A seeker’s reflections on the rooms of Christian living, by Kevin Treston, Coventry Press, 2019
Kevin Treston, based in Brisbane, has written many books to assist adult faith formation within the Australian Catholic church. This is a short, readable book that is ideal for any Christian discussion group or for individual reflection.
The eleven ‘doors’ are different aspects of Christian living. Each chapter opens with a key question, such as “how does your faith life touch your everyday happenings?” “How might our Christian faith be fully integrated within the whole web of life in the universe?” “What are key issues in Christian moral teachings today?” “How is your membership of the church significant or not significant in your faith life now?” And “How do you see the role of a Christian in the world today?”
Each chapter ends with group conversation starters and is well written and bound to provoke discussion. Indeed, it is amazing how much content is packed into each short chapter. Continue Reading
by Nelson Varcoe, Adelaide Congress Ministry, 2020
Nelson Varcoe remembers his Uncles singing old gospel songs around the camp fires at Point Pearce Mission, Yorke Peninsula, the music echoing across the plains on hot summer nights. As a 12-year-old, he salvaged choke wires from an old Model T-Ford to cobble together his first guitar. “It sounded pretty good,” he says.
Now, after a lifetime of ministry and service, Nelson has published his first collection of 25 original ‘Godinspired’ songs in country-gospel style, dedicated to his mentors: “Aboriginal Christian Pioneers who travelled all across this country on the smell of an oily rag, to bring the gospel to our people.”
Melody lines, guitar chords and full lyrics are included in the book, but the CD brings the songs to life and makes the music accessible to all people, regardless of their musical skills. Nelson’s lyrics arise from a range of faith experiences: a retelling of the story of Nehemiah, or the disciples in a storm, a longing for ‘a Moses-moment’ on the mountain, the reassurance of the ‘Shield [of the] Most High’ for someone running ‘like a rabbit in the field’ or the call to stop and meditate in the quiet beauty of ‘Meroo’.
The title song: ‘Gift of Music’ – a catchy tune like so many of the others – expresses Nelson’s personal joy and gratitude for the gifts God has given. These songs have grown out of Nelson’s ministry as a pastor and chaplain, educator and artist. In the Foreword, his colleague writes, “Nelson has the capacity to tune into what is going on in the atmosphere of a certain event, confrontation or encounter, and to find music and words which somehow embody, enunciate or express the deep things of that moment.” Continue Reading
Kerry Povey is the Chair of the Uniting Church WA International Partnerships and Development Commission, and a member at Trinity North Uniting Church. She takes 5 minutes to share some of her passions with Revive.Continue Reading
I began 2020 as your Moderator-elect wondering what would unfold during the course of the year and how I might be guided by God to effectively lead this wonderful Church when I assumed office.
When the day of the Opening Worship of the 44th Annual Meeting of the Synod of WA and my Installation arrived on 11 September, the world was a very different place indeed, unlike any other we have experienced in our lifetime. Continue Reading
A Memoir of a body, born again, by Anna McGahan, Bible Society Australia, 2019
Anna McGahan’s book, Metanoia, is a gift to Australia and the Australian church.
The first recorded words of Jesus’ ministry included the command to ‘turn’, ‘change’ or ‘repent’. The Greek noun for this is ‘metanoia’. In her book, Anna tells of her own metanioa – a transformative change of heart. Her story is raw, engaging, exciting, true and above all, real.
Anna tells us how she arrived at “the safest place” and “the most dangerous place” she has ever been. She tells not only of the pain of sickness, loneliness, alienation, relationship breakdowns, missteps and of the right and wrong choices in her life, but also of her story of commitment, empathy, love, and her yearning for, and finding, ‘something more’.
Anna tells of how she eventually heard and responded to the Spirit’s gentle call. Anna learned to trust Jesus, and was, like all of us, loved into the discovery of the peace, joy and hope for which she was made. Continue Reading
Rev Dr Christine Sorensen began as the Uniting Church WA Presbytery Minister (Formation and Discipleship) back in February this year. This edition she shares some of her passions for theological education with us. Continue Reading
Sheesh it’s been a huge year so far. But you don’t need me to tell you that.
Once again, I feel so lucky to have been born, and still living, in WA. I’m not sure why I was this lucky, but it’s definitely not lost on me. Continue Reading
The Struggle for Justice: Conversations with John Bottomley about transforming church community services, by Kate Dempsey, Coventry Press 2020
The Uniting Church, according to this book, is both “shrinking and ageing”. The congregational side of it certainly is. But the community services side is expanding. I have argued in my PhD on the Uniting Church’s future that if the Uniting Church’s community services were amalgamated and “quoted” on the Australian Stock Exchange, the new Uniting entity would be one of the exchange’s largest companies. As governments continue to privatise their welfare services, so the Uniting Church will be among the not-for-profits scooping up the additional work. Continue Reading
Rev Steve Francis will step down as Moderator of the Uniting Church WA on Friday 11 September. He reflects on his time in this role over the last six years.
As my time as Moderator is coming to a close, I was asked to write a reflection looking back over the past nearly six years and looking forward into the future.
When I was first elected Moderator at Synod in 2014 someone shook my hand and said “Condolences”. It was like they thought I got the booby prize in a raffle or worse. The experience of being a two term Moderator has had some dark and deep disappointments. There have been moments when I felt something of the pain and struggle of being a church that is in slow decline and in danger of reaching a tipping point when renewal seems almost out of reach. Continue Reading
Marguerite Marshall shares her thoughts on how Australia can move towards renewable energy. Marguerite is a Uniting Church member and was trained by Al Gore as a climate reality leader. Continue Reading