Diakonia UCA

The portal for Deacons in the Uniting Church in Australia

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Archived News


October 2015
It is with sadness that we learn about the death of retired Deaconess Olive Stafford. She had lived in Mandurah for many years. Her funeral will be held on Friday 9th October. We give thanks for her life and ministry. If you wish to pass on your condolences, it may be easiest through Bev Fabb in WA.

September 2015

Employment: Darwin Ministry Support Worker
A person to minister in the Darwin region with NRCC (Congress) members living or visiting in the area. This is a position that is open to a Minister of the Word, Deacon or Pastor. See details on employment page.

Congratulations to Jesse Size (SA) who has been accepted as a candidate for Ministry of Deacon. Jesse is a school chaplain with a youth work background. He lives in Port Augusta and is connected with the Ninnal Seed community and the Aboriginal Congress at Port Augusta.

Jesse Size

Jesse Size








Rev Karen Paull (NSW) has set up a Facebook page about her ministry – Lane Cove Community Chaplaincy.

Rev Karen Paull

Rev Karen Paull














Rev Cogs Smith (SA) has been inducted into her new placement at Willunga UC in September. Congratulations, Cogs and blessings for your ministry.

SA Synod Moderator Dr Deidre Palmer with Rev Cogs Smith

SA Synod Moderator Dr Deidre Palmer with Rev Cogs Smith


















August 2015

Rev Graham Anson was inducted into a new placement as Deacon, Chapel by the Sea, Bondi Beach.
Tough gig (not!). Blessings on your ministry, Graham.

Rev Graham Anson

Rev Graham Anson














Rev Wendy Elson was inducted into the Uniting Church, Macedon Ranges Partnership in August. Her induction took place at Kyneton Uniting Church and was led by the Chairperson of the Port Phillip West Presbytery, Rev. Paul Blacker. The Rev. Mark Dunn delivered the sermon and the combined choir led by Rev. Dr. Darcy Wood provided musical performances.

Rev Wendy Elson and the congregation

Rev Wendy Elson and the congregation









Wendy will be living in Woodend and is the first of three new appointments the Uniting Church will be making in the partnership. The ministry appointments will be role based and Rev. Elson’s primary role is to help the Church and the community to connect together. “This is an exciting new venture”. Rev. Elson said.

The partnership is an initiative of the Uniting Church and has seen twelve congregations, Romsey, Lancefield, Kyneton, Mia Mia, Metcalfe, Sutton Grange, Barfold, Tylden, Woodend, Mount Macedon, Riddells Creek and Gisborne, from across the Ranges combining their resources, skills and vision.

Working together under one Co-ordinating Council, the Partnership members are excited by the idea of ministering within their communities as a combined effort.

July 2015

Rev Sharon Cutts has been inducted into her new placement in Broken Hill. Congratulations, Sharon, and blessings on your ministry!

Rev Sharon Cutts

Rev Sharon Cutts
















March 2015

Ordination of Jean Shannon as a Deacon in the UCA took place at St James Uniting Church, 40 Gillies Street, Curtin, Canberra, on Saturday 21st March 2015 at 3.00pm. Thoughts and prayers are with Jean in this time of preparation, anticipation and transition.

Karen Paull was inducted as Community Chaplain at Lane Cove UC on Sunday 8th March at 2.30pm. She has been working in this placement for many months, but the Induction service had to wait to follow her Ordination.

On the Lane Cove UC website: “An Innovative Future: While some people might consider the sale and demolition of a church building to be a complete disaster, the members of the Lane Cove UC don’t share that view. They believe that relationships and community service are more important than buildings. A future without the Lane Cove building is seen as an unexpected and exciting opportunity to better meet changing needs within the local community”. Karen has been employed as the Community chaplain to help the congregation live into this ‘innovative future’.

February 2015

On Sunday 22nd Feb at 2 pm Andrew Broadbent was ordained as a Deacon in Wesley Church City, Perth. Andrew has taken up a placement in Busselton. Blessings on your ministry, Andrew!

DUCA WA.ABord.presentation



















Congratulations to Rev (Deac) Frances Bartholomeusz (below, second from left) who has just completed a five year formation program for Spiritual Directors. Well done!

Spiritual Directors.FB













We spent some time at the DUCA Business Meeting in Adelaide discussing priorities for DUCA and then deciding what kind of structure we need to support our main focus areas. The document outlines the four key areas and those who have put their hand up to assist. More UCA Deacons and candidates are welcome to add their names to the list (please contact the key liaison person for the area of interest).

Deacon Intensive: Nine candidates from 5 Synods have been attending the Deacon Intensive in Adelaide, 9-13th February. It has been an enriching time of learning, guided by facilitators including Rev Dr Vicky Balabanski (Bible Studies) and Rev Dr Steve Taylor (evening ‘case studies’ sessions). The three afternoon immersions have included visits to Yatala Gaol (with prison chaplain, Rev Deac Albert Patrizi), Hope’s Cafe which supports refugees and asylum seekers, The Grove Uniting Church (Rev Deac Lyn Leane) and St Andrews Uniting Church community program (coordinated by Rev Deac Adam Tretheway).

Deacon Intensive 2015

Deacon Intensive 2015












Rev Dr Alison McRae has been inducted into her new placement as Presbytery Minister, Mission & Education, Stawell Uniting Church.















Casey Lau is a Deacon candidate who has completed formation and will take up a placement at Yilki Uniting Church in October. His commissioning service was  on Sunday 12th October and his ordination service was on 30th November. The people of Yilki are looking forward to working with Casey.

Louise Edwards, 1960-2014. Vale.

Louise was known and loved by so many across Australia, and in Fiji where she had built special friendships over the years through the Schoolies Week program which has been running for 13 years. She was ‘a passionate advocate for children, teenagers and young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds’, working as a children’s and youth worker for 25+ years. She was ordained to the ministry of Deacon in 2009. At the beginning of August this year, Louise reluctantly ‘retired’ from ministry after a long battle with breast cancer and the gruelling side effects of her treatment, and passed away on September 7th, 2014. To the end, Louise maintained her confidence and trust in God, and her joyful spirit continued to be a blessing to those who surrounded and supported her. ‘She will be remembered for her boundless energy, her sense of fun and the huge impact she had on the lives of many young friends’. Vale, Louise. Rest eternally in the company of God.

