IN CONVERSATION Nikola Lewis talks about what led her to the Girls’ Brigade Western Australia State Commissioner role, and the Girls’ Brigade 125 year celebrations. PAGE 12>>
“Jesus’ desire is not to hide His face from us, but to be found. His desire is greater still: that we might abide in Him.” SIMON ELLIOTT 13>>
7 Reaching out Riverton Baptist Community Church reach out to new Australians >>
8 No place for violence Photo: Hadyn Siggins
Helping churches better respond to the issue of domestic violence >>
Pastor Karen Siggins’ appointment as the first female Chair of Council marks a milestone for Baptist Churches Western Australia.
A milestone for Baptists The 122-year history of the Baptist Church in Western Australia is rich with milestones. Formed in 1896 by four churches, Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) has grown to see over 120 churches planted, a seminary founded and aged care established. In late 2017, another chapter was added to the history books with the appointment of the first woman to lead the Council of BCWA – Lead Pastor of Lesmurdie Baptist Church, Pastor Karen Siggins. BCWA Director of Ministries Pastor Mark Wilson said the appointment had been a long time in the making. Since BCWA’s beginnings in 1896, there have been conversations about the role of women in ministry. At the Annual Assembly in 1992, BCWA churches committed to provide opportunities for ministry based on giftedness and character, regardless of gender. These are values Mark said BCWA wants to teach and model to members of its community.
“A Council Member since 2011, Karen brings an abundance of experience to the role along with a deep connection to Baptist ministry in Western Australia,” Mark said. Originally a school teacher, Karen completed a Master of Divinity at Vose Seminary and has been pastoring at Lesmurdie Baptist Church for over a decade. “We’ve been talking about this for a year or two and the big question was, ‘Do I have the skills to do the role?’ Secondary was that if I did, I’d be the first woman in the role,” Karen said. “I hope that the things that are unique about me, my pastoral awareness and my ability to determine whose voice should be heard in various
circumstances, will help me to serve the Council well.” When reflecting on what the future for BCWA might look like, Karen said some of the practices that would have been revolutionary ten years ago, when Mark first came on board, were now part of common practice. “We’re in a good solid place to ask ‘Now what?’,” Karen said. “We have a strong vision of being an empowering movement, helping pastors, ministries, churches and their communities say ‘yes’ to Jesus.” “Our responsibility is to ask and answer, ‘What do we need to look like in the next ten years to be relevant for our churches and communities in seeing out this vision?’”
Karen also shared her hope for BCWA. “I want my faith to make a difference today, while I wait for all the things that I hope for. I firmly believe that God’s love and the salvation Jesus offers does change things today,” she said. “I want to live out my faith in a way that people can tangibly see and experience God’s love making a difference right now in this heartache, in this brokenness, in this situation.” “As organisations, as local churches and as the broader Baptist denomination, we have an amazing opportunity to give people a glimpse of the hope we have in the way we live today.” Author – Matt Chapman
11 Humble servant Billy Graham preached an unchanging, old-fashioned message in new ways >>
Generous hearts committed to building the Kingdom of God. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view APRIL 2018
In blessing others, we too are blessed During the past year, I have seen a number of churches engaging in beautiful ways with older people living in Baptistcare and other residential care facilities.
Wade Sinclair Wade Sinclair is the Manager of Chaplains for Baptistcare.
Volunteers from churches have led midweek church services. In some cases, children have come during their school holidays to play music at these services. There are numerous churches and speakers involved in blessing others through such activities. They want to demonstrate God’s love and their own love for people. I was delighted when Morley Baptist Church Pastor Ann Clews delivered Christmas gifts to elderly folk who do not receive much for
Christmas. The gifts were from women involved in Morley’s Care2Craft ministry. I also had the privilege of singing Christmas carols at an local aged-care facility with a few people from Riverton Baptist Community Church. The connection began through a couple (church members and residents at the facilty) who said there was a real need. Amongst our singers, there were three couples who had been in a home
group with the couple over many years. The meaning and emotion created by us being there was greatly evident. In blessing others, we too were greatly blessed. Creating and maintaining connections with people takes time and effort. It can be hard work. This is the work of our chaplains and volunteers from churches who visit residents in Baptistcare’s residential care. I am reminded that as we face life’s transitions, we don’t have to
go through them alone. The life of another person affects us all in varying degrees and that is why it is good to have loving people around us during the difficult challenges we face. When we think of what God has done to connect with us in sending Jesus into our world, to engage and redeem us, and maintain relationship with us through life in His Spirit, we can take great inspiration when we consider those with whom we might build strong connections. What small acts of grace and kindness might you and your church consider this year to bless others? And to be blessed?
