by John Barr

Eshoroma lies on a woven mat in a crude bamboo shelter. This two year old is wearing her best dress as her mother gently strokes her hair. This is not a happy family reunion. Nor is it a time for joy and celebration. Little Eshoroma is being prepared for burial, the victim of disease that […]


by John Barr

Christmas in my family has always been a little mixed up. When we lived in Indonesia gift-giving took place, not on the December 25th, rather, it took place on 5th – the Feast of St Nicholas. This is a tradition inherited from the Dutch. Christmas then continued through December 25th (Christmas One), December 26th (Christmas […]

Twiddling My Thumbs And Waiting

by Radhika Sukumar-White

It’s really hard to fathom that Christmas is only three weeks away. It is perhaps harder to fathom that my baby girl will be here in around six weeks. Those two events seem to be coming like freight trains, and yet there is still a sense of twiddling my thumbs, and waiting, and waiting, and […]

My Name Is Beloved; What’s Yours?

by Radhika Sukumar-White

Over the last few weeks, I had the great privilege of co-teaching a short course on Sacraments, aimed at candidates for ministry and potential lay presiders in rural communities. Alongside Rev. Bronwyn Murphy, I got to talk about the Uniting Church’s theology of sacraments, and then train these potential presiders in the actual acts of […]

What’s Your Preaching Style?

by Radhika Sukumar-White

The most famous quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi says: “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.” What I think he means by this is that our lives should be a sermon – the way we act, interact, give, share, decide, and so on. Words are but one part of the […]


by John Barr

500th ANNIVERSARY OF REFORMATION A “hero-protestant” who “re-founded” Christianity or a “wild boar who was let loose in the vineyard? Renewal almost as profound as Pentecost or the unleashing of sectarian schism in the church and the creation of mayhem across all society?” In a recent presentation to the NSW Ecumenical Council, Bishop Mark Lieschke, […]


by John Barr

A few we weeks ago, on a Sunday, a lone gunman stormed a worship service and massacred 26 people as they sang in the First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. Then on the following Tuesday morning a vehicle crashed into a classroom in Greenacre, here in Sydney. Two little boys were killed. Meanwhile, an 82 […]


by John Barr

“It’s a debacle!” This is how the current state of our federal parliament is being described by some media. I know it’s important to sell newspapers and hold a TV audience. But a “debacle”? “Debacle” refers to a sudden downfall, a rout or a defeat. Here we refer to a “total failure”, a “right-off” or […]

Saints and Scholars – One and All! ~ by John Barr

by West Epping UCA

My wife and I have just returned from a holiday in Ireland.  Known as the “Emerald Isle” because of its lush, green texture, this fascinating country is also referred to as the “Land of Saints and Scholars”. These “Saints and Scholars” include the great St Patrick, who converted Ireland to Christianity without recourse to any […]