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July 2010

Culture clash

Issue 29, No 6 July 2010

How welcome is ‘welcome’?

Fruit for you? Water fights leave farmers in crisis, p.5

Financing futures Microfinance and sustainable development, p. 24

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ISSN 0726-2612 New Times is the voice of Uniting Church SA. Published monthly, February through December, New Times represents the breadth, diversity and vision of Uniting Church members in SA. News policies, guides and deadlines appear online at Articles and advertising do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor. Editor Caryn Rogers p. 8236 4230 e.

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Echo-ing culture separation like them. It might be that we share a similar passion for something, we might work in the same place, we might attend the same church – basically, the more ducks we have in a row, the easier it is to do life together. Multiculturalism stuffs that right up. It puts us smack bang in the middle of a melting pot of different ideas, traditions, beliefs, backgrounds and, most recognisably, appearances. While multiculturalism isn’t just a case of skin colour, it certainly is the easiest way to consider it. But I would suggest, for our churches’ sakes, that we reconsider such a narrow view. There are huge culture clashes – even amongst those who appear to be similar to us. We talk about faith differently. We view the future differently. We’re

pretty diverse, you know, you & me & us & them – even when we’re wearing white skin. No matter how many times I come face to face with people who are different to me, I never cease to be amazed by how they are different. But seeing people be themself, with integrity to their best, God-given character – it’s better than any edited-down, must-fitthe-crowd version of their personality I could imagine. A multicultural tolerance of each other just won’t cut the mustard anymore. What we need is love – and a

whole lot of it. A love so Biblically big that we can embrace and enjoy all of God’s children – whether they look like us or not. A love that is shown to us, time and time again by God – regardless of how we look, sound, smell or feel – but sadly can be lacking from our churches. People are fascinating – if we let them be.

Caryn Rogers the Ed.


Apparently as soon as you buy a certain kind of car, you start to see them everywhere. When I bought my Toyota Echo, I began to realise how many Echos there were in the city of Adelaide. I never felt like it was a slight against my individuality – I was delighted to park next to a fellow Echo in any given carpark. I would smile seeing them opposing me at the lights. I even began to feel as though my car was thrilled to be driven alongside one of its own kind. Going to the extreme – as I’m prone to – I would try and keep up with other Echos in traffic to keep ‘the family’ together. And yes, I have pointed out other Echos to my car, on more than one occasion. I love my car. And I love every car – that looks just like mine. I’ve heard it said that, generally, the more similar we are to people, the more we


Rod Dyson


As a young teenager I was walking into town one day and came up next to a young Aboriginal man. I began to engage him in conversation. He was shocked and said, “Why do you want to talk to me?” It was a gut-wrenching ‘oh dear’ experience for me. It gave me an insight into the reality of life for Aboriginal people in a predominantly white town; the main focus in relating hinged on the failings of the Aboriginal community. His experience had been that white people didn’t acknowledge him or relate to him. I soon realised that difference is often seen as a threat, rather than something to be celebrated.

At about the same time, new food outlets began to appear featuring food from other nations. Down on the jetty, Greek fisher-people often asked us for the squid we caught. The rumour was that they actually ate it instead of using it for bait. It was not until later that we realised they were onto something; our blinkered view of food had stolen one of God’s great delicacies from us. My mother undertook Chinese and Indian cooking classes. She was ahead of her time but as a family we began to enjoy the richness of the world’s cuisine. I have never had to eat tripe since, thankfully. Later in my life, I lived in Tonga. At times my family were the only expatriates on the island. We lived in a different culture where different things were valued and most could not speak English.

My oldest son was over three years old before he realised that his skin colour was different to everyone else in Kindy – he had the ability to embrace rather than categorise. Being in the minority and out of my own country was one of the greatest gifts God has given me. Surprisingly, it was in that context that I learnt what it was to be an Australian and to enjoy all that was good in my culture. It was years before I attended a truly multicultural worship celebration but I was profoundly moved. I could not understand it all but there was a richness and depth there that I had not encountered before. I saw and felt something of the heart of God that I had never known. It felt like a glimpse into heaven where all nations, tribes and tongues will gather before the throne. Today, more and more, I am celebrating the gift of cultural difference and Jesus’ prayer ‘your will be done on earth as in heaven’ has a whole new meaning.

Congratulations to Jan Trengove who has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal received for service to the Uniting Church in Australia, and to the community. Jan is a much-loved member of the Uniting Church SA having acted as Moderator, Uniting Church in South Australia, 2001-2003; Chair, Frontier Services, since 2006; Board Member; Former Member, National Assembly Standing Committee, Uniting Church in Australia; Lay Preacher, Uniting Church Spalding, since 1997. A full list of Uniting Church in Australia members who were honoured in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List is available online at


Little joy in Riverland’s water fight Sarah Urmston and Caryn Rogers, Communications, Uniting Church SA While most of us are gleefully singing, “happy EOFYS, happy EOFYS” (end of financial year sale) thanks to Foxtel’s commercials, farmers and growers in the Riverland are more concerned with the EOWY (end of water year), and wondering whether they’ll have anything to sing about in the new water year, July 2010June 2011. As you read this, the families whose livelihood relies on fruit production are dealing with the news of whether they have, or have not, received water allocations for the water year ahead.

If the current water situation continues, and these growers leave the industry, the options are: a monopoly or duopoly of growers managing the Australian stone fruit industry OR importing stone fruit en masse. Growers have been feeling the squeeze of water shortages for a while thanks to the drought, the continual lowering of water allocations, the rising purchase price of water and the need to lower the amount of crops produced accordingly. A recent shift in the Government’s priorities places the environment at the top of the fruit chain, followed by critical human needs, then irrigation. Previously, critical human needs were at the top. It’s a welcome change which has caused the Government to engage in the water market – particularly

Being a Government issue though, has meant that budget is of critical importance. As the lowest tender wins, the price of water is pushed far below its true value. In addition to this, the Wentworth group of scientists has advised that water allocations be reduced by up to 39%; predictions of the Government’s plan are estimated accordingly between 20 – 40%.

Australia’s food security would be in a dire situation. If we don’t have food security for our population, the entire country faces the insecurity and instability that we, as growers, are facing. “Unless growers have a viable alternate market outlet like the Growers Market or Almost Organic, we’re at the

mercy of the bigger guys, with no room to negotiate a fair price. The produce in the supermarket is a minimum of 400% mark up on what the grower actually gets for growing it.” Graeme is a member of Waikerie Uniting Church.