Time to renovate? After almost a decade of neglect, we decided our home needed some sprucing up. We created a list of things that needed fixing, though concluded it would have been quicker to cite those that don’t.
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
With the ‘to do’ list firmly in place, it only needed to be supplemented with a suitable budget. This required getting quotes for tasks outside of my skill level (the vast majority) and having survived the shock of the figure reached, we are at the stage of re-prioritising and deciding what can be delayed for another decade. (Are those curtains that outdated? Is that really mould or just a bad stain?) It isn’t a happy exercise to go around your home finding fault
with what you previously thought was perfectly satisfactory. (So what if the toaster overdoes it – I prefer burnt toast.) And then our granddaughters came around for a visit. It was great fun. The older hid herself behind the curtains, not seeming to mind the marks (or mould?), while the younger, being at the age where she throws up most things, preceded to do so over the settee. I heaved a sigh of relief that is wasn’t over the new one we planned to get.
It creates a bit of a dilemma, doesn’t it? I mean what kind of home do you actually want – a homely one, or one that sparkles and glistens? Being the person I am, I broadened the question in my mind. What about not just renovating the home, but also the soul? Are there practices that need to be refreshed or reworked? Has the decade taken a toll and what would a spiritual makeover look like?
Truth to tell, I’m not confident about the answer. I suspect that spiritual growth is the opposite of home maintenance. After all, household goods wear out with use, while prayer and trust grow stronger with practice. You can imagine yourself saying, ‘That chair has been sat on a few times too often’, but are unlikely to lament, ‘Bother, I’ve exceeded my prayer quota.’ Good questions. Perhaps I’ll mull them over for another decade …
Trusting for willing troops I remember being a pastor in a church where we were really struggling to get workers on board to help with children’s ministry.
Mike Bullard Mike Bullard is the Church and Leaders Support Pastor for the Baptist Churches Western Australia.
We had recently expanded our ministries to include two morning services, both of which required more teachers and helpers. It seemed a difficult task. How would we find the helpers we needed? I quickly realised that flash recruitment advertising or guiltproducing calls for help weren’t going to get the job done. So where to turn? One day, as I read Psalm 110:3, I stopped and reflected. It says, “Your troops will be willing on the day of battle.” (NIV)
I thought, This is God, telling Jesus, that His troops would be willing. Of course, it doesn’t directly say, ‘You’ll have plenty of helpers for the new ministry.’ But we did believe we were doing God’s work. Could we apply the same promise to our situation? I found myself focusing on that verse. I used it in my prayers. ‘Father, you said that Jesus would have willing troops when He needed them. Well, we feel we’re doing your work. We need more troops. Lord, make the troops
willing! Speak to the hearts of those who you would call to help. Release the gifts you gave them.’ The deadline to find the workers was approaching. I found myself praying again and again for the troops to be willing. Finally, when it came time to ask people for a response, we found people were willing. They responded. We got the helpers we needed. It wasn’t through a flash advertising campaign or via guilt-inducing appeals. It was simple and straightforward.
It seemed like God had done the work. We found a Scripture that gave us confidence to ask God for willing troops. We believed that our situation was part of Jesus’ work, part of his battle for the hearts of young people. When we asked, people responded. There’s something distinctive about recruiting in God’s Kingdom. We are partners with God. He motivates people at a deep level. He calls them to specific tasks. As leaders in Christian ministry, a significant part of our role is the spiritual work of discerning, trusting and prayer. If we do that work well, other parts of our work become easier.
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Baptists impact in 2017 The first famine in six years was declared in parts of South Sudan, conflict forced more people from their homes than ever before, and through it all, devastating levels of poverty persisted. But Australian Baptists are making a real difference. More than 14,000 generous supporters gave to the work of Baptist World Aid last year, helping to directly impact the lives of 292,857 people. “From the Hunger Crisis in East Africa and Yemen, to remote communities in rural Nepal, our supporter’s generosity is a genuine blessing for families living in poverty,” Baptist World Aid Australia Communications Coordinator, Samara Linehan said. For nearly 60 years, Baptist World Aid has been helping Australian Christians and churches to respond to poverty
and love the world’s poor in authentic and effective ways. Baptist World Aid partners with like-minded Christian agencies overseas to help families end poverty through community development projects; child sponsorship projects; and disaster response, relief, and risk management work. “In 2017, supporters made it possible to carry out this mission in 25 countries – reaching some of the world’s most vulnerable people and helping define the Australian Baptist Church as a movement that’s passionate about justice and compassion,” Samara said. “But, there is still so much more to be done.” Already in 2018, disaster has gripped the Pacific region. In February, Tonga was devastated by Cyclone Gita – the worst storm in 60 years – and last month a
magnitude 6.8 earthquake rocked Papua New Guinea. In Bangladesh, the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis has continued to escalate. The plight of the Rohingya people is set to worsen dramatically with the monsoon season soon to hit the south Asian nation. Through disasters like these, generous gifts to the Baptist World Aid Disaster Action Fund are already at work, helping to provide urgently needed emergency relief to keep disaster affected families safe, healthy and alive. “Baptist World Aid counts it a great honour to share the impact donors are helping make possible, Samara said. “On behalf of everyone at Baptist World Aid, our Christian partners in the field and the families who we seek to serve, thank you for making 2017 so wonderful.” For more information, visit www.baptistworldaid.org.au/ impact
Photo: Baptist World Aid Australia
2017 was marked by enormous need across the world, according to the Baptist World Aid Australia annual, Impact Snapshot, published in January.
