B6-2 Church in Australian Society classroom outcomes

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B6-2 Church in Australian Society


Values and Attitudes



It is intended that students will be able to:


express opinions on issues and attitudes evident in the development of the Christian Churches in Australia

describe the establishment and growth of the main Christian denominations in Australia

research the growth of Christianity in Australia


appreciate the contribution of the Churches to life and culture in Australia

outline some of the Churches’ responses to social change and to community needs

use source material relating to the historical interaction of the Churches and Australian society


share their views on the role played by Christianity in Australian society

identify the influence of Christianity on Australian society today

analyse aspects of the Christian influence on Australian society


argue the need for respect and empathy within Australia's multicultural, multifaith society

describe the development and extent of religious plurality in Australia

evaluate the place of religious plurality in Australia


articulate viewpoints on key issues facing religions in Australia today

describe the religious landscape and the effects of religious diversity in Australian society

present case studies on significant aspects of religious diversity and commonality in Australia today


name positive contributions made by the Church to Australian society

outline the Church’s response to some needs in Australian society

identify some historical events in involving the Church in Australia


David Ranson in his book, Across the Great Divide – Bridging Spirituality and Religion Today, writes:

Religion is radically communal: it is a system of shared belief and faith. The ‘religious moment’ takes us away from any impulse to remain encased within oneself. In religious faith, we are embraced by a community of interpretation… which provides discernment and tested pathways for the one on a spiritual quest and reminds the spiritual traveller that they are not alone. It recalls to them that they are part of a longer, historical search of which they are not the master but only a part. It demonstrates ‘where this is all going’.

How do you respond to the statement: “Religion is radically communal: it is a system of shared belief and faith. The ‘religious moment’ takes us away from any impulse to remain encased with oneself.”?

What are the implications of this quotation for the person who says “I’m a spiritual person but not into religion”?

Have you belonged to a worshipping community that you experienced as a source of faith, hope and love? Do your students belong to such communities?

  • The social experiences of students and their access to information mean that they are aware of, and in part shaped by, the pluralism of values in Australian society. They mix with people of other religious traditions and of none. Their experience of Christianity is different from that which they will study in this unit. They have a basic knowledge and historical sense gained from previous units such as, ‘Major Christian Denominations’ (C10-2) and ‘The Catholic Church in Australia’ (B9-3). The teacher should plan classroom strategies which take these into account.

  • The teacher needs to draw on the students’ experience of Australian attitudes to religion. Their ‘portrait’ of religion in Australia should be a starting point for teaching. Students, like the community in general, could be described as less likely to practise Christianity in traditional ways and less comfortable with or supportive of the ‘institutional’ Church.

  • Students have a greater awareness of inter-faith dialogue and ecumenical initiatives, especially after tragedies in Australia and overseas; note, for example, September 11, the Bali bombing, the Tsunami in Southern Asia, the funeral of Pope John Paul ll, and Benedict XVI’s first private audience with other religious leaders. See Year 10 KWL text for “Ecumenism” p123-125.


  • The foundation and ministry of the Church in Australia is a work of evangelisation, which is the central call and duty of the Church.

  • In its work of evangelisation, the Church values the riches hidden in different cultures and fosters a vital exchange between itself and different cultures (cf Gaudium et spes, n44).

  • The Second Vatican Council affirmed that all people have a right to religious freedom (Dignitatis Humanae, n.2).

  • Seeking the restoration of unity, the Council affirmed that elements of the Church exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church, and promoted ecumenical activity (Unitatis Redintegratio).

  • Furthermore, it recognised the various ways in which people of other religious traditions are related to the Church (Lumen Gentium, nn.15-16), and called for dialogue with them in order to promote the spiritual and moral goods found among them (Nostra Aetate, n.2).



814 From the beginning, this one Church has been marked by a great diversity which comes from both the variety of God’s gifts and the diversity of those who receive them. Within the unity of the People of God, a multiplicity of peoples and cultures is gathered together. Among the Church’s members, there are different gifts, offices, conditions and ways of life.

854 By her very mission, “the Church travels the same journey as all humanity and shares the same earthly lot with the world: she is to be a leaven and, as it were, the soul of human society in its renewal by Christ and transformation into the family of God.” (GS, 40 n2)

  • Scriptures will not be used as extensively in this unit as in other units. Nevertheless, a number of possibilities arise. The experience of the first Christian communities in the Acts of the Apostles is worthy of class discussion, since it has parallels with the early years of Christianity in Australia.

