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Author Archives: Dianne Jensen

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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Mission all sewn up at Elanora

Christian women coming together can be a powerful force for mission. Dianne Jensen visits a booming community program at Elanora Uniting Church. Is this the biggest craft group in Australia? Elanora Uniting Church on the Gold Coast opens its doors every Wednesday during school term to around 280 people who gather to share skills and fellowship. The Leisuretime ministry started ...

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Coorparoo sews seeds for mission

Some congregations look at a large grassy block and worry about the mowing roster. Others, like the members of Coorparoo Uniting Church, think about the possibilities. Dianne Jensen reports. Coorparoo is one of Brisbane’s oldest suburbs. Its central location and traditional housing are prime targets for redevelopment, and green space is precious. Four years ago the congregation (then led by ...

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