People in Bangladesh are thankful for the generous support of Baptists in 2017.
New Managing Director for ACL The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) Board announced the appointment of Martyn Iles as its new Managing Director in February, following the resignation of Lyle Shelton. ACL Chairman Jim Wallace thanked Mr Shelton for his ten years with the organisation, which included almost five years as Managing Director. “Lyle has done an exceptional job and we are sad to see him go,” Mr Wallace said. “He has provided gracious and courageous leadership and we wish him well.” “But ACL has a deep talent pool and we are delighted that Martyn Iles, a lawyer, has accepted the role.” Mr Iles served as Chief of Staff to Mr Shelton for two years and pioneered the Human Rights Law Alliance, facilitating legal
support for Christians who have been disadvantaged for living out their faith. “At a time when religious freedom is under pressure like never before, Martyn’s recognised expertise on this issue will be of tremendous advantage,” Mr Wallace said. Mr Iles said ACL now represented one of the largest and best organised political movements in the country. “I look forward to speaking for our supporters who seek a more compassionate, just and moral society,” Mr Iles said. Author – Gary Kleyn
Imagine if you had some help at home? Making it easier for you to stay independent and connected to your community. With Baptistcare’s tailored At Home Services, you can design an individual package with your choice of supports. Choose from our flexible support services for your needs and goals including: • Personal services – Assistance with dressing, bathing, showering, mobility, medication, social support and more. • Clinical services – Nurse visits, medication management, wound treatment, wellness checks and more. • Wellness options – Coordination of occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, assistive technology, complementary therapies and more. • Home assistance – Cleaning, gardening, shopping, meal preparation, transport and more. • Respite care – For carers/family members. Services are available in the Perth metro, South West, Great Southern and Wheatbelt regions through home care packages, private arrangement or Veterans’ Home Care. For more information about how we can assist you, please contact our experienced and friendly team.
1300 660 640 Photo: ACL
Baptistcare is one of WA’s largest not-for-profit aged care and community services providers, supporting communities for more than 45 years.
Martyn Iles is the new Managing Director of the Australian Christian Lobby.
news APRIL 2018
Vose revitalises its website
To contribute feedback, visit www.vose.edu.au
Vose Seminary updated its website to revitalise its digital presence just in time for the start of the new student year.
Artist’s exhibition worth the wait Helene Merriman, a talented artist experienced in watercolour and oil paints, sculpture and photography, has overcome adversity with the help of art. Helene, a former high school teacher and nurse, discovered her passion after taking up painting as part of her rehabilitation following a stroke and back injury. She then studied art and completed a Bachelor of Arts at Edith Cowan University in the 1980s, during which she worked with respected Aboriginal elder Ken Colbung AM MBE on her final year project. In late February, after a long hiatus from art, Helene held her first solo art exhibition in 25 years at the Atwell Arts Centre and Gallery – a place she had taught for a number of years in the 1980s and 1990s. Helene said holding her own exhibition would not have been possible without the support and assistance of Baptistcare At Home Services Support Worker Rowena Botterill. “It’s a big relief having her come in,” Helene shared. “Rowena is a good friend and fun. She gets stuck in and helps – it’s great.” Reflecting Baptistcare’s commitment to helping people pursue their personal goals and live life to the full, Rowena has supported Helene in getting back to the artistic endeavours that had given her so much satisfaction over the years. “Working with Helene is great fun, we laugh a lot when we’re together,” Rowena said. “It’s been a wonderful
privilege to help her prepare for the exhibition, she teaches me so much.” Helene said she had enjoyed sharing her perspectives and thought-provoking work with the public. For more information, visit www.baptistcare.com.au Photo: Baptistcare
