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theadvocate.tv

In Conversation Simon and Amanda Phillips speak about their son Ben’s miraculous recovery after a near fatal accident. PAGE 12 >>

SEPTEMBER 2016

“Something about old ladies and growing up.” SIMON ELLIOTT PAGE 13 >>

3 Baptistcare CEO

Photo: Katarina Miller

After eight years, Baptistcare CEO Rev. Dr Lucy Morris has concluded her role >>

4 Anne’s story Vose Seminary lecturers, Monica O’Neil, Brian Harris and Michael O’Neil have provided an insight to academic theology for the members of Lesmurdie Baptist Church recently.

Baptist World Aid’s Child Sponsorship program has transformed Anne’s life >>

Church and academia An innovative partnership between Lesmurdie Baptist Church and Vose Seminary saw a unique month long sermon series that aimed to bridge the gap between the world of academic theology and the theological experience of the average Sunday congregation. Four Vose Seminary lecturers visited Lesmurdie Baptist in June, with each of them presenting one thing from their academic area of focus that they most wanted the average congregation to be thinking about today. The initiative came about after conversations in late 2015 between the pastors at Lesmurdie Baptist and Vose Seminary staff about delivering the latest theological thinking to a church congregation. The series titled ‘If We Only Knew. From Academia to Application’ gave the Lesmurdie congregation the opportunity

to consider current thought delivered straight from the seminary. Topics covered by Vose lecturers in the sermons included creation, goodness, the place of the church in contemporary society and the historical and present day influence of the church. The Sunday messages were augmented with a question and answer time and bible study material for use in midweek small groups. The Lesmurdie pastoral team had been hopeful of a positive outcome but were overwhelmed by the engagement and

responsiveness of the congregation. “There was a tangible energy and a constructive urgency to know more amongst the people,” Lesmurdie Baptist Church Lead Pastor Karen Siggins said. “The post worship gathering conversations went deep and people were in even less hurry than usual to get home.” “This was in part due to the willingness of each of the Vose lecturers to continue conversation beyond the formal part of each service.” “People in the congregation warmed to the lecturers as well as to the topics they spoke on. It was a great month for us as a church family.” Vose Principal Brian Harris shared that it has been encouraging to partner with a local church and discuss some topics not covered in an average sermon. “It has been good for us as a

lecturing team to work together on this and really encouraging to see how much the congregation at Lesmurdie have enjoyed it,” Brian Harris said. “They are a model congregation in curiosity, openness, warmth, friendliness and in participating in the ideas which are explored in this series.” “The week I was there several spoke to me about possibly studying at Vose, some formally towards an award, others as audit students.” “I hope that other churches follow Lesmurdie’s lead in tapping into some of the expertise within the Vose faculty.” Lesmurdie Baptist plans to continue this new partnership with Vose Seminary. “It’s an effective and practical way of bringing current academic theology to the place where it informs the everyday lives of followers of Jesus,” Karen said.

Don’t miss next month’s issue of The Advocate – a special edition focussing on mental health.

8 Politics and religion Christians are called to contribute to the political debate >>

We are stronger when we work together.

BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA


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my view SEPTEMBER 2016

Parallels with Pokémon ‘I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant. It is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.’ Mewtwo

Sarah Baggaley Sarah Baggaley is a Lead Pastor at Austin Cove Community Church.

Most can remember the day when they gave their life to the mission and took the prestige title. With regular training at the PokéGym on Sundays and midweek with other likeminded PokéTrainers, you continually strove to level up to be the best PokéTrainer you could be. For most, it wasn’t long before your life catch cry ‘Gotta catch ‘em all’ became cemented and you moved out into the world with your goal to ‘comfortably encapsulate’ your Pokémon targets. You

soon learnt that some are easier to catch than others. Some you caught easily and they rapidly evolved toward being the Pokémon they were created to be. But others, it seemed that no sooner they were captured, they escaped again. Some, thankfully, able to be recaptured, but others slipping away forever. As a PokéTrainer, it is common to have a particular target, a particular type of Pokémon you have your mind set on. But more often than not, you experience a strong

vibration that guides you to your next catch. Not always what you’re expecting, but following the promptings, you quickly engage, looking to your backpack for items that will assist you; the reward items gained when you have taken the time to visit Pokestops. You learn quickly in your journey that frequenting Pokestops is the best way to ensure you have everything you need at these times. With your life cry ‘Gotta catch ‘em all’ at the forefront of your mind, on occasion you

use special items to lure the Pokémon to your location for a more efficient catch. You may even choose to work with other PokéTrainers in your local area choosing to use a Lure Patch, which is of benefit to all who join in. Being a PokéTrainer is hard sometimes. You work hard to upgrade and evolve your Pokémon ready for the battles that lie ahead. Sometimes the battle takes its toll and your Pokémon require healing and revival; you do whatever you can to care for them … that’s the life of a PokéTrainer.

The essence of community It is bucketing down in Newman, the first stop for a team of four of us who are travelling the Pilbara to raise awareness of the mission work I will be joining in Mozambique with the Global Interaction team there early next year.

Sally Pim Sally Pim is a Global Interaction candidate.

As we pull into the Baptist church car park we are greeted with friendly faces and given a warm space to stay. We haven’t met before but instantly the crew in Newman and our small gang from Perth ‘click’. It’s the same in Tom Price, and again in Port Hedland. Each church we visit, the people are quick to give us hugs, encouragement, and pray for us. We get to share meals together, learn about one another’s lives, and see the amazing work our

new friends are doing in their communities as they love the people around them. What these churches share with us, through their hospitality, support and love, is community. I am reminded of Romans 15:7, where Paul is telling the Romans to welcome one another just as Jesus had welcomed them. This was in order to praise God, and as a community of believers, glorify

Him. Community is important for those who trust in Jesus. As we meet together it can help stir one another to love and good works, not to mention the encouragement it produces. As the churches welcomed us, I reflected on the fact that we are all on journeys, and while our paths may be different our goals are the same. The encouragement I have received during this trip to the Pilbara gives me the strength to

continue on the journey God is leading me on and reminds me that we all need the support of fellow Christians around us. Being part of the community of God stretches far beyond geographical location. Whether we are ministering in Perth, across the state in Port Hedland, or perhaps even overseas, we have an opportunity, which comes from being a part of the Baptist family, to empower and encourage one another in the vision we share to see the communities around us say ‘yes’ to Jesus.

On roadworks and parables … The ever growing student numbers at Vose Seminary (and Curtin University next door) have persuaded the authorities that a double lane road is now needed. The required road works have commenced, the ground around me reverberating as diggers and compactors alter the Hayman Road landscape forever.

Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.

In time, a new entry for the Seminary (where I work) will be built, but until then, we’ll have to closely follow the orange cones to see exactly which entry point to the campus is being permitted today. Watching something under construction is interesting. All kinds of things get pulled up and cast aside. Bushes that have quietly been bushes for decades, are suddenly no more. The sign welcoming the community

to Vose Seminary is now on the rubbish heap – apparently having been more on council land than our own. There is a constant ‘beep beep’ sound alerting that some piece of heavy machinery has decided to reverse, and that you remain in its path at your peril. The roadworks have only just begun. The flashing signs alert us to expect delays until at least December – though rather ominously don’t specify

which one: 2016, 17 or 18. I have informed students that their journey to the Seminary needs to begin at least three minutes earlier if they are to get here on time – the comment being met with little enthusiasm. Losing three minutes sleep is a big deal when you’re a student. I teach our students to spot the parables that surround us. What parable is there in this messy, noisy symphony? Symphony? Well that’s it …

To me, the activity seems chaotic, but the site engineer seems satisfied, and nods sagely from time to time, apparently content that all is going to plan. It is his job to ensure that all obstacles to a wonderful access route are removed. He is not the only one with that task. At another level, God’s Spirit is trying to improve access to my life. And there are more than a few obstacles needing to be moved. But perhaps it is going to plan …

letters to the editor send us your letters The Advocate welcomes your letters to the editor on topics of concern to you and the community. Send your letters of no more than 100 words to editor@theadvocate.tv by the 10th of each month.


