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News 2004

1 November 2004   OUR OWN BUS AT LAST!

We have been working and waiting a long time for this. Well here is the bus! These are photos of her maiden journey to Victoria where the Port Augusta Congress Faith Community attended the Victorian Maori Festival in Broadmeadows held on the 29th October - 31st October.. It was a great time had by all as the Port Augusta Congress Faith Community joined in the festivities from the weekend.

The bus is officially named 'Hector', and it has made a huge difference to our community already. Well as the conductor would say "all aboard" and lets head West!


uaicc group at synod
Above: Congress group at synod, pictured from l to r; Hohaia Matthews, Dawn Matthews, Ken Sumner, Bernie Clarke, Denise Champion, Cathy Carter, Bruce Carter, Dean Whittaker.
Below: Rev Hohaia Matthews speaking from the floor of Synod.

At the annual meeting of the Uniting Church in Australia (South Australia) Synod the UCA received the report of the Transfer of assets Task Group. This group reviewed the covenant that was made by the UCA(SA) to the Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress in 1995 that sought to provide Congress with an adequate income. The review found that this objective had not been met.

Hohaia After some debate the Synod agreed to sections of the proposal and referred the others to the Council of Synod and a working party respectively. Congress is pleased with the progress being made in this matter and anticipates that the changes being made will deliver much needed funds for the mission of UAICC(SA).

The report of the UAICC(SA) to the Synod followed on from last year as a highlight of the reports presented to Synod. Rev Ken Sumner, Rev Hohaia Matthews, Rev Dean Whittaker and David Wright spoke. Fantastic AV presentations were made by Salisbury and Port Augusta.

4 October 2004      THROUGH YURA EYES 2

design Over the October long weekend a second group of corporate people from Melbourne were joined by a group from Sydney to experience the second Through Yura Eyes cultural tour package.

The tour was essentially the same as the first with the exception of the dinner on Saturday night which was held at the Willsden-Quorn Football Club Rooms in Willsden. This was a fantastic night to which local Aboriginal community members were invited to share with the tour members. Traditional foods were included in the menu. Denise and Noelene

9 July 2004     SAM KOBIA VISITS PA

Dot painting presented by Linda Dare Port Augusta was thrust back into the limelight recently with the visit of the Reverend Doctor Sam Kobia. Dr Kobia is the General Secretary to the World Council of Churches, based in Geneva, Switzerland. His visit to Port Augusta on Thursday the 8th July 2004 involved visiting the Aboriginal community in Port Augusta, and secondly visiting the detainees at the Baxter DIMIA facility.

Besides Dr Kobia the entourage also included Professor James Haire [Past President of the UCA; Current President, National Council of Churches in Australia], Dr Dean Drayton [current President of the UCA], John Henderson [General Secretary, National Council of Churches in Australia], and Matthews George [General Secretary for the W.C.C in the Asia region]. Dr Kobia has mentioned to a few people that his visit to Australia would have been the poorer had it not been for his visit to Port Augusta, South Australia.

youth group
The highlight of the day was the whole entourage coming to have dinner with the Port Augusta Congress Faith Community. Auntie Eva and Uncle Charley [hospitality team leaders] put on a hangi that was absolutely choice! Actually Dean Drayton said that was the best meal he has tasted in a long while. Even Dr Kobia echoed those same words. As usual there was some great singing from the "Bits & Pieces" band that really topped the night of for everyone. Choice food, superb singing and great fellowship made for a fantastic night. guests

This was a great coup for the Congress here in Port Augusta, and it was an opportunity not lost on the Port Augusta Congress Faith Community considering the high profile of our guests. Well done to all involved in the organisation of this event.

30 May 2004    A WEEKEND with MORIALTA UC

Hohaia The Port Augusta Congress Faith Community where hosted in Adelaide by the Morialta Uniting Church from the 28th to the 30th May 2004.

The weekend culminated with the Port Augusta Congress Faith Community taking the two morning services at the Morialta Uniting Church: 9.00am & 10.30am.

