News Stand

Newsstand 12 - 18 December

Jesus' birth brings together the ordinary and extraordinary, Archbishop Philip Freier says in his Christmas message; faith-based groups respond to the UN climate conference in Madrid; a Melbourne vicar says there's no reason to doubt the historical existence of Jesus; Gaza's Christians are banned from visiting Bethlehem and Jerusalem this Christmas; and watch a behind-the scenes documentary on preparations for Christmas at St Paul's Cathedral London.

December 18 2019


Make Christmas extraordinary: Archbishop Philip Freier’s Christmas message

Ordinary and extraordinary are two words that could both describe Jesus’ birth. They seem like opposites, yet come together in the birth of the Messiah in a remarkable way, the Anglican Primate of Australia, Melbourne’s Archbishop Philip Freier, explains in his 2019 Christmas message. Watch Dr Freier’s message here.


2019 Christmas messages from leaders of the Christian churches in Australia

Leaders of 15 Australian churches have shared their Christmas messages with the National Council of Churches in Australia, which has compiled them all into a single pdf of season's greetings. 


Climate talks falter as Anglicans and other faith groups urge action

The President of the National Council of Churches Australia, Bishop Philip Huggins, showed a music clip made by students from Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar in Essendon at the United Nations climate change talks (COP25) in Madrid. But despite faith-based organisations calling for “systemic, cultural and spiritual transformations that may be translated into changes in the ways we live, produce and consume”, the BBC reported that there were serious disagreements over how much carbon-cutting the major emitters should undertake as the conference approached its conclusion.


‘No reason to doubt’ Jesus Christ existed, says Melbourne Anglican priest in Sky News interview

With Christmas increasingly being adopted in the western world as a secular holiday, the Revd Dr Mark Durie, senior pastor at Oaktree Anglican, discusses Jesus Christ’s enduring influence from the ancient to the modern world. Talking with Sky News host Andrew Bolt, Dr Durie said: “There’s no reason to doubt the historical existence of Jesus,” saying he was referenced by various ancient writers throughout history.


Christmas, the feast for the frayed and fatigued

Christmas is the feast for the fatigued and the frayed, writes Good Samaritan Sister Patty Fawkner, because God is with us in the actual reality, not the fairy tale version, of our lives.


Gaza’s Christians barred from visiting Bethlehem and Jerusalem at Christmas

Christians in the Gaza Strip will not be allowed to visit holy cities such as Bethlehem and Jerusalem to celebrate Christmas this year, Israeli authorities said on Thursday.


Jesus, Mary and Joseph separated at border in church's nativity scene

A church in California has unveiled its outdoor manger scene to reveal Jesus, Mary and Joseph as border detainees, each figure isolated in its own chain-link cage with a barbed-wire top. The nativity display from Claremont United Methodist Church, a suburban congregation east of Los Angeles, is raising both praise and ire for its depiction of the biblical story of Jesus' family fleeing to Egypt in the context of controversial US immigration policies.


Clergy ‘positive’ about ministry in 10-year study

Church of England clergy engaged in a landmark 10-year study were “overwhelmingly positive” when asked to rate their ministerial effectiveness, a report shows. Against a backdrop of stories about decline, the report painted an “encouraging picture”, according to Dr Liz Graveling, who is overseeing the Living Ministry study. The study is following four cohorts over a decade: people ordained deacon in 2006, 2011 and 2015, and those who started training in 2016. In total, 579 ordained clergy and 113 ordinands participated.


Christmas at St Paul’s

Not our St Paul’s in Melbourne but the one in London! Watch this behind-the-scenes view of preparations for Christmas as the clergy, choir and staff of one of the most famous cathedrals of all prepare to celebrate the Nativity of Our Lord.


Christos Tsiolkas: Doubt on the road to Damascus

How did the 2000-year-old conversion story of St Paul in the Bible inspire bestselling Australian author Christos Tsiolkas? Also in this episode of Soul Search on ABC Radio, meet popular children’s author – and Melbourne Anglican – Susannah McFarlane, who had her own “Damascus road” experience in her fifties.


This is the final NewsStand for 2019. Thank you for your feedback and support. NewsStand will resume in January. The Interim Manager and staff of Anglican Media Melbourne wish you every blessing for Christmas and the New Year.