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  National Reconciliation Week     

27 May – 3 June 2018 

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) started as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation in 1993 (the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People) and was supported by Australia’s major faith communities. In 1996, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation launched Australia’s first ‘National Reconciliation Week’.

In 2000, Reconciliation Australia was established to continue to provide national leadership on reconciliation. In the same year, approximately 300,000 people walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of NRW, showing support for the reconciliation process.

Today NRW is celebrated by communities, businesses and individuals at thousands of events across Australia.

National Reconciliation Week begins on 27th May, marking the 1967 referendum, which recognized Aboriginal people as being part of Australian society, and ends on the 3rd June marking the 1993 Mabo decision in which the High Court of Australia overturned the notion of “Terra nullius” (a Latin expression meaning "nobody's land") and recognised the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander connection to land which existed prior to colonization.

https://www.reconciliation.org.au/national-reconciliation-week/

 

First Meeting of a New Group within our Congregation

 A group of our people with much enthusiasm for Reconciliation, met on Thursday, 31 May. There was quite some discussion, and you will hear more information about this issue over the next few weeks.

Currently we are looking at two documents —
          one being the 'Uluru Statement from the Heart'

          and the other an article from the ABC website about a concept called Makarrata—which is the concept of “coming together after dispute”.

Copies of these documents can be obtained from the church office.

 

  We are Truly Blessed     

 

We are truly blessed to live in this wonderful country - a land of peace and plenty - a land of freedom and seemingly endless opportunities - a land that has harsh realities, such as drought and flooding rains - a land where opportunities abound for those who are willing to work hard - and where necessity is the mother of invention.

We are free to express our opinion - free to travel without border controls - apply for any job we wish - and we are able to purchase land and build a home if we want to.  We are free to practice the religion of our choice - or not.  We can vote governments in and out - follow the fortunes of our favourite sporting team - and live with a level of independence and choice that was not possible for our ancestors.

Ormiston Gorge

We also have universal health care, 99% of our adult population is literate and according to the United Nations Human Development Index - which measures standards of living, life expectancy, and education - in 2016, Australia was second only to Norway on this index.  We do indeed live in a lucky country.

Our church is part of the larger community of Warragul - a city with a population of 14,276 according to the 2016 census - which seems to be growing almost weekly.   In this community, and in the wider world, there is a modern syndrome that is somewhat troubling.  This syndrome is known as Accumulating Stuff Syndrome - or ASS for short.  The characteristics of this syndrome come in a spectrum - from simple things like buying ‘the new ‘and tossing out ‘the old’, simply because it’s old - to accommodating the ‘I want’, rather than the ‘I need’, simply because I deserve  it - to the fanatics who stuff their homes and their lives full of things that are used for a week or two, and then discarded, simply because they are no longer a novelty.

This syndrome often goes under the guise of ‘retail therapy’ - which suggests that purchasing ‘stuff‘ will bring a sense of peace and happiness to the individual - and ‘me time’, which when taken to the extreme, makes self-centeredness and selfishness respectable, and even desirable.

ASS can be seen at its best, and its most powerful, around Christmas, where people flock to stores to spend millions of dollars on ‘stuff’ to give to other people - much of which is unwanted - and much of which can be purchased at half the original price, a week later!   And if you don’t like the stuff you’re given, then you can re-gift it.  And if your gift is really unwanted, then Amazon has a system that allows you to exchange your unwanted gift for something you actually want - even before you get it. 
They say it will benefit both the gift-giver and gift-receiver.

There are some dangers associated with ‘stuff’.  I read a report about a woman who was strangled to death by her electronic neck massager - sadly her necklace got caught in the massager and tightened around her neck.  However, as we can now get ‘the goodness of the sun and the sea’ in a bottle of pills, that will help ‘make today, your day’, then maybe ASS has something going for it!

