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Issue 27, No 7 September 2008 www.sa.uca.org.au/goto/NTsep08

Recharging ministers

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- Bali, Darwin & beyond

inside…

Eastern regional church 2 Climate change push 3 Recharging ministers 4 – 9 Cyberspace churches 10 Happy at Pututja 11 Beyond Coolamon 12 Web worship 13


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NEWS

New Times

Regional church for Adelaide East A modern regional church is being planned in Adelaide’s eastern suburbs with four neighbouring congregations agreeing to amalgamate. Beaumont, Kensington Park, Tusmore Memorial and Tusmore Park Uniting Churches have been involved in a major consultation process over many months. The four congregations believe the amalgamation will enable them to be more effective in mission. The Tusmore Memorial Uniting Church property on Portrush Road will be redeveloped to house the new amalgamated congregation, which, in the interim, will be known as Adelaide East Uniting Church. It’s intended that the four ministers will all initially move with their congregations to the new church. The congregations are presently discussing the Tusmore Memorial

redevelopment proposal, (including an underground car park, café and children’s play area), with the Burnside City Council. Adelaide East Uniting Church Council secretary Keith Maynard says the cost of the new development is still evolving, with one initial concept plan coming in at $6 million which he says is “too high”. He says the congregations are looking at ways of maximising the return on the three remaining church properties, which will help fund the redevelopment. “We are considering working with a church agency and developers to provide aged care and affordable housing on the properties – both projects would be in keeping with the church’s mission.” Meanwhile the congregations have held a number of combined services to get to know each other.

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Café Church at Kensington Park Uniting Church will continue at the new regional church. Enjoying café worship (from left) are Ellen Hood (Beaumont), Nongluck Nehme and daughter (Tusmore Memorial), Matthew Bond (Kensington Park), Helen Macey (Kensington Park), Rev Ruthmary Bond (Kensington Park) and Stephen Bills (Tusmore Memorial).

Support for human rights charter Rev Elenie Poulos, national director UnitingJustice In March the Uniting Church formally committed itself to support the development of a national human rights charter for Australia. We believe the process should begin with widespread and effective community and stakeholder consultation. We will engage positively in any such public consultation.

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ISSN 0726-2612 Editor: Jill Freear, Ph 8236 4230, email newtimes@sa.uca.org.au Advertising: Russell Baker, Ph 8361 6822, email ribad@bigpond.com Circulation: Jo Watts, Ph 8236 4260, email jo@sa.uca.org.au Production: Joie Creative Printer: Cadillac Printing Circulation: 12,000 Distribution: On the first Sunday of the month Editorial deadline for October: September 8 Advertising deadline for October: September 11 New Times is published 11 times a year by the Uniting Church SA Communications Unit. Articles and advertising content do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor or of the Uniting Church. New Times articles and policies are published on the Uniting Church SA website www.sa.uca.org.au. Office: Level 2, 212 Pirie Street, Adelaide. GPO Box 2145 Adelaide, SA 5001.

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The Christian faith understands life as a gift from God, and that through the life of the Trinitarian God, our humanity, made in this image, is inherently relational. We are human as we live in community – in relationship with God, each other and the natural environment. Christian support for human rights rests on the understanding that community flourishes when all people are included and accorded the dignity and respect they deserve. In response to the Christian call to stand with people who are marginalised, poor and oppressed, the Uniting Church believes that we need to build societies in which all people are valued and respected. In the context of public policy Christian churches can contribute by supporting the development of policy and legislation which upholds the rights of all people to participate in community and public life, be treated with respect and accorded dignity without discrimination. This is not merely about the rights of individuals, but rather how we as individuals and as a society develop systems and structures that support our responsibilities to care for the most marginalised in our society and bring justice and peace to the world. In this endeavour ‘human rights’ is one important tool at our disposal. Over its life, the Uniting Church has made strong and unequivocal statements of support for human rights, including civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights. On numerous occasions we have drawn attention to policies which have been implemented with inadequate attention to civil and political rights; and to policies that have had a discriminatory and detrimental effect on segments of the population. These are policies which have had devastating

personal impacts on people who are homeless, low income workers, Indigenous Australians and refugees and asylum seekers for example, and policies that have impaired the right to a fair trial and to freedom of speech and association. There is much work needed in other areas too, such as protecting the rights of elderly people and young people in nursing homes and those living with mental illness. While we may have believed that such rights as freedom of speech and religion and the right to a fair trial were safe in Australia, it has become clear that they are not adequately protected. We need to do more. A common argument against the development of a charter is that it will give judges more power than our elected MPs. This is a specious and mischievous argument. If Australia was to adopt some form of human rights legislation, in cases taken to the courts, judges would assess whether a law meets the standards of the human rights legislation. The parliament would then respond to that judgement. It is what happens now. Judges do not and will not have the power to make or remake legislation. Having some form of human rights legislation would give the government something on which to assess their development of public policy. It is instructive to note that the Parliament determined to override the Race Discrimination Act in the development of the Northern Territory Emergency Response Legislation. There are many, many reasons why a national human rights charter would be good for Australia. Ultimately our church will support this because we believe that every person is precious and deserves a decent chance in life. We also believe we have a deep and abiding responsibility to ensure that our society is based on principles of social justice and equity.


NEWS

New Times

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Call for action on climate change

A number of Australia’s religious leaders, including those in the Uniting Church, have written to the Federal Government asking for fast, decisive action on climate change. The open letter, signed by UCA President Rev Gregor Henderson and SA Moderator Rev Rod Dyson, says time is running out for many communities already suffering the effects of climate change, particularly some small Pacific Island nations. The open letter says Australia has a “moral obligation’’ to make deep cuts to greenhouse emissions because it has been a relatively large polluter. The full text of the letter to the Government: We, the undersigned leaders of faith communities in Australia, urge for a strong commitment to address the causes and consequences of climate change.

We believe that time is running out for the many communities across the globe who are already suffering from the devastating effects of climate change, including in the small island nations and low lying areas of the Pacific region. We recognise that livelihoods, communities and cultures in the Pacific are increasingly threatened by extreme weather events and sea level rise, foreshadowing what is to come if concerted action is not taken. The future impact of unabated climate change on families, communities and all other life will be significant. Australia bears a disproportionate historical

responsibility for this grave situation. We are the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the Pacific, with per capita emissions exceeding those of most Pacific nations by a factor of ten. And yet it is those who have contributed least to the causes of climate change who suffer its impacts most severely. Australia therefore has a moral obligation to both prevent further climate change and mitigate its impacts in our region. As people of faith, we affirm the fundamental value of the whole of creation, and assert that the responsibility to safeguard human flourishing and ecological integrity extends beyond economic considerations of costs and benefits. We believe that we are called to stand with those who are most vulnerable in the world, and that when one part of our community is suffering, all are diminished. True happiness and fulfilment do not result from excessive

Detention changes welcomed The Uniting Church has welcomed changes to the Government’s detention policy. The church has been advocating for an end to the mandatory, arbitrary and indefinite detention of asylum seekers for many years.

“While the excision of territories from our migration zone remains, we welcome the extension of publicly funded advice and assistance to asylum seekers arriving at excised places.

Rev Elenie Poulos, national director of UnitingJustice, said while the principle of mandatory detention remains, it is pleasing that people will only be detained while health, security and identity checks are carried out and that children will never be detained again.

“The Uniting Church, through its members, ministers and agencies, has served those in detention centres over many years. We have been calling for changes to the government’s harsh and damaging policy that unnecessarily punished traumatised people.

“The new processes for independent review and an expanded role for the Immigration ombudsman are major improvements,” said Elenie.

“We congratulate the Government on some very significant changes to immigration detention policy and on its statement of ‘Immigration Detention Values’.”

New justice ministries sought If your congregation, school or agency is aware of any social justice issues that are not being addressed in South Australia, the team championing justice under the Uniting Church SA’s Strategic Plan would like to hear from you. Rev Peter McDonald, who chairs the Justice Core Team, says the Uniting Church has a long history of acting and advocating on justice issues. “Many of our agencies and congregations have been involved in a variety of justice issues for many years,” said Peter. “Maughan Church and Modbury Uniting Church, for example, are involved in supporting Sudanese refugees and Aberfoyle Uniting Church is building relationships with

Indigenous people in the APY Lands.

email ckent@sa.uca.org.au or phone 8236 4257.

“Many other congregations are engaged in justice issues in their own communities.

Charlene is a member of the Justice Core Team along with Rev Ian Hunter and Deanna Howland.

“However our group wants to hear about the issues that are being overlooked, or the people that are missing out.

Campaign to fight poverty Micah Challenge is calling on Christians to pick up their pens to fight poverty. The movement wants churches and other Christian groups to prayerfully write a letter to the Prime Minister calling for compassion, generosity and justice for the 1.2 billion people who live in extreme poverty around the world. The letters will be delivered to Kevin Rudd in October. In 2006 more than 1300 letters were sent to Members of Parliament. But this year the organisation is encouraging Christians to write to the Prime Minister urging him to turn his words of support for the Millennium Development Goals into tangible action. The campaign is being called “The Offering of Letters” and Micah Challenge national coordinator Amanda Jackson believes it will have a “powerful and positive impact”. The Offering of Letters kit may be downloaded at www. micahchallenge.org.au.

Concerned about a justice issue that is not being addressed? We want to hear from you. The team working on the Justice Key Direction of the Uniting Church SA’s Strategic Plan is seeking expressions of interest from groups that are keen to develop new justice initiatives in South Australia. Expressions of interest are welcome from UCA schools, agencies, congregations, faith communities, chaplains, ministers and members.