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SEPTEMBER 2016

CEO change for Baptistcare Dr Morris said that it has been an enormous privilege to lead the organisation and to see the transformation which has been achieved over the last few years. “Baptistcare is now starting its next chapter as a vibrant and courageous faith-based organisation delivering essential services in our communities, and it is time for me to hand the baton to those leading Baptistcare into the next chapter,” she said. “I have loved my time with Baptistcare and I am very grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with the extraordinary team of people who make such a difference in the lives of our customers. My colleagues throughout Baptistcare are transformational in every way.” Baptistcare Board Chair Garry McGrechan wished Lucy the very best for the

future and thanked her for her contribution in transforming the organisation. “It has been a pleasure to work with Lucy and see the changes she has brought to Baptistcare during a time of enormous change for the community sector,” Mr McGrechan said. “She has brought a strength of faith and commitment, and has created positive social change for Baptistcare.” The Board of Directors are working closely with the Baptistcare executive team to manage the transition and the search to appoint a new Chief Executive Officer will commence shortly. In serving as Baptistcare’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Morris oversaw the doubling of the organisation’s revenue from $50 million to more than $110 million and it becoming a

Photo: Baptistcare

After eight years of service, Baptistcare Chief Executive Officer Rev. Dr Lucy Morris, concluded her role with the organisation in July.

leading voice of advocacy and mission in Australia today. “Lucy Morris’ leadership championed the importance of aged care in Western Australia,” Mr McGrechan said. “She has consistently positioned us to achieve our vision of transforming and enriching lives, and we thank her for that contribution.” A search will be undertaken to fill the role of CEO and Pastor Wayne Belcher OAM, a member of the Board of Baptistcare, will take on the role of interim CEO. Wayne is a previous CEO of the Bethanie Group and has extensive experience in the services delivered by Baptistcare. He is an Elder and Associate Pastor at Lake Joondalup Baptist Church, and also serves as a Board Director for Global Interaction Australia and Lake Joondalup Baptist College.

Lucy Morris has been instrumental in numerous changes at Baptistcare during her time as CEO.

Governor’s prayers for WA One of Australia’ best known economists Professor Ian Harper explored how the Bible and his Christian faith relates to economics at The Governor’s Prayer Breakfast held at the Crown Convention Centre in August. Over 1,000 Western Australian leaders and community members met to pray for the State and country at the Breakfast, which has been held annually since 1991. Governor of Western Australia Kerry Sanderson

hosted the Breakfast, with guests including WA Premier Colin Barnett, Chief Justice Wayne Martin, senior State Members of Parliament, Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan, and business and community leaders. Many schools were also represented at the Breakfast by student leaders, with the head students from St Mark’s Anglican Community School delivering the Bible readings. Prayers were shared by key people in the Perth community focussing on five areas: nation and state, business and work, community and the public sector, and youth. The Governor concluded by leading participants in the Lord’s Prayer.

More than care At Baptistcare, we understand no two people are the same. Compassionate, person-centred care is at the heart of everything we do.

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www.baptistcare.com.au The Governor of Western Australia Kerry Sanderson met with WA leaders and community members for a morning of prayer recently.

Baptistcare is one of WA’s largest not-for-profit aged care and community services providers, supporting communities in metro and regional areas for more than 40 years.


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news SEPTEMBER 2016

Anne’s incredible story Samara Linehan

Earlier this year, when Baptist World Aid Australia staff were visiting a Christian partner in Uganda to see the work of its Child Sponsorship program, they met Anne*. For the last four years, Anne has been sponsored through Baptist World Aid. She lives with her Mum and Dad and has eight brothers and sisters. When the staff met her, she was confident and bright. A happy child with the kind of smile you can’t help but return. But things might have been very different. Anne’s community had never been a safe one for children. Families were poor and parents worked long hours. Left to wander the village alone, children were regularly attacked. Child marriage meant that little girls like Anne, who is just 13 years old, got married and child labour was rife. The future for children like Anne was uncertain at best. But

that was before Baptist World Aid’s Christian partner, Share An Opportunity Uganda (SAO), started working in her village. Now Anne’s incredible story is helping to transform her whole community. Through the Child Sponsorship program, Anne and her friends learned about their rights as children and how they deserve to be treated. At the same time, Anne’s Mum and Dad, and others like them, were taught about their responsibilities as parents – like making sure their children are fed and healthy and get to finish school. Although simple the transformation which has come about because of this process of child driven community education has been incredible.

Now that Anne and her friends know how they deserve to be treated, they are reporting the problems they see to a Child Protection Committee, which was established in their community through Baptist World Aid’s Child Sponsorship program. Due to her parents also receiving farming training, they were able to increase their crop yield and start keeping chickens. Now Anne’s parents have enough money to send not just Anne, but all of their young children to school. When Baptist World Aid staff visited Anne and her family earlier this year, they were excited and proud to tell them about everything they had achieved. Both for themselves and for their village. The community they live in is now one where children can feel safe. It is also one where children, like Anne, can work together with adults to fight poverty and have their voices heard. Today, child marriage and child labour are almost things of the past

Photo: Shane Burrell

Anne (right) dancing with other children in her sponsorship project, which Australians support.

in Anne’s village. In just four years, it has been completely transformed with the help of Australian sponsors, but it is children like Anne who are driving the change.

For more information, visit baptistworldaid.org.au/ annes-story *Name changed for child protection reasons.

When faith turns ugly Following the success of previously published books The Tortoise Usually Wins and The Big Picture, Vose Seminary Principal Dr Brian Harris has recently published his next book, When Faith Turns Ugly. In the book Brian explores why the Christian faith sometimes wears two masks – usually lifeserving and transforming, but occasionally escapist, illusionary and even poisonous. Brian delves into questions such as: What are the warning signs that faith is at risk of turning toxic? What do we mean by the conviction that the gospel liberates? He said he wrote the book to help the reader to be sure that their obedience to Jesus the

Christ will help to build a world with a better name. East Midland Baptist Association Regional Minister Rev. Dianne Tidball said that Brian highlights the well-known figures who have concluded that faith is too toxic and ugly to be anything other than destructive such as Marx, Hitchens and Freud and responds well to their arguments. “Perhaps the greatest value of this book for the Christian leader or follower of Christ are the three

What are the warning signs that faith is at risk of turning toxic?.

sets of tools which are offered: the indicators that faith is straying from its true role and is not as life giving as God intended; the signs that church leadership is becoming toxic; and the pointers to a faith which is healthy and life building,” Rev. Tidball said. For more information, phone Vose Seminary on 6313 6200.

toxic leadership.

digital church 04/08/16

Ben Smart 4pm.stmatthewsshentonpark. org.au/4pm-blog1 You see, so often as Christians we find our hearts cold – we feel distant from God, and don’t feel like praising him. King David from the Bible found himself in that situation as well, and what did he do? Check out Psalm 103 – he talked to himself! He urged himself to praise God until he felt it!

07/08/16

Kyle Idleman twitter.com/KyleIdleman God often uses words to speak

Dr Brian Harris’ latest book includes tools to recognise signs of

life. The enemy often uses words to speak death.

07/08/16

Max Lucado twitter.com/MaxLucado To be saved by grace is to be saved by Jesus. Not by an idea, doctrine, creed, or church membership, but by Jesus Himself.

14/08/16

Craig Groeschel twitter.com/craiggroeschel Prayer should never be our last resort. It’s our first line of offence.

14/08/16

17/08/16

18/08/16

backyardmissionary.com If the exiled Hebrews could rediscover their faith in that time of hardship, then there is definitely hope for a church that is increasingly feeling its cultural isolation.

jdgreear.com The Word – and the Word alone – prepares us to stand up to every challenge we face with courage. Let’s get this Word in our blood.

15/08/16

desiringgod.org None of the promises of God keep us from groaning in our pain, but they do keep our groaning from becoming bitterness and despair. They turn meaninglessness and misery into waiting for glory.

thegospelcoalition.org God remembers us. This is such good news to us. If we are honest we will admit that we do a poor job of remembering the gospel and remembering who God is. We are most often walking out of a theological fog distracted by commercials of our own desires. We forget to remember. But God never does.

