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Son of a preacher man

Uniting Church member and screenwriter Paddy Macrae’s childhood is the catalyst for the hit Netflix show Irreverent.

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Regions set for the future

Thanks to strong leadership and innovative thinking, the Synod's five regional presbyteries are well placed to meet future challenges.

Two hearts beat as one

The amalgamation of the Corio-Norlane and Lara congregations late last year has their members looking forward to an exciting year.

Heat is on for change

As climate change wreaks havoc on our planet, Uniting Church members talk about how strong and decisive action can have a positive impact.

Vehicle for change

Synod Senior Social Justice Advocate Mark Zirnsak is driving the campaign to raise awareness about Uber and Uber Eats' exploitative business practices which negatively impact its drivers and delivery riders.

Where are we going?

Four Uniting Church Ministers give their thoughts on where the Church should be heading as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rough and tumble and a way out

As homeless numbers continue to rise in Victoria, four people share their stories of life on the streets and how Uniting were able to assist them.

Would you like to dance?

They say it takes two to tango and that's definitely the case with disability and spirituality.

Queer eye on the Bible

Transgender Minister Josephine Inkpin drew on her own experiences last month when she and wife Penny led what they believe was the first queer theology course in Australia.

Social justice finds a home

Minister Rev Matt Cutler is living the dream as Tecoma Uniting Church embraces both social justice and the community.

Jenny’s life in mission

Former equipping Leadership for Mission executive officer Jenny Byrnes reflects on her lifetime of service to the Uniting Church.

Matter of life and death

When a doctor pronounces us dead, are we really dead? Or is part of us still alive? If so, is that our soul, or spirit? Or are they the same thing? So many questions. Read on and you may find some answers.

Food project feeds hope

Former Uniting Church Presbytery Minister Anthea Maynard is part of a project providing food and hope to millions of people around the world.

Kaniva hand? Of course you can

When SA border restrictions left many tourists and residents stranded, two neighbouring towns sprung into action.

History’s page opens up

The Dalton McCaughey Library's world-class collection allows visitors to enjoy a peek into the theological past.

Putting unity in community

In a wonderful example of community outreach, Natalie Dixon-Monu and a team of dedicated volunteers in Kew are doing outstanding work to assist those doing it tough.

Elliot’s hidden a-gender

Elliot Nicholas was born a girl and had the birth certificate to prove it. But sometimes facts can get in the way of a good story. Or, in Elliot’s case, provide some dark chapters.

Tuning in to the Holy Spirit

We sometimes take it for granted, but music has the power to inspire us in our daily faith and worship.

It’s a good habit to get into

A growing number of people are embracing a relatively new concept of prayer called Holy Habits, based around getting into the Acts for a new way of worshipping.

It’s time to raise our ‘sites’

Many of our churches that were built for communities that no longer exist as they once did can enrich congregations and communities in ways not previously possible.

Putting the ‘I’ in Uniting

A new book chronicles the lived experience of 21 members of the Uniting Church. Their reflections are honest, insightful, illuminating and sometimes inspiring. These are some edited extracts.

Amalgamation right on Kew

Three congregations with a 'shared commitment around mission’ have joined forces to build a better future.

The right frame of mind

Why do some people with mental health issues feel marginalised by the Church, and what can we do to correct that?

Ours is to reason why

Australia Remade national co-ordinator Millie Rooney says the church and governments have important roles to play in shaping a better society.

Keeping it all together

Unable to enter aged-care facilities during the pandemic, chaplains came up with some innovative ways to stay connected with residents.

Centre provides comfort zone

A new chaplaincy centre that was 40 years in the making has opened to assist people in western Victoria.

Women of the Word

The Uniting Church prides itself on how it embraces women in positions of leadership, including ministry. Three female ministers, from Victoria and Tasmania, share their stories of being 'women in ministry'.

Fostering a sense of care for children

There is a crisis in our community that has gone unreported and, as a result, is unnoticed. And it involves children - vulnerable children. The matter is widespread and urgent and help is needed. Now.

For many of us, it’s a question of faith

What is faith? How would you define it? Are faith and belief one and the same thing? What would the world look like without faith? So many questions, but all the answers lie within.

Financial program offers a cents of purpose

A new initiative is using underutilised assets to fund mission and ministry and future-proof congregations.

Deadly fight for rights in the Philippines

A call for action has been issued as ongoing human rights abuses continue to be a stain on democracy in the Philippines.

Gippsland revisited – journey through the broken heart of Eastern Victoria

This time last year all we could talk about was the devastating effects brought about by something beyond our control. No, it wasn’t COVID, it was the bushfires. 12 months later, much of East Gippsland is still on its knees.

Ethical gift guide: how to make your present go a little further

Christmas is almost upon us and there is nothing better than the gift of giving during this special time of year. Even better, your gift for that special person can help others less fortunate. Here are some suggestions for a gift that goes a little further.