Louise Edwards



June 2014
Rev (Deac) Christa Megaw
will be concluding her role as International Mission Officer in the SA Synod, in preparation for commencing a placement (0.5) at Bridgewater UCA in September.

Karen Paull has commenced a new position at Lane Cove UC as Community Chaplain in July 2014. At the June meeting of the SA Synod and Presbytery, the proposal that Karen be ordained was approved. Double congratulations to Karen! (Karen’s ordination will be Nov 30th, 2014).

Karen Paull

Karen Paull

So many examples over the last few weeks of Uniting Church members and Ministers standing up for what they believe. Here is Rev (Deac) John Brentnall taking a stand against dirty coal in the Leard blockade (NSW).

Rev John Brentnall, raising issue of coal mining

Rev John Brentnall, raising issue of coal mining

March 2014

Rev Scott Kelly (Deacon) has taken over the reins as National Director of Frontier Services. He has wide experience in engaging with government at senior levels and leading innovative justice programs. Prior to becoming a Deacon in the Uniting Church, he worked as a geologist in the oil and gas industry in a number of remote locations, including Papua New Guinea. Congratulations on your appointment, Scott.


Rev Scott Kelly

Rev Lettie Ellen Abraham (Deacon) passed away peacefully in Chesalon Nursing Home Beecroft on Friday, 7 March 2014. A well attended memorial service was held at Eastwood Uniting Church on Wednesday 12 March 2014.

February 2014

Rev (Deac) Tim Hodgson, a padre with RAAF, has moved to South Australia, along with his family including Rev Sue Page who is taking up a placement as Minister at Para Hills UC. The Deacons in SA look forward to getting to know Sue and Tim. (Picture: Sue’s induction, with Tim and family, and Rev (Deacon) Sarah Williamson and Moderator Deidre Palmer). 

Tim Hodgson Sue Page

Induction of Rev Sue Page

January 2014

Happy new year!

The annual new year mailing has been sent this month, including news of the Deacon Intensive, and the Deacons Conference which are both rescheduled to February 2015. More detailed information will be sent out soon about the Intensive and Conference. Candidates should discuss this with their course advisor to keep them in the loop about what is being planned. If you have any changes to your contact details that were enclosed with the mailing, please let Judy Knowling via  the email address in the letter.

Advance notice: On Sunday 9th February at 3pm, Rev Betty Matthews (WA) will be celebrating the 60th anniversary of her ordination as a deacon (on 3 February 1954 at Scots Church, Fremantle). The venue will be St Martin’s Uniting Church, 57 Hale Rd, Forrestfield. No gifts please, but there will be an opportunity to donate to CARAD. RSVP for catering purposes to Rev Alan Matthews on 9453 9996 or at betty.matthews@bigpond.com.
WA Deacons are especially encouraged to attend to support Betty for this significant event.
Betty writes: We had about 70 people, including people I worked with in the local church in 1946 and one I shared Girls Camp leadership with in the late 1940’s just before I took off to train for a deaconess (with thoughts of going to the outback with a nurse). God had other plans and I was engaged by the time I finished training and did not get to serve with the AIM. Alan and I joined the United Church in North Australia and went to Gove (late Nhulunbuy). It was a fantastic afternoon. Bev Fabb and Marie Wilson (trained as a Deaconess and transferred over to MoW just before Union) did a great job in making the day memorable.

The SA Deacons will be gathering for an informal BBQ on Saturday 18th January. A good chance to catch up and share news. It will be great to catch up with Peter Wait who is in Adelaide for a short break from Frontier Services, Tennant Creek.

Rev Deac Michelle Cook and James Hughes are to begin the process of settling into Tasmania, far away from the life on Cape York. Our prayers are with you as you begin your ministry in Tasmania.

Rev Deac Scott Litchfield (based in Cambodia) posted an insightful article on his blog about volun-tourism in Cambodia. Really worth a read. Here’s a snippet:

In Cambodia, if you build an orphanage you will fill it, not with orphans but with kids from poor families sent for a “better life”. But what kind of life is it away from mum and dad, family and friends? (See website on institutional care issues internationally). There is an alternative. Emmaus Christian College from South Australia have recently visited Vietnam and Cambodia and focused on history and social justice. During their time in Cambodia they have learnt Khmer language each day, learnt from key members of the ‘emerging’ civil society in Cambodia, and sat with young people deeply committed to empowering the youth of Cambodia to find their voice and bring change to a country desperately in need of transformation from within. In the process the students from Australia have been changed and challenged in many ways. When Cambodian people heard the students were learning ‘their language’ each day they were surprised and often asked “but why are they learning our language when they are only here 10 days? When they realized that the programme was to ‘learn’ rather than ‘help’, and to ‘engage and understand’ they were impressed.
So, Australian educators, please re-think what you do when you send a group of your students to poor countries to ‘experience’ poverty and ‘serve’ the poor.  There is damage done to those you meet and your own kids get a warped view of both themselves and their place in the world. There is an alternative.


November 2013

Rev Sue Langhans has retired – we wish you well, Sue! (Sue serves as DUCA Treasurer).

Great to read the article in Frontier News about Rev Gay Loftus, West Coast Patrol Minister with Frontier Services.
‘The focus is out of the church buildings and that’s a good fit for me’, says Gay. ‘I prefer faith conversations that evolve naturally because they come from authentic places. God enters the conversation when someone shares their troubles and suddenly asks, ‘Gay, how do I pray?’ Or, ‘I’m really distressed and I need to talk to you’.
You can read the full article online  (pages 6&7).

