Editorial: Uniting Church on a mission

As Christmas approaches we often start thinking about how we can make it a great time of year for our families, friends and loved ones. It’s also a great time of year to remember what we can offer the world to help make it just that little bit better.

This edition, we have articles on various missional Christmas appeals that you can get involved with to show the people in your own lives, and those locally and around the world, that you care about them.

Other missional stories of the Uniting Church WA in this edition include GSI’s STEP program, and Uniting Adult Mission Fellowship’s stamp collecting team, which has raised a huge $8 000 in 18 months for Frontier Services Patrol Ministry in WA. An article on a recent gathering at Mogumber, a previous Indigenous mission site, shows the hope and healing that can come when stories are shared and respected.Continue Reading

Editorial: De-stigmatising mental health

National Mental Health Week runs from 8 – 15 October this year.

While not everyone living with a mental illness thinks about taking their own life, those who do live with mental illness are more vulnerable to dying by suicide.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that over 13% of Australians have had serious thoughts about ending their own lives at some point.

In 2014, the latest data available, 2 864 people died by suicide. Males make up 75% of these figures, while females make up 25%.

In our feature article this edition, Paul Montague, candidate for the ministry of the Word, shares some of his journey with Type 1 Bipolar Disorder and talks openly about suicide being a serious concern for people  living with the illness.

On World Suicide Prevention Day, in September, Suicide Prevention Australia released new research. Continue Reading

Editorial: Creating genuine welcome

If you’ve been reading Revive for a while, it’s possible you’ve read in the past that I don’t attend church very often. While I’ve grown up in the Uniting Church WA, I’m not currently a member of any congregation.

This usually means that when I do attend worship, I am either welcomed as a new face – or not.

Sometimes I have my kids in tow, although usually these days it’s just the younger one.

Sometimes I’m there for work, so I get a completely different welcome to when I’ve turned up for worship.

When I’ve turned up for worship, not for work purposes, the welcome I receive is usually quite different from place to place. It can range from being awkwardly ignored, to overly intense. Both are a little bit terrifying.

I think the churches where I’ve felt most comfortable where people have respected those awkward feelings; giving me space to find my feet, while also intentionally inviting me into conversation.Continue Reading

A daunting challenge

In April, I was privileged to attend the UnitingWomen conference in Adelaide. It was an amazing gathering of 400 women who are engaged and inspired to live out their faith with love, towards   healing, justice and a better world. We heard from speakers who have overcome child abuse, domestic violence and female genital mutilation, as well as women in leadership creating gender  equality in the Pacific. Mother and daughter, Denise and Candace Champion, shared their success stories of mentorship in the church and community, and a range of workshops encouraged us to engage in our own interests and pursuits. Plus, we heard from amazing women leaders amongst the Uniting Church network including Penny Wong, Rev Elenie Poulos and Julie McCrossin.

In one of my elective workshops, I learnt about values-based living, as opposed to goal-based living, and was able to reflect on my own journey and where I want it to take me.

In another workshop, I spent an afternoon sitting on the grass in the sun basket weaving with women from Mapuru, in Arnhem Land. After an intense couple of days it was a much needed break  for some crafty timeout with new faces.Continue Reading

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