The church council says thank you to the many people who contribute to the life of the church in so many ways – setting up for worship, cleaning up after morning tea, hospitality, birthday cakes, thank you cards, ideas, presence, welcomers, banking, administrative tasks, care for each other, care for children in worship, prayer groups, gospel conversations, Bible study, music, creativity, financial contributions, SSH production, distribution and sales of advertising, art classes and exhibitions, maintenance of church property and grounds, gardeners, Garden Shelter volunteers, and living out our mission in this place.
1. Current mission statement
Open to God at work in the world, we seek to be a Spirited community of peace and justice, faithfulness and respect for difference. With Christ we dare to be real and honest about our lives, sharing gifts of friendship and hope with each other and with our neighbours.
2. Church council
Church council membership: Andrew Collis (Minister in Placement), Anne Camac, Catherine
Skipper, Cathie Harrison (secretary, also secretary of the congregation), Dorothy McRaeMcMahon (Minister-
Robinson (overseas from August to October), Julie McCrossin (treasurer), Lyn Turnbull, Maidie Wood, Margaret Vazey, Miriam Pepper (chairperson, also chairperson of the congregation), Naomi Ward and Shelley Brunson.
Since the 2016 AGM, church council has met eight times (November, then monthly since February).
Throughout the year we have been taking time to learn more about leadership and governance in the Uniting Church – including through reading and reflecting on parts of the Basis of Union and the Uniting Church regulations, learning about consensus processes, and sharing responses to devotions led by Andrew. A “Healthy Church Councils” resource booklet provided by the Synod (Uniting Mission and Education) has been invaluable. We have started to use consensus cards in our decision-
A major part of the work of church council in 2016 has been our visioning process.
Given the size of the church council, we have also been breaking up into smaller working groups during meetings – particularly with regard to ministry areas that are in need of extra resourcing. The following working groups have met during some church council meetings:
Our church has many diverse ministry activities, and in a year when we have the additional responsibility of our visioning processes, church council has felt a need for targeted, professional administrative support to help us to improve our systems and to assist us with some specific tasks. Nicole Barnes of SOHOrganised started work with us in August, at an average of two hours per week, until the end of 2017.
3. Visioning process
We are in a period of growth, change and opportunity in our church. Andrew is in his tenth year of ministry with us and we are required to review his placement. Ten years is typically the maximum length of placement for ministers in the Uniting Church, and approval is needed from the presbytery for a placement to continue beyond this. We are also required to review Dorothy’s role as Minister-
Since February, our church council has been holding a space for visioning and discernment together about what we feel God is calling us to – and has undertaken an exercise of appreciative enquiry, reviewed our church’s mission statement, and considered our priorities for the coming five years. Both Andrew and Dorothy feel a strong sense of vocation to continue in ministry at South Sydney. At a congregational meeting in August, the congregation gave feedback on a revised mission statement and on ten priorities for our ministries over the next five years. The congregation affirmed that Andrew is the right person to be Minister in Placement with us for the next five years, and affirmed the continuation of Dorothy’s role with us as Minister-
Sydney Presbytery will soon start a consultation with us. Its purpose will be to strengthen the life and witness of our church and to assess our future ministerial and lay leadership needs. Andrew will also undergo a process to review the vitality of his ministry and further explore his sense of call. These presbytery processes will be conducted together, and will be informed by the visioning work we have been undertaking as a church council and congregation.
4. Supply ministry
Andrew took long service leave and study leave from August 26 to December 24, 2016. We were delighted to welcome Anne Jordan PBVM (Presentation Sister), co-
Anne wrote to us recently to give input in relation to our visioning process. She expressed gratitude for all that has enriched her life and ministry through connection with us and for the richness of shared ministry over the last few years.
We are also very grateful to Marjorie Lewis-
Heather Robinson, Miriam Pepper
Please let Duncan know if you have trouble hearing during the service so that adjustments can be made to the microphone.
A worship planning group meets every fourth Sunday of the month, following our Sunday morning service. This year the group has written prayers – including prayers on the paragraphs of the Basis of Union – and has worked on themes, symbols and songs for the seasons of the church year. Elders lead prayers of the people once a month.
We light a candle each week for refugees.
Lent and Easter
An Ash Wednesday service was held in the evening. Lent Event discussions were held in the church on Sundays during Lent, 12-
Easter Services began with a Holy Thursday meal and foot-
Fr Claude Mostowik MSC, Convenor of Pax Christi Australia, was the guest preacher on August 6 to mark both the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and the Feast of the Transfiguration. Auntie Pearl Wymarra also launched her prayer of thanksgiving and acknowledgment of first peoples at this service.