“Under the Strategic Plan, the church is keen to set up new justice ministries in partnership with local congregations, faith communities, schools or agencies.

Expressions of Interest should generally be no longer than a page and should include: Ê Ê Ê Ê

“It’s possible that seed funding may be available to help fund these initiatives.” Expressions of interest and enquiries may be directed to Charlene Kent, Justice Core Team project officer, c/- GPO Box 2145 Adelaide, SA 5001, or

consumption on the part of the few at the expense of the many. We therefore commit ourselves to: • work for ecologically responsible and sustainable living in our faith communities; • listen to, support, and advocate for our partners in the Pacific and in other communities worldwide which are already affected by climate change; and • advocate towards all sectors of society to intensify cooperation in response to climate change. We call on the Australian government to: • take quick and decisive

action to reduce Australia’s rising greenhouse gas emissions, playing its part in ensuring the deep global emissions cuts that are urgently needed to stabilise the climate; • develop and implement all of the policies outlined in Labor’s 2007 national platform regarding climate change in the Pacific; • allocate a proportion of the income generated by an emissions trading scheme to assist Pacific Island countries in adapting to and mitigating the effects of climate change, and to ensure that they benefit from low-carbon technologies. We are one human family and one creation. Our future is shared, and can only be assured by living together in love and respect for each other and for the earth. We ask all Australians to join us in praying and working for this goal.

Rev Peter McDonald

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*i>ÃiÊ`ˆÀiVÌÊiÝ«ÀiÃȜ˜Ãʜvʈ˜ÌiÀiÃÌÊ>˜`Êi˜µÕˆÀˆiÃÊ̜\ Charlene Kent Project Officer, Justice Core Team Uniting Church SA GPO Box 2145, Adelaide SA 5001 Email:ckent@sa.uca.org.au Ph: 8236 4257

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Recharging ministers

Ministers enriched and challenged Penny Monger A “rich” and “humbling experience” – these were the two key sentiments of the 63 participants in the inaugural UCA National Ministers’ Conference, held in Bali, in July. The conference was hailed a great success by UCA President Rev Gregor Henderson and by those who took part. The UCA has a partnership with the Protestant Church of Bali and the small island was the perfect setting to provide ministers from all over Australia the opportunity to see how church is ‘done’ elsewhere in the world. Nonetheless, many had questioned the location: why should a group of ministers go out of the country – and to Bali – to talk and learn about their own uniquely Australian church and ministry? The answers are many and varied. Our rich partnership with the Protestant Church of Bali; the UCA’s standing as a multicultural and cross-cultural church; the fact that Bali is a shorter (and cheaper) flight

for those in Western Australia than it is to travel east; and the notion that to experience other cultures and other faiths, is to enrich our own experience and ministry in Australia. Keynote speaker at all three ministers’ conferences, Rev Dr Andrew Dutney, answered the question from a personal perspective. He spoke, on the first day, about his experience of “falling in love” with the ‘Basis of Union’ and the UCA as a whole many years ago. His personal story – of being on the outside, looking in – was a wonderful complement to our presence in Indonesia. After all, if we never experience the ‘other’, how can we evaluate, reflect on, adapt and improve our own practices? Regardless of the setting, the very fact that 60 ministers from all over Australia gathered to share, talk, compare notes, provide support and spend time together, was deeply rewarding for all. Within the serene surrounds of the conference and accommodation centre (called Dhyana Pura – ‘Place of Meditation’), ministers from

Traditional Balinese dancers welcomed participants at the National Ministers’ Conference in Bali. every synod came together. They represented a range of ministries: from rural settings to inner city congregations. From school chaplaincy to multicultural and cross-cultural ministry. From decades-long involvement in the church, to the newly-ordained. From those who had ministered in other countries, to those who had never left their own synods.

Under the broad heading, ‘Creative Adventurous Ministry’, the ministers’ conferences focused particularly on the ‘Basis of Union’. Guided by Andrew Dutney, the ‘Basis of Union’ was pulled apart, explored and reassembled. The continuing wonder of union was explored from every angle. It was like reading that founding document for the

first time and learning anew the courage it took to unite. In addition the Bali conference explored the contextualisation of the Gospel, interfaith dialogue, rural ministry, community services, current events in Bali impacting the global community, the UCA’s international relationships and the experience of being Indonesian in Australia.

Darwin conference

The National Ministers’ Conference in Darwin focussed on Aboriginal spirituality and on the ministries of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress in the Northern Territory. Following the conference there was an opportunity for ministers to go on one of three different exposure visits to remote Aboriginal communities in Arnhem Land. The Indigenous part of the conference was led by the chairman of the Northern Regional Council of Congress (NRCC), Rev Mawunydjil Garawirrtja supported by Rev Rronang Garrawurra, NRCC resource worker Howard Amery, Rev Dr Tim Bose and others. UAICC national administrator Rev Shayne Blackman spoke about the origins of Congress and challenged the church to renew its covenant with Congress. Shayne also spoke about the success of the Shalom Community in Townsville – a Congress development encompassing book publishing, aged care, primary and secondary schooling, Christian leadership courses, construction and vocational training. Rev Dr Andrew Dutney, principal of Parkin-Wesley College in Adelaide was the keynote speaker. He led three sessions on the Uniting Church’s identity, ethos and understanding of mission, plus the role of ministers. Rev Dr Jenny Byrnes from Pilgrim Uniting Church in Adelaide was the conference facilitator.

Key participants at the Darwin Ministers Conference were from left, Howard Amery, Andrew Dutney, Rronang Garrawurra, Jenny Byrnes, Gregor Henderson and Tim Bose.

Re-energised for ministry Two years ago, then UCA President-elect, Rev Gregor Henderson thought it would be a good idea to provide opportunities for people in ministry across Australia to get together. “After serving for 12 years as Assembly General Secretary I was aware that ministers from the various synods often have very little to do with each other,” said Gregor.

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Gregor’s idea grew and developed into a plan to hold three National Ministers’ Conferences this year. In July conferences were held in Bali and Darwin and a third will be held on the Sunshine Coast in October. Gregor said the conferences also grew out of a desire to reassert the UCA ethos.

“And only a small number of ministers ever work in more than one synod. I felt we had a lot to learn from each other.

“We have had some upsets and controversies in recent years. I was concerned that we may have lost sight of our original ethos.

“We also have a growing commitment to be a national church, yet we do not have many opportunities to engage with each other nationally.”

“There was also a feeling that those in ordained and specified ministers were uncertain about their rightful role.”


Recharging ministers

New Times

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Not just a junket Rev Dr Andrew Dutney Bali, Darwin and the Sunshine Coast. It sounds like one big junket, but the three National Ministers’ Conferences have been a unique opportunity to engage in a national conversation about the future of ministry in the UCA. By the end of October I’ll have met with about 20 percent of all ministers in placements – from the Kimberlys to Tasmania and all points in between. I’ve focussed on three areas in my presentations. Firstly, I’ve identified the core values of the founding generation of the UCA. So much has changed in 50 years, but one thing really stands out as an enduring example from our forebears – the courage to risk anything for the Gospel, even our most treasured heirlooms.

The South Australians who attended the National Ministers’ Conference in Darwin: from back left, Andrew Dutney, Dean Whittaker, Leslie Underwood, Peter McDonald, Tony Goodluck, David Wright, Rod Dyson, Michaela Tiller, Ian Dempster, Peter Russell and Nelson Varcoe.

Re-charging in Darwin

The South Australians who attended the second National Ministers’ Conference in Darwin have returned refreshed and encouraged in their ministry. All agree that the conference provided a great opportunity to meet and speak with ministers from other synods. They say national opportunities like this are rare, outside of the triennial Assembly meeting which focuses on business and decision making. Rev Dr Leslie Underwood, the minister at UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide said it was valuable to hear of the opportunities, frustrations, challenges and successes of others in ministry. “It was timely for me to be reminded of and given the opportunity to reflect upon the ethos, development and fascinating diversity of the UCA,” said Leslie. “I was encouraged and reaffirmed in my ministry and feel proud to belong to the Uniting Church in Australia.

“Throughout the conference there was a delightful and warm spirit and sense of collegiality and fellowship. “One of the most valuable opportunities was to gain a greater understanding understanding of Indigenous culture. Rev Peter McDonald, the minister at UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide said the conference provided a great opportunity to meet with others in ministry nationally. Peter also built on his knowledge of Indigenous culture and spirituality. “I’ve had experience in remote Indigenous communities through my work,” he said, “but I’m now more aware of the numerous different Indigenous clan nations throughout Australia. “Andrew Dutney’s material on the ‘Basis of Union’ was excellent and made me think about the contribution that church agencies play in the ‘missio Dei’ – God’s mission.”

Rev Michaela Tiller, executive officer of UnitingCare SA, appreciated the opportunity to gain a greater understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture. She also enjoyed the chance to take time out from the dayto-day work routine. “Having space to reflect on my ministry, the way I exercise leadership, my calling and how I’m living that out, was immensely valuable,” said Michaela. “I’ve come home with a renewed appreciation and commitment to the Uniting Church and ministering within it. “I also have a renewed passion for the Uniting Church as it is described in the ‘Basis of Union’. “The week in Darwin was one of the most encouraging, affirming, supportive and personally challenging experiences I have been part of as a person in ministry.”

