Err on the Side of Generosity.

Letter to the Editor in The Age Newspaper on 7th August 2018

Of all the sayings and epithets that I used to hear as a kid growing up in Australia, the one I most admired was ‘to err on the side of generosity’. Richie Norton’s great advice seems to have fallen on deaf ears when we hear of so many people not qualifying for the NDIS. We keep hearing about people with crippling disabilities who seem to miss out on the assistance they so desperately need that would make such a difference to them and their carers.

As a nation, we seem to have become hardhearted in our government’s treatment of asylum seekers, refugees, homeless folks, unemployed young people and even those women who are victims of domestic violence. Too often these people are collectively made to feel like they are ‘rorting the system’, or ‘it’s their own fault’. We can always find excuses for turning a blind eye to those in need or for not helping those who are down on their luck. Misfortune can happen to anyone.

Richie Norton’s advice holds a deeper truth. Generosity is regarded as one of the key ingredients to enhanced mental health.

Adam Lindsay Gordon’s epithet comes to mind:

“Life is mostly froth and bubble. Two things stand like stone. Kindness in another’s trouble. Courage in your own.”

We can all try a little more kindness. We just might benefit from it too.

Nick Toovey.
Congregational Chairperson

Uniting AgeWell Residential, Community & Home Care Forum

What goes up, but never comes down?      

Your age!!

The answer to that riddle is at the heart of a special forum “Uniting AgeWell Residential, Community and Home Care” being held at Beaumaris Uniting Church – St Martins, cnr Dalgetty Road and Gibbs Street, Beaumaris on Sunday, 9th September from 2.30-4.00pm.

Kiri Johnston from Uniting AgeWell has been invited to talk to us about all those issues to do with Aged Care in the community including the role played by government.

You are invited to come along just to listen, ask questions or chat to Kiri afterwards about your particular situation, or that of your elderly parents.

Join us and be that much more informed about this important social issue in our society.

This event is not exclusive to our church congregation and will be advertised around the suburb so please feel free to bring along anyone you feel would be interested or may benefit from this forum. If you are unable to attend on September 9th but would really love to hear what Kiri has to say, please don’t stay silent but let Nick Toovey know and we may be able to get Kiri to come again.

We’d love to have some idea of numbers so please contact Nick Toovey of the Mission Committee if you’re able to attend.

Nick’s phone no is 0447 244 909 and his email is: Nick.Toovey@flinders.vic.edu.au

>>>Download the flyer for the Uniting AgeWell Residential, Community and Home Care Forum
Uniting AgeWell Community Information Session

Uniting AgeWell Residential, Community & Home Care Information Session

Friday Morning Discussion Group August 2018

Old Enough To Die

Barbara Letheren led a very interesting discussion based on an article in the Weekend Australian Magazine published recently and written by 76 year old author Barbara Ehrenreich. She describes how stepping off the preventative care treadmill gave her a newfound freedom which she is now revelling in.

She said that she refused to accept a medicalised life.

Barbara Letheren said she chose this topic as it reflected her own experiences, she discussed her solution and wanted to hear the experiences other individuals in the group had to share along the same lines.

>>  Download the article  “Old Enough To Die”

Induction of Our New Minister

Welcome Reverend Scott Finlay

Rev. Scott Finlay being inducted by Rev. Andrew Boyle

Rev. Scott Finlay being inducted by Rev. Andrew Boyle

The Service of Induction of our new minister was run by the Presbytery of Port Phillip East on behalf of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Approximately 80 people attended Scott’s induction service  at the church on the afternoon of Sunday 5th August 2018. The service, led by the Rev. Andrew Boyle was recognition of Scott’s appointment and embodied mutual commitments by our congregation, Scott and the Presbytery to further the work of God in our area.  The Rev. Greg Fry, who chaired our Joint Nominating Committee, was the preacher and gave a very pertinent reflection on “Change”.

Members of the congregation were involved through out the service, led off by the Congregational Chairperson: Nick Toovey. A group of people representative of the congregation and reflecting the diversity of the people for whom Scott will have pastoral responsibility did the bible readings and others presented him with a Bible and water, bread and wine and the congregational roll. Many members of Presbytery were present along with representatives from local churches.

The service was followed by a sumptuous and welcoming afternoon tea. It was a very special occasion in the life of our church and a wonderful opportunity to meet Scott and his wife Susan, along with their two sons: Dheran and Kailan.

 >> View photographs of Rev. Scott Finlay’s Service of Induction

Christianity In Action

Nick Toovey shares a reflection on the time he spent working in Cambodia recently

Have you ever worked with people who inspire you and humble you by their devotion, dedication and commitment to the call they believe God has made on their lives?

