From the General Secretary's Desk
Well, what a time it’s been for us, with the passing of Queen Elizabeth, and the taking up of the monarchy by Charles III. This against a backdrop in Australia of hearing the variety of voices of the First Peoples reflecting on the Queen’s reign, and also hearing from those advocating a republic for Australia.
Overwhelmingly, the signature of her reign was a model of service to the peoples of the countries in which she is Queen, and service to the wider world for that matter. She developed the nature of the monarchy into one of a symbol of unity and continuity, and one of service to others. Charles III has wisely said he will take up her mantle and carry that service on, no matter of what faith, creed, or nationality people are.
As to the voices seeking change in Australia’s arrangements, I hope that we will be able to have that discussion with deep discernment and grace.
I’m looking forward to sharing with you at our Annual General Meeting. It will be a time to reflect on what we have achieved, and where our next steps in bearing witness to that unity which is Christ’s will and gift may take us.
On a personal note, I’ll be working part time for the next month or so, due to “doctor’s orders”. Joe Goodall will be job sharing with me. He’ll take up stewardship of Qld Churches Environmental Network, Australian Religious Response to Climate Change, Joint Churches Domestic Violence Prevention Project, and supporting some of the work of Faith and Unity Commission.
See you at the AGM!
Update from the Joint Churches Domestic Violence Prevention Project (JCDVPP)
JCDVPP are currently preparing sermon notes/prayer materials for Advent, the materials will be lectionary based and follow the Advent themes of Hope, Joy, Love and Peace.
JCDVPP are investigating applying for DGR (Deductible Gift Recipient) status. We are hoping that this will help us raise the funds required to best educate the Church on how to respond to Domestic Family Violence
JCDVPP resources available:
Link to the order from for the JCDVPP book: here
Link to the JCDVPP tri-fold leaflet: here
Update from Queensland Churches Environmental Network (QCEN)
We are now in Season of Creation. (From 1st September to 4th October each year). QCEN started celebrations for Season of Creation with a special ecumenical service at Albert St Uniting Church. Guest preacher was Bishop Mark Vainikka of the Lutheran Church. The livestreaming of the service can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/VdOiXz1sIRs (The sermon starts at about 31m30s)
Once again QCEN accepted submissions of artworks (paintings, photos, poetry and prayers) that celebrated creation. This year for the first time we had a submission of music. Submissions have been printed and are on display at St John’s Cathedral. Alternatively they can be viewed on the QCEN Facebook page.
For the first time, there will be a photographic display of pictures from past years at two churches in Toowoomba, St Stephen’s Uniting Church and St James Anglican Church.
Prayer for Season of Creation 2022
Creator of All,
From your communion of love your Word went forth to create a symphony of life that sings your praise.
By your Holy Wisdom you made the Earth to bring forth a diversity of creatures who praise you in their being. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.
You called human beings to till and keep your garden. You placed us into right relationships with each creature so that we could listen to their voices, and learn how to safeguard the conditions for life. But we turn in on ourselves and away from our co-creatures.
We close our ears to the counsel of our fellow creatures. We fail to listen to the cries of the poor and the needs of the most vulnerable. We silence the voices of those who hold the traditions that teach us to care for the Earth. We close our ears to your creative, reconciling and sustaining Word that calls to us through the Scriptures.
We lament the loss of our fellow species and their habitats that will never speak again . We grieve the loss of human cultures, along with the lives and livelihoods that have been displaced or perished. Creation cries out as forests crackle, and animals alike flee the fires of injustice that we have lit by our unwillingness to listen.
In this Season of Creation, we pray that you would call to us, as from the burning bush, with the sustaining fire of your Spirit. Breathe upon us. Open our ears and move our hearts. Turn us from our inward gaze. Teach us to contemplate your creation, and listen for the voice of each creature declaring your glory. For “faith comes from hearing.”
Give us hearts to listen for the good news of your promise to renew the face of the Earth. Enlighten us with the grace to follow the Way of Christ as we learn to walk lightly upon this holy ground. Fill us with the hope to quench the fires of injustice with the light of your healing love that sustains our common home.
In the name of the One who came to proclaim good news to all creation, Jesus Christ.
QCEN will take part in the On Earth festival at St Francis on 8th October. Two members of QCEN, Kumi and John Oxenford will be giving presentations on living more sustainably, particularly in relation to food and energy.
Update on Calling and Caring - LAB1 Courses
The next LAB1 workshop – Learning the Language of Healing - will take place at St Francis college in October. The workshop times:
Fri 14 Oct 9am-5pm
Sat 15 Oct 9am-5pm
Sun 16 Oct 1-4pm
Fri 28 Oct 9am-5pm
Sat 29 Oct 9am-5pm
Sun 30 Oct 1-4pm
The price for the workshop: $150 includes the LAB1 manual
Registration is through Trybooking: https://www.trybooking.com/BZQYD
What is LAB1 “Learning the Language of Healing: Skills for Pastoral Care”.
