UnitingWorld Blogs

Life-changing gifts from our partners

December 7th, 2017

There are a lot of frankfurters in the freezer at the one and only supermarket in Funafuti. Ice-jewelled and plastic-wrapped to within an inch of their lives, they nestle beside chicken parts and bits of beef. In the fresh food section, it’s a desert: carrots, potatoes and some celery that droops in the humidity. We […]

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Can you answer all these questions about the Christmas story correctly?

December 7th, 2017

Of course you can!  You’ve heard this story all your life!  You’ve sung about it.  Sat through the readings at the midnight service.  You’ve got this one.  Go for it. The first words the Angel Michael said to Mary were: a)  “Greetings, you who are highly favoured.” b)  “Surprise!” c)  “Fear not, for the Lord […]

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Everything in Common true stories: ‘Homework Help’

November 21st, 2017

Imagine your local P and C meeting – discussion over the benefit of yet another mufti day to raise money for iPads; passive/aggressive debate regarding the profitability of a plant sale – yet always with the absolute best interests of each beloved child front and centre. Now take that feel to dusty, colourful, remote Northern […]

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God, Goats and Gifts

November 3rd, 2017

“You got me a what?” Uncle Graham is squinting at your card, breath a little yeasty from the Christmas pudding. Frankly, he’s disappointed. It was socks he wanted. Socks. Or a fishing magazine. He also had his eye on a new case for his iphone. You got him a goat from UnitingWorld’s Everything in Common […]

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Visiting Fiji these holidays? Think of the children

October 5th, 2017

“Palangi!” they cry gleefully, waving the bananas we’ve slid to them through the window and peering in at us as though we’re some exotic species, which I guess we are. This is the far north of rural Fiji – no resort-wear here – and these kids have little English and even less contact with white […]

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Disasters are routine – our responses can’t be

September 21st, 2017

Irma, Harvey, Maria – they could be your elderly neighbours sitting down for a cuppa and a Scotch Finger biscuit together. Except they’re not. They’re killers. And they’ve contributed to the second costliest year of natural disasters the US and Caribbean has ever seen. And it’s only September. Meanwhile, millions of people in India, Bangladesh, […]

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Fiji: when cyclones shake the world, the Church shakes it back

September 6th, 2017

It doesn’t matter where I travel across this world of ours – China’s lakeside Colleges, India’s dusty villages, a storm-chewed community in one of Fiji’s most lush northern valleys – it’s always the mothers who sidle up to me for a chat. Maybe I’m a bit unusual – the white woman grinning at their kids […]

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After the flood, where’s the river of tears?

August 23rd, 2017

The first I knew of 16 million people inundated by floodwater were the photos from a friend on Facebook. Outstretched hands, bare shoulders, muddy torrents: they were the first of what I expected to be a mainstream media deluge. Instead: silence. Families across Nepal, India and Bangladesh have been drowned, buried alive and starving for […]

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We can’t go back in time, but some tragedies can be prevented in advance

August 14th, 2017

Almost exactly two months after our son died in 2004, some 250,000 people were killed by a series of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. It was described at the time as the worst tsunami event the world had ever seen. I didn’t watch any of the footage. That kind of graphic imagery simply wasn’t needed […]

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Time to give up charity?

June 22nd, 2017

“Rough day at work, hey?” says my fifteen year old with a grin when she comes home and notices the first draft for our upcoming UnitingWorld campaign. “We don’t believe in charity,” declares my scrawl on a large sheet of paper, folded in two. It’s a tagline probably worthy of the raised eyebrow. For years […]

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Ending poverty starts with solidarity

June 13th, 2017

To be totally honest, I didn’t think a beauty salon business was going to make the most compelling ‘poverty alleviation’ story I’d ever seen. Um – why are people in this highly disadvantaged part of the world popping off for a manicure? Surely they have better things to be doing with their money? This, I […]

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Setting the world aflame from pages of the Bible

June 6th, 2017

There are probably dents in my forehead from pressing it up against the window pane as Fiji’s coastline sneaks into view beneath us – I’ll never tire of watching the land creep up under the wing tip of a plane as we tilt away from the sun. There’s something about seeing the earth from the […]

