Toil and time Issue 31, No 4 May 2012
Volunteers share their stories
Ethical investments Getting the story straight p. 5
Ageless devotion 80 years of age and a life of volunteering p. 13
Contents FEATURES Ethical Investment
A lot of love at Red Dove
Dreaming of new volunteers
Fair Trade: a road out of poverty
REGULAR PAGES Moderator’s Comment
Editor Caryn Rogers p. 8236 4230 e. firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Loan Leane p. 8285 2768 m. 0404 089 762 e. email@example.com Enquiries e. firstname.lastname@example.org
Production Joie Creative Printing Graphic Print Group Circulation 11 000 Deadline for June May 9
Wellbeing of mind, body and spirit Chaplaincy is an integral and important part of the services offered to residents at Resthaven. Volunteer Chaplain’s Assistants support the Coordinating Chaplains as they: • conduct ecumenical worship services and chat forums • work with the Lifestyle Team • engage in events such as Christmas and Easter • sit with people in reflective silence, as preferred • provide a listening ear, prayer and support. If you would like to be involved in providing pastoral support, please contact: Stacey Thompson, Coordinator, Volunteer Resources, telephone 8206 0102 or email: email@example.com Alternatively, visit the Volunteering page on our website for details about opportunities and how to apply:
Thank you... for spreading the word. iStock refs: Cover delihayat p. 20-21 [filmstrip graphic] Gordan1
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 newtimes.sa.uca.org.au. Articles and advertising do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor. Phone: (08) 8236 4200 1300 766 956 (toll free from
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Why do conversations about stewardship get pewsitters pale-faced and clutching at their pockets? Money, money, money – it’s never funny, even in a rich man’s world.
We, actually, love to help This is not to say that churches don’t offer great opportunities also – there are many. What I am saying is that just because young adults aren’t serving in your church, it doesn’t mean that they are lazy, unwilling or happy to watch “the oldies” do all the work. For many young people, they are expanding their own wings of faith as they step out from their inherited parental worldview. They will certainly be wrestling with their beliefs amongst the marketplace of philosophies and ideologies at university or in the workplace. They will also be learning how to make their own choices on a multiplicity of issues – religion, sex, relationships, life paths etc – with both positive and negative results. And while they’re forming their own sense of self in light of new faith understandings, they often find themselves at odds with the church. They’re not serving enough. They’re not doing enough. They are simply, not enough. For those who enjoyed youth group, they’re often asked to be part of the youth leadership team. Ditto for kids ministry. For the musicians, there’s the worship team. For the others, there’s hospitality or welcoming. While for
many this is a mutually beneficial arrangement, for others it’s a matter of being a square peg in a round hole. This, in turn, creates a chasm between service, natural passions, giftings and faith. Faith becomes all about doing not being, and as long as one volunteers in church – that person has a place. When they can’t help or don’t want to, they lose their sense of belonging. And then often they leave the church altogether. I think Mardi, in her blurb in last June’s New Times which focused on young adults, put it so well:
“I did leave the church for some time, not because I lost faith, but because I moved and couldn’t find a new church. As one of very few young people at my home congregation I was exhausted from running youth groups and worship leading. I wanted a break. I love that the Uniting Church appreciates us, but we [as young people] still have a lot to learn. Sometimes that learning is best done slowly and not from the front of the church.” Perhaps we just need a little time. Perhaps we’re not interested. Perhaps we’re lazy. But when we say yes, let it be yes, and when we say no – let us say no, without judgment or disappointed “love”. Young people love to help others. It just might not mean helping in the way that has been traditionally expected.
“Young people are lazy...” “We need volunteers for our ______ team, and youth aren’t willing to help...” “All the older people are carrying the load...” These are common gripes that, having been in or around churches for most of my life, I have heard ad nauseum. You may have heard them yourself. Heck. You may have even said them yourself. But a current study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics has noted that 27.1 per cent of young adults are involved in volunteer work. It might not be within your church walls, or even related to church activities, but it is an impressive figure. It might seem obvious, but there are numerous great volunteering opportunities outside of church buildings. Planting trees with Trees for Life, coaching a junior sports team, tutoring a student whose English skills are struggling and so on. As society continues to pull away from a mandatory Sunday ritual of church attendance, so too are young people finding fulfilling volunteer options elsewhere, very much as part of their growing experience of faith.
The number of volunteers in Australia has doubled in recent times, from 3.2 million in 1995 to 6.4 million in 2010 (ABS). Yes, volunteering is alive and well, in our Church and our wider community. Volunteering Australia defines volunteering as: ‘an activity which takes place through not-for-profit organisations to be:
of benefit to the community and the volunteer; of the volunteer’s own free will and without coercion; for no financial payment; and in designated volunteer positions only.’
Within our Uniting Church family there are many and various opportunities to be a volunteer. In September last year, I shared in the 60th Anniversary Celebrations of our Red Dove Cafe within the Royal Adelaide Showgrounds. The cafe is staffed by volunteers and has provided high quality food and drinks to show staff, exhibitors and the general public throughout that time. Recently, in conversation with Lin Hatfield Dodds, National Director of UnitingCare Australia, I discovered that, in addition to the tens of thousands of paid staff, 24,000 people volunteer with UnitingCare across Australia. My experience within local congregations is that they couldn’t exist without committed volunteers. Just take a look at the numerous rosters most congregations have, as well as the numbers who serve on the councils of our Church, and you’ll see what I mean. They are populated by people willing to share their time and skills to
enrich the experiences of others in their congregation – and to express their devotion and love to the God who has equipped them for service. It’s one thing to know that there are people volunteering in your church and your community. It’s another to honour what they do and to actually say “thank you”. National Volunteer Week is being celebrated from Monday 14 - Sunday 20 May this year, with the Queen’s Birthday Public Holiday (Monday 11 June) a shared observance with Volunteers Day in South Australia. I encourage you to consider ways in which you might honour and thank those within your congregation for the service and time they give to enrich your life and the life of your congregation. Perhaps this could take place in your worship service on Sunday 20 May? As I sign off, I want to say a big thank you to all you volunteers who give your time, energy and skills to enrich the Uniting Church in South Australia.
Thank you! Rev Rob WIlliams
Ethical Investment Caryn Rogers
tests contained within the EIP make it an unethical company. “Having an EIP is absolutely crucial for any investment organisation with a social conscience,” Barry Atwell, Executive Officer, Resources Board. “The church has an imperative to invest ethically. “To judge the ethics of a company is a difficult and complex question for at least three reasons though. Firstly a decision about the ethics of anything requires a personal value judgment. Secondly, the EIP requires that the Church makes judgments about companies that have complex structures. Thirdly, there will often be conflicting social, economic and environment factors to consider in any investment decision. “These are complex economic and social questions and, in most cases, the resulting assessments are likely to be subjective. There would be few companies in the manufacturing and mining sectors that have 100% community benefit outcomes with no ethical issues arising from their operational processes.”