Reconciliation and renewal People in ministry have been reminded that the church’s mission is all about reconciliation and renewal. Those attending the President’s National Ministers’ Conferences are being taken back to basics, revisiting the ‘Basis of Union’ with keynote speaker Rev Dr Andrew Dutney. Andrew described our founding document as far-sighted and said we under-estimate the enormity of what was achieved at Union and the vision of our founding fathers. “Paragraph three of the Basis of Union is a summary of our mission,” said Andrew. “Reconciliation and renewal is the destiny of everything, because in Christ, God has reconciled all things. “That’s why we (the church) are involved in welfare, in health, in frontier services, in

covenanting with Congress – because that’s where God is; in reconciliation and renewal. “The church’s call is to be that end – to be a body of reconciliation, an instrument through which God might work.” Andrew said it’s time the church stopped splitting hairs over doctrine and focused on the main game. “Just read the Bible, be open to ancient faith and respond to God. “We need to pull ourselves up and check ourselves. Our concern for law, for ethics, for morals etc, are all important, but not as important as this calling from God to mission. “The Basis of Union also states that we are a pilgrim people, always on the way to a promised goal. We need to hold ourselves to that vision.”

Secondly, I’ve reminded the ministers of the overwhelmingly missional commitment of the ‘Basis of Union’. It’s all about mission. We need to go through the painful process of identifying the things that absorb our energy and resources that aren’t about mission – and drop them. Too much of what we do is just habit, nostalgia, or merely a lack of imagination. Thirdly, I’ve tried to clarify the understanding of ministry and ordination in the UCA and to point to a refreshed vision of ministry for the next decade. I can’t get into that here – suffice to say it’s not rocket science. But I can outline the business end of this part of the national conversation. I see five key forms of ministry being crucial in the next decade – and people called to these ministries should be ordained for them, either as ministers of the word or as deacons. First, local church ministry will still be the engine-room of the church – leadership of congregations ranging from neighbourhood communities of 70 plus to regional churches of 250 plus. Second, resource ministry will become even more important as clusters of multiple lay-led congregations of up to 70 people seek a minister who doesn’t provide ministry, but resources those who do. Third, it’s essential that we get serious about church planting – identifying and supporting those whom God is calling to pioneer new local churches in a variety of settings and forms. Fourth, we’ll need ministers who encourage imaginative, new kinds of church in non-traditional forms and settings. And, fifth, chaplaincy will continue to expand and require the deployment of some of our best ministers across the variety of services and agencies. There are organisational changes that can release this kind of ministry. But the necessary cultural change within the ministry itself is even more important. We must commit ourselves to a deeper, more practical collegiality, to a focus on mentoring emerging leaders, and to a stronger personal and mutual accountability for the call to ministry which has so wonderfully derailed our lives.

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Let’s Be Friends The Stillpoint Spirituality Centre and Community at Nunyara (Belair) is a Uniting Church house of prayer, retreat centre, resourcing base for Christian spirituality and Faith Community. ‘Friends of the Centre’ help support this work with an annual contribution of $250. Friends then receive 50% discount on nonresidential events, an annual resource folder, free use of a quiet room six times a year, 25% discount on spiritual direction and more! Would you like to be a Friend of the Centre? For further details: 8178.0048 or Stillpoint@internode.on.net

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Recharging ministers

Insight into Indigenous spirituality Exploring Indigenous spirituality is like “walking through a door of unending learning”, according to theologian Rev Dr Tim Bose. Participants at the National Ministers’ Conference in Darwin were given some insight into the complexities of Indigenous spirituality by Tim and Rev Mawunydjil Garawirrtja, the chairperson of the Northern Regional Council of Congress (NRCC). Tim said that learning an Indigenous language is a good starting point to understanding Indigenous culture and spirituality. “It’s a common western belief that spirituality is just one section of life and it’s separate from other areas such as family, politics, law etc,” he said. “But in Indigenous culture, religion or spirituality relates to the whole of life.” He said some Indigenous people find it difficult to reconcile their own spiritual beliefs with Christianity.

Mawunydjil gave some insights into the connection that Indigenous people have with their land and the whole of Creation. For Aboriginal people the land it is a living, breathing thing that is to be nurtured, not exploited. Indigenous people are connected to Creation spiritually, emotionally, culturally and physically. Tim said Indigenous people believe that if they take care of Creation, it will take care of them. “This idea of stewardship and of mutual caring takes me back to Chapter 1 of Genesis,” he said. Mawunydjil also explained some of the intricate nature of Indigenous society and clan relationships Amongst the Yolngu people of north-east Arnhem Land there are 62 clan nations and each has its own language. Many people are multilingual, some speaking up to 15 different languages. Each language its own totems, web of connections to

Rev Dr Tim Bose and Rev Mawunydjil Garawirrtja who explained aspects of Indigenous spirituality to participants at the National Ministers’ Conference in Darwin. related clans, areas of land and sacred sites as well as songs, paintings and ceremonies. Indigenous people fit into two social network systems – the family network and the subsection system under which

everyone has a skin name. Relationships in the family network dictate the ways that people relate to each other. Mawunydjil shared one of his dreams and explained how he has reconciled Indigenous

and Christian spirituality. “As a Christian people we believe our Soul can go to God and that our Spirit can move across the land with the Spirit of our ancestors to ensure the land is protected,” he said.

Covenanting with Congress Ministers have been reminded of the relevance of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and of the reason behind its establishment. UAICC national administrator Rev Shayne Blackman told participants at the Darwin conference that Congress was inaugurated in 1985 to strengthen the voice of the Indigenous people. Prior to that, Indigenous interests were represented by European ministers. “We believed in the principles of self determination and self management – that was our basis,” said Shayne. “In 1985 the UAICC was established and the UCA agreed to be in covenant with it – from then we sought to live in a new way with each other. “Since then we have been driven by the vision of a changed society and a changed nation.” Shayne said we need to acknowledge the nation’s history from an Indigenous perspective. “Prior to European settlement there was 57,000 years of Aboriginal society – it was an amazingly successful civilisation, with a sustainable system of governance, justice, land care and spirituality.” Shayne said white settlement brought several different eras. “In the Frontier era from 1820 to 1890 it was widely believed that Indigenous people had no culture, or morality. This period was marked by a loss of land, leadership,

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traditions, languages and a breakdown of social structures.” He spoke about further damage to Indigenous people during the “Protectionist era”, the “Assimilation era” and the “Integration era”. Shayne presented statistics on Indigenous education, health, employment and incarceration. “Our quality of life is the second worst in the developed world,” he said. “Nonindigenous people have the fourth highest. “What a glorious opportunity for the church to engage in and to address this situation.” Shayne said while it was great that the Rudd Government had made an apology to the Stolen Generations and a commitment to “closing the gap”, the present government approach was still about mainstreaming and assimilation. He said the challenge now was for Congress and the church to work in partnership to address Indigenous issues, such as: • Effective governance and community management • Full employment • Utilisation of cultural knowledge and skills • Equitable income • Law rates of incarceration • Full engagement in the national economy • Educational retention and success.

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UAICC national administrator Rev Shayne Blackman believes there is a “glorious opportunity” for the church to covenant with Congress and to address Indigenous disadvantage.

Owen celebrates

A DVD and booklet are available celebrating the life and history of the Owen Community Church and the Owen Methodist Church. The Owen community recently celebrated the centenary of the Methodist Church building, which was opened on June 17, 1908 Owen Community Church continues to be a strong part of the local community and holds regular Sunday worship, Fellowship meetings, Fish at 10 (a children’s program), prepares school seminars at the Owen Primary school and sponsors half yearly men’s breakfasts and winter pub chats. A booklet has been prepared on the church’s history. A DVD of the history of the church and of the centenary celebrations is also available from church secretary Ian Freebairn; phone 08 8528 6062.


Recharging ministers

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Indigenous people’s deep pain People in ministry at the Darwin Ministers’ Conference heard first-hand about the deep pain of the local Indigenous people. Yolngu translator and artist Gulumbu Yunipingu talked about the impact of European settlement on her people in the Northern Territory. Gulumbu said when the missionaries arrived in east Arnhem Land Indigenous people struggled with the conflict between their own Aboriginal spirituality and the Gospel. “It hurt us deeply when the missionaries were critical of our culture and our way of life. “We did not understand them. But they did not understand us and did not want to understand. Some of the missionaries wanted us to stop dancing; they saw it as idol worship. The missionaries destroyed the ceremonies. “The missionaries said if you don’t go to church we won’t give you rations. “They never gave the Yolngu people a chance to describe the riches that the Creator gave us. “It is very sad about the lost opportunity for a real exchange

of information. We would love to have had opportunities to deeply share our faith and theology together. “We share about our traditional medicines, about environmental management of the land, but we do not have the opportunity to share our theology.” Gulumbu said the introduction of bauxite mining in the Northern Territory has been detrimental to her people, because the miners introduced alcohol and gambling. “The alcohol has taken over my people…it will kill us, it is that powerful.” She said mining had also brought environmental degradation. “The mining people bulldozed all the trees. The bulldozers killed the sacred land of our ancestors. While the land has been revegetated, it is not the same. “And the human cost of this our children and their children are a lost generation. When the land suffers, we cry inside; that is how it affects us. “We feel deeply hurt and cut – just as the land hurts and bleeds from the bulldozer, so do

Yolngu translator and artist Gulumbu Yunipingu with Northern Synod General Secretary Peter Jones. (Gulumbu was one of the first to buy a quilt to help fund the Centre for Indigenous Scripture in the Northern Territory.) we. This is how we understand the Creator and Creation.” Gulumbu also said some Yolngu people were struggling with the Government intervention in the Northern Territory. “We see the Government workers come with good intentions to address our health

and housing, but it is not addressing our deep concerns.” She called on the church to pray for her people and to stand in solidarity with them. “We have deep concerns and fears for our generation. There is a loss of culture. “Neither the church nor the government really know what

to do. How do we live together in a harmonious relationship? “We need the support of the wider church. We have to work together to work out the huge problems we face. You need to think about befriending us, becoming close and listening and dialoguing together.”

