You are invited to


To be held on 6th October 2016 at 

Noranda Uniting Church, 79 Camboon Road, Noranda 

Registration and refreshments start at 5pm

The General Meeting will start at 6.00pm



Pastor Matt Bishop –Lutheran Church

RSVP BY FRIDAY 30th September 2016


Council of Churches of Western Australia

Telephone: 9275 3144 FAX: 9275 3199



Message from the General Secretary


Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

As we move into Spring we frequently experience the delight of new life. Blossoms abound, shoots break through the soil, fresh leaves appear on branches. Many years ago, some friends and I drove into the Flinders Ranges about this time of the year. Two memories stay with me: As we drover further into the ranges, I turned and looked through the rear window of the car. The hills were covered in purple! It was as though Salvation Jane (known in other states as Patterson’s Curse) garmented the land! When we stopped the car and walked on the dry red soil, in amongst the grey-greens of the salt bush, once or twice we were delighted by the sight of the blood-red Sturt Desert Pea, with its shiny red-black petals. These were special moments.

Perhaps it is because of the wonders of Spring that continually fill us with wonder and delight, that our churches are invited to acknowledge September as a Season of Creation. For some people it is the wonder of the ocean or the fresh vitality of valleys, hills and forests, or simply the blue of the sky with clouds entering and retreating, as it were, that cause us to pause and give thanks. With so much beauty, we can’t help but be aware of the frailty of our earth. So let us celebrate the season of Creation with thankful prayer, but with prayer for our own conversion to use wisely the gifts God has given.

The new life of plants reminds us of other new life. How wonderful it is when we are at worship to hear the laughter, the whispering – and even the crying of babies. How good to know that families are present praying together, and passing on the faith of parents to children.At the same time, we know that many children are not so lucky, so many endure suffering and violence. How are we to be the face of Christ to them? What is Christ’s call to us?

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

General Secretary

Message from the National Council of Churches in Australia General Secretary


Message from the General Secretary

Remember, renew, rejoice…

During 24 -27 July 2016 people from our member churches gathered at Mary MacKillop Place in North Sydney for the 9th Triennial Forum. These were special days. Written evaluations from participants included such words as ‘engaging’, ‘inspiring’, relaxed, ‘efficient’, ‘educational’, ‘providing opportunities for networking’, ‘enthusiasm’, ‘blessings of diverse gifts and energies’, ‘active involvement’, ‘rich experience’ ‘new time’.

The worship on Sunday evening was a high point. Not only did we celebrate being together in prayer, but we installed Bishop Philip Huggins as the 8th President of National Council of Churches in Australia. As Bishop Philip accepted the office of President, all those gathered listened to the question, Do you receive the Right Reverend Philip Huggins as the elected president of the National Council of Churches in Australia; do you welcome him into this office, and do you promise to pray for him during these next three years? We responded enthusiastically, With confidence and joy, we do.  May we be faithful to that prayer for our new President.

During this worship, Australian Churches Covenanting Together was affirmed in two ways: Dr Joe Goodall, Head of the Congregational Federation, and Rev’d Dr Andrew Dutney, immediate past president of the Uniting Church in Australia, signed an additional clause in the covenant..

Message from the General SecretaryWe agree together to invite and welcome members of each other’s church to share in the Eucharist according to pastoral need.  The Uniting Church in Australia and the Congregational Federation had previously signed a number of clauses in the Covenanting document. Each time an additional clause is signed, we are reminded that this church is indeed working towards making Christ’s call to and gift of unity more visible.  The signing of this clause brings more people together at the Eucharistic table. It is one small step in our churches coming together around one table.

Each person present at the worship was invited to repeat the declaration of intent contained in the Covenanting document.  Saying these words aloud in the presence of other member churches and in the presence of members of our own church is a powerful sign. Each clause calls me to respond: to commit to one another, to believe in the action of the Spirit in our Churches, to give thanks for our diversity, to engage in a process of growing together…  All our member churches have signed the Declaration of Intent. May each of us, whoever we are, as a member of our church, know that we have an active part in changing desire for unity into reality. May we be God’s instrument of response to Jesus’ prayer for unity.

During our forum we were conscious of many who suffer: refugees and asylum seekers, people in Palestine-Israel, the indigenous people of West Papua, the ethno-religious minorities in Iraq and Syria who have suffered. The forum passed a number of resolutions. These are available on the Forum webpage.

