Finding a Place to call Home – Deep Listening 2019

The Deep Listening Festival returns this April with a new theme and line-up of speakers. The Festival aims to explore what it means to live in a community of acceptance and understanding through music, story-telling, art and the opportunity to hear from inspiring speakers and share stories.

The festival, which runs from Friday April 5 to Saturday April 6 offers an impressive collection of speakers, presenters and artists who will highlight the theme ‘Finding a place to call home’, particularly around the areas of homelessness and multiculturalism.

The Festival will feature an art exhibition on Friday evening from local ARTISTS Ian Dowling, Jenny Sanderson, Elaine Clocherty and Christopher Williamson, as well as live music by female vocal group the Charis Ensemble.

The program will have a series of WORKSHOPS such as ‘Building Bridges Across Cultures’, R U House Ready? And ‘The Inner Home’. It will also feature the ‘Cuppa With…’ sessions, which are approachable and informal chats with the presenters. ‘Building a Nest’ will be a community art project taking place throughout the festival, led by Cathie Lambert.

Festival Committee Member Mary Elton said the Church wants the festival to be an inspiring and inclusive activity.

“It’s a chance for people to listen to positive stories of overcoming adversity, be inspired by art and hear from the artists, and find ways to broaden your understanding of the community around you,” she said.

This year’s SPEAKERS:

Esther Amito Onek – Esther was a South Sudanese refugee before moving permanently to Australia in 2003. Esther earned a Bachelor or Social Work at Curtin University and got her first job with Women’s Health and Family Services as a Multicultural Women’s Domestic Violence Advocate.

Suresh Rajan – One of WA’s leading speakers and advocates on all things multicultural. Suresh was CEO of the Epilepsy Association of WA and President of the National Ethnic Disability Alliance. He is the Chair of West Australians for Racial Equality and Secretary of the Ethnic Communities Council of WA.

Naydeene Edwards – Naydeene is a proud and culturally aware woman from the ancestral line of the Ngoonooru Wadjari people in Yamatji country Midwest WA. Her extensive experience in the public housing sector, specifically as an Aboriginal Support Officer enabled her to identify the gaps and barriers which the most vulnerable experienced when stuck in the revolving door of homelessness. This inspired her to start her own business ‘R U House Ready’ to inspire, educate, inform and empower people on the pathway from homeless to home ownership.

Sean Hsu – Originally from Taiwan, Sean first came to Margaret River in 2012. After a stint of work elsewhere, Sean decided Margaret River was where he wanted to call home. Sean started a business with a local person, Chinafriendly, with the aim of building bridges between the two countries. Sean faced the disappointment of being offered sponsorship to stay in Australia, only for that company to close down. Fortunately another opportunity arose and Sean now works at Voyager Estate, where he can use his Chinese speaking and cultural skills.

Meire de Mello – Who is originally from Brazil, before moving to Margaret River worked as a Cultural Support Worker, helping young people from Afghanistan, Vietnam and South Sudan find their way in a new culture. Meire worked for public libraries for almost 3 years and created the first ongoing Multicultural Story-time program presented at the Victoria State Library/Melbourne in 2017. Meire was appointed and volunteered as Multicultural Ambassador for the City of Ballarat between 2014-2016.

Craig Mathieson – Craig grew up in Bunbury and has a string of acting and performing credits to his name, including the SBS TV series ‘Circuit’ and the Australian Opera Company. Craig has experienced difficulties with secure housing, along with his physical, emotional and mental health. This is a story he will share with those in attendance at the festival. He is presently Deputy Chairperson of Just Home Margaret River,where he is currently focusing on developing his creative talent and looks forward to finding secure decent housing that offers himself and his child more consistency and security.

Cathie Lambert – Cathie runs her own business Deep Water Dwelling, which is based around spiritual direction. She provides individual spiritual direction and runs retreats and workshops for groups. Cathie specialises in mandala workshops, which was the topic for her spiritual direction project and released a book in early 2018 through Mediacom, titled ‘A Mandala a Month Workbook’.

Michael Kiernan – Has extensive commercial and corporate background experience with previous positions as chairman and managing director roles in Australian and UK publicly listed companies. From a comfortable lifestyle, following an unfortunate financial occurrence with the ATO he became bankrupt with nothing left but his experiences. He regrouped and embarked on a life of helping homeless people and formed the Saint Benedict’s Homeless Foundation to help address the rough sleepers’ issue in our community of which there are some 2,500 in Western Australia with just under half being women.

More on the speakers here:

The 2019 Deep Listening Festival will take place on Friday 5th April and Saturday 6th April at the Margaret River Uniting Church. Prices to attend range from $18 -$85. For more information visit:


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July Leeuwin Link

The July newsletter is now available! 

The combination of school holidays and winter make July a bit of a quiet month for our regular activites, but there’s still plenty happening in our wider church and community.

Click on the Calendar page for the July calendar to see what’s happening in our congregation.  You will also find the roster sheets for June – August.

The 15th Assembly meets from 8-14 July 2018 in Melbourne. You can follow the discussions, statements and decisions of this meeting by going to the 15th Assembly Website – link is in our newsletter.


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Ready, Set Go…2018!

