Faith to the fore in Tonga

By Andrew Humphries

Ten days after the South Pacific Island nation of Tonga was devastated by a tsunami, the ripple effects continue to be felt thousands of kilometres away by many of that country’s Synod of Victoria and Tasmania members.

Their thoughts and prayers are now with the people of their home land as Tongans begin the long road to ...

Call to prayer after tsunami

Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) President, Rev Sharon Hollis, and Chair of the Uniting Church’s Tongan National Conference (TNC), Rev Feke Kamitoni, have encouraged people to pray for Tonga after it was hit by a tsunami late on Saturday night.

Communication lines have been down since the tsunami was triggered by the eruption of underwater volcano Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai.


Reflections on Christmas

With Christmas almost upon us, three Victoria and Tasmania UC members and three Uniting World members from overseas reflect on what the day means to them.

Rev Trang Vo, North Essendon Uniting Church

When asked what Christmas Day represents to me, the first thing that comes to mind is community, because, for me, Christmas is not a one-time experience, it’s ...

It’s a question of faith

By John Evans

When a child is born we have a standard list of questions.

Possibly at the top we want to know that the mother and baby are well, radiant even! However, in rapid fire order, we also want to know what is the baby’s name is; who does the child take after; and apparently, the weight of the child. An odd question I have always thought, but perhaps ...

Peace of mind in music


By Cathy Withiel

Sunsets lost their beauty for David Ross-Smith when they were replaced by sundowners.

Sundowning is the term used to describe agitation and distress experienced in the early evening by those living with dementia. And as David watched his partner, Rev David Hodges AM, call out in confusion, he decided to put on a CD of classical ...

Aid to Z from John and Jenny

By Andrew Humphries

Almost 30 years ago, John and Jenny Preston met a remarkable woman whose influence would propel them on a journey of discovery and mission which marks its 25th anniversary this year.

That woman was Harriet Sianjibu-Miyato, a human dynamo determined to make a difference in her home country of Zambia.

In 1996, Jenny, a Uniting Church Deacon ...

Minister all over the shops

By Andrew Humphries

In Australia, we use many wonderful words to describe talking to someone. We might chew the fat, have a natter, a chinwag, a yarn or just a good old-fashioned chat.

And for one Melbourne Minister, the rewards gained from the simple art of conversation have become something quite special in a world turned upside ...

Elliot’s hidden a-gender

By Andrew Humphries

Courage is easy to define, easy to spot and easy to appreciate and even laud, but sometimes it’s not easy to find. To have.

The dictionary defines the word courage as “the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery”, and images of firefighters and soldiers and so on readily spring to mind.

But sometimes just being ...

No bucks? No worries

By Frank Porter

No bucks? No worries! If it’s not the motto of one of Hobart’s most popular community meals services, Nobucks, it probably should be.

Since 2007, Nobucks – which is a play on the name Starbucks – has served free lunches each weekday to anyone who turns up, which is mostly people in need.

And the menu isn’t ...

Vote of thanks for Jessie

By Donald Moss

In Wivenhoe Cemetery, outside Burnie on Tasmania’s north-west coast, lies the grave of a remarkable, yet little-known, woman: Jessie Spinks Rooke.

The cemetery was the site of a simple, but moving ceremony recently to celebrate the restoration of her grave to its original condition, thereby honouring Jessie’s enormous contribution to Tasmanian women.

Jessie died 115 years ago, ...

Members urged to speak up

As next year’s Synod Meeting draws closer, Uniting Church members are being invited to have their say.

Younger members and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply to take part next year.

Those keen to get involved should contact their Presbytery or congregation Minister, who can then nominate them.

Burwood Heights Minister Sylvia Akauola-Tongotongo was ...

Rod’s role of honour

By Andrew Humphries

Each October, retired Uniting Church Minister Rod Horsfield pauses to reflect on one of this country’s most shameful and tragic maritime incidents and wonders what might have been.

On October 19, 2001 an Indonesian fishing vessel carrying more than 400 asylum seekers sank in Australian maritime waters, with 353 men, women and children drowning.