There were so many highlights: Having the Mantle pass over our heads, as it had passed over  the heads of people gathered in St Christopher’s Cathedral in Canberra in 1994; hearing Rev Joan Fisher speak of her experience in Palestine-Israel as part of the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine-Israel; throughout the days seeing the ever-increasing total of funds raised together with the growing number of refugees that will be helped by those participating in the Ration Challenge; recognizing the wonderful people who have contributed to the work of NCCA over many years – including Ron Brown and John Gilmour; seeing and hearing read sharing on matters that concern our churches….

This truly was a blessed time.

Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS
General Secretary

Act for Peace – Prayer Point for month of June

Pray for the work of National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) in helping local communities.

Act for Peace’s partner, the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka (NCCSL), identified an opportunity to assist the small village of Pattalipuram in their blossoming business.  The villagers were at risk of exploitation by middlemen who were offering them short-term high interest loans and buying their jungle-collected honey at a low price.

Read more at –

A gift of $271 can provide a training workshop for 24 women to learn about micro-finance and loans management to increase the ownership of the complete honey collecting business within the community.

If you would like to give today or become an Act for Peace Changemaker with regular monthly gifts, visit

Message from the General Secretary of the National Council of Churches


Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS

The year is certainly flying by….

It is only weeks until the Ninth Triennial Forum. So much to do…. At this Forum the churches will install a new President. Rev’d Dr Mike Semmler has served as President for the past three years. Despite commencing retirement following his term of office as President of the Lutheran Church, he generously took on the role of the President of NCCA. As Head of Church, he had been a member of the Executive since 2001. I have very much appreciated his wisdom and his generosity during this past three years in particular.

During the Forum we will engage with members of each of the Commissions and Networks so that we are able to set directions for the coming triennium. We are urging representatives to engage with their churches and with others to think about how we might act together and interact with each other. We are invited to begin with the papers on the NCCA website. These will be added progressively.

The Forum provides a wonderful occasion to reflect on where we have come from and where we are heading. Our theme, Remember, Rejoice, Renew invites us to do this. Looking back we acknowledge the wonderful people and the strong foundations on which we are able to build. We rejoice for what we have received, for the friendships and understanding that has developed between the member churches. While celebrating God’s gift of unity we will seek to commit ourselves again to honour this gift that we have received.

As you receive this Newsletter, we will be in the middle of National Reconciliation Week (27th May – 3 June). The theme of National Reconciliation Week in 2016 is ‘Our History, our Story, our Future’. Reconciliation Australia spells out this theme, ‘As part of our reconciliation journey, there are truths to tell, stories to celebrate, relationships to grow.’ The themes of Reconciliation Australia and the NCCA Forum both have the wonderful sense of acknowledging with gratitude what we have received from those who have gone before us, recognizing the reality of the here and now, and looking forward in faith and with energy and commitment to a positive future.

Within the month of June our Muslim friends commence Ramadan. The example of those who honour the invitations offered them during this sacred time by keeping the fast from daybreak to dusk each day is powerful. May it be a blessed time for them.

During the month of June NCCA will be farewelling two members of staff who are known to many. Elizabeth (Liz) Stone commenced at NCCA during the second half of 2014 as Associate General Secretary. During the months when Bishop Philip Huggins was Acting General Secretary, she supported him both when he was in Sydney and when he returned to Melbourne. Then from January 2015 to the present she has supported me, as General Secretary and the office of Business Services –especially during the period of Daphne’s Siva’s illness and following her death. As she will leave on 9 June we certainly give thanks for the excellent work that Liz has done with determination and generosity and wish her every blessing in her future roles.

Then at the end of June, after eleven years, Alistair Gee will finish as Executive Director of Act for Peace. His passion for peace and protection as well as his peace-filled approach to life, to work and to relationships stand out as his gifts to us. NCCA and Act for Peace give thanks for all that he has achieved during these eleven years. Being passionate about doing all that is possible to achieve the world’s peace goal over the next 15 years (SDG 16) Alistair will lead the Institute of Economics and Peace. We wish him every blessing as he takes on this very significant role.

During these weeks, as Australians we find ourselves in the midst of an election campaign, leading to polling day on 2 July. As in every election, this is an opportunity for citizens to make their choice about who will lead and govern the country for the next three years. It is both a right and a privilege to have a say in helping shape the future of our nation which has strong Christian foundations. We can be asked to vote for parties and individuals who do not represent our views. We can find ourselves confronted by policies and perspectives which do not accord with Christian values. Some churches will speak out about one or other policy while others will leave it to the individual and his or her conscience.

