IN CONVERSATION Paquita and Shane Stringer talk about their chaplaincy work in the Gascoyne and Pilbara regions with YouthCARE. PAGE 12 >>
“Something about saying sorry.” SIMON ELLIOTT PAGE 13 >>
3 Action on alcohol Calls to remove advertising from public transport >>
5 Stumbling success
Photo: Ben Waterson
Musician Colin Buchanan reflects on his success >>
The Shalom Works crew provide a large range of services as they individually change the direction of their lives.
Breaking ice addiction Steve Blizard Crystal methamphetamine (meth or ice) is destroying families at a rate like no other drug has ever done before – in the midst of this, Shalom Works is helping men break free from its grip and other life controlling addictions. Shalom Works was established in mid-2016 by Peter Lyndon-James, CEO of the holistic rehabilitation and discipleship program, Shalom House, based in the Swan Valley. During their minimum 12 month residential stay at Shalom House, men caught in a spiral of life controlling addictions are provided a safe environment in which they can change their lives. Prior to entering Shalom, many of the participants had been denied the opportunity to work and learn life skills. As part of their
turnaround, the men are required to work in one of the Shalom Works teams. The Softscapes Crew carries out gardening and landscaping services including tree lopping, tree pruning, lawn mowing, yard clean-ups and garden makeovers. The Hardscapes Crew is equipped for construction tasks including pergolas, patios, lean-to areas, timber decking, gyprocking, bricklaying, rendering, tiling, plastering, painting and decorating. The Paving and Construction Crew
can repair or build limestone walls, retaining walls and feature walls. This team can also lay paving, driveways and crossovers. “All of our teams are respectful and hardworking, with most of our fellas trade qualified,” Peter said. “One hundred percent of the income earned by Shalom Works is used to fund the operation of the Shalom House program.” “We teach our fellas from the day they arrive at Shalom to work for every dollar and not to rely on any government or private handouts.” In addition, Shalom Works has a free Community Services team established to help families in need, as well as organisations that may need assistance, including Christian schools and charities. By sending the teams of men out to different jobs they are given the opportunity to develop
their skill sets, building their confidence in the workplace. Renowned as the ‘strictest rehab in Australia’, the work of Shalom House has caught the attention of national media. In January, the ABC TV Australian Story crew spent a week filming Peter and the Shalom House operation, with the program set to be aired in April. The Shalom House program also requires its residents to attend services of different churches across Perth. Recently the Shalom House men were warmly welcomed by the Maida Vale Baptist Church and Morley Baptist Church. As they come into faith, the men are encouraged to find a church home following graduation. For more information, email email@example.com
8 Voices for justice Baptist World Aid Australia call for advocacy >>
Building healthy churches. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view MARCH 2017
An anxiety antidote The continuing uncertainty in our contemporary world with the unprecedented happenings in recent times emanating from Washington, London as well as Canberra has increased the level of anxiety and depression in our communities.
Keith Jobberns Keith Jobberns is the National Ministries Director for Australian Baptist Ministries.
As I was reflecting on this, I was reminded of an article written by David Malouf on ‘contentment’. He brings a helpful perspective on the world’s current pandemic of anxiety and depression. David maintains that with space exploration in the 1970s, human beings who previously felt connected to a small village or suburban community, now had an image from space of living on a small and fragile planet. The awareness of ‘smallness’ in people tends to extrapolate into
vulnerability and fear. Most of us experience negative emotional responses to the plethora of human and environmental abuse that floods our media, and whether it gears us into angry social action or immobilises us with powerless depression, we are impacted. Many people are just plain sad about the demise of a sense of future. The family, cultural, religious, financial and military bulwarks we once counted on to keep us safe and content are under threat of change and extinction. Where then is the
hope we need to keep on? Hope is central to the message of Easter. We approach another Easter season when we will be celebrating the life of Jesus who understood the human need for hope. Every time He healed a person, He restored hope. His life of wisdom and goodness gave a glimpse to the watching crowds, that life could be different if there was an alignment with Him and His values. Jesus Christ’s life and selfsacrificing death as a ransom for
fallen humanity allowed mankind to have renewed relationship with God. When He conquered death in the resurrection He gave amazing hope to those who witnessed and heard about it. There was hope for a new meaningful way of living, hope for a connection with a loving God and an amazing life beyond the grave. Are human beings being infected by anxiety, fear and depression? Yes! But there is a source of hope and it is based on knowing and believing that Jesus stepped into this small planet to transform our lives because of His profound love for all of us. It is a hope that is certainly worth sharing with others.
The best or worst of times … What do you think? Is this the best or worst summer ever? As I write, Perth is experiencing one of its coolest and wettest summers on record, and that while our cousins over east are having perhaps their hottest.
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
My response is that this makes it the best summer yet! I usually dread January and February. Forty degree plus days make me decidedly grumpy, and if the mercury climbs any higher, I’m ready to answer a missionary call to Iceland. So imagine my delight at our recent 17.4 degree maximum on 9 February – our lowest high ever recorded in February. Sheer bliss it was. Or was it? According to me – yes, yes and yes again. But
my daughter was annoyed and my daughter-in-law, seriously annoyed. As sun lovers, they had nothing but nasty words to say about that wonderful day. True, they like to sit by a heater on the hottest of afternoons, and consider any temperature lower than 32 an excuse to buy a new jumper, but what wasn’t to like on that cold, wet February day? They would quickly reply – “That it was cold, wet and February – a summer day wasted.”
There is simply no accounting for taste. What for one is the best of times, is for another, the worst. Some enjoy eating brussel sprouts – the very idea makes my stomach queasy. Say the word ‘opera’ to one, and their eyes light up, while for others that same word leads to a haunted, desperate look (“Tell me we don’t have to go …”). I once saw a halfeaten Mars bar left on a table. Who would do that? If it weren’t that their teeth marks were still on
it, I would have finished it. Such reckless waste! Is it all just a matter of taste? Depends on the issue. If it’s temperature, music or Mars bars – take your pick. But if it is a matter of justice, truth and mercy … think again. Not everything is negotiable, even though we live in a world that thinks it is …
You feed them! The distinctive dulcet tones of our then Associate Pastor still sound in my ears as I clearly remember the day and place the Spirit stirred my heart toward crosscultural ministry.
Heather Coleman Heather Coleman is the General Director of Global Interaction.
The message that day was on Jesus’ feeding of the five thousand. I have sat through many messages but this time was different. The preacher seemed to look and direct these words only to me. I then realised that this was the specific call on my life. The feeding of five thousand is the only miracle of Jesus Christ recorded in each of the four Gospels. The phrases ‘loaves and fishes’, ‘feeding the five thousand’ and ‘feeding the multitude’, are
widely known and used even in secular contexts. It was a miracle and was performed by Jesus to teach those around Him. On this occasion, Jesus performed a miracle that met a need using resources that were made available through someone who was willing to present what they had which was then multiplied by God. The need for miracles continues. Today approximately 42 percent of the world’s population or 6,500 least reached people groups
exist where less than two percent of the population are considered Christian. Least reached people groups have no indigenous church or community of believing Christians with adequate resources to evangelise their people. The challenge can seem overwhelming. There are an overwhelming number of people who are hungry and have a need that seems beyond what appears to be available. Global Interaction, Australia’s Baptist global mission agency,
work among nine least reached people groups [about 264 million people], being a living witness to Jesus’ presence and calling people to faith in places where there is not only no church to be found, but often no comprehension of Jesus and the transformation He offers. God wants His children to participate in the impossible, to stretch their faith and know that He can be trusted. There are too many people who have never heard of Jesus both locally and globally. Go and give what you have to God – skills, finances, prayers – so that He can multiply it and extend His Kingdom. [Romans 10:14-15]
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Baptist Churches Western Australia is one of 70 West Australian groups calling for alcohol advertising to be removed from public transport and police to be given powers to monitor alcohol sales to minors under a plan designed to protect children and young people from its harmful effects. The WA Alcohol and Youth Action Coalition, chaired by Professor Fiona Stanley, brings together health and medical groups, emergency and law enforcement services, Aboriginal and youth focused groups and researchers with a common interest in preventing harm from alcohol to young people. The release of the WA Election Platform by the Coalition follows a survey which showed that 91 percent of WA adults are
concerned about alcohol use among young people, yet only 20 percent think governments are doing enough to prevent alcoholrelated harm among them. “The level of government action on alcohol to date has not matched the level of community concern. Ahead of the WA election, we call on all political parties to make a commitment to protecting children and young people from the harms of alcohol,” said Professor Stanley. “As we learn more about how alcohol affects the developing brain and the extent of FASD [fetal alcohol spectrum disorder] across communities ... addressing the impacts of alcohol becomes even greater.” “Our comprehensive plan is based on the best evidence for how the far-reaching and significant impacts of alcohol can be prevented.” The Australian Medical Association (WA) President Dr Andrew Miller believes the people of WA expect governments to do more. “Each week in WA there are ten deaths, 298 hospitalisations
Photo: Astarot – Shutterstock
Action on alcohol needed
The WA community believes that the government can do more to prevent alcohol-related harm among young people.