Homeless persons memorial service
A moving service was held 11th August at Redfern Park, with other services held at Shannon’s Reserve (Surry Hills) and Tom Uren Square (Woolloomooloo). This is the second year these services were held, and they were a cooperative venture of Hope St (Baptist Care) and Woolloomooloo Baptist Church, Cana Communities, David's Place, Jesus Cares, Matthew Talbot Hostel (St Vincent de Paul Society), Streetlevel (The Salvation Army), South Sydney Uniting Church, Urban Ministry, Wayside Chapel and Wesley Mission.
Season of Creation
Season of Creation began with Forest Sunday (guest preacher Dr George Emeleus), and will be followed by Land Sunday, Wilderness/Outback Sunday and River Sunday. Thanksgiving for Creation/St Francis and St Clare of Assisi/Blessing of the Animals will be celebrated on October 1, with the offering to be collected for Monika’s Doggie Rescue.
Prayers in Support of Blue Knot Foundation
We continue to collaborate with the Blue Knot Foundation and support their National Day of Awareness for Adults Surviving Child Abuse, Blue Knot Day. We have done this since the first Blue Knot Day (then called Forget-
It is extremely important to respond to the call from the Blue Knot Foundation for people to unite in support of adult survivors of childhood trauma, and to respond specifically to the call for people of faith to unite in prayer. The Church has not always been a safe place, has sometimes failed to provide comfort and protection, has perpetuated hurts and has not always taken responsibility for its actions. In coming together as the body of Christ with prayers of grieving, confessing, beseeching and hoping we have made a place for truth to be told, acknowledged and heard. Childhood trauma can be confronting and difficult to talk about and difficult to hear. But healing and justice do not happen in secret. Supportive communities help survivors recover.
Sunday 15th October will be our eighth annual worship service with prayers supporting adult survivors of childhood trauma. On Sunday 22nd October at 3pm we will hold our third interfaith service at Pitt Street Uniting Church.
Heather Robinson, Miriam Pepper
6. Children’s ministry
We have a happy and lively group of nine kids who are with us regularly. As well we welcome visiting children.
A highlight for me this year was seeing Mark Jnr so thrilled to act the part of Naomi to show us hospitality in action. And of course the low light was Ben’s fractured foot from our picnic.
There have been significant changes this year:
Do you know how many bible books start with J?
Our draft mission statement from 2016 still needs to be updated. We aim to complete this by the end of 2017.
7. Birthday celebrations
Birthdays have continued to be celebrated on the third Sunday of each month after church during morning tea. Naomi Ward brought in a homemade cake with symbols on it representing members of the congregation who were celebrating their birthday of that month. It was also an opportunity for those who would like to acknowledge and celebrate special events i.e. their wedding anniversary, family members birthdays, our canine friends’ birthdays and any visitors to our church that day who had a birthday during that month. The purpose behind the birthday/celebration cakes is for each person celebrating their birthday to feel acknowledged, valued, loved, and worthy of being celebrated just for being. Happy Birthday was sung with lots of hip hips and cheering. This was an opportunity for the church to unite together and bless those celebrating. The children then enthusiastically continued this blessing by taking the cake around and serving it to others over morning tea.
8. Pastoral care
Elders have been meeting monthly to care for each other, our congregation and community.
Ten things we do at pastoral care meetings:
Some churches have a pastoral care list, whereby congregational members are assigned to an elder or minister. We don’t have such a list at South Sydney – pastoral care is continually offered, and people are invited to ask if visits or prayer is wanted. We use the parish role in pastoral care meetings to ensure no one is being overlooked.
Please continue to give feedback to elders/church councillors/ministers on what is helpful, not helpful, or matters of concern.
Margaret Vazey, Heather Robinson
9. Social ministry
This is the first year SSUC has had a social working group. We decided not to call it a “hospitality working group” as all church activities have hospitality as part of their aim. The working group is linked with the children’s ministry working group and currently consists of Anne C (chair), Naomi W and Margaret V.
Our initial activity has focused on catering for church activities e.g. working bee, congregational meeting, AGM. By providing a no-
We will be looking to expand our activities over the next year. We will formalise our mission statement this year.
10. Arts Committee
The Arts Committee began 2017 by submitting a budget of $6,500 covering our estimated expenses for payment of teachers, materials and equipment, frames, promotion for exhibitions. We have recently added a new and enthusiastic member, Carolyne Miller, to our committee.
