Beyond Anzac

Surely the first thing to say about the Gallipoli landing is ‘never again’.

This sounds controversial in contemporary Australia because the word ‘Anzac’ is synonymous with so many qualities we admire – resilience in adversity, self-sacrificing concern for others, and larrikin confidence.

But when we import Anzac into sport, politics and advertising to stand for these rich strands of Australian ...

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 ...

Why ‘retirement’ is not a Christian Word

There are good reasons why the word ‘retirement’ has been used around me, and about me, in recent times. I have just concluded my placement at the Theological College and, at the age of 67 years, am no longer taking up a further placement.

I must be retiring; even the ecclesial documents I need to fill in tell me ...

Depictions of home

My daughters and I spent this Christmas in Vietnam.

There was a strangeness to celebrating Christmas in a country where Christmas is not a major festival. While the hotels we stayed in and many of the shops we passed had Santas and snowmen and signs wishing us a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, most of the signs and ...

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) ...

Back to Basis

In 1957 the Congregational, Presbyterian and Methodist churches of Australia established the ‘Joint Commission on Church Union’ (JCCU).

It was made up of lay and ordained, theologians and church leaders (all of whom, unsurprisingly for the 1950s, were white men).

Strikingly, the JCCU was mandated to “negotiate until union was achieved”. The negotiated union was achieved in 1977. What ...

Breaking the silos

In 2015, the Uniting Church in Australia will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 4th National Assembly declaration – “The Uniting Church is a multicultural Church”.

After three decades, it’s reasonable that we pause and take stock of how far we have lived into the declaration and expectations the Church made in 1985.
One of the dominant features of ...

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, ...

Why ‘Happy’ doesn’t fit with ‘Christmas’

When it comes to purchasing Christmas cards, if you are like me, then you look not only at the image on the front of the card but the words printed inside. Recently I stood in the foyer of our local church perusing with other members of the congregation a display of Christmas cards for 2014.

I immediately deleted the majority ...

Travelling North

Since joining UnitingWorld in June of this year, I’ve already had the privilege of visiting a few countries to get a little more understanding of the depth and diversity of the work of our partners and the communities they seek to serve. In September I visited Sri Lanka to observe the work of our partners.

This work embodies, for me, ...

A taste of country

The nature of being a candidate in formation for ministry leaves the question always hovering: what kind of minister will I be? What kind of place will I minister into?

Part of a formation program is giving candidates the opportunity to explore these questions, to think about their identity as ministers, about what ministry might look like in different ...

What women want

“I would like to say that the first time Adam had a chance he laid the blame on a woman.” – Nancy Astor (The first female British politician)

THE cartoon below has been around for some time. It is one of those succinct pieces of media, which touches on the complicated debate around the question: What is a woman’s ...