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A Progressive Christian Voice

Just a reminder to regularly go to our friends at A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia) who are encouraging contributions to public debate by promoting a generous and future-focused understanding of the Christian faith.

A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia):

  • Understands Christian opinion to be more diverse and broader than that portrayed by the media.
  • Is dedicated to contributing insights from progressive streams of the Christian faith and community.
  • Seeks to minimise the effect that powerful lobby groups have on public discourse.

oOo

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Being to Becoming

Another subscriber has drawn attention to a recent ABC RN Interview:

The Posthuman on The Philosopher’s Zone

 with Joe Gelonesi  (3rd December 2016)

To listen, click here

In the 1960s Michel Foucault famously declared the end of man (sic) as we know him. In doing so he propelled what has come to be known as the posthuman turn—an all-encompassing worldview that held for over three centuries was deemed to be coming to a close. So, how’s the project going? Italian-Australian Rosi Braidotti, eminent philosopher and one-time student of Foucault, explains how we got here, and what’s still to come.

What are we capable of becoming – what are we becoming and not aware of it?

The so-called postmodern, post truth, post christian and post humanism era is upon us. But, of course, this has not happened overnight and philosophers can trace much of the end of the influence of the dominant European male face of humanism to the middle of the 20th century – even to the beginning of the nuclear age. The idea of the ‘thinking being’ has changed.

What takes the place of humanism? Is it a utopian socialist humanism or has that experiment failed? Or is it still to come? Or are we about to take a totally different political direction – towards an ethical, collaborative, community building – a form of radical democracy?

The unfolding political scenes around the globe have raised many questions about the future of humanity. This discussion raises the increasing emphasis on the non-human other that influences our future – the creation of a new technical culture.

Should we be pessimistic or optimistic?

Enjoy!

oOo

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The search for spirituality beyond organised religion.

hugh-mackayIf you missed it, it is well worth listening to this ABC Podcast

 

 

Hugh MacKay

Spirituality in a secular age (click on this link)

Regular church going has been on the wane in Australia for years. Those who call themselves atheists are more abundant in number. And many of the big institutional religions have suffered reputational damage in recent times. But none of this means we have abandoned spirituality or a search for meaning in the modern world. So says author and social researcher, Hugh MacKay. We want to feel connected to something bigger, he maintains, even if we have turned away from organised religion.

In Hugh MacKay’s recent publication Beyond Belief , he argues that while our attachment to a traditional idea of God may be waning, our desire for a life of meaning remains as strong as ever. In his social research on Australian culture, he asks what do people actually mean when they say ‘God’? Around two-thirds of us say we believe in God or some ‘higher power’, but fewer than one in ten Australians attend church weekly. In Beyond Belief, Hugh Mackay presents this discrepancy as one of the great unexamined topics of our time.

Recorded at the Brisbane Powerhouse 26th May 2016.

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Bishop Jeremy Greaves

Congratulations to Rev Jeremy Greaves, Rector, St Marks, Buderim, who will become Bishop of the Nor07d23821thern Region of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane from mid February 2017.

Jeremy led our team over three years of planning for the very successful Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane this year. His guiding hand kept a large team with diverse backgrounds and skills working in unity for this long period.

Jeremy brings extensive and varied experiences to his new role:

He has been Parish Priest at Buderim since May 2013. Currently he is also Archdeacon for the area.

Before coming to Buderim, Fr. Jeremy was Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Darwin where he presided over the rebuilding of the cathedral badly damaged by cyclone. He has worked in parishes in Adelaide and remote South Australia as well as Katherine in the Northern Territory.

He has passion for ministry with people, often thought of as being on the margins. He will also maintain a strong interest in the developing Progressive Christianity movement.

Fr. Jeremy is married to Josie and together they have three children.

His administrative region covers all parishes on the northern side of the Brisbane River to Bundaberg and he hopes to reside on the Sunshine Coast where the Greaves children attend schools.

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Improved book buying

From Rex Hunt:

G’day folks,

After a lot of planning and discussing, and plenty of other negotiation, Morning Star Publishing – the Australian publisher of my books – has announced readers in UK and NZ (as well as OZ!) can order copies of all my books direct from their web site, and the books will be printed and delivered locally.

Readers in South Africa can also order the same way but their books will be printed in UK.

This is a significant break-through for all authors who reside within the Morning Star Publishing stable. Thanks to all concerned.

Morning Star Publishing:   http://www.morningstarpublishing.net.au/

Morning Star Publishing have publishing arrangements with Wipf & Stock.:   https://wipfandstock.com/

Thank you for support during the past few months.