A 36 hour intensive workshop that aims to increase knowledge and skills so that participants can develop self confidence in listening and a commitment to those suffering within their faith community.
Download the flyer for the workshop here
Download the Tri fold Leaflet for the workshop here
A new network, called the Queensland Disaster Chaplaincy Network (QDCN), has formed to provide pastoral care and support to people and communities following disaster. The Queensland Disaster Chaplaincy Network consists of churches and para church organisations and will work through Evacuation Centres and Recovery Centres set up by State and Local governments.
Organisations involved with the network to date include QCT, Uniting Care, Salvation Army, Chaplaincy Watch and Chaplaincy Australia. QDCN is auspiced by Chaplaincy Watch and chaired by Angie Herranz of Chaplaincy Australia.
As well as coordinating the Chaplains in a disaster response, Queensland Disaster Chaplaincy Network will provide training, vetting and accreditation for the volunteer chaplains.
QDCN are currently putting together a charter.
Remembering Rev Paul Renner
Rev Paul Renner of the Lutheran Church passed away on Saturday 3rd September. Rev Stephen Nuske shared these words about his contribution to Ecumenism:
Former President (Bishop) of the Lutheran Church, Queensland Synod 1985-1992. He made an enormous contribution to ecumenism and in the area of Liturgy and Clerical Pastoral Education....He was a great friend of three other church leaders, now all deceased: Archbishop Francis Rush (Catholic), Archbishop John Grindrod (Anglican) and Rev Rollie Busch (Uniting Church in Australia), and became a friend of the late Bishop Michael Putney (Catholic)....It is the end of a chapter....
In regards to QCT, he was the promoter of a new ecumenical organisation in Queensland with a new title to replace the Queensland Council of Churches in which the Lutheran and Catholic Churches would be willing to participate. This did happen: QCT. And it led to Lutheran and Catholic participation.
Message from Brisbane Quakers:
An Open Invitation to Brisbane Faith Groups
On Tuesday 4 October 2022, a 24 hour Fast & Vigil will take place in Reddacliff Place in the Brisbane city to prayerful and peacefully protest against a three-day Weapons Expo taking place at the Brisbane Convention Centre 4-6 October.
The event is being organised by Quakers Brisbane and an invitation is extended to all faith groups and individuals throughout Brisbane and surrounding areas. It will commence 6am Tuesday morning and conclude 6am the following morning.
If you feel led to join us you will be most welcome at any time. You may also feel moved to fast, lead us in prayer or song or worship in silence with us, or speak in the name of peace.
The event will be held in solidarity with the Disrupt Land Forces campaign taking place at the Convention Centre and various other locations prior to and during the Land Forces Weapons Expo. The theme is #Earthcare not Warfare.
The manufacturing of weapons/components here in our city of Brisbane by local, national and international weapons companies and exporting to places like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia for profit, and then used indiscriminately, means that thousands of innocent men, women and children are killed and their lands and family livelihoods destroyed. This is unconscionable and far from Jesus’ message of peace and love of our neighbours.
Act For Peace
ACT for Peace have recently rolled out their new strategic framework for financial years 2022-2026. The focus going forward is on working with the displaced. The numbers of displaced people due to violence and conflict has doubled in the last ten years and is expected to double again in the next 10. (In 2020 82 million people were displaced within their own country or forced as refugees to another country, another 30 million were displaced due to national disaster.)
ACT for Peace have raised over $1.2 Million through individuals and churches to support people suffering from war in Ukraine. Hungarian interchurch Aid is their key partner. If you’d like to hear about the response, you can watch these videos. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3E60BkTM0Q and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MztA5cKT30
ACT for Peace are starting to make plans for how to respond to the famine approaching Africa. There will likely be a large-scale joint national appeal.
Message from the World Council of Churches Assembly:
Every assembly of the World Council of Churches has released a message to convey the experience of the assembly and the inspirational nature of its work. We offer this message to be read in every congregation of our member churches, and published in all church media. We hope this message may be widely translated and used. It would be good to see it discussed and dissected, pondered over, and prayed over, because it represents the deliberations and prayers of over 4000 people who participated in the assembly, as we seek the unity Christ offers. We entrust this message now to you, asking you to hand it on to all Christians and people of goodwill, that together we might unite in discovering how Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.
A Call to Act Together
“The Love of Christ urges us on.”(2 Cor. 5:14, NRSV)
“Come, follow me!”
From the time he journeyed on earth, and even in this present moment, Jesus unceasingly addresses these words to every human being. Jesus’ life, words, and actions are a constant invitation to movement – from one physical place to another, from one group of people to another, from one mindset to another. Above all, amid the problems of the world, Jesus calls us to come to him and to abide in his love, a love which is offered for all the world (cf. Matt. 11:28).
