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Born in Germany, Walter came to ‘The Lucky Country’ in 1961.  His faith deepened at University while studying to become a secondary Maths/Science teacher.  Heavily involved in Scripture Union through ISCF and Camping in his early teaching career, he has a wide experience of different denominations.  He heard the call to ministry in the Uniting Church in 1991.  He served Bendigo North (Vic) from 1995-2005 and edited a series of essays on the Basis of Union in 2001 with his wife Katherine.  He spent  three years back in teaching, while debarred from parish ministry for expecting ministers to be guided by the Basis of Union (Oct 2005-Oct 2008).  He was the secretary to the Committee that established the ACC in 2006.  The Tasmanian Presbytery called him to ministry in Scottsdale 2009-2013.  He completed a Master of Theology in retirement (2014) on “A Christian Ethic of Joy”


Swimming between the Flags: Reflections on the Basis of Union,

Walter and Katherine Abetz

Edited jointly with my wife, Katherine and self-published, (Bendigo: Middle Earth Press, 2002).

Some entries are reprinted from various sources while others were solicited with the intention of representing the Uniting Church in its diversity within the boundaries of the Basis. This book has been reviewed twice in Uniting Church Studies, firstly by Dr. Geoffrey Barnes. On the second occasion, Walter and I were allowed the right of reply. Some Uniting Church colleges have it on their reading list. It should be available in college libraries.

The book is available for purchase as a print on demand book from the editors (10 Denison Ave, Poatina, Tasmania, 7302;

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Walter and Katherine Abetz

Published in ACCatalyst Volume 4 Number 2/ April 2010


Prepared for ACCatalyst in the lead up to the UCA conference on “Engaging the Basis” in Melbourne July 2010. The UCA basis of Union is such an important topic that ACCatalyst wanted to start the discussion early, with three short essays on the UCA’s founding document. 

Walter Abetz, Rosalie Hudson and Ian Breward

ACC member reports from the UCA Basis of Union conference Melbourne 9th-11th July, 2010


Published in the ACCatalyst Volume 4 Number 4, 2010 pg 9

Towards a Christian Ethic of Joy: Participating in the Joy of the Master

Walter Abetz Master's Thesis


Given the triadic ethical structure of individual, people and God displayed in 2 Chronicles 19:6-7 and John 8, Barth’s and McFague’s theological construals are evaluated for authentic joy through an obedience that leads to participation - beyond a sense of duty or obligation, in dialogue with Hauerwas’ concepts of compliance and obedience

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