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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Jul 29

The majority of asylum seekers will no longer be detained under major immigration reforms described by Immigration Minister Chris Evans as a more compassionate approach.

The Government will not completely scrap mandatory detention but Senator Evans says the Department of Immigration will have to justify why a person should be detained.

“A person who poses no danger to the community will be able to remain in the community while their visa status is resolved,” Senator Evans said.

Senator Evans says indefinite detention is not acceptable.

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Jul 26

A researcher for the Australian National University says Christian denominations need to do more to address climate change.

Steve Douglas has studied the policies of the Catholic, Anglican and Uniting churches and found the Anglican Church is the least effective.

He says the Uniting Church has more policies but a poor record for implementation and the Catholic Church has a small environmental organisation but is restricted in policy making.

Dr Douglas says all three denominations need to become more focused.

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Jul 25

The dramatic rise over the past twelve months in global food prices poses a threat to the very poorest and to humanity as a whole, says a new specialist report from the United Nations – which is seeking to coordinate global action.

The report of the High-Level Task Force on the Global Food Crisis published its Comprehensive Framework for Action a week ago.

It stresses that global food and nutrition security is imperilled by the current situation, which creates a host of humanitarian, human rights, socio-economic, environmental, developmental, political and security-related challenges.

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Jul 15

Story of stuffIf you are wondering what drives seemingly endless western consumerism, check out this interesting expose by Annie Leonard on the Story of Stuff.

The description below is from the website: 

From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It’ll teach you something, it’ll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever.

Jul 4

Bishops marchingOn Thursday, July 24, more than 600 Anglican bishops, their spouses and other faith leaders from around the United Kingdom will march through central London on a Walk of Witness — a symbolic moment of solidarity and coming together for the fulfilment of the
Millennium Development Goals to reflect to the world
God’s desire for justice and concern for the poor.

There are many ways to be involved in promoting the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), and the ‘Episcopaleans for Global Reconciliation’ website offers many resources and ideas to get you started.

Another useful resource is the ‘Make Poverty History’ website.

Jul 3

Help us reverse the effects of human depletion of natural resources and preserve our environment through combating climate change by:

  1. Switch to green power today. Check out our list of accredited Green Power providers and make the switch to clean energy today. By switching to accredited Green Power you are not only helping the environment, you are supporting the growth the renewable energy market in Australia.
  2. Only heat the rooms you need. You can save a huge amount of power by only heating the rooms you are using. Also set your heating thermostat a little lower.
  3. Insulate your home to prevent heat escaping. By improving insulation around the home you can reduce the need for that heater in the winter months. Make sure you shut windows and blinds to keep heat in and the cold out!
  4. Buy a carpet snake (of the door-stop variety – not an actual python!). Another way to reduce heat loss is to seal draft-prone areas such as the spaces under external doors.
  5. Put on a jumper. Don’t walk around in a t-shirt with the heater turned on when you could just slip on a pair of woolly socks and your favourite cardigan.

For additional tips and to calculate your footprint, visit the WWF-Australia Footprint Calculator.

Jul 1

Food shortageChurch bodies have affirmed their commitment to feeding the world’s hungry after world government’s agreed at the Rome food crisis summit last month that overcoming the current shortages would require a united effort.

The plea “give us this day our daily bread” by the world’s poor is deeply understood by Christians and a message that world leaders at the food summit need to hear”, said Sushant Agrawal, director of the Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) in India.

“The Lord’s Prayer highlights that having enough to eat is, and has always been, central to the Christian idea of a world shaped by justice and mercy,” Agrawal added, according to World Council of Churches (WCC). “If God’s will was done, no one would go hungry.”

There are 854 million people – or one in every eight – that are short of food, and another 100 million people are expected to join their ranks with the current food crisis this year.

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Jun 28

Stephen Brown and David Wanless
Geneva/Cape Town (ENI). A leader of the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe has urged the international community to intervene in the southern African nation, following the decision of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from the presidential runoff, citing escalating violence against his supporters. 

“We need peace monitors that make sure we have a stable environment to stop this violence and madness that [President Robert] Mugabe is orchestrating,” Prosper Munatsi, general secretary of the SCMZ, said in a 23 June interview in Geneva. 

Munatsi was speaking before reports emerged from the Zimbabewan capital that Tsvangirai had sought refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare, citing fears about his safety. 

“The people of Zimbabwe have tried everything in their power democratically and peaceably in a non-violent way, and they have exhausted all the channels,” said Munatsi, who was in Geneva to brief the World Student Christian Federation, of which the SCMZ is a part. 

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Jun 14

A new report released on Sunday, exactly two months ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games, details the current Chinese Government’s crackdown on unregistered Christians, including the funding of a campaign to eradicate house churches throughout China.

The report, entitled “China: Persecution of Protestant Christians in the Approach to the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games”, by Christian Solidarity Worldwide and China Aid Association, provides information on different tactics used by the government to restrict the religious freedom of Christians.

CAA said that in May, two independent sources reported that the Chinese Central Government was providing funding to the Ministry of Public Security to escalate its campaign to eradicate house churches in China.

China Aid also said it received reports of “planned intensified persecution”, with greater control and prevention of large Christian gatherings ahead of the Games.

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