Elsternwick Uniting Church


Rev Philip Liebelt

Rev Philip Liebelt

Rev Philip Liebelt came to St John’s as minister in November 2014. A South Australian, Philip studied there and was ordained in 1990. Previously he had been a teacher, a specialist in Drama, teaching in country and city, public and private schools, including two years as Principal of a Christian School at Kerang in Victoria. Philip has had ministerial placements in city and country Uniting Churches, mainly in Victoria, although his first placement was in Canberra. He has also had two regional education positions.

He came to Elsternwick, after 7 years as Presbytery Minister: Mission and Education in the Presbytery of Gippsland.

Philip has a passion for community development, education and helping churches explore new ways of being church. One of his primary tools in ministry is storytelling. Whilst he tells stories of all types, he has particular experience as a Biblical Storyteller: since 1998 he has told 90 minutes of stories from Luke’s gospel; for 12 years he was national co-ordinator of the Network of Biblical Storytellers Australia; he has had a study book published using storytelling to explore parables in Luke’s gospel; and his M.Ed. thesis was on Biblical Storytelling as a transformational pedagogy of Faith Education in a Post-Literate age.

Minister’s Messages

An Amazing Story

The story of the first Christmas is a story that most people know, at least in part, even if they are of a different faith or have none at all. For some, the question will be about who Jesus was, more than how he got here. The story’s depiction, as universally captured in nativity scenes,…

Bartimaeus, Blind Beggar – A story of faith and intrigue

I love the story of Bartimaeus in Mark 10:46-52. It really needs to be read in its context, and this is not always done. In the lead-up to this story, the disciples have lacked faith and understanding about the true purpose of Jesus’ Messiah-ship. They have been spiritually “blind”. Bartimaeus on the other hand is…

Precious Gifts

It is a precious gift to have someone remind you how special God thinks you are. Another precious gift is to know someone is praying for you – in the bad times, but also in the good ones too. How fortunate the church at Ephesus was, to have Paul doing both of these for them,…

Eating with Jesus at Easter Time

Jesus spent his final hours, before his arrest, trial, crucifixion and burial, eating a meal with his disciples. He celebrated the Jewish Passover with them, but turned it into a remembrance of him, and a command to them to continue to break bread and drink wine in memory of him. Christians today often celebrate the…

24 hours in the Life of Jesus

(Mark 1:21-39) On recent Sundays we have heard the story from Mark’s gospel of an extraordinary day in Jesus’ life early in his ministry as recorded in that gospel. As we consider it, we need to keep in mind that Mark is concerned to introduce Jesus as the Son of God and to summarise the…

Peace on Earth

In the season of “Peace on earth” we might again grieve at the state of the world and wonder if such peace will ever come. The recent announcement by Donald Trump on Jerusalem, has been widely seen by world leaders as one that will hinder a peaceful resolution to the long-running Israel-Palestine conflict. This has…