Motion Recognising the Significance of 2015 as the Centenary of ANZAC

December 10th, 2015

The following motion was approved at the recent Churches of Christ in Australia meeting in Adelaide:

This meeting of CCCA, recognising the significance of 2015 as the centenary of the ANZAC campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula and on the Western Front, acknowledging the catastrophic loss of life of combatants from all nations and the unbearable suffering and grief of their families:

1    Records an appreciation of the determination, courage and stoicism displayed by Australian and New Zealand military personnel and their allies in circumstances of hardship, violence, danger and constraint;

2       recognises the essential ministry of military chaplains in these engagements and in every Australian theatre of war since;

3       declares that the Sunday prior to Remembrance Day (11 November) be designated ‘Defence Sunday’ and asks each local congregation to remember the Defence community on that day;

4        encourages each local congregation to invite an ADF Chaplain to visit them on ‘Defence Sunday’ to hear about ministry within Defence, both at home and abroad; and

5    is aware that the senior protestant chaplain in the Navy, Army and Air Force are all ministers within our movement (Navy – Barrie Yesberg, Army – Russell Mutzelburg [currently acting Peter Willis], Air Force – Mark Willis); and

6    commits to praying for peaceful solutions to the conflicts of the world and for the establishment of God’s reign of justice, peace and love on the earth.

Stirling College News

November 30th, 2015

The Hindmarsh Church of Christ Centre for Mission and Ministry had its official opening on Thursday the 26th of November, followed by  the Stirling Valedictory service on Saturday the 28th of November.

Some may be interested that Stirling College is increasingly offering subjects that can be studied online. See the semester two timetable here for a number of study options.

Vale Robert Leane

October 5th, 2015

Robert Leane passed away early on Saturday morning the 3rd of October after a struggle with cancer. He was formerly a Churches of Christ National President, and a South Australian President, and interim State Minister for South Australia.

Churches of Christ Sunday: 4th October 2015

September 7th, 2015

A resource on Churches of Christ as a Renewal Movement is available under Resources on this website.

Media Release from the Anglican Church in Australia

September 7th, 2015

A request to the government from our Anglican friends in response the the humanitarian crisis in Syria Anglican Church Media Release on Syrian Refugees

Gathering in Birmingham

August 24th, 2015

A number of Australian Churches of Christ members gathered in Birmingham in July with colleagues from Churches of Christ in the UK. Some papers presented there on mission can be found at the bottom of the Churches of Christ resources page here

Pilgrimage to West Papua

July 2nd, 2015

A report on a pilgrimage to West Papua presented at National Council of Churches. Please hold the churches and the people of West Papua in your prayers. You can download the report here: NCCA report on West Papua

Church Planting Seminar

May 18th, 2015

John Bond and Milton Oliver will be facilitating church planter training at Stirling College on 16, 17 and 18 of June. Anyone with a heart for church planting will be equipped and given the opportunity to develop a strategy over these three days. For information and registration, see the link below or contact Stirling College on 03 9790 1000.

Vale Lucy Griffiths – 1931 – 2015

May 18th, 2015

Lucy Ellen Griffiths

27 June 1931 – 1 May 2015

The Age (3/11/61) some 40 yrs ago informed its readers that the Melbourne Anglican Archbishop had appointed Rev Nash to be a canon at St Paul’s Cathedral; that the army’s Chaplain General was to speak at a Methodist remembrance service, & that Bishop Fox was to address the Roman Catholic members of the Vic Public Service Assoc.

Also was the news that a “Lucy Griffiths of the Churches of Christ (CoC) Good Companions State Exec & Sec of the Aust Council of Churches’ Youth Dept, has left to take up her new post in Geneva as Sec for youth projects of the World Council of Churches”.

Lucy’s faith journey had commenced well before this time.

And took many of us, said one on learning of her death, “to a level that was beyond our expectations as a small denomination of CoC; she was an inspiration to those of us who believed in our desire to be an ecumenical church”.

Her journey had begun at a time of world turmoil, destruction & death, but at a time when young people were full of confidence & hope.

Immediately prior to WW2 youth from the churches, universities, & the Ys(YM & YW) met in Amsterdam (1939), & barely had the guns been silenced than the youth of the victors met with the youth of the vanquished (Oslo 1947).

A few years later young people decided it was time to move the conversation from Europe to Asia. Australian young people returned from the 1952 Indian (Travancore) meeting with renewed enthusiasm & the Aust Christian Youth Commission was born.

In 1956 Lucy was appointed part-time sec of this new Commission, a position she held for the next 5 years & part-time assisting the Secretary (H.A.G. Clark) of the newly formed Victorian Council of Churches.

Two events at this time had a great influence on her life & work : a national conference in Geelong heard the charismatic Philip Potter (then Youth Department Secretary of the WCC) – & it would be interesting to know more of the role played by Potter in Lucy’s appointment to the WCC Youth Dept a few years later; & 2nd conference in 1959 (Canberra) at which the leadership came from Asian theologians (Harry Daniel). There can be little doubt that Lucy was heavily involved in the organisation of these meetings.

The WCC was formed in 1948, only a decade or so before Lucy joined the staff.

Right thru WW2 people like Visser’t Hooft, who later became World Council of Churches (WCC) Secretary & was the Secretary when Lucy joined, had maintained communication with the German churches, had cooperated with the rescue of many in the European Jewish communities, as well as funding & supporting the underground movement of people escaping into Switzerland from Nazi Occupied France.

