Category Archives: Resources

Resource: The Uluru Statement from the Heart

Thanks to the UCA Queensland Synod for supplying this link:

The Statement – Uluru Statement from the Heart intro video

Professor Megan Davis, member of the Referendum Council, reads out the Uluru Statement from the Heart for the first time in history on the floor of the First Nations Constitutional Convention:

The Statement – Uluru Statement from the Heart content  and scroll down to LISTEN.


Resource: An Easter Reflection – from Rex Hunt

Thanks for this timely input to our posts Rex. For personal or public use at Easter.

© Rev Rex A E Hunt, MSc(Hons)

9 April 2023



(Background) Today is Easter Day.

Today we celebrate life over death.

This day we celebrate changed possibilities.

And give thanks for the Spirit of Life visible in Jesus,

visible in each one of us,

visible in people in all walks of life…

As we do celebrate, we also acknowledge that all we have

are the stories, shaped and reshaped and told orally,

by people of faith from generation to generation.

No logical, scientific proof of a ‘bodily’ resurrection.

No videotape of an empty tomb.

No seismograph of an Easter earthquake.

Just the stories.

That in the midst of brokenness, healing stirs.

That in the midst of darkness, a light shines.

That in the midst of death, life is breaking forth.

That when all seems gone, hope springs eternal.


Easter Day is traditionally regarded as the most important day

in the liturgical life of the church.

Christmas doesn’t hold a candle to Easter!

But mention the ‘R’ word—’resurrection’—and immediately those

familiar with this term will assume we are referring to Jesus’ resurrection.

This is because we only ever hear about resurrection in relation to Jesus.

Well, maybe I had better modify that claim.

There have been sitings of Elvis out Parkes way, each year,

and for several years now!

Stephen Patterson, a biblical scholar, and from whose writings I have often quoted,

picks up this general notion when he says:

“The resurrection is unequivocally Jesus’ resurrection for us. This is because most of                         us do not really believe in resurrection from the dead, except, of course, in the                                   case of Jesus. He is in a class by himself.” (Patterson 2004:104)

But then Patterson goes on to suggest that this way of thinking places us in a completely different mindset from those ancients.

“For ancients, resurrection is quite possible… The hard part would have been                                    believing that Jesus, a nobody, had been raised from the dead…” (Patterson 2004:106)

Now over the years much ink and blood, sweat, and tears, has been spilt

over ‘what is’ and ‘what is not’ considered

to be meant by the term ‘resurrection’.

And that includes all the problematic stuff argued by a bloke we call Paul!

And the thousands of trees chopped down in the name of an empty tomb!

And whether or not the ‘resurrection’ was a ‘bodily’ event in the life of Jesus!

All this, while noting none of the gospel storytellers

provide an unambiguous, totally convincing account!

Now according to the laws of averages,

you have probably heard much, if not all, of this before.

From others.

And now from me.

Which makes crafting sermons on Easter morning difficult to preach,

because I always feel there may not be much that can be said on this day,

that hasn’t already been said before.

So at some personal risk let me offer some of my thoughts.

Maybe they will gel with some of yours.

Maybe they will conflict with yours. Challenge you to the core.

But they are mine, gleaned over time, as a result of serious study.

And in the company of a group of 21st century biblical scholars

whom I trust and respect.

Indeed, some I am proud to call friends!

I invite your careful listening.


Jesus died.

He was killed—murdered—because of what he said and for what he stood for.

Those close to him, we would claim, were both surprised and shattered.

Stricken with fear and grief, they were in no mood to be

looking for that ‘silver lining’

that supposedly comes with every cloud.

But some people did think about his death.

And all we have of that time and that thinking, are the stories,

shaped and reshaped and told orally by people of faith

from generation to generation.

Yet it is in those stories, I would also claim, they were saying something important,

not about his death,

but about his life.

True, his death mattered to them.

But only because his life mattered more…

Especially when they heard him say something,

or do something, that moved them, deeply.

So they began to speak of his death in ways that affirmed his life.

And they came to see he stood for something so important

he was willing to give his life for it. (Patterson)

That something was the vision of life called the realm or empire of God.

And they came to reaffirm their own commitment

to the values and vision stamped into his life

by his words and deeds.

They believed that “in his words were God’s words.” (Patterson 2004:127)

          And that his vision of a new empire,

cultivated by him among them long before he died,

no executioner or cross could kill.

Jesus was dead.

But he was not dead to them.

His spirit was still coursing through their veins. (Patterson)

Likewise, when we believe in this vision of a possible new empire,

we too can reaffirm our commitment

to the values and vision, and a ‘resurrection’ invitation,

to live life deeply and with zeal.