However, we have been given the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to help us in our discernment; what is best for the common good, for those who are marginalised, for those who are the first people and for those who are looking to come to Australia to start a new life. And we can pray for God’s hand upon those who will be chosen to govern our nation, for wisdom, perseverance and grace.

So not only are the weeks flying by, so also are the years. Next year the Lutheran Church honours the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation. In fact, not only does the Lutheran Church mark this occasion, but each of our member churches is invited to honour the Reformation.  Each of us is invited to acknowledge our failings, to recognize God calling us to re-examine and learn his gifts in new ways, and always to affirm that the gifts of God are so rich and mysterious that no one Christian tradition has a monopoly on the truth.

May I ask you to invite others to subscribe to this Newsletter? Simply go to the NCCA website and there, on the right side, anyone may sign up for the Newsletter. Its free! I set a goal of having 1000 subscribers by the end of the year. As the year flies by, I want to be confident of reaching- or even surpassing- that goal. As with all we do as the National Council of Churches in Australia it will only happen if we do it together.

May the Holy Spirit continue to fill your lives with peace.

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

Message from the National Council of Churches General Secretary


Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS

I invite you to read and pray over the Easter Messages from Heads of our member Churches as well as other Christian leaders

During the past two weekends I have been present with two different groups of people who spent time on discernment. One person suggested that Jesus could have taken a different route from the one he took on Palm Sunday. He could have chosen not to enter Jerusalem. Had he done so, he could have escaped death. Another opined that Jesus’ own discernment on that day took him on an amazing path. His listening to God and being open to what he heard cost him dearly. Few of us find ourselves in situations where listening to God’s Spirit cost us so dearly, or cost us our lives. For we live in safety and security. How blessed are we!

As we approach the Triennial Forum, I invite us to think of the Journey of the NCCA. On the first day or so we will REMEMBER. There are so many wonderful people who have actively and enthusiastically heard Christ’s prayer, ‘May they all be one’, and have translated it into action.  In coming together the gifts of many have been needed. Last month I mentioned the Mantle of Unity that was brought into St Christopher’s Cathedral in Canberra for the inaugural meeting of the National Council of Churches in Australia. Since then, I heard of the death of Marlene Dunn, who assisted in making this wonderful symbol. A member of the Uniting Church in Australia, Marlene obviously used her many creative gifts not only in teaching, but also in designing works for a number of churches, including the Uniting Church at Kippax ACT and St Philips’s Anglican Church, O’Connor ACT.

At this time, as we approach the Forum I have written to the heads of member churches, asking them for the names of people who will represent their church at the Forum and for nominations for the various commissions and networks of the NCCA. There are a number of people who were present at that first forum in 1994 who are still actively involved in NCCA commissionsor Executive. Perhaps you are able to recognize people in this photo taken at that forum.

As we remember, we REJOICE. We give thanks for the lives and gifts of many people – for their generosity and commitment. While we recognize the gifts of individuals and communities, we rejoice in the gifts of our churches.

The Fourth International Conference on Receptive Ecumenism will be held in Canberra 6 – 9 November 2017. Keynote speakers will be Professors Paul Murray (Durham UK) and Michael Welker (Heidelberg Germany). What a wonderful opportunity that this conference will provide. We are hopeful that at the Forum we will be able to sample the principles and practice of receptive ecumenism, at the heart of which is the practice of recognizing the different gifts with which God has blessed the various churches.

One of the great achievements of the NCCA has been Australian Churches Covenanting Together. First signed in 2004, new member churches have committed to one of more clauses. At the forum, we will celebrate an additional clause being signed by two of our existing member churches. How wonderful is this: the document is not just a document signed once and for all, but it is a living document. As the preamble to the document states, ‘Above all, any agreement between two or more churches will be a sign that we are being called into that unity of the Church, which is Christ’s future for the Church.’ Perhaps other member churches might look at this document and consider, is it possible for my church to make an additional commitment?

Having remembered and rejoiced, the Forum always provides an opportunity for us to RENEW. While we value the many people who have been engaged with NCCA in Forums, Commissions and Networks, we are hopeful that our member churches will consider including among their nominations and Forum registrations some new people. This is just one way of renewing NCCA.

Each of the Commissions and networks will come with recommendations for their work for the next triennium; the members of the forum will also discern future directions for these wonderful groups of people who generously bring their gifts, expertise and experience to further the work of the NCCA.