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The Spirit that gives unity

May 25th, 2017

This is adapted from a sermon delivered by UnitingWorld’s Rev Dr Ji Zhang in April 2017 after returning from the 15th General Assembly of GKI-TP in West Papua (-Ed). Reading Romans 8:1-2, 6-11 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ […]

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Advocates for South Sudan: Take heart! Do not be afraid

May 2nd, 2017

The following was adapted from a letter sent to encourage a large network of partners who work, pray and advocate alongside the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan (PCOSS). South Sudan is currently the epicenter of an emergency in Africa described by the United Nations as the largest humanitarian crisis since WWII. April, 2017 I am […]

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The world can prevent famine in South Sudan … if we’re fast enough

March 30th, 2017

How many times can you say that you were involved in a ‘life-or-death’ situation? A situation where your actions and decisions could make the difference between someone living or dying? Once? Twice? Never? What if I told you that as you read this, that’s exactly where you find yourself… The word ‘famine’ is used relatively […]

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It’s Up to Us – have your say on Australia’s future in 60 seconds

February 1st, 2017

In 2016, the world received a harsh wake up call – we saw the rise to power of Donald Trump and growing support for nationalist and isolationist views from people such as Pauline Hanson, Rodrigo Duterte and Nigel Farage. We watched the heartbreaking situation in Aleppo, the horrific and inhumane treatment of people on Manus […]

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What if they don’t like goats?

December 7th, 2016

“You got me a what?” Uncle Earl is squinting at your card, breath a little yeasty from the Christmas pudding, and frankly, he’s disappointed. It was socks he wanted. Seriously. Socks. Or a fishing magazine. He also had his eye on a new case for his iphone. You got him a goat. “Well, it’s for […]

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Between Two Warring Tribes in Papua New Guinea

November 17th, 2016

The Highlands region of Papua New Guinea is known for tribal wars and this one has been deadly. After eighteen months of conflict between two tribes of a few hundred people, there are eight dead; seven on one side and one on the other. Key infrastructure has been levelled. The aid post, school, property and […]

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Passing the Peace in South Sudan

October 26th, 2016

I didn’t grow up in a Christian family, but living in the Bible Belt of the United States meant that I wasn’t short of church experiences when I was a kid. For a long time the norms and traditions of the church felt strange and unfamiliar to me, and there were a lot of things […]

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Mission by the people, for the people: Xian. China Part 5

June 29th, 2016

In front of Shanxi Christian Council office there is a park reconstructed on the top of the Tang dynasty city wall. The moderator Rev Wang pointed to the place below and said “This was the Western Gate”. In 635 the Prime Minister Fang travelled from the imperial court to this gate (today about 45 minutes […]

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The days that change lives: inside India’s most determined communities

June 28th, 2016

Do you ever have days, even while you’re still in the middle of them, that you know will always stick with you? My first visit to a village in West Bengal, India, was one of those days. My colleague Steph and I had driven three hours from the church office with our brilliant partners from the Diocese […]

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Prayer for the People in the Land of Papua

June 27th, 2016

Prayer for the People in the Land of Papua There is no place where you cannot reach, God who made the heavens and the earth. There is no journey which you have not travelled, God who is with us, Jesus the Christ. There are no people beyond your care, God who is the Spirit, the […]

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Church in China – Part 4 Mission of Life

June 15th, 2016

  China is an ageing society. Currently 200 million people are over 60 years old, a figure that will double in the next 20 years. Yet half of the elderly are empty nesters – living without children or family – and this is a problem in the Confucian culture where “getting old means being cared […]

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Thriving Church in China Part 3 – A Meeting of the Minds

June 7th, 2016

“When friends come from afar, how could one not be happy?” This Confucian saying captures the spirit of the third meeting between two presidents, one from the Australian Uniting Church, the other from the China Christian Council. Chaired by Gen Sec Rev Kan, a team of 10 people from the CCC shared various ministries. The […]

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“Why do you keep asking me for money?”

June 7th, 2016

“My letterbox is full of guide dogs and children in refugee camps and blind people and endangered orangutans and Royal lifesavers (complete with budgie smugglers) and still you keep coming.  You keep asking me for money.  Don’t get me wrong. I like your cause. I believe in what you’re doing. But seriously, why so clingy? […]

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Unlawful Mass Arrests of at least 1,783 West Papuans in April and May 2016

June 1st, 2016

The International Coalition for Papua (ICP) has launched an urgent appeal to the United Nations in response to a series of unlawful mass arrests made by security forces during peaceful demonstrations across West Papua. Demonstrations have continued throughout May with several hundred more detained this week in in Jayapura. Their statement: To the attention of: […]

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“We should look after our own first!”

