Climate Change Action Group

As reported in a recent post, the ARRCC group led by St John’s Cathedral Dean, Rev Peter Catt, issued a media statement to the gathered media in the grounds of the Cathedral on 20th November 2017.

Faith Leaders Climate Statement November 2017

Dear Queensland Premier and Leader of the Opposition And Prime Minister and Leader of the Federal Opposition, We are from diverse faith traditions in Queensland including the Anglican Church, Catholic Church, Jewish faith, Pagan Tradition, Unitarian Universalists, Uniting Church, Quakers, and inter-faith and cultural organisations. As leaders in our faith communities, we feel compelled to challenge Queensland’s proposal to assist and partner with the Adani Group to develop the Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin because of the effect the resulting carbon emissions will have on our climate, our economy, the world’s poor and the environment. With global warming being a threat to the viability of our agricultural and tourism industries, our marine life, and the wildlife in this beautiful State, it seems unconscionable that any current or future Queensland government would make a development decision that puts all this at risk. We believe that people of goodwill must work together to reduce greenhouse gas pollution at emergency speed. Therefore, the development of the mine is unacceptable, as are all forms of government support, direct or indirect, for the mining, transport and shipping of fossil fuels.
We urge both governments to instead invest in renewable energy technology which will create far more employment opportunities than the proposed mine. We call on you to refuse approval for Northern Australia Infrastructure Funds to be used to build the railway line for the Adani mine. We plead with you on behalf of our fellow Queenslanders and Australians, for the members of our faith groups, for the millions of vulnerable people on earth, for future generations who have no say of their own, and for all of creation. Yours in peace Dr Paul Inglis – CEO UCFORUM – Uniting Church Peter Arndt – Executive Officer, Catholic Justice & Peace Commission of Brisbane Heather Abramson – Abramson Educational Consulting and member of the Jewish Community Dr Rose Elu – Anglican Torres Strait Islander Community Dr Brian Adams – Director, Centre for Interfaith & Cultural Dialogue, Griffith University Renee Hills – Brisbane Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Linda Ward – Pagan Tradition Dean Peter Catt – St John’s Anglican Cathedral The Rev’d Peter Moore – Chair, Angligreen Taisoo Kim Watson – Quakers Duncan Frewin – Quakers The Rev’d Dr Jo Inkpin – St Francis Theological College, Anglican Church The Rev’d Murray Fysh, Merthyr Rd Uniting Church, New Farm The Rev’d Bruce Boase – Member of the National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Anglican Commission Queensland Churches Environmental Network.The Statement released at that gathering:

Another statement had been issued previously from the Council of the Union for Progressive Judaism:

PRESS RELEASE 15th November 2017

The Council of Progressive Rabbis of Australia and the Council of Masorti Rabbis of Australia oppose the development of the Carmichael Mine in the Galilee Basin by the Adani Group because of the devastating effect the resulting carbon emissions will have on our environment, and the subsequent risks to our World Heritage Great Barrier Reef.
It is unconscionable for the current or any future government to use public funds, services or loans to support the promotion of fossil fuels.
We urge governments to increase investment in renewable energy technology which will create cleaner and safer employment opportunities.

Further information: Rabbi Jonathan Keren-Black, Environmental Advisor to the Rabbinic Council of the Union for Progressive Judaism. 0417 104987


Thanks and a Reflection from Hal Taussig

Professor Hal Taussig has written to us expressing his thanks for a very pleasant and productive time in Australia and New Zealand:

Dear Paul–
Well the whirlwind of 25 lectures in ten different cities and towns has just ended, and with it just in the rear-view mirror, I am writing to tell you how much your wonderful hospitality meant to me during my time with you. Thank you so much.
The whole event ended up being quite meaningful to me and was received very well. Since you are one of my official hosts, I am attaching a two page reflection on the whole time and an overall thanks to all of my direct hosts. I thought you might like to know how our time together related to the rest of the work I did in these two countries. Let me know what you think.
Again many thanks to you, and here’s hoping we meet again.

November 9, 2017
Dear Colleagues and Conversation Partners in Australia and New Zealand—
Yesterday I finished my 25th lecture or reflection to groups of people in your two countries since I arrived on October 5. So it’s finished, and I am writing first to thank you and second to report to you on how the whole process looks to me.
Here are the primary expressions of my gratitude to you. First, your deep, genuine, labor-intensive, and personal hospitality to me. I was new to this part of the world and far away from home, and you all made me feel at home and cared for. Second, even though we did not really know each other at all, you were individually, but even more importantly, collectively deeply open in our exchanges. I could feel your heart-strings loosen, your minds brighten and think energetically, and our wheels turn together as we worked on important issues. This was consistently very moving for me, and a great gift from you. Thirdly, thanks for your two (quite different) nations and all that is in flowing in your respective national gifts and graces. I did not know what I was in for on this trip, and come away wonderfully alive and thankful to all of you. Continue reading

Is the Sea of Faith Rising?