Rev (Deac) Gay Loftus presents the Frontier services stole to Rev (Deac) Dennis Cousens

October 2013
(Source: Frontier Services)
Last month, an induction service was held for Rev Dennis Cousens as he commenced his placement with the Midlands Patrol (Tasmania).  A stirring worship service was held at the historic Oatlands Uniting Church to mark the beginning of Dennis’ ministry in the region. The service included a message shared by Rev Colleen Grieve who played a leading role in establishing Patrol Ministry in Tasmania. Colleen encouraged Dennis to share the love and gospel of Christ with the people of the Patrol.

Representatives of the congregation and Patrol presented Dennis with the symbols of the region, along with water, bread and wine.

Frontier Services Associate Director – Pastoral Rev Colin Batt led the induction part of the service while fellow Tasmanian Patrol Minister Rev Gay Loftus (West Coast Patrol/Circular Head Ministry) presented Dennis with the Frontier Services stole.

The Midlands Patrol is an ongoing partnership with the Presbytery of Tasmania. Dennis will serve the Uniting Church congregations Campbell Town/Ross and Oatlands/Bothwell and provide ministry to the wider communities in the Midlands, Central Highlands and Great Lakes.

Rev (Deacon) Michelle Cook
has accepted a call by the Presbytery of Tasmania to the placement of Presbytery Minister, Mission Development, to commence on 1st January 2014. Michelle is currently in placement in northern Queensland, and prior to that had a placement with Frontier Services. She has great wisdom in her awareness of the issues of relationship between the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and the wider church.
The weather will be challenging, going from the tropics to the cool temperate climate of Tasmania!


Rev Michelle Cook contemplating life in a cooler climate


October 2013

‘Old news’ in some respects, but just came across these online articles about Rev Peter Wait‘s commencement of placement at Tennant Creek and the Barkly Patrol (Frontier Services) in May 2013. Here’s one from the local paper (Tennant Creek Times) and here’s one from Frontier Services.

The Frontier Services article reads:
A willingness to drive for hours on end across some of the outback’s most remote country is not a usual prerequisite for a church minister, but for Rev Peter Wait, the new Tennant Barkly Patrol Minister for Frontier Services, it is absolutely essential. Based in Tennant Creek, Peter will spend much of his time on the road travelling across the north of the Barkly region visiting people in hard-to-reach places, offering a listening ear and a helping hand.

The Tennant Barkly Patrol covers 600,000sq km of the Northern Territory, almost three times the size of Victoria. Extending 200km south of Tennant Creek and north to Daly Waters, the region is known for its large cattle stations and rich connection to the local Aboriginal culture.

Peter will offer emotional and practical support to people across the Patrol, providing a source of spiritual care and trust that otherwise might not be there. He will also be a part of the community in Tennant Creek and support the local Uniting Church congregation.

Peter was officially inducted as the Frontier Services Tennant Barkly Patrol Minister on Sunday 26 May at Tennant Creek Uniting Church. Coming from Adelaide, Peter said he felt called to his new role in the outback with Frontier Services. “It is privilege to serve in the tradition of Frontier Services and Uniting Church in remote Australia. I look forward to meeting people and having conversations about significant things,” Mr Wait said.

Peter has moved to the NT after spending five years working with church congregations in Adelaide. He has been a prison chaplain and is a former biochemical researcher and teacher. He worked as a teacher for two years in Barunga near Katherine and has spent time in Arnhem Land.

Like his work as a prison chaplain, Peter said the role of a Patrol Minister was simply to be there for people. “We call it an incarnational ministry. We send a message by our physical presence. When we are there for people in hard to get places we embody God’s love for them.”

The history of the Tennant Barkly Patrol dates back to 1915 when Frontier Services’ predecessor, the Australian Inland Mission, first sent a Patrol Padre to the region.

Peter in church 1

Induction of Rev Peter Wait

September 2013

At the WA Synod/Presbytery meeting this month, Rev Bev Fabb was elected Chair of CEDAL, Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership. CEDAL was established in 2009 to fulfil the functions of the Synod’s Ministerial Education Board, but with a wider education function. CEDAL works to encourage members of the Church to consider the call of God to ministry and to the specified ministries in the Uniting Church. CEDAL develops policies and processes for ministerial and theological education in the Synod of WA within the guidelines set down by the Assembly Ministerial Education Commission. CEDAL’s task includes the oversight of a growing field of lay and continuing theological education, and to assist the Church in encouraging and educating people toward a deeper understanding and fuller participation in the whole range of Christian witness and service. It provides training for members of the Church to equip them for fulfilling leadership roles. As a whole, CEDAL seeks to build an informed and integrated learning community directed to the mission of God. Towards this, it aims to create a culture in which faith formation for discipleship and leadership becomes prized, appreciated and accessible. Bev brings considerable experience, wisdom and practical knowledge of the church to her new role. Congratulations, Bev!

Rev Denise Savage in Western Australia has set up a blogsite with photos and reflections. Worth checking out!

Congratulations to Rev Lyn Leane and Rev Albert Patrizi, newly ordained on 8th September, 2013. Deacons Sandy Boyce, Bill Harris, Cogs Smith, Sue Langhans, Naomi Rosenberg, Christa Megaw and Judy Knowling were on hand to support Lyn and Albert and present them with the bowl and towel, symbols of diaconal ministry.

Rev Naomi Rosenberg is a contributor at a conference, ‘Perspectives on Mental Health and Addiction:Seeing recovery through a different lens’, to be held on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th September in Adelaide. In 2007, 45% of Australians aged 16-85 years, (7.3 million people), have at some point in their lifetime experienced a mental illness. This conference seeks to focus Health & Care Ministry on promoting mental health (MH) and providing more effective care for people living with mental illness. Naomi will share information about the CATR (COOKING AT THE ROCK) programme at Sunset Rock UC where she is in ministry.

Conference flier (could be a great Continuing Education option for 2013) MH Conference flier Sept 2013

August 2013

Rev Sandy Boyce, President, DIAKONIA World Federation, has set up a blogsiteDWF President – with postings that include prayers for DIAKONIA World associations, updates about news in regions and associations, and reflections.