There is a wonderful story in the Bible about a young man who comes to Jesus and says - ‘I am comfortably well-off and have lot’s of stuff, but somewhere deep inside I have a yearning for meaning, and purpose, and direction.  What do I have to do to find these things in my life?’

And Jesus’ answer?  Get rid of all the ‘stuff’ that is cluttering up your life, and your attitudes - and then - follow some very simple life principles, such as, respect other people - be compassionate, graceful and humble - but most important of all, love other people - remembering that love is NOT a word, but an action.  Unfortunately this young man couldn’t bring himself to do these things - and he walked away from the opportunity of a lifetime.

Each of us who are part of a vibrant faith community, are called to foster the principles of respect, compassion, grace, humility, and love, in all of our relationships - as exampled by Jesus Christ, and ironically one of the most valuable yet inexpensive gifts we can give to anyone, is our time - time to listen and time to be interested in someone beyond ourselves.  If we can live simply, care generously, love deeply and walk humbly with God, then we will be a community that is positive, life-giving, and a beacon of hope.

Peace,  Rev Bruce Wood

    A Prayer - from Sunday 27 May 2018    

 

“ . . .each of us is born with some light inside.  As we go through life, we experience pain and hurts; some of those hurts and pains and wrong-doings of our lives become stones, and the pile of stones in our lives grows as we experience more of life.

“ . . . we can pour out our stones and make space for more light, which is the ability to forgive ourselves  . . .

“ . . . and so I offer you the opportunity now to come forward, to select a stone from the bowl that represents your hurts, your pains, the wrong-doings of your life . . .
and to gently place it in glass . . .

'What's On Sundays' recording of this portion of the service, commences at approx. 14mins.

 

  Book Group - "Finding Shelter"    

 

This book tells the true stories of Asylum Seekers and those who worked with them through the Hotham Mission’s Asylum Seeker Project to provide personal care, services and advocacy for vulnerable people in difficult situations and often with desperate needs.

Our Church Book Group invites others to borrow a book and also to hear of recent developments from “Lentara” the Uniting Church service which now continues this work with asylum seekers.

 

  Vanuatu - Children's Ward Painting    

 

We are well on track for our visit in July to paint the children’s ward at Port Vila hospital.

However time is slipping by and we are busy packing boxes for the container – which will leave hopefully, early in July.

If anyone can donate unused paint rollers and trays it would be greatly appreciated.

From—Di Carson

 

  Families @ 4    

 

Some photos of recent activities showing children enjoying their painting, music and making Geoff the scarecrow for the church garden

Next Families @ 4  is on June 10 and 24


 

We give a big welcome back to our friends from Vanuatu — Morsen, Gideon, Jean, David and Wicliff, who have come back to their Aussie home until 12th October this year.

 

Men's Group - 7.30pm, Monday 2 July

Meeting in the Centre Room of our church

 

For an evening of fellowship with
a very friendly group of women

Wednesday 13th June & 11th July

The Railway Hotel at 6pm

 

 

 


 First the Apple    

 

A woman ran a red traffic light and crashed into a man's car.

Both of the cars were demolished, but amazingly neither driver was hurt.

After they crawled out of their cars, the woman said; "Wow, just look at our cars!  There's nothing left, but fortunately we are unhurt.  This must be a sign from God that we should meet and be friends and live together in peace for the rest of our days."

The man replied," I agree with you completely.  This must be a sign from God!"

The woman continued, "And look at this, here's another miracle.  My car is completely demolished, but my bottle of 75 year old scotch didn't break.  Surely God meant for us to drink this vintage delicacy and celebrate our good fortune."  Then she handed the bottle to the man.

The man nods his head in agreement, opened it, drank half the bottle and then handed it back to the woman.

The woman took the bottle, immediately put the cap back on, and handed it back to the man.

The man asks, "Aren't you having any?"

She replies, "Nah . . .  I think I'll just wait for the police."

 

Some years ago Adam ate the apple.

Men will never learn!