Welcome...

Join us every Sunday for our weekly 9:30am service.

We are a community of faith seeking to live out the radical good news of Jesus. We open up our land, buildings and resources in the heart of town with the hope of creating a 'meeting place' for people of diverse cultural backgrounds.

The John Flynn Memorial Uniting Church was built for the people of the outback and was inspired by the life works of the Reverend John Flynn.

Follow this link for our other regular activities and groups.

Congregation

Welcome...

Join us every Sunday for our weekly 9:30am service.

We are a community of faith seeking to live out the radical good news of Jesus. We open up our land, buildings and resources in the heart of town with the hope of creating a 'meeting place' for people of diverse cultural backgrounds.

The John Flynn Memorial Uniting Church was built for the people of the outback and was inspired by the life works of the Reverend John Flynn.

Follow this link for our other regular activities and groups.

Adelaide House

Adelaide House

Adelaide House was designed by John Flynn in 1920 and built by the Australian Inland Mission in 1926. One of the earliest buildings in town, this ‘bush nursing hostel’ offered health services and hospitality to those living in the tiny town of Stuart.

Museum features outback nurses stories, Flynn’s story, Pedal Radio invention and passive outback architectural design.

Anangu Connections

Anangu Connections

The relationship between Christian people in the APY lands and the Uniting Church in Alice Springs goes back more than 80 years. It is founded in the history of the church’s involvement with the Ernabella Mission at Pukatja in the Musgrave ranges of South Australia.

Throughout the Northern Synod, urban congregations have entered into partnership relationships with indigenous congregations in their area. Anangu and other First Nations people attend our services on Sunday morning. Components of our service are in both English and Pitjantjatjara.

Meeting Place

Anangu Connections

The Meeting Place: that is what we hope and dream to be. Our land and buildings are located on the Todd Mall in Alice Springs, and many people pass through or stop by on our lawns each day. It is our vision to help people connect: visitors and locals, across cultures and ages; to be the beating heart of our town. In collaboration with volunteers from across the community we run a drop-in centre, an Op Shop, and the Adelaide House tourist centre. In all of these activities we want to welcome people in a safe and inclusive manner, and play our part in helping revitalise the centre of this wonderful town and region.

Upcoming Events

Recent News

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The Meeting Place and the future development of Alice Springs

Nov 7, 2017

To make a contribution to building community requires participating in our wider society. And that participation has to be direct: hands on, turning up and […]

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Taizé in the Desert

Nov 7, 2017

We are very excited to offer ‘Taizé in the Desert’, a regular time of prayers for justice and peace in the Taizé tradition. Tuesdays, weekly […]

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Easter Service 9:30am

Apr 16, 2017

Happy Easter. Service 9:30am. All welcome!

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Silence is Deafening over Digital Shortwave Radio

Feb 15, 2017

The glaring omission in public discussions following shortwave broadcast termination in Central Australia is a viable alternative, like Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM). DRM is a [&hel

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The Desert Song Festival 2018 opening night event will be a rousing community celebration in the heart of the Alice Springs CBD, staged on the Lawns of the John Flynn Memorial Church. - join us this Friday Sep 7 for a free event. ow.ly/gYrE50ikhiQ

Friends, we are all invited to 'join a circle' on an issue dear to our hearts and to help grow the church's national conversation. Be part of it! ... See MoreSee Less

Today the Assembly officially welcomed the Advocates for our seven Circles of Interest. A service of commissioning was held with all Assembly staff led by Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd. After this, they spent the day with the Assembly Resourcing Unit discussing how the circles might invite people to journey together in the national work of the Uniting Church. Join a Circle at uniting.church/circles

Today I went to the hairdressers.

Now that makes it an unusual week for me as it’s usually many, many months between visits!

The best thing about it is that it’s a moment when you’re likely to hear a point of view from someone who spends a lot of time chatting with their stream of regular customers. This visit was no different on that front, but I found today’s conversation a very interesting one indeed. This staff person was someone who had lived in Alice Springs since they were three years of age. Now approaching fifty, they were someone of my own vintage yet they had had a different journey in life. I asked whether they had lived here their whole lives and they replied that, apart from six years in Queensland, that they had lived here - adding that on return they had found Alice was a much more friendly place! They also loved coming back to a place where clothes dried in half and hour on the line!

Talk slowly moved from the beauty of the place and little stories of growing up, to another side of life.

“I love this town, but it also makes me sad. I am sad for Aboriginal families who struggle with poverty and trauma. People really are poor. I’ve lived here almost my whole life and I’ve figured this out by watching. I wish there was a way forward, but it feels like it won’t be solved in my lifetime.”

The hair cutting seemed to slow down as they continued to speak, wondering out loud, almost embarrassed, but needing to say what was bubbling up and over:

“People need help to learn compassion, to be generous. This town should be a place where locals and tourists both can learn about Indigenous culture, it should be at the front and centre of this place.”

It was lovely to hear this kindness and concern, this heart for a new conversation and way of being a town. And there was sorrow, too. Sorrow at the fact that some might not want this change because they “make money from things staying the same.”

Kindness and compassion turned to justice and rehabilitation when they added:

“And I don’t think prison is the right way of helping people. People are addicted and need support before they make bad decisions. People do need to take responsibility too, of course. That’s true. But that’s easier for some than others.”

This is the thinking of a worker in this town who loves the place but has their eyes open to the complexities and the suffering as well as the beauty and joy of life in this outback town. They offered rich perspectives, and longed for a way for our town to find a way of talking about these things. In some ways they weren’t hopeful, but that’s where the vision of being a ‘meeting place’ and the Alice Springs Meeting Place Foundation can work to nurture hope. We want to find ways to provide backing for ordinary people of all walks of life to have these conversations and to find answers that can gain support across the community.

This long term resident, born in the UK but raised in Alice, was even open to the ongoing importance of Aboriginal culture and the need for it to be strong for remote communities, remembering:

“I once met an elder who told me they need to be strong in their culture, and draw on the good parts of it, to make their own decisions and be allowed to do that. I think that’s right. Aboriginal people need to be able to make more of their own decisions and to feel good about that. I know there’s things that I mightn’t agree with, but they need to do that. That’s got to be part of the way forward.”

Those words convinced me that everyone, if they are willing to be open, can see the value of different cultures. While we can also see that at the end of the day we are all also affected by many of the same issues: from too much grog to lack of investment, infrastructure and services.

They concluded with the honest reflection that living here is one thing, but staying when you retire and get old is another:

“This is a beautiful town. I love living here, love the walks: you can walk out of Gillen and in 5 minutes you wouldn’t even know you live in a town. It’s so beautiful. But the reality is when I retire I’ll probably move because there aren’t good options in this town. Old Timers tries, but it’s hard for people to go there. I think it’s hard for Aboriginal people too. They love being in places where they can look at the beauty, and I think it’s hard for them when they get old to have to go into hostels and Old Timers as well.”

“I really wish we could talk about these things as a town.”

That’s exactly what we want at The Meeting Place. For people to talk and for each of us to learn to listen to what is being said. And, if we listen to each other’s stories of the heart, maybe we can get our heads together to find a way to overcome our problems and realise the potential of each person who is a part of this extraordinary place.

Thanks for listening to this story and this one perspective on Alice Springs.

Thanks for hoping with us.

We are always looking for volunteers and people wishing to collaborate in the task of bringing this vision of being a meeting place into a daily reality.

Every bit of support helps.

- Steve
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Facts & Figures

  • 2,500 Uniting Church congregations across Australia each week
  • 777 Congregation 2016
  • 3120 Sundays since Church opened
  • 1 Number of persons it takes to bring god into your life.