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WINTER 2012 ISSUE NO 35

keeping in touch with the friends of cornerstone

in this issue

2 welcome to new members

4 hitchhiker’s guide to cornerstone

5 new team in orange

7 a reflection on israel

whole of life mission and training

beyond the classroom Testing ideas in the public market-place keeps a cutting edge on thinking. This explains why six students and three staff ventured from Cornerstone’s Swan Hill campus in rural Victoria to Melbourne University in April this year – partly to keep in touch with current trends in beliefs and partly to stir the people they met to think more deeply themselves. They designed surveys which asked interviewees questions about their basis for morality, their purpose in life and what they thought about Jesus. Time and time again, bright university students answered the question, “Do you think there is a purpose for our existence? If so, what is it?” with, “I don’t know, I have no idea...” Over one hundred surveys were completed with varied responses; some showed an openness and willingness to listen, while others were apathetic and closed to taking the conversation deeper. Significantly, students who’d attended religious schools were often unwilling to really engage on the issues raised, prompting the thought that over-exposure can immunise. Tolerance of plural beliefs and any number of contradictory moralities were encountered regularly. Many students felt God was merely a human construct and that it’s up to the individual to create their own meaning. However, all of the Cornerstone group had the privilege of being involved in profound spiritual conversations where it was very evident God was at work. There were many highlights throughout the week and the mission team definitely came home enthusiastic about their experience, and with a better understanding of what university students are thinking and why. continued on page 5


WINTER 2012

from paul’s cabin

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’ve been reflecting on a talk given by George Savvides CEO of Medibank at the recent Christian Management Conference in Melbourne, in which he challenged Christian leaders to study the difference between gravity and grace. To illustrate, he sketched the contrast between two polar explorers – Ernest Shackleton who led the Imperial Trans-Antartic Expedition 1914-17 and Viljhljalmur Stefansson who directed the Canadian Arctic Expedition 1913-16. Both expeditions found themselves in dire circumstances – one ended in bitterness and large loss of life; the other in heroic endurance and eventual survival. The gravity of Stefansson’s own ego and ambition caused him to abandon his men; Shackleton invested the grace of trust in his team and this drove them on and sustained them, culminating in his return to their rescue. Grace puts service before achievement and results in a team that draws out the best in each other. St. Augustine’s fine phrase, “One loving heart sets another on fire”, explains the genius of the way Jesus built his team. He doesn’t rush them, he shares his innermost thoughts with them, he trusts them even when they are incompetent, he lets them minister to

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him, they watch him in the trivial moments and share together the commonplace activities of daily life. The way he met privation and hardship, popularity and unpopularity is stamped indelibly on his men. Jesus believes thoroughly in both his team and his message about his Father’s mission in this world – they are made for each other. They bring out the best in each other. Stefansson’s self-focus diminished both himself and those who survived; what might have ennobled them was sucked down by egotistical gravity. Shackleton’s commitment to bring the team home made them great together. Jesus’ determination to lay down his life for his faltering disciples gave grace a new depth of meaning - John recalls watching Jesus wash his disciples’ feet(including those of Judas which were about to beat a path to the High Priest’s house to betray him), that ‘’...having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end.” The heroic self sacrifice of the apostles following the resurrection is evidence that Jesus’ generous leadership had transformed them – the gravity of their own fears, ambitions and self focus was swallowed up in the grace of trust he invested in them. That made them great together. t

ommunities are strengthened by moments of celebration and recognition. At our annual Member's Conference in May thirty graduates were awarded the Certificate IV in Christian Studies, and two graduates received the Diploma of Christian Studies.  There were also twenty four past students who have not completed a full course but they received a Statement of Attainment for the individual units they have done.  Anna Marshall (a Diploma graduate) received the Student of the Year award. New members were also formally added to Cornerstone's core community, fully embracing our mission and values and joining in our common purse. t

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ISSUE 35

new members profiles martin and val clark ‘What do you want to do?’ Martin took two weeks to deliberate on an answer. Caring for his elderly parents we envisaged Darwin would be our home for the rest of their lives. When they suddenly decided to return to Adelaide we were free to make whatever changes we wanted. When the answer came it was right out of left field. ‘I want to do the Advanced Diploma in Christian Leadership at Cornerstone and reconnect with Jesus.’ (This was possible because of previous theological studies and pastoral experience.) We knew a little about Cornerstone. I met frequently with Kath Reynolds, to critique each other’s fantasy novel. At Easter Camp she introduced our son, Adam, and his fiancé, Kath, to Pete Volkofsky and Les Follent. Within two years they’d signed up for first year at Burrabadine. That was a good excuse for Martin and I to escape the tropics and check Cornerstone out. I remember during that visit sitting on a bed in the girls’ dorms thinking, ‘If anything ‘happened’ to Martin, I could do this.’ I couldn’t really say ‘No’ could I? Plus, as a writer, I could practice my profession anywhere in the world. I discovered, after a discussion on the phone with Les Follent, that I would be required to at least audit classes. In the new year I packed an exhausted Martin off to Burrabadine while I stayed to see the house sold. I arrived on February 14 and, after a taste of Paul’s Jesus of Nazareth course and