Rev Michelle Cook is moving to Launceston, Tasmania to begin a placement, leaving Mapoon (Qld)  where she has been in placement for several years.

July 2013
The World DIAKONIA Assembly was held in Berlin, 1st-8th July, 2013. Rev Sandy Boyce (SA Synod, in centre of photo) was elected President, World DIAKONIA Federation, and Rev Dr Alison McRae (Vic/Tas Synod, on far left of photo) was elected as Vice-President for the DIAKONIA Asia Pacific Region. The World Executive is made up of the 3 Regional Presidents,  others elected from each of the three regions, and the officers including President, Secretary, Treasurer, Webmaster, and English and German co-editors. Other UCA Deacons who attended the meeting included eD Helmbold (Deacon candidate, SA), Rev Bill Harris and his wife Margaret (SA Synod), Rev Jenny and John Preston (Victoria Synod) and Rev Di Bos (Queensland Synod).

June 2013
Rev Phil Newton (Deacon in placement as university chaplain, University of Wollongong) wrote one of the theme songs for NSW Synod 2011, On New and Risky Paths. Definitely worth thinking about using for a diaconal focus on ‘risking the way of Jesus’ and ‘walking with our neighbour’.

MP3 On New and Risky Paths – Phil Newton and Michael Earl
Lyrics On New and Risky Paths PDF – Phil Newton and Michael Earl

In lieu of copyright payment, the composers wish to direct people to donate to the UnitingWorld’s Hunger, Health and Hope project in North Korea. You can donate here.
“23 million people in North Korea are facing a hidden humanitarian crisis. Many children have lost their loved ones and live a life of severe poverty, with the UN estimating that one third of all children are chronically malnourished.  Well-funded medical facilities are hard to access, and avenues to assist are tightly controlled.  Long term, educational and vocational opportunities are limited. In one of the most vulnerable areas of the North, through UnitingWorld the Uniting Church in Australia runs a hostel for orphaned children, a TB clinic and a nursing school.  It does so with the full support of the North Korean authorities and in partnership with the local people.  This is a rare opportunity for you to go behind the scenes and lend a hand.”

The sheet music available below contains the melody line, lyrics and chords for both songs. If you would like the full piano arrangement of either or both songs, please contact:
Rads Sukumar, rads.sukumar@gmail.com0423 823 363

May 2013

Rev Christa Megaw led a small group trip to visit the Middle Luzon Jurisdiction (United Church of Christ in the Philippines), as part of a new partnership with MLJ and Pilgrim Uniting Church (Adelaide) and Urban Mission Network. She had an opportunity to catch up with DAP (DIAKONIA Asia Pacific) President, Deac Emma Cantor.

Rev Peter Wait (centre in the photo, taken earlier in 2003 at a DUCA SA gathering) has begun a placement in Tennant Creek with Frontier Services.

Rev Meg Evans features in the May edition of Frontier News, in an article titled ‘Caring for the Midlands’. Great story! You can download a copy here.

April 2013

Rev Meg Evans has retired, and the attached story shares some of the news from her farewell. Enjoy your retirement, Meg!

” Meg was the first minister appointed to the Midlands Patrol when it was established in 2003. Extending across the Midlands and Central Highlands of Tasmania, the Patrol covers the small towns of Oatlands, Ross, Bothwell and Campbell Town and the isolated properties in between.

Looking back on her time in the Midlands, Meg reflected on her work as a “ministry of presence”.

“As more and more services leave these rural areas, the presence of the church is really significant,” she said. “It’s important just to be there.”

“It has been such a privilege to be a part of people’s lives, to have people trust you, and to share in the hard times and the good times.”

As the Midlands Patrol Minister, Meg has led 114 funerals, 33 weddings and 35 baptisms. She has . In her final week, she conducted a baptism for a family she had come to know well. Meg buried the grandfather, married the children and now welcomed their grandchildren, touching four generations in one family!

For many, Meg has been more than a church minister. She has been a welcome visitor in isolated places, an advocate for the community and a trusted friend. Always, she has been a visible sign of the church’s presence in the community.

Retired Deaconesses in Victoria meet every month to share stories, hear about different areas of interest, and to offer pastoral support. A courtesy copy of the minutes from the monthly “Senior Chapter Notes” meetings are sent to DUCA, a great way to connect the circle of Deaconesses and DIAKONIA UCA. It was noted that Barbara Higgins will light the remembrance candle for Valmai Schmidtke at the Vic/Tas Synod when it meets in early May.

Caribbean churches reflect on new directions for diaconal work
“Diakonia must be done through action, social services, advocacy and challenging systems and structures that create injustice and dehumanization of people,” said Rev. Dr Paul Gardner of Jamaica at a seminar in April 2013 at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, organized by the World Council of Churches in collaboration with Caribbean churches (see photo of participants below). The seminar discussed good practices for the diaconal ministry of the churches, and participants shared updates on contemporary issues related to diakonia and development in the ecumenical movement, particularly in the Caribbean. The discussions were a follow-up to consultations on diakonia in Romania in 2009 and the Netherlands, 2010. A document, Theology of Diakonia for the 21st Century, an outcome of the WCC consultation in Sri Lanka, 2012, was also discussed extensively. Elvire Douglas, a Haitian participant, said, “Diakonia should be a way of living for each Christian bearing testimony of the gospel in the 21st century. Prophetic diakonia is to be promoted by the churches to enable and reset its objectives and define relevant strategies to teach, empower and advocate for justice and peace for the healing of the world”.

Rev Gavin Blakemore began his new role as ‘Director of Mission’ with Wesley Mission Victoria on Tuesday April 2nd, and was inducted into the role on Monday 8th April 10am at Wesley Church Melbourne.
(Rev (Deacon) Andy Calder is on the Wesley Mission Board)

Rev Frances Bartholomeusz was inducted into her community outreach placement at Murray Bridge (South Australia), on April 21st. SA Deacons were warmly encouraged to attend, and others in the DUCA network were encouraged to send greetings to her on this happy occasion.