Sarah Williamson, Solidarity & Justice Officer, Mission Resourcing SA, agrees that the issue is complex and adds that “what is important for the church is to be actively seeking to make ethical and sustainable investment choices, whilst recognising the complexity. “The Synod of Victoria and Tasmania include a positive bias (alongside the negative) in their policy which states that they seek to invest in companies ‘which promote human welfare, dignity and respect, and for the general good’. “Financial returns can be competitive when combined with environmental and social considerations.” CORRECTION: ‘Ethical Uniting Church Investments’ which appeared in the P&S e-update on March 2, 2012 and page 7 of April New Times - there is currently no UC Invest Dividend Income Fund. UC Invest are in the process of opening a new Australian share fund that, when established, will not be available to individuals but only to congregations, agencies of Uniting Church SA and Synod bodies.
Since the October Presbytery and Synod (P&S) meeting last year, one issue has continued to create dialogue: Ethical Investments, and what the Uniting Church in South Australia should, and shouldn’t be investing in. While the discussion in New Times and at P&S meetings has mostly focused on the investment policies of UC Invest, the Ethical Investment Policy (EIP), which UC Invest follows, is actually a policy of the Uniting Church Presbytery and Synod of South Australia. The current EIP operates on what is known as a Negative Screen Basis; it highlights the companies that the Uniting Church avoids investing in. To make the policy practicable, the Uniting Church names industries which it does not believe provide ethical products or services including armaments, uranium, gambling, alcohol, tobacco and pornography. All other companies which pass this negative screen are classified as “neutral” in relation to their ethical status, until it is decided that further
What’s it like to listen?
It seems how to put together a good sermon is still up for much debate.
With recent Letters to the Editor highlighting some parishioners’ dissatisfaction with their sermon fare, Rev Tony Eldridge has stepped in to open the conversation up to new opportunities over the next few months in New Times. Listening to a sermon can have our spirit soaring, stretching, consoling or sleeping. A few principles are important when engaging the listener. Firstly – and it seems obvious – preaching is an oral event, mouth to ear. With this being the case, the preacher needs to keep firmly in mind the question of ‘what does the listener need to help hear this sermon?’ As an oral event the sermon material needs to be engaging and connect with
the listener. Sermons that are crafted like an essay will sound like an essay. The sermon may have rich, fulsome content but we run the risk of the listener tuning out. Having good input is not enough. We must also take some hints from rhetoric and storytelling such as: disciplined use of repetition, alliteration, climax, metaphor and the like. Voice plays a huge part in how a sermon is heard, with changes in pitch, pace, volume and dramatic pauses aiding specific points and illustrations to stand out from surrounding material. An underlying principle is not only what the preacher wants to say but what the person in the pew needs to help them hear. Choice is an important feature of sermon preparation. Sometimes we need to make tough decisions to leave things out rather than put in all our thoughts and research. The decision of whether certain illustrations, points, verses, images etc serve the sermon and the listener better than others is an important and often difficult choice. Coming back to a clear and concise purpose and intent, along with being aware of the congregation and its context, can help at this point. The context cannot be underestimated. The age range, historical factors of the congregation, dominant theological disposition, sociodemographic considerations to name a few, all shape the choices we make in the construction of our sermons. Breaking down theologically dense words and phrases is critical. We are
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helped in our preaching if we remember that the brain needs five to seven seconds to hear and register a word and begin to process it. Therefore, three or four big words in a sentence runs the risk of being lost for the listener hears the first and, while processing that, loses the next. The same is true for complicated phrases. There is a balancing act in place as the preacher wants the listener to feel something. Being sensitive to God, the scripture text and the needs of the congregation can enable a significant ‘God-moment’ for the congregation. The balance is tipped when emotional input and illustrations are overused leaving the listener or congregation feeling manipulated and potentially tuning out. Just because the listener is emotional does not necessarily mean it has been a helpful ‘God-moment’. It is a privileged and challenging task to step into the sermon space. The preacher puts a lot of work into sermon preparation and desires the congregation to experience the Word in engaging ways. Making a sermon accessible is about how the listener hears, and there is more to hearing than just listening. Rev Tony Eldridge is a member of the Adjunct Faculty of Uniting College for Leadership & Theology as the Lecturer in Worship & Preaching. He is currently the Minister at Westbourne Park Uniting Church.
Aged Care in Focus - Part 2:
Choosing the Move Leaving home for the first time is a new adventure. But during old age, moving out may not be a choice, bringing with it a minefield of questions. Can I stay with my partner? Where will I go? There are lots of unknowns in the big move. In part two of our guide to navigating aged care systems, Louise Heinrich sets out to discover just how to make the change.
this article.. Individuals can apply for many homes, and there may be waiting lists. Waiting lists can take only a matter of months, but are often longer. Sometimes this can be distressing, especially if there is urgency to receive a higher level of care. For more information about different types of care, to book an ACAT, or anything else aged care, call: Government Aged Care Hotline: 1800 200 422; w. agedcareaustralia.gov.au OR Aged Care Alternatives p: 8271 3888 Next month, we’ll take a peek into daily life in aged care.
Fred Johnson has been in an Independent Living unit for over five years.
The expression ‘home is where the heart is’ implies that the home is portable. But it’s a little more complex than that. For some, it can be tough to leave a house filled with memories but a relief to no longer be a burden for family; for others, downgrading to a sensible, smaller place is a simple and wise decision. Fred Johnson has been in an Independent Living unit for over five years. The very definition of a gentleman, he has a deliberately charming humour and is quite astute. Over a cuppa and chocolate biscuits, Fred relates the story of he and his wife June. “We realised that we were getting older. Both June and I were still active, but we were navigating for our future. We were mindful that we needed to have a place in an alternative style of living. “So we put ourselves on the waiting list, and after a while, it was a surprise when we were offered a home here.” Fred’s unit is situated in a quiet culde-sac that is attached to a residential aged care building, close to where he had lived with June most of his life. Most people are concerned about their new residence’s vicinity to the geographical location of their former
home. For many it is important to be close to family and friends, and to be familiar with the surrounding community. “We’ve only moved four streets – the only thing that changed in my life is where we go to sleep at night.” Several months ago, Fred’s wife June moved from their unit into the residential care facility a minute’s walk away. “June is just so quietly fantastic,” Fred reflects warmly. “She is six years into Parkinsons. Just before Christmas, a social worker suggested June apply for low-care.” Those living in Independent Living units have priority of place for vacancies if there is an associated residential facility. The couple was assessed by an Aged Care Assessment Team (ACAT) in their home, and several months later, she was offered a room. “The level of quality of care is infinitely better than what I can provide,” Fred says frankly. “It’s not easy but it’s just another day.” As well as attending a philosophy class, riding his bike to the beach and volunteering for charities, Fred now visits June twice a day, takes her to appointments and joins her in meetings. If individuals have special needs, staff will do their best to accommodate them. Gayle McClimont, Coordinating Chaplain at Helping Hand Aged Care, says that chaplains are involved in the process of advocating for people with special requests. “It can happen that one person requires high care, and the other doesn’t qualify,” says Gayle. “We do have double rooms for married couples, and in any way possible, we strive to meet the needs of anyone staying here.” Information about aged care villages and residences can be accessed by ringing the numbers at the end of
Grants of goodwill
Placements finalised since the last edition of New Times:
Uniting Foundation (UF) is a key provider of funding for the mission and ministry of the Uniting Church in South Australia.