Laurie’s World View, decided to study full time. I’m very grateful that nothing ‘happened’ to Martin and we could pursue community life together. In three and a half years we have never regretted joining our fates with Cornerstone where I’m involved as a writer with the creative life of Dubbo and Martin enjoys being Principal of the Burrabadine School. t

lucy bath At 24 I was enjoying inner city Melbourne life, and loving my work as a pre-school assistant. For a holiday I visited my sister, Jane McLean, during the Cornerstone Open Week in Dubbo. With a bit of nudging by Jane I found myself sitting in the classes. They were the highlight and I wanted more! The following year I was a first year student in Dubbo hoping to have my questions about God and His character answered, and to stop 'sitting on the fence' with my faith. More than just answers were given to me. A whole new way of life was shown and experienced. I haven't looked back.  My second year saw me in Coonabarabran for team and then back to Dubbo the following year for the 3rd year studies. I worked at the Burrabadine school as a Teacher's Aide which I loved so much two years turned into three. I'm currently part of the Swan Hill Community, particularly enjoying teaching Old Testament.  I decided to stay in Cornerstone and become a member because quite simply I hope to have a part in  helping  and guiding others to  learn  and experience what I did. To join in and draw others into God's epic redemption story. t

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WINTER 2012

a hitchhiker’s guide to cornerstone

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anowindra Dean James Webb recalls his introduction to two young backpackers in Swan Hill last year. “It really impressed me that these guys had decided to really take their faith seriously. They weren’t entirely sure what that meant but they literally walked out the front door to find out.” Good mates, Dave Breen and Tim Jansen, were headed for plumbing and mechanics apprenticeships. But they began to pray about what it meant to put God first in their lives and set out hitchhiking. They journeyed around South Australia and Victoria, working on farms in return for food and accommodation. It was when they headed north to the Murray River that they discovered Cornerstone’s Swan Hill campus. Tim looks back “I had an overwhelming assurance that God had answered my prayer and led me to Cornerstone. We stayed for a couple of weeks and I knew that was where I was to go for the next year.”

be.” There were more miles on the road ahead for Dave, but he also decided to take the plunge and join the first year program for 2012 in Canowindra. Now midway through the year, Tim says “I’ve learned heaps about the Bible, about myself and also my relationships with others, understanding more of how to live in a community – growing up!” Dave says “I’ve been learning lots - how to relate and be vulnerable with other people, seeking God first and together with others experiencing who God wants me to be. It’s setting a pattern for life in the future – it’s an apprenticeship with God this year.” t

However Dave was not yet convinced and they both set off again, through Victoria then into NSW. A very significant time for them was camping eight days on a mountain, “just being with God” It was after this experience they arrived at the Canowindra campus. Tim decided to hitchhike back to South Australia but Dave stayed on for another five weeks. “It was a place where I belonged, I found people who shared my desire to follow God, it was a rich time experiencing work, mission activities and general outings together. It was so encouraging, to me it was living life as it was meant to

tackling the advanced diploma t

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att Gadsten has been on the Cornerstone adventure a bit longer, completing his first year at Canowindra and team in Strathalbyn. At present he is studying for his Advanced Diploma of Christian Studies at the Burrabadine centre in Dubbo “I came to Burrabadine knowing that it was going to be a good year of teaching and discipleship, and boy what a good year it has been. Having the chance to be with all the great people of this community has been a very humbling experience where there are always pearls of wisdom to be caught from the great teachers right through to the diligent accountants that keep this machine running. The thing that has impacted me the most has been the way that what we learn in class isn’t just head knowledge; rather it is whole of life knowledge, the theories and concepts come off the page and make their way into your interactions compelling you to grow closer to the father and to spread it with those around you. If you’re looking for a practical way to hone your God-given skills, Burrabadine is the place to be.” t

