Books

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Charting the Faith of Australians: Thirty Years in the Christian Research Association

Charting the Faith of Australians: Thirty Years in the Christian Research Association

by
Philip Hughes,
contributing editor.

The last 50 years have seen more rapid change than at any time in human history. Changes in technology have changed every aspect of life: from contraception to computation, from communication to community formation. These changes have affected the ways in which Australians have sought meaning in their lives, from the fulfilment of duty to the maximisation of subjective wellbeing. They have affected deeply the role that religion has played in life with the focus moving from the preservation of tradition to personal spirituality.

Over the past 30 years, the Christian Research Association has charted these changes. It has done so through the examination of census and survey data and through interviews with thousands of individuals. It has examined these changes in youth culture and rural culture and has explored the impact of migration and the rise of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements. It has suggested ways in which churches and schools might respond to these changes.

Part 1 of this book tells the story of these changes and how the Christian Research Association has charted them. Part 2 contains contributions from various researchers discussing how the Christian Research Association has served the churches. Part 3 explores some extensions of and parallels to the work of the Christian Research Association in relation to religious institutions, migration and other research.

The story told in this book is a personal story for Dr Philip Hughes, the senior research officer of the Christian Research Association from 1985 to 2016. But it is also a story of global significance as Christian and other religious institutions grapple with changes to their place in society and their roles in changing perceptions of life.

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Children’s Prayer – A Multi-faith Perspective

Children’s Prayer – A Multi-faith Perspective

This book provides strong arguments for giving prayer a central place in the education and nurture of children. It is based on research in Australian Catholic, parent-controlled Christian, Independent, Jewish, Muslim and government schools. The author demonstrates focused attention and care in the data collection from the words of children and their drawings of people praying. She takes us through her thorough processes of analysis and synthesis.

The research shows that prayer is valued by all children, whether they come from a religious background or not. For some children it is a way of associating with their communities and traditions of faith. For others, prayer is practised in an individualistic manner.

Prayer is a way to perceive and respond to the experiences of life. It can help in dealing with the challenging emotional states of anxiety, loneliness, fear, anger and guilt. It can give hope for the future. It provides a way of seeking help for others, as well as expressing praise and thanksgiving.

Vivienne Mountain has a background in teaching and in clinical counselling. She lectures in Spirituality and Ministry with Children at Stirling Theological College, University of Divinity, Australia. She has published three books as well as contributing chapters to a number of others and articles for national and international journals.

Vivienne Mountain PhD, MA (Theology), MA (Creative arts therapy), MA ( Philosophy and religion), B Ed, B Th.

 

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A Vision for effective Youth Ministry

A Vision for effective Youth Ministry – Insights from Australian Research

Many young Australians are struggling with issues of mental health, anxiety about the future, and addictions to drugs. Behind these struggles are often questions of what life is all about. Youth ministry is more important today than at any time in recent history. Yet, many churches are finding it difficult to connect with youth beyond those whose families are involved in the church.

This book has arisen out of Australian research into youth ministry, from visiting youth groups and talking with youth leaders and the youth themselves. It offers a vision for the development of youth ministry, recognising the diversity of youth and the backgrounds from which they come.

It explores how to build a youth ministry team and the qualities needed in the team. It discusses issues of training, payment, and support for youth leaders and building bridges with parents, church and school.

What are the factors which will really make a difference in developing youth ministry? Based on research, our conclusions are:

  • The vision for developing the spirit of young people

  • The commitment of the whole church to youth ministry

  • The youth ministry team with strong relationships with God, each other, the youth, parents, the church and the wider society;

  • A diversity of activities: both age-specific and intergenerational for fun, friends, inquiry and developing the spirit.

The Authors:

Rev Dr Philip Hughes has had pastoral experience in inner city, suburban and rural churches, and has been the senior research officer of the Christian Research Association since 1985. He has two adult children and one grandchild.

Stephen Reid has worked for the Christian Research Association since 2007 and has one teenage child and two younger children.

Margaret Fraser has worked for the Christian Research Association since 2011. She has two children who are completing university and two who are teenagers.

All three authors were involved in interviews with youth, youth leaders, clergy and parents for this study.

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The Indian Diaspora: Hindus and Sikhs in Australia

The Hindus and Sikhs are, by far, the fastest growing religious communities in Australia, doubling their numbers between 2006
and 2011. The Hindu community is already much larger than the Pentecostal community in Australia, and the Sikhs are much larger than the Salvation Army. If their rate of growth continues the Hindus and Sikhs will surpass the number of Muslims and the number of Buddhists in Australia by 2016 making them the second largest religious community surpassed only by the Christians!
As religious communities develop in new contexts, so they both change the context and are changed by it. The Hindu and Sikh communities are quietly having a significant influence on Australia. But they themselves are also having to adapt to the new environment. In this book, Purushottama Bilimoria, an internationally-renowned scholar of philosophy and religion, explores the nature of diaspora religious communities. He and a senior Hindu priest and scholar of Hinduism, Jayant Bapat, explore the historical roots of Hinduism and their practices and organisations in Australia. Carmen Voigt-Graf describes the history, migration and practices of the Sikh community in Australia. Philip Hughes contributes statistical profiles of both groups.
A range of authors have contributed other essays on special topics: temple architecture, Hindus in South Australia, the diversity of Indian identity in multicultural Melbourne, women’s strategies for daily living, Indian communities in Australia, and changing attitudes towards Hindu and Sikh communities in Australia. There are two special appendices: an essay by Ninian Smart on diasporas which has not been previously published and a historical essay on Aghan Cameleers and Indian Hawkers. This book is a substantial scholarly examination of an important part of Australia’s religious profile. It makes a major contribution to the understanding of the rich tapestry of Australia’s multicultural and multi-faith society.