â€˘ Rob Morgan to Southern Yorke Peninsula Brentwood, Corny Point, Curramulka, Edithburgh, Koolywurtie, Minlaton, Port Vincent, Stansbury, Warooka, Yorketown from 1 January 2013
There has been some restructuring of UF to better enable the funding process. The UF Board has been discharged and its duties redeployed to two different governing bodies. The Uniting Church Foundation Grants Committee has been established to promote UF and manage the grant processes, payments and other financial matters. Capital funds management will now be handled by the Resources Board.
Commencement services: Robyn Trudinger (Ministry of Pastor) Resthaven, Marion and Bellevue Heights 15 May 2012, 2.00 pm
In 2012, Uniting Foundation will make $180,000 available to congregations or individuals for suitable projects which further enhance the mission of the Uniting Church in their community. Further criterion for eligibility includes the status of past/existing grants and Mission & Service Fund contributions. Applications for 2012 grants close on 30 June. More information and application forms are available online, or from Malcolm Wilson:
p. 8236 4206 e. firstname.lastname@example.org e. email@example.com w. sa.uca.org.au/uniting-foundation
volunteering There are many ways that Uniting Church people share their time for the betterment of others – gratis. While the tasks these volunteers undertake are accompanied by a non-existent pay packet, their work ethic is often the envy of million-dollar corporations.
A lot of love at Red Dove
The Uniting Church in South Australia seeks to be an inspiring place. One source of inspiration that truly embodies the spirit and the ethos of Uniting Church SA’s ‘Uniting People’ focus is the award-winning Red Dove Cafe. Since 1951, the Red Dove Cafe has served home-style food for the entire ten day period of the Royal Adelaide Show, building a reputation around its traditional, hearty offerings. In its 61 years of service, the cafe has raised over $3 million (in today’s terms) for mission
projects throughout South Australia. Open from 7.30am until 8pm every day, the cafe is tirelessly supported by over 400 volunteers that cover over 500 shifts. The success of this enterprise can be attributed to the volunteers, and the wider Uniting Church support network. Congregational Uniting Church fellowship groups across the state generously donate around $8,000 annually of the required finances to start up the cafe each year. But it’s not just money; there is also the ‘love’ that goes into it. Moderator Rev Rob Williams, in his foreword to a booklet marking the 60th anniversary of the Red Dove, reflected, “It’s a privilege to acknowledge the dedication of all who have worked as committee members and volunteers for the Methodist Home Mission Department Cafeteria as well as those whose committee work and volunteer service has been through the Red Dove Cafe.” Red Dove has a special purpose. Amongst regular showgoers, the cafe caters to the many workers from sideshow alley who return every year. It is seen as a “resting place”, somewhere that offers “the right words at the right time”. Over the years, Red Dove volunteers have witnessed families grow and new generations of sideshow workers make the cafe their favourite eatery.
The cafe has evolved over time, as has its menu, which now includes coeliac and vegetarian options with the cafe branching out to serve vegetarian lasagne, hamburgers, egg and bacon toasties and a mix of other delectable and commonly desired eats. This modern-day menu is mixed in with old traditional favourites such as grandma’s trifle, scones and fruit salad - which never seem to lose their popularity. Each year, the cafe seeks volunteers to help out at show time. An injection of youth has been welcomed over recent years, with younger volunteers from many different parts of the Uniting Church offering to help out. One such volunteer is Ben Howland of Athelstone Uniting. “One of the best experiences I’ve had as a volunteer was at the Red Dove Cafe,” reflects Ben. “It’s not long-term, everyone is a volunteer and very welcoming. There are busy and not so busy times, so you’re able to get to know others around you it’s a good balance.” The tireless support of many volunteers who have been helping at the cafe for decades is still underpinning the cafe’s ability to operate. So why not help this exciting outreach activity of the Uniting Church, give back to the community through the various projects it funds and share in the love of the dove! Interested in volunteering? Contact Volunteering Coordinator, Lesley Williams: p. 8261 3843 e. firstname.lastname@example.org
Aside from the compulsory hairnet, Ben Howland from Athelstone Uniting thoroughly enjoyed his volunteering stint with Red Dove Cafe at last year’s Royal Adelaide Show.
Most congregations are vaguely aware that they share their pews with some fairly exceptional business minds and entrepreneurs. In her first piece as the new Communications Officer for Uniting Church SA, Jenny Fleming shares of one these magnanimous
jewels from her own church’s turf – Catriona Byrne.
Many at Westbourne Park Uniting Church know Catriona Byrne as a great singer, pianist, and Musical Elder. While she is all these things, there’s more to her story. Catriona was responsible for the recruitment and coordination of the entire workforce for the Sydney Olympic Games, including 50,000 volunteers, 2,500 staff and 10,000 contractors. Her role as Employee Relations and Workforce Communications for the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games and Paralympics has given
Catriona great insight into the challenges, issues and motivators that organisations face when recruiting and working with volunteers. Catriona coined a phrase, ‘dream currency’, which summed up the marketing strategy to recruit volunteers and staff to the Olympic Games. Dream currency is what attracts volunteers to the specific work. For her, the Olympic event dream currency was working at a once in a life time opportunity – a chance of a life time, or to be able to say “I was there”.
Catriona believes that volunteers have a unique and important role in our churches: “They build communities through developing friendships and relationships. To them, it’s not about getting the job done, it’s in the being.” Developing and promoting your own ‘dream currency’ is a challenge she gives all churches. “Find out what draws volunteers to your church. It might be that they want to belong or be part of an event or activity,” says Catriona.
Catriona Byrne’s role as Employee Relations and Workforce Communications for the 2000 Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games gave her great insight into the challenges, issues and motivators that organisations face when recruiting and working with volunteers.
Congregational members might not even recognise that their role in the morning tea roster after the Sunday service, or helping out with Kidslife is volunteering. Acknowledgement of contribution is vital in supporting and maintaining volunteers - no matter how small. Recruiting volunteers is one thing, but keeping them is another. Burn out, disenchantment and disappointment can lead to a drop off in volunteer numbers. Here’s a few tips from Catriona to help create positive volunteering experiences in your church:
• Develop supporting structures and policy. Volunteers need sound organisational processes and procedures - just as paid staff do. Be upfront with all requirements of a volunteer position. Provide a written job or work description, documents that outline work expectations, orientation processes, grievance procedures, communication process, and a personal contact point within the church (see Coordination Role).
• Coordination Role. Seek an individual in your church who has skills in mentoring and relationship development, people and communication skills, planning, delegation and problem solving skills to act as a coordinator or resource for volunteers in your church. • Time limits on volunteering positions. Some volunteers will prefer a short term position over a longer one. See if you can make some of the volunteering roles in your church discrete project activities with short time frames. Where this is not appropriate, try a fixed tenure, eg two years. Consider a three to six month review process on volunteer positions. This will be a chance for volunteers to provide feedback early
on in the role about any improvements to the position, ideas or issues they may have. • Allocate Funds. Even minimal funding should be considered for certain volunteering roles eg funding for ‘acknowledgement of service’ rewards (cards, movie tickets, flowers, etc) or reimbursement of travel expenses. Volunteers need to know up front what will be reimbursed and what won’t. With National Volunteer Week beginning on 14 May, the challenge is to get together with colleagues to explore what the ‘dream currency’ might be for your church. You could recruit some volunteers - today!
• Communicate and collaborate. Take every opportunity to talk to your volunteers and see how
they are going in their role. Make time for regular and informal catch ups, perhaps over a coffee. Build network groups of volunteers, get them talking and sharing their knowledge and experience with each other over a meal.