  • Furthermore, reference can be made to Scriptural passages underpinning the work of the Australian Churches: its sense of mission (eg, Mt 28:18-20), its motivation for social welfare activities (Jn 13:1-15), and its ministry in education (1 Cor. 1:4-6).

  • Likewise, Scriptural passages which motivated a response to particular issues could be mentioned: the attitude to Sunday (Ex. 20:8-10) or ecumenical activity (Jn 19:20-21).

  • Use of the Scriptures text is always important. It is the message of God for our culture.

Matthew 28:18-20 All nations are included

These final verses of Matthew’s Gospel are totally inclusive of all nations. All peoples are welcome into Jesus’ community as disciples or followers. It is a universal call; there are no exclusions. We are to carry on the work of Jesus’ teaching ministry “and teach them…” (28:20). The wonderful assurance of covenant relationship with Jesus who is with us always is the final promise and blessing of this great Gospel. “And know that I am with you always: yes, to the end of time” (28:20). Australia is a land of many peoples – perhaps all nations of the earth are represented here; as Christians, then, our welcome of these people is essentially intrinsic to our following of Jesus.

John 17:20-26 That they may one

John here presents Jesus looking beyond the immediate circle of his followers to a much larger group – all those influenced in any way by Christianity. The prayer for them is for unity - a unity like that of Jesus with the Father. What a mind-blowing prayer this is if one truly reflects on it. Do we realise what a radical theological statement this is? It requests a unique relationship and union with God. “May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you,” (17:21). We are to be united with all peoples as Jesus is with God. This is truly extraordinary.

Galatians 3: 27-29 No ethnic, class or gender distinctions in Christ

This is a genuinely Australian sounding text. It describes a classless society where ethnic or racial issues do not exist; where men and women are equal. Is it an impossible dream or an ideal to strive for? The latter it would seem. The unity is in Christ, where differences vanish through this incorporation in Christ. It would seem that this certainly did not apply to the society of Paul’s time; should it apply to our church and our society in Australia today? One would hope it is a possibility.


  • value the role of Christianity in the development of Australian society

  • identify the interaction, past and present, of Christianity and other religions with Australian society

  • analyse and interpret the influence of religion on Australian society

Classroom Outcomes

Essential Reading for Teachers

It is intended that students will be able to:

V express opinions on issues and attitudes evident in the development of the Christian Churches in Australia

K describe the establishment and growth of the main Christian denominations in Australia

S research the growth of Christianity in Australia

Read 'Essential Reading for Teachers' in Units C10-2 ‘Major Christian Denominations’ and B9-3 ‘The Catholic Church in Australian Society’.

The establishment and growth of Christianity

  • Australia, "Great South Land of the Holy Spirit", has existed for millions of years, inhabited by Aboriginal peoples for at least 40,000 years. During all this time, the Spirit of God has been with this people. The Aboriginal "Dreaming" is their special way of touching the mystery of God's spirit at work among them and within creation.

  • From the earliest days of European settlement, the British Government appealed to both Captain Cook and Governor Phillip to respect the original inhabitants of this land. From earliest times, Catholic Archbishop Polding and others opposed the legal fiction that Australia was "terra nullius", nobody's country. Polding strongly pleaded for the rights of the Aboriginal inhabitants to keep the traditional lands on which their whole society depended. While well intentioned, the Christian churches sometimes contributed to the suffering of the Aboriginal peoples following European settlement. (Ecclesia in Oceania, n.28; see also Outcome 5 of this unit and Unit C6-2.)

  • Australia became the first diocese of the Church of England in the southern hemisphere (1836). For almost 200 years it was the largest denomination. It gained an autonomous constitution in 1962, and since 1981 it has been known as the Anglican Church in Australia.

  • The Catholic Church has been predominantly Irish for most of its Australian history. It was officially without priests for its first 32 years and had an English Benedictine leadership, Bishop Bede Polding, for about half of the nineteenth century. Immigration after the Second World War gradually enriched its diversity and contributed to its growth. Since 1986 it has been Australia’s largest religious denomination, 27% in 1991; 26.6% in 2001 census.

