Featured post

Christmas is Coming!

Come and join the community at Williamstown Uniting Church – Electra St as we gather together to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Christmas Bowl Dinner - Wednesday the 10th of December, 6.30 pm
Christmas Bowl
On Human Rights Day come and join us for a dinner to raise funds for the Christmas Bowl. For $20 each, or $40 per family, you’ll enjoy a main course of rice and beans – based on the food that Burmese refugees are given in camps on the Thai-Burma border – and a dessert of Australian Christmas food – based on the food that we all enjoy at this time of year. Berlin Guerrero and Avril Hannah-Jones will speak. To RSVP contact: 9397 5481 or williuca@bigpond.com

Christmas Musical Evening – Saturday the 13th of December, 5 pm

Carol Concert

Join the Williamstown Uniting Church – Electra St community as we gather together to sing carols and enjoy musical offerings from the community’s talented singers and musicians. The concert will be followed by supper.

Christmas for Families – Sunday the 14th of December, 4.30 pmgiving-box-logo

Bring grand-parents, aunts and uncles, cousins and friends to enjoy a service in which children will mime the Christmas story. Presents will be collected for the Giving Box AppealNote: There will be no morning worship today.

“Blue” Christmas Service – Wednesday the 17th of December, 7.30 pm

Blue Candle (2) (460x640)A reflective service to remember those we love and mourn at Christmas.

Christmas Eve
Christmas for Kids - Wednesday 24th of December, 5.30 pm
Service of Readings and Carols - Wednesday 24th of December, 11.30 pm

Christmas Day
Thursday 25th of December, 9.30 pm.
A collection will be taken up for the Christmas Bowl

Scan20015

From: The Nativity Play by Nick Butterworth and Mick Inkpen. A brilliant book! Go buy a copy now!

 

Featured post

You are welcome to join us for worship

Our regular worship times and places are:

Image of Williamstown Uniting Church from the front 10 am Sunday mornings in the church, 36 Electra St, Williamstown,
(Holy Communion on the first Sunday of the month)
a joyful service followed by morning tea.

Eucharist

1.30 pm on the first Wednesday of the month in the church
a smaller, more reflective service followed by afternoon tea.Tims Photos - Our prayers aflame
4 pm on the third Sunday of the month in the Children’s Centre,
behind the main church building, 
a service aimed at Young Families starting with afternoon tea and some free playtime.

Why 1 - Beloved children

Please come and join us.

Williamstown Map

From the Minister: June 2014

Love Makes A Way

Recently I was arrested for trespass. I don’t imagine that that’s something you expected to hear when you called me here as your minister, so I’ll explain exactly what happened.

On Monday the 19th of May two groups of Christians, one in Melbourne, one in Sydney, entered the foyers of the electorate offices of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition; sat down; and began to pray. When the groups were asked to leave, we refused – unless the Government and the Opposition agreed to release the more than one thousand children currently in immigration detention. The eight people sitting and praying in Tony Abbott’s office was removed and arrested after three hours. The twelve people in Bill Shorten’s office were removed and arrested after nine hours.

The Uniting Church contingent

The Uniting Church contingent

Continue reading

Sci Fi and Fantasy-Friendly Worship Service

3 pm, Sunday May 25

Once again the Williamstown Uniting Church – Electra St will open its doors to wizards, Jedi and vampire slayers at a Sci Fi and Fantasy-Friendly church service.

Adam Hills and Darth Vader at the first service in Romsey

Adam Hills and Darth Vader at the first service in Romsey

The first Sci Fi and Fantasy-Friendly service was held in 2011 at the Romsey Uniting Church. Prompted and promoted by comedian Adam Hills it caused international controversy and was reported on by news services as far away as India and Italy. The second service, in 2012, was just as much fun and again succeeded in filling the church to overflowing even without the international media attention. Last year the service moved to Williamstown, and holding it in a larger building in a more central location enabled even more people to attend.

The service provides an opportunity for ‘geeks’, people who enjoy fantasy and science fiction books, films and television programs, to gather together, share their enjoyment with each other, and dress up. It also enables the church to reach out to people who might otherwise avoid it.

The theme of this year’s service is “To boldly go … on a journey … through time and space”.

Participants are encouraged to attend in costume but, as in previous years, all stakes, swords, lightsabers, blasters and other weapons must be left at the church door.

2014 Sci Fi Service

 

From the Minister – May

The Importance of Aging and the Gift of Senescence

Notes: ‘senescence’ comes from the Latin senescere, meaning “to grow old”; ‘generativity’ is the concern for establishing and guiding the next generation and comes from a sense of optimism about humanity.

Oh no! Australians are living longer and so the population is aging. The Treasurer, Joe Hockey, tells us that we should “celebrate the fact that effectively, one in every three children born today are going to live to 100,” but he also tells us that this means we will have to work longer, because all these centenarians are just going to cost us too much. They’ll increase Australia’s health costs, and take up hospital beds because there won’t be enough nursing home places. Woe is us!

Maybe an aging population isn’t such a great disaster. It is certainly better than the alternative – life expectancy in Sierra Leone is a mere 47 years!

What matters is not how old we will all get, but whether or not that aging will be meaningful, healthy and positive. This is something that the Uniting Church is particularly concerned with. We are an aging church. Most Uniting Church members are aged sixty-plus. How can the church ensure that our aging is a good experience rather than a frightening and depressing one?

