MESSAGE FROM THE GENERAL SECRETARY

 

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

Dear friends

What a very full month this has been.

The visit of the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches, Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit was the first such visit since the WCC Assembly in Canberra in February 1991. Since taking up the role of General Secretary in January 2010, Dr Tveit  Accompanied by his wife,  Anna, and Dr Katalina Tahaaafe Williams whose role embraces migration, indigenous and multicultural ministry, Dr Tveit included visits to Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide into the packed visit.

Besides giving a public address in each of the cities, Dr Tveit met with the Parliamentary Christian Fellowship at Parliament House. He launched the Uniting Church’s awareness-raising program about Palestine and the new webpage, Living Stones: The Uniting Church and Palestine, assembly.uca.org.au/palestine. Issues of Palestine-Israel being close to his heart not only because of his previous work, the General Secretary encouraged all to engage.

In Melbourne, Dr Tveit joined the Anglican community and many ecumenical guests including Mr Ashok Jacob, President of the Victorian Council of Churches, Dr Robert Gribben (WMF, UCA) and Ms Alison Prescott, a former member of the WCC Central Committee and Mr Alan Matheson, past WCC staff member for Evensong, at which Archbishop Philip Freier presided. In Adelaide people gathered for prayer led by Dr Anba Suriel, Bishop of the Coptic Diocese of Melbourne and affiliated regions at St Mary and Anba Bishoy’s Coptic Church, Cowandilla. The WCC visit concluded with worship at St Stephen’s Uniting Church in Sydney. This multicultural service was enhanced by the participation of three choirs from the Korean, Fijian and Tongan communities.

In each of his addresses, Dr Tveit spoke of our mutual accountability He believes that hope should be the hallmark of Christians. Several times, he repeated, You are the World Council of Churches.

Accompanying the visitors, I was encouraged in meeting many who are strongly committed to the ecumenical endeavour. While it was wonderful to meet up with familiar faces, people involved at the national level, former members of the NCCA Executive and members of NCCA Commissions and networks, I was delighted to make new friends, hearing the stories of those who are involved at state and local level. I was also greatly moved by the hospitality of the churches in supporting these events.

During the past weeks the first Annual General meeting of National Council of Churches in Australia was held. While this was a very short meeting, it is a significant event. This is a meeting of those whom the churches have appointed to represent them, virtually as ‘owners’ of NCCA. This meeting is required of NCCA being an incorporated company.

Just this past week the first NCCA Assembly took place. For those familiar with NCCA, the Assembly replaces the former Executive. Committed, enthusiastic, trusting, open, friendly, listening to the Spirit and to one another – each of these could describe the gathering. May we continue in the same spirit? Rev’d Dr Chris Walker led us in prayer and offered a reflection; Dr Gerard Kelly gave a presentation on receptive ecumenism that was very well received. Janet Woodlock led us in some planning. Each church representative had been asked to consider three questions before coming to the meeting:

  • Imagine 10 years in the future. What would you love to see?
    •   In our Churches
    •   In our Churches together
  • If this is our vision for the next 10 years, what needs to happen in the next year to turn the vision into a reality?
  • What needs to happen in the next 2-3 years?

Janet then invited us to dream – What will the National Council of Churches look like in ten years?

Perhaps these are questions that invite all of us to discern.

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

General Secretary

Message of the Presidents of the World Council of Churches at Pentecost 2016

Message of the presidents of the World Council of Churches at Pentecost 2016

Dear sisters and brothers in faith,

In the name of the triune God and on behalf of the presidents of the World Council of Churches, I greet you all as we celebrate the birthday of the church on Pentecost.

Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?” (Acts 2:7-8). As Christians, we are unified in a firm belief that the one God is the Creator who gives life to all that is. The one God is also the Saviour of all life. We know this, and we want to share this good news with all. The Saviour gives us solid grounds for hope – for this world and for the world to come. But knowing is not enough. There must also be inspiration and commitment. That was given on Pentecost by the triune God through the Holy Spirit, when the apostles spoke to all those people assembled in Jerusalem, with their very different backgrounds, cultures and languages. And the listeners heard, each of them in their “own native language”! Of course, it is only by using our experiences and our cultures that we can orient ourselves in life. Yet at the same time, that knowledge gives rise to prejudice and misunderstandings. Humanity can only survive with more focus on what unifies rather than on what divides.