Write of Passage: Rev David Fotheringham

"It is often the difficult things that we need to work through that become the greatest sources of growth for us," David writes.

How COVID-19 has affected young people’s mental health

Many of life's major milestones happen before we hit 30 - first job, getting hitched, having a baby. But this year, those milestones aren’t what they used to be and young people are suffering as a consequence.

How AgeWell has kept residents safe from COVID-19

Uniting AgeWell has managed to keep its clients and residents safe and connected through the deadly pandemic. Here's how.

Write of Passage: Rev (Deacon) Wendy Elson

"Jesus tells us that the Spirit has ordained him (and us) to hold people in their brokenness, to give priority to feeding and liberating, healing to the hurting and disadvantaged," Wendy writes.

Rev Dr Margaret Mayman: minister, mother and advocate

All things being equal, St Michael’s new minister would have lived a less public life. But things are never equal, as this social justice advocate knows all too well.

Sex and the Bible: Jione Havea Q&A

Jione Havea teaches Sex & The Bible at Pilgrim Theological College. Why? Because there’s a lot to explore and explain and many people “dirtify” the subject.

Why we need to do more to embrace our cultural diversity

Racial and cultural parity have never been more in focus than they are right now. But how does the Church measure up? We’re uniting in name, but is that the lived reality?

Indigenous kids taught all the wrong lessons

An emotional documentary shines light on Aboriginal oppression and calls for reform in education and justice systems.

Depths of pain – surviving child sex abuse

What started out as a dispassionate book review became deeply personal for Damien Tann when a couple of statistics made him reassess how the repeated sexual abuse he experienced as a child had impacted his life.

Ten ways to help and not hinder in a crisis

Rev Jude Benton lists 10 things to consider before offering assistance in a crisis. “Don’t feel guilty if you have made these mistakes – I have too!”

Holy committed to running the good race

Everyone runs for a reason. Get fit, lose weight, clear the head but, for some, the benefits of running extend to providing sustenance for the soul.

Faith, mission and ministry in the pandemic period

COVID-19 has upended any sense of normal on a global scale. Barry Gittins investigates the effects on our Synod and its ministries, how they have reacted and what might be next.

Aunty Rev Denise Champion: why we need a treaty

Aunty Rev Denise Champion says Australia has a “beautiful history” she hopes we, as a nation, will one day uniformly embrace. Reconciliation Week is a time to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are and, more importantly, where we are headed.

Write of Passage: Rev Angie Griffin

Rev Angie Griffin shares why The Syrophoenician Woman is her favourite Gospel character. "Despite so many obstacles she is determined to pursue what she needs," she says.

God’s Squad takes Christian ministry to the streets

For more than 50 years, God’s Squad motorcycle ministry has been reaching out to men considered by many to be outlaws. It provides a much-needed sense of family and church.

Minister tells of bushfire heartbreak and hope

As parts of Victoria burned uncontrollably over the New Year period, Rev Jennie Gordon was one of the volunteer chaplains deployed to assist those in need. These are the gripping, sometimes heartbreaking stories she witnessed and heard.

Exposing the hidden cost of domestic violence

Family violence is all-too real for too many people, especially women. It is also largely invisible, but that is something the Church is helping to change.

First Peoples knew the creator God before colonialism

Narana Aboriginal Cultural Centre Uncle Vince Ross explains how the spirituality of the First Peoples is compatible, and even complementary, to Christianity.

Turning the church back into a youth centre

The ways in which the Church engages with children has come a long way from traditional Sunday school. Now it’s a lot more fun, but still with a touch of class.

Camping in the shadow of a catastrophe

Ellaine Downie shares her experience of holidaying in Gippsland when the devastating bushfires ignited.

Write of Passage: Rev Susan Malthouse-Law

Rev Susan Malthouse Law reflects on the very personal reason why Elizabeth's reward is her favourite part of the Advent story.

Why we should all get outdoors – Daniel Murray Q&A

UC Camping director Daniel Murray talks about the changing reality of camping and the many benefits of getting outdoors.

The birth of Jesus – what is fact and fiction (probably)

On average, the New Testament is about 300 pages - yet there is still so little we know about the birth of Jesus.

Gippsland tales from the country of contrasts

Country Victoria is largely bent over by drought and economic adversity. Fortunately, they have a couple of aces up their sleeve – their people and churches.

The spirit of giving to those near and far at Christmas

Food for Families and the Christmas Bowl Appeal are ways to share the blessings of the birth of Jesus both at home and away.

Former Crosslight editors look back on 300 issues

To celebrate the 300th issue of Crosslight we asked three former editors to write about their time producing the publication and to reflect on its role serving Synod and the wider church.