and 98 domestic violence assaults related to alcohol. From immediate impacts to long-term harms, doctors have to deal with the consequences.“ “We do not need to accept such high levels of preventable harms. This election, we need alcohol policies that put the
interests of WA children and young people first.” The platform is focused on six priority areas: reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol promotion; reduce underage access to alcohol; continue support for alcohol education programs; ensure fair liquor
licensing processes; support WA to lead FASD prevention; and consider measures to ensure that alcohol is not sold at unreasonably low prices. The Coalition is writing to all political parties asking them to commit to action in the six priority areas.
Photo: Ben Good
Goods return home
Ben and Samantha Good and their three children Elizabeth, Anna and Finlay are settling back into life in Mozambique.
In early January, following a farewell and commissioning service at Gosnells Baptist Church, the Good family returned to Mozambique having spent ten months in Perth on home assignment. For Ben Good, the service marked a new chapter for the family who are returning as cross-cultural workers with Global Interaction in Mozambique. “It was a very special way to end our time in Australia and also begin our new term in Mozambique; for we cannot be here without the support of our Church family,” Ben said.
Prior to the Good’s entering Mozambique, the entire Mozambique team met in Malawi for its annual team retreat and were encouraged by Pastors Mark and Karen Wilson. While unsure what the next term will bring, Ben was excited by the new beginning. “On 29 January, we successfully entered Mozambique and a week later received our 12 month residency permits and so begins term two, a new chapter, and a new beginning.” “We’re unsure what this term will hold, but expectantly pray that God will work in ways which far surpass our hopes and dreams and that we will see Yawo people putting their faith in Jesus and forming faith communities with Him at their centre.”
Staying independent in your own home is easier than you think. Choose from our flexible support services, tailored to your individual needs and goals including: Nursing and personal care Help around the house Shopping, outings and appointments Support to stay active in your community and pursue your interests. Our experienced and friendly staff provide assistance so you can stay independent and connected to the community. Home Care Packages (Levels 1-4) and ad hoc services are now available. Find out how Baptistcare’s At Home Services can assist you in living life the way you want. Just call or visit our website.
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news MARCH 2017
Russell Bricknell has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer of Baptistcare, effective April 2017. “I’m honoured and excited to have been selected to lead this organisation. Together with the team, I look forward to making a real difference in the lives of people we care for and support,” he said. Garry also recognised the significant contribution of Wayne Belcher who took on the role of Interim CEO during the executive recruitment process. “I’d like to thank Wayne for his stewardship of Baptistcare over
Newly appointed Baptistcare CEO Russell Bricknell.
New VET Director for Vose
Jon Bergmann joined the Vose Seminary team as the Director of Vocational Education and Training at the beginning of this year. Holding a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, a Master of Theology, and Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualifications, Jon is keen to share his energy and passion for the VET world. “It [VET training] has an incredible capacity to train emerging leaders in a way that gives a solid foundation for both life and ministry,” Jon said. Jon’s experience includes ministering with another national Bible college as VET Coordinator for WA/SA and most recently as the Dean of Learning and Teaching, where he was responsible for all of its academic program delivery nationwide.
Jon has already made significant improvements to the Vose program, including an Introduction to the New Testament evening class at Lake Joondalup Baptist Church, and further development of the learning resources being utilised by the already strong team of trainers at Vose. VET training at Vose includes the Certificate IV and Diploma of Ministry as well as Certificate IV and Diploma of Leadership and Management that is delivered in classroom settings or online. It often incorporates an internship, making it relevant immediately to the student and to their church or organisation.
Photo: Matt Chapman
Russell has an extensive background in the aged care and community services sector, holds degrees in education, science and a Masters in Business Administration, is a Graduate and Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management. He was previously the Chief Executive of Aged Care Channel, overseeing operations in Australia, the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand. Prior to this role, Russell was Chief Operating Officer of Australian Home Care, a leading provider of home based care to people with disabilities in NSW and Victoria, General Manager of BaptistCare NSW and ACT, and Executive Director of Churches of Christ Care in Queensland. Baptistcare Board Chair Garry McGrechan said he looked forward to working with Russell to strategically position Baptistcare in a rapidly changing market. “I’m delighted Russell is joining Baptistcare as our new CEO and am extremely confident he is ideally qualified and experienced to lead Baptistcare in this new era of increased customer choice and competition,” he said. “Russell’s leadership skills and extensive change management experience demonstrate that he is well placed to realise our vision to transform and enrich the lives of every person we support and every colleague we work alongside.” Reflecting on his appointment, Russell explained he has a passion for delivering high quality care that positively impacts the lives of residents, customers and their families.
the last few months and for his willingness to step into the role at such short notice,” he said. Russell lived in Perth as a child, was educated in Queensland and will relocate from Sydney with his wife, Kerryn. One of his adult children will move to Perth, while the other will remain in Sydney to pursue her tertiary studies. His parents were Baptist missionaries. Russell has attended Baptist churches (including Yokine and Lesmurdie as a child) and recently attended Hillsong church in NSW. He is also Chair of Reventure, an organisation committed to connecting faith and work for people in their everyday lives.
Baptistcare appoints new CEO
Jon Bergmann has joined the Vose Seminary team as the Director of Vocational Education and Training.
digital church 17/02/17
thegospelcoalition.org I cannot say I am ‘parenting alone,’ because in fact my Heavenly Father has repeatedly reminded me that I am never alone. I am learning that His sufficiency more than meets any challenge I might face.
lifeway.com/pastors Busyness is becoming one of the greatest idols of the 21st century. We tell everyone “I am busy”, as if we are declaring, “yes, my life matters because my calendar is full.”
practicalshepherding.com/ blog If it were up to me, I would choose a different way. But I’m not God. I’m not in control. So I will trust Him to guide my steps as He continues to teach me.
twitter.com/KyleIdleman The grace you have received is greater than the grace you are being asked to give.
pastorrick.com/devotional Christian meditation means thinking about Scripture. You meditate on Scripture in the same way a cow chews her cud: by chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it.
Anna Meade Harris
twitter.com/karlfaase Leadership and ministry is about consistently doing things that no one notices to get a Kingdom outcome that surprises everyone.
stephenmcalpine.com I’m not sure that the busy schedule that professional ministry has established over the past few decades is serving our people half as much as it is serving itself.
twitter.com/craiggroeschel God didn’t create you to live out a tragedy, always struggling. He made you to trust Him and redeem your pain with His power.
Jonathan Stoner thinkchristian.reframemedia.com And may we realise, as Martin Luther King Jr did, that we have been knit together as the human family ‘in a single garment of destiny’, one that unites us across religious, cultural, political, racial, and geographic barriers.
