Category: Uncategorized

Earth Hour – 24th March 2018 – 8.30pm

Earth Hour Saturday 24th 2018, 8.30pm
Sallie McFague: “What if we dared to think of our planet as the body of God? God, not transcendent over the universe in the sense of external to, or apart from it, but as the source, power and goal; the spirit that enlivens and loves the entire process and its material forms. God the inspirited body of the entire universe, the animating, living spirit that produces guides, and saves all that is.

‘How to’ and ‘how not to’ vote

The writer Gregg Easterbrook (The Atlantic Monthly; New York Times) was interviewed this week on Radio National and he said, “By almost every meaningful measure the modern world is better than it’s ever been. People want to believe the worst because they think that optimism means complacency. Optimists are not the ones who just have a ‘sunny disposition’, who think everything’s going to be fine. Rather, optimism is the belief that problems can be solved, that reforms can address the problems in society. Why then do so few of us not look optimistically to the future? That everything is worse than what it is?

There must be a God somewhere

When I first started as a chaplain I was anxious about where to be. I felt the urge to sprint around the hospital looking for hot spots where I could be of use. A wise woman offered me this … As you walk around the hospital … what would happen if you imagined Jesus walking next to you. The moment I did that I realized that Jesus would not be sprinting. He’d be walking a whole lot slower. He wouldn’t be anxious or rushing. He would be noticing. He would be pausing to enjoy people’s company. He would be stopping to listen and hear about people’s pain. He would be sharing a scone and a cuppa in the staff room. He would be living in the moment. That changed everything.

The changing of the seasons – autumn

Thomas Merton wrote: “There is in all visible things…a hidden wholeness.”
In the visible world of nature, a great truth is concealed in plain sight: diminishment and beauty, darkness and light, death and life are not opposites. They are held together in the paradox of the “hidden wholeness.”
In a paradox, opposites do not negate each other – they cohere in mysterious unity at the heart of reality.

Winter Olympics

“The Winter Olympics judges give higher marks in many events to those who tried the most difficult jumps and fell, than they did to those who chose simpler jumps. To try for the best even if you don’t make it is very important”. (Christine Sine, Godspace)

Talking about Lent and sausages

Lent can be a season for bearing the burden of one’s sin in readiness for a fresh experience of God’s grace in Christ on Resurrection Sunday. The fasting element is designed to foster that sense of carrying a nagging need or hunger. Every pang of desire for whatever you’ve given up is meant to be experienced as a call to prayer and repentance. It’s a beautiful tradition when truly practised with the devotion of the penitent. (Mike Frost)

‘This is my beloved:Listen to him!’

“In a time where our world is overshadowed by violence, hatred and suspicion of the other, the Church is called to live an alternative narrative of hope, reconciliation and love. As the Church, God’s grace at work in us liberates hope – communally, personally, in our society and in our world”. (Dr Deidre Palmer, President-elect, National UCA Assembly)

“The prejudice of exclusion”

“We are all prejudiced. What changes in our dialogue with others is the focus of our prejudice. Can we be prejudiced towards justice, equality and respect, or do we always live primarily with the prejudices of exclusion?” (Pakistani theologian Charles Amjad Ali)

Media, politics and the South Sudanese community

President Stuart McMillan has expressed solidarity with Australia’s African community in the wake of recent negative political and media commentary. “Fear and negativity are such a blight on our public life. I find it deeply regrettable and offensive that some of our political leaders and media have begun the New Year by demonising a group of young African men. This is no doubt hurtful to many Africans who have made Australia their home and do their level best to contribute to the Australian community whilst in many cases also supporting loved ones in their home nations.”

