More than 300 Fijian members of the UCA gathered together in joyful fellowship for the Uniting Church’s 2020 Fiji National Conference (FNC) from 6-10 February in Adelaide.

Delegates from across Australia travelled to the conference held at Brougham Place Uniting Church and Lincoln College, bringing together those who identify with Fijian culture in the Uniting Church to celebrate their culture and nourish their faith.

Over four days, participants were invited to unpack the theme, “Created in the Image of God, who am I?”

Special guests President of the Methodist Church in Fiji and Rotuma Rev. Dr Epineri Vakadewalosa and his wife Titilia attended the whole conference along with UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer.

The message via the Chinese messaging app WeChat arrived in Rev Dr Ji Zhang’s inbox on 29 January.

“Ji, may I ask whether you can purchase N95 masks? The China Christian Council and Three Self Patriotic Movement are in need. If you can purchase that item, please help us to obtain 3000 masks and send me the invoice. I will send you the money.”

Thursday, 06 February 2020

Courage under Fire

It’s been a disturbing start to 2020. Bushfires across all states and territories have taken a devastating toll - 34 human lives, almost 6000 buildings and, according to some ecologists, more than one billion native animals. Many Australians have endured weeks of choking smoke and fear, and fires are still burning in many places. We’ll be counting the costs, physical, material, environmental and spiritual for years to come. 

Amid this unprecedented crisis Uniting Church members have stood up - disaster chaplains, Defence Force chaplains, local ministers and congregation members. There are many powerful stories of Christian community and compassion for neighbours in their hours of need.

Late last year, we gathered to honour the life and mourn the passing of the Rev. Sealin Roger Garlett AM in the Kellerberrin Memorial Town Hall on the sovereign lands of the Ballardong Wadjuk Nyungar People, in Western Australia’s wheat belt.

The Uniting Church believes the latest version of the Federal Government's Religious Freedom Bills won't adequately balance the human rights of all Australians.

 In a submission on the Religious Freedom Bills – Second Exposure Drafts, the Church said it could not support “blanket provisions that would permit statements and actions that demean and unjustly diminish the rights of others on religious grounds”.

“People should be able to enjoy their right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief – however, the manifestation or expression of their religion and beliefs should not harm or demean others, nor should it automatically be privileged over other rights,” said the Church.

On 24 January 2020, President Dr Deidre Palmer took part in a forum in Sydney organised by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre on the latest version of the Religious Freedom Bills drafted by the Federal Government.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Honoured for their service

A number of people associated with the Uniting Church and our agencies have been recognised in today's 2020 Honours List.

God has blessed us with their service and we convey heartfelt thanks for their part in our part of the body of Christ.

A special thank you to Geoffrey Grinton who has been the Business Manager at every Assembly meeting since 2003, who has received a Medal of the Order of Australia in the General Division.

As many bushfire emergencies move into the recovery phase, President Dr Deidre Palmer has spoken to National Disaster Recovery Officer Rev Dr Stephen Robinson on the chaplaincy response ahead.

We share their discussion in a special podcast.

God’s grace and peace be with you.

The bushfire emergency that has unfolded across our nation in these past weeks is unprecedented in its scale and the devastation caused.

As President and Moderators of the Uniting Church in Australia, in addition to our earlier communications, we offer this Pastoral Letter to our Uniting Church members and communities across our nation as an expression of our shared grief, our deep gratitude to those involved in the incredible emergency response and our commitment to be part of the long-term recovery in communities.

 As unprecedented bushfires sweep across Australia, tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes.By the end of the first week of January, more than 8.4million hectares have burnt, at least 25 lives have been lost and 1500 homes destroyed.

Integrated into the emergency response is the largest scale disaster chaplaincy response on record. 

Uniting Church ministers and members are playing a key role in the coordination of pastoral support and serving alongside ecumenical and interfaith colleagues as chaplains.