Friday, 17 November 2017

Two Churches, Two Countries

Confucius once said: “When friends come from afar, how can one not be happy?” It is an honour for me on behalf of Uniting Church in Australia to welcome you Commissioner Mao and your delegation.


I have been to China twice in 2013 and 2016. As a church organisation, our relationship with the TSPM and China Christian Council has been life-giving. We deem it of immense value. Our trips to China allowed us to experience China’s transformation as a nation, and recognize the important relationship between our two countries.

The prospect of greater scrutiny of supply chains and labour-hire contractors is welcome news, particularly to Pacific members of the Uniting Church who’ve been actively involved in providing pastoral care to temporary migrant workers.

Tongans, Fijians, and ni-Vanuatu make up the bulk of the Australian Government’s Seasonal Workers Program under which more than 4000 Pacific Islanders come to Australia to work in our $10 billion horticulture industry.

Moe Turaga came back to the Uniting Church in Mildura on Sunday 29 October.

The disability services worker from Bundaberg in Queensland was returning to the Sunraysia region for the first time in 30 years - a region that holds some painful memories for him.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Transforming Ecumenism

Rev. Linsday Cullen reflects on his time at the fourth International Receptive Ecumenism Conference in Canberra.

Everyone knows that ecumenism is easy, right? All you have to do is persuade every other Christian tradition that you are right, and you’re done!


Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus.

The week ahead will be challenging for our community and our church, as the results of the Government’s voluntary postal survey on same gender marriage will be released.

President Stuart McMillan delivered this sermon at the closing service of the Middle East National Conference held at Bankstown District Uniting Church on 5 November.

Wednesday, 01 November 2017

A Dead Hand on the Heart

The national leaders of the Uniting Church in Australia and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) have lamented the Federal Government’s failure to embrace greater national representation for First Peoples.

Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan has called on the Australian Government to ensure the safety of refugees on Manus Island who remain inside the main detention facility which was shut down on Tuesday.

Around 600 refugees have refused to leave because they fear their safety outside of the Regional Processing Centre.

“Australia cannot walk away from its responsibility to guarantee the safety of these men who have already suffered so much uncertainty and fear,” said Mr McMillan.

Water and electricity were turned off on Tuesday and food and medical services are no longer being provided. The men are surviving on stockpiles of food and water collected from rain.

The Australian Government plans to transfer the refugees to other accommodation closer to the island's main town of Lorengau.

However, the refugees are refusing to leave with some of the men repairing wire security fences to the compound to protect themselves inside the centre.

The UNHCR has also expressed its concerns about the lack of planning in the closure of the facilities and insufficient consultation with the Papua New Guinean community.

There remains no long-term solution for the refugees on Manus Island who are not included in the relocation arrangement with the United States of America.

“It is clear the refugees inside the Manus Island processing centre hold grave fears for their safety and security in the other locations,” said Mr McMillan.  

“The Government must take immediate steps to ensure the refugees remain safe and continue to have access to water, food and critical medical and mental health services,” said Mr McMillan.

The Uniting Church has long advocated for refugees to be processed fairly, onshore in Australia and for an increase in Australia’s humanitarian intake.

“We pray for the safety of these men as the centre is shut down today and all refugees who continue to be deprived of hope.”

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