Rev James Douglas began at St Luke’s on 16th January 2014
Rev. James Douglas
I was born in Melbourne in 1970. I grew up in Heidelberg, the fifth of six children. I was ordained as a minister in 2000, the same year that Susan and I were married and my first placement was to Watsonia and Macleod in 2001, while my second placement to the Parish of Ocean Grove began in 2004. In my free time, I enjoy reading (science fiction is a favourite genre), music, cycling and computer games, as well as spending time with my girls. I do lots of cooking and when I have the time, I love to try new recipes. My favourite movie is ‘The Matrix’, while TV would have to be ‘Doctor Who’ (yes, I am a bit of a geek). In recent years I’ve had a great time acting with a local theatre group, mainly in kids’ plays but also in a musical – ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’. I love to sing – in and out of Church, particularly harmony and especially gospel, but I don’t mind the occasional solo. And, of course, I love my job – there’s nothing in the world quite like it.
Like many ministers, my faith and my ministry had its origins in a local congregation. Scots’ Presbyterian Church was like a second family to me, and the transition to the Uniting Church in June ’77 was something I don’t remember, so I consider myself to be a ‘Uniting Church Kid’. I’ve always loved learning and my father (who was a Chemistry lecturer) encouraged in me a fascination with science as well as a love for the church, a respect of other faiths and a refusal to confuse the Bible with a science textbook. My call to the ministry came when I turned down a perfectly good fulltime job as a dialysis technician to enable me to keep working part time in a voluntary capacity in the Congregation where I was a member. Private theological study confirmed for me a desire to serve the church in ministry and I offered as a candidate in 1997. Three years of study opened my eyes to a whole world of thought I never knew existed and I greatly value the shaping that I received at what was then Theological Hall, now the CTM. Since ordination I’ve been further shaped by my placements, by CRE students who ask difficult questions and need simple answers, and by the births of Susan’s and my two children. I’ve been challenged to respond pastorally and theologically to events like the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Bali Bombings, the Boxing Day Tsunami, the Black Saturday fires, the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the executions of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. I’ve sought to provide a Christian perspective on the ongoing issue of Asylum Seeker boat arrivals and encouraged the efforts of groups like Peace Palette and Rural Australians for Refugees to bring to the congregations and community a person-to-person experience. The recent public debate about same-sex marriage and the current ‘Uniting our Future’ process (among other issues) keep me convinced that the Christian faith is relevant in our world: not because as Christians we hope for another world as an escape from this one, but because the ‘new heaven and new earth’ stand as judgement on, challenge to, and hope for our world and the way we live our lives. I believe my role as a minister is to discern that judgement, speak the challenge and articulate the hope week by week in worship and in everyday life.