To be embraced by life, not scared of it.

In all its particularity.

Because life can not remain visionary!

It must be concretely practised.

It must be ‘a way of life’.

Because resurrection is not just a collection of stories

about a so-called once-only event in the past.

Resurrection can and does happen every day!





          Not in what happens after death, but what the knowledge of the

words and deeds and the way of the one we call Jesus,

does for our lives… before death.

Easter is all around us. We need Easter.

In the midst of a world and of humanity hanging on by a thread,

we need some Easter hope.

It isn’t hard to see, if we will see.

And in memory of a former colleague—who died way before his time, due to Covid—

let me share some of his Easter comments written nearly fifteen years ago…[1]


I see Easter in those who daily battle the bureaucracies

on behalf of our creeks and old-growth forests.

They sometimes succeed.


I see Easter in those who make music, art and dance

and who draw out the creativity in others.

I see Easter in those who take time to notice the beauty of nature

and who invite others to notice as well.

I see Easter in those who use their minds to unlock the secrets

of our amazing planet and vast universe.

I see Easter in those who struggle with illness

yet engage life in the moment, as it is.

I see Easter in those who grieve deeply the loss of a loved one,

and through grief witness to the gift of love

that is more powerful than the grave.

I see Easter in those who despite the daily grind of it all,

educate our children and open their minds and hearts.

I see Easter when spirits are re-energised, commitments renewed,

and when we can see just enough light to take another step.

I see Easter in children who love bunnies and eggs.

Yes, Easter is also about bunnies and chocolate eggs and Easter lollies—in moderation.





          And whatever it might mean to say today, ‘Jesus is alive in our midst’,

as traditionalists are won’t to aggressively claim,

“it must above all else mean that he somehow still offers us the vision of a new Empire, into which we are still invited in a real way… a real invitation into a way of life we can           see reflected in his own life. When the life of Jesus no longer matters to those who                                    would claim him as Lord and Savio[u]r, then the life that changed the lives of many                                  finally will have come to an end.” (Patterson 2007:80)


Patterson, S. J. “Killing Jesus in (ed) R. J. Miller. The Future of the Christian Tradition. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2007.

Patterson, S. J. Beyond the Passion. Rethinking the Death and Life of Jesus. Santa Rosa. Polebridge Press, 2004.

Shea, J. The Challenge of Jesus. Chicago. Thomas More Press, 1975.

(In memory if John Shuck… RIP mate.)

[1] John ‘Andy’ Shuck (1961 – 2021)


Navigating the Scholarship of Religion Together

Westar Institute | Home of the Jesus Seminar





Upcoming Event:

The Christmas Stories with John Dominic Crossan: A Westar collaboration with Homebrewed Christianity

Nov 28, 2022
2:00 p.m. EST

Asynchronous 4 week Open Online Class from Homebrewed Christianity

The Christmas Stories – Celebrating, Questioning, & Explaining the Biblical Narratives

More information.



Resources: Poem – “Love is the Answer”

Love is the answer                                                                                                                                  by Bev Floyd

‘Love is your last chance.

There is no other reason for living.’

said my 92-year-old friend.

Yes. Love is the only answer

to this weary world’s woes.


Love that does not blink

when faced with all the

silly nonsense people think

but carries on regardless…

giving a helping hand…

saying a kind and thoughtful word

as if it hadn’t heard.


Yes. Love is the best answer

for an angry child…

a spiteful woman or a raging man…

deep strong, unwearying love…

that helps them to be calm

and settle down. Just love.


Just love… when all the forces

of hatred and injustice

swarm about like killer bees

intent on retribution.

Only love can heal the anger and dismay…

take the pain, the guilt away.


Only love is strong enough

to do what must be done…

to persevere

and hope the best

will soon appear.


Love, which does what must be done

without a thought of self…

love, so tough it won’t be bent

but does what it is meant

to do… for others.


Yes. Love.  Just love…

which brings the sinner

and the saint together.

For even sinners can learn to love

and saints are sometimes weary.


Resources: A Progressive Holy Communion Liturgy

Gifted to the UCFORUM by © Rev Rex A E Hunt, MSc(Hons).

Please acknowledge the author when using.


“Wisdom has set her table.
          Come eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.
          Lay aside immaturity, and live, and walk in the way of insight” (Proverbs 9:2,5-6)
          Introduction (Optional)
                   Members of the Jesus movements regularly ate a meal together
                   when they met as a community.

It was a characteristic that they had in common

with virtually every other social group in their world.

