Why we should embrace the advantages of virtual worship

By Peter Whitaker

The pandemic has turned our lives and society upside down and digitalised the Church, as we have had to gather online. These gatherings had an increase in attendees, which was a  phenomenon experienced across the globe.

This has happened with concerns about online worship, not the least of which has been the celebration of Holy Communion. Some ...

Learnings from leading funerals during lockdown

By Rev Claire Dawe, minister at Manningham Uniting Church

When the first lockdown began, we all knew how difficult funerals would be to organise and lead, but the ever-changing advice seemed to add to the complexity.

My practice, when possible and appropriate, has been to visit the person who is ailing and offer prayer support to that person and the ...

Why we should prioritise prayer practice

By Rev Sally Douglas, Minister at Richmond Uniting Church

Why do we gather, online or in person, as church? What are we here for? For ministers and congregations, COVID-19 has brought a sharp halt to much of our busy work and created opportunities to engage with such questions. While being busy can make us feel important, indispensable even, pausing ...

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 ...