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KCO 2018 letter to the wider Uniting Church SA community

21 Mar 2018

Below is a letter from the Uniting Church SA Moderator, Rev Sue Ellis and the Interim CEO/General Secretary, Rev Rob Brown which has been prepared by the 2018 KCO events team.

KCO has been a part of the life of the Uniting Church in South Australia for over four decades now and 2018 was to be the event’s 40th Anniversary. KCO still remains as one of the largest gatherings of church at any one time and is a treasured part of the Uniting Church’s worship together.

Last weekend, the event was scheduled to take place. However, it was complicated by late changes in weather conditions with an unexpected onset of lightning strikes and strong winds late Saturday morning. The event leadership team decided to cancel the event at midday. This decision was not made lightly, but was decided when it became evident that if the event were to continue, it would involve significant risk of injury, damage or worse as lightning, strong winds and thunderstorms continued

The KCO organising team worked hard to collaborate with Adare Uniting Church to ensure that children and leaders were safely undercover before conditions became dangerous. Adare Uniting Church generously offered their church hall to accommodate the first ‘Opening Ceremony’ session for KCO. Afternoon sessions followed with ‘Create’ craft activities and other low key activities were offered - these activities ceased at 4:30pm.

Church groups were alerted at midday on Saturday that the overnight event would be cancelled. Some churches made arrangements to send children home, other groups operated their own activities at their home church, whilst others opted to stay undercover on the Adare site. Thanks needs to be made again to Adare Uniting Church, the Adare Camp and Conference staff and the event administration team who did so much to make space available for all those who wanted to remain at the site.

In the midst of this difficult time, there were some great seeds of hope which occured. Some groups organised activities and invited others to join with them. The KCO team worked hard and selflessly, maintaining a spirit of fun and life throughout the proceedings. The efforts of all and the grace of God ensured that no one sustained any serious injuries and all were safe throughout the difficult weather conditions.

Although many groups expressed gratitude to the KCO event team, there will be some groups who may now feel upset and aggrieved by the events that transpired. If this is the case for yourself or someone you know, please speak to a member of the KCO event team. Your feedback will assist with the planning of any future events and for any similar situations that may occur in the future. Please also accept a big ‘thank-you’ on behalf of the KCO team for ensuring that children were kept safe throughout difficult circumstances.

Efforts are being made to understand what ‘follow-up’ is required by the KCO team from the groups that attended and from all those involved. It is understood that what occurred last weekend was a test of the KCO event systems. We feel reassured that the KCO team took every effort to ensure the safety of all involved. It is hoped that everyone who attended felt part of a much larger worshipping community and felt safe and supported at all times.

Due to the event cancellation, some finer details are still being worked through. The KCO team will pass on the relevant information to all those concerned at the earliest opportunity.

There are still some wonderful stories being shared from what was a quite unexpected KCO. We are grateful to God for the blessings that flowed over the short time people experienced at KCO. We are thankful to the KCO team, the group coordinators, the staff and volunteers for the care and heartfelt generosity that was demonstrated towards the children and leaders at this year’s event. We look forward to a drier KCO in 2019!

For further information and feedback, please contact the KCO office on (08) 8236 4270 or kco@sa.uca.org.au.


Rev Sue Ellis & Rev Rob Brown (on behalf of the KCO team)


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