Diversity, inclusivity and humour in the Bible

We know that Jesus was a storyteller, but was Jesus funny? Is there humour in the Bible?

Rev John Bell, international theologian, musician and social justice advocate, thinks so, and will be in the country soon to tell us why. He’ll be setting off on an Australian and New Zealand tour in May. Despite the challenging time difference from WA, John shared some of his passions for the church, from his home base of Glasgow, Scotland.

John has been a member of the Iona Community for 50 years. On top of that he’s worked for the community as a resource worker in the areas of worship, spirituality and social justice. He’s also a published author, a regular radio broadcaster and a songwriter of many hymns – some of which we regularly use in worship here in the Uniting Church WA. Continue Reading

Workin’ hard for the honey

In Western Australia, we’re blessed to have some of the purest honey in the world. Our hardworking honey bees are free from a number of diseases that affect bees globally, including Varroosis, caused by the sucking mite, Varroa. This is one of the reasons why our state is on lockdown from fresh produce and other items coming in through the borders.

We’ve had a pretty good run over many years when it comes to WA honey, but that doesn’t mean we should become complacent about our bee population. A number of factors are creating huge concerns for our bees, which could have catastrophic consequences – far beyond diminishing our honey supply.

As we approach the second ever United Nations World Bee Day on Monday 20 May, Revive explores the complex world of bees in WA. Continue Reading

Stories at the centre of life and work

If you get the chance to meet the Uniting Church WA’s new Presbytery Minister Mission, Rev Alison Gilchrist, you’ll soon find out that she’s ready to get into the thick of it and get the job done – she’s a ‘doer’.

Alison was ordained in the Church of England and came to Perth six years ago to work with the Anglican Diocese of Perth. Having started her role with the Uniting Church WA in September last year, Alison has already begun making her mark, with the introduction of the ‘Light on Every Street’ campaign. The campaign saw congregations sharing the light and love of God in the lead-up to  Christmas by giving candles and postcards with a message to people in their communities. Continue Reading

Church camps: time with God

For decades, kids and young people have attended church camps as a fun way to build community and grow in faith. While there has been a decline in church camping within the Uniting Church WA over the years, a number of new opportunities have also arisen.

Kid’s Camp Out (KCO), originally called KUCA Camp, is still going strong as the Uniting Church WA’s longest running camp, held annually since 1984; the second annual Messy Church Summer Camp was recently held in January; CampFIRE encourages families in their faith; some Uniting Church WA congregations have been organising their own camps; and the Uniting Church Campsite is back in operation after years of neglect.

Many Uniting Church members will attest to camps playing a strong part in their faith and spiritual identity. As Rev Greg Ross, minister at St Augustine Uniting Church, Bunbury, said, many members will often share how camps have helped shape them, or led them down certain paths.

So what is it about camping that creates so many fond memories? Continue Reading

More than a job: Celebrating 60 years of GSI

John Knowles, CEO of Good Samaritan Industries (GSI), welcomed me into his office with a big smile and an even bigger heart before announcing we needed to step out for a minute to sing happy  birthday to a staff member.

Out in the foyer, staff (and me) gathered for cake and well wishes, while a group of high school kids wandered in to one of the meeting rooms for job training. In the warehouse, employees sort and pack all sorts of donations, from clothes to bedding to shoes and accessories. And in the canteen staff are busy preparing food.

The place is a hive of activity where people genuinely seem to love their jobs. Continue Reading

Learning lessons and making peace

As a General Practitioner in the medical field, Dr Sue Wareham has long held compassion for her fellow human beings. When she began learning of the effects and scale of global nuclear weapons in the late 70s and early 80s, she became passionate about ridding the world of them.

Since then, she has worked tirelessly to campaign for the abolishment of nuclear weapons through the Medical Association for Prevention of War (MAPW) and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Sue has been awarded an Order of Australia, and last year, ICAN was recognised with a Nobel Peace Prize.

Dr Sue Wareham will be one of the speakers at the upcoming conference, ‘Making Peace: exploring the practice of peace in today’s world’, held from Saturday 10 to Sunday 11 November, at St George’s Cathedral, Perth. The conference is organised by the Social Justice Commission of the Uniting Church WA, and will be held over the centenary of the Armistice of the First World War.

Sue has been involved with MAPW since its foundation in 1981. She said the aim of the association is to draw attention to the health implications of warfare and armed conflict.

“We draw attention particularly to the health impact on civilians, partly because civilians form the majority of the victims of war these days,” Sue said. “When we go to war, modern warfare is often  an attack on civil society itself. So it’s absolutely imperative to find other ways to resolve conflicts.” Continue Reading

Remembering the Moore River Native Settlement

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It looked more like a concentration camp than a residential school for Aboriginal children.

Back at their dormitory the girls were trying to snuggle down in their cold, uninviting beds. Molly, Daisy and Gracie began to talk normally amongst themselves, not whispering, but speaking in their own relaxed manner.

“You girls can’t talk blackfulla language here, you know,” came the warning from the other side of the dorm. “You gotta forget it and talk English all the time.”

Text taken from Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence, by Nugi Garimara, 1996.
Follow The Rabbit Proof Fence tells the true story of three girls who escaped the Moore River Native Settlement in 1931.Continue Reading