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August 2011

Renovation rescues

Issue 30, No 7 August 2011

Rebuilding, restoring & rebooting

Renovating welcome and forging Australian futures p. 15

Your say Letters to the editor pp. 18-19

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It’s the topics you’ve dreaded at dinner parties and the things you change the TV channel to avoid. It’s also the gritty stuff that you’re dying to get a Christian handle on.

Heavy hearts It’s times like these that faith too seems so difficult, because it was in the name of my faith, my God, that this atrocity was wrought. A fellow believer gutted a nation. Now, Anders Behring Breivik and I are not twins. We do not share thoughts, feelings or motivations. But we do have a few things in common. We are both human beings. We are both white skinned, blue eyed and blonde haired. We both live in wealthy countries. We are both Christians. We are both recipients of the grace of God - forgiven by God for our sins. Does that excuse his behaviour? Does that cover

the wound he ripped open in Norway? Never. There will be consequences for years to come from this. As a Christian, I’m just so deeply sorry for what has been done in the name of God. It’s almost too much to bear. With a heavy heart, hope spurs me on, though sluggishly. Our faith must not go the way of Anders. It must not strike others down. It must not give up on goodness, kindness, fairness. It must not choose rhetoric over revelation. It must choose love over hate. And we must pray, unceasingly, for Norway.


The media is brimming over presently with the tragedy that unfolded in Norway on Friday 22 July in which at least 76 people lost their lives. This was no natural disaster. This is possibly one of the most unnatural disasters that we can face as human beings. A bomb constructed from fertiliser, that which is designed to help nourish life, exploded in Oslo. One armed man, dressed in the trusted uniform of a police officer, entering an unarmed camp of teenagers, and massacring them. People killed. Children deliberately wiped out. Is it not acts like this that make hope seem so impossible, yet so tenaciously necessary?

Are you City to Bay ready? On Sunday 18 September, I’ll be taking to the City to Bay track with the Uniting Church SA team. As part of the Suicide Prevention campaign that the Uniting Church SA is investing in this year, I’ll be donning a campaign singlet with the words ‘Suicide. It’s no secret.’ on the back. And you can too. In fact – we’re asking you to join us. Whether you’re a 3km walker, 6km casual jogger or 12km running enthusiast, we want you, and anyone you know, to help us spread the word that suicide is a real, yet preventable problem. To sign up for a free singlet*, email Sarah Urmston: So renovate your body, your mind and your spirit, with a good, long run to the finish line. * Singlet numbers are limited and will be given on a first in, first served basis. Sizes vary from XS-XXL. See page five for more information about the campaign.



Rev Rob Williams

The world seems to be obsessed with ‘reality television’ and Australians are no different. Many such shows have to do with ‘renovation’ of one kind or another from remodelling houses to remodelling the human body. The Australian Government’s Australian Communications and Media Authority Reality Television Review in March 2007 revealed that, of those surveyed, 54% agreed that reality television programs exploit those who participate in them and 46% agreed that reality programs encourage inappropriate attitudes towards women. So why is there this fascination with renovation or being made over? Deep seated discontent in individuals is identified by some psychologists as a cause. Some of us really struggle with the ageing process as our youth disappears all too quickly. Others are working flat out to keep up with all the latest material goods so that theirs is not regarded as an old style household when it comes to technology and furniture. Yet all this renovation, being made over and keeping up with the latest products doesn’t necessarily bring relief from the discontent so many experience.


My favourite reality television show used to be Renovation Rescue. The team of tradies and volunteers would descend upon a house with the task of transforming it in just two days. This was a total surprise for the unsuspecting residents who would be away during the reno, living out some fantasy or lifelong dream oblivious to the initial chaos, then transformation of their house and garden. It’s dangerous to put yourself in another’s shoes but I sometimes wondered if the displays of delight as the family returned to their remade quarter acre were as real as they appeared. I’m not sure I’d like everything a group of strangers might do to my castle and I’m certain our resident green-thumb would have some things to say about unauthorised changes to her garden. Ever since the inauguration of the Uniting Church, it seems we’ve been going through one long, continuous renovation - and not everyone is happy about that. ‘Why can’t they (whoever ‘they’ are) just leave the church alone and let it settle down so we can get used to it?’ some congregation members used

to say to me in the late 1970s. I’ve heard similar questions since becoming Moderator. But what is the experience of the Christian Church since its very beginnings if it is not one of renovation? The Spirit continually calls us to renovation, renewal, repair and remodelling, so that we can be relevant to the communities we serve for the sake of the Gospel. That renovation begins within the individuals who, together, make up the Church. So... how’s your renovation going?

Why is it a secret? Rev Sarah Williamson Suicide is an abrasive word. I don’t even like writing it, let alone saying it. In 2009, we lost 1633 men and 499 women to suicide. That’s 2132 people with mums, dads, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters and children. In the same year, 1507 people lost their lives in road crashes.

This is partly what has led the Moderator, Rev Rob Williams, and myself to create an awareness campaign called Suicide: It’s no secret. “I want to do something tangible to promote responsible and healthy media and community discussion about suicide so that people can be offered support, grieve - and find hope - together,” says the Moderator, Rev Rob Williams.

in the Riverland) has meant for many people whose crops fail, they feel the failure personally,” explains Rob. “This leads its natural course into depression. Suicide prevention begins by recognising the social needs of the farmers, the bad times they are experiencing and how that leads into depression.” Our campaign begins on 28 August at Scots Church, Adelaide, with spokespeople addressing the media, followed by a short Service of Remembrance in the Church at 12.00pm. If you or someone you know would benefit from this opportunity

to grieve, remember and find hope, please join us. A symbolic display of black balloons will be at the church, representing the lives South Australia has lost to suicide in the past year. The following six week period after the launch will see approximately a dozen services held throughout the state in rural areas. Resources will be available to all congregations to run services for their local communities via the website – For more information, contact Rev Sarah Williamson: (08) 8236 4257,

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I don’t wish to detract from the tragic loss of life on our roads, and the communities whom this affects. But I do wish to point out that, despite the number of people dying by suicide being higher than our road toll, responsible discussion about the issue by the media, and in our own communities, is muted.

