Author Archives: Dianne Jensen

From the kitchen to the pulpit

Fijian-Australian women’s advocate Lisa Meo in Brisbane. Photo: Holly Jewell

Pacific Island women are challenging a culture which excludes them from leadership in church and society. Dianne Jensen talks to education advocate Lisa Meo. Fijian-Australian Lisa Meo has been knocking on the doors of the male-dominated Pacific Island churches for a long time. The retired educator and academic has been a leading voice in challenging the theological and cultural institutions ...

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Now for something completely different

Stock image of youth and young adults.

Looking for innovative ways to connect to the broader community? Dianne Jensen finds out why mission shaped ministry may be able to help. Mission shaped ministry (MSM), the innovative course from the UK challenging the way we think about church, will be rolled out to more Queensland Uniting Church members in 2016. “A mission shaped church is a church fundamentally ...

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Sowing seeds of love

Seed program founder Merilyn Thomas from Townsville Central City Mission. Photo by Peace Nam.

When Merilyn Thomas heard the story of a small boy medevaced from remote Papua New Guinea (PNG) in 2008, she was shocked by the harsh realities of the famine unfolding on Australia’s doorstep. Dianne Jensen reports. Merilyn Thomas is a member of Townsville Central City Mission, and the force behind a seed distribution program that has transformed the lives of ...

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Music for the soul

Photo of singer/songwriter Robin Mann with music sheets.

Robin Mann has been a familiar name to churchgoers for more than 40 years. Dianne Jensen talks to one of Australia’s most successful and prolific songwriters. Contemporary Australian worship owes much to Robin Mann. From the enduring popularity of “Father welcomes all his children” (1973), written for the baptism of his first child, to the haunting “Sorrowing song” (1986), his ...

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Gold Coast games countdown begins

Sports photo of a team with all hands in.

The race is on to prepare for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, as Dianne Jensen reports. Games fever may be two years away for most Australians, but Christians in south east Queensland are already counting down to the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April 2018. Rev Dr Tim Winslade from Ashmore Uniting Church is delighted to be at ground ...

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Bringing in the sheaves: Church community gardens take root

Diane Kelly, Mudgeeraba Uniting Church garden manager. Sylvia Pitt and Con Janduris planting rosella bushes at Sunnybank Uniting Church community garden.

There’s something deeply rewarding about growing and eating your own food, and what better way to get your hands dirty than in a community garden? Dianne Jensen talks to Uniting Church congregations who are digging deep in search of connection. As backyards shrink or disappear and our memories of home-grown produce fade, a quiet revolution is taking place across Australia. ...

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Christmas boost for isolated families

Rev Peter Blauw with members of Mareeba Uniting Church

Mareeba Uniting Church and UnitingCare Community have joined forces to deliver neighbourly support to drought-affected families in north Queensland this Christmas. Dianne Jensen reports. The Mareeba Uniting Church congregation is hoping to raise at least $3000 to provide gift vouchers to nearly 70 families served by UnitingCare Community’s North Queensland Remote Area Families Service (RAFS). Burke, Carpentaria, Doomadgee and parts ...

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Blue Christmas lights the way

Blue Christmas baubles

When the joy of Advent seems to mock the darkness in our hearts, Blue Christmas is a reminder that the light of God still illuminates the path. Dianne Jensen talks to Rev David MacGregor. Like every congregation, the people at Wellers Hill–Tarragindi Uniting Church, Brisbane have experienced their share of grief and struggle during the year. Some will take the ...

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Youth ministry blooms in the west

Blackall Uniting Church youth pastor Scott Walker.

Blackall Uniting Church in western Queensland has planted the seeds for a thriving youth ministry. Youth pastor Scott Walker speaks to Dianne Jensen. Thursday night at the Blackall Uniting Church is youth group night, and youth pastor Scott Walker starts the evening by praying with the six regular attendees. The numbers have fluctuated over the last two and half years ...

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The truth shall set you free

Multicultural advocate Lesley Bryant.

Multicultural advocate Lesley Bryant talks to Dianne Jensen about her passion for building trust in fractured communities. When Lesley Bryant first learned about her Samoan great-grandmother, it seemed like a romantic addendum to an ordinary family history. Years later, she came to understand how the legacy of Queensland’s dark history of indentured South Sea Islander labour had affected her own ...

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