It was considered primary to the early developments

in the movements’ meal liturgy.

                   These meal traditions were not about personal salvation or payment for sin.
                   Instead, they were about actions and offering hospitality, social identity,
                   and being in solidarity with those around us.

The liturgical movements centred on celebration, presence, and joy.

I invite you into the spirit of those meals…

Welcome to the Table

          v1      At this table we give thanks for
                   justice, love, peace and freedom.

Mn    At this table we give thanks for friends and strangers

                   together in community in this safe place.

          Wm   At this table we welcome old and young.

v2      A place at the table.  And all are invited.


          v1      We give thanks for the unfolding of matter,
                            and life
                   that has brought us to this moment in time.

All     We celebrate our common origin with everything that exists.

v1      We celebrate the mystery we experience and address as ‘G-o-d’.

ground and sustainer of everything that exists,

in whom we live and move and have our being.

          v2      And we acknowledge this mystery embodied
                   in every human person,
                            aware that each one of us gives G-o-d
                            unique and personal expression.

All     G-o-d is everywhere present.

In grace-filled moments of sharing.

                   In carefully created communities of loving solidarity.

v2      We are one with everything, living and nonliving, on this planet.




The Story

          v1      We remember the stories from our tradition…
                   How on many occasions the sage we call Jesus would share
                            a meal with friends and strangers.
                   Bread and wine shared in community.

v2      For everyone born, a place at the table…

          v1      How the bread would be taken,
                   a blessing offered, and then shared between them.
                            And all of them ate.
                   How, after conversation, some wine would be poured out,
                   a blessing offered, and then passed between them.
                            And all of them drank.

v2      The bread and the wine symbolised human lives

interconnected with other human lives,

and the power of giving and receiving.

          v1      May the passion for life as seen in Jesus,
                   and in the lives and struggles of many other
                            committed and faithful people then and now,
                            enable us to dare and to dream and to risk…

All     Together may we re-imagine the world.

                   Together may we work to make all things new.

All     Together may we celebrate the possibilities and hope

we each have and are called to share.

v2      For everyone born, a place at the table…

          Bread and White Wine

Bread is broken several times

          v1      And so now, in our time and in this place…
                   We break the bread for our broken earth,
                   ravaged and plundered for greed.

All     May there be healing of our beautiful blue and green planet.

v1      We break this bread for our broken humanity,

for the powerful and the powerless

trapped by exploitation and oppression.

All     May there be the healing of humanity.

v1      We break this bread for those who follow other paths:

for those who follow the noble path of the Buddha,

the yogic path of the Hindus;

the way of the Eternal Guru of the Sikhs;

and the descendants of Abraham, children of Hagar and Sarah.

All     May there be healing where there is pain and woundedness.

v1      We break this bread

for the unhealed hurts and wounds

that lie within us all.

All     May we be healed.

                   White wine is poured into a cup/s

v2      Wine, fruit of the vine,

nurtured, tended, harvested,

and pressed out for us to drink.

All     Wine, liquid sunlight, prepared for our delight.

v2      Wine, gift of nature,

offering earth-bound humans

hints of other worlds,

other realities,

other possibilities.

All     Pouring out this wine

                   we remember people of all ages

                   who searched down new paths, advancing




v2      Pouring out this wine

we are reminded of the call

All     to live fully,

                   to love wastefully, and

                   to be all that we can be.


v1      To eat and drink together reminds us

of the deeper aspects of human fellowship,

for from time immemorial

the sharing of bread and wine

has been the most universal of all symbols of community.

          The Bread and White wine will be served in four groups around the Gathering space


  • Shaped from published resources created by and adapted from: Michael Morwood, Carter Heyward, L Bruce Miller, Shirley Erena Murray, David Bumbaugh, David Galston, John S Spong, the Iona Community… and others. With grateful thanks.




Resource: Being actively and ecologically responsible

The Season of Creation in the month of September

With Love to the World is a locally-produced resource which provides short commentaries on the biblical passages offered in the Revised Common Lectionary, which is used by mainstream denominations of the Christian church around the world. The four passages offered each week are read in worship and one or more of them usually form the basis for the sermon in that service of worship. The publication seeks to prepare people to think about the passages in the week before they hear them in Sunday worship.

The next issue of With Love to the World will contain material submitted by a group of contributors who have been working with the usual four lectionary passages, but also with an additional three biblical texts which feed into the overall theme of Creation. These passages have been chosen because this theme is the focus for the month of September each year in churches around the world.

This year, the Creation theme has been expanded to include, not only the four Sundays of September, but also the weeks around September, from Pentecost 11 (in mid August) through to Pentecost 23, just before the festival of the Reign of Christ brings the church year to an end in November.

