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:                


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.


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:
  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


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:

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

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:

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

Friday Morning Discussion Group May 18

“The Happiest Refugee”

The Happiest Refugee


Our monthly Friday Morning Discussion Group was held at Hindes this month.

Wendy Hinde led the discussion based on the book “The Happiest Refugee” by Anh Do.

This was discussed alongside an article that was published in the HeraldSun Magazine “Stellar”, on Sunday 11th March, 2018 and titled “It’s OK to fail”, an inteview by Adrienne Tam of refugee Anh Do. We were amazed at the breadth of Anh Do’s talents and work: law graduate, comedian, artist, prize winning author. We learned what a resilient and kind hearted soul he is and how he gives enormous credit to his mother for the way his family has turned out. He was 2 years old when his family hopped on a 9 metre boat and set out to escape Vietnam. The story is a wonderful testament to the determination of refugees to settle in and forge their way in the country that has given them a new chance at life, as well as the gratitude for this opportunity.

>>>> Read the article “It’s OK to fail”

We enjoyed watching the video “Pictures of You – featuring Anh Do” – featured below. This rounded out a very lively discussion.

AGM 2018


AGM Beaumaris Uniting Church May 6 2018

The Annual General Meeting of the Beaumaris Uniting Church was held following the 9:30am service on Sunday 6th May 2018.
35 members of the congregation attended, with 19 apologies given.
John Davies chaired the meeting.

  • Jenny Small was re-elected as an elder for a 2 year term.
  • Wendy Hinde was re-elected as an elder for a 3 year term.

The Annual Report was spoken to by Chairperson of the Church Council, Jenny Small and the Treasurer, Margaret Thorburn.

Friday Morning Discussion Group April 2018


For our 6th April meeting we tackled the topic from the recent debate held on the ABC for International Women’s Day:

“Is Bold the new Beautiful?”

Many of us watched the debate on ABC iView  – and there was plenty of fodder amongst the group to have a lively discussion.

The link is below and it can be watched on any computer if you don’t have an iPad.

The notes for the topic can be downloaded below:

==>  Is Bold The New Beautiful?


Sunday 8th April 2018

Low Sunday Shenanigans

Low Sunday Shenanigans

The Sunday after Easter Sunday is traditionally known as “Low Sunday”, probably so named because of its relative unimportance in contrast with Easter Sunday.

Last Sunday 8th April Reverend John Connan  asked all members of the Congregation to wear bright colours and “silly hats” and bring along funny religious jokes to share with the congregation. The Service Sheet began with the words “Because this is a day of the unexpected, the Order of Service may include the following but who knows exactly what their sequence may be?!” and that’s exactly how it was.  Rev. Connan’s reflection was based largely around the “Smiling Christ” and the joy that emanated from his preachings and that’s exactly how the service transpired. Not a single member of the congregation left without a feeling of joy in their hearts and a broad smile on their faces. Each hymn was sung with fervour – hymns such as Rejoice the Lord is King, Lord of the Dance, Give Me Joy in My Heart, Rejoice in the Lord Always and Again I Say Rejoice, Joy is the flag flown high from the castle of my heart, and finally You Shall Go Out With Joy and Be Led Forth in Peace.

For a Low Sunday we all went out on an absolute high!!!!

Holy Humour Sunday

Holy Humour Sunday

Low Sunday Jokes

Low Sunday Jokes