The new website, which went live at the start of the Christmas break, was timed to facilitate the summer enrolment cycle and featured new branding for the Vose Training and Vose Leadership arms. Director of Business Development and Online Learning Cate Vose said the new site made navigation around a reasonably complex organisation simple and accessible for students, faculty, alumni and supporters. Julian Masters was commissioned to take the photographs and Vose students and staff are featured throughout. “While the new website is working brilliantly and providing a whole new experience for prospective students, it is still in development phase,” Cate said. There are plans for a dedicated Vose Conference page; a resources page for serving local churches, with various products to facilitate going deeper into Scripture, prompt discussion and aid learning, as well as podcasts, blogs and other interactive media; and an ecommerce platform where textbooks, merchandise and more will be available. Vose Seminary Principal Dr Brian Harris explained the development process for the new website involved a ‘big picture’ look at Vose’s heritage, values and ethos, as well as creative energy and discernment about how the site could reflect the Seminary’s vision for the future. “Our hope and prayer is that the new build has captured these twin horizons well, doing justice to our rich history and heritage; as well as giving shape to our vision for the future of theological education,” Brian said. “As the tertiary education space continues to shift and change, we are always seeking new ways to creatively engage with emerging paradigms, and having a strong website is the foundation for all this work which is still to come.” “Please pray for us as we continue to seek to strengthen our digital presence in order to facilitate deep engagement with Scripture, robust communities of practice and transformative paradigms for being and doing the ‘salt and light’ work of the local church.” Vose invites feedback, comments and suggestions from the community.
Photo: Cate Vose
During 2017, Baptist Churches Western Australia and Vose Seminary collaborated with Helium Digital to bring about a new look and feel to the Vose website.
Author – Linda Lee
Artist Helene Merriman held her first solo exhibition in 25 years.
digital church 08/03/18
ourdailyjourney.org My value doesn’t depend on the success of my efforts but on the larger story to which I belong. The grand ending of this story is guaranteed, regardless of how my own life goes.
twitter.com/levilusko The question is not will you live forever, but where will you live forever?
twitter.com/MaxLucado Jesus doesn’t boast in His knowledge; He shares it. He doesn’t gloat; He gives. He reveals to us the secrets of eternity. And He shares them, not just with the top brass or purebred, but with the hungry and needy.
Juan Sanchez thegoodbook.com.au/blog As we follow Jesus, we don’t just follow Him into suffering and death; we also follow Him into resurrection and glory, for He is the one ‘who died and came to life.’ [Revelation 2: 8]
Steven Furtick twitter.com/stevenfurtick Sometimes your clearest view of God will be in the fire and trials of life. 20/03/18
Louie Giglio twitter.com/LouieGiglio The worst day on earth is now the day we call good.
Rick Warren pastorrick.com/devotional God exchanged His own Son for you. The cross proves your value. Jesus didn’t die for junk. You are incredibly valuable.
Spiritual carers for the elderly Baptistcare plans to offer the training to all volunteers or those interested in becoming a spiritual care volunteer at its residential care facilities. If there is availability, people seeking to explore whether God is calling them to a ministry in aged care are also invited attend. Baptistcare CEO Russell Bricknell said providing quality spiritual care to aged care residents was a priority. “It’s very important for us to all work together to support older people at critical times in their lives,” Russell said. “We hope these workshops equip our volunteers and community members with the skills and knowledge to engage with people in a way that is empathetic and meaningful.” Como Baptist Church Pastor Phil Smoker, who attended the workshops, said he was keen to grow in his understanding of aged care. “These sessions have equipped me with a deeper understanding of emotional needs, practical love and spiritual insights,” Phil said. “We’re already using what we’ve learned in our church ministry.” Two seminars by Meaningful Ageing Australia were hosted at Baptistcare William Carey Court residential care facility in Busselton as part of a national training series catering to people in regional Australia.
Vose alumni gathering Vose Seminary is seeking photos, memories, stories and snippets of wisdom from past Vose students. Vose is activating its alumni in fresh ways, offering special alumni rates for ongoing professional development events and conferences, and developing strategies for supporting recent graduates in new ministry posts. Director of Business Development and Online Learning Cate Vose said Vose was bursting with new life and initiatives. “We are always looking for people who would like to come
alongside us in serving the mission of the local church in unique and interesting ways,” Cate said. “Whether you live in Perth or in one of our regional centres, and are interested in fostering intentional community where you are and being part of this vital work, Monica O’Neil, Director of Vose Leadership, would love to hear from you.” Alumni can also connect with other past students via the Vose Alumni Facebook group. To join the Vose alumni and receive alumni communications, email email@example.com.
