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AGMF: it’s the vibe

Fourteen thousand eager individuals wait for the band to begin playing. Chanting, clapping, cheering, the stage lights dim, the crowd jump to their feet and roar as the bright lights flash on. You thought the U2 tour had been cancelled? Which band could possibly stir up this much excitement? It’s the Newsboys. They have been on the cover of Rolling ...

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Easter message from the Queensland Moderator

Dear Friends in Christ, Easter is first of all and best of all a celebration of God’s love and grace. It offers us the opportunity to engage once again with the fundamentals of our faith. In John’s Gospel, we are given an extended reflection on the final hours that Jesus spent with his disciples. During that very personal time, Jesus ...

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The Lamb of God

Jesus is the lamb who takes away the sins of the world. That’s the central piece in the Christian notion of salvation. It has a variety of expressions, but always the same meaning: Jesus’ suffering takes away our sins. Scripture expresses this in metaphors and we must be careful, precisely, to not turn metaphor into literal understanding here. God didn’t ...

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Living life on the outside

After thirteen and a half years in prison, Marc Renton walked free in January of this year and headed straight for a church. Not just any church, he headed for the Uniting Church congregation led by prison chaplain Beatriz Skippen. With little preparation for the outside world, Mr Renton feels lucky to have met chaplains inside prison who helped him ...

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West Papuan refugees – human rights must be paramount

In response to pressure from Indonesia, the Australian Government has stated that Cabinet will review asylum seeker guidelines. Human rights may become less important than international diplomacy. In January of 2006, 43 asylum seekers from West Papua landed in Cape York, claiming persecution from Indonesian authorities. Of these, 42 have had their claims of human rights abuse substantiated according to ...

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Does the correctional system really correct?

In November 2004 the results of a comprehensive investigation into prison release practice and policy in Queensland was released. Given that 99.9% of prisoners in the Queensland prisons will one day return to life on the “outside”, the INCorrections study initiated by the UnitingCare Queensland Centre for Social Justice focused on the impact of the correctional system on community safety. ...

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Mackay churches mourn Rev Tony Paynter’s sudden death

A memorial service will be held in Mackay this Wednesday for Rev Tony Paynter who died suddenly last Wednesday of a suspected heart attack. Mr Paynter had been minister of St Pauls and Armitage Uniting Church congregations and is survived by his wife Beth, four children and six grandchildren. He was 69. His wife reported that Mr Paynter had been ...

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Prison policy: have we got it wrong?

It’s not only the total number of residents that’s exploding in sunny Queensland, the prison population is booming too, but the nagging question remains as to whether there is more to prison than punishment and whether this is the best way to keep the community safe in the long-term. Global trends are moving towards “decarceration” as the most effective mechanism ...

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Uniting Church comes through after Cyclone Larry

North Queensland Presbytery Minister Rev Bruce Cornish reports that while there has been significant damage to property and crops in the area between Cairns and Tully and up on to the Atherton Tablelands, no major damage to Uniting Church buildings and ministers and their families are safe and well.. There has been the most damage between about Fishery Falls in ...

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Finding peace in politics

Brad Chapman is a self-professed high school dropout. The 22 year-old left school as a young entrepreneur to run his own mortgage broking company on the Gold Coast. Here is a young Christian who is exploring the world where religion meets politics. As a teenager, Mr Chapman became interested in both Christianity and politics. Now he finds himself actively participating ...

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