Engadine Uniting Church thrives beyond worshipping

Engadine Uniting Church thrives beyond worshipping

Engadine Uniting Church is one of many local congregations of the Uniting Church in southern Sydney.

Starting as a Methodist church in the 1950s, Engadine Uniting Church is engaged with 21st-century theological and ethical questions. Located in the Sutherland Shire, the congregation is engaged in progressive theological reflection, social inclusion, justice practices, and peacemaking. The congregation partners with, and supports, local, state, national and global community organisations as they work together for the common good.

Engadine Uniting Church has taken several steps to change the focus of their ministry over the last years to open their perspective and support the work of a minister in Placement that would look more outwardly into the community for its purpose and mission.

Engadine Uniting Church is a very active congregation. They take action for each of the issues they stand for.

Loraine Holley is the congregation Correspondence Secretary and Sue McKinnon is Church Council Chair at Engadine Uniting Church.

“Holding events is what we do. Over the last two years, we have held a beeswax wrap making workshop to talk about environmental stewardship; ‘Knit for Climate’ bees to create Climate Scarves to present to federal politicians and call for more action on climate; workshops on understanding and managing anxiety in children; a community forum on drug law reform with the NSW Attorney General; we’ve gone in groups to the student climate strikes and inter-faith vigils down at Cronulla outside Morrison’s office; online webinars on restorative justice, peacemaking, and tender solidarity during lockdown; annual letter writing workshops with the local chapter of Amnesty; Day of Mourning services every year ahead of 26th January; a Hiroshima Day remembrance gathering; a ‘meet the candidates’ forum ahead of the local government elections; a volunteer information evening to support a new local food van, and some concerts in the basement for fun and fundraising” they said.

Insights recently attended one of these events, a fundraiser dinner to support UnitingWorld’s project to provide Community Health and Nutrition in Timor-Leste. It was a night full of joy, delicious food, live music and ice cream. A night where everyone could feel a congregation working together towards the same goal: enjoy each other’s company while making a difference.

Nicolas Duran, UnitingWorld’s Donor Relationships Manager, was also invited. He delivered a brief presentation about the project and why their support was vital to success. He told Insights that, “having the support of so many Uniting Church congregations across Australia has been vital to make our initiatives work, succeed and make a real impact in so many people across the countries where UnitingWorld has a presence through their church partners.”

Mr Duran also said that “Engadine UC had supported UnitingWorld since 2000. This congregation started a close relationship with Timor-Leste in 2020. They had the chance to have our colleagues from Bali a couple of times before Covid to share the stories of our Community Health and Nutrition project in Timor-Leste. They have also supported UnitingWolrd by running Everything in Common gift stalls during Christmas, Lent Events and emergency appeals.”

Rev. Paul Bartlett has been the Minister at Engadine Uniting Church since the beginning of 2020. As a retired minister who lived in the area he valued the opportunity to be involved in Engadine’s new missional initiative.

He told Insights that “the congregation has a deep and active interest in climate change, gender equality, Indigenous Treaty, and Truth Telling, a local organisation called Project Youth along with the overseas work of UnitingWorld,” the international aid and partnerships agency of the Uniting Church.

Rev. Bartlett has served the Uniting Church over the past 38 years as a parish minister, NSW Police Chaplain, working for Frontier Services and with UnitingWorld.

“I commenced my work at UnitingWorld as their Donor Relationships Manager in January 2013,” Rev. Barlett said.

“My interest in the overseas work of our church began for me 51 years ago when hunger fasting and fundraising for Bangladeshi refugees. Having shared a similar fundraising role with another agency of our National Assembly for the previous six years, the move to UnitingWorld seemed a perfect fit with my deep interest in the overseas partner churches of our Uniting Church.”

“Given the events in Timor Leste 20 years ago and their work in child protection and literacy, EUC felt this was something they could support. Since that commitment decision was made in early 2020, our congregation has had the privilege of having Debora and Hindra from the South East Asia Regional Office of UnitingWorld, located in Bali, visit our congregation in person and during COVID on Zoom.”

Engadine Uniting Church congregation is diverse. They all share a common desire to impact the world with God’s love regardless of their different ages, backgrounds, life experiences, and views on theology and politics. They are a fellowship of reconciliation, living God’s love and acting for the common good to build a just and compassionate community.

To find out more about Engadine Uniting Church and their events , visit their official website here.

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