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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An Address by Dr Steve Bevis outlining our vision to be a ‘Meeting Place’

Aug 2, 2016

Please click below to view Dr Steve Bevis addressing the Alice Springs Uniting Church, July 31 2016. You will be taken to the Alice Springs Uniting […]

MeetingPlaceJune19

We visit our community – in prison.

Jun 15, 2016

We visit our community wherever they are: and that includes prison. Other’s are too far away to visit, whether the grieving in Orlando, those on […]

MeetingPlaceApril032016

Worship from the Heart

Apr 2, 2016

We live in the heart of Australia – what a privilege! We like to think that Alice Springs is the beating heart of Australia. Some […]

MeetingPlaceEaster2016

Easter

Mar 24, 2016

The Easter story reminds us once again of how deep is God’s love for us, how closely he identifies with us in Jesus Christ. Forgiveness, […]

Read More

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Sometimes when you can’t think straight, or when you are overwhelmed by emotions about something, the answer can be as simple as having something to eat. Yes, that’s right, something to eat! Each week young people enter The Meeting Place pent up with emotions and all the usual sorting-out-of-their-place-in-the-world issues that young people face everywhere. Except that many of these young folk haven’t eaten all day. Providing good, nutritious food can be the answer to not only general health and well-being, it can also deescalate conflict. I’ll let you read between the lines.

The Territory has 15475 people who each night are homeless. Yes, you read that correctly. That’s 15x the national average. And for many of our young visitors homelessness - both for them and for family members - is a critical issue. We can’t fix that issue, nor can we do much more than point out the facts to the public and politicians alike, but we can create a space that even for a few hours feels like home: ngurra, apmerre. Tonight at TMP there will be a concert, food, warmth and laughter. I hope our friends and visitors enjoy the experience.

And today, as I write, another step is being taken in our next mural project which is turning the outside of our old shaggy dog hall into an eye-catching artwork! The huge, overbearing, multimillion dollar Supreme Court, which is currently being built and that looms over us will look like a dull eyesore in comparison. We are grateful to our volunteers who are leading our community members in this project, for those who donated paint, and for those who have chipped into our appeal. It is lovely to see colour and playfulness unfolding in the heart of town.

Focussing on the positives, on the gifts hidden everyday in plain sight, is vitally important in our work here in the centre of Australia. I have been reminded of that this week. Like a number of our Church and TMP crew, I travelled up to Kalkarinji for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Wave Hill ‘walk off’ by the Gurindji people. That famous story of Vincent Lingiari and his fellow stockmen is being etched into our nation’s consciousness by song, by picture books, by an iconic photo, and not least by the Gurindji’s own determination to keep the flame of hope alive through their annual Freedom Day Festival. Yet the hope in that story, the courage and determination displayed over many years is facing harsh new realities and tests. Many speakers spoke with a yearning for transformation, for ongoing injustice to be acknowledged, for respect, for truth to be told. There was anger. There were tears. It made me think. It made me think that I have to hold onto my own connections that channel joy, that channel love, that can face the big issues, but can do so through a connection to people and place that is the real energy for change, yes, for living itself. Surely, that’s what sustained the Gurindji through seven long years of resistance camped down at Wattie Creek. Yes, the unions brought supplies and uni students brought their solidarity and idealism. They were important parts of the mix. Yet, I can’t help but be reminded, as I was by Rex Granites Japanangka in his speech to one of the festival sessions, that it is connection to country, and thus to your ‘countrymen’ - as Aboriginal peoples put it out this way - that is the real point of resistance. Of the deep-seated joy that comes from being in touch with something no one can take away; not a company, not a government, nor bloody-minded officials. The joy of being connected to what and whom you love can’t be bought, but you can pay the price to hold on to that treasure. Vincent Lingiari did that and he inspired a movement that changed the country. Perhaps it is no accident that he himself was also inspired by the old Christian story as well, which, when told at its best, connects us to the hope that our joy will be made complete, that we will walk with dignity together, knowing we are ok, not for what we have achieved or failed to achieve, but because we are loved; that we are loveable rascals the lot of us.

Thanks to all who have contributed to our recent appeal for The Meeting Place. The response has been wonderful and encouraging. This week we are organising a new data projector for movie nights. Good times!

You can still contribute to our work in holding open this space for the youth and families of Alice Springs. It is all valued.

Steve

If you'd like to join our mailing list and receive a PDF version of these posts, please write to emily.hayes@aliceunitingchurch.org.au

BSB 634634 (Uniting Financial Services)
Acc 100 039 619 (Alice Springs Uniting Church)
(In the reference put: ASP 18 plus your initial and surname, so we can track deposits).
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A bunch of us from the Alice Springs Uniting Church and The Meeting Place attended the 50th anniversary of the Gurindji's Wave Hill 'Walk off' at Kalkarinji last weekend. It was a powerful time, marked by both celebration at Lingiari's leadership, and lament at where things have stagnated, or worse. Vincent Lingiari was at least in part motivated by a vision of hope inspired by the Christian story and was formally baptised by the Rev Graham Paulson, an Australian Aboriginal pastor from the east coast in 1970. In this video, Brooke Prentis, a strong Aboriginal Christian voice and leader in our time, shares her vision of the church's ongoing role in reconciliation. Whether we remember Lingiari's story, or hear Brooke's call, there is plenty to live up to. ... See MoreSee Less

'My Dream for the Australian Church.' Waka waka and Gabi Gabi leader Brooker Prentis extends a compelling invitation for followers of Jesus across Australia to take the journey of true reconciliation. Recorded live at SURRENDER Conference.

"All real living is meeting."

