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Church Council Report 2011
Congregational Meeting (AGM)
South Sydney Uniting Church

May 22, 2011


The Council met on five occasions in the last year.

After Trevor Davies indicated that he would not stand for the role of Chairperson of the Council, his long service in this role was recognised and affirmed with gratitude.

The following people were elected as officers of the Council:
Chairperson: Heather Robinson
Deputy Chairperson: Norrie
Secretary: Dorothy McRae-McMahon
Deputy Secretary: Lyn Turnbull
Treasurer: Frank Robinson

Pastoral Care Sunday At the initiative of Heather Robinson, it was agreed that we have a Pastoral Care Sunday on the 3rd Sunday of each month where people can come and share thinking about that care in the parish.


Children’s ministry: We agreed that it would be good to involve, more directly, any children present in our services. They will be given an idea to work on before the homily and asked to show what they have done in response through art work at the end of the homily.

Books arising from our worship life

Andrew and Dorothy have produced a book titled “Bringing the Word to life together” which they have had published by MediaCom, the first of three – one for each year of the lectionary. The books will all give the themes of Andrew’s homilies, week by week, together with the idea of the congregation completing the homily with their sharing in response to a reflective question by Andrew and some symbols for imaging of responses. The book is already selling well.

Minister-in-Association We will shortly be farewelling the Rev. Nicole Fleming and her partner, Eve Gibson, as Nicole leaves to take up her ministry with the Balmain Parish.

The Rev. David Russell has written to the Council, requesting transfer of membership to South Sydney UC, and inquiring regarding becoming a Ministry-in-Association with our parish. David was formerly the Master of Wesley College, Sydney Uni. We will decide today whether to agree to this request.



Harvest Festival: This festival was held on13 June, with an early Eucharist at10am. People from the Catholic Church in Erskineville joined us at 10:30. We brought offerings of food for needy people as part of the celebration and donated them to the work of St. Vincent de Paul.

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse - Forget-me-knot Sunday

Premier Kristina Keneally and Uniting Church Moderator Rev. Niall Reid visited the church in a lead-up to our service for


on Nov. 14. The Premier and Moderator posed for photos with Heather and Clare from ASCA - at the front of the church building, where a blue ribbon was again tied in tangled knot. The Premier made a statement on behalf of the NSW Government. A short prayer service and afternoon tea was held inside the church. Members of the Council were invited to be there.

The service on November 14 was, again, a powerful reminder of the issues and ongoing struggles around child-abuse.

Thanksgiving for Creation (October 3) This service was held on October 3, 2010 and the focus this year was contemporary Franciscan spirituality - “green” Christianity/Christians. We had an amazing attendance of animals, including a dragon lizard and a snake! We and they were blessed!

Theological Reflection Day

Our first day of theological reflection, led by the Rev. Dr. Clive Pearson was focussed on a renewing and appreciation of our mission identity and purpose and the suggestion of the addition of the word “Spirited” to our 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.”

The Council agreed that the word should be added now and ratified by this Congregational Meeting.

On the second day of theological reflection, Clive led us in a very special exploration of the Letters to the churches in the New Testament. He suggested that, just as Paul wrote many of these letters, we might ask ourselves what we would write as a “Letter to South Sydney”. In small groups we had a great time imagining this.

Celebrating Community (Reign of Christ) was held on Nov. 21. The following people were invited:

All people connected with the production and distribution of the South Sydney Herald
Artists who attend our Art Classes and people who exhibit their work in the church
Poets who have been connected with our Writing Group
The choirs who use our church
The Cana Community
Those who create our Community Garden
The Exercise Class
The Ravens runners group
The people who run Food Connect
Local politicians
People from Appetite and Tripod whose cafes we frequent
Thelma and her family who often join us for morning tea
Natalie Gould, who works with refugees
Rev. Bill Crews from the Exodus Foundation

The service was very heart-warming and people were invited to lunch and an opportunity to hear some of the five choirs which use our church sing to us after the service.

Juvenile Justice Forum

This Forum, held at Sydney Uni on Oct. 12 “saw high-quality presentations from three speakers and engaging questions from the floor. Michael Spence (VC) did a brilliant job as Chair.” The event opens the door to new and ongoing relationships with various academic institutions.

A follow-up Forum was held at the church later in the year, chaired by Julie McCrossin.


Gallery Committee: The committee consists of Kate Nash, Stephen Hilman, Eve Gibson, Hayley French, Miriam Cabello, Jo Tracy, Adrian Spry and John Lanzky. Our Art Class sees regular participants and visitors. Our art tutors are exceptional: Adrian Spry, Charlotte Dibben, Hayley Megan French and Jo Tracey.

An Arts Committee has met twice for discussions and submitted to the Church Council the proposal that gallery space be named The Orchard Gallery (honouring of local history as well as Eden Garden, and with reference to diverse productivity/creativity). The Council agreed and this should shortly be seen on our church notice board, with a logo designed by Robert Young. We were also very grateful to Damien Patterson for the surprise gift of six easels for our art classes.

