Category Archives: Resources

Inclusive Catholics: Resourcing Progressive Ministry and Worship No.13

A welcoming and inclusive community of committed Christians, based in Victoria, true to their faith, who have become disillusioned with the institutional Catholic Church and other churches.

Go to: Inclusive Catholics

“Given the clericalism, abuse, discrimination and lack of proper governance within the Catholic Church, in 2011 Fr Greg Reynolds, a priest of the Melbourne Archdiocese for 31 years, set up a new community, called Inclusive Catholics to embrace those disillusioned with institutional churches. In this community all are welcome without question, especially lapsed Catholics as well as survivors of clerical abuse, divorcees, those who support women’s ordination and LGBTIQA+ people.

This community strives to let all voices be heard and equally considered when planning and celebrating worship and other events. It is now a democratic organisation led by an elected Stewardship Team with Greg Reynolds as pastor. Inclusive Catholics holds fortnightly Eucharistic celebrations at Glen Iris Road Uniting Church Community Centre, monthly lecture-discussions in member’s homes, social dinners, silent retreats and luncheon gatherings where personal stories can be shared.”

Social Justice

“We are all deeply committed to Gospel values and caring for the needs of the poor and vulnerable in our society and the world. We each respond to the call in our own personal way, as we accept and support each other’s approach, gifts and priorities. Above all, our hearts and prayers go out to those who suffer abuse, injustice and oppression. We are a diverse range of personalities, with a wide range of social justice priorities. Early on we decided not to set up our own separate social justice group, but rather to support individual members in the various organisations and activities that they are involved in. For example members are involved in or connected with groups such as IPAN (the Independent & Peaceful Australia Network), Pax Christi, WATAC (Women and The Australian Church), St Mary’s in Exile, Aboriginal Catholic Ministry, Acceptance, BASP (Brigidine Asylum Seeker Project), Love Makes a Way, ARRCC (Australian Religious Response to Climate Change), Catholics for Renewal, ACCCR (Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform), Quakers, and various Christian Churches especially Glen Iris Road Uniting Church and St Oswald’s Anglican Church. “

Eucharist

This is an open table and any believer who wishes to receive Holy Communion is welcome. Eucharist is celebrated on the first and third Sundays of each month at Glen Iris Road Uniting Church, 200 Glen Iris Road, Glen Iris at 5.00 pm, preceded by optional quiet meditation at 4.40pm

1ST & 3RD SUNDAYS OF EACH MONTH, 5PM
GLEN IRIS UNITING CHURCH

Contact details – About us

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New from Morning Star Publishers

The Unexpected Light is a book which seeks to inspire through the experience of science, history, and art, rather than theological rhetoric – reaching out to people not necessarily committed to the Christian faith but perhaps interested in it.

The aim is to show how mercy is not just a doctrine, not just a teaching – although these are important things – but rather, a force integral to the future of human life on earth. Peter Fleming examines science, history, art – unified in faith. In a world which is imperfect by its very nature, mercy is a logical response to its people and to human behaviour.

Reflections from a Year of Mercy

By: Peter Fleming

Pages: 160
Publisher:Morning Star Publishing
Dimensions:148mm x 210mm
ISBN: 9780648118664

$20.95 – Purchase details

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A Progressive Sunday School Curriculum

A Joyful Path, Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds

Uniting Church Dayboro uses “A Joyful Path” for the children’s curriculum. It is a curriculum for children in today’s world. We use it to create Christian practice and teaching that builds in the children a greater concern for the way people treat each other than simply what, if, & how a person believes. The curriculum affirms the variety & depth of human experience. The Joyful Path is first and foremost about teaching and practicing Christian spirituality rather than any exclusive dogma. It seeks to create a foundation of fair, open, peaceful & loving treatment for all human beings. Its primary lesson is to help children discover and relate to the Divine in themselves and each other. Many of the lessons focus on ways that we can practice the same compassion with all as Jesus spoke and demonstrated so often. The Joyful path is just that, & not a mere retelling of the old Bible stories. In the words of Bishop John Shelby Spong “(it) does not equate faith with having a pre-modern mind”. The curriculum provides a Sunday space that you can invite the children of your unchurched friends & family without fear or embarrassment.

