Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Meet the DUCA network: Rev Graham Anson (Deacon)

Rev. Graham Anson has been Executive Minister at Wayside, Bondi Beach since 2015. 

After a few years as a trainee accountant Graham moved into community-based ministry in 1985, starting as a youth worker in Redfern. This included running a drop-in centre and youth groups for kids who would otherwise have been on the street. It was during this time that he developed a passion for creating spaces and moments of connection based on acceptance and inclusion, compassion and love. After another similar role in the inner-city he had two lengthy placements in regional oversight of youth work in the Uniting Church. 

He was ordained in 2008 while in placement at Campbelltown, where he was a community-based minister. Add in a short stint in a state-wide role promoting and supporting new initiatives, and Graham brings a wealth of experience in innovation; growing and developing communities – where everyone’s experiences are respected and their contribution is valued. 

Along the way Graham has completed degrees in Theology and Sociology.

(Source: Wayside Chapel website)

Meet the DUCA network: Jon Owen, Deacon candidate

Jon Owen is a Deacon candidate. He began as Pastor and CEO of Wayside Chapel in July 2018, taking over from Rev Graham Long after he announced his retirement from the role of 14 years. Jon was chosen from 50 potential applicants after a robust and independent selection process conducted by Wayside’s Board. Jon was already a big part of Wayside, working as Assistant Pastor and Head of People and Culture since November 2016 and all of our community was delighted with this decision.

Jon has dedicated his life to closing the gap on inequality, both living and working amongst some of the most disadvantaged communities in Sydney and Melbourne. Jon is a qualified social and worker and prior to Wayside, he built his way up through the organisation Urban Neighbourhoods of Hope, an international not-for-profit organisation specialising in community development and care coordination for families living in poverty. In this role, he shared his family home with those seeking asylum, refugees, people in recovery and ex-prisoners.

Jon lives and breathes Wayside’s mission of creating community of no ‘us and them’ and looks forward to carrying forward Rev Graham Long’s legacy into the future. He is joined by an accomplished team of 140 staff and some 600 volunteers each week at Wayside Chapel.

(Source: Wayside Chapel website)

Monday, August 31, 2020

Formation for Ministry - Ministry of Deacon in the UCA

August 2020

Deacon candidates and supervisors, and Formation Panels, may find Formation for Ministry - Ministry of Deacon in the UCA, a helpful resource.

Since the renewal of the diaconate, there have been issues with formation of Deacon candidates, and especially the lack of specificity for diaconal ministry. The document 'Standards for Theological  Education and Formation Phase 2', there is tremendous flexibility and it is important for Deacon candidates and their supervisors recognise they are 'co-drivers' with the Formation Panel and faculty in deciding what content and courses will be part of the formation for diaconal ministry. 


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)