Our campaign wishes to say that silence and shame is not the answer; we want to help open up the discussion and the normalisation of depression and mental ill health so that lives can be saved. Growing up in a rural area, I have been particularly keen to see open discussion about suicide be able to flourish in our rural areas – and even more so, I fundamentally believe discussion is the starter for true change and the actual saving of lives. As a church, we have a central role in many of our communities, especially rural communities. We care for those who are hurting and bury those who die. Many of our ministers can testify to the incredible sadness of walking alongside another precious life lost to intentional self harm. Rev Rob Stoner is one Minister who sees the desperation that can set a course of anxiety, depression and, sadly, suicide. “The rural downturn (drought, and now various circumstances affecting fruit growers beyond our control

Sri Lanka: the war within


John Barr, Uniting World

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The new state-of-the art stadium in Hambantota, southern Sri Lanka, first came to the world’s attention during the World Cup Cricket earlier this year. It is now a key venue in Sri Lanka’s bid to stage the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Hambantota is also the home town of Sri Lanka’s President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is currently riding a crest of popularity after his defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May 2009. Rajapaksa’s catch cry is for a peaceful, stable, prosperous Sri Lanka and Hambantota is the emerging model. But there is another side to Sri Lanka. At the other end of the country in the north, minority ethnic Tamil communities are struggling to survive. Here, 26 years of civil war and a recent military campaign has left tens of thousands dead and many more injured and traumatised. The story is one of death and loss as many ethnic Tamils continue to be humiliated in the wake of the Sinhalese victory. A recent United Nations-sponsored report indicates there are grounds for an investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka’s north. Both the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers have much to answer for. Sri Lanka’s government deny accusations made against them. Meanwhile, the current President has pushed constitutional changes through the parliament giving him the option of staying in power beyond the previous six year limit. Freedom of the press in Sri Lanka is severely restricted and dissent is suppressed. Tragically, the world stood by in silence as the Tamil community suffered horrendous casualties. Extra-judicial killings and disappearances continue to be met with a deathly silence as most nations look the other way. Stability and prosperity for Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority is the outcome. But at what cost to Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority? Sri Lanka is a beautiful country with great potential. Importantly, Australia’s bond with Sri Lanka is enhanced through the wonderful game of cricket. But things are not right in Sri Lanka. In the game of cricket we talk a lot about “fair play”. In Sri Lanka things are far from being “fair”. The real story has yet to be told. Sri Lanka’s Tamil community are still waiting. The rest of the world needs to take a better look. New Times will be taking a more in-depth look at the Sri Lankan war in our September issue, which focuses on Ethics.

Annesley plans for future

The Uniting Church in Australia has congratulated the Government and members of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee on the announcement of a price on pollution. The Church welcomes the strong package of measures as the most important step towards a clean economy and a sustainable future. Rev AIistair Macrae, President of the Church said, “When the Uniting Church was inaugurated in 1977 we pledged to the nation that we would be a voice urging the protection of the environment and the wise use of the earth’s resources. “I am pleased to see the Australian Government finally announce a strong program for addressing dangerous climate change and moving Australia to a clean energy future. “The Uniting Church believes that strong and swift action on climate change is indeed one of the greatest moral challenges of our time. As Christians, we believe that God’s will for the earth is for renewal and reconciliation, not destruction by human beings,” said Alistair. Rev Elenie Poulos, National Director of UnitingJustice Australia, has particularly commended the package of measures for: • the compensation packages for low income households and vulnerable Australians • the commitments aimed at supporting the research, development and use of renewable energies, and • the multiple programs supporting Australia’s transition to a low carbon economy and sustainable future.

Annesley College will be reborn as the Annesley Learning Community in 2012, marking the beginning of a new and innovative educational model for a future Annesley. Annesley College Council and Principal, Cherylyn Skewes, see this future plan as an exciting and viable opportunity that builds on the strength of Annesley’s 109 year history and meets the needs of 21st century learners. The institution will present separate yet linked educational models supported by on-site community facilities including a childcare centre, café, gymnasium, library and chapel. The junior section will comprise of an Early Learning Centre and co-educational Junior School from Reception to Year 6. The Women’s College will appeal to young women who are seeking an educational environment that fosters independence and personal responsibility, and who intend studying at university after completing Year 12. The Junior School will launch in 2012; the Women’s College in 2013. A key aspect of this new model is the involvement of a tertiary institution. Annesley College Council’s preferred model is to work with the Uniting College for Leadership & Theology (UCLT). Following advice from UnitingCare Commission and the Resources Board, the Uniting Church SA Standing Committee agreed to enter into conversations about a possible joint venture for co-location, on the Annesley College site, of the UCLT and the Presbytery and Synod office.

Alistair said, “Our hope is that Australia may show leadership in successful climate change policy and bold innovation in renewable technologies.”

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Commending clean energy future

Rural health in poor condition


In March 2011, a partnership of community service, health and rural organisations combined to run a statewide ‘phone in’ to hear from country people who struggle to afford basic health care. The phone in found that where medical cost and transport issues intersected, people were at their most vulnerable. The 56 calls taken over three days verified the anecdotal information that organisations had been hearing: many children and their parents were avoiding basic medical care in country areas due to their inability to pay above the gap. People on a low income reported driving further for bulk-billing GP practices, being unable to provide an up-front gap payment to their local GP

Churches join to protect victims of problem gambling On Wednesday 6 July the Australian Churches Gambling Taskforce, a group comprising the heads of Australian churches and their representatives, joined together to discuss how they could work together to assist families affected by gambling. The Taskforce is putting together a kit for a grass roots campaign to help congregations share their concerns with their communities, including their local Federal MP. Uniting Church President, Rev Alistair Macrae commented, “I’m excited that Australian churches are speaking with one voice to our Federal politicians on this issue and hopeful about the change we can help bring about for families affected by problem gambling.” A video of Alistair, letting people know about the work happening in this area and the reforms supported by the Church, is available on the Assembly website


and feeling embarrassed to negotiate a payment plan in a waiting room with peers listening in. People reported various debt-recovery practices of their GP had included • Not passing on medical records to ‘poor payers’ when they moved to a different GP, until a debt had been settled. • Refusing to see a patient with an outstanding debt unless it was an emergency and, • Insisting on pre-payment of the full fee prior to consultation The most common themes of the calls were access to quality care and services, cost of transport/accommodation, cost of medical services and the intersection

of service restrictions and travel demands. The partnership of organisations used their findings to make recommendations for improvement to the State Government’s Patient Assistance Transport Scheme, which included adjusting the travel and accommodation reimbursement rate (unchanged since 2004), and calling for the draft guidelines to be circulated for public consultation. The findings from the phone in have been made available to other UnitingCare agencies for their use in research, advocacy and policy development work.

Placements news: Placements finalised since the last edition of New Times: Ms Mellissa Cellier (Ministry of Pastor) to State Children and Family Ministry Coordinator (0.5) from 18 July 2011 Rev Richard Banham to Tea Tree Gully from 1 September 2011 The following is the current list of vacant (or soon to be vacant) approved placements:

INDUCTIONS Rev Wes Howland West Lakes United 12 July 2011 7.00 pm Rev Paul Turley Clayton Wesley 14 August 2011 2.30 pm Rev Jana Norman Pilgrim 20 August 2011 2.30 pm

• Adelaide West


• Burra (0.5)

Coralie Evans Grange 24 July 2011

• Loxton (0.6) and Renmark (0.4) • South West Fleurieu (Delamere, Inman Valley, Myponga, Range Road, Yankalilla) • Barossa • Spicer from 1.09.11 • Sunset Rock from 1.09.11 • Mt Barker from 1.05.11 For more information contact Rev Philip Gardner:

Steph Tai (Ministry of Pastor) Freedom, Paralowie 30 July 2011 ORDINATION SERVICE 21 August 2011 Adelaide West 2.00 pm Vicky Balabanski Minister of the Word Coralie Evans Minister of the Word David Hoffman Minister of the Word Christa Megaw Deacon Titus Ng Minister of the Word

Renovation Rescue Renovate. It’s another word for renew. As a Church, we’re constantly in the business of taking ancient truths, and remodelling them in new, fresh, renovated ways. Whether its property, mission, worship style or our own way of thinking, renovation is critical to growing as a body of believers.