Albert Patrizi (candidate for Ministry of Deacon) commenced a part-time placement at Yatala Gaol on April 1st. His call to ministry focussed on prison ministry, and it is fabulous news that he able to commence a placement at Yatala. He spoke at Pilgrim Church recently about his life and sense of call (audio download)

March 2013

As we enter Holy Week, may it be a season of renewal, encouragement and blessing to you.

A quick update re the World DIAKONIA Assembly in Berlin – there are a few UCA Deacons heading there, along with some Anglican Deacons. Rev Di Bos (Qld), Rev Sandy Boyce (SA), Rev Bill Harris (SA) and his wife Margaret, and Rev Alison McRae (Vic), Revs John and Jenny Preston (Vic) along with eD Helmbold (Deacon candidate, SA) are definite starters. While it might have been less than we’d hoped for for this fantastic event (held every four years), it is  great for DUCA to be represented as part of ‘world diakonia’. Please pray for the organizers at the ‘business’ end of the conference, with all those logistics that need attention.

February 2013

Deacon gatherings in February: Saturday Feb 2 gatherings in SA and WA

Feb 2013 SA – 1

Deacons Judy Knowling and Peter Wait, with Rev Marty Rosenberg

Deacons Mark Boyce, Christa Megaw, Bill Harris and Jean Stirling

January 2013

Happy new year! Blessings to you in your ministry and for the year ahead.

Rev Denise Savage

Rev Denise Savage will be inducted into a new placement at St Peter & Emmaus Church, Joondanna at 2pm on 3rd February, 2013. This is an ecumenical placement (Anglican and UCA congregations). The closure of ministry service for her current placement with First Third for the Metro North Region will take place on Sunday 27 January, 9.30am, at Cousin’s Hall St Stephen’s School Duncraig.

Congratulations to Rev James Godfrey, ordained on 18th December, 2012. He continues his placement as Mental Health Chaplain to Eastern Access Community Health.

2012 was the 20th anniversary of the first ordinations of Deacons in the UCA – and also the 20th anniversary of the ordination of the first women priests in the Anglican Church. A momentous year, it seems!

Rev Frances Bartholomeusz was ordained on Saturday 12th January, 2013. Congratulations! She will take up a new placement in the Murray Bridge UCA congregation as a community worker.

Rev Frances Bartholomeusz

Rev Frances Bartholomeusz with some SA Deacons

The UCA Deacons Directory is being updated for 2013. You will find it listed in the link above – password protected. Deacons in the UCA are asked to kindly confirm details for 2013 or provide updates for contact details to the DUCA National Convener, Sandy Boyce. More details provided in the latest (snail) DUCA mailing which was posted in second week of January.

The DIAKONIA World Assembly is held every four years, and will take place this year in Berlin in the first week of July. Please scroll down for relevant documents, and please consider going to this wonderful event.

Rev Nigel Hawken – new placement
Nigel commences a new role in January 2013 as the Uniting Church Chaplain at Westmead Hospital.

Rev Dennis Cousins, Frontier Services Cunnamulla Patrol Minister

Ordination in 2010

Dennis Cousins’ job is to spend time with individuals and families in their place. Dennis’ patrol stretches from the New South Wales-Queensland border, 230 kilometres north to Wyandra, east about 100 kilometres and west to Nockatunga — a patch roughly 150,000 square kilometres in area.
“There is a great respect for Frontier Services because we have been there during the tough times, during the nine-year drought and more recently the Queensland floods. People feel comfortable to talk and sometimes they will ask you for a quick prayer before you go.
“And then, when someone needs a minister to conduct a wedding or a funeral, people will say, ‘Dennis, you’re our church bloke out here.’”
For Dennis it’s not about preaching religion or taking advantage of people’s hospitality. As a Frontier Services Patrol Minister, people feel comfortable to approach Dennis during those times of life when they need someone to call on.
“Often people will say, ‘I’m not religious’ and I say, ‘I’m not either, but I have a faith in God’ and they will say, ‘Well I suppose I have a faith too. You can’t get by out here without it.’”
“It’s a great privilege, just being alongside people … taking Christ to the people instead of expecting people to come to a church building — somewhere that is quite unfamiliar to them.
“It’s about going where people are familiar and taking Christ to them there … that’s what this ministry is about. “To me, people sharing their lives, opening their homes and recognising Christ in the work of Frontier Services, is the abundance — the life overflowing abundance — that you get in this ministry.”
(excerpt from article by Natalie McLeod in Insights)

Article in Journey – What does church look like in your neck of the woods?

Article in Journey online – Frontier Services welcomes ordination of local patrol minister

Article in Journey online – Patrolling the frontiers of the future

December 2012

In the lead up to Christmas, letters and cards are written, posted, emailed, and placed on Facebook. Sister Doris Horn, President of the World DIAKONIA Federation, has prepared a Christmas letter which you may be interested to read. DorisHorn.Christmasletter.2012.

The program for the World DIAKONIA Assembly is available. Please let Sandy Boyce know if you are planning to go as there may be some travel funds available for participants.

World Assembly program.English.FINAL

November 2012

The World DIAKONIA Assembly will be held in Berlin in 2013, July 1st-8th. The registration form is attached here, and will also be stored in the side folder titled ‘conferences’ for easy access. Information on the post-Assembly tours is also attached and will be available in the ‘conferences’ folder. If you plan to go, please contact Rev Sue Langhans (DUCA Treasurer) in regards to the travel scheme, and Rev Sandy Boyce (Convener, DUCA Executive). We hope there will be a number of UCA Deacons who travel to Berlin for the Assembly – a great chance to learn more about the many expressions of DIAKONIA around the world, and for learning.

Registration DIAKONIA Berlin 2013

Invitation letter – Assembly 2013

DIAKONIA 2013 Post Assembly Tours

Rev (Deac) Sandy Boyce attended the DIAKONIA Asia Pacific (DAP) regional conference, held in the Philippines from 28th October to November 2nd, 2012. It was a great time of learning and sharing.

