I have been waiting for a while to see Chasing Ice come to video and was blessed this week in seeing it.  I must admit I still feel the disappointment I felt missing it on the big screen. The images are stunning, the story amazing and the evidence of climate change in glacial retreat and permafrost melt, well it is just plain scary.

The documentary follows the National Geographic sponsored project by the photographer James Balog.  He set out to visually document climate change by taking time lapse photography of the retreat of glaciers.

The melting of the glaciers is viewed by many climate scientists as ‘the canary in the mine’ and watching this compelling documentary was left with the deep and disturbing sense that if the canary ain’t dead it ain’t far from it.

Balog’s images capture on film major parts of our environment simply disappearing as ice walls collapse, glaciers retreat and permafrost melts. 

In the midst of the various statements made Balog speaks of the deep fears that many within the scientific community are expressing.  It is a fear he says that simply is not being translated yet into the general community and more particularly our political leaders.  With this in mind Chasing Ice seems less like something to recommend as opposed to something which should be mandatory viewing for everyone

Maybe this is because we live in such an instant society and so we are incapable of seeing beyond our lunch appointment tomorrow or our next holidays. But if climate change is the biggest threat to humanity and the biggest moral challenge of our time then maybe we should start acting as of this was the case.  Certainly a few days out from our election the commitment to reduce carbon  emissions by 5% seems more about tokenism than a serious commitment to the issue.

Psalm 8 speaks of our responsbility in our dominion over creation.  I have asked the question in more than one sermon, so how do we think we are going with that dominoon thing?


There is alot of discussion this week on the radio on what winning an election does or does not imply, particularly when it comes to mandates.

One caller on ABC radio, who volunteered they had voted for the Coalition, stated very clearly that whilst voting this way he disagreed with the stance on Asylum seekers and on Foreign Aid.  He went on to say that it is impossible for an incoming government to claim that they have won a mandate on any particular policy as voters will agree and disagree with a range of things being offered by that party.

In terms of the issues raised by this caller as Christians the question of what our democratic role is between our voting opportunities remains.  How can we continue to put before the new government our concern over the way our country if treating Asylum seekers? How can we encourage a greater commitment towards overseas aid?

Making personal commitments in giving is one apsect of this but is there also not a responsbility to approach our local representatives to express our concerns and invite further contemplatation on these issues?  Should we also sign the petitions and letters to seek to influence change? 

As a congregation we are blessed with the presence of people on Aus Aid scholarships most of whom are studying subjects which are about community building.  This investment in other countries should not be underestimated.

How does your faith convert to action?  How do we support the most vulnerable people in the world?




Anniversary can be moments of joy.  “Thank God we made it this far!”

They can be times of reflection. “Ah, remember the good old days!”

They can be times of hope. “Let’s make it another good year!”

This year as we celebrate 36 years of the Uniting Church I am reminded again of why it was we came together and it is this which shapes my response.  That in and through Jesus Christ unity is God’s gift and will for the church.

Here is a gift we have received in fullness but not yet for the church is not one at least in any visible way.  By coming together the 3 uniting churches the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterians acted in penitence, turning towards one another and so also God’s gift and will for unity, but as they did so they also acted as witness to the church and world, this unity is not for us alone.

Institutional unity amongst the churches may not be necessary to achieve the unity to which God calls us, yet seeking reconciliation and unity with other Christians remains a calling from God. 

Jesus prayed ‘that they may be one so that the world might beleive’.  We are neither one nor has the world come to believe.

So on this anniversary the moment I find my response is this “May we remember God gifts and will and may we learn to be one.”



In this time of (political) turmoil
This time of joy and dejection
Of half-truths and false accusations
In this time of unspoken desires
And unexpressed joy
In this time of changing allegiances
And of new optimism
In a time when those who remain silent
Are overtaken by the vociferous
When what’s in it for me
Is often the guiding principle
When it is difficult to knowAug to Dec 2010 084
                What is right
                What is good
                What is true
                What is trustworthy
When we look at our neighbours with suspicion
When we choose our words carefully to avoid hurt or anger
In this time of turmoil in our community
And in the land we hold dear
Let us pray for this country that we love
And for its people 

Let us pray for [Our] Rolling Brown Land 

Lord God,
your Spirit has moved over the face of Australia,
and formed from its dust a rolling brown land.
Your Spirit has moved over its warm tropical waters
and created a rich diversity of life.
Your Spirit has moved in the lives
or men, and women, and children,
and given them, from the dreamtime,
an affinity with their lands and waters.
Your Spirit has moved in pilgrim people
and brought them to a place of freedom and plenty.
Your Spirit moves still today
in sprawling, high rise cities,
in the vast distances of the outback,
and in the ethnic diversity of the Australian people.

Lord God,
in the midst of this varied huddle of humanity
you have set your church.
Give us, the people you have so richly blessed,
a commitment to justice and peace for all nations;
and a vision of righteousness
and equality for all people in our own country.
Help us to look beyond our far horizons
to see our neighbours in their many guises,
so that we may be mutually enriched by our differences.
and may our love and compassion for all people on earth
be as wide and varied as our land
and as constant as the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

[Douglass McKenzie, Uniting in Worship, Peoples Book p. 240]
T4P 27th June 2013     Lesley Shaw


Living the Faith

Living the Faith is a series of sermons and studies which invite you to deepen your faith as you explore the 5 different aspect of being a Christian. 

Sermon Title & Theme Question

1. Whom do we follow. Who is Jesus Christ?

2. Celebrating New Life. What does it mean to be baptised into Christ?

3. More than a meal. How does God grow us in the faith?

4. A Shared Life. How do we live in Christian community?

5. Helping hands. How do we live in the world?

9am Sundays from 30th June-28th July 2013


I had one of those interesting experiences with a young girl a bumped into the other day.  When she found out I was a minister she told me earnestly that her mum said that God was just a story the people make up but she believed in God.  She then asked whether Jesus was in my church.

As a parent I am wary of interfering in what another parent might teach or tell their child.  At the same time of this I wanted to affirm the child in her spirituality.  I tried to answer diplomatically saying I had different thoughts to the little girl’s mum and believed that God is more than a story made up by some people.

Hopefully, prayerfully, the seed of spiritual belief that the little girl has been nurtured by what I said.  Yet I can’t help wondering at the difficult journey that little seedling will have in such a hostile environment.

As people of faith in an increasingly secular and even antagonistic environment the example of our belief and spirituality expressed publicly in however a small way I believe is becoming more and more important.

 It left my wondering how I could be a better bearer of good news inviting, encouraging and exampling God’s love so that children such as this one might feel some encouragement in what has already begun to stir in them.