Sarah Urmston

In case you haven’t noticed, less people are coming to church these days. “Thanks, Captain Obvious!” I hear you say. The question that usually follows this observation is, “How do we get them to come?” It’s time to renovate our thinking. Research tells us people are still interested in spirituality. They don’t mind Jesus; they just don’t find the current model of church to be their ‘cup of tea’. “The church we have now is the inherited church,” says Ruthmary Bond, Uniting Church SA’s Fresh Expressions Officer. “It’s a term which honours the church that now is, and has been handed to us. “But one of the dangers of the inherited church is that we’ve become our own culture within a culture. “We want people to come and join us – but we expect them to do it our way, using

our language and terms. We forget how alien it is to the culture we live in,” explains Ruthmary. A fresh expression is a form of church which is established primarily for the benefit of people who are not yet members of a church. It comes into being through listening, service, incarnational mission and making disciples. It looks like the group of people who meet over wine and cheese – a common social scenario. But this group have swapped gossip for God, engaging in faith conversations and other Christian practices. It looks like the church that meets in the football club on a Saturday, before the game. It might not have any music or pews, but it gathers people from the community who wouldn’t otherwise set foot in a regular church. “Establishing a fresh

expression of church can take years,” explains Ruthmary. “It’s a process of seeing what the community needs, where God is already moving, working out how you connect with that, and can provide loving service. Community is formed, faith conversations begin and then you see what you become as a church. There’s a lot of time for reflection and we, as the wider church, have to be ok with that being ok. “I don’t think the inherited church will ever disappear. But somehow, the inherited church and fresh expressions of church need to work side by side as equals in mission.” The Uniting, Anglican and Lutheran Churches have all recognised a growing need to train and equip people to establish fresh expressions and have worked together to launch a course titled Mission Shaped Ministry, which aims to equip and train people to

establish fresh expressions. “At last year’s Presbytery and Synod meeting, members voted to accept the terms ‘Fresh Expressions’ and ‘Pioneer Ministry’ and that we invest in training them. It’s exciting to know that what people have voted for is actually happening,” comments Ruthmary. “What I hope for the future of the church is that every congregation would be engaged in mission through a fresh expression of church, whether that means the congregation becomes a fresh expression, a mixed economy or finances one that stands alone. I think that if every single church did that, the church would grow – significantly. “Imagine 300 churches setting up 300 fresh expressions that are wide and varied, and based in community and culture. It brings life.”


Dennis Wright, Property & Insurance Manager Uniting Church SA

Home away from home Sunset Rock Uniting Church at Stirling has recently returned to a former church tradition of providing a manse adjacent to the church itself. These days, the Synod generally encourages a reasonable separation of home and workplace but, in this particular case, there were some compelling arguments in favour of co-location. The Sunset Rock church site has a large road frontage and, to the casual observer, there could be no presumption that the house is directly linked to the life of the church. There are of course some more pragmatic reasons: selling the old manse enabled a new and more suitable house to be built and by building upon land already held by the Property Trust, the church was able to repay all outstanding loans and apply the surplus to undertake other ministry initiatives.

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The old and the new Gawler Uniting Church is a majestic old building and may well be nearly as old as the township itself. The township has undergone radical change in recent decades and many would argue that this historic township now functions as an extension of the metropolitan area of Adelaide. (Wouldn’t the pioneer settlers be surprised?) Gawler is still separated by some open space but with the northern areas a focus of the Government’s urban growth strategy - that might not last long. Gawler Uniting Church, never to rest on its laurels or to be satisfied with the past, has recently completed a stunning new multi-purpose facility adjacent to the church. Architecturally complementing the heritage-listed church, the new building provides much needed ancillary facilities for church activities. What an asset and what a blessing the church can be in the emerging new community.

Camping and church The little church on the hill overlooking Robe township is etched in my childhood memories and in the memories of countless other holidaymakers, no doubt. It was with more than a touch of sadness that I sat with a small group of teary Robe Congregation members to discuss the future of the church building which had salt damp, smelt musty and had accessibility and car parking issues. Suitable land for building a new church was expensive and difficult to acquire; building on land already owned by the Property Trust and occupied by the Tarooki Campsite was the logical solution. There were many hurdles to overcome but there is a happy ending. The new church and multi-function facility has now been built on the campsite, overlooking one of the town lakes. Next time you’re holidaying in Robe make sure to pop in. Your welcome is guaranteed.

A room with a view A small and dedicated band of people can make a lot of difference and do some amazing things, all to the glory of God. This has certainly been the case at Upper Sturt where the small congregation, some of whom share the last name or have links to the pioneer settlers interred in the adjacent cemetery, took on the huge task of designing, preparing the site and contracting the building of a new church hall and fellowship space on the site of the quaint little Upper Sturt church building. Contacts and networks help but, at the end of the day, it was the herculean efforts of volunteers, generous with both time and money, who saw the potential and made it all happen. Fellowshipping after Sunday worship with a cuppa in hand while taking in panoramic views of the hills and valleys has never been better.


Hold onto your hard hats Historic Clayton Chapel which sits behind the Clayton Memorial Uniting Church presented some anxious moments recently when a section of concealed ceiling cornice came crashing heavily to the floor in a room that was full of children. No one was hurt. Over many years the Clayton Wesley community has taken impeccable care of its facilities and they are well used by the church and outside groups. However this incident highlighted the complexities associated with the care of old buildings. Advice was sought from a heritage architect and engineer. The restorative work was expensive but the Clayton community can feel very proud of the end product. More importantly the building will stand for another hundred years for the benefit of all and for the glory of God. No one was hurt but vigilance is essential.

A cultural experience

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The creation of the Mitcham Cultural Village located at Princes Road, Mitcham involved the upgrading of a number of Council-owned buildings in cooperation with the adjoining Mitcham Uniting Church. Boundary fences between church buildings and the adjoining community-use facilities were removed, the site was levelled and spaces between the buildings were landscaped to create an integrated public space. This creates a sense of venue, connects the buildings and provides a range of meeting, performance and exhibition opportunities. Renovations were made to Tyler Hall behind the church to provide an additional link to the Cultural Village. The project also includes water sensitive design initiatives with much of the associated infrastructure accommodated on the church site. Above all, the project creates opportunities for the Congregation to connect with the visitors and users of this special place.

