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 ...

Q&A with Holly Allen

Dr Holly Catterton Allen is a leading academic researcher, author and teacher in the field of intergenerational ministry. This month, Holly will travel from Nashville, Tennessee, to run a two-day Embracing Intergenerational Ministry workshop at the Centre of Theology and Ministry.

Can you offer a definition of what intergenerational ministry is and isn’t?

My co-author ...

Deidre’s discipleship


“I actually think leadership grows out of discipleship,” Dr Deidre Palmer says.

“As an educator, as someone who contributes to people’s formation in faith, I see leadership arising from inviting people into a deeper relationship with God.”

Youth worker, Christian educator, academic, theologian, social worker, counsellor, Moderator – from July 2018, Dr Deidre ...

Peter Blackwood Q&A

Peter Blackwood painted the icon that appears on the April Crosslight front cover. He is the coordinator of the Uniting Church Icon Schools, a retired UCA minister and former synod associate general secretary. We asked Peter a few questions about the cover image and his passion for painting icons.

Tell us about the icon you created for Crosslight’s cover.


Sumaya Harare and loving who you are


Next month Sumaya Harare makes her first appearance as a guest speaker at Sacred Edge, a festival of arts, music, justice and spirituality hosted by the Queenscliff Uniting Church.

From an early age Sumaya Harare was acutely aware of being different.

“At the age of seven, I arrived in Melbourne with my three ...

Degrees of inspiration

Graduating Pilgrim Theological College students welcomed the strong theme of female ministry and leadership that emerged as they collected their qualifications during a University of Divinity award service held at St Michael’s Uniting Church in central Melbourne.

Heather Hon and Fiona Bottcher were among the 19 Pilgrim students conferred awards during the 16 March service that ...