Andrew Hamilton

Johnathan Kana thinkchristian.reframemedia.com We are called to multiply the grace we have received by sacrificially reaching out to those who deserve our scorn with the liberating power of forgiveness.

JD Greear

18/08/16

John Piper

Erik Raymond


news

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SEPTEMBER 2016

Volunteers crucial at campsite Linda Cummins

Volunteers have been key in the smooth running of the camp by cooking for and serving campers, maintaining the grounds, equipment and facilities, and generously giving their time for the betterment of the camp site. Serpentine Camping Centre currently have four volunteers who devote much of their time to the camp site on a regular basis. One of the longstanding volunteers, Graham Atkinson, has been donating his time at the camp site for more than ten years, maintaining the gardens and equipment and helping to set-up for camp arrivals. Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Camp Ministries Ross Daniels said he continues to be an encouraging force amongst the team. “Nothing is ever too difficult

for Graham. With his wife Judy, who works two days a week in administration, they come as a valued team,” Ross said. Russell Clissold has also been volunteering for the Centre for many years. Gardening is Russell’s passion, and his eye for detail shows in the neat presentation of the grounds. “I just stepped out of the office and there’s Russell planting some colourful plants around the office, all low maintenance waterwise plants from his home. So happily adding his touch to the camping ministry,” Ross said. Erik and Ellen O’Dempsey have been with the Serpentine Camping Centre for the past two years. “They bring a wealth of knowledge and life expertise, and are both valued team

members,” Ross said. “It has been said that there is the odd extended morning tea for the blokes, but these times are a definite investment in our people and creates strong community,” he said. “All of our staff are amazing and under the leadership of the Facility Manager, Marc Marion.” “The volunteering team are exceptional, adding value to the site and service and being able to support the paid staff in many areas.” Serpentine and Busselton Camping Centre staff would welcome more volunteers. Their aim is to foster an inclusive, collaborative environment, continuously improving and innovating the sites through projects. This means that there is always a new skill to be learned and real change to be

Photo: Judy Atkinson

Serpentine Camping Centre has a long history of providing camping experiences for thousands of visitors over the years. This has been partly due to the contributions of a dedicated team of volunteers.

Marc Marion, Erik O’Dempsey and Graham Atkinson on duty at the Serpentine Camping Centre.

effected. There are positions for volunteers who have experience in the kitchen, gardening, and maintenance. Some experience is preferred, but it is not necessary as training can be provided on the job. It is an

opportunity to be involved in a growing ministry as well as gain volunteer experience. For more information, contact Busselton on 9755 4151 or Serpentine on 9525 5135.

New chaplaincy manager at Baptistcare

The role involves coordinating a team of 14 chaplains who provide pastoral care for Baptistcare’s clients, residents, staff and families from Albany to Geraldton, Margaret River to Kellerberrin, and throughout Perth. Wade also works with the Chief Executive Officer to

promote Baptistcare’s vision, mission and values to ‘transform and enrich lives in communities by reaching out with the love of Jesus’. “Two years ago I was given the opportunity to pause, reflect and seek afresh where it was God would have me serve

have the privilege of hearing their amazing stories,” Wade said. “Sometimes those stories are tragic where life is full of struggles and yet we find this is where God chooses so often to speak His wonderful message of grace, hope and love.” “I would like to invite you to please join us in the important work of chaplaincy through your prayers.”

Photo: Baptistcare

Baptistcare has recently appointed Wade Sinclair as their new Manager of Chaplains. Wade steps into the role with years of experience and training in pastoral care and has served as a chaplain at Baptistcare since 2015.

Him. This led to me taking up a chaplaincy role at Baptistcare last year,” Wade said. Wade has been a chaplain with a Boys’ Brigade Company and supported Youthcare initiatives through Riverton Baptist Community Church. His interest in chaplaincy expanded further at Baptistcare. “I’ve found that people can experience increasing illness as they age or a painful, slow grieving process when their loved one is declining over time. Each person’s situation is different and as chaplains we

Baptistcare’s newly appointed Manager of Chaplains, Wade Sinclair will be coordinating chaplains across WA.

VOSE OPEN DAY

Saturday 8th October from 11:00am – 3:00pm Thinking of studying? Join us for the Vose Open Day, a great opportunity to explore the campus, investigate courses and connect with people already working within not for profit organisations and local churches. Check out displays showcasing our courses in fields such as ministry, mission, leadership, business and education. Why not bring your whole family, there is something for everyone! Mini Lectures T: 08 6313 6200 E: office@vose.edu.au W: www.vose.edu.au

Book Sale

Sausage Sizzle

A: 20 Hayman Road, Bentley WA 6102

Career Expo

Animal Nursery

...and much, much more.

RTO 0145 VET CRICOS 01052B ACT CRICOS 02650E


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news SEPTEMBER 2016

New homes for country students State Director of Fusion in Western Australia, Andrew Braun, explained the story behind this latest development. “With our work in Geraldton we were hearing stories of country kids moving to Perth for university. For most it was their first experience of living out of home.” “For the young person, this was a great new adventure but for parents there is a very real level of concern about where their children will live and what they will get into.” “The unis all have good quality accommodation options but often these places are where country kids get introduced to drugs and alcohol at levels they haven’t experienced before.” “We wanted to provide a positive alternative. Somewhere that is drug and alcohol free and where these young people engage year-long program to support and encourage them

in their Christian journey while developing their independent living skills. Somewhere that is building strong Christians and equipping them to be role models and leaders to those around them.” The new houses are located 2.5 kilometres from Curtin University and are on a major bus route providing connections to Curtin, Murdoch and Fremantle. Each house will have a lead tenant living in with the students, providing daily support and mentoring while experienced youth workers and trainers will provide structured input to help the young people in developing their independent living skills as well as providing leadership and discipleship training. Andrew noted that young people who were interested will sign up for the year and be expected to participate in two hours of structured training/mentoring each week

Photo: Fusion

Construction is progressing well for the newest addition to Fusion Perth’s housing and support services with two four bedroom homes for country university students being built.

The team from OzHarvest lead a cooking lesson in student accommodation.

as well as participating in daily household chores such as shopping, cooking and cleaning. During the first term, the focus will be on living skills, such as budgeting, cooking, cleaning and learning to live together. In second term there will be discipleship and group

skills training. During third term the young people will be encouraged to participate in local outreach activities that may include tutoring a young homeless person, participating in a breakfast club at the local high school or helping out with a day trip program. In the final term they will be working

on completing their year at university and making plans for next year. The team at Fusion are now welcoming expressions of interest in this latest program. For more information, phone Fusion Perth on 9355 1159.

Travelling chaplain puts in the miles To find your local Baptist church visit

YouthCARE Chaplain Peter Hanrahan travels over 600 kilometres, spending more than six hours a week behind the wheel to bring chaplaincy services to Kalbarri District High School for the first time in five years.

Photo: YouthCARE

Each Sunday, Peter travels 160 kilometres from his home in Geraldton to Kalbarri and spends two nights away from his wife to offer chaplaincy services to Kalbarri District High School. He then travels home on Tuesday evening and for the last three days of the school week Mr Hanrahan is also the Chaplain at Northampton District High School. After retiring from being a teacher and principal, Peter now finds as a chaplain he has time to do all the things he couldn’t as a teacher, and is loving it. Mr Hanrahan said he is loving being able to come alongside students, staff and parents to listen to their stories, or have a conversation and to be an

www.baptistwa.asn.au

Peter Hanrahan is spending his ‘retirement’ years providing chaplaincy services to country high schools.

encourager and a point of reliable contact when things in life get tough. “I am clocking up the kilometres though and I pray the Shu-Roo whistles I have fitted will do their job!” he said. YouthCARE Area Chaplain Doug McGhee said the schools are very happy to have him.

“I think Peter will have a very good impact on both schools,” Mr McGhee said. “He has heaps of school experience, is a talented drama teacher and has a passion for pastoral care. Peter is also naturally friendly and fun, and has huge qualifications.”

