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Recognising Uniting Church contributions
Posted in Leadership
While debate rages about the meaning of Australia Day, and the date on which it is held, the Australia Day awards given on this day provide an opportunity to thank many people for their contributions and services to the community. (Note: to read more about Australia/Survival Day from Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan please click here.) This year the list of those being recognised includes several people with Uniting Church SA affiliaitions.
Simon Schrapel will this year be appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for “significant service to the community, particularly to children and families through social welfare organisations, programs and initiatives”.
Simon has served as a board member for Families Australia, representing UnitingCare Australia, since 2007. He has also served as the Chief Executive of Uniting Communities (formerly UnitingCare Wesley) since 2010.
Two Uniting Church leaders are also being awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia. Matthew Linn is recognised for “service to the community through refugee support organisations”, and the Rev Neale Michael RFD for “service to the Uniting Church in Australia, and to the community”.
Matthew has been a member of Aldgate Uniting Church for many years, as well as a member of Pilgrim Uniting Church between the 1980s and 2007. It was here that he became a trustee of the Pilgrim Uniting Church Foundation in 1996.
Neale served as Moderator of the Uniting Church in South Australia Synod between 1992 and 1993. During this time, he also served as Chairman of the South Australian Heads of Christian Churches Committee.
In earlier years, Neale served as Acting Superintendent of the Adelaide Central Mission (1972 – 1973), as Secretary of the Christian Television Association (between 1975 and 1976), and as a Minister of the Word from 1959 until 2000.
Neale also mentored young Ministers in the SA Synod for many years, and was a member of the State Council of the Australian Bible Society.
The Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) expressed his appreciation for all recipients of honours in a media release.
“We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to dedicate themselves to the betterment of our nation and it is only fitting that they have today been recognised through the Australian Honours system,” the Governor-General said.
Chair of the Council of the Order of Australia, Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK AFC (Retd) said these honours are “public recognition of people who provide outstanding community service and whose achievements enhance national identity”.
“By their actions, they demonstrate the qualities of positive role models,” Sir Angus said.
“The recipients are not only worthy of respect, but encourage emulation.”
In addition to the men recognised above, two Uniting Church SA members have received significant local recognition. Nicole Mugford of Naracoorte and Sarah Hammond of Mount Barker have each been named Young Citizen of the Year for their local areas.
Nicole receives her award for her work with young people of Naracoorte through the Naracoorte Primary School as pastoral care worker, and through the Naracoorte Uniting Church’s youth ministry.
Sarah receives her award for advocating for children suffering from juvenile arthritis. Sarah founded Kids Arthritis Australia, which supports children, their families and carers. She has also been appointed as the Children’s Worker at Echunga Uniting Church.
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