  • Presbyterians and Methodists have also been numerous in Australia. In 1977 the Uniting Church in Australia was formed as a union of Methodists, and most Presbyterians and Congregationalists. This can be seen as a major ecumenical initiative. It sees itself as an Australian Church embedded in the life and social justice concerns of Australians.

It is intended that students will be able to:

V appreciate the contribution of the Churches to life and culture in Australia

K outline some of the Churches’ responses to social change and to community needs

S use source material relating to the historical interaction of the Churches and Australian society

Christianity’s historical interaction with Australian society

  • After an inauspicious start, the Churches managed to consolidate themselves over time. They made many responses to social circumstances and took initiatives in community development. The Churches have been part of, and not distinct from, Australian society.

  • Australian Christianity has been characterised by its variety of ministries and works.

  • The Anglican Church’s Bush Brotherhoods and the predominantly female Bush Church Aid Society worked throughout the outback

  • Presbyterian minister John Flynn, eager to provide missionary and health services to the outback, founded the Australian Inland Mission, which later became the Royal Flying Doctor Service

  • Catholic Religious Orders spread widely across rural Australia, working under very trying conditions

  • In the 1880s, St Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and the Central Methodist Mission commenced their work in support of those most in need.

      • Education has been a major work of the Australian Churches. State Aid for denominational schools was withdrawn in the latter part of the 19th century. Catholic communities set out to establish and pay for their schools, staffed mainly by dedicated religious orders. Fierce debates over the renewal of ‘state aid’ eventually brought its return. School education continues to be a major project of the Catholic Church and increasingly among the evangelical Christian churches.

  • The Churches have interacted with society in a number of other ways.

    • At times in the past they have sought, generally unsuccessfully, to remedy perceived social ills such as the liquor trade, gambling, and entertainment and work on Sundays

    • The Churches were prominent in the conscription debates during the First World War, and Catholic influences precipitated the Labor Party controversies in the 1950s

    • The Churches continue to engage public debate about a range of social and ethical issues.


In Biology, Senior Science and Earth and Environmental Science, the biological and ecological diversity of Australia. In PDHPE, relationship between sport and our national identity. In Drama, Australian Drama and Theatre, Society and Culture, continuity and change within a country. In Modern History, National Studies (1945-83) Personalities of 20th Century (Ben Chifley, Herbert Evatt). In Software Design and Development, in developing a Solution Package ensure relevant social and ethical issues are addressed; issue of privacy in information systems and databases.

Suggested Assessment

Suggested Teaching/Learning Strategies

Formal Teacher Assessment

Timeline – detail and depth.

Informal Teacher Assessment

Dictogloss - how the information was recorded.

Peer Assessment

Celebrity Head

  • What is already known about Christianity in Australia. ‘1:2:4 Group’ process (single, pair, share) Then in different colours work out where the information comes from, their own experience, stories from friends, parents, media, and what they have learnt from school.

  • KWLCathStudies 6.1: Complete activity on longstanding tensions and hatreds which were not ‘purely religious’ among early Australians.

  • Recount activity using p20-23 Living Religion (3rd ed), ‘The Establishment of Christianity in Australia’. (See http://wps.pearsoned.com.au/lr )

  • Teacher to prepare a Dictogloss from Essential Reading for Teachers and/or Living Religion (3rd edition), p24, on Christianity’s early growth in Australia.

  • Building on above strategy, write a letter home to England or Ireland explaining what conditions are like in Australia, either as a Catholic or a member of the Church of England in early Australia, or as a Government official, write a short report back to England about the tensions in the colony.

  • Research in groups the main Christian denominations, with the information construct a timeline of significant people and events of that particular denomination; present to the class. See KWLCathStudies 6.1; 7.1-2; 7.7-8.

  • Student write character profiles and play ‘Celebrity Head’ using significant people of the early colony, eg Samuel Marsden; John Therry.

  • Research: Explore a case study of contact between Aboriginal people and the Christian church in the early years of British settlement.

  • Extrapolate opinions using ‘hot seat’ on issues in the development of Christianity in the early colony, eg. official church; sectarianism; European settlement among Aboriginal peoples; colonisation; religion used to exert authority; worship.

Informal Teacher Assessment

Observing the hypothetical and student’s ability to understand a change (education) and how it came about, also ability to think laterally as well.

