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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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Blokes gawkin and talkin

Father’s Day seems to bring a certain licence for Dads to relax and admit they like cars and a chat; not necessarily in that order. On Mother’s Day most Uniting Churches present chrysanthemums to pin on tops. Father’s Day presents a rare opportunity to present sausages and sauce to spill on shirts. Big boys toys and a barbecue will greet ...

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What is the church?

JOURNEY CONTINUES its exploration of Brian McLaren’s 10 questions he says are transforming the church. This month is the church question. Adulterous liaisons, wealthy church members showing off, the personality cults of leaders in sharp suits, and the rest of the community shaking its head as factions break up a growing charismatic church: it’s the tale of woe from a fast ...

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Electing leaders

AROUND ELECTION time there is often the conversation about whether we expect normal moral standards in our elected leaders. It would seem reasonable to expect the same values of honesty, loyalty and integrity in our national and state leaders as we look for in ourselves, our friends, workmates and family. Generally, we don’t. Voters are no longer surprised by expediency that ...

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Aussies more stressed this year

PEOPLE ON THE Gold Coast are more stressed in 2010 than they were in 2009, according to Lifeline’s annual stress poll. The latest poll, conducted by Newspoll, has 90 per cent of the population experiencing stress in their lives. That’s nine out of ten people, or 20 million Australians. The poll also identified that 43 per cent of Australians, or just under 9.5 ...

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