During the past year, a working group and the Executive have considered the future relationships and governance of NCCA. The draft of a new constitution for National Council of Churches in Australia Ltd has been forwarded to the heads of each of the churches. We expect to have the final draft forwarded within days and we will then receive responses from the churches. For most of us, National Council of Churches in Australia will look much the same as it has for the past twenty-one years: A forum will take place every three years; there will be a gathering of representatives of each of the churches three times per year (it will be called Assembly rather than Executive); commissions and networks will continue. The goal of the changes has been to safeguard the churches and to clarify responsibilities and accountability. This will be a timely renewal.

As you celebrate the Paschal triduum and the Resurrection of the Lord, may you know the wonderful gift that our Saviour has given. May you know great peace and joy.

Act for Peace – Prayer Point for month of March

Pray for the people of Vanuatu as they continue to rebuild their lives from the devastation of Cyclone Pam. It has now been one year since Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu, and damaged at least 90% of houses in the capital of Port Vila.  Thanks to your generous donations and on-going support, the new urban food garden project has been a successful endeavour.  A gift of $48 can provide a variety of vegetable seeds to start seedlings in the community garden. If you would like to give today or become an Act for Peace Changemaker with regular monthly gifts, visit

Act for Peace – The Link Supporter Magazine – new issue now available. In this issue of The Link, read inspiring stories of how our supporters are helping farmers in Zimbabwe to provide enough food for their families, teaching them innovative farming techniques, and learn about the work we are doing to support Syrian families, plus find out more about issues that impact vulnerable communities all around the world.  Our summer edition of The Link is now available online at –

Act for Peace – Fiji Emergency Appeal Tropical Cyclone Winston, the strongest cyclone ever to hit the Southern Hemisphere tore through Fiji on Saturday 20th February.  At least 42 lives have been lost and hundreds of families are left homeless, we urgently need your help to provide emergency relief – please give now at




Sr Elizabeth Delaney SGS

During these past weeks as the National Council of Churches in Australia has begun preparing in earnest for the National Forum that will be held in Sydney on 24 – 27 June, I find myself reflecting on the theme of journey. Our Lenten journey is always a time of challenge, of temptation, of walking with God, knowing that God is with us- even when we do not feel his presence. We pray that God’s grace sustains us as we journey towards Easter, the pinnacle of our Christian faith.

At an international level during the past months there have been significant meetings which have advanced ecumenical relationships. Pope Francis has met with the Ecumenical Patriarch and more recently with Patriarch Kirill of Moscow, primate of the Russian Orthodox Church. Patriarch Kirill and Pope Francis issued a joint declaration which begins “By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history. It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization”.

What a journey lies behind these words. I find myself reflecting on the journey of the NCCA. When we gather for the Forum we will look back on 22 years since that memorable day when the mantle was carried into St Christopher’s Cathedral in Canberra. We will also consider the present as we seek to continue the journey into the future. So much has been achieved and yet so much is still to be achieved…

Locally, representatives of different faiths continue to come together. Recently the Australian Partnership of Religious Organisations (APRO) met at the Sikh temple in Austral. Prior to the meeting, our Sikh friends invited us into their temple and offered an explanation of their rituals. The reverence shown the sacred writings was profound. During this meeting I could not help but reflect on the respect and openness that have enabled conversations and friendships to develop. On 1 March the next conversation of the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and Jews will take place. This group has generally met three times each year since it commenced on 14 March 2003. Over these years of journeying together, real friendships have developed enabling us to hear differences and respect them. We participate in these events knowing that we are building on firm foundations, and with a sure hope that they will continue to bring forth fruits.

As I write I am preparing to travel to Wellington, New Zealand. The New Zealand Anglican, Catholic and Methodist Churches have agreed to form an ecumenical entity to pursue closer ties and share understandings. The churches share the hope that the dialogue will lead to formal ecumenical collaboration among the churches and other groups in society that want to see progress on issues that are a concern of all New Zealanders. Consequently, the National Dialogue for Christian Unity (NDCU) is holding its inaugural annual forum in Wellington on 25 February 2016, followed by a service of celebration at the Sacred Heart Cathedral. Recognizing this as a significant moment in the ecumenical journey of the churches in New Zealand, I accepted wholeheartedly the invitation to be present to witness the hope that has given birth to the occasion. Photos will follow.

In cities across Australia, a different kind of journey will take place. On Palm Sunday rallies will take place providing a forum for people to express their commitment to refugees and asylum seekers and urging our nation to welcome them. This rally may provide an opportunity to reflect on the journey that so many people have made – not because they would have wanted to leave home, but because they saw the alternative of staying was too dreadful for them to choose it. This Palm Sunday, March 20 let us all WELCOME REFUGEES! See Events for specific locations.May your Lenten journey draw you ever closer to your loving God

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