Formal Teacher Assessment

Newspaper article

Peer Assessment

Role plays

  • As ‘journalists’, students formulate investigative questions about Christian responses to ‘social changes and initiatives in community development’. Agree on 3-4 key questions; address one question in pairs/groups; collate answers to complete newspaper article that demonstrates the contributions of the Churches in Australia.

  • Students in groups research the role of various ministries/works across the churches, eg Bush Brotherhood; Flying Doctor; Religious orders in bush. Present in some creative way, eg speech; ICT; role play what these groups achieved for Australian society. See KWLCathStudies 6.4-5

  • Construct a timeline showing changes in the funding of the education system. Class could work in groups on particular periods/events, eg: 1825; 1836; 1862. See Living Religion (3rd Edition) p30.

  • ‘Hypothetical’ on state aid for denominational or ‘non-government’ schools; possible roles: politician for; politician against; Bishop; Activist against; Catholic parent for; Government school parent against. Other possible topics: Conscription during WWI.

  • Invite older members of the family, school or community to talk about contributions of the churches and changes in church relations during their time.

  • Collect relevant cartoons, pictures, newspaper articles; explain how they demonstrate changes in church relations over time.

  • View ‘The Priestless Years’ – complete activities that accompany this resource.

Classroom Outcomes

Essential Reading for Teachers

It is intended that students will be able to:

V share their views on the role played by Christianity in contemporary Australian society

K identify the influence of Christianity on Australian society today

S analyse aspects of the Christian influence on Australian society

The Influence of Christianity

  • Christianity has had, and continues to have, a formative influence on Australian society. Its contribution to social welfare, education and medical care continues to be enormous. Directly or indirectly, it has shaped the working week, the holiday calendar, the legal system and aspects of public morality. Public moral issues often gain media attention precisely because of their departure from the Christian teaching that has been normative in society.

  • Christianity in Australia sometimes is described as having a derivative character, ie that it was transported from Britain and other countries and has not developed its own identity. Some signs that a distinctive Australian expression of Christianity may arise are the emergence of the Uniting Church, the multicultural expressions of Christianity and the adaptation of Christian themes in the art and ceremony of Aboriginal Christians.

  • The Churches today continue to engage in vigorous debate around many social issues such as abortion, sexuality and lifestyle, refugees and human rights, war, end of life issues such as euthanasia, capital punishment, just wages and distribution of wealth and the environment.

It is intended that students will be able to:

V argue the need for respect and empathy within Australia's multicultural, multifaith society

K describe the development and extent of religious plurality in Australia

S evaluate the place of religious plurality in Australia

Australia's multifaith landscape

  • Religious Plurality refers to the variety of religious traditions within a society. The diversity of religious expression is a growing phenomenon in Australia's multicultural society.

  • This land has always been religiously plural to some extent. For over 40,000 years many different, profoundly religious Aboriginal societies have been united with the land. While Christians have predominated as a result of European settlement, other major religious traditions have long histories in Australia.

  • Most Australians are Christians (68% at the 2001 census) and exhibit considerable denominational variety.

  • In recent years changing societal attitudes and different migration patterns have led to greater plurality in religious expression. More than one in eight Australians still claim to have no religion.

  • There has been a marked increase in the number of Buddhist temples and Islamic mosques and schools, especially in the bigger cities.

  • People's search for meaning beyond traditional sources is apparent in the many practices and beliefs which are embraced in the ‘New Age’ movement. Membership of cults and sects is on the increase; similarly, the numbers drawn to Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian Churches, eg. Hillsong.

  • All the major religious traditions contain within them the range from 'orthodox' to 'liberal', and all grapple with their place in Australia’s multicultural, multifaith society.

  • Commentators point to the secular nature of Australia. We can appear to give greater authority to ‘secular’ ideologies, and religion appears to be increasingly privatised. Religion does not appear to be of primary importance in the lives of many people. However, a number of studies, such as the Australian Values and National Social Science surveys, challenge the concept of secular Australia. Declining external displays of belief, or even the claim of no religion, do not necessarily mean a devaluing of belief in God and spirituality.

  • Many Australians readily join in religious rituals and ceremonies to mark times of national celebration and tragedy. Note, for example, the increasing numbers attending Anzac Day memorial services.

Suggested Assessment

Suggested Teaching/Learning Strategies

Peer Assessment

Jigsaw and how well the information is presented.