“Basically, this is the equivalent of the Government taking away the first 40% of a business’ income whilst having to maintain 100% of maintenance costs,” explains Graeme Cavanagh. “Forty percent less water equals 40% less crops which equals 40% less income. The issue has been mounting for a long time. The simple fact is that we’re not suffering a water shortage - there is sufficient water. What we are lacking is a balanced system of usage.” Graeme is an apricot grower and runs Almost Organic, an organisation that sells fresh Riverland produce at fair prices, with profits directly supporting Riverland families. It’s important to realise that 85% of the stone fruit industry in Australia is supplied by blocks run by normal, everyday families – not big business.


This will decide whether they can afford to grow crops or whether they should just walk away, without the support of a Government exit grant, as these are no longer available.

to buy water to support the ailing River Murray and keep the river flowing.

Getting involved 1. Visit to enjoy wonderful fresh produce and directly support Riverland growers as part of the Waikerie Fruit Project. 2. Know where your fruit comes from and commit to buying locally. 3. Consider a church roadtrip to build supportive relationships. Hare St Uniting Church is hiring a bus on 12 July to take members of their congregation to Waikerie for the congregation to see, for themselves, the fruit growers and the plight of the fruit blocks due to drought and lack of water supply. Why not cross the cultural divide with your congregation?

With so many livelihoods at stake – as well as the whole community of Australia – Graeme and Riverland growers are calling for justice. “Without these growers,


Goodnight, and good luck


This July, the Uniting Church SA Mission Resource Network (MRN) will bid adieu to two of its key staff: Heather Bald, Administrator, and Rev Rob Stoner, Mission Planner. In the midst of packing up their book shelves and offices, they discuss their time here and their future endeavours as they both continue on as ‘lifers’ within the broad work of Uniting Church SA.

Pursuing flowers

Rolling Stone to tour again

Heather Bald

Rob Stoner

At the age of 31, my life took a dramatic change. My husband had just died, we had only been in our house for five weeks, I had two small children and didn’t know anyone! It was a hard reality. I had nowhere to go, but to embrace my faith in God, in a very real way. Little did I know I was about to embark on an amazing journey with Uniting Church SA for the next 29 years! I can honestly say that it’s been the best years of my life. Commencing in 1981 as Executive Secretary to the Director, Rev Ian Tanner, we set up Summer Schools at Victor Harbor for families to enjoy a holiday and program together. These were special times of fellowship, fun and great food. I was also typing drafts of books – just part of my smorgasbord of duties. From 1985-1989 I became Secretary to the President, Rev Ian Tanner – additional to my already full time position. It was valuable seeing the Church from a national perspective. Then I went from ‘Lay Education’, onto ‘Uniting Vision’, an exciting unit that looked at the ethos of the Uniting Church – Leadership, Mission and Education to name some of the foci. Next came Commission for Mission. The last nine years as Administrator of the MRN has been a privilege. Working with a diverse team committed to the mission and leadership of the Uniting Church has been a fast ride. Some of the overseas speakers we have brought to Adelaide to resource the church have included: Kennon Callahan, Tom Bandy, David Augsburger, Diana Butler-Bass and Dave Male. Each one has inspired and expanded my view of mission and the people of God. So what next? Business as usual – I will be pursuing my passion for flowers. It’s a new day! Thank you everyone, my colleagues and friends, who have made the journey so special.

I began working as a Mission Planner within the Presbytery’s Mission Resourcing Network in 2002, drawn by the twin challenges of ‘how do we help to change our structures, worship, community life, and outreach so that existing congregations will more capably be involved in the mission of God’ and ‘how do we explore new ways of being communities of faith which respond to the movement of God’s Spirit amongst those not reached by existing forms of church’. In the eight and a half years since then I have been privileged to lead the Presbytery and Synod in developing a Strategic Map which is giving us clearer direction about where to utilise resources, and more recently enabling us to plan constructively for the growth of fresh expressions of church. I have given oversight to the team of Rural Mission Planners as we have attempted to put in place a sustainable model for resourcing our many, often lay-led, rural congregations. I have journeyed with specific congregations and their leaders in planning a hopeful future for their participation in God’s mission. As part of the MRN team, I have contributed to resourcing the Presbytery for a more missional-focussed future. In August, I move to Berri-Barmera, returning to congregational leadership for my last placement before retirement. I take with me a wealth of experience and learning from my role as a Mission Planner that will enable me to finish my ministry well in those congregations.


multiculturalism Multiculturalism. It’s an easy buzz word to reel off, but how does it really work? The Uniting Church is committed to living out faith without borders - here are a few of our stories as we seek to welcome many cultures into unity, with much diversity.

The Uniting task Andrew Clarke, Multicultural Project Officer, Urban Mission Network Recently I attended a family reunion. I met many people whom I did not know, and heard some family stories for the first time. It was a time for identifying some of the past and acknowledging influences which had shaped me in ways I did not always know. This branch of my family were French Huguenots; people who survived religious persecution because England, at the time, accepted boat people. They later contributed to the English industrial revolution in a positive way. Other parts of the family were Manx, Cornish, and distantly, from Yorkshire. Different cultures, different languages, but all contributing to the whole. Australia today does not consist of one tradition. There are more than 150 language groups in South Australia, without including the richness of Aboriginal traditions. We are, in fact, multicultural. Our common values live with the variety of culture in dance,

cuisine, language and dress. All of this confirms who we are and adds to the range of our society. In the past, Australia has had its social chasms which few could cross. For example, the 1950s debates over Protestant and Catholic are hard to imagine today. Cross culture is now the way we live. We can find ways to talk, interact and relate with those who are different. We are no longer surprised to see people from other parts of the world playing significant roles in our lives, be they nurses, doctors or taxi drivers. The church is called to be a significant bridge-builder in our society as we find new ways to relate to those who may appear to be different to us.

There will never be a time when we can relax and say ‘this is finished.’ The Uniting Church of Australia declared itself to be a Multicultural Church at the Assembly in 1985. We are to live out this call in the week by week caring and concern for those whose cultural background is not identical to our own. The Uniting Church will always have more people to include, more to people to care for, more people with whom to share the love of God.

The Uniting Church was aptly named because the very name ‘Uniting’, suggests that our multicultural task is never completed.

