How Sally Goldner found the freedom to be herself

By Mikaela Turner

Sally Goldner remembers her bar mitzvah well – which is not to say she remembers it with fondness. It was anything but a happy occasion.

At 13, Sally was a girl trapped in a boy’s body and the thought of celebrating her “coming of age” into manhood terrified her.

The year was ...

Coralie Ling enjoys her purple patch stage of life

By David Southwell

Trail-blazing UCA minister Coralie Ling has never been one to follow the script, even when making her debut as a stage actor.

Coralie, 80, who is the first woman to have been ordained a Methodist minister in Victoria, recently starred in the Gasworks Theatre stage show Beachside Stories, which featured the stories of five “local heroes” from ...

Pilgrim student Audrey Larsen back in class at age 97

By David Southwell

If you see a bright canary yellow hatchback parked near the front doors at Pilgrim Theological College there’s a good chance the 97-year-old owner is being just as conspicuous inside.

The signature car belongs to Audrey Larsen, who has enrolled as an audit student in the second semester philosophy subject Modern Self as ...

Meredith Lake’s award-winning soul focus on history

Learning about the past can open new ways of thinking about the present, something Dr Meredith Lake can personally attest to.

The award-winning historian and Radio National presenter grew up memorising Bible verses and praying at her dinner table in a devout Anglican household in Sydney’s outer suburbs.

She became hooked on the study of history in ...

Uniting Winter Appeal helps bring hope from the ashes

When Felicity was jolted awake at 3am by the fire alarm, smoke was already starting to fill up her bedroom.

“I just knew I had to get out of there,” the 51-year-old single mother says. “I had no time to grab any of my things,” the 51-year-old single mother said.

Thankfully none of Felicity’s three adult children were at home ...

Former TV reporter Jane Phelan takes it one step at a time

By David Southwell

Sitting in class last year, Pilgrim Theological College student Jane Phelan had a question to ask lecturer Sean Winter but found she wasn’t physically able to.

Asking questions was once Jane’s job across a string of prominent TV journalism and talk show roles. However, since suffering a major stroke 26 years ago the once consummate ...

Andy Calder accepts Henri Nouwen Award

Synod Disability Inclusion Advocate Rev Andy Calder told a presentation ceremony in the US that he was visibly shaken when he learnt he was to be honoured with the Henri Nouwen Award in recognition of his work with people with disabilities.

On Tuesday 21 May, Andy became the first person outside of North America to accept the award, which is ...

Idil Ali talks poetic justice at Sacrededge

It took a few years for Idil Ali to find her performing voice but she soon discovered people will go out of their way to hear it.

Next month Idil, 22, will bring her spoken word artistry to Sacrededge, the annual celebration of “spirituality in diversity” run by Queenscliff Uniting Church.

Idil’s poetry flows from her ...

Double take – Will and Amanda Nicholas

Amanda and Will Nicholas are Uniting Church ministers. And they’ve also been married for 22 years – which is quite remarkable when you take into account Will’s fruit-testing technique.


I had only just arrived in Tasmania the day before I first met Amanda in 1996 on the 26th of January.

At age 24 I was taking a ...

Tim Matton Johnson – first and foremost

Rev Tim Matton Johnson has retired after more than 30 years of ordained ministry during which he played a prominent leadership role in helping the Uniting Church live out a Covenant relationship between First and Second Peoples.

Tim first became involved with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) in 2003 was serving as regional chairperson in ...

Ray’s 60 years of spreading the gospel

At the end of Glenroy Uniting Church’s Sunday service on 14 October worship team leader Ray Averill announced that this would be “hanging up his preaching boots” after more than 60 years as a lay preacher.

“At 88 years of age I look back on a wonderful journey,” Ray said.

At the service Ray’s Medal of the Order ...

Above and beyond


An allegedly lop-sided table tennis rivalry led two Uniting Church ministers to partner in an innovative project to connect Christians who feel marginalised from traditional church communities.

Manningham Uniting Church minister Rev Lucas Taylor and Tecoma Uniting Church minister Rev Matt Cutler established Beyondering in 2015, but the history of the project traces ...