What a powerful time this was for all the people who attended those two services. Hohaia spoke at the first service and delivered a powerful sermon concerning reconciliation in the church towards Aboriginal people. You could of heard a pin drop as he challenged the people on this issue and where God was in all of this.

champion family Auntie Denise Champion spoke at the second service and delivered another powerful word to the congregation through the sharing of stories from her country fused with the gospel of the day. The singing by the Congress band "Bits & Pieces" was exceptional to say the least.

bits n pieces A fantastic weekend had by all from the Port Augusta Congress Faith Community and a big thank you to our host at the Morialta Uniting Church in Adelaide!

26 April 2004        CONGRESS AT NARACOORTE

What a way to end the weekend end! The problem is where to start? The Port Augusta Congress Faith Community shared in a weekend of ministry at Naracoorte in the South East of South Australia.with a few tag-a-longs.

The many hours of organising by the Zeitz's and other community people was absolutely awesome.

fire.jpg - 11Kb The Saturday night at the local scout hall in Naracoorte was the meeting place where there was a lot of excellent food followed by more food and a great time of singing Maori culture songs.

The Sunday service at Naracoorte was a great time of sharing our gifts of singing followed by the sharing of the Word. Many people where moved by the experience of the moment and we give God the praise and glory for allowing the opportunity of sharing the gospel. Lunch and then a time of relaxing followed the Service.

Monday came around and before you knew it, we where at Jan Oliver's in the Adelaide Hills having lunch. On the way home we finally caught up with Cathy Freeman and her boyfriend Joel Edgerton at Port Wakefield of all places. That capped of a great weekend as they where returning from a weekend in the Flinders Ranges.

Anyway to all those who contributed to the weekend thank you very much once again.


group - 14Kb This was a historical moment in the life of the U.A.I.C.C in South Australia. The Port Augusta Congress Faith Community had a fellowship night at Salisbury UAICC in transit to Narracoote the next day.

singers - 5Kb What a fantastic night as both Congress communities shared in song followed by a meal together. The Salisbury singing crew ably led by Nunga idol Alan Sumner and Auntie Eva where too funky for the Port Augusta crew. We eventually managed to wrestle the stage from the Salisbury crew, and did our thing.

A great night was enjoyed by all that attended. I hope that there will be another night of fellowship somewhere in the not too distant future?

On behalf of the Port Augusta Congress Faith Community thank you our sister church for your wonderful hospitality.

12 April 2004        THROUGH YURA EYES 1

Img_yura250.jpg - 10Kb Over the Easter period a group of corporate people from Melbourne experienced the inaugural "Through Yura Eyes" tour. It was a cultural tour package over two days of the Easter weekend. Mrs. Lavene Ngatokoroa and Mrs. Gayle Mather where responsible for the Saturday tour that included a welcome to country through to hearing the story of the Umeewarra Mission. Saturday evening was capped of with dinner at the Port Augusta Yacht Club. The dinner was a presentation of bush tucker food provided by Iga Warta.

group200.jpg - 6Kb Mrs. Denise Champion & Mrs. Nolleen Ryan-Lester, both of who are Adnayamathanha women, led the Sunday tour. Their tour included a visit to the Flinders ranges that took in places of historical significance to all Yura's: Yura Bila caves and the famous Wilpena pound.

Through Yura Eyes stories where shared from the region amongst the group. The Sunday night was rounded of with the tour group meeting back at Gladstone square, Port Augusta along with the wider community for a shared meal and some fine entertainment by Auntie Eva and Co. The weekend was made even more memorable by the late edition of Cathy Freeman and her brother Gavin.

22 March 2004     BUS TRIP TO THE FUTURE

In today's Australian, Stuart Rintoul, reports on an Aboriginal community planning to wean itself off handouts by establishing a tourism venture. Members of the Port Augusta Congress are centrally involved.

Click here to read the story                 cache version

Left: Narelle Bradey with Hector


Hohaia On Sunday 21st March, Rev Hohaia Matthews preached on the theme of Reconciliation at the 9:30am service at Pilgrim UC in the City of Adelaide.