Now in our 3rd year of using this curriculum, we have been very pleased with the response of kids, parents, congregation and church council.

Some of the Authors and Teachers drawn upon in writing this curriculum:
Eckhart Tolle
Houston Smith
Rumi
Paul Knitter
Thomas Berry
Paul Tillich
Jack Cornfield
Meister Eckhart
Robin Wall Kimmerer
Rev. Dr. Matthew Fox
Bishop Jack Spong
Marcus Borg
Rabbi Zalman
Val Webb
Sallie Mcfague
AND MORE!

38 lessons each year focus on:

  • suggestions for personal and group reflection (the instructor, the students and the students in community with one another);
  • resources to expand awareness to other cultures, religions and ways of knowing;
  • practices to invite spiritual discovery, awareness and application;
  • embodied activities for direct encounters and experience;
  • brainstorms for further action and engagement with the community;
  • rituals for celebrating the gifts Earth provides in each of the 4 seasons; and
  • ceremonies to explore gratitude, engagement/being in the struggling, peace-making, and forgiveness

For more details and how to purchase: Go to A Joyful Path

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What is the status, role and authority of the Basis of Union in the Uniting Church today?

Rev Don Whebell. [Don is one of the few people still living that were actively involved in the process of coming into Union that formed the Uniting Church from three previous denominations. As well as a minister, he was a Queensland Synod Moderator and taught the subject ‘Basis of Union’ for many years at Trinity Theological College in the Queensland Synod].

“That question had been in front of me for some time for at least three reasons:

  1. There was a time when, as a Christian Education and Youth Worker, I had responsibility for a program of education for the participating denominations in North Queensland. Having been involved in studies in the first Basis [and disappointed at its rejection by the Presbyterian Church] my task was to try to help people to understand it in ways that would make sense to them in their journeys.

“I was frequently disappointed at what I saw to be the superficial responses a lot of people were making to the whole issue and a general unwillingness to grapple with the theological basis of what it means to be the Church.

“Most seemed to be just wanting some ‘ecclesiastical carpentry’ to glue the three denominations’ organisations together – or wanting a Church under another name that was vey similar to what they already had….

“2. In my roles as a Presbytery Minister and as Moderator, I was frequently confronted by the same sort of thing in the 80s and 90s that I had encountered in the 70s.

“Many people were often just not willing – or motivated – or able – to do the theological work, wanting a simple way of being the Church that made few demands on their thinking, believing and acting….

“Concerned that the Basis of Union was not being given its intended role, status and authority in the Uniting Church, the Council of Synod asked Duncan Harrison and I to write some studies on the Basis for people in Congregations, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Inauguration of the Uniting Church. And to encourage people to re-engage in a search through the Basis and rediscover the sources of their faith. It’s called A Hitchhiker’s Trip through the Basis of Union.

“3.The third area of my concern was aroused – say the least – when, at a Presbytery Ministers’ Conference a many years ago, The General Secretary of the Assembly announced that there was a growing problem with the place of the Basis in the UCA.

“He said something like:

“There is an emerging viewpoint among some that holds that The Basis of Union does not have the relevance for the Uniting Church that it had for the three denominations that were negotiating the Church Union proposals that led to the inauguration of the Uniting Church in 1977.”

“That is to say that The Basis of Union belongs to the pre-union denominations, and is no longer relevant to the Uniting Church. A historical archive, that served its purpose in the forming of the UCA, but of no real continuing significance.

“This is no new issue….”

Don’s work on re-appraising the Basis of Union is at last being made publicly available. He has kindly offered his work to the UCFORUM’s readers to reflect on.

You can follow this work at: The Basis of Union re-examined. This is a work in progress. The first six sessions are available and many more are to follow. So come back to this site when you can.

Don welcomes ideas and opinions and although he is battling some serious health issues you can email him at: Don Whebell.

