Thinking big and breaking silos

Since the last edition of Revive, Rev David Kriel, mission planner at the Uniting Church in WA, has collected and analysed all the data from interviews with people around the church and the Listening Workshop, held in April. Some changes have been made to the process. The original plan of Scenario Planning has been postponed until after John Roberto’s visit to Perth, where some of his methods will be adapted to meet the needs of the Uniting Church in WA. The process is now moving to a method of System Thinking.

Using the data collected, David has discovered four key issues which members of the Uniting Church feel the church needs to focus on. They are: communication, lay education and leadership, community services and evangelism and discipleship. The next step is to identify the relationships between these issues, creating ‘loops’ of ‘cause and effect’. David has  created four loops all with interdependent relationships to each other. In responding to these loops, David said the church needs to be proactive, rather than reactionary. Continue Reading

Investment in fossil fuels off the table for WCC

During a recent meeting of the top governing body of the World Council of Churches (WCC), its Central Committee said “no” to investments in fossil fuels. Prior to this announcement  some member churches were already committed to the divestment of fossil fuels, including the United Church of Christ in the United States, the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New  Zealand and Polynesia and the Church of Sweden.

In April last year, the Uniting Church Synod of New South Wales agreed to divest in fossil fuels and created national news. Other  churches around Australia are in talks about how they  too can divest. And in May of this year, people from all over Australia withdrew their investments from Australia’s ‘big four’ banks – ANZ, Commonwealth, NAB and Westpac – choosing  to invest their money in more sustainable methods as part of Divestment Day, organised by Market Forces and 350.org. Continue Reading

Stop playing politics with lives

On 21 June, church groups, political groups, non-government organisations (NGOs) and caring individuals gathered on a hill facing the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre to  show the detainees inside that we did care about their plight and that they weren’t forgotten. We stood on our hill, waved banners, lights and shouted chants. In turn detainees would chant back. They knew that we were there and they were thankful.

That evening, as an Amnesty International representative, I gave a speech where I reflected on how I first came across the problems faced by refugees in Australia. I was about 10 and  found a picture of a barbed wire fence with children behind it on the cover of a magazine. I assumed that far away something terrible was happening and we were being asked to help fix  it. We were after all the lucky country and we were often using that luck to help others. Continue Reading

God next door

Recently, I had cause to re-read Simon Carey Holt’s book, God Next Door: Spirituality and Mission in the Neighbourhood. Holt argues that mission, in our current context, where the  overwhelming percentage of the population have nothing to do with the Christian church, should happen in our own neighbourhood (as opposed to in our churches).

Jesus’ designation  of two commands “love God” and “love your neighbour as yourself” as the essence of discipleship should have always given us a particular focus for ministry in our  neighbourhood.If then the church is to be in ministry and mission in the neighbourhood, what should we practice? Holt suggests four neighbourhood disciplines. Continue Reading

WCC announces September Interfaith Summit on Climate Change

The World Council of Churches (WCC) announced it will hold an Interfaith Summit on Climate Change on September 21-22 in New York City. At the summit, organised together with Religions for Peace, more than 30 religious leaders will take a united stand to encourage international and political leaders to address concretely the causes and consequences of climate change.

The interfaith summit is being held immediately before the United Nations (UN) Climate Summit, called by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, to galvanize and catalyze climate action, bringing bold announcements and actions that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015.

WCC members said they hoped their united voice would be also heard at the upcoming Conferences of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima in December 2014 and in Paris in 2015. Continue Reading

Church becoming more open to change

“We have a strong focus on the community.”

“We do well regarding the worship on a Sunday morning.” – Rev Dr David Kriel, mission planner, Uniting Church in WA.

These are the strengths of the Uniting Church in WA which came out of the Listening Workshop, held in April. There was a buzz around the room as 80 participants who are associated  with the Uniting Church in WA participated in an informal discussion and feedback session on the future of the church. After analysing strengths and weaknesses, David found that the group felt these strengths reflect the core purpose of the church: worship, witness and service, as outlined in the Basis of Union. Continue Reading

UnitingCare West celebrates 8 years

On 1 July 2014, UnitingCare West will celebrate its Founding Day and 8th Anniversary with an all staff and volunteer day. The event is a chance for all of those involved with  UnitingCare West to reflect on the work that has been achieved over the last year, and to celebrate the progress and growth the organisation has experienced since it commenced  operations as a newly formed community service agency of the Uniting Church in Western Australia back in 2006. Continue Reading