Radio National (ABC)
recent broadcast (Sunday 26 November 2017 6:05PM) is available for download here.

The Sea of Faith, an international organisation of ‘progressive Christians’, takes its name from the famous poem Dover Beach about the ebbing of faith. But today’s SOF members entertain new developments in Christianity, including the New New Testament, incorporating ancient documents that were excluded from the canon, edited by Hal Taussig.
Image: Sir Lloyd Geering addressing the SOF in NZ (RK)

The founder of the SOF in New Zealand, Lloyd Geering, was charged with heresy, as was Hal Taussig, many years later. Are they heretics or reformers?
Image: Rev Hal Taussig, United Methodist Church of America (UMC)

Recorded at the Sea of Faith conference in New Zealand; includes members Margaret Rushbrook from north of Wellington and Patricia Crompton of Christchurch.

For more information or to join SOF contact Rodney Eivers.



Friendship in the Presence of Difference – Study Guide




A new Study Guide is now available for people to think about forging friendships with people of other faiths.

The Study Guide has been prepared by the UCA Assembly Relations with Other Faiths Working Group which includes UCFORUM member Rev Heather Griffin.

The study guide can be obtained online for free from Heather or by downloading from The Assembly site.

The intention of this Study Guide is to open a conversation about the increasing religious diversity in Australia and how we understand our Christian identity in this context. It is also an opportunity to explore how we might respond to the use of violence or fear based on religious difference. As people of God, called to share in Christ’s love, the best way to overcome such messages of fear and hate is by building friendships with people of other faiths. The Study is based on the paper, Friendship in the Presence of Difference: Christian Witness in Multi-faith Australia , received at the 13th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia in July 2012. The word “friendship” was chosen purposely. It underlines the Gospel call to love our neighbours regardless of our differences and to live with the people around us as “friends”. Genuine interfaith friendship embraces difference rather than allowing difference to create division and distrust. Through this Study, we learn that to live peacefully in the presence of difference is to also be renewed and transformed in our own Christian faith. Friendship in the Presence of Difference is an update to the document Living with the Neighbour who is Different adopted by the Assembly in 2000. These two documents offer guiding principles for the Uniting Church’s relationship with people of other faiths. The Study Guide examines the changed landscape of religion in Australia and the ongoing development in our Christian understanding of how we relate to different faiths.


NCCA and the Stop Adani Coal Campaign

The National Council of Churches in Australia

After the recent news in relation to the Commonwealth Bank what are the next steps in this campaign?

People of faith are encouraged to join in the conversations in Summits being held in various locations around the country.

Stop Adani Summits
Since March over 160 local #StopAdani groups have formed right across the country from Cairns to Castlemaine, Perth to Parramatta. The campaign is moving quickly and opponents are still pushing forward, now is the time to come together

The #StopAdani Summits are gatherings which give us a chance to:

  • Meet and connect with others in your community taking action to #StopAdani,
    Hear an update on the state of play, from the politics to the finance and more,
    Share stories, resources and plans to make our movement powerful and coordinated.

Lobbying Federal MP
Faith leaders have been busy keeping the pressure on Federal Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg. On Friday 25 July an interfaith group protested outside his office in Melbourne. A number of faith leaders met with the Minister on the 3 August, including the NCCA President, Bishop Philip Huggins.

See a further post below, about the ARRCC Media Alert to be presented from St John’S Cathedral next Monday. This will target the Queensland election campaigns.


The Voice of Australian Christianity

Are you fed up with ACL speaking for ‘Australian Christians’? This amazing assumption has been given the boot by many of the mainstream church leaders and now a member of  A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia) Inc has started a tweet dispersal to challenge this thinking:









A Multi-faith Climate Statement presented in Brisbane

ARRCC Media Alert

Can you come on Monday 20th November, around 9 am to St John’s Cathedral, 373 Ann St, Brisbane City to be present when our climate change statement to the Queensland Government is released at a media event?

Climate Change Statment
Our statement is complete. We have 10 signatories. Rev Peter Catt can accept signatures until COB Friday 17th November. The list on the letter will be updated and corrected at that time. If you or someone you know would like to be a signatory, please contact Peter at It would be great to have some more signatures. Please note that a signatory does not have to be the head of Church/Faith Group. They can be any ordained/Lay person who is seen as a leader in that faith community.

The statement will become available on Monday 20th November.

Media Event
A wide range of media will be invited prior to the statement release on Monday 20th at 9.30 am but we’d like you to come earlier so that we can be organised. We need as many people as possible to come (with placard if you wish – similar to what we had at the Gathering along the lines of Energy Innovation; Not Earth Desecration), Save the Planet, etc, AND some STOP ADANI posters, T-shirts.

Wear smart casual clothing or religious garb and symbols if appropriate. We need a strong visual presence.

The event will be held in the grassed courtyard adjacent to the Cathedral, away from the street noise. If it’s raining, we will move into a room in the Cathedral.