We followed our plan which extended from December 2016 to September 2017, having several exhibitions: “Cuts and Clay”, “Leaf and Bole”, “Happening”, “The Jeune Moon” and “Fantastic Creatures”. In addition, we held a Community Art Show in conjunction with The
Factory, a learning experience, and this coming November we will have a feature exhibition “Beyond Remembrance” (curated handwork and writing from recent community-
Saturday Art Classes
We have had several visiting teachers, including familiar faces, Hayley Megan French (ceramics), Jovana Terzic, Adrian Spry, Claudia Leigh and new face Tamara Hall for life drawing. Recently Andrew made a special contribution to the class by bringing us screenprinting in conjunction with Claudia. We are lucky in our teachers as they are not only inspiring but bring new skills. We are fortunate also to have maintained our positive contact with Claypool Ceramics.
The Saturday classes are well attended with a steady core and a floating population, and we are lucky to have many participating artists skilled in various media.
A substantial donation of art material and one large wooden cabinet for storing and drying paintings (to be put in the studio) was made by retired art teacher, Yvonne Fantini. We are grateful to Yvonne for her generosity.
We propose to have our customary Christmas Party for artists on 9 December, and invite the French family as guests of honour.
We have not appointed an artist-
The writing group now meets on the first Saturday of every month in the Park Café, Redfern
Park from 11am to 1pm. The creative inspiration for each meeting is provided by Yvonne Hocothee who sends a prompt by email to each member prior to the meeting. At the moment the group has substantially increased in number, and we look forward to many fruitful exchanges of poems, songs and ideas.
Initial setup of the template, type selection, type styles, margins etc in liaison with the author: $140+GST.
Typesetting involving placement of and enhancement of images: $3+GST per page. Cover design: between $320 to $420 + GST, depending on the number of versions and complexity of work.
The book is to be illustrated by Nicholas Beckett, local artist.
This year Anna Jahjah (one of our occasional artists and director of the Theatre Excentrique) took a drama class for several weeks in the church hall culminating in the successful production of a short play, “The Altarpiece of Marvels” at Project 107, Redfern Street.
The St Lydia’s library has several sections, art, theology, autobiography and biography, children’s books, poetry, gardening and mental health which seems to cover most of our main concerns. Books are added to the library on a fairly consistent basis via donation and we have acquired a very appropriate tall narrow bookcase from Waterloo Recycling Workshop to house the larger books. At the moment, the library is undergoing a reshuffle and edit.
Catherine Skipper, Arts Committee Chairperson
11. South Sydney Herald
Celebrating the lives of the diverse people of South Sydney, inviting discussion on issues of concern and interest, adding encouragement to possibilities for community.
Our current team (see editorial panel on page 2 of the paper) is committed to quality news reporting, comment, features, arts and sports. We celebrate a vibrant group of volunteer writers, photographers and graphic artists (40), and volunteer distributors from Rosebery to Woolloomooloo (40).
Thank you to Marjorie Lewis-
We continue to mourn the passing of Ross Smith in October 2016.* Peter Zychan and Louisa Dyce have handled distribution duties in the months since, and we are extremely grateful for their efforts. Reducing our print run from 22,000 to 16,000 has helped to reduce print costs as well as focus delivery to key locations (community centres, cafes, libraries), and encourage efforts online.
Advertising and sponsorships/partnerships have provided steady revenue. Following extended health leave, Duncan is resuming advertising duties. Average sales for 2016-
The Social Justice page has featured articles on housing rights and affordability, drug law reforms, domestic violence, justice for sex and gender diverse peoples, and refugee action. There have been several articles on Uniting Church policies and programs, as well as more coverage (news, comment and features) regarding ecumenical and interfaith issues (Dorothy McRae-
Regular columns/articles have included Waterloo Redevelopment (Kira Osborne and Thomas Chailloux), Domestic Violence (Katie Gompertz), Health (Marie Healy), Big Issue Vendor Profile (Samuel Clarke), Editorial Cartoon (Norrie), Veggie (Louisa Dyce), Restaurant Reviews (Gary Fishburn aka Phil de Platter), Theatre Reviews (Catherine Skipper), Film Reviews (Lindsay Cohen), Book Reviews (Margaret Vazey), South Sydney Puzzle (David Angell and Stephen Pickells), SSH Instagram Gallery (Bec Lewis), Volunteers’ News (Pat Clarke).
Norrie’s commitment to distribution is extraordinary – over 2,000 papers delivered by bicycle each month! Pat Clarke’s care of volunteers is much appreciated.
