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You’ve probably walked past, been inside, or perhaps even attended a service at Wesley Church in the city. It’s a beautiful old space with a lot of history. But you may not know that a large amount of the land surrounding the church is also owned by the Uniting Church. The juxtaposition of old and new is fairly striking. The church was built in 1870, but the surrounding offices and shops need to be as cutting edge as possible.

To achieve this, the Uniting Church has embarked on an incredible journey. A journey to ensure their holdings are not only responsibly managed, but economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. It’s an idea that can be applied in more than a few areas, with 98five being one of them. The struggle to maintain history, culture and tradition in a fast paced, ever changing world can have a lot of negative effects in society.

General Manager of the Uniting Church in the City Neil Starkie joined Kirste and Corey in the Radiothon studio to discuss not only the plans for the church, but the needs in society these plans aim to address.  At one end of the scale, there’s sustainable beehives on the roof producing honey. At the other end, there’s the rescued food kitchen program. Food that would otherwise be thrown out is used to teach people to cook. The program provides over 10,000 meals a year, and opportunities for many people.


One of the greatest needs the church sees in the city is homelessness. The rescued food program is what Neil calls a “sticking plaster approach.” It addresses the immediate need, but something still needs to be done to break the cycle. To achieve this, the church is working on a coffee business that will be staffed by people who are homeless. They’re provided with training, a job and a living wage. Along with a partnership with other cafes around the city, they’ll have the opportunity to move to other jobs in the field.

To hear about all the amazing work the Uniting Church is doing in our city, listen below:



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