New Bendigo ministry aims to unite

UNITED: Reverend Youn Kim, centre, with Etty and James Lerk. Picture: Julie Hough
UNITED: Reverend Youn Kim, centre, with Etty and James Lerk. Picture: Julie Hough

A NEW Bendigo ministry aims to bring together people from different cultures and backgrounds.

The cross-cultural ministry, run through the Uniting Church, will be the first of its kind in regional Victoria. Its first official meeting is set for this Wednesday at the Uniting Church hall in Arnold Street,  and the group is hoping to promote greater understanding and tolerance. 

Uniting Church Reverend Youn Kim said Bendigo was home to people of almost 100  different nationalities.

“We all come from different backgrounds and we all have our own culture,” he said. 

“This is about sharing, together. We need more understanding about other cultures and religions.” 

For Reverend Kim, it’s been a big task working with the Presbytery of Loddon Mallee Bendigo Uniting Church to establish the cross cultural group.

 Over the past two weeks, he has wandered the streets talking to people to try to get the message out there. He said he had received a good response from the community and was hopeful the group would continue to grow.

Ministry member Etty Lerk said she was glad to see another outlet for co-operation between people of different cultures, in the city.

Mrs Lerk moved to Bendigo from Indonesia 30 years ago and said things had changed a lot in that time.

“There are so many more cultures here now, so many more groups,” she said. 

“This ministry will bring us together despite our differences... There’s nothing worse than being divided within your community.”

Mr Kim said the model was pioneering and could form the basis for other cross-cultural ministries in regional Victoria.

“Two years ago it was dreamt up by the Reverend Rex Fisher. If this goes well it could be the model for other places. This is just the beginning.”

For more information on getting involved in the meetings of the cross-cultural ministry, contact


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