Hot News & Humour







Leaders and leadership have become a rather topical issue in our present world of interesting politics - and all of us probably have an opinion on what makes a good leader and what does not.  However, in today’s world of often biased reporting, and the instant feedback of social media - leaders often can't be sure if people are following, or just chasing. 

Many people assume that those who are popular in life and speak crowd pleasing words, will make good leaders.  Well, history would tell us that both those ideas are wrong.  When we read about great leaders of the past or present, we often discover that they were the reserved, and quieter, and often shy people, who learned and developed their leadership skills as they grew and matured. 

Today we hear of many leaders who talk tough, who often act brutally, and who play a game of strategy to outdo and overcome their rivals.  Yet every now and then, we get a rare glimpse of another way - a different type of leader who talks about peace and justice, grace and respect - and who actually practices what they preach.  Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa were such rare individuals.

Genuine leaders require far more than being popular or saying the words people want to hear.  Two particular characteristics stand out - a hope for the future - and faith in people.  Authentic leaders live their hope, by the way they act, by the way they speak, and by the way they treat other people.  And they believe in other people - and then set about making the world a better place.

Jesus was so very good at demonstrating the values of genuine leadership, so much so, that he became an unacceptable threat to the political and social hierarchy of his day - and their response - was to crush the threat, with maximum force.

The Apostle Paul, many years later, wrote about the qualities of leadership he saw in Jesus and what it took to be a leader of a community.  He suggested that a leader needs to be an example to others - a caring shepherd, who exercises willing and enthusiastic oversight for the people in their care - not because they have to, but because they want to. 

Oversight is a word we don’t use very much, but it’s useful when talking about leaders.  Oversight is about direction, rather than demands - it’s about managing, rather than controlling - and it’s about being an example, rather than telling others what to do.  Paul talks about being humble with each other - don’t ask someone to do a job you wouldn’t do - and be willing to admit your mistakes.  And do all of this willingly, rather than through obligation, or by force.

He suggested that a leader’s job was to lead, and to do that they needed certain personal qualities for them to be accepted as leaders.  Leaders need integrity - they need to make sure their actions and their words match - to set an example to others by the way they speak and act.  A leader’s integrity, will determine whether people listen to them or not.

Leaders know their strengths and weaknesses, and take responsibility for their mistakes - when something goes wrong, instead of blaming someone else, leaders take responsibility and work through the situation.  Leaders become great, not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.

Leaders need to be good listeners - who care about people and share in their tragedies and their triumphs.  They make each person feel important, and respected, and cared for - they bring out the best in other people - and they build community by offering people a vision of what is possible, and then work with them, to make it happen. 

Leaders also have the courage of their convictions - they don’t say things behind a person’s back that they are not willing to say to their face - because they believe in what that have to say - and they are not afraid of other people knowing where they stand on issues.  Leaders look for wisdom - their use of knowledge is important.  They also have a good sense of humour - they don’t take themselves too seriously.  Leaders don’t always give people the answers to life’s questions - instead - they challenge them to think about how they live, and to discover the solutions themselves.

Great leaders, have the ability to make the people around them, better people - which is not determined by how intelligent they are, or what they look like, whether they are tall or short or fat or thin - genuine leadership depends on how a person behaves - and speaks - and treats other people. 

When we look around our present world, there seems to be a lack of genuine leaders who even come close to Paul’s leadership guidelines.  We could do well to follow the style and content of Jesus’ leadership example and the leadership characteristics that Paul expanded - so that each of us, make our world a better place to live.

Peace,  Rev. Bruce Wood


  From Di Carson — 
our Pastoral and Community Engagement Worker 

Uniting Garden

The garden is taking shape and will continue to do so as the spring/summer growing period progresses.  Another special tree was donated and planted – this time a grafted plum tree was gifted by our departing group of Vanuatan friends – to signify the union between them and our congregation and as a lasting symbol of our friendship and connection, as it bears fruit so will our continued relationship with these special friends.

Vanuatu - The Farewell:

It was a very busy period just prior to Morsen, Gideon, David, Wicliff and Jean returning home and I’d like to thank all of those people who assisted in emptying the furniture from the Bowen Street house and cleaning it – and a big thank you to Dawn Bloye who is storing it all until the next group arrives.  The farewell service was a lovely experience and included Morsen teaching the congregation to sing, “You are my brother, You are my Sister” in English and Bislama reinforcing our connections, as this is the song that was sung to us in the churches and schools that we visited in June.

There was an extremely early morning trip to the airport (thanks Peter Dell for picking us all up at 2am) that followed a night of singing (until they were hoarse, which was amazing in itself) – a big thank you to Jean Straughair for playing our piano so well and for so long and Noel Mackenzie for keeping us in tune! The airport farewell was of course emotional, but it was good to see the boys excited about returning to their families after a long six months.

