Gifts, goats and God this Christmas

“You got me a what?”

Uncle Graham is squinting at your card, breath a little yeasty from the Christmas pudding. Frankly, he’s disappointed. It was socks he wanted. Or a fishing magazine. He also had his eye on a new case for his iphone.

You got him a goat from UnitingWorld’s Everything in Common ethical gift catalogue. Worthy, but clearly not his favourite.

“Well, it’s for a family in Zimbabwe…” you tell him, a little flustered. “They’ll breed the goats and with the money they can get for them at the market, they’ll send their children to school. It’s pretty cool, actually.”

Uncle Graham looks skeptical. He doesn’t actually say it, but you can see what he’s thinking: “So you got me nothing. You got them goats, but you got me nothing.”Continue Reading

When Christmas is blue

Christmas is such a joyous time. The kids are excited, the tree is glowing, and friends and family come together to share gifts and food to celebrate the season.

But as we go through life, it’s inevitable that each of us will suffer grief, loneliness or sadness. Christmas can be a painful reminder of those times.

Christmas can bring back memories that are hard to live with; for some it’s a reminder of the physical distance between loved ones, others may be separated from their children as they spend a happy Christmas with their other parent, or maybe it is a reminder that a friend or family member is no longer with them to celebrate the season.Continue Reading

Bringing people together at Christmas

UnitingCare West officially launched the annual Target UnitingCare Christmas Appeal in WA on Friday 18 November, in Perth’s CBD, at 100 St George’s Terrace Perth. Students from Tranby College helped create a festive environment, singing Christmas carols to those present.

One in eight Australians are currently living in poverty. Many of these people turn to UnitingCare to put food on the table, buy gifts for their children and provide temporary accommodation over Christmas. The  annual Christmas Appeal helps to support people through their hard times.

This year, Target and UnitingCare are hoping to raise $1.5 million, which will go towards running many of UnitingCare’s community services. Leave an unwrapped gift underneath the Christmas tree at  participating Target stores, and you could be helping women and children fleeing domestic violence, people seeking emergency relief or children in foster care.

At the launch, Sue Ash, CEO of UnitingCare West, explained what the Target UnitingCare Christmas Appeal means for UnitingCare West. Continue Reading

A Christmas message from our President: Called to be a sign of hope

 

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Stuart McMillan, has used his Christmas message to call on all Australians to be signs of hope for people suffering in the world.

Drawing on Matthew’s Gospel, Stuart describes Jesus’ birth as a sign to Christians that God is at work in the world, walking with people, among us in our celebrations of life and in our suffering. Jesus is a sign of hope, and those of us who follow him are to be signs of that hope, bearers of light and love.

In his annual message, Stuart highlights the concern the Uniting Church has for people seeking refuge from violence in places like Iraq, Syria and South Sudan.

Refugees around the world “continue to face unbearable situations including – to our shame – in our Australian Government detention centres,” said Stuart.

“As Christians, we are called to walk with, sit with, cry with, laugh with, work alongside and listen attentively to others in their times of need and celebration, just as Jesus did.”Continue Reading

More than you imagine: Everything in Common

Everything in CommonAustralians 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.Continue Reading

Homemade giving at Christmas

In the Christmas story, three wise men bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus to celebrate the birth. Gift giving is a great way to show you care about the  people in your life and homemade gifts are even better. They cost less, are fun to make, and mean so much more to the person receiving them. Parents and grandparents especially  love receiving homemade gifts which they can keep as you grow up, as a reminder of when you were young.Continue Reading