John Piper desiringgod.org It does not dishonour Him to say that He is an inexhaustible spring of love, and that the more He helps us and the more we depend on His service, the more amazing His resources appear.
Bible Society acquires publisher
Acorn publishes books that aim to help the everyday Aussie Christian live and relate well with their neighbours. Acorn’s bestseller, Understanding Jesus and Muhammad, written by Bernie Power, explores who each of these men were, where they came from, what they taught and how they envisioned the future. “In the light of the current tensions that exist in the world, the future of civilisation may well depend on how humanity responds to Jesus and Muhammad,” Power said. Songs of Jesse Adams by Peter McKinnon is a Christian novel, set in the turmoil of social change and political unrest of Australia during the 1960s. It traces the meteoric rise of a boy from the bush – a farmer’s son who breaks away to follow his heart, his dreams and his love of music. It was turned into a theatre production in Melbourne. Announcing the partnership, Bible Society Australia CEO Dr Greg Clarke said, “It will greatly support Australian Christian
writing while also bringing Acorn’s immense skills and experience to Bible Society”. Acorn Press Senior Editor Kris Argall said, “We only need to read some American literature to see that it doesn’t quite address the Australian situation.” “Australian Christianity is quite different, so it’s good to have material published for Australians.” “Hopefully [Acorn] are giving Australian Christians a voice, giving them a chance to have their own views and perspectives on Australian Christianity published.” “There’s a special flavour and language to the sorts of things we enjoy reading and what resonates with us. So we are helping writing be more relevant to Australians’ lives,” Kris said. Acorn Press Chairman Paul Arnott is also thrilled with the deal saying his board “is delighted with the Bible Society’s acquisition of Acorn Press”. “The reason Acorn began 37 years ago was to publish inspiring and challenging books by Australia Christians,” he said.
Photo: Silvano Audisio – Shutterstock
Bible Society Australia has finalised its acquisition of Acorn Press, one of the liveliest Christian publishers in Australia.
Bible Society Australia supports Christian writing by partnering with Christian publisher, Acorn Press.
He believes the partnership with Bible Society will ensure that a vital publishing avenue will remain open for Australian Christian authors. Dr Clarke said while the Bible will always be at the heart of its
publishing endeavours, Bible Society is keen to encourage strong Christian writing which points readers towards greater engagement with the Good Book. Under the partnership arrangement, Acorn Press will
continue to publish under its current name. Used with the permission from Eternity. Original article published 10 January 2017.
Colin Buchanan stumbled into success
“When I first decided to make an album of my kids’ Christian music, I had no grand plan,” Colin told Eternity during a far-reaching chat about his professional and personal life. Having worked as a teacher before he made the leap to being a professional entertainer, Colin’s musical material had been “hanging around for years”. For example, on his first album of Christian songs for kids – 1996’s Remember the Lord – the song ‘Old Black Crow’ was written 12 years before it was recorded and released. Colin has been touring Australia during the last few months of 2016, and into 2017, to celebrate his 20 years in Christian music for the whole family. He remains grateful that he has been
able to continue with the initial vision he had for his Christian music – “songs for kids about Bible truths and sharing them.” Reflecting upon the start of his Christian music career, Colin remains humbled by the instant response Remember the Lord received. “It immediately got traction and I was very grateful for that. As a musician and as someone who wanted to bring those songs – and what those songs teach – to kids and families, to know that people were embracing it was very special.” “And just as recently as yesterday, I said to a friend, ‘I’m still waiting for people to lose interest’.” “Ten years ago, I was thinking that people will lose interest in this. Instead, there’s just been a really
Colin Buchanan has become Australia’s best-known family entertainer in the Christian arena during the past two decades. But the award-winning musician and Play School presenter admits he didn’t know what he was doing when he started out – and he still thinks people will lose interest in him.
Colin Buchanan and Lee Kernaghan with their haul of awards at the 2016 APRA Music Awards.
lovely growing momentum and I’m really grateful for that.” Colin has nine Golden Guitars awards to his credit, is an APRA and ARIA award winner and in 2012 released The Songwriter Sessions CD and DVD, a landmark live-to-tape recording with a stellar list of collaborators – John Williamson, Lee Kernaghan,
Troy Cassar-Daley, Sara Storer, Diana Corcoran, Dobe Newton, Markus Meier, Anne Kirkpatrick and Peter Denahy. “Of course, I never knew what lay ahead when I started this whole songwriting thing!” Colin admitted. “I’m no more sure now, really! I just keep writing songs
and the road keeps unfolding, with all its interesting twists and turns. It’s such a blessed life and I thank God for opening the doors as he has.” Used with the permission from Eternity. Original article published 16 December 2016.
news MARCH 2017
A day in the life of a camper
There is plenty to reflect upon. Over the past four days, they’ve heard five talks from Jeremy Bourdon, former youth pastor at Lakeside Baptist Church, focusing on God’s power and how it can work in their lives. They have attended workshops which have helped them approach important issues such as mental health and romantic relationships in a Godhonouring way. And they have had plenty of opportunities to open up, share their perspectives and ideas, and ask their questions in small group discussions. It’s a strong contrast to how many of their peers might spend their holidays – and that isn’t even where the differences end. Between the serious moments, these young people have been getting creative in a photo rally around Mandurah, competing in a quiz night, hurtling down a flying fox, getting thoroughly messy on a giant Slip ‘N Slide, and – a true camp classic – running away from more than a few poolnoodle-wielding leaders.
Photo: Jodi Booth
It’s 8pm on New Year’s Eve, and 45 teenagers are gathering in the meeting hall at the Serpentine Camping Centre for one final time of praise and reflection.
Forty-five campers from more than 20 different churches attended this year’s Summer Seniors camp, along with a team of 15 dedicated leaders.
After all of that [and more], you’d expect to hear an exhausted silence as the worship night comes to a close, but before long the room is abuzz with conversation and laughter. The friendships that have been growing over the course of camp are much more exciting than the idea of sleeping, and that
excitement is more than enough to sustain these campers until the new year. Eventually, midnight comes and goes, and after a great deal of convincing on the leaders’ part, everyone is asleep. In the morning they’ll all head back to their homes – some to Perth, others as far as Broome
– many of them already eagerly anticipating the next camp. In the coming weeks, they’ll return to more than 20 different churches, taking with them a unique and exciting set of experiences to share. Summer Seniors camp has finished, but the camp site isn’t empty for long. A few hours
later, it’s a hive of productivity as preparations begin for Inters camp. There’s a new set of leaders, and tomorrow a fresh group of campers will be arriving, but the goal remains the same – to tell young people about Jesus and the difference He makes, and to have a great time along the way!
Christian Surfers return to Margaret River Pro Christian Surfers Scarborough, through a longstanding relationship with Surfing WA, will be returning to serve at the Margaret River Pro in April. In May 2016, Christian Surfers Australia hosted the Groundswell international gathering. Surfers from over 35 countries travelled under a common love for Jesus, surfing and seeing surfing communities know the love of God. For five days, Christian surfers from around the world learned about and worshipped Jesus as a united group. “In Perth, there is a vibrant group of people who gather every Monday night with the same common love for Jesus and surfing – Christian Surfers Scarborough meets for Bible studies and barbecues,” Matthew said. “The aim is for it to be a dedicated time of discovering who God is, His love and how to best serve Him and the surfing community.”
In Perth, there is a vibrant group of people who gather every Monday night with the same common love for Jesus and surfing ... Photo: Tyler Vawser
The group are members of Christian Surfers Australia – a surf ministry founded in Cronulla, New South Wales in the late 1970s. Christian Surfers Australia (CSA) caters for all surfers – standup, bodyboard, girls, young ‘groms’, pro-surfers and any other form of surfing. It has several missions throughout Australia with the aim of serving and giving every surfer, in every surfing community, the opportunity to know and follow Jesus. Shortly after the Margaret River Pro, CSA crew from across Australia will travel to the Gold Coast for its annual CSA National Gathering held over Easter. “It will be an amazing time for celebrating Jesus and chasing waves,” Christian Surfers Scarborough member Matthew Gordon said.