I would like to give a huge thank you to all of those who made the boys’ time here such a valuable experience for them (yes they do like being called our “boys”).  The luggage that we were able to freight to them arrived a few days ago in Port Vila, which meant that David could finally catch the ferry to his village in the Shepherd Islands; once he arrives he has a day’s walk to get to home.  We certainly hope that the message that he needs help with his luggage got through to his village!

Gideon is in touch almost every day and recently sent us lovely photographs of his and Morsen’s families.  He recently wrote:

“I drive to visit all the boys (in Port Vila). Pick them up go for a drive then drop them off.  Every time we meet up we all ways talk about how good you are to us and we were so blessed to have you as our family.  Miss you guys so much.”

Social Justice

Nick Peck is now leading our response with social justice issues.  Nick receives regular information packs from the Justice and International Mission (JIM) unit of the Uniting Church and will assist us to act on those issues.  Nick has asked for people to indicate their interest in being involved with petitions and letter writing – if you missed adding your name to the list there is a clipboard in the foyer of the church and the list will be regularly updated.  Otherwise contact myself and/or Bruce and we will pass your details on to Nick.

Play Group

The Play Group continues to grow, with up to 16 children attending on a regular basis.  Are you an encourager who likes to be with young families?

We are asking for applications for more members on our Leader’s Team.  If you are interested, please visit the Activities Room on any Thursday morning to see what we do and discuss this wonderful opportunity.

As a Child Safe organisation we are committed to providing an environment which maximizes the safety and well-being of children and young people.

For more information please contact Lesley Welch or Di Carson.

Christmas Club

Christmas Club will be held on two consecutive Thursdays  - 7th & 14th December from 4:00pm – 5:30pm.  We will be looking for a band of willing helpers – the children will be involved with craft, games, music, a nativity play and of course food. 

Please speak to Di Carson if you would like to assist.


  Positions Available    

Pastoral Assistant

Church Council has agreed to fund this new part-time position, to assist with the ever increasing pastoral needs of our congregation.

This position will be one day a week for an initial period of 12 months.

If you are interested in applying please contact the office on Ph 5623 6625 or email to obtain a job description.
Applications close 17 October 2017.

Presbytery Secretary

The Presbytery of Gippsland is seeking a capable person to serve in the role of Presbytery Secretary to commence as soon as possible.

This is a paid role, with the successful person to be employed part-time at 0.4 EFT (equivalent to two days a week).  Initially the contract is for 12 months.

Details of this Position can be seen on the church notice board, copies also available from the church office.
Applications for this position close on Friday 13 October 2017.


  From Church Council     

Church Council’s recommendation to our congregation that both our Elders Council and Church Council consist of 12 elected members each was approved at a general congregational meeting on the 1st October.

Nomination forms for these positions are now available from the table under the office window and must be returned by 19th October 2017.

Your prayerful consideration for these important positions would be appreciated.


    Warragul UCA — Train Shed    

The Train Shed was fortunate to have a model railway layout donated recently by a member of the Drouin Men’s Shed.  He required more room in his garage to restore an EH Holden and subsequently made this generous offer.  

To make room, (along with the existing railway layout) we undertook some domestic engineering to rearrange the furniture in the shed.  Bill Hall has since built a frame to enable wiring to be carried out without having to crawl underneath.  We are also replacing and realigning the track work and points to enable smoother and more reliable train running.  This will be completed as funds become available. 

Not only has this layout added more interest, it has provided us with greater capacity to meet the operational needs of the shed. 

Feel free to drop in and see what is happening.  We operate on Wednesdays from 7.00pm to 9.00pm.  However, if unable to make it during these times, please contact Bill or Tony to make other arrangements to suit.


  Book Group — Searching for Sunday     


For a generation that has largely abandoned the church there is both apathy and longing, asserts author Rachel Evans.

Even though there is a history of confusion and hurt it is often impossible to abandon the search for what is real.

Evans offers a possible way back to church and resurrection that awaits when people are willing to give up and start again.

“Searching for Sunday” is our Book Group’s current book for reading and discussion.

New members are welcome and a guest copy is available for others to read – details on the table outside the office or contact Lesley.





Everybody is welcome
for an evening of fellowship with a
very friendly group of women.

Wednesday 11th October

& Wednesday 8th November

The Railway Hotel at 6pm




 How You Get To Heaven   

From an Irish Sunday School Teacher

I was testing the children in my Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven.

I asked them, 'If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?'

'NO!' the children answered.

'If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the garden, and kept everything tidy, would that get me into heaven?'

Again, the answer was 'NO!'

'If I gave sweets to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into heaven?'

Again, they all answered 'NO!'

I was just bursting with pride for them.

I continued, 'Then how can I get into heaven?'

A little boy shouted out: 'YU GOTTA BE STONE DEAD.'

'Tis a curious race, the Irish — brings a tear to the eye, don't it?