Welcome to Waranga Uniting Churches

The Waranga Uniting Churches comprises congregations from the towns of Colbinabbin, Murchison, Rushworth, Tatura and Toolamba.
You are welcome to join us at any of our worship services or activities.

Many faces… Many places… Many forms
Our congregations throughout the district are caring communities to which all people can belong.
Some of our congregations may be a tiny community of a dozen people, but they are warm vibrant and alive.
They have many faces. There are older people and young, families and single people, people of one culture or many.

While our congregations can be different, each aims to embrace all people… to unite them with each other and with God. This is expressed in part by our having an open table for Holy Communion, to which all baptised people are invited, welcoming children for baptism and being willing to marry those who are divorced.

We are by no means perfect, but we know that God loves us as we are and as we grow. Our congregations are communities in which people seek to follow Jesus, learn about God, share their faith, care for each other, serve the local community, and seek to live faithfully and with real joy. This is the kind of engaging church to which we belong.

The blessing of low expectations

By on November 15, 2018

There is an unexpected blessing in low expectations. My parents would not have considered themselves working class, but they were. The most general definition is that the working class includes all those who have nothing to sell but their labour and skills.  So while my father never worked in a factory, as a blacksmith/farrier (like his father and grandfather before him) he was working class.

expectation_quotes08But more than that, my parents loved people who worked with their hands and were suspicious of too much education. They had contempt for academics and pity for white collar workers. My uncles were mostly tradesmen, farmers and truck drivers. The women were homemakers. We children were sent to Technical Schools and my three older bothers left school early to work on the farm.

While I’ve often wished that my parents took a greater interest in my school achievements, I must admit that there were some benefits in their lack of expectations. The farm couldn’t cope with any more sons, and shoeing horses was seen to be a dying occupation as the baker’s and the milkman’s cart disappeared from the suburban streets. In this context my parents’ lack of expectations felt a lot like freedom and if I was prepared to fight (and I was) it was a freedom to do and be whatever I liked.

I’ve always felt sorry for the Royal Family and rich kids. There seemed to be so much expectation and constraints placed upon them. For the royals, their titles and role in society seemed already written. For the children of the rich, the expectation that they would carry on the family business or be highly successful in another career seemed to me like a terrible burden. If they were successful, then their achievement could be downplayed, because they had started from a very advantaged position. If they failed or were only moderately successful then they were seen as a squandering that advantage. How could they ever be happy?  As author Anne Lamott said, “Expectations are resentments waiting to happen.”

Over the years I’ve learned to understand the difference between expectations and possibilities. Expectations assume a certain result sometime in the future. They actually narrow our options, limit our imagination, and blind us to possibilities. They create pressure in our life and hold our present sense of well-being hostage to a future that may or may not happen. Expectations create rigidity in our life and cause us to react impulsively to any perceived threat to that future we believe we deserve.

When we are controlled by our expectations, we are living a contingent life; we cannot be free in the present moment. We cannot be happy with a beautiful sunset or with a moment of warmth between ourselves and another; instead, every experience is interpreted in the context of an expected future. In this way expectations enslave us. It would be one thing if in fact we could control the future, but is that not the case.

In contrast to expectations, possibilities are based in the present moment, where we are alive to the mystery of life. Live as fully as you can in the present moment and by all means plan for the future, but do not assume that the future will come to pass. The apostle Paul wrote that “the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine” (Eph 30:20). Expectations are limited by our imagination, living a life that is open to possibilities is more like a request, a prayer, or an act of witnessing our faith in life.

This is the gospel, and it’s good news.

Brian Spencer, Minister

Looking for easy answers

By on November 5, 2018

When life throws up difficult problems, too often we seek easy answers instead of believing in ourselves, our community and God’s grace. Each morning I start the day doing a cryptic crossword. It’s a daily challenge and diversion from all

Jesus would weep

By on October 29, 2018

When I hear the words “sexual abuse” and “church” in the same sentence, I feel a deep sense of shame. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse examined a broad range of institutions – from schools to

Doing the menial tasks well

By on October 20, 2018

There are many more menial tasks to be done in life than there are heroic and interesting tasks. Even if you’re working in a highly creative job, your daily work routine will likely involve a fair amount of repetitive, humdrum

On your bike

By on October 11, 2018

It seems I’ve been a “temporary  Australian” for longer than many people have been permanent Australians. I started riding motorbikes when I was a teenager. As soon as I worked out that they didn’t need to be fed every day