June 1st, 2016

Why should we send money overseas to look after others while some of our own homeless, indigenous people and elderly aren’t adequately cared for? Great question.   “Charity begins at home” and there are still far too many people in Australia who live in poverty. Most Australians agree that we should put our own people first and […]

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Thriving Church in China – Part 2 Mountain of the East.

May 25th, 2016

 Taishan 泰山 Rev Ji Zhang continues the story of the UnitingWorld and Uniting Care Australia journey to China to engage with the Chinese Church, share training and further the partnership between our two communities. “A thousand mile journey begins with simple steps”. In rural areas, we began to encounter two virtues of this Chinese saying: […]

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Thriving Church in China – what we learn, what we give.

May 19th, 2016

Links between the thriving Christian Church in China and the Uniting Church in Australia are growing. This week, an expert team of Aged Care Specialists from Uniting Care Australia are visiting China to prepare for and deliver a second conference on Aged Care, while next week a UCA delegation led by National President Stuart McMillan […]

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South Korean Christians penalized for holding peace dialogues with North

May 2nd, 2016

21 April 2016 In a letter to Park Geun-hye, president of South Korea, the World Council of Churches (WCC) expressed disappointment over sanctions and fines imposed on members of the National Council of Churches in (South) Korea (NCCK) after they participated in a dialogue encounter with representatives of the (North) Korean Christians Federation (KCF). Penalties […]

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Statement Condemning the Police Firing against Farmers in Kidapawan, Mindanao in the Philippines

April 21st, 2016

“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter” (Proverbs 24:11). It is with great distress that the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) has been receiving disturbing news about the violent response and firing of bullets by Police on 6,000 farmers in Kidapawan, North Cotabato, a southern island of Mindanao, on […]

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Letter of Solidarity to Churches in Pakistan

March 31st, 2016

National Council of Churches in Pakistan, Church of Pakistan Presbyterian Church of Pakistan Respected church and ecumenical leaders in Pakistan, We are deeply shocked and saddened to receive the news of a suicide bomber killing more than 70 people and injuring more than 300 others at Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park in Lahore on the Easter Sunday. We […]

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Our top picks of useful Christian and meditation apps

March 21st, 2016

It’s all about apps isn’t it? Here are a few we think are pretty useful!   Bible studies and prayer: The Olive Tree Bible Voice of the Martyrs Prayer PrayerMate   Meditation: Smiling Mind   Ethical shopping: Shop Ethical   Media: Common Sense Media (Reviews for children’s movies, books, TV shows, apps and games based […]

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Sabbath Rest – what is it and how can we apply it?

March 21st, 2016

In our increasingly ‘always available’ 24/7 world there seems to be little time for rest. Whether by phone, email, text, Twitter or Facebook, we always seem to be switched on. For others, the incessant busyness of mind and heart about all manner of issues ranging from weekly shopping, work, health and the welfare of family […]

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Tears Speak Louder Than Words

March 21st, 2016

I was in West Papua recently on my first field trip with UnitingWorld, where I had the unique opportunity to meet with our partner, the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua and visit their P3W project (short for Pusat Pembinaan dan Pengembangan Wanita). P3W is the Training and Development Centre for Women in […]

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“Feed the world?” Just share the tools.

March 10th, 2016

30 years ago, Christmas 1984, a group of prominent musicians from the UK and USA got together for “Band Aid” and recorded the Christmas anthem “Feed the World”. Their aim was to raise awareness of, and funds, for people in Africa who were experiencing severe drought and famine. Amidst the well-meaning sentiment and good intentions, […]

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West Papuan students join the Uniting Church

March 7th, 2016

A group of West Papuan students have formally joined the Uniting Church as they become members-in-association. They come from various parts of Papua and West Papua provinces in Indonesia, and currently attend St John’s College in Darwin. The congregation at Philadelphia Indonesian Uniting Church in Karama welcomed the students as a part of their growing […]

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Less is more: top tips for decluttering your house and mind today