As a complement to the four passages offered each week from the Revised Common Lectionary (Hebrew Scripture, Psalm, Epistle, and Gospel), a further three passages are included in each week’s selection of seven passages for reading and reflection. These additional three passages are all drawn from Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). These scriptures have their origins in a culture and society which was closely connected to the land, where people lived in harmony with the annual cycle of agricultural seasons. Their intimate knowledge of land, sea, and sky is reflected in the understanding of animals, fish, and birds, and in the knowledge of “events of nature”.

This extended Season of Creation issue of With Love to the World is intended to assist readers to grapple with how their lifestyle and their personal practices cohere with the need to respect the creation and to live a life that lessens their carbon footprint. Scripture encourages and challenges us in this regard. The series of passages through the 13 weeks are intended to build a strong understanding of God’s love for the creation, and God’s expectation that people of faith will live with ecological responsibility.

The 14 contributors are theologically-astute, environmentally-active people from five states across the continent, who have written thoughtful and informed commentaries on the passages for the week. The issue begins with a reflection on the creation story of Genesis 1 from a First Peoples perspective. Each week, a different writer invites us to consider how scripture informs our discipleship and can shape our environmental awareness and action.

If you are looking for a way to focus your thinking on how to live in harmony with the whole creation, and deepen your discipleship practices of sustainability and environmental responsibility, through a daily reflection on a scripture passage—why not subscribe to With Love to the World?

With Love to the World can be ordered as a printed resource for just $24 for a year’s subscription (see or it can be accessed on phones and iPads via an App, for a subscription of $24.49 per year (go to the App Store or Google Play). For subscription enquiries, contact Trevor Naylor on 02 9747 1369 or

For a discussion of the biblical passages used in the Creation 2022 issue, see

John Squires, Editor  0408 024 642



A Progressive Easter Liturgy – Rev Dr Lorraine Parkinson

Easter Liturgy

[Power Point images]     Easter 2022

Quiet music


PP     The God of Easter – Introduction

What on earth can we do with Easter?  What can progressive Christians say about the story of Easter?  Looking at it from any angle the church presents, brings us face to face with traditional creeds and doctrines.  It’s not for nothing that Easter liturgies are the central observances of the church.  Everything the church traditionally believes about Jesus as Christ the Saviour, is based on beliefs originating from the events of Easter – as set out in the gospels.

But before the gospels, in 1 Corinthians 15, Paul passed on a formula – that according to the scriptures (what else but the Hebrew Scriptures – the Old Testament) “Christ died for our sins.”  Also that “he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.”   Problem is, none of that appears in the Hebrew scriptures.

But Paul then includes a list of people to whom he says Christ had appeared, including, last of all, to himself.  Paul had clearly never heard the story of the crucifixion itself, or a story of an empty tomb.  He doesn’t mention them. But that’s understandable.  That story was not written until decades after Paul died.

It’s the story of Easter that brings Paul’s writings into focus.  The problem was that Paul wrote like a philosopher writing a treatise.  So it’s fair to say that without the story of Easter as told by gospel writers, there’d be no such thing as the religion called Christianity.

The Easter story was told first by the gospel writer Mark, based on Paul’s writings.  Mark’s work then, is the foundational document for Easter.  Other gospel writers took from him events as he outlined them (some historical, some not), put their own spin on them, and reached similar yet differing conclusions.   For that reason, we’ll refer to parts of Mark’s Easter story – from Palm Sunday, to Good Friday, to Easter Saturday, to Easter Day.  Even so, it won’t surprise you that this will not be a traditional Easter liturgy.

I would imagine that from childhood, most of us have memories of Easter – rituals, music, readings, imagery – from Palm Sunday through Holy Week, to Good Friday and then to Easter Day.  Those kinds of memories have shaped Christian understandings of Jesus.

Perhaps surprisingly though, Easter is not just about Jesus.  Equally, perhaps even more so, it raises questions about God.  What ideas about God are behind the traditional Easter events?  There’ll be opportunity to talk about that later this afternoon.  But we’ll proceed through this liturgy with an essential question in mind: Who was the God of Easter for Jesus?

No doubt Jesus knew he risked horrific death – if he promoted ideas opposed to the godship of Caesar.  And that’s precisely what his teaching is about – overturning the power of top-down hierarchical society and giving first place to the poor and downtrodden.     On the other hand, Paul’s proclamation of Jesus as the Saviour Christ was primarily concerned with the resurrection of the dead ‘in Christ’ – meaning life after death – a far safer topic in the Roman empire!

