The Church of Spite, Act III

You know, I actually thought the headline was a misprint when I first read it. I was wrong.

Yes, you got it - they’re at it again. . .

A MINISTER has been reprimanded by his church for honouring a Digger's dying wish to have the Australian flag on his funeral casket.

The Uniting Church has also told the Rev Ian Collings he can forget about a posting to a parish where his wife would be closer to hospital for cancer treatment.
And these people claim to be Christians? And this, especially after a senior churchman stated that RSL funerals were common practice (a statement you will no longer be able to find, since it has been pulled from the Church website’s news page).

Mr Collings co-hosted a funeral service for his old mate Dick Vipond at an Anglican church, after the minister at Mr Vipond's Essendon church refused to allow use of the flag.

He has since been told he breached the. . .code of ethics and it "would not be wise" for him to pursue a posting at West Brunswick, where parishioners have asked for him.
The ‘Code of Ethics’? Rubbish. This is just more of the same, more spite, this time aimed at a minister who tried to help a congregant of over forty years service, rather than supporting a limp-wristed little political statement; a quick snatch at a vile and pathetic opportunity for some anti agitprop.

This advice has angered his family, the RSL, and the family of Mr Vipond, who served with the RAAF in Papua New Guinea and attended church for 40 years.
I bet it did. Time to change your Church, I’d suggest.

Mr Collings, a Uniting Church minister for 42 years, said he would accept the reprimand and drop the new posting because he didn't want to cause trouble. "You take these things as they come. I think in my job you learn to be patient and tolerant," he said. "I just felt (holding the funeral) was the right thing to do."
And so did we all, Ian. So did we all. It’s just a crying shame that your 'Church' isn’t nearly as tolerant as you are.

But Mr Vipond's family is fuming about the treatment of Mr Collings.

"If the Uniting Church are going to treat one of their own like this, it's absolutely outrageous and disgusting," said the veteran's son, Mark Vipond. "I don't think they know what Christianity is all about. I think they've lost the plot. "When I went to Sunday school, we were taught to help people out. But when dad died and we needed them, they turned their backs on us.
Spot on, Mark. Now watch the Uniting ‘Church’ do some wriggling:

The row began when Dr Campbell refused to allow the Viponds a service at St John's Uniting Church in Essendon. A senior churchman has since said a coffin draped with the national flag potentially conflicted with the "Christian symbolism of the service".
Hang on a second. Here’s what the Uniting ‘Church’ said in answer to the original furore: ‘Most ministers would separate the Christian funeral service from that of the RSL or a Masonic service.’ That’s ‘separate’ folks, not ‘refuse to allow’, which is what Wes Campbell apparently did, no matter his later protestations when he started to feel the heat.

Uniting Church authorities reprimanded Mr Collings, 71, for not telling Dr Campbell he would conduct the funeral. The church also told him he should reconsider applying for West Brunswick.
Campbell was behaving like a heartless little prick. I wouldn’t have wanted to talk to him either, not to mention the fact that Campbell would, no doubt, have tried to stop him from ruining the brave little fist-in-the-air protest he was trying to pull off. And I think it’s also pretty obvious that the Rev Ian Collings was trying to repair some of the damage Wes Campbell had already done, not to mention exercising the 'considerable freedom' the Uniting in Worship funerary guidelines gives to its ministers when 'applying those guidelines’ (quotes thanks to the Uniting Church statement itself, by the way).

Now let’s look at why the Rev Collings wanted to go to West Brunswick:

His daughter, Amanda Collings, said the West Brunswick posting was to allow him to be close to St Vincent's hospital for his wife's lymphoma. She said the head of the Maribyrnong presbytery, the Rev David Mills, called her father a fortnight ago and took him to task over the Vipond funeral. She said she found her mother in tears.
Yeah - sure - it's all about 'ethics', isn't it. And thanks for showing us all precisely what Uniting Church 'ethics' are really all about.

The Uniting Church, folks - they're all about 'ethics' - just not yours or mine. . .

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