Board Vacancies Do you want to use your skills in governance and organisational leadership to make a difference in some of the world’s poorest communities? Transform Aid International Ltd is an international Christian aid and development organisation, committed to empowering the world’s poor to lift themselves out of poverty. Through our wholly owned subsidiary, Baptist World Aid Australia Ltd, we partner with Christians and churches in Australia, particularly those from the Baptist movement, in generous giving, ethical consumption, courageous advocacy and faithful prayer in order to achieve justice for people living in poverty. We are looking for two Board members - a Human Resources or Governance specialist and a general Board member. As a voluntary Board Member you will have the opportunity to provide your expertise and contribute to this strategic function of the organisation. For more information please visit www.baptistworldaid.org.au/careers or contact Lyndelle Taylor on 1300 789 991 or governance@baptistworldaid.org.au.


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SEPTEMBER 2016

Counselling support for churches Connections Counselling WA has been established to work in partnership with local churches in providing professional counselling and psychotherapeutic services to people facing both personal and relationship issues. Manager of the new service, Lyn Varty, said Connections Counselling WA is already operating in Belmont, Dianella, Greenwood, High Wycombe, Mundaring and Myaree with eight counsellors and is looking at links with other churches of various denominations. “Referrals are coming to the service from GPs, local churches, self-referrals and through recommendations by friends. Some therapists are receiving Medicare health plans referred from GPs,” Mrs Varty said. “The service seeks to promote the emotional, relational, psychological and spiritual wellbeing of people through the provision of Christ-centred counselling and psychological

services.” “Therapists are experienced, respectful and compassionate professionals who specialise in a variety of areas. People can discuss spiritual matters and have counsellors pray with them if they wish, but counsellors respect the individual’s personal wishes if they did not want that approach.” Mrs Varty said people were seeking support for many different areas of need, including grief and loss, relationship counselling, communication issues and anger, right through to depression, anxiety, childhood neglect and abuse, stress and self-harm. Group therapy is also available, and from time to time workshops and seminars on a variety of topics will be held as well as professional development for therapists. Connections Counselling WA was set up as a local service in 2012 by Mundaring Church of Christ under the direction of the church’s Minister for

Photo: Connections Counselling WA

Local churches will have the opportunity to expand their ministry offering to their congregations and the wider community with the launch of a new counselling service in Western Australia.

Counsellor Emma Wilkinson touching base with Connections Counselling WA Manager Lyn Varty.

Teaching and Preaching, Keith Ford. Within a short time it became evident that the service was tapping into a need in the community and the service was expanded to Maida Vale Baptist Church. Since then a Board has been established, a constitution and other formal documents

developed and formal registrations completed. Maida Vale Baptist Church Pastor Rob Douglas is the newly appointed chair of Connections Counselling WA. Other Board members are Keith Ford, Tony Kwok, Mike Nel and Dr Warren Thyer.

For more information, phone Connections Counselling WA on 0499 042 551.

A night out on refugee rations

Michael Lochore

Margaret River Baptist Church was transformed into a makeshift refugee camp recently. There were tents everywhere, and cushions scattered on the ground for seats as over 60 people came together to raise funds and awareness for Syrian refugees.

Diners had the opportunity to win tasty additions to their meal by participating in a quiz and by bartering with each other. Short documentary videos showed how challenging life is in real refugee camps. “It was great for my family to see and to taste how many people live,” a community member who brought his family along, François Payet said. The meal was organised by Just Living – a social justice ministry of Margaret River Baptist Church.

“We were deeply moved by the desperate situation in Syria,” Just Living Leader Dorothy Nicholls explained.

Participants donated what they would normally pay for a dinner out ... Of the $4,000 raised, half went to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the remainder to the Middle East Christian Outreach’s Refugee Ministry Fund.

Photo: Michael Lochore

Participants donated what they would normally pay for a dinner out to sit on the floor and eat rice and lentils – the staples of a refugee ration pack. People came from all walks of life, including church members, social activists, local families, and a strong contingent from the neighbouring Catholic Church.

Margaret River Baptist Church set-up with tents and mats for its makeshift refugee camp.


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feature SEPTEMBER 2016

CAN POLITICS When the infamous Italian Renaissance diplomat Machiavelli stated that “God creates men, but they choose each other”, he demonstrated remarkable insight into the world of politics. Andrew Sculthorpe

While Machiavelli’s controversial writings may have made his name synonymous with cunning and unscrupulous government, the modern world of politics appears to have taken much from his observations. This year alone has been extraordinary in the world of politics and the democratic process has practically dominated global news. Whether it be the Federal election, forthcoming State election, Brexit or the soap opera that is the US Presidential election, it’s almost impossible to have avoided the impact that politics has on the media and on our daily lives. The desire for politicians to enlist every voter sees carefully crafted messages designed to appeal to each audience they address. The need for all parties to court the ‘Christian vote’ in Australia is well understood and at times appears to be a cynical ploy. In other parts of the world the lobbying and backing from one faith group or another can be a matter of political life or death. In the west, political commentators constantly try to pigeonhole how the Christian vote will trend and increasingly appear to be happy to predict how other religious and ethnic groups will vote. This convenient way of helping predict polls may be understandable when the media are commentating, but is it acceptable for any politician to claim to be speaking for members of an entire faith group? Should any of us be seduced by the promise of a political voice or are we called to stand apart from secular politics altogether? This argument may appear to be particularly relevant right now but has in fact been of immense importance for centuries. Do politics and religion make good bedfellows and what is the true meaning of the separation of church and state? The phrase ‘separation of church and state’ was initially used by Baptists striving for religious tolerance in Virginia when still a British colony. As subjects of the Crown the official state religion was then Anglican and the Baptists stated that any government limitations against religion was illegitimate. With Thomas Jefferson championing the cause the Virginia Statute for Establishing Religious Freedom was introduced in 1786 after independence and the term has been in common parlance ever since. The issue of mixing faith with politics and the tension between church and state is as old as the history books though. The British publicly debated the issue in the time of the Magna Carta over 800 years ago but the theme dates back to Paul before Caesar in Rome, to Jesus addressing the Sanhedrin and even to Daniel when he refused to worship King Darius. With politics impacting all our lives it is helpful to seek clarification in Scripture and in Ephesians Paul tells us to fight the spiritual war between light and darkness, but the question has long been debated whether this translates as being physical or not. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” [Ephesians 6:12, NIV] It is then argued that Paul also calls us to commit ourselves with both body and spirit in 1 Corinthians 6:20 “you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.” [NIV]

These texts have been interpreted by some as justifying physical action, such as the Crusades, but by others they are seen as being purely spiritual. Contemporary western thought leaders state that secular liberalism is the doctrine that best serves us all in a democratic world. This is based on the premise that we are all free and responsible members of society, where religious decision-making and values are the right of the individual, but that facts and intellectual reason are the only acceptable methods to overcome difficulties. The danger that flows from this line of thinking is that it doesn’t acknowledge any form of spiritual dimension, particularly an omnipotent Christian God, and is ultimately intolerant towards theological systems that challenge this stance. Ironically, it is Christianity that spawned many of the values of freedom and equality, although secular liberalism appears to have conveniently forgotten that point. So, in a time when the future appears more uncertain than ever, the very word religion has been hijacked by Islamic extremists and much of society tells us to turn our backs on our Christian heritage, what are we called to do? The rise of protest politicians such as Pauline Hanson or Donald Trump horrifies some and attracts many who seek a return to simpler times. It is in fact in the past where history has given pointers that we can learn from, the Bible directs our path but it can be challenging on a daily basis to know which way to turn. It appears to me, whenever Christianity is suppressed or absent that the vacuum is filled with nationalistic jingoism. One such time was in pre-war Germany where a brilliant young theologian and pastor found himself in mortal danger. His name was Dietrich Bonhoeffer and he denounced the theory of two kingdoms, namely a Kingdom where God reigns and the ‘kingdom of the state’ where man and the rule of law are pre-eminent. This basic philosophy had seen the rise of National Socialism (the Nazis), the meek submission of much of the German Church to Hitler, devotion to the fatherland and Aryan supremacy. Bonhoeffer’s faith meant that he simply couldn’t stomach what he saw and in 1935, aged just 29 he founded the German Confessing Church together with an underground seminary. He spoke out against the state’s many indefensible actions and the fact that the German Church had been “ignoring the real evil beyond their cathedrals and churches”. He urged the Church to stand in the “middle of the village” and to look “from the perspective of those who suffer”. In his essay ‘The Church and the Jewish Question’, he urged the church to “jam the spoke of the state and protect the state from itself”. His brave stance saw him imprisoned but he continued to write and to try and unite Christianity on an international scale. For all his efforts he was executed just weeks before the fall of Nazi Germany in 1945 but the legacy of this devout intellectual man remains with us, he lived as he preached and paid the price. An example of a country currently soul searching is France, though perhaps not to the same degree as 20th century Germany. The French law on the ‘Separation of the Churches and State’ successfully extracted religion from government and established state sponsored secularism. In the aftermath of recent atrocities carried out in the name of Islam there have been calls for the policy


feature SEPTEMBER 2016

AND RELIGION CO-EXIST?