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Australia Talks – ABC Survey

On ReligionInformation release from ABC’s Australia Talks with Annabel Crabb

“Australians firmly believe that religious people are subjected to discrimination in this country.

But all the same, we’d rather the godly kept their views to themselves.

Seventy-one per cent of Australians told the ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey that religious
discrimination happens “occasionally” or “often” in this country.

Ironically, this is a point on which the devout and the heathen are in agreement.

Even among Australians with no religion, 68 per cent agreed that there is discrimination, as did 74 per cent of Catholics, 72 per cent of Protestants and 74 per cent of “other religions”.

Still, we’d rather the devout kept quiet  

But a broad majority of Australians — 60 per cent — would prefer that people keep their religious views to
themselves.

This was a view held most strongly, as you might imagine, by non-religious respondents, of whom 73
percent wished not to hear the religious views of others.

But even a slim majority of Catholics — 53 per cent — agreed that it was better to keep religion a private
affair.

Protestants were more inclined to support full disclosure; only 39 percent of them felt religious views should be private.

And people from other faiths were divided on the question: just shy of a majority — 47 percent — agreed
religion should be a hush-hush affair.

If you’re wondering why all religious respondents besides Catholics and Protestants are grouped together, it’s because only those two faith groups provided a large enough sample to isolate in a statistically reliable
fashion.

According to the 2016 Census, 2.6 percent of Australians follow Islam, 2.4 percent are Buddhist, 1.9 percent
are Hindu and 0.4 percent are Jewish.

Catholicism is the leading single religious group, claiming 23 percent of the population, while 13 percent
identify as Anglican and 16 percent as “other Christian”.

We are not our faith

Australia is not a country in which religious belief is the dominant determinant of identity, social status or
indeed even social activity.

When given a list of eight attributes and asked which was most central to the respondent’s sense of self and
identity, Australians placed religion stone-cold, motherless last.

Respondents were more likely to identify themselves through their political beliefs (this was the top-rating
response, scoring 6.4 on a scale of one to ten), gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation than they were through
their religious views, which rated 4.7 out of ten.

What not to bring up at a dinner party  

Intermingling between religious groups is commonplace in Australia; 84 percent of respondents said they mixed socially with people of different beliefs to themselves.

But there are some subjects probably best avoided at such ecclesiastically-mixed gatherings.

Climate change, for one; while 80 per cent of atheists think climate is a problem for them personally, only 63
percent of Protestants agree.

Gender roles, for another; 35 percent of Protestants believe that Australia would be better off if more women stayed home to look after children, while only 14 percent of the godless were also of this view.

Would more religion help or hurt?  

Overall, Australians are not looking for more religion. Only 15 percent of respondents thought the country
would be better off if more people were religious.

And one of the survey’s most striking findings is the poor esteem in which religious leaders are held.

When asked who they trusted, Australians opted for doctors and nurses (trusted by 97 percent) and scientists (93 percent) well ahead of their preachers.

Religious leaders were distrusted by a full 70 percent of the population, with 35 percent saying they did not
trust them “at all”.

Even within their own flocks, religious leaders were viewed with some suspicion.

Protestants were the most obedient among the faithful; 58 percent of them trusted their religious leadership. But only 47 percent of Catholics had the same level of faith, while other religions came in at 49 per cent.

It seems trust in religious leaders may be a thing of the past; nearly half (47 percent) of those aged over 75 felt it, but only 23 per cent of those aged 25 to 29.

Where do you fit?  

If you’ve not had a chance, use the Australia Talks online tool to see how you compare (and share it with
your family and friends). It is available in English, Vietnamese, simplified Chinese and Arabic. 

Then, tune in at 8.30pm on November 18 for our unmissable live Australia Talks TV event, which I will
present with my excellent co-host Waleed Aly. 
Annabell Crabb

   
Forward this email to a friend so they can sign up to this newsletter here.  

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Progressive Church of Christ? Resourcing Ministry and Worship No.12

TLC Church Bayswater North, Melbourne.

