The end of a period

Uniting Church in Australia

I know it’s usually the end of an era, but I don’t think eighteen months really classifies as an era. Today I finished at the Uniting Church in WA.

It’s odd  to think that in July last year, I was sitting in Soto, writing this post about how I had finally found a job. After six months of looking for work, and coming literally about a week away from going to K-Mart to do anything there, I found a job that really allowed me to embrace my passions.

Over my time there, I have really grown to love that job, and be proud of my achievements there, so much so that I want to share them with you.

When I started, no-one really knew about the database. The person who had built it had left a while ago, and the database had since been expanded from one section to the whole office. As part of that, a number of errors had crept in. My first task – one that I spent weeks doing – was figuring out how the database worked. Having not had any experience in Access, this was also a really good introduction to learning how it worked.

It may not have produced many results at first, and I do remember that for about the first 6 to 12 weeks, I didn’t have many “completions” on my task list. However, once that initial working out of the database was complete, I had a very satisfying few weeks where everything just fell into place and I was able to say “Aha! Got it!” and tick something off the list. These things completed even up to my last day, when I was able to fix a problem that had alluded me for a number of months.

Some of my other tasks was taking care of the website, and I was also able to fix a number of issues in there. For example, our activity search function was very problematic. If you searched for Greenwood, it would return no results, however if you searched for Kingsley – the next suburb over, it would return Greenwood Uniting Church. I was able to track the issue down – the program we were using used the Google Maps api, and if you searched just Greenwood, it would first return Greenwood in Queensland. I managed to find some code that would add “, WA” to the end of each search. As we were searching only for congregations in WA, this worked out well.

I was also able to modify a theme for the First Third team, which was very satisfying. It unfortunately won’t be up for much longer, as they’re in the process of a site-wide redevelopment, but for what it was, I was very proud of it.

And while I never would have thought it, I was also able to use my musical talents at the Uniting Church, writing a melody for a song written by one of the staff members for a Multicultural community.

Working at the Uniting Church has been a lot of fun, and I have made many friends there. I’ve enjoyed working as part of a team within a larger organisation, I’ve enjoyed being pushed outside my responsibilities (filming the Synod Opening service for example), taking part in weekly devotions, and more. I now move on to a new challenge, studying to become a Salvation Army Officer, but I’m certain that the skills that I have developed, and the knowledge of different ministries (eg Messy Church) will come in handy at some point in my future.

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Author: Ben Clapton

I'm an Officer in The Salvation Army, currently appointed with my wife as Corps Officers at the Rochester Corps in country Victoria (20 minutes out of Echuca). I play violin and guitar, amongst many others, and love golf and running.

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