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ISSUE 35

new team in orange

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ed by former Canowindra campus Dean Jon Giger, the new Orange team have had a great start in 2012. The Combined Churches have entrusted Jon with the job of training scripture teachers as well as setting up lunchtime and breakfast programs in schools and coordinating with youth leaders in the churches. Jon said the support from the different churches has been very encouraging. Team member Mark Albion has also been encouraged by the response of the students, some of whom recently became Christians. “We are building good relationships' he said, “and there are more opportunities opening up which is both exciting and daunting”. Jon and his team are also planning a two week mission adventure in Thailand in October. Their goal is to be a practical help to past Cornerstoner Dee with her church and orphanages. t

student of the year

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ongratulations to Anna Marshall, student of the year for 2012. Anna has worked diligently to complete her Diploma of Christian Studies. Anna also completed a teachers aid course and works at the Burrabadine Christian School. Members of the Burrabadine Mission Community are grateful for her positive contribution to community life despite health difficulties. t

continued from page 1

Christian Union staff worker Julie-anne Laird endorsed the value of the co-operative effort. “It is our great privilege each year to have a group from Cornerstone come and help us to reach out to Uni Students! ...They take the time to listen and engage with students on the questions of faith. I have also loved getting to know the Cornerstone leaders... this year Martin, Ben and Lucy and appreciate their wisdom, discipleship and the way they equip their students in apologetics.” Which takes us back to the University of NSW in the revolutionary early seventies where Cornerstone had its beginning as “The Jesus Christ World Liberation Front!” It’s a matter of history that universities have often been incubators of movements for change. In the 18th century the Wesley brothers and their friend George Whitfield started a student action group nicknamed “the Methodists”, at a time when many had given up hope. It grew into a movement which transformed England.

“I look upon all the world as my parish; thus far I mean, that, in whatever part of it I am, I judge it meet, right, and my bounden duty to declare unto all that are willing to hear, the glad tidings of salvation. This is the work which I know God has called me to; and sure I am that His blessing attends it.” John Wesley.

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WINTER 2012

new wheels for the triplets!

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’m very pleased to report that the fund raising is going very well. We have been overwhelmed by the response. To date, people from everywhere have given over $80,000 in about 10 weeks... It’s been an amazing journey with many ‘God moments’. And there are still many fund raising initiatives going on for us all over the place. About a month ago Muscular Dystrophy NSW gave us the go ahead to continue fund raising for a modified Toyota Hiace as our old van became far too small and costly for our needs. The new van with modifications, plus the three power wheelchairs will come in at roughly $95,000. We also discovered that we can locally source similar specialised power wheelchairs to the ‘Snap Dragons’ that we originally had set our sights on. These will still suit the children’s individual needs very well and cost a lot less. Any follow up repairs will be covered by the Government and we will be better supported by local therapists – a smarter choice all round. We will get there - probably a lot sooner than I expected! I have been particularly amazed and encouraged by the very enthusiastic local response. Things like these seem to bring out the best in people and

we are very glad to be living in Canowindra. I can see God’s hand in it all. And a big thank you to the Touchstone readers - we have been so generously blessed by all of you. Ben and I have deeply appreciated the well wishes, lovely notes, prayers as well as donations. Thank you very much! t Jemimah Read (For more information, go to www.everydayhero.com.au/readtriplets)

farewell to a veteran

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ornerstone has benefited over the years from the gifts and dedication of men and women from all walks of life. A number of these have since gone out to serve in missions around the world. Queensland’s Dalby Centre in the 1980’s and 90’s was blessed to have Ed and Edna Nash as part of the staff team. This couple brought with them a wealth of experience after years of missionary service, firstly among aboriginal communities in NSW and Western Australia and then 25 years in the Solomon Islands. They were loved and appreciated by Cornerstone staff and students alike for their wisdom, hospitality and loving care, their faithful prayer and words of encouragement. Past and present Cornerstoners were reunited at Edna’s funeral in April this year and many more

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sent notes and emails of appreciation to the family. Edna became a loved mother figure to many and letters from the Solomon Islands spoke of Ed and Edna’s impact on the current generation of church leaders through their consistent example and teaching. Two of their daughters met their husbands through Cornerstone. Janet married Rob Tilsley who has a preaching ministry in both Australia and overseas, including the Solomons. Robyn married Geoff Bullock who is a representative for Family Voice Australia. Geoff meets with and writes to parliamentarians on behalf of Christian values and speaks to many church groups regarding the Christian’s civic responsibility, encouraging them to be salt and light in their own communities. His monthly bulletin can be received if you email gmb@fava.org.au t


ISSUE 35

a reflection A

ndrew and Karen Moreton are known to many Touchstone readers from their years of leadership at Cornerstone’s Gidgee Lake Centre. They now have a ministry in Dubbo where Andrew  works as a GP and medical educator.  Karen’s devotional book A Spirited Journey was published last year and she continues to write as Chaplain for the Pony Club Association of NSW.  Earlier this year they joined ‘The Footsteps of Jesus Tour’ led by Les Follent and Martin Watson. We asked Karen to share a reflection with us…   “After shuffling in line through metal detectors and bag searches we entered the Jewish faith’s most holy site, ‘The Western (or Wailing) Wall’. Men went left and women went right and suddenly I stood facing that ancient limestone wall, surrounded by Jewish women pouring their hearts out to God. With hands on the wall they prayed earnestly and passionately in the soaking rain.  Jewish people travel across the nation and even across the globe in the unassured hope that in this place, so close to where the temple once stood, Yahweh might hear them. The look of anguish on some faces as they prayed told me that they were praying similar things to many of us…”I need you, I’ve no hope but you, please come through for me…”  If ever I longed for an Acts 2 moment it was then. I longed to shout the good news, “You have a Saviour, a Messiah, a Deliverer. He is with you everywhere. He loves you. He hears you.” Instead, I stood with tears falling with the rain, “Jesus, how it must break your heart that they’ve missed you.” Once back in Australia, Andrew and I visited the Jewish museum in Darlinghurst.   An interactive computer asked, “Why don’t the Jews believe Jesus Christ is Messiah?”  The answer: “The Messiah was predicted to deliver the Jewish people from their oppression

