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Letters to the editor graphic by Uniting Communications.
Graphic: Uniting Communications

Letters to the Editor – Winter 2019

More thoughts on marriage from Pittsworth

Some thoughts from a regular church attender. I read with interest Barbara Lanham’s comment on marriage in the Summer 2018 edition of Journey.

This is her personal view as Pittsworth congregation have not voted on the use of church buildings for marriage. Judging from the number of church people I have spoken to most are happy to accept the new ruling, being that the Uniting Church will marry all Christians who are prepared to live together for life, at the discretion of the church minister.

Let me say from the start I voted no to the proposal of same gender marriage but the Australian people have spoken, Parliament has passed new laws, the playing field has changed. I believe we should all revisit the issue with our thinking.

I believe the Assembly, the national council of the Uniting Church have been very brave and courageous in bringing forward a second statement of belief recognising same gender marriage which I am sure other denominations will see fit to follow.

As a Uniting Church member I am happy to accept this decision knowing it has been made by much better Bible scholars than I. The Uniting Church has always preached love. The time has come to put love into action and practise what we preach.

Going back to the use of church buildings for marriage, I refer back to the pastoral letter to all congregations from Dr Deidre Palmer, Assembly President, dated 14 July 2018 which states “church councils will have the right to determine whether marriage services take place on their premises”. To me the key words here are “marriage services” meaning all or none.

I do not believe we can allow one group of people to be married within church buildings and not the other when both are legal in law and church rules. This to me would be blatant discrimination and surely cannot be tolerated—to do otherwise leaves us at the mercy of the “legal eagles”.

Jim Garratt

Memories of Imbil

In the current edition of Journey (Autumn 2019) I read with interest of the forthcoming centenary of the Imbil Uniting Church.

As a “daughter of the manse” I lived in Gympie from 1948 to 1958. My father (Rev David Hunter Henry) was the Presbyterian minister in Gympie at the time. In 1958 he received a call to Camp Hill Presbyterian Church, where he served until 1974 when he remitted his charge and became the first full-time chaplain at St Andrew’s Hospital, Brisbane. He was moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Queensland in 1962/63.

My father played a significant role in the building of the church at Imbil. I remember that little church being built sometime in the mid-1950s. I attended the opening along with my family and remember the great celebration. I know that my father saw this as a significant accomplishment for the congregation.

I was a child at the time, but our family visited the Imbil church regularly on Sundays for the monthly 2pm service. Someone from the congregation usually offered us “something to eat” before our return home (this part is very clear to me!).

Our family has retained a close relationship with the church. I am currently a member of the Redcliffe Uniting Church, having been a previous member of the Camp Hill/Creek Rd Presbyterian Church.

Now at 70-plus-years-old, Gympie and Imbil have many special memories for me.

Dr Margaret I Henry

God is good for you 

Apropos Nick Mattiske’s review of Greg Sheridan’s God Is Good For You: I was glad I bought and read the book. I appreciate Greg as a journalist with The Australian newspaper and am pleased to support his stand for Christianity.

I think Greg’s point of view is Catholic in both senses of the word. His book is not a theological tome and the style of writing is easy to read and, therefore, accessible to more people.

The early part of the book proclaims that the culture we enjoy in Australia has its roots in Christianity, for all its triumphs and troubles. Perhaps the general public has lost sight of this, if it’s given any thought at all to it.

He goes on to expound the results of interviews with noted Australians and their attitudes and actions that may be attributed to their beliefs (wouldn’t that apply to everyone?).

The final part of the book expresses Greg’s premise that we Christians will lose out, become an irrelevance in society unless we get more muscular about our teaching and living the faith.

Robyn Kunde
Glebe Road Uniting Church

Lessons for Living and Loving? 

John Frederick’s caution about a policy of, “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!”, (Autumn edition 2019), reminded me of an experience at my own service at Acacia Ridge Uniting Church some months ago.

The Old Testament reading provided in the order of service was Deuteronomy 21:1–11.
I picked up my pew Bible to follow the reader. She began. “If in the land that the Lord your God is giving you …”

Verse 10 followed: “When you go out to war against your enemies, and the Lord your God hands them over to you and you take them captive. Suppose you see among the captives a beautiful woman whom you desire and want to marry …”

End of reading: I thought, “Goodness me, what is our preacher going to do with that?” I went back to my solitary Bible study. I read on … “You bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head, pare her nails, discard her captive’s garb … after a month of mourning for her father and mother you may go into her and she shall be your wife. If you are not satisfied with her you shall let her go and not sell her for money …”

This was interesting. I kept going on to verse 18. “If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son, then his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of that place … Then all the men of the town shall stone him to death.”

I finished my lone reading at that point and looked up to listen to the Gospel reading about to commence.

So what is the moral of this story? Perhaps it is that when we seek lessons for living and lessons for human relationships from the Bible, we would do well indeed to be very selective in what we draw upon.

After the service, a somewhat embarrassed preacher told me the reader had been given the wrong chapter!

Rodney Eivers
Acacia Ridge Uniting Church

Feedback on the new look Journey

Thank you for Journey—always an interesting read. In the Autumn editorial you have asked for feedback, so from one keen reader here ‘tis:

In terms of the size, shape and colour: great. When it comes to layout; too much “white space” does not necessarily make text easier to read. I think of all the trees sacrificed for little/no advantage. A more compact presentation of articles can be visually arresting if artistically done.

Letters to the editor are to be encouraged and I love to hear what concerns others.

But most of all, humour: Journey is a rather serious and intense read that needs a bit of levity. Some jokes please!

I really appreciate this magazine each time and thank you.

Name and suburb withheld by request

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