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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.”

#Manus

“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!

Celebrating risen life

We are called to be God’s celebrative companions—to say “yes” to life in all its complexity, contrast, and beauty. To rejoice in birth and rebirth. Christ is Risen, today, and every day! Hallelujah!

The in-between time

The Easter story moves ahead towards resolution and resurrection, but for many the reality of the future is unclear and uncertain, just as it was for the early disciples and followers that Easter Saturday. An in-between time, a place of paralysis in the midst of confusion, when the chasm of despair or hopelessness seems sometimes all too close, when all we can do is wait…

Good Friday – ‘it is finished’

What happened to Mary’s song of freedom and liberation, of justice and mercy. What happened to the hope that things could be different? What about the reign of God that Jesus spoke about so often? Mary’s song now becomes the song on our own lips, of longing for the day when things will change, when the reign of God will be seen in the way people can live together with freedom, justice and hope, and be embraced by the Love we name as God and share that Love with friend and foe.

Faith in the ordinary

“Before the eyes of the world, in the dead of night they came, seeking passage between their lands of desolation and the possibility of a better life.” Good Samaritan Sister Marie Casamento takes us on a journey from Palm Sunday to the Resurrection

In the aftermath of TC Debbie

We pray for those who are enduring the devastation and destruction of cyclones and flooding, and wisdom and strength for all who seek to help, and that through this emergency, people and communities may be drawn more closely together in service to one another.

18c and social cohesion in Australia

As representatives from Indigenous and culturally diverse backgrounds have pointed out, the proposed change to section 18c is being advocated predominantly by people who have no idea what it’s like to endure racial discrimination in Australia.

‘Everyone Belongs’

Harmony Day March 21, 2017: ‘Everyone belongs’. Migration stories challenge us to consider how and when and where we experience God. Is God to be found in the promised Land or in the pilgrimage journey? How and When and Where do we worship? When Jesus and the Samaritan Woman have their long and famous encounter, this becomes a central part of their conversation. (A sermon by Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler)

#Be Bold For Change

International Women’s Day (Wednesday 8 March) is calling on women to be bold for change in 2017, and urging people to help forge a more gender-inclusive working environment and world.

The Uniting Church in South Australia is home to many strong, female leaders. New Times asked two of these leaders, Dr Deidre Palmer and Rev Sandy Boyce, to reflect on leadership, change and gender parity in the Uniting Church.

Love your enemies!

Recently we have celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore and the consequences that flowed from that for the many who were imprisoned and forced to labour for the Japanese.

A place of friction

Find a point of friction, find your flint. It could be involvement in social politics, it maybe your workplace, caring. A place of friction could also be a place of love, justice, of hope or pain, worry, help.

Patterning our lives

Perhaps the call for us is to disentangle ourselves from patterns and practices in our social relationships that don’t reflect the hospitality of Jesus, and from political patterns and practices that we find don’t reflect the commitment to peace, justice and the common good. The same may be said about disentangling ourselves from familiar economic patterns and practices that we have adopted as normative, with assumptions about how we acquire and use financial resources.


Beginnings and endings

Here in this moment, there is a new beginning, a calling, a vocation, a new path to tread, a new witness to justice and truth. When we have discovered that our baptism was the beginning of a vocation of service, ministry in the name of the One who was called by God’s Spirit and blessed by the descending dove, a sign of peace given to be shared with all. Both then and now we hear the call to a mission of reconciliation and new beginnings. Thanks be to God!