2016: The year in review
To say 2016 has been a tumultuous year, would be an understatement. We’ve rounded up the top news stories we think not only affected the world but the Synod. From shock politics, refugee debates to revivals of 90’s gaming and how it all challenges our faith—this year was memorable. Or was it a year we’d rather forget? You decide.
The year Donald Trump beat all the odds to become the US presidential elect, because really who needs qualifications to run a powerful country? Honestly, the election was one exhausting roller-coaster ride that will definitely carry on into the New Year once Trump is officially sworn in. What does Trump have in store for us? Who knows but whether it is good or bad, all the advice I can give is brace yourself.
In Australia the Turnbull government proposed a lifetime ban on refugees who are sent to Manus or Nauru detention centres from ever entering Australia. From what we saw with your discussion on our Facebook post below as well as outside forums and media the topic certainly hit a cord with the public and with us. Especially now with the destruction and death in Aleppo the refugee debate and how Australia chooses to respond, will continue.
Perfect love drives out fear
After a year where fear pushed the media agenda, Insights decided it was time to counter that the best way we know how—through faith.
1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
Martin Place siege service
December 15 2016, marked the second anniversary of the tragic Martin Place siege at the Lindt café. St Stephens Uniting Church held a “Blue Christmas” memorial service for the family, friends of those who lost their lives as well as the surviving hostages.
Much like the US election result, Brexit blindsided many. Britain voted ‘yes’ to leaving the European Union, which the nation had been a part of since World War II. David Cameron resigned and Theresa May became the new British Prime Minister. The terms and negotiations of how this referendum will affect the UK and the European Union are currently underway and will likely take up to two years to finalise.
Ah the revival of Pokémon. People quit their jobs to play Pokémon Go full time. I saw people who despise exercise walk miles just to hatch an egg, find a gym and of course try and catch them all. If you have no idea what I am talking about then you missed the craze, be glad.
Teaching refugees to surf
One of the uplifting stories this year was from Gerringong Uniting Church who hosted joint events with Christian Surfers Australia to bring Surf Together. This community initiative sees locals and refugees come together to teach people who have only seen war and hardship discover the freeing feeling of riding the Australian surf. The successful first event saw up to 100 people come together with almost half of them refugees.
Aboriginal culture needs to be preserved
The annual Myall Creek gathering in June looks to commemorate the massacre of 28 Wirrayaraay women, children and old men by stockmen in 1838. The gathering is part of the process to ensure the history and cultural heritage of First Peoples are not only preserved but honoured. Aboriginal researcher, family historian, educator, author and Elder of the Kamilaroi nation, Aunty Noeline Briggs-Smith OAM, was the guest speaker at this year’s event.
Read More: Aboriginal culture needs to be preserved and honoured
Synod 2016 delivered a lot of exciting news about what was in store and on the agenda for the next 18 months in the church. The story that topped it all was Rev. Simon Hansford, who with a wealth of experience and bright vision for the future, was named the new moderator elect.
“I have learned, and continue to learn, about listening to the voices of joy, of pain, of experience, as I work to interpret our lives in the hope of the gospel,” said Rev. Hansford.
A year in pop-culture
That dear readers is a snapshot of the weird and wonderful, this year. If you’re still a bit confused and shaking your head in disbelief maybe pop culture can paint a clearer picture. Think mind-bending HBO series Westworld, confronting perspectives of First Contact and communication with the ‘other’ in the movie Arrival. These were just a few cinematic offerings that challenged us to rethink the fear rhetoric that dominated 2016.
I wonder what 2017 will bring?