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Photo: Shutterstock.com Photo: Shutterstock.com

counterculture revolutionary who called for us to love our neighbour and to pursue social justice. He embodied God’s love and constantly told anyone who would listen that we owe everything to His Father and that we live in God’s Kingdom. Modern politicians seek to govern well but are inevitably compromised and as Christians we are called to contribute to the debate. Our voices need to be heard and to speak for the greater good. Serving people but answering to God may not be easy but it can be effective on a greater scale when Christians have a voice in government. Blindly following a politician who claims to be Christian and to speak on our behalf isn’t enough. Local and global issues all need a Christian perspective. Taking part in the debate is vital to ensure that Christians, once a fringe group and persecuted minority, are not marginalised to a degree that we have no voice at all. By remaining silent the danger is that we don’t heed the lessons that history has shown us and Machiavelli is proven to be right.

Photo: Shutterstock.com

to be amended but mainstream politicians remain true to the Republic’s doctrine of non-religion in state business. The result is that the rhetoric of the right wing Front National fills the void and society appears to be either polarised or paralysed. In spite of the worrying times and potential threats to democracy there is still room for optimism. The confronting trials the world faces don’t make for a comfortable journey but Jesus’ message and example show that there is light amongst the darkness. God’s Word tells us that He will prevail. Until that time, we are left to interpret how we can best live our lives and be challenged to make a difference. Secular government has proved to be a just form of rule and as long as human beings are in charge it is the model most likely to work. Therefore, let’s not put too much faith in man and remember Jesus’ loathing of the hypocrisy of the political and religious elites running Palestine in His time. Jesus was not a man of the establishment but a

9


10 news SEPTEMBER 2016

Trump garners support Ramona Ötting

A number of evangelical leaders have pledged their support for Donald Trump in the wake of a meeting between Trump and several hundred conservative Christian guests in New York City in June. Whereas many evangelical leaders had previously opposed Trump in favour of then Republican nominees Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, recently several pastors and high profile evangelicals seem to have changed their opinion of Trump, the winning Republican candidate. As his team announced at the meeting in New York City, Trump has put together an ‘Evangelical Executive Advisory Board‘. This Board has been established to advise the politician “on those issues important to evangelicals and other people of faith in America.”

The announcement listed 23 men and two women on the board, among them priorly critical evangelical leaders such as author James Dobson who had previously exclaimed that: “Trump’s tendency to shoot from the hip and attack those with whom he disagrees would be an embarrassment to the nation if he should become our chief executive.” Other leaders on the board include megachurch Prestonwood Baptist Church Pastor Jack Graham who said after the gathering that he is convinced that Mr Trump “will fight for the issues that matter

most to conservatives.” At the meeting, Trump promised to appoint conservative pro-life Supreme Court justices and called religious freedom the ‘number one question‘. Some attending the meeting saw the latter as a reaction to recent public discussions on topics such as businesses facing lawsuits for not providing services for same-sex weddings, and legislations banning prayer in public schools. Not all people of faith however joined in the support for Mr Trump. Outside the meeting room in New York, dozens of leaders from different religions and denominations gathered for a ‘Faith Over Fear’ vigil, criticising Trump’s controversial comments on Islam and immigration. “We want to remind America what’s best about ourselves, which is that we have an

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Donald Trump, Republican candidate for the 2016 US presidential election.

inclusive, welcoming society,” Rabbi Michael Feinberg told TIME magazine. “That’s what makes America great.” With polling suggesting an unprecedented unpopularity of both major party candidates (Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton), some, like the movement

#nevertrump, are hoping for an independent candidate to step up before the presidential election in November.

IJM seeks #JusticeInKenya Ramona Ötting

The International Justice Mission (IJM) has launched the campaign #justiceinKenya along with a global petition to raise awareness towards “police abuse of power” in Kenya. The social media campaign was initiated after IJM human rights lawyer Willie Kimani, his client Josephat Mwenda and their taxi driver Joseph Muiruri were abducted and killed after a court hearing in Nairobi on 23 June. Their bodies were found in the Ol-Donyo Sabuk River one week later.

Mr Kimani had defended Mr Mwenda in court against a range of offences that Mr Mwenda had been charged with after filing a complaint against a senior police officer. Following the discovery of the three bodies, hundreds took to the streets in Nairobi, claiming police involvement in the murders of the three men. Four police officers have been charged with murder since. “We still believe there are more perpetrators involved in the deaths of our colleagues,” Director of Casework for IJM Kenya James Kironji said. In a press statement following the events, IJM demanded swift justice. “We’re standing with thousands who refuse to accept

Photo: International Justice Mission

IJM is seeking justice after the deaths of Joseph Muiruri, Willie Kimani and Josephat Mwenda.

this type of abuse any longer,” IJM reported. IJM CEO Gary Haugen expressed his condolences to the affected families and staff. “IJM exists to protect the poor

from violence, and Willie’s life was taken while courageously pursuing that mission.” The organisation asks for continued prayer for the grieving families and the IJM team in Kenya.

For more information on supporting the campaign, visit www.ijm.org/justice-in-kenya

Christians ‘the most harassed’

Doors International and the US Department of State, Pew marked terrorism as the highest threat against religion, with the numbers of terrorist attacks and deaths caused by such groups as Boko Haram, al-Qaida and the Islamic State on the rise. The list of countries with the most government restrictions on religion was topped by China, while Israel led the list of countries with the highest social hostilities towards religion.

Charleston families sue US government

international briefs Russia bans public evangelism Russia has passed a set of laws that will make it illegal to preach, pray and share the Word outside of officially recognised religious sites, such as church buildings. The laws effectively ban house churches and missionary activities online and require Christians, and people of other faiths, to obtain a permit through a registered religious organisation in order to publicly share their faith. The laws are thought to particularly affect Protestant organisations and churches with strong evangelism

programs such as Baptist and Pentecostal churches. The vast majority of the Russian population belongs to the Russian Orthodox Church, which will not be heavily affected by the laws. The laws, called ‘Yarovaya Laws’, were officially put in place as anti-terrorism laws in reaction to the bombing of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt. They are considered the country’s most restrictive measures in post-Soviet history and have been condemned as a threat to freedom of speech and conscience by many human rights activists.