Sandy Boyce (centre) with DAP delegates at the Regional Gathering.

Congratulations to Rev (Deac) Nigel Hawken, who has been appointed Uniting Church chaplain at Westmead Hospital, commencing January 1st, 2013.

The Deacons in the SA Synod celebrated the 20th anniversary of DIAKONIA in the Uniting Church on Friday 2nd November at the annual SA Synod business meeting. Rev (Deac) Mark Boyce shared about his work as a mental health chaplain, Rev (Deac) Cogs Smith provided an informative overview of DIAKONIA in the UCA, and its focus

Cooking at the Rock – Sunset Rock UCA program

October 2012:

An article on the expressions of diaconal ministry by Tara Burton, Ministering in the world – in Journey online.

Rev Naomi Rosenberg (SA) has several projects involving cooking in her ministry at Sunset Rock UC. The photo  was taken at CATR (Cooking at the Rock), which is a cooking class held fortnightly on Fridays with people with mental health issues in the community. This particular week it was made into a CommUnity Day Program. There is also a monthly program with girls cooking with older women in the congregation, and then enjoying the meal together and sharing. Great initiatives!

Rev (Deac) Sandy Boyce attended the DIAKONIA Asia-Pacific Regional Gathering in the Philippines in the last week of October. There were representatives from Australia, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as a representative of the World DIAKONIA Executive. It was a great time of fellowship and learning.

September 2012:

The most recent DIAKONIA newsletter is now available. Always worth reading! You can go to the World DIAKONIA website to check out past editions as well as the most recent edition.

Rev (Deacon) Karen Mitchell-Lambert was inducted into the Wesley Castle Hill congregation (Sydney) on Friday September 12th, 2012. She joins Rev Dr Rhonda White in collegial ministry. Her new role at Wesley will involve responsibility for community development, families, children and youth. More photos here.

Edition 98 of World DIAKONIA News has now been published. Rev (Deacon) Sandy Boyce is the English co-editor of DIAKONIA News. This edition has articles and news from all over the world, and includes information about the 20th anniversary of the renewal of the diaconate in the UCA. Download it on the link. It will also be available on the World DIAKONIA website. DIAKONIA News 98-2012

Dean Whittaker, Cogs Smith, Sandy Boyce and Casey Lau at the Uniting Communities Day with a focus on ‘faith in action’ and community development.

Uniting Communities held a day seminar on 15th September, focussed on ‘faith in action’ and Assets Based Community Development (ABCD). There were 4 Deacons in attendance who appreciated the opportunity to reflect on gifts and assets as a framework for ministry in the community.

Rev (Deacon) Sarah Williamson was a coordinator for ‘Suicide: It’s no secret’ & Lifeline’s ‘Out of the Shadows & into the Light’, and spoke on the steps of Parliament House, South Australia.

Rev Sarah Williamson speaking on steps of SA Parliament House

Rev (Deacon) Dr Alison McRae was the guest speaker for the celebration of the renewal of the diaconate in the Uniting Church in Australia. She made a significant presentation at Pilgrim Uniting Church on September 9th, in collaboration with the SA (UCA) Historical Society. A copy of her presentation can be downloaded here: Renewal of the diaconate.20th celebration_Alison McRae

Rev (Deacon) Dr Alison McRae preached at Pilgrim Uniting Church, Adelaide, on September 9th, using Mark 7: 24-37, developing the theme: “Caught with your compassion down”: lessons from the boundaries’. You can download a copy of the sermon here.
Alison McRae sermon – ‘caught with compassion down’

Rev (Deacon) Bev Fabb preached the sermon on Sunday 9th September at the WA Synod morning service. You can download a copy of the sermon here. WA SERMON SYNOD 2012.BEV FABB

Rev Betty Matthews, first Deacon ordained in UCA in 1992, serves UCA President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney








Deacon celebration calls church to mutual vulnerability
WA Synod Sunday began with worship celebrating the 21st anniversary of the renewal of diaconate ministry within the Uniting Church. The focus of the morning was on the ministry of service given expression by those ordained to the ministry of deacon.

Rev Marion Millin gave some historical background, telling of how the Uniting Church, in 1991, agreed to recognise two expressions of ordained ministry, the ministry of the Word, and ministry of deacon.

Rev Bev Fabb preached, focussing on the story of the last supper as told in John 13:

… So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
Jesus answered, “You don’t understand now what I’m doing, but it will be clear enough to you later.”
Peter persisted, “You’re not going to wash my feet—ever!”
Jesus said, “If I don’t wash you, you can’t be part of what I’m doing.”
“Master!” said Peter. “Not only my feet, then. Wash my hands! Wash my head!” (The Message translation)

Bev pointed out that, while Christians have followed the tradition of the last supper by celebrating communion, and recognising it as a sacrament, Jesus’ command to wash one another’s feet is not followed often.

“The act of foot washing is an experience of mutual vulnerability,” said Bev. When you kneel at someone’s feet, you risk being kicked in the head. At the same time, the person whose feet are being washed has to expose their defects and sensitivities.

“Deacons are called to wash the feet of those who suffer in our world, in gentleness, compassion and love,” said Bev. “What God wants is for us to wash one another’s feet.”

During the celebration of communion and over the morning tea, Bev and other deacons were available to wash others’ feet or to have their own feet washed.

Photos and story here

August 2012:

A fantastic article by Dr Clive Pearson published in the UCA NSW Synod publication Insights, reflecting on the recent DIAKONIA conference, God is where?! Read it here.

Events coming up in September in South Australia (and beyond!) that will be of interest to Deacons.

