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Leaving Toa’s legacy

IT WAS A deeply emotional time for Judith Finau when on 18 June she stood in the John and Charles Wesley hall at the Sia’atoutai Theological College in Tonga to donate the library of her late husband Rev Dr Samiuela Toa Finau. She and Mr Finau had worked there before they went to Fiji and many memories flooded back as she ...

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Foundation building for Timor children

IN MAY Rev John Ruhle and Rev Tanya Richards led a team to visit projects in East Timor supported by Uniting Church congregations. This included the work of the Timor Children’s Foundation which has its support base predominantly located in Queensland. The Timor Children’s Foundation continues to be engaged in two long term projects: supporting the St Mary’s Children’s Home ...

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Mental Health Week raises awareness

THE YEAR’S Mental Health Week is 10-16 October and the theme is Be active, Get connected, Stay involved. Mental Health Week begins with World Mental Health Day on 10 October and includes Stress Less Day on 13 October. A Nouwen Network’s Jane Frazer Cosgrove said Mental Health Week was an opportunity for churches to promote mental health awareness in their ...

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Uniting schools in Tonga

“Malo e lelei”, Unity College’s Tongan Travellers called out, flaunting their new language skills as they emerged from the airport in July. This was the second trip that students from Unity College, a joint Uniting and Catholic Church school in Caloundra, have made to visit their twinning school, Peteli Middle School, a school of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga. ...

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Treasuring freedom

BEYOND OUR traditions of hospitality or even Christ’s command to be generous, there’s something that stirs compassion and controversy within the church when the matter of asylum seekers is raised. Part of what comes to the surface is our own history, a story of being on the run: glancing over the shoulder one moment, staring hopefully ahead the next. The Bible ...

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Explaining big issues to little people

Author Morris Gleitzman remembers the point when he decided to write children’s books that dealt with big issues. His 2002 book Boy Overboard told the story of a young Afghani boy seeking asylum in Australia with his family. “The government of the day were telling what I thought to be very unkind, one-sided stories about the people on the boats,” ...

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SEEKING ASYLUM

FORTY-FIVE nautical miles north-east of Scott Reef is the middle of nowhere. It’s not the place to be one of 92 people adrift in a leaky boat. The passengers experience crowding, seasickness and fear, and the constant self-doubt about the decision to deal with people traffickers and run from violence and war. On the mainland we see a few seconds ...

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Plans, pains and promise

It is often easy to dismiss refugees and a group rather than individual people. Media reports rarely tell individual’s stories. Amnesty International Australia Community Campaigner Tracey Foley said it was important to remember that these people had possibly survived oppressive governments, torture, the destruction of their home and deaths of their loved ones. Chaman Shah Nasiri is one such person. ...

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Getting into the spirit

IT MAY only be August but the Synod Communication Services Unit (CSU) has been hard at work consulting as many people as possible to help decide on the 2010 Christmas postcard theme. This year the slogan is: “This seat is reserved for you this Christmas.” The back of the card will say “Worship with us” and have a space for ...

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Refugees- Australia’s Dividend

THIS REFUGEE Week (20-26 June) the Federation of Ethnic Communities’ Councils of Australia (FECCA) is thanking refugees for the huge contribution they make to Australia. “Refugees are Australia’s dividend,” said FECCA Chair Pino Migliorino. “To invest in refugee settlement, refugee health and welfare, is to invest in Australia’s future. “Refugees contribute greatly to Australia – making us a stronger, smarter, fairer ...

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