith worker, Lastri (left) and Onya (right) who is promoting peace between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia.

A hope filled future for all Rev John Minchin, Uniting Church SA International Mission officer. John 14 is one of the most troublesome passages in the New Testament. How do we make sense of verse 6, with its bold declaration: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me”? Our own life experience shows us that God works in many mysterious ways, through people of great faith and no faith. God can never be confined to the neat categories that we find convenient, but constantly takes us into new arenas of understanding and encounter. So often John 14:6 has been used as a “big stick”, the bottom line for it all, which will AUGUST 2008

simply and effectively decide who is “in” and who is “out” with God. It leads all too easily to a view of God which is exclusive, separating us from fellow human beings who share the same struggles as we do in life, but who cannot bring themselves to name Christ at the centre of their lives. In all this, I find great help in verse 2, which declares: “In my Father’s house there are many dwelling-places”. This is about the inclusive God, who speaks to me of justice for all, of the mysteries of God at work in ways we can never fully grasp and of the compassionate Jesus who reaches out to all. This is the God who speaks to me, in a world crying out for peace and reconciliation, that all may have a future filled with hope.

Such was my experience last month in meeting a young Muslim woman called Onya in the town of Ambon in the Molucca Islands of Indonesia. Her context is one of conflict and pain. Her village, like so many in the region, was a hotbed of ChristianMuslim conflict in 1999 and again in 2004. Friends were killed and homes and places of worship were burned before her young eyes. Onya was afraid to walk the streets of her village. She had every reason to be forever fueled with hatred and a desire for revenge. Instead Onya was compelled to act for peace. She participated in a Young Ambassadors for Peace (YAP) workshop where she met other Muslim and Christian

young people with a similar desire. Today in partnership with the Protestant Church of Maluka (GPM) and as a founder of a new ‘Peace Generation’ organisation, Onya organises peace workshops and home-stays between Christian and Muslim young people.

Modern trends in mission So how does this story connect with modern day trends in mission? The late David Bosch argued in his seminal work ‘Transforming Mission’ that a church without mission is by definition not the Church. Theologian Hans Kung said that a church that is not continually looking for new horizons and risking all is untrue to its calling. The message of the Kingdom has never been confined to the boundaries of the Church. Mission has become increasingly holistic. Few mission organisations today, including the Uniting Church, are without a stand alone aid and development arm. Continued on page 9.


WORKING GLOBALLY

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Life-changing PNG experience Balaklava Uniting Church member Daryl Burford highly recommends serving as a volunteer in international mission. But his recommendation comes with a warning - your life will never be the same again. Late last year Daryl spent three months in Salamo, a small United Church mission town on Fergusson Island, PNG where he helped the local people build a regional health office. Daryl first got a taste for international mission a couple of years earlier when he joined friends on a Church of Christ working party in Vanuatu for two weeks. He returned home and decided after ten years working as a general practitioner in Balaklava it was time for a change. Now his volunteer in mission experience in PNG is steering him in yet another new direction. Since returning home he’s immersed himself in post-graduate studies in public health and tropical medicine. Daryl became interested in specialising during his PNG stay after learning about the high incidence of HIV.

Continued from page 8.

Moving away from conversion There is no denying that Onya and other young people of Ambon, are an expression of the very heart of God for peace and reconciliation. With such surprising evidence of God at work in such unlikely places, global mission is in some circles moving away from converting people and communities from one religious system to another, (proselytism). The call to witness remains but it sees the gospel as transforming communities from within. We are revisiting our paradigms of culture and learning from arguably unhelpful approaches of the past. There is a deep regret that mission activity has in some cases failed to affirm local culture and in many cases destroyed culture and imported a western expression of church. As the frontiers of mission have moved from tribal religious contexts to that of the major religions of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism issues of culture and religion have come to the fore.

“HIV is set to become a huge problem in PNG if nothing is done to prevent its spread. It’s estimated that 60,000 people are infected with the virus in PNG. “It’s a big concern because there are few opportunities for people to be tested and there is little preventative education.” Daryl is hoping that his present study will lead to opportunities to work in public health, perhaps with a nongovernment organisation in PNG – somewhere where he can really make a difference. In the meantime he’s urging church people to take the opportunity to experience life in another culture by volunteering for international mission. Daryl says there are plenty more opportunities on Salamo for both individuals and groups to work on building projects. He describes the life-style as simple but rewarding. “I stayed in an old guest house where we had cold showers and electricity for three hours in the evening that’s when the generator was working.

And this is where it gets interesting. Religion and culture are closely intertwined. To shift one’s religious identity is to also shift one’s cultural identity. This results in alienation from one’s community and society. This sits uneasily with God’s intention for all people and cultures to be all that they can be as they encounter the living Christ.

A new understanding of mission For many mission is seen as interfaith dialogue or as development and peacebuilding. This is certainly a valid component of mission in our age. But in terms of witness the under-lying question is whether one can remain a Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist in culture and identity and yet be a follower of Jesus? Returning to my friend Onya, I cannot but wonder - what is the working of the Spirit in her life? She is clearly reflecting the heart of Jesus in her life. Must she leave behind her culture and religion to overtly follow Jesus? Or is God big enough to handle this tension?

Balaklava Uniting Church member Daryl Burford (right) and John Jeffries from Western Australia. The men met while working as Uniting Church volunteers in mission in Salamo, Papua New Guinea.

