To tolerate or not to tolerate –
Issue 31, No 1 February 2012
that is love’s question
When love goes too far Dealing with domestic violence pp. 10 – 11
Sweet charity comes of age Penny Pancake turns 10 p.5
can make Together, we
sa.pancakeday.com.au freecall 1800 060 543 Cover pic: Moonta Bay, South Australia. Photo taken by Belinda Taylor. iStock ref: p.3 Professor25; p.10-11 heavypred; p.16 chuwy
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ISSN 0726-2612 New Times is the voice of Uniting Church SA. Published monthly, February through December, New Times represents the breadth, diversity and vision of Uniting Church members in SA. News policies, guides and deadlines appear online at newtimes.sa.uca.org.au. Articles and advertising do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editor. Phone: (08) 8236 4200 1300 766 956 (toll free from regional areas) Fax: (08) 8236 4201 Email: email@example.com Street address: Level 2, 212 Pirie St, Adelaide
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Postal address: GPO Box 2145, Adelaide SA 5001
Every Easter we encounter the greatest story of all time. For every congregation, for every believer, that story takes a different shape.
Tolerance. For a word which could also be understood as acceptance, charity or patience, it certainly is a word that can get people’s blood boiling, and mouths babbling. For many, tolerance is what we have to do, not what we want to do. Tolerance is most often associated with issues of justice, particularly those of race relations and generational differences. Unfortunately, any discussion of tolerance is usually catalysed by an instance of intolerance. But love also gets people’s blood boiling and mouths babbling – in a whole different way.
Often love is championed as the ultimate goal, while tolerance is viewed as its poor second cousin – kind of a lesser form of love. Love is seen as grand and colourful, lyrical and bountiful, complete with a full musical score. Tolerance, on the other hand, is seen as a burden put on us by social, religious or moral precepts.
sometimes we lack the understanding of how best to do this. Tolerance creates frameworks that shape our commitment to loving our neighbour – even when we are not sure what that love might look like. In tolerating each other’s differences, we grow to love each other’s totality.
To put it more theologically, tolerance is often seen as law, while love is seen as grace. I think tolerance sometimes helps us to see how love can be manifested. It gives structure, practicality and momentum to the words ‘I love you’. Though I believe human beings are created to love,
Striving for love Rev Rob WIlliams From Kids’ Club or Mainly Music programs within a local congregation, to the many UnitingCare agencies serving the community, we have become known for the diversity of our expressions of the Gospel in relating to the needs of those around us. Our church is known in the wider community for the many ways in which we touch the lives of so many for whom worship isn’t a priority in their weekly schedule. One characteristic of our church that I have heard expressed for many years is that we are a people who experience ‘unity in diversity’. However, we know from our brief history as an Australian church that this ‘unity in diversity’ is sometimes very fragile.
There are times when some of those with whom we worship seem to overlook that ‘the Lord has yet more light and truth to break forth from his Word’ and that one image of the church is that of a ‘pilgrim people’ journeying together with God. At times it’s as if we experience a spirit of ‘zero tolerance’. The Concise Macquarie Dictionary defines ‘tolerance’ as ‘the disposition to be patient and fair towards those whose opinions and practices differ from one’s own’; Ephesians 4:2 (GNB) encourages its readers to ‘be always humble, gentle and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another.’
So ‘tolerance’ isn’t just putting up with others. It’s an expression of our love for one another. I believe it involves carefully listening to one another and really trying to understand those whose points of view differ from our own. That’s challenging and at times confronting and may take us out of our comfort zone. Yet one of the great blessings we can experience is to be stretched in our faith and our understanding of the church in all its possibilities for relating the Gospel to our world. The key to this process is ‘love’.
Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. Love never gives up; and its faith, hope and patience never fail. Love is eternal. Meanwhile these three remain: faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these is love. It is love, then, that you should strive for. 1 CORINTHIANS 13:4-8a,13, 14:1a (GNB)
Coming of age In 2012, community groups all over SA will be celebrating a decade of making a difference together during UnitingCare Pancake Day’s 10th Anniversary in February and March this year. Each year, hundreds of groups hold events in their home, school, business, club or church and have fun cooking pancakes to fundraise for UnitingCare agencies in SA. Here are a few thoughts from those looking forward to being involved in Pancake Day again this year.
Rev Jana Norman Pancake Day is all about love. The love of Jesus is an empowering love, a love that ripples through - and beyond - meeting immediate needs, reaching into the lives of people to bring wholeness and abundance. A beautiful aspect of abundant life is the feeling of working together with others towards the common good. Whoever is involved in your Pancake Day operations, remember this: each person pouring batter, each person setting up the syrup table, each person tucking into a comforting and delicious pancake, each person receiving the benefits of a program funded by the money raised on Pancake Day has known that life can be bruising, and many may have felt passed by on the margins. If we make and serve our pancakes with love, together in a wide circle of community, then they will indeed be the most nourishing, restorative soul food in the world. May it be so.
UnitingCare Wesley Bowden was fortunate to receive $5000 from the UnitingCare Pancake Day Grant. It was truly like Christmas in July! Receiving the Pancake Day Grant meant that the Emergency Assistance (EA) department was able to purchase large quantities of manchester. The outcome was amazing, our EA Volunteers had clients leaving in tears, so happy knowing their kids wouldn’t have to be cold again that night as they had a towel after their bath and a warm blanket to sleep under. This would not have been possible if not for the Pancake Day Grant from UnitingCare South Australia.
Kristen Heath, Teacher, Pilgrim School We see Pancake Day as a fun way to get our school together as we support others in our wider community who are struggling. We explain to students the traditions of Shrove/Pancake Tuesday in the lead up to Easter, and where the money we raise goes and how it helps people. Pancake Day is one of several activities our students get involved in each year that help learn about compassion for others and showing love in practical ways. As a Christian school we hope students come to know Jesus personally, and develop the character and boldness to see that they can make a positive difference in the world.
Nathan, 10 year old student I’m really looking forward to Pancake Day because we are helping people by raising money and the pancakes are delicious!
In South Australia, Pancake Day has gone from strength to strength and has a solid uptake from 300 – 500 groups each year, including churches, schools, businesses, community groups and more. A DVD resource has been produced as part of the host packs this year to help all those involved understand how important their contribution is. This DVD can be played at church or used in school context around Pancake Day. The paragraphs from Rev Jana Norman are excerpts from the Pancake Day Resource DVD. For more information or to register your event: p. 1800 060 543 w. sa.pancakeday.com.au
Natalie Schwarz, Program Administrator, UnitingCare Wesley Bowden
Sian Crofts, Mother of three I’ve been involved in Pancake Day for nine years. We’ve really enjoyed being part of something we could do as a school community, and knowing the financial benefit was going to something bigger and better than just us. The kids love Pancake Day and the community spirit of eating breakfast together at school!