“The leaders demonstrate their love in action by organising annual surf camps to Margaret River, Horrocks and Denmark.” For more information, visit www.christiansurfers.org.au
Christian Surfers member, Rowan McMath frothing out at a break in Margaret River.
MP loves God’s flock
“I did not want to hear that – I loved being a pastor. But gradually God impressed it on my heart that I should have a go at getting into parliament – so I joined the Liberal Party and the rest is history!” Peter said. To the surprise of many, Peter won the safe Labor Party seat of Southern River in 2008. He is one of the few MPs who openly speaks of his Christian faith in parliament and to his constituents. “The introductory flyer we letterboxed to every house in 2008 opened with the words ‘I have served as a pastor for the past 25 years’ – the feedback I received from this made me realise that traditional Christian values are still widely held in our community,” Peter said. At the 2013 election Mr Abetz’s margin increased to almost 17 percent – an indication that many appreciated his approach, which is shaped by his belief that every person is made in the image of God, and loved by Him. “Whether a person wanting to see me is a multimillionaire or a recovering drug addict, I do my utmost to help them, and people appreciate that. At heart, I am still a pastor and I just love helping people,” he said.
Asked if he has had to compromise his Christian values by having to toe the party line, Peter said he valued the freedom that the Liberal Party gives its MPs to oppose legislation if in good conscience they cannot support it. “I have only felt the need to use that privilege twice in eight years.” Peter has been an outspoken critic of attempts to legalise prostitution and of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia program, which rejects the traditional Christian view of sexuality and gender. His campaign against unethical conduct by franchisors led to major changes to the laws governing franchising at a national level. Due to the Western Australian Electoral Commission rearranging electorate boundaries last year, Peter’s seat of Southern River is now deemed a marginal seat. Commentators say it is the seat to watch on election night, as it may well determine which party form government.
Photo: Stephen White
Concerned at the undermining of Australia’s Christian heritage, Pastor Peter Abetz prayed that God would raise up godly men and women for the corridors of power. After a while, some of the elders and close Christian friends suggested that he might be the answer to his own prayer.
Peter Abetz (centre) meeting with constituents in the seat of Southern River.
Global coach to visit Perth
briefs Pastor Wayne Belcher has concluded as the Executive Pastor at Lake Joondalup Baptist Church and will be taking up a CEO role within the aged care industry. Denmark Baptist Church members are delighted that Pastor Graeme Ritchie was unanimously recalled as their Pastor along with nine new members being welcomed to the congregation. Glenn and Liz Black, along with their three boys, have departed to Thailand to serve with Global Interaction ministering to the Ethnic people of Thailand. Pastor Shane Kuchel from South Australia, has been appointed as the new Associate Pastor at Lakeside Baptist Church and Pastor Lennon Smartt as the new Youth and Young Adult Pastor. Pastor Brad Paterson was appointed as the Associate Pastor at Parkerville Baptist Church. Pastor Clinton Plumley was
appointed as the Youth Pastor at Australind Baptist Church. Pastor Keith Henderson has been appointed as the new Pastor of Kelmscott Baptist Church.
New contact email Busselton Baptist Camping Centre has changed its email address to busseltoncamp@ baptistwa.asn.au
Annual Vose Booksale Date: Saturday 8 April 2017 Location: 20 Hayman Road, Bentley Vose will have over 30,000 second-hand books of all kinds for sale. Plants and gifts will also be on sale, with a sausage sizzle to keep shoppers sustained while browsing. EFTPOS facilities will be available.
Photo: Jill Birt
Author and discipleship coach David Watson will be visiting Perth in early May.
Author and coach, David Watson makes his first visit to Perth for one day of training and conversations on Monday 8 May at South Perth Baptist Church. As Vice President for Global Disciple-Making, David serves the global church through CityTeam Ministries. He mentors people of the next generation of disciple-making strategists.
Since 1989, David has been involved with movements that have seen the inception of 100,000 churches, and he has trained more than 30,000 leaders from 167 nations. David’s books Miraculous Movements, Contagious Disciple Making and The Father Glorified tell the stories of networks across Africa and India where disciples have multiplied exponentially through family and community networks. The same principles are being used to see multiplication happen in Western societies. The Perth event is for people interested in engaging their communities using Discovery
Bible Study and the paradigm of making disciples that multiply. David is currently coaching the Praxeis team which is hosting the event from 9am to 3pm. Praxeis, an international group that makes disciples that make disciples, was formed five years ago in Melbourne and now has workers using the principles of disciple making movements around the world. For more information and to register, visit praxeis.org.au/ events
feature MARCH 2017
God’s call advocate f Western Australians prepare Baptist leaders to converge to advocate for justice on Canberra On Friday 10 February, representatives from Baptist churches around the state attended the Western Australian Catalyst Launch 2017 at North Beach Baptist Church. Held annually, the Catalyst Launch is run by Baptist World Aid Australia to inspire and equip local church groups, known as ‘Catalyst Groups’, to advocate for justice. Throughout 2017, individuals from around Western Australia will gather together to learn about issues of global poverty and injustice, to pray for those suffering around the world, and to be trained in how to take action in their churches. Catalyst groups are part of Baptist World Aid’s work to resource and empower its supporters to speak up for the poor and the oppressed. Groups typically run awareness-raising activities, mobilise their church communities to act on issues of injustice, and advocate to our nation’s decision-makers. “The Catalyst Launch is a really key event on the Baptist World Aid calendar,” Advocacy Coordinator Eliza Johnson said. “It’s the moment that we reflect and thank God for the year that has just passed and look forward to what we have planned in the year ahead.” In 2017, Catalyst groups will continue to call on Australia to be a generous neighbour when it comes to helping communities overseas lift themselves out of poverty; calling on companies to ensure that the workers producing their products in developing countries are treated fairly; and tackling corruption and tax dodging which rob developing countries of the revenue they need to lift their citizens out of poverty. But there will also be a new focus. “This year we’re launching our new anti-slavery campaign: Check the Chain,” Eliza said. “We’ll be asking our Government to follow the example of the UK and California, and introduce legislation that requires companies to disclose what they’re doing to eradicate slavery and exploitation in their supply chains.” “In an increasingly interconnected world, where the supply chains of Australian companies literally span the globe, it is critical for companies to examine their supply chains for exploitation and slavery, and to take action to remedy the situation where exploitation and slavery is found.” The Check the Chain campaign will accompany Baptist World Aid’s release of The 2017 Australian Fashion Report, which grades Australian fashion brands on what they are doing to reduce the risk of exploitation and forced labour in their supply chains. For more information, visit www.baptistworldaid.org.au/catalyst
This March, Baptist World Aid Australia will join Baptist leaders from around the country as they converge on Canberra to call on our nation’s decision makers to ensure Australia does its part to end violence against women. This will be the second event of its kind, with the inaugural Converge event garnering positive political traction and media attention last year. One Australian woman dies every week because of domestic violence and, across the globe, 63 million people have been displaced by violence, with the majority lacking any viable options to resettle. Millions more are subjected to violence and exploitation, toiling to produce products that are exported to countries like Australia. Baptist leaders are uniting to say that this violence is not part of the world God wants for His children. Delegates are travelling from all over Australia to lobby for increased support for victims of domestic violence, new ways to address the global problem of asylum seekers, and new legislation requiring more corporate transparency around what companies are doing to mitigate the risk of exploitation in their supply chains. Baptists are active when it comes to addressing the problem of violence. Globally, they have supported humanitarian relief efforts for Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Burmese refugees in Malaysia through Baptist World Aid. Domestically, Baptist Care Australia agencies have been supporting refugees arriving in Australia, and many local churches have been involved in ministry with refugees. The Baptist movement has also produced world-leading research to address exploitation, child labour and slavery in the supply chains of Australian products in the form of Baptist World Aid’s Behind the Barcode project, which includes the Australian Fashion Report. Across the country, Baptist Care agencies have been working with victims of domestic violence. In recent times, teams like the Baptist Churches of NSW and ACT Public Engagement Group have run workshops and seminars to address the presence of domestic violence in the homes of congregation members. “Being such a strong grass roots movement, much of our activism has occurred at a congregational level,” Director of A Just Cause Rev. Scott Higgins said. “Converge builds on this, by letting our political leaders hear directly from our denominational leaders. They are coming together to influence the direction of government policy towards justice.” Converge will be attended by Directors of Ministry from New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia; the heads of Baptist World Aid Australia, A Just Cause, and Baptist Care Australia agencies, as well as a number of Australian Baptist pastors.
feature MARCH 2017
to for justice Raising your voice for justice Naomi Yorston is a mum of two, with baby number three on the way. Last November, she attended the Voices for Justice conference in Canberra.