In 2014, Christians faced less government hostility but more social harassment and terrorism than in 2013, the most recent annual study on Trends in Global Restrictions on Religion by the Pew Research Center reported. While the worldwide harassment of religious groups decreased (albeit modestly) in comparison to the previous year, the number of countries in which Christians faced social hostility increased; pushing Christians to the top of the list of harassed religious groups. In line with Open

More than one year after the mass shooting in June 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in which nine members of a Bible study were killed, the families of the victims have filed wrongful death lawsuits against the US government. According to US law, the shooter’s criminal record and filed admission to using illegal drugs should have come up in his background check when purchasing a weapon, preventing the purchase. Less than a month after the shooting the FBI admitted an error in the background check.


news 11 SEPTEMBER 2016

BWA voices worldwide concerns Ramona Ötting The growing refugee crisis and international terrorism were the two focal points of the recent Baptist World Alliance Annual Gathering in Vancouver, Canada. around the world who have helped refugees, but also voiced its concern “about those who have not been as engaged, or who have been less than welcoming in their remarks and actions.” In a second resolution, the BWA drew attention to terrorism in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin and appealed to the United Nations to raise the threat level for the region. The West African region is facing a severe humanitarian crisis as the Islamist group Boko Haram and other extremists have continued a series of attacks in Nigeria and neighbouring countries. “Millions lost property, home and agricultural produce, and have had to flee,” the BWA reported. According to the organisation, extremists intentionally targeted people of faith and houses of

Photo: Shutterstock.com

More than 300 Baptist leaders, theologians and representatives from over 50 countries joined the week-long event in June to worship, study and discuss pressing issues such as the refugee crisis, international terrorism and climate change. In a resolution published at the gathering, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) appealed to Baptists around the world to assist refugees and to show “love for the stranger.” The BWA, the international umbrella organisation for Baptists, acknowledged “the profound challenges created in many parts of our world by the movement of millions of refugees and displaced persons”, and called member bodies and individual believers “to actively embrace opportunities for Christian ministry and witness that exemplify the biblical teaching.” The BWA praised Baptists

Refugees travelling through Hungary on their way to Germany.

worship. Thousands of churches and numerous mosques were damaged and destroyed. Other top concerns at the Annual Gathering included climate change and the importance of religious liberty. “I’m worried for my grandchildren,” former Baptist World Aid Australia National

Director Les Fussell told EthicsDaily following a session on climate change at the gathering. Mr Fussell voiced his belief that Christians must remind leaders of previously made climate commitments and advocate for them to make stronger ones.

The BWA also took the opportunity offered by the event to announce that the 22nd Baptist Congress in 2020 will take place in Rio de Janeiro and will, for the first time, include the Baptist Youth World Conference.

Europe is alive for Jesus Chris Gore, Director of Healing Ministries at Bethel Church in California reported excitedly of a spirit filled weekend at Grande Conference in Nantes, France. People from all over Europe attended the conference that put a strong focus on God’s ability to heal and restore Europe – under the motto ‘mercy triumphs over judgment’.

According to Mr Gore, hundreds of people heard the good news and gave their lives to Jesus. “Europe is alive for Jesus,” Mr Gore stated in a Facebook post accompanying a video of

the conference showing an auditorium full of cheering people. It is not the first time this year that good news of the Spirit at work broke through the ongoing reports of terrorism, social divide and economic instability in Europe. Earlier this year, Germany made news as hundreds of refugees said ‘yes’ to Jesus at mass baptisms all over the country.

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Ramona Ötting

People from all over Europe came to France to praise Jesus.

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12 in conversation SEPTEMBER 2016

Ben Phillips – living miracle

Jill Birt

The morning after Ben Phillips graduated from Year 12 in October 2014, he went diving with his Dad, Simon, to check the family’s crayfish pots. Crippling pain in his head forced Ben from the water as he had suffered a significant bleed on his brain when an arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, that had been lying dormant in his brain ruptured. Rushed to hospital Ben was connected to life support.

The Advocate writer Jill Birt went to Geraldton to talk with Ben’s parents, Simon and Amanda Phillips. Ben joined the end of the conversation. Simon and Amanda, how did the emergency affect you? Simon: It was so unexpected. We were going along wonderfully. It’s something you’re never quite prepared for. Amanda: When I arrived at Geraldton Hospital, I couldn’t understand why they had all these tubes in Ben. I had no idea what it meant for him to be on life support. They took him for a scan and then came and sat down with us and our son Zacc (then 19) and said they had really bad news and Ben was not going to survive. Then, within a minute, they asked us for his organs. Had you ever thought about that? Simon: Yes, but when you’re faced with it in a moment, you feel pressured. It’s your precious child. Zacc told us just two weeks earlier he and Ben had been talking about organ donation. Ben wanted to be an organ donor. That helped us make the decision. Up to that point we hadn’t really decided. It’s 21 months since the event. What have you learnt about yourselves? Amanda: I’ve learnt patience and faith, really digging in and having faith. Also the things that used to really matter don’t matter anymore. I’m a hairdresser, so I like my hair dryer, my straighteners, my makeup, but I couldn’t have cared less about those things. I just needed to be there for Ben. We were away from our home for nearly five months.

Simon: It takes you to a new place. God puts people around you that carry you and ‘go in to bat’ with a faith that you don’t have. Amanda: I had to come to the realisation that Ben belongs to God not me. I was hanging on to him for dear life. I had to release him back to God to allow Him to do whatever His will no matter what – I had to fully trust. That was hard. Was there any sense of you discovering you were far more resilient than you thought you might be? Simon: One of the Scriptures that has come to the fore is Psalm 91:2. It’s like a testimony: I will say of my God, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him I will trust.’ In Perth we were staying in Subiaco and I’d run home from the hospital everyday just to get some exercise and to clear my head. There were these huge Ficus trees and I’d run under the shade of the branches and see the sun shining through. It reminded me of what was happening in our lives: God was sheltering us a little bit. We felt cocooned. Safe in the midst of it all. Amanda: I flew down to Perth with Ben in the Royal Flying Doctor Service plane but Simon and Zacc’s plane was delayed from Geraldton. While we were waiting for them at the hospital before they would turn off the life support and harvest Ben’s organs, Ben squeezed my hand and that changed things. He was showing signs of life. Simon and Zacc arrived and the medical staff said they would operate to relieve the pressure on Ben’s brain. They said he may die. Then just as he was going into surgery I got a text from a lady from Geraldton Baptist Church. Jeremiah 32:27: ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?’ It came just as we were saying goodbye to Ben. So many times God did things like that. Simon: Back in Geraldton hospital we’d said farewell to Ben. The hospital was full of Ben’s friends and our friends, and I remember a pastor friend praying with us and saying to Ben, “I’ll see you in heaven, Ben.” He was the same one that came to us a couple of days later with

Photo: Phillips family

Family and friends gathered to hear the devastating news that he would not survive. Today, following 18 months of physiotherapy and re-learning life skills, Ben recently completed a TAFE course in Conservation and Land Management. He is currently working three days a week with the Green Army – a hands-on, practical environmental action program that supports local environment and heritage conservation projects across Australia.

The Phillips family, Ben, Kallan, Simon, Amanda and Zacc, celebrating life together following Ben’s miraculous recovery.

a strong word from the Lord. He apologised, saying to Ben, “the Lord is not going to let you go. You’re going to be fine!” Amanda: That scripture our pastor friend read out was really significant for us. 2 Corinthians 4:7-14. He spoke that over Ben. Simon: It was a powerful moment. Amanda: Yes, considering Ben was in a coma. People around the world were praying for Ben. How did that make you feel? Simon: We didn’t know for a start, but as we’ve met people over the months it’s like God mobilised the Kingdom to pray. Amanda: We had a young man who’d just graduated from high school the night before and he was in desperate need. The power of social media was incredible. Messages went out through Facebook across the world. At one stage Facebook reported Ben had passed away! Our son Kallan (then 22), took my phone away from me at that point. Simon: Kallan wrote regular updates so people knew how to pray and it was a great encouragement for people to see how God was answering prayer. How did Ben progress after the initial surgery? Amanda: Two weeks after the initial surgery, we were told

we would end up with a severely brain damaged child. He was very, very sick. Simon: It was almost like his life was trying to be snuffed out before God was willing to receive him. It became clear that God had saved him up to this point and He had a purpose and a plan that we couldn’t see. Amanda: At the two and half week mark the hospital called us back in the evening. Ben was waking up from the coma. We put our hands in his and told him to squeeze if he could hear us and understand, and he did. It was from that night that he just started to improve … slowly, praying at each stage of recovery. Is there anything you’d like to say to the wider church in Western Australia? Simon: We were encouraged. The situation was completely and utterly bleak, with no hope and in the middle of all that the scripture that came to us, Jesus in response to Martha: I am the resurrection and the life, though he is dead, yet shall he live. Our feet were knocked out from underneath us and that’s why you need people around you. Amanda: To all the people that prayed, we’re incredibly grateful. The young people in Perth who we didn’t even know, coming to our door at 5pm each night with a meal for us. We just wept.

