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Faith, Social Work and Community Care during COVID

The world has been turned upside down. There’s a global pandemic and a fierce movement for honouring and protecting of Black Lives after the brutal murder of George Floyd. There has never been a time in Australia when the injustices faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and communities have been brought into such intense focus. In this time we need solidarity. We particularly need solidarity for Aboriginal deaths in custody. Over the last 10 years we have seen a 88% increase in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people incarcerated, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people now 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Indigenous people. Change the Record breaks down five ways parliamentarians can address incarceration; repeal discriminatory laws, end racist policing and enforce real accountability, stop locking up children, implement the Royal Commission recommendations, protect human rights in prisons with proper independent oversight. One personal way I have acted in light of recent events is partaking in a CSU Letter Writing Event, writing to MPS about Aboriginal Deaths and Custody with help from Common Grace's template which you can find on their website. Having talked to fellow Christians in this time, it feels hard to hold onto hope but these slices of collective action embolden me to persevere and reminds me of the way justice rolls down like waters. Continue reading

CSU Statement on Police Brutality & Deaths in Custody

Christian Students Uniting (CSU) is devastated at the ongoing racial violence and injustice perpetuated in Australia and overseas. The tragic murder of Mr George Floyd in the United States again draws our attention to the effects of systematic and institutionalised racism afflicted by dominant societal communities (the majority) onto minority groups abroad and in these lands now called Australia. It draws attention to horrendous deaths in police custody of Mr Dungay, Ms Dhu and the more than 400 First Nations People in Australia since the Royal Commission of Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991, as well as countless others before that time. Continue reading

Liquid Droplets and Frozen Crystals

I’m sitting on the veranda. My housemates and I are interspersed between potted plants, while our other housemate has just raided the local park for new plants to propagate. You can hear cars whirring down the Inner West Link, birds chirping and the tactile clicking of keys as I type away while the sun begins to set. Continue reading

Justice and Volunteering: Unpacking My 'Why'

In a Christian Students Uniting (CSU) Bible study a year or two ago, the question came up of “How different would your life look if you weren’t a Christian?”. This question was really challenging to think about, and I struggled to be able to answer it. I found myself wondering how much of my life is simply the result of my upbringing and genetics, and how much is influenced by my walk with Christ. What would be different if I wasn’t a Christian? And what should be different? Needless to say, this question led to an internal existential crisis that is still going on today (what can I say, I am a bit of a dramatic person). Continue reading

What does it mean for us to be church if we can’t physically gather?

With the rapid escalation of circumstances around COVID-19 in the last two weeks, our face-to-face gatherings have been cancelled or moved online. As a result, many of us are left feeling sad, feeling lost, stressed and anxious.  In a recent press conference, the Prime Minister Scott Morrison described what we are facing as a 1 in 100 year event. Which is true, the last time the world saw something like this it was in 1918 with the outbreak of the Spanish flu. And a key difference between now and then is social media, technology and software that allows all of us to experience this whole thing together - at once. We aren’t just seeing what is happening in our pocket of the world, we are experiencing these events over and over again. And in the midst of all this we are physically losing the connection to places and people in our lives that are our community and identity. Continue reading

Practical Ways to Pray

Rev. Andrew Johnson, UNSW Chaplain & Minister at Hope Uniting Church talks about a few practical ways that he approaches prayer.

Much to Celebrate, Much to Strive For

Andrew McCloud - Tertiary Ministry Organiser marching in Mardi Gras with Uniting Network 2018 Greetings! My name is Andrew McCloud and I am the new Tertiary Ministry Organiser with the Presbytery of Sydney. I spent the last couple of years working at Leichhardt Uniting Church and Christian Students Uniting (CSU) at Sydney University. And now I am taking on a role to work with the Uniting Church’s young people across the Sydney region. More on this later. For now, let’s talk about the Uniting Church more broadly… Continue reading

A Local Win for People Seeking Asylum & Early Childhood Education

For the first time in Australia, a Local Sydney Council will provide free Early Childhood Education & Care (ECEC) to families seeking asylum. Representatives from the Uniting Church and Christian Students Uniting were proud to join the Sydney Alliance team that campaigned for this significant decision. - Continue reading

Putting my faith into words

As a writer and composer, I spend a lot of time telling stories. Sometimes these are stories that belong to other people, and sometimes they are very much my own. Over the past two years I have started to write more about my faith in a creative context, as I believe the heart of my vocation is to bring my art and my discipleship together. Continue reading

Aretha and Singing for Freedom

Continuing our blog series on music, art and faith - CSU Mission Worker Andrew McCloud reflects on the passing of the great Aretha Franklin, her role in the Civil Rights Movement and how music is an expression of our humanity.   Continue reading