Do you have a child who will be enrolling in Kindy in 2019? Ready, Set Go…to Kindy could be the perfect way to ease them into their new routine. Commencing in Term 2, the Margaret River Uniting Church are running this great pre-kindy program with sessions facilitated by a qualified Early Childhood teacher and assistant.Playgroup Rainbow
The program is run much like a Kindy class with children staying for the 2 hour session without their parents, learning to listen and follow instructions, take part in fun craft and game activities, and the all-important ‘fruit time’! This will be the seventh year the Uniting Church are running this highly successful program, and are delighted to be offering sessions for terms 2 – 4 of 2018.
“Thank you all so much for such a wonderful term of RSG!!!! Maddy loved it. The activities were incredible and we cherish the work she brought home. We really appreciate the program and everyone I have spoken to speaks very highly of the it.“, RSG parent Term 4 2016.
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Places fill quickly, with a limit of 12 places per class, so be sure to enrol your child soon. Sessions in Term 2 commence Wednesday 2nd May at a cost of $130 for the term. If you would like to know more contact Mary on 0429 797 767 or email

World Day of Prayer 2018

The Uniting Churches in both Margaret River and Augusta hosted the World Day of Prayer service this year for the wider ecumenical community.  The theme country was Suriname.  The following is the address Rev Cathie Lambert gave to both services on the day.  See below for photos from both services.  Special thanks to the organising committee from each congregation for their work on preparing the service, and decorating the churches.

In Suriname, there are many folk tales from different cultures due to the diversity of people living there. One group of these originates in Africa and was brought by the slaves to Suriname. These are the Anansi tales. Anansi is a spider that often acts and appears as a man. He is synonymous with skill and wisdom of speech. Anansi is often celebrated as a symbol of slave resistance and survival. He is known for his trickery and cunning ways.
One story is “Anansi and the dispersal of wisdom”. It goes like this. Anansi was already very clever, but he decided to gather together all the wisdom he could find and keep it in a safe place. With all the wisdom sealed in a pot, he was still concerned that it was not safe enough, so he secretly took the pot to a tall thorny tree in the forest. His young son, Ntikuma, saw him go and followed him at some distance to see what he was doing.
The pot was too big for Anansi to hold while he climbed the tree, so he tied it in front of him. Like this the pot was in the way and Anansi kept slipping down, getting more and more frustrated and angry with each attempt.
Ntikuma laughed when he saw what Anansi was doing. “Why don’t you tie the pot behind you, then you will be able to grip the tree?” he suggested. Anansi was so annoyed by his failed attempts and the realisation that his child was right that he let the pot slip. It smashed and all the wisdom fell out. Just at this moment a storm arrived and the rain washed the wisdom into the stream. It was taken out to sea, and spread all around the world, so that there is now a little of it in everyone. Though Anansi chased his son home through the rain, he was reconciled to the loss, for, he says: “What is the use of all that wisdom if a young child still needs to put you right?”
There is much truth in this story about humanity. It seems in our nature to want to be right or to assume we hold all the knowledge. We are raised within a particular social framework and taught from a young age about “us” and “them”. We are taught to fear, to discriminate and to name as other. Anansi’s learning to listen to the child could very well be a lesson for us all.
Today, perhaps more than ever, we are a divided world; Christian and Muslim, male and female, black and white, liberal and progressive, gay and straight. Our dividing into factions or tribes gives us a sense of security and safety. We all do it. We join groups where we feel we belong. We live in areas where we feel comfortable. We look around for a church that fits us. We associate with people who speak the same language and behave the same way – the right way! This has been true throughout the centuries, but is more pronounced now in our more global world.
I cannot speak about what it is like to live in Suriname. However, from what I read, it is a place of many different cultures, religious groups and languages living relatively peacefully together. It is a land where a huge number of species of flora and fauna co-exist in a beautifully diverse ecosystem. Perhaps, in their choosing of today’s theme, “All God’s Creation is Very Good!”, the people of Suriname have a deeper understanding of what this really means.
The creation story we have heard today focuses at every point of creation on one statement from God, “And God said it was good.” Living in this stunning part of the world, I find it easy to look at the world around me and say “It is good”. In fact, this seems to be an understatement. We see the value and beauty of the world around us, and yet, we have not cared for it as good stewards.
But do we look at ourselves and our fellow human beings around us and say, “It is good”. Do we see ourselves as a beloved creation of God? Do we see the person sitting next to us as a beloved creation of God? But perhaps more importantly, do we see the person that we disagree with, the one who we consider wrong, the one who we fear, as a beloved creation of God? It’s easy to say “Yes, of course”, but the truth is in our actions.

Perhaps, Suriname, in bringing us this theme on a day of world wide prayer, is inviting us to a third way. As followers of Jesus, who himself took a third way, we are called into a kingdom not of “us” and “them”, or male and female, or Jews and Gentiles, but one where every person is known as a beloved creation of God. This is a place where we move beyond the dualistic thinking of the world and see in every person we meet, in every living thing, a creation for whom God has said “It is good”. We cannot do this alone. We can only come close to this hope by a deep understanding and connection to the one who created us. And this is why prayer is so important. This is way of being in the presence of God. We all do it differently. We all have different languages for how we speak about it. But prayer is the place where we hear God whisper, “You are my creation. You are good. You are my beloved”. And when we begin to truly believe that voice, we will believe it about others also.