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Geoff Boyce, Chaplain, Flinders University When I commenced chaplaincy at Flinders University the phone rarely rang. But I was looking forward to this call, even if it would launch me into the unknown. I had been trying to make contact with the President of the Islamic Students Association. The opening words threw

me – a quiet female voice asked hesitantly, “what do you want?” The sense of anxiety was tangible. For a moment I didn’t know quite how to respond. “I just want to be your friend,” was my tentative reply. I immediately sensed the relief at the other end of the phone. We introduced each other

and made a time to meet. Ruzita was a beautiful and charming young postgraduate student from Malaysia. She had been elected the President of the small Flinders Islamic Students Association. There could not have been a more delightful Muslim to introduce me to their religion. After a couple of meetings our conversations deepened. I felt out of my depth both culturally and with respect to the nuances of her religion. But I think she appreciated being able to share her concerns.

They were safe with me. Soon she had to return home to Malaysia. Some months later I received an invitation from the Flinders International Students Association to attend a book launch by the Vice Chancellor. Ruzita had written a chapter in a book of reflections by students from around the world on their experiences as students at Flinders. Ruzita had asked that I represent her at the book launch! Of all the students and staff she had associated with at Flinders she chose me! I felt so honoured and so proud to represent her.

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Caryn Rogers “As a minister, I thought the Church here had a crucial role to play - we had to speak on behalf of the majority of the people. There were so many people oppressed by the situation of the government but the Church as an entity was so quiet.” Rev Dr Levee Kadenge

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But... they were quiet! “At some point we amicably parted ways with the church; I was still a Minister, a Bishop within, but I was stood aside from the Methodist church to fulfil this prophetic role.” In August last year, though, the Church appointed him as senior lecturer at United Theological College [Zimbabwe] – it had been two years and eight months since Levee had parted company with the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe. Levee’s visit takes place as the Zimbabwe Council of Churches, which includes the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe, demands that Zimbabwe’s political leaders fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to repair the economy, improve access to education and health care, decrease the high unemployment rate, and improve food security. The GPA was signed by both President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in September 2008.

act Levee continues to work on behalf of the poor within his country, heading up an organisation currently supported by some Uniting Church congregations. It began simply, giving food packs to people in need. It then developed into projects – a peanut butter making project and a fish farming project. Please contact Levee directly on if you would like to be involved. UnitingWorld also works with the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe through their development arm, Methodist Development and Relief Agency (MeDRA) on three projects: 1. Emergency food relief (October 2009) in the Buhera District 2. Community Livelihood and HIV/AIDS in Gutsa-Warambwa (far north), and 3. Water Harvesting in Muzarabani If you would like to know more about the situation in Zimbabwe visit

think While in Adelaide, Levee’s intention was to speak to as many ministers and theological students as possible to discuss a subject pertinent to his work: how does a Christian minister relate to government that is utterly corrupt? And how do Christians, particularly Christian ministers, relate to this government while three million of their people are being starved? What do you think? Write in to Letters to the Editor:



In 2005 the Mugabe-led government in Zimbabwe had stopped aid provision and were destroying people’s homes and properties. Churches were providing aid as they were able – a ‘privilege’ they were allowed as long as they didn’t speak out against the government’s cruel oppression. The Zimbabwean Methodist Church knew all too well that Mugabe needed to be opposed but they believed if they couldn’t feed the poor, they weren’t functioning as the church should. As the church remained voiceless, some like-minded Christian leaders banded together to form a Christian Alliance – Rev Dr Levee Kadenge was amongst those leaders. “I was arrested five times – for nothing,” Levee recalls. “It was all an attempt to eliminate my resolve to go on in this struggle. “It was like each arrest gave us a new lease of life though. We hadn’t done anything wrong – we were just speaking on behalf of the suffering people. “Relatives and people around us felt very sorry for us because of what was happening to us but these ‘bad things’ empowered us though to go forward and do the right thing.” Levee was in and out of the police station, “like a yoyo,” before spending 21 days in hiding to avoid prison time. It was not unusual for those who spoke against the Government to be picked up, taken to jail and never heard from again. “The government was comfortable with a quiet Church. But now that our organisation was vocal, the persecution was expected.” Expected from the government, yes, but surprising from the Church they were speaking on behalf of. “I guess from the Church’s point of view we were stealing their thunder, almost taking their space in the public sphere.


The use of asylum seekers for political point-scoring has now reached a new low. Leaders of the Uniting Church in Australia are horrified by the most recent remarks and policy announcement by the Opposition.

irresponsible. It is a shocking demonstration of how deep the Opposition is prepared to sink in order to harness a few votes,” said Rev Macrae.

The President of the Uniting Church, Rev Alistair Macrae said, “While the shock jocks who enjoy whipping up a frenzy at the expense of vulnerable people may find Mr Morrison’s language appealing, it is inappropriate to be developing public policy that takes ‘aim’ at people.”

“Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison, who both proudly proclaim their Christian faith, have lost sight of the core of that faith – ‘love your neighbour’ and ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. They have failed to demonstrate any commitment to one of the Judeo-Christian tradition’s most enduring directives – ‘welcome the stranger’.

“The image of a stable, peaceful and democratic government armed with ‘bows and arrows’ aimed at defenceless people seeking freedom and protection is callous, violent and extremely

“Mr Abbott and Mr Morrison have abandoned not only Christian values but basic human decency in a return to policies which punish already vulnerable people. The Rudd Government put an


end to Temporary Protection Visas (TPVs) and Bridging Visas without family reunion because it was the right thing to do. These old policies of the previous Howard Government caused harm and the Opposition knows it.” Rev Macrae said, “Asylum seekers whose claims for refugee protection have been granted have a right to be with their families away from the persecution they were fleeing. “Refugees who have suffered torture and persecution and those who have had family members disappear or been murdered or imprisoned may not be well enough to work or to work for the dole. “We are talking about people who often need to be treated for such conditions

as post-traumatic stress and severe trauma. “Callous and punitive policies such as this are not the mark of a fair, decent and progressive country. “There is nothing to fear from reaching out a helping hand to those in need. In fact, when Australia has acted with decency in the past, we have been repaid many times over. We have helped many people fleeing from persecution and conflict in the past – East Timorese, Kosovars, Vietnamese, Jews – and our society is now richer for their presence and their legacy. “We can only hope and pray that our politicians rediscover some basic human decency, and quickly, before more lives are unnecessarily destroyed,” said Rev Macrae.

