Presbytery Ministers Pastoral Letter August 2019


PASTORAL LETTER to the members of Presbytery: – 25th August, 2019

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A note from the Webmaster – With the introduction of Contact Forms to the Presbytery Web site all emails are now being changed to use “Contact Forms” to reduce the risk of emails being harvested and missused.

To email people mentioned in this letter you will find a contact from at the end of this document. Select the name of the person you wish to email and complete the form clicking on the SUBMIT button when your message is completed.

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Is your Church a Lighthouse?

“You are the light of the world – like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see. Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:14-16: NLT).

The following naval conversation between the Americans and the Canadians took place off the coast of Newfoundland on 10th October, 1995:

Canadians: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision.

Americans: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees north to avoid a collision.

Canadians: Negative: You will have to divert your course 15 degrees south to avoid a collision.

Americans: This is the captain of a US Navy ship. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Canadians: NO. I say again, divert YOUR course.

Americans: This is the Aircraft Carrier USS LINCOLN, the second largest ship in the US Atlantic Fleet. We are accompanied by 3 destroyers, 3 cruisers, and numerous support vessels. I DEMAND you change your course 15 degrees north. I say again that’s one-five degrees north or counter-measures will be taken to ensure the safety of the ship.

Canadians: This is Able Seaman Jones: This is a lighthouse. Your call.

The church is sometimes referred to as a ‘lighthouse’. What are the functions of a lighthouse? How might your congregation function as a lighthouse in your community? How can your church be a lighthouse in the Riverina? How can we introduce Jesus to people and help them to build up the Kingdom of God.?

A Prayer For Lighthouse Keepers:

Teach us, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve; to give, and not to count the cost; to fight, and not to heed the wounds; to toil;, and not to seek for rest; to labour, and not to ask for any reward, except that of knowing that we do your holy will; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (St Ignatius Loyola)

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It has been decided that in the period between Presbytery Ministers, Rev. Dr Roger and Mrs Gwen Webb will ensure that you receive a Pastoral Letter once a month. Therefore, any dates or notifications need to be emailed via Contact form to Roger and Gwen by the end of the 3rd week of the month.

Please also remember to use the Riverina Presbytery website for other information or Reports.

Using Copyrighted Music in Church Service:

The use of copyrighted music (such as gospel songs) is permissible in a worship service. An example would be the use of a YouTube video. The CCLI license remains important as a protection so that the words of the music can be printed in the Order of Service or projected on a screen.

Eastern Region:

Rev. Keith Robinson is the Regional Minister. His email is via the Contact Form or phone numbers are 02 6942 1787 or 0401 699 580.

Southern Region:

Rev. Yvonne Ghavalas is the Regional Community Minister. Her email is via the Contact Form.

Central Region:

Central Region has been invited to events in the Northern Region and Central Region. The main Regional Event will be Worship and a BBQ on 15 September at Narrandera.

Church Property Insurance.

If you have any questions about matters relating to Church Insurance, contact the Presbytery Property Officer, Paul Creek – via Contact Form

Liturgies and Sermons Contact Form
A number of people in the Presbytery have agreed to share their Orders of Worship and in some cases Sermons. They are willing to be contacted individually if you would like to receive these resources fill in this Contact Form, select from the Dropdown list and submit the from.

Safe Church Contact Persons.

Northern Region is Jenny Rose, via Contact Form or 0434 773 307

Southern Region is Marilyn Walter, via Contact Form or 0447 262 802.

Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital and Calvary Hospital

If a member of your congregation is in hospital in Wagga Wagga we wish to let you know that there is a Pastoral Care Team at Wagga Wagga Uniting Church. Phone the Ministry Centre on 6921 4275. In emergencies ring 0447 262 802.

Riverina Presbytery Website: John Milnes, via Contact Form, is the webmaster. If you wish to put something on the website contact Paul Ballard or John Milnes.

Finance Matters: Please send emails via Contact Form

Presbytery Directory: Please remember this is confidential for Uniting Church Members only.

Contact Information: Sheila Ayliffe (Chairperson) or Jackie Strempel (Secretary) via Contact Form

Regional Courses and Events:

All are open for anyone to attend. Lay Presiders are to attend one of the Sacrament Refreshers.

Remember that you are invited to attend Seminars in other Regions.

