COMMUNITY NEWS FOR TODAY & THE COMING WEEK
Your gifts and prayers will help mothers in Zimbabwe to become conservation farmers, so they can support their children and harvest hope after years of devastating drought.
For Sri Lankan refugees, your generosity means the chance to return home and build safe, peaceful futures after years of displacement and civil war.
By supporting the Christmas Bowl, you will help the vulnerable people of Tonga to stay safe through worsening disasters—and find joy in their resilience.
Together, we can share God’s love with Syrian refugees in Jordan, by bringing them life-saving food and basics and emotional support. Through the Christmas Bowl, you are also shining Christ’s light on families in drought-stricken South Sudan. You are bringing them life-giving water, the simple blessing that sustains us all.
Thank you for sharing your blessings this Christmas Bowl, so together we can care for people who are hurting and build a better world for all.
(Christmas Bowl envelopes and Gifts for Peace catalogues are available on the table at the foyer door.)
OUR WIDER COMMUNITY
Meet Bard, the little Jack Russell teenager who now lives with me and my son Simon. I know that Bard is by no means the only member of the wider community of our congregation. Some of you will remember the delightful Vicar of Dibley episode when the Vicar decided to have a ‘Blessing of the Pets’ service. During January you may like to send me a picture of your pet for inclusion in this newsletter. (Robert Renton)
FOR YOUR INFORMATION - Special Congregational Meeting
A special Congregational Meeting will be held today at 10.45 am in the church for the purposes of hearing and responding to the recommendation of the Joint Nominating Committee of a Minister for the Congregation, to commence in early 2020. (Ken Storey, Congregational Chairperson)
Charles Harris—a struggle for justice, William Emilsen
Australia’s black problem is a white problem. The Uniting Church in Australia continues to confront the settler dispossession and genocide which from 1788 almost wiped out the indigenous people of this land.
The beginning of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and founding leader Charles Harris is told in the new book Charles Harris – a struggle for justice by William Emilsen (MediaCom Education 2019). A copy is available in our church library.
The Rev. Charles Harris began his Christian journey in Pentecostalist churches, where he trained in personal evangelism. When he became a Methodist Pastor, at West End Parish, Townsville, his theology developed with the struggle of his people for justice.
Those were years of the Bjelke-Petersen regime in Queensland, when paternalism towards Aborigines was policy, and the struggle for Aboriginal land rights was opposed vigorously.
At a UCA conference at Crystal Creek, north of Townsville, in August 1982, Charles shared his vision of an indigenous church.
The UCA National Assembly appointed Charles to the Commission for Mission. At the Commission’s request, he travelled all over Australia, inviting people Aboriginal and Islander people around Australia to come together at Galiwin’ku with the intention of forming a National Black Congress, and in August 1983 the UAICC with responsibility for all the work of the Uniting Church with Aboriginal people of Australia began its life.
Charles Harris (1931-1993) was a man of great courage. He faced racism in the church in debates leading up to the 1988 Bicentenary as much as he encountered bitter prejudice in the communities where he worked and in the sphere of Australian politics.
Charles’ contribution to the Uniting Church is significant as the man whose selfless, revolutionary, radical love for Jesus and demand for justice for his First Nations people brought the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Congress into being. (NT)
For your prayers this week…
For the recognition of January 19 as “Aboriginal Sunday” to stand alongside Australia Day as a national day of importance, recognising that Australia did not commence existence in 1788!
Vince and I share a common experience of having lived and worked in the coastal city of Qingdao, Shandong Province, on the flyway for migratory birds which come to Australia for the summer.
Upon completing high school, (“God gave me a smart mind, good at maths and physics”) Vince was selected to study at a prestigious university of aeronautics and astronautics.
On graduation he chose to work in a large food production conglomerate, in Qingdao and Shenzhen. Construction of the company’s new factories required Vince’s expertise in production engineering design; his tasks as supply chain manager included procurement of raw materials in Australia.
Appreciating the landscape and social environment of this country, when he and his wife looked for an Australian school for their daughter, they chose Melbourne as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
Now retired, he attends Crossroads and a Chinese Christian church in Point Cook.
He says: “Ten years ago, I had never planned to live in Australia. God has guided me. I feel the love of God here in this companionship. I appreciate the vision of Christ Jesus’ kingdom of compassion and justice. I find this in the mission and teaching of the people of the Uniting Church at Crossroads, Werribee. I love to sing the hymns, which have a meaningful message for all who worship here.”
We welcome him, as he grows in mature understanding of life in the community of Christ. (NT)
Worship Plan for this week
9.30 am Christmas 1 Service (Rev. Val Johnson)
10.45 am CONGREGATIONAL MEETING
12 pm Lisu Service
2.30 pm Dinka Service
Activities this week
Friday: 5 pm African Youth (Foyer)
Saturday: 10 am African Youth (Foyer)
Sunday: 9.30 am (Rev. Ian Pearse)
Bible Readings – 5 January 2020
Jeremiah 31:7–14; Ephesians 1:3–14; John 1:1–18; Psalm 147:12–20
Rosters for Next Week
Rosters for 5 January 2020
Minister: Rev. Ian Pearse
Duty Elder: Mary Dixon
Greeting: Robert Renton
Morning Tea: Betty Parker & Dorothy Rookes
Flowers: Salote Tupou
Reader: Sandra Savory
AV Desk: Noel Savory
Piano: Wendy Barnes
Housekeeping & Help
If you or someone you know is in need of pastoral care, please don’t hesitate to contact either Robyn Tomkins or Robert Renton. We’re keen to make sure that when people know that someone has gone into hospital or is otherwise ‘out of sorts’, that they are not forgotten. If we don’t know that someone has suffered some misfortune we are not likely to be able to visit or offer support in some way; so please let us know in such a circumstance.
CHURCH OFFICE AND NEWSLETTER
The Church Office will close on Friday 20th December and will be open only on Thursday mornings during January while our staff have a well-earned break.
Telephone 03 9741 1084. Postal address is PO Box 2156 Werribee 3030.