Have you ever been in the company of people who have sacrificed their own safety and livelihood in order to rescue children from harm and abuse at the hands of horrible people?

Have you ever known people who are prepared to put up with physical hardship, separation from family, living in a very different culture, a foreign language, dodgy infrastructure and political intimidation?

I had the pleasure of working with, befriending and worshipping with these kinds of people at Hope International School for four weeks last term. The K-12 School of about 220 students and 30 staff provides a first class education to the children of parents who work as teachers at local schools including Hope, evangelists at the local churches, many Christian NGO’s including Samaritan’s Purse and ‘Hard Places’.

“Hard Places” is a community of Khmer volunteers who rescue primary school age girls and some boys from the clutches of paedophiles in Phnom Penh. It was founded twelve years ago by Alli Mellon, an American lady whose four young adopted Khmer children attend Hope. What a lady!

Hope is a School in the north of Phnom Penh with no school uniforms, no bells and whose staff and students come from Korea, US, UK, Canada, Australia, NZ, Africa as well as Cambodia. The 300 students enrolled at Hope reflect the same cross- cultural mix. The staff talk of teaching TCK- third culture kids. Senior students study the International Baccalaureate while students in years 7-10 follow a Cambridge GSCE curriculum.

Many of the school administrators, maintenance staff, cleaning staff and canteen staff come from support centres which provide employment opportunities for those local Khmer nationals who have experienced social disadvantage.  “Hagar” which runs the popular canteen is one such organisation.

I can recommend teaching at Hope. I was accepted and befriended by the staff, especially those who remembered me from 2017. The respect they showed me was genuine and reassuring.

The year 9 English class I taught were more like year 11 students in appearance, quality of writing and maturity of class discussions. They were typical of Hope classes in terms of their cultural mix.

Soon after I arrived mid- May (with four weeks to complete the academic year) the Danish primary PE teacher needed to return home following the death of his mother in law. The deputy principal, Cheryl asked me whether I could take Kinder, grade 1, 3 and 5 PE classes. How could I say No! It was a great way to expand my CV at the wrong end of my career! I was told that teaching PE at this level is like herding cats.

Amongst the supportive expat staff, most of whom who live in several gated communities or “boreys”, NRL is huge and AFL is pretty popular too.

If you are thinking of taking up this opportunity to teach at Hope for a short term stint or longer, please speak to me. I wish I had done something like this years ago.

All they ask for is our prayers.

Let us pray:                

NICK TOOVEY

Catch Families in Crisis This Winter

The Uniting Winter SHARE Appeal 2018 is on during the month of July.

2018 Uniting Winter Appeal

2018 Uniting Winter Appeal

It’s a great way for all of us to support local families and children who are homeless or in crisis.
Donations help people who urgently need emergency relief – our gifts will make a real difference and go towards things such as food, clothing, medical help and crisis houseing.

You can pick up an appeal brochure at the church to read about Naomi’s story and how the family have been helped because of donations made by people like us, or read the article at the link below.

>>>> https://shareappeal.org.au/appeal/uniting-winter-appeal/


There are four ways to donate:

  1. Pick up a brochure from the pews
  2. Send your donation to:
    Uniting Winter Share Appeal
    Reply Paid 85995
    A’Beckett Street, Vic, 8006
  3. Online: vt.uniting.org/winterappeal
  4. Call 1800 668 426
Uniting is the community services organisation of the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania.

Uniting is the community services organisation of the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania.

 

 

 

 

Prayer Vigil for Thai Soccer Team

Prayer Vigil for Thai Soccer Team Friday 6th July 2018

In response to the dangerous, frightening and terribly uncertain situation currently being experienced by the 12 Thai soccer boys and their coach, we held an impromptu Prayer vigil at the Church on Friday afternoon, 6th July. Candles were lit for each boy and their coach as we gathered in the stillness, offering our own silent prayers for their safety and rescue.

Whether as parents, grandparents, teachers, coaches, youth leaders or fellow teenagers, we can all relate to the plight of those trapped in the caves. We feel the anguish and fear of the parents, hanging on every word from the authorities, feeling so helpless. We feel the weight of expectation on the shoulders of the many rescuers.

There is power in the stillness of a prayer vigil. May God strengthen the resolve of the boys to survive this horrific ordeal and strengthen the efforts of the rescuers to bring the boys home safely.