Date Seminar Region Place
September TBA Mission Shaped Ministry Eastern Region Cootamundra 10-3.30
1 & 15 September Theology All Leeton 9.00-5.00
12 & 13 October Theology All Leeton 9.00-5.00

If you are wanting to attend a full Sacraments Course could you please let Wendy Frazier know via Contact Form

SRE and Lay Preacher Training on-line

SRE Training: You are able to attend this training with another denomination.

Lay Preacher Training on-line from or

Ethical Ministry

As part of our continuing education program, Keith Robinson, Roger Webb and myself (Yvonne Ghavalas) met together this month to discuss a rather sensitive topic: the recognition and prevention of grooming behaviors.

Grooming behavior refers to the befriending and establishing of an emotional connection with a child, family, and, sometimes, an entire community to help facilitate access to a child or vulnerable person who is a target for sexual abuse. As the Royal Commission on child sexual abuse so clearly shows, religious institutions are often prime environments for such behaviors because they are places of trust, grace and forgiveness.

Minimizing the opportunities for abuse to occur relies on us educating ourselves about things that we often do not want to dwell on or talk about, and creating a safe space for people to speak up when they have concerns or have gone through a painful experience.

As an expression of our commitment as the Uniting Church in Australia to “provide worshipping and pastoral communities that are free from abuse and that provide safe environments for all people to explore and express their faith in the Gospel,” we can take several practical steps in our congregations and faith communities:

  1. Ensure that there is a Safe Church Policy and Contact Person in place.
  2. Encourage elders and members of Church Council to attend a Safe Church Awareness Workshop (there is one being offered in Wagga Wagga on 2 November 2019).
  3. Display the relevant contact details (provided below) prominently so that people know where to turn for help.

For matters of serious misconduct or abuse allegations, seek advice from the Uniting Church NSW/ACT Synod General Secretary’s Office on 02 8267 4323.

If you are concerned about a child or young person at risk of harm or abuse, phone the NSW Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 or use the Mandatory Reporters Guide at

All church councilors, Lay leaders, and those working with children, need to attend.

To be held at Pilgrim in Wagga Wagga on Saturday 2 November 9.30 till 4 pm: BYO lunch:

The $25 Course fee will be paid by Presbytery

Leonie Stewart from the Illawarra Presbytery will be the facilitator in conjunction with Emma Parr and Uniting Mission and Education. Leonie will also be able to facilitate a one day Course in conjunction with Emma Parr and UME on Saturday 4th April 2020. Place to be announced.


Expression of interest are invited for any of the offered Courses. Please reply as soon as possible.

Further registration details will be forwarded to you as they become available.

Please email Wendy Frazier, Secretary of D & E Committee via Contact Form

Full Sacraments Course

A four (4) session Course equipping Lay people to preside at the Sacraments, leading to accreditation, then followed by Church Council application to PRC for authorization,

Sessions 1 & 2: Saturday 30 November & Sunday 1 December 2019: 9.30 till 5pm

To be held at Pilgrim Uniting Church Wagga Wagga. BYO Lunch or purchase nearby.

$50 per person for the full Course, being for Course reader & assignment book, supplied by UME

Sessions 3 & 4: Saturday 22 & Sunday 23 February 2020 (place to be announced)

In conjunction with UME Rev Dr John Squires and wife Elizabeth of the Canberra Presbytery will facilitate sessions on November 1 & 2, and Rev Keith Robinson & Rev Yvonne Ghavalas will be the facilitators of Sessions 3 & 4 will be held on 22 & 23 February 2020

Living Our Faith – Exploring Theology

Expression of interest are invited from Lay Preachers in training and any other interested people.

Saturday 9 & Sunday 10 November: Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 November: 9am till 5pm all days

$225 for the 4 days: lunch and morning tea provided. Leeton Uniting Church

Lay Preacher Continuing Education

Ethics & Preparing for Easter

Saturday, 28 March 2020: 9.30 – 4pm Place to be announced. No cost. BYO lunch

Facilitated by Rev Yvonne Ghavalas

Annual Leaders Retreat

For all leaders in the Presbytery, Lay & Ordained to be held at St Clements Retreat Centre, Galong. between Monday 4 and Thursday 7 May 2020

Congregations encouraged sponsoring their leaders

Living our Faith (Lay Preacher Education 2020)

Currently speaking with Uniting Mission & Education

Rev Dr Roger & Mrs Gwen Webb

Contact Form

Pastoral Letter Contact Form