Above: Naomi Yorston feels that as a mum, advocacy is something she can do – by helping her children engage with these issues from now, when they are young. Left: Eliza Johnson speaks to attendees at the Catalyst Launch at North Beach Baptist Church.
Voices for Justice is a three day advocacy training and grassroots lobbying event organised by Micah Australia, a Christian coalition, of which Baptist World Aid Australia is a member. “I think it’s the kind of thing every Christian should do,” Naomi said. “Advocacy is one way we can be a light in our community. It’s another part of our witness to others of what we care about as Jesus’ people. And I feel that’s very important.” In fact, Naomi feels it’s so important that she was willing to step outside of her comfort zone to live out her conviction. “I felt extremely underqualified to talk to politicians about issues like disaster and climate change,” Naomi admitted. “I’m not an expert, so it felt a bit intimidating at first, but I found the weekend of training and the conference really helpful.” That’s what Voices for Justice is all about: equipping regular people like Naomi to lobby our nation’s leaders on issues that they, as Christians, care about. “I really see in the heart of God and in the Bible the need for us to care about restoration and bringing His Kingdom into this world,” Naomi said. “And that includes the whole earth. But we should also care about these issues because it means looking after people whose lives have been affected. We can’t ignore that.” On the final day of the event, Naomi voiced her concerns in four meetings. “We were asking for an increase in the percentage of the aid budget that’s currently put into Disaster Risk Reduction, but from a fresh injection of funds, not from the existing budget which is already dwindling,” she said. “It was quite humbling in a way. Just to come together with a bunch of people who cared enough about the issues to be there, and to give their weekend to be a voice for change.”
Photo: Dushan Jeyabalan
This article was first published in Baptist World Aid Australia’s supporter magazine Be Love.
10 news MARCH 2017
Sanctuary movement rising
According to the leaders of the Sanctuary Movement, the numbers joining has doubled since the election of Donald Trump, resulting in a total of 450 participating houses of worship. Not all have the space and inner strength to house immigrants indefinitely; some contribute financially, others offer legal aid, provide food, transportation or child care. Rev. Robin Hynicka told The New York Times that his decision to house Javier Flores Garcia in the church basement was based on Jesus’ words to His followers in Matthew 25: instructing them to feed, house and clothe the poor and vulnerable. Javier is the first person that Rev. Hynicka’s church has offered sanctuary to. It is because of his two US born children and their mother Alma Lopez that Javier is fighting to remain in the US. When Javier last spent time in detention before being sent home to prepare his family for
deportation, his partner Alma attempted to commit suicide. Other churches took compassion and sympathy on similar cases in which families fear they will be separated through deportation. In December 2016, Ingrid Encalada Latorre took refuge in a church in Denver, Colorado. Ingrid worked in a nursing home since 2002, using fake papers, and paid back US$12,000 in taxes after being arrested and charged by immigration authorities. She has two boys, aged eight and one, who hold American citizenship. Historically, US sanctuaries go back to the American Civil War when churches offered refuge to slaves fleeing the south. The new Sanctuary Movement was refuelled when deportation numbers picked up during Barack Obama’s presidency and spreaded across various denominations. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Photo: Luis Lopez Acabal-Sanctuary – Shutterstock
Houses of worship in the United States offer sanctuary and assistance to undocumented immigrants who fear deportation.
Members of University Presbyterian Church in Phoenix, Arizona pray for an immigrant fearing deportation as he enters sanctuary.
department considers schools, hospitals and churches to be ‘sensitive locations’ in which ‘enforcement actions […] should generally be avoided’ unless prior approval due to urgent circumstances has been given.
Sanctuary leaders expect that sensitive locations will be treated differently during Donald Trump’s presidency; that it will be more difficult for churches to help undocumented immigrants. Despite this, they refuse to give up.
“It is unthinkable that we will stand by while more than ten percent of our flock is ripped from our midst and deported,” Bishop Robert McElroy stated at a recent Catholic immigration conference.
A congregation in Sri Lanka is determined to continue to meet for worship and ministry despite the recent destruction of their church building by an angry mob. About 200 people witnessed a group of villagers destroy the building using wooden sticks and iron bars until there was almost nothing left. The congregation of 15 families and 20 others had been growing quickly and was completely made up of believers who converted from another faith – the church’s leader Kamal Wasantha believes this to be the reason for the attack. He told World Watch Monitor that he will not “abandon [his] mission just because of the attack.”
US congress 91 percent Christian Ninety one percent of the members of the new United States Congress (consisting of Senate and House of Representatives) identify as Christians, reported the Pew Research Center. The percentage of Christians in the US Congress has been on a steady high since the 1960s (when 95 percent of its members were Christians) while the percentage of US
American Christians overall has been steadily declining, the report states. Comparing the newly elected congress with the previous congress, there has not been a noticeable shift: 491 members of the 114th United States Congress were Christian, compared to 485 members in the current body.
Photo: Istvan Csak – Shutterstock
Sri Lankan church is resilient
Ethiopian teenagers set free Four Christian girls aged between 14 and 18 years have been set free after serving a one month jail sentence in the Ethiopian town Babile, 130 kilometres west of the Somalian border. As reported by Open Doors USA, the girls had been charged with ‘inciting religious violence’ after a Christian book which they brought into town had led locals to attack two churches and threaten church leaders. The book aims to answer questions posed by an Islamic scholar about Christianity and was perceived as an insult to Islam by the locals. According to Open Doors, Ethiopian Christians who converted from Islam can face discrimination and threats. The country ranks 22 on the Open Doors World Watch List of the 50 worst countries to live as a Christian.
Since the peak of the refugee crisis in September 2015, thousands of refugees have gone to Germany to apply for asylum and flee persecution and war in their home countries.