A talented team of sub-
Our SSH volunteers’ picnic on May 7 was a lot of fun. Charles Kernan Reserve was an ideal setting for lunch, games and races. Thanks to the Saturday Art Group for making gifts for our volunteers, and to Louisa Dyce, Gary Fishburn, Gabrielle Brine and Pat Clarke for organisation.
Although our volunteer numbers have remained consistent, we have had fewer university students involved lately. This may be due to competing publications (on and offline). Online news delivery (website and social media) will be a priority over coming months. We are grateful to Paula O’Sullivan who maintains our Facebook and Twitter accounts. Bec Lewis maintains the Instagram account. Web designer Esther Butcher is always ready to help with online issues.
We delight in the involvement of congregation members and friends: Adrian Spry, Julie
Patterson, Naomi Ward, Shale Preston, Melinda Kearns, Heather Robinson, Bronwyn Monro, Chris Barry, Chris Lodge, Anne Marie Neylan and AnneMarie Healey. Please keep sharing your story ideas, letters, notices, feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com).
*Our distribution co-
Front page stories in 2016-
Andrew Collis, Lyn Turnbull
12. Garden Shelter
The Garden Shelter continues to offer hospitality to up to a dozen male guests on a Wednesday evening, under the leadership of Cana Communities and particularly Regina Madden (Garden Shelter Coordinator). The shelter has also been opening two Thursdays a month, with a view to increasing this, depending on the availability of volunteers. The shelter operates under a relationship model – guests and volunteers share a meal and conversation together. It is important to the guests to be accepted, listened to and to form relationships more broadly in the community.
There are currently about 40 volunteers involved, including several from the congregation. More volunteers are needed – especially men to stay overnight. Please see an elder or minister for contact details for Regina Madden if you are interested.
The church also hosted several other Cana meetings throughout the year, including drug and alcohol information evenings.
We are privileged to host the Garden Shelter and to be in ministry with Cana Communities.
Regina Madden, Miriam Pepper
13. Safe Church
We affirm that all people have the right to be emotionally and physically safe, respected, and have their views and opinions valued at all times. The Safe Church Working Group has met twice this year. Work has concentrated on developing an incident report form template and a process for reporting and responding to incidents, and on updating a document for church and hall users on building use and locking up. The following is a list of current Safe Church related documentation:
We have achieved a lot in addressing maintenance needs of our church and manse over the past year, with thanks to Don and Shelley who have driven much of this work, also to Damien, Keith, Dale and John L for overseeing and/or delivering particular maintenance tasks throughout the year. We held a full-
The following maintenance and property improvement work has been completed in the last year:
Don Burton, Shelley Brunson, Miriam Pepper
15. Website and facebook
Thank you to Scott McDonald who continues to manage and update our website, www.southsydneyuniting.org.au, and to all who contribute to our facebook page.
16. Community choirs
Several community groups meet in our church: Voices from the Vacant Lot, Cleftomanics, i Cantorini and Can Too Sing.
We have continued to be a "city cousin" with social enterprise Out of Our Own Backyards (http://www.ooooby.org/sydney). About half a dozen households per week pick up delicious veggie and fruit boxes with fresh, seasonal, organic/chemical free produce sourced from small farmers as locally as possible. Ooooby pays farmers 50 per cent of the box price, and offers a dual delivery model – some customers choose/are able to have their box delivered to their home, others (especially people in units) pick up from their local city cousin. Pickup time is Tuesday 5:30-
Thank you to all who have helped with looking after boxes this last year.
18. Wider church
About the Uniting Church in Australia
The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) is the fifth largest Christian denomination in the country. Around 100,000 UCA members regularly attend worship. The UCA is also one of the largest providers of community services in Australia and is well known for its commitment to social justice and willingness to tackle difficult issues.
In 1977 people from three Christian traditions — Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian — established the Uniting Church in Australia.
In more than 2,500 local congregations Uniting Church members:
These churches range from congregations with hundreds of members and thriving migrant communities to tiny churches of a dozen people in rural or remote Australia.
The Uniting Church is not organised in a hierarchy, but by groups of women and men, lay and ordained, consulting together, usually making decisions by consensus, in each council of the Church that has a responsibility for a particular area of the church’s life.
The Uniting Church in Australia is made up of a series of inter-
Each council has its distinct tasks and recognises the limits of its responsibilities in relation to other councils.
Locally, regionally and nationally, Uniting Church government is entrusted to representatives, men and women, bearing the gifts and graces with which God has endowed them.