Reaching out in new facilities The Goolwa Congregation are not only aware of the rapid growth in their area they’re doing something about it. Reorientating the seating within the church to increase capacity and make it more suitable for contemporary worship was just the start. Building work to extend the existing office and outreach centre adjacent to the church will soon be complete. During 2006 an invitation was given to all congregations of the Uniting Church SA to register interest in Uniting Foundation funding for major building improvements. Goolwa UC responded with a bold proposal to establish a new administration hub with links to the existing church/ worship centre. The journey from original concept has been difficult and the plans have been somewhat downscaled. But that journey is nearly complete and very soon the new facilities will be in use to provide outreach facilities to those in need.

It’s more than a whim There are many untold renovation rescue stories because, to the casual reader, the story is mundane, the work utilitarian and the output of effort often not even seen – but very necessary. Booleroo Whim recently took some initiatives to remedy cracking which, without attention, would have eventually led to the building becoming unusable. The 130+ year old church, described by one parishioner as, “down by the creek in the middle of nowhere,” had developed serious structural cracking which threatened the stability of the western wall. The root cause of most structural cracking traces to the footings – footings that were either inadequate in the first place or which have succumbed to soil movements. (There are innumerable metaphors in the Bible to ‘good foundations’ and ‘building upon solid rock’). The footings at Booleroo Whim have now been underpinned and great worship amongst enthusiastic and faithful Christians continues.


New beginnings rise from the ashes Meri Warneke, Para Vista Uniting Church

The day of the big concrete pour - we began to think we were making progress!

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Expanded facilities at Modbury Marion Bowes-Johnston and Don Sinnott, Modbury Uniting Planning may be hard, but living through a major building redevelopment is even harder! The congregation at Modbury has lived through almost a year of disruption, demolition and dust, as builders have worked to make our dream of expanded and truly functional community service facilities a reality. The extension to our building encapsulates many of our hopes and dreams for mission in the present and the future. As a distinctive and outwardly-focussed congregation determined to ‘punch above our weight’ in the challenging North East area we have a particular focus on human needs in our community. As we say on the foundation stone unveiled at our facility’s launch, we stand for ‘Church and Community working together’. Despite having to operate out of very limited facilities, for many years the congregation has hosted a number of community assistance programs, including UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide East and the weekly International Women’s Group that was recently named SA Volunteer Community Project of the Year at a gala event at the Festival Theatre. The expanded facilities aim to offer further opportunities for these and other programs that involve a large body of volunteers, from within and outside the congregation, giving practical help to the needy and marginalised. Funding for the project has been almost totally self-help: sale of surplus land released some funds, the State Government helped with small grants because of the community services focus and commitment to a Uniting Church Property loan got us over the financial line. To manage the project a Property Redevelopment Team was established by Church Council and given authority to act. It consulted with the congregation and captured a broadly-owned vision to be a church that stood for community-based service. It then turned this into a step-by-step plan for facilities needed to make elements of this vision a reality, through all the phases of consultation, negotiations, demolition and building approvals, contracting and project management. At a special service and morning tea on Sunday 31 July the extensions were formally opened by our long-term and much-loved Minister in Association, Rev Gowan Armstrong and the Mayor of Tea Tree Gully, Mrs Miriam Smith, with our Minister Rev Tony Goodluck in charge of proceedings.


A devastating, deliberately lit fire gutted our church halls on Pentecost Sunday in 2009. For the next ten months our congregation managed in very cramped conditions; community organisations which regularly used our premises were also inconvenienced. In 2011, we have ‘risen from the ashes’ as a much closer and more tolerant worship community. We now have an updated hall and facilities for our use and for community activities also. During the same period of rebuilding, Para Vista’s long time dream of our unused land being used for low cost housing came into fruition. The Portway Housing project, building a small village of ten units, opened early this year. As part of that project our church now has a large paved and landscaped car park. In the past few weeks, anonymous donations for the necessary materials and one of our members voluntary building expertise have enabled us to construct a much needed covered path between our church and halls. Also in progress is the establishment of a reflective garden behind our church. We praise God for our new beginnings. Para Vista Uniting was determined to bounce back from an arson attack in 2009. This phoenix rising from the ashes more than just replaced what had been – they extended their arms of welcome even further into the community with low cost housing being built on their unused land.

Blueprint for Burnside mission Almost eight years ago, four congregations took a good long look at themselves – and realised their dwindling numbers were getting the better of them. Rather than disappear, the four started to dream about what might grow if they took a missional journey within the city of Burnside – together. Since beginning to worship on one site 18 months ago, the journey has been messy and challenging, as properties have been farewelled and old ways have been let go, but the tears and tensions have been intermingled with a sense of adventure and hope for the future.

For Scott, much of the project management was nearing completion when his placement began at the innerEastern suburban church. In the years prior, the ministers of the four congregations worked together to blueprint the future, Beaumont’s Rev Don Wilson with now-Rev Matthew

“It’s meant a lot of work for people managing the process, and a lot of change for people letting go. In one sense, getting to where we are now has been the easy part though; developing a new ministry, mission, outreach and church culture – that’s the hard part. “The age profile of the congregation is a challenge – around two thirds are over 70. We’ve got three to five years to change the church profile and grow it, or we’ll be a small church in a big building.”

The ‘mainly music’ playgroup is already full and has waiting lists because the program and group dynamics are working so well – and because there are so many families within close proximity to the church. Working with the suburb’s demographic, Burnside City Uniting will have an increased focus on families with children and youth, connecting beyond the church and developing intentional pathways between the church and community. “There has been sacrifice made by the four congregations for the vision, and a willingness to change for the sake of the next generation. We’re now ready to build on the foundation that’s been given to us. “Though the physical renovation is finished, there’s a continuing spiritual renovation to take place. It’s a great thing to be part of.”

“Some of the older members, going back seven or so years ago, commented that they might not be here to see the fulfilment of this vision, and many of them are. There’s a sense of a vision turned into reality, and a ‘look at what God has done’.”

Rev Scott Button, Rev Ruthmary Bond and Rev Matthew Bond are looking forward to the future of shared mission in Burnside City.


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“This has been, and is being, visionary - giving up what’s been long-treasured for a better future,” commented Rev Scott Button, Senior Pastor of Burnside City Uniting Church (BCUC) since January this year. “This is an exciting, challenging and great opportunity for us.”

Bond (hired originally as a youth worker while studying as a Minister of the Word), Rev Rob Williams from Tusmore Park, Rev Ruthmary Bond from Kensington Park and Rev Phil Gardner from Tusmore Memorial. They were supported significantly by keen-eyed lay people, Keith Maynard and Malcolm Lake, who gave extraordinary leadership, administration and project management throughout.

