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Last updated on March 6th, 2018 at 12:30 am

Via Bernie Slattery, the tale of a Uniting Church minister who refused to allow an Australian flag to be placed on the coffin of WWII veteran George Vipond during his funeral. Vipond had attended the church in question for 40 years. As for the Rev. Wes Campbell, who’d been in charge of the church for five years …

Dr Campbell, a former social justice spokesman for the Uniting Church of Victoria and Tasmania, is a member of a small group known as Christians For Peace.

He was heavily involved in a series of daily People For Peace vigils outside St Paul’s Cathedral in early 2003 denouncing the Iraqi war.

The free people of Iraq thank you, Reverend. Apparently Campbell is distressed by subsequent death threats. Not nearly as distressed as Vipond’s family, I’ll bet.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/07/2005 at 09:25 AM
    1. Minister faces sack

      I like that headline.  Mr. Vipond deserved better than to be dissed by an insensitive, self-centered “man of God”.

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 03/07 at 09:47 AM • #


    1. This seems to be the arsehole’s address. Send him a letter:

      The mans details are:The Rev Wes Campbell, of St John’s Uniting Church in Essendon and the only church in Essendon I can find in the Yellow Pages is this one;

      Cnr Mt Alexander Rd & Buckley St Essendon VIC 3040
      ph: (03) 9375 1065

      Posted by Susan Norton on 03/07 at 09:59 AM • #


    1. After postng the above, it seemed to me this creature’s name rang a bell with me from my old MA Thesis. I googled ‘“Wes Campbell” Uniting Church,’ and found the following. It repays reading to the bottom. I have had to cut it a bnit, but google will get you the whole thing.

      From Peace Magazine Dec 1988/Jan 1989, p.30. Author=Jane Mayes (interviewer); Title=Disarmament Campaigns; URL=

      Disarmament Campaigns
      Jane Mayes (interviewer)
      An Interview with Tair Tairov
      Tair Tairov was Secretary of the World Peace Council (WPC) in Helsinki 1980/85. He is now a member of the Presidential Committee of the Soviet Peace Committee (SPC). Jane Mayes, who conducted the interview, works with Britain’s Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. The interview says much about the END process and its effects on new thinking in the USSR.

      July 1, 1988, Lund, Sweden

      Jane Mayes (JM): You have suggested that changes are necessary in the SPC; do you think changes are also needed in the WPC?

      Tair Tairov (TT): Absolutely. The WPC is also a product of the Stalinist/Brezhnevite structure and of the stagnation period. Undoubtedly there are some good people in the WPC, and there were good people in a good movement. Later it turned into a window show; the aim was to convince the Soviet people that everything is OK outside, that the whole world is with us.

      But the WPC is bureaucratized and closed for ordinary people. It has spoiled its image very, very strongly. It is true that there have been attacks from the right-wing media on the WPC but it itself contributed to this image by being sectarian. I know from my own experience how much trouble I had when I supported the peace marches of 1981. I was told I was betraying the WPC by going on the Copenhagen/Paris march, by speaking on the same platform as Edward Thompson. So I think changes should take place in many aspects of the WPC, financial for instance. It should become very open on how it spends its money, how it fundraises. There is no harm in opening everything up. And of course there must be much more glasnost and democracy in the way it works—conference after conference, seminar after seminar. But what are the effects of these conferences and seminars? What are the campaigns that come from them? What are the follow-up actions? The WPC is only a conference-building measure. There is no harm in conferences, but too much money is spent on them which should be spent in helping the Third World.

      The WPC must change—otherwise it will become more and more isolated. The spirit of the past is still prevailing. I feel sorry that so many people have left, or don’t want to cooperate with the WPC, not because they don’t like it, but because they find it is not proper to do so. They must have a good reason for this, and we must find it and get rid of it.

      JM: What about the Communist International function of the WPC, its role in developing countries, bringing them to the international meetings?

      TT: It didn’t work as such. We have the journal “Problems of Peace and Socialism.” Let the movements from developing countries come to these meetings, but what is the result, how are they involved? We need other forms of contacts between the peace movements, and we cannot do all these things without changing our methods …

      International News Shorts The Synod of Victoria of the Uniting Church is promoting a campaign against the export of Australian arms and is looking for support from other countries’ peace movements. An eight-page position paper against the Australian arms trade is available from the Synod.
      Contact: Rev. Wes Campbell, Division of Social Justice, Uniting Church Centre, 130 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia. Tel. 03-654-2488.

      Posted by Susan Norton on 03/07 at 10:19 AM • #


    1. Google gramscian

      Posted by Rob Read on 03/07 at 10:32 AM • #


    1. Of course, if the family wanted a transvesitite/wedding with the deceased dressed in a tulle evening gown and buried in a hemp sack, the good reverend would have felt obliged to go along out of “cultural sensitivity.”

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/07 at 10:50 AM • #


    1. Sorry, should have read “transvestite/Green wedding”.  Didn’t mean to neglect the swampies…

      Posted by richard mcenroe on 03/07 at 10:51 AM • #


    1. All deceased Australian veterans [w/Flags] are welcome at the First Presbyterian Church, Midland Texas. We are still the old Presbyterian Church of our warlike Scottish ancestors.

      Posted by Wallace-Midland Texas on 03/07 at 11:48 AM • #


    1. Aussie readers, what can you tell this American about the “Uniting Church”… Is it some flaky liberal church or a force to be reckoned with….what kind of denomination is it? Is it growing or dying?  Dying is my bet.

      Posted by debi L. on 03/07 at 05:58 PM • #


    1. debi

      The Australian Uniting Church is the result of a merging of the mainstream Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist churches in Australia under the one administrative structure.

      The unification of the three churches was the result of a large drop in the number of parishioners, thanks mainly to dickheads like Wes Campbell.

      It is dominated by wowsers and wankers, and if it weren’t for the large Korean and Pacific Islander methodist communities, they would be lucky to have anybody under the age of 80 in attendance of their services.

      Posted by murph on 03/07 at 06:18 PM • #


    1. Thanks for the info, murph.  They sound like members of what my buddy The Barking Spidercalls ‘The Church of the Squishy Marshmallow.’ He’s retired USAF, by the bye, and knows his marshmallows when he squishes ‘em.

      Odd how churches, not so many years ago, forbade suicides to receive full Christian burial; now some have flipped about so far as to deny honors to those who risked their lives for their friends.  It’s an insult to all who served, especially those whose risks, alas, were fulfilled on foriegn soils across the Earth.

      What a disappointment.  In Catholicism we like to call the Church on Earth “the Church Militant,” and we aspire to “the Church Triumphant,” consisting of those who have received their reward.  This guy is aspiring to “the Church Indolent.” He may be sorry if he gets what he aims for.

      Posted by Nightfly on 03/07 at 06:32 PM • #


  1. There is an art to having a life and being religious while not sinking into wowserism. There is also a conundrum in recognising that, as Christians we should espouse peace, but that as human beings we must also bear the burden of taking on the dirty work of war when it is needed.
    We all should be eternally thankful to those who delivered peace to us by shouldering that burden. If George Vipond was one of those, then Wes Campbell should be ashamed, and his church may as well be sold off for its real estate value, as it has no other.

    Posted by blogstrop on 03/08 at 03:18 AM • #