Editorial: The results are in!

One of the things we’ve been thinking about here at Revive HQ is how we want Revive to look into the future. This is why a few months ago we sent out a readership survey to get your feedback. We had a great response to the survey, with 105 people responding in total.

The most valued sections in Revive, according to the survey results, were the Faith in Action section followed by the feature articles and profile stories. The least valued was advertising. Following this was the First Third section – which, for a church so committed to engaging young people, really surprised me.

While we haven’t yet made any official changes to the structure of Revive, we have started offering a resourcing style article in the First Third section, to help our older readers get a bit more of  a grip on what First Third ministry is all about. In this edition we look at why kids are not the future of the church. To read the article click here.  Continue Reading

Moderator’s column: Signing up for the ongoing journey

Hitch Hiker picMany decades ago, when most uni students could not afford a second-hand car, hitchhiking was always an option. In those days it was safe; by putting your thumb out on the road-side within  minutes you could be sitting in the front or back seat of a car having a friendly chat with a kind motorist.

There was, however, one major drawback: uncertainty. Hitchhikers had no timetables; they could wait minutes or hours for a ride. I once found myself in the Nevada desert (USA) standing in a  long line of hitchhikers. Some had been there several hours and none of us knew when the next car would stop. We also never knew whether the ride would be for 5 miles or 500. But if you were  young with little money and a sense of adventure it was a great way to travel.

The days of hitchhiking are well and truly over. It is dangerous and illegal, but I can’t help thinking there are parallels with this pursuit and ‘the road less travelled’ that Jesus calls us to. When  Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee and saw Peter and Andrew, his brother and later James and his brother, John, Jesus invited them to “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:18). Maybe these fishermen had  heard rumours about this carpenter/preacher. Maybe they had even listened in on one of his teachings or witnessed a miracle. Perhaps they felt a little bit like hitchhikers. Continue Reading

Messages from the aether: On the road ahead

11 traits of churches that will impact the future

This is a great article looking into some of the trends of churches that are leading them in a positive direction. The author makes it clear that while church culture is changing, the message isn’t.  The experience is changing, but the story is just as powerful. As he writes: “One is sacred. The other is not.” Continue Reading

New principal for the Hall

In October, Rev Emeritus Prof Bill Loader was appointed as the new Principal of Perth Theological Hall. His term will run till the end of 2015. For Bill, this is a return to the Hall where he taught from 1978-2005.

Bill sees his return as coming at an exciting time of change and renewal in the church concerning theological education both for lay people and for those preparing for ordained ministry.

“We are beginning to see new forms of being church and a key role will be to support and resource these so that they continue to be rooted in the faith of the church and its traditions as they seek to bring them to fresh expression,” Bill said.

At the national level talks are underway to transform the way theological education is coordinated and resourced across the synods with new and promising possibilities of much closer collaboration, especially in professional formation. In WA there has been an important review process looking to the future shape especially of formation for ordained ministry. It is likely to lead to new ways of doing things at a number of levels: from ways of assessment, deployment of staff resources, engagement of local UCA expertise, to development of a wider range of methods of delivery including intensives.Continue Reading

Bridging the age gap

Rockingham Uniting Church has always welcomed and encouraged its youngest members. In our Kids of Uniting Church in Australia (KUCA) group on Sundays, children would learn and have fun, however there was always something missing.

With KUCA finishing after age twelve, those who finished had no next step along their faith journey other than to join adult worship and studies if they wished. To cater for this fast growing demographic, Rockingham has implemented two new groups to help the youth and young adults of the church to continue to grow in their faith and as people.

Our Youth Group, aimed at high school aged teens, has been running for more than three years now and continues to attract new members from both within and outside the church congregation. Mostly comprised of games and activities with elements of team building and prayer, the youth group offers a great setting for local teens to enjoy fellowship and have fun together whilst growing into well rounded young people. Continue Reading

KCO: Life is a journey

No matter your age,
No matter the time,
Life is a journey
And KCO is the rhyme.

We’re off sometime soon
And everyone’s coming.
But there’s plenty of room
So no need for shoving.

Come March the 13th, that’s when we’ll start.
Not before 2015 ‘til we depart.
Junior leaders on Friday, then campers the next,
You’ll be home on the Sunday, no time for rest.
And the Feast on the Saturday is happening again,
It’s open to everyone, so bring all your friends.

There’s much more to come,
But we’re only just starting.
Because life is a journey,
To life everlasting.Continue Reading

Dreaming of adventure and growth

St Stephen’s School has celebrated the purchase of a new campsite with a community open day inviting students and families to tour the grounds and dream of its future possibilities.

Located in Dwellingup, close to Scotch College’s – another Uniting Church School – Moray campsite, Trinity College’s Camp Kelly and the Nanga Bush Camp, the site is 46 hectares of land with exciting developmental opportunities.

Tony George, Principal of St Stephen’s School, said they chose to purchase the property because of its natural features which will enhance the school’s already existing outdoor education program, including 800m of Murray River frontage, extensive native forest and its access to both the Munda Biddi Trail and Bibbulmun Track.

The camp’s location close to the historic town of Dwellingup will provide students with an opportunity to learn more about the land. Dr Phil Ridden, who has recently written a history of the school, is now writing a history of the site so that visitors might have a better understanding of the connection Australia’s Aboriginal people have with the land.Continue Reading

Bring down your walls this Christmas

‘Joshua fit the battle of Jericho…and the walls came tumbling down!’

This song and the story have been in my head since the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The stories about these walls are different: the Jericho wall was built to protect its inhabitants and to keep intruders out; the Berlin wall was built to stop East German people leaving their country en masse.

The stories about these walls are also similar: they were both brought down without violence, by people power, by persistent trust in a future that could be better than the present, by faith, as the Hebrews author puts it.

Yes, Jericho was invaded after the walls crumbled and its population butchered, but that is not the point. The point is that walls can be brought down – no matter how long, high, big or strong they are. The point is that when they do come down, there is reason for celebration.Continue Reading

Paving a way forward

All this year, we’ve been reporting updates from Rev David Kriel, Strategy and Mission Planner for the Uniting Church in WA in his work looking towards building strategies for the future. In our final article in the series, David offers some ideas for a way forward for us as a church.

David shared that in this journey, it’s vital for congregations to do some active soul searching.

“For the future it’s a question about faith formation and faith sharing,” he said. “Congregations need to discover who they are as a faith community and how they’re going to share that faith with their neighbours, their community.”

Part of being able to share faith with our communities is to know our communities.

“Congregations need to see who their community is and how they are going to engage in their community; not asking people to come to the church all the time, but getting out and engaging with the community. I think that’s very important,” he said. Continue Reading

The church of the future: Oh the possibilities

You’ve heard it before, we all know it’s happening: the Uniting Church is in steady decline. Despite the good intentions of many who try to encourage us to change our ways so we can thrive again, the truth is the church is currently heading towards a gloomy situation.

Dr Keith Suter, futurist, well respected Australian social commentator and Uniting Church member, has independently researched and completed his third PhD: The Future of the Uniting Church in Australia, as a labour of love through the University of Sydney. Using the ‘scenario planning’ method, which Revive has previously featured in relation to work of the Uniting Church in WA’s Strategy and Mission Planning Commission, Keith has come up with four ‘possible’ futures the Uniting Church in Australia could head down.

To clarify, a possible future is different to a predicted or preferred future, in that it may not be a scenario which we all want and it’s not the only option available to us. Instead, Keith has put forward a number of realistic scenarios that could or could not play out depending on how we manage the organisation from here on.Continue Reading