Lyn Leane, International Mission Officer has assisted the support of these emerging Adelaide congregations and groups since 2002. Rev Dr John Oh, from the Korean Uniting Church at St Morris and member of the Highbury Street Fund committee, appreciates the fund, “because it has provided both emotional and actual support to minority Christian congregations in Adelaide since it began.” In his own congregation, young people have been enabled to

attend NCYC, and members have been encouraged by this evidence of the Uniting Church’s support for their ministries. After arriving from Sudan, Mrs Amel Manyon, of Modbury Uniting, wanted to train for ministry but found that, with her own and some adopted children in her family, it was hard to meet costs. Amel, a recent candidate for Minister of the Word with the Uniting Church in Australia, has

been encouraged by the Fund’s contribution which has reduced her study and transport costs to the Uniting College. Sam Chan, a recent recipient of the Fund, says, “The Highbury Street Fund has freed me up and given me backing to work among Australian born Asians in Adelaide.” Sam’s ministry aims to develop and strengthen key youth and young adult leaders of suburban churches.


When the small Prospect Uniting congregation at Highbury Street decided to disband, Rev Grant Dunning, Presbytery Liaison for the Adelaide North West Presbytery at the time, suggested approaching the Synod to create a new fund. The idea was that all the proceeds from the sale of the church property, to Blackfriars School, be put towards ‘The Highbury Street Fund’. The fund would exist to financially support theological and leadership development among emerging, non-English speaking background (NESB) congregations. The request was in response to a growing awareness that ministry among Vietnamese, Cambodian and other groups in Adelaide was hampered by a lack of training for ministers and leaders of these NESB churches. To the delight of the Prospect congregation, the Synod embraced this vision – the Highbury Street Fund

Check out the Highbury Street pages at and encourage those you know to apply!

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On the Up As I write this column, the Australian share market is worth 90% of what it was at the beginning of 2010, my football team has won only two out of ten games, winter is setting in and my physio has recently informed me that I cannot stop the ageing process. Yes, I’m in a bleak season. But as investors, there’s plenty to be positive about. The Australian economy is performing well relative to other developed economies. The Reserve Bank (RBA) has recently hit the pause button on the interest rate tightening cycle while it monitors the global situation, particularly recent developments in Europe. However, the RBA has indicated that Australia is well placed to weather any fallout from global events.

at rate? e r g a r o f Looking ok no further... Well lo



The commercial property market has stabilised. Vacancy rates for office accommodation have fallen in the larger Australian business districts and lease extensions are being renegotiated at higher rates. There is also evidence that valuations and sales of commercial buildings are starting to increase after a period of significant decline.

Australian bond markets are remaining resilient to global events. In markets where corporate debt instruments are traded, institutional investors have been willing to continue trading Australian corporate securities at relatively unchanged prices. This is in stark contrast to European markets and in particular the PIIGS countries (Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain). So what does it all mean? In its simplest form, investors can expect to continue receiving stable income, at good rates, from their fixed interest investments. Also with bond and commercial property markets performing well, there is little indication that corporate Australia is suffering in this post-GFC environment. We can take comfort in the fact that these factors lend themselves to employment levels remaining strong – a good thing from a social perspective. As for my football team – every passing day of winter is one day closer to the start of next footy season. Paul Barnett • Manager UC Invest

Winter 2010

Investing in Port Adelaide UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide – at a glance UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide is a community-based, not-forprofit organisation with services and programs based throughout South Australia. Our aim is to support and empower people in our community to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. We endeavour to achieve these outcomes through the facilitation of a wide variety of programs and services offered to members of our community. UC Invest is proud to support the work of UnitingCare. Pictured here is one of UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide’s programs in action. UC Invest’s mantra of ‘securing your future’ fits well with our vision here at UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide (UCWPA) of: ‘a compassionate, respectful and just community in which all people participate and flourish’. Our relationship with UC Invest, which began in 2006, has enabled us to generate competitive returns on our investments. These funds are primarily used to increase our capacity to support the continuing development of our Aged Care operations, along with providing additional funds to support our range of Emergency Assistance services to the community. Aged Care services are a core business stream for us - a significant amount of UCWPA’s investment in UC Invest relates to the funding generated from Aged Care operations. The continued work in this area supports us as an organisation, enabling a continued provision of high quality services designed to meet community need. UCWPA has services available within our community for people of all ages – from one month old to 100 years old. UCWPA aims to work in partnership with others to improve quality of life, provide assistance and support, and work alongside people from all spectrums of our community with varying needs.


Our staff and service providers quietly go about their business making a difference to the lives of people in our community everyday – whether it is accompanying someone to a doctor’s appointment, providing a home to the elderly, assisting people to live a quality life in the community, empowering someone to find a new home or working alongside a family in need, these are all significant achievements by UCWPA which occur daily. On an annual basis we would touch the lives of over 18,000 community members. A fabulous achievement in the past year is the celebration of UCWPA’s 90th birthday. We are very proud to be recognised for providing vital services to people in need for such a significant amount of time in South Australia. UC Invest’s congruent ethos enables us to demonstrate integrity to our vision, while extending our network of resources through a range of safe and ethical investments that fit with our value base. Abiding by our vision, we ensure that our efforts always aim to improve the quality of life for people in our community. To find out more about UCWPA head online to Andrew Zeuner • Senior Manager Business Services, UCWPA

Investing in Port Adelaide UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide – at a glance UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide is a community-based, not-forprofit organisation with services and programs based throughout South Australia. Our aim is to support and empower people in our community to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. We endeavour to achieve these outcomes through the facilitation of a wide variety of programs and services offered to members of our community. UC Invest is proud to support the work of UnitingCare. Pictured here is one of UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide’s programs in action. UC Invest’s mantra of ‘securing your future’ fits well with our vision here at UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide (UCWPA) of: ‘a compassionate, respectful and just community in which all people participate and flourish’. Our relationship with UC Invest, which began in 2006, has enabled us to generate competitive returns on our investments. These funds are primarily used to increase our capacity to support the continuing development of our Aged Care operations, along with providing additional funds to support our range of Emergency Assistance services to the community. Aged Care services are a core business stream for us - a significant amount of UCWPA’s investment in UC Invest relates to the funding generated from Aged Care operations. The continued work in this area supports us as an organisation, enabling a continued provision of high quality services designed to meet community need. UCWPA has services available within our community for people of all ages – from one month old to 100 years old. UCWPA aims to work in partnership with others to improve quality of life, provide assistance and support, and work alongside people from all spectrums of our community with varying needs.