Pastor Phil Smoker and volunteer Glen Beal from Como Baptist Church participate in a spiritual care training activity.
The sessions, attended by Baptistcare employees, volunteers, training and care providers, and members of the South West community, covered topics on supporting older people in the transition to aged
care and conversations about end of life. “We hope these initiatives provide more opportunities for our chaplains to engage with local Baptist churches in providing much needed spiritual
care to elderly people in our communities,” Wade said. For more information, visit www.baptistcare.com.au Author – Linda Lee
Women’s Leadership Pastor appointed Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) recently appointed Yvette Cherry to the newly created position of Women’s Leadership Pastor. The role supports BCWA’s vision to be an empowering movement helping pastors, ministries, churches and their communities say ‘yes’ to Jesus. “This is not only about an initial ‘yes’ to respond to the gospel, but an ongoing ‘yes’ to step into all that God has created us to be,” Yvette said. Yvette’s role is to support and equip women for ministry and leadership roles in Baptist churches in Western Australia, walk alongside them as they embrace their giftedness and take on opportunities to lead God’s people. The role includes meeting with women in leadership positions in churches; networking among Baptist women, helping them to connect with colleagues
and peers; preaching in Baptist churches when invited; and overseeing events run by the Baptist Ministry Centre that equip, support and encourage women. Yvette has a background in secondary education and is currently completing a Master of Ministry at Vose Seminary. Prior to her new role, she was the Worship Ministry Coordinator at Riverton Baptist Community Church.
A significant opportunity for Baptist women to come together will be the Fresh Conference, to be held at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on 21 July. “I am so excited about the great line-up of speakers, including five inspirational West Australian Baptist women who are leading with wisdom and courage,” Yvette said.
Photo: Nicole Fenwick
The training aims to provide quality spiritual care, addressing people’s need for meaning, purpose and connectedness as they age and experience major life changes. These may include a decline in health, potential disconnection from the community or the passing of friends and family. The Spiritual Care Series course has been developed specifically for Christian care providers by Aged Care Channel in collaboration with aged care experts and organisations, including Meaningful Ageing Australia, Baptcare Victoria, BaptistCare NSW and ACT, and theologian Professor John Swinton. Drawing heavily on Scripture, the interactive course uses videos and activities to delve into commonly-faced issues of the elderly, such as spirituality in ageing, living with dementia, and loss, grief and death. Baptistcare Manager of Chaplains Wade Sinclair said it was important for chaplains to engage with volunteers who could provide support for the elderly in the hopeful and compassionate context of the Baptist faith. “Our volunteers will be equipped with practical knowledge and techniques to enable them to work with older people in our residential care facilities and also use their new skills in their local church community.”
A series of spiritual care workshops are being offered by aged care provider Baptistcare for its volunteers and members of the local community.
Yvette Cherry is the inaugural Women’s Leadership Pastor for Baptist Churches Western Australia.
news APRIL 2018
Three hundred people attended the inaugural Perth Young Adults Valentine’s Charity Ball held at the Mounts Bay Sailing Club on Saturday 10 February. The young adults were partying for a purpose, to raise money and awareness for Compassion Australia whose goal is to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name. Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) Next Generations Pastor Ed Devine said the sold-out event raised more than $6,000 for Compassion who was delighted with the result. Ed said virtual reality stalls transported guests to slums around the world, where the children, who Compassion hopes to free from poverty, live. “What was particularly inspiring was the level of cooperation between the groups involved in creating, running and attending the event,” he said. The event was a collaboration between Riverview Young Adults (Riverview Church), Salt Young Adult Ministry (Mount Pleasant Baptist Church) and BCWA: YA
who came together to finance and organise the evening. “Young adults from more than 40 different churches were in attendance with various denominations represented,” Ed said. Thirty volunteers helped set up for the night and manned the many attractions, including a doughnut wall, grazing table, photo booth and bouncy castle. BCWA Next Generations Intern Pete Vermeulen, a member of the organising committee, said it was great to see different people from various churches come together to create an event uniting young adults. Pete said it set an example of unity and together with the valiant efforts of the volunteers on the night, had made the ball a success. Before the night had concluded, there were calls for the event to become an annual fixture in the collective Young Adult ministries calendar. “It was a night that showed the next generation of Christians in Perth are connected, value each other’s differences and are able to make a meaningful contribution to the world around them,” Ed said. “Psalm 133:1 comes to mind, which says, ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.’”
Photo: Rhyan Lyndon-James
Party for a purpose
A couple dance at the inaugural Perth Young Adults Valentine’s Charity Ball.
Crushing cans for compassion
To find your local Baptist church visit
Photo: Mark Wagenaar
David Seggie with Year 4 students who have developed a recycling program at Carey Baptist College Harrisdale.