Our new ‘front door’ While it is used to be the Sunday morning worship that determined a visitor’s first experience with a church, the church website now acts as a front door. According to Richard Reising, author of Church Marketing 101, visitors will likely evaluate 6 –12 websites before they make a decision of where to physically visit. That is why the South Australia Presbytery and Synod office is creating a brand new website – a site that will be all things to all people: An index for those looking for a place to worship; an information source for church office holders; a parent looking for a playgroup; a repository for liturgy, New Times and other sources of information for the media; and an enticing advertisement for Uniting College. Above all, the website will be a place of connection for the seeker. Josh Curtis, the current SA Presbytery and Synod Webmaster will utilise his extensive technical knowledge of web systems and web layout to produce a site that is engaging, easy to navigate, and up–to–the–minute, incorporating social media platforms and the latest in browser technologies, for viewing on iPhones, tablets and other mobile devices.
If you have seen a current website that has really ‘wowed’ you or you’d like to provide some input let us know! Visit the online survey at sa.uca.org.au/goto/websurvey
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www.ivanbutlerfunerals.com.au firstname.lastname@example.org 26 OG Road Klemzig SA 5087
AUSTRALIAN FUNERAL DIRECTORS ASSOCIATION
Geoff Lewis General Manager
Lent Event SA 2012 Cath Taylor He has run his fingers over the warm exterior of mud brick rendered water tanks in Zimbabwe, and seen the smiles on the faces of women who will no longer have to walk for water. Jim Rumery is a man who knows exactly what giving up your nightly glass of wine can achieve. He knows that the discipline of giving up a small item from daily life here in Australia can truly transform the world of someone living in Africa, Asia or the Pacific. “We were involved in Lent Event in NSW before we moved to South Australia, and it’s been great to see how our new home congregation, Westbourne Park, gets behind the projects,” Jim says. Lent Event has already raised close to $2 million in support of work in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.
“Through Lent Event we’ve been supporting the projects that are particularly important to South Australians, especially water and sanitation in PNG and the work in North Luzon, Philippines.” “The event went exceptionally well last year,” says Jim. “It was fantastic to have Rev Dr Levee Kadenge of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe come to visit the congregation in May. He expressed his appreciation and thanks for our support, and helped us to see how significant it is that we partner with churches overseas in this way.” Lent begins on 22 February. You can register your interest in Lent Event, ordering ‘This One Life’ study guides from the UnitingWorld Lent Event office by calling 02 9868 2277, or from the Lent Event website www.lentevent.com
The idea is simple. Communities help overcome poverty by ‘giving up’ an item from everyday life during the period of Lent and donating the cost toward overseas development projects. At the same time they are encouraged to reflect on their sacrifice through the use of a Journey Guide, which includes daily prayers and a six week bible study titled ‘This One Life’. Worship and children’s resources are also available.
Remote Australia We’ve been there for 100 years
Frontier Services has opportunities for Patrol Ministers in Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.
Is this where God is calling you? Contact Rev David Buxton Ph: 02 8270 1322 Fax: 02 8270 1313 Email: email@example.com
Placements news: Placements finalised since the last edition of New Times: • Julia Pitman, Candidate for MOW to South West Fleurieu from 1 January 2012 • Rev Naomi Rosenberg (Deacon) to Sunset Rock (0.4) from 1 January 2012 • Rev Roger Brook to Maughan (0.7) Priority placement from 1 May 2012 Please join us for the following special services: INDUCTIONS Rev Andrew Diprose Eldercare, Acacia Court January 2012 Rev Nicholas Rundle (Anglican) Christ Church 10 February 2012 7.30 pm
COMMENCEMENT Julia Pitman, Candidate for MOW South West Fleurieu At Yankalilla 7.00 pm
READ ALL ABOUT IT:
“UC Invest donates $15,000 to UnitingCare Wesley Port Adelaide.” The Investor Returns quarterly newsletter from UC Invest will not be published in New Times in 2012. Get a free copy online at ucinvest.com.au or by calling the office on 1300 274 151.
UC Invest is an activity of The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (S.A.) ABN 25 068 897 781, the legal entity of the Uniting Church SA. Investment services are provided on behalf of the Uniting Church SA pursuant to ASIC Policy Statement 87 exemptions and APRA Banking Exemption No. 1 of 2006 (“The Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust (S.A.)”). Neither UC Invest nor the Uniting Church SA are prudentially supervised by APRA. Investments and contributions lodged with UC Invest will not benefit from the depositor protection provisions of the Banking Act (1959). All products offered by UC Invest are designed for investors who wish to promote the charitable purposes of the Uniting Church SA.
Heaven and Earth Art Exhibition
2012 Fringe Festival Event presented by the
Adelaide Theological Centre
Adelaide Theological Centre 34 Lipsett Terrace, Brooklyn Park in the Chapel of Reconciliation / Room S1
Fri, 2 March: 7-9 pm LAUNCH Sat-Sun, 3-4 & 10-11 March: 11am-5pm
Twenty five local artists respond to the theme “heaven and earth” using a wide range of perspectives, including original paintings, sculpture, textile art, photography, wood and glass.
love & tolerance Love is a many splendid thing... Love lifts us up where we belong... Love, love, love... It seems in music that love is the greatest thing to speak of, to share and to enjoy. In daily life however, and particularly in politics, the term tolerance seems to be shown far more favour. But are love and tolerance simply context appropriate ways of sharing the same idea?