March 1st, 2016

We often have the belief that being in possession of more stuff will bring us a happier life. We must have the newest technology, more clothes or whatever everyone else has got. But once we have these things, think about how many hours go into worrying about them being broken or wrecked? More possessions will […]

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February 29th, 2016

As followers of Jesus, we’re called to stand alongside those who are working for justice around the world and particularly to help give a voice to those who struggle to be heard.  We’re the modern day prophets:  defending those who are weak, speaking the truth to those who are powerful.  It’s not an easy job. […]

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Let them Stay – a Lenten Reflection

February 17th, 2016

Taken from UnitingWorld and the UCA Assembly’s staff worship on Tuesday 16 Feb By Rev Dr Ji Zhang, UnitingWorld’s Manager, Church Partnership –Asia  Luke 13:31-35 At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, “Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.” He said to them, “Go and tell that fox for me, […]

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Make me a daughter of this land.

February 15th, 2016

“Make me a daughter of this land because of my ancestry.”  These were the words of Rev Thresi Mauboy, Moderator of UCA Northern Synod as she joined me last month in the land of Papua and greeted 15,000 people at a church celebration in Manokwari capital of the province of West Papua. Let me give […]

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From Festive to Fat to… ?

January 17th, 2016

  Profound? I certainly fell into the Festive camp on Christmas Day, but as I surveyed a mini-tsunami of wrapping paper after the gift giving, I also found myself wondering yet again about both excess and sloth.  Even our cats (who move as little as possible under normal circumstances) hardly bothered to roll over between […]

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God is Life in Climate Change: A theological reflection on the 2015 Climate March

December 9th, 2015

As the United Nations Conference on Climate Change draws to its final days, UnitingWorld’s Ji Zhang reflects on the recent People’s Climate marches which brought together thousands of faith based communities. As the world leaders gathered in Paris, the Church spoke climate justice on behalf of thousands of people, who together walked with a simple message: […]

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Refusing to accept a Culture of Death

November 10th, 2015

The raising of Lazarus is a family story. Before this story, John’s gospel has a long passage mixed between Lazarus’ dying and Jesus’ ministry. After a long delay, now we see the problem of having a busy schedule. Mary knelt before Jesus: “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Before […]

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All I want for Christmas…

November 3rd, 2015

Recently one of our synods contacted Bronwyn Fraser, Manager for Livelihoods and Peacebuilding Programs in the Pacific, to ask her opinion on the distribution of gift shoeboxes as a form of engaging with people in poverty at Christmas.  This is an issue that many people feel strongly about – some very committed as a result […]

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A Journey Comes Full Circle

October 27th, 2015

Only days ago, I was sitting in a plane flying high above the plains of South Africa and Zimbabwe on the last leg of a very long journey from the Inner West of Sydney to Harare, the Capital of Zimbabwe. From that vantage point, the country appears flat and arid, patterned by the cris-crossing of […]

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Our Second Gen young people: part of the global church

September 14th, 2015

In 1985, at the 4th National Assembly, the Uniting Church became the first denominational church in Australia to boldly declare that “the Uniting Church is a multicultural Church.”   2015 marks the 30 year anniversary of that declaration! As part of a celebration of 30 years of cultural diversity in the Synod of Victoria and […]

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PNG’s slow motion disaster – please help.

September 10th, 2015

Our phone rang the other night. First one and then another friend from the Highlands of Papua New Guinea rang to tell us about the frosts and drought that have struck their mountain region. ‘Blackened sweet potato … springs drying up and river levels dropping … schools and hospitals closing because they have no water […]

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“The extravagant love of God – our only magic in the world.”

September 7th, 2015

I was recently in India, where the church is less than 1% of the population, and it’s mainly made up of people from the Dalit or ‘Untouchable’ caste.  This means that their people are singularly disadvantaged when it comes to access to education and health and social mobility. Further, the church faces increasing opposition as […]

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Partnering Women for Change breaks further ground

August 7th, 2015

We are delighted to a announce that Project Officer, Kerren Vali based in our Pacific office in Suva will be presenting her paper at the ‘International Women Leading Education Across The Continents’ biennial conference held in at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand in three weeks’ time. The key focus of Kerren’s paper […]

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in these blogs are those of their authors and do not necessarily represent the views of UnitingWorld or the National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia