This week's news, notices & prayer points from congregations, the SA Synod, and the wider Uniting Church.
News, Notices & Prayer points - 14 April 2020
Posted in News
News & Notices – 14 April 2020
Below are the news and notices from congregations, the Synod of South Australia and the wider Uniting Church submitted for the Tuesday 14 April edition of UC e-News.
Prayer Points for the week
- All those in the world whose situation makes it impossible to practise physical distancing; or who have no access to running water or hand sanitiser. May the Holy Spirit inspire in us the courage and compassion to make a difference in their lives from our position of privilege.
- For women and children across the globe who are victims of domestic violence and who are now more isolated than ever, with their social supports and safety plans are in jeopardy. Find a UCA resource here.
Praying For Safety
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer issued a Pastoral Note just before Easter, urging Church members to be mindful of the safety of people in violent relationships.
"We are hearing reports of an increase in calls to Domestic and Family Violence helplines across the globe from women who are more isolated than ever, and whose social supports and safety plans are in jeopardy," said Deidre.
"We encourage you as members of the Uniting Church, in this difficult time, to stay connected with your neighbours, your friends and family."
The Pastoral Note includes a Prayer for People Living in Violent Situations and a suite of resources compiled by Rev Charissa Suli of the Assembly Resourcing Unit.
Read more here.
New Times copy deadline change
The copy deadline for the June/July edition of New Times has changed to Friday 15 May, one week earlier than originally planned and advertised. If you wish to submit and article, photo, letter or advertisement for this edition, please do so on or before the 15 May deadline.
Suggestions for articles are always welcome. The editorial team would be particularly interested to hear from you if you have an opinion on the online church services which our congregations have made available during times of isolation. Please send your ideas/opinions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preaching in a time a of trauma
During a season such as this when we are experiencing a global pandemic and many people are suffering various degrees of trauma, it can be difficult to know how to preach effectively. This article (read it here) is authored by Joni S. Sancken, author of “Words that Heal: Preaching Hope to Wounded Souls”, an excellent preaching and trauma resource.
The article contains suggestions for trauma-aware preaching that can build resilience in congregations and communities. Her book is a great, easy to read and has helpful tools in the appendix for preaching a trauma aware sermon.
Principles of Emergency Ministry
Another wonderful resource is from Rev Dr Stephen Robinson (National Disaster Recovery Officer, UCA Assembly) who has prepared a PowerPoint (with narration) entitled “Principles of Emergency Ministry”. This resource seeks to convey the essential things to keep in mind when responding to an emergency or disaster – particularly in the context of this pandemic. Here’s a link.
Discipleship resources sharing in un-gathered times
We are in a challenging new season, being the church un-gathered for worship and discipleship. The Synod of South Australia has gathered a list of Uniting Church congregations and ministries in South Australia and the ways in which they are resourcing and encouraging discipleship and pastoral care at home for people of all ages. We have also gathered resources from other denominations or interstate churches or ministries.
The resources include Bible studies for individuals, small groups, children and families, and ways to serve and pastorally care for each other. Please send us your congregation’s resources or online links to email@example.com so we can encourage and inspire one another while sharing the task of producing resources.
The resources can be found here.
Please feel free to download, adapt, share and/or print these resources for your church community.
There is a separate list available of links to resources for online and non-digital worship here.
In memoriam: Rev Dr Rodger Bassham
It is with deep sadness that we share the news of the sudden death of Rev Dr Rodger Bassham on Good Friday, 10 April 2020. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, his funeral will be restricted in attendance. Rodger’s family plan to record the funeral service and make the recording available online at a time in the future. UC e-News will carry details of when the funeral may be watched in due course. A Pastoral Note detailing Rodger’s ministry will be sent out today.
SA COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line
Uniting Communities is operating the South Australian COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line, established by the State Government to help those struggling with the current situation or with feelings of isolation. Counselling is offered over the phone and via video calls, along with referrals to a range of services if needed.
The Support Line is open seven days a week from 8:00am to 8:00pm on 1800 632 753.
Support to extend community grants
More than $64 million will be provided by the Federal Government to extend about 3000 grant agreements currently administered by the Department of Social Services for essential services to 31 March 2021 which had been due to cease over the coming months.
This includes grants for family and relationship services, mental health counselling for parents, services for families and children experiencing the impacts of alcohol and drug misuse, and technology to keep women experiencing domestic violence safe.
Read more here.
Didn’t read the last “News & Notices”? The items below will keep you updated.
Opposing nuclear waste facilities near Kimba
At last November’s Synod meeting the Synod SA resolved to continue to stand in covenantal solidarity with the Uniting Aboriginal Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) to oppose the Federal Government’s proposed nuclear waste facilities in South Australia.
Moderator Bronte Wilson and Covenanting Officer Tarlee Leonardis recently put forward a submission to the Senate Economics Legislation Commission urging the Federal Government to engage with traditional owners when considering nuclear waste sites. The submission was specific to the National Radioactive Waste Management Amendment (Site Specification, Community Fund and Other Measures) Bill 2020 [Provisions].
The Bill specifies a site near Kimba which is proposed as a nuclear waste facility. The Federal Government states that adequate community consultation has taken place. This is contradictory as the Barngarla traditional owners oppose the facility.
Break the Silence Sunday
26 April is Break the Silence Sunday. A free online and print-ready worship guide is available for all congregations who are planning to have a BTSS Worship on 26 April (as per the February 2018 Synod resolution). These resources are courtesy of the Pilgrim Uniting Church worship team and Rev Paul Goh, Justice & CALD Multicultural & Cross Cultural CMC Officer, and can be found here.
Do you have asylum seekers in your congregation?
Catherine Russell is currently establishing an anonymous database of asylum seekers in South Australia who are likely on bridging visas and therefore, amid the COVID-19 crisis, currently not eligible for welfare or medical assistance.
Please encourage any asylum seekers in your congregation or faith community to contact Catherine so that she can add them to her database. Contact Catherine on her mobile: 0412 680 378 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An update from UnitingWorld
“When a crisis like COVID-19 hits, it is the poor who are hit hardest”. Read this message from UnitingWorld, and more, in an email update sent last week. Read it here.
The National Council of Churches of Australia has released their latest newsletter – April 2020. Read it here.
What’s in your chocolate?
Advocacy groups publish international Easter chocolate scorecard
Australia-based Be Slavery Free is urging Australian consumers to make a difference this Easter and to buy chocolate eggs from companies which are addressing human rights and environmental concerns.
An estimated 2.1 million children are employed as child labour in cocoa, almost all found to endure hazardous conditions and a form on modern slavery, according to researchers at Tulane University and as defined under the Australian Modern Slavery Act.
Read more here.
More from News
As we approach the anniversary of the extinguishing of the disastrous bushfires on Kangaroo Island and after many delays, we are pleased to announce that Rev Mark Dickens will work with the Kangaroo Island community on behalf of the Uniting Church in a half time capacity.
Members of Synod, please note that many of the reports for consideration at our Synod meeting are now available on the Synod website.