May, 2012

Strength, creativity and hope: women in development

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

“Think about the times in your life when you have faced unjust discrimination… What were the reasons for it?” This was the question put to the small group I was in at a UnitingWorld peacebuilding workshop in Southeast Asia I participated in last year. I still remember this moment because I was very challenged by […]  

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PNG LNG Report Signals Commitment to Work for Community Good

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

A report released yesterday on the impact of the multi-billion dollar Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project in Papua New Guinea highlights the value of bringing diverse interest groups together to address social challenges, says Dr Kerry Enright, National Director of UnitingWorld. The LNG project offers the prospect of substantial economic growth to Papua New Guinea’s Hela region. But with that promise... Read More »

Partnerships – celebrating a great privilege!

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

It was a very hot day in Andhra Pradesh, South India. The mercury passed the 40 degree mark and it was, oh so humid! We lined up outside the cathedral in Machilipatnam ready to celebrate Pentecost. The Bishop ushered me forward and we processed into the church. The organ burst into life and congregation rose […]  

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“I’m starting a chocolate factory- how about you?”

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

So what would you do if you were given a small loan, at a very low interest rate, to start a business?  That was the question I put to a couple of children today, aged between 6 and 11, before giving them a refresher on the whole concept of ‘micro-finance’.  “Micro-what?”  they said, giving me […]  

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Pacific leader continues to press for labour mobility

Friday, May 25th, 2012

As Australia softens its stance on the PACER Plus trade talks being seen as a ‘free trade’ arrangement, the Pacific nations have been more focussed on what they could get out of it. Clay Forau Solomon Islands Trade Minister is a lead spokesperson on PACER Plus for the Forum Island countries and wants to see […]  

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PNG Moderator continues to urge peace in the nation

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

PNG’s Supreme Court handed down its decision early this week declaring for a second time that O’Neill’s government was illegal.  Since becoming Prime Minister in August 2011, Peter O’Neill has had a tenuous hold on government. The opposing political forces led by former Prime Minister Michael Somare have used court challenges and other means, including […]  

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West Papua’s deadly gold rush

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

All of a sudden the Wolani People of West Papua are on the map. Their remote landscape is rich in gold deposits and a new gold rush is now on in West Papua’s highlands. Tragically, it’s killing local people. Outsiders are threatening the lives and the welfare of indigenous people. Their illegal activities are being […]  

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Why I’m Not Celebrating International Turtle Day- 5 ways to stay fresh in the fight against poverty and injustice

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

I’m a Crusader.  I am.  Ask any of my family about my on-going quest to get the toilet roll removed and replaced properly when it runs out, or my “2012 War on Odd Socks”.  But sometimes, I confess to losing my mojo.  So many good causes to fight for!  So much injustice lurking out there […]  

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Unique opportunity to make your gift go further

Monday, May 21st, 2012

This May and June, UnitingWorld Relief and Development is providing an opportunity for donations to make an even bigger, life-changing difference. Not only are donations to UnitingWorld’s Matching Gift Fund tax-deductible, they will be coupled with funding from the Australian Government under the AusAID-NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP). The combined funds will assist UnitingWorld’s partners working... Read More »

Worshippers targeted on Ascension Day

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

  Forty days after Easter, in the village of Bethany just out of Jerusalem, Jesus took leave of the disciples and ascended in heaven. This is a significant day in the Christian calendar and Ascension Day is declared a public holiday across Indonesia. Many of the country’s 20-plus million Christians gathered to worship last week […]  

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Volun-tourism? Let’s try partnerships.

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

‘Volun-tourism’, as it’s become known, is becoming increasingly popular with Australian travellers of all ages.  Uni students on Gap years, older people taking advantage of the buoyant Aussie dollar, even families hoping to show their children another way of life are all looking for a way to combine trotting the globe with giving something back. […]  

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“Thinking Big” on Ascension Day

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Ascension has always troubled me. The idea of Jesus “shooting” off into space (Acts 1:6-11) is one that does not always resonate well with my modern, scientific worldview. But, then, there is much in the Bible that that we need to struggle with. Indeed, I am forced to dig deeper as we celebrate the Ascension […]  

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Australian aid target down but increase to the Pacific

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

The Pacific Institute of Public Policy reports that the Australian government’s target for increasing aid as a percentage of the national economy has been pushed back, but the 2012-13 budget sees aid to the Pacific region increasing modestly to $1.17 billion in, up from $1.16 billion in 2011-12. In most cases, the changes at the country level are […]  

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Life’s lessons… moment by moment.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

As I sat waiting in the small church hut, I decided maybe I should just turn around and go home. I’d agreed to come along in a foreign language, and had the very familiar feeling I wasn’t exactly sure what I had signed myself up to. I was fairly certain I had the time right, […]  

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Churches forced to close in Indonesia

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Singkil, on the west coast of Sumatra, bears the scars of a devastating earthquake that hit the region back in 2005. The region is now slowly recovering. Here in this tropical coastal town, Muslims and Christians live side by side in harmony. But new scars are emerging in Singkil. Recent demonstrations by local Muslims led […]  

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Trade justice – the ground has shifted

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

Three years ago now UnitingWorld presented to the National Assembly a document Trade Justice: A Perspective from the Uniting Church in Australia. One of the things that this document called for was the theological and economic basis for the proposition that trade must not be seen as an end in itself, but as a means […]  

