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.

...

Season to be thankful

As we come close to the end of the year, we might be filled with anticipation and a sense of hope about Christmas this year. Borders are reopening. Restrictions on work, travel and gatherings are easing. There is a sense of promise that long-separated loved ones might be reunited.

At the same time, many of us are feeling weary and ...

What and why of worship

By Sally Douglas

It is very easy to turn God into our own image. To make ideas of God – what God looks like, what God wants and who God loves – conform to the shape of our own beliefs. This happens across Christian churches, and other faith traditions. It is increasingly clear this also happens in circles who claim ...

How do we reopen doors?

By Andrew Humphries

As Victorians emerged from the sixth, and hopefully last, COVID-19 lockdown in late October, they were confronted with challenges around how the state could safely reopen and what role vaccination would play in that.

The Synod of Victoria and Tasmania is grappling with those same issues as congregations return to physical worship amid some confusion, ...

Bell tolls for violence victims

By Andrew Humphries

At 2.30pm last Sunday, the bell at St Peter’s Eastern Hill Anglican Church tolled 39 times to remember the women lost to domestic violence so far this year.

Moderator Denise Liersch joined St Peter’s Vicar Rev Dr Hugh Kempster, Victorian Council of Churches executive officer Rev Ian Smith and Sr Nicole Rotaru from Catholic Social Services Victoria ...

Novel approach to religion

By Donald Moss

Murder-mystery author Bob Faser wants to reassure readers of his debut novel that there is no such person as the Bishop of Launceston.

That’s probably just as well, because it’s the fictitious Bishop’s death that opens the Hobart-based retired Uniting Church Minister’s murder-mystery, Fresh Expressions of Murder.

The Bishop is found dead at the bottom of Launceston’s ...