Monday, June 10, 2013

Hands on ministry

Rev Karen Mitchell-Lambert lends a hand to preparing for the Wesley UC Craft Show, held on Friday 10th May 2013 to raise money for school fees for students in Vanuatu, and part of the leadership team for Kids Camp Out 2013.
Rev Karen Mitchell-Lambert at the sewing machine
Wesley UC kids and leaders (including Rev Karen Mitchell-Lambert) attending Kids Camp Out 2013

Rev Aimee Kent, Community Minister, Goulburn

Rev Aimee Kent
Rev Aimee Kent is working with the Goulburn New Faith Community to foster new creative forms of Church.
Aimee trained initially in Social Work whilst she worked as a Family Youth and Children’s Worker with Wagga Uniting Church, and later in University Ministry at Charles Sturt University Wagga Campus.
Aimee trained in Theology at the United Theological College, North Paramatta and was ordained as a Uniting Church Deacon in 2012. Aimee has worked with the World Council of Churches as a volunteer in the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) program.

Faith on Earth: An Ecoministry

(this is from 2010 but a good insight into Jason John's work as Ecominister, Mid North Coast, NSW)
“This is exactly what I needed to hear,” remarked one participant during the Creation Spirituality session at Faith. On Earth, held in Bellingen in September. Faith. On Earth was a weekend gathering organised as part of the Uniting Church's Mid North Coast Presbytery Ecoministry. Participants were challenged not to leave creativity to the professionals but to realise that creativity is intrinsic to all living things.
A food workshop followed with local food from the area, including produce from the Northbank Community Garden, which participants picked and ate around a campfire.
The Rev. Dr Jason John, part-time minister of the Bellingen Uniting Church and part-time ecominister in the Mid North Coast Presbytery, said, "Every single thing we eat, we realised, links us to dozens or hundreds of other people: growers, harvesters, transporters, distributors and so on. How does the food we choose to eat, and the way we eat it, reflect our faith?"
After joining the regular Bellingen Ecofaith Community on Sunday, participants explored the new creation story emerging from the study of cosmology and evolution, and what that meant for some of the traditional propositions of their faith.
Dr John said, "The image of God cannot be limited to our species alone: our vocation is neither dominator nor servant, but reverer -- or lover -- of life. We are not the centre of God’s story and all creatures are -- literally -- our neighbour."
With Miriam Pepper from Uniting Earthweb, participants rejoiced in the number of community gardens and other sustainable food projects springing up in churches around the state.
"Everyone came away encouraged in our conviction that our faith should reflect that we live on this earth and that our relationship with creation is interwoven with our relationship with Earth’s Creator."

For more information about the Faith. On Earth weekend, see
For more information about Ecofaith, see

Western Sydney - a view from Mt Druitt

Western Sydney has been a focus for election campaigning this year. It is an area of Sydney that struggles with issues of housing, unemployment, violence, and social-economic issues.
Uniting Church deacon and community minister John Dacey said despite many isolated and vulnerable locals struggling with poor housing and unemployment, there was a strong sense of community in Mount Druitt.
''There is a good feeling here. It's not like the middle-class suburbs where people just hide in their McMansions and don't talk to each other,'' he said.
He cited successful programs such as the Midnight Basketball tournament bringing 50 to 60 young people together every Friday night for team sport and life skill workshops.
''Recent events are just a coincidence. There is no simple catalyst. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Overall, I'd say Mount Druitt is improving. I've seen the improvement over the past 10 years.''*
Rev John Dacey highlights the way strategic programs can positively benefit the local community. The Mt Druit Community Ministry provides a place of welcome and hospitality, information and referral, and leisure and learning activities such as playgroup, afer-school activates and helping students struggling with conventional schooling. Five congregations – four of them Pacific communities – use the centre for worship. Community Minister, Rev. John Dacey is involved with monthly English-speaking services with two of the congregations, seeking to reach out to the wider community as well as maintain their cultural traditions. An Indigenous Children and Youth Worker runs weekly children’s programs, acts as a role model and mentor for both Indigenous and other Australian kids, and leads Bible study and worship.
(* Read the full article from the Sydney Morning Herald (August 2012)  here)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Meg Evans retiring

In April, Meg Evans retired from her ministry as a Frontier Services Padre in Tasmania.
Frontier Services family (Left-Right) Judy Knowling (formerly Pilbara Patrol), West Coast Patrol Minister Gay Loftus, Rosemary Young, Colleen Grieve (formerly West Coast Patrol) and Meg Evans.

Hundreds gathered in the Midlands of Tasmania on Sunday to farewell Meg, who has finished up after 10 years. Her final service at the Oatlands Uniting Church was a wonderful celebration of her ministry, with many warm wishes extended for her retirement. Meg was the first minister appointed to the Midlands Patrol when it was established in 2003. Extending across the Midlands and Central Highlands of Tasmania, the Patrol covers the small towns of Oatlands, Ross, Bothwell and Campbell Town and the isolated properties in between. Looking back on her time in the Midlands, Meg reflected on her work as a “ministry of presence”.
“As more and more services leave these rural areas, the presence of the church is really significant,” she said. “It’s important just to be there. It has been such a privilege to be a part of people’s lives, to have people trust you, and to share in the hard times and the good times.”
As the Midlands Patrol Minister, Meg has led 114 funerals, 33 weddings and 35 baptisms. She has walked alongside generations of families, through their highs and lows. In her final week, she conducted a baptism for a family she had come to know well. Meg buried the grandfather, married the children and now welcomed the grandchildren, touching four generations in one family! 
In May, Frontier News - May 2013 featured her in an article entitled 'Caring for the Midlands'. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Congratulations, Rev Frances Bartholomeusz!

Rev Frances Bartholomeusz was ordained as a Deacon in the UCA on 12th January, 2013. Congratulations! She will take up a placement as a community outreach worker at Murray Bridge UCA.
Rev Frances Bartholomeusz

Rev Frances Bartholomeusz and SA Deacons

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

With white knuckles and gritted teeth

Reading this short account of James Godfrey highlighs the breadth of ministry agents serving in diaconal ministry in the Uniting Church, and of the way that diaconal ministry often calls for 'white knuckles and gritted teeth' to hold in tension the often competing challenges of diaconal ministry and the institutional church, and also highlights the particular strengths of character and resolve required to remain attentive to the call of diaconal ministry.

'James Godfrey has four children under six years old. Let’s just sit with that for a moment. When I first met him he had a fairly impressive Mohawk, and once described to me the rumble of his motorbike as ‘like music’. Lead into ordained ministry through experiences working with people on the margins of society, he talks about the Uniting Church as being a place of welcome “that has accepted me and all my idiosyncrasies, and provided channels through which I can serve the Gospel”. He remembers the revelation of the formational process. “It revealed to me”, he wrote, “my own appetite for autonomy and authority … my impatience with the frailties of the church. With white knuckles and gritted teeth I have let myself go”.

(from an article by Bethany Broadstock,