Throughout 2017, the theme for Year 4 students at Carey Baptist College Harrisdale was compassion. The students spent time considering what they were grateful for and how their lives could help others. As the students explored the theme, they began researching a Balinese school that is supported by Carey’s primary school. After hearing stories of children who lived on a rubbish dump, the Year 4 students came up with an idea to turn their household rubbish into much needed funds for the Balinese children. They started collecting recyclable cans and glass bottles to exchange for money; a project
that became known as Crushing Cans for Compassion. As the students launched the project and researched recycling, they learned that West Australian recycling policies were changing in 2018 with the value of each can increasing from one cent to ten cents. Year 4 teacher David Seggie said the aim was to eventually raise enough money, through the collection of cans and bottles, to
donate $50 to $100 to the Balinese school each week. “My hope is that future Year 4 classes will continue this project, so that when these current Year 4s reach Year 10, they will be able to go on a Bali trip to see their impact,” David said. “I love that they are motivated and passionate to help others who are not as fortunate as themselves.” To date, the students have collected close to 6,000 cans, which will be worth $600 when exchanged. Author – Cassie Kirtisingham
Reaching out to new Australians Riverton Baptist Community Church International Pastor Alvin Lee said the church recognised its community had become increasingly multicultural and had intentionally sought to reach out to new Australians. “It seems to be working – nearly 200 people attended the event to celebrate the Year of the Dog with City of Canning Mayor Paul Ng, a Riverton regular, opening the event,” Alvin said. The special guest for the evening was international speaker I’Ching Thomas who appears in the video series Jesus the Game Changer with Karl Faase. “Having served in crosscultural missions with Operation Mobilisation, and as an apologist with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, I’Ching was able to bring a powerful message for the evening,” Alvin said. I’Ching spoke on the Chinese values of filial piety, the need to strive for harmony and the use of a mediator as part of the larger gospel narrative. “Her message resonated, especially with the many Asian guests,” Alvin said.
I’Ching’s latest book, Jesus: The Path to Human Flourishing, was launched the following morning at an apologetics seminar she conducted. “Christianity is still considered a foreign or Western religion to many Chinese people,” Alvin said. “However, I’Ching’s book answers the question, ‘How can culturally Chinese people follow Christ without having to shed their ethnic identity?’” A highlight of the evening was a traditional Chinese opera, performed by James and Sally, who flew in especially from Singapore for the celebration. “Their amazing period costumes, dancing and singing were riveting,” Alvin said. Rachel Tan, from Malaysia, attended the event for the first time and expressed her enjoyment. “This is my first time and I’m pretty impressed that it is so well organised, from the welldesigned program leaflets, the various performances that were so professional, to the setting up of the table – better than a tencourse Chinese dinner,” Rachel said. Alvin said it was an impressive international dinner with
Photo: Alvin Lee
International friends at Riverton Baptist Community Church celebrated the Chinese New Year recently, an event the church has hosted for the past ten years.
Pastor Wayne Field with I’Ching Thomas who launched her book Jesus: The Path to Human Flourishing at Riverton Baptist Community Church recently.
delicacies from all over the world, thanks to the generosity of all who attended. “Such a good time was had that the beautiful lanterns, red streamers and other decorations remained for another Sunday,” he said.
Keys to effective prayer seminar
Heather Coleman concluded as the General Director of Global Interaction in February. The Board appointed former Global Interaction Director of Ministries Chris Barnden as an interim General Director, commencing 20 February.
Pastoral news and changes Newman Baptist Church Pastor Chris Boland retired from ministry at Easter after 39 years as both Pastor and Missionary with Global Interaction. Jeremy Brough has been appointed as a Youth Intern at Waratah Community Church. Paul Dean-Smith has been appointed Pastor of Pingelly Baptist Church. Pastor Steve Galambosi celebrated 20 years of ministry at Rockingham Baptist Church in February. Nick Martin has been appointed Pastor of Karratha Baptist Church. Daniel Wajcik has been appointed Pastor of Dalwallinu Baptist Church. Gavin Woolhead has retired from
ministry as the Senior Pastor of Waratah Christian Community Church. Peter Randell has been appointed as the new Senior Pastor of the church. Danie Van Zilj has been appointed as Associate Pastor at Gosnells Baptist Church.
Vose book sale The Vose Seminary Annual Book Sale will be held on Saturday 7 April, 9am to 3pm, at 20 Hayman Road, Bentley. A variety of second-hand books, religious and general, will be available for purchase. There will also be mini lectures, morning tea, a sausage sizzle and plants for sale. Books will remain on sale Monday to Friday until 27 April, 8.30am to 4.30pm (except public holidays). Everyone is welcome to visit and get a taste of life at Vose. For more information, phone 6313 6200.