Voluntourism? Let’s try partnerships
Cath Taylor, UnitingWorld ‘Voluntourism’, as it has become known, is becoming increasingly popular with Australian travellers of all ages. Uni students on gap years, older people taking advantage of the buoyant Aussie dollar, even families hoping to show their children another way of life are all looking for a way to combine globetrotting with ‘giving something back’. But in a world where inequality seems rife and the opportunities to ‘help’ are endless, is this the best way to engage? In Zimbabwe Anthea, Grant, Bridie, Clare and Abbey are sitting down to eat a meal alongside the children of Matthew Rusike House. They’ll be living here for the next twelve months. The family of five, from Tasmania, have taken a year out to work alongside a community in Epworth, Harare at the request of UnitingWorld’s Partner, the Methodist Church of Zimbabwe. The program here includes a school, HIV/AIDS clinic and provides support for children orphaned by AIDS. “It’s going really well so far,” says Anthea. “The girls have adapted incredibly well – they’ve made some beautiful
friends. Grant has been playing his guitar everywhere at people’s request and is being mentored by Reverend Tadzaushe. They talk theology and Christian worldviews at every opportunity.” The Maynards were invited to be volunteers at Matthew Rusike House not just because of the skills they bring to the project, where Anthea is working alongside the clinic and Grant is supporting the children in the school. They also wanted to learn from UnitingWorld’s partners in Zimbabwe. “At UnitingWorld we provide not only volunteering opportunities, but short term InSolidarity Exposure Visits,” says UnitingWorld’s Kathy Pereira, Associate Director of the Experience Program. “These are opportunities designed with our overseas partners for them to share their knowledge, skills and abilities with us. As volunteers and visitors we go not as the experts but as the learners.” It’s an approach that tackles head-on some of the problems inherent in the voluntourism experience. Not least of these is the idea that, as well-meaning Volunteer Sue Kaldor works alongside women at Matthew Rusike house, Zimbabwe
white people, we can waltz into a complex situation and within a matter of days or weeks transform the lives of the people there. “The mission of God is built on relationships,” Kathy says. “When people experience first hand the dignity and expertise of people in our international churches, they return to their own communities changed. And they become agents of change themselves.” A number of South Australians who are part of UnitingWorld’s Experience Program are good examples. Paul Clayton has been teaching English at the newly established Christian University in Denpasar and will soon be due to visit for the third time. Paul has helped three other South Australian volunteers take part in similar placements. Each of these is blossoming in its own way, with a school visit planned and further volunteering opportunities opening up. “This is the strength of the Partnerships model of volunteering,” says UnitingWorld’s Projects and Administration Officer Roz Elkington. “Through a network of contacts, working respectfully, we can achieve so much more together than we could alone.” For information on the Experience Programs at UnitingWorld, which include Volunteering and Short Term InSolidarity Exposure Visits, contact Roz Elkington at UnitingWorld on 02 8267 4269.
Ageless devotion Sport coaches. Church cleaners. Homework tutors. We all know someone who gives their time for free and loves it. Louise Heinrich catches up with one of South Australia’s most faithful volunteers, Connie Oakey, and learns about the passion that motivates a lifetime of unpaid work. “City people are more wary of others,” Connie smiles. Not only compassionate and vivacious, she is quietly tenacious. At a stage where many of similar age are slowing down, one could wonder why she does not live a quieter life. But this octogenarian has no plans of decelerating. The inspiration to her active pace can be seen as she encounters customers in the op-shop – this superwoman thrives on personal interaction. “Age isn’t a barrier when it comes to being with people,” she muses. Connie regards her role at G@G as an opportunity to create a welcoming place for all secondhand shoppers. “Sometimes people are lonely and come in and have a conversation. My greatest love is first my family, and then people in general. I volunteer because I love people.”
Connie Oakey has the courage of a lioness. Remembering her heart bypass in 1994, she shares her triumph over illness. “They gave me seven years if I looked after myself, but that was 18 years ago. I’m past my use-by-date!” chuckles Connie. Instead of covering up what could be a reminder of agony and uncertainty, her scar descends hauntingly from between her collarbones, like a nonchalant badge of her strength and God’s provision. Speaking with quiet confidence, Connie does not look (or act!) her age. Maybe it’s her dark hair or maybe it’s the electric vibrancy that defies her age, as she chats calmly to customers and floats around Goods @ Gertrude (G@G) fixing displays. The local Port Pirie op-shop, formerly Goodwill, supports local UnitingCare initiatives. Over the years the shop has seen three different locations, hundreds of volunteers, and tonnes of donations – with Connie part of it all. Celebrating her 80th year in February, Connie marked another milestone: over four decades volunteering at G@G. Every week, once a week, you’ll find her here at G@G, that is, when she’s not working as a “listener” as a member of Carers Association, cultivating her big garden and being active in her church. A life-long volunteer, Connie was involved with different initiatives before participating in G@G. She taught Sunday school before getting married, and helped out in canteens through both her children’s primary and high school educations. “When a friend suggested it, I started working at Goodwill two weeks after it opened up. I love it!” But this capable woman does more than volunteer. In 1946, she was employed at the local post office, remaining the sole female worker for many years. Between taking time off to have two children, she worked at the post office for almost five decades until she retired at 61. In the 1970s, she was a wellknown caterer and flower arranger, at one point cooking for 700 people at a local event. According to Connie, the motivation for contributing to a local community boils down to being connected to a surrounding social group. This seems to be more common in regional parts of Australia. “Country people are friendlier. Here, you live your whole life in one place – and everyone sees you and your children grow up.” In 2010, the ABS reported that 41% of people outside of capital cities volunteered regularly compared to 34% of those living in cities. This outlines a substantial difference in participation between urban and rural areas.
Buildings, barcodes and Baguio City
Enid Ninnes The Ecumenical Theological Seminary (ETS) was formed in Baguio City, Philippines, 16 years ago. The teaching facility was birthed by a group of students and lecturers from an existing seminary in the Philippines which failed to meet their needs. ETS developed a curriculum and style which had a strong social justice focus and a strong practical component. Students were divided into four groups, with each group spending one week at the seminary for classes and reflection, then three weeks in a church placement. Though now boasting around 300 students, the seminary started in the basement of the church office next door to the present building with only a few students and some unpaid staff. The current two-story building is designed to house students, guests, the principal, dining and kitchen facilities, the library, offices, lecture and meeting rooms. Despite the minimal facilities, the seminary is a lively and progressive place. The reality of funding cuts hits visitors immediately
when seeing the half-finished building. While some lecture rooms, staff, student and guest accommodation had been established and the library filled the damp basement, the rest of the seminary was “open-air”. Amongst these building needs, the principal’s wife, one of three permanent teaching staff, has taken charge of their present library. Though eager to excel, she was untrained in librarianship and wanted to catalogue the resources according to the Dewey Decimal System. After hearing of this specific need for library support I, as a trained teacher librarian, and my husband Alan decided that we would visit ETS for two weeks and assist where we could. During our two week stay we sorted donated books, set up a cataloguing system and processed materials. Our visit meant two weeks of hard work. It also meant two weeks of new found friends and fellowship, two weeks of new foods, two weeks of sharing what it means to be the church today, and two weeks of beginning to see a beautiful country and understand the
Enid and Alan Ninnes spent two weeks in the Philippines helping the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Baguio City to organise its library.