Ministers visit Ramingining Rev Jennie Gordon, from Victoria was one of ten women ministers to visit a remote Indigenous community at Ramingining, in Arnhem Land, about 600 kilometres from Darwin. Jennie writes of the unique experience below. “You are the material,” she said, holding out the goldendyed cloth, “and we are the colour.” Those were the words of our local guide and host, Matjarra Garrawurra as she offered us a parting gift. Ten Uniting Church ministers, all women, had spent the best part of the day sitting in the shade in the park in the centre of the Ramingining community with a group of Yolngu women and children. Our bodies and lives intertwined as we did our best with fumbling fingers to weave the pandanas collected days earlier into shapes slightly resembling the beginning of baskets and watched as artistic hands created string and wove the fibres steadily and effortlessly. The fire that echoed the heat of the day became a focus as the colour collected from the

roots of grasses boiled into life. We talked, shared stories, silence and a meal. The sharing was easier this time, but no less sacred. Two days earlier, we had journeyed together with cars over-full to a place in the bush where the Yolngu women collected pandanas and wild honey. We gathered for a midday meal that held the elements of a carefully choreographed dance. Two groups of women and children, meeting for the first time and sharing prayer and food, with language and customs unfamiliar, mixed with wild honey and chili chocolate – and Christ present in the breaking of the damper and the sharing of water that was sweeter than wine. Indeed, we were and we are the material. We were ten women who travelled 11 hours through Kakadu and into Arnhem Land and back, in a convoy of three vehicles with only one flat tyre. Ten women of varying ages and experiences, mostly from the eastern states; ten women in ministry seeking to learn something of the lives and

Revs Joan Wright and Fiona Winn from the Victorian Synod look for suitable clothing to wear while visiting the remote Indigenous community of Ramingining in Arnhem Land. spirituality of our Indigenous sisters and brothers; ten women who are used to feeling quietly confident and competent becoming overnight quite the ‘dhunja’ – inexperienced and ignorant. Sensitively and capably led by Rev Felicity Amery from the Northern Synod, the journal of our journey was captured by

each of us in colour on canvas, pre-washed at the Liverpool River and layered each day with a new part of the story of our adventure. We carried home these pieces of art, with tales told and untold, together with baskets and beads bought from the Bula’bula Arts centre in Ramingining. We also carry home the treasure of an experience of the

presence of the Spirit, woven through the lives of women in a community where land and stories, food and shelter, relationships, law and love are not separate entities but part of the whole of life’s glorious wonder. We will hold them in our prayers as we now hold their colour in the fabric of our lives. SEPTEMBER 2008


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Recharging ministers

New Times

Visiting Yirrkala

Rev Eseta Meneilly (Victoria)

A group of eleven UCA clergy and lay members spent four days with the Yirrkala Indigenous community, at the northeast tip of Arnhem Land, after the Darwin Ministers’ conference. Many of us participated in the Sunday worship service – with our group contributing a ‘magic’ children’s story, a sermon, children’s songs and guitar playing. After the service we went to Shady Beach to share a picnic lunch which included fresh bananas and pawpaw. (Two days later we visited a banana and pawpaw plantation. Nothing can compare to eating this fruit straight from the tree). On Monday we were treated to a tour of an Indigenous Healing Centre where traditional herbs and medicines are used. We were treated to a ‘bath’ of boiled leaves which promised youthful looks and beautiful skin. The ladies were right into this! On the Tuesday morning elders from about 13 Indigenous tribes met in Yirrkala, in preparation for a visit by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his Cabinet the following day. Significantly our UCA ministers group

was invited into the meeting to pray for the elders and their meeting with the Government. The elders all spoke different languages and were keen to present their own particular concerns about Indigenous health, education, employment opportunities and housing. On the Wednesday everyone was a-buzz with the impending visit of the Prime Minister and his Cabinet. We got there early and had front-row seats. It was a special experience to see the school children’s welcome dance and to hear the singing and speeches by the Indigenous elders. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd spoke carefully and honestly and he answered questions from the Indigenous people present. The Government group then walked around and spoke with the people. Our group said hello to Kevin Rudd and shook his hand. One of our members spoke to him at length about the Uniting Church’s covenanting partnership with Indigenous people. There were photos and smiles everywhere. The Prime Minister was then given a petition by the people. It was a privilege to watch traditional dancing and the Indigenous people’s enthusiasm in greeting their Prime Minister with much excitement and joy. This really was a visit to remember.

Right: Rev Eseta Meneilly (left) visited Yirrkala with others in ministry following the Darwin Ministers’ conference. (Photo courtesy of Rev Chris Meneilly). Left: A group of Uniting Church ministers was at Yirrkala when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and his Cabinet visited in July. (Photo courtesy of Rev Chris Meneilly).

Reflections on Darwin

Rev Tony Goodluck, (far right), enjoyed a night out with others in ministry at Darwin’s Mindil Beach Market.

Ministers enjoyed a night off during the Darwin Ministers’ Conference to visit the Mindil Beach markets. SEPTEMBER 2008

Rev Tony Goodluck, Mitcham Uniting Church As we sat in the Charles Darwin University a few weeks ago, I reflected with others on God’s call to our church and indeed to each and every one of us. It struck me as not insignificant that there were 70 of us who had gathered from around the country, representing every state and territory; every synod. I found myself reflecting, not only on the vision and mission of our church, but also on my childhood and my early adulthood in Darwin. I remembered running through the bush as a 12-year-old and riding my push-bike along dirt tracks; and here I was nearly 40 years later sitting in a university in the exact same place of my childhood playground. During breaks in the conference I would walk outside and feel the warm embrace of the air, breathing in its humid, tropical reality. As I did, I could see in my mind’s eye the old Banyan trees, the gravel tracks, the black wattle, the burnt tree stumps and I could hear the laughing, shouting voices of my childhood friends. I was back there. I was home. What an awesome time and place to attend a conference on collegiality, call and mission. It was one of the most affirming and centering experiences I have ever been part of.

I was aware of the presence of God’s affirming and challenging Spirit, around us, through us, between us and within us. To the leadership I say thankyou. Gregor Henderson, for his vision; Jenny Brynes for her exceptional facilitation; Andrew Dutney for his passion, focus and clarity of presentation; Mawandjil Garawirrtja for his delight in being a child of God; Rrornang Garrawurra for his quiet sincerity and presence, Howard Amery for his deep respect and modelling of cross-cultural communication; and the people of the Northern Synod for their hospitality. We had before us (and indeed we were a part of) a vision of the kingdom of God come amongst us. People from near and far, as diverse as you might want to imagine, drawn together as a people of God, with the call of a Galilean teacher and healer, echoing half-way around the world and across two millennia, reverberating in the hearts and minds of all who were there. I came away feeling strengthened and recharged; proud to be a part of our church and glad to be reminded that the Uniting Church is more a movement than a denomination. I would embrace the opportunity to participate in such a gathering in the future.


Recharging ministers

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A unique experience at Galiwin’ku Pastor Walter Sholl (Victoria) Following the Darwin Ministers’ Conference a group of 13, including Assembly President Rev Gregor Henderson and President-elect Rev Alistair Macrae, flew to Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island. Galiwin’ku has a population of approximately 2,100 and the price of petrol is $4.60 a litre. In this area of Arnhem Land the Indigenous owners have retained their traditions, culture and law. The first night our group slept under a Banyan tree. Some in our group referred to this experience as the night in the thousand star hotel. Accommodation was in short supply as many people were visiting the island for the ‘Mawul Rom’ceremony. We were privileged to see the last night of the celebrations. Once other visitors had left we had a choice of tents or cabins, but there was only cold water for showers and long drop dunnies. On Sunday morning there was some discussion as to what time church was. Northern Territory time is a little different - even more so in communities. The service did eventually take place at the Galiwin’ku church. Three of our group, including Gregor Henderson were unexpectedly asked to preach. The congregation consisted of about 25, half of whom were balandas (white fellas). Part of Sunday afternoon was spent sitting in a circle with Djiniyini who gave us the opportunity to talk with him

about theology, Congress and the community. It was a great privilege to spend time in the company of a man of immense standing within the church and his community. We asked about the benefits of the Government’s Northern Territory intervention program. The response was: “We were not asked; it is a return to the Colonial paternalistic days”. The best example of this is the visible skeleton of a new police station and two new houses for the police officers, reputed to be costing $10 million. The Island has never had a resident police officer and possibly has the need to call on an officer only once a year. We spent some time at the Bible Translation Centre where after 30 years the New Testament has been translated and printed in the local Indigenous language. For me, both the conference and the time spent on Elcho Island was one of considerable learning. I gained a greater knowledge of another culture, by being a part of it. By sitting with the people some understanding is gained. I say some understanding, because Aboriginal culture is very complex - particularly the system of kinships. There was also a great sense of congeniality and reconnecting amongst participants. While we spend a lot of time talking about the lack of numbers in churches, the Uniting Church is doing some amazing things in remote areas of Australia.

Wanymuli pictured at the Bible Translation Centre at Galiwin’ku. .

Rev Dr Les Brockway and Rev Dr Djinyini Gondarra at Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island. Both men played a major role in the formation of the UAICC. Photos curtesy of Pastor Walter Sholl).

