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Victorian Council of Churches Newsletter - April 2018

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 Victorian Council of Churches

4/306 Little Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: 03 9650 4511
Last Sunday the Western Church and this coming Sunday our Eastern friends will gather to recall the story of the entry into Jerusalem of the one called Jesus of Nazareth., this begins what for many of us is HOLY WEEK.
As we live in this week, through our liturgies, our enacting of the stations of the Cross, and various other times of gathering, we will again invite one another to reflect on the significance of the momentous week some 2000 years ago.
From an upper room to a garden, from 3 rigged trials to the baying crowd, from a lonely walk and an agonizing period hanging on a Cross, from the unknowns of Saturday to the wonder f Resurrection morn, we will discover afresh the Wonder and Grace expressed at Easter.
May we afresh be encountered by our Risen Lord.
- Ian
I am currently establishing my diary for 2018 and would welcome opportunities to come and share stories of the Council activities with your Church or organisation – you can contact me on 03 9650 4511 or email at ian.smith@vcc.org.au
April 2018
Have you visited the Victorian Council of Churches Facebook page?
It’s a great way to keep in touch with the day to day happenings around Council.
News from the Council
Page 2
Council News
- Council is busy preparing for its AGM
- Council continues to be a voice and presence for the Churches in a multitude of Community
and Civic locations.
- Recently the Council engaged with other Faith Communities to address a proposed Bill before the
Victorian Parliament that was hoping to change the definition of Charities in a way that would have
excluded or made very difficult Churches’ ability to continue to offer care and compassion to our
Council continues to develop its Social Media presence as it communicates via its:
website at www.vcc.org.au,
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/viccouncilchurches/
And monthly Newsletter email: vcc@vcc.org.au and request to join
VCC AGM 2018
VCC is holding its annual general meeting on the 19th May 2018.
It commences with Registration at 9am and prayers at 9.30am
VCC intends to hold the AGM at a City Church
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Council News
From the NCCA Newsletter
Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2018
“Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power" (cf. Exodus 15.6)
13 – 20 May 2018 In 2018 the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in Australia will be observed from 13 – 20 May 2018, the week between Ascension and Pentecost. Resources are now available. Read more »
Introducing Rev Janet Woodlock
The Rev Janet Woodlock has just recently begun working with the NCCA as a Project Officer. Her role will see her based in Melbourne and engaging with our member Churches, ecumenical partners and friends. We are privileged to have Janet share her gifts of ministry and Christian leadership with us in this capacity. Read more »
Christian Conference of Asia
Asia Sunday 2018 ‘Embracing the Differently Abled and Upholding Their Dignity’ Observed every year on the Sunday before Pentecost, this year’s Asia Sunday falls on 13 May. Dr. Mathews George Chunakara, CCA General Secretary, urges member churches and councils as well as the ecumenical partners to observe the Asia Sunday 2018 in an appropriate way. Read more »
VCC looking for a volunteer
Have you got a few hours a week? - can you use the Dewey System?, if so please contact Ian Smith at VCC.
The VCC is privileged to hold a substantial Ecumenical Library and we are keen for it to be properly catalogued, digitised and then made available to the Churches as a resource.
Contact Ian on ian.smith@vcc.org.au or 03 9650 4511
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Council News
From Commission for Children and Young People
Reportable Conduct Scheme
Victoria introduced a Reportable Conduct Scheme on 1 July 2017.
The scheme aims to prevent people who pose a risk to children continuing in child-related work. We all have a responsibility to keep children safe. However, heads of child-related organisations have specific obligations. Heads of relevant organisations must report any allegation of child abuse or misconduct towards children made against their workers or volunteers. They must also carry out an investigation into any allegation.
The Commission for Children and Young People The Commission is a statutory body established to promote improvement in policies and practices that affect the safety and wellbeing of children and young people in Victoria. The Commission is the regulator of the Reportable Conduct Scheme. The aim of the Commission is to proactively support organisations in their understanding and implementation of the scheme. The Commission also has the authority to oversee, audit, and enforce organisations compliance.
Further Assistance
The Commission has a range of Reportable Conduct Scheme resources on our website to assist organisations. There are a series of information sheets which cover FAQs in more detail, such as:
what is reportable conduct
reporting obligations
Information sessions are provided regularly. Dates and registration information can be found on the website.
You can contact the Commission directly for clarification and guidance during standard business hours:
Phone: (03) 8601 5281
E-mail: childsafestandards@ccyp.vic.gov.au
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Council News
From the World Council of Churches
Applications welcome - Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity
07 - 20 July 2018 Hong Kong
Applications are now open for YATRA (Youth in Asia Training for Religious Amity) 2018, an inter-religious training programme of the WCC. The intensive training course, held annually since 2014, seeks to enable young Christian leaders from Asian churches to contribute towards the building up of just, harmonious and peaceable communities by equipping them for ministries of justice and peace from an inter-religious perspective.