Our staff and service providers quietly go about their business making a difference to the lives of people in our community everyday – whether it is accompanying someone to a doctor’s appointment, providing a home to the elderly, assisting people to live a quality life in the community, empowering someone to find a new home or working alongside a family in need, these are all significant achievements by UCWPA which occur daily. On an annual basis we would touch the lives of over 18,000 community members. A fabulous achievement in the past year is the celebration of UCWPA’s 90th birthday. We are very proud to be recognised for providing vital services to people in need for such a significant amount of time in South Australia. UC Invest’s congruent ethos enables us to demonstrate integrity to our vision, while extending our network of resources through a range of safe and ethical investments that fit with our value base. Abiding by our vision, we ensure that our efforts always aim to improve the quality of life for people in our community. To find out more about UCWPA head online to Andrew Zeuner • Senior Manager Business Services, UCWPA

10 Minutes with

Denis Giles

There are four C’s required to fill the shoes of outgoing UC Invest Chair, Denis Giles: Competitive, Creative, Caring and Comedian. Taking some time out from his nature-loving and female–dominated family life, Denis shows us the lighter side of being a financial expert. Finishing up at the end of this year as Chair, Denis has every intention of heading out into the wild, or wherever the hiking trails take him and his wife. This gregarious former banker, who ‘just evolved’ into the role of Chair, will be sorely missed by the UC Invest Board. Who makes up your family? There’s my wife Pat, two daughters Emily (34) and Zoe (32), and three granddaughters Millie (12), Connie (11) and Abbie (9). Our dog ‘Sandy’ is a tan border-collie, with attitude. What’s your family life like? Happy wife is a happy life. It’s all good. We’ve been married 41 years! Tell us about your most memorable moment... Pat and I drove from Adelaide to Sydney non-stop in 1998, arriving at my daughter Emily and our son-in-law Phil’s home at 1am. After Emily got out of bed and opened the door to us, she went and picked up our one week old granddaughter Millie and placed her in my arms.

that I’ve been lucky to have a hand in. What stands out for me most though are the changes in financial services delivery since I started work in a bank in August 1963. I have seen the change from ‘horse and buggy’ banking technology to the ubiquitous service offerings of today. Banking has never been more convenient. What is your favourite part of supporting the work of UC Invest? The dividends it pays to support the work of the church. What do you think you have brought to your role as Chair? I value competence and creativity highly - I see these values being expressed in my board and staff colleagues. Complacency is not an option.

My heart was overflowing with love for my gorgeous Millie! Connie and Abbie were both born in McLaren Vale so I got to hold them just after birth. With both there was the same effect on me as with Millie.

In my working life, I was seen as an ‘enabling’ type of person. I’d like to think that we support each other to reach peak performance, individually and collectively. None of us on our own is as smart as all of us combined.

What did your career look like? I’ve spent most of my career in banking and finance but also did a lot of organisational development work in the early 1990’s. After 1983-ish, marketing was my most prominent role.

What will you do at the end of your stint as Chair? Pat and I are now in the ‘wandering’ stage of our life, so we have several bike touring and bushwalking adventures on our wish list. We have wonderful friends in different parts of Australia that we’re keen to visit as well as continuing to help out in bush revegetation projects on Kangaroo Island.

1963 – 1978 The Savings Bank of SA 1978 -1989 Satisfac Credit Union 1989 -1994 Pannell Kerr Forster Chartered Accountants 1994 – 2006 Satisfac Credit Union Retired 28 July 2006, aged 59 years - nine years later than my original goal. Any particular career highlights? There have been so many successful projects and activities

I’m a firm believer that when you retire, you don’t retire from life. You just get to do lots of things that give you pleasure. Anything further that you’d like to add? If I were younger, taller, stronger, faster, more handsome and had a better bike than Paul Barnett, I’m sure I could beat him in a bike race.

Winter 2010


Rev Tony Goodluck, Modbury Uniting Church Have you ever found it difficult to find a quiet place to pray? Sometimes the programmes we run and the activities we are involved in can swamp the simple basic practices of our faith. It’s not always easy to find a quiet spot on a Tuesday at Modbury Uniting Church. A typical Tuesday at ‘International Women’s Day’ sees 30 women from several different countries, the same number of preschool-age children and 30 volunteers spread out across the entire complex of the church buildings. Sewing-machines purring, children and babies laughing and crying in the crèche, and the incessant murmur of voices as the women practise their new-found skills of basic English, sewing, cooking and computing. Of course the social aspects and development of friendships and mutual support are also invaluable. Yes, it’s busy, busy, busy! This ‘community in the making’ is a real testimony to the volunteers’ spirit in its organisation, co-operation, hospitality and generosity. On the downside, it can be difficult to find a quiet place to pray if one desires. So, at prayer times, a devout woman quietly walks to the storeroom and kneels to pray. Concern had been expressed that the only place quiet enough for prayers on Tuesdays was the concrete floor in the storeroom surrounded by shelves


with boxes, toys and other assorted bits and pieces. Multiculturalism requires that we not only tolerate differences, but that we extend hospitality in ways that show genuine respect and personal consideration for our brothers and sisters of different nationalities and differing traditions. Does this compromise our Christian faith? Certainly not. “What would genuine hospitality look like?” we asked ourselves. What is the greatest commandment, but to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength; and to love our neighbours as ourselves? When seen from this light, multiculturalism is much more than a simple tolerance of differences in an ever-increasingly diverse society - it’s a natural and essential expression of our Christian conviction that ‘all people matter to God’. Much more than tolerance, multiculturalism is the embracing of opportunities to become genuinely connected communities. The extension of hospitality must go beyond tokenism and be genuine, or even ‘radical’, as Robert Schnase suggests in his book ‘Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations’. What a privilege it is to see this vision of the coming of God’s kingdom, ‘on

earth as it is in heaven’, at International Women’s Day. The doors are opened wide and those attending have as much to offer as they do to receive in this wonderful mixture of nationalities and faith traditions: Christians & Moslems & Hindus & Buddhists, from Sudan & Nigeria & Kenya & Iran & Korea & China & Bhutan & England, Ireland & South Africa & Australia; and others besides. With the addition of some simple cane screens and a floor mat, the storeroom has been transformed into a quiet and welcoming area for prayer.