Conference affirming and inspiring Moderator, Rev Rod Dyson When I was considering candidating to be a Minister of the Word, just after the formation of the Uniting Church, I read the ‘Basis of Union’ a number of times. I still remember being surprised. I expected something a bit dreary but found a profoundly missional document that inspired me. It struck me that both the writing of the ‘Basis of Union’ and the formation of the Uniting Church were works of the Holy Spirit. One of the unexpected outcomes of the Darwin Ministers’ Conference was the number of attendees who talked of a renewed sense of call to ministry and a new vision of what the Uniting Church was about. The vision to be a fellowship of reconciliation, a community of ambassadors to reconcile the whole creation to our loving God, is something I am truly glad to be apart of.

Dangatanga Gondarra, a community minister, pictured with his grandson, during the Mawul Rom ceremony.

I sense that part of this reaffirmation happened because there were ministers from all over Australia present in Darwin. So it was a chance to not only leave behind the day to day demands of our workplace but also the

issues of our synod and state. The mix of people present allowed a broader picture to be seen and this alone was life giving because it enabled a different perspective. I went to Darwin in particular because of the sessions focussing on the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and Indigenous theology and spirituality. I simply wanted to listen and learn. I think that the covenant is vital to the health of both non-Aboriginal members of the UCA and Congress itself. I enjoyed the freshness of the worship that was led by Arnhem Land Aboriginal leaders. I learnt a lot about the interconnectedness of Aboriginal society and I learnt that I have a lot to learn! The conference was very positive and energising for me. A few days of warmth in the middle of winter were also welcome. There is one more national ministers’ conference this year – in October. There are a few places left and I would recommend that people in ministry register quickly. I hope there will be more similar conferences next year. SEPTEMBER 2008


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NEWS

New Times

Churches keen to hit cyberspace Hanging up his boots at 91

Uniting Church SA congregations are keen to have a presence in cyberspace. The Church Communications Unit is presently offering free classes to people in congregations wanting to establish a presence on the World Wide Web. So far five website training sessions have been held. These have resulted in 16 new congregational websites. A further 16 websites will be going live soon. Willunga Uniting Church is one that has benefited from the free website development classes. Willunga minister and webmaster Rev David Wallace says the congregation has been looking for ways to raise its community profile. “We’ve been developing leaflets and thinking of ways to promote interest in church activities. The web page is another way of doing that, with the added advantage of being easily updated.

Learning how to develop a congregational website are (from left) Ian Stead (Maughan UC) and Rev David Wallace (Willunga UC).

“I found the training very helpful. Having no previous experience of web page construction, I came away with

“I was surprised at just how simple the system is to use and without devoting huge amounts of time, our church now has

simple to follow notes. Within a couple of hours the provided template was starting to look like a real web page.

a professional looking site that will be expanded over the coming months.” Willunga’s website may be viewed at www.willunga. unitingchurch.org.au. If your congregation is interested in developing and

maintaining a website, register your interest with Jo Watts on 8236 4260 or email: jwatts@ sa.uca.org.au. Basic website designs and other information are available at: www.presbyterysynodsa. unitingchurch.org.au.

After 68 years of lay preaching, 91-year-old Horrie Ramsey has preached his last sermon and finally hung up his boots. Horrie started preaching at Cowell when he was just 22. Since then he has preached more than 900 sermons in 84 congregations across South Australia. Horrie followed in his grandfather’s footsteps, an early settler who was a lay-preacher for 50 years. He considers himself “fortunate to have been born into a dedicated Christian home”. As a child, Horrie attended Miltalie Methodist Church (just north of Cowell). “My father always wanted me to become an ordained minister, but I didn’t want to. I felt I could be just as good without the collar,” said Horrie. Horrie preached his last sermon at Port Broughton Uniting Church on Sunday August 10. He was presented with a certificate of preaching from Parkin Wesley Theological College acknowledging his 68 years of service.

Public Rally 2008 Assembly of Confessing Congregations Conference Friday 12 September 2008 7.30 pm Location: Coromandel Valley Uniting Church 415 Main Road, Coromandel Valley, Adelaide. Speaker: Revd Keith Garner MTh (Oxon), DD (Hon) Superintendent, Wesley Mission Sydney “Responding to the Great Commission in a Post-Christian World.”

Keith Garner is an inspiring and gifted preacher who moved from the UK to Australia to become Superintendent/CEO of Wesley Mission, Sydney, on January 1, 2006. Wesley Mission is the Uniting Church’s largest parish and Keith has oversight of three thousand staff. Wesley Mission has an operational expenditure of $160m, conducting hundreds of programs for needy and marginalised Australians. He broadcasts regularly and hosts a weekly television program on Channel 9, preaches on the Australian Christian Channel and is sought for social comment on a wide range of issues. His ministry combines a strong evangelical and biblical emphasis with a compassion for the disadvantaged and a strong social conscience.

WESLEY KENT TOWN UNITING CHURCH SPRING & SUMMER CONCERTS Sunday 28th September 4.30pm Cantamus Choir Twilight concert with high tea $15, $10 (conc)

Sunday 26th October 4.30pm Eugin Wong - pianoforte Twilight concert with high tea $15, $10 (conc)

Saturday 22nd November 5.30pm 110th Anniversary Recital of Kent Town Organ Dr Greg Crawford Supper included $15, $10 (conc)

27 Grenfell Street Kent Town SA 5067

SEPTEMBER 2008


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Camping at Bordertown Helen Munro About four years ago, a recently arrived Sudanese family living in our area, began coming to Enfield Uniting Church - because it was close enough for them to walk. They were the first. Other families followed. What eventuated was a population boom in our Sunday school and a sea change for our congregation as we adapted to having an ever-increasing number of boisterous energetic children.

warned to bring warm clothes, cosy pyjamas and snug bedding. We set off on a Friday morning, in a bus and three cars, and with a trailer absolutely full of sleeping bags, blankets, doonas and bags of warm clothes. Apart from one case of carsickness and a sober reminder of the fragility of humanity when we came across a serious accident, the trip went uneventfully.

We now have more than 40 children attending church regularly. Sunday morning attendances at what we now call EKOS (Enfield Kids On Sunday) average about 28. The children are mostly Sudanese, but there are also some who were born in Fiji, Iran and Australia.

We had lunch at Pendleton Farm. After sharing a campfire, seeing the animals and walking in the bush, we headed to the Bordertown Airport and the Bordertown Keith Gliding Clubrooms. This was our home base for two and a half days.

We have taken groups of these children to KUCA and SAYCO, as well as to two family camps. However, we had an increasingly persistent thought that a Children’s and Youth camp would be a good idea.

That night the campers enjoyed healthy food and Bible studies and activities based on the story of Joseph.

We decided on a country experience. As the Sudanese children come from a farming culture, we thought it would be appropriate for them to see farming in South Australia. We knew it was going to be cold at Bordertown, so the 25 Sudanese campers, aged six to 15, plus one 19-year-old youth leader and six adult leaders were

Stephen and Shadia from Enfield Uniting Church huddling to keep warm while visiting Naracoorte on a church camp.

On Saturday we headed for Naracoorte and visited the Wonambi Fossil Centre and the Wet Cave. Later back in Bordertown, we had an educational tour of the Ambulance Station. Back at camp we cooked potatoes on a campfire and told stories. On Sunday morning we enjoyed worship at the Bordertown Church of Christ. Then we headed home – with the firm hope that sometime we will do it all again.

Enfield Uniting Church’s youth worker Jonas Magaya gives Adut a piggy-back ride.

Pututja – ‘a happy experience’ Are you being served? Naomi Galpin, Aberfoyle Uniting Church Pututja is an Indigenous community between Fregon and Ernabella in the very north west of South Australia. I visited the community in July with 24 others from Aberfoyle Uniting Church. Last year church members visited to renovate a house. This year we provided a children’s holiday program and encouraged one another in our faith.

is what knowing God begins and ends with. We prayed afterwards. I was so emotional, I cried. The ladies prayed that their men would rise up and that their children would know God. They were so sad about the impact of petrol sniffing, marijuana smoking and alcoholism. This is ruining lives. The only hope they have is that God might change things. All we can do is pray.

The experience was a culture shock. As we drove for 400 kilometres along the very bumpy ten-metre-wide dirt road we saw random car wrecks. Donkeys blocked the road at one point; wild brumbys ran by and camels.

They find it hard to keep up with Government policy changes. When Government officials try to explain the changes it is so complicated they don’t understand. They feel powerless, but agree to the changes anyway.

The family that had invited us, waved as we turned up, happy to see us but reserved at the same time.Our group had brought up so much stuff - chairs, food, music equipment, craft supplies, water, bedding and clothing. It must have looked like we were going to move in for years, not a week.

There is a 17 year age gap between the life expectancy for non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians. They are also at high risk of heart disease and diabetes. It’s easy to understand the sense of powerlessness and desperation they feel.

By day two we were settled in. Those who had visited before quickly rekindled relationships. I was surprised at how shy the Aboriginal kids and women were - trying to work us out; watching our every move and missing nothing. One of the best experiences was a Bible study amongst the older women. Incredibly some of the ladies have been working for the past ten to 20 years interpreting the Bible into their own language. We asked one of them what her favourite Bible verse was. She said John 3:16, “for God so loved the world…”. White people take that verse for granted. Hearing it this time made me see Christianity stripped down to the bare bones. This

On a lighter note, getting to know the family at Pututja and a few other families from Ernabella and Fregon, helped me to see what a beautiful and unique people they are. They opened up their lives, their sacred sites and their artistic abilities to us. We were blessed to learn from them and to praise God with them. The concept of no time is so releasing; the lack of commercialisation is freeing; and the lack of technology brought everyone together and closer. This is how life is meant to be. The children were fantastic. They are incredibly intelligent knowing both their language and ours. They are really happy kids with a lot of energy. Pututja was the best and happiest experience I’ve had in a long time. One day I hope to help the family up there in some way.

