Family Camp 2021 – Into the Unknown

5-8 March 2021, Adekate Campsite, Creswick.

COVID 19 has shown us that life can be unpredictable. How do we cope when we realise we are not in control of everything? What does the Christian faith have to teach us about ‘The Way’ living a life of faith with a God that is both mysterious and personal?

This year at camp we will have time for conversation, reflection, worshipping together, skill sharing, telling our stories and quite a few things that may remain unknown.
Everyone welcome.

Book online here!

Photo: Micah Meadows

Family Camp 2020

How do we touch, smell, see, hear and taste God in our lives? How does sensing God with us, affect and change our living? How do the Christian scriptures guide us to connect into God’s Presence? We will practice the contemplative and creative arts of sensing the Divine with other families over the long weekend (6-9) March. Everyone welcome.

Friday 6 March 2020 at 7:00pm to Monday 9 March 2020 2:00pm


Adekate Campsite 
60 Adekate Camp Road, Dean, VIC 3352

For online bookings :

For more information contact camp coordinator Cath James

Uniting Faith and Family Events 2019

Growing Deeper 2

A small group have been meeting for the last month to practice slowing down, noticing and being more present and then sharing how we’re going. We’ve now finished as a group but you can do them anytime. Details here.

As a result of sharing with each other, we’ve decided to do a nightly prayer practice for the next month – anyone is welcome to join us, email me (Cath) and I’ll include you in the sharing.


Now that we are an official faith community, people have the opportunity to be baptised into our community if they would like to. For some of our young people family camp is their primary faith community. If this is something you/ your young person might be interested in, we are looking to run a retreat at Philip Island with Rev. Ian David. Let me (Cath) know if there’s interest.

Space for Story

October 19 – Storytelling event with Annette Buckley in Riddles Creek. If a few of us are going, there is a great pub nearby for dinner afterwards.

Swell conference

October 18-20 at Habitat UCA (Joan’s church)

Annual conference with Nancy Bates and dinner on the Friday and a range of amazing workshops on the Saturday.

VCE exams

October 30 – VCE exams start – please keep our VCE students and parents in your prayers.


On November 9 Bradon is running an event for UCA young people aged 16-21called Amplify.Uniting Faith and Families can send four delegates – please let me know if your young person is interested.More info – h

Spiritual hiking retreat

On 29-November to 1 December Robin Yang who Synod young adult worker in the synod is running a hiking retreat.


Sunday 8 December we will gather at Fairfield UC for a Christmas extravaganza – more info soon.

Winter Gathering

As part of our life together, we are committed to gathering for worship, celebration and connection in between our annual camp.  At the end of July was our Winter Gathering, hosted by the Sangster-Olsen family at Fairfield Uniting Church.

8 families attended, sharing lunch then moving into some community singing – featuring camp favourites “The Canticle of the Turning”, “Faith, Hope and Love” and “Michael Row the Boat ashore” with improvised lyrics.

Moving quickly!

To “warm us up”, we did an activity called “Here I stand” – which involved moving around the space in various was – looking or not looking at each other, walking quickly or slowly etc. then stopping and stating “Here I stand in….” saying something literal or figurative, depending on how imaginative we were feeling!

Alex then led us through a “Tree Narrative Therapy” process, which invited us to draw and reflect on the people we come from, the things that give us strength in our lives, things that we are doing and becoming, things we have lost, and “bugs” that chew away at our attempts to live a good life.

Using messy pastels to draw our trees – because life is like that!

Once we had drawn our trees, we set up an “exhibition” so that people could wander through the “forest” and learn about what other people’s trees were like.  We were invited to ask questions about  what people had drawn.  This was a sensitive and courageous opportunity for people to share more deeply about what was really happening in life, and it was fascinating to discover many things that children and adults had in common with each other, and to talk about them.  It was a wonderfully engaging process!

Wandering through the forest of trees – photo: Scott Findlay











After our tree narratives, Robyn led the group through a kind of visioning activity, where we thought about our families and what kind of faith community we would like to be involved in.  Three questions were asked:

  1. What would a thriving faith community look like?
  2. What would make your family want to be part of this faith community?
  3. What are the obstacles to your family being part of a faith community?

People wrote their ideas on post-it notes and placed them with each question.

Here’s what people said:

What would a thriving faith community look like?