Jesus was in a very different situation from Paul’s.  From his entry into Jerusalem until his execution, Jesus travelled a dark and dangerous road.  Our question is: what kind of God did he believe went with him?

Relying on Paul, the church traditionally says it was the God who orchestrated the whole thing – who gave Jesus no choice but to go on to an agonizing death – so he could be raised from death and everyone would know he was the Christ, the literal Son of God – eventually to be known as the second person of the triune God.

So what?  What good would that do for the people of planet Earth?  Certainly not much at all, for non-believers in Christ the Saviour.   From its earliest time the church was interested only in people who agreed with its teaching about Jesus as the Christ.  The reward for those people would be a visa for heaven.  For everyone else – the church offered nothing – except perhaps, hell and damnation.   Paul’s writings include nothing about Jesus’ message of love for the world, only Paul’s focus on the death and resurrection of ‘Christ’.  The climax of the gospels is also the resurrection of Christ, not Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom of heaven on earth.

So Easter was always guaranteed to be an exclusive Christian thing – excluding the majority of earth’s people.  What kind of God would preside over that?

PP     Dark Journey

Let’s be reminded now of the gathering darkness into which Jesus walked.  He went into Jerusalem with friends, but essentially he walked only with his God.

Audio – Vivaldi’s Adagio Molto.

(Green cloth on table, with leafy branches and little wooden donkey)

PP     Palm Sunday – what was Jesus’ motivation?

Mark 11: 7-10: Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it.  Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.  Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

What happened to the palms?  Mark just calls them ‘leafy branches’.  Never mind.  Whether Jesus arrived in Jerusalem at Passover time or months before that, at the time of the Festival of Booths, when palm branches are waved, is nowhere near as important as why he went to Jerusalem in the first place.  After all, he was entering the lions’ den – the jurisdiction of the Temple leadership.  Most importantly, he was walking into the seat of Roman power in Judea.  So what was he doing there?  What did he bring with him that was worth risking death?  Not just any death, but the worst kind of death depraved Roman authorities could dream up.

Jesus’ motivation must surely have stemmed from the kind of God he had come to know throughout his life.  In everything we know about Jesus of Nazareth, and in everything we know of what he taught, lie the clues to his motivation on what we call Palm Sunday.   Quite simply, Jesus stood up and spoke out of love for humanity, on behalf of God, whom he had come to recognise as Love.   He did it for love.  He inspired countless people to do likewise.

Let’s consider four of those who have followed Jesus into dangerous places.  They knew what Jesus was doing two thousand years ago.  They loved the kind of God he loved.   Each in their own way, they followed Jesus to the utmost.

PP     Bonhoeffer – ‘we are not to simply bandage the wounds’

First, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German theologian who tried to rid the world of Adolf Hitler.  Bonhoeffer did not just feel sorry for people hounded to death by the Nazis.  He tried to do something to end the suffering.  Attempting to assassinate Hitler put Bonhoeffer in harm’s way.  He was hanged by Gestapo thugs.  He knew that could happen.  He did it for love.

PP     Kayla Mueller – God in the suffering eyes reflected in mine

Second, Kayla Mueller.  Young Kayla left her home in the US to become a human rights worker.  In 2012 she went to Syria with an organisation called ‘Support for life’.  She was captured by IS.  After reportedly undergoing unspeakable atrocities for over two years, Kayla’s body was found.  She was only 27.  Her motivation for going there?  In a letter to her father, she said, “Some people find God in church.  I find God in the suffering eyes reflected in mine.”  She did it for love.


PP     Martin Luther King – ‘everything Hitler did in Germany was legal’

And third, Martin Luther King.  King knew he put thorns in the side of the establishment when he stood up for the human rights of black Americans.  He opposed laws that unjustly favoured white Americans.  He endured prison, danger, dreadful insults, and eventually death, at the hands of hatred.  But let’s remember that he did it for love of white people too – that they would find their best non-violent selves when the option of violence was removed from the civil rights movement.  He followed the non-violent teachings of Jesus.  He did it for love.

PP     Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Oscar Romero was Archbishop of El Salvador (in Spanish, “The Republic of the Saviour”).  He crusaded boldly against social inequality and atrocities perpetuated by the state, and was a marked man.  On the night of March 25th, 1980 (38 years ago last night), Archbishop Romero was standing at the altar in a hospital chapel when a gunman broke in and shot him dead.  No one has ever been prosecuted, the assassin having been an agent of the state.  Oscar Romero did what he did out of love.

PP     Seats of power

Seats of unjust power were not confined only to ancient times – they are all around us even now.  Take a moment of silence to consider what it means to follow Jesus’ example in our age.

