Editorial: taking a stand towards justice and peace

It wasn’t too hard to find content for this edition. The concept of ‘taking a stand’ sometimes feels like it’s etched into Uniting Church DNA; at least it does for me as my work sees me sent out to a range of different church events and activities, and speaking to all sorts of interesting and inspiring people. The idea is not so abstract though, as in 1977 members of the first Assembly of the Uniting Church released their first Statement to the Nation.

In it, they pledged to “uphold basic Christian values and principles” including “to seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur.”

This included in the areas of poverty, racism, health care, personal dignity, environmental protection and freedom of speech. Since then, the Uniting Church has spoken up on all sorts of issues.

In 2012, a group of young adults in the Uniting Church, including myself, also created a statement to the nation, from their young adult context, set in a new time. In it they too committed to working towards justice and peace.Continue Reading

Editorial: moving towards harmony

The concept of ‘harmony’ weaves its way into every aspect of our lives. Whether we have it or we don’t, it affects so much of how we get on with the day-to-day. The idea for this edition was inspired by WA’s Harmony Week, celebrating WA’s cultural diversity from 15–21 March, but as we’ve explored the issue further we see it is so much broader than cultural harmony alone.

Without harmony in or between our workplaces, families, and communities our lives can become overworked and stressful. Dis-harmony with others creates an unhappy environment that tries to destroy us. Dis-harmony within ourselves is equally as devastating.

Creating harmony where it has been absent is no easy feat – as is true of anything worth doing. It can take years to learn to love yourself again after that love has been lost; and generations to create cultural harmony within a community. But there are some amazing examples in our world of people getting it right.Continue Reading

Editorial: Hearing God’s call

In the last couple of months we’ve seen a number of events in the news which stirred a lot of emotions – one of the biggest stories possibly being the terror attacks in Paris which left one hundred and thirty people dead and many more injured.

As Facebook feeds filled with profile pictures in support of people in France, we were also reminded that similar attacks are happening all around the world – with less media coverage and or concern. Arguments flared online about why this is the case, from accusations of racism to acknowledgement that people feel more of a connection to a place that they may have travelled to.

As this played out, we can surely be reminded that we live in a hurting world.Continue Reading

Editorial: Where there is hope

The devastating image of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old boy washed ashore in Turkey, inundated my Facebook and Twitter feed in September.

I hate seeing the exploitation of such an image; an image which exposed a beautiful boy in his most vulnerable moment. But, I hope that it moved the world to think differently about refugees, asylum seekers and the crisis in Syria. There are real people, with families and children, who are suffering.

On 7 September, at Get Up!’s Light the Dark event, more than a thousand people crowded the Perth Cultural Centre to light a candle to remember  Aylan and others who are seeking protection – many who have died doing so. Similar events were held all over the country.

Jarrod McKenna, founder of the First Home Project and pastor at Westcity Church, spoke at the event.Continue Reading

Assembly and beyond

The office here at the Uniting Church Centre in WA was pretty pumping in the lead-up to the 14th Triennial Assembly meeting. As our synod played host to the event, there was plenty to do which was covered by a massive number of dedicated volunteers and staff. Volunteers were busy in a huge range of roles, from the Local Organising Committee to ushers, greeters, drivers and so much  more. Apart from a few hitches, the week turned out to be an inspiring, confronting and moving event and there were so many people who helped it all come together.

After some challenging years in the Uniting Church in WA, our members came together to bring us Assembly in a way that their gifts and skills were able to flourish. Our synod and city shone  during the week for the national church to see. During the week of Assembly, my colleagues from Uniting Church media and communications teams around the country were working tirelessly to  bring you up-to-date news from the event. Some of those articles are featured in this edition and I thank them greatly for the long hours they put in.

The newly installed president of the Uniting Church in Australia led the Assembly with humility and dedication to listening to voices from all the different parts of the church. He has a strong  passion for living out the covenant between the church and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and you can read more about his journey with this in our profile story here.Continue Reading

Editorial: a whole new world

It’s not easy to break out of your circle. Whether it’s your circle of friends, your career path or moving to a new place; it takes guts. In some circumstances, it’s hard to know whether it’s a good  idea to try something new or if it’d be better to just keep things the way they are. When it comes to challenging yourself to move beyond your normal activities and attitudes, sometimes our  only fears are of failure, or of the unknown.

