National Council of Churches

Lutheran commissioned as 8th President of the National Council of Churches

lca-mikeThe Reverend Dr Mike Semmler from the LutheranChurch in Australia was commissioned as the President of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) last week. The service took place on Sunday 7th July, in St Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church, East Melbourne. Dr Semmler is the 8th President of the NCCA, following Bishop Michael Putney of Townsville. Dr Semmler has been the National President of the LutheranChurch for the past 13 years as he enters retirement in his own church he embraces the leadership of the NCCA with great enthusiasm.

The purpose of the Council is to promote Christian unity and help the Churches work together on key issues of theology, peace, and justice. The 8th Forum unanimously elected Dr Semmler in Melbourne last week. Dr Semmler is a long time supporter of the ecumenical movement having been a member of the NCCA Executive for 13 years.

Elected as the President for a three year term, Dr Semmler will work with member and observer Churches, chair the meetings of the Council, and represent it in a number of public settings.

The Rev’d Tara Curlewis, NCCA General Secretary, said “The churches have warmly welcomed Mike and we look forward to his leadership. I look forward to working alongside Mike as we embrace the directions identified at the 8th Forum.

Currently the Council has a total membership of 19 national Churches, including the Anglican, Catholic and UnitingChurches, 9 Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches, a range of ProtestantChurches, the Salvation Army, and the Quakers.

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – 20th – 27th May 2012

How will you be celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity?  Perhaps you will be meeting with other churches in your area for a meal, or for an evening of prayer or a Taize service?

Resources from the National Council of Churches for the week are available here:

For something different, you might like to look at the resources used by Churches Together in Britain and Ireland where the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is held at the beginning of each year.

From   Wednesday 23rd May there will be a programme of events held at Wesley Uniting Church in the City.  The programme is entitled “Knit Together” and a full brochure is available here:WPCU Wesley

Please let us know if you are planning an event, so that we may include it on this page!


National Council of Churches Supports Gambling Reform

The National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) supports calls for one dollar maximum bets on poker machines.  The NCCA Executive, representing many of theChristianChurchesinAustralia, issued a statement from a meeting in Sydneythis week.

Many of the churches support the mandatory pre-commitment measures sought by  ndrew Wilkie MP, which have now been abandoned by the Federal Government.  Mandatory pre commitment and $1 maximum bets will, as part of a raft of measures help prevent people from developing a problem in the first place.

Council spokesperson, The Reverend Alistair Macrae, said “the National Council of Churches believes the Federal Government still has the opportunity to deliver change and reduce the human harm caused by poker machine addiction.”

“Polling has consistently shown that around two thirds of Australians want reform. Church agencies provide about 70 per cent of the caring services inAustralia. We see first hand the damage suffered by individuals, families and whole communities across our country from poker machines”, Reverend Macrae said.  “Poker machine gambling is a risk for around a third of regular users. Prevention is the focus of good public policy with measures in place to help people who fall through the safety net. Nearly 100,000 Australians lose on average up to $21,000 a year.  Forty per cent of poker machine profit comes from problem gamblers. For every problem gambler there are many others affected; families, children, friends and co-workers. The price is high – depression, job losses, fraud and other crime, relationship break down and suicide”.

In addition to supporting $1 maximum bets, with losses limited at $120 an hour, the National Council of Churches supports reforms that reduce access to cash in gambling venues, and reforms that restrict online gambling, especially given the impact on young Australians.

 For further comment contact Rev Alistair Macrae 0419 894 211