As we celebrate Pentecost, we pray for the Spirit to fill us. When the Spirit comes to us, we can share, educate, and guide others to what is more than us and to all things good—ultimately to the triune God, whose Spirit can unite a broken world and renew every culture. Though mistrust and fear rule the world, let us be grounded in our knowledge of God and open to the Spirit in order to pursue a true pilgrimage of justice and peace – in our personal lives and in and between our lands! That is our task as Christians and as churches.

Yours in Christ,

Archbishop Anders Wejryd

The presidents of the World Council of Churches

• Rev. Dr Mary-Anne Plaatjies van Huffel, Uniting Reformed Church in Southern Africa
• Rev. Prof. Dr Sang Chang, Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea
• Archbishop Anders Wejryd, Church of Sweden
• Rev. Gloria Nohemy Ulloa Alvarado, Presbyterian Church in Colombia
• Bishop Mark MacDonald, Anglican Church of Canada
• Rev. Dr Mele’ana Puloka, Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga
• H.B. John X, Patriarch of the Greek Orthodox Church of Antioch and All the East
• H.H. Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians

Uniting Church WA Synod Appoints New General Secretary

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6 February 2016

Dear Members of Synod, Congregations, Schools and Agencies

Thank you for upholding the church in prayer in the lead-up to the Special Meeting of the Synod of Western Australia, Uniting Church in Australia as we gathered today, Saturday 6 February to discern God’s will for us.

I am delighted to announce that the Synod decided by at least a two-thirds majority to appoint Rev David de Kock as general secretary of the Synod of Western Australia.

David is currently in placement at Lighthouse Uniting Church in Geraldton, a member of General Council and the chair of the Pastoral Relations and Placements Commission (PR&PC). He also served at Merredin Uniting Church for five years.

General Secretary Elect, Rev David de Kock

General Secretary Elect, Rev David de Kock

David brings to the role a life of prayer, a love of people, a desire to ignite passion in others to use their gifts and skills, implementation of programs in planning, strategy and direction, and proven experience in keeping financial costs and budgets in balance.

David has been admitted as an ordained minister from the Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (UPCSA). He holds a Bachelor of Theology and a Bachelor of Commerce, as well as a Master of Business Administration. Prior to entering ministry, David worked in senior leadership positions, including as Managing Director, of large companies.

David is married with three adult children and moved from South Africa eight years ago.

At the 39th Western Australian Synod meeting held in September last year, I gave a verbal report as the General Secretary Selection Committee convenor and advised that the search for the best person to fulfil the duties, functions and responsibilities for the role of general secretary would continue.

Since September 2015, the Committee again advertised the position nationally and conducted interviews.

Members of the General Secretary Nominating Committee: Rev Cathie Lambert; Margaret
Martin; Dr Alec O’Connell, Scotch College headmaster; Rebecca Cody, principal, MLC; Vaughan Harding, Juniper chief executive officer; Rev Dr Andrew Williams, General Secretary NSW/ACT, advisor; and in consultation with Rev Sealin Garlett, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, have worked diligently on this important appointment and I thank them for their significant contribution.

Since the conclusion of Kay Dowling as General Secretary on 1 July 2014, we have given thanks to God for the faithful people, lay and ordained, staff and volunteers, who have been generous with their gifts and skills, as they have faithfully served the church in their local community, as well as through Synod, Presbytery and Assembly. In particular, Bob Seinor who prepared the extensive background work for General Council.

I also acknowledge the enormous contribution of those that have acted in the role of general secretary over the last eighteen months: Rosemary Hudson Miller, Rev Dr Ian Tozer, Rev John Dunn and Rev Rick Morrell. In particular, Rosemary Hudson Miller acted in the role throughout 2015, as well as for numerous months in 2014. Rosemary has sacrificially given her time, gifts and skills throughout.

