Drifting in prayer

Three mates headed out to sea on Tuesday 4 February, not realising they were about to experience the ordeal of a lifetime. Stranded at sea for 16 hours, Rev Dr Les Brockway, Derrick  Fayers and Anthony Solomons held on to hope through prayer and courage.

The three men, aged 72, 78 and 60, set off from Woodman Point towards Carnac Island on one of their regular fishing trips, anchoring at around 6.00pm. They had already caught a number of fish when Tony hooked quite a large one and was determined to land it into the boat. Meanwhile, the back of the boat was gradually sinking lower and lower. Within a few  minutes the trio were in serious trouble. Continue Reading

So all may see a destiny together

The invitation to travel to Canberra to attend a vigil on the lawns of Parliament House on 18 March 2014 was extended to Uniting Church people throughout Australia. I was on long  service leave pending retirement at the time, so I was free to travel to this national event. My husband Robin and I travelled to Canberra as representatives of the WA Synod.

The vigil was part of ‘A Destiny Together: A Week of Prayer and Fasting for Justice for First Peoples. It was planned by the Uniting Church Assembly in response to the stories of  suffering from Indigenous people affected by the government Intervention in the Northern Territory and the subsequent Stronger Futures legislation.Continue Reading

Welcoming the stranger: Putting it to the test

A journey in faith is so rarely put out there in public for all to see. But as Pastor Nadia Bolz-Weber writes in her new book, “Pastrix: The beautiful cranky faith of a sinner and saint,” the  truth is so much better than just trying to be good all the time.

Raised in the Church of Christ in America, Nadia always felt uncomfortable with the strict rules of her church and the dismissive ways women were treated. While her journey has led  her to becoming a Lutheran Pastor, there was a time in her life when she felt so hurt by Christianity that she wanted nothing to do with it at all. Continue Reading

Religion and spirituality: Finding God within

“I don’t go to church – I’m spiritual, but I’m not religious.”

It’s a phrase often heard and it’s being heard more and more. Research from the National Church Life Survey (NCLS) found that 44.6% of respondents to the 2009 Australian Survey of  Social Attitudes believed that there is something beyond this life that makes sense of it all. Of this, 24% have no religious affiliation.

So what does that mean exactly? As Dr Val Webb, theologian and author, explains, it’s a little hard to define – mostly because the term ‘spiritual’ is so full of baggage. Continue Reading

Challenging the language of fear

When we think about what we are scared of, what comes to mind? Debt? Crime? Death?

Dr Keith Suter, managing director of Global Directions and Uniting Church member, is a leader in global thought and a member of arguably  the most prestigious global think tank in the world, the Club of Rome. While you may not realise it, he believes that many Australians are  fearful of invasion. Continue Reading

Pirate Church: Calling all mischief makers

You know you’re doing ministry right when it involves trips to a comedy festival and the consumption of copious quantities of rum. That, at least, is the lesson Paul ‘Werzel’  Montague and Rev Chris Bedding have learnt from the last year.

The cult sensation, Pirate Church, had a sell-out season at Perth’s Fringe World Festival. Then the boys embarked on a national tour, taking in the Melbourne International Comedy Festival and appearances in Sydney and Melbourne. Later in 2013, they launched an innovative addition to the Pirate Church brand – the deliciously naughty A Week at St  Bastard’s. Continue Reading

Neighbours on the street

Within a period of eight months, UnitingCare West, a community service provider of the Uniting Church, has come into contact with over 180 families who are at risk of  homelessness in Perth. That is over five families a week in crisis situations. Responding to this need, UnitingCare West opened the Family Foundations Service to support families  who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless in Perth and the surrounding suburbs. Continue Reading