Birthing possibilities

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SoulSA, a small group for women from Seacombe Uniting Church, wanted to make a difference. The group, a ‘spicy blend of creativity, nurture and nourishment for your soul’, held a garage sale to support the work of the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia (BKFA). It raised nearly $1200. They used these finances to buy supplies to make ‘birthing kits’ for BKFA to distribute to the poorest women in the most remote areas of the world. BKFA is an organisation dedicated to improving the conditions for women who give birth at home in developing countries. Based in Adelaide, the organisation has supporters and volunteers across Australia dedicated to reducing the incidence of infant and maternal mortality.

The simple, cheap and effective kits address the requirements needed for a safe, clean delivery. Each birthing kit costs $2.50 to make and get it to its destination, BKFA asks groups to raise $2 for each kit and then host an ‘assembly day’ to put the kits together. The 600 kits were assembled at Seacombe Church in early July by a group of 23 volunteers from SoulSA, Seacombe Uniting Church craft group and locals from the community. It is estimated that 525,000 women die each year in childbirth; developing countries account for 99% of these deaths. For every woman who dies in childbirth, 30 incur often-lifelong injuries and infections. These kits make a real difference where it’s needed most.

Lynne Taylor and 22 others assembled 600 birthing kits at Seacombe Uniting Church, joining in with Birthing Kit Foundation Australia’s bid to stem the number of maternal deaths in developing countries.

To find out more about BKFA or to plan your own assembly day:

Recycling – the African way Amos Bennett, Mercy Ships Australia There is an old saying – ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the physiotherapy department onboard the world’s largest charity hospital ship, the Africa Mercy, currently on a ten-month assignment in Sierra Leone. When patients undergo surgery to correct foot deformities, their legs are put in casts. These recovering patients can’t wear shoes - but they can’t go barefoot, either. The Mercy Ships Rehabilitation Team has found a suitable, inexpensive, and easily available way to give each patient the foot protection needed during their recovery: used motorcycle tyres. Anama Latta, a day worker engaged by Mercy Ships, makes shoes from tyres in various sizes to fit the patients. Anama says the tyre shoes are stronger than other footwear they might use, they provide more protection on the sides of the foot and, importantly, patients can walk easily in them. Mercy Ships is a global charity that has operated hospital ships in developing nations since 1978 providing free health care and community development services to the forgotten poor. Following the example of Jesus, Mercy Ships brings hope and healing to the poor. The emphasis is on the needs of the world’s poorest nations in West Africa.

Mercy Ships renovates refuse into shoes to help protect feet healing from lifealtering surgeries in West Africa.

Renovating the welcome spectrum With the refugee ‘issue’ in Australia, it seems like you can only be ‘bleeding heart’ pro or ‘f*** off we’re full’ against - or so most media outlets, bumper stickers and political powers would have us believe. Three Australians keen to invest in a more constructive dialogue are Darren Hassan, Brad Chilcott and Benson Saulo. Darren Hassan, after participating in SBS’s documentary Go Back to Where You Came From¸ came away from the experience affected holistically, but labelled as a racist by the greater part of Australia’s online community. Brad Chilcott, a Pastor and founder of Welcome to Australia, grew tired of the brewing culture of unwelcome and ‘policy-over-people’ based discussions around asylum seekers. Benson Saulo, the first indigenous Australian Youth Representative to the United Nations, is focused on a unified future Australia. The three find themselves on the compassionate side of moderation, and frustrated at the inability to dialogue with any sense of dignity – for their own points of view, and dignity for the people their opinions involve. BRAD Though considered a ‘bleeding heart’ because of his work with Welcome to Australia, Brad is clear that the 42 million refugees in the world can’t all be settled in Australia. “I don’t think anyone on the left or compassionate end of the issue thinks that we can, or should, put them all up here in nice houses,” Brad comments. “What I do think is that when they’re in Australia, when they come into our area of international responsibilities, they should be treated as a human being. They should stay, or go, feeling like they were valued as an individual human being, that their human rights were upheld and that their humanity was valued. “When people talk about treating people with a fair go, then the middle ground start to engage,” Brad states. “There’s definitely more people in the middle ground than have a voice. I think the issue with the media and political debate is that it operates in a register where everyday Australians wouldn’t naturally talk about politics. The whole debate is about numbers and boats, refugee conventions of 1957 – Australia, largely, doesn’t engage in that.” Welcome to Australia has helped groups, communities and churches band together around the idea of welcome through a very simple, and celebratory, three-step approach: create an event, invite others and foster a welcoming environment.

BENSON “My engagement tour is called ‘towards a unified Australia’,” Benson confirms. “That’s what Mick Gooda spoke about in a speech he gave to the National Press Club in 2010 - towards a reconciled Australia.” Benson, a handsome 23 year old professional, notes that he has been the ‘poster boy’ for indigenous employment, but that’s not the role he’s taking on as a representative to the UN. His engagement base is broader than indigenous issues, though they are a key part of his focus work. “I’m not the face of reconciliation. My fundamental belief is that I’m my brother’s keeper. If I see human rights violated here - or overseas - that questions my human rights. I can hear racist or ill-informed comments, but that impacts on my own education.” “I’m looking at what’s happening in policy and practice. With indigenous affairs and with asylum seekers, this is the stuff where political leaders need to be bi-partisan. If we ever saw a day where that was the case, we’d see people buying into it. The people as leaders must think broadly; the solution itself must be wide.” “We want leaders who are mature enough to form joint partnerships to create solutions - not just use reconciliation as a political power play.”

Largely, the problem in discussing the issue is that the rhetoric being used is recycled, and often quite offensive. If you’ve had a problem with the use of ‘f*** off we’re full’ in this article, imagine reading that as a refugee who, after escaping a warravaged country and unknown horrors to try and make a new life here, reads that on Australian bumper stickers, facebook pages and ‘humorous’ emails, and feels that hostility endorsed by stares, rhetoric and racist attitudes. Part of engaging a broader cross-section of opinions on the issue is allowing for the language usage to change, and the name-calling, jokes and political show-boating to stop. It might even mean caring more about the ‘why’ asylum seekers came here more than the ‘how’. It’s not as simple as being ‘for’ or ‘against’ refugees – there’s a very large spectrum in between the two which must be explored with intellect, with compassion and with generous spirits. Then we might manage to uphold, with integrity, Australia’s belief in a ‘fair go’.


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DARREN Go Back changed Darren’s understanding of, “how massive and complex the issue really is; it’s given me more information on how sad it is.” Go Back to Where You Came From saw six ordinary Australians challenged in their preconceived notions about refugees. They embarked on a confronting journey tracing the journeys refugees have taken to reach Australia. Ex-Army officer Darren was shocked to find himself largely disliked. “I’m not anti-refugee, but I think there should be order and control. I oppose people getting on a boat, but it doesn’t mean I hate them. I had plenty of people, hiding from a safe place online, calling me a racist. I don’t understand that, or find it intelligent. “With all the millions of refugees we agree to assist with the UN Charter although I think we should be taking more - we need to be practical, we need a place to put them and we need a plan to integrate them.” “The ‘let em all in’ and ‘f*** off we’re full’ spectrum, we’ve heard and overheard it – it’s not solving a thing. We need to be able to have a balanced discussion. “I’m not an expert, I’m just a guy who was thrown into a scenario on TV.”

