By Andrew Humphries
When the steering committee responsible for forming a new Uniting Church congregation in Boroondara decided on the best way to mark the occasion, one date immediately came to mind.
The Kew Uniting Church, made up of the East Kew, Joong Ang and West Hawthorn congregations, as well as many people associated with Boroondara Community Outreach, was officially welcomed at a service on Easter Sunday.
Steering committee chair Cathie Shaw says Easter Sunday was an obvious and appropriate day on which to mark such a momentous occasion.
“It has taken many years of discussion, debate and thinking to get to this point, with the critical support from the Presbytery of Yarra Yarra, and one of the reasons for choosing Easter Sunday was that it seemed very appropriate in that it really does represent new beginnings and new life,” she says.
“By choosing this date we are also saying we are now ready to move on to the next phase of working together more closely (as one congregation).”
Cathie says another wonderful aspect of the Easter Sunday service was the fact it marked the acceptance of Korean minister Rev Joseph Lee, from the Joong Ang congregation, into the Uniting Church.
Joseph and Rev Bronwyn Daniels are the two ministers attached to the new congregation.
“It really was a triple celebration: it was Easter Sunday, a service for our new congregation and recognition for a new minister,” Cathie says.
The aim now, she says, is to reimagine how congregations like Kew can function and look towards a much more flexible approach around how worship can be conducted, and mission achieved.
“That’s particularly important for many who support Boroondara Community Outreach and are seeking places of worship that might be more flexible,” she says.
“We really want to be a centre of inclusion for those who attend the outreach centre.”
Steering committee member Michael Jung, who represented the Joong Ang congregation, says members were delighted to now be part of a broader congregation.
He says Sunday’s service represented the culmination of a great deal of hard work by many people.
“It represents something I had been dreaming about for the past 10 years,” Michael says.
“During that period I had been thinking we should combine congregations and in that way we can continue to learn together.”