German Pastor Gottfried Martens has criticised the interrogation practises of German authorities who are processing the asylum applications of Christian refugees. Germany’s Ministry for Immigration and Refugees is interrogating Christian refugees to determine whether their faith is genuine, as this could make
a return home more dangerous and a claim for asylum stronger. Pastor Martens has baptised more than 1,000 former Muslims in his church in Berlin and has supported many of these through their application for asylum. In a letter to supporters of his ministry, Pastor Martens described asylum seekers’ struggles during interrogations by ministry officials, how they are assigned translators who lack knowledge of the Christian faith, seemingly unfit to judge whether a refugee’s faith is genuine or not. “Questions are put such as the names of the two sons in
the Parable of the Prodigal Son, or what Martin Luther died of, or the occasion for Queen Margarethe of Denmark’s recent visit to Wittenberg,” he reported. “In some interrogations, asylum seekers repeatedly undergo being mocked and laughed at when they relate how it is important to them that Jesus Christ died for their sins on the cross,” Martens said. German church officials say that record numbers of former Muslims have been baptised in Germany since the beginning of the refugee crisis. However, official numbers have not been confirmed.
news 11 MARCH 2017
Christians living in danger
For the 16th consecutive year, North Korea ranks first on the 2017 World Watch List, listing the 50 most dangerous places to be a Christian. It is followed by Somalia and Afghanistan. India rose to its highest rank yet, number 15. In 2016, approximately 215 million Christians worldwide experienced extreme persecution, particularly those in North Korea, with believers having to completely hide their faith from the government, their neighbours and even their own family. Believers report to pray with eyes open out of fear of being discovered.
murdered by their extended families after they hear of their conversion. Converts can also lose their right to personal property, leaving them in financial peril. Pakistan and Nigeria stand out as particularly violent environments for Christians, affecting a combined number of almost 100 million believers. According to Open Doors, the level of violence against Christians in Pakistan was highest overall, ‘exceeding even northern Nigeria’ which has been terrorised by the Islamic group Boko Haram for years. Driven by Hindu nationalism, India rose to its highest rank yet (number 15). Of the 64 million
Christians in India, approximately 39 million experience direct persecution, such as beatings of pastors, destruction of churches and harassment of believers. Open Doors uses data from field workers and ‘independent experts’ to examine the structure of Christian persecution. The list is independently audited by the International Institute of Religious Freedom. For a complete list of all countries with supporting material and prayer requests for persecuted believers, visit www.opendoors.org.au
Photo: Open Doors USA
The annual list compiled by Open Doors measures the persecution of Christians worldwide according to the degree of religious freedom Christians have in private, family, community, nationally and within church life. An additional measurement examined the degree of violence towards Christians.
Christians who do not comply with the mandated worship of the ruling Kim family face arrest, imprisonment, torture, labour camps or death. Open Doors estimates that there are 300,000 Christians living in North Korea to date. Hundreds of Christians in Somalia face extreme persecution where executions of converted Christians are very common. The country has been on the World Watch List for 24 years and has been struggling under the influence of Islamist militant groups. In Afghanistan, Christians who converted from Islam to Christianity fear extreme persecution, and are often
The World Watch List 2017 by Open Doors lists the 50 most dangerous places to live as a Christian.
Bibles for Palestinian Christians
The Palestinian Bible Society is looking back on a successful 2016 as they delivered 20,000 copies of the New Testament to families and believers who did not previously have a copy of their own. According to Open Doors USA, most Palestinian believers belong to the Greek Orthodox Church which,
up until last year, was unable to provide churches with enough Bibles for people to take home.
“One priest I know had just ten Bibles in his church,” Executive Director of the
Palestinian Bible Society Nashat Filmon shared. Thanks to positive relations between the Bible Society and Orthodox Church leaders, a special edition of the New Testament was printed. Within a year, all 20,000 copies were given out to Christian families on the West Bank, Gaza and Israel.
12 in conversation MARCH 2017
YouthCARE’s chaplaincy couple, Shane and Paquita Stringer are working with schools in the Gascoyne and Pilbara, the first schools in Western Australia to benefit from the Itinerant Chaplaincy Service launched in January 2016. The Advocate recently caught up with the couple while in Perth preparing for the new school year.
How did you become interested in chaplaincy and choose it for your career? Paquita: Being involved with children at school, as we have four, I became very concerned with what was happening. I got involved with the Narrogin P&C and Shane was Vice-Chairman of the YouthCARE council – being a part of these I realised the importance of chaplaincy. We lost our chaplain when she moved to Perth and this was when I realised what God was calling me to do. I applied for the position and was a chaplain in Narrogin Senior High School for five years. There were only 80 chaplains [in WA] back then and now we have nearly 400, so that was one of the reasons I got into it. I was wondering how I would go but I loved being a chaplain and helping the students, not realising it was actually bigger than that – you get involved in parents, teachers and principals’ lives as well. There are a lot of kids who are still alive because they were brave enough to talk to a chaplain. I was asked to do area chaplaincy and said ‘no’ for about eight months – I finally accepted, and have been doing it for four years now. I really enjoy doing the area chaplaincy work and being involved in lots of different communities, and encouraging and looking after the chaplains so they can keep doing what they need to do in schools. A lot of chaplains do too much and can be overwhelmed with some of the things they must report on. It’s nice to be the person that they can call and ask for help when they need to. Shane: I had been a pastor and in ministry for 16 years in Esperance and Narrogin and being a pastor of a small church was not enough financially, but I was interested in the ministry side of chaplaincy and the fact that we could go into a secular environment and be a ‘God person’ in that place so that’s what drew me in. Briefly explain your role with YouthCARE as itinerant school chaplains and how you came into this role? Paquita: Our role up there [Gascoyne and Pilbara regions] as itinerant school chaplains is to go into schools and work with the principal to see what the needs of
the schools are and run programs if required. During our first visit, one of the schools was having huge issues with the girls so we ended up running The 5 Love Languages program for the Year 6 and 7s. It’s about the needs of the school and the students. As an itinerant chaplain Shane visits all the schools and they give him a list of students for a oneon-one appointment. He also had a few parent meetings and ran outdoor programs. My role as an area chaplain is to find chaplains for the schools so we go into all the churches and speak. One of the biggest areas for finding people is just having a conversation over coffee after church and realising that there are some amazing people that have got a call on their life to be able to work with children. They had all the experience but not the qualifications. We still have people in training at the moment who will be ready in a couple of years’ time to apply for chaplaincy. We’ve had some amazing people that have stepped into chaplain roles in the Pilbara. One particular lady was a principal and teacher for 20 years and a hospital chaplain, so she filled in for five schools in the Karratha area for a while until they could get their own chaplain. You commenced as the first itinerant chaplains in the Gascoyne and Pilbara regions a year ago, what are some of the challenges you have faced? Paquita: Living in a caravan in 47 degree heat! Probably the biggest challenge has been finding people to take on the roles – people who suit the role and get through the process. Shane: Living away from the family – our kids and grandchildren. What have been the highlights over the past year and what brings you the greatest joy as a chaplain? Paquita: When a principal ‘high fives’ you, gives you a hug and says ‘thank you’ because you have found them an amazing chaplain. Shane: To revisit the schools and students that you have been able to sit down and talk with previously, to touch base with them and see that they have
been able to move on from the issues you talked previously about – the continuous contact with them once a term because I only visit each school one or two days a term so it’s 10 or 12 weeks between visits. That they actually have moved on in that short period of time and to know that when you can get a chaplain in there, how beneficial it will be for all the students. To know every week there will be a chaplain in there that they will be able to talk with and build those close relationships with. Paquita: One of the highlights is when you walk around a town – every single town in the Pilbara – and the teachers and students are all coming up saying ‘hello’ and having a chat. Every town we visit, a lot of people know who we are and that’s been quite surprising. Shane: In the caravan parks, it’s amazing the amount of people we met in the first 12 months from all over Australia and overseas and we were able to talk with them about chaplaincy and what it looks like in Western Australia. When you talk with people from other states they have no idea about chaplaincy, because it’s not a major thing in their communities, but for us it’s a major part of our school community and so well embraced. Paquita: We have been able to pray with people in the caravan parks. Another highlight is networking with the community, meeting the MPs and the town people and to have them want to be involved with us. Shane: Another highlight is the statistics – we started with only six chaplains in nine schools in January 2016 and at the beginning of 2017 we have 12 chaplains in 27 schools. Only six schools still need a chaplain. What are the biggest issues facing young people in the communities you serve? Paquita: It’s the same issues as everywhere else. It’s a 40 percent aboriginal community in some of the schools so it’s not like in the Kimberley. I think they thought there might be more issues around the aboriginal community but there’s not. The schools are quite amazing. There is such good respect for the teachers but the issues facing the young people are the same as down south and
