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What has COVID-19 taught us about connection?

“The constant surprise is finding God is at work sparking off new shoots of growth and opening up new possibilities, sometimes in ways we may have been resisting for years.”

  • All
  • Ajub Jahja
  • Bradon French
  • Claire Dawe
  • Denise Liersch
  • Ellaine Downie
  • Geoff Thompson
  • John Flett
  • Katharine Massam
  • Robyn Whitaker
  • Sally Douglas
  • Sean Winter
  • Sharon Hollis
  • SweeAnn Koh

What has COVID-19 taught us about connection?

"The constant surprise is finding God is at work sparking off new shoots of growth and opening up new possibilities, sometimes in ways we may have been resisting for years.”

How can youth ministry spark joy?

"If our ministries with young people embrace the opportunities joy presents, it must be reflected within the life of our wider church."

Hiroshima memorial reminds us to work for peace

Anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing is a time to remember that aggression met by aggression, and violence met by violence leads only to suffering.

Trump’s photo op with church and Bible was offensive, but not new

"Trump held the Bible like a baby holding a spoon for the first time – unsure which end is which – but the real problem was the complete disconnection between the text in his hand and the force, both verbally threatened and actually used, to clear the way for his stunt."

Why going back ‘to normal’ isn’t good enough

This is a time of invitation, to be caught up into the deep desire of God for a world of mercy, justice and peace, writes Moderator Denise Liersch.

George Floyd and the Good Samaritan

Would you have intervened to stop the police officer from fatally kneeling on the neck of George Floyd? Sometimes whether someone continues to breathe or not depends on us, writes Rev Swee Ann Koh.

Can I get a witness? Violence, racism and Christian response

Recent stories of horrific acts have highlighted that witnessing is not just proclaiming the Good News, but testifying to or naming of injustice. “We have for too long tolerated the unfair treatment of those who are non-white.”

What defines authentic worship?

How do we ensure what we are calling worship is actually worship? Are certain elements needed? Must everyone participate or can some just watch? Rev Claire Dawe explores this dilemma.

Is it OK to have Holy Communion online?

Absence makes the heart grow tender in these days of social isolation. And it also prompts the question: Is it OK to have Holy Communion online? Rev Dr Sally Douglas shares her thoughts.

Now I understand what Lent is all about

Ellaine Downie has always resisted participating in the spiritually nourishing sacrifices that precede Easter. But this year is different. “Unwillingly, I am experiencing what the disciples must have felt,” she says.

What does trusting yourself to God look like right now?

St Andrew’s Gardiner UC minister Rev Ajub Jahja reflects on the function of faith during this pandemic. “Faith is important, but so is reason,” he says.

Dear parents, I’m sorry

Intergenerational Ministry Coordinator Bradon French reflects on how church youth groups have failed to help parents form faith in their teenagers and children.

Sex, sin, shame and the virgin birth

"There is no suggestion in the biblical text that consensual sex is anything other than a gift from God."

Why the Bible welcomes a gender spectrum

"We cannot simply pull a sentence or two from the Bible as if it offers the final word on sex and gender."

Jesus as a newborn baby opens us up to God’s love

"In the face of a tiny innocent child in need of love and protection, our own disagreements, grudges, harboured hurts and disappointments can seem petty."

Why we must reject consumerist culture

"Rejecting consumerist culture – with its accouterments of accumulating, achieving and being seen and liked – may be the work of a lifetime. But it is worth it."

Why we must look after our environment

"We’re all interconnected. Even small changes can have big effects on other parts of the ecosystem. Tiny things can play an important role in keeping the system healthy."
Israel Falou

Why we should shun Folau’s fear-based theology

"A UCA approach to the Bible asks us to do the harder work of interpretation through an awareness of history and culture, as well as with love and compassion. We do not proof text nor scare people into faith."

International Youth Day and unleashing unlimited potential

"I hope that we might honour International Youth Day by acknowledging the place and potential of young people around the world and around the corner."
It’s time we talked about suffering. It won’t be painful

It’s time we talked about suffering. It won’t be painful

“In a culture that is terrified of suffering … our theology is a radical and disruptive word of hope that is desperately needed.”

Why Christians disagree over the Israel Folau saga

"As some Christians see it, Folau is holding the line against the dominant beliefs in contemporary Western culture on the flashpoints of gender and sexuality. And for this, some Christians especially honour him"

How has digital media affected youth ministry?

"Before social media, teenagers occasionally surrendered their phones during youth group. Today, a social media marketing strategy seems fundamental to developing and sustaining community."

Heaven is more than where we go in death

"In the Christian tradition, heaven and paradise have been conflated as an answer to the question 'where do I go when I die?' Yet originally they were more about where God lived, than about us or our ultimate destination."

Easter’s story demands we lend a helping hand

“We need to raise our voices in protest, to speak out about abuse, work against systems that entrench unjust power and vote for justice and fairness … we need to show up in love for those in need of it.”

How can we empower young leaders in our church?