Art Classes The Art Class is going from strength to strength. A group of our artists prepared works for a stall at RedWater Markets as well, as holding several successful exhibitions. The very talented Gaylene Smith performed in a Milk Crate Theatre production entitled “Intersection”.

Artist –in-residence It was agreed to go ahead with the artist-in-residence project located at the Manse and to accept Johnny Bell as the resident artist, beginning in May 2011 for a period of 12 months.

Writing Group WordPlay, our creative writing group (thanks to Adrian Spry) has met over three months (1st and 3rd Wednesdays) at the Woolpack Hotel in Chalmers Street. An excellent body of work has been collated – participants are from congregation and beyond.

Letter Writing Group Last year, Margaret Vazey initiated the formation of a Letter writing Group to encourage people to write letters to the editors of newspapers.

Maths Coaching Katrina Brubacher has kindly offered her time and talent towards fortnightly Maths Coaching in the church – Sundays from 1.30-3pm. Katrina welcomes students from First Class to First Year Uni. There were six students here for the previous class.

Food collection The Church Council agreed to arrange for a regular welfare donation offering in both money and non-perishable food. Nicole arranged for an appropriate basket to be placed in the corner of the church for such gifts which will be shared with those who ask for support.


The paper has had a good year, still attracting much support from the church and community in its volunteer editors, writers, photographers and distributors. The efforts to cover costs of design and printing through advertising are now coming close to doing that and we thank all involved in that work, especially John Lanzky and Ali Blogg.

Father Bob McGuire dinner In the middle of the year, a very successful fund-raising dinner was held with Fr. Bob McGuire from Melbourne as its speaker. This raised almost $3500 for the paper.

Tribal Warrior event The New Year fundraiser for our paper with the Derrubbun (Tribal Warrior) on Survival Day (Jan. 26, 2011) also was successfully held.

EcoTipToe Heather Robinson initiated an 'EcoTipToe' fundraising party for the SSH, where environmentally friendly products such as towels made from bamboo were sold, and a percentage of profits were raised for the SSH.

Photo Exhibition Ali Blogg, our main photographer for the paper is, at present, holding an exhibition of some of her photos in the Orchard gallery. The focus is represented in the title “Local Knowledge – Seeing South Sydney”. The opening was well attended and a number of prints have already been purchased. The proceeds will go to parish projects.

100th issue As the years go on, the paper is becoming recognised by the community as its medium for the discussion of issues and for the affirmation of many different groups and individuals. In December 2011, we will be celebrating the 100th issue of the paper with a dinner for all involved in its production and distribution.


The Garden Shelter for homeless people is still operating on Wednesday nights. We are hoping soon to have the funds to provide a shower for the guests at the shelter.


Water tank: The City of Sydney paid for our water tank to irrigate the garden. Sophie Golding, Project Officer for Social Housing Sustainability Partnership, City of Sydney, is committed to training workshops in our garden: rain harvesting, community gardens, composting, worm farming, etc. The Luncheon Club is excited about this. The first workshop on rain harvesting (tank maintenance) was held on Nov. 4. with ACON and PLC participants. We all thank Miriam Pepper for her leadership in relation to this. She is also doing a wonderful job with the Food Connect service on Wednesdays at 4.30-6.30pm.

We thank Vicki and Keith and Reece and Dove, tenders of the community garden. We will shortly be celebrating the water tank and arranging for a mural to be painted on it.

Exodus request: Exodus is wondering whether some of its young people could have a patch in our community garden. It was agreed to explore this further with the gardeners.


New kitchen During the year, our new kitchen was installed and we have all enjoyed it since. We give special thanks to Frank Robinson who pointed us towards a good kitchen builder and donated the money for the lighting and to Julie McCrossin and Melissa Gibosn who paid for it to be painted. A church member, who wishes to remain anonymous, also gave us a new refrigerator.

Repairs to the church The Council agreed at its last meeting that the repairs to the plastering and window frames of the church should now proceed. We will be applying for a dollar-for-dollar grant from the City Council to help with the cost.

Repairs to the Manse The Manse is overdue for maintenance related to its upper balcony. We will be involving some volunteer workers who are organised by the Cana Community to help us with this.



We acknowledge the generous work of Scotty McDonald. Scotty continues to develop and maintain our church website – now with calendar of events, full liturgies, reports and resources. We are receiving lots of traffic on our website, including visits from people in more than 12 countries.

Thanks to Heather for Tuesday Prayers.

Thanks to our musicians - Heather, Alison, Miriam and Cathie and for all the faithful people who have vacuumed the church on Sunday mornings. Thanks to Naomi for providing marvellous and imaginative birthday cakes for everyone each month of the year and for arranging the community lunch.

Thanks to Adrian who has now taken on special cleaning responsibilities in the church and hall.

Most of all, we give thank to God and to Andrew Collis for his ministry with us over another year. None of us really know all that he does in our name. We are glad that he still finds the energy to run in the various marathons, especially in the New York Marathon. We celebrate his faithfulness, love and wisdom and hope there are many years ahead for us all to enjoy this relationship and ministry.

Dorothy McRae-McMahon
Church Council Secretary