Warm regards,  RAEH

oOo

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A Hymn in response to the NZ Earthquake

earthquake-nzFrom Bill Wallace via Rex Hunt

I am sending this hymn to you as a response to the massive earthquake in N.Z. earlier this week. It was written after the Christchurch quake but is equally appropriate now. It has been published in the USA by World Library Publications as part of a collections of some of my hymns Singing the Sacred Vol 2.

I would be most appreciative if you could send it out to all those who are on your Progressive Christianity list. It can be sung to Lucerna Laudoniae 77 in With One Voice.

Many thanks in anticipation, Bill Wallace.

“When Earth Wakes from Out of Sleep”

When Earth wakes from out of sleep

With a terrifying shake,

Does our faith lie torn apart

Like the dwellings we forsake?

Cosmic God, each process shows

Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

 

Once we thought that earthquakes came

From a god to punish wrong;

Now we know they place Earth’s plates

Where for now they should belong.

Cosmic God, each process shows

Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

 

If we think that all that comes

Is made solely for our good,

We have placed ourselves above

Cosmic ways and livelihood.

Cosmic God, each process shows

Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

 

If Earth’s plates now need to move,

Its great need exceeds our own,

And it does not take account

Where we choose to make our home.

Cosmic God, each process shows

Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

 

For the answers we return

To the Cosmos and its ways,

Ways that humble all our pride,

Ways that fill our hearts with praise.

Cosmic God of everything,

Your great mystery now we sing.

oOo

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Advent/Christmas Carol adaptation for Refugee Children

Rex Hunt has passed this on to us:

Our New Zealand friend, Shirley Erina Murray, harefugee-childrens sent me this song which reflects on Refugee children during the Advent/Christmas season. You may care to consider using it sometime soon. Thank you Shirley.

“Carol of the Refugee Children” (Tune: ‘Cradle Song’)

Away and in danger,

no hope of a bed,

the refugee children,

no tears left to shed

                look up at the night sky

                for someone to know

                that refugee children

                have no place to go.       

The babies are crying,

their hunger awakes,

the boat is too loaded,

it shudders and breaks;

                humanity’s wreckage

                is thrown out to die,

                the refugee children

                will never know why.

Come close, little children,

we hold out our hand

in rescue and welcome

to shores of our land –

                in *aroha, touching

       your fear and your pain,

                with dreams for your future            

                when peace comes again.

(© Shirley Erena Murray 2016)

*Maori for ‘warm embracing love’, alternative line “in touching, in healing’

 

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Who do you say I am? by Kevin Treston

Kevin Treston’s latest book is called Who do you say I am? 

treston-book

It can be purchased from Morning Star Publishing

 The religious landscape is changing rapidly and many of those still affiliated with the Christian communities are increasingly uneasy about the Traditional Christian
Story whose original impulse was God’s act of restoration through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus following the primal sin.
Who do you say I am?, Kevin Treston offers a complementary understanding of the tradition, exploring the features of a Cosmic Christian Story that situates God’s
revelation in Jesus as the Christ firmly within the evolving dynamics of creation. It seeks a response to how Christians may understand and celebrate the Incarnation within the wondrous evolution of all things in our cosmic context. It is a Story that takes account of modern science, especially cosmology, quantum physics, energy field theories, genetics, globalisation, technology, and neuroscience that are changing forever how humans live as citizens of the planet.  is book is for general readers who aspire to extend their understanding of the Christian story and live their faith in the modern world.

Kevin Treston is a well known author and consultant. He has worked
globally for many years in the areas of education, spirituality,
theology and pastoral ministry.
WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
The Christ story in the cosmic context
Kevin Treston
Morning Star Publishing
9780995381520
148mm x 210mm
124 pages
$19.95

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“Best Conference Ever!”

This is how Jeremy Greaves, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for Common Dreams 4, oplac-2016ened his debriefing with the planning committee yesterday.

The official review based on participant surveys will not be available for some time but there was a good feeling about this conference from the presenters and the participants.

The planning committee grabbed a brief moment during the clean-up to have a photo taken [Missing from the photo shoot are Noel Preston and Ingerid Meagher]

Go to:  Photos   for a photo album of ‘moments’ which will remind you of how well things went. This conference will have an enormous impact on developments in progressive spirituality and give participants and their networks a lot to reflect on and act on in the months ahead.