Tolerance or Love? In the lead up to the International Day of Tolerance, President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Rev Alistair Macrae, reflected on the nature of tolerance and its relationship to love in the bible. On November 16 the world will mark the International Day of Tolerance, instituted by the United Nations in 1996. The word ‘tolerance’ has a lot of currency these days but I wonder how useful it is. It seems to me unlikely that tolerance is an attitude strong enough to transcend self-interest or to motivate people to protect the rights of the neighbour who is different. It is unlikely to grow into anything strong enough to combat racism and discrimination. So often in Australia tolerance seems to be the cloak of indifference, the veneer of apathy. That I tolerate you will hardly fill you with joy or a sense of safety. Who wants to be merely tolerated in this life, in this country? Tolerance does not require that I get to know you. It strikes me as ultimately extremely condescending. Could we not seek a deeper basis for community
life in Australia? The concept of respect promises a stronger foundation for life in multicultural Australia. From a Jewish and Christian perspective, the recognition that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God should be a sufficient basis for respect. Because I believe I am created in God’s image I consider myself worthy of respect and unworthy of vilification or abuse for who or what I am. Likewise, because I recognise that you also are a unique creature of God, then you also are worthy of respect and unworthy of vilification or abuse for who or what you are. Maybe my perspective betrays my social power: white, male, educated, straight. Those who belong to persecuted minorities might welcome higher levels of tolerance in their community as a first step, a significant improvement on intolerance and social discrimination. But tolerance alone will not generate the courage to resist the cruel stereotyping or persecution of people of different race, of homosexual people, of aboriginal people, of people with a disability. Where will our young men find the courage to resist the objectification of
women that remains rife in Australian male culture? Where will people find the resources to confront the tenacious grip of racism in the community, to send clear messages that such attitudes are not acceptable in this community? What will motivate us to cease tolerating the intolerable? A culture based on basic respect for one another as human beings will generate many behaviours and attitudes similar to tolerance. It could also generate a healthy intolerance towards attitudes and behaviours that diminish and harm others.
ultimately, the sort of respect that motivates people to risk their own well-being for others who have no obvious claim on their help requires a spiritual movement whereby the stranger is seen not as threat but as neighbour. Where benign tolerance is replaced with active respect. We could do worse than pray to God, in words from the shared Hebrew and Christian scriptures, to ‘transform our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh’.
Ultimately the solution does not lie in legislation, although legislation has an important role. In Martin Luther King’s words: ‘Legislation may not change the heart but it will restrain the heartless’. And certainly education has a role. But
Rev Alistair Macrae, President of the Uniting Church in Australia.
love & tolerance
Over two million women have experienced domestic violence in Australia. But why does it occur? And what can we do when it does? Louise Heinrich speaks with Rev Peter McDonald, Minister at UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide, about the issue of domestic violence within our society and asks questions about how stereotyped male and female roles affect the way we relate to each other.
Marriage and a committed relationship can be a garden of blessings: an experience of tender intimacy, a friend to embark on wild adventures with, a culture of generosity and acceptance, and a lover into whose ear can be whispered the most secret dreams. But sometimes in these relationships, selfishness and fear can twist magnificent gifts into toxic tools of manipulation. Belonging becomes about possession. Security evolves into control. Service becomes obedience. How much can be tolerated from the one you love? Domestic violence manifests in many complex forms. “Most people think of physical abuse when talking about domestic violence,” says Rev Peter McDonald, “But there is a wide range.”
“Psychosocial violence is one of the most damaging forms of abuse – it’s where people play with each other’s minds. Women have said to me, ‘My body can heal, but it takes a lot longer to rebuild self-image.’” There are endless statistics on this topic: 2.2 million women have experienced family abuse (according to the Salvation Army); 87% of domestic violence is a male perpetrator against a female victim, 10% is within a same-sex relationship, and 3% is female on male violence (according to the Australian Bureau of statistics). Many would wonder how ordinary people could exhibit such malevolent actions towards their partner. Peter thinks it’s about a sense of entitlement.
“There’s also a shadow side to the way that we’ve taught the Gospel for many years. We’ve made it seem that we’re entitled to things, and this really pushes our buttons – blokes seem to like being in control. “However, the Gospel challenges us to see everyone created and valued in the image of God.” There are many things within our society which perpetuate the objectification of women, such as pornography, and images seen in pop culture. Peter mentions a series of Calvin Klein jeans billboard ads that were banned by the Advertising Standards Bureau for suggesting gang rape. The advertisements displayed gratuitous images of near-nudity in a violent context. It’s not just what we see in the media that influences our attitudes though. “It’s the way the football club defines itself, and how the church defines itself,” says Peter, highlighting the importance
“Our churches have a role in valuing both women and men. That often means that we have to work at changing the culture in our congregation. If we don’t keep an eye on it, we drift back to old ways. “Instead of thinking, ‘Well, blokes like getting up the front and talking,’ we need to seek out women who’ll do the same. I don’t see enough of this happening. For example, the Moderator will be installed this year, and there’s been three fellas in a row. Why aren’t there more women in leadership?” Peter believes it is important to create an environment where women can lead, as well as debunking traditional ideas that women are only meant to serve in the background. “The Uniting Church has a particular way of valuing women and men equally in ordaining them – we don’t see gender as an important factor in being called to lead communities.” As well as creating a positive atmosphere, churches are a big part of supporting families who experience domestic violence. Sometimes, though, traditional views can get in the way. “I’ve heard stories of the church reacting to domestic violence in two ways: The first being: ‘You’re married; your marriage and family is important. Go back.’ They examine the different components contributing to violence, such as job stress, no dinner on the table, etc. “The second is: ‘We’re all created in the image of God – the safety of the vulnerable is more important than ideas about marriage’, I would say that the fella broke the marriage vows by abusing his wife before she did by leaving. We look at the reasons why fellas think we are entitled to dinner when we get home.” The official perspective of the church is the latter example, but Peter sometimes encounters outdated stances.
“I still get calls from social workers saying, ‘What’s going on here? I thought churches changed their views?’” In 2010, Peter was involved in writing a Domestic Violence Handbook for church leaders. “Once the woman or the family is safe, there is a series of resources in our community that are accessible via UnitingCare or the Domestic Violence Helpline. “Our agency is good at helping fellas get their heads around issues of entitlement – if they’ve got a bit of guts and are willing to address themselves.” Additionally, programs like Dad Factor, a positive fathering course, can help men develop the way they relate to their family. Peter notes the following helpful ways to support those facing a situation of domestic violence: • Believe people when they speak to you. • Listen – be there for those who need it. • Explore places of safety together. • Respect the choices of the victim – leave the door open for the next conversation. • Refer to professional counsellors and other services who are trained to deal with survivors of abuse. If you are experiencing domestic violence, or need more information, please call the Domestic Violence Helpline on 1800 800 098. For more information on Dad Factor (commencing 27 February) email firstname.lastname@example.org There will be a workshop based on the Domestic Violence Handbook: Tuesday 28 February 2012, 9.15am – 12.15pm Venue: Christ Church Effective Living Centre, 26 King William Rd, Wayville For more information, contact: Geraldine Hawkes email@example.com
love & tolerance
“Us fellas have a shadow side to us – one of the ways this shows up is seeing women as an object. It’s part of the human condition. As for the shadow side of women, well, I can’t really speak for that.