Ben joined the conversation. What has helped you as you’ve been recovering? Ben: The doctors were saying ‘you can’t do this or that’, so I’d pray. What’s changed about your relationship with Jesus since 25 October 2014? Ben: I’m definitely praying a lot more than I used to, and reading the Bible. It’s not how I used to read, it’s slower. What are your dreams? Ben: Still the same. I’ve always really loved the water, but you have to be 25 to get a job in that area. So, I’ve done work experience with Department of Parks and Wildlife. I’ve really enjoyed that. I’m playing guitar again. I’m trying to learn piano again. Simon: Before everything happened he was a very accomplished guitar player and singer. I think he doubts himself a bit. Ben: Playing and singing at the same time is harder now. I just started in the worship team at church again and it’s a bit hard. There’s a lot going on and you’re under pressure when you don’t know a song.


growth 13 SEPTEMBER 2016

Something about old ladies and growing up

Simon Elliott

No church is perfect, and none is without its own brands of dysfunction, but I grew up blissfully unaware of the curiosities of Como – even those close to home. One of my lasting memories of Como was the potency of the older brigade and the strength, faithfulness and consistency of their encouragement. A lasting legacy of the church that Jesus inaugurates is the diversity of the body. Many moving parts. We may turn that diversity into a monoculture through the narrowness of our demographic, ethnicity and lifestage and, sure, the bulk of Como was as middle-class as it comes, but my memories are of diversity, not homogeneity. That is a sweet, sweet thing. I can’t think of many other contexts beyond the church where a young kid would regularly interact in meaningful, healthy ways with older people with whom they have no blood-relation. For me, the steadfast cohort of older folk at Como was a constant blessing. There was one guy who sported a bumper sticker on his Leyland P76 that proclaimed ‘I’m not a dirty old man just a sexy senior citizen’. He was a deacon. But I digress, this isn’t about Merv. It’s about a quartet who are etched in my memory and my heart: Daisy (Aunty Pete) Ingram, Hester Styles, and Colin and Dorothy Tranter. Each was different in their own way. Hester was a giant of a woman who had served on a mission in Ravensthorpe for a large chunk of her life. You wouldn’t mess with Hester more than once – she’d likely crush you under her size 15 feet. Yep,

Photos: Simon Elliott

For the first 30 years of life, I was part of a Baptist church of around 120 in Como, just south of Perth. I don’t remember the church ever growing or shrinking dramatically from that number in three decades, save the swells of Easter or Christmas. It was a strong foundation for a young fella following Jesus and many of the opportunities I’ve had down the track had their genesis in that context.

she was that big. This spinster had strength to match: a soft heart for Jesus, and a fire in her belly (it would have been an ample fire) for indigenous people and missions. Colin and Dorothy were a married couple living in Mount Pleasant. There was a determined strength and gravity to Dorothy’s personality that was firm and unflappable, coupled with a keen, pragmatic interest in what was happening for you. Colin complemented this with a warm tenderness and long, firm handshake that would engulf your hand altogether. Aunty Pete was perhaps the sweetest of the quartet. Not that we’re examining a premiership ladder here, but you just wanted to give her gentle hugs. Not too hard, as she looked as though you might break her if you hugged too tight. Diminutive and kind, nodding and knowing, she’d long exchanged her birth name of Daisy, though never her surname. For reasons unknown, there was never a ‘Mr Pete’ found suitable. Aunty Pete had a sparkle which was only enhanced by the small collection of vivid paisleypatterned polyester dresses she wore. One time, around the age of nine or ten, I gave Aunty Pete a bunch of flowers for Mother’s Day. A spinster with an obvious

love of children though none of her own, she welled up with tears on receiving them (as I am now), moved by the thought of this young kid dignifying her and her matriarchal significance. I imagine that Mum was the catalyst for those first flowers, but she rarely had to remind me on any of the 15 to 20 Mother’s Days that followed before Aunty Pete went to be with Jesus. I remember one last bunch of flowers at her funeral. She was a wonderful woman. Week by week, this quartet would engage with this little ‘scrunter’, reminding me of Jesus’ love. Reminding me of the plans he had for me, the growth they saw in me, and how they’d been praying for me. They’d ask what I’d been reading. They gave me books. They’d ask how my running was going. They’d chat about school and my relationship with Jesus with a level of interest that left me in no doubt: I mattered to them. They encouraged me. They showed me what a vibrant relationship with Jesus looks like for those advancing in years. They may have been a little ‘long in the tooth’, but there was a fire, a feistiness, and an infectiousness to their faith that was always fresh and vibrant. For me, it was another demonstration of the depth of God’s character and it helped me understand

that there is always more in Him. We can never out-deep, out-high, out-wide the love of God and their lives testified to their passion for Jesus and their growing understanding of this truth.

A lasting legacy of the church that Jesus inaugurates is the diversity of the body. The writer to the Hebrews exhorts us to ‘encourage one another daily, and all the more as you see the day approaching’. [Hebrews 10:25] I understand that I’m talking about a different ‘day’ from the one to which the writer is referring, but I like to think that each of this quartet had had a revelation of the power of encouragement and, as their mortality became imminent, it acted as a catalyst to encourage more and more. It certainly seemed that way. These days, I’m closer to the age they would have been back

then than the age I was. I’ll often talk with groups of people about the power of encouragement and the ability they have to use that power to spur others. In fact, when I talk with new runners in the ‘Band of Sisters’ program that our run club stages, I usually talk on Day One about the opportunity they all have to put courage in others with their words. I’ll often finish that conversation by saying “if you need permission to encourage others, here it is”. I say that because overt encouragement is foreign to many. Sometimes we need a little push. Sometimes I need a little push. Aunty Pete, Hester, Dorothy, and Colin didn’t need a push; they had it in spades, and they were doing it more and more as the day approached. The little tacker who was a beneficiary of deep drafts of that encouragement has not forgotten it either. That’s what faithfulness looks like and how legacies are perpetuated. The revelation of that legacy was that I can be to others what they were to me. I’m still working on that. More and more as the day approaches. Reprinted with permission from writesomething.org.au


14 news SEPTEMBER 2016

Planetshakers’ momentum

98five Music Director Chela Williams

Since forming in 1997 and producing over 20 albums to date, it’s only appropriate that Melbourne-based worship band Planetshakers latest release ‘Momentum’ is named after the undeniable force of consistent worship over the decades.

We couldn’t be prouder of our writers who have worked so tirelessly to hone their gift to serve the body. BJ joined the team over two years ago and is one of the church’s many songwriters. His perpetual gift of song writing overflows to a passion to teach younger songwriters to write and produce songs for the season.

“One of my favourite songs which I wrote with my friend Joth [Hunt] is called ‘Come Right Now’. It’s a huge song that our congregation loves and it also seems to accomplish something powerful in our meetings,” BJ said. “Another exciting thing is our young and upcoming writers really made a mark with the songs ‘Face to Face’ and ‘I Know Who You Are’. We couldn’t be prouder of our writers who have worked so tirelessly to hone their gift to serve the body.” Recorded live in Manila, Momentum became the band’s fourth top ten iTunes release. The EP also broke their own record as the longest running album in the national chart than any other Planetshakers title, making the recording in the Philippines that little bit sweeter. “We love the Philippines! God is doing powerful things there and we’ve always felt a kindred spirit in regards to passionate expression of our love for God,” BJ said. “Whenever we get together it seems to be a bit of a party for Jesus. We wanted to capture that and share it with the world.” For more information, visit www.98five.com/latest-music Photo: Planetshakers

Worship leader and songwriter BJ Bridham credits Planetshakers Church’s momentum to the prophetic declaration from their senior pastor. “We found that as we partnered with Pastor Russel Evans in agreement with this declaration, we saw supernatural God momentum in people’s lives,” BJ explained. “There was a great acceleration in so many individual and corporate situations that could only be explained by [work] … that our Father wanted to accomplish here on earth. What a brilliant season it was!”

