Recent happenings in the Riverina Presbytery are depicted below:
Saturday 16 December 2017, the Southern Region congregations met in the Henty Uniting Church hall for a first conversation and some initial planning going forward to 2018.
The congregations of the Southern region are: Culcairn-Henty, Holbrook, Lockhart, The Rock (including Collingullie and Uranquinty), Tumbarumba, Wagga Wagga and Walbundrie.
The gathering was in response to the Presbytery decisions made at Coleambally in November 2017. While many of these congregations have successfully continued with lay ministry for quite a number of years, they agreed to commence a five-year journey into exploring a regional ordained ministry across the seven congregations”.
The Wagga Wagga Uniting Church community (Wesley and Pilgrim congregations) farewelled in December 2017 Rev, Daniel Yang, his wife Julie and two children. Daniel, ordained in South Korea, has been in ministry in Wagga for ten years, including Tertiary Chaplaincy at CSU, leading the Korean Worship – part of the Wagga Wagga Uniting Church, and most recently in supply at Wagga Wagga Uniting Church. He has been accepted into Uniting Church ministry and is moving to a placement at Alstonville Uniting Church in the Far North Coast Presbytery. His gracious combination of resilience and genuine evangelical joy will be greatly missed and we wish him well in his new ministry”.
Over the next six months, as a result of the recent Synod Review, Riverina Presbytery is required to hold Living Our Values Courses in all 28 congregations. This will be carried out through the regional network. Some congregations may choose to combine together and most courses can be held around the Sunday service, incorporating luncheon to allow time in the afternoon as well.
The focus of the Living Our Values course is on the legacy of our heritage (the main features of our church life that stem from Methodism, Presbyterianism and Congregationalism), unpacking our foundational document – the Basis of Union (1977), the Code of Ethics and Consensus Decision Making.
Part of the Leeton course involved a “Train the Trainer” session, by which those who attended were assisted in preparing to lead Living Our Values courses themselves among their local congregations.”
October Fusion (multi-cultural) festival in Wagga 2017.
A small army of volunteers contributed to the Fusion Festival 2017 in Wagga Wagga. The festival sponsored by Wagga City Council celebrated the diversity of the community. People from many different cultures, languages, races and faiths came together to celebrate through music, dance, art and food. Over 10,000 attended. The Uniting Church ran a drinks stall as part of the foodies on display at the festival. People were offered Tongan watermelon smoothies, Mexican hot chocolate, chai tea and Korean coffee. The group displayed a large “Refugees Welcome Here” banner along with the Uniting Church logo. The Tongan watermelon smoothies were a hit during the warm afternoon and as it cooled down the hot chocolate and coffee became big sellers.
Earlier in the day nine people gathered at Wesley Uniting Church to cut up 18 watermelons to create 120 litres of watermelon smoothies. Another dozen helped run the stall during the afternoon and evening. It was a great success, with many people looking forward to having a smoothie next year. The stall raised about $1400. It was great to have the church present in the middle of this event.
On Sunday 29th October 2017, the Southern Newell congregation held a special closure of placement service at Jerilderie to recognise the five-year ministry of Rev Dr Hawea Jackson. Presbytery ministers Rev Carolyn and Pastor Andrew Thornley were present and Andrew, in his role as Presbytery Chairperson, led the words of closure. Following the service, warm appreciation was extended to Rev. Hawea and his family (and gifts presented) by Myra Cowell on behalf of the three worshipping communities of the congregation (Jerilderie, Finley and Tocumwal). Members of Rev. Hawea’s family were present, including his wife Janice, sons Leigh and Liam and their young grand-daughter. Rev Hawea and Janice both expressed their thanks to the congregation for the words of appreciation and the gifts. The Jackson family came from ministry in their home island of Niue to their placement in southern Riverina. Rev Hawea was recognised as a Uniting Church minister this year and he continues in ministry with Deniliquin Uniting Church.
This week (3rd week of October 2017) Reverend Mark Faulkner, Uniting Church Minister, visited Wagga Wagga and met with Rev. Carolyn and Pastor Andrew Thornley and Rev. Paul Cosier. He then drove on to Narrandera and met up with Rev. Keun-il Ko.
Mark has recently been appointed by NSW Synod to the position of Director of Rural and Remote Ministry Initiatives, which is part of the Saltbush programme commenced after the 2016 Synod. Mark will be mainly working in the three western Presbyteries, including the Riverina. He will be attending the February 2018 Riverina Presbytery meeting and will address the congregational representatives
On 24th September 2017, Carolyn and Andrew Thornley attended Young Uniting Church for its anniversary service of the Adult Fellowship. There was a good roll-up in the congregation as the members of Harden Uniting Church had accepted an invitation to join in the service. At the end of the service Jenny Holt (left), President of the Young Uniting Church Adult Fellowship, expressed appreciation to Carolyn for her leadership of the service and presented her with a gift. At Morning Tea afterwards, Stewart Bruce, Chairperson of Harden Uniting Church and Adrian Single, Lay Pastor at Young, both spoke of the value of the two congregations coming together in fellowship. Young and Harden are two of the seven congregations in the proposed Eastern Region of the Presbytery, the other five being Boorowa, Tumut, Temora, Junee and Cootamundra.