Response to the proliferation of Gambling in our city and country

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk:

In so many places in the Bible we are reminded that as the people of God we are called to strive for the best for the community as a whole. The people of Israel who were exiled in the strange land of Babylon were challenged by the word of the Lord that came to the prophet Jeremiah, (29: 7), to “… seek the welfare of the city.”

Jesus calls us to love our neighbour, whoever that neighbour might be.  And Jesus so often sought to bring healing for the broken, the rejected and the lost.

As Christians we thus cannot remain passive when we see deep hurts in our city and country. And clearly one such hurt is the damage caused by the currently uncontrolled nature of gambling.

At the Gambling Forum that St Luke’s hosted on the afternoon of October 9th, Rev. Tim Costello addressed questions related to what can be done in response to this scourge. Tim currently is the public face and voice of The Alliance for Gambling Reform. (The Alliance national advocacy organisation which works to prevent and minimize the harm from gambling.)

In introducing Tim and the theme at this Forum, I made the following comments:

The Mission Outreach Ministry Team of this congregation was meeting a few months ago; and Sue Anderson the convenor handed out an article from The Geelong Advertiser which detailed the most recent mind-numbing statistics related to the amount of money being fed into poker machines in this region.

The group responded in the way many of us have in recent days with a deep sense of sadness about the damage being done to individuals, families and the community as a whole by the industrial scale of gambling in this city. There was also a sense of powerlessness.

All right, we know the statistics, what can we do about this disease?

As a couple of people have asked me, “What can you say to young males (and it is so often young males), who are still at school, who attend a footy match and use their phones to gamble on every aspect of the game?”

“What do we do about the proliferation of gambling advertisements on television, advertisements shown right through major sporting events, advertisements which clearly seek to normalise gambling.”

In recent days there have been many voices seeking action from governments.

In NSW, Stu Cameron, CEO and Superintendent, of the Uniting Church’s Wesley Mission and Sandy Grant, Anglican Dean of Sydney wrote an open letter to that state’s political leaders. This letter reminds the political leaders in NSW of the damage being done by gambling, notes that Australians are the world’s most prolific gamblers and also asks for a unity ticket on this matter in that State’s politics … that all sides of politics would agree to do something.

A segment on the 7.30 program on Wednesday October 5th on the ABC underlined the strong tide of concern in the community about gambling advertisements and gambling Apps. 

The St Luke’s Mission Outreach Ministry Team at that meeting I have mentioned felt it needed to do something and decided to organise the forum: a forum that was about “Next Steps.” And the Team was therefore so pleased that Tim agreed to make the trip to Geelong to address this topic.

You can watch the Forum on the Congregation’s YouTube channel:

You can find out more about the Alliance for Gambling Reform, with which the Uniting Church is formally associated, at   

Paul Stephens, Minister in Placement

Uniting Congregation Connect Winter 2022 and Uniting Heritage Newsletter

From Dale at Uniting:

“We are pleased to send you the Winter 2022 Congregation Connect.  In this edition,  you can read about:

  • our participation in this year’s Palm Sunday rally, alongside the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
  • one of our valued volunteers, Suzanne
  • how you can support people in crisis this winter

We have also included copies of our latest Uniting Heritage newsletter.  The Uniting Heritage Service supports and their families who were adopted, spent time with foster care providers, in children’s or family group homes,  and in orphanages.

If this out-of home care was provided by former Presbyteryian, Methodist or Uniting Churches, we help people piece together memories and better understand their past. ”

Pick up your copies from the St Luke’s foyer this Sunday.

Updates from Uniting VicTas

(Dated  1st  October 2021)

Dear Friends,

I do hope this email finds you safe and well in these challenging times!

I am writing to you to let you know that a copy of the Uniting Vic.Tas Spring Congregation Connect has now been made available on our website for congregations to access. In this edition, you and members of your congregation can read about Rachael, who was supported through the Victorian Government’s From Homelessness to a Home initiative, hear the difference our Winter Blanket Appeals have made and learn about the opening of a new facility for older women at risk of homelessness.

Congregation Connect Spring 2021

Our Spring Supporter Newsletter, which features stories of hope in the face of crisis has also been made available online. On page 5, there are examples of just some of the ways our dedicated teams have kept our support going during these challenging times. You can also read about the difference your giving has made this past winter and discover new ways to get involved.

Supporter Newsletter Spring 2021

This year’s Coffee Cup Challenge officially launches today (1st October) however It is still not too late to get involved.  All funds raised from the Coffee Cup Challenge will support people experiencing crisis, vulnerability and disadvantage. For more information or to register your congregation to join the Coffee Cup Challenge, please visit our Coffee Cup Challenge page.