needs of our partners. It was a never-to-be-forgotten experience. There is still much to be done to help this seminary function at its full capacity. Currently, a movement within the United Church of Christ in the Philippines is calling to merge all seminaries as one unit with a number of campuses. This will mean,
among other things, the development of a quality library suitable to support doctoral level students. To help fulfil the needs of this seminary, through financial support or librarian skills, please contact Christa Megaw: p. (08) 8236 4203 e. email@example.com
RESTORE your phonographic records or tapes to near original quality & preserve them on CD Restore your faded 35mm slides to bright colour and preserve them on DVD. Ask us about VHS or MiniDV video tape & 8mm film to DVD conversion, SA MEDIAWORKS, Kent Town SA Ph: 8362 2251 firstname.lastname@example.org HOLIDAY RENTAL – Victor Harbor “BY THE SEA” 3br ground floor apartment on the Esplanade at Encounter Bay with glorious sea views across to Granite and Wright Islands Relax in warm cosy, a/cond comfort and watch the waves roll in – close to restaurants and cafes - $160 pn–(min 3 nights) or take advantage of discounted self catering winter rates @ $570 PW - Contact Kerry at Dodd and Page P/L - ph 8554 2029 and ask for “By The Sea” to view “online” details and photos.
A road out of poverty Louise Heinrich sits down with hardworking volunteer Bec Taylor to talk coffee, campaigning and certification before Fair Trade Fortnight kicks off, 5 – 20 May of Adelaide to become a Fair Trade University. The first in the state to do so, the University of Adelaide now actively promotes FairtradeTM Certified products, such as coffee, tea, chocolate and sugar, across all campuses. “It’s exhausting, but definitely worth it. You change some people.” Known around campus as ‘the Fair Trade girl’, Bec always sports a broad smile as she speaks with students in her roles as Social Justice Officer and Fair Trade Collective Convener. “Fair Trade Fortnight is about awareness,” says Bec. “It prompts people to think about Fair Trade, and consider living a fairer life. “The motto for this year will be ‘every choice matters’, which is a very powerful statement. It’s exactly what ethical consumerism is about. “This year, the big event that we are promoting is a Fair Trade breakfast or
morning tea, as tea and coffee are the most readily available FairtradeTM products. Simon Bryant will be hosting a cooking demonstration for a Fair Trade brunch in the Central Markets on Saturday 5 May. “As well as this, we’re partnering with Splash Adelaide (an Adelaide City Council program that is revitalising the city) to have a FairtradeTM Coffee Cart on North Terrace.” “I had a calling to join things I cared about,” she says. After seeing a poster promoting optional Fair Trade coffee in a Uni cafe, she thought, “Why isn’t every coffee Fair Trade?” “It made me angry to realise I buy a coffee every single day, and the people making it are living in crap conditions.” She stops shuffling through brochures and looks me in the eye. “We go to uni, and we choose to study; many coffee growers don’t have a choice to be educated. Fair Trade empowers people to make their own choices, instead of having the choice made for them by poverty.” Go to fta.org.au to find out how you can get involved with Fair Trade Fortnight 2012.
Fairtrade Certification When a product is certified as Fairtrade, producers have met labour standards which include a fair wage and fair working standards. Certification also means that the company buying the produce has paid a ‘Fairtrade premium’ to farmers, in order to invest in social, environmental or economic development projects in the area.
Bec Taylor at Womad. Photo: Sahil Choujar.
Not many people would come to uni on their day off, but Bec Taylor is the essence of commitment. Meeting me in the back room of the University of Adelaide Union’s HQ, she chats while packing resources leftover from the WOMAD Festival Fair Trade stall. When Bec decided she wanted to change things, no one else was acting - so she began campaigning. In 2008, Bec became a member of the Oxfam Club and the Young Greens. She tucks a strand of honey-blonde hair behind her ear as she describes the beginning of her volunteering career. “I talked to the Oxfam group, and was persuaded into applying to being Adelaide Uni’s Social Justice Officer in 2010. I was elected unopposed.” After many late nights, banner painting, bureaucratic meetings and long hours of (wo)manning stalls, Bec played a big part in persuading the University
Here to help
When Terry King and the late Beth Arnold first established the Emergency Assistance Outreach Program located in the foyer of Enfield Uniting Church two and a half years ago, Terry didn’t expect Valentines Day cards, but that is exactly what he received from one of the many grateful clients he has helped with emergency assistance. Terry and his small, hard working team of four volunteers will undertake their 1000th client interview this month facilitating requests for food, welfare advice, budget counselling and a myriad of other support services which Terry elaborates on. “We interview people from a wide variety of life situations,” comments Terry. “These range from victims of domestic violence to individuals requiring mental health support and people newly released from remand. We aim to help them get back on their feet and learn how to budget welfare payments for the future.” Terry and Beth were also co-authors of the booklet ‘I Like Paying Bills!’ which featured in the December 2011 New Times edition, providing low income households with a basic bill paying guide. The Enfield Uniting Church Emergency Assistance Outreach Centre is open from 10am until 1pm every Tuesday and Wednesday. While the centre is supported by UnitingCare Adelaide East, now Uniting Communities, it is always in need of non-perishable food donations. Contact Sue or Terry regarding donations or to obtain the free booklet ‘I Like Paying Bills!’ via email: enfield.church@internode. on.net or phone (08) 8344 7857. Picture L to R: Sue Moore (Enfield Uniting Church Office Coordinator), Helen Munro (Emergency Assistance Counsellor), Judith Duval (Emergency Assistance Receptionist), Terry King (Emergency Assistance Counsellor) Absent: Helen Bridges (Emergency Assistance Receptionist)
Rev Rod Dyson
A volunteering spirit
Getting to know...
I am writing this article on Maundy Thursday. As I began to think about volunteering, Rom 5:6-8 came to mind:
International Mission Officer Christa Megaw is partial to Asian food, and loves to explore perspectives of faith through the arts and different cultures. Together with her husband and friends, she is planning to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage trail in northern Spain later this year.
This passage’s significance runs deeper than the Easter story. Christ volunteered to die for us, and by doing so taught us many things about offering ourselves up for the work of God. We deeply value the contribution of particular gifts and skills, none more so than when those skills are really needed. These verses also hint at the fact that volunteers are not to serve for ever. Their gift has a time frame and in the church we need to discern that time frame and then celebrate what a person has offered before releasing them for their next role. The motivation for volunteering is love. It is not duty or even a presenting need. It is about our particular gifts and abilities and God’s call upon our lives to serve in that way. It is done out of love and in that is joy. Volunteering is particular. It is not just our own will that dictates how we offer our time, but our distinctive talents that will bring us to the right place. Our faith is one where Christ is unique and only he could die for the world. Finally, volunteerism is about the reconciliation of the whole creation. It is an act of service within the mission of God. It is certainly something we offer but doing God’s will is a gift just as great. Happy (and blessed) volunteering! Rev Rod Dyson
Family: Married to Phil with two daughters in their twenties. Church: Blackwood Uniting Background: Growing up at Colonel Light Gardens, I was very involved in the Lower Mitcham Uniting Church youth group. After training as a teacher, I worked in Pt Augusta at a primary school and at the TAFE College, teaching Aboriginal adults. I also taught for many years in a multicultural primary school in Adelaide’s western suburbs. While coordinating a Circles of Friends group and supporting asylum seekers at Baxter Detention Centre, I gradually discerned a call to ministry and became ordained as a deacon last year. Hopes for the role: I am looking forward to developing relationships with our partner churches overseas, as well as working with my fellow UnitingWorld colleague, Adam Tretheway, to resource local congregations in engaging in local and global mission through UnitingWorld. Three words to sum you up: Compassionate, questioning, and positive change. Favourite book: A standout is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, a novel which reveals the importance of the local context in considering the expression of faith and mission.
