Author Archives: Ashley Thompson

Caloundra takes action after Cyclone Ian

Judy and Alan with students of a Free Wesleyan Church School in Tonga.

When Cyclone Ian ripped through the Pacific Island nation of Tonga on 11 January, Caloundra Uniting Church member Judy Morrison’s first thoughts were with her friends on Tongatapu, the southernmost island. Ashley Goetze reports. While the category five storm left no dramatic structural damage on Tongatapu, the north island of Ha’apai, home to the Free Wesleyan Church school and kindergarten, ...

Read More »

Churches unite to form brain trust

Vebui Bala with family members (L–R) Paia Ingram, Kinibo Bala and Lilly Manega in front of St Andrew's war memorial hospital.

In an active demonstration of Christ’s love, different parts of the Uniting Church worked together to change the course of one man’s life. Ashley Goetze reports. Last October, a team of specialists from St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital, Brisbane performed a rare life-saving operation on Vebui Bala, a 21-year-old man from a small village in Central Province, Papua New Guinea ...

Read More »

South Sudan tensions endanger Brisbane pastor

Moses Leth’s family and friends eagerly awaiting his return.

Moses Leth, pastor of the Uniting Church’s South Sudanese Nuer Faith Community in Brisbane’s Coopers Plains narrowly escaped death under fire. Ashley Goetze reports. As the world’s newest sovereign state struggles to navigate tensions between the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups, media outlets speculate that South Sudan runs the risk of mirroring nearby republic Rwanda’s 1994 genocide. Yet the true ...

Read More »

Redcliffe artfully engages community

Fifty-two works of art were produced during 2013.

Rev Paul Clark is blazing the path for innovative worship in the south-east corner. Ashley Goetze talks to the “art church” minister. From Genesis to Jesus, over the course of 52 weeks, Redcliffe Uniting Church commissioned artists from within their church and wider community to journey together through the Old Testament. The year-long art project, inspired by a desire to address and help ...

Read More »

Christian bikers slam new laws

Rev Dr John Smith is the founder of God's Squad Photos: God's Squad

Have new anti-bikie laws stigmatised an entire sub-culture? Ashley Goetze talks to Rev Dr John Smith, founder of international Christian motorcycle club, God’s Squad. Rev Dr John Smith is a biker, and he’s proud of it. Known to many as “Smithy” or “the holy bullfrog”, the legendary God’s Squad figurehead may soon be mistaken for an outlaw under new Queensland legislation passed in ...

Read More »

Stolen blood

Allan, centre, with Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga and other children saved from child sacrifice by Kyampisi Childcare Ministries

Worldwide reports confirm the reality of child sacrifice in northern Africa. Ashley Goetze speaks to Peter Sewakiryanga about Uganda’s modern affliction. In Uganda, children are routinely kidnapped and their body parts cut off for ritual sacrifice. In pursuit of wealth, clients visit witchdoctors on a weekly basis delivering hearts, livers and blood to be consumed by spirits. Pastor Peter Sewakiryanga is the Director of Kyampisi ...

Read More »

Sexuality: What’s the big deal?

Stretching Faith

Last month, young adults across Queensland gathered to talk about holistic sexuality with Uniting Church President, Rev Dr Andrew Dutney. Ashley Goetze reports. Suggestively titled Theology between the sheets, bashfulness soon subsided in exchange for sincere questions surrounding the nation’s fixation on Biblical interpretations regarding same-sex marriage. As one young person asked, “What’s the big deal?” Uniting Church President Rev Dr Andrew Dutney answered, ...

Read More »

Empowering Pacific women

UnitingWorld workshop participants, Solomon Islands

This year, UnitingWorld turns its focus towards gender equality and addressing violence against women in the Pacific Island region. Ashley Goetze spoke with Bronwyn Fraser from UnitingWorld. A self-described “link and chain” between the Uniting Church in Australia and Pacific Island church partners, last June UnitingWorld facilitated a workshop in Fiji that involved women representatives from the four Pacific nations of Kiribati, Solomon Islands, ...

Read More »