Sep 29

About 200 people are expected to attend a Uniting Church forum at Darwin University this week to voice their concerns about the Federal Government’s intervention in remote communities.

The forum is being held on Tuesday, the same day the Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin is expected to be given the results of a review into the intervention.

A spokesman for the church’s Northern Synod, which covers the Northern Territory, the Kimberley region and northern South Australia, says many churchgoers with links to Aboriginal communities believe the emergency response is creating fear and confusion rather than hope for a better future.

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Sep 28

The people of Israel struggle again in the wilderness – this time thirsty and in fear of their lives. As the Lord guides Moses to the rock that will spring forth water, we find that God has always been present.

While it is good to remember these stories and celebrate them, if God is always present then God is creating new stories of our own of God with us.

Sermon: September 28th, 2008 (pdf)
St. David’s Uniting Church, Oakleigh
Rev. Arnie Wierenga

Sep 21

The people of Israel find themselves desperately in need of food in the wilderness. Their plight seems so dire that they have forgotten the stories of God being with them all through this journey towards the promised land. The story of God with us is vital because it is the ultimate story of meaning and purpose. In the case of the people of Israel, God gives them another chapter of meaning as God’s story keeps weaving itself into their own story.

Sermon September 21st, 2008 (pdf)
St. David’s Uniting Church, Oakleigh
Rev. Arnie Wierenga

Sep 18

I’ve recently started a short course on the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is interesting because it is about training our minds to be alert to what is present and real.

There is a story that comes from India that speaks about how easy it is to trap a monkey. All that is needed is to put a banana inside a coconut with a hole big enough for the monkey to put its hand in. The monkey reaches inside the coconut for the banana, but cannot pull the banana out once it has grabbed it. Most monkeys, it seems, are so reluctant to let go of the banana that they are captured instead.

The human mind is like this, despite all of our intelligence. We try to hold onto things that are pleasant, and deny things that are not so agreeable.  What mindfulness teaches is to be present to all things – good, bad and things in between. Our increased awareness of what is real means that we are more capable of enjoying the moments that are truly pleasant, and more able to cope with things that are difficult.

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Sep 18

For the latest happenings from the Balkara Parish and the St. David’s Oakleigh congregation, check out our online copy of the July newsletter.

Parish News – September 2008 (pdf 252kB)

Sep 14

Peter asks Jesus about forgiveness: “Is seven times enough?”

Jesus responds in a startling manner, suggesting that we are called to never reach the end of our compassion and mercy towards others. We reflect on the forgiveness we receive from God, and how that changes our own lives.

Sermon September 14th, 2008 (pdf)
St. David’s Uniting Church, Oakleigh
Rev. Arnie Wierenga