In response to God’s purpose for the world and its people, UnitingWorld WA builds and strengthens relationships in mission. It works to encourage and support Presbytery and congregations in nurturing local initiatives towards mutual relationships with equivalent councils of partner churches overseas.
Members of the UnitingWorld WA are appointed by the Synod and include:
- the Convener
- the Social Justice Consultant (currently Rosemary Hudson Miller)
- up to eight other persons.
The Committee may co-opt up to two further members to ensure balanced representation or to provide the Committee with knowledge, abilities or experience which may be helpful and would not otherwise be available.
A Letter of Agreement was signed on 31 May 2016 between the Uniting Church Synod of Western Australia and the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka (with the support of UnitingWorld) for support of preschools in needy areas of Sri Lanka.
We are raising money for the on-going support for the teachers and children through this site: https://chuffed.org/project/fulltummieshappylearners# Fulltummies make happy learners!
These preschools provide a nutritious meal for children of impoverished families who cannot pay state school fees for their children’s education. We also provide support for the teacher’s salaries.
Rev Eira Clapton recently visited Sri Lanka with UnitingWorld staff, to see the work of the Methodist Church of Sri Lanka which is supported by the partnership of the Uniting Church in Australia Synod of Western AustraliaStanding on Holy Ground
I start a new notebook for this Sri Lanka trip, because a pen and paper are quickly accessible when you want to make notes in a foreign country. On the title page I write these words: “What if we were standing on holy ground”?
Holy ground is difficult to get to. For us it involves a very early start. At 3.51am I climb into a small bus and we set off on crowded roads out of Colombo to the more remote north and east of the country. These are the areas which have been devastated by the double disaster of civil war and tsunami. There are fewer people to do the work in these areas – many of the young were killed in the war, or the disaster, or left disabled by them. The roads are poor so the villages are hard to get to, isolated from each other and from government services. The bus rollicks over dry creeks beds and picks its way at a snail pace around deep potholes.
I visit a Church hall in Muthur, where some tiny children have gathered to greet us with their mothers and preschool teacher. They place garlands of flowers around our necks as we enter. This is a Church run school for those who can’t afford to send their children to government run preschools. One mother explains that she sells goods to provide for her family. Sometimes there is money for education, sometimes none. In this place everyone is welcome to come – it is a multi-faith school. The preschool turns no-one away, even though the Church has no funding to support it. The teacher has not been paid for months, and the only food provided to the children comes from what the parents can bring.
The children sing us a song, which sounds like “head and shoulders, knees and toes”, and we all smile at each other.
Eira’s Law of Spiritual Economics says “you know you are getting close to the kingdom of God when there is not enough money to do the work”. I conclude that we are very close today.
In the next district we visit more preschools in which teachers work for next to nothing and the churches provide emergency aid type nutrition packs for children, as the whole population is under-nourished.We are treated as special guests each place we go.
If you feel jaded about the church, visiting the projects that your church supports with funds, and meeting the passionate workers at the other end, will make you feel better.
In my notebook I write that I am thinking of all the faithful donors to appeals, and wishing they could have been with us. We are thanked over and over by each preschool community, but of course they don’t mean to thank us personally -we just represent the Australian churches.
Anyone seen the kingdom of God? Maybe they could start looking around here.
If you want to be part of sharing the work of the Kingdom of God in this place, you can support the preschool project by donating to:
BSB 036-001 Account 92-1834Uniting Church in Australia
Reference Sri Lanka Preschools
Cheque – made payable to Uniting Church in Australia
Send to: Social Justice Unit, Uniting Church Synod of WA, GPO Box M952, Perth WA 6843
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note that donations to this appeal are not tax deductible.
Download the flyer here Sri Lanka program flyer (2)
In 2012 the Uniting Church in Australia entered into a partnership agreement with the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka. It is envisioned that this partnership becomes part of a century-old tradition of relations with overseas churches and that it would develop into a genuine, deep, responsible and long-lasting relationship.While entered into at the national level, this partnership aims towards creating transformed local communities where peace and justice reign, pointing people to hope and life in Jesus Christ. We seek to transform communities and ourselves in the process.
At our recent Annual Presbytery/Synod meeting the church agreed to build on this support, exploring concrete steps by which this agreement could be lived out. The decision was made to support the Interfaith Pre-school program run by our partner church in the North East District of Sri Lanka. Read More about this project here.