Barry Atwell Could you do more if you had more help? Are you busy juggling work, family, sporting interests and your various roles at church? Don’t have the resources to do all that you know needs to get done? If these comments sound like you or the hardworking volunteers in your congregation, the good news is that help is near. Both the Resources Board and the staff team are grateful for the contribution church councils, office bearers and the countless volunteers make to ensure that things happen. However, they are also aware that local congregations can be released into greater effectiveness if the Board can offer services and practical help. Consequently the Resources Board has decided to survey local congregations to assess the quality of services it currently provides and if it is feasible to offer additional practical help in other areas. “We are aware that some folk might think: ‘Not another form to fill in.’ However, it is important that we hear from local leaders if we are to provide services that are actually needed, not just what we think congregations want,”

Barry Atwell, general manager, Resources. a survey team member said. The mandate of the Resources Board is “to serve the church by maximising financial and property resources available to the Synod for mission and to assist the Synod in allocating such resources efficiently in accordance with the mission priorities of the church”. The survey is planned to be distributed in October, with responses received by late November allowing collation of results in early 2009. Since the results of the survey will assist in fulfilling its mandate, the Resources Board would like to thank in advance all who take the time to complete this important survey. SEPTEMBER 2008


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MAGAZINE

New Times

Distance education beyond Coolamon Coolamon College is set to merge with Parkin-Wesley Theological College. For some years the Uniting Church National Assembly has not been able to adequately fund Coolamon College. Parkin-Wesley principal Rev Dr Andrew Dutney views the merger as a positive step. “The materials Coolamon has been providing will continue to be provided,” says Andrew. “Parkin-Wesley College is committed to that. “We already have a distance program, so from our point of view it’s expanding an activity we’ve been involved in for a very long time.” Jo-anne Fulton, Coolamon College acting principal, says present students won’t be disrupted during the transition process and should receive a more efficient service.

She says students will benefit from access to newer technologies, and Parkin-Wesley will continue Coolamon’s commitment to equity. “Distance education needs to be available to everyone and where people don’t have technology we can offer printbased text,” says Jo-anne. Assembly General Secretary Rev Terence Corkin has expressed gratitude to the staff, councils, committees, and volunteers who have served Coolamon College’s ministry over the years, ensuring its contribution to lay leadership education around the country. He also announced the Assembly’s commitment to fund a new three-year position that will provide a link between Parkin-Wesley and a range of distance theological education providers.

Kapunda to celebrate Rosanne Hawke Kapunda Uniting Church thanks God for 150 years of ministry and worship. In 1858 the present building was erected on Church Street for the Wesleyan Methodist congregation. On October 19, Kapunda Uniting will celebrate God’s kindness during the past 150 years. The celebration involves a service with visiting speaker, Rev Michaela Tiller, local music and lunch. A DVD on the social history of the church will be

available and a gift booklet for guests. There will also be a memorabilia display. The celebrations are supported by the Uniting Church Historical Society and the local council. On the same day UnitingCare Kapunda’s Counselling Service will be opened. Those interested in attending should contact Richard and Jennette Mickan on 8566 2282 or Gary and Rosanne Hawke on 8566 2246.

Small Change makes a Big Difference

Members of an interdenominational Book Club from left: Beth Roberts, Ron Kimber, Ruth Povey, Lee Parkin, Ray Mylius, Rev Allan Shephard, Arthur Tideman and Beth Mylius.

Deep in theological thought Jill Freear Deep theological thought is alive and well within an interdenominational Book Club which has been meeting at Morialta Uniting Church for the past 11 years. The group was started by the late Rev Nairn Kerr. While people have come and gone, the core membership of eight has been relatively stable in recent years. The members, aged from their 70s to their early 90s, love to debate the deeper things in life. And they love to disagree - to varying degrees - on matters such as whether God intervenes and whether there is life after death. Ninety-two-year-old Lee Parkin, a former Congregationalist and retired geologist, promises to SMS members with a definitive answer on the latter question, once he graduates. Book Club members enjoy each other’s company and the intellectual stimulation. They also enjoy the fact that they can say exactly what they think theologically and no one will judge them any the better or worse.

The group likes to use books as vehicles to explore their own life experiences. They’ve studied several by John Spong, as well as volumes by Marcus Borg, Michael Morwood, Andrew Dutney, Hugh Mackay, Norman Habel and many others. Over time their theological thinking has matured and clarified. Some have been confirmed in their faith; others are more comfortable in their doubt. The group meets fortnightly over a cut lunch and for an hour or two they happily ponder passages together. There is no set time for each book. “It doesn’t bother us if we linger over a book,” says retired Uniting Church minister Rev Allan Shephard. “But if it’s not stimulating we put an end to it.” Presently the group is exploring the nature of the divine, over Val Webb’s ‘Like Catching Water in a Net’. The quest for God is on-going. They’re not desperate to find any absolute answers. They’re content with the excitement and mystery encountered during the search.

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Christians can change the world Jill Freear Christians can change the world and can pressure governments to address some of the world’s biggest challenges such as poverty and global warming, according to American evangelical Christian leader, writer and political activist Rev Jim Wallis. Jim was in Adelaide at the end of July where he addressed a gathering at the Corner Uniting Church in Warradale. In his latest book, ‘Seven Ways to Change the World: Reviving Faith and Politics’ he argues that politics has failed to solve some of the biggest issues of our time and that’s why social movements are rising up to bring about change. “I do see a big shift getting underway to deal with the big issues such as global poverty, climate change, Darfur and Iraq and HIV Aids,” said Jim.

of slavery, to women’s sufferance, child labour laws and civil rights. It looks at how Desmond Tutu and the churches in South Africa were critical in overcoming apartheid and how William Wilberforce fought slavery in the United Kingdom. “All this is history. We need to make living history again.” Jim argues that change needs to happen on three levels – personal, communal and public policy. “If you are not making a change in our lifestyle, in your buying choices etc, then don’t lobby your MP,” he says. “Congregations must lead. If you care about global warming, how about developing carbon friendly churches and structures and practices, and then work on changing public policy.”

“This book is about how social movements have really made the critical difference throughout history and how people of faith can play a critical leadership role in effecting change. Ordinary Christian people are the most important, not the politicians.

Jim is scathing about the amount of time the world-wide church has spent arguing about sexual politics. “Jesus would probably care more about the 30,000 children who died today from utterly preventable diseases and unnecessary poverty, than he would about anti-gay marriage amendments in Ohio.”

“The book covers some of these great awakenings in the US which led to the abolition

Jim already has plans for another couple of books on social justice and spiritual formation.

Rev Jim Wallis, one of the most influential Christian leaders in America, was in Adelaide at the end of July promoting his latest book.

Support for the Riverland Music recorded

live for NCYC

David Badger, Barmera Uniting Church Council secretary

Barmera Uniting Church has received a $500 cheque from the people of the Port Broughton Uniting Church to support Riverland families hurt by the drought.

For the first time since the inception of NCYC, music for the up-coming event in January has been recorded in front of a live audience. The CD and DVD were recorded at a concert attended by 300 young people at the Glen Waverley Uniting Church in Victoria. “The best thing about a live recording, other than the excitement of the recording event, is that every NCYC delegate has the opportunity to learn the songs before NCYC, said NCYC music team leader, Jason Mann. The music ranged from pop and dance tunes through to

The covering letter expressed the prayer that ‘this small gift will bring with it a measure of hope and that your people will be encouraged as they realise that they are being uplifted in prayer by many across the state during this difficult period’. This support is a delightful expression of Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12:25-26: ‘The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part. . . If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance’. The Barmera Church has sent the gift to the Berri-Barmera Combined Churches Welfare program to help restock the emergency relief pantry. Spokesperson Wendy Mackintosh said there is an urgent need for basic food supplies as some locals struggle through tough times.

Barmera Uniting Church Council chairperson John Petersen gives $500 from the Port Broughton congregation to Wendy Mackintosh from the BerriBarmera Combined Churches Welfare program.

Upper Room leader visits Adelaide Ann Siddall Spiritual formation and time out for leaders will be the focus of a series of events this month, when the Stillpoint Spirituality Centre hosts the visit of Rev Marjorie Thompson from the Upper Room Ministries in the USA. Author of the book ‘Soul Feast: an invitation to the Christian spiritual life’ and with a wide experience of congregational spirituality, Marjorie will lead a series of events. ‘Refreshment for souls’ is a 48 hour retreat for leaders from September 14

to 16 at Nunyara. Participants will experience refreshment for themselves and discover practices for congregations. Marjorie will also lead events for Parkin Wesley College students and faculty, for the MRN team and for the Ecumenical Spiritual Directors’ Association. Stillpoint is drawing on part of a Uniting Foundation grant to support the events. Interested people may contact the Stillpoint Centre on (08) 8178 0048 or email: ann. stillpoint@internode.on.net.

blues and jazz sounds. The 14-piece NCYC band had everyone up and dancing right from the first song, called ‘Converge’, after the title of the conference next year. Congregations and individuals may order the NCYC09 music CD, DVD and songbook online at http:// ncyc.org.au or call the NCYC09 office on 1300 00 NCYC.