“I spent many evenings chatting over a cup of tea with John Jeffries from WA. John travels to Salamo twice a year to help with accounting and budgeting in the United Church regional office. “I also got friendly with the locals - most of people on the island speak reasonable

English, especially the young ones. “I enjoyed morning devotions with the blokes I worked with and another highlight was going out on fishing trips.” Daryl has come home with many fond memories of the people, a strong desire to

return to PNG and some interesting cross-cultural experiences to share. He laughs about the young men on the island who looked tough with shaved heads, earrings and American style clothing – but yet, he says, they would hold your hand while walking and talking to you.

Historic reconciliation in Papua New Guinea Thirty-two warrior tribes in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea are set to sign a historic peace treaty, thanks to the mediation skills and passion of Uniting International Mission worker Joy Balazo and a team of local volunteers. For generations the 32 tribes have lived as warriors and enemies; fighting, killing and plundering as a way of life. A simple mistake like stepping on a garden bed could result in tribal warfare. These PNG tribes were stuck in a cycle of violence, living by the mantra, ‘once an enemy, enemies forever’. As a result, there has been no opportunity for aid and development or progress in the area. However since 2003, Joy has been working tirelessly with the PNG tribes, establishing ‘Young Ambassador for Peace’ (YAP) – a Uniting International Mission program. Last Christmas the 32 tribes came together and agreed to a peace process. Since then 12 of the 32 tribes

Joy Balazo has helped reconcile warring tribes in Papua New Guinea.

have resolved their issues. The parties have begun signing temporary peace agreements, and are preparing to sign a permanent treaty on September 16 - the PNG Day of Independence.

The temporary agreements enable them to put down their weapons and pay compensation for the people they have killed and the property they have destroyed. AUGUST 2008


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Empowering women in PNG Western Link Uniting Church member Ruth Sellick is playing a big role in Papua New Guinea - empowering village women, teaching them business skills and providing loans - to help them escape a life of poverty. Ruth has visited PNG twice so far as a volunteer in mission. This month she will return to check up on her pilot project in the village of Boera. The women are the first to benefit from the program which Ruth has established, known officially as the ‘PNG United Church Women’s Fellowship Microfinance Fund’. After several trials and tribulations Ruth has established the pilot project involving 14 women and their families from the one village. Earlier this year she visited the village to interview the women and assess the feasibility of their small business plans. The next step was to provide them with micro loans. These ranged from 300 to 700 Kina ($A133 to $A311). Ruth is greatly encouraged by the range of business projects and the women’s progress. “They are growing chickens,

selling petrol, making school uniforms and wall hangings, selling coffee and buns at roadside stalls, and catching fish and transporting the catch in professional eskies to markets where they can get a better price,” said Ruth. “All of the women are paying back their loans as required and some are even making additional payments. “The pilot has been incredibly successful – it is empowering these women and making them proud of their achievements. “With the money they earn they will be able to send their children to school.” On her last visit Ruth also ran small business seminars and workshops that were attended by about 54 United Church women from nine regions. “Some appeared to understand the fundamental business principles,” said Ruth. “Such as -costing the product, establishing a market, adding value, assessing profits and not falling into some of the traps for beginners. “Each delegate was provided with a booklet that included all the information, seminar notes, workshop activities and a small business dictionary. I hope these women might use these

Ruth Sellick from Western Link Uniting Church is heading off to Papua New Guinea again this month to help women in the United Church establish successful small businesses. resources to train and educate other women in their villages.” Ruth is grateful to the Adelaide Rotary Club which provided an initial donation to kick-off the Microfinance Fund. Now with other donations from congregations and individuals the fund has grown to nearly $10,000. Some of this is already being loaned to those on the pilot scheme.

Ruth looks forward to catching up this month with the women on the pilot project, to iron out any hiccups and to visit other villages to continue training and loans. “I would like to thank all those who pray for me and think of me while I am in PNG,” says Ruth. “It is no holiday - the conflicts, sadness and joy are all mingled.”

She hopes to visit PNG twice a year for the next three years to ensure the microfinance project is running well and to train others to take over her training role. Donations (Tax deductible over $2) may be made to: PNG Microfinance Project, Uniting Church Overseas Aid, PO Box A2266, Sydney South NSW 1235, call 1800 998 122 or visit www.overseasaid.org.

‘Fairtrade’ products help to fight poverty Marelle Harisun Pilgrim Church’s 9.30 am community is engaged in ‘tea and coffee justice’ through the use of ‘Fairtrade’ products. ‘Fairtrade’ is the brand name for a range of products that are imported through organisations such as Oxfam directly from the people in developing countries who grow them. This cuts out the middle man and means a fairer price is paid for the product than would have been received from large multinational companies. It is one way of closing the gap between rich and poor around the world - something that is being exacerbated by globalisation. Pilgrim’s 9.30 am community has been serving Fairtrade tea and coffee each Sunday, as well as selling these products. This has been happening for many years and is one way we can help to advance justice for people in the developing world. Two years ago this community made a decision to ask people to make a contribution towards the cost of the Fairtrade tea and coffee. The donations pay for the cost of the raw product and the remaining funds are placed in an account to support the work of our ‘Circle of Friends’ as they assist refugees and asylum AUGUST 2008

seekers to settle into the Australian community. This means two groups of people receive ‘redistributive justice’. All through our 2008 Symposium, ‘Values for a Sustainable Planet’, we served Fairtrade coffee and tea, as well as offering Fairtrade products for sale. After the first night we had to purchase extra stocks because the products and the concept proved so popular. The final evening of the Symposium was entitled, ‘Fairly trading: Doing justice to planet and people’. Two of the speakers provided information about the Fairtrade organisation and how it works. And a student talked about how she had persuaded the University of Adelaide to only sell Fairtrade coffee and tea. This was followed by lively discussion about what more we could do. The 9.30 am community has sent a proposal to our church council that all tea and coffee served by the congregation be Fairtrade products. We know this will mean putting a little extra in the budget, but we believe this is the next logical step for Pilgrim in our action for justice. We are also considering registering as a ‘Fairtrade congregation’, an initiative being encouraged by the Uniting Church SA’s Solidarity and Justice officer Charlene Kent.

