How can youth ministry spark joy?

By Bradon French

Eighteen months ago, Marie Kondo sparked a “decluttering revolution” via her Netflix special Tidying Up. The show, based on her book, invited a global audience to consider each of their belongings and ask “Does this spark joy?” If the item didn’t, it no longer warranted keeping. Simply sell, recycle or trash it. The show saw op-shops inundated ...

Depths of pain – surviving child sex abuse

By Damien Tann

I recently read Louise Milligan’s excellent book Cardinal: The Rise And Fall Of George Pell with the intention of reviewing it.

I was interested in it for two reasons: I am a Uniting Church minister in placement and I’m also a survivor of a repeated act of sexual assault perpetrated by an adult officer while I was ...

How can we use what we’ve learned in lockdown?

Rev Mat Harry asks what forms of communities could we provide for people to engage with, and deepen, their Christian faith when places of worship can re-gather in person? He frames his response using the framework of a Discipleship Pathway, such as Call, Alongside, Invite, Equip and Send.

Call – Salt in turbulence

Everyone has lived through a turbulent ...

Trump’s photo op with Bible was offensive, but not new

By Rev Dr Robyn Whitaker

US President Donald Trump delivered an address this week in which he threatened military action on the nation. Then he walked to the nearby St John’s Episcopal Church to pose with a Bible.

Yes, Trump held the Bible like a baby holding a spoon for the first time – unsure which end is which – ...

George Floyd and the Good Samaritan

By Swee Ann Koh

“Please, please, please, I can’t breathe. Please, man.”

By now you would have watched the video of a white American police officer kneeling on the neck of an unarmed black man named George Floyd. The video, shot by bystanders, showed George pleading for help as the white officer pressed his knee on George’s neck. George later ...

Can I get a witness? Violence, racism and Christian response

By Robyn Whitaker

Yet another black man has died this week as a result of police brutality in the USA. His name was George Floyd and his story ignited both rage and grief across Minneapolis. Witnesses yelled at the policeman kneeling on George’s neck to get off as they could see he wasn’t moving. One asked, “Did you kill ...

Rev Claire Dawe asks “what defines worship?”

By Rev Claire Dawe, Manningham Uniting Church

In a bid to explore creative ways of offering meaningful and authentic worship, I sometimes attend conferences and study different ideas looking at re-imagined forms of worship and being church.

Many are incredibly creative, but I wonder if they actually are forms of worship or if they are “just” engaging activities that point ...

Write of Passage: Rev Angie Griffin

“Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” – Mark 7:28

By Rev Angie Griffin, Grange Cluster Minister, Presbytery of Western Victoria

The Syrophoenician Woman, whose encounter with Jesus is told in Mark 7: 24- 28 is my favourite Gospel character, even if she is unnamed, as is her daughter.

...

Is it OK to have Holy Communion online?

By Rev Dr Sally Douglas

Something strange happened when we gathered – via Zoom – for worship on Easter Day. We prayed together. We read sacred text together. We sang falteringly, across the wi-fi connection together and we explored what following the risen, crucified One in our own lives might look like. None of this was strange.

However, in the ...

Now I understand what Lent is all about

By Ellaine Downie

I usually don’t “do” Lent. On Pancake Tuesday, between mouthfuls of dough and maple syrup, some of my more spiritual friends announce what they will be giving up for Lent. Sometimes it’s chocolate, sometimes it’s the movies.

I remember one year a friend announced with some trepidation – and (if this doesn’t sound too bitchy) a rather ...

Coronavirus panic has allowed racism to resurface

By Swee-Ann Koh

Last week, when visiting a large shopping centre in Melbourne, I approached a concierge for information. As I did so I couldn’t help but notice she took a step backwards.

 Initially I was puzzled and wondered why she did that. As I walked away, I wondered whether she thought that I, as ...

Sex, sin, shame and the virgin birth – Robyn Whitaker

By Robyn Whitaker

It took 400 years, but sometime in the early fifth century Christians transformed a tradition about Jesus’s miraculous virgin birth into a doctrine that inextricably connected sex with sin. It has plagued the church ever since, doing untold damage to generations of women in particular.

In its original context, the claim that Jesus was born ...