Web worship

With the aid of modern technology, Glen Waverley Uniting Church in Melbourne is preparing to beam a virtual worship service to Beeac Uniting Church in rural Victoria. The internet telecast worship service, which was due to take place as this edition of ‘New Times’ went to print at the end of August, is believed to be a first for any major Australian church. Glen Waverley Uniting Church member, Warren Greenwood said the project could pave the way for large city churches to assist regional churches. “For small congregations that cannot afford or justify full-time clergy, this new technology provides a wonderful opportunity to help maintain a worshipping Christian presence in their community.” Telstra is supporting the web streaming by providing Beeac Uniting Church free internet access for 12 months. SEPTEMBER 2008


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MAGAZINE

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West Papuan visit The Uniting Church SA held a reception for two key lay members of our partner church in West Papua in August while the couple were on a private visit to Adelaide. Menase Kambu is the mayor of Jayapura, the largest city in West Papua and his wife Welmina Kambuaya chairs the board of management of the Christian Education Foundation in Papua. The couple were in Adelaide for their daughter’s graduation. Atty Kambu has just completed a Masters in Commerce (accountancy) from the University of Adelaide. Rev John Barr, Uniting International Mission’s Asia secretary, and Uniting Church SA Moderator Rev Rod Dyson met with the couple to be updated on events in West Papua. The Evangelical Christian Church in Papua has recently appointed a new Moderator following the death of Rev Coriunus Berotabui from lung cancer in June. The Uniting Church SA has a partnership with the West Papua church which is based in the Biak Numfor region. The Uniting Church supports various programs there including health clinics and English language programs.

Rev John Barr from Uniting International Mission and Uniting Church SA Moderator Rev Rod Dyson met with Mrs Welmina Kambuaya and Mr Menase Kambu, from our partner church in West Papua, in Adelaide last month.

Call to support Island workers Churches are being encouraged to support seasonal Pacific Island workers following the Government’s announcement of a pilot seasonal labour mobility scheme. Uniting International Mission has welcomed the proposal. Spokesperson Frances Voon said the agency’s Pacific partners have long been calling for such a scheme, amid growing unemployment in the region.

OUR GIFTS AND PRIORITIES How reassuring and inspiring was the message from Rev Dr Andrew Dutney in the July issue of New Times. He brought to the fore again the church’s full raison d’etre requiring the need for apostles, prophets and evangelists with their priority to preach the gospel and offer Christ as Saviour and Lord to every generation. Our world has many people of good heart. Some have a religion; many have not, but they are concerned about inequities, sufferings and wrongs. They give their time, talents and total dedication to humankind and rejoice in making a difference. G K Chesterton wrote: “The worst moment for the atheist is when he is really thankful and has no one to thank. Joy, which has the small publicity of the pagan, is the gigantic secret of the Christian.” Jesus also dwelt amid social injustice, racism, sexism, poverty, dictatorship and cruelty. He reacted to them in the way he would have us follow as His disciples. But not to the exclusion of doing His Father’s will – offering pardon for past sins, a new beginning and eternal life through acceptance of Him as the Messiah and the Son sent by God as Redeemer. We too must be ever aware of our priorities. We, as Christ’s church, feel and share in the gigantic secret, when we are using every gift of ministry with which we are endowed. No gift demeans or outshines the others but depends on each other facet for its ultimate fulfilment. A thought becomes a written

SEPTEMBER 2008

“The scheme has the potential to bring greatly needed income and skills-building opportunities to Pacific Island communities,” said Frances. “It is also vital that adequate safeguards are put in place to ensure decent working and living conditions for Islanders in Australia. Churches can play a role in building community links, offering hospitality and providing pastoral support for workers.”

word; then is set to music; played on an instrument; joined by voices; becomes a glorious hymn of praise – all are gifts of grace. Jesus divined His church’s agenda. The Holy Spirit reveals their particular gift of ministry to each soul. God’s blessing surrounds us as we trust and obey. May the hopes for the Centre for Leadership Development come to fruition. Kath Whitby Plympton THANK YOU There are many times when it is wonderful to be a part of the Lord’s called, equipped, empowered and holy people - the Church. One of them is when one identifies with Paul when he describes himself at a certain time as “...in weakness, and fear and with much trembling” (2 Cor. 2:3). The world was turned upside down for myself and Janis on Friday May 23, when a doctor about to release me from Modbury Hospital, managed to muscle me into the CAT scan queue. He casually remarked, a little later, “There’s something there”. The “something”, a glioma, a level four brain tumour, was excised on May 26 by a brilliant surgeon Mr Matthew McDonald. There are many who will no doubt feel they have a better explanation of my theology and world view in the light of the presence of a tumour. Nevertheless, to belong to such a caring church, from Synod leaders and workers through to past and present (Walkerville) congregations plus those whom I have had the odd reason to debate, has been humbling and joyful. I have never said “Thank you” so much. This gratitude is above all directed to our Lord. Isaiah 42: 3a says: A bruised reed he will not

break and a smouldering wick he will not snuff out”. I feel sorry for those who do not know the grace, love, care and support that the Christian Church offers to those who feel their “illness is a trial” to others, (Gal. 4:14) through the grace of Christ. Thank you my friends in Christ. Robert Iles Walkerville Uniting Church GOD’S WORD INFALLIBLE A number of issues raised in August ‘New Times’ need to be addressed. Credit should go to the Australian Christian lobby for their effort to curb extravagant waste perpetuated by the use of fireworks displays. Trying to outdo other states or other years, continually, means unjustified waste on a grand scale, when our support for those who are suffering, is limited by that waste. Our focus on “being green” is totally out of proportion to our need as a church to: • See sin as sin. • See God’s written word, the scriptures, as infallible. • To see all who are not believers in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, as being totally lost, at risk of judgement and of need of the only way God in His love has offered for them to be saved. Let us love them enough to offer them this good news, rather than leave them in their wrong belief, or unbelief. Trevor C Carter Bordertown

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

A new book on ministry among Aboriginal people in Arnhem Land calls on all Australian Christians to intervene – in prayer – for the crisis facing Aboriginal churches. The book, ‘One Land, One Saviour’, is a collection of essays by 13 contributors who between them have more than 300 years of service to Aboriginal people. The book is published by the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and it marks the 100th anniversary of the first CMS mission to Aboriginal people in the north. CMS general secretary John Bales says ‘One Land, One Saviour’ it is being published at a significant time as recent developments have put Aboriginal issues back on the political agenda and back in the public consciousness. Mr Bales says in the past century government policy has gone full circle, from

protection to assimilation to self-determination and back to assimilation. He says the remote communities of Arnhem Land, originally intended as pathways to mainstream Australian life, have turned into violent, dysfunctional prisons. Co-editor Steve Etherington, who has 30 years of experience in the Top End, says Aboriginal Christians witness and minister in a world of profound and bewildering change. The book is an urgent call to listen to Aboriginal people and to respond in fervent prayer. Contributors include John Harris, award-winning author of ‘One Blood’, and Philip Freier, Archbishop of Melbourne and former Bishop of the Northern Territory. ‘One Land, One Saviour’ is available for $20 at moorebooks.com.au, koorong. com and qldbooks@cms.org.au. For more information contact CMS at 02 9267 3711.

Owen celebrates

A DVD and booklet are available celebrating the life and history of the Owen Community Church and the Owen Methodist Church. The Owen community recently celebrated the centenary of the Owen Methodist Church building, which was opened on June 17, 1908. Owen Community Church continues to be a strong part of the local community and holds regular Sunday worship, Fellowship meetings, Fish at 10 (a children’s program), prepares school seminars at the Owen Primary School and sponsors half yearly men’s breakfasts and winter pub chats. A booklet had been prepared on the church’s history which includes excerpts from the minutes of several major groups within the life of the church. A DVD of the history of the church and of the centenary celebrations is also available from the secretary of the Owen Community Church, Ian Freebairn; phone 08 8528 6062. The DVD costs $5:00 plus postage.


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New Times Volunteer workers are needed at the Red Dove Café. During the show (September 5 - 13) the cafe opens at 7.30am and closes at 8.00pm. Full and half day shifts are available. A show entry ticket and a meal are provided to volunteers. Tasks include food preparation, serving and cleaning up. Cashiers and scone makers would be particularly welcome. New and past volunteers please contact Pauline Giles on 8556 2194 (evenings). Spouses and partners of ministers are invited to the annual luncheon at the Church of the Trinity, 318 Goodwood Road, Clarence Park, on Friday October 17 at 12.30pm. Bring food to share. Theme ‘What about blue’. For further information contact Lesley Catford on 8332 9796 or Helen Blanksby on 8351 5770. Photographic display and competition at The Corner Uniting Church, corner of Diagonal and Oaklands Roads, Warradale; from September 13 – 18. Open from 10am 3.30pm Tuesday to Friday and from 1pm - 3.30pm Saturdays and Sundays. Come and see the variety of works; have a coffee and cake/light lunch in the café. Cherry Gardens Uniting Church is celebrating its 160th Anniversary in March 2009 and is seeking photographs of Cherry Gardens, its members and activities, for its upcoming celebrations. Digital images may be emailed to dubes@internode. on.net. Written material and photographs may be sent to Alan Dube, PO Box 488, Blackwood. If you would like material picked up, phone 8270 3264.

about working with prisoners through Kairos. Lunch $3. Enquiries to 8261 3843. For more Uniting Church events, visit Uniting Church online www.sa.uca.org.au and click on “What’s On”. There is an online form which you can fill out to contribute notices to Notebook.

Temple Uniting Church at Henley Beach is celebrating 125 years of work and witness in the community. A celebration service will be held on Sunday October 26, at 10.30am, which will be led by Moderator, Rev Rod Dyson. This will be followed by a celebratory lunch at 214 Military Road, Henley Beach. Enquiries to 8356 5600, or 8235 2460. To celebrate 100 years of the church building at Tumby Bay, plus 100 years since the beginning of the Methodist Ladies Guild, events are being planned on November 7, 8 and 9. A history book is being compiled of the Methodist and Uniting years. If you wish to be included, please send a brief resume to Fay Story PO Box 123, Tumby Bay SA 5605 or email: Selection-Hill@dodo. com.au Photos will be returned.