Sampling some ‘Fairtrade’ products are Lesley Ellis, Paul Marsh and Helen Birch at Port Adelaide Uniting Church.

Making a difference - one cup at a time

Judyth Roberts

To raise awareness and celebrate ‘Fairtrade Fortnight’, Port Adelaide Uniting Church had a special morning tea at the end of May where everyone could taste the delicious teas, coffees and chocolates sold under the ‘Fairtrade’ logo. By signing up through the Oxfam website we received promotional materials and free samples to give away. Buying ‘Fairtrade’products ensures farmers receive a fair price for their produce. It is an everyday way we can help to reduce poverty around the world. To find out more visit: www.oxfam.org.au/coffee.


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Supporting the Burmese people

Members of the Burmese Christian Community from Parafield Gardens visited Clare Uniting Church in June. Pastor Sian Thang is on the far left and Clare minister Rev Simon Dent on the far right.

Supporting Tongan ties Meera Atkinson Uniting Church President Rev Gregor Henderson visited Tonga in June to attend the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga’s annual conference. The church has been one of our partners since the first Australian missionaries went there in the 1820s. “As the Uniting Church is seen as their chief partner church I was treated as an honoured guest,” said Gregor. “I was seated at the top table beside the royal family and the Free Wesleyan Church president.” Gregor returned to Tonga again last month to represent the Uniting Church at the coronation of the new King of Tonga. One way our church helps the Tongan people is through a Uniting International Mission (UIM) program which assists deportees who are returned to Tonga by the American, New Zealand or Australian governments. UIM helps deportees find jobs and get back on their feet.

Misery turns to anger in Burma

The Burmese people are turning angry as more reports emerge that the military and police are preventing foreign aid from reaching cyclone victims. Foreign aid organisations and journalists report that they are being prevented from visiting the Irrawaddy Delta region which was worst hit by the cyclone. The state-run media has condemned international media reports of the devastation – saying that video footage has been faked to harm Burma’s image. International news correspondents say Burma is desperate to prove it is in control and does not need large-scale foreign aid. Many international relief agencies have been forced to work through local partners to provide food, shelter, health care and aid to those most seriously affected. Amazing stories of survival are emerging. In one case a woman saved her three month old child by piling furniture up inside her house to keep her head and her baby above water. She remained like that for hours until the water gradually subsided. Uniting Church Overseas Aid is partnering with Christian World Service and the Myanmar Council of Churches to deliver aid to cyclone victims. Donations to the UCOA Burma Cyclone Appeal may be made at: www.overseasaid.org, or posted to: PO Box A2266 Sydney South, NSW 1235.

Members of the Clare Uniting Church have proven you don’t need to go overseas to engage in international mission. The church has reached out to a local Burmese Christian Community – offering their prayers and financial support in the wake of the devastating cyclone which hit Burma in May. At the end of June, 22 members of the Burmese Christian Community based at Parafield Gardens visited Clare and shared their stories with the congregation. Many of the Burmese Christian refugees have been in Australia for less than six months. Pastor Sian Thang showed slides of the devastation caused by Cyclone Nargis and told the congregation that members of his own church in the Burmese capital Rangoon were killed and some had their homes destroyed. He said they were among the 2.4 million people made homeless. Another 130,000 are dead or missing following the cyclone. Members of Pastor Sian’s home church are doing their best to help the suffering community around them. Despite restrictions on Christians by the military government, the church community is providing rice and other essentials to affected people. Clare Uniting Church minister Rev Simon Dent says his congregation is supporting the local Burmese community through prayer and fundraising. “When we heard the horrific stories of the Burmese people and saw their suffering, we recognised how blessed we are in Clare,” said Simon. “It is our responsibility to share our abundance with others. “We were inspired by the Burmese Christian Community’s faith, resilience and desire to help their own people in Burma even though their lives here as refugees are very difficult. Clare Uniting Church has raised nearly $1700 for the community.

Many of the children who survived Burma’s cyclone need immediate and long term assistance.

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WORKING GLOBALLY

New Times

Ten short-listed Key people in mission for Christian book award Uniting International Mission – the mission arm of our church - has some committed and colourful characters, under the leadership of national director Kerry Enright. Uniting Church Overseas Aid is our church’s aid and development arm. Laurie Fitzgerald is UCOA’s associate director.

Kathy Pereira

Ten books have been shortlisted for the 2008 Christian Book of the Year Award. The ten have been selected from more than 50 titles published by 27 Australian publishers. The winning book will be announced this month, along with the winners of the Young Christian Writers Award and the Australian Theological Writers Award. Those in the running include ‘666 and all that’ (John Dickson and Greg Clarke); ‘God Next Door’ (Simon Carey Holt); ‘Heart of Stone’ (Hoa Van Stone); ‘Men Firing Through all of Life’ (Al Stewart); ‘My Seventh Monsoon’ (Naomi Reed); ‘Please! No More Boring Sermons’ (Keith Weller); ‘Psalmscapes’ (Mal Austin and

In February this year Kathy Pereira was appointed as People in Mission (PIM) coordinator. Kathy is a secondary school teacher and an active church member. She believes that PIM is a practical expression of the church’s call to live as a community that reflects God’s justice, love and compassion. “PIM can provide a framework from which to explore options and the freedom to make choices, experience life and grow as people of faith,” said Kathy. “I see my role as helping to equip people to thoughtfully and critically engage with their world – helping them to unwrap their gifts and talents in order to serve God and others. “I help prepare people for mission so they are equipped to share another’s joys and burdens and able to promote healing, restoration and hope.” Kathy has developed and led an award winning cross-cultural exposure program to Tonga.