of the community we surround ourselves with.
love & tolerance
Time is running out Adam and Kate Tretheway Having spent three years serving in Papua, Adam and Kate Tretheway know what it means to see love and tolerance put to the test on a national scale. In a country where human rights are being disregarded, the Papuans are pushed from every side and denied of their independence. There is an urgent need for constructive dialogue between respected Papuan leaders and their near neighbours - the Indonesian Government. “Shedding blood must end – we can’t remain silent anymore...we feel all alone...we must drink from our own wells...there is more to life than being killed...it is time for the church to speak out – it is vitally important for others to help us.” Papua is the easternmost province of Indonesia. Unlike most Indonesians, indigenous Papuans are Melanesian
and the vast majority are Christian. Papua only became part of Indonesia in the 1960’s when it was annexed to Indonesia. The Papuan people were given an opportunity to decide whether they wanted to be a part of Indonesia in the “Act of Free Choice” in 1969, something which remains controversial to this day with allegations of intimidation and harassment. Many Papuans refute this decision and there have been various independence movements, which have been met with military crackdowns. Allegations of human rights abuses are rife and the rising loss of life is concerning. Since 1963, an estimated 100,000 Papuans have died as a result of the activities of the armed forces and the militias. Another controversial policy of recent times has been transmigration, where every week people from more heavily populated regions of Indonesia are moved to less densely populated regions, such as Papua – often by the hundreds. As a
result of transmigration and spontaneous migration, the indigenous population of Papua will be soon outnumbered by nonindigenous. The economy is dominated by non-indigenous people and Papuans feel increasingly marginalised in their own land. Papuans live in the midst of uncertain times. They are concerned about what the military is doing through intimidation, harassment, torture and murder. These tactics seem to be an attempt to prevent Papuans from having a voice, to provoke conflict between Christians and Muslims or an attempt to slowly break down society. Accusations have also been made that alcohol laced with poison had been deliberately supplied, while several years ago boatloads of prostitutes arrived, causing HIV/AIDS to be spread at an alarming rate in Papua. In one region of Papua, parents have been totally wiped out, leaving children behind to fend for themselves.
Papuans long for their voice to be heard and respected with dignity. While attempts have been made in the past to engage in mutual dialogue with Jakarta (Indonesian government), Papuans have been left feeling as if they haven’t been heard and taken seriously. They have consequently been left feeling disheartened. One church leader, weighed down by the intensity of the situation reflects: “We are seeking a constructive way forward, for many years my people have been slaughtered by the security forces, every time we mention independence they simply shoot us.” He goes on further to say: “We seek a chance
to dialogue, we seek an opportunity to sit down at the negotiation table with the Indonesian Government, to plea for an end to military backed violence and to request a platform to have a say about what happens in the future.”
there is a way forward. Christians in other parts of Indonesia, especially through the Indonesian Communion of Churches, are also active in defending Papuan rights and putting pressure on the Indonesian government.
The Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua (GKI) remains committed to Papua being a land of peace. An integral component of this becoming a reality involves an open, honest, peaceful and genuine dialogue with Jakarta. To have their voice truly heard and for action to become evident, for alternatives to violence to be found and for the rights and dignity of all Papuans to be respected would be more than an answer to prayer.
While in many ways time is running out for Papuans, the Church continues to strive to live by the Gospel and be a witness for non-violence, peace, integrity, justice and love.
Along with being committed to Papua being a land of peace, a high priority of the GKI also involves unity. Papuans see themselves very much as “one people – one soul.” Together as one people – as brothers, sisters and equals, they see
love & tolerance
It is hard not to notice the intensity of the strain placed upon Papuans, ministers and church leaders. The rate of ministers dropping out of ministry due to burnout or depression is increasing at an alarming rate. Living through this vicariously themselves, loved ones are also getting sick and dying from the intensity of what they see and hear.
To get involved or to find out how you can help, contact Rev Adam Tretheway: e. firstname.lastname@example.org p. (08) 8236 4239 To pray for the people of Papua and to keep updated with the situation, head to mrn.sa.uca.org.au/ internationalmission
Rev William Loader “All you need is love,” sang the Beatles in 1967. This lyric, somewhat, echoes the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. Concerned with the many ways that we read and misread love, Rev William Loader discusses the concept of love as it spans the universe in micro and
love & tolerance
magnificent ways. Love includes making space for others to be. The act of giving birth to creation was an act of God’s love. From its first millisecond to its billions of years and incomprehensible vastness, this evolving, expanding universe is a testimony to God’s love. No abandoned child, this generous offspring of divine love is also the continuing focus of God’s love and engagement. There would have been more peace, less chaos, without its substance and movement, and not least without its evolution of self-willed beings with the capacity not only to share that love but also thwart it. But love’s generosity takes such risks to bring creativity and life. Israel’s ancient stories attest to people’s response to God’s engagement in love. The stories of Jesus’ compassion and generosity are mere traces of God’s immersion, incarnation, in him, in human reality, creating and recreating possibilities of change, forgiveness and renewal. We embrace a tradition which flows with instances of such renewal. But love which enters our reality confronts our unreality and our pretences. We learn to hate its light, to hide our true selves which in fear and loneliness generate false images, and to deny the blatant injustices and cries of need in our world and in ourselves. “Crucify!” is love’s reward. Then love becomes hijacked to describe our passion, our obsession, our devotion. We deny, exclude and discriminate, in love’s name, believing our love for God makes such demands. Not just love; God, too, is hijacked to become a symbol not of generosity, but of our religious zeal to demand what we
think people should be and do for their own good. So biblical tradition is also hijacked to be an instrument of restriction, not renewal. Such conflicts were the setting for Jesus’ counterarguments which appealed to models of healing and family to plead for scriptures’ deeper truth: God’s confronting generosity, which embraces and restores; a father running to welcome back his son; a stranger stopping off to tend the abused. So love has its competitors who have co-opted its name and its named source. Depending on its identity love may be dangerous, destructive. Meaning to control and do its source’s bidding it creates chaos. It learns to hate in such love’s name. Its loving the Lord its God with all its soul and mind and strength becomes the first step to reversing creation’s generosity, undoing its birthing, swallowing back the child as it were in merging and submerging, leaving no space to be. The will to envelope or also to be enveloped, to swallow or to be swallowed up, in the name of love, holds a fascination, often overtly religious, a flirtation with death, a security in notbeing. Paul confronts the fear that to abandon controlling law might bring chaos. Instances of abuse at Corinth were surely hard evidence for some that his way abandoned God’s ways and produced lawlessness. As Jesus faced such confrontation from many of his fellow Jews, Paul did so with his fellow Christians. The good news was not God’s hands-off abandonment of creation to lawlessness, nor God’s panicked imposition of controls reinforced by rafts of religious ritual, but God’s engagement of all humanity in Christ in goodness and generosity, seeking to restore relationship, and through it continue the creative work of love in the universe. Such oneness with God’s Spirit naturally bears the fruit of love, which when allowed to blossom far exceeds what the law’s provisions sought to achieve. So such love generates love, reproducing itself, even if the process