Planetshakers’ worship leader and songwriter BJ Bridham has a passion for writing and producing songs.

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A full time position is available for an enthusiastic and experienced person to oversee Lakeside's Youth Ministry. To fulfil this position, you will require creativity, excellent leadership, and communication skills. The youth pastor is responsible for the direction, vision, long-term planning and development of the Lakeside Youth Ministry. For more information or a copy of the selection criteria, contact Anthony Palmieri via anthony@lakeside.asn.au


intermission 15 SEPTEMBER 2016

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A minute with ...

God’s Not Dead 2 After being inspired by God’s Not Dead, I was very excited to see the sequel and it did not disappoint. It is a brilliant movie to open a person’s eyes to the sometimes subtle ways that Satan has manipulated society to exclude Jesus and the rights of His people. Grace is a high school teacher who answers a student’s question and ends up in court. Though her state appointed lawyer is not a Christian he becomes passionate about defending Grace’s right, which is demonstrated with this powerful line in the courtroom: “If we are going to insist that a Christian’s right to believe is subordinate to all other rights then it’s not a right, someone is always going to be offended!” So many things have been removed from our society so we do not offend the non-believer and those of different beliefs that the Christian no longer has the right to free speech. – Dorothy

Photo: BCWA

read Power Thoughts Joyce Meyer After her bestseller Battlefield of the Mind, which has sold over three million copies, Joyce Meyer expanded on the concept of the battle in a peron’s mind and wrote Power Thoughts. This book could be best described as the action plan for the battle in a person’s mind. Taking the reader through 12 strategies to change their thinking and win this battle, Power Thoughts is a practical guide to achieve positive thinking and see a life transformed. Joyce describes the why and how to change thinking in the first chapters, then follows through with what she calls power thoughts – thoughts to renew a person’s mind and focus on the positive. It is encouraging and engaging as throughout the book are things to think about and several verses to help. I recommend this book for every believer and anyone wanting to have a life full of positive thinking. – Alison

Midland Church Plant’s Kylee Ingram What is a feature of your church or ministry you’d like to share? Over the last few years God has given me a ministry to business owners. It’s amazing how helping them meet the need within their business, especially in tough times, there’s a natural opportunity to share faith. The Bible has so much to teach us about business and I love God giving me opportunities to share this with my clients. What do you think God been trying to say to you lately? To learn to have an eternal perspective in my every day. Ironically, by valuing my happiness less, I find greater joy. My favourite verse is 2 Corinthians 4:18: ‘So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.’ What is the most important ‘nuts and bolts’ lesson that you can share? I value being widely read, yet for me time in Scripture is the most important thing. I feel it provides the answers for every detail of daily life. My hobby is illustrating my Bible, which provides another enjoyable way to engage with the Word.

listen The River

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Reviews provided by Koorong Mount Lawley Website: www.koorong.com Address: 434 Lord Street, Mount Lawley Phone: 08 9427 9777

Jordan Feliz Jordan Feliz’s latest album, The River, is amazing, both very catchy and full of great lyrics like ‘Never Too Far Gone’ which featured in the top twenty Christian songs on the radio. Being a mix of contemporary and indie pop, all 11 songs on the album have a different feel but all will touch a listener’s heart and get them singing along. Jordan Feliz not only has a great voice but has also written the songs, and you can feel that he means every word he has written, bringing each song to life declaring the truths about God and a person’s relationship with Him. For example, the song the album is named after, ‘The River’ is described as an invitation to take whatever we have and run to Jesus. Jordan Feliz is extremely talented, I absolutely love this album and play it on repeat. – Alison


16 news SEPTEMBER 2016

Photo: How Ridiculous

Even more ridiculous

Perth’s own How Ridiculous, comprising Scott Gaunson, Brett Standford and Derek Herron.

Maclain Bruce

Things have come a long way for a group of friends who started filming basketball trick shots in a Perth backyard in 2009 to avoid studying for exams. Today, Scott Gaunson, Derek Herron and Brett Standford of internet sensation How Ridiculous work full-time on producing trick shots, have had more than 50 million YouTube views and are partnering with some of the world’s biggest brands to create online content. The trio left their day jobs 15 months ago to work on How Ridiculous full-time and have been inundated with requests to work with brands, organisations and media outlets all over the world. How Ridiculous have

appeared on Channel 7 in Australia and a host of internal media platforms and networks including NBC, CNN, ESPN, Time and MTV. While working with major brands, including Disney, Universal, and McDonald’s to produce

content helps sustain the group financially. Despite their massive worldwide following and plethora of international media attention, the three men behind the trick shots remain grounded and committed to their faith and support of the not-for-profit organisation Compassion. “Our relationship with Compassion is hugely important and keeps us grounded in a way – and is a fantastic avenue for us to express our faith through our videos,” How Ridiculous member Scott said. “How we support is always changing and growing and

at the moment its largely through encouraging child sponsorships on our videos, doing school talks and challenging kids and families to think of supporting the least of these.”

Recent trick shot videos released by the group have included a darts bullseye video, a water bottle flip compilation and throwing a basketball from a Ferrari travelling at 220kph. As for future videos planned Scott remained tightlipped, but hinted at a trick shot with an international flavour. “If everything goes to plan there is a lot to smile about in the pipeline. Let’s just say a basketball shot in the Swiss Alps would be cool.”

... the three men behind the trick shots remain grounded ...

To view How Ridiculous videos and find out more about their work with Compassion, visit www.howridiculous.com.au

Brett and Scott attend Lifestreams Christian Church in South Perth, while Derek goes to Dream Centre Perth.

Eloise’s Olympic effort Long distance runner Eloise Wellings slashed 27 seconds off her personal best to finish tenth in the Women’s 10,000m final and ninth in the 5,000m final at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. However, Eloise’s most notable achievement is raising over $88,000 for Love Mercy’s Cents for Seeds project. The Cents for Seeds program empowers families in Northern Uganda to become self-sufficient by creating their own livelihoods with a loan of seeds.

Kalgoorlie Baptist Church Kalgoorlie YOUTH PASTOR Baptist Church Kalgoorlie Full time oversight ofPASTOR youth YOUTH Church ministries inBaptist the church:

The amount raised to date far surpasses her personal goal of $10,000 to put as many women as possible through the Cents for Seeds project this year. Overall, Love Mercy’s I Run for Love team has raised over $135,400 to date. For more information, visit www.lovemercyfoundation.org

Eloise’s most notable achievement is raising over $88,000 ...

Photo: Public domain

Eloise Welling’s efforts are not just confined to the race track.

time oversight youth •Full Providing pastoralof care, YOUTH PASTOR ministries in & the church: leadership coordination Full time youth • of Providing pastoralofcare, youthoversight work, ministries in the church: leadership & coordination • Developing youth leaders & of youth work, • Providing pastoral care, community connections, &youth coordination •• leadership Developing & Pastoral support ofleaders students of youth work, community connections, & building the partnership •• Developing youth & Pastoral support ofleaders students between KBC & Goldfields community connections, & building the partnership Baptist College between KBC &available. Goldfields •Job Pastoral support of students Description Baptist College & building the partnership Applications to: between KBC & Goldfields Job Description Kalgoorlie Baptistavailable. Church Baptist College Applications P • 0423 525 to: 932 pastor@kalgoorliebaptistchurch.com.au Job Description available. Kalgoorlie Baptist Church P • 04236525 932 2016 Closes: October Applications to: pastor@kalgoorliebaptistchurch.com.au Kalgoorlie Baptist Church kalgoorliebaptistchurch.com.au October PCloses: • 0423 6525 932 2016 pastor@kalgoorliebaptistchurch.com.au

kalgoorliebaptistchurch.com.au

Closes: 6 October 2016

kalgoorliebaptistchurch.com.au

The Advocate September 2016  
The Advocate September 2016  

The Advocate September 2016