Welcome to the home page of Diakonia UCA, your online portal for information about Deacons and diaconal ministry in the Uniting Church in Australia.
UCA Deacon Conference
A reminder that the UCA Deacon Conference takes place this coming January in Melbourne.
You can click on the 2017 Conference link (on top of home page) to go to the page where we’re keeping our planning information – password protected. We’d love to have a good turn out for this Deacon Conference, which has a timely theme, and great speakers with Sef and Apwee. And the conference is excellent value for money ($125, accommodation not included).
Congratulations to Rev Nigel McBrien, ordained on 23rd October 2016. Nigel’s placement is a continuing one as a chaplain with UnitingAge Well, in the Rosetta community. Part of greater Hobart area.
Congratulations to Rev Sue Pickering who was inducted into ministry at Leichhardt Uniting Church (Sydney), 11th September 2016.
Rev Bill Harris has written an article about his recent trip to Warruwi (South Goulburn Island) for the centenary of missionary activities that commenced in the region in 1916. It was a significant day for many people who had worked in Warruwi and Arnhem Land mission communities over many years.
Congratulations to Rev David Nix (Queensland)
David was ordained on Sunday 28th August 2016. David is serving in a chaplaincy placement at Wesley Hospital, Brisbane. Congratulations, and blessings for your ministry!
Deacons and Deacon candidates will be receiving a mailing in the last week of August with a flyer for the DUCA Conference, and a registration form. They are also attached here, and will be uploaded also in the ‘2017 DUCA Conference’ page (usual password – contact Sandy if you don’t know the password).
Position vacant – Western Australia
Applications are invited for a Minister of the Word/Deacon to fill a vacant placement with the Albany Regional Congregations, comprising Albany, Lockyer (suburban Albany), Denmark and Mt Barker Uniting Churches. This single ministry placement is supported by a willing team of lay leaders, lay preachers and committed congregations. Click here for more info. For more info email Rev John Barendrecht at email@example.com.
Congratulations to Deacon candidate Alan Dhamarrandji, ATSI Mediator of the Year.
Rev. Ann Hewson has concluded her placement at Kenmore Uniting Church. She has gone to Yeppoon to join her husband Michael who is now working at the University. Ann will be working as a Primary School Chaplain. KUC held a morning tea to say goodbye on 3rd July.
Judy Sanderson is to be ordained and inducted as a Deacon at Applecross Uniting Church on Sunday 7 August at 3 pm. Deacons in Western Australia are encouraged to be there to support Judy, and all may send their messages of support to Judy. Blessings, Judy, in this time of preparation for your ordination and placement.
Judy grew up in Dallas and migrated to Perth after marrying an ‘Aussie’. In 2008, Judy was welcomed into Maylands-Mount Lawley Uniting Church where she became the Church Council secretary and also served as an Elder. “I heard so many wonderful stories of life in Australia (that happened) before I was even born,” said Judy.
Working at Clontarf Aboriginal College (2008-2011) she found that much of her time involved pastoral care. “Students were brought to me when they were homesick and when they were worried about family members. It was during this time that I began to sense that God was calling me to specific ministry,” said Judy.
Judy attended an ‘Explore the ministry day’. “A ray of light hit me when Rev Emma Matthews spoke. The words she used to describe a Deacon as a sign of the presence of God in the everyday world. Caring for and serving others. These words described my journey. “The sense of call was too strong to ignore. The next week, I applied to enter a period of discernment.”
The WA Synod/Presbytery received Judy’s approval of ordination with a standing ovation and the moderator, Rev Steve Francis led in prayer thanking God for Judy’s many gifts and graces that we see in her.
July 2016 – Interim Director of Education and Formation (WA) appointment
Rev Bev Fabb has been appointed as Interim Director of Education and Formation in Western Australia until 31 December 2016. She will be responsible for planning a Synod-wide approach to theological education in preparation for the appointment of a full-time director of Education and Formation.
Rev (Deacon) Heather den Houting elected General Secretary (Queensland UCA Synod)
Congratulations to Heather, and blessings for your ministry!
Ethel Helyar (1913 – 2005) Methodist bush nurse
A really interesting Radio National interview on early deaconesses in Australia.
An obituary in The Advertiser (Adelaide): Deaconess PATRICIA (PAT) MARGARET BAKER
Born: August 13, 1932; Adelaide Died: January 11, 2016; Adelaide
PAT was a pioneer in the Methodist, and later Uniting, Church in relation to the ministry of women.
At a time of social change in the second half of the 20th century, she was also a leading light in the church for children and young adults. Her contribution will long be remembered.
She was the younger of two daughters born to Alex Baker and Flora Bishop. She attended Norwood High School and Adelaide Girls High School.
Her father, a senior state public servant, was director of South Australian Tourism for many years.
Pat began her training as a deaconess in 1953, and was ordained 10 years later, enjoying ministry at Clarence Gardens and Whyalla before being appointed to the education wing of the Methodist Church. She started as assistant editor before becoming writer and editor, preparing materials for Sunday schools and youth groups.