Some stats:

  • Over 400 participants including the parallel special program for Gen Y/Millennials, the Emerging Generations
  • The largest contingent came from Queensland which more than doubled its previous attendance figures
  • Multi-faith representation was good as well as presentations providing Muslim and Jewish progressive perspectives
  • New ground was broken with the incorporation of a “Dine About” at eight Southbank restaurants
  • The World premiere of the new video from Living the Questions – Let’s be Frank was presented in the lunch breaks – soon to be available free from their website.
  • The book signing by many of the authors present led to queues.
  • 700 lunch box meals provided by the wonderful catering team from Somerville House College; 1500 morning and afternoon teas served in the splendid courtyards.

Send me any of your personal reflections –  More feedback

Let the conversation continue!

 

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Last chance to register for CD4

Progressive Spirituality – New Directions

Common Dreams 4

With the registrations for the Fourth International Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane closing in a few days, we have been reflecting on the two years of preparation for what promises to be a wonderful event. It is unlikely that Brisbane will see such a gathering of experienced practitioners and newcomers in the progressive field of spirituality for a long time. Our big team of volunteers has undergone professional training in readiness to make hundreds of visitors welcome, safe and happy. From the incredible range of speakers and workshops, to the delicious food and Brisbane hospitality, the bookshop, coffee stations, great technology, and cultural interactions this will be a memorable event in the splendid environment of one of Brisbane’s most advanced colleges.

The Local Arrangements Committee in Brisbane, recognizing that some people cannot make the whole conference, has negotiated with Common Dreams Incorporated for registrations for One Day Only – either Saturday 17th September or, alternatively, Sunday 18th September.  As a ‘one-dayer’, you will be able to fully immerse yourself in the Conference and all of the breakout groups as well as enjoying the morning and afternoon teas and picnic lunch being supplied to all delegates. In addition, at no extra charge, the ‘one-dayer’ will have full access to that evening’s Public Lecture by one of the international guests.

The cost of this One day Entry Ticket is only $135 and can be obtained by email or phone to the Queensland Executive Conference Coordinator Ms Debbie Riddell M:0407 573 423  E: sdr3296@bigpond.net.au . Debbie will arrange a bank payment process suitable to the short time frame.

The full program for each day can be seen on the Conference website www.commondreams.org.au

Make your choice as to which day you wish to attend, email your booking request no later than Monday 12th September, and then experience a whole “New Directions in Progressive Spirituality” day of great stimulation!

For last minute bookings for the whole conference, or for just the evening keynote lectures go to commondreams.org.au and make your booking before it is too late.

One Day Tickets are only available between Friday 2nd September and Monday 12th September.   All Conference ticket sales will close on 13th September due to luncheon catering contract commitments.

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Positions at Mapuru Christian School, Arnhem Land

Mapuru Christian School is described by its principal, Linda Miller, as the most progressive school in Australia. It is a place where ‘inclusive’ means having a worldview that is broad, generous and comprehensive. Linda is looking for staff who are keen to experience what Mapuru in Arnhem Land has to offer. See the details below, or meet and chat to Linda at the Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane.

MapuruAre you an experienced EAL/D teacher who loves developing students’ early literacy & numeracy skills?
Do you hold deep respect for Yolnu values, histories and languages?
Are you enlivened by the prospect of working collaboratively in teaching teams?
Are you a practical person who can develop creative, purposeful learning for students living with their families on their ancestral estates?
Are you interested to become part of our succession planning team for Teachers, Specialist Teachers and Teaching Principal?
Are you a committed teacher who holds an inclusive Christian worldview?
We invite you to consider joining our team at Mäpuru Christian School
Expressions of Interest are sought for the position(s) of:
Relief Teacher
English as an Additional Language Teacher, Yrs 1—10
Mäpuru Christian School has vacancies for EAL/D relief teachers who are keen to work collaboratively with Yol?u co-teachers. Relief teaching positions are available for short periods with a view to developing an ongoing relationship with Mäpuru, and to take up full time positions as they become available.

Mäpuru is in NE Arnhem Land and is a unique, beautiful and very remote tiny town of about 100 people inclusive of 40-50 students.  There is no alcohol, drugs or domestic violence and the children are enthusiastic learners.  We follow an innovative Elder and community guided bi-literacy and bi-cultural curriculum that involves much learning on country.