(removal of the green cloth, and placement of cross on black cloth) 

PP     Good Friday – why did Jesus risk this?

Mark 16: 20-24: After mocking Jesus, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him.  Then they led him out to crucify him.

The multiple crosses in this image are deliberate.  They remind us that Jesus’ execution was not unique.  Thousands of unfortunates were nailed or tied to pieces of rough timber until they died.  This was standard practice in the Roman empire if the authorities believed someone was opposed to the power of Rome.  Jesus would have known exactly how crucifixion was done and how dreadfully and slowly the victims died.  After all, he came from the Galilee where many rebels against Roman brutality and injustice originated.  They advocated the violent way of trying to overcome the Roman occupation.  There can be little doubt that some people he actually knew were crucified on roadsides, in full view of the passing public.

The difference was that Jesus resisted the power of Rome through non-violence – for love he recognised as God.   All the same, in the end he was slowly and agonizingly crucified until his life went out of him.

 PP     He has died –

Audio – Solemn bell tolls 6 times

PPx2 ‘Jesus, you hang upon a cross’ by Shirley Erena Murray

Recommended tune: St Columba TiS523

Let’s remain seated as we sing

 PP     We remember Jesus’ courageous faith.

We remember Jesus’ courageous faith in the goodness of God, and in the goodness of humanity.

All: We remember him.

PP     In Memoriam –

In your own time, you are invited to take your sprig of rosemary or your flower, and come forward to place it by the cross, in loving memory of Jesus and his love for all people, not just for those who believe in Christ the Saviour.

(Audio – My silent cry’– violin music – until all have sat down).

PP     Easter Saturday – where was Jesus’ God?

Where was the God Jesus loved, when the devastated, grieving friends gathered together for comfort and strength, on the dark day following Jesus’ death?  Did Jesus’ entreaties/searching question of God just prior to his passing continue to resound in their heads?  Had God forsaken them?  Did God evaporate with the death of their beloved teacher, guide and friend?  Where was the God Jesus loved in the darkness of their sorrow and despair, borne of the injustice they witnessed and their apparently broken dreams?  But in that time of friends gathering together perhaps they reflected on Jesus’ teaching and ministry; reminding them of the nature of God; bringing them some comfort and strength.    Silence (1 min)

PP     This day is the between time

This day is the between time – the dark time between death and new life.

Between what is gone and what is to come,

Between despair and hope.

Between the seed planted and the seed springing up.

Can we claim that hope in our own dark times?

Let’s sing about our fears for the world as it is now, its flooded towns and war, and our hope as followers of Jesus.

PP x 5  ‘We lay our broken world’  by Anna Briggs 

Recommended tune: Carlisle TiS234

PP     Walking into the light

When did the darkness begin to lift for Jesus’ friends and first followers?  Was it after one day, or two?  Or after a month, or a year?   Mark’s story says it was on the third day after the crucifixion.

Mark 16: 1-8: When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.  And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.  When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.  As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed.  But he said to them, “Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has been raised; he is not here.  Look, there is the place they laid him.  But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.”  So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone for they were afraid.

We don’t know how long it took the followers to realise something vital – something absolutely vital – for their own future, and for the future of the teaching for which Jesus had died.  Something woke them from their despairing sleep.  Something encouraged them get up and start walking – out of the devastation and hopelessness into a new future as followers of Jesus.  What was that something?  We can only think it was their growing awareness that what Jesus had given them lived on!  That it was indestructible!

His body no doubt was lost in the dust of Jerusalem, along with other victims of crucifixion.  But his message lived on!

And so they began to walk and talk again – as he had taught them.  At first they walked slowly and hesitantly, aware that what they were doing placed them in very great danger.  But they went on.  They walked with the God Jesus loved.  They carried his message to the world.

The music we will hear now, called Psalmus Ode, is in Latin.  It asks God to be with those who are walking slowly – in despair or danger.

(Audio – Psalmus Ode – first 2:30 mins)

(removal of black cloth and cross, and placement of candle on white cloth)

 PP     Easter Day – a day of rejoicing.  Did Jesus’ God rejoice?

