Author Archives: Dianne Jensen

South Sudanese refugee finds home in community

Uniting Church Nuer faith community member Maria (Nyaluit) Phalpang is an interpreter, health researcher and final year nursing student.

Former South Sudanese refugee Maria (Nyaluit) Phalpang belongs to the Uniting Church Nuer faith community in Brisbane. She tells her story to Dianne Jensen. Maria (Nyaluit) Phalpang has travelled a long way from her childhood home of Bentiu in Unity, a predominantly Christian state in war-torn South Sudan. Faith, family and a passion for education have sustained her on the ...

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Café church: Give it a shot!

Cafe church is an increasingly popular form of worship

Whenever two or three people gather to eat and drink together as part of worship, café church is happening. Dianne Jensen talks to three Queensland congregations exploring fresh forms of this ancient model of being church. It’s family friendly, low key, and a lot harder to slip into the back row unnoticed. Café church is a contemporary reimagining of a ...

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Let’s start talking about mental health

Sue Hutchinson is passionate about starting the conversation about mental health

New resources will help Uniting Churches to create safe spaces to talk about mental health. Dianne Jensen reports. The most powerful conversations are often the hardest to begin, and Synod research officer Sue Hutchinson understands that mental health is a confronting topic for church communities. Sue has coordinated the new Called to care suite of mental health resources for Uniting ...

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Melanie Minichiello: My grateful story

Build the Future managing director Melanie Minichiello in The Change Room community hub in Keperra. Photo by Holly Jewell.

Build the Future managing director Melanie Minichiello talks to Dianne Jensen about her passion for helping young people re-connect with society. Gratitude. It’s as old-fashioned as a hand-written thank-you note, but youth advocate Melanie Minichiello says being grateful is a key ingredient in happiness and wellbeing. “Gratitude allows us to look beyond ourselves and to gain perspective and balance,” says ...

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Breaking open the word: Lay preachers in the Uniting Church

Speech bubble graphic by Holly Jewell.

The ministry of lay preacher lies at the heart of the Uniting Church’s vision of a Christian community which celebrates the gifts of every member. Dianne Jensen reports. Caroline Holmes from Fitzroy North Rockhampton Uniting Church has clocked up 53 years of lay preaching, and she is busier than ever. She is one of an army of lay preachers who ...

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Redlands hospitality leads the way

Redlands for Refugees members Sylvia Jones (left) and Lyn Moore (right) at the Redfest carnival. Photo by David Busch.

Sometimes life really is a picnic. Dianne Jensen finds out why Redlands for Refugees is bringing asylum seekers and ordinary Aussies together over sausages, salad and plenty of cake. It’s hard to imagine a better place to escape the city than Moreton Bay. And among those enjoying a Sunday afternoon of food and conversation are locals from Redlands for Refugees, ...

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Opportunities open for ministry partners

Peter and Rev Jenny Coombes. Photo by Dianne Jensen.

Rewarding opportunities can await ministry partners willing to venture beyond the city lights, as Dianne Jensen discovered on the moderator’s recent trip to the outback. Rev Jenny Coombes and her husband Peter had plenty of time to consider the pros and cons of moving to Longreach on the long drive to meet congregation members. Newly ordained, Jenny had asked for ...

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Mission: conquer culture shock

Noah Kim, international student ministry pastor at Sunnybank Uniting Church in Brisbane. Photo by David Busch.

International student pastor Noah Kim talks to Dianne Jensen about his call to ministry in the Uniting Church. Noah Kim knows first-hand that the call to God’s service can take you far from home and well outside your comfort zone. The South Korean-born Christian received the nudge from his pastor to attend Bible college in Australia eight years ago—and has ...

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Gone camping: Time out for young Christians

Summer Madness brought camping to a new generation

Remember looking up at the stars at midnight, talking about God and faith and wishing that you could always hold worship in a bush chapel or on the beach at dawn? Dianne Jensen finds out why youth camps still play a pivotal role in faith development. Youth camps are a tradition in the Uniting Church, drawing on the legacy of ...

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What’s cooking in the Valley?

Cooking up a storm at the Wesley Mission Brisbane community

Dianne Jensen goes behind the kitchen doors at a community meal in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. There’s nothing like a pleasant night out, with fresh flowers on the table and a three-course meal over friendly conversation. The hospitality is especially warm when the food is prepared as part of a training program for women prisoners and served by volunteers to needy ...

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