The e-Offering Plate

While ‘church’ is not functioning as usual in this time of social distancing, expenses still need to be met.  Not having an offering plate to pass in worship means that the church depends on people taking the initiative to contribute in other ways.  The simplest way is by direct debit from your bank accounts to ours.

To give to the Barwon Heads congregation, you will need to download from the U Ethical web site ( a “Direct Offering Form” or, alternatively,  contact Doug Whan (, who will email one to you. The following information goes into question No 3:

    • Bank:  U Ethical
    • Account name:  Barwon Heads Uniting Church
    • Account Number:  109654004

Contributing to the Ocean Grove congregation requires you to contact your bank, either online, by phone or in person, and request a transfer from your account to:

    • Bank:  Commonwealth Bank of Australia
    • BSB Number:  063-834
    • Account Number:  1005-1143
    • Account Name:  Ocean Grove Church Council

You may include your surname and/or your giving envelope number to identify you as the contributor.

Even simpler is to set up an automatic direct debit on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis. Just ring the Synod offices on 951-5200 for advice on how to arrange this.

If you prefer the familiar, a cheque may be sent to PO Box 393, Ocean Grove.

Many thanks.

Easter Worship

There are many people, who make sure they worship on Easter every year, who will not know where to turn this year.  If you are one of them, please know that you are very welcome to join us online via Zoom on Easter and every Sunday morning at 10am. Australian Eastern Time.

If e-worship has one advantage, it is that distance no longer exercises its tyranny, so no matter where you live in this wide, wide world, you may participate as neighbour.

If you would like to be included, do the following:

    1. During the week, i.e. before Sunday, go the website at   and sign up.
    2. Spend some time familiarising yourself with the process. You can do all this without any special app for your device, but you will want to download the free app eventually.
    3. On Sunday morning just before 10am, open up Zoom, sign in and click on “Join”.  You will be asked for a meeting I.D. and this will be posted each week on this website.  

And that is all there is to it. We look forward to meeting you there.

If you can’t join us online, the entire service  for each Sunday is available in both text and voice.  Go to “Minister/View From the Pulpit/Sermons/

Holy Week Services


If you have joined us for our online service, you will see the humour here.

A Maunday Thursday  service was held online  on Apr 9, 2020.


Assembly Standing Committee has given permission to celebrate communion at home during this period of social isolation,  so we observed the usual Maunday Thursday eucharist.  Participants provided their own elements at hand, but they weren’t necessarily restricted to the traditional  bread and wine. The latter became part of the tradition because they were the staple food elements of Jesus’ culture.  It is entirely appropriate, in my mind, to use whatever elements represent the basic building blocks of life in one’s own culture; e.g. a cup of tea and a scone, coffee and Tim Tams, saki and rice or, if you are a fast-food junkie, it might be a Big Mac and Coke.  The sacredness of the elements stem from their capacity to represent life and joy to you.  More about Holy Communion (the Eucharist) can be found on this website at “Minister/Words of the Word/Sacrament”

In addition to the communion elements, the home worship experience included a candle, which was lit during the service to represent our mutual caring for one another, bringing light into others’ lives.

Participants were also encouraged to wash one another’s hands.  Traditionally, feet are washed on Maunday Thursday, but this year hand washing has become a symbol of the experience of living through a pandemic, and so this mutual washing had a double reference.


On Friday, Apr 10, 2020 at 9:30am, a Good Friday service was streamed via Zoom, and about 50 people participated.

Of course, the text of these services and audio files have been posted as usual.


The first live-streamed worship service on Palm Sunday, while not without some difficulties, was judged a success by participants, and so we will continue to pursue this method of delivery.  We had 21 participating devices, most with more than one person, so our ‘attendance’ was almost as good as our last Sunday’s attendance at the two churches combined. 

Quite possibly, this will be our normal way of worshipping for several months.  One member suggested that, even after we are allowed to  meet again in the  church building, we should continue to stream the services for the benefit of those who cannot, for one reason or another, be present. 


During our first go at ‘Zooming’ we picked up a few tips:

Zoom Tip #1

 If you have some difficulty hearing, turning up the volume of your device too much may result in ’feedback’, causing unwanted and distracting noise on everyone’s device.  For the hearing impaired, plugging a set of ear phones into your computer, phone or tablet is a better option.  Alternatively, you may already have a hearing aid that allows you to get the audio directly from your device via Bluetooth.  If these alternatives do not work, see Tip #2 below.

Zoom Tip #2

While on the subject of audio interference, if there is background noise at your location, you can prevent it from being broadcast by ’muting’ your device.  You can easily unmute whenever you wish to speak to the group.  You will see a little image of a microphone in a corner of your screen (mine is in the lower left corner).  ‘Clicking’ on this will mute (or unmute) your audio.  

Zoom Tip #3 

We learned that responsive readings and prayers can be awkward.  In the future, such sections will be fewer in number, and  congregational responses will be kept short.


Geoff and Carol Naylor took the initiative of scheduling a Zoom meeting at 11am for a morning tea gathering after church, and invited everyone by email with the necessary information to log-in. This important part of church worked well.  At one point 12 devices were engaged.  As anyone can host a Zoom meeting, all are encouraged to follow the Naylors’ example.  Meetings can be scheduled ahead of time, thus allowing plenty of time to issue invitations.


A Maunday Thursday holy communion will be held at 7:30pm this Thursday. The Assembly Standing Committee has authorised home communion during this period of restricted social contact.

On the following morning a Good Friday service will be streamed at 9:30am. More information about these services will be printed on the website in coming days.

Local Shortlisted for Booker

Last June during National Refugee Week, our congregation, through its Justice and Mission group, hosted a discussion by a panel of refugees about their experiences.  One of the panel members was Shokoofeh Azar, an Iranian journalist, artist, author. Ms. Azar had written an historical novel set in Iran after the Islamic Revolution in 1979.  Not just any book, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree was shortlisted for the Stella Prize last year and was a finalist in the Queensland Literary Awards.

It has just been announced that this book has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (see Age article by clicking here).  To even be shortlisted is an outstanding achievement, and we congratulate Shokoofeh and wish her well.

Happy Anniversary…

Rev. Bob with son, Sean, and grandson, Dalton

…to Rev. Bob and the Ocean Grove and Barwon Heads congregations.  As of April 1st, Rev. Bob (our very own April Fool?) has been serving our congregations as a ‘supply’ minister for one whole year (but who’s counting?).  Is the honeymoon over?  Bob is still having fun, so barring pandemics, accidents or acts of God, he will be with us until a new minister is found.

An open, virtual door to the world