Easter bells – audio

And so, into the light.  Traditionally, this is the day when Christians rejoice.  Everyone remembers singing ‘Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son.  Endless is the victory thou o’er death hast won.’  Again, this is a Christians-only celebration.  Not for anyone else – not for Jews, or Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists or people of no religion.  Again, we must ask whether God would rejoice in the reasons traditionally given for celebration on Easter Day.  We have considered the new beginning that gradually dawned on Jesus’ original followers.  But the church has called it an immediate ‘victory over death’, teaching that Jesus himself returned to life on earth, before going ‘up’ to heaven.   Whichever way we may see that story of what is known as the resurrection, again there is a concentration on life after death for believers in Christ the Saviour.  That comes ahead of and often in place of, Jesus’ determination to make life on earth for all people, the best it can be.  To accomplish that, Jesus had a message for everyone.

PP     Jesus told the world

Jesus told the world what the world thought unbelievable – that God is kind, humble, compassionate, forgiving, just, non-violent, peaceful, faithful and enduring.

Jesus discovered that the God of what we call Easter has a name –

that name is Love.

PP     Where does this leave us?

Is it time for seeds of loving action to gather their strength?

Is it time for taking hold of love and walking the talk?

We will pray this three-part prayer together.

PP     Spirit of life

Spirit of life, we are thankful for the earth and sky,

For all that sustains and nourishes us on this planet.

PP     Spirit of peace

Spirit of peace, we are grateful for inner stillness and times of thoughtful reflection that nurture and shape us.

 PP     Spirit who is love

Spirit who is Love, we are grateful for Jesus, who spoke words of love and lived the way of compassion.

He showed us how to challenge the forces of evil.

PP     We light this candle in gratitude for Jesus

Candle is lit in silence.

Silence (1 min) 

PPx3 God is love, let heaven adore him.  Tune: Abbot’s Leigh

This is one of the few hymns that actually states: ‘God is love’.

So it’s a natural.  It’s one of the best Easter Day hymns we could sing.

Let’s all stand and sing it!

PPx4 Blessing for Easter

A blessing for Easter.

(PP = powerpoint slides)


As author of this liturgy I give permission for it to be used by groups to make available a meaningful observance of Easter

for non-traditional/progressive  Christians.

I cannot share the powerpoint slides as some of the images are subject to copyright.  That applies also to words of hymns indicated in the script and to the words of a poem that I have read as a Blessing for Easter.

Other blessings can be substituted.

Lorraine Parkinson, April 2022



Initial responses: Values driving youth


The emerging responses to our request for material and survey show youth values falling into the following categories (maybe they are similar for many adults):

Relationships – with friends, family, work place people, teachers and include openness, trust, generosity, caring, openness.

Social – relating to the rest of the world – justice, freedom, respect, community, responsibility. abuse of power, discrimination, greed, current generation leaving for future generations

Young people are saying they want more – empathy, love, respect, loyalty of friends, and honesty.

They are already actively applying their values through social media.

Older youth are wanting to be treated like adults. They are looking for a purpose in life with males and females thinking differently. Males more than females are seeking wealth. Females more than males are seeking to make a contribution to society.

The Mission Australia annual survey of 20,207 15 to 19 year olds in 2021 gave the following overview:

As in previous years, responses to the Youth Survey 2021 reveal that, in general, young females have more heightened concerns than young males about some issues and were more likely to
experience certain negative outcomes. This includes in areas such as confidence in achieving study or work goals and barriers to achieving their goals, concerns about coping with stress, mental health and body image, and unfair treatment due to gender. The experiences
and concerns of gender diverse young people were even more heightened in relation to all of these and additional areas.

While the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were connected to education, valued their family and friends and felt positive about the future, they also reported more and deeper challenges than their non-Indigenous peers, including being less likely to
feel happy or very happy with their lives. Particularly concerning is the higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents who reported having been treated unfairly in the past year compared with non-Indigenous respondents (47.1% compared
with 33.6% of non-Indigenous respondents). Half (52.5%) of those who had been treated unfairly said the reason was race/cultural background.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young females had more heightened concerns and were more likely to experience negative outcomes in a number of areas than Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young males, including concerns about mental health and related issues. Of particular concern, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander female respondents
experienced comparatively low levels of happiness and comparatively high levels of stress.
The marked differences based on gender and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status indicate that policy and service responses to the issues and concerns raised in the Youth Survey need a nuanced approach. The inclusion of data for gender diverse young people this year has
highlighted some particular challenges for this group.

These findings remind us that diversity has to be specifically recognised and included in the development of strategies, programs and policies for young people. It is incumbent on us all – governments, health professionals, community services, businesses, schools, members of the
community – to create welcoming environments that are responsive to the needs of all young people, whatever their background and circumstances. Young people need to be at the centre of policy and service design and development, to bring their unique perspective to bear on issues that affect them and on the development of solutions.

Most important issues:
COVID-19 45.7%
The environment 38.0%
Equity and discrimination 35.4%

Full report of Mission Australia Survey.