  • Music, singing, Music
  • Eating Together, Sharing meals, Sharing meals together
  • Looking after each other when they need it most
  • Sometimes is may be a family video message to the next family to the next…
  • Being, gathering, relationship, talking and listening
  • Prayer
  • Gathering together, Gathering together in person (from an older person)
  • Rest and inspiration
  • Exploring stories of our faith and making daily life meaning
  • Helping us all to be all we can be in God
  • People who are honest
  • People spilling into rooms and singing happily together, sharing worries and joys or just being there!
  • Sharing life at the deep place – vulnerable, strong
  • Walking/sitting, singing/praying
  • People who smile when they see each other after a while of no contact
  • Sharing chocolate
  • Vibrant fun, good simple food, unconditional acceptance
  • A nurturing space
  • An empowering experience
  • Social justice embodied
  • Embracing new people into it
  • Known amongst the wider church
  • Striving forward
  • Upholding each other between ‘events’
  • Standing for social justice and inclusive worship
  • Sharing faith and life
  • Friendly
  • Accepting
  • Enriching
  • Being together
  • Bringing together

What would make your family want to be part of this faith community?

  • Commitment to each other
  • Care for all ages
  • Content for all ages
  • Opportunities to sing, make music and tell stories
  • Food and lollies
  • Acceptance of all
  • A continued sense of welcome
  • Chocolate
  • Music class (building community through learning)
  • Interesting engaging worship across age groups
  • Discussion
  • Putting faith into action
  • Acceptance and places for all ages
  • All age community
  • Music
  • Engaging worship and conversations
  • Chances to be creative and discuss thoughts and ideas as a group
  • Drama
  • Art
  • Fun activities
  • Authentic connection and authentic worship
  • The chance to go on retreat
  • Trust, friendship and challenging robust conversation
  • Holidays together
  • Tree planting
  • NVDA
  • Less words more action
  • Impromptu times put it on the web
  • A space to play
  • Whole of family inclusion
  • Adult weekends
  • Music
  • Life-giving friendships and relationships
  • The joy of people worship together
  • Another camp style meeting in the year

What are the obstacles to your family being part of a faith community?

  • Time
  • Other Commitments
  • Distance
  • Other Commitments
  • Time
  • Homework
  • Already in an existing faith community
  • Young people
  • Connection
  • Ineffective prioritising – but this could change
  • Feeling of lack of knowledge of how to express faith
  • The challenge of supporting and leading in our existing faith community
  • Fear/uncertainty that if we make the  time to participate/attend, we will be the only ones
  • Access – transport
  • Ties to existing faith community vs preference to be with this one
  • Recognising it won’t always be all of us as children get older
  • Busy family life & making a mindset commitment
  • Time
  • Time
  • Busy-ness
  • Too many different commitments between family members
  • Sleep
  • Work/Study/Homework
  • Alone time
  • Children getting older
  • Teens wanting their own space
  • Homework
  • No Chocolate
  • Busy-ness

We closed our gathering with a simple arrangement of “Go now in Peace” from Together in Song using tuned and untuned percussion instruments kept at the church.

Photo by Scott Findlay

Through these gatherings we hope to build one another up in love, and experience together engaging, all-age worship.  And chocolate.

Our next challenge is to find practises we can do while apart from one another – stay tuned!


A space to reflect

Hello!  If you’re reading this, you probably have some connection with what’s been known as the Uniting Church Victas Synod Social Justice Family Camp.

We are a group of people who’ve come together for the past 7 years because we have kids, and we want them to have a community experience with other people who treasure our Uniting Church focus on questions of

  • justice,
  • inequality
  • ecology
  • and a faith that embraces an evolving understanding of who God is and who God is calling us to become.

What you’ll find here are our thoughts, ideas and reflections on what we think might be God calling us to deepen our relationships and formalise our community within the Uniting Church.

We cannot be a “local” congregation because we come from all over the state/country/world.  So how can we “belong together” if we aren’t physically together all the time?

This is what we are wanting to explore.  The idea of a faith community that exists in many places is not new – think religious orders, or “patrol padres”.  But it’s a new way for us.

If you haven’t been involved in Family camp before but this whole idea is lighting little fires of attraction and curiosity, well, come along!  Join our email list or come to a gathering, let’s keep in touch and see what happens.