Informal Teacher Assessment

Listening and observing to the reasoning and discussion behind the contingency diagram.

  • Jigsaw activity/group research: Christianity‘s major contributions to Australian society: education, social welfare, health and medical care, public morality and the legal system. Include Scriptural references where possible that underpin the motivation behind the contributions.

  • Brainstorm: ‘The importance of Religion to Australian society’. Question 1. What evidence is there to show that religion has no relevance in Australian society? 2. What evidence to show it is relevant?

  • Students collect media articles on contemporary issues; construct a media wall that shows the view of Christians and others on the issues. Discussion on reasons for the various views. This could include Scriptural and Catechism references.

  • Discussion: To what extent is Christianity ‘counter-cultural’? See KWLCathEthics 4.9-10 as a case study.

  • View PowerPoint on the Stations of the Cross, which uses Aboriginal art to depict the scenes. (see Resources) Link the visual images to both Christian and Aboriginal spirituality and explore the relationship between the churches and Aboriginal people.

Formal Teacher Assessment

Presentation of PowerPoint.

Peer Assessment

Share imaginary letters and offer feedback.

  • Using figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics create a graph or table or flow chart that shows the development and extent of religious plurality. Website: http://www.abs.gov.au/ Follow up with writing task or discussion: trends and implications.

  • Define ‘religious plurality’. See Essential Reading for Teachers; KWLCathStudies 8.1; 8.4-7.

  • Create a PowerPoint demonstrating the religious plurality of Australia’s society through pictures and symbols; include some text to highlight key insights. What are the key insights students plan to convey?

  • Track the origins of migrants since World War II. Tell the story of one person/family possibly within the class.

  • Using a film segment from ‘Looking for Alibrandi’, and using scrapbooking techniques, what impact has migration had on Australia’s religious plurality?

  • View ‘Search for Meaning in the 90’s’ or some other period since then. What does it tell you about multifaith Australia? How important is it to work toward inter-faith dialogue?

  • Outline or prepare a ceremony for a particular tragedy, real or imaginary. Possible structure: gathering, listening to reading, response, sending forth. Note the choice of symbols/symbolic actions which have meaning; use of appropriate music, art, colour etc.

  • Alternative to above: deconstruct one such ceremony.

  • Write an imaginary letter to someone influential or known in the Colony, (eg Marsden from very early Australia), explaining to them the changes that have occurred in Australia’s religious landscape.

  • Debating topics: ‘The churches have little influence on Australian society’ or ‘Being multifaith has enriched Australian society’.

Classroom Outcomes

Essential Reading for Teachers

It is intended that students will be able to:

V articulate viewpoints on key issues facing religions in Australia today

K describe the religious landscape and the effects of religious diversity in Australian society

S present case studies on significant aspects of religious diversity and commonality in Australia today

Aspects of Religion in Australia today

  • Pope John Paul II said to the Aboriginal people at Alice Springs in 1986: "..the Church herself in Australia will not be fully the Church that Jesus Christ wants her to be until you have made your contribution to her life and until that contribution has been joyfully received by others.” Fundamental to the Gospel is the call to treat all people with dignity and respect, and to work for a kingdom which is inclusive of all, especially of those who in any way have been treated with indignity and disrespect. The Christian Churches in Australia have been active in the work for Aboriginal reconciliation.

  • Furthermore, Pope John Paul II stated: “The Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks all languages. It esteems and embraces all cultures. It supports them in everything human, and when necessary, it purifies them. Always and everywhere the Gospel uplifts and enriches cultures with the revealed message of a loving and merciful God. Jesus calls you to accept his words and his values into your own culture. To develop in this way will make you more than ever truly Aboriginal..... Why should you not be allowed the happiness of being with God and each other in Aboriginal fashion?”

  • Co-existence in a diverse, pluralistic society is an ongoing issue for all religious traditions. Due to misconceptions, some, such as Islam, struggle for greater acceptance in the wider community.

  • All religions face the question of how to be relevant in a secular society. They have to weigh up the extent to which they accommodate themselves to changing values and the degree to which they actively challenge the prevailing ethos.

  • A central Catholic concern drawn from its emphasis on the dignity of the person and a consistent ‘ethic of life’ is to affirm what is ‘good’ and ‘life-giving’ and challenge that which is ‘evil’ and ‘life denying’.

