The River up Yonder

for 24 September 2023

What’s your vision of eternity? Pearly white gates? Everything bright and shiny? Lots of clouds and angel wings? I realise many of us would’ve moved beyond the common stereotypes but then what is the vision for our futures? I like what C.S. Lewis writes in the his final Narnia book “The Last Battle” where the Pevensie kids go “further up and further in” and discover that instead of eternal life being more like wispy spirits from a fantasy movie it’s more real and vibrant than ever before with more colours and more things like apples tasting even more real and delicious. 
In the last chapters of Revelation (21 and 22) we get a magnificent vision of eternal life, a new heaven and a new earth and a new city paved with gold. In the middle of the city is a river with a description of this river of life remarkably similar to that which we have been exploring together from Ezekiel 47. It even has “leaves for healing”. The most remarkable thing about the vision is that Jesus dwells there full of light. In the end, it’s all about relationship with Jesus.
“All their life in this world and all their adventures had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”  ? C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
This Sunday we explore this vision of going “up yonder”. We will do it with the help of the Young Adelaide Voices First Concert Choir who will be joined at some point by our own choir. It should be a wonderful service that you can’t help but want to praise God.

A Note on the Voice

As we lead up to the referendum on the Voice, I would like to reiterate the message I announced at church last month. The view of the BCUC Church Council and staff team is that this is an important issue and we encourage people to prayerfully listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit to discern your best wisdom as to how you will vote. We will not be encouraging either a yes or no position. I personally can see and hear valid and wise arguments for both positions. The Uniting Church in Australia has an intrinsic mission as to the reconciliation of all things through Christ (2 Cor 5:18), as such there has always been a desire for deep relationship with First Nations peoples. This has been lived out in many ways and specifically through its relationship with UAICC (United Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress). At BCUC we have been fostering a relationship with Pastor Julia at Oodnadatta and through Salisbury and Port Augusta Congress congregations. The national and state bodies of the UCA (Assembly and Synod) and a number of other UCA congregations are strongly encouraging a Yes vote and have produced much material and opportunities that encourage and inform this position. Much of this material can be found in the weekly emails from Synod or Assembly and the New Times publications. The BCUC Cares team have carefully selected a number of materials to help inform the congregation (printed and in these emails). We have a wonderfully broad church at BCUC with a range of opinions. I trust we can use our peacemaker skills that Jesus equips us with and have fruitful discussion about this topic without imposing either a personal or corporate ‘yes’ or ‘no’ position. The available letter from the moderator on this topic affirms this position that BCUC holds. 

Your brother in Christ,


Running the Alpha Marriage Course

October 17 & 18, 7-9pm @ BCUC

All BCUC leaders are invited to attend two information sessions on running the Alpha Marriage Course.  Attendance for the two sessions is $100 but FREE to BCUC leaders as we are hosting the event.  A light catered meal will be provided. Nicki and Sila Lee are coming from the UK to personally share how to facilitate and lead this course. Contact the office for the free admission promotion code.  Register here.  

Final Days to Sign up for the Getaway

The signup deadline for our Great Church Getaway at Mylor Adventure Camp, 20-22 October is fast approaching.  October 1st is the deadline.  Please signup online or in church this Sunday.  Also, this Sunday, look out for the Getaway program and Q&A flyer.  

Help with Getaway Food

All those willing to help out our Getaway by baking cakes or slices, please contact Ann P.  

Thursday Craft Group Ending

We wanted to inform you that the weekly BCUC Craft Group has had its final gathering this past Thursday. This group has been running from the start of BCUC and was led by Maureen W., and over the past several years by Ruth D.  We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Maureen and Ruth for their leadership and dedication to this group. Under their guidance, the Craft Group has been a source of creativity, fellowship, and service for many within and outside our congregation.

More about the Referendum?

This week there will be some printed information in the foyer for you to take and read If you would like to know what the Uniting Church has to say about the coming Referendum. The material includes:

  • The August-September edition of the New Times magazine which contains articles about various aspects of the Referendum
  • A two page leaflet from the National Assembly of the Uniting Church titled A Referendum for an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
  • A letter from the Moderator of the Uniting Church in South Australia.

The head office of the Uniting Church in SA also issues a weekly electronic newsletter (e-News) that has information about events and other materials designed to help us better understand the proposed changes to the Constitution. If you would like to receive a copy of e-News, contact Stuart in the Church Office or Peter S.

Women’s Ministry

Wednesday September 27th a walk is planned in Wittunga Botanical Gardens, Blackwood.  We will meet at 9.30am in the BCUC car park to car pool.  Non walkers will meet at 10.30 in the BCUC car park to car pool and join in at Blackwood Bracegirdles at 11am for coffee (and cake!).  Please RSVP to Chris L. or Marlene R.

Daylight Saving Time Starts October 1

Next Saturday night set your clocks forward an hour.

held at BCUC, Oct 17 and 18.  More info…


Sunday 10am
Worship Livestream

The link above will take you to our YouTube playlist.  Select the first entry in the playlist to watch this week’s service (from Sunday 10am or anytime later in the week.)


Breakthru Music

If you have enjoyed the worship music that our congregation has created for our Breakthru Worship videos, you can listen or download them from our
Breakthru Music playlist.



Ministry Team Contacts


Rev Dr Benji Callen – benjic@burnsidecityuc.org.au; Day off : Monday 

Minister in Association

Rev Rob Williams – robw@burnsidecityuc.org.au; Day off : Friday

Connections Coordinator

Nancy Xu  – connections@burnsidecityuc.org.au; Wednesdays


Stuart MacAdam – 8331 3914; admin@burnsidecityuc.org.au

Office hours Mon-Fri. 10:00am-4:00pm; call 8331 3914.