One extremely helpful book I have read on aging well is called exactly that: Aging Well: Surprising Guideposts to a Happier Life from the landmark Harvard Study of Adult Development, (written by George E. Vaillant and published in 2002). The Harvard Study of Adult Development started with a Harvard University Health Services examination of 268 members of Harvard classes between 1939 and 1944. This began with a physical exam and included regular follow-ups over the years. The second arm of the study began with Harvard Law Professor Sheldon Glueck recruiting 456 young men from inner-city Boston neighborhoods between 1940 and 1945 as controls for a study of juvenile delinquency. They were added to the study in the 1970s.

Today, just 68 of the Harvard cohort are still alive, many in their early 90s, while 120 of the Glueck Study are alive, most in their early to mid-80s. Over their adult lives, the subjects of the have answered biennial questionnaires, allowed health information to be gathered from their doctors, and sat for in-depth interviews. In recent years, they’ve also submitted to neuroimaging scans and have given blood for DNA analysis.

What has the study found? It has found that ‘positive aging is not simply avoidance of physical decay, and it certainly is not about the avoidance of death’ (p. 161). It has found seven factors that predict healthy aging: not being a smoker or stopping young; adaptive coping style; absence of alcohol abuse; a healthy weight; a stable marriage; getting some exercise; our years of education (pp. 206-10). And it now provides wonderful pointers on how we can all grow old with grace.

  • She cares about others, is open to new ideas, and within the limits of physical health maintains social utility and helps others. Unlike King Lear, who demanded that his daughters take care of him, she remembers that biology flows downhill.
  • He shows cheerful tolerance of the indignities of old age. He acknowledges and gracefully accepts his dependency needs. When ill, he is a patient for whom a doctor enjoys caring and remembers to be grateful. Whenever possible he turns life’s lemons into lemonade.
  • She maintains hope in life, insists on sensible autonomy (to do for oneself what one is able), and cherishes initiative. She remembers that all life is a journey and that development goes on for all of our lives.
  • He retains a sense of humor and a capacity for play. He willingly sacrifices surface happiness for basic joy. As Voltaire suggested, he cultivates his garden.
  • She is able to spend time in the past and to take sustenance from past accomplishments. Yet she remains curious and continues to learn from the next generation.
  • He tries to maintain contact and intimacy with old friends while heeding Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s injunction that “the seeds of love must be eternally resown.”  (pp. 310-1)

Another extremely helpful book I’ve found was written by Mary d’Apice and is called Noon to Nightfall: A journey through midlife and aging. The author is writing specifically from a religious background and so she talks a lot about the spirituality of aging.  She writes so beautifully that I’d just like to share a few quotes from her for you to reflect on:

  • Each season has its own special beauty, its time of blossoming and of producing its distinctive fruit. (p. 28)
  • We find a genuine expression of love in the willingness to receive from others as well as to give. To accept help, kindness or concern from another means to surrender the dominant position, which rests always with the giver, and to allow the other to take that position towards us. (p. 67)
  • Generativity is the prelude to the advent of wisdom. It is out of the pain and trauma of accepting our own limitedness that springs the capacity to be a bearer of life and hope to others. (p. 69)
  • The coming of senescence, a gentler term than aging, is usually the time to hand over to younger generations the many responsibilities assumed in midlife, to quit the centre stage and leave the throne of power for the seat of wisdom. (p. 168)
  • To age graciously is perhaps one of the most difficult of life’s tasks for those who live in a western society. (p. 168)
  • Death need not take us by surprise. The whole of life is filled with opportunities to rehearse this final passage. The ready letting go of youth, of health, of plans and perhaps of friends, when this is asked of us, can all become a preparation for the last great renunciation that each is called upon to make. (p. 229)

Politicians tell us to worry about our aging population. The media tells us to worry about ourselves: will we have somewhere to live; enough to live on; something meaningful to do? But God reminds us that we are deeply loved, worthwhile, at any age, from the very beginning of our existence in our mother’s womb until we make that final journey and find ourselves at home with God. We can age graciously and look to death as simply the last of life’s passages, rather than something to be feared.

As for me, I’m now apparently well into middle life. According to Mary d’Aspice: “The movement into midlife brings with it a deepening concern for all one has produced in life whether it be children, institutions or ideas … The person who can put aside self-interest for the good of others is the caring, generative adult.” (p. 22)

I hope very much that I will grow into a caring, generative adult, and then into a graciously loving old person – with a cheerful tolerance of the indignities of old age!

From the Minister – March

Seeking to bring light to the world

One of the things that has always characterised the Uniting Church has been our willingness to get involved in politics. In The Statement to the Nation, made when the Uniting Church was born in 1977, the Church said: ‘We pledge ourselves to seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur’ and the World Council of Churches has said that one of the things that makes a church a church is ‘advocacy even to confrontation with the powers that oppress human beings’. The Church has tried to avoid party politics, but has always spoken out on issues of the day, particularly those that affect the most vulnerable.

There are two particular issues in which the Uniting Church has long been interested that are of particular concern at the moment. The first is the treatment of asylum seekers and the second is the place of indigenous people in Australia. Continue reading

Christmas Services 2013

Christmas Eve, Tuesday the 24th

5.30 pm, Carols for Kids

A service for pre-school and primary school children. Come and hear the Christmas story, sing carols, decorate biscuits, and make stars.

11.30 pm, Service of Readings and Carols