News Stand

NewsStand 20-26 February

New deacons ordained for diocese, WCC meets in Brisbane, ancient temple found in Israel, Christians oppose Trump welfare cuts, and why going vegan this Lent might be a good idea.

February 26 2020


New deacons encouraged to seek out, embrace God's word

Nineteen new deacons have been ordained in a service held at St Paul’s Cathedral on 8 February. The nine women and 10 men ranged in age from those in their twenties to others in their sixties, which Director of Theological Education Bishop Brad Billings said reflected “the diversity of the Church and its ministry”.


‘I am anxious to have my children home’: recovering letters of love written for Noongar children

Archives in the State Records Office of Western Australia hold hundreds of letters written by Noongar people to the Chief Protector of Aborigines and other government officials from the turn of the 20th century. The letters were captured within manic record-keeping systems used to surveil and control Aboriginal people. Elfie Shiosaki discovers many letters written by her own family, with stories lost for generations.


WCC body meets in Brisbane with focus on Pacific regional priorities

The impacts of climate change and the lingering health and environmental effects of nuclear testing on the countries in the Pacific region were among the issues discussed at the meeting of the WCC’s Commission of Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) in Brisbane from 19-21 February.


The gap: why Australian women earn millions less

There’s a vast gap between the projected lifetime earnings of the average Australian man with kids, compared with the projected earnings of the average Australian woman with kids. In this Brotherhood Talk, Danielle Wood, budget policy and institutional reform program director with the Grattan Institute, looks at the main factors that contribute to women’s economic disadvantage, considering earnings across the course of their lives.


3000-year-old Canaanite temple discovered in buried city in Israel

Archaeologists looking for evidence of an Iron Age settlement have discovered the remains of a 3000-year-old temple built by the Canaanites. The temple is believed to be dedicated to the Canaanite God Baal and dates back to the time of the ancient Israelite invasion.


‘It’s fun – everyone is different’: the Jewish school that unites all faiths

At a primary school in London, children from Jewish, Muslim, Christian and no-faith backgrounds learn about cultural diversity and tolerance “through a Jewish lens”.


Presiding Bishop joins other Christian leaders opposing Trump’s proposed cuts to social services

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has added his signature to an open letter from a group of Christian leaders expressing concern over President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to social welfare programs. In their 11 February letter, Bishop Curry and 12 other members of the Circle of Protection, a coalition of leaders from various denominations and institutions, asked Mr Trump and Congress “to maintain adequately funded safety net programs that provide help and opportunity for our most vulnerable neighbors”.


Why religions say humans have intrinsic value

Australia is a secular society, but there's a religious claim that forms part of the foundation of its liberal democratic values: That all people, regardless of circumstance, have intrinsic value. Judaism and Christianity claim every person is “made in the image of God”, but what does this mean in practice? Guest host Justine Toh joins the ABC's God Forbid podcast to discuss work, gender, ageing, disability and the need for rest.


Pope takes aim at 'misleading use of media'

Pope Francis has used his Lent message to criticise “empty” chatter among people who follow news media. Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday this week, should be seen as an opportunity to develop an attitude of gratitude and “shake us from our torpor”, says Pope Francis. And he also urges Christians to dig deep with prayer, in order to undergo conversion and be “saved again”.


Going vegan for Lent can orient us to Christ’s calling

Fasting from animal products is an ancient Lenten tradition far predating current interest in veganism. As Christians around the world begin the observation of Lent, contemporary thinkers consider how the practice of fasting squares with current science on the impact of cutting meat and dairy from our diets, calling believers to think of the practice not only as a deeply personal part of their spirituality but also as something with social and ethical implications.