  • The increase in ecumenical and interfaith dialogue, at both official and grassroots levels, is a cause for hope that various denominations and religions are finding ways to greater cooperation and unity of purpose.

  • The religious landscape in Australia is undergoing change at the beginning of the 21st century. It has been greatly influenced by immigration trends. For this, and Ecumenism/ interfaith dialogue, see Essential Reading for Teachers in C10-2 and

Suggested Assessment

Suggested Teaching/Learning Strategies

Peer Assessment

Students compare story boards and identify what is missing to accurately give the religious landscape.

Informal Teacher Assessment

Observe process and final products associated with construction of the creed.

Mind maps showing commonalities and differences from newspaper articles.

  • Explore one example where Aboriginal peoples have integrated the Good News using their cultural and artistic expression. Check: http://stage.cecnsw.catholic.edu.au/reled/sydney.htm

  • Complete SWOT analysis on Ecumenism, using KWLCathStudies 7.6-11. Four groups take a different letter, then combine as a class or do as a jigsaw SWOT (see Sample Teaching Strategy).

  • Research and analyse articles on ecumenical dialogue. Using mind maps, identify commonalties and differences among the groups involved.

  • Research and analyse articles on interfaith dialogue. Using mind maps, identify commonalties and differences among the groups involved.

  • ‘Hot seat’ persons (guest or role play) from major world religions, ask different style of open-ended questions, factual questions (what is..?), feeling question (how do you react when..?) and interpretive questions (why do..?). Prepare some questions before activity.

  • Invite guest speakers from different religions to speak of the beliefs and practices of adherents; alternatively, visit a sacred place of another tradition. Explore virtual sites for sacred structures.

  • Using Church documents Lumen Gentium, nn 15-16 and Nostra Aetate, n2 on the Catholic Church and other Religious Traditions, write in everyday language to initiate discussion on what is contained in these statements. (See http://www.vatican.va/ )

  • Interview a sample of people about their views on Australia’s religious landscape: observations? experiences? predictions for future?

  • Students work in pairs or groups to complete a story board showing the significant changes in Australia’s religious landscape since World War II. Note, eg. post-world war II migration, major changes in Catholic church and ecumenical relations, Reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples and honouring their spiritualities, more recent migration with representatives from various world religions, the challenge of terrorism and its links with religion.

  • Construct a ‘mission statement’ or ‘statement of commitment’, in groups of 4, then 8 then whole class, of how all can live together in peace and harmony in a multifaith Australia.


A celebration of the contribution of the Christian churches to Australian life

To establish the sacred environment each student brings in some symbol which helps remind him/her of the presence of God in his/her life. Some Australian symbols such as sand and gum leaves could be included. The prayer could also be experienced outside.

Gathering and Prayer focus:

As students come into the room, there is Aboriginal music playing.


John 17:20-26 “May they all be one”

Reflective Response led by Student (or teacher):

Look at your right palm and think about the people who have gone before us. Let us remember the Aboriginal people (name the local people) who were the first custodians of this land and recognise our desire to live in harmony with them and with this land which we now share. Let us honour the many Christian people and groups who have contributed so much in the past to make Australia a free, open and caring society.

(Leader may wish to name some specific people and groups mentioned in this unit.)

Look at your left palm and think about Australia today: the people who are significant in your life (pause) and in the life of our society which has been much blessed by God. We honour the contribution of the Christian churches and all people of goodwill who continue to make Australia a fortunate place in which to live. We remember those who may not feel included in this society.

Students then journal about what the Gospel reading and reflection meant to them, some things for which they give thanks and a reflection on what they can contribute to the Australian church and society.

As students journal, play Aboriginal music (as at the beginning) or other reflective music.

Students invited to pray aloud their own ‘prayers of the faithful’ that have come from their journaling.

Each student prayer ends with Lord, hear us, response: Lord, hear our prayer.

Alternatively, pray Responsorial Psalm 67 (A Harvest Psalm)

Response: Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you.

