Getting to know the Bethel Centre – Julie McDonald Q&A

Interview by David Southwell

What is your job?

I am the coordinator of the Bethel Centre and a counsellor. Bethel is an independent and free counselling service for people connected with the Uniting Church.

Can you tell me a bit more about the Bethel Centre?

Bethel was established in 1997, originally in response to child sexual abuse. From day one, ...

Sex and the Bible: Jione Havea Q&A

Jione Havea teaches Sex & The Bible at Pilgrim Theological College. Why? Because there’s a lot to explore and explain and many people “dirtify” the subject.

Interview by Stephen Acott

What drew you to this subject?

The main task is to change how we look at the Bible.

How do you mean?

Historically, biblical interpretation divides the spirit and ...

Coping with COVID-19: Jo Austin

As part of our ongoing series, we speak with Jo Austin, children’s support worker at Hampton Park UCA.

How has your work been affected by the lockdowns?

My outreach work is very much a hands-on, face-to-face ministry, with a weekly community lunch and food relief run out of the church, playgroup and fortnightly Messy Church-type community called FEAST (Families Eating ...

Why we should all get outdoors – Daniel Murray Q&A

Camping has come a long way since the first tent was pitched. Now we have insulated facilities with ensuites, bathrooms and proper kitchens. But one thing hasn’t changed – the joy, comfort and challenge found in Mother Nature’s warm embrace. Just ask Daniel Murray. 

Interview by Stephen Acott

What’s your title?

UC Camping Director.

When did you start this job?


Why churches must change to stay alive – Mat Harry Q&A

Interview by Stephen Acott

What’s your title?

I’m the New & Renewing Communities Catalyst.

What does that mean?

The prevailing paradigm is for churches to have a building and a minister and assume that opening the doors to a worship service will entice people to engage with us.  My role is to assist churches to transition ...

Why heaven could have wheelchairs – Andy Calder Q&A

What’s your title and when did you begin?

My title is Disability Inclusion Advocate. The position was created in 1995. I had some history working in the disability sector before being ordained so the church wanted to utilise that experience.

It doesn’t sound like you had much experience in the mental health sphere before assuming this role?


Art and Soul – Christina Rowntree Q&A

What’s your title?

Theology + Arts Ministry, in the Priorities Focus and Advocacy stream of eLM.

When did you begin?

This particular role of developing the arts in the life of our Synod, started in 2005. I’d been working in the Synod before that as an events manager. There was a project looking at where the ...

Fighting the good fight – Mark Zirnsak Q&A

What’s your title?

I am the Senior Social Justice Advocate for the Justice and International Mission (JIM) cluster of the Victoria/Tasmania Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia.

That’s quite a mouthful, you’d need a big business card just to squeeze it all in. What does it mean?

(laughs) It means I deal with social justice ...

New clarity to baggage-laden words

The word ‘evangelism’ is returning to the Uniting Church’s lexicon, with a national conference dedicating an entire program to mission and evangelism scheduled for Adelaide in March. Penny Mulvey spoke with the convenor of the conference, Queensland based Rev Peter Armstrong about why, after nearly 20 years’ silence, Assembly is once again publicly tackling the thorny issues of mission and ...