It was with a sense of excitement that three Western Australians travelled to Adelaide to attend the inaugural Uniting Church National History Conference from 9–12 June 2017. With Sheena Hesse, Archivist at the Uniting Church WA, Rev Dr Alison and Robin Longworth joined the fifty or so archivists and historians at Pilgrim Uniting Church. The Conference was hosted by the South Australian Uniting Church Historical Society and focused on the history of the Uniting Church in this 40th anniversary year.
The Welcome to Country by Sean Weetra and the opening worship led by Rev Myung Hwa Park, Moderator of the Uniting Church NSW/ACT led us into the keynote address by Assoc Prof Renate Howe, who spoke on “Challenges for the Uniting Church in a changing Australia.”Continue Reading
Two years ago, Rowan and Jenny Berger set off to Vanuatu to work in the local medical industry. Jenny is a registered nurse, Rowan a paramedic. Revive reported about their plans with MED Project prior to their leaving, in June 2015.
The couple had originally planned to stay in Vanuatu for a year, but after receiving amazing support from individuals and churches they were able to stay 18 months, plus donate remaining funds to two local community projects: a domestic violence centre and a youth centre with a free sexual health clinic. A large proportion of funds raised was thanks to their own church, Victoria Park and Districts Star St Uniting Church, who put in a major effort for the entire 18 months, led by congregation member Dianne May.
Rowan and Jenny agreed that being able to spend an extra six months on the island was a great help, as it took around that same amount of time to settle in. Continue Reading
A recent advertisement in a church newsletter for free accommodation in return for providing Sunday services sparked an adventure from Queensland to regional WA. Ruth Duncan reflects on her experiences moving westward and how she struck gold in the faith community.
A small advertisement in a newsletter from the Uniting Church Queensland late last year popped up the day after hearing my last lecture in New Testament within the Lay Preacher’s course at Trinity College Queensland. The ad offered free accommodation in Kalgoorlie in return for providing Sunday services. What a great opportunity to see a different part of Australia and practise what I’d been learning over the course.
Among the jaw-dropping from my local congregation members, they managed to ask questions like, “Where will you stay?” and “What is the congregation like?”
To these questions and more, including those that were in my mind, I had to say, “I don’t know.” I just heard the voice of God saying, “Come and see.” Continue Reading
The January school holidays were a special time for 16 students from Derby District High School who spent 11 glorious days in sunny Perth. The students were members of the remote, Indigenous community of Mowanjum.
This is the fourth time Derby students have travelled from the West Kimberly to Perth to experience a different way of life, away from the bush. Their journey to Perth is a long one – 4 500km on a bus with several stops, which included an overnight stay at Port Hedland Uniting Church and Karalundi School in Meekatharra, before reaching their destination: Ern Halliday campsite at Hillarys, Perth.
The excursion was hosted by the Boab Network based at All Saints Floreat Uniting Church, which have been running school holiday programs in Mowanjum for 10 years. There are many reasons why the trip is important for Mowanjum. Continue Reading
A delegation of Uniting Church leaders travelled to Lebanon in January with the aim of building relationships with churches in the region.
The delegation included Stuart McMillan, president of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rob Floyd, national director of UnitingWorld, and three Uniting Church ministers from the Middle East, including Rev Dr Emanuel Audisho, multicultural ministry co-ordinator for the Uniting Church WA.
The group met with the leaders of the Union of Armenian Evangelical Churches in the Near East, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon and the National Evangelical Church of Beirut. They also visited a range of historical sites, including one of the ancient jars from the biblical story of the Wedding at Cana (John 2) and one of the earliest memorial sites of the Armenian Genocide in Antelias.
While in Lebanon, the group also spent some time at Fondation le Grain de Ble, a program for local refugee children which provides camps, clubs, sport, literature, games and entertainment for refugee children in Lebanon, with an aim to share God’s love. Continue Reading
The annual Micah Australia Voices for Justice Conference provides an opportunity for people to engage on justice issues with politicians in Canberra, from a Christian context.
Attendees from Christian communities all over the country participated in the conference, held in November last year. In our nation’s capital they were invited to pray, worship and speak up to influence our Parliament to work towards achieving goals in the direction of Australia becoming a better global neighbour.
The three-day event included advocacy training, lobby groups, Biblical teaching, worship and prayer, meetings with politicians in Parliament House, practical workshops and kids and youth programs.Continue Reading
In the last week of September a very special event took place in Moscow. For the very first time, a hundred scholars came together in Russia to focus on the New Testament and its meaning for faith.
The largest contingent came from Russia itself, predominantly from the mighty Russian Orthodox Church. Alongside them were Orthodox scholars from a range of Eastern European countries, including Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Belarus, Ukraine, as well as Catholic and Protestant scholars from Finland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Britain, USA, and Australia.
I made the journey from afar as secretary for International Initiatives of the Society for New Testament Studies, working with its Eastern European Liaison Committee. The Society was able to win the support of Metropolitan Hilarion for the event, who generously hosted us on behalf of the Russian church.
This was a major development in the opening up of the discussion of how New Testament scholarship relates to faith. Some whose faith is nurtured and sustained by the ancient Orthodox liturgical tradition have been reluctant to look beyond it to the world of New Testament scholarship; to ask questions about history and identify diversity, as well as unity among the New Testament writings might undermine faith. We know such fear also from western fundamentalism.Continue Reading