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Alice MacFarlane Living in his car for a month with his son was the low point which propelled Laurence Wikatene to finally seek help. Laurence lost his welding job in a company shakeup in 2009, leaving him feeling devastated and unwilling to seek help. “It took me seven months to have the courage to go and sign up for the dole, but in the end I had to, because we became homeless,” Laurence, a New Zealand immigrant of Maori heritage, said. “My son Paul and I were living in my car because I preferred that to homeless shelters – they scared me. I tried to tough it out until I got another job, but in the end I had to get help. It was basically up to me to keep things going, so I did.” The father of five was referred by Centrelink to a new program running through Uniting Care Wesley’s Port Adelaide office.

Called Building Family Opportunities, the $9.6 million Social Inclusion program aims to reduce long-term unemployment by providing intensive and practical support to entire families. Employment, Training and Further Education Minister Jack Snelling said the program is providing support to 400 long-term jobless families for up to 18 months, in the Port Adelaide, Playford and Port Augusta areas. “In an Australian first, the initiative aims to break the cycle of intergenerational unemployment by addressing all the barriers that prevent disadvantaged families from finding and keeping a job,” Jack said. “Intensive and tailored support is provided to families through home visits by a case manager. They ensure practical help is available across a range of areas such as letter writing to employers or housing providers through to counselling, to motivate and re-engage families with training and employment.” Building Family Opportunities is delivered in three regions where considerable levels of social and economic disadvantage

are experienced, in the local government areas of Port Adelaide by UnitingCare Wesley; Playford by Centacare Catholic Family Services; and Port Augusta by UnitingCare Wesley. Since connecting with their Building Family Opportunities case manager last year, Laurence has managed to secure new housing, permanent work and has bought a new car. He has completed a Certificate III in Aged Care and Disability Services and works as a carer at the nearby Salvation Army aged care facility in Angle Park. “Everything since I did my course has been excellent, everything has moved ahead. When I first started my job I worked 17 days straight, because I just wanted to work. “Getting this house moved us ahead even quicker. It gave us stability and let us stand on our own feet. I find it all like light at the end of the tunnel. “Our case manager helped us get this house. She took me into Housing SA, filled in support forms and helped me with all the paperwork. She also helped me with my resume and follow up with job networks.” Laurence’s son Paul, 17, who has lived with him throughout, has experienced a similar turnaround and is now enrolled in a Nursing Diploma and works alongside his father at the Salvation Army lodge.

For more information about Building Family Opportunities go to:

Mission Resourcing SA

Renovating mission It seems to me that Australia is obsessed with renovation. The show ‘Renovation Rescue’ took this to extremes, suggesting that a tired old house could be transformed in two days while the owners are pampered elsewhere, in some idyllic location. There are many problems with the show. The first is that it suggests that anyone could achieve a similar result in their home; the epithet ‘don’t attempt this at home’ would be more accurate. Another is that renovation is often about ‘getting ahead’ or as the Simpsons renamed a popular magazine, ‘Better Homes Than Yours’. Renovating mission is entirely different. Mission is God’s, not ours, and any renovation in our congregations, agencies or schools is about us getting in touch with what God is already doing in and around those communities. It will also carry a very different tone to getting ahead of others. It will be about shifting our understanding of mission from something we just do overseas to something that happens here too. It will be about shifting our understanding from something that experts do to something that we all live out. The focus will shift from ‘come’ to ‘go’, being in the centre to being at the edge; it will see us move from the top to the bottom and from controlling to serving. REV ROD DYSON Executive Officer, Mission Resourcing SA

Getting to know... Rev Adam Tretheway (Deac) is Mission Resourcing SA’s very own MasterChef, having cooked for the Queen when she was in Adelaide during the 90s. The caring and creative half-time Chaplain, half-time UnitingWorld Officer, is know for his compassion and passion for positive change, evidenced by his favourite quote, “Our lives begin to end the moment we remain silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King Jr. Family: Wife Kate, son Joshua (5) daughter Marisen (2.5) and Amy (1) Background: I come from a background in hospitality, completing my apprenticeship as a chef. During my apprenticeship, I felt a calling to ministry. While initially this led me to study ministry with children and young people, it later merged into a Bachelor of Ministry degree, candidating for the ministry of the Diaconate and following my calling of serving those on the jagged edge.

Having been ordained for nearly 10 years, my placements have included serving in Papua, Indonesia with my wife for three years with one of our partner churches, chaplaincy at Baxter Detention Centre and mental health chaplaincy to people living in Supported Residential Facilities in the western suburbs and at the Cramond Clinic Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where I remain half-time.

Hopes for this position: Understanding more fully what it means to be in partnership and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters overseas. To discern new ways of engaging in mission both locally and globally. To work in partnership with Christa and to hear the voices of people engaged in mission and to discern an exciting future of international mission.

Time for adventure? Christa Megaw In 2011 about 100 people from across Australia are volunteering in a range of short term placements with UnitingWorld. All of these positions have been identified by our partner churches in Asia, the Pacific and Africa. “I loved the way it was a two way street. I learnt so much from their culture and it was a joy to help them to gain confidence in expressing themselves in English,” reflected Jan Carter. Jan, from Verdun, has just returned from teaching conversational English at the Dhyana Pura Tourism College in Bali. Laurel Milner Schlinke (Lenswood ) and Paul Clayton (Tea Tree Gully) are also on short term placements teaching English in Bali this year. Leonie White, a social worker, has recently begun supporting students who have learning and behavioural problems at the Queen Salote College in Tonga. Are you interested in exploring whether God is calling you to use your time, experience and skills in a cross cultural setting in a partner church? If you have only a couple of weeks, an Insolidarity Trip, organised by UnitingWorld, is a way of engaging with one of our partner churches. Exposure trips to visit Zimbabwe, Tonga, Bali and India are planned for the next six months. For more details, go online to: To talk about these opportunities, contact: Adam Tretheway Christa Megaw p. 8236 4239 8236 4203 e.


Encouraged and discouraged

Applauding activism

As an older person, I read with interest the attitudes of young people towards church and its relevance for them today (June New Times).

I was intrigued to read Mr G Oates’ letter from last month’s New Times discussing the declining numbers across the UCA.

An overall theme is expressed when I read comments such as ‘open to broader possibilities’, ‘church discourages doubt’, ‘want church to be open, loving and accepting’, ‘invite young people not into belief but into community’ and so on.

Mr Oates inferred that it was the Synod’s political outspokenness that has seen our church numbers decline. My own experience has been quite the opposite. Dealing mostly with people under the age of 25, I am excited by their enthusiasm for a church that is politically active. Our Synod’s stand on issues like carbon tax, homosexuality and asylum seekers resonates with many of the young people with whom I work, as well as with me and my peers. I think that one of our failings is in not communicating these stands as clearly as we might.