She was based in Melbourne but later arranged to live in Adelaide due to the ill-health of her father, and travelled to her Melbourne office one week a month.
The 1970s to mid-1980s saw creative and innovative approaches to Christian education and Pat and her team were at its forefront.
Witty, and a lively storyteller, Pat made many friends in Australia and overseas.
In 1977 the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches combined to form the Uniting Church. Pat was proud to remain a deaconess, despite it becoming possible for her to become a deacon.
It was a busy time as she worked with the Commission on Liturgy which aimed to bring together the sacraments and worship of the three churches.
At the same time she led worship for the 9.30am community at Pilgrim Church on Flinders St in Adelaide.
As a representative of the Commission on Liturgy, Pat went to the Philippines for the East Asian Conference on Music and Liturgy, joining attendees from many countries in the Asia-Pacific region.
Pat died suddenly at Resthaven Leabrook, where she had been active organising worship and social activities in the final years of her life.
DIAKONIA World Federation April Prayer Letter
For the first time since World War II, the UN Refugee Agency placed the number of forcibly displaced refugees worldwide at 59.5 million. Even in Biblical times, we read about people who crossed a border for trade or protection, were trafficked across a border, or exiled to another country.
We pray for the protection of those forced to flee, embrace those who have made it safely to our country, and celebrate how our new neighbors have become beacons of hope and renewal in our communities. Together, we have welcomed the stranger in Christ’s name.
Mighty Lord, as you guided the Israelites, through the wilderness,
be a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day
for refugees in search of new hope and new life.
As you brought the Israelites out of bondage to freedom,
bring refugees out of persecution to safety.
As you protected the Israelites through 40 years in the desert,
protect those who languish for years in refugee camps.
Wipe away their tears of sorrow,
that their mourning may give way to joyous hope.
Put an end to warfare and tyranny,
that some may return home without fear of violence.
Open the doors of safer nations,
that some may find new homes in new lands.
Rebuild their lives,
that they might enjoy the fruit of labors in peace.
Revive their hope,
that they might face a future with promise.
Shine your grace upon them,
That they might know your love.
Strengthen their bonds of friendship and family,
That we might serve one another with encouraging love.
Bless our nation with a spirit of openness,
That our communities and country may be renewed and strengthened by newcomers.
And inspire your churches to welcome the stranger,
That together we might build communities of hope where strangers become
neighbors and friends, and brothers and sisters. Amen.
(prepared by Deaconess Diane Kaufmann, and adapted from Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, ELCA Refugee Sunday Kit)
Congratulations to Rev (Deac) Emma Matthews and Murray Thompson on the occasion of their wedding on Sunday April 10th.
Two Deacons were on hand to welcome Rev Anne Butler (MoW) as a chaplain to an aged care centre in SA. Rev Deac Cate Baker, is the Coordinating Chaplain at Resthaven Leabrook and Paradise, and Rev Deac Frances Bartlett is the Coordinating Chaplain at Resthaven Murray Bridge.
Bev Fabb reflects on the influence of Deaconess Dr Cath Ritchie on her diaconal ministry in Revive Magazine (WA Synod).
“The woman who has had the most profound impact on my life is Deaconess Dr Cath Ritchie. Born to a farming family in Gippsland, Victoria in 1909, educated in a one teacher rural school, she eventually graduated from the University of Melbourne. Raised in a Scottish Presbyterian family, her Christian faith was always central in her life. In 1937 she responded to a call from the Foreign Missions Department to serve as a teacher missionary in Korea, then under Japanese rule. When Japan entered the war in 1941, all Australian missionaries were recalled from Korea. Cath dreamed of returning once the war was over, but this was not to be. After a time as a youth worker in rural Victoria, riding her bicycle between towns, she was asked to become Principal of Rolland House, the Presbyterian Deaconess and Missionary training college. She remained in this position for 23 years.
Cath insisted that all the women trained at Rolland House were given a theological education equivalent in standard to that given to the men training for ordination. She also insisted that her students got practical experience of ministry, something that the men did not get. Within Rolland House she created a community grounded in spirituality and mutual service. At the time when women attending the Presbyterian Assembly were relegated to the galleries, Principal Ritchie was alone allowed to address the gathering and was a strong advocate for women in ministry. Cath forged links ecumenically and internationally with others called to diaconal ministry. In 1994 the Melbourne College of Divinity awarded her a Doctorate of Sacred Theology in honour of her leadership in theological education, especially for women.
As a young Christian I was inspired by Cath’s keen intellect, her humility in service, her strong advocacy for women, her passion for the mission of the church and her solidarity with the poor and oppressed”.
On 6th March, Rev Deac Emma Matthews was inducted as a Deacon in Nedlands Uniting Church in a bi lingual Mandarin/English service. A very happy multicultural event. May God bless her richly in this new ministry.
For archived news from previous years, click on ‘archived news’ button at top of page.