Matthew Jacoby); ‘Shocked by Blessing’ (Rod Thompson and Carolyn Kelshaw); and ‘Spectator’s Guide to World Views’ (Simon Smart). The judging criteria will include the contribution the book makes in meeting a need in Christian writing in the Australian market.

Rob Floyd Rob Floyd is the deputy associate director of Uniting Church Overseas Aid (UCOA). Before working for the church, Rob taught Information Technology, Science and Maths for 12 years in Tasmania and Queensland. In 1999 he and his wife Jacqui were appointed as Uniting Church mission workers for West Timor. Rob then taught in a West Timorese university for seven years, while at the same time working as a consultant for a Christian micro finance organisation. Rob returned to Australia in 2006, serving initially as Uniting International Mission’s (UIM’s) promotions and communications manager before joining UCOA. He is presently responsible for the church partnership program in Papua New Guinea, West Timor and Timor Leste. Rob also develops and organises projects in Africa, Asia and the Pacific. He prefers to take a grass-roots approach to relief and development assistance in disadvantaged countries - providing communities with the skills and equipment to support themselves.

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Joy Balazo

“I have several brass objects – a large vase and a pair of candlesticks – which are a dull brown and don’t respond to hand polishing anymore. Is there somewhere I can take them to be polished and coated so that they stay nice and shiny?” D.L. Forestville.

Joy is the executive secretary of Young Ambassadors for Peace (YAP). For 25 years she has been dedicated to working for peace in the Asia Pacific region – in some of the world’s most volatile places. Joy was born and raised in the Philippines, initially becoming a nun and then a teacher. After experiencing human rights violations and suffering under Marcos’ martial law she began working for peace and justice. Joy has been the Human Rights Violation spokesperson for the Philippine Resource Centre in Australia; she established ECPAT (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) and campaigned for legislation to punish Australian paedophiles abusing children overseas. In 2001 Joy launched Young Ambassadors for Peace. She has taken the program to many countries, and has engaged thousands in the peace process. In January this year Joy was selected to participate in a Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program in Thailand.

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MAGAZINE

New Times

13

Tourism, terrorism and theology Bruce Best

Revs Jim Winn (UCA) and Janet Phillips (Anglican) at Aldersgate Chapel where the community is preparing to celebrate the Chapel’s 50th anniversary.

Aldersgate to celebrate In September Aldersgate Chapel at Felixstow, on the site of UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide’s Aldersgate Aged Care facility, will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

At the same time a 50th Anniversary Appeal is being launched to raise funds to improve audio-visual facilities in the Chapel.

Several events have been planned to celebrate the milestone, including a seminar, a celebratory dinner and worship service. (See Notebook for details).

Aldersgate chaplain Rev Jim Winn hopes the appeal will raise $15,000 for a sound system and data projector which he says will greatly improve worship services for people living in the Aged Care facility.

Children’s clothing

New kitchen for Thuruna

UnitingCare Glenelg, in partnership with St Andrew’s by the Sea Uniting Church, is opening a Children’s Recycled Clothing outlet this month. The outlet will offer good quality clothing for babies through to early teens at affordable prices. It will be open every Saturday between 11am and 1pm in the St Andrew’s Church Hall, 92 Jetty Road, Glenelg.

Work Wanted CARPETS LAID. Expert repairs. 0417 872 105 or 8344 4725. EXPERIENCED HANDYMAN Household repairs and maintenance. “Your spare pair of hands.” Phone 8346 0933. Accommodation Holiday accommodation. Baptist Camp Halls Gap. Located in the heart of The Grampians National Park. Church and Family Groups welcome. Bookings: www. baptistcamp.info or David: 0439 001 547. Holiday Accommodation January 2009 at Port Hughes. Quality, 2-level holiday house (2 separate units) available from 1st January 2009 until 13th January 2009. Available as a whole – sleeps 10 people. Decking overlooks beach. Ideal for 2 families. Air-cond. main room. Only 250 metres from beach. Hollands: 0400 039 810 or 8295 6718.

Thuruna Campsite, south of Tumby Bay, is undergoing further renovations as the Uniting Church campsite prepares for its 50th anniversary in 2012. A commercial kitchen is being installed with a 3-door commercial refrigerator. Outside the unused rainwater tank and stand will be removed, the ground raised and pavers laid as part of an outdoor entertaining area.

50th Anniversary Aldersgate Chapel Events and activities planned for September 2008 Seminar on Pastoral Care “Providing Spiritual and Pastoral Care for the Aged in our Communities: Challenges, Changes and Opportunities in the next 10 Years.” This will run from 1:00 p.m., Thursday, September 11th to 5:00 p.m., Friday, September 12th. It will be at "The Monastery", Glen Osmond. Eight speakers, all expert in their field. Any interested person is welcome to register. It’s limited to 40 places. Cost is $60. This includes dinner on Thursday night and lunch on Friday. Program details and registration forms are available from Rev Jim Winn (Aldersgate Chaplain) on 0408 852 925.