The media event is due to begin at 9.30 am.

Please RSVP to me if you can come.

Warm regards,

Renee Hills

PS. Paul Inglis will represent the UCFORUM at this gathering.


The Reformation 500 years on…

In recent days there have been many events commemorating the 500 years since Luther ‘posted’ his 95 theses and disturbed the Church in a way that it could not ignore. But the Reformation Dinner organised by the ACTS group of Aspley Uniting Church was different. Inspirational, 86 year old, dynamic elder, political lobbyist, conscience pricker and entertaining author and speaker, Everald Compton MC’d the event.

Many progressives took up the invitation to the dinner which was limited to 160 people.

Uniting Church Moderator, David Baker, led the field of Church leaders who spoke. He drew a parallel between the ‘indulgences’ that placed the Church offside with moral thinkers of the 16th century and the ‘indulgences’ that operate in our contemporary market driven society. We still seek after unfulfilled promises of great personal outcomes by buying our comforts. He was followed by the Roman Catholic Archbishop, Mark Coleridge, who emphasised the complexity of the social and theological milieu in which the Church has evolved its teachings and the search for Jesus in all of this complexity. Anglican Archbishop, Phillip Aspinall, drew our attention to the unique place of the Anglican Church as it straddles both Catholic and Protestant elements in its makeup and the way it has, since the Reformation, attempted to find the ‘middle’ way for the Church.

These religious identities were complemented with Wayne Swan, former Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, Tracy Davis, State Member for Aspley, and John Herron, former Senator and Ambassador to the Holy See. Rev Sandra Jebb provided both opening and closing reflections.

An encouraging message was received from the Governor, Paul de Jersey who is currently in Israel for the Beersheba ceremonies.

This is the first event in a long term plan outlined by the Master of Ceremonies, Everald Compton, to address the crisis of credibility facing Christianity in society. It was a great start to an ambitious project… but Everald is noted for many ambitious projects and also for his many successes. Watch for the next stage in early 2018 – calling together of 500 leaders in our community to launch a new Reformation!


Book Review: A New, New Testament by Hal Taussig

Subtitle: A Bible for the 21st Century – Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts

Edited with commentary by Hal Taussig, with a Foreword by John Dominic Crossan.

Marcus Borg has described this book as “Important both historically and theologically. Readers will not be able to see the New Testament in the same way again”.

In autographing my copy, Hal said of his own work: Here’s to the powerful way the old and the new combine to help us grow.

So this combination of the traditional and newly discovered and analysed texts arriving a millennium and a half after the canon was settled for the New Testament will inevitably be threatening and intimidating to some but to many the beginning of a new and exciting journey of discovery about Jesus and his teachings.

A New New Testament contains amazing new material from the first century Christ movements and places this alongside the traditional texts. An eclectic mix of bishops, rabbis, well-known authors, leaders of national churches, and women and men from African American, Native American, and European American backgrounds have studied many of the recent discoveries from the first two centuries rigorously together, and chosen these new books.

The story of the discovery of the new books and bringing them into the light is a remarkable thing in itself and the story of the evolution of the traditional New Testament over 500 years helps the reader to understand why these new texts have not appeared sooner.

The new texts, like the traditional texts were all written between 50 and 175 CE, somewhere around the Mediterranean Sea, with similar themes and within certain realities of life. Like the traditional books, the new ones had a life of their own before they were added to the new New Testament.

The reader is helped through new texts (including The Gospels of Thomas, Mary, Truth, The Prayer of the Apostle Paul, the Odes of Solomon, and the Acts of Paul and Theda) by a guide to reading the material and making sense of its chronological and thematic order. The reader is encouraged to read thoughtfully taking into account historical contexts. It is important to give thought also to who wrote each text and why. So it is a good book for personal reflection.

Expect to be surprised about the common material found in the old and the new, but most of all be excited about the the totally unique concepts and messages that we did not see in the traditional text. This is a book that provokes feelings and forces the reader to think about the nature of God, of Jesus’ mission and develops positive attitudes about the gift of learning we have in front of us.

Paul Inglis, 2nd November 2017.

PCNQ does fellowship and discussion

Today’s gathering of PCNQ members at New Farm served two purposes – an opportunity for fellowship by progressive Christians and a chance to talk about the impact on each of us of the seminars led by Hal Taussig and Michael Morwood. Some people came because they missed the seminars and had heard about how good they were. So we were able to give them a taste of the topics. 

As this gathering came soon after several of our group attended the (New) Reformation Dinner at Geebung, the discussion also included reflections on what was a very interesting event.

PCNQ plans to have regular fellowship/discussion mornings (with great morning teas) to respond to the growing interest in conversations, literature, and developments in progressive Christianity. Also on their agenda is a desire to bring together all the progressive Christian groups of South East Queensland in an informal network of mutual support.

Watch out for future developments from this enthusiastic group by following this blog or the PCNQ FaceBook page –