Adult Fellowship News
Dear UCAF Friends,
Christmas is a busy time of year for everyone. Gifts to think of purchasing, for loved ones, end of year functions to attend and organising to do. I am one of those people who love writing lists and when we lead a busy life as I have over the past few years, a list is necessary. I came across a story in a book recently which talks just about to-do lists.
The UCAF National Committee is pleased to announce that the UCAF Joan Stott Bursary for study being undertaken in 2018 has been awarded to Kristen Furneaux from Mt Eliza Uniting Church in Victoria.
A Précis of My Faith Journey
By Kristen Marie Furneaux
My upbringing was one of bubble-wrapped Christianity; church every Sunday, prayers before dinner, and bible verses scrawled into birthday cards. It was safe and comfortable, and I was fortunate to be immersed in it; packed away from the dangers of the world, where I could remain content in the knowledge that “Jesus Loves Me,” which the Bible, and not to mention my sparkly pencils and devotional journal, told me so.
There was stability in this kind of upbringing, which was certainly necessary in my younger years. It was a hand-me-down faith, like a very old and well-loved jumper, and it fitted me well for that time. However, as I reached my high school years, and began to engage with the more complex realities of life, my understanding of Christianity started to fray at the edges. With every new question, the threadbare sleeves shrunk even smaller. With every vexing doubt, the holes began to show. Until eventually, my hand-me-down faith no longer fit at all, and there I stood; towing the edge of throwing it away altogether, or taking the arduous time to mend it into something new, something that might actually fit my growing self.
In my first year out of high school, I enrolled in a Bachelor of Theology. For the first time in my life, I was introduced to the complexity and the richness that existed beyond the all-too-comfortable church answers. I had found a place that could not only grapple with my questions and doubts, but furthermore came back with more mystery to engage with. It was truly captivating.
With every new insight, my understanding of God began to broaden ceaselessly, continuing to transcend the cramped boxes and rigid names that my confining faith had made. I began to recognise the image of God in the faces of those whom the church had warned me to steer well clear of. I began to truly engage with the Bible, not as some irrelevant book of memory-verses that sat collecting dust on the shelf, but as a kaleidoscopic lens into the unfolding narrative of God’s reconciling kingdom.
This is the fascinating path that I was invited to wander, where the opportunity to study theology has paved the way for my transformational journey to begin; and I haven’t looked back since. I am truly excited to continue this process of expanding my mind and furthering my understanding, so that I may delve deeper into the incomprehensible mystery of God.
The Joan Stott UCAF Bursary is available to people under the age of 35 years undertaking leadership or theological studies.
The UCAF National Committee is delighted to announce that two Bursaries will be awarded for study being undertaken in 2017. The two awardees are Matthew Julius from Victoria and Brad Case from Queensland. Their faith stories follow:
At this time of the year, travel comes to mind. We all have been on a journey of some description over the past twelve months. Whether it be traveling overseas as I have been when I went to the World Federation Assembly for Methodist and Uniting Church Women in Houston, in Australia or visiting family and friends in our own cities. Next year I will be visiting some of your groups throughout Australia and look forward to meeting you on my travels.
Joan Stott UCAF Bursary was established in 2009 to honour the contribution of Joan Stott a past national president of UCAF and former secretary of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women.
The Bursary is to encourage young people (35 years and younger) undertaking courses equipping them for leadership.
At this time of the year, the season of Christmas is focussed on our preparations.
Christmas scenes are in shop windows, the Myer windows in Melbourne depict a Christmas story and we start receiving Christmas cards from friends and family.
UCAF National Celebration Wednesday 13 April to Sunday 17 April 2016
The UCAF National Committee extends an invitation to UCAF members and friends to join them for four days of FOOD, FUN and FELLOWSHIP in the picturesque and historical city of Geelong.