must work through contaminations internal and inherited which threaten to subvert it, and so needs focussed attention to reach its goal. Paul must remind the Corinthians that love means thinking about the consequences, integrating behaviour with this new intent, letting love generate its own questions and its own path. Love’s intent is sometimes much clearer than its outcomes, especially when these are framed in the cultural norms and expectations of any time and place. There is no escape from grappling with the ambiguities which such contexts generate, made all the more difficult when they are not recognised for what they are. This challenge remains. But Paul has no doubt about love’s primacy. Faith, hope, and love remain, but the greatest of these is love. And it needs to show. Without it, religion is a distraction and potentially destructive. Little wonder that in the gospel which most attempts to reflect on love and life, the Gospel according to John, love is the primary mode of God’s being. Indeed, its later echo, 1 John, twice declares that God is love. John’s gospel gives us a tri-expounded-nity of love, especially between the Father and the Son, which inspired the later doctrine, best as a communion of love. This gospel’s author simplifies faith to entering oneness with God through Christ, and so finding life’s essentials: water, bread, light, and resurrection; all this as love, which then connects all – to God and to each other. Rev William Loader Is a Minister of the Uniting Church in Australia and the Emeritus Professor at Murdoch University, having completed a five year Australian Research Council Professorial Fellowship Project (2005-2010): Attitudes towards Sexuality in Judaism and Christianity in the Hellenistic Greco-Roman Era.
love & tolerance
love & tolerance
Multiculturalism smells good
Wearing deodorant and waiting patiently in queues are important cultural norms in Australia, Shadow MP Teresa Gambaro said last month. Calling for mandatory “cultural awareness training” for all immigrants arriving in Australia on working visas, the politician claimed the government can implement programs that will help outsourced workers enjoy their time here more fully. “It should be about lifestyle, health and hygiene. It’s how to fit into Australian society.” The response to Ms Gambaro’s statement was quick and severe. In the hours following the article’s publication in The Australian on January 10, politicians, professionals and the public feasted on the public comment. Cultural history professor David Carter said she seemed to suggest there was one culture and way of doing things in Australia. Perth peace activist and Welcome to Australia ambassador, Jarrod McKenna, tweeted: “Refugees don’t stink. Racism does”, while the validity and cost of Gambaro’s proposed classes were questioned by Labor MP Kelvin Thomson. Journalist Julie Posetti wrote: “Such xenophobic commentary from an elected
representative indicates Teresa Gambaro’s in need of cultural intelligence training.” Melanie Sculfer noted on AdelaideNow’s Facebook page: “I think it’s time we ‘Australians’ were made to learn about the Aboriginal history of this country and the impact our white ancestors immigrating here did to their culture.” Several commentators remarked that the MP’s mentioning of queues subtly reinforced the ‘queue-jumper’ dialogue surrounding asylum seekers. While multiculturalism was implemented as a government policy in 1972 to respond to the ethnic diversity of the population, under the Howard government the Office of Multicultural Affairs was closed and funding was cut to SBS and some migrant services. Assimilation to the Aussie way of life – defined by ‘mateship’ and getting a ‘fair go’ – was promoted over cultural separateness. In February 2011, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen announced the reimplementation of multiculturalism as a public policy. The question to ask is this : do we merely tolerate those with different food, language and religion to us, accepting stereotypes maintained in the media?
Or do we lovingly embrace the influence that individuals bring to our multicultural society? To be truly revolutionary, Australian citizens could be cultural educators to migrants. Loving our neighbour has greater significance when helping new arrivals navigate the slippery path of an unknown culture. Through friendship with ‘them’, together ‘we’ can forge a multicultural society based on respect and diversity. In a statement where Ms Gambaro apologised unreservedly, she claimed her comments had been taken out of context. She acknowledged that some Aussies stink too, and that her reason for calling for cultural education to working immigrants was to make sure everyone knows their rights and aren’t exploited. Unfortunately, her slip of the tongue was too memorable to let go. Despite best intentions, a public figure making a statement questioning the deodorant habits of migrants gives impetus to unhelpful stereotypes, as well as perpetuating the ‘us and them’ dichotomy. This is the basis for classic Australian racism, which is very much alive despite government policies, and our best hopes that we aren’t racist.
Mission Resourcing SA
Every year, Mission Resourcing SA facilitates a volley of volunteers in the running of KCO. And guess what? KCO is coming up really soon! For news on this year’s camp, check out the article on page 20.
Hosting and receiving
Getting to know...
In my life I have seen fundamental changes in the life of congregations. I grew up in the post–war baby boom when churches were full. It seemed like the church was the centre of the community, the community willingly came to ‘us’.
Mother of three Gen Y aged children, energetic Rev Beth Seaman most regularly attends Seacliff Uniting Church – when not preaching in other congregations. The Johnny Cash enjoying, salted cashew eating, Pepsi Max drinking optimist is committed to mission, particularly in the ‘burbs. It’s quite handy really that Beth is the Mission Officer – Urban for Mission Resourcing SA.
Over time, less people came to our activities. Some congregations responded by adapting to the changes in the surrounding culture. But we were no longer at the centre of the community. Now, there is nothing wrong with adapting our church life to the cultural context in which we find ourselves. Indeed, as the Apostle Paul said, we should be all things to all people so that by all possible means some might be saved (1 Corinthians 9:22). But the direction of movement in the bible is completely different. Just as Jesus was sent to the world so we are told to go into the world to make disciples. So in fact, while we are gracious, loving and inclusive hosts within our church programmes, for most of the week the wider community hosts us. We can only be salt and light when we go into the wider community and live our lives as Christians. As Alice Walker said in her book In Search of Our Mothers’ Gardens, “Anybody can observe the Sabbath but making it holy surely takes the rest of the week.” Rev Rod Dyson
Date of birth: 27 February 1955 Background: I grew up in Glenelg and attended the local primary school. Leaving home at 17, I trained to be a registered nurse while living in a nurses’ home. I was a midwife for a number of years before commencing 20 years of employment with Child and Youth Health which put to use my postgraduate work and experience in parent education and counselling.