Live Life Loud in the Local Katrina Levi Hundreds of young people across SA will be gathering together on Friday 15 June for state youth event: Live Life Loud (LLL). LLL unites young people together in community, builds friendships, has inspirational teaching and hopes for youth to encounter God. This year LLL will be happening in three locations with three talented local speakers – all on the same night. We endeavour to resource LLL to run in the local settings so that local strengths, talents, gifts and resources can be identified and developed, giving more opportunities to local preachers, musicians, hosts and youth ministries to bless churches in their geographical area. We have a vision to help unite local churches together in mission and see young people become agents of change in their local community, state and world. We hope to see more LLL events running across the state into the future.
Event details Live Life Loud 2012 is on Friday 15 June, 7-10pm Regional: Balaklava @ Horizon Christian School. Speaker: Pete Riggs. South: Seeds @ Seeds Uniting. Speaker: Mike Wardrop. North: The Journey @ The Journey Uniting Church (in Pedare Christian College). Speaker Katie Iles. For more details contact Katrina Levi 8236 4266 or email@example.com or visit livelifeloud.org.au
Mission Resourcing SA
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Pilgrim Uniting celebrates 175 years Both Pirie Street Methodist Church and Stow Memorial Congregational Church were established in 1837, and were the “mother” churches of their denominations in South Australia. These churches formed a United Parish on 1 June 1969, and since Church Union on 22 June 1977 have been known as Pilgrim Uniting Church. Both churches began their work in Adelaide just south of the River Torrens, between King William Street and West Terrace. South Australia was proclaimed a Province on 28 December 1836, the first migrants having arrived in the “Duke of York” at Kingscote on 27 July 1836. Colonel William Light completed his survey of Adelaide by 10 March 1837 which provided for 1042 one acre blocks in Adelaide. On 23 March 1837 the preliminary purchasers made their choice of blocks, enabling more permanent structures to be erected. The following 175th Anniversary Celebrations are planned to commemorate 175 years of continual worship in Adelaide:
• Guided tour of West Terrace Cemetery to view graves of early Ministers, Saturday 21 July 2012 at 2pm. Tour includes brief service marking the 150th Anniversary of the death of the Rev T Q Stow on 19 July 1862.
Members of the Plains Community Churches* enjoyed their third annual camp on the last weekend of March – this time at Port Broughton. Campers from Hamley Bridge, Owen and Windsor were joined by friends from Mallala, Two Wells, and Port Pirie, as well as and Pastor Grant and Lin Jewell, who organised previous camps while they were stationed in the parish. “Caring” was the theme for the weekend which included a discussion time, BBQ lunch, visit to the local Heritage Centre, dinner at the hotel and attending the local church service. The locals were so friendly that they joined the campers for an old fashioned outdoor hymnfest in the park on Sunday evening. There was still plenty of time for quiet chats, motorbike rides, walks, swimming and go-cart drives. All were impressed with the high quality of the park and its managers, as well as the well-kept town. It certainly was a camp to remember.
• Guided tour of West Terrace Cemetery to view graves of early Ministers and Lay people, Friday 12 October 2012 at 6.30pm. For both Cemetery Tours, meet and park in Cemetery, main gate is opposite Sturt Street.
*This is a newly formed group of churches, namely Hamley Bridge, Owen & Windsor who previously were part of Adelaide Plains, now disbanded.
• Service at Pilgrim Uniting Church on Sunday 20 May 2012 at 10.30am at which the Moderator (Rev Rob Williams) will be the preacher. • Guided tours of former church sites. Sunday 24 June 2012 at 1.30pm and Tuesday 6 November 2012 at 6.30pm. Meet at the rear of Pilgrim Uniting Church.
Plains Community Churches annual camp
VARIETY CONCERT - supporting PNG partnership. A great night of entertainment for all ages - including the Northgate Community Choir, violinists, thrilling voice of Michelle Threadgold, young people’s item, funny skits and lots, lots more will be held at Dernancourt Uniting Church, Cnr Balmoral Road & Vingara Drive on Friday 11 May, 7.30pm-9.30pm. Admission: Adult $10; Child $5; Family $25; children under 5 years free (includes light supper). All proceeds to support Dernancourt Uniting’s partnership with the Gaulim Teachers’ College (Papua New Guinea) and sponsoring student teacher, Samuel Edoni. For further information about the Variety Concert, please contact Erica Turner ph: 8263 9565 or firstname.lastname@example.org. KADINA WESLEY UNITING CHURCH. Celebration of 50 years of Worship in “New” Church and 150 years of Methodism/Uniting Church in Kadina. Service of Praise and Thanksgiving on 13 May at 10am. Preacher: Moderator Rev Rob Williams to be followed by lunch in adjoining hall. PSA Concert at 2.00pm in Church featuring Metropolitan Male Choir. Cost $10.00. All past members welcome. STATE MISSION FELLOWSHIP. Tuesday 22 May, 10.30 am at Scots Church. Speaker Rev. Nita West, recently returned volunteer to East New Britain, PNG. Morning tea and lunch available. All welcome. SEAFORD UNITING/CHURCH OF CHRIST COMBINED CONGREGATION extend an invitation to attend a Musical Afternoon on Pentecost Sunday 27 May at 2.00pm. Featuring Anthea and Graeme Butler on Piano and Organ and Noel Skillicorn compere and Soloist. Admission: $10.00 (including afternoon tea). Proceeds to aid Beds for India - a congregation Project to provide 50 beds for men with disabilities at the St Ignatius Charity Men’s Home in Kendram, India. SHORT COURSE IN MAKING A DIFFERENCE. You are invited to participate in a “Master Class in Public Ministry: Turning Spirituality Inside Out to Make a Faithful Difference in the World” at Pilgrim Church. Popular preacher, writer and minister at Judson Memorial Church (NYC), Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper helps people connect faith and practice. Events on 14, 16 and 18 June. Contact Rev. Jana Norman email@example.com or visit http://www.masterclassinpublicministry.net
To have your upcoming event or message published here, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Diary’ in the subject line.
UNHELPFUL COVER ART
PLEASE, GIVE US BACK THE PRESBYTERIES
I reply to your article and front cover for the Easter News item, March 2012. I have found a copy looking at me on magazine shelves at every turn when I am in the Uniting Church. It seems to me few people have found it possible to touch let alone take home and read.
When I left SA in 2003 to take up a placement in England, movements had begun to replace Presbyteries with Networks. By the time I arrived back in SA as a retired minister, Networks appeared well established. I write to plead for the return to Presbyteries.
