News, Notices & Prayer points - 21 December 2021

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News & Notices – 21 December 2021

Below are the news and notices from congregations, the Synod of South Australia and the wider Uniting Church for Tuesday, 21st December, 2021 edition of UC e-News

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Prayer Points for Mwandi:

We pray:

  • For children’s health as they move into the school break that they will be free of COVID infections and will remain safe over the Christmas season
  • For the funds that are available for those children requiring surgery at Biet Cure Hospital, and for those needing medical attention that it will be readily available in the new year
  • For the continued sponsorship of students and for the successful completion of this year’s studies and enthusiasm for the year ahead
  • For the staff and volunteers associated with the OVC Project that they may carry out their tasks with enthusiasm and love that the Lord provides.

 


 

COVID Update

On 17th December, the SA government released the latest Covid-Ready Plan to apply from 28 December 2021. Please find it here.

It is also available on the Synod website at this link: https://sa.uca.org.au/uniting-church-media-releases/covid-19-update.

We are currently seeking clarification from the government around the restrictions on singing in worship when all in attendance are not fully vaccinated. The Synod’s guidance at this time is that unless you can be confident and compliant in ensuring all attendees at your services are fully vaccinated (consultation requirements and privacy legislation apply), congregations should plan not to sing in worship on 2nd January 2022. This includes not having a person or persons at the front singing.

We believe that this is the most inclusive option to allow congregations to continue to meet at a time when visitor numbers are higher and the directions are still to be confirmed.

As soon as further clarification is available from the government, we will provide it to you. 

 

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UCA President’s Christmas Message

This Christmas, amid the weariness, anxiety and tension in our world, the birth of Jesus brings hope, says UCA President Rev Sharon Hollis.

‘Jesus brings hope that God not only witnesses the suffering of the world but enters into it in solidarity. Hope that God is with us, amongst us and alongside us in Jesus.’

The President's first Christmas message is now available to download for UCA congregations and faith communities to play at Christmas services and events.

We also share Christmas messages from Synod Moderators on the Assembly website. The President's message is password protected (P/W: Hope2021) until Christmas Day.

 

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In need of a last minute Christmas gift?

Uncle Nelson Varcoe’s God inspired songbook and CD Gift of Music is sure to make a special gift. The Gift of Music contains 25 original songs in country-gospel style. These are songs of reflection, teaching, encouragement, proclamation and provide insight into the faith of many Aboriginal Christians. The country-gospel style ensures singable melodies, easy rhythms and memorable lyrics that take us into prayer, praise, reflection and proclamation about the wonder of God in our lives.

Available from Mission Resourcing the Gift of Music (book and CD) is priced at $29.95 (plus $10 for postage and packaging). To ensure you have your copy before Christmas the Gift of Music will be available for purchase at the Uniting College for Leadership and Theology in Brooklyn Park on Tuesday 21st December and Wednesday 22nd December between 10am and 3pm. Contact covenanting@sa.uca.org.au or (08) 8236 4264 to arrange payment and collection/postage.

 

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Act2

Act2 is the biggest conversation in the Uniting Church right now - but why are we having it?

  • To be a church of vibrant and life-giving local communities of faith
  • To be always attentive to where the Spirit is leading
  • To be honest about our strengths, challenges, and context
  • To make sure our ways of being Church truly reflect our identity.

In this story we take a look at the vision behind Act2, a process of imagination and discernment about how faithfully following Christ in our time and place shapes our own life and the presence of the Uniting Church in the world. Read more at this link.

 

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Bring Hope to Afghan Refugees this Christmas

The situation for refugees from Afghanistan is getting worse. UCA President Rev Sharon Hollis has joined the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce (ACRT) to encourage people to bring hope to those seeking safety and refuge by contacting their local MP before Christmas asking their support for a more generous response to the crisis. More information is available at this link: https://uniting.church/bring-hope-to-afghan-refugees-before-christmas/

 

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CALD-Intercultural Ministry Research Report released

Mission Resourcing has released its draft research report on ‘Mapping Intercultural Neighbourhoods in SA.’ It presents the findings of CALD-Intercultural Ministry Surveys with 55 Uniting Church leaders and interviews with 30 CALD leaders, which was conducted between March and May 2021 by Rev Dr Paul Goh and his research team. It includes a two-page executive summary, guidelines for building relationship and partnership with CALD faith communities and ten recommendations for Action Plans under three foci of Synod Strategic Priorities 2021-2025: Understand Who We Are as UCA; Create Local Connections; and Support Ministries on the Margins. To request a copy of the full report please email: pgoh@sa.uca.org.au.

 

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Refugee Prayer Guide for Advent and Christmas 2021

All Uniting Church members and congregations are encouraged to pray for refugees and asylum seekers with deep compassion and hope during the season of Advent and Christmas. Synod Refugee Advocacy group has put together a two-page Refugee Prayer Guide with the latest statistics and information to use with your congregation. You will find the prayer guide at this link.