September 6, at 7.30 pm at 33 Fox Ave, Athelstone. Cost: $10 ($5 student). BYO nibbles, drinks etc. Enquiries to Bob on 8336 9905, or email auc@tpg. com.au. Stillpoint is expanding. From Tuesday September 23 at 7:30pm, a monthly Stillpoint Contemplative Worship will take place in the Enfield Uniting Church. Enquiries to Rev Gary Stuckey on 8178 0048 or email: gary.stillpoint@ internode.on.net. Kapunda Uniting Church celebrates 150 years with a celebratory service on Sunday October 19 at 10.30am. The service will be followed by a lunch and the opening of UnitingCare Kapunda. Enquiries to 8566 2246 or 8566 2282.

A Rural School of Ministry will be held at Thurna on September 5 and 6. The event will include input from UCA Rural Mission planners as well as fellowship with others from the region. Enquiries to Karen Parker on 8767 2405 or email: ruralsm@ bigpond.net.au.

The Gambier East congregation will celebrate 50 years of service and outreach this month. On Saturday September 27 from 3pm there will be an afternoon tea, followed by a BBQ at 5pm. On Sunday September 28 there will be a church service at 10am followed by a lunch and speeches. Enquiries and bookings to (08) 8725 1062 or email: ucamtg_office@ bigpond.com.

Athelstone Uniting Church is holding a Quiz Night to raise funds for young people to attend NCYC next year. The event is on

State Mission Fellowship will be held on Tuesday September 30 at Scots Church at 10.30am. Eric March and Bill Reddern will speak

The Australian Refugee Association is planning another double feature film night at the Chelsea Cinema (275 Kensington Road), on Sunday October 12 and 19. ‘The Duchess’ and ‘Taken’ will be screened. Tickets $14 adults and $8 students. For tickets phone 8354 2951 or 8161 3322; or email: fundraising@ ausref.net. Adelaide West’s City Youth Group is holding a motivational dinner for students from Year 11 to Tertiary level; on Tuesday September 30 at Nunyara, from 4pm, with dinner and speaker from 6pm. $20 for three courses. Contact City Youth on 8234 1199, or Ellen on 0438 898 663. Grange Uniting Church is supporting Frontier Services with the proceeds from a Saturday Morning Market, at 5 Beach Street, Grange, on Saturday October 11, from 9am to 1pm. Enquiries: 8353 4601.

Ministry moves Rev Tony Goodluck has accepted a placement to Modbury and Para Vista; exit student Liellie McLaughlin took up a half time position at Maughan Church last month; Rev Peter Morel will become the co-ordinating chaplain at St Andrew Hospital from October and Rev Sue Wickham will take up a placement at the Church of the Trinity this month.

Executive Director, Centre for Theology and Ministry

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UC Invest provides investment services to the wider Uniting Church community. Due to the growth of this operation there is now an opportunity available for an Investment Services Officer to join the team. Reporting to the Investment Manager, your role will include providing information to customers both face to face and over the phone and assisting the investment team with a variety of administration tasks. Your experience will have ideally come from a banking, credit union or insurance services type environment with a particular focus on customer service. This experience will be supported by your confidence, self motivation and attention to detail. If you have the mix of skills we seek and are looking for a flexible, people focussed environment, send your resume in Word format quoting Ref: 1921 to >««ÞJ>“iÀiVÀՈ̓i˜Ì°Vœ“°>Õ. Brief telephone enquires may be made to Adam Kennedy on 08 8228 3800.

JULY 2009 COMMENCEMENT The UCA Synod of Victoria and Tasmania (the Synod) is seeking to fill the position of Executive Director of the Centre for Theology and Ministry. The person appointed to this position will play a significant part in the oversight of the ministry and mission of the Synod, particularly within the life of the Centre for Theology and Ministry. The Centre for Theology and Ministry comprises the Synod’s Theological College and Discipleship Education Unit and resources lifelong education and spiritual formation for Christians in contemporary Australia. The Centre brings together teachers, trainers, students and the world class Dalton McCaughey Library in a profoundly ecumenical setting for face-to-face learning as well as on-line learning and regionally developed programs. It serves as a strategic hub for a ‘web of learning’ which seeks to link the resources of the Centre with award and non-award educational programs across Victoria and Tasmania. The appointee will be lay or ordained and a member of the Uniting Church. S/he will have significant experience within the areas of ministry that are the focus for the Centre for Theology and Ministry. Appropriate theological qualifications are essential along with excellent interpersonal, management and organisational skills. Expressions of interest are being called for immediately. An application package with full details of the position will be available after 20 August 2008. Expressions of interest should be directed to: Ms Robyn Hansen, Executive Assistant to the General Secretary Phone: (03) 9251 5215; email: robyn.hansen@victas.uca.org.au Applications will close on Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Work Wanted CARPETS LAID. Expert repairs. 0417 872 105 or 8344 4725. EXPERIENCED HANDYMAN Household repairs and maintenance. “Your spare pair of hands.” Phone 8346 0933.

Accommodation Holiday accommodation. Baptist Camp Halls Gap. Located in the heart of The Grampians National Park. Church and Family Groups welcome. Bookings: www.baptistcamp.info or David: 0439 001 547.

FOR SALE Lowrey ‘Heritage’ electronic organ – excellent condition. Multiple rhythm styles, orchestral sounds and presets plus recording and play back facility. Manual included. $900. Phone 8531 0224.

DESERT RETREATS.... Contemplative Silent Christian Retreats, Flinders Ranges, April and November each year. www.roysretreat.com or (08) 8556 4686

Restore your phonographic records or tapes to near original quality & preserve them on CD. Restore faded 35mm slides to original bright colour & preserve them on DVD. Ask us about VHS & 8mm film to DVD conversion.

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Kent Town SA Ph: 8362 2251 samediaworks@soundtrack.net.au www.samediaworks.soundtrack.net.au

Enfield Uniting Church ‘The Church in the Shopping Centre’ is seeking to appoint an

Office Administrator (Ministry Support) 15 hours per week (initially)

Applications for the position must be in writing, must address the Essential and Desirable Criteria and include the names and contact details of two (2) referees. Full details are available from Mrs Margaret Gunn, Chairperson, Enfield Uniting Church Council, 2 Park Street, Sefton Park SA 5083. Applications may be posted to this address or sent by email to: mhgunn@bigpond.net.au Closing date:10th September 2008

SEPTEMBER 2008


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MAGAZINE

New Times

Aboriginal book still powerful ‘Survival in Our Own Land’ is as powerful and poignant today as it was when it was first published 20 years ago, says editor/researcher Christobel Mattingley. The book about Aboriginal experiences in South Australia following white settlement was first published in 1988 as a South Australian 150th Jubilee initiative. It touches on the Stolen Generations, the church missions, land rights and the impact of the European legal system. The fifth printing was launched in Adelaide in July. Christobel is still grateful that the Uniting Church supported the book’s original publication 20 years ago when it struck a series of obstacles.

Stonyfell author Christobel Mattingley.

‘Alabaster Box’ at SAYCO Up to 600 young people are expected to attend this year’s South Australian Youth Camp Out (SAYCO), being held at Cornerstone College at Mount Barker from October 4 to 6. This year the event will feature Christian Band ‘Alabaster Box’ as well as the regular carnival and an expanded version of last year’s Xtreme games. Tea Tree Gully Youth Ministry coordinator Martyn Smith is the keynote speaker and will lead sessions around the theme ‘Dream dreams’. SAYCO committee chairperson Rev Ruthmary Bond said the event is now growing by 20 percent every year, as more 12 to 15 year olds join in. “Each year we have more churches signing up. We are also gaining young people as they graduate from KUCA Camp Out (KCO), and church kids are also bringing along their nonchurch friends,” she said.

“I knew at the outset that writing ‘Survival’ would be difficult but immensely important,” she said. “Some Aboriginal people have found their family and their origins as a result of this book. “I worked on it for eight years, conducting interviews, researching photos, writing, editing, preparing layouts and proof-reading – and I’m now the book’s custodian. “I heard so many devastating stories; I often sat with tears running down my face. “One story I will never forget is that of an Aboriginal woman who asked not to be named. She was put into a children’s home. The impact on her was so immense she didn’t want to have children of her own. She put off marrying until she was beyond child-bearing age, devoting herself instead to raising other people’s children.

“I’ve tried to tell these stories faithfully, keeping the authenticity of the voices. “Initially a lot of people who didn’t know me were suspicious and wondered why a middle-class white lady would be involved. “But I have a deep faith and I believe that I was called to empower Aboriginal people to tell these stories.” There are now 10,000 copies of ‘Survival in Our Own Land’ - some dispersed across the globe by Aboriginal people who wanted other Indigenous people to know their story. The book’s deep impact continues. This year Christobel was asked to talk about the book in prisons during NAIDOC week. The response from Aboriginal inmates was profound and intense. “It is deeply rewarding that the book still means so much to Aboriginal people today,” she said. “White Australia has a black history. Australia is a stolen country and Australian society was established in a stolen land. This book gives Indigenous people back some of their identity and respect. “Aboriginal people have a sad, terrible history and their pain will never be healed until this is understood and recognised.” ‘Survival in Our Own Land” is available at Tandanya, the South Australian Museum and bookshops. Christobel is now writing a book with Aboriginal people affected by the British atomic testing at Maralinga.

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New Times - September 2008