Pope Francis to visit the World Council of Churches this summer
The Vatican and the World Council of Churches today announced that Pope Francis will visit the WCC this June. The formal announcement took place on 2 March at a joint press conference in the Vatican.
Faces of Hope raises awareness
A little more than a year ago Rev. Stacey Duensing went on a trip to Israel-Palestine together with her denomination, the Reformed Church in America. She returned home to the United States with a different perspective of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A perspective she wanted to share with a broader public audience.
UN agencies, NGOs, and WCC join at UN to end violence against children
Representatives of UN agencies such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have spoken of how religious communities and churches can play a key part in ending violence in early childhood.
Palm Sunday in Melbourne 25th March 2018
Council News
This year some 8000 people joined the Faith leaders of Victoria to walk for peace and Justice. As in past years the focus was on the plight of Refugees who have sought refuge within our country.
Speakers from many faith communities and refugees encouraged those present to continue to struggle for a more just and compassionate response from our Australian government.
Rev Tim Costello addressing those present
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Council News
Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project: Film Fundraiser
The Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project (BASP) is an initiative of the Brigidine Sisters which:
• Provides housing, food and practical support for people seeking asylum • Promotes advocacy for the rights of people seeking asylum We are conducting a film fundraiser on 15 April and seek your support to both promote and attend this event! Registration can be made by following this link: https://www.trybooking.com/UOXF
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Council News
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Council News
Canadian School of Peacebuilding
2018 Registration Is Now Open
We would like to invite you o join us at the 10th annual Canadian School of Peacebuilding (CSOP), which will be held June 11-15 and 18-22, 2018, in Winnipeg, Canada. Registration is now available online or using our PDF forms at csop.cmu.ca/registration/.
We welcome anyone who is interested in growing as a peacebuilder - local and international, young and old, students, practioners and those brand-new to peacebuilding.
As one CSOP participant has said, “CSOP is an incredible opportunity to learn across faith traditions, cul-tural understandings, and rural and urban settings. Here, the world comes alive in the classroom, and one is inspired to live differently even after stepping foot out of the classroom.”
Our five-day courses this year, as always, touch on a range of topics, taught by amazing instructors from around the world:
Session I: June 11-15, 2018
Peacebuilding Approaches to Violent Extremism*
Instructor: Lisa Schirch
Peace Skills – Dialogue as a Peacebuilding Process
Instructors: Maria Ida “Deng” Giguiento and Paulo Baleinakorodawa
Financial Empowerment for Development and Peacebuilding*
Instructor: Jerry Buckland
Conflict and Development Issues in Indigenous Communities
Instructor: Tabitha Martens
Justice and Peace – Ecumenical Horizons
Instructor: Fernando Enns
Session II: June 18-22, 2018
Who is My Neighbour? Ethics in a Bordered World
Instructor: Roger Epp
Trauma, Peacebuilding, and Resilience – Level 1
Instructors: Vicki Enns and Wendy Kroeker
Arts-based Approaches to Social Change
Instructor: Babu Ayindo
Last year, most of our courses filled up, so we encourage you to apply early to ensure your choice of course.
If you have any questions or want more information, check out our website or send us an e-mail. We hope you will join us in June for a week (or two) of learning, connecting and renewal.
Valerie Smith and Wendy Kroeker
CSOP Co-Directors
From JIM
Petition against forcible displacement of Palestinian farmers
The Israeli Government is trying to displace thousands of Palestinians who live in about 200 farming-shepherding communities throughout Area C of the West Bank. Dozens of these communities face im-minent expulsion, and others are subject to various forms of abuse, violence and dispossession. It is a crime to transfer the protected residents of an occupied territory from their homes, regardless of whether the transfer is accomplished by brute force or by making residents’ lives so unbearable that they leave, ostensibly of their own accord. Forcible transfer is prohibited and constitutes a war crime. A petition against the forcible displacement can be found here: https://actionsprout.io/9F837C
Council News
Palestine Israel Ecumenical Network
Become a member!
Now is the time to stand with those in Palestine and Israel who are seeking a just, sustainable peace. This is also the time to join with others in becoming a financial member and supporter of PIEN. For a joining fee of $20, as well as any other amount you wish to contribute, you will be standing with others committed to peace and justice in Palestine and Israel. Will you join us? Follow this simple link to complete your membership application. We look forward to you joining us. Note - at the time of writing, we are not able to process credit card payments, but will be able to do so soon.