‘The Reshaping of the Mission of the Church.  the Gift of the Renewed Diaconate.
Acknowledging the 20th Anniversary of the Renewed Diaconate in the UCA. ‘

Guest Presenter: Rev Dr Alison McRae.
3.30pm, Sunday 9th September  at Pilgrim UC. No cost.
Sponsored by the UC Historical Society in association with the Deacons of the UCA in South Australia.
Enquiries:  Jonathan Barker 0438 012 227

Putting Faith into Action : Community Development Day
Presenters: Peter Kenyon, Rev Paul Turley, Rev Peter McDonald and others
9 – 4.30pm, Saturday 15th September at Burnside UC.

Church on Mainstreet 2012
Presenters: Bronwyn Pike(Urban Renewal Authority), Rev. Bruce Grindlay, Rev Adam Tretheway,  John Emmet (Vic/Tas Synod)
Tues. 25th and Wed. 26th September 10am-3pm at St. Andrews by the Sea UC, , Jetty Road, Glenelg.
Fee for 2 days $30 or 1 day $20 .
Further info: Rev Dr Dean Eland djeland@bigpond.com or 0419 112 603.

Deacon brochure for 20th anniversary in the UCA. Double sided, colour. DEACONS PAMPHLET 2012

A number of UCA Deacons are considering attending the next DIAKONIA World Assembly in Berlin in July 2013. Rev Bill Harris has offered these reflections on his first experience at a DIAKONIA seminar in Europe, and his first DIAKONIA Executive meeting in Sweden. Rev Bill Harris – reflections on DRAE & Exec Sweden 1998

July 2012 news:

Some of the UCA Deacons attending the UCA 13th Assembly in Adelaide in July as well as SA Deacons who have been involved in the program or catching up with people. The UCA Assembly formally recognized the 20th anniversary of the renewal of the diaconate in the UCA – first ordinations were in 1992.

UCA Deacons at 13th Assembly

A letter has been prepared for Deacons and Deacon candidates who may wish to attend the DIAKONIA World Assembly in July 2013, with information about the conference and encouragement to source funding to enable them to participate. The letter may be used to liaise with funding bodies and congregations for funding to support travel and conference registration. It can be downloaded here: DUCA-WORLD ASSEMBLY LETTER

The UCA National Assembly meeting is to be held in Adelaide, 15th-21st July. There are 10 Deacons participating in the 13th Assembly held every three years. One of the presentations will be ‘Reconciliation People – a Statement to the Nation’, written by young adult leaders in the UCA. Here’s a link to a video with the statement, featuring Rev Aimee Kent at the start of the video.

The DUCA Business meeting was held on July 1st in Sydney. The meeting agreed that the Executive continue to be based in SA for a further two years. Sandy Boyce will continue as DUCA National Convener.

DUCA Business meeting 2

DUCA Business meeting 3

DUCA Business meeting 1

The Deacon Intensive for UCA Deacon candidates was held in Sydney at the end of June. A great time of learning and building collegial relationships.

Deacon Intensive group photo

Rev Emma Matthews is a school chaplain at Penrhos College in Perth. Read more about her story here.

Emma Matthews, school chaplain

June 2012 news:

The World DIAKONIA Executive are meeting in Denmark in the last week of July. Amongst the business they are discussing is the program for the World DIAKONIA Assembly in Berlin in 2013, July 1-8th. Will be a wonderful time. Please consider attending (held once every four years).

At the 13th triennial Assembly of the UCA, there is a proposal in relation to the 20th anniversary of the recognition and ordination of the first Deacons (1992). You might like to check it out here.

Rev Luna Dingyan will be the guest speaker at the Thursday night dinner at the Deacons conference in the first week of July. He is a minister and key leader of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines and the President of the Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Baguio, the Philippines.  ETS has pioneered a curriculum and pattern of delivery that responds to the missional priorities of the UCCP among the poor of the Philippines.  It grounds biblical and theological studies in community development, human rights and Christian leadership.  Luna’s theological research has been in the area of “a Christology of solidarity”.  He is a fine scholar and educator, and an inspirational church leader. What a privilege to have Luna speak at the conference (he’s also a Bible Study leader at the 13th Assembly of the UCA in Adelaide in July).

Rev Luna Dingayan, UCCP (Philippines)

James Godrey (Deacon Candidate, Vic/Tas) is currently in Vanuatu on a short field placement, organized as part of his formation for ministry. Other Deacon candidates have had similar cross-cultural placements with partner churches as part of their formation – if it’s something you’d like to explore, talk with your theological college and Uniting World (Kathy Periera).

The World DIAKONIA Executive meet in Denmark in the last week of June. Here’s the press release sent out today. Please uphold the meeting in prayer as the Executive hear reports from the regions, and discuss diakonia in its many forms around the world. press release engl 210612

Great news that Craig Batty (Queensland) is being ordained on 28th June, and will begin his placement at Indooroopilly Uniting Church as the children’s, youth and families minister on 1st July. Congratulations, Craig!

Came across an interesting read in this online version of the journal Cross Purposes, featuring an article written by James Godfrey (UCA Deacon candidate) and one by Chris Duxbury (UCA Deacon). There’s also a review of Sara Miles’ book, Take this bread. All worth a read! Cross Purposes Edition 19, 2009.

DUCA business meeting – reports: Reports are posted for WA Synod, Northern Synod, SA Synod, Queensland Synod and NSW-ACT Synod, as well as DUCA Executive report and Treasurer’s report – quick link here.

Karen Mitchell-Lambert (NSW) will conclude her placement at Cromer UC on 19th August, and take up a placement at Wesley UCA, Castle Hill as the Deacon specialising in children, family, youth and community development.

WCC Conference on DIAKONIA: “Diakonia is an alternative form of power which consists precisely in serving. If we transfer this insight into the social and political realm, the question is then to what extent structures of power can be permeated by the spirit of service,” said Dr Walter Altmann, moderator of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Central Committee. Altmann was delivering a keynote address at a WCC conference on “The Theology of Diakonia for the 21st Century” in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 2 June 2012. More info on the Diakonia in the UCA blogsite.