My life as a prison chaplain – Deborah Kottek Q&A

Rev Deborah Kottek spends a lot of time behind bars but doesn’t see the high walls, barbed wire and handcuffs. Instead, she sees people, humanity and hope. People worth helping.

Using church property to build mission work

To grasp fresh opportunities sometimes you need to let go of what you have. Manningham and Ballarat are benefitting from the sale of underutilised assets.

The many ways and meanings of prayer

Most of us are taught from an early age to pray, to talk to God and give thanks, maybe even ask if a wish can be granted. But is that all prayer is? And what exactly is prayer?

Men’s Sheds and the tools for better mental health

If you haven’t experienced mental illness chances are the person next to you has. It’s that common. But for many salvation can be found in a Shed.

Write of Passage: Rev Ajub Jahja

"The fact is we can’t forget the pain and bitterness we have experienced. We cannot remove from our memories all the bad experiences caused by others. They are a part of our history."

Amar proves there is life after leprosy

Amar Timalsina was just 12 when he was diagnosed with leprosy. It immediately saw him ostracised from his school, community and, worst of all, his family. Thirty years later the Nepalese school principal is disease-free and working tirelessly to help those still afflicted.

Why churches must change to stay alive – Mat Harry Q&A

New & Renewing Communities Catalyst Rev Mat Harry says churches need to take the initiative and cross the threshold into other people’s worlds.

How literally should we take each word in the Bible?

It took 1000 years to write, has myriad authors and everyone has an opinion on it. Two millennia on, it continues to drive contemporary commentary and, in doing so, divide opinion. So how should we interpret it - literally or figuratively? Or both?

Write of Passage: Rev Jay Robinson

It’s not always easy to do but I always try to get to know someone rather than judge them.  I am continually surprised at the people I get to meet and be with.  They are all amazing children of God.  

Tender acts of mercy allowed us to be there for Bronwen

"Bronwen recently told me if she could have her life over again she would not change a thing. And neither would I. Those difficult years were so filled with love, compassion and grace that it actually became a high point of my life."

Diep Tran and Trang Vo’s epic refugee escape

In 1983, Diep Tran and her niece Trang Vo fled to Australia in fear of their lives, but the journey was just as hazardous. We present their remarkable stories to honour Refugee Week on 16-22 June.

Moderator Denise Liersch takes up her leading role

Denise Liersch talks about her approach to being Moderator and what her prayers and hopes for the church are.

Why heaven could have wheelchairs – Andy Calder Q&A

Andy Calder has dedicated his life to people labelled with disability or mental illness. It is a calling that has challenges on many levels but it hasn't challenged Andy's faith.

Write of Passage: Rev Sally Douglas

"We can experience moments of great insight and clarity in our ongoing relationship with Holy One – Sacred Three and then we forget. The clarity fades, or we freak out, and we return to our old habits of thinking, or patterns of behaving."

Cross purposes- delving into denominations

Christianity is a broad church, with tens of thousands of branches each with their own peculiar approach.

Game of Thrones and the reality of fantasy

In preparation for the premiere of the heavily-hyped final season of Game of Thrones before the culmination of the season of Easter, Rev Ian Ferguson compares the two.

Art and Soul- Christina Rowntree Q&A

In the beginning was the Word … but now there is also art to help explore and expound on the subject of spirituality. Christina Rowntree explains how art and faith are intertwined

Why the message of Easter remains vital

Is Easter’s message still being heard or does the church need to pull a rabbit out of its hat?

Write of Passage: Rev Claire Dawe

"When I become overwhelmed or simply can’t grasp the clarity of vision I need, I turn to this verse so I can find some alignment with what’s actually important, and what is not."

Fighting the good fight – Mark Zirnsak Q&A

What could go wrong? Plenty, it seems, particularly in the social justice sphere, which is why Mark Zirnsak does an 11-hour JIM workout five days a week.

Write of Passage: Rev Rod Peppiatt

"I have come to love this mystery; to cherish what I don’t know, and to engage with what I do know.  And for this, I’m grateful to Jesus, Paul, and all the others who have gone before."

Plenty of belief up on the big screen

There’s more to Christian cinema than a Cross and crown of thorns. Chances are you’d be surprised how many popular movies have fundamental Christian themes.

The Science of Playing God

Genetic manipulation is no longer in the realm of science fiction, raising a whole new set of ethical dilemmas.

The spirit of youth and keeping the faith

Being a young person of faith means you won’t win too many popularity contests, particularly among your peers. But that’s no reason to retreat.

Behind the lectern

Faculty from Pilgrim Theological College discuss the art of preaching.

Mind fields

Are those suffering from mental health conditions in rural Australia receiving adequate support or is the system failing them?

Above and beyond

UC ministers Lucas Taylor and Matt Cutler talk about their podcast 'Beyondering' which aims to connect people within and outside the church who share their interest in spirituality.