Post ordination, I served as a minister in two congregations. I went on to become the regional chaplain for Mission Australia and spent periods of time as a chaplain with Eldercare and also in industrial chaplaincy.
Hopes for the role: Working with and developing resources with congregations as we discern, together, what it means to be missional. Person you admire: Margaret Wheatley has offered a participatory perspective on leadership and the centrality of conversation. I value her approach to life and leadership.
Teenagers changing the world - Yes We Can Katrina Levi After a big 2011, we’ve hit the ground running with an excellent event to get youth serving the local community. In our city, over a thousand individuals sleep rough every night. Many families’ incomes are below the poverty line; these people are our sisters, our brothers, our grandparents. ‘Yes We Can’ is an initiative to encourage outward-focused church activities, and to engage young people with social justice. On Saturday 17 March, youth ministries all over Adelaide will set up stands outside supermarkets to collect non-perishable goods, which will be donated to UnitingCare. We’d like to say a big thanks to Romeo’s IGA and Drakes Foodland for partnering with us. One of the roles of youth ministries is to equip young people with the belief that their actions can make positive change – this is an important part of the discipleship journey. Merely asking strangers for cans of vegetables may not seem like a revolutionary act, but it was Desmond Tutu that said, “Every little bit of good put together overwhelms the world.” If you want to support Yes We Can, have a chat to your youth pastor. Perhaps you don’t fit the narrow age definition of ‘youth’ – you could still lend a hand by providing a trailer, donating some cans, or making sandwiches for our volunteers! Katrina Levi p: 8236 4266 e: email@example.com
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CELEBRATING IN SONG! Thank you for celebrating in song in your December edition. The sounds of carols did indeed ring out throughout the land. My carols highlights this year were many. Finding myself in a choir singing the glorious Hallelujah Chorus in the Highland Cathedral stirred my soul. Particularly when the drums and bagpipes kicked in full throttle! The McLaren Vale carols also had a brilliant version of O Holy Night that brought tears to my eyes. Our Willunga Carols included the beautiful song Star Child, a song that speaks a message about our world. This year there were so many glorious carols that bring back so many memories. There is also something incredibly celebratory about hearing these ancient hymns to the birth of the Christ child. It is a spirit of joy pure joy. It is a message that lives on, as the verse resounds ‘begin and never cease’. Blessings for the new year and 2012 to you & yours. J. Esots, Willunga
AMENDING ‘THE HYMNS WE SING’ Thanks again for a very interesting New Times. Someone has probably already pointed this out, but there seems to be some confusion in the article about “Silent Night” (December New Times, p. 17). I presume this was transferred from an error in the Golden Grove Gazette. I was surprised to read that Gruber had been labelled as a Catholic priest and then described as having three marriages and 12 children! In fact, in the second paragraph, Mohr should be described as the priest and Gruber as the teacher/musician/composer. See http://silentnight. web.za/history/; http://www.stillenacht.at/en/mohr.asp Thanks also for correcting the previous issue’s incorrect spelling of Kiribati! A peaceful, joyful Christmas to you and yours! B. Ellis, Whyalla
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WELLSPRING SA invites you to its meeting at the Modbury Uniting Church, 572-576 Montague Road, Modbury North on Wednesday 15 February at 6.30 pm, beginning with a shared meal. The theme for the evening is ‘Fresh Expressions of Church’ which will be led by a team from the congregation at 7.30 pm and will include a candlelight reflection. For further information please contact Brian Ball 8337 8517 email@example.com HEALING MINISTRY FORUM: The Hope Valley Uniting Church Healing Team and 3Dnet Mission Network welcome you to an evening to discuss the healing ministry in the church and the use of related spiritual gifts. It is on Tuesday 21 February, 7.30 pm at Hope Valley Uniting Church, 1263 Grand Junction Road, Hope Valley. For further information contact Allan George 8395 1035 or Joy Sparrow 8264 8554 STATE MISSION FELLOWSHIP: First meeting for the year – Tuesday 28 February, 10.30 am Scots Church. The speaker will be Mrs Jan Carter on volunteering in Bali as well as her Taize and Iona experiences. CELEBRATE WITH MORE THAN 170 COUNTRIES on Friday 2 March for the World Day of Prayer. Christian women in Malaysia have written this year’s service with the theme “Let Justice Prevail”. There will be two services in the city, one at Scots Church at 10am when Dr Sing Ping Ting will be the speaker and there will be a choir from Seymour College. There will also be a Twilight Service at Pilgrim Church at 5.15pm. THE CORNER UNITING CHURCH are presenting our next Hymn Fest on Sunday 25 March commencing at 1.30pm. Any enquiries to Mavis Thomas 8377 1921 EXPERIENCE THE EASTER STORY At Spicer Uniting Church. Walk in the steps of Jesus from the triumphal entry into Jerusalem to the Resurrection. March 28,29,30 Actors needed, speaking or non–speaking if you can help. Call church office for details: 8362 3771 To have your upcoming event or message published here, email firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Diary’ in the subject line.
Be topical, be brief, be timely. Letters over 150 words will be edited; responses to previous letters /articles will be considered within two months of the original item’s publication only. All letters are published at the editorial team’s discretion.
letters to ed
NEED FOR INDEPENDENT REVIEW Brian Ward (NT, December 2011) perceives the debate on proposals to change the Church’s Ethical Investment Policy (EIP) as marred by unworthy features including invective. Passion in debate, yes, but invective? Mr Ward claims that the EIP ‘lacks vision and rigour’. Apparently, environmental ethics were at stake. Applying ethics in an environmental context is extremely complex, as explained by the environmental economist Andrew Charlton (Quarterly Essay No.44 ‘ManMade World: Choosing between Progress and Planet’)- a fine exposition. I strongly support the establishment of an independent review panel possessing expertise in finance and ethics. The highly qualified Dr Andrew Charlton could be a member, with Dr Rufus Black, Master of Ormond College, a multi-talented ethicist and theologian. I should confess that although a former Methodist layman, I am no longer a member of the UCA, but submit this letter as an interested observer of The Church in Action. G. Chittleborough, Belair
KCO is exploring “why?”
