1 - 7 July
Victorian congregation sells church, moves to cafe, C of E looks towards lay-led growth, Church plea on pokies, Polynesian Anglican leader dies, was the US Capitol attack a Christian revolt?, Kimberley Aboriginal spirituality and contemporary Christian faith and much more
July 7 2021
Your July edition of TMA, delayed last week due to a staff bereavement and illness, will be delivered to parishes and individual subscribers this week. We apologise for the inconvenience the delay has caused our readers and advertisers.
Please call 9653 4218 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you haven’t received your TMA by Saturday 10 July.
A regional Victorian Uniting church is set to serve espressos as well as services, after recently swapping its traditional building for a cafe. Due to ageing facilities and lower congregation numbers, Tatura Uniting Church has been forced to sell its Thomson Street site after more than 60 years. And it has “set up shop” at a local cafe. Formerly the Gallery Cafe, it has now been rebadged as Olive and Wine.
The establishment of 10,000 new, predominantly lay-led churches in the next 10 years is among the ambitious targets that will be discussed at the Church of England General Synod this month when Archbishop Stephen Cottrell York delivers an update on the Vision and Strategy discussions announced last year. It is one of six outcomes set out in a briefing paper that also envisages the doubling of the number of children and “young active disciples” in the C of E by 2030.
Sydney’s Synod has again called on the NSW Government to implement effective harm minimisation methods to reduce the misery caused by problem gambling. In 2017-2018, NSW had the highest gambling losses in the country – totalling almost $10 billion – with pokies responsible for almost two thirds of that loss ($6.4 billion). Forty per cent of poker machine profits are generated from problem gamblers.
The Association of the WA Heads of Churches has called on the community to “keep the conversation going”, even after voluntary assisted dying becomes legal in Western Australia from 1 July 2021. The Most Reverend Kay Goldsworthy AO, Chair of the Association and Anglican Archbishop of Perth, said the new legislation should not be the end of discussion and debate on what was a difficult and divisive issue for many. “The passing of legislation does not change the very firm belief of Christians that life is a sacred gift,” she said.
Archbishop Fereimi Cama, one of the three primates of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, has died, aged 66. Archbishop Fereimi had served as Archbishop since March 2019, when he was consecrated Bishop of Polynesia, becoming the first Fijian to serve as an archbishop in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, NZ and Polynesia. He has been a strong leader on climate justice advocacy and natural disaster preparedness.
The pandemic has offered both challenges and opportunities for theological reflection. Some aspects of the Christian understanding of God may be more resilient to the challenges of the pandemic than others.
Whatever other identity a faith worker might hold – be it as a spiritual servant or a lay or ordained person – every faith worker also holds the identity of worker, writes Uniting Church minister Brendan Byrne. And we should understand that word – worker – in its commonly understood sense. Being a worker means that faith workers exist within a constructed relationship, just like any other worker. Whether with a faith community, a faith-based organisation or even within a secular organisation, the fact is that faith workers’ lives are governed by the terms and conditions that frame the relationship. And those terms and conditions can make the difference between a faith worker being nurtured and appreciated or exploited and taken for granted.
There really is no such thing as “capitalism” — or rather there are so many capitalisms that the word is altogether too imprecise to be useful. A much better term to identify the problems, even evils, of modern developed economies is “corporatism”. This can be precisely identified and its transgressions and general harm are getting worse. Corporatism is an enemy of the free market. The aim of a monopolist is to eliminate competition, not embrace it — as has been demonstrated yet again by the recent behaviour of the tech monopolies.
Many forces contributed to the 6 January attack on the US Capitol, including then President Donald Trump’s false claims of electoral victory and American anger with institutions. But part of the mix, say experts on American religion, is the fact that the country is in a period when institutional religion is breaking apart, becoming more individualised and more disconnected from denominations, theological credentials and oversight.
Janet Oobagooma, and her old friend Gudu travel from their remote Aboriginal community home in Mowanjum in the West Kimberley to visit the place they grew up – the abandoned Presbyterian mission of Kunmunya. Through these “Children of the Wandjina”, the story emerges of the blending and balancing of their Aboriginal spirituality and connection to land with their contemporary Christian faith.