Monday, April 30, 2007


Comfort your children’s sorrow, lamenting mothers, bitter fathers,
A nation wounded.
Lead us to love and life in You
where our guns are beaten into plough shares.

NOW is the opportunity for local churches, regions, conferences and our denomination to make a bold statement calling for gun control. Now is the time for our church leaders -- ministers and campus pastors-- to encourage and enable members of our churches to contact our politicians and the NRA with our cries for sanity and restricted access to weapons of such destruction. While we apply balm and succour to the wounded and bereaved, let us each accept the responsibility to cry out in the face of this tragedy for a change in our national ethos, laws and life style. When the 1996 massacre of 35 people in Port Arthur, Australia occurred, the Prime Minister sensed the outrage of the Australian people and responded with federal gun control laws which continue today. While our president and other politicians use the constitutional phrase "the right to bare arms" to justify access to modern guns, may we, as faithful Christians remember the God of love to whom we pledge allegiance. May we never forget that our nation is "under God." May we declare our homes and communities not only "Nuclear Free Zones" but also "Gun Free Zones." Let us follow the Christ who is the Prince of Peace, and call for gun control throughout our land, TODAY.

Psalm: Virginia Lament

I weep, oh God.
I wonder, "Where the hell are you?"

Alan stops me in the faculty lounge,
"Disastrous news from Virginia.
A gunman. Thirty-three dead.

Virginia – my heart drops,
for she is the land of my infancy,
my childhood
my adolescence.

I think of Kevin and Mike
still living there.
Are their children students at VPI?
Have they been injured, or worse killed?

And You, oh God, what are you doing about it?
This land that prides itself as a "Christian Country"
How long will you let this go on?

O God, O God
I know that you do not forsake us.
As one is wounded, so you are wounded.
As my heart bleeds and I weep,
so your heart bleeds and You weep.

Comfort your children’s sorrow, lamenting mothers, bitter fathers,
A nation wounded.
Lead us to love and life in You
where our guns are beaten into plough shares.

Psalm by Tod Gobledale
written during a community worship service at Churches of Christ Theological College, Mulgrave, Australia

Thursday, April 26, 2007


The Uniting Church in Australia have developed some fantastic resources and reflections upon Climate Change. It has come our of their "UnitingJustice Australia" movement which is charged with pursuing social and ecological justice and peace on behalf of the Uniting Church in Australia, National Assembly.

Climate Change is the most challenging environmental issue of our time.

Climate Change is also a human rights
, economic, cultural and social issue that will profoundly affect the way we live our lives as a human community.
"If we are to meet and overcome the challenge we must think creatively about the organisation of our social and economic institutions, our relationship with each other across national and cultural boundaries and our relationship with the environment." - For the Sake of the Planet and All Its People, Statement of the Assembly Standing Committee, 2006
This page has been set up to provide a storehouse of UnitingJustice's and the National Assembly's work on this important issue.


Two new resource and action based websites which are working towards ending human trafficking and slavery.


There are people who want to take the most precious thing you have and sell it to those who will abuse it and wreck it ...

People trafficking is one of the worlds fastest growing illegal industries. It is happening right here, right now, on your doorstep. It is devastating the lives of millions of men, women and children each year.

With YOUR help STOP THE TRAFFIK will create awareness and understanding of this
worldwide problem and call for change. Together WE will:

Prevent the sale of people
Prosecute the traffickers
Protect the victims

Site 2: Anti-Slavery Project

Promoting a Human Rights Response to Slavery and Trafficking in Australia

The Community Law Centre at the University of Technology, Sydney, has been providing direct assistance to trafficked and enslaved persons since 2004 and now sponsors the Anti-Slavery Project (ASP). ASP is dedicated to eliminating slavery in all of its forms through a range of direct service and advocacy programs. Collaboration is a core value at ASP and we are committed to engaging a broad audience of client, community and government stakeholders in activities aimed at ending violence, exploitation and injustice.