Council News
Multicultural Sexual Health Network Forum: Racism and Health Thursday 19th April Time: 1.00pm – 4.00pm (afternoon tea provided) Location: Multicultural Hub, 506 Elizabeth St, Melbourne Suitable for: Ethno-specific community organisations, workers in the community, health, settlement and youth sectors, NGO workers, academics and interpreters.
RSVP To RSVP please register online by Thursday 12th April. For more information, please contact Rebecca Reeves rebeccar@ceh.org.au or 9418 9920.
Changes to Working with Children Checks
The Victorian State Government has gazetted changes to the Working with Children's Checks. These changes came into effect on the 1st August 2017. Essentially, the change tightens the requirements for WWC checks so that all adults who come in contact with children within Faith communities re-quire a WCC check.
Jewish Christian Muslim Association
JCMA is a not-for-profit organisation and donations go directly towards delivery of our many events, forums and conferences and to support our workshop programs in primary and secondary schools. As a listed harm prevention charity we have DGR (Deductible Gift Receipt) status. Your donations are tax-deductible (donations over $2 are tax-deductible). If you would like to make a donation to help support the work of JCMA please go to our website http://jcma.org.au/donation.
JCMA Membership
JCMA is a membership based organisation for Jewish, Christian and Muslim people of faith. If you would like to find out about joining JCMA as a member you can go to our website at http://jcma.org.au/jcma-membership or call Ginette Everest on (03) 9287 5590 or email to: memberships@jcma.org.au.
“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133: 1 (NIV)
ECUMENISM is popping up on my radar rather a lot recently... and in an effort to deepen my understanding I went to visit Rev Eunice Smith in Pakenham, after a fascinating phone conversation with her back in February.
Eunice, pictured, is 94 (although she appears 20 years younger to me) and she impressively recalls every detail and name associated with the Ecumenical movement in Victoria, and often nationally. I learned so much that dates from the famous Edinburgh Conference of 1910 from just one morning’s chat over a cuppa and a delicious home-made scone about the Ecumenical movement and the origins of the Christmas Bowl. She says: “In those early days churches were still sending missionaries out to ‘convert the heathen’. The Christmas Bowl was never a ‘missionary movement.’ Rather recognition of the many places of need in so much of the world, and the caring response of Australian churches through the Ecumenical movement, to that need - asking nothing in return, not even belief. The whole ethos flows from this – practical care, without strings.”
Ordained at age 64, Eunice, can recall the Action for World Development, AWD, motto of “the rights of all people to develop”, when a fifth Sunday was established as an Ecumenical service (“not many left” she laments) and being a member of the Social Questions Committee, among other fascinating recollections.
Personally, I had never fully grasped how powerful, important and relevant the Ecumenical movement was during the last century… really impressive Christian momentum.
Britannica.com states: The word ecumenism is derived from the Greek words oikoumenē “the inhabited world” and oikos “house” and can be traced from the commands, promises, and prayers of Jesus. The ecumenical movement seeks to recover the apostolic sense of the early church for unity in diversity, and confronts the frustrations, difficulties, and ironies of the modern pluralistic world. Disturbingly, the Center for Studies on New Religions reports we live in a world where Christians are now the most persecuted group globally... for two years running. Their report showed 90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016 and as many as 600 million were prevented from practising their faith through intimidation, forced conversions, bodily harm or death.
So why have we diluted and weakened this vital movement in the last 25 years, it seems? The answers, although complex, largely focus on our different approaches to following Christ rather than our similarities. Is it time we concentrated on global Christianity, more than denominational differences, once more?
By Helen Beeby, recently appointed Relationships Fundraising Partner for Act for Peace/Christmas Bowl
The Victorian Council of Churches in partnership with the National Council of Churches in Australia – Safe Church Program has collaborated together to provide a toolkit and Training Portal to ensure that all Faith Communities in Victoria have the opportunity to ensure that they are prepared to implement the Child Safe Standards in their faith community.
A Reminder
As of January 1st 2017 the Victorian Child Safe Standards became mandatory for all Churches and Faith organisations.
For more details visit: www.childsafestandards.org.au
How to implement the Victorian Child Safe Standards in your faith community that come into place on 1 January 2017.
We are pleased to partner with the Commission for Children and Young People (www.ccyp.vic.gov.au) in assisting faith based organisations to meet the Child Safe Standards by providing a range of faith-generic resources, tools and supports.
Council News is the official newsletter of the Victorian Council of Churches
Editor Rev. Ian Smith Executive Officer
Email (as well as to unsubscribe): vcc@vcc.org.au
Tel: 9650 4511
Child Safe Standards
Contact us: web. www.vcc.org.au
Email. vcc@vcc.org.au
Facebook www.facebook.com/viccouncilchurches/

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