Apr 18

For the latest happenings from the Balkara Parish and the St. David’s Oakleigh congregation, check out the online copy of the April newsletter.Parish News April 2008 (pdf 121 kB)

Apr 16

Ice shelfThis past Sunday afternoon, the St. David’s congregation had a screening of Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth. One of the indicators of climate change is the disintegration of ice shelves in both Antarctica and the Arctic circle, including Greenland.

Just over a month ago, an area of ice the size of the Gold Coast disappeared into the Antarctic seas in just a few days.

A report from the National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado says:

Satellite imagery from the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder reveals that a 13,680 square kilometer (5,282 square mile) ice shelf has begun to collapse because of rapid climate change in a fast-warming region of Antarctica.


There are things that each and every one of us can do to make a difference to the problem of global warming. What follows is a simple list of 10 things to do, and for more information check out climatecrisis.

  1. Change a light globe (to energy efficient ones)
  2. Drive less
  3. Recycle more
  4. Check that your tyres are inflated properly
  5. Use less hot water
  6. Avoid over-packaged goods
  7. Adjust your thermostat (2 degrees warmer for cooling, 2 degrees cooler for heating)
  8. Plant a tree
  9. Turn off electronic devices (standby mode uses significant power)
  10. Spread the word.

Apr 15

Chimney stackA new report on climate change has found that most people want urgent action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The Climate Institute has released its second annual report on Australians’ attitudes towards climate change.

It found that three-quarters of Australians believe that any new electricity generation should come from clean energy.


Apr 13

Jesus uses the image of keeper of a safe haven to indicate that through him an abundant life is offered. The problem with abundance is that it is often confused with satisfying all our desires, rather than simply providing the things we need. This reflection on Psalm 23 offers an alternative.

Sermon April 13th, 2008 (pdf)
St. David’s Uniting Church, Oakleigh
Rev. Arnie Wierenga

Apr 12

Sorry day griefby Jim Houston
“Goodbye, Daddy” said the pretty little four year-old, as she and her mother got out of the car outside Parliament House that bright morning, Wednesday 13th February. Just two more people among the crowd scurrying around in the hope of finding a vantage point to hear the long-delayed S-word finally offered to the stolen generations. I couldn’t help wondering how many little Aboriginal children through those long years ever had the opportunity to say goodbye to Daddy or Mummy.


Apr 11

labyrinthRev. Dr. Lauren Artress’ visit to Melbourne last month has sparked a lot of interest in the labyrinth. The following article comes from The AGE newspaper.

A medieval Christian pilgrimage you could make without leaving home is undergoing a modern revival _ and an expansion beyond religion.

It is called the labyrinth, and its adherents make remarkable claims about its spiritual and mental benefits, including providing calm and peace, healing grief, reinspiring the creative spark, restoring right-left brain balance, and enabling the mind to uncover deep answers.

But the benefits have been found credible enough for 225 American hospitals and an unknown number of schools, universities and prisons to build labyrinths, as well as churches, retreat centres and even public parks.

Read more>>

Apr 10

JOAN Habkouk will be 25 in June. It’s only two years since she completed the Mercy Ministries’ program, but it’s a lifetime away from where she was.The Castle Hill woman had battled eating disorders, depression and self-harm since she was 14.

“I had tried the public health system and counsellors, but none were beneficial,” Ms Habkouk said.

Although the 11-month Mercy Ministries program was hard, now she can look back at it through enlightened eyes.

“It was absolutely the best time of my life,” she said.

Read more >> 

Apr 9

Labyrinth constructionLabyrinth trainer Robert Ferre is coming to Australia in October and will be running both facilitator training and master class training at places and dates to be advised. The master class training is about how to construct labyrinths, while the facilitator training is “with a male left-brained stuff-them-full-of-information approach” according to Robert.

For more information see: Facilitator training and Master class. 

Apr 8

Arnie Wierengaby Rev. Arnie Wierenga

When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I remember my older brother talking about logging and how we could not keep cutting down trees because there were not enough of them. As a child I was puzzled by what he was saying because my known world was of rolling hills completely covered by trees.

Sometimes our world can be too small to fully appreciate a problem. I think Australians are the highest users of water per person in the western world which is an odd thing because we live on the driest continent. We have been able to waste a lot of water while our population has been low, but with population pressure and the bite of drought, our world view has had to grow.

Read More

Apr 6

The disciples travel on the road to Emmaus, encountering a stranger who they do not recognise. It is not until Jesus breaks the bread to share in community with them that they know a profound truth – Christ has risen. As we reflect on the mystery of this story, we embed ourselves in the experiences of the disciples, the places where bread and Jesus meet them. As we do this we seek to experience for ourselves the mystery of Christ’s presence as the bread is broken.

Sermon 6th April, 2008 (pdf)
St. David’s Uniting Church, Oakleigh
Rev. Arnie Wierenga