The very last book of the Bible, Revelation, speaks of ancient forces of human suffering at work in the world: war, death, disease, and famine. As the assembly of the World Council of Churches gathered in Karlsruhe in 2022, we were conscious of their manifestations in the world today. In their wake come injustice and discrimination, where those who have power often use it to oppress others rather than to build inclusion, justice, and peace.
Individuals, peoples, and countries also face catastrophes arising directly from an irresponsible and broken relationship with creation that has led to ecological injustice and climate crisis. As the climate emergency accelerates, so does the suffering experienced by impoverished and marginalized people.
Yet continuing our pilgrimage together as an assembly of the World Council of Churches, our mood has been one of anticipation and hope, and even joy, because through the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ´s invitation remains open to everyone, in fact to the whole of creation.
“Christ’s love moves the world to reconciliation and unity.” This love, in answer to the cries of those who are suffering, compels us to come to him in solidarity and to respond and act for justice. We are summoned to be reconciled in God’s love, and to witness to that love revealed in Christ (1 John 4:9-11).
Reconciliation is a movement toward God and toward each other. It implies a readiness to listen to God and to one another. It is a conversion of the heart, from selfishness and apathy to inclusion and service, acknowledging our interdependence with creation. We confess that, even as we desire with our whole hearts to serve God and our neighbour, we have found ourselves failing, disagreeing, and sometimes walking in opposite directions. We confess that we need the transformative power of Christ’s love to move to a world truly reconciled and united.
Christians, and the structures that we have built, have been complicit in the abuse of others, and we must repent and join in this movement of reconciliation. In the face of war, inequality, and sins against creation today, Christ’s love calls us all to repentance, reconciliation, and justice.
Our journey together
Amid all our diversity, we have relearned in our assembly that there is a pilgrimage of justice, reconciliation, and unity to be undertaken together.
Meeting together in Germany, we learn the cost of war and the possibility of reconciliation;
Hearing the word of God together, we recognize our common calling;
Listening and talking together, we become closer neighbours;
Lamenting together, we open ourselves to each other’s pain
Working together, we consent to common action;
Celebrating together, we delight in each other’s joys and hopes;
Praying together, we discover the richness of our traditions and the pain of our divisions.
“Go into the whole world”
From the time of his ascension into heaven, and even in this present moment, Christ unceasingly gives this command to all who follow him.
As reconciliation brings us closer to God and each other, it opens the way toward a unity founded in God’s love. As Christians we are called to dwell in Christ’s love and to be one (John 17). Such unity, which is a gift from God, and which arises from reconciliation and is grounded in his love, enables us to address the world’s urgent problems. We will find a strength to act from a unity founded in Christ’s love, for it enables us to learn the things that make for peace, to transform division into reconciliation, and to work for the healing of our living planet. Christ’s love will sustain all of us in the task of embracing everyone and overcoming exclusion.
We have tasted the experience of such love as we gathered from 352 member churches with our ecumenical partners, friends from other faith communities, and from all regions of the world to seek unity amid our diversity. Together we have listened to voices often marginalized in the world: women, youth, people with disabilities, Indigenous peoples.
We long for a wider movement, the reconciliation and unity of all humanity, and indeed of the entire cosmos. This would be a unity in which God establishes justice, an equal place for all, through which creation may be renewed and strengthened. We rely on Christ’s love as we act and advocate for climate justice. We join our voices with the Amsterdam assembly (1948) that “war is contrary to the will of God,” and the Nairobi assembly (1975) that “racism is a sin against God.” We lament that we have to repeat these statements.
In our assembly, we have used many words, but from these we have fashioned a new resolve. Now we ask God’s assistance to transform our commitments into action. We commit ourselves to working with all people of good will. As we reflect on the fruits of our work in Karlsruhe, we invite all to become pilgrims together. For in Christ, all things will be made new. His love which is open to all, including the last, the least, and the lost, and is offered to all, can move and empower us in a pilgrimage of justice, reconciliation, and unity.
QCT AGM: Saturday 22nd October
On Earth Festival: 8th October at St Francis College https://www.onearthfest.com/
Multi Faith Service for Climate Justice
St John's Cathedral, Brisbane
Thursday 13th October 8am
St Margaret's Cairns Thurs 13th October at 9.30am
Next LAB1 course
Fri - Sun 14, 15 and 16 October and
Fri - Sun 28, 29 and 30 October
Venue: St Francis College, Milton
Register on line https://www.trybooking.com/BZQYD
Domestic Violence Workshop organised by the Lutheran Church
9.30am-1pm Sat 12th November at St Peters Lutheran College
Bishop Michael Putney Lecture - Thursday 14th November More details to follow