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

Federal MPs join Christians in shining the light on global tax dodging

Parliamentarians have met face to face with over two hundred Christians from across the country this week to discuss Australia’s opportunity to lead action against corporate tax dodging which is draining vital revenue from developing nations.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Steve Ciobo MP, and Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Dr Andrew Leigh MP, addressed the group  of Micah Challenge advocates on Australia’s response to multinational tax dodging at a special event in Parliament House this morning.

Steve told participants at the event that Australia is passionate about achieving outcomes on the issue of multinational tax dodging at the upcoming G20 Summit in November. While acknowledging that the process might not be straight forward, he said he was confident of a global desire for reform and believes there is the political will necessary for action.Continue Reading