The words are similar: tourism and terrorism. The difference is that tourism is a much bigger business than terrorism and it does more damage. ‘Transforming Re-forming Tourism’ is a new book that lets us explore that comparison. It offers another t-word, theological, to help. “For the faiths, tourism is a theological issue ... in that its downside is obscene and an offence to the integrity of creation,” says the book’s editor, Australian churchman Caesar D’Mello, who heads the world-wide Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism (ECOT). Another Australian, retired Uniting Church minister and ECOT director Peter Holden, makes it clear that tourism’s been a concern for years. He recalls a church workshop in 1980 where participants were “angry with the way in which [tourism] was made to look like a leisure pursuit”. They saw it as having “wreaked more havoc than any good it could possibly do” (page 22). It’s grown since then, but we’re not used to bad thoughts about it. Tourism is supposed to let us explore other places, meet other people and build our understanding of the world. It’s also vital to our economic well-being. Australia’s tourism industry

is worth $85 billion a year and employs almost half a million people, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. So why these judgments about tourism? Contributions from 30 people offer a range of responses in the ECOT book. One answer is the four poems by Malaysian lawyer Cecil Rajendra, including “When the tourists flew in” (pages 30-31). He captures the spirit of tourism’s terror. People in Goa, India’s smallest state, have their answers, too (pages 61-67 and 215-219). So do the sexually abused children of Sri Lanka (pp 208-214). Tourism’s damage list goes on: displacement of local people to allow for tourist facilities, ecological destruction, debasing a culture so foreigners can ‘consume’ it easily. The book also examines moves for a more responsible industry, such as eco-tourism, and offers Christian, Buddhist and Islamic perspectives on tourism. And it has hope: that tourism can be “an opportunity for justice and solidarity, sharing and caring”. ‘Transforming Re-forming Tourism’, edited by Caesar D’Mello and published by the Ecumenical Coalition on Tourism is available at Unichurch Bookshop or from <office@ecotonline. org>. (Article published with permission from ‘Crosslight’).

Small Change makes a Big Difference

Celebratory Dinner “Aldersgate Memories and Moments” Saturday evening, September 13th, 6:30p.m. – 9:30 p.m. at Adelaide West Uniting Church, 312 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Brooklyn Park. Rev. Dr. Geoff Scott will be our dinner speaker. Pre-dinner drinks, 6:30 p.m. Dinner 7:00 – 9:30 p.m. Dinner will be a three meat roast with desserts and drinks supplied. All interested in sharing this evening are welcome. A special invitation is extended to the current residents and their families and friends as well as the families and friends of past residents, together with past and present volunteers, staff and chaplains. The cost is $25.00 per person. Bookings to Rev Jim, Aldersgate Aged Care, 160 OG Road, Felixstow, SA 5070. Telephone 8206 0409 or 0408 852 925 Anniversary Worship Service “Ages Past and Years to Come” Sunday, September 14th, 2:00 p.m. at Aldersgate chapel. The Moderator (Rev Rod Dyson) will preach at the service. Afternoon tea to follow. Anyone connected to Aldersgate over past 50 years is invited. The ministry of the chapel is an outreach of the whole church: everyone is invited. Aldersgate Chapel 50th Anniversary Appeal We have a goal of raising $15,000 to provide a Data projector and sound system for Aldersgate Chapel. Donations to: Aldersgate Chapel 50th Anniversary Appeal, C/- Chaplain, Aldersgate Aged Care, 160 OG Road, Felixstow, SA 5070

Your donation will help make a difference to people in need Phone (08) 8202 5112 or mail GPO Box 2534 Adelaide SA 5001 www.ucwesleyadelaide.org.au

AUGUST 2008


14

MAGAZINE

Book review: John Wyclif

Author: G.R. Evans Published by: Lion RRP: $37.95 Hero or heretic? Wyclif (1329-1384) has an honored place in English history and church life. Foxe’s ‘Book of Martyrs’ (written nearly 200 years after Wyclif’s death) describes him as the ‘Morning Star’ of the Reformation. Certainly some of his ideas about Scripture, authority in the Church and the secular realm, the Eucharist and abuse of power were controversial and brought him into conflict with the Papal powers. His writings were ultimately banned and he was condemned for heresy at the Council of Constance in 1415. His writings were burned in 1410 and his bones dug up and burned in 1428. Author Gillian Evans is professor of Medieval Theology and Intellectual History at Cambridge and her writing is scholarly, detailed and informative. She recreates the world and environment of 14th century Oxford where Wyclif spent most of his life. Evans traces the academic progress which saw Wyclif spend seven years gaining his bachelors degree in 1356 and then move on to become a master in the University, with the right to be known as a doctor of Theology. During this period Wyclif taught at Oxford and also spent some time as a parish priest. Because of his expertise in theology and his developing views on church and state relations, Wyclif became involved in discussions about the payment of money to the Papacy on ecclesiastical property. He supported the view that the secular realm may withhold taxes from the Pope. This was based on a theory of dominion that no one in the wrong has any lawful power over others. It became a turning point in Wyclif’s life. The controversy finally ended with Wyclif being denounced in a series of Papal Bills in 1377 and excluded from the Oxford academic community. He retired to the parish of Lutterworth. Here he began to revise his writings and sought to be reinstated. This never happened and he died in poor health, paralyzed by strokes and bitter about those who had opposed and betrayed him. Wyclif’s views on the Scriptures

AUGUST 2008

New Times led him to argue that the Bible is not only for the learned and priests but for all the people of God. He supported preaching in English, as well as the use of Latin. Concerning the Eucharist, he came to believe that the doctrine of transubstantiation cannot be founded on Scripture. Concerning the Church, Wyclif argued strongly against abuses of wealth and power and while never formally rejecting the Papacy, concluded that the Pope cannot claim apostolic warrant for any position of supremacy. Wyclif defined the religion of Christ as “simply that which Christ expressly instituted” without the later addition of human ceremony and tradition. Evans seeks to distill what can actually be known about Wyclif from his own writings and contemporary reports, rather than the legendary views developed over the centuries. By separating fact from fiction she shows how his views encouraged others, including Jan Hus, to seek reform and became one of the voices seeking a fresh understanding of the foundations of the Christian faith which finally emerged in the Reformation of the 16th century.