One of the biggest joys of going beyond your circle is the new encounters you’ll face; meeting new people and seeing new places. It’s a chance to learn more about the world, other people,  cultures and new ways of doing things. Some of the best experiences I’ve had in life have been the ones I was terrified of going into. Continue Reading

Editorial: TLC – Mission accomplished

I’ve previously written in Revive about my connection to Trinity Learning Centre (TLC) as a past student when my son was a baby. It was a sad day for many other past students, teachers,  classroom supervisors, crèche staff, congregation members, committee members and volunteers when TLC closed its doors on Saturday 28 February this year. TLC, a program of UnitingCare  West, originally began out of Trinity Uniting Church (now part of Uniting Church in the City) providing education and support to pregnant and parenting young mothers. I’ve written about the  impact TLC had on my life before, so I won’t get into that again. I have a better story to tell…

At the farewell, Sue Ash, CEO of UnitingCare West, spoke about the sadness and anger people felt at the news that this amazing program was ending. She then reminded us of the success of TLC  – not just for the women who graduated, but also for the church as it filled a need. When TLC began, almost 30 years ago, there was nothing like it in Perth. Dr Harry Cohen recognised a need  for young mothers to have an opportunity to finish high school, through his work at King Edward Memorial Hospital for Women, which has a dedicated adolescent maternity ward. Continue Reading

Editorial: Reflection before action

On the cover of this edition we’ve pictured a ballet dancer practicing in a studio. Apart from the obvious choice of the view of  the mirror for the theme, we felt this image also told a story of how our reflections can affect our lives.

A dancer watches their reflection so they can gain insight to how they move, how they hold themselves and how they smile  as they glide over the dance floor. Upon seeing their reflection, they look for ways of improving – and they act on it.

Reflection goes hand in hand with action. Without action, a reflection is merely a stagnant view of what is – not what could  be. This reminds me of Harry Potter as he stares into the mirror of Erised, a mirror which only shows the deepest desire of  those who look into it. The name ‘Erised’ is ‘desire’ spelt backwards, as it would be in a mirrored reflection (kids and adults  alike can try out this experiment; click here for more details). Continue Reading

Editorial: The results are in!

One of the things we’ve been thinking about here at Revive HQ is how we want Revive to look into the future. This is why a few months ago we sent out a readership survey to get your feedback. We had a great response to the survey, with 105 people responding in total.

The most valued sections in Revive, according to the survey results, were the Faith in Action section followed by the feature articles and profile stories. The least valued was advertising. Following this was the First Third section – which, for a church so committed to engaging young people, really surprised me.

While we haven’t yet made any official changes to the structure of Revive, we have started offering a resourcing style article in the First Third section, to help our older readers get a bit more of  a grip on what First Third ministry is all about. In this edition we look at why kids are not the future of the church. To read the article click here.  Continue Reading

Editorial: Australian poverty – closer than you think

During Anti-Poverty Week quite some years ago, I attended an event which I was reporting on for Revive. At this event, I was told that homelessness comes in many forms and its definition was basically a  lack of stable accommodation. I was, at the time, staying at my brother’s house, sleeping in my niece’s room while my children slept on mattresses on the floor. After a relationship breakdown, we ‘crashed’ at my brother’s house with his family for a month while I found a way to get back on my feet.

It was quite confronting; I’d just finished my degree, I had a great job, and here I was writing an article about the unseen side of homelessness while realising I was ‘homeless’ myself.

Anti-Poverty Week is  from 12-18 October. It’s aimed at building awareness around poverty in Australia and around the world. Globally, we see so many images of impoverished communities. When my brother, my kids and I went to India a few years ago, we saw poverty on the streets everywhere we went. We saw mothers and their children lie down to bed on pedestrian islands in the middle of busy roads.  We saw people washing themselves at public taps on the streets of Kolkata.

In Australia, poverty is much more hidden, silent and solitary. But it is there. The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) found in a 2014 report that 12.8% of people in Australia are living below the  poverty line. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, 19.3% are living in poverty. Continue Reading