Urban mission Four evening sessions focusing on urban mission will be held at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church during May. Street Chaplains WA Director, Garth Eichhorn, will explore what faith in action
on the local mission field is like during the four-week series. It is a free event but registration is essential. For more information, visit www.mounties.org.au/event
Photo: Lawrence Roycroft
Global Interaction changes
Vale John Masters, former Community Pastor of Riverton Baptist Community Church and President of Baptist Churches Western Australia from 1999 to 2000, passed away on 12 March. A thanksgiving service for his life was held at the Riverton Baptist Community Church. Roman Sein, Pastor of the Hosanna Karen Baptist Church, passed away in his sleep on 13 February. He is survived by his widow and five children. Beryl Wylie passed away 7 January. Beryl was a faithful servant of Jesus Christ, a long-term member of Dalkeith Baptist Church, organist, secretary, treasurer, deacon, Sunday School teacher, ladies group leader, as well as being active in the Baptist Women’s Association of WA. A service of thanksgiving for her life was held at Dalkeith Baptist Church.
Australian Prayer Network National Coordinator Brian Pickering in discussion with delegates at a prayer seminar in March.
Australian Prayer Network National Coordinator Brian Pickering led a weekend of teaching on one of the key foundational areas of the Christian faith in Perth on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 March. More than 400 people, from over 60 churches across Perth, came together for the Keys to Effective Prayer seminar hosted by churches in the City of Melville at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Senior Pastor Nick Scott said Brian was a well-known speaker on the subject of prayer and was in great demand to run prayer schools across the nation. “This was a great opportunity for encouragement and growth in our prayer life, learning how to pray for our nation and the nations of the world, as well as
for the church in Australia and beyond,” Brian said. The weekend included six sessions covering a variety of teaching on prayer and intercession. Topics included ‘How prayer works’, ‘Understanding the spiritual DNA of your community’ and ‘Understanding the principles of spiritual authority’. “It was a great opportunity for churches from a diverse range of denominations across the city to come together in unity,” Nick said. Author – Pauline Hough
feature APRIL 2018
In early 2017, Baptist leaders from across Australia gathered in Canberra for the second annual Converge Conference. Among them were Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Ministries Pastor Mark Wilson and well-known Perth identity Graham Mabury, who were there to talk with Members of Parliament and Senators about justice and in particular, the issue of domestic violence.
No Place for Violence Here A Just Cause Founder and Director Rev Scott Higgins said domestic violence rates in Australia were appallingly high. “We asked for a number of improvements to current approaches, including an increase in resourcing to accommodation services for women fleeing violent homes,” Scott said. By highlighting the condition of those affected by violence, Baptist leaders sought to influence politicians to take up the cause of justice for those impacted by violence in the home. In response, as part of the Commonwealth Government’s review into domestic violence, the inclusion of family and domestic violence leave has been incorporated in all modern awards. In addition, unpaid leave for victims of family and domestic violence is likely to be included into modern awards in 2018. Although there is pressure from the unions, Greens and Labour Party for this to become paid leave. Following the 2017 conference, Australian Baptist Ministries launched the No Place for Violence Here campaign to help churches and pastors better respond to the issue of domestic violence. Timed to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November 2017, the campaign commenced with the National Council of Australian Baptist Ministries becoming the fourth Australian church body to release a statement on domestic and family violence (see full statement on next page), in which it formally apologised to victims of domestic violence: “… we are sorry. Sorry for letting you down when you sought our help; sorry for ignoring your pain and suffering; sorry for failing to make your safety and wellbeing our priority. We pray for your healing and recovery, and thank God for
the people who work and serve to support you and other family violence survivors.” “We cannot erase the failures of the past, but we commit to do better in the future.” Scott comments that in 2018, 210,000 Australian women (1 in 50 women over the age of 15) were likely to experience violence at the hands of an intimate partner. “Assuming these rates translate into the life of our churches, 1,500 women in Baptist churches are likely to experience domestic violence in 2018,” Scott said. “A church of 100 attendees would be likely to have eight women who had been abused by an intimate partner at some stage in the past, and possibly one woman who will be abused in 2018.” Scott explained the campaign, which is designed to raise congregational awareness of domestic violence and how churches can better respond, had four components: leadership awareness and training; congregational awareness, culture and equipping; support for local services; and advocacy for more refuges and more affordable housing. When asked about the new campaign, Baptist Care Australia Executive Director Marcia Balzer said: “In recent years, we’ve all started to understand the extraordinary extent of abusive family relationships in our nation. Slowly, it’s also dawned on us that churches have not always been loving places for those who have suffered.” “It can really seem too big and difficult a problem to tackle. But every one of us can help. And as churches – communities of followers of Jesus – we can take a leading role in our own communities to prevent and address family violence. We can empower the voices of women and children, better understand the toxic use of power and control in relationships, and take
