Author Archives: Dianne Jensen

Bundaberg: the advent of hope

Frank Millett, Heather Donald and Rev Ray Nutley use Uniting Communications' Christmas postcards to spread the news about the Bundaberg Uniting Church Christmas services.

As Bundaberg Uniting Church members begin the familiar Advent journey, many will reflect on a year of working and waiting for a new beginning. Dianne Jensen reports. The people of Bundaberg and the nearby towns in the Wide Bay Burnett region had their lives turned upside down by the floods caused by cyclone Oswald last January. An estimated 9000 houses ...

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When I was in prison you visited me

UnitingCare Community Prison Ministry coordinator and senior chaplain Beatriz Skippen. Photo by Dianne Jensen.

UnitingCare Community Prison Ministry coordinator and senior chaplain Beatriz Skippen talks to Dianne Jensen about her life behind bars. Beatriz Skippen talks quietly on Monday mornings. As UnitingCare Community Prison Ministry coordinator and senior chaplain, her Sundays are spent either speaking in churches or preaching in prisons, sometimes participating in between four and six services a day. Her day has ...

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Rural tragedy: why mental health matters

Lifeline Darling Downs rural mobile counsellor Brian Steele on the road.

Dianne Jensen talks to Lifeline Darling Downs rural mobile counsellor Brian Steele, the only men’s counsellor in the Western Downs region. The telephone call came on the weekend. A young man who had only just made an appointment to see the sole men’s counsellor in the Western Downs region had committed suicide. Lifeline Darling Downs rural mobile counsellor Brian Steele ...

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Preach your heart out

Sermon cartoon by Phil Day

Pull out the popcorn, it’s time for the sermon. Dianne Jensen explores how preaching styles have changed, and why good preaching still matters. When comedian George Burns suggested that the secret of a fine sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, with the two as close together as possible, he could not have imagined the entertainment ...

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Indigenous leaders mobilise for mission

Joya Waia (Weipa) and Ellen Hobson (Bamaga) at the 2013 Grasstree Gathering in Brisbane

Emerging Indigenous leaders and elders from across Australia are forging new partnerships through the Grasstree Gathering. Dianne Jensen reports. “Preaching in your own skin” is a catchphrase that sums up the cultural and spiritual empowerment of a people, and it resounded at the National Grasstree Gathering Emerging Indigenous Christian Leaders Conference in Brisbane. The Grasstree event in early October followed the inaugural ...

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Permission to speak, please

Southport Uniting Church community minister Rev Dona Spencer with art from Flourish Arts Festival

Southport Uniting Church has opened its doors and its heart to the busy world outside. Dianne Jensen reports. The young woman was a regular attender at the night services at Southport Uniting Church on the Gold Coast. An artist who lived alone, Anne suffered from depression and schizophrenia following childhood trauma. One night she self-harmed, and accidentally killed herself. Artist and Southport ...

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Breaking the silence about mental health

A Nouwen Network gathering in Fairfield, Brisbane

Mental health is not the absence of illness, but a way of living. Dianne Jensen reports. “One of the big things I’ve learnt from my son’s illness is not to be judgemental. You never know what people are going through.”—Lyndal Hutton. According to mental health charity SANE Australia, nearly half the Australian population will experience mental illness at some stage ...

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We’re all in this together: What the latest data says about the Uniting Church

Source from 2011 NCLS attender denominational surveys

National Church Life Survey analysis is highlighting some encouraging trends in Uniting Church congregations, reports Dianne Jensen. Do you feel settled at your local church, yet sense that your gifts are not being fully used? You’ll support outreach initiatives (if they don’t clash with your volunteer work) but would prefer not to personally invite people to church. Growing confidence and ...

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Set free to live for others

Arie and Anneke van Klinken. Photo by Holly Jewell

Lives ruled by faith and inspired by a love of adventure have their own reward, as Arie and Anneke van Klinken discovered. Dianne Jensen reports. Arie, 17 years, was picked up outside curfew by Nazi police in Emmen, occupied Holland. A few days later, en route to Gestapo headquarters, he escaped by jumping from the train while it was stationary. ...

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Grand dame of Toowoomba celebrates 150 years

Presbyterian Church, 1932. Photo by State Library Queensland

One of Queensland’s iconic city churches celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, throwing the spotlight on a remarkable period of Christian witness in the south-east region. Dianne Jensen reports. Built of local basalt and sandstone,St Stephen’s Uniting Church (formerly Presbyterian) in Toowoomba was completed in 1884. The 150th anniversary marks the establishment of the charge (parish) in 1863, although the ...

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