Our Goals

  • Promote a human rights response that prioritises the needs and concerns of survivors
  • Improve and expand legal protections and benefits for survivors
  • Ensure delivery of comprehensive and culturally appropriate human services to survivors
  • Increase collaboration between community and government agencies to effectively address slavery and human trafficking crimes
  • Mobilize public awareness and support for survivors
  • Strengthen the institutional and community response to slavery and human trafficking
  • Empower survivors to act as agents of social change

Our Activities

  • Advocacy for a social justice and human rights policy approach to address slavery and human trafficking
  • Sydney Community Response Network to assist survivors and build capacity
  • Comprehensive legal services including criminal, immigration, civil, labour and family law
  • Skills-based practical training on slavery and human trafficking issues
  • Outreach, education and media advocacy
  • Research on the patterns and practices of slavery and human trafficking in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region

Both sites have plenty of excellent resources and information. There is a link in the title of each site above , or find one over on the side bar.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ican) was launched in Victoria yesterday at a luncheon at Parliament House. Speakers included the Rt. Hon. Malcolm Fraser A.C., C.H., Professor Fred Mendelsohn, Dr. Joeseph A. Camilleri, and Judge Christopher Weeramantry with video messages from Gareth Evans, Jody Williams and John Howard (the actor, not the other one).
Can you imagine a world without nuclear weapons? ican!
ICAN is a new campaign initiated by the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a federation of medical professionals in 60 countries. The organisation received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985 for uniting doctors across the Cold War divide to raise awareness of the threats posed by nuclear weapons. Its prescription for survival was, and remains, the complete elimination of nuclear weapons

ICAN focuses on the roots of the nuclear weapons problem - the continued possession of nuclear weapons by a small minority of countries, who risk their use by design, accident, miscalculation or by terrorists, and whose weapons are an incentive to others to also become nuclear armed.

ICAN aims to achieve a Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban the development, possession and use of nuclear weapons.

UCC worship litany responds to violence at Virginia Tech

The Rev. John H. Thomas, UCC general minister and president, has released a special litany in response to the violence at Virginia Tech. Here is the text:

Through the ages we hear the Risen Christ: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"
vatech_vigil_0418.jpg"Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my lambs." Yet today we grieve for precious lambs, not fed, but slaughtered. For those sons and daughters, students and classmates, colleagues and friends whose lives we cherish, whose loss we mourn, we pray,

Lord, have mercy. [A TIME OF SILENCE IS KEPT]

Through the ages we hear the Risen Christ: "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"

"Yes, Lord, you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Tend my sheep." Yet today your flock is scattered by fear at Virginia Tech and throughout the world where guns and bombs kill and maim. For those paralyzed by fear in Blacksburg and Baghdad, Kabul and Karachi, Gaza and the Golan Heights, we pray,

Christ, have mercy. [A TIME OF SILENCE IS KEPT]

Through the ages we hear the Risen Christ, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?"

"Yes, Lord, you know every thing, you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep." Yet today we are hungry - hungry for peace, hungry for justice, hungry for security, hungry for hope. For children who look for bread but are given the crushing stone of violence, often with our complicity, we pray,

Lord, have mercy. [A TIME OF SILENCE IS KEPT]

Take us, O God, to places we are reluctant to go, to the wounded places, the shattered places, the terrified places. There may we feed your lambs with compassion, tend your sheep with healing, feed your flock with hope. There, with Peter, may we move from denial to discipleship, and thus find strength in the midst of this week's sorrow and rage, to sing again the Easter song, "Alleluia, Christ is risen!"

Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia! Amen.

(This prayer uses themes from the Gospel lesson for the third Sunday of Easter, John 21.1-19)


Churches of Christ Social Justice Network

invite you to

Focus on Africa

Saturday 26th May 2007

2:30pm - 5:00pm

Panel discussion and workshop

Surrey Hills Churches of Christ

1 The Avenue Surrey Hills VIC

Cost: $5 includes afternoon tea

RSVP: Kristen Hobby on (03) 9558 7462)

We welcome Visier Sanyu from the National Council of

Churches to assist in the facilitation of the workshop.


2-3:30 pm—Hear from an expert panel with representatives from Africa discussing the current situation in Sudan, Zimbabwe the Congo and other parts of Africa. Hear personal stories with opportunities for Q&A to follow.

4-5pm — Two Workshops. One will focus on how individual churches can assist African churches who are currently welcoming African families into their congregations. The second workshop will look at how we as Christians can respond to the current African situation.


Apologies for the distinct lack of posting recently - our primary blogger has been on six weeks leave, but all good things must come to an end - so stay tuned for much more frequent updates.


VIC/TAS Social Justice Network Executive