Then in reviewing Rob Bell’s book Love Wins, reviewer Callum Iles is adamant about the choices one should make if they do not wish to go to hell. He also says a Christian should only write a book about faith when they know exactly what they believe.

letters to ed

There are many inspiring books by Christian authors who talk about mystery or grapple with their faith from time to time. These views seem incongruous with what the young people are saying in this edition of the New Times and it is precisely these and other archaic, legalistic doctrinal views that are pushing young, thoughtful and questioning minds away from the church. T. Smith, Houghton

Authenticity is key What a fantastic edition of New Times (June 2011)! I have read and re-read pages 16-20 and I can’t thank the contributors enough for their thoughtful and challenging comments. As I read, it became clear that the contributors were in no way homogenous, and there was no obvious remedy to the church’s lack of appeal to young adults. The contributors as a whole presented a series of irreconcilable contrasts to anyone looking (as I was) for better approaches to young adult ministry. The conclusion: young adults are individuals not a mono-culture. One theme emerged strongly though: authenticity. Young adults want the church to have an authentic, honest, real life of faith. In telling our stories we do not need to insist that young adults do what we do. Rather, we must try to communicate what takes us deep into knowing Christ, and invite young adults to go deep too – in whatever way is real for them. I. Dow, Naracoorte

Perhaps if we wish to look for a reason for decline in our church we would be better served looking towards attitudes of divisiveness and disunity? A. Copland Athelstone

Living on $2 a day I read the article written by Anne White on living on $2 a day (July New Times). I agree there are people who have to live on $2 a day. I am an aged pensioner (single). My fortnightly budget allows $70 for my own food, my dog’s food, toiletries, household cleaning needs and medication. I am not alone, many people in this area are on similar budgets. I don’t drink, smoke, gamble or have any luxuries. Power, water and food costs are most expensive here, yet I manage 365 days a year without resorting to monetary help or visiting places for giveaways. Many people here need help too as well as those overseas; though I understand you need to help. I too give donations to other organisations myself from my pension. A Maddison, Smithfield

Cover comment My friends and I wish to comment on the cover design of recent issues of New Times. Words such as “bizarre”, “weird”, “confronting”, “offensive”, “in poor taste” have been used to describe our response. Surely we could have something more attractive and inviting for our main communication medium to members of the Uniting Church. M. Taylor, Hawthorn


Importance of healing ministries

Honouring Ian Olver

I thank you very much for the July issue of New Times – it was a great issue and very pleasing to those involved in the healing ministry. It is always encouraging to read of how others experience the many facets of the healing love and power of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

I write to let you know about Professor Ian Olver, a Uniting Church member now living in Sydney and worshipping at Ultimo Cafe Church. Ian lived and worked in Adelaide for 15 years, worshipping at Beaumont UC with his wife Jenny and three sons. He became Professor of Oncology at the RAH during this time, and became the Chairman/President of the Cancer Council of Australia (I believe this is the title, but may be incorrect), living in Sydney and is often seen on TV in this role.

I write this firstly as the State Secretary of the Order of St Luke the Physician, but also as a person who has been involved in the healing ministry for a number of years. This ministry was a significant part of our Lord’s total ministry judging by the Gospel records. My concern, and the reason for the existence of the Order, is the apparent lack of an obvious healing ministry in many congregations. The Order can and is willing to help in any moves to support existing ministries and to begin new ones. Those interested can contact me on (08) 8271 4028 or R. Casling Torrens Park

Ian was awarded an AM at the January Honours List, which was missed in your article in the March issue. I wonder if it could be included at some time, because of the work Ian did, both for people with cancer in South Australia, and for Beaumont UC including being the main visionary towards the amalgamation of the four congregations which now make up the Burnside City Uniting Church. A. Morris, Dulwich

Be topical, be brief, be timely. Letters over 150 words will be edited; responses to previous letters/articles will be considered within two months of the original item’s publication only. All letters are published at the editorial team’s discretion.

letters to ed

Send your letters to: or PO Box 2145, Adelaide 5001.

Science & Faith Conflict or Conversation? Tabor Faraday Inaugrual Conference

30th August - 1st September This three-day conference aims to develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between science and faith in today’s complex and fast-paced world. Key speakers have been drawn from around the world in an outstanding program that will address many of the questions people are asking today about the connection between science and faith. For more details about the conference and the speaker program in detail visit our website. An initiative of the Graeme Clark Research Institute atTabor Adelaide along with The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund’sCollege, Cambridge, UK. 181 Goodwood Rd Millswood SA 5034 tel. 08 8373 8777 fax. 08 8373 1766


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Red Dove Cafe Volunteer Co-ordinator is seeking helpers to work in the cafe during Show week, 2 – 10 September 2011. Please telephone Lesley Williams on 8261 3843 or 0402 006 629 to make your time/s. Salisbury Uniting Church World Mission Fellowship celebrates 100 years on Sunday 14 August. Rev David Buxton, Associate National Director Frontier Services will preach at the Thanksgiving Service at 10am. Christa Megaw, International Mission Officer will also be in attendance. Light lunch, reminisces and displays and afternoon tea to follow. Enquiries: Coralie Wright 8258 3580, Wellspring SA (an ecumenical community) invites you to its next meeting to hear Ann Siddall speak about “Wisdom from the Desert: Insight from the Desert Mothers and Fathers” at Christ Church, Wayville (26 King William St, Wayville) on Wednesday 17 August at 7.30pm. Shared meal at 6.30pm.More information: Brian Ball 8337 8517, Port Lincoln Uniting Church’s outreach program, Linc ‘n’ Learn turns 20 this year. Celebrations are planned for 24 August. We would love to see or hear from any previous instructors, admin staff or attendees. A special thanksgiving will take place during the 9am and 10.30am services on 28 August, with the Moderator preaching. More info: Avriel Barnett 8682 5507,

diary notes

Project Kadi Fundraising Concert – Saturday 28 August from 2pm at St John’s Uniting Church (cnr Prospect Rd & Bosanquet Ave, Prospect). Entry: $20/$10 concession is suggested – but we ask that you give what you can. All monies donated on the day will be used to assist Ben Yengi. Contact Doris to reserve seats 0409 671 031. More info:, State Mission Fellowship meets on Tuesday 30 August, 10.30am at Scots Church. Lunch available. Speaker: Rev Adam Tretheway on his half-time roles as International Mission Officer and Mental Health Chaplain. All welcome. Port Germein Community Church (formerly Uniting And Methodist), 130th anniversary on 25 September at 10.30am. Speaker: Rev Neil Micheal. To be followed with a pooled lunch. All welcome.