265, Canterbury Road.

Truth and Liberation Concern (TLC Church) is an organic
community, responding to God’s grace and the call to love.
Just as the TLC community is a ‘work in progress’, so its vision
and mission statement is a work in progress. It is a snapshot of our
community and aims to give clarity to what is evident among us.
And it helps us dream and plan for what may be possible for the
journey ahead.

The TLC elders and pastors recognise and name the things that
give life and breath to the TLC community. We acknowledge the
founding faith statements and mission statements that have
underpinned our community for over 40 years.

Our Mission Statement

Spirituality and worship We affirm worship as an all-of-life endeavor, expressed in diverse ways as we respond to God and to one another. We seek to nurture the Christian faith within our community and to provide opportunities for spiritual growth.

A place to belong We offer people a home and a place to belong. We provide a space where people can find love, grace and dignity through their relationships with Christ and with one another.

Mission and community engagement We encourage one another to encounter God as we reach out beyond our boundaries, exploring and sharing the love and justice of Jesus.

An Empowering Community We empower people to take ownership within our community. We encourage one another to embrace both the freedom of the Gospel and the responsibility that the Gospel brings. Our challenge is to express our faith through the way we live.

Restoration & Healing We offer rest, healing and rejuvenation. We invite people to experience the love of God within our community, and we provide space for people to journey towards wholeness.

Go to – Our facilities

Go to – Global focus

Go to – Sermons

Go to – Fairs fair

Sunday Service – 10am.

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Grounded in Truth – Walk Together with Courage

Your guide for #NRW2019 and beyond!

Go to: NRW Grounded in Truth

At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians.

“… A reconciled Australia is one where our rights as First Australians are not just respected but championed in all the places that matter …”
Kirstie Parker – Board Member, Reconciliation Australia

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australia’s colonial history is characterised by devastating land dispossession, violence, and racism. Over the last half-century, however, many significant steps towards reconciliation have been taken.

Reconciliation is an ongoing journey that reminds us that while generations of Australians have fought hard for meaningful change, future gains are likely to take just as much, if not more, effort.

In a just, equitable and reconciled Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will have the same life chances and choices as non-Indigenous children, and the length and quality of a person’s life will not be determined by their racial background.

Our vision of reconciliation is based and measured on five dimensions: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity and unity.

These five dimensions do not exist in isolation, but are interrelated. Reconciliation cannot be seen as a single issue or agenda; the contemporary definition of reconciliation must weave all of these threads together. For example, greater historical acceptance of the wrongs done to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can lead to improved race relations, which in turn leads to greater equality and equity.

“Reconciliation must transcend Australian political theatre and promote a sense of national unity …” Patrick Dodson – The State of Reconciliation in Australia, 2016

“Reconciliation isn’t a single moment or place in time. It’s lots of small, consistent steps, some big strides, and sometimes unfortunate backwards steps …” – Karen Mundine – Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia

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Accessing Progressive Texts at Trinity Library Brisbane

Trinity Theological Library serves the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod, by supporting theological, ministerial, adult faith and chaplaincy education through Trinity College Queensland, Adelaide College of Divinity and Flinders University.

It resources the learning community that consists of students and staff of Trinity College Queensland and Adelaide College of Divinity and Flinders University, Queensland Synod staff, Uniting Church members throughout the Queensland Synod and guests.

The Library offers free membership to Uniting Church members throughout the Queensland Synod, as well as Raymont Residential College students and St Francis Theological College members. Members of the public are welcome to join on an annual membership basis (fees apply).