Jo Lohmeyer From the earliest age we wonder by asking “why?” Why is grass green, the sky blue and why do bad things happen? KCO’s 2012 theme “A world of wonder” is an opportunity for kids to explore these questions and more. To ask about God stuff: does God hide, why did Jesus die for us, was God angry? It’s a time to ask about the confusing Church stuff too, like why do we eat Jesus in communion and why does the minister sometimes yell enthusiastically when preaching? Our theme is not “our wonderful world” because there is so much in our world that is not wonderful. The KCO offering is one way that kids can turn their wondering into action as they choose where it will go. Last year’s offering money was donated to Uniting World’s program to ‘Close the door on sex trafficking and child labour in North-East India’. KCO (KUCA Camp Out) is a 24 hour camp that assists 7-12 year old children to explore faith through their own discovery and encourages sharing and relationships with their peers. At KCO kids enjoy a wide range of performances, activities, games, crafts and music based around a biblical theme and provided in an age-appropriate and incredibly fun manner. We invite your kids and their friends to discover more about God’s love and our world on 24-25 March, at the Barossa Valley Tourist Park. You bring your group - we run the program! To join in the fun, go online to kco.sa.uca.org.au or talk to your local congregation.
Every year the Uniting Church calendar highlights stories of encouragement and challenge from within our mission and ministry. We only see a short snippet of those stories in the calendar, so New Times will be sharing a little more with you in each month of the coming year.
Rev Andrew Robertson and Rev David Williamson
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. In 2011, Uniting Church SA launched the ‘Suicide: It’s no secret’ campaign to raise awareness around the unacceptably high rate of suicide going relatively unnoticed in the public sphere. In 2012, we will be continuing to profile the unacceptable prevalence of suicide through a number of strategies. One of those strategies will be spearheaded by Rev Andrew Robertson, the Minister of Clearview and Para Hills Uniting Church. Andrew wants to cut the silence around suicide. The former triathlete, along with others who enjoy hitting the sand, surf and streets, will form a team to participate in regional triathlons across the state’s coastline this year.
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The team will not be formed on the basis of fitness, or ability alone. This team will bear the brand of Suicide: It’s no secret and will participate in triathlons for the purpose of the message, as much for their enjoyment of the method. For many of the team, the issue hits a little too close to home. For others, they simply want to be part of changing the way we treat the issue of suicide. These triathletes participate actively in comforting those who are mourning, and hope that there will be less suicides to mourn in the future. If you would like to know more about the campaign, head online to nosecret.org.au.
Celebration Service at Maughan On 11 December 2011, Maughan Church was the scene of celebration and thanksgiving, rejoicing in the past and for God’s guidance into a new future. It was with mixed feelings that present and past members, friends and clergy of Maughan worshipped together. The service was led by interim minister, Rev Judi Hartwig; the sermon was given by the Rev Rob Williams, Uniting Church SA Moderator. Rev Peter McDonald, of UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide, spoke of the strong historic connection between Maughan Uniting Church and UnitingCare Wesley, formerly Central Methodist Mission, as many would remember.
A personal note was introduced by Fay Pedlar and Jan Hollands, daughter and niece respectively of Rev Erwin Vogt whose enthusiasm and drive facilitated the growth of the congregation and strengthening of established social and
(L-R) Judy Wright, Ngaire Millar, Jim Murton, Sydney Millar, Peter Wright, Jenny Bates, Bevan Bates, Henry Millar, Jan Hollands, Nina Murton, Chris Onishko, Terry Stead.
community programs during the 1950s. Fay and Jan outlined the history of Maughan Church from its establishment by Rev James Maughan in Hindley Street in 1862 to the present day. Coincidentally, 11 December 1971 was the day the present building was opened after extensive renovations.
Brook spoke briefly of his planned ministry to multicultural and international groups beginning in mid 2012.
After messages of acknowledgement of their cordial association with Maughan from members of the Chinese and Sudanese congregations, Rev Roger
More information about the future direction for Maughan, under Rev Roger Brook’s leadership, will be discussed in April New Times.
‘God gives us a future, daring us to go into dreams and dangers on a path unknown. We will face tomorrow in the spirit’s power; we will let God change us, for new life starts now.’
Linking values Rev Geoff Tiller At Western Link Uniting Church, 2011 was a year of discerning our identity. It began in February and March with our Core Values. The congregation finally agreed that Acceptance, Community, Friendship, Integrity and Passionate Spirituality were to be the values which guided our actions within the congregation. On Sunday 11 December 2011, five banners depicting our five Core Values were unveiled and commissioned.
growth through Hospitality. Secondly, the appearance in each banner of numerous flowers and herbs emphasises the vision of the congregation, to be ‘a self-seeding Cottage Garden’. And a third common element is ivy, which challenges us to continual growth and connection.
Each banner has certain elements in common. The first is the hands, in various expressions, highlighting the key mission of the congregation: Spiritual
(L-R) Geoff Tiller, Fay Weniger, Una Davies, Shirley Little and Marion Bele stand in front of one of Western Link Uniting Church’s ‘Core Value’ banners, unveiled in December last year.
These five banners give the worship space and our hearts a lift. They challenge us to live out our identity in 2012 and beyond.
The Moderator related the Advent reading to the situation at Maughan with the message ‘the Lord is with you; do not be afraid; you have found favour with God’; Rev Peter McDonald lamented the different directions Maughan Church and UnitingCare Wesley had taken in recent years, though he commended future congregations to God’s work.
