Wesley and St Aidan’s Uniting Church

Canberra Central Parish

in Forrest and Narabundah

“Before Belief”

What is our first understanding of God? Perhaps there is a sense of spirituality, mystery or transcendence from birth. As we mature, becoming more rational and cynical, do we lose something? These and other intriguing questions will be discussed along with practical exercises of self-discovery in six sessions. Come to what you can, there is no expectation that a participant will make every session.

Outline of Sessions:

  1. Intergenerational Patterns using the genogram and journaling.
  2. Attachment Patterns explaining the four patterns of attachment and using Miner’s attachment to God questionnaire.
  3. Early Memories using first memory, early religious memories
  4. The Five Senses. What is the preferred sense to experience God?
  5. Hidden learning using sentence completion for childhood experience and God.
  6. Spiritual Profile questionnaire. What does our individual profile look like? How has it influenced our adult spirituality?


Wesley Wayfarers

Wesley Wayfarers meet on the second Sunday afternoon of each month to consider various matters of Christian faith from a progressive perspective. Progressive theology is an approach that seeks to understand the real, underlying meaning of scripture as distinct from what might appear to be its meaning from a simple literal reading of it. The group was established following the Common Dreams Conference held in Canberra last year.

Subjects that have so far been discussed by the group include "A 21st Century view of the Christmas story", the Creeds as Third Century statements of faith, the nature and meaning of the Resurrection of Jesus, the Atonement and "Did God create the Universe?"

The Wayfarers meet at 2pm at the church on the second Sunday, and all members of the parish are very welcome to attend. Contacts: Liz (6254 7641) or Barrie (6255 9065). All welcome.

Current Study Book TBA

Wesley Faith Frontier Forums

The Wesley Faith Frontier Forums seek to reinvigorate our Christian faith with fresh meaning for today's world, and to deepen our individual spirituality. The group meets for periods of study and exploration on Sunday afternoons.

The sessions are open to everyone. You are especially encouraged to attend if you are thinking about confirmation. Enquiries can be made at the Church Office about our next series.

Our Faith Frontier Forums arise because at Wesley we are very proud of our Uniting Church's Basis of Union, and we see great significance in its paragraph 11, titled "Scholarly Interpreters", which reads:

"The Uniting Church acknowledges that God has never left the church without faithful and scholarly interpreters of Scripture, or those who have reflected deeply upon, and acted trustingly in obedience to, God's living Word. In particular, the Uniting Church enters into the inheritance of literary, historical and scientific enquiry which has characterised recent centuries, and gives thanks for the knowledge of God's ways with humanity which are open to an informed faith?. It prays that it may be ready when occasion demands to confess the Lord in fresh words and deeds."

In addition, Exploring the Christian Faith and Confirmation classes are held annually.

Series held earlier:

Sessions will be led by Dr Bruce Stevens. He is a minister-in-association at Wesley, clinical psychologist and research professor at CSU. He is writing a book on our earliest spirituality tentatively called Before Belief.

Theology in Film Series

Theology has ‘escaped’ theological colleges and dry academic journals. While good books will continue to be written, theology now has a wider audience than even those who attend church on a regular basis. Serious theology is often done through film nowadays. This series will introduce controversial films that raise traditional theological questions and risk unexpected answers. We do this during Lent because many important Lenten themes are touched upon in these films.

A series of films will be played in a ‘Readers Digest’ abridged form of 45-60 minutes, one each week and then discussion to follow. You will be encouraged to watch the film before, perhaps through YouTube or other sources, but this is not necessary. Come to what interests you.

Discussion will be led by The Rev’d Dr Ockert Meyer and The Rev’d Dr Bruce Stevens, Wicking Professor of Ageing and Practical Theology (CSU), clinical psychologist and a member of Wesley.

1. The Nature of Evil Triumph of Will (1935) is the most famous propaganda movie of all time. Directed by Leni Riefenstahl, it sought to glorify Adolf Hitler, portrayed as the messiah, and justify the Nazi war machine. This raises questions about the nature of evil and how we respond as Christians. Does evil exist or is it ‘a parasite on the good’? See YouTube. 7.45pm on Wednesday 18th February in the Wesley Hall.

2. Miracles? Leap of Faith (1992) starring Steve Martin and Debra Winger, is about a corrupt evangelist Jonas Nightengale. There is a miracle which seems to come from God, a healing, but in response to an insincere prayer. This raises difficult theological questions about ‘the unexplained’. Do miracles exist in an age of rationality? Does a possible miracle nurture or distract from faith? Many church traditions emphasise the miraculous, how do we respond? See YouTube. 7.30pm on Wednesday 25th February in Wesley Hall.

3. Fundamentalism and Belief Ordet (1955) is a Danish film. In a rural setting, the second son of the generally devout Borgen family goes insane studying theologian Soren Kierkegaard, believes himself to be Jesus Christ, and prays for the dead Inger to come back to life. This raises questions about orthodoxy, inclusion and exclusion, and in practical terms: should a young couple marry across lines of sectarian belief? A dramatic and surprising ending. See YouTube. 7.30pm Wednesday 4th March in Wesley Hall.

4. Life in the Kingdom of God Babette’s Feast (1987) is literally a feast. This amazing story is one of abundance against a backdrop of poverty. It is about grace for the undeserving of the most extravagant kind. The best of wine and food - is this a foretaste of what we might expect in heaven? I would like to think so. Can we enjoy all the good that God offers, even in this age, as a sacrament of the World to Come? See YouTube. 7.30pm on Wednesday 11th March in Wesley Hall.