Photo: RissOgraphy Photography
Travelling school chaplains
everywhere else. It’s family breakups, not drugs so much. Shane: Some of the issues are either mum or dad or both doing FIFO [fly-in fly-out] employment and even in Port Hedland, Karratha and Tom Price they still have those same issues that one or both of the parents are leaving home for extended periods of time and not being at home at night. Even up north, they still go out to camp sites for long periods of time. Paquita: Another issue facing the young people is when they finish school, then what are they going to do. For a lot of families — not everyone is a wealthy mine worker in the Pilbara – they still have to get their kids off to university or TAFE. Isolation is also a cause for concern. Working in a remote region, what support networks do you have and how do you maintain your personal spiritual life? Paquita: After pastoring for 16 years and being in one church, we did wonder how we’d go but we have found a church family in every town and it’s been quite amazing. We will be back at a church and it will be like we were only there last week but it’s been eight or ten weeks in between visits. We have church family all around the Pilbara now which is really special. We have made some really close friends and we spend time with the pastors because we’ve ‘walked that walk’. There are five pastors up there who have just started out in their first posting and it’s been really helpful for them as well. Shane: The maintenance side of a personal spiritual life comes from spiritual maturity. We spend time in prayer. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing — as a chaplain you have a two-way conversation going on with the student or teacher and then a vertical conversation happening with God, asking what do I say right now and what direction do I give, so you’ve always got that
communication open with Him, seeking His direction of where to go and what to do and it just flows. That continues and it comes out of spiritual maturity that you ask Him first what to do. How do you see the role of chaplaincy changing as Australia becomes a more secular society? Paquita: When we talk to principals they say we’ll find the money and we’ll help you ourselves. There are four schools that are funding their own chaplains. The teachers and principals say we have to keep our chaplain. People get a bit fearful that the secular community is getting involved and they won’t want chaplains in the schools, but you talk to the school staff and we’ll be there for the next 100 years if it was up to them. I don’t see it changing in a big hurry. The processes with YouthCARE and the chaplains that are going into schools is very good. Shane: The principals of the schools see the value of chaplaincy in their pastoral care teams and student services team. It is seen as an intricate part of that, so they don’t want to lose their chaplains because they can see we fill a niche that some of the other service providers can’t. What are your future ambitions/ plans as chaplains in the Gascoyne and Pilbara regions? Paquita: We’ll be there for another year as we’ve just started the second year of our two year contract, and then it’s up to YouthCARE. This year is the Year of Local Connections. We want to build the local connections between churches and the schools and the community. Shane: An ambition is to have all the school positions filled within the schools that want it by the end of the year. For more information, visit www.youthcare.org.au
growth 13 MARCH 2017
Something about saying sorry
The letter was written the day after Molly received the ultimate consequence for some ordinary behaviour. Two nights before a much-anticipated date at Bounce with some friends who form something called ‘The Friendship Club’ at The Big Table, she was being rebellious in the seemingly simple act of going to bed. Her accomplice in crime, Clover, was little better. Fi was out so it was a solo effort to enforce peace in the house. I think that both were offenders, but Molly definitely had the most to lose. Poised on the third strike, I brought Molly back to her room and said “This is it, Molly, get out of bed one more time, and you don’t even want to know the consequence.” (How is it that we become our parents in moments like this?) She did want to know and I gave her a fair idea. About five minutes later I heard noise again upstairs, and I climbed towards their bedrooms hoping that she’d be in bed. Inexplicably, she was up again. There was that sinking feeling that if she was, I’d have to follow through on a consequence that I already wished I hadn’t made. As I reached the top of the stairs, Molly was exiting Clover’s room. We locked eyes. The penny fell, and the remorse began as she ran back to her bed. I don’t think I have ever heard the sort of visceral and wrenching crying that I heard that night as she realised that she’d traded a couple
of rebellious laughs with her little sister for a day with The Friendship Club. As a parent, I was stuck as well. You can’t just relent and say ‘oh, yeah, that consequence really hurts me too, it’s all okay‘, and yet you realise that in the light of day, it was going to be unfortunate for everyone involved. I hung tough. A consequence is a consequence. Then I received this: a letter crafted with sufficient pathos that it broke the soft heart of her father with appropriate doses of remorse, manipulation, logic and pleading. Here’s how it read: ‘Um … I’m sorry about getting out of bed last night. I don’t really know what I was thinking when I did. I just completely lost my mind. I was r-e-a-l-l-y excited, and I don’t think that you could say to Janet that I can’t come to Bounce because she’s already paid for me and you can’t get your money back when you pay for Bounce. So please, can you say that I can come. You just don’t know how regretful and sorry I feel now. PLEASE.’ I have to say, while it would be easy to cave at first sight of a letter like that, I’m made of tougher stuff. But there was something about the lines ‘I completely lost my mind’ and ‘you don’t know how regretful and sorry I feel now’ that changed my heart.
Photo: Simon Elliott
There’s a note tucked in my bedside drawer. It’s a ‘sorry’ letter that Molly wrote me earlier this year. I keep spotting it there, but can’t bring myself to throw it away. There’s something about the power and sorrow of an eight year old that I want to preserve – even if it’s fleeting and floating around my drawer.
Molly went to Bounce with The Friendship Club. Each time I pull out that letter, I get taken back to Psalm 103. The Psalmist writes that: ‘He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.’ I’ve wondered before how an omniscient God can
remove the memory of our sin as far as the east is from west. Elsewhere, in Micah 7:19, it talks about God casting our sin into his sea of forgetfulness. As I’ve re-read the letter from time to time, I realise again that I harbour zero unforgiveness towards Molly. I did not treat her as her actions deserved. Because I want good things for Molly, I showed compassion. I still have the letter. Why? Because there’s something about reading her heartfelt repentance, that moves me. Amidst the rational and pragmatic is the simple confession ‘I lost my mind … you don’t know how regretful and sorry I feel right now’. Sin makes you stupid. It makes you say and do stupid
things that hurt ourselves and hurt others. God hears our hearts. He wants to hear our hearts because He wants to be in right relationship with us. The turning of our hearts towards Him and the right-thinking of our actions coupled with repentance, moves the heart of God. He wants to pour out mercy and compassion on us for the sake of right relationship. Because mercy triumphs over judgement. I may not always let Molly go to Bounce, but I’m sure I’ll always be moved by her repentance. There’s a father’s heart beating in here. Used with permission from Simon Elliott, writesomething.org.au
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14 news MARCH 2017
Detroit alive with new worship
98five Music Director Chela Williams
“I think our oldest regular player is 19. I’m 18 and I’m the front man. We grew up looking at the problems in Detroit and there are a lot of them,” Zachary said. “We hear all the time that it’ll take more money, more business, more schools … more, more, more to fix Detroit.” “It will take all that but there is something bigger broken in Detroit and in our world. It’s a broken soul. It’s people who have forgotten their creator. We believe that Jesus awakens the soul. That’s why we named the band ALIVE|CITY!”
The band break their youth barriers with years of well-seasoned lyrics and modern melodies. Having grown up together as kids in children’s church, the bond is evident in their live shows. “We bring a ton of energy and passion to the stage. We have a lot of fun playing, but our hope is that people have a God experience,” Zachary explained. “The idea of most shows is that the artist is the star, but when people come and see us we want them to experience a moment with God.” A fresh and energetic blend of pop, rock and Detroit hip-hop ALIVE|CITY’s upcoming album is suitable for tastes of all generations. “We chose ‘Say’ as our first release because it’s just a lot of fun and we think it has a pretty broad appeal,” Zachary said. “But I think my favourite is a little acoustic driven song called ‘Trust’. It’s very personal and yet corporate. Everywhere we play it people just respond to it. It’s a song that says, ‘when my world is falling apart there is one anchor, one hope, one thing I trust. I trust the God of the Bible.”
Photo: Metrocity Church
Birthed and planted in their local church, a group of young musicians and songwriters united with a heart for their city. Fronted by 18 year old Zachary Schossau, teenage worship band ALIVE|CITY from Detroit, Michigan have a deep understanding and mission to bring hope to their city.