It is a privilege indeed for me as the Minister at Modbury Uniting to have a small part to play in the International Women’s Day activities. I am deeply moved to see such a simple thing as a cane screen and a mat providing a little comfort and conveying genuine respect and hospitality for our sister as she kneels and faces Mecca.

challenges and questions for the future Rev Liellie McLaughlin, Minister at Maughan Uniting Church, reflects on the process of how new communities adapt to life in Australia. This is based on getting to know the Sudanese refugees at Maughan Uniting Church, and the many different nationalities who attend the Centre of Welcome on a weekly basis at the playgroup and the English Conversation class. Some are still in the process of paying for visas to unite families within Australia. This costs about $2,500 per person. Many of the senior men have left Australia to work towards a better Sudan, leaving children without access to male role models. Unemployment and underemployment are also issues, leading to institutionalised isolation. How can the Uniting Church help in this situation? A large number of Sudanese are practising Christians. On Sundays, during the Sudanese worship service, Maughan Church is full. The Bishop of Sudan addressed a recent service

and almost 1200 people attended. I am not sure if this is what the church builders had in mind when they built this large auditorium but it was a wonderful thing to see the church full again! Maughan Uniting Church and UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide (UCWA) have just started a pilot project to look at developing employment opportunities. Although this is in early stages, we hope to create an ironing service, a garden-service, hair-braiding, and run a stall at the Rundle markets. We hope this project will enable new arrivals to develop skills and connections that will help them to access other employment or start their own businesses. UCWA has also employed two Sudanese people as Community Development Workers. They will be mentored by UCWA staff. This is very significant as it means that African people are being empowered to help and support their own community.

Although there are many churches doing very good cross-cultural work, continuity and depth are compromised every time a key person moves on. I wonder whether there is scope for a church affiliated community program where mentors/friends are recruited and invited to ‘shepherd’ new arrivals? This work could be done on an ecumenical basis, with partnerships with groups such as Apex and Rotary. The project could be done on the basis of an hour a week; a meal a month. Interested mentors could be partnered with new arrivals and expected to commit for five years. With good guidelines and protection of boundaries, people would receive sustainable support and informal education to introduce them to Australia. This type of project, perhaps organised from the Synod office, may succeed where many one-off projects have failed. People interested in exploring this idea further should contact Liellie on 8202 5832 or Andrew Clarke on 0429 190 007.



The Sudanese community have been in Australia for 8 – 10 years. Initially their struggle was about surviving in Australia: how to find accommodation and employment; how to access Centrelink; how to enrol children at school. Now the Sudanese community is moving into the next phase and the problems are complex. Many are struggling with survivor-guilt and a desperate sense to help those left in Sudan or refugee camps. They are sending large amounts of money to relatives in Africa to assist orphans attending school or helping their parents to pay for rent, hospital care and food.

Finding the missional way


Julia Pitman In 1985, at the fifth Assembly, the Uniting Church in Australia declared it was a multicultural church. This statement recognises that the membership of our church includes people not only from Aboriginal and Anglo-Celtic background but also recent migrants from the Asia-Pacific region and from Africa. These migrants often enter the Uniting Church from traditional partner churches within the worldwide missionary movement and the Reformed and Evangelical family of churches. The Uniting Church now worships each Sunday in over 40 different languages including at least ten Aboriginal ones. Many services conducted in English attract people from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The life and mission of the church should reflect the continued promises of God within a new mission context. Being a multicultural church has not been easy. The sin of racism remains very real.

Churches often invest money to start new congregations, but at times synods have sold properties to migrant congregations rather than welcome them into the Uniting Church. Racism also is expressed at the inter-personal level in congregations where people from a non-AngloCeltic background are ignored or leaders show reluctance to involve them or allow them to shape the mission of the church. The mission of the church is the mission of God. Into this mission God invites all people regardless of differences be they social, cultural, racial, political or economic. Galatians 3:28 says that in Christ there is neither slave nor free, Jew nor Gentile, male nor female. For Paul, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel not only for the Jews but also for the Gentiles – for the whole world. All are invited to share in God’s mission. In Synods in the eastern states of Australia, the leadership of the Uniting Church in Australia is

increasingly shared by people from a variety of cultural backgrounds; in South Australia we can learn from their experience. In some of our congregations here properties are shared with migrant congregations. Ministers are taking opportunities to meet together and to engage their congregations in shared meals and activities. Many churches also attract members

regardless of cultural background. The challenge for the church in every age is to recognise that it is one, catholic, holy and apostolic and to allow leaders regardless of cultural background to be part of God’s mission. In the Uniting Church let us find ways to further reflect this oneness as we go forward together in God’s mission in the world.

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Quiz night - Malvern and Unley Uniting Churches are sending a team of five people on a short-term mission trip to volunteer at the Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission in northern India. The quiz night is a fundraiser for this mission trip and will be held on Saturday 10 July at 7pm at Malvern Uniting Church. Bring a table of 8, cost $10 per person. For more information, contact Sheila on 8271 6817 or The congregation of Gladstone Uniting Church invites you to a window rededication service at the church (cnr Cross and High Streets, Gladstone) on Sunday 11 July at 2.00pm. All welcome. Afternoon tea provided. Please RSVP as soon as possible to Dalma Clogg (08) 8662 2042,

The Returned Missionary Afternoon for all ex-mission staff and other interested people will be held on Sunday 25 July from 2pm at Broadview Uniting Church (cnr Galway and Collingrove Ave). Speakers: Mrs Lyn Leane and Pastor Christa Megaw, International Mission Officers, and Mrs Bev Watson, who has just returned from a fact finding visit to Jaffna Peninsula, Sri Lanka. More info: June Heath 8278 5562. State Mission Fellowship meets on Tuesday 27 July at Scots Church from 10.30am. Speakers: Ross & Bev Butler, Tonga UnitingWorld Experience program. Lunch: $3