You can find out more about Mapuru by contacting Linda or visiting the website:

Linda Miller, Teaching Principal: Ph: 08 8970 4996
Email: linda.miller@ntschools.net
PMB 301, Winnellie NT 0822

To learn more about Mäpuru visit: www.arnhemweavers.com.au

If you open the Cultural Tours tab, you can see stories written by visitors to Mäpuru about their experiences, year by year. 

oOo

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Exciting Ministry Opportunity

The Joint Nominating Committee has today asked me to share the following with you in the hope that appropriately skilled, experienced and motivated people will apply for the position of Minister at St Michael’s in Collins Street Melbourne. Please pass on this invitation to people you think could apply…..if only I was younger! 

Collins St 2St Michael’s Uniting Church is located in the heart of the world’s most liveable city – Melbourne Australia.

A rare opportunity has become available for an experienced Minister who embraces contemporary, progressive Christian theology and has an understanding of the factors that contribute to psycho-spiritual wellbeing in us all.

You must be an experienced, soundly-researched and inspiring preacher who understands the opportunities a well-resourced city church can offer.

Collins Street 1You will also

  • Have strong leadership ability and dynamic communication skills
  • Be able to inspire, energise and promote growth in the congregation, the life of the Church and its mission
  • Be committed to ongoing theological education, integrating other disciplines, contemporary thinking and promotion of mental wellbeing
  • Promote inclusivity and multicultural understanding
  • Nurture people in faith and spiritual development
  • Demonstrate experience, creativity and innovation in the development, management and evaluation of community projects
  • Enjoy working collaboratively with others in the Uniting Church in Australia and beyond
  • Understand the dynamics of a city church where all are accepted
  • Show how you have supported pastoral care initiatives

Collins St 3For further information or to apply, please email applications@stmichaels.org.au for a confidential response. Closing date: 14 October 2016

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Queenslanders getting in early for CD4 in significant numbers

Common Dreams 4With the Common Dreams Fourth International Conference being held in Brisbane this September, we expected that we would see a good number of Queenslanders registering early and we have not been disappointed. The Board of CD4 in Melbourne has kindly extended the Early Bird rate for registrations until 14th August, but time is running out for this lower rate.

You can register for the conference on Eventbrite, with a number of options.

For details about the Conference Program, Eminent Speakers, Workshops, the Special Optional Introduction to Progressive Spirituality and the Program for Young Adult participants go to the CD4 Website. You will also find a link to Registering through Eventbrite on the front page of the CD4 Website.

This is an opportunity not be missed.

If you would like to receive a brochure/brochures please email your postal address details to Paul Inglis. Alternatively you can receive this in electronic form by email.

Looking forward to a great gathering of progressive thinkers, leaders and practitioners at Somerville House College, South Brisbane, from 16th to 19th September.

oOo

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Robin Meyers captures essence of progressive thinking

Common Dreams on the Road

Rev Dr Robin Meyers, on his first visit to Australia, has been captivating large audiences in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and last night at Merthyr Uniting Church, New Farm, Brisbane. The last opportunity to experience this brilliant scholar, theologian, Oklahoma University professor of philosophy and pastor to the liberal progressive congregation at Mayflower Church in Oklahoma, will be at Caloundra Uniting Church on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow (26/5/16) at 9.30am and 1.30pm.

You can still register a place by emailing John Everall.

$15 per session or $25 for both sessions paid at the door. BYO Lunch.

Session 1: How quantum physics is redefining “Almighty”.

Session 2: Undone – faith as resistance to empire.

Just to wet your appetite we have included here some youtube clips of the Australian Tour:

Saving Jesus from the Church

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnfJcZkZ2OU

The Underground Church

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h7zyX0y3bc

God Talk – reuniting science and religion

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS5RjmJr6Yc

Things are not the same in Joppa these days

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwMPraLrUxU

oOo

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SoFiA – Muslims in Australia

SoFiA lunch, AGM and Mini conference – South Brisbane

The Annual General Meeting of Sea of Faith in  Australia  will be held at South Brisbane at 2.00 pm on Saturday 25 June 2016. As it is 18 years since SoFiA was founded, we can say we have reached our majority. To recognise this, the AGM will be preceded by a celebratory lunch and two typical SoFiA sessions – a presentation by an outstanding speaker, and a more informal workshop. It will be a mini conference on the important current issue: Islam in Australia.

