Time for some deep conversations

Sometimes it’s easier to talk about a difficult topic by being part of a group of friends talking about the subject. This brings in a variety of other people’s experiences. Having a chance to tune in to  other people’s feelings and reactions without directly having to give your own views can help you shape your own thoughts. Once the conversation is proceeding in a respectful manner you can choose your moment to reveal your personal views, experiences or concerns. Continue Reading

Local faith communities sound the alarm on climate

People from diverse local faith communities held a symbolic action today at Uniting Church in the City (UCIC), Wesley Perth where they rang bells to ‘sound the alarm’ for the climate.

The group rang bells at 11.00am on Thursday 11 March as part of a global multi-faith Day of Action in which over a hundred faith communities across Australia will call for more ambitious action on climate change. The lead local organisation is the Australian Religious Response to Climate Change (ARRCC), part of GreenFaith International.Continue Reading

Rockin’ the Goldfields: Music ministry with Lindsay Ginn

Pastor Lindsay Ginn has been working as a Uniting Church WA Bush Chaplain in the Remote Area Ministry, Goldfields Patrol for just over a year and has already made some big waves. Frontier Services, a Uniting Church Assembly agency supporting people in Australia’s rural and remote areas, funds the role, which sees Bush Chaplains travelling to remote areas providing a friendly ear, pastoral care and referral to other service providers if needed. Continue Reading

Review: Opening Doors

A seeker’s reflections on the rooms of Christian living, by Kevin Treston, Coventry Press, 2019

Kevin Treston, based in Brisbane, has written many books to assist adult faith formation within the Australian Catholic church. This is a short, readable book that is ideal for any Christian discussion group or for individual reflection.

The eleven ‘doors’ are different aspects of Christian living. Each chapter opens with a key question, such as “how does your faith life touch your everyday happenings?” “How might our Christian  faith be fully integrated within the whole web of life in the universe?” “What are key issues in Christian moral teachings today?” “How is your membership of the church significant or not significant in your faith life now?” And “How do you see the role of a Christian in the world today?”

Each chapter ends with group conversation starters and is well written and bound to provoke discussion. Indeed, it is amazing how much content is packed into each short chapter. Continue Reading

Advice for ministering in disaster affected communities

Following recent bush fires just north of Perth, in which 86 homes have been lost, the Uniting Church WA Disaster Relief and Community Recovery Working Group have released this informative video, detailing the role of the working group and how they can support congregations and faith communities as they minister to fire-affected communities.

For more information, contact the working group on 0438 418 303 or de.jackson@bigpond.com. Continue Reading

Review: Gift of Music, Songbook and CD

by Nelson Varcoe, Adelaide Congress Ministry, 2020

Nelson Varcoe remembers his Uncles singing old gospel songs around the camp fires at Point Pearce Mission, Yorke Peninsula, the music echoing across the plains on hot summer nights. As a 12-year-old, he salvaged choke wires from an old Model T-Ford to cobble together his first guitar. “It sounded pretty good,” he says.

Now, after a lifetime of ministry and service, Nelson has published his first collection of 25 original ‘Godinspired’ songs in country-gospel style, dedicated to his mentors: “Aboriginal Christian Pioneers who travelled all across this country on the smell of an oily rag, to bring the gospel to our people.”

Melody lines, guitar chords and full lyrics are included in the book, but the CD brings the songs to life and makes the music accessible to all people, regardless of their musical skills. Nelson’s lyrics arise from a range of faith experiences: a retelling of the story of Nehemiah, or the disciples in a storm, a longing for ‘a Moses-moment’ on the mountain, the reassurance of the ‘Shield [of the] Most High’ for someone running ‘like a rabbit in the field’ or the call to stop and meditate in the quiet beauty of ‘Meroo’.

The title song: ‘Gift of Music’ – a catchy tune like so many of the others – expresses Nelson’s personal joy and gratitude for the gifts God has given. These songs have grown out of Nelson’s ministry as a pastor and chaplain, educator and artist. In the Foreword, his colleague writes, “Nelson has the capacity to tune into what is going on in the atmosphere of a certain event, confrontation or encounter, and to find music and words which somehow embody, enunciate or express the deep things of that moment.” Continue Reading