Vermont Uniting Church is celebrating its 60th anniversary with a day of praise, thanksgiving, hospitality, music, song and reminiscence on Sunday 1 August. Worship is at 10am with soloist piper and drummer Ralph Hatcher; Moderator Elect Rev Rob Williams speaking. Lunch at 12noon followed by music, reminiscences, photo boards and birthday cake at 1.30pm. Contact Church Secretary Jenni on 0409 698 754 if you wish to attend any or all of this special day at 578 Cross Road, South Plympton. Ironbank Faith Community celebrates 125 years of God’s faithfulness with two special events. Thursday 16 September:

diary notes shared tea at 6pm, followed at 7pm by the screening of the Centenary worship service in 1985. Sunday 19 September: shared tea at 6pm, followed at 7pm by a worship service of thanksgiving and celebration. Guest preacher: Rev Rod Dyson, Moderator. All welcome. Enquiries to Alan and Mabs Light: (08) 8388 2148.

your To have e messag vent or e g in m upco , email ed here publish a.uca.o s @ y r ia d the iary’ in with ‘D line. subject


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letters to ed Progressive or Regressive I just happened to read the June New Times at the same time as I received the Newsletter from Progressive Christianity SA. I couldn’t help but notice the similarity in some of the headlines.‘Faith Friendliness – the New Imperative’, ‘Finding Faith in bins’, ‘Faithful Discipleship’, ‘Communities of Faith’, and a summary statement ; “A fully rounded progressive faith needs openness to emotion and imagination (ritual) together with intellectual rigor.” (Report on Common Dreams Conference in Melbourne.) On looking at the text used by KR Moore (Sharing Concerns, June New Times 2010) I was interested to see that he had omitted the previous verse. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2) Evidence to me that when it was written Christians were struggling as they still are to find the basis for a faith that will take them forward and not drag them back to old distorted presentations of the Christian Gospel. May all Christians join him in prayers for all who are engaged in this search. B. Harris, Encounter Bay 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.

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

Are we there yet? Sarah Urmston, Communication Officer, Uniting Church SA ‘Zooooooooooom’...Did you hear that? It’s the sound of 2010 blazing past. The halfway mark is already a mere speck on the horizon and the rest of the year is certain to disappear just as quickly. On a journey, it’s always a good idea to take a breather at the halfway point to see how far you’ve travelled. In the same way, now is a good time to pull out our Church’s strategic plan and see where the tracks have led us – and what is yet to come. Remember, this plan is our roadmap – our ‘how-to’ – when it comes to working the big vision of the Uniting Church SA into practice: seeking to be an ‘innovative, growing church proclaiming Jesus Christ, empowered by the Spirit to transform God’s world.’

Key Direction 1: Conversion Growth Early this year, Rev Roger Brook was announced the new convenor of Key Direction 1: Fostering Conversion Growth – a role he is embracing with enthusiasm and passion. Roger is currently in part-time placement at Hope Valley Uniting and is also the Supervised Field Education Coordinator at Uniting College.

Key Direction 2: Raising Leaders After having completed a major overhaul to the way our ministers and lay people are trained, the Uniting College for Leadership & Theology continues to develop its faculty. Throughout the year, the College offers courses to ministers and other church leaders to help enhance their skills. The Australian Leadership magazine, an initiative of KD2, also continues to be a source of inspiration for our leaders.


Key Direction 3: Growing Disciples This year, the Growing Disciples team is focussing on the development of congregational resources on Practices of Discipleship. The team continues to run Pathways in Discipleship courses and host discussion on their blog:

Key Direction 4: Developing New Models Also known as Fresh Expressions, this key direction began the year with the publication of convenor Rev Rob Stoner’s report: Fresh Directions. The recent June Presbytery & Synod meeting focussed on New Models, enriched by guest speaker Rev Dave Male, author of Church Unplugged: Remodelling Church without losing your soul. Rob is leaving the team in August to take up ministerial placement with Berri Barmera congregations.

Key Direction 5: Expanding our Profile If you’ve seen the Uniting People television advertisement, heard it on the radio or driven past a church with a Uniting People banner, then you’ve seen KD5 in action. Uniting People focussed on parenting during May with congregations running parenting seminars, giving away magnets and postcards and referring people to the ‘100 ways to spend quality time with your kids’ booklet. Stay tuned for more in the future.

Key Direction 6: Championing Justice The Championing Justice team has provided funding for a new social justice initiative based at Adelaide University. Titled ‘The J Project’, it seeks to establish opportunities for young people to engage in social justice advocacy and action. The J Project runs in partnership with Pilgrim Uniting Church.

This is just a quick snapshot of the road so far - keep up to date with the strategic plan journey throughout the year by visiting, where you’ll find the latest newsletters and articles.



Rev Sue Langhans, Ascot Community Uniting Church Talking, eating and drinking – it’s not all we do at Ascot Community but we certainly do a lot of it! These three elements are great communication gifts and, as such, play an important part in several of our socialisation programs for those adjusting to living in Australia. Though this was the first year our church has not been the MRN Multicultural Centre, because of this foundation and the commitment of Ascot’s members, the programs have all continued. April last year saw the beginning of a Tuesday evening English Conversation Group – a Monday day class had been going for 10 years.


During that time people from over 25 countries have come through our doors and still continue to do so. Numbers varied from week to week, and still do - we never know if there are going to be two or 12 students. Some that came along had very little English and needed a lot of help; others spoke reasonable English but needed those ‘Aussie’ terminologies and vocabulary. The relationships are rewarding, but it’s been a challenge. Try explaining why we have some words pronounced the same but spelt differently! We have certainly had some fun along the way as it

is so easy to misunderstand the Australian accent when it’s spoken quickly. Embarrassment has sometimes led to reticence and there have been some who have struggled a lot. At the end of last year I offered an invitation to see the Lobethal lights. One member was on crutches with a broken knee but still managed to come and enjoy the evening, though walked a little less than the rest of us. An invitation to my house for Christmas Tea came next. It was an enjoyable evening of sharing a mixture of foods from my cupboards, fridge, and freezer as the numbers grew!

A further invitation to New Year’s Eve came from one of the Volunteer Teachers whose house was at Glenelg. Again a time of talking, eating and drinking then a short walk to the foreshore of Glenelg and the fireworks with all the appropriate oohs and aahs. By the time the English Conversation Group started again in early February this year, many friendships had been formed across cultures and some English had been learnt – even in the holiday break!