and suffering and as Jesus didn’t do that he does not qualify to be Messiah.” One sentence, one misunderstanding, and all the joy, hope and relationship that Jesus brings is forfeited! Back in Dubbo with Israel a world away, I wrestled in prayer for our daughter who has had severe, daily pain for several years. I asked Jesus to rescue her, to heal her, to be the deliverer in our situation. I must admit after years of seemingly unanswered prayer I felt desperate, exasperated and unheard. But in my dark hours I remembered the faces on His beloved people who have no hope, who long for God but have ‘lost’ Jesus because he hasn’t rescued them the way they were expecting, in the time frame they were expecting- and I am gently warned. We aren’t really worlds apart are we? We all groan for an end to our suffering, but as Paul says, “We do not grieve like those who have no hope.” We have Jesus, we have a Deliverer and he does not cease to be good, or cease to be God because we wait.” t

living for something bigger Many readers will have already heard that Murray and Deb Aldridge's daughter Kiya suffered a fatal accident earlier this year. The family had been living amongst an aboriginal community in the Northern Territory where Murray was working for several years. Those who travelled to the funeral were greatly impacted as they witnessed the great love the community had for this family and the family’s love for the community in return. "This is our beautiful 14 year old daughter Kiya. The Lord in His wisdom decided to take her home earlier this year. Kiya is an incredible young woman, adventurous, a hater of evil and a lover of good, a hard worker, a bush kid, a lover of designing fashion, her family, children, and the Lord God. She lived for something bigger than herself and served selflessly. We miss her. We have this assurance of her being in heaven and being a part of the Great cloud of witnesses that Heb 12 talks about. I know many who are reading this are supporting us and praying for us and we want to say thank you. The love and the power is upholding us and we are walking this path with hope and with love. Please praise the Lord in the midst, we trust His judgment and already are seeing many people come to the Lord and drawing closer to Him through this. Our God is being glorified - in Kiya’s life and in her being transferred to Heaven. Thank you ." Murray and Deb Aldridge. t

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touching base

Cornerstone is a non-denominational Christian movement, equipping and mobilising men and women to genuinely follow Jesus Christ, to experience and express the reality of God in all of life.

Pialyn Selosa is now settled back in the Phillipines, working in Manila during the week and going home to her family on the weekends. Having been through an unsettled time, she is thankful for the peace, hope and joy God has given her as she faces new circumstances.

If you would like to find out more, see our web site www.cornerstone.edu.au .

Dubbo Christian School presented an excellent production of the musical Patience.  Kate Bain, who is currently doing her Advanced Diploma at Burrabadine, teaches Drama at the school and she was ably supported by Katrina Walker in the production.  Among the cast were a number of students from Cornerstone families.

Jess Moreton married Ed Snowden in April at the Dubbo Presbyterian church where Ed is doing a pastoral traineeship. Jess is studying psychology at Charles Sturt University. They are pictured with parents Andrew and Karen Moreton, sister Emily who is at Cornerstone Canowindra and brother Ben.

Jane Watson and Kyle Horton were married in the beautiful poplar grove near the Canowindra campus in February. They are both studying in Melbourne and part of a network of alumni there.

muster muster 2012 2012 Burrabadine Dubbo now has its own Renovation Rescue program. After an audit last year of the maintenance needs of the community, it was decided that it was time for action. Community members are encouraged to join in for an afternoon each fortnight to keep the old buildings in order.

the cost of discipleship 1 - 2 december, 2012 dubbo christian school hall sheraton road dubbo

Our mission is to expand and enrich the Kingdom of God through committed communities, winning, training & mobilising genuine disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ to live radical Christian lifestyles

touchstone editors paul & robyn roe t 02 6884 0063 e robyn@cornerstone.edu.au publisher cornerstone community abn 49 066 809 612 contributions welcome at: po box 1151 dubbo nsw 2830 t 02 6884 0402 f 02 6884 6450 e office@cornerstone.edu.au designer chris cuddy chris@cornerstone.edu.au

whole of life mission and training for more details & bookings:


Touchstone Winter 2012