Through the generosity of Rodney Eivers (chair of UCFORUM), many progressive texts have been added to the library. Rodney continues to add more books on a regular basis. The current list of progressive texts is:

Webb, Val Testing Tradition and liberating theology
Hunt and Smith Why Weren’t we Told
Windross, Tony Thoughtful Guide to Faith
Flanigan, Martin Peter Kennedy
Jensen, Rod Two Small Books on Laypeople & Church
Lorraine Parkinson Made on Earth
Don Cupitt Ethics in the Last Days of Humanity
David Boulton The Trouble with God
Gretta Vosper With or Without God
Funk and Hooper The Five Gospels
Michael Morwood In Memory of Jesus
Webb Val In Defence of Doubt
John Spong Christianity Must Change or Die
Nigel Leaves Odyssey on the Sea of Faith
George Stuart Singing A New Song
Morwood Tomorrow’s Catholic
Heath, Emily Glorify
Crossan, John, Dominic How to Read the Bible and Still be a Christian
Taussig A New New Testament
Morwood God is Near
Mascord Faith Without Fear
Butler-Bass Diana Christianity After Religion
Morwood Faith, Hope and a Bird Called George
Robinson Honest to God
Bodycomb No Fixed Address
Smith & Hunt New Life – Rediscovering Faith
Robert Funk Honest to Jesus
Rex Hunt Against the Stream
MCNab Francis Discover a New Faith
Lloyd Geering Jesus Rediscovered
Preston, Noel Ethics, With or Without God
Dinah Livingstone This Life on Earth
Spong, John Jesus for the Non-Religious
Bodycomb Two Elephants in the Room
Macnab, Francis This Hungry Time

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Progressive Baptist? Resourcing Ministry and Worship No.11

Is Hamilton Baptist Church in Newcastle, NSW our first known progressive Baptist Community?

COMMITTED TO LOVE

“We seek to be a community in which people matter more than dogma or institution. We aim to value each other, celebrate each other’s joys, care for one another in difficult times, and spur one another on to be the people we were created to be..”

DIVERSE & INCLUSIVE

“We seek to be a community that embraces diversity in age, gender, sexuality, culture, and social status. Our congregation includes young and old, straight and gay, abled and disabled, and people of Anglo, Asian, and other backgrounds, each contributing uniquely to our community life.”

Are you a “Bible believing” church?

“Bible believing” is often shorthand for churches that have a very conservative outlook on social issues, fundamentalist approach to truth, claim that all their views are the clear teaching of the Bible, and see conformity to all those beliefs as the basis of their community life.

That is not the type of church you will find at Hamilton Baptist. We’re bound together by a common conviction that we want to be followers of Jesus and to love and support each other on that journey. We very much value and honour the Bible and look to the story it tells to enable us to understand who God is, who we are, and how we should live in this world. We recognise that interpreting the Bible is not always simple and that there is room for significant difference of opinion. We have also found that the values of the Biblical story, and particularly of Jesus, need to be applied afresh in every generation. Sometimes this means continuing past traditions and sometimes creating new traditions.

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Resourcing Progressive Ministry and Worship No.10

South Woden Uniting Church: A Church with No Walls

Vision:

We seek to explore the boundaries of faith for the 21st century: by focussing on how we live out the gospel and our faith in our daily lives and being aware of current religious issues and trends in theological thinking. We encourage a spirituality of compassion and freedom: by encouraging members to be actively involved in the preparation and conduct of worship, supporting social justice initiatives and building a Christian community which actively helps and cares for each other.

We celebrate life in all its aspects and phases: by sharing in a deep and realistic way the joys and sorrows of life from birth, baptism, relationships, family and working lives, children and grandchildren, life challenges, sickness, and death.

We look to be an enlightened presence in the wider community; by actively supporting social justice activities for asylum seekers and refugees, the homeless and other people in need. We also support and encourage members as they are involved in community and volunteer activities in the wider community.

We respond to the needs of people near and far with the resources we have: by intentionally setting aside a significant amount of money we have raised for selected wider work projects in the local community, Australia and overseas.

We advocate for justice and peace in our nation and in the world: by supporting social justice programs, making representations to decision makers, and where appropriate participating in protest activities.

We continually challenge people to respond to the grace of God in Jesus Christ: by involving the congregation in decision making, affirming people in the contributions they make to the wider community, and to encouraging a faith community which is meaningful, spiritual and life giving.

Sunday Worship: 9.30am

Pearce Community Centre, Collett Place, Pearce, ACT.

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