As I was about to complete high school, I remember watching footage and seeing photos of jubilant people clambering over what was once the Berlin Wall and taking chunks of cement as souvenirs. At the time I did not understand what this really meant for the people of Germany or what they had been through in the previous four decades. My recollection is only the smiles of joy and the moments of reconciliation. Little did I know that, in my life time, I would see another wall, twice as high and four times longer, constructed for similar reasons in another part of the world. In my travels to Israel and Palestine Territories last August I saw the monstrous wall of separation and heard stories of its impact upon the people.
“We advise governments as a global church: you have to accept every human being regardless of their religious or political affiliation, whether they are female or male, old or young – you must take them,” Bishop Munib Younan states strongly.
The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Prof Andrew Dutney, and a delegation of Uniting Church leaders attended a historic series of meetings with leaders from the China Christian Council (CCC) in four Chinese cities from 16–24 September.
Australians spent $8billion on beauty products, $14.1 billion on alcohol and $9.5 billion on gadgets last financial year. That being the case, it’s sometimes hard to imagine exactly what we have in common with our neighbours in Asia, Africa and the Pacific, many of whom spend up to three or four hours a day gathering water to drink.
Afghanistan is one of the hardest places in the world to be educated if you are a girl. Thirty years of chronic instability and conflict, and the almost complete lack of educational opportunities for children under the Taliban, have had a dramatic impact on children’s education and wellbeing in Afghanistan.
But things are changing. Afghan women and local communities are confronting injustice all over the country and education is proving to be the key to a better future.
Growing up in the Uniting Church I always knew I was a part of the ‘one holy, catholic and apostolic church’ but never understood really what that meant and how it applied to my life. Recently I have had the opportunity of representing the Uniting Church in Australia as a delegate at the World Council of Churches (WCC) Assembly in Busan, South Korea, from 30 October–8 November.