Venue: Verandah Room, Fox Hotel, South Brisbane,Saturday 25 June 2016

Full details at: http://www.sof-in-australia.org/conferences.php

The guest speaker, Faiza El Higzi, was born in the Sudan and trained as an architect. She has held a number of senior positions and is currently the Manager of the Romero Centre in Dutton Park, an agency of Mercy FaizaCommunity Services. Newly graduated, married and pregnant, she had to flee her native country and finally settled in Australia. Here, she has worked in a number of roles, including as senior policy advisor on multicultural issues. She has also become involved in a wide range of cultural areas, including health, cinema, sport and fashion. The brief she has accepted for this presentation –Islam in Australia in the 21st Century – is to consider some of the scenarios that may arise in the coming decades in response to religious and political movements and events throughout the world. You can hear her 2012 ABC interview with Richard Fidler here: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/08/07/3562519.htm

oOo

 

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How to register for the Fourth Common Dreams Conference – Brisbane

CD4 TagGo to CD4 Registrations

The theme of the conference is “Progressive Spirituality: New Directions” and the program will take participants through a broad spectrum of topics exploring what it means to be “spiritual” in contemporary times.  Eco-theological aspects of spirituality, indigenous spirituality, and aspects of Muslim and Jewish spirituality will also be examined.

Eminent international writers, researchers and scholars Dr Diana Butler Bass and Professor Pamela Eisenbaum and well known Australian theologian Dr Val Webb will deliver major public addresses and they will also participate in other parts of the program. Rev Dr David Felten, Co-founder of Living the Questions and an acclaimed speaker at the third Common Dreams Conference in 2013, will also feature as will Fred Plumer of ProgressiveChristianity.org and Adrian Alker of the Progressive Christian Network (Britain).

A strong team of Australian and New Zealand speakers will present keynote addresses, lectures and workshops.  These include Michael Morwood, Graeme Mundine, Lorraine Parkinson, Margaret Mayman, Jana Norman, Saara Sabbagh and Ian Lawton.

During part of the conference there will be a parallel program designed, presented and led by “young” people exclusively for their contemporaries.

oOo

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Seminars by Robin Meyers at Caloundra

UCA LOGOExplorers Group    The Caloundra Explorers Group  and Common Dreams on the Road,

  present:

Rev Dr Robin Meyers

Caloundra Uniting Church,  56 Queen St, Caloundra

9.30am  Thursday  26th May 2016

Rev Robin Meyers, PhD – Author of “Saving Jesus from the Church” Robin Meyers is a best-selling author and a highly regarded speaker. He is the senior minister at the Mayflower Congregational (United Church of Christ) in Oklahoma and Professor of Social Justice at Oklahoma City University and a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar.Robin Meyers

  • 9:30 am::     Re-uniting Science and ReligionGod-Talk : How Quantum Physics is Redefining “Almighty

‘In this lecture, especially geared towards those who yearn for science and religion to be reunited in the quest for meaning, Dr. Meyers explores the impact of recent scientific discoveries about the nature of the universe on our understanding of God.  Instead of our traditional view of a clockwork universe, where the Whole is merely the sum of its parts, quantum physics ( and especially something called quantum entanglement) has challenged long-held views on our relationship to the material world, even as it has validated the essential and timeless message of religious mystics.’

12.15pm.   Enjoy discussion and your byo Picnic Lunch in Church Grounds-tea/coffee supplied. Take the opportunity to meet open-minded friendly people in a safe place.

  • 1:30 pm: Undone – faith as resistance to Empire – What Kind of Church would You find Irresistible: The (Christian?) Imperative for socio/political engagement.

This Seminar is hosted by Caloundra Uniting Church Social Justice Group and is for all      who are  interested in social justice within our community .

Quote Dr. Meyers“ It is a myth that the gospel of Jesus Christ can ever be personally redemptive without being socially responsible. If there is one distinction that is crucial for the future of the church it is this : charity and justice are not the same thing”.

Cost: $15 per session;       Pay only $25 for the 2 sessions;

Phone bookings and enquiries: Margaret Landbeck  Ph. 0402 851 422

Please Book Your Seat by Email jjeverall@bigpond.com    Tickets at Door.

 

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Common Dreams 4 – program details

CDImage

The website for Common Dreams now has the international conference program outline available for perusal. Shortly Eventbrite bookings will be open and there are significant benefits for early bird bookings. The conference runs from 16th to 19th September at Somerville House College, South Brisbane, near Lady Cilento Hospital.

More information about the speakers, topics, workshops and all of the program details will be posted soon on the CD site. A special parallel program for youthful participants is being offered with access to all keynote presentations for all people. We will keep you informed.

Thank you to the 37 volunteers (so far) who have offered their services to make this a great event. If you would like to be part of this team please drop me an email – Paul

Our Queensland local planning team has been on the job for two years and are very excited about what we have to offer. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all states and many from overseas. Included in the visitors will be a group of students from USA.