In the ‘90s Lucy reviewed a book on the life of Madeline Barot, who was a leader in the French churches & during the war she had been a member of the French résistance. When Lucy joined the WCC, Barot was the Director of the program on the Cooperation of men & women in church & society. Madeline Barot exploits & ministry were still a talking point in my time with the WCC a decade after Lucy.

In the review Lucy wrote “what follows is ….. an account of Madeline’s memories of the challenges confronting Christians …it is a record of solidarity with the victims & the marginalised we meet along our way, & in whom Christ is present; it is a story of men & women who organised themselves to work for social justice”.

It would’ve been fascinating to yarn with Lucy on the degree of influence that Madeline Barot had on her own views of women in church & society.

Lucy, for example, wrote to the editor of the CoC journal (1991),”I have two other letters to the Editor forming in my head – one the involvement of Christians in trade unions & another on the use of the term BROTHERHOOD (in capitals) to describe CoC. I regard myself, she writes, as a fairly peaceable person, but that term provokes me to fury!”

I can only guess what was in her head about Christians & trade unions. Maybe there is a clue in her life after the WCC. Study in Africa & then work with the British Methodists & was a member & officer of the church that the Rev Donald Soper had lead & his continuing presence & influence would’ve been very evident for someone like Lucy.

Soper was a Hyde Park orator, a socialist, a Labor Party member & pacifist, whose biographer, Brian Frost, a close friend of Lucy’s, wondered how come “a minister with such radical views came to receive so much affection & acclaim?”

Lucy on her return to Australia continued to be actively involved with those issues & causes she felt most strongly. Speaking at one meeting she describes herself one concerned about justice for all people & the environment, how Orthodox & Asian Christians living in Australia can enrich our protestant traditions & the need to take seriously people of other faiths”.

Lucy had the remarkable good fortune to trip across some of the great figures of church life & the ecumenical movement; she travelled extensively, worked in Europe & studied in Africa. Take a walk thru her (& Doug’s) library which she gave to the CoC theological college – multiple copies of Brunner, Tillich, Bonheoffer, Robinson, Newbiggin, as well as 104 books from the progressive Student Christian Movement.

Lucy’s faith journey took her on a lifelong ecumenical adventure.

Beginning in CoC, she found, after being significantly involved with a range of CoC committees & congregations, that her journey was taking her in new directions & in the late 90s relinquished any positions which saw her representing CoC.

One of the verses from the hymn, she wrote with Brian Frost, the biographer of Donald Soper, says much about her life,

“”Where there is squalor, let there be beauty,

Where there is sadness, let there be light;

Cry Hosanna, shout Hallelujah

Turn a world of strangers into the family of hope”.

Lucy held a unique position in the life of the Australian church.

She was perhaps the only person to have held staff positions with the Victorian Council of Churches – state, Australian Council of Churches – national & the WCC – global, organisations of churches.

The Executive of the VCC meeting on Wednesday noted, “with her husband, the Rev Doug Dargaville, they formed a significant partnership, mentoring, teaching & encouraging many of us in our ecumenical formation.

We will miss the wisdom, the grace & the insights that Lucy shared with so many”.

Vale Lucy Ellen Griffiths.


Alan Matheson

8 May 2015

Indigenous Ministries Australia – Statement on the forced closure of WA remote Aboriginal communities

April 30th, 2015

Media Release via Nick Wright of IMA

The following statement is a personal reflection by Ngardarb Francine Riches, a Bardi Jawi woman, artist, community worker and church leader from One Arm Point (Ardyaloon or Bardi) in the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Francine currently lives and ministers in Melbourne’s Inner West through the Melbourne Indigenous Church Fellowship which is affiliated with the Churches of Christ in Vic/Tas. Francine was recently recognised publicly by her addition this year to the Victorian Women’s Honour Role, and she was also the Maribyrnong Citizen of the Year for 2014. Francine’s statement presents a viewpoint that has not been widely heard at this stage:

“As a family (off country) affected by this issue, we are very concerned that our people are still being talked about and not talked to by the Barnett State Government of Western Australia. There are lives at stake and the plan to further reduce people’s rights is appalling while at the same time, mining, exploration and tourism is carried out throughout the State on Aboriginal lands. The local people have fought long and hard to establish homes and businesses in most of the communities threatened by forced closure and it seems to be forgotten that these are not new places to Aboriginal people — I certainly reject the idea that it is a lifestyle choice to live in these communities — these communities are our homes and have been for thousands of years.

If we are away from our country, it’s impossible to get a ‘traditional’ education. No new resources are being committed to resolving problems and disadvantage, instead the very opposite is happening! Oombulguri and Coonana are already closed. Having personally been through the years of exile as fringe dwellers in the nearby town of Derby I was one of the first Aboriginal people to resettle and get the One Arm Point community going and growing, starting from nothing. It was a real struggle but it is now a successful, thriving community—a thriving community that is threatened with imminent closure.

Both the Western Australian and Federal Governments of Australia are playing games with the lives of our people who are unsure of their future. This is setting back race relations 40 years. Imagine if they tried to stop providing essential services to every non-viable farm in WA—there would be a national uproar!

Among the threatened 274 communities there is uncertainty and fear as the Barnett Government plans to cut off water and power to the most vulnerable in our nation. The claims of the remote communities becoming an unacceptable financial burden to Western Australia since withdrawal of Federal funds is hard to accept in one of the richest States in the world. This is nothing short of a breach of the United Nations convention on the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Please stay informed and stand with us against the forced closure of our communities.”

–Ngardarb Francine Riches

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