With those words Martin Buber directs us to the possibility that, when all is done and dusted, there are encounters where we discover that we are fully alive, fully real. And yet he disturbs and challenges us to get past our dreams and plans of making that happen, that somehow we could engineer that experience or plan our way to it.

No, he goes on to say:
"Only when every means has collapsed does the meeting come about."

For those of us in Alice Springs - or those who have journeyed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander friends anywhere on this amazing island continent - perhaps the truth is that it is only with the collapse of 'Aboriginal Affairs', of programs, of government 'care', of a 'civil society' that seems to have only entrenched disempowerment, that that we can finally meet.

Today we find ourselves staring at each other, bereft of expectations, at a loss to explain where it all went wrong. When both what we thought were the challenges and the solutions are clouded in the dust all of our activity has kicked up, maybe it's time to stop. To let it settle. To look into the eyes of the person who is actually standing there. To listen before we speak. Perhaps this is a time when we can truly meet.

We are as surprised as anyone that many of the youth of Alice Springs have chosen to hang out at The Meeting Place. I don't think it is because it is called that, or because it is very likely that any of them have read a book like "I and Thou". But it does seem that the intent to hold open a space where nothing much happens, with no agenda beyond seeing if we can stand to be in each other's presence, and maybe chow down a slice of pizza together while looking at the Internet or playing Connect Four, has opened up that chance. Chance or grace, whatever you want to call it, these have been precious moments where young people from across cultures and other divides have met, and, for a time each week, have just let their presence speak.

Thanks to all who have sent messages of support in the last week, who have shared our posts, or encouraged their networks, organisations and churches to respond. And thanks to those who have donated funds that we might keep this run down old building open with a hint of warmth, with spaces in which to play, to relax, to let go of the dance of authority and self-identity, to sit in the darkness, but to sit there safely...

If you'd also like to contribute you can find details for direct deposits below.

Hopefully, in the days ahead we will be also able receive online donations via card. We are working hard to make this a possibility. I will let you know when that happens: here, on the John Flynn Memorial Facebook page, and on our website: www.flynnchurch.org.au

You can also join our mailing list by writing to emily.hayes@aliceunitingchurch.org.au

Thanks again for being part of this growing conversation.

May unexpected moments of meeting happen wherever you are.

And may you recognise the moment when it occurs.

Cheers,
Steve

BSB 634634 (Uniting Financial Services)
Acc 100 039 619 (Alice Springs Uniting Church)
(In the reference put: ASP 18 plus your initial and surname, so we can track deposits).
... See MoreSee Less

It’s a beautiful if chilly morning in Alice Springs. The sun is shining and everything is hard lit. Out here it is cold hands and big hat weather!

A hard light has also been cast on the Territory this week. Images on TV screens concerning the abuse of children in youth detention have been seared into the nation’s psyche. Now is the time for each of us to make an appropriate response. The future will depend on our choices today. The Prime Minister’s announcement of a Royal Commission is welcome, yet questions remain about its scope, its personnel, and questions over a lack of consultation with Indigenous peoples whose children are at the heart of this issue. Furthermore, countless Indigenous leaders and families have lamented the fact that numerous recommendations from previous commissions have never been implemented.

A large cross-section of the community met on our church lawns on Tuesday to hear calls for broader changes, for compassion, for people to stand up and be counted: people on all sides. We were pleased to be able to host our community on this occasion. With every one of these seemingly intractable ‘issues’ we believe that the way forward is for all parts of our society to meet, to engage in dialogue and to work on outcomes that will make us stronger and more cohesive. This work is at the heart of our call and mission to be a ‘Meeting Place’. Of course, this is not an easy task. Those who are faced with historic and ongoing grievances, who with pain and tears cry out for justice and healing, need to be heard. And those who are also part of our town, but have had entirely different experiences of living in Alice Springs need to be part of the conversation. We need to come together. The ‘Justice Reinvestment’ approach currently being trialled in Bourke, NSW, is an example of a town coming together to change the story and develop a new way of dealing with youth incarceration.

Our drop in centre continues to work with the very youth who were featured in the Four Corner’s report. We want them to feel safe, to have a place of welcome in the centre of town where they can enjoy each others’ company and to connect with us. And we want the town to be safe for everyone. We take the long term view that helping people meet, learn each others’ stories and to imagine a town where we all have a valid role and stake in the future is crucial. How we reconcile different cultures and standpoints is tricky, but we believe learning to trust each other is the only beginning to this long journey. Imagine for a moment that people are little banks where we can deposit ‘trust’. If we can invest trust in each other the future will be a brighter place - even if some people withdraw those deposits occasionally! As a church we hold a story of trust restored, of bridge building, of reconciliation. Against all odds those of us in the church have been entrusted with good news, with the idea that God takes messed up individuals and families whose starting points are caught up in the everyday battles and prejudices of their lives, and uses them as a resource to remake the world, as bearers of the kingdom - a kingdom of friends.

Some of us are struggling with pain, some with the endless battles, some with feeling powerless. It is only when we make room for all of us to bring the truth of who we are, and that we listen deeply to each other, will transformation take place. Our hope is that our Sunday services, our drop in centre, our op shop, our museum, our Devonshire teas, our contributions to Old Timer’s and local hostels will all be part of building trust in our town. Our hosting of two Spirit Journeys over July was also an important way for us to bring people from across Australia and to help them connect with this country, with its peoples, and with the spirit at work in this wonderful place. Throughout all of this - the ups and the downs - we hold each other in prayer; in the warming and healing light of the Creator: the one who made us all capable of feeling sunlight on our skin, and of seeing past one another’s skin colour to the person within, the person who is capable of giving and receiving care, compassion, and trust.

Thanks for being on the journey.
Steve
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Facts & Figures

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