Sydney Presbytery is the regional council of the Uniting Church that spans from Bondi to Homebush, Sydney Harbour to the Cooks River. The purpose of a Presbytery within the Uniting Church is to exercise a ministry of oversight for the life and mission of the Church in a particular region. Sydney Presbytery understands its purpose through its mission statement – “leading the church to life”. The Presbytery exercises oversight of congregations (including ours), faith communities and parish missions within our presbytery through empowerment, encouragement and exhortation, as guided by the Basis of Union. Andrew and Dorothy attend Presbytery meetings, and Maidie is our SSUC representative on Presbytery. Presbytery meetings are held quarterly. (http://sydneypresbytery.org.au)
Synod of NSW and the ACT
This year’s Synod will be held in late September in Sydney. The Rev. Myung Hwa Park will finish her term as Moderator at the Synod, and the Rev. Simon Hansford will be commissioned into the role. (http://nswact.uca.org.au/)
Living is Giving is the Synod’s offering program. Through offerings from congregations and individuals, Living is Giving sustains the mission of the Uniting Church across the Synod of NSW and the ACT – including the resourcing work of Uniting Mission and Education and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and more. SSUC gave $5,000 to Living is Giving in 2016/2017.
We were delighted to host the commissioning of our member Caitlin Kensey Scott into her role as chaplain with Uniting Resilient Families and Communities, and to welcome Uniting chaplains Susan Cann and Lorelle Chapman who also worship regularly with us.
Uniting continues to sponsor the social justice page in the South Sydney Herald.
We have supported the Uniting Social Justice Forum “Give Hope” asylum seeker campaign and affordable housing campaign various ways throughout the year.
Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress
UAICC is a national congress of Aboriginal and Islander members of the Uniting Church in Australia and members in fellowship who may also be members of any other denomination. In January, SSUC welcomed around 100 young people and adults from Congress, who had been attending Yurora (National Christian Youth Convention) in Sydney. We shared a BBQ lunch and a bus tour of Redfern, and enjoyed a dance performance from Dusty Feet Mob – a group of Aboriginal young people and children from Port Augusta aged 6-
Uniting Earthweb is a network of Uniting Church people within NSW and the ACT who work for a greater connection between ecology and Christian faith and practice, including through theological study, the arts, worship, and practical projects and campaigns. Talk to Miriam or look up the website to find out about the Uniting Eco Group, or to learn more about ecotheology, to watch videos on Seasons of Creation, and much more. (http://www.unitingearthweb.org.au)
Ecofaith on the Air
Download podcasts on https://soundcloud.com/ecofaith-
Join the facebook group to contribute ideas, questions, and keep the conversation going.
Act for Peace
Act for Peace is the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia.
Act for Peace helps communities affected by poverty and conflict in more than 130 countries. The Christmas Bowl appeal has been running for almost 70 years. It is a way of forging a loving connection between our Christian communities here in Australia and people around the world who are experiencing dreadful hardship and suffering. SSUC has donated to the Christmas Bowl for some years. Act for Peace is currently administering an East Africa emergency appeal, to help people in famine-
Heather Robinson, Miriam Pepper
Be still and know that I am God.
The contemplative lifestyle is achieved by centring prayer. We welcome anyone to come join us on the second Sunday of each month. The meditation group comes together in the prayer corner of the church after morning tea, for 45 minutes starting with deep breathing, meditation (also known as centring prayer), then followed by Lectio Divina; a reading out of the Bible. The verse is read again two more times gaining different insights with each reading and reflecting. Join us, learn and practice with a group to bring your life into a contemplative lifestyle of relying on the triune God for all situations.
In February South Sydney parishioners and friends from Cana Communities attended a Quiet Day Retreat at the Blue Labyrinth Bush Retreat in Woodford, Blue Mountains. Led by contemplative activist Donna Mulhearn (a member of the Australian Christian Meditation Community), we practised Christian meditation and Dadirri (an Aboriginal practice of inner, deep listening and quiet, still awareness of Earth), walked the labyrinth, visited a bush cave with aboriginal rock art, and shared meals together. We are grateful to Donna Mulhearn and Martin Reusch for opening their home to us and sharing with us in these ancient, divine practices.
Shelley Brunson, Miriam Pepper
20. Community garden
Thank you to Eden Garden head gardener Keith Ferguson and to Dale for continued care. This year a “Salad Garden” has started on the side east of the church building, under Shelley’s leadership. Thank you very much to Jane for the supplied worm farm, and to Abe for the bokashi fertiliser. This area is doing very well in growth and production. Regular weeding by Shelley and co-
Shelley Brunson, Miriam Pepper