Others taking part were Cassandra and Lara Knowles who lit the candles, Dawn Matthews and Andrew Clark who led prayer, Di and Peter Russell who had invited the Matthews, welcomed them, acknowledged the original custodians of the land, led prayer and retold the story of the Two Lost Sons (Luke 15).

In his message, Hohaia challenged the congregation. . . . . .
"There is nothing of the 'I' in any of those readings from the scriptures. It's about the 'we'. Reconciliation is about God. It's about you and me together as one.
I understand Paul's theology from 2 Corinthians 5:17 like this? The ground at the foot of the cross is a level playing field for all, for I am a new creation in Christ. From the Congress perspective I need you, and you need me, to make sure that the level playing field is maintained. So this morning is there anyone for reconciliation? [Put my hand up] Well then, let's play ball.


On Friday night a busload of children from the Port Augusta UAICC departed bound for Victor Harbour to spend a weekend having fun and learning more about the Gospel.

Click here for more photos



group Denise Champion, Eddie Champion, Noeleen Ryan-Lester, Dawn Matthews and Rev Hohaia Matthews travelled to Salisbury North UAICC in Adelaide on Saturday 6th March to take part in the Covenanting Seminar run by the Covenanting Committee of the UC Synod of SA. While attendance by UC folk was poor there was a valuable time for sharing the stories of what is happening in local situations, including Port Augusta and learning what Covenanting in the Uniting Church is supposed to be about.

anne_pattel-gray Dr Anne Pattel-Gray, Executive Director of Tauondi College, told a moving personal story of her experiences from the early days of the birth of UAICC and the realisation of the vision of the Rev. Charles Harris who, she said, was Australia's Dr Martin Luther King. Little is known of these stories by the wider church and unless they are committed to print soon, they will be lost forever.
Dr Pattel-Gray's account reflected the continuing pain, anguish and suffering of Aboriginal people today and the endemic ingrained racism still present in the church, despite the progress and leadership being shown by some people in the Uniting Church.

Other speakers included, Chester Schulz from Port Adelaide, Hohaia, Denise and Eddie from Port Augusta, Kingsley A'Hang from Kingston SE and Peter Lewis, the National Covenanting Director, who travelled from Victoria.

Photos courtesy of Dean Whittaker

27 February 2004       THROUGH YURA EYES

Over Easter a contingent of business people from Melbourne will experience a new initiative in local Indigenous tourism.
At a meeting in Melbourne, local indigenous people, from Port Augusta UAICC, outlined the program prepared for the group. The following message was delivered by Lavene Ngatokoroa......

You may have heard a lot of negatives about my town of Port Augusta. The press like to print stories about the social issues as they see them. But I am inviting you to come and see my Port Augusta.

A town that has a multi cultural population in the Aboriginal community.

There are over 23 different Aboriginal nations represented in our community.

This is a unique place with this diverse mix of cultures.

But it has always been this way even before contact history Aboriginal people have always gathered in the Port Augusta area to trade different resources.

So come on a journey with me to experience through Yuras eyes the history of my town . . . . Click here to continue


At our Sunday evening service on 22nd February, David Wright was commissioned to the Mobile Aboriginal Patrol to minister to the Aboriginal people in the Flinders Ranges, Gammon Ranges, Lake Eyre Basin and the communities within those bounds.
The Associate National Director of Frontier Services, Rev David Thiem, conducted the commissioning. Representatives from the Port Augusta Congress Faith Community/Frome Presbytery and Aboriginal communities in Port Augusta were among those to congratulate David after the commissioning.

Coming Events
3 - 8 January 2005
Our own Hohaia Matthews is one of the Bible Study Leaders at this big big event. Go to http://adelaide2005.ncyc.com.au

Past Events
About Face 6
2 - 23 January 2004
About Face is a faith and culture exchange program for young adults in the 18-30 year old age group. Find out more by going to http://aboutface.unitingchurch.org.au/