Having read Dawkins’ ‘The God Delusion’ I started to read this book with great expectation. Despite the accolades on the back cover and the assertion of another reviewer that ‘Although Lennox has written a book about science, he does not get too technical so as to lose a reasonably educated layman’, I found it heavy going and not as engaging as Dawkins’ writing. I found useful bits e.g. ‘because God is not an alternative to science as an explanation, he is not to be understood merely as a God of the gaps. On the contrary, he is the ground of all explanation,’ but this was not enough to inspire me to read on. Perhaps those with a more scientific or philosophical background will do better than I did and will be rewarded for sticking with it. Not a book to just pick up and browse through, but still a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate. - Glenys Badger

faith and to develop a rich and inviting spiritual context for raising children. The resulting blend of hospitality and spiritual adventures, while originally home-based, eventually spilled over into their church community and became an integral part of her husband Peter’s approach to the parishes and congregations in which he worked. I loved the Jewish Jesus she uncovers – a “full-blooded, lifeloving gourmet of a Messiah … a broad, strapping Jesus.” as she describes him. She explains in detail the Jewish history of the various celebrations she describes, which I found very readable and informative. However, as she described the communal celebrations and their accompanying liturgies I found some of the liturgies very wordy. They really need music, costume, props, atmosphere and hospitality to bring them to life – which is the reader’s job if you decide to try them out! Ideas that appealed to me were the alternative Halloween or All Saints celebrations, the Advent ideas and the weekly and seasonal ideas for families. And of course the food –the fabulous recipes with scrumptious photos to tempt you! Highlights of the book include: • the Jewish background to the various celebrations she describes

- Rev Rodger Bassham

• Jesus as a “full-blooded, lifeloving gourmet of a Messiah”

Book review: The Heavenly Party

Author: Michelle Guinness Published by: Monarch Books/ Lion Hudson 2007 RRP $29.95

Book review: God’s Undertaker. Has Science buried God? Author: John C Lennox Published by: Lion 2007; RRP $24.95 I am not really scientific although I did get an A for matriculation biology many years ago, but I have been interested in the ongoing debate about the creation of the universe as it has unfolded and recently the question of intelligent design. In this book John Lennox, reader in Mathematics at Oxford University and fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green College, sets out to look at these questions. The preface poses the central question. Which worldview sits most comfortably with science – theism or atheism. Has science buried God or not? The book consists of much philosophical argument against well known atheists, e.g. Richard Dawkins and Peter Atkins with detailed references to other scholars and their studies.

Having attended Cheryl Magrini’s workshop last year, on hospitality and the gospel for children, I was interested to see if this book developed Cheryl’s ideas further. Michelle Guinness draws on the exuberance and richness of her Jewish heritage and life as the wife of an Anglican minister, in this blend of Jewish celebration and Christian tradition, which, while initially home-based, also applies to congregational life. Michelle was brought up Jewish, but in her teens turned to the Christian faith because at last in Jesus she found a warm, accessible and welcoming manifestation of God the Father. But on joining the Christian church she experienced moments of profound culture shock. She found western Christianity dull and lifeless. She missed the exuberance, the celebrations, the food, the splendour and richness of family and community festivals, of her Jewish heritage. The first half of the book is riveting as she reflects on the journey to find an authentic expression of

• Community is central to her understanding of Christian living • Scrumptious recipes. The overall impression is of sumptuous, extravagant hospitality and uninhibited joyful enjoyment of life. It’s a book I’ll have to go back to time and again to see what I can glean and adapt from it. - Marnie Agnew

About your letters Please keep your letters short — about 150 words is ideal. Longer letters will be cut or rejected. You’re welcome to email letters to newtimes@sa.uca.org.au or they can be posted to us at GPO Box 2145, Adelaide 5001

GOOD HEALTH - BAD POLICY After a recent trip to Yorke Peninsula I became aware of the difficulties people have in accessing heath services. In the recent SA budget the government announced a 10 year plan for rural health services which puts at jeopardy the welfare of 400,000 South Australians. The SA Government wants to reassess the provision of hospitals and health services in 43 rural towns. Some of the towns have populations of 3000 or more yet they could end up being first aid and primary health care posts. Rural communities across South Australia deserve equitable access to health care and should not be made to travel large distances to get it. The Uniting Church has many members in rural SA and yet we have been silent on this matter. The SA Government has an ethical responsibility to support the rural health system. The Uniting Church should be advocating on behalf of rural SA. Rev Dr Phil Marshall Tea Tree Gully Uniting Church RED DOVE CAFÉ The café made $41,000 at last year’s Royal Adelaide Show enabling it to support the following projects: UnitingCare Mental Health chaplain, $8,000; Refugee support, $2,000; Uniting Care Prison chaplaincy, $2,000; Noah House – prisoner rehabilitation, $5,000; Kairos Prison chaplaincy, $5,000; Schools Ministry Group, $2,000; SAYCO and KCO, $2,000; UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide, emergency relief, $2,000; UnitingCare Wesley Bowden, emergency relief, $2,000; UnitingCare Wesley Port Pirie, Micro Credit Program, $3,000; UnitingCare, small agencies group, $8,000. If you can help the Red Dove Café this September, (by making curries, praying, cleaning, washing, or by donating groceries or money) contact Pauline Giles on 8556 2194. Rae Cranwell Red Dove Café committee