Please keep your input to this project coming and thanks for finding time for this.

Paul Inglis


A Progressive Worship Resource for Season of Creation

George Stuart has kindly made available to us a suggested liturgy, also leadership notes with biblical commentary as well as notes for the leader to follow when preparing, etc. We appreciate his ever generous gifting of his work and can expect more. This time the material is aimed at use on Humanity Sunday and he is working on further Season of Creation resources (September – October) including for Animal Sunday, Cosmos Sunday, and a few others.

Humanity Sunday – For leaders of the church service

These Sundays are Season of Creation Sundays, so, each different aspect of creation is the focus of each Church Service.  This Humanity Sunday gives the church a golden opportunity to celebrate the mysterious wonder and the beauty of humanity.  It is also important to take this opportunity to confront the challenges and responsibilities that fall on all humanity regarding our fragile and threatened environment.

Aims and objectives

 Main Aim.  To engender a sense of awe and amazement of humanity, to celebrate the complex unity as well as the potential of human beings and then to be thankful.

Other important aims are,

  1. To explore what ‘dominion’ and ‘made in God’s image’ mean, in the context of the Genesis readings, and in doing so, compare the 2 creations stories in Genesis.
  2. To prompt reflection on the different ways of living within our fragile environment.
  3. To acknowledge the godly dimension of all that is.
  4. To significantly discern the gospel’s Good News for the day.

Resources offered   (The leader is encouraged to choose from these resources and use them.)

  1. Background reading and commentaries on Bible readings.

 Quotations from Bible commentaries are included because, with more lay people conducting church services, they would probably not have the private theological libraries that many clergy have.

 Thoughts and information about the human being.

Background reading, some of which is used in the suggested liturgy.  Choose what you wish.

  1. Suggestions for congregational participation.

Dialogues, individual contributions, and a children’s game are all included in the suggested liturgy.

  1. Lyrics to traditional hymn tunes.

4 of my sets of original lyrics are used in the suggested liturgy.   Norman Habel has also written many lyrics that could be used. Some of these can be accessed in the Seasons of Creation services, on the internet.

  1. Prayers and Prayer suggestions.

A Creation Prayer, and suggestions for other prayers are included in the suggested liturgy.

  1. A suggested liturgy.  

The suggested liturgy below takes about 45 minutes, which includes time for congregational participation, the children’s game and Prayers of the People, etc.  It is suggested that, without interrupting the flow of the service, short commentaries could be given, to explain some of the Bible readings.  The dramatized reading in the liturgy below has been taken from the Uniting Church’s Seasons of Creation services, on the internet.  My suggested liturgy follows the lead of the services on the internet, by giving opportunity for members of the congregation to participate, and by having dialogues and the dramatized reading.  Doing something a little different!

 Resources detailed

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A (Zoom) Presentation to a Group in Melbourne

from Rev Rex Hunt

Also available at


I have learnt much about liturgy from my three young grand children.

And wisdom from poets, among them being

Mary Oliver (1935–2019), Dennis McCarty, Catherine de Vinck,

and the Irish poet and philosopher, John O’Donohue (1956–2008).


Take any three year old for a walk, say… along a beach or bush track.

Don’t plan to be in a hurry.


Every twig or seashell.

Every muddy pool of water.

Every minnow, dragon fly, or small lizard to cross your path

will be an occasion for closer ‘looking’ and ‘excitement’ and ‘wonder’.

Children intuitively apprehend the truth that we are all part of nature.


So following the ‘advice for living’ from Mary Oliver…

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

Such attention and experience comes from being immersed in what is,

and seeing the overlooked.

Such attention is scientifically informed.

Such attention is what helps shape good liturgy.


As natural beings among diverse other natural beings, we humans are at home in nature.

Not long home from post graduate studies in Germany—the year was 1931—

and still shaping his ‘mystical naturalism’, theologian Bernard Meland (1899–1993) wrote:

“Have you ever communed in the first person with this total wealth of living life about                             you? Have you ever stood with awe and wonder before the unbounded totality of all reality—this ongoing process we call the universe, feeling your own intimacy with all                               its life, thrilling with the realisation of the magnitude of that relationship, relating you to all the world’s life, past, present and future? If you have, you have experienced first- hand religion.” (Meland 1931:665; Meland 1934:234)

Meland suggests the natural world has the capacity to inspire a response,

an expression of our awe of nature, of our attraction to the mystery of existence,

to something intangible, called ‘religious’ or ‘spiritual’ from humans.

He was also highly critical of religion that fostered

a sense of strangeness toward the natural world.

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