Posts Tagged ‘Ethnic Christians’

Ms. Brennan joins the choir with Indonesian-backgroud Christians on Sunday Service at the Brunswick Indonesian Uniting Church.

If you walk into many Uniting Churches in Melbourne suburbs, you will see congregations are swaying, clapping and singing their heart out in other languages than English.

The number of mainstream churches in Melbourne suburbs has declined over subsequent decades while the ethnic church has increasingly grown with the rapidly increase of immigrations.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, in Melbourne, about 64% of people identify themselves as Christian, but more recently, with the waves of immigration from South East Asia, the ethnic diversity of existing Christian denominations has increased.

As one of the ethnic congregations of the Uniting Church, the Brunswick Indonesian Uniting Church became recognized as an ethnic congregation in 2007.

“Our duty is to build up a secure base for Indonesian Christians in Melbourne and maintain relationships with non-Indonesian Christians,” the Minister of the Brunswick Indonesian Uniting Church Mr. Reu Lingky Widodo says.

“We provide dinners after Sunday service, and we expect people to become closer like a family during the dinner,” says Pastor Christina Tan of the Brunswick church.

“Here is more like a family, the family atmosphere; we feel like we were brought up together and stick together.”

Member of the Brunswick Uniting Church youth service, Vince Pangemanan.

Besides the Indonesian Christians, the Brunswick Indonesian Uniting Church also welcomes people from outside the church and who are not Indonesians.

“I believe the church is multicultural and Christ is above the culture,” Mr Reu Lingky Widodo says.

“We not specifically built for Indonesians, but for Christians,” he says. “We aim to reach out more people and welcome people from outside the church and who are not Indonesian,” he adds.

Worshiper Annette Brennan is of the opinion that compared to some local churches here in Melbourne; the Brunswick Indonesian Church is much more traditionally Christians.

“I have found the mainstream churches in Australia are really restricting and do not follow the Bible,” Ms Brennan says.

“Despite a lot of people still call them churches, I consider it to be more entertainment,” she continues, “they play like pop music, and they do not pray, and they do not have good sermo,.” she says.

“But coming to here I have found some contentment, the tradition is still there, the building is still traditional, they do traditional things, but the same time the songs are more modern and people are really nice,” she continues.

“I have done some Indonesian dancing, they give me costume to dress up in, I just like this very positive and happy environment”.

Listen to the interview with Annette  Brennan:

Photo gallery of the Brunswick Uniting Church:


Wedding photographer  Tonga Bonga is  filming for the wedding rehearsal at Glen Waverly Uniting Church.

It is Friday at 6.35pm, on the corner of Bogong Avenue and Kingsway, Glen Waverly, south-east Melbourne, the Glen Waverly Uniting church was ablaze with lights.

In the hall, new bride Karen Macartney and bridegroom Ricky Egginton were accompanied by their family and several of their close friends rolled up church for rehearsal before wedding on Saturday night.

Leading by the Priest, Macartney and Egginton practiced walk in and walk off the hall.

“We want to make mare sure the wedding would be perfectly represented to the guests tomorrow,” Ms Macartney says.

Video of the wedding rehearsal:

Aside the arena, photographer Tonga Bonga was also in the scene. He took out his camera equipment moved side to side, walked around to capture the process of the rehearsal.

Tonga is a young, passionate photographer and specializing in wedding photography. He owns a wedding photography studio “Tonga’s Photography”, but in this case he presented for wedding Event Company.

“I have never met them before this rehearsal,” Tong said. He illustrates that it is very important to get to know the personalities of his clients.

“Coming to here is to get touch with this couple and make them have trust on me,” he said. “So when I shoot I know how to capture their most natural emotions.”

Also as an attendee in a local church in south Melbourne, he starts off his career from the church.  “It is a really strong base to support my career,” Tonga says.

Australian census shows that the Uniting Church has about 1.3 million members in Australia and that they worship in 25 different languages. It is the ethnic populations who are keeping Uniting churches in Melbourne suburbs vibrant. These ethnic Uniting churches are not only spiritual communities but also secure bases for ethnic populations.

Multicultural church websites

Great resources for intercultural ministry and biblical exploration,   and debates over homogenous churches and ethnic congregations:

More information from the views of Australian public media about cultural diversity and religious diversity in Australia:

The article reports the increasingly growing ethnic Christian population in Melbourne and then raises debates about growing immigration from South East Asia in Melbourne.

Introduction of the background of Christianity in Melbourne and official analyse of historical reasons of the divisions of Christianity. Also statistics of Christian populations in three different denominations.