Price: $65.00

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Children and the Church

Children and the Church – Jesus brings the child to a place in the middle

Vivienne Mountain

ISBN: 978-1-875223-80-0

Dr Keith White, the co-founder and chair of the international Child Theology Movement says,
Child Theology is a lively movement that is developing, with a range of personal insights and much cultural variety. What Vivienne charts so delightfully is the story of her own awakening primarily in an Australasian context, richly informed by the experiences and reflections of children and adults from around the world.
This book will inspire those who work with children. It also offers insights and challenges for all people who are engaged in ministry. It asks what does it mean ‘to place the child in the middle’ for discipleship and for the church itself? Dr Alan Niven, vice-principal of Stirling Theological College, Melbourne, says ‘Competent research, measured theological reflection and insights from practice, combine to offer us a resource that will enable and empower.

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Re-Imagining Church

Re-Imagining Curch:
Positive Ministry Responses to the Age of Experience

 

Many church leaders are confused. Patterns of ministry which worked so well in the past are no longer effective. Churches which grew rapidly have ceased to grow. The culture of the Western world has changed. At its heart is a change in the nature of authority: from tradition and reason to the authority of personal experience.
This book explores the changes in culture and church life. Rev Dr Philip Hughes, the senior research officer of the Christian Research Association outlines the problem the churches are facing. Rev Gary Bouma, Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Monash University, and an Anglican Priest, charts the origins of the problem.
The large part of the book is the work of Rev Dr Gerald Rose, a senior minister in the Churches of Christ in Victoria, Australia. Through careful observation and detailed interviews of ministers, he describes a range of ministry responses to the changing culture. He explores, not one solution, but many: the ministry of intentional mission, of the charismatic movement, of ministry based in relationships, and of ministry rooted in classical spirituality.
This is a book which should be read by church leaders, ministers and pastors of all denominations. It provides great insight into the nature of contemporary culture and outlines positive pathways for ministry in the Western context.

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Life, Ethics And Faith In Australian Society: Facts And Figures – PDF

Life, Ethics And Faith In Australian Society: Facts And Figures by Philip Hughes and Lachlan Fraser

A reference book from the Christian Research Association.

Religion interacts with almost every aspect of life. Australian religious communities have grown through immigration, but have declined through cultural changes. These communities continue to educate almost 40 per cent of Australian students and provide many of Australia’s welfare services and international aid.

In turn, religious faith has an impact on the age at which young people get married, family size, the occupations their members go into, as well as how they spend their time and money, and their involvement in voluntary activities.

Religious faith also has an impact on people’s values: their attitudes to work and leisure, their sense of meaning in life, and their attitudes to the sacredness of human life and to expressions of sexuality.

Drawing on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and several other major social surveys, this book explores not only the general impact of religion, but how that impact varies according to the extent of people’s involvement in religion and the particular religious group in which people are involved. To understand Australian culture and society, one needs to understand the impact of the multiplicity of faiths that shape the lives of Australians.

Price: $9.50

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Life, Ethics And Faith In Australian Society: Facts And Figures

Life, Ethics and Faith in Australian Society: Facts and Figures by Philip Hughes and Lachlan Fraser

Life, Ethics and Faith in Australian Society: Facts and Figures

A reference book from the Christian Research Association.

Religion interacts with almost every aspect of life. Australian religious communities have grown through immigration, but have declined through cultural changes. These communities continue to educate almost 40 per cent of Australian students and provide many of Australia’s welfare services and international aid.

In turn, religious faith has an impact on the age at which young people get married, family size, the occupations their members go into, as well as how they spend their time and money, and their involvement in voluntary activities.

Religious faith also has an impact on people’s values: their attitudes to work and leisure, their sense of meaning in life, and their attitudes to the sacredness of human life and to expressions of sexuality.

Drawing on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics and several other major social surveys, this book explores not only the general impact of religion, but how that impact varies according to the extent of people’s involvement in religion and the particular religious group in which people are involved. To understand Australian culture and society, one needs to understand the impact of the multiplicity of faiths that shape the lives of Australians.

Price: $48.00

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The Bible According To Gen Z

The Bible According to Gen Z

See Whats Working – The Latest Research – Sucess:Case Studies

Help your young people enjoy life with the Bible

This latest booklet in the Bible Society Essays series begins with the research findings from the Christian Research Association about Bible engagement among Australian Young people.

Price: $15.00

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Baptists In Australia:a Church With A Heritage And A Future – Hardcopy

Baptists in Australia:A Church with a Heritage and a Future – Hardcopy

Philip J Hughes
and Darren Cronshaw

“The 2011 Census showed that, at a time when many of the denominations were experiencing decline in numbers, the Baptists have continued to grow in numbers.
Furthermore, the 2011 National Church Life Survey shows that Baptist churches are generally growing and showing signs of vitality. It will be interesting to see whether there will be continued growth in a culture which enjoys its informality, but at the same time has a strong sense of community developed through high levels of involvement.”

Price: $29.50

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