Young Detroit worship band ALIVE|CITY members all grew up together from children’s church.
After all these years
Photo: Bethel Music
For more information, visit www.98five.com/latest-music
Brian and Jenn Johnson’s latest album is available now through iTunes.
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Caitlin du Toit
Bethel Music’s Brian and Jenn Johnson released their highly-anticipated new album, After All These Years, on 27 January 2017. This is the first release from the couple in more than ten years. Brian and Jenn Johnson have been leading Bethel Church’s Worship Department for over 15 years. The result of many years of work, After All These Years includes original worship songs that have never been heard before, with all tracks featuring an 80-piece orchestra.
“We wrote this album because of seasons that God has proved His faithfulness in,” Brian and Jenn Johnson shared. “This project is the overflow and expression of that. We hope it inspires you to go after all that God is asking you to do.”
“We’ve watched our parents and grandparents do this, and they have handed down a model that has influenced how we live and how we are dreaming into the future. Community, family, and carrying His name – that is the Kingdom – and that is for every believer.”
The Editor notes that Pursue by Cate Williams was voted in by listeners into the Top 30 Songs for 2016/2017 on Rhema FM Newcastle, and not the Top 300 as was stated in February’s edition of The Advocate.
intermission 15 MARCH 2017
A minute with ...
10 Amazing Muslims Touched by God
Photo: Linda Cummins
Faisal Malick Thank you Faisal Malick for bringing a range of inspirational stories together in 10 Amazing Muslims Touched by God. As an Australian and a Christian I have not been aware of what life is like growing up in other countries and with other beliefs. This book has opened my eyes to the differences, not just to my upbringing, but between the different Muslim countries as well. I have seen God move and experienced the touch of God, but what these people have experienced to convert them to belief in Jesus the Son of God who is love and peace when they have been taught the exact opposite is just phenomenal. For me, it reaffirmed that God loves all people and is moving in our time. It is an amazing book and inspires readersto reach others in their world.
watch The Insanity of God Is Jesus worth it? This is the question posed by Nik Ripken to Christians all over the world in The Insanity of God. Nik tells the stories of many people living in places where to profess your faith in Jesus will cost you your life and/or your freedom. These people risk their lives every day just by being Christians, but they live with a peace and a love that many of us in the Western world do not experience. The God Christians serve is so awesome and so amazing He is worth risking their lives for. And though many have been martyred for their faith all over the world, He also protects His people in ways that cannot be explained. Nik tells firsthand of the experiences and stories recounted to him by many who follow God, despite it seeming insane to do so. All agree that Jesus is worth all the pain, all the hardship, all the risk. It leaves me asking – what am I willing to risk for Jesus?
Marc Marion – Serpentine Camping Centre Manager A full of life character, Marc Marion heads up the team at Serpentine Camping Centre. Along with the team, Marc has a heart to share Jesus with campers and has helped reinvigorate the camp site and its future bookings. The Advocate met with Marc to ask him a few questions. Here are some of his answers: What led you to this role? Before relocating back to Perth, my wife and I had applied for the position of caretaker at the camp. I love the outdoors and this role was made to fit. God’s timing is perfect and He just made it happen for us. Did anyone put you through an intentional plan for leadership development? What was the plan? Yes. Years ago, I did workplace training where I trained the trainers and I have found this to be helpful in my role of leading others. How do you separate yourself effectively from work to rest? I live on-site so I need to get away to separate myself from work. I like going fishing, weekends away, and spending time with my kids. What would you like to go back and change? Nothing. You can’t change the past, but you can learn from it. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? Embrace the challenge. Learn to give up trying to control everything. Being a great leader is about influence, taking advice and listening to those around you.
This voucher entitles you to 15% off your next purchase in store at Mount Lawley The Advocate – March 2017
Reviews by Koorong Mount Lawley Assistant Manager Dorothy Waddingham Website: www.koorong.com Address: 434 Lord Street, Mount Lawley Phone: 08 9427 9777
listen The Garden Kari Jobe Be refreshed, renewed and inspired by this beautiful new album from Kari Jobe, The Garden. The title song has beautiful imagery in the lyrics with the gentle music drifting listeners through the Garden in the presence of Jesus. We should be able to see God in all that is around us and this is captured beautifully by Kari Jobe. The whole album is awash with God’s presence and Kari guides listeners into seeking Him, seeking His guidance and direction in ‘Speak to Me’ to His love in ‘Lover of my Soul’.
16 news MARCH 2017
Photo: Murray Hynes
Thirst World Adventure
Steve Fraser making his way through the Australian bush, all part of his preparation for Thirst World Adventure.
Thirst World Adventure is the challenge of a lifetime. Award-winning international photographer Steve Fraser will ride a KTM motorcycle around the world in 2017. His journey begins on the Indian Ocean coastline in Perth in March, and finishes seven months later back on the Indian Ocean in Cape Town, South Africa – taking the very long way round. Photo: Murray Hynes
donations will go directly to Water for Africa and to help them to continue this vital work. To follow Steve’s journey, visit www.thirstworldadventure.com Steve Fraser putting the kilometres on the KTM in preparation for his
alup Bapti nd
and often dangerous trek to fetch water. It is the younger women who often carry out this arduous task. Not only is their personal safety in jeopardy, but so is their education. They either miss school or are unable to attend at all. Women are at significant risk of being attacked when they leave the safety of their villages to trek many kilometres to collect water. “Just one well in one village can be life-changing. Infant mortality rates are vastly reduced, the risk of violent attacks outside of the village is removed and school attendance increases significantly. The result is a new generation of healthy, happy and educated people,” Steve commented. “I love the change Water for Africa is bringing to hundreds of thousands of lives each year.” Founders of Water For Africa, Phil and Julie Hepworth have a passion to see Africa transformed through the provision of clean water. “We visited Tanzania and saw what villages were like before the provision of a well, and after. Water transforms lives,” Phil said. The cost of Thirst World Adventure is funded by Steve, ensuring that 100 percent of all
Steve will travel through five continents and more than 30 countries on some of the most challenging routes the world has to offer. Covering more than 45,000 kilometres unsupported – just one man and one machine – it is the ultimate adventure. The reason: water. It’s one of our most precious resources. Yet around the world, a lack of water, and water of good quality, is endangering lives unnecessarily. Steve will visit some of the most iconic and isolated locations on Earth to highlight the effects of a lack of clean water in Africa. More than 3,000 children die there every day from a lack of water or of a water related disease – that’s one young person every 90 seconds, according to the World Health Organization. Steve is the ambassador of Water for Africa and the cause is close to his heart. The Thirst World Adventure is an opportunity to take that cause out on the road and raise its profile around the globe. Access to water is not only the difference between life and death, it is also the catalyst for sustainable change. Each day, thousands of people in Africa make the long,
J u s ti c e
Lake Joondalup Baptist College A Pre Kindergarten to Year 12 Coeducational College
LJBC, a place of values, opportunity, friendship, vision and achievement Grow with confidence
The Principal, staff and students of Lake Joondalup Baptist College congratulate the Year 12 graduates of 2016 for their outstanding WACE results! We are very proud of you all, for your good character and hard working attitude. Your excellent scores in the recent WACE examinations will certainly help you achieve your future goals. We wish you the very best. 2016 graduate results: Median ATAR 85.4, 16% with ATAR over 95, 36% with ATAR over 90, 63% with ATAR over 80 and 85% with ATAR over 70. Certificate II and above graduates achieved 100% completion with 25 graduates achieving Certificate IV. Congratulations on the achievement of ATAR Subject Exhibitions and the numerous Certificates of Excellence, Distinctions and Merit Awards.
‘Lake Joondalup Baptist College, big enough to be well resourced, small enough to always care’
Kennedya Drive Joondalup, Western Australia
The Advocate March 2017