Nick Toovey

Prayer Vigil for Thai Soccer Team

Congregational Meeting

Congregational Meeting

NEW MINISTER

At the congregational meeting held on Sunday, the 24th June, the congregation decided that it wished to proceed with a call to Rev. Scott Finlay. A letter of call was approved and was sent.

We received a reply last Saturday in which Scott writes: “I gladly and graciously accept your call to minister with you at Beaumaris Uniting Church, into your local community. I look forward to gettting to meet you all, and in time coming to know you. I trust that together we can continue to honour God’s claim on us as individuals and community to be the people of God in this place and is so doing honour the lives of all we come into contact with.”

Scott can now be appointed and an induction service will be arranged by Presbytery. All proceeding as hoped it is probably Scott could commence leading our worship at the beginning of August.

Friday Morning Discussion Group June 2018

“Positive Psychology”

Rosemary Curtis led the discussion on Friday 1st June. She set out to give us all an idea of the broad approach to Positive Psychology that has been adopted at Adelaide High School, with the aim of increasing the mental well being of both teachers and students and how we could use this to enhance our own lives. It was an approach to Psychology most of us had never heard of but felt had great merit. We certainly had a lively discussion but felt we only brushed the surface of this fascinating topic.

Rose outlined that the starting point for this program at AHS was to do the VIA character strength survey:

http://www.viacharacter.org/www/Character-Strengths-Survey

Learn Your Character Strengths. Live Your Potential.

The VIA Survey of Character Strengths is a simple self-assessment that takes less than 15 minutes and provides a wealth of information to help you understand your core characteristics. Most personality tests focus on negative and neutral traits, but the VIA Survey focuses on your best qualities.

Created under the direction of Dr. Martin Seligman, the “father of Positive Psychology” and author of Authentic Happiness and Flourish, and Dr. Christopher Peterson, distinguished scientist at the University of Michigan and author of A Primer in Positive Psychology, and validated by Robert McGrath, Ph.D., the VIA Survey is regarded as a central tool of positive psychology and has been used in hundreds of research studies and taken by over 5 million people in over 190 countries resulting in better workplaces… schools… teams…LIVES the world over.

Another website on Positive Psychology is below and enables you to do the “Wheel of Life Survey”

>> Download the handout The Wheel of Life Survey

http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu

Next participants had to do the “creating a strength based habit task”. The students were encouraged to choose from one of their top 3-5 strengths (signature strengths) and then commit to developing that strength further, for 10 minutes a day over the period of a month.

>> Download the handout  24 Character Strengths – Identify Your Top Five for a Better Life
>> Download the handout  Classification Of Character Strengths

The PERMA model designed by Martin Seligman, which has five core elements of psychological well being and happiness was the model AHS liked best and used:

http://positivepsychologyprogram.com/perma-model/

PERMA Model of Positive PsychologyThe PERMA model was designed by Martin Seligman with five core element of psychological well-being and happiness. Seligman believes that these five elements can help people reach a life of fulfillment, happiness, and meaning. This model can also be applied to institutions to develop programs to help people develop new cognitive and emotional tools.
 

>> Download the handout The Perma Model

>> Download the handout  Two Models of Positive Psychology

Rose showed us the TED talk by Emily Esfarhan Smith “There’s More To Life than Being Happy – The Four Pillars of Meaning” 

Our culture is obsessed with happiness, but what if there’s a more fulfilling path? Happiness comes and goes, says writer Emily Esfahani Smith, but having meaning in life — serving something beyond yourself and developing the best within you — gives you something to hold onto. Learn more about the difference between being happy and having meaning as Smith offers four pillars of a meaningful life.

Extra resources:

  • Martin Seligman’s book Flourish is worth looking out for.
  • Barbara Fredrickson’s books Love 2.0 – how our supreme emotion affects everything we think, feel, do and become, and also ‘Positivity are good references.
  • Barbara Fredrickson has several Youtube talks on this subject:  Positive emotions open our mind;  Positive emotions transform us.
  • Carol Dweck is another author mentioned.  Her book ‘Positivity’ contains some research in this area, mainly the value of positivity and how one might decrease negativity.
  • Karen Reivich,  The Resilience Factor

NOTE: City of Bayside is running a free workshop “Positive Psychology. Wellbeing and Happiness on Saturday 7th July from 10:30am – 12:30pm at the Brighton Library.
Booking www.trybooking.com/373712
“Positive Psychology is the new, science based study of wellbeing and happiness that is spreading rapidly throughout the world. Judi Menzies will discuss how this new yet scientific approach focuses on ‘building up the best in people’ rather than Traditional Psychology’s method of looking for what’s broken and trying to fix it.”