“There is a gap between what we say and how we act. Empowering young leaders is a catchphrase we all use, yet when the opportunity presents, we are paralysed by our inherited understanding of leadership.”

What would heaven think of what we’ve done?

“This land is not ours. It was only given to us to the extent that it was taken from others. To seal it off from the possibility that others can seek their freedom here is to invite heaven itself to be appalled at what we have done.”

What is hell exactly?

"The afterlife is rarely related to correct belief but is rather about one’s actions and behaviour. Vivid descriptions of “hell” emerge within the Bible and in early Christianity as a means of moral formation designed to persuade people to act ethically."

Why youth work is like couples’ counselling

"Most of our young people express a disconnect between the internal workings of our church and our calling to worship, witness and serve. We must be willing to lay down parts of our inheritance to create space for new futures."
Looking to Jesus with a sense of Advent-ure

Looking to Jesus with a sense of Advent-ure

"As I turn my mind to Advent conscious of despair about events in our city, aware of the hurt many are feeling and continuing to live with my own grief, I turn in hope towards God whose coming brings a word of judgment against the prevailing powers that is, in fact, a word of love."
Acts of renewal and hope

Acts of renewal and hope

"I’ve stopped and smelt the roses, literally, and given thanks for those who planted them and those who tend them in the hope that beauty will blossom each spring... I am invited to look out for signs of life and growth and reminded of the way the Spirit of Jesus brings life when we should not expect it."
Please don’t tell me how I feel

Please don’t tell me how I feel

"My beloved partner Michael died by suicide almost five years ago, the result of a major depressive episode. As someone who lives with the grief of having a loved one die by suicide here are some things I want people to know about how it is for me."
Why white is more than skin deep

Why white is more than skin deep

"In so many of our communities, whether they are countries or churches, the only chance of belonging is if you speak the language in a way that those in charge can understand."
What is the Uniting Church for?

What is the Uniting Church for?

"On hearing that I was a minister she responded by telling me that no one in her family has ever had any contact with religion. I suspect she and her family are far from alone. This is the post-Christendom world."
Love letter

Love letter

"Love means we act with humility and goodwill towards each other – especially in hard times. When I am transformed in wisdom and love through the gift of the Spirit I am part of the transformation of all things."
Lessons in Assembly

Lessons in Assembly

"I was impressed by the contribution of the young adult members of the Assembly. They modelled the Christian community as a place of love, nurture, welcome and growth in faith, even in the face of diverse opinions."
Dr Herbert Evatt

Australia and the United Nations

"It was an Australian president of the General Assembly of the UN who saw the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through the processes that gave those enduring phrases to the world."
Meeting expectations

Meeting expectations

"We know God through the decisions we make, how we make them and what they lead to. Our discipleship is not an abstract concept, it is real actions and ways of being in the world."
The Spirit’s call

The Spirit’s call

"Discerning the movement of the Spirit is a communal task; it is to be done by the body of Christ. I invite you to discern as communities of faith where you see God’s wild Spirit is calling you and to heed that call."
The things that matter

The things that matter

"In a time of change and transition, the challenge is to establish priorities that don’t just reflect the changing times, but that take us deeper into what really counts; the ‘things that matter’."
Three blessings

Three blessings

"We do nothing to earn this love, it is a gift of grace. Nothing can happen that separates us from God’s love no matter how hard or long the wilderness. Nothing can take away the blessing of being beloved."
The nature of God

The nature of God

"What does it mean that I believe in a living, compassionate God who cares deeply about creation and all who inhabit the earth? How am I to be a follower of Christ in the face of such suffering? What am I to do?"
Always on the Way

Always on the Way

"The work of education, whether in a church Bible study or a theological college classroom, is a tangible, visible, intentional, and institutional expression of the church’s commitment to its own journey."
One in Christ - Sharon Hollis

One in Christ

"The fruits of the Spirit are to manifest themselves in our daily lives, in how we go about our working or volunteering, how we are with our friends and family, how we live in the world and how we engage with contemporary issues."
Learning patience

Learning patience

"The story and teachings of Jesus reminded early Christians that it wasn’t their task to change the world. Instead they were to learn to trust the God, and to allow their lives to bear witness to the good news and alternative hope that Jesus proclaimed."
John Flett - Political populism and a theological response

Political populism and a theological response

"This is not to destroy difference, or to turn the other into us, but to find our identity in Christ in this living together of difference, in reconciliation with one another."
Context and Contingency

Context and Contingency

"It is about engaging with others, being corrected by them, identifying biases and prejudices, keeping each other away from parochialism, nudging each other towards the articulation of a common faith, and holding each other to account in the name of the gospel."
Ferment, Change and the Church’s Vocation

Ferment, Change and the Church’s Vocation

"For surely this is the most demanding calling of the church – to be a community of grace, forgiveness, friendship, mercy, humility, sacrifice and hope. Some of our neighbours will accept it, some will reject it. The church’s vocation is to live it."
The grace of God

The grace of God

"Grace is one of those words that people commonly use but all too rarely reflect upon. It is, of course, a theological term, the significance of which is central to our understanding of Christian history and thought."