I believe there is so much ugliness in our society and it is the responsibility of people to portray suffering and pain with sensitivity. Is this too simple a message for you to print at Easter? I certainly can’t find this portrayal in hues of red as an art piece worthy of commendation other than a frightened, cowardly warrior with a decorative head piece. I frequently hear the cry to parishioners for assistance and ideas to increase attendance in our church. I wonder if a lot of people with responsible positions empowered in senior positions are assisting in this plea. F. Bartlett, Adelaide
LINKS WITH QUESTIONABLE CHRISTIANS
Since retiring I have stood at a distance from the government of the church but my distinct impression is that the Uniting Church in SA is no longer a church but a group of theological ghettoes. This impression became stronger when our congregation entered the Placements Procedures. During the course of my ministry, I grew in theological thinking and in gifts and graces required when I had to relate to those with whom I disagreed or from whom I differed in personality type. So how is the church going to grow in gifts and graces and theological thinking if we are going to be grouped, and encouraged to relate to, only those of like mind? J. Maddern, Fulham Gardens
letters to ed
I was concerned, when following up links that appeared in the UC E-News Weekly Email of 25 March, to see that there were several Uniting Churches in this State that support the Progressive Christianity Network (PCNetSA). Debate of our Christian beliefs is important but when the PCNetSA encourages us NOT to believe that Jesus is THE Son of God, crucified dead and buried but then rose from the grave, we have no foundation for our Christian faith. What do members of the PCNetSA do at Easter time? Disregard these ‘holy days’ and continue with their normal activities (as it would be hypocritical for them as ‘Christians’ to have holidays when they have nothing to commemorate and celebrate)? They should read (and note!) what Paul said in his Second Letter to Timothy, 4:3-4. K. Moore Coromandel Valley
Send your letters to: email@example.com or PO Box 2145, Adelaide 5001. Be topical, be brief, be timely. Letters over 150 words will be edited; responses to previous letters /articles will be considered within two months of the original item’s publication only. All letters are published at the editorial team’s discretion.
Kids, camping and organised chaos No matter what region you hail from in South Australia, it’s likely that your quiet weekend was disturbed by the raucous sounds of Kids Camp Out. Here’s the wrap-up of the three KCO events of 2012.
Soaked in the South East
A World of Wonder Melissa Neumann On March 24–25, around 1700 people from 55 churches descended on Barossa Valley Caravan Park for the 35th annual Kids Camp Out (KCO). As anticipated, there were the staple favourites, animal farm fun and carnival games, KCO Radio and live entertainment on Saturday, right through into the evening. Bedding down for the night, the sound of excited children chattering about their day could be heard, amongst the many, increasingly-stern “reminders” from leaders that it was time to go to sleep! On Sunday morning, campers gathered for church – KCO-style. That meant, rainbow-coloured hot air balloons, tug-of-war, charades, leddevotions, drama, prayers for the world and sharing wealth with others in need through the offering. This year’s KCO offering was $3140.75, half of which will go to Mwandi Orphans and the Vulnerable Children Project’s Blanket Appeal. On behalf of the Synod, I’d like to say thanks to all the leaders, cooks, group coordinators and the KCO Team working hard for months before and for long hours across the weekend. HUGE thanks! It wouldn’t be possible without you!
We played totem tennis. With numb fingers and wet toes it was time for play on the main oval. After praying and praying for good weather KCO was beginning to look cold, but as we kept the faith the sun peeped out from behind the clouds! Elyse, Parafield Gardens Uniting Church
On 25-26 February, 230 primary schoolchildren from Naracoorte, Mt Gambier, Padthaway and Kingston gathered for the South East KCO (SEKCO), ready for fun. The theme “Wet, Wild and Wonderful” was indicative of the many water activities offered to campers of swimming, canoeing, the dunking tank and ice blocking, as well as drier challenges of box hockey, craft, biscuit icing and face painting. Two roving clowns, armed with Super Soakers, provided entertainment by day and security overnight. The evening program of lively songs and challenging dramas and sketches opened the way for quality discussion and sharing. During this, an offering was collected which totalled $1300. This money went towards the CAT Scan project for Naracoorte Hospital, a service which will benefit people across the mid-Southeast. This year’s SEKCO has been the most spiritually rewarding event held so far, where many children acknowledged they knew Jesus. The 130 volunteers included people from nearly all churches in Naracoorte, as well as further support from primary schools and community groups from Naracoorte and beyond - Kingston, Mt Gambier, and Padthaway. All were grateful for their tireless efforts as they worked together as leaders, instructors, musicians, tent riggers, cooks and infrastructure providers.
Eyre Peninsula Kids Camp Out Barb Richardson We were at the carnival when we saw the massive jumping castle Titanic slide! We got very excited and were allowed 3 goes. We slid down together and had a very fun time. Except I hurt my elbow. Samantha and Annie, Parafield Gardens Uniting Church
Helen Morgan has been teaching us about love by creating art. We have been searching the Bible to find out about God’s kind of Love – Great. Matilda, Berri Uniting Church
On 31 March-1 April, we were all invited to a party – and what a party Eyre Peninsula KCO (EPKCO) was! Leaders, volunteers and 86 children gathered at the picturesque Thuruna campsite for a party theme: the Great Banquet. An initiative of the Cummins Uniting Church XRoad Kids’ Club, EPKCO was for children aged 7-12 with attendees from Kimba, Driver River, Tumby Bay, Port Lincoln, Cummins and Lock. We were blessed with sensational autumn weather for the entire weekend. Rev Benji Callum from Pt Lincoln Uniting and wife Nicole led this camp in creative ways – enthralling children with bible-based skits, singing, crafts, bouncy castles, and all of us were well fed by cook Tim Richardson and his kitchen staff. One of the most exciting times of the weekend for us leaders was when numerous children responded to Jesus’ invitation to them. It was a great party, and in the words of one of the EPKCO kids said, “Our party rocked!”
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A satire of western culture Louise Heinrich reviews popular new movie, The Hunger Games, currently playing in cinemas worldwide. In a not-too-distant future, adolescents fight to the death. Based on a young adult trilogy of novels by Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games is set in Panem, a postapocalyptic dystopia which is divided into twelve districts. Ruled by a totalitarian regime in the Capitol, the centre of wealth and power, the surrounding districts live in oppression and grey poverty.