It might seem early to be talking about Christmas however I wanted to let you know that our Uniting Christmas cards are now available to order with 4 new additions to the range. Each design has been thoughtfully selected to reflect the joy and hope of Christmas and all proceeds will support people in crisis. As current restrictions have once again made it too difficult for many of you to complete orders for your members by consignment this year, I have attached a copy of the Christmas Card poster and a PDF order form you can pass on to your members. Please note we have made the order form fillable for anyone wanting to complete and email it back to us without printing. Alternatively, they can pre-fill the details prior to printing and mailing it back to us if they prefer this to manually writing their details.

Cards can be also be ordered by calling our Supporter Services on 1800 668 426 or visiting our Christmas Card site.

We are always seeking feedback on how we as your community services organisation is performing and are keen for your thoughts on how Uniting can work better as part of the Church to respond to Christ’s invitation to serve humanity by creating an inclusive, connected and just world. To help do this, we invite you to offer your reflections here and encourage you to share this link with your congregation members so they also have the opportunity to share their thoughts on how we are performing.

If you need to update your contact details or wish to amend the number of hard copies you are mailed in the future, please contact Ida or me on 1800 668 426.

Kind Regards,


Dale Barker-Harrington (he/him)  l  Church and Community Relations Coordinator

Fair Trade Online Shopping Catalogue

Greetings Fair Trade Supporters,
With slavery on the increase, more children in child labour and Covid-19 devastating communities in poorer nations it is good that the Fair Trade Association has produced a shopping Guide where the proceeds of sales go directly to helping some of the most vulnerable people in the world.
I hope you will enjoy perusing this Shopping Guide. It would be wonderful if you could share this link with others.

Thank you

All the best.
Rev John MartinFair Trade Advocate,
Member, Executive Committee, Fair Trade Association ANZ

Uniting Barwon Emergency Food Room – Food items required

As you may be aware, demand for emergency food supplies are increasing in the Barwon region.  Uniting runs emergency food pantries in Norlane and Grovedale, and St Luke’s is a designated drop off location for food items.

Currently the emergency pantries are in need of:

  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Tomato sauce or BBQ sauce
  • Peanut Butter
  • Vegetable Cooking Oil
  • Corn Kernels
  • Cup of Soup – chicken
  • Coco Pops
  • Cornflakes
  • Rice Bubbles
  • Oats – traditional or quick oats
  • Self Raising Flour
  • Shampoo/Conditioner

Smaller packets /jars are more useful than large packets/jars.

You can drop items into St Luke’s on Tuesdays and Friday mornings between 10 and 12 noon.

There are many other ways to be involved in the food for families program – see here:

Food relief – items of need for Uniting Barwon

Uniting logo as a thumbnail


During sharing the journey (Sunday 27th June worship), Jean mentions items that the Uniting Barwon Emergency Food Room are in need of:

  • Coffee
  • Sugar
  • Tomato sauce or BBQ sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Vegetable Cooking Oil
  • Corn kernels
  • Cup of Soup – Chicken
  • Coco pops
  • Cornflakes
  • Rice Bubbles
  • Oats – traditional or Quick oats
  • Self Raising Flour
  • Shampoo/conditioner

NB: Smaller packets/ jars are more useful than large packets/jars.

These items can be dropped off to St Luke’s Highton, Tuesday and Friday mornings or can be dropped at Uniting Barwon’s Grovedale location (

Reconciliation in the Park Sunday 30th June

From Jan at Uniting Barwon:

Hello everyone

Reconciliation week 2021 starts on Wednesday this week the 27th May 2021. The largest local reconciliation event in reconciliation week in Geelong is Reconciliation in the Park held in Johnstone Park on the Sunday of Reconciliation week.  This year this will be Sunday 30th May 2021.

As part of Uniting Barwon’s  Reconciliation Action Plan we have established contact with the local community reconciliation group Geelong One Fire Reconciliation Group. Geelong One Fire helped establish Reconciliation in the Park and has supported it each year since its establishment. This year Uniting Barwon is going to assist Geelong One Fire with their support for the event.

Uniting Barwon people will be assisting with;

  • Set up which starts at 7.30am at Johnstone Park and runs until about 9.45am,
  • Various activities during the day, and
  • Pack up which will start between 3 and 3.30pm and run until about 5pm.

Those assisting will be given some time to participate in and enjoy the activities taking place.

If you are interested in assisting in any of the roles please contact Des Younghusband by Thursday 27th May 2021, please also enquire of your families, friends, acquaintances and network members if they might be available to help.

If you are unable to assist please consider coming along to enjoy the activities and again encourage your families, friends, acquaintances and network members also to do this .

20210503 Flier Rec in Park 2021

Attached is a flyer for the event feel free to pass it on to your contacts or request more copies from Des Younghusband.

To register to assist or if you have any queries Des Younghusband’s contact details are:

T 03 4210 1115 M 0417 354 515