Hope to see you there ……

oOo

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Q&A – Christianity in Australia – Monday 25th April – ABC TV

Don’t miss Q&A next week or catch it later in iview. Just type in Q&A in the ‘Find a program’ box.

This link will take you directly to information about panelists on next Monday’s Q&A session at  9.36pm – Q&A Monday 25th April

Tony Jones with panelists:

Professor John Haldane – Distinguished Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame Australia, is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and a significant public intellectual within the Catholic tradition.

Journalist Julie McCrossin – An Elder and Church Council Member of the South Sydney Uniting Church in Redfern in Sydney. After 20 years as a broadcaster with ABC Radio National, ABC TV and Network Ten, she is now a freelance journalist and facilitator. She presented the radio show Life Matters on ABC Radio National for 5 years

Indigenous Anglican Pastor Ray Minniecon – A descendant of the Kabi Kabi nation and the Gurang Gurang nation of South-East Queensland. Ray is also a descendant of the South Sea Islander people with connections to the people of Ambrym Island. Ray’s most recent career engagement was with the Anglican Diocese of Sydney as a Pastor and Director of Crossroads Aboriginal Ministries.

Rev. Tiffany Sparks –  Tiffany was ordained in 2011 and appointed as priest in charge of St Paul’s Ashgrove. As one of the youngest female priests in Brisbane, Tiffany has continued on with her passion with social justice issues. Tiffany considers herself contemporary and egalitarian in her beliefs and ministry, while her liturgical style is traditional Anglo-Catholic.

Managing Dir. of the Australian Christian Lobby Lyle Shelton – In 1997 he became youth pastor at Toowoomba City Church before being elected to Toowoomba City Council in 2000. He was re-elected in 2004 and stood as a candidate in the 2006 Queensland State election. After a short stint as a political adviser to Queensland Senators Ron Boswell and Barnaby Joyce, Lyle was appointed national chief of staff at the Australian Christian Lobby in 2007. He was appointed managing director in May 2013.

More extensive bios are available at  Q&A Monday 25th April.

You can also participate in this session in a number of ways –

And later, tell us what you think! Email to Paul

oOo

 

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Peter Catt on Compass tomorrow

Just to let you know that Rev Dr Peter Catt, President of APCV, will be interviewed in the ABC TV Compass program at 6:30pm on Sunday, 10 April.

The program is about the churches offering sanctuary to those seeking refugee status. Peter is involved in that program as Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane, as Convenor of the National Churches group monitoring refugee policy and conditions and as President of APCV (A Progressive Christian Voice).

Peter Catt is Dean of St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane.

 

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Next Caloundra Progressive Service

This is a highly enthusiastic reminder that the next Caloundra Uniting Church Explorers ‘Alternative’ Evening Service is on 5pm Sunday 17th April (Sunday next!).

The great news is the Rev. Dr. Rob Bos will be the Guest Speaker  and Leader for this service:  Please make a note in your diary for 5-7pm Sunday 17th April.

The theme is “ ’Aboriginal Spirituality’  within a progressive Christianity conversation”.

A very special service of great interest to a wide section of the congregation and general community . All welcomed! BYO light finger food for meal and discussion within the service. John Ph. 5492.4229; Anne Ph. 5492 6761.

Rob Bos has had very long, and current, involvement with aboriginal communities in the Western desert APY Lands and Northern Australia, and his writing activities make him a fascinating speaker. I have given him the challenge of speaking and leading a ‘progressive’ service.

Educator, Writer, Editor,  Rob was formerly Principal of Coolamon College and Nungalinya College, as well working with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress. He has had congregational appointments in Grace Christian Community, Aurukun and Weipa. He is the co-editor, with Geoff Thompson, of Theology for Pilgrims: Selected documents of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Rob holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts (University of Queensland), Bachelor of Divinity (Melbourne College of Divinity), Doctor of Ministry (McCormick Seminary, Chicago), Doctor of Philosophy (University of Queensland), Master of Distance Education (University of South Australia)

Rob is also a co-secretary of the Caloundra Church Council now that he is spending more time in Caloundra.

So, expect a fascinating service which has discussion within it.  Aboriginal spirituality, traditional Christian spirituality ‘overlaid’ throughout the last century, and now discussed within a modern and for many, a progressive spirituality, setting.

oOo

 

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What is Progressive Christianity?

Progressive Christianity’s most powerful “evangelism” tools are our willingness to empty ourselves of prideful claims to the ultimate truth, and our efforts to serve the common good of humanity.   Jim Burklo, What is Progressive Christianity?