Entering the new year with hope

I enter this new year with hope.
Yes, there is reason to be discouraged.
Of course we wish for the overthrow
of evil, greed and violence.
We have seen tyranny and cruelty before,
but we will never see the darkness win out.
Love always has more to say.
Our hope is not wishing: hope is confidence
that God’s future is already present.
The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness can’t overcome it.
(Steve Garnaas-Holmes, Unfolding Light)

As the old year passes

As the old year passes, we look back, reflect:
times of joy and promise, times we’d best forget.
God of the ages, help us walk your way.
Help us greet your future, seize tomorrow’s day

Sadness In a Time of Anticipation and Joy

In a time where much of our world
is caught up in anticipation of joy and celebration,
our world throws us death and tragedy anew,
and we are cast back into the story of Christ’s birth,
where hardship and stress abounded,
and death and tragedy was awfully injected
by cruelty and injustice.

We must never forget

Stuart McMillan, President of the Uniting Church in Australia has issued the following Pastoral Statement in response to the Final Report to the government of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Parliament voted yes

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia Stuart McMillan has appealed to Church members to continue their respectful considerations on marriage, in the wake of the Australian Parliament’s changes to the marriage laws. “Some members of our Church will greet this legislative change with great joy whilst others will be deeply concerned about what they see as the consequences of the change.”


“Haven’t these people suffered enough? After all this time, is it still impossible for the Federal Government to show some compassion and bring them here?” (UCA President, Stuart McMillan)

A Space for Grace

The people of God are called to be a ‘one-anothering’ community: growing in faith, upholding one another in prayer, encouraging each other, building one another up. It is what we are called to invest in, to build up and to extend.

Uluru Statement from the Heart

The national leaders of the Uniting Church in Australia and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) have lamented the Federal Government’s failure to embrace greater national representation for First Peoples.

Building a brand

Unlike most scholars of his time, Luther was both interested in and knowledgable about the technology of printing; he knew the economics of the business, cared about the aesthetics and presentation of books and understood the importance of what we would now call building a brand.

Time and Sabbath

In the end, Sabbath might actually be about abundance – abundant generosity, abundant hospitality, abundant trust, abundant faith, abundant love. The fruit of such Sabbath might be gratitude, bursting with praise for the life the Creator has gifted, humility to know our honoured place in the scheme of things, meekness, empowering our determination for human equality, compassion for those whose circumstances are grim, and, above all, joy for the abundant life God wills.

A meditation on daylight saving

Daylight saving begins October 1st
We whine and carry on about time. We have such a short span here in this life, and yet we make such a fuss over when this or that is to happen, how long that takes, how early we must rise, how late we’ve stayed up…
(the theme of the 9.30am service this Sunday is ‘time’)

Postal vote

We pray especially for those who are confused or confounded. We pray for those who do not know how to behave well or find their reference. We pray for Wisdom to touch people’s hearts and souls. We pray for clarity of thinking, of speech and of your mercy. We pray your blessing on those who are struggling most. Come – Holy Spirit – Come!
(Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler, September 2017)

Making space for grace

Relationships in churches – as elsewhere – are complex because people’s lived experiences are complex with hurt and harm, sorrow, disappointment, anger, dashed hopes, broken relationships, as well as joy, love, undiminished hope and all the things that sustain us. Mistakes, misunderstandings and mountain top experiences all co-exist in an awkward and often inconvenient way. 

The call for all ages

At Pilgrim we commit ourselves to responding to God’s call to live like Jesus, to be ambassadors for the one who walked the way of the cross and so to represent his values of forgiveness, reconciliation, and peace. To heal the broken, feed the hungry, stand up for the oppressed. And we also acknowledge that the call to non-conformity with the ways of the world includes a call to resist the legitimising of greed, selfishness, infidelity, violence, and exploitation.

The Hope We Have

Loving your neighbour is really ‘the art of neighbouring’, knowing someone’s name, humanising and seeing people in what can be a dehumanising world. (Karina Kreminski)

Justice as a deeply spiritual practice

Jesus wasn’t just preaching a universal salvation message for the world, but he was also addressing specific political, social, and racial issues. He was helping those who were being abused, violated, and oppressed.
 He intentionally, purposefully, and passionately addressed very specific causes. He radically addressed the diverse and complicated conflicts of the time and shattered the status quo. (Source: Stephen Mattson,SojoNet)

Hospitality and Grace – God’s antidote to the dark side

At the centre of all religions is the idea of karma: what you put out comes back to you – an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics – in spiritual laws – every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. And yet, along comes this idea of Grace to upend all that “as you sow, so you will reap” stuff. It doesn’t excuse my mistakes, but I’m holding out for Grace. (Bono, U2)

Walking on water

. . . . in the end faith isn’t measured by God doing what we ask. Faith is measured by us doing what God asks, confronting our fears and walking with Jesus, wherever he may lead, maybe even on water!