There are many dimensions to the role of General Secretary as they walk alongside and share the love, faith and hope of the wonderful people within the Uniting Church family: congregations and faith communities; schools and colleges; agencies; boards, committees and commissions; as well as our partner churches and other faiths.

We pray this appointment will bring renewed life, health and unity within the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Western Australia. We ask for your prayerful and practical love and support of David as he grows into the role of General Secretary.

Grace and peace

Rev Steve Francis
Moderator

Churches’ Week of Action on Food

11  -  18 October 2015 Worldwide

The Churches’ Week of Action on Food is an opportunity for Christians and others around the world to act together for food justice and food sovereignty. It is a special time to raise awareness about farming approaches that help individuals and communities develop resiliency and combat poverty. The Food for Life Campaign places a particular emphasis on sustainable agricultural practices and the situation of smallholder producers and their access to, and control over, natural resources such as land, water and seeds.

21st Anniversary of the Inauguration of National Council of Churches in Australia

3rd July was the 21st anniversary of the inauguration of National Council of Churches in Australia. We are celebrating this anniversary with the launch of our new website. I hope that you will Like us – and pass the link to others. It is a work in progress. Please let us know if you wold like us to add any news, request from your church or NCCA activity. Many will recall the event in St Christopher’s Cathedral in Canberra.

 

Margaret Roberts, one of the artists involved in making the mantle, wrote: The biggest thrill for me was the impact the mantle had on the service. It was indeed very moving to witness the mantle being processed in, unfolded, passed from the representative of the Australian Council of Churches to the representative of the National Council of Churches and then unfurled further and in the hands of the dancers to flow over the heads of all those in the cathedral. This was accompanied by the most wonderful music of the ecumenical choir and instrumentalists singing ‘You are my inheritance, 0 Lord’.

May we continue to give thanks for the blessings received and continue to strive to fulfil the hopes expressed on that day. Peace Elizabeth

Elizabeth Delaney SGS General Secretary National Council of Churches in Australia

Web: www.ncca.org.au

Mail: Locked Bag Q199 QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING NSW 1230 Australia 

 

 

Act for Peace – Christmas Bowl – Thank You

 

Thank you to churches and individuals in W.A. who generously supported our 2014 Christmas Bowl Appeal.  Real change is taking place – please watch our short video, share it with others and your church congregations to see the difference that your support has made to the lives of people affected by conflict and disaster this past year. http://www.actforpeace.org.au/Give-Now/Thank-you-for-being-there

WCC expresses concern over exodus of Christian community in Mosul, Iraq

In an official statement issued on 21 July, the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit expressed deep concern over the exodus of the Christian community from the Iraqi city Mosul occurring due to threats from the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Tveit called these developments a “tragedy” for both Christians and Muslims.

Churches call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza

 

Churches call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in GazaGaza City, 18 July. Photo: Mohammed Badarin

22 July 2014

Expressing grave concern over the escalation of military operations in Gaza, the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit said, “Hostilities must cease. Israel, Palestine and the surrounding region must be offered the hope of peace: a peace based in justice, a lasting peace that may lead toward reconciliation”.

. On behalf of the 345 member churches of the WCC, Tveit appealed to “all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law” which condemn and prohibit all kinds of indiscriminate and disproportionate killing of civilians. Tveit shared the WCC’s call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Gaza. He urged lifting of restrictions on the movement of persons and goods in and out of the Gaza Strip so that urgent humanitarian needs can be dealt with. In the statement, WCC also called for the resumption of direct peace talks to achieve a comprehensive and sustainable peace based upon a two-state solution along internationally recognized borders. Tveit said that the “latest resort to armed conflict – and the consequent intolerable suffering inflicted on families and communities – can do nothing to promote a just and sustainable peace for Israelis and Palestinians”. He added that “peace in Israel and Palestine will come only through the restoration of compassion between human beings, through seeking together common paths towards justice and peace, and through a genuine commitment to creating the basis for future generations of Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace.”

Read full text of the WCC general secretary’s statement

 WCC member churches in the Middle East