 

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Stipends Update

At its meeting on 3rd December 2021, the Synod Standing Committee approved an increase to the minimum ministerial stipend of 2.25% effective from 1st January 2022.  This decision was made on the recommendation of the Synod’s Stipends Committee. You may recall that an increase of 1.5% was provisionally approved at the August Synod Standing Committee meeting, to be confirmed in December. The reason for this change relates to the current level of economic instability brought about by the financial impacts relating to COVID-19. An email update was sent to all Treasurers on 9th December 2021 and a copy is available at this link.

The updated Approved Stipends Schedule is also available on the Synod website at this link: https://sa.uca.org.au/stipends/

 

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Let every heart prepare him room …

Following on from the success of their Daily Reflections for Advent in 2020, Gartrell Church is again producing Reflections - for its own community and as a way of virtually walking beside those who are searching for God.

The Reflections are posted online daily, and all are invited to share them. The daily Reflections for each day of Advent have been prepared by the community of Gartrell Church … they provide resources and support for a daily practice reading a passage from the Bible, a reflection and concluding with a prayer, and a piece of music.

Reverend Beth Seaman says: ‘In the same way we prepare for Christmas Day by making the rooms in our homes welcoming with decorations and lighting, we make room to meet with friends and family and we make room in our budgets to purchase gifts as an expression of our love … we also make room in our hearts for God. When you make room each day for reading, reflection and listening, you prepare your heart to sing.’

The Reflections can be downloaded at https://gartrell.ucasa.org.au/meditations-and-reflections/

 

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Advent Resources for all ages

The ‘Christmas Family Faith Trail’ is free for churches to gift to households or small groups to explore the events of the Christmas story through five interactive stations. Each station includes a theme, Bible passage, questions to chat about, and activity ideas for different ages including pre-school, primary school and adults; and prayer ideas. The resource can be downloaded at this link: https://sa.uca.org.au/intergen/family-resources/

Also available is a ‘Letter for churches’ with ideas for running one station or modelling elements of this resource.

Year C Advent – ‘Something is Coming!’ is a resource that includes a selection of verses and concepts across all lectionary readings for each week of Advent, and to engage together and interact with the story of Christmas. This resource can be scaled to the size of the congregation and used as part of the worship service. The resource can be downloaded at this link: https://intergen.org.au/product/advent-series-something-is-coming/

Recently an online seminar was held with the author – to view the recording please visit: https://www.facebook.com/UCAChildrensMinistry

 

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APY Lands Children in Need

Please consider donating toys for children in remote country APY Lands and regions who desperately need resources and toys this Christmas. Melissa Thompson, the new and first female pastor of the Uniting Congress Church seeks your help at this time to set up a ministry that supplies Christmas toys and resources to children who are in very high needs remote areas.

Donations of toys and resources are welcome and Candice in the Uniting Church Congress office can assist to direct toy and Christmas donations up to the end of December. Candice can be emailed on chazeldine@sa.uca.org.au. Alternatively the ministry is located at 17 Bedwin Street, Salisbury North and there is a Christmas tree where donations can be left for children from 0-18 years.

Call Melissa Thompson on 0476 461 528 or Sally McPherson on 0404 616 038. Please label the age of the child on any donations and place in a Christmas wrapping or bag.

 

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Sally Stamp

Thanks are expressed once again to churches, fellowships and businesses who have saved their stamps to enable the UCA Stamp Group to fund shipments to the Pacific Islands and beyond via South Pacific School Aid Inc. who send School books and aids overseas. If you have any books to donate you can contact our group. This year we have also paid $1,000 to Uniting College, Brooklyn Park and the outback pastor Rev Sunil (Sunny) Kadaparambil, Parkin-Sturt, SA. Donations of collections no longer required are very welcome, Maxine Haines, Convenor, UCA Stamp Group, jimmax.haines@bigpond.com or mobile 0427 972 417.

 

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L’Arche Adelaide Annual Community Weekend

A great weekend of fellowship, discussion, creativity, music, worship, fun and games and great food. The theme of the weekend will be ‘resilience.’ All are welcome to attend all or part of the weekend. Building faith community with people with intellectual disability.

Saturday, 15th January, 2022 (9.00 am – 9.00 pm) and Sunday, 16th January, 2022 (10.00 am – 2.00 pm). For more information email: larchadelaide@gmail.com

L'Arche Adelaide produces a quarterly newsletter which is available at this link.

L'Arche is an international federation of faith-based communities where people with and without intellectual disabilities live together in a mutuality of care. L'Arche Adelaide is planning to open its first community house soon.

 

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CMLA Planning Day

CMLA is pleased to bring you their 2022 Planning Day on Thursday February 3rd, 2022 at Campbelltown Uniting Church from 10.00am – 2.30pm. It’s an opportunity to get a heads up on the year ahead and spend planning time and brainstorming ideas with others in ministry. There will be prayer, discussion times, and time for personal planning. Dr Deidre Palmer will lead attendees through lectionary year C and the gospel of Luke to consider what themes and preaching points you might find in the year. Rev Philip Gardner will lead a session on wellbeing. Bookings can be made through the CMLA website: cmla.org.au. You can also download the flyer here.

 

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Click here for the News, Notices & Prayer points – 14th December 2021

Check out last week’s UC eNews here to keep you updated.

 


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