UC SA Historical Society – focus on diaconate
As part of the celebrations for the 20th year since the first Deacons were ordained, the UC SA Historical invited SA Deacons to prepare the newsletter. This has been printed and distributed. We’re now working on a national edition with contributions from Deacons in other Synods. Copies can be made available for the people attending Assembly, as well as uploaded to the UCA Diakonia website and possibly the Assembly website. Here’s what we have so far. We’d LOVE to hear from UC Deacons who are able to contribute. Ideally 500 words, but as you can see, the length varies a great deal. Here’s the draft thus far: Occasional Papers_Draft 1_29May2012

Rev Adam Tretheway and Rev Christa Megaw (International Mission Officers, SA Synod) are visiting partner churches in Korea. Here’s a photo of them near the border.

Rev Christa Megaw & Rev Adam Tretheway in Korea

May 2012 news:

Rev Heather den Houting has commenced her role as Director of Mission at Blue Care. Here’s an article with more information.

Registrations for the Deacons Conference in July are coming in. As of mid-May, there are  36 for the full conference. There’s still time to register – we would love to see a good turn out for the conference, which will provide really worthwhile learning, and an opportunity for networking and encouragement. Scroll down a little further for the registration details.

Congratulations to Priscilla Hein, who has been accepted as a candidate for the Ministry of Deacon in SA. This brings the total of Deacon candidates to 10 in South Australia, 16 altogether in the UCA. Priscilla (Sil) is working in aged care, a recognized Ministry of Pastor placement.

Synod reports for DUCA Business Meeting in July 2012 being uploaded onto the website as they are received (password protected).

DUCA Conference (first week of July) – conference flyer has been updated.
REVISED Registration Form God is Where
Here’s the link to make direct payments to United Theological College: http://subscriptions.utc.edu.au. Please note: early bird date has been extended to May 15th 😆

April 2012 news:

July DUCA Conference: For those who need to travel, please arrange flights asap, as travel equalisation system will work on a ‘reasonable’ fare rather than last minute bookings. Travel equalisation only applies to financial members of DUCA. (Note: system of travel equalisation is being discussed at present and there may be some changes in the future).

Deaconess Win Hilliard – obituary
Rev Bill Edwards has written an obituary for Deaconess Win Hilliard, published in The Advertiser (Adelaide) on 7th April. The original text is here.

A tribute to the life of Deaconess Win Hilliard











March 2012 news:

Elaine Ledgerwood (Deacon candidate) will be commissioned as the Pastor at Rowethorpe (WA) on Sunday 25th March. The venue is the Sutton Centre, and the commissioning will take place from 3-4pm. WA Deacons are encouraged to support Elaine on this significant occasion.

SA Deacons will be interested to know about the induction of Rev Judy Knowling into the role of Chaplain at Royal Adelaide Hospital at 2pm on 22nd March in the RAH Chapel. All welcome to come along and support Judy.

Congratulations to Adam Tretheway who has accepted a 0.5 position as Deacon at St Andrews by the sea at Glenelg, starting later in March. Induction service planned for Sunday 1st April at 4pm.

Congratulations to Val Aumann who celebrated 50 years since commissioning as a Deaconess on March 4th. What a milestone!

February 2012 news:

DUCA biennial conference – July 2012 – update re fees, registration etc.


God is Where flyer – registration information


Heather den Houting is concluding her placement at Kenmore UC on Easter Sunday, and moving to a new placement as Director of Mission at Blue Care, the Queensland agency responsible for providing care and support for the elderly, people with a disability and others in their time of need.

Rev Dr Alison McRae will be presenting a public lecture on September 9th in Adelaide as part of the 20th celebrations of the renewal of the diaconate, and the first ordination of Deacons in 1992. More details published as they become available.


DIAKONIA News provides a broad range of current news from the DIAKONIA World Federation, including the three regions (DAP – DIAKONIA Asia Pacific; DRAE – DIAKONIA Region Africa Europe; DOTAC – DIAKONIA of the Americas and Caribbean). Definitely worth a read! Contributions always welcome (Sandy Boyce is the English Editor for DIAKONIA News). Click on the banner on the right hand side for DIAKONIA News – February 2012.

Rev Graham Anson began work on 1st Feb at Uniting Mission and Education, a new unit set up in the NSW Synod. His new role is New Initiatives and Congregational Development Consultant. He joins Kath Merrifield, Geoff Wellington and Bronwyn Murphy. Feb 1st also celebrates 21 years of Graham begin in full time ministry in the UCA. Congratulations, Graham!

Rev Dr Alison Macrae will be leading the Bible Studies for the Deacon Intensive (formation for candidates for Ministry of Deacons in UCA, to be held in Sydney 2012 in the last week of June). Alison’s doctoral thesis was titled, De-Centred Ministry: A Diaconal View of Mission and Church.

January 2012 news:

Deaconess Win Hilliard passed away on 2nd January 2012. She will be remembered for her faithful years of diaconal ministry at Ernabella, SA. A brief overview of her ministry has been uploaded here.

The planning team for the UCA Deacons 2012 Conference has prepared a brochure. The conference will be the first week of July 2012 in Sydney. All Deacons in the UCA are welcome to attend. There will also be an opportunity to celebrate the 20th year of ordination of Deacons in the UCA.

God is Where Conference flyer

The SA Deacons met for an informal lunch on 22nd January to plan ahead for 2012. The story is posted on the DUCA blogsite. Here’s a photo of the group.

SA Deacons January 2012 gathering










Rev Karyl Davison has been inducted into a new placement at Eaton Community College in Bunbury, Western Australia. Karyl will be in placement with the Wellington Regional Mission, with responsibility for Collie,Waterloo and Harvey congregations and the Eaton/Millbridge Project – being church in the community for a new housing development.

Congratulations to Aimee Kent, ordained as a Deacon in the UCA, 14th January 2012

Rev Lesley deGrussa-Macauley was inducted into a new placement at Albany Wesley Uniting Church, on 21st January, 2012. The church is one of the oldest in Albany.

Congratulations, Aimee!

Rev Karyl Davison’s induction


Occasional papers: exploring issues relevant to diaconal ministry in the Uniting Church in Australia.

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