15 MAGAZINE

New Times On Sunday August 10 the combined choirs of Pilgrim Church, St Francis Xavierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cathedral and the Adelaide University Choral Society will sing major choral works in the context of a Choral Eucharist in Pilgrim Church, Flinders Street. Internationally acclaimed UK organist Thomas Trotter will play at this service and again at a concert at 2.30pm. Enquiries to 8212 3295. The Australian Faith Community Nurses Association (AFCNA) invites you to â&#x20AC;&#x153;A Christian Response to the Care of Older Peopleâ&#x20AC;? at Blackwood Hills Baptist Church, Thursday August 14 â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Saturday 16, 2008, open to anyone with an interest in Christian health ministry. Enquiries to 8347 1802.

For more Uniting Church events, visit Uniting Church online www.sa.uca.org.au and click on â&#x20AC;&#x153;Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Onâ&#x20AC;?. There is an online form which you can fill out to contribute notices to Notebook.

Aldersgate Chapel celebrates 50 years on September 14, 2008. Celebrations include a seminar on Spiritual and Pastoral Care for Aged Communities from September 11 at 1pm to September 12 at 5pm at the Glen Osmond Monastery; a dinner on September 13 at 6.30pm at Adelaide West Uniting Church; a Service on September 14 at 2pm at Aldersgate Chapel, (Moderator Rev Rod Dyson will preach); and the Aldersgate Chapel 50th Anniversary Appeal.

PILGRIM UNITING CHURCH Adelaide, South Australia One Full time Position or Job Share .5 FTE Outreach Worker .25 FTE Ordained Worship Leader (11am community) .25 FTE Worship Leader (9.30am community) Pilgrim Uniting Church invites applications and expressions of interest from person/s to ďŹ ll all or one of the above positions. Pilgrim is a dynamic church comprising four worshipping communities (traditional and contemporary), two mid week communities and is strategically located right in the centre of the CBD. Pilgrim people are committed to being a prophetic voice (based on liberal theology) to the people of the city and beyond. 0.5 FTE OUTREACH WORKER (Ordained Minister of the Word/Deacon or Lay Person) This role will be to enhance and encourage the ministry beyond PilgrimĘźs gathered worshipping communities, responding to public concerns, expanding PilgrimĘźs proďŹ le and action in areas of civic concern and social justice. 0.25 FTE ORDAINED MINISTER OF THE WORD This role will be leadership of the 11am choral worship service once per fortnight with a strong emphasis on preaching and some pastoral care. 0.25 FTE ORDAINED MINISTER OF THE WORD/DEACON/LAY PERSON This role will be shared leadership of the 9.30am community worship once per fortnight with some pastoral responsibility. All appointees must be willing to work in a team environment and in collaboration and consultation with the appointed full time Minister of the Word. ENQUIRIES Rev Dr Jennifer Byrnes, 0438 650 004. For Job and Person speciďŹ cation please contact pilgrim@pilgrim.org.au Expressions of interest (Marked Private and ConďŹ dential) should be addressed to:

The Convenor - Ministry Appointments Committee - Pilgrim Uniting Church GPO Box 116 ADELAIDE SA 5001

All welcome. Enquiries to Rev Jim Winn, on 0408 852 925 or email: jim.winn@ ucwesleyadelaide.org.au. The Northern Fleurieu Presbytery Fellowshipsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; celebration â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dreams and Visionsâ&#x20AC;? will be hosted by the Crossways Uniting Church Adult Fellowship at The Corner Uniting Church, Warradale on Thursday September 25 at 1.30pm. Parking available or use Bus Stop 27 on Diagonal Rd, route 248. Speakers include Rev Trevor Whitney, Disabilities

PASTORAL OUTREACH WORKER

chaplain and Rev George Potter from the Uniting Church Historical Society. Enquiries to Rhonda Bannister on 8277 5340 or email rhonda@ bigbutton.com.au.

Youth Arts Centre Ballroom. Cost: $5. To nominate yourself, or a young person contact Josh Spier at josh@tear.org.au or call 0434 203 008. Nominations by COB August 22, 2008.

Adelaide West Uniting Churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Youth Ministry, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;City Youthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; is launching the 40 Hour Famine with a feast and party. Free for participants, $5 for others â&#x20AC;&#x201C; proceeds to World Vision. Friday August 15 at 312 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Brooklyn Park; 6pm for BBQ, bands from 7-11pm. Enquiries to 0416 143 328 or youth@ awuc.org.au.

The National and World Mission meeting will be held on Tuesday August 26 at 10.30am at Scots Church. Daryl Burford will speak on his trip to Papua New Guinea.

The Bible to Youth Consortium is providing â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;BIGâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; resources to encourage young people to read the Bible. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Bigâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; packs are $5 each. For further information and online orders visit: www.big.bible.com. au. TEAR SA invites Christian young people to a youth forum on justice and transformation on September 5 - 6 at Carclew

The 28th South Australian Prayer Breakfast will be held on September 17 at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Guest speaker is Andrew Tyndale of Opportunity International Australia, a global Christian aid organisation. An upcoming issue of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;New Timesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; will focus on menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spirituality. If you have an interesting story to tell about menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s spiritual development in your congregation, please call Jill on 8236 4230 or email newtimes@sa.uca.org.au.