Rev Walter Allen Fejo 8 June 1939 – 9 January 2012
“We lost a dear one this week. A remarkable man, full of wisdom and grace.” Walter Allen Fejo was born on 8 June 1939. Wali’s family consisted of his father Juma (Jimmy Fejo), mother Kitty, and five brothers and two sisters. A Larrakia Elder, he was part of the Stolen Generations and had a great Christian faith, dedicating himself in service to the church in the Northern Territory, South Australia and New South Wales. Wali shared about his early years in the Retta Dixon homes in Darwin. He spoke of the pain that he still carried, remembering only being able to talk to his mother through a wire fence. Despite being a small boy, he faced harsh punishments the few times he crossed the boundary to visit his beloved family. At 17, Wali began work as a laundryman apprentice at Darwin Hospital. Whilst still a teenager, he then went to Singleton in NSW to study at Bible College. After turning 21, Wali became an assistant pastor, and then served as a Community Minister several years later. In his illustrious career, Wali was an Assistant Principal, a manager of a Young Offenders Hostel, a State Development Officer, principal of Nungalinya College, a Mentor of the Young Fathers Program in Port Augusta, and took up a placement in Frontier Services’ Mobile Aboriginal Patrol. He was a Foundation and Life Member of Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, a Foundation and Life member of the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship and a Uniting Church Minister, ordained in 1990. He was a valued mentor and encourager of young people. He was a faithful, optimistic and positive influence on many. His wise ministry across Congress, and in the communities he served in the outback and beyond, was much respected and admired. Active in retirement, Wali’s last week was spent at the Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship convention in Port Augusta where he sang and shared. The day after this in church he thanked people for their support and prayers, and the following day, he died. The last week of his life was spent doing what he loved. Denise Champion, Chairperson for Congress SA, commented that, “Uncle Wali was one of those very original people to whom God gave a special vision for Aboriginal Christians, and he was faithful to that call and that vision, even when times were very tough.” People loved his warmth and engaging style, and his talents on the ukulele. He developed dance movements to go with sacred songs, which he would involve the whole congregation in. His voice gently bore God’s strength. His ukulele music was sung and played with God’s spirit. His energy was Christ-filled. We shall be grateful to God for his ministries to His peoples. We give thanks to God for Wali and the life he lived. We are comforted that he now rests in peace. Rev Wali Fejo will be sorely missed. Please continue to pray for his wife Hilda, their family, Congress and the Chapel Street, (Port Augusta) and Quorn Uniting Church communities at this difficult time.
Fresh reflection on fresh expression Pioneers 4 Life
This book contains essays from leaders and practitioners in the Fresh Expression Movement in Britain. It also contains short reflections from church planters about their ministry. Fresh Expression is a term that describes, “fresh embodiments of the faith, among a community of people who had not known or who had lost touch with the church” (Graham Cray p. 18). It is clear from this book that one of the struggles of the movement is to maintain the integrity of what it means to offer a fresh expression of church. Looking carefully at the hardy souls who will lead fresh expressions, the book is particularly helpful as it looks at the lessons learnt from the early days of pioneering work. The term ‘pioneer’ is used in the same sense as in overseas mission, as the initial engagement with a culture. Through understanding pioneers and pioneering it is easy to recognise that there are many cultures and subcultures in Western society in which there is no significant indigenous Christian community. It is clear that fresh expression leaders will often not fit neatly into our current structures and that they will have a sanctified restlessness that will make them difficult for church hierarchies to handle.
Edited by: David Male Recommended for: People involved in fresh expressions, people educating and placing pioneers, anyone interested in the theology of mission.
As with any book by a variety of contributors some of the articles are better than others. The best articles in this book are excellent. If many people read and reflected on this book, it would help our local engagement with fresh expressions, pioneer leadership and faithful mission.
In short: An exploration of the key issues facing leaders of fresh expressions. Available from: Uniting Church SA Office
- Philip Gardner
Unemployment in a time of recession
Book: Ten African Heroes Authors: Thomas & Margaret Melady Recommended for: anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the life of those struggling for freedom in 1960s Africa. In short: An introduction to ten African leaders who sought to use non–violent way to achieve independence.
Book: The Night Cleaner
Available from: Online bookstores.
The winds of change swept through Africa in the 1960s and beyond, bringing independence to former colonial countries in the British, French, Belgian, and later Portugese empires. Authors Thomas and Margaret Melady became deeply involved with a number of the African leaders at a personal level, through Catholic educational and social justice agencies, US development programs and diplomatic appointments in Burundi, Uganda, and the Vatican. Some of the ten heroes of this book will be known to older people and historians, but all became vital leaders in their
own countries, including Julius Nyerere in Tanzania, Kenneth Kaunda in Zambia, Thomas Mboya in Kenya. Brief mention is also made of Nelson Mandela and other more recent African leaders. For all these men, the struggle for independence proved costly. Many were imprisoned, some attacked and one assassinated. Their Christian faith undergirded their values and ideals. These biographies are a small part of the great cloud of witnesses of people who have served God and their people and nations during the turbulent times of the 1960s and beyond in Africa. - Rodger Bassham
Independence, faith and freedom
Author: Florence Aubenas Recommended for: those wanting to understand more about what it means to be on the bread line. In short: An account of a French journalist who tries to get a job as a cleaner Available from: Online bookstores.
It’s not a new idea – to go undercover and enter another world. This books details the attempt of Florence Aubenas to get a job during a time of recession, with no recent work history. The experiment finishes when she gets a permanent contract after about six months. In the months before she tells of her many cleaning jobs – with precarious short term contracts, awful hours and demanding conditions.
I found it rather repetitive and tedious after a while. Perhaps that’s how it is, being a job seeker. Although I found this book nowhere near as interesting as a similar one in which the author had a wider variety of jobs (in a factory and a cafeteria as well as cleaning) don’t let my opinion put you off. It became a best seller, so give it a go. - Glenys Badger
The highlights are her accounts of how she lived, who she made friends with and some other more dubious characters. While this story gives some insight into the world of the unemployed,
Sometimes it is difficult to talk about pain. But pain is something we all understand. Particularly, the pain of love is something we all understand – in one way or another.
Often when we seek to share the good news of the Easter story we go straight to the sunrise on Easter Sunday, the hope of life eternal. We skim over the hours of darkness, the agony of the nails and the finality of Jesus’ cry, “It is finished.” What we encounter on Good Friday though is the triumph of death. It is evidenced in blood and shouted by a dark sky. And it is in entering into this darkness, that we realise just how powerful the dawn of Easter Sunday is. In our Easter postcard campaign this year we are bringing people face-to-face with the Easter story – both the dark and light.
The image pictured above is deliberately dark and starkly stylised. This is the image of Good Friday that takes place on the front of the Easter postcard. But overleaf, the sunrise of Sunday is pictured, accompanied by the words, “Love is pain.” A loving relationship takes a great deal of selflessness and cannot be successful without some give and take. How much are people willing to sacrifice for love? Are we willing to struggle in support of someone else? Are we willing to die for someone? If we love deeply and truly believe, is there any sacrifice that is too great? Love is never simple and neither are the sacrifices. The gospel story is both easy and difficult to tell. The importance is not just in the life and all the hope that the dawning represents. There is gravitas in the death also. These postcards start a conversation about God’s love. The rest of the story is up to you to tell.
Postcards cost $65 per 1000, if your congregation would like in excess of 10,000 advise the Communications Unit and we will provide a discounted rate. Orders can be placed online sa.uca.org.au/ postcards and registrations close on 22 February. Enquiries can be directed to the Communications Unit on (08) 8236 4249 or email email@example.com.