Playful gargoyles in sacred spaces? Book: Beauty awakening belief

Author: Jon M Sweeney Recommended for: those wishing to rediscover the value of a sacred place as a setting for awesome worship In short: : An exploration of how an atmosphere is a conduit of wonder and belief. RRP: $34.95

Jon Sweeney takes the reader on an exploration of the architectural wonders that are the great Gothic buildings of Europe, with the greater emphasis on Chartres Cathedral. The author leavens factual information about the building and architecture of many Cathedrals in Europe, with readable anecdotes about their use, particularly in the Middle Ages. Chartres was a busy place, where merchants erected their stands and all manner of merchandise was sold. Strangers slept at night under the portals in certain parts of the crypt of the cathedral. There were many ordinances to prevent the business of the marketplace from spilling over into the sanctuary. The author chooses seven words of Gothic spirituality to refresh and inspire faith from such a visit. These are space, sanctuary, stone, light, darkness, gargoyles and flight. Sweeney draws heavily upon his own Roman Catholicism in selecting statuary as one of the icons to awaken belief in the visitor to Chartres. Side chapels provide space and sanctuary. The nave is filled with light, yet we are reminded that there is a side of faith that relies on darkness, rather than light for illumination (Luke 9:34-36). The chapter discussing the use of gargoyles on the outside of buildings is a welcome addition to an interesting and inspiring study of the subject. Gargoyles are grotesque, but they are also simply playful. Their original purpose was to move rain water from the building, but Gothic architecture is full of grotesque figures, and not necessarily on gutters. They seem to have little to do with spirituality, but Jon Sweeney says they surely prevent us from taking ourselves too seriously!

- Linda Sutton

Is blood really thicker than water?

Book: 2159 AD: A History of Christianity

Book: The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox Edited by: Maggie O’Farrell Recommended for: thoughtful insight into different time periods and their ‘appropriate’ social behaviour In short: The past meets present is this suspenseful tale of betrayal, courage and revenge.

Author: Craig Borlase Recommended for: Christians seeking the historical roots of their faith and beyond In short: An insight into the history of the church with a touch a whimsical humour. RRP: $24.95

RRP: $22.95

From the onset, I found this book difficult to put down. Starting at the seige of Jerusalem in 70 AD, Craig Borlase tells the story of the Christian faith captivatingly, in clear English, factually and with a touch of whimsical humour. Making no attempt to excuse the inexcusable, citing the Inquisition, Crusades and Pope Alexander VI as examples, Borlase highlights exemplary examples of the faith lived including Saint Francis, Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa. Borlase admits he had to omit much historical material, but he certainly still hit the high spots and presents a panoramic view

of the Church and its faith. He draws the Christian reader into this panorama in such a way that the reader feels a part of his or her personal faith history. Intriguingly, he also extrapolates from the present state of the Church, envisaging and exploring such potential occurrences as the Archbishop of Canterbury splitting the worldwide Anglican Communion over the issue of homosexuality and in 2063 Pope Leo 14th handing over the Vatican territory to Italian sovereignty. Could these really happen? - Ray Creevy

Contrary to what the title suggests as a ‘vanishing act’, there is nothing voluntary about the manner through which the central character, Esme Lennox, disappeared from society and came to be incarcerated in a mental institution for 60 years. Oscillating between the 1930s and present day, The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox tells the story of a misunderstood and quirky young girl who, after an eternity locked away, is thrust into modern day society as a confused and revenge driven elder. Betrayed beyond comprehension by her sister and family, Esme forms a special bond with a distant

relative, who until recently, she never knew existed. O’Farrell creates a high level of suspense through leaving sentences unfinished and alternating between past, present and numerous character perspectives. This suspense remains until the conclusion and beyond, with the ending very much open for further thought. Well written, this book is sure to make most readers curious. What on earth could Esme have done to warrant a lifetime in an institution? The reason will shock you and the ending even more so! - Alex McGrath



Back in the day

Financing futures


Tom Ganderton, UnitingWorld Communications Coordinator Ruth Sellick may be a retired geologist, educator and business consultant – but taking a break is definitely the last thing on her mind. The long-standing member of Western Link Uniting Church, Adelaide, has been working with hundreds of women throughout some of the most remote parts of Papua New Guinea to help break the cycle of poverty, through micro finance. Since 2007, Ruth has worked with women in remote communities in Milne Bay, Bougainville and New Ireland with a solid determination to make a real sustainable difference in developing communities. The project involves women only, as a way of overcoming the inequalities between men and women in Papua New Guinea. “When you help women, you help the whole community as they selflessly spread their wealth for their families and friends,” explains Ruth.

So far, Ruth has trained 217 women in 208 communities in basic business management. Ruth works with each client to develop a solid business plan before delivering a short course in business management. She then loans her client an amount of money for them to carry out their project. They pay the money back gradually, in instalments with minimal interest, until it is fully repaid. Leesa from New Ireland, PNG, (pictured) has been involved with Ruth Sellick’s micro finance project for many years now as part of the partnership between the Uniting Church in PNG and the Uniting Church in Australia. Leesa’s business is dyeing and finishing ‘lap laps’ (sarongs) and other fabric

goods. She uses bright, vibrant dyes on cotton and silk; salt is used to blend and swirl the colours on the fabric. Her business has been a bigger success than she could have ever imagined with her work in constant demand. She has even used the profits to support her husband’s copra-dyeing business and open a small canteen in a nearby town which she employs her daughter to assist with, parttime. Leesa’s dream is to make enough profit to be able to empower other women in her local community. “These are not handouts,” Ruth emphasises. “The women pay every cent back. It’s about giving them a hand up so that they can help themselves, send their children to school, and have enough to eat. “Working with women this way benefits the community well into the future.” Microfinance is a sustainable way to empower

communities in developing countries that are unable to access commercial banking services. Once the money is paid back, it can be loaned out again and again to help more and more people. UnitingWorld helps to facilitate a partnership between the United Church in Papua New Guinea, the Uniting Church in Australia and the Synod of South Australia to make this life changing work possible. “The women are genuinely proud of their achievements. They see it as a practical way of seeing God at work. “They know that they have the potential to make something wonderful from this opportunity; this project is just helping them to realise their potential,” said Ruth. “I am very blessed by the opportunity to carry out this dynamic and very valuable project. I must say that without the funds raised by the South Australians, and Uniting Church groups, I could not carry out the microfinance loans.”

To read more about this project and other work carried out in partnership between the Uniting Church in Australia and the United Church in Papua New Guinea, visit

New Times - July 2010  

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