Amongst the many definitions of Progressive Christianity is that of Jim Burklo author of Open Christianity: home by another road (available from Amazon), He offers 11 characteristics which he describes as ‘a work in progress’:

  1. Progressive Christians keep the faith and drop the dogma.
  2. For us, God is Love, not a Guy in the Sky.
  3. [If] God and Nature are one, science is a way to learn about God.
  4. Faith is about deeds, not creeds.
  5. We take the Bible seriously because we don’t have to take it literally.
  6. Spiritual questions are more important to us than religious answers.
  7. The morality of what happens in war-room and the board-room matters more to us than what happens in the bedroom.
  8. Other religions can be as good for others as our religion is good for us.                                         
  9. Our church parking is for cars, not brains.
  10. God is bigger than our ideas about God  
  11. God evolves, and so does our religion.

But there are other descriptors –

Progressive Christianity.Org  is a global network that offers thoughtful and practical resources for individuals, families and communities to explore and affect progressive Chrisitianity, spirituality, community life, social and environmental justice.

1.  Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;

2.  Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;

3.  Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:

conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, believers and agnostics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, those of all classes and abilities;

4.  Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;

5.  Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;

6.  Strive for peace and justice among all people;

7.  Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;

8.  Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

These 8 Points were the focus in their latest progressive Christian Children’s Curriculum: A Joyful Path Curriculum, for ages 6-10.

 

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Still more high interest seminars coming

Following the spectacular response to Val Webb’s seminars (approximately 400 seats occupied in total), we now look forward to Robin Meyers coming to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in May.

As we prepare for the Common Dreams International Conference in September in Brisbane, these outstanding speakers are wetting our appetites for what is shaping up to be a feast of brilliant scholars and writers……an opportunity to explore future expressions of faith and spirituality, eco-­theology and inter-­faith issues (including indigenous connections)
with a program of distinguished international speakers and eminent Australian and New Zealand experts. More about that soon …… but for now:

Robin Meyers

ROBIN MEYERS

  • Minister, United Church of Christ, USA
  • Professor of Social Justice, Oklahoma
  • Fellow of the Jesus Seminar
  • Author of 7 books including Saving Jesus from the Church

at Merthyr Road Uniting Church, 52 Merthyr Rd, New Farm:

Tuesday 24th May, 7 pm: From Galilean Sage to Supernatural Saviour:  The Heresy of Orthodoxy

Cost: $20 per head – payable at the door

Tea/coffee available 6:30 – 6:50

Bookings are not necessary for this opportunity to hear Rev Dr Robin Meyers speak. However, your rsvp with your intention to attend will be helpful for setting up sufficient chairs. drgarn@bigpond.net.au or 0409 498 403

and then twice at Caloundra Uniting Church, 56C Queen St, Caloundra

Thursday 26th May

  • 9:30 am: God-Talk : How Quantum Physics is Redefining “Almighty”: Re-uniting Science and Religion. (Hosted by Caloundra Explorers and open to all)
  • 1:30 pm: Undone – faith as resistance to Empire – What Kind of Church would You find Irresistible: The (Christian?) Imperative for socio/political engagement. (Hosted by Caloundra UC Social Justice Group and open to all)

Cost: $15 per session; $25 for 2 sessions

Bookings and enquiries: jjeverall@bigpond.com

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‘Made on Earth’ by Lorraine Parkinson – now available

The latest from Dr Lorraine Parkinson.

For Australians and New Zealanders it is free of postage for $35 from Spectrum Publications.  The web site is www.spectrumpublications.com.au

Why have millions of Christians across two millennia been convinced that Jesus of Nazareth is the divinely anointed Christ?  Lorraine Parkinson sets out compelling reasons why the gospels may be found to have been ‘made on earth’. She builds a strong argument that each gospel was written to make a distinct case for Jesus as the Christ. She presents detailed evidence that the Christ of the gMade on Earth 1ospels is the creation of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, plus later editors. The sub-text of this book contends that by including teachings of Jesus alongside claims for him as Christ, gospel writers bequeathed to Christianity two contradictory gospels – the gospel of Jesus and the gospel about Jesus. There is both detailed and courageous biblical scholarship in Made on Earth.

