Conversations with Congress

By Dan Wootton

One of my tasks as moderator has been to act as convenor of the Renewing the Covenant Task Group. The task group is attended by representatives of the Victorian and Tasmanian Regional committees of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (Congress) as well as representatives of the synod.

The report of the National Congress to ...

Challenge of Assembly

By Dan Wootton

In his retiring address to the Assembly in Perth, former president Rev Dr Andrew Dutney quoted philosopher John Dewey who said, “We do not learn from experience, we learn from reflecting on experience.”

Readers who have never attended an Assembly meeting might be forgiven for thinking that there is ample time during ...

Called to our diversity

This month, the moderator has given his column to Rev Professor Andrew Dutney, who steps down from the role as UCA president at this month’s national Assembly meeting.

On this 38th anniversary of the inauguration of the Uniting Church in Australia, I greet you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to take this ...

Putting the ‘G’ into OMG

By Dan Wootton

The other morning as I headed down the hill in the dark, I felt something silently whiz past my face. I walked on, and as the dim light marginally improved, it happened again. This time I could just make out that it was a bat. Not a big fruit bat, this one was only about ...

Searching for the sacred

By Dan Wootton

Having been a banker, I guess a desire of mine in coming to work for the Church some 26 years ago was an endeavour to pursue the sacred and leave the profane behind.

But the profane keeps dogging me, particularly as the Church embarks on entrepreneurial ways to generate income for ongoing missional purposes.


Open our eyes to the Easter gift

By Dan Wootton

Many Christians prepare for Easter through self-sacrifice, by forgoing one thing or another.  At times, this may seem difficult.  But if we look at the period leading up to Easter as a time of misery, I think we’re missing the point.

Jesus effectively said that we are to die to ourselves in order to live. By ...

Benefit of the doubt

From a very young age, my brothers and I enjoyed playing cricket on the front driveway. Ours was the biggest (and best) game in the street. Other kids regularly joined in, as it was impossible to ignore all the associated noise.

From a decibel perspective, I was the worst – very vocal and loud and intense. I played for keeps ...

Time to clear institutional clutter

Another year has begun, and we each begin our trek again in whatever we do within the life of the Church. While we are forever beginners, we often carry into a new year the baggage of past expectations, failures and unfulfilled desires.

Towards the end of last year, at the meeting of Synod, we used a Leunig cartoon (pictured) ...

Singing Scottish songs in Sri Lanka

‘Now, no more talking… use your nose, and give your mind to it,’ said Rat to Mole … They moved on in silence for some little way, when suddenly the Rat was conscious, through his arm that was linked in Mole’s, of a faint sort of electric thrill that was passing down the animal’s body. Instantly he disengaged himself, ...

Stirring the Possum

The second half of my term as moderator has begun and I have just returned from chairing a two-day meeting of the newly elected Synod Standing Committee empowered to ‘act’ on behalf of the Synod over the next 18 months.

Thus far, many of the words I’ve had to say have been about prayer. Now I believe it’s time to ...


Earlier on in my term as Moderator, I was given a book by a retired Uniting Church minister entitled, ‘Violence and Christian Spirituality – An Ecumenical Conversation’, edited by Emmanuel Clapsis [A World Council of Churches Publication].

Whilst I believe it was given to me for a different purpose, I have found myself turning to it again in recent times, ...


From time to time there are some who write letters to the editor of Crosslight with a measure of certainty about what they have to say. Indeed that can also be the case with the spoken word at meetings and councils of the church. I often come away from a meeting chastising myself for my spoken contribution.

Each of ...