Kindling hope in a time of escalating tension

August 6th 2017 is the 72nd anniversary of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima. “As the daily news currently reminds us, those who seek power and security through nuclear weapons are endangering our whole world to this day” (World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit).

Can a place be truly ‘godless’?

Mission is not taking God into a world because God is unable to get there without us. Mission is looking at the world around us, finding places where 
God is at work and calls us to help, and then joining in. (from a sermon by Rev Christy Capper)

Something seems to be slipping

Something seem to be slipping. We see the signs all around us. Attitudes have become hardened about ‘them and us’. Actions have been emboldened in the changing landscape of our culturally and religiously diverse world.

Census – what really counts . . .

“Our Church remains a vital expression of Christ’s mission on the Earth and a source of hope and comfort to the vulnerable and oppressed, and we will continue to work through our congregations and other councils of the Church, our schools and community service agencies to share the good news of Jesus Christ through action and word in the world.

We keep the rumour of God alive!

. . a call to champion the values of God, which will often differ from the values of Empire, whether that be transnational empire, ideological empire, or any other sort. . . a call to make it our business to know our neighbours and to reflect deeply on what blessing we can bring in this place. . . but without succumbing to simply mirroring the values of the market place.

The last 40 years!

The last forty years haven’t been particularly good for organised religion in Western countries. Mainline churches have ceased to belong in the centre of society as secularisation and religious pluralism have advanced. But . . .

Peace be with you

Not only are we to receive peace but we are called to share peace, to give peace away, to be sent out and to be peacemakers, forgivers, and those who seek to work towards justice and hope.

World Environment Day

Take a moment to pray for our planet and those that impact on it. Pray for a change of heart for those who have given up because the problem seems too great and our leaders too distracted or uninterested in making any real effort to change.

Pray for Manchester

“Each one of us can respond to this horror by working to build communities which oppose those who wish to divide us. We should seek to defeat terrorism not by violence but by the power of love. A love which Christians celebrate in the teachings of Jesus.” 
(A statement by UK religious leaders)

‘A reinstatement of hope’

“To draw boundaries that sharply delineate between those who are ‘in’ and to whom justice and fairness applies, and those who are ‘out’ and to whom justice and fairness does not, is to deny justice at all.” (Caz Coleman, Acting Executive Officer, ACRT)

Living stones

Something happens in the establishment of a physical grand edifice that can change the location of the household of God away from the people to the building. The building becomes sacred space, and the role of the people is described as ‘going to church’. But the church is not the building. Together as ‘living stones’ we make the space where people sense the presence of God. Can you see how this changes the dynamic entirely?

Money and Faith

‘In placing household economy at the very centre of faith…Christianity (can reclaim) the material substance of its spiritual message’ (Jonathan Cornford, ‘Coming Back to Earth’). In other words, integrating how we understand the Gospel, how we make decisions about how much we earn, spend, work or volunteer, and how we advocate to Government about what this looks like is all part of living a faithful life.

On the road, on the way…

They talk about life – about all these things that had happened, and without them even noticing, Jesus came among them. Jesus is present in our conversations – in our deep sharing about our own experiences, of love and loss, sorrows and struggles, and when suffering and fragile hopes overwhelm the possibility of joy and transformation. This is part of being church – where two or more can meet to talk and to share deeply, to name our deepest realities in our human journey.

‘The language of promise’

The resurrection is not complete until the real presence of the risen Christ is felt, is taken on, and is experienced in our lives, by faith, and we allow Christ to meet us personally and call our name, as he did for Mary, as he does for us. Christ is risen!