Rev Rex A E Hunt, Founding Director, The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Canberra. Immediate Past Chair, Common Dreams Conference of Religious Progressives, Australia/New Zealand : At last! A book that helps its readers to see and understand how the Way of Jesus with its emphasis on this world, was wrong-footed into fixation on “the Christ” and the next world. There is no bigger challenge to Christianity today than to rid itself of this fixation and from creedal adherence to the worldview that shaped it. In this book Lorraine Parkinson provides us with the perfect follow-up to her previous work, The World According to Jesus: his blueprint for the best possible world.

oOo

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Could you be a Common Dreams Conference Volunteer?

An invitation to progressive thinking peopleCDImage

With the fourth international Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane in September this year, we are now inviting people from Progressive Groups in SE Queensland to offer themselves as volunteers. Volunteers will be particularly important to the smooth running of the conference at Somerville House College, South Brisbane and we also need some assistance for our action teams that are now working on components of the action plan.

A vibrant committee has spent two years planning the conference and assisting Common Dreams Incorporated with the mounting of CD4. Now we have Teams responsible for:

  • Transport and Hospitality
  • IT Coordination
  • Registration management
  • Speaker Support and Stage Direction
  • Venue Management including Music Activity
  • Local Marketing and the ‘Brisbane Experience’
  • Coordination of Volunteers
  • Other emerging tasks.

We can use your interest and enthusiasm for the developing stream of progressive spirituality.

Contact: Paul Inglis  or  John Everall

 

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Dr Val Webb’s seminars attracting lot of interest

Val WebAs expected the “Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology” and “Practicing Theological Hospitality” seminars have drawn a significant number of registrations. It is not too late to register. Just scroll down for all the details of Val Webb’s presentations at New Farm Uniting Church on 5th March. We need to know numbers for catering and space. Look forward to a great day!

Enquiries: Desley Garnett

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Progressive Christians offering sanctuary to refugees

More than ten Australian Churches across Australia are offering sanctuary to refugees who may be transferred to detention on Nauru. Now 10 Anglican and Uniting churches around the country have offered sanctuary to the asylum seekers who are at risk of being returned.

The Churches, all with strong progressive values, are invoking the historical concept of sanctuary, opening their doors to asylum seekers facing removal back to offshore detention centres.

Key points:

  • ‘Sanctuary’ concept yet to be tested under Australian law
  • High Court rejects challenge to the legality of Australia’s offshore detention centres
  • 270 asylum seekers in fear of being returned to Manus Island or Nauru

The High Court has rejected a challenge to the legality of Australia’s offshore detention centres, a ruling that means nearly 270 asylum seekers who came to Australia for medical treatment could be returned to either Nauru or Manus Island.

One of Australia’s senior Anglican leaders, Rev Dr Peter Catt, said places of worship were entitled to offer sanctuary to those seeking refuge from brutal and oppressive forces.

Peter Catt is Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane. From 1997 to 2007 Peter was the Dean of Grafton. He helped establish and run the International Philosophy, Science and Theology Festival, which wPeter Cattas held at Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton. He holds a PhD in evolutionary microbiology from the University of NSW and a BD from the Melbourne College of Divinity.

His interests include Christian Formation, liturgical innovation, the interaction between science and religion, and Narrative Theology . He is a member of a number of environmental and Human Rights organisations and has serves on Anglican Social Justice Committees at both Diocesan and National level. He is the current chair of The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s new report reveals what Ms Narayanasamy describes as the “alarming impacts of detention on children”.

The report is based on interviews and medical testing of children at Wickham Point detention facility, many of whom spent time on Nauru.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is under increased pressure to allow asylum seekers to remain in Australia following claims the overwhelming majority of former child detainees are at risk of serious mental health issues.

Labor MP Melissa Parke has lashed out at her party for supporting the Federal Government’s “utterly repugnant” offshore processing regime following a High Court ruling upholding the policy of detaining asylum seekers on Nauru.

A woman who was held in detention on Nauru before giving birth to a son in Darwin last year after complications during the pregnancy has described today’s High Court decision as a nightmare.

Immigration minister Peter Dutton said the government would not be “dragging people out of churches” but insisted that the people’s cases would be individually considered on medical advice.

As well as St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane other churches and affiliated chapels offering sanctuary were:

  • St Cuthbert’s Anglican church, Darlington, Western Australia
  • Wesley Uniting church, Perth
  • Gosford Anglican church, Sydney
  • Pilgrim Uniting church, Adelaide
  • St John’s Uniting church, Essendon
  • Paddington Anglican church, Sydney
  • Pitt Street Uniting church, Sydney
  • Wayside Chapel, Sydney

Acknowledgement: Material taken from several ABC News bulletins and The Guardian News.