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Author Archives: Ashley Thompson

Courageous faith paves the way

Betty Willis (Order of Australia), at her home in Blue Care Toowoomba. Photo taken by Ashley Thompson.

We interviewed Betty about her life and faith on Friday 27 June and sadly advise that since this article was written and went to print Betty has passed away. We have been informed that Betty did have the opportunity to read the article before her passing. She died on Wednesday 6 August 2014 after a short illness. How does a self-described shy ...

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Setting a place for everyone

Andy's Place volunteers at Friday lunch. Photo taken by Frank Millett.

Bundaberg families are “one unexpected expense away from crisis,” UnitingCare Community regional director Richard Johnson told NewsMail late last year. A free hot meal has never been in greater need. Ashley Thompson reports. Established 15 years ago by Judy Gallagher out of Bundaberg Uniting Church, Andy’s Place is a community-run soup kitchen offering three free meals a week to anyone ...

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Peculiar things we do: Conferences

UnitingWomen conference promotional poster, featuring woman of varying cultures laughing and interacting. Photo was supplied..

Why travel to Sydney when you can watch a webinar? Ashley Thompson explores. In Australia, many Christians wait in anticipation for annual gatherings. We go to great lengths, spending precious leave and flying interstate to listen to keynote speakers whose content is often easily accessible online or in their latest book. We attend conferences for a variety of reasons, such ...

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Prepare to meet your maker

UnitingCare Health chaplain, Julie MacKay-Rankin, with a patient in the Wesley Hospital's Palliative Care unit Ward 4A. Photo was supplied.

Are you prepared to die? New research shows Australians are dropping the ball and not planning ahead. Ashley Thompson explores the world of life before death. Twelve years ago a palliative care unit at Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital did not exist. Today, Ward 4A buzzes with nurses and chaplains committed to journeying with patients through the end of life phase. UnitingCare ...

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Communities care post-suicide

New life represented by one plant thriving in burnt land. Photo by stock images.

UnitingCare Community, in partnership with StandBy Response Service, offers postvention programs to assist families, friends and communities bereaved by suicide. Ashley Goetze reports. Queensland’s largest drought has consequences that stretch beyond its thirsty soil. According to The Australian, Lifeline figures show that where severe drought hits, suicide rates increase sixfold. Issues of guilt and shame about suicide impact the grieving ...

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Volunteers share the chaplaincy load

Queensland Synod chaplaincy educator Lynne Gibson works with Cert IV Pastoral Care students online and in the classroom

May is the month of Chaplaincy Sunday and National Volunteer Week. Ashley Goetze speaks with two Uniting Church volunteer chaplains about their sector’s needs. Health care, aged care, education, police and emergency services, defence, tourism, human services and sport and recreation are the seven formal sectors of chaplaincy found within the Uniting Church. Need and calling draw out volunteer chaplains ...

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Hospitals care with praying hands

Wesley Hospital clinical nurse Rachel Oxford and Pastorial Care Department Manager, Rev Murrary Fysh.

Last month Brisbane’s Wesley Hospital launched a program that will enable all UnitingCare Health hospital staff to pray for patients, no matter their job. Ashley Goetze reports. Dubbed the Praying Hands initiative, staff identified by a green and yellow Praying Hands badge can now answer prayer requests from patients as they go about their daily tasks.   “We’re the first hospital ...

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Here’s a fishy scoop

Australia Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Google Images.

The Queensland Government has urged Australians to boycott American company Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for supporting the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) save the reef campaign. In a media statement yesterday, Environment Minister Andrew Powell said the company has damaged the reputation of the reef and jeopardised jobs and tourism dollars. “Another company has signed up to the campaign of ...

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Extreme pilgrimage: Traversing the wilderness

David Holleran, runs across the desert. Photo was supplied.

This July, long-distance athlete David Holleran of Mundubbera Uniting Church will run across the Great Victoria Desert, the epic last leg to a 19-year journey. Ashley Goetze reports. Everybody has a story, you only need ask. Dave Holleran is your typical Aussie bloke. Family man and owner of David Holleran Cleaning Services, it could be easy to miss that this ...

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Churches respond to drought crisis

Transfer of the hay begins from the road train to local farm vehicles in Longreach. Photo by Jenny and Peter Coombes

Uniting Church bodies across Australia have coordinated to feed livestock, offering reprieve to desperate farmers throughout Queensland. Ashley Goetze reports. Confirmed by the ABC as Queensland’s most widespread drought on record, Frontier Services and members of two churches have independently taken action to alleviate the enormous cost of providing hay to Queensland’s starving livestock. “In six to eight weeks you ...

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