Ferment, Change and the Church’s Vocation


The ferment within Christianity during the twentieth century and which continues into the present century is incalculable. The transitions which have occurred in geographical spread, cultural diversity, theological approaches, and doctrinal controversies have been simply phenomenal.  The numerical growth of the church in Asia, Africa and South America alongside its numerical decline in Europe and ...

With good intentions


The community of the Uniting Church has been at the forefront of volunteering in Australia and overseas for decades. But it’s probably time to rethink how we respond to this worthy impulse.

When we witness the deprivation and inequality people face in developing countries, many of us are moved to contribute in some way.  Volunteers ...

St Paddy – God and Country


I grew up during the 1980s in the Republic of Ireland. At a time when the evening news frequently summarised violence occuring not too far away north of the border, as well as the more global fears of the Cold War, there was a constant sense of existential threat.

I still associate a lot of that fear ...

Subversive Tradition

Behind the formal declaration of International Women’s Day by the United Nations in 1975 there is a longer tradition. In 1911 more than one million women and men in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and Austria began to keep 19 March as a Women’s Day to rally for women’s right to vote. It is worth pausing to think about this in ...

The grace of God

The piles of new books on my desk and coffee table could be viewed as minor health and safety risk. If they all toppled onto your foot, they could certainly do some damage. The first few weeks of the year are a good time to make a dent in them. One of the great joys of my role at ...

On the breath of God

In January, after a night camped at Mallacoota Foreshore Reserve, we carried our breakfast to a grassy spot overlooking the inlet. Behind us, a young woman sat at a wooden table, reading. When we walked past her on our way back to our tent, we noticed that she was reading a bible, and Catherine stopped to talk.

The early ...

Clementine Ford combats online violence against women


Social media was busy last week. Australian feminist writer Clementine Ford created a storm when she cited examples of online harassment she regularly receives. Clementine rightly classified the comments as online violence, an observation supported by a September 2015 report by the United Nations Broadband Commission in ...

Together towards life

By John Flett

In September, I gathered with 31 other participants in Bangkok for a seminar co-hosted by the World Council of Churches and the Council for World Mission. We met together to consider the official 2013 World Council of Churches statement on mission, titled Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes (TTL).

This was a gathering ...

The case for suspended sentences

The Tasmanian Government is currently looking into abolishing suspended sentences and replacing them with a range of alternative sentencing options for people who have committed a criminal offence.

The Vic/Tas Uniting Church synod advocates the use of prison as a last resort and would prefer instead to see a range of options that would be more likely to prevent ...

Infectious Youth Leadership

By Adrian Greenwood

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Ever had a conversation with a young person passionately telling you about the activity they just took part in? The excitement of leading, participating and playing their part to make ...

The WDBJ7 Tragedy

By Emmet O’Cuana

I wish I had not watched the footage.

It was late last night. I should have been asleep. But I saw the headline on the online culture website Boing Boing describing a shooting that occurred live on air. I did not click to read the article – it immediately felt like an escalation of what we ...

Cato lecture – Living on the margins

By Dr Lin Manhong

The Cato Lecture is an important feature of the triennial Assembly in the Uniting Church in Australia.

In 1932, successful Victorian businessman Fred Cato established the Cato Lectureship to promote the enhancement of religion and education. The presentation of material of interest to the general body of church members was designed to extend the goodwill and friendly ...