Verse one: O God be gracious and bless us, and let your face shed its light upon us. So will your ways be known upon earth and all nations learn your saving help. (Response)

Verse two: Let the nations be glad and exult for you rule the world with justice. With fairness you rule the peoples, you guide the nations on earth. (Response)

Verse three: The earth has yielded its fruit for God, our God, has blessed us. May God still give us his blessing till the ends of the earth revere him. (Response)

Final Hymn: “Great South Land of the Holy Spirit” (see: As One Voice)

"Jubilee Hymn to the Holy Spirit" Michael Herry fms (1998), (AMCOS Licensed Copy)


Outcome 5: Describe the religious landscape and the effects of religious diversity on Australian society

See To Know Worship and Love Catholic Studies 7.6-11

This particular strategy looks at religious diversity in regards to Christianity only, focussing on Ecumenism. This activity can be completed as a jigsaw activity as well as a whole class/group activity.

  1. Divide class into four groups, this should be completed before going to class ensuring there are students with a range of abilities in each group. Depending on size of class you may wish to have 8 groups 2 groups doing the same area, this is good for checking at the end.

  2. Each group has a large piece of paper with their particular section at the top of the page with an explanation and possible an example of what they have to do:

    1. S Strengths of Ecumenism in Australia

    2. W Weakness of Ecumenism in Australia. This could include the time before Catholics were a part of the ecumenical group

    3. O Opportunities that Ecumenism in Australia can have in the long time

    4. T Threats that Ecumenism in Australia can have over time

  3. Students in their groups read and discuss their particular area using KWLCathStudies 7.6-11.

  4. The students with allocated jobs if you wish, scribe, then in point form answer their particular area.

  5. If 8 groups, then students get together and come up with single set of answers for each letter.

  6. Students then report their information back to the class ending with a SWOT table on the wall.





  1. Discussion, clarification and editing the table with the teacher as the facilitator.

  2. Using the information gathered the students write about Ecumenism in Australia.


To Know Worship and Love Catholic Studies, (2006), James Goold House Publications, Melbourne, Vic

To Know Worship and Love Catholic ethical thinking, (2005), James Goold House Publications, Melbourne, Vic
Teacher Resources

Derrington P, (2000), The Serpent of Good and Evil, Hyland House, Flemington Vic

Engebretson K & Rule P, (2001), My Story Our Stories Religion and Identity in Australia, Social Science Press, Katoomba

Hayward P, (1998), Christianity in Australia, Anembo Books, Concord West

Healey K (ed), (1998), Religions in Australia, Spinney Press, Balmain

John Paul II, (1987), The Address given by His Holiness Pope John Paul II at the Meeting with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at Alice Springs on 29 November 1986 St Paul Publications, Sydney

McClish B, (1999), The Australian Church Story, Harper Collins, Melbourne

Morrissey J (et al), (2001), Living Religion, (2nd ed) Longman, Melbourne

Ranson D, (2002), Across the Great Divide – Bridging Spirituality and Religion Today, St Paul’s publications, Homebush, NSW

Thompson R, (1994), Religion in Australia:A History, Oxford University Press, Melbourne

Commission for Australian Catholic Women (2005) And the Dance goes on: stories of Australian Catholic women , John Garratt Publishing, Melbourne

Classroom Resources

Engebretson K, (2001), My Story Our Stories Religion And Identity, Aust Revised 3rd edition, Social Science Press, Katoomba NSW

Lovat T & McGrath J (ed), (2005), New Studies in Religion, (3rd edition) Social Science Press, Katoomba NSW

Mudge M, (2005), Living Religion ( 3rd ed) Studies of Religion for Senior Students, Longman Cheshire

Looking for Alibrandi

Search for Meaning – Living in the 90’s (ABC Production)

The Priestless Years

Hughes P (ed), (2004), Australia’s Religious Communities (CD Rom), Christian Research Association, Melbourne

Aboriginal Art of Stations of the Cross and prayer service, Catholic Education Office, Lismore




Email: inter-faith@accsoft.com




Evaluation by Teachers

During the course of the module the teacher should make notes in answer to the following questions:

  • To what extent were students able to value the role of Christianity in the development of Australian society?

  • To what extent were students able to identify the interaction, past and present, of Christianity and other religions with Australian society?

  • To what extent were students able to analyse and interpret the influence of religion on Australian society?

  • To what extent were classroom outcomes achieved?

  • Which teaching/learning strategies would you use again?

  • Did the assessment strategies effectively assist students to demonstrate achievement of the classroom outcomes?

  • Were there other items of reading for teachers or classroom resources that were used in this unit?

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Archdiocese of Sydney Unit B6-2 Church in Australian Society


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