By N.Elaine A. Valenzuela-Jimenez

“Go and make disciples of all nations!” The great commission. Go and make are acts of baptising wherein Jesus described the symbolic gesture of being initiated into His fold. To disciple is to become a learner; its fulfilment, in evangelism and education. The goals of discipleship toward self is becoming like Jesus – having an intimate relationship with the Lord; toward others is servanthood, it is not self-centred; toward the world – the great commission – is to proclaim the Gospel message among those who have not yet received forgiveness of sins.

My grandfather taught me to keep close to God and men and bring them together. God has directed me to go to a foreign country and continue what my grandparents have started, being a servant of God. In my journey to Australia, God has directed me to be a member of the St. Albans Uniting Church (SAUCA) that celebrated its 25 years of ministry and service last 26 February 2017.

The following were honoured during the celebration—the Rev. Rex Fisher in recognition of resourcing and accompanying the Filipinos of St. Albans UCA in their faith journey and some elders for their faithfulness, a posthumous award to the late Cristina McDonald for her contribution of playground to the church and six families who responded to the call of discipleship by helping to establish the Filipino ministry.

The beginnings of SAUCA can be traced from 25 February 1992 when six families gathered at the Brooklyn UCA as an ecumenical fellowship. After three years, the Synod of Victoria in the Uniting Church received this congregation in the UCA on 5 February 1995. It has been a pilgrimage worshipping in a succession of UCA parishes from different areas before it got settled in St. Albans. On 29 October 2000, the congregation of St. Albans and the Filipino Uniting Church joined as one congregation to become what is now the St. Albans Uniting Church. On 7 September 2003, some families pioneered a worship service outreach in Caroline Springs and gave birth to what is now the Sydenham-Caroline Springs UCA. Sisters and brothers from the Pacific Islands, Malaysian, Africans and Vietnamese in the Uniting Church started joining the growing SAUCA congregation.

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