At an annual event, two teenage tributes are picked from each district, to fight to the death in the Hunger Games, which is televised to the whole country. The broadcast of the bloodbath is a reminder of the Capitol’s power and control, and is very familiar to the reality shows that are on our televisions now. Jennifer Lawrence plays the resilient seventeen-year-old protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, who hunts in the forbidden woods to feed her family. Katniss volunteers for the Hunger Games in place of her preteen sister, and is swept off to the colourful decadence of the Capitol before being thrown into the man-made arena with twenty-three other contestants. Visually, this film is impressive. The Capitol is a technicolour feast of outrageous and bizarre fashion, which contrasts severely with the muted browns of the surrounding poor nation. A shaky hand-held camera style evokes feelings of terror and chaos in moments of action and murder. Beyond impressive production design and a riveting plot, The Hunger Games evokes powerful themes which question facets of our culture. The habits of excessive glamour and endless feasting on rich food in luxurious settings seen in the Capitol are made to seem vacuous and irrelevant when juxtaposed with the miserable starvation in Katniss’s home, District 12. It’s as if a horde of runway models wearing next season’s Balenciaga paraded through a West African famine, chattering inanely about the colour of their eye shadow. The Hunger Games therefore questions the nature of the
Western world’s preoccupation with appearance and consumption, in light of worldwide poverty. The media mechanisms surrounding the annual Hunger Games is a fantastic satire of reality TV, in which agony and drama are packaged neatly for the shallow entertainment of the masses. Regular commentary between styled hosts is interspersed with the tension of scenes in the arena. In order to attain ‘sponsors’ who will send medicines and food when needed, Katniss and male District 12 tribute Peeta pretend to be in love for the camera. The Capitol audience, costumed in enormous eyelashes and a kaleidoscope of lavender, mauve, powder blue and gold, scream in worship of the star-crossed lovers. It’s a similar premise to many reality TV shows, and echoes Big Brother and Survivor. Standouts of the cast were Stanley Tucci as the ostentatious blue-haired
Caesar Flickerman, and Elizabeth Banks as the prim, wackily-dressed Effie Trinket. Lawrence shines, not only because she successfully displays Katniss’s inner conflict, but because she pulls off her role as a strong and fierce woman. As this is a representation of women that is not often seen in Hollywood, many are hopeful that this new breed of female lead will be replicated in more big-budget films. Don’t not see this film because it sounds violent. Despite a gruesome premise, The Hunger Games is not a film that revels in gore, but remains decidedly un-graphic in all scenes. The film remains true to the age of the original readers of the books. A compelling experience, this movie juxtaposes glamour and poverty, and sharply satirises modern entertainment. Would you watch a reality TV show of Hunger Games if it appeared on your TV?
A white wristband view
The Skeptic’s Guide to Global Poverty According to Matthew’s preacher on The Mount, the poor are to be envied; but Dale Hanson Bourke does not share this view. She asks and answers questions about what global poverty is, how it is caused, and why the Church in the West (read USA) should do more to alleviate it. This book reads more like a draft essay with dot point paragraphs, margin notes, colour photographs, charts and graphs illustrating Bourke’s case. It is deliberately targeted at a North American audience since that is Bourke’s home culture, and the one best resourced to respond to her call for change. It also works in an Australian setting though, asking questions such as, “Why don’t Africans just have fewer babies?” and showing that the politics of scepticism are universal. Other questions like, “What does ‘per capita income’ mean?” indicate a serious attempt to educate those who don’t know as well as those who don’t appear to care.
Author: Dale Hanson Bourke Recommended for: people with questions in need of answers
I enjoyed Bourke’s honest and firm responses to generalised scepticism and have passed my copy on to a colleague who teaches geography in the hope that he might raise some of these issues with his senior classes. The coloured photos make this an attractive book to share with teenagers, and the content is appropriate to school-based ethics and politics studies.
In short: An overview of global poverty and what needs to be done to fix it. Available from: Amazon
- Damien Tann
Book: The Road to Missional Author: Michael Frost Recommended for: anyone willing to deconstruct church buzzwords, themes, ideas and background. In short: Urgent and crucial questions for all churchgoers. Available from: Uniting Church SA Resource Centre RRP: $18.95
‘Missional’ has become an ‘in’ word. Michael Frost, Australian author, teacher and mission practitioner, registers an anxiety, though, that many churches are understanding missional as merely the latest add-on to church. In this provocative but readable, well-written book, Frost argues that mission describes “the task of alerting people to the reign of God through Christ and which can never be reduced to the recruitment of new attendees to our meetings.” Frost uses memorable images skilfully. A helpful metaphor compares missional church to a movie trailer. “If it does its
job well, people will see what it does and say, ‘I want to see the world they come from.’” Much of this book focuses on the question of how might we effectively, and with integrity, alert people to the reign of God. That is an ongoing question and challenge for all of us. How might mission become the organising principle? What would that look like in your context? - Alan Dutton
Passing fad or paradigm shift?
Character lessons from romantic literature Book: Becoming your best Author: Ronald W. Richardson Recommended for: Jane Austen fans and those interested in relationship building. In short: Self-help for thinking people. Available from: Amazon RRP: $14.99
Ronald W. Richardson makes use of Jane Austen’s novels to present a how-to book on forming and keeping good relationships. Austen wrote just six novels, but the interest in her writing has never waned, spawning many spin-offs. Other modern novelists have also attempted to emulate Austen’s style in the genre of Regency and romantic literature.
attempting to understand Darcy, Elizabeth acknowledges that she has not fully understood herself. The author considers self-knowledge to be essential to understanding the character of those with whom we interact. The topic is well-researched and rich in detail; not judgmental or moralistic.
Becoming your Best engages the reader’s attention in a rewarding way, encouraging a practical Richardson claims the application of the suggestions. characters we meet in the popular novels illustrate how we The device of referencing Jane Austin’s literature saves it from can become good people. becoming a dry, academic, and Elizabeth Bennet, probably esoteric text book. the better-known and arguably - Linda Sutton the most popular female Austen character, provides much material. For instance, in
Every year the Uniting Church calendar highlights story of encouragement and challenge from within our mission and ministry. We only see a short snippet of those stories in the calendar, so New Times will be sharing a little more with you over in each month of the coming year.
Growing a dream Filmmaker George Lucas said, “Dreams are extremely important. You can’t do it unless you imagine it.” Teresa Bol had the guts to imagine a hospital in the war-torn Abyei region of Sudan, and began fundraising when she was just 14. Louise Heinrich finds out what’s been happening with the star of our May calendar photo, and her vision for the future. Kenyan-born Teresa Bol and her family moved to Australia when she was nine, due to unrest in the region. The Bol family has roots in Abyei, an oil-rich area on the border between Sudan and South Sudan, which both countries continue to struggle over. Several years ago, her mother got in touch with relatives still living in Abyei in an effort to find Teresa’s father, who had disappeared in the civil conflict. Not only do residents deal with troops and the threat of landmines, but much infrastructure has been destroyed, making medicine and up-to-date equipment hard to come by. “We started contacting family members to find out what happened,” Teresa says. “We found out my mother’s brother broke his knee in a car accident, but the nearest hospital was very far. His leg became infected; he had a heart attack and died. “My Auntie needed a blood transfusion, but the place where she had it done gave her the wrong type and she also passed away.” “Here, if I need anything, an ambulance would come in five minutes. But in Sudan, there is no such thing. Someone has to take [patients] a long way to medical attention, and the hospitals aren’t very good.” Teresa, who is just shy of 18, speaks plainly about these injustices and is obviously passionate for change. With the help of Enfield Uniting Church members, she established Hope for Abyei as a charity in 2009, to build a hospital in her former home-town, when Teresa was just 14. “When I started this, I was very young and optimistic. Now, I am figuring out how to do this seriously.” Although much of her adolescent naivety has faded, Teresa is determined to continue with her venture, confirming that youthful passion and ethics can blossom into adult understanding of difficulties and responsibilities. Currently studying Health Sciences, and planning to move into medicine, Teresa is preparing for a lifetime of helping others. “My degree will give me more knowledge with what I can do with Hope for Abyei. I don’t want to just build the hospital and come back to Australia. I want to help build it and work there and keep it running healthily. “God has helped me, and in response I will help others.”