Open Christianity in the Australian Public Square Print
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 23 July 2009 13:20
News from down under:

First of all, Clara, our Australian team director, shares this fun story. The new Master Chef of Australia, Julie Goodwin, is a 38 year old mother of three who openly talks about her Catholic faith in a culture where that is much less common than it is in the States. Master Chef is a reality show and national competition for home cooks who want to become professionals and the winner gets $100,000.

"BEFORE the final verdict was read MasterChef Australia finalist Julie Goodwin was saying a little prayer with her family. The mother-of-three enjoyed time with her family and friends from her local Catholic Church on the NSW Central Coast yesterday.

"All of us have had our battles to fight in this competition and a lot of my philosophies are grounded in my faith," said Goodwin, who met her husband Mick through a St Vincent de Paul youth group 20 years ago.

"I've missed going to mass and seeing my friends and the people there, I've missed that a lot. I think the greatest thing about it was knowing that the community was supporting my family while I wasn't there. There have been lots of casseroles brought around and people coming to help clean the house. It's a real beautiful community thing

Clara also shares this news story about the open faith of Australia's new "first spouse", Therese Rein:

"Rein and Rudd's regular worship in the Anglican Church is a novelty for an electorate schooled in the tradition of keeping church and state on either side of the private and public divide. Rudd's 2006 essay Faith in Politics sought to free God from conservative clutches, and a new study has confirmed that politicians of all stripes are making more mention of religion than MPs in the past.

Faith and family define the contours of Rein's life. Raised by her mother, Elizabeth, to be the best she could be, this creed also helped lift John Rein, her wheelchair-bound father, to seek out milestones and dreams often denied to permanently and totally incapacitated people."

Far from being a traditional political spouse, Rein is the most successful female entrepreneur in Australian history. While Michelle Obama was touring Tuscany during the G 8 summits, Rein was

"in Australia, juggling business meetings with the portfolio of social campaigns she has agreed to champion: most notably the homeless, victims of child abuse, indigenous children, and the Paralympian movement that engaged her father as an athlete and volunteer coach.

"I've spoken with a number of people about this role (of Prime Minister's spouse) and what they all say is that you bring your passions, interests, and strengths, your family and who you are," she says. "Everyone will do this job differently