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PENTECOST: the ultimate “road trip”

Monday, May 14th, 2012

The year is 1952. Ernesto “Fuser” Guevara and his friend, Alberto, leave Buenos Aires to hit the road and travel across the South American continent in search of adventure. In just a few months they hope to cover an ambitious 8,000 kilometers on a Norton 500 cc motorcycle christened “La Ponderosa” (The “Mighty One”). Little […]  

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Families leap into volunteering

Monday, May 14th, 2012

It’s National Volunteers Week!  You may be surprised to learn that there are 6 million volunteers within Australia, contributing 700 million hours of community service.  This makes us one of the most community-minded countries in the world. UnitingWorld has more than 30 volunteers at work right now in 16 countries, including Mongolia, Zimbabwe and East […]  

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Women, Mothers and Hope

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

“From my mother’s womb I was untimely ripped!” So goes the famous quote from MacDuff in Shakespeare’s Macbeth as he explains that he was not “born of woman”. Having had to have my two gorgeous children by Caesarian sections due to a back problem, I often have thought about what might have happened if my […]  

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God Be With The Mother- A Mother’s Day Prayer

Saturday, May 12th, 2012

God be with the Mother Who sits long nights beside those who cannot sleep Who holds in aching arms the crying child And comforts without words.   God be with the Mother Giving up food so that others might eat Working long hours so that children might learn Walking for water, walking for medicine, walking […]  

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Perspectives on West Papua

Friday, May 11th, 2012

I remember East Timor once generated strong opposing views. One perspective supported Indonesia’s annexation of the country. In a tense “cold war” context, this perspective saw Indonesia’s invasion of East Timor as a “necessary” process in the elimination “leftist”, socialist or communist influences across the region (Saigon had just fallen to the Vietcong and many […]  

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Because love is stronger than death

Friday, May 11th, 2012

When Hugh didn’t breathe, I don’t remember panicking. He was here.  He was solid and warm, skin to skin for one glorious moment before being hauled off to be worked on by competent staff, not far away.  The daughter of a midwife, I knew that babies were often born ‘flat’, and in modern hospitals like […]  

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Teenagers take on Tonga

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

“You know what?  I almost feel a bit guilty because I think we got more out of it than we were able to give!”  Kate Elliot Rudder, 16, Wagga Wagga Uniting Church. It was a simple plan.  Grab a bunch of young people, fundraise like crazy for a year and then take off to Tonga.  The […]  

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Aid Deferral has Huge Cost

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Last night the Treasurer delivered the Federal Budget. In doing so, he broke a commitment. It is a broken promise as unnecessary as it is damaging. The Budget contained the distressing news that the Government has decided not to increase the aid budget in the coming year from 0.35% to 0.38% of Australia’s Gross National Income (GNI) as promised. The budget also indicates that the goal of reaching... Read More »

Fiji Methodist still waiting to meet

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

CathNews New Zealand has reported that around 800 representatives of the Methodist Church are awaiting the outcome of its application for a permit to meet in August. Church acting general secretary Reverend Tevita Nawadra Banevanua said the annual meeting which has been disallowed in the past four years was crucial to the operations of the […]  

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Everyone loves a quiz! Aid and the Aussie way of life…

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Everyone loves a good quiz, don’t they?  So here’s your chance to impress your spouse, your neighbours and the family dog with EVERYTHING YOU KNOW ABOUT AUSTRALIA’S STANDARD OF LIVING and our contribution to FOREIGN AID!  1. Australia currently gives what percentage of our Gross National Income to foreign aid? a)    5%- about five dollars in […]  

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Mobile phones change the Pacific

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Some recent research by the Pacific Institute for Public Policy (PIPP) on the social and economic impacts of telecommunications and internet in Vanuatu are pointing clearly to the enormous changes in modes of communication in the Pacific as mobile phones are increasingly part of everyday life.  Among the key findings this research identified was that […]  

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May E-news

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

In this issue: Uniting Church stands with the poor |  Conflict between Sudan and South Sudan | Teenagers united in Tonga | Students on board to stop the Traffick | Fiji flood clean-up continues | Loans lead to income growth in West Timor Uniting Church stands with the poor The overseas aid that Australia gives is changing the lives of people living in poverty. Children are attending school,... Read More »

UCA leaders among prominent Australians saying no to aid cuts

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

In 2007, following widespread campaigns by Micah Challenge and Make Poverty History, Labor and the Coalition committed to lifting Australia’s levels of Official Development Assistance to 0.5% of Gross National Income (GNI). The Gillard Government reiterated this commitment in the 2010 election as well as in the Government’s response to the Aid effectiveness Review in 2011. There are serious concerns,... Read More »

Fiji Flood Clean-up Continues

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

The United Nations Development Program has reported that last month’s floods continue to impact people’s livelihoods in Fiji.  They also report a rise in communicable diseases, particularly typhoid, leptospirosis and dengue fever has been attributed to the floods. Initial reports indicated that around 8,000 people in the west of the main island Viti Levu were […]  

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Students Fight The Traffick

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Down in Melbourne yesterday, fish were flying between high school students as part of a simulation trading game highlighting the way people become invisible when profit is paramount.   The event was part of a Social Justice retreat run for Victorian Uniting Church schools by the VicTas Synod Social Justice and International Mission Unit (JIM)- and it got students mulling over the issue of human trafficking... Read More »