Youth Worker

Kensington Gardens Uniting Church is seeking to employ a part-time pastoral outreach worker for 40 weeks to start in September 2008.

Pitt St Uniting Church is an iconic congregation located in Central Sydney which seeks to live out the Gospel we hear in Christ Jesus in an inclusive, socially and theologically progressive way.

It will be for 10-15 hours per week.

We are seeking an experienced accredited Youth Worker/Pastor who will serve with our young people and seek to develop a creative and expanding model of youth ministry.

Halfâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;time Placement

Applications due: Friday 22 August 2008.

A job description is available.

Applicant Information with full details available from Rev Ian Pearson at pittstuc@bigpond.com or (02) 9267 3614.

To express an interest contact:

Applications sent to Mrs Meg Herbert, Associate Secretary (Ministry), NSW Synod, PO Box A2178, Sydney South NSW 1235

Rev Jim Winn on 8332 9439

PITT ST, SYDNEY Under the Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998 it is illegal for prohibited persons to apply and a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Working with Children Checkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; will be required.

not later than 31st August 2008.

Communications Project Officer Uniting Church SA 3 year contract The Communications and Public Relations Unit is an integral part of the Uniting Church SA. The Communications and Public Relations Unit seeks to: s DEVELOPANDENCOURAGEEFFECTIVECOMMUNICATIONWITHINTHE5NITING #HURCHANDBETWEENTHECHURCHANDTHECOMMUNITY s PROMOTETHELIFEANDWORKOFTHE5NITING#HURCH3! #ORETASKSFORTHE0ROJECT/FlCERWILLINCLUDE s WRITINGSTORIESFOR.EW4IMES4HE5NITING#HURCH3!NEWSPAPER CIRCULATION   s PROMOTINGTHE5NITING#HURCH3!S3TRATEGIC0LAN s ASSISTINGWITHTHEIMPLEMENTATIONOFSTRATEGIESTORAISETHE#HURCHS profile. s SUPPORTINGTHEBROADERWORKOFTHE#OMMUNICATIONS5NIT &ULL TIMEORPART TIMEHOURSWILLBECONSIDEREDDEPENDINGONSUITABILITY of applicants. !JOBANDPERSONSPECIlCATIONISAVAILABLEFROM*O7ATTS OR JWATTS SAUCAORGAU !PPLICATIONSCLOSE-ONDAY!UGUSTANDSHOULDBESENTTO Shannon Short Communications and Public Relations Manager Uniting Church SA GPO Box 2145 Adelaide SA 5001

AUGUST 2008


16

NEWS

New Times

Adelaide hosts Fijians

Lynton retires Attending the Uniting Church Fijian Annual National Conference in Adelaide last month were (from l to r), Jone Lotu (Casuarina UC in Darwin), Jo Mar (Tumut UC in NSW), Tony Floyd (UCA national director of multi-cultural and cross-cultural ministry), Rev Dr Jovili Meo (Fijian National Conference chairperson), Rohan Pryor (NCYC) and Sitiveni Rogoimuri (Vermont UC).

More than 250 Fijian members of the Uniting Church converged in Adelaide last month for the Fijian Annual National Conference. The event was organised by the small Fijian congregation which is part of Vermont Uniting Church on Cross Road. Spokesman Sitiveni Rogoimuri said the conference theme was ‘Unity in the Body of Christ’. “The theme reflects our current concern about how we take our place within the body

of the UCA and contribute our gifts and talents,” said Sitiveni. “Many of us are second-generation migrants who want to identify with the UCA, but we don’t want to lose our heritage. We are looking at how we might improve our journey together as part of the Uniting Church in South Australia.” Several of the Fijian congregations sang and performed traditional dances one evening for local churches and communities.

Revving up Port Lincoln Port Lincoln minister Rev Rob Tann has been revving things up for men in the township and is actively encouraging blokes to live out their faith through sport. At the end of June the Port Lincoln Uniting Church held a men’s seminar with a difference. Rob invited motor racing driver Andrew Fisher as a special guest. Andrew won the 2007 “Rookie of the Year” award in the V8 Ute racing series. Andrew is a committed Christian and drives the number nine Ford Ute which carries the

signage for the Christian evangelism program ‘Jesus, All about Life’. During the special men’s weekend, Unity Hill Uniting Church arranged to have a replica of the ‘Jesus Ute’ in Port Lincoln. The church held a men’s breakfast where Andrew spoke about being a Christian racing driver. Rob spoke about his experiences as a registered motor racing chaplain. As an added attraction the church also had a display of sports ‘muscle’ cars, motor bikes, and high powered boats.

Motor racing driver Andrew Fisher and his ‘Jesus Ute’ helped spread the Christian message in Port Lincoln in June. AUGUST 2008

After 12 years as pastoral assistant of the Clare Uniting Church, Lynton Phillips recently retired from the role. Lynton and his wife Jo moved to Clare from Tea Tree Gully. As pastoral assistant Lynton assisted the minister in many areas, including pastoral visiting, preaching, leading Bible study groups and counselling.

He also represented the church at Presbytery and Synod, was a team member of Emmaus Walks, was involved in Christian Outreach Inc. and a domestic violence support group. The Phillips will remain part of the local congregation.

Is God calling you to a new place? Weston Creek Uniting Church in Canberra is seeking a new full-time minister to encourage and enable us as a Christian community. For more info see the church profile: http://www.wcuc.org.au/profile.pdf or contact Neil Johnston: e: margneil@bigpond.net.au h: 02 6288 5553


New Times - August 2008