An historical display of photographs and memorabilia is planned for the Streaky Bay Centenary on 11 September. In particular, copies of wedding photographs of couples married in Streaky Bay Uniting [Methodist] Church are being sought. Anyone willing to lend relevant memorabilia or copies of wedding photos, should contact and send them to Rev Sue Ellis, (08) 8625 3505. Sandy Creek Uniting Church are hosting a Wildflower Walk on Thursday 22 September. Meet at the church (Williamstown Road, Cockatoo Valley) at 1pm. Cost: $7 includes afternoon tea. Book with: Molly 8523 7428 or Hazel 8524 4149. Group bookings for 2012 welcome CHURCH LIBRARIES – INSPIRATIONAL! is the theme of the Australian Church Library Association’s 9th National Conference at Nunyara Conference Centre from 7 – 9 October 2011. Enquiries to Joy 827 83370, or visit Clinton Centre Church celebrates their 125th anniversary on Sunday 9 October at 10.30am. Past Ministers, Bill Dow and Kel Benn to lead worship. BBQ lunch provided. More information: Maxine Langford 8835 1331, Brenda Coleman 8837 7017. Jamestown Uniting Church has excess Bibles, Australian Hymn books and ‘Altogether Now’ song books to give away. Contact Margie Symonds Australian Church Women SA Unit advises that funds are available to award small grants for disadvantaged women who, through lack of funds, are unable to undertake a course or purchase equipment which might benefit them or their families. The applicant is always sponsored by a Christian Church body or individual office bearer of a Christian group. The applicant herself is not necessarily a church attendee. Applications due 30 September. Enquiries & submissions: Mrs Coralie Wright, 8258 3580,

To have your upcoming event or message published here, email with ‘Diary’ in the subject line.

8261 8211 All hours 26 OG Road Klemzig SA 5087


Geoff Lewis General Manager


Can Science and Religion Coexist?

Rocks of Ages: Science and Religion in the Fullness of Life The realms of science and religion have always seemed to be in conflict. As our knowledge of the world increases, so does the need to reconcile this argument. In his book, Rocks of Ages, Stephen Jay Gould attempted to solve this age old problem using a principle he coined: Non-Overlapping Magisteria (NOMA). The principal idea of NOMA is that science and religion occupy completely separate domains of human existence, and their application should not be confused. Gould says simply that, “science covers the empirical realm... religion extends over questions of ultimate meaning and moral value.” His argument is supported using various interesting and colourful examples from history where the rules of NOMA have been ignored, to society’s detriment. Author: Stephen Jay Gould Available from: Recommended for: Christians struggling with the progression of science and its conflict with faith In short: An interesting read that does well in its attempts to reconcile the conflict between science and religion.

Stephen Jay Gould never claimed to be a theologian; he was an agnostic palaeontologist with an ongoing interest in religion. His anecdotes are very interesting and his argument is persuasive but, at times, a little abstract and confusing. It is hard to fathom who exactly the book is written for, as it panders to neither theists nor atheists. There is also a glaring lack of acknowledgement of any religion other than Christianity, which could have opened up many more interesting arguments. Overall, Rocks of Ages was fascinating and informative. It would be an excellent read for anyone with a scientific interest who is having trouble reconciling scientific concepts with the practice of Christian faith.

- Anne White

RRP: $14.95

Book: Children of God Storybook Bible

Book: Evangelism Without Additives Author: Jim Henderson Available from: Synod Office & Mosaic Resources Recommended for: Anyone who wants to connect with people outside the church In short: Live your faith in a way that gives permission to share your faith. RRP: $20.95

I have read many books about evangelism and, somehow, they just seem to fall short of understanding how things are here in Australia. This book, although authored by an American, gives us a starting place for evangelism where we can be authentic to who we are as individuals and also be authentic within our culture. The book is easily read, practical and concise. The ideas given in the book were practical things that anyone could do any day, rather than something requiring special education or gifting. I think this would be an especially helpful read for people who feel

they want to do more to reach those outside the church but don’t know where to start! Because of the easy manner in which this book is written, it’s suitable for most age groups from teens to seniors – it’s not about age, it’s about doable action. If you want to be empowered to reach those outside the church and still be yourself, then read this book. - Rev Ruthmary Bond

Author: Archbishop Desmond Tutu Available from: MediaCom Recommended for: Anyone wanting to help children engage with the Bible In short: The bible retold and illustrated for children. RRP: $24.95

This is a beautifully presented book, with high quality art from around the world to illustrate the stories. I like the way the different artists paint in such varied styles, portraying a variety of peoples. Although Archbishop Tutu has greatly simplified the stories, he has chosen a helpful balance of well known and less known stories, and the core message of each story is skilfully communicated.

purpose, though the artwork is a wonderful aid to the telling, and the prayer at the end of each story is a helpful way to finish. I like the way that Archbishop Tutu refers to the Kingdom of God as God’s dream. I found this to be very invitational – it grabs your imagination and invites you, too, to dream. - Rev Sarah Agnew

Though it’s not tied to the lectionary, I have used this book with the children of my congregation. I found the stories a little short for that


rev i ew s

Children of God Storybook Bible

Sharing faith without stress

Building friendships, breaking boundaries “Authentic exposure and conversation can wake us up to the value of seeing ourselves, our country, and yes, even our church, through the lens of others,” said Lyn Leane in a speech* at the June Presbytery Synod meeting, reflecting on her years of experience with cross cultural work, which commented on the need for better connection between indigenous and nonIndigenous Australians. That connection is something that Mission Resourcing SA’s Young Adults team, Will Hall and Katrina

Levi, are keen to form through Stepping Stone and About FACE. “Stepping Stone weekends are just shorter About FACE experiences,” said Katrina Levi, before heading off for her first Stepping Stone experience in July to Hawker, SA. “About FACE is a cultural experience with Aboriginal people for understanding – to explore, experience and expand our points of view.” Taking place from the 7-27 January 2012, About FACE is a three week Faith and Cultural Exchange program

for over 18’s to connect with Congress Aboriginal communities around Australia. Stepping Stone is the shorter version of this, aiming to give people a taste of cultural exchange and build intercultural friendships, over the course of a weekend. “We want to bridge the gap between indigenous and nonindigenous Australians through friendship,” continued Katrina. “It’s important to have these experiences, pushing us out of our comfort zones and outside our familiar culture. It gives us a chance to participate

with Aboriginal people in their culture, life, customs and family.” The ongoing relationships formed through experiences like About FACE are why National Chairperson of Congress, Ken Sumner, believes that the program is critical. “About FACE gives hope to the future of the covenant that we have between the Uniting Church and Congress,” said Ken. “The sharing of our stories and culture brings an awareness and understanding for healthy relationships.”


*You can read Lyn Leane’s full speech online at

Stepping Stone Date: 2-4 September,2011 Where: Camp Coorong, SA Contact: Katrina Levi Ian Dempster p. (08) 8236 4266 p. 0417 217 320 e. e. For more information on About FACE: p. (03) 9251 5271 e. www.


NewTimes - August 2011  
NewTimes - August 2011  

Renovation rescues - Rebuilding, restoring & rebooting