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Acting with love

Sue and Alan Pickering with women and children in India in 2007. Photo courtesy of Sue Pickering
THE 28TH Synod affirmed a five line Call for the Uniting Church in Queensland in discerning the future of the Church.

This edition we continue our series of discussion starters exploring what each of the five Call phrases mean to different people.

This edition we look at the second phrase: Acting with love.

Rev Doug Foster has been a Police Chaplain in North Queensland part-time since 2002 and full-time since 2009.

In his work he is often called to love those who others may not.

“I live and work with the beautiful privilege to be with people at some of their best and worst life moments,” he said.

“For me acting with love comes as a challenge to hold to Paul’s recollection of God’s call through Jesus for us to be agents of reconciliation.

“The group I work with are often confronted by society at its lowest ebb.

“Acting with love is the challenge to help reconcile these people to a hope that, in spite of what they may see and experience, the world has not been abandoned to chaos and evil.

“It reminds me, as I hope I can remind those with whom I serve, that God is never in some distant place waiting for us to come to him.

“He is with us, wherever and however we might find ourselves.

“Acting with love helps me to experience a deepening of faith as I see God acting in ways beyond my understanding.”

As Mr Foster suggested, when done in a Christ-like way, being called to act with love can be quite a confronting task.

Brisbane’s Trinity Wilston Uniting Church minister Rev Sue Pickering has a passion for social justice and has spent time in India working with women.

She said the phrase “acting with love” was her starting point.

“I believe that the heart of the gospel is love, not in a warm and fluffy sense, but in a challenging sense,” she said.

“How can we honestly say we are acting with love if we are supporting injustices and failing to respond with compassion and mercy even in the most difficult circumstances?

Acting with love for me is about acting with integrity, with a preference for the poor (in its widest sense), challenging understandings and systems that oppress and bring about injustice, which will undoubtedly in some cases bring discomfort and unrest for others.

“Acting with love for me is a challenge to consider my actions, responses and values.”

Photo : Sue and Alan Pickering with women and children in India in 2007. Photo courtesy of Sue Pickering