National News

Seeking refuge in music

Philip Feinstein with guitars bound for the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney.

The simple idea of starting a music class in the Villawood Detention Centre, Sydney, has created a vast network of instrument donors for asylum seekers in detention. Mardi Lumsden explores. Sydney-based volunteer music teacher Philip Feinstein established classes inside the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre around two years ago. He has now expanded the Music for Refugees project to include almost ...

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We can do better, Tony

Dear Prime Minister, I recently saw the film Philomena and began to wonder whether we, in future years, will be making atonement for our current treatment of refugees. Will people be shocked when they find out what really went on? Will their hearts ache when they find out that these were desperate human beings and not potentially dangerous “illegals”? The ...

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Freddie Steen: Asylum limbo “hell on earth”

Member of the Order of Australia, Freddie Steen is a passionate refugee advocate.

Like a voice crying in the wilderness, Frederika Steen AM won’t be silent about Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers and refugees. Dianne Jensen reports. “I have looked into their faces, I know their names and I have heard their stories of suffering. What else could I do but speak out?” Refugee advocate Frederika (Freddie) Steen doesn’t mince her words when ...

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Confronting Indigenous injustice in the Northern Territory

Rronang Garrawurra and Andrew Dutney

The Intervention has caused controversy since its introduction, and Indigenous Australians are calling for genuine respect and partnership. Rohan Salmond explores. At the Uniting Church in Australia’s 13th Assembly, members of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) told their stories about what it is like living under the Stronger Futures legislation in the Northern Territory. The Assembly was ...

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Uniting Church takes drastic action in response to child detention

Elenie Poulos presents the Uniting Church offer of sanctuary for unaccompanied minors currently held on Christmas Island.

The Uniting Church has received information that children without parents being detained on Christmas Island have been scheduled for imminent deportation to offshore facilities on Nauru. In response, the Uniting Church in Australia has taken the bold step of writing to the Australian Government to offer sanctuary for all children without parents currently held on Christmas Island. “We are well placed ...

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A Destiny Together: Justice for First Peoples

Rev Dr Andrew Dutney and Rev Rronang Garrawurra lament with members of the 13th Assembly in front of Parliament House in Adelaide, 2012.

Uniting Church members are invited to engage in the Week of Prayer and Fasting for Justice for First Peoples, writes Jennifer Whyte. One of the most poignant events of the 13th Assembly of the Uniting Church in 2012 was the silent walk of members through the streets of Adelaide to the South Australian Parliament. Prompted by the stories of anguish ...

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NCYC 2014: What is your yuróra?

Youth delegates at Yurora NCYC 2014 in Sydney, Parramatta.

NCYC 2014 was a vibrant celebration of the life and diversity found among Uniting Church young people. Tilly South reports. “Faith is a practical thing,” preached Rev Julian Hamilton, chaplain at Trinity College, Dublin and guest speaker at the 2014 National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC), a biennial event held by a presbytery or synod of the Uniting Church. “We must ...

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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 ...

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President launches bushfire appeal

October's bushfires devastated the Blue Mountains region of New South Wales

The worst bushfires in 45 years have devastated the Blue Mountains area. The Uniting Church Assembly is responding, but requires generous assistance, reports Matt Pulford. President of the Uniting Church in Australia Rev Dr Andrew Dutney has launched a national appeal to support those facing loss and hardship from the recent bushfires in New South Wales. “The fires have destroyed or ...

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Nungalinya celebrates 40 years

Anne Marie McMillan during the service for the opening of Nungalinya's new Media Production Center

Nungalinya College in Darwin, Northern Territory, is celebrating 40 years as an Indigenous Christian college providing training for Indigenous Christians throughout Australia. The college has grown over the years as a unique partnership of the Uniting, Anglican and Catholic churches empowering Indigenous people to take up leadership in their communities and churches. In 2013 there were over 300 students enrolled ...

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