practical action to support family violence survivors.” For some, there can be a belief that domestic violence is not as prevalent in the church, however in 2006, a study released by the United Kingdom Anglican Archbishops’ Council concluded, “that incidence [of domestic violence] in the Church reflected the incidence in society as a whole … yet until recently domestic abuse was rarely discussed in church communities.” Australian journalist Julia Baird cites the 2006 UK Church of England findings in her 2015 series of newspaper articles, detailing the harrowing stories shared with her: “One woman wrote to tell me she stayed with a violent man for 15 years because her pastor told her that as her husband, he was her leader. Another was punched and dragged about by her hair by a husband who gave her a Bible with verses on submission highlighted in it. She told me of others she knew with similar experiences who became depressed and suicidal.” “Another woman told me her minister advised her that her husband might stop hitting her if she had more sex with him.” According to Common Grace, a movement of almost 40,000 Australian Christians, some of the church’s historical teaching, particularly around sex and gender roles, has been significant in enhancing the status of women. “Human sacrifice, sexual slavery, and female infanticide practiced by many world cultures came to an end through Christian efforts. Indeed, the historical recognition of women as fully-fledged human beings came from the biblical doctrine of the Imago Dei [Genesis 1:2628], which affirms the intrinsic dignity of all people regardless of gender or social status.”
“However, much historical and contemporary church teaching on gender has also been unhelpful, and has perpetuated male entitlement and female inequality. Some of the dialogue around domestic and family violence reflects problematic assumptions about what it means to be a biblical man or woman. Where there is a belief that ‘manhood’ requires men to be powerful, authoritative, assertive, and in control … these attitudes can hinder men and endanger women.” The campaign, through its resources, including sermon ideas, prayers, posters, emergency contact cards, videos and educational resources, hopes to help those who are or have been affected by domestic violence, enlighten those who are unaware of its scourge on society and promote a biblical approach as to how churches and pastors should respond. To find out more information about the No Place for Violence Here campaign, visit the A Just Cause website at ajustcause.com.au/no-place-for-violence If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence call: Emergency 000 Lifeline 131 114 Men’s Referral Service 1300 766 491 1800RESPECT 1800 737 732 Womensline 1800 811 811 Author – Matt Chapman Matt Chapman is the Editor of The Advocate and Executive Assistant to the Director of Ministries Baptist Churches Western Australia.
National Council of Australian Baptist Ministries statement on domestic and family violence We believe that all people are created in God’s image, loved and valued by their Creator, and should be treated with equal regard. There is no place for physical violence or other controlling or abusive behaviour in any relationship, particularly in Christian relationships or Baptist churches. The Bible speaks out strongly against the misuse of power. Attempts to control others are corrosive to relationships, damaging to people’s enjoyment of life as God intended, and abusive to people God loves. Scripture should never be used to justify violence, control or manipulate others through the use of power in personal relationships.
Some Baptist churches and agencies have been working to support family abuse survivors for some time. Despite these efforts, it is with sadness of heart that we acknowledge that in our history we have often failed people living in abusive relationships. We failed to recognise the existence of violence and abuse in our homes, and when we did recognise it, all too often we didn’t do what was necessary to protect those who were being abused. To those people we failed, we are sorry. Sorry for letting you down when you sought our help; sorry for ignoring your pain and suffering; sorry for failing to make your safety and wellbeing our
priority. We pray for your healing and recovery, and thank God for the people who work and serve to support you and other family violence survivors. We cannot erase the failures of the past, but we commit to do better in the future. The National Council of Australian Baptist Ministries urges every member congregation to accept the challenge set by our national domestic violence campaign, No Place for Violence Here. Together over the next year we will strive to increase our awareness of domestic and family violence, make changes to the culture of our churches, support the services helping people escaping
family violence, and advocate to meet the funding shortfalls in these services. This campaign is just one way to help us realise our vision for Baptist churches in Australia. We aspire to be communities that: • are safe and secure, where the voices and experiences of women, children, elderly and other vulnerable people are valued • provide practical help for people experiencing family violence • empower women to speak, serve and lead in response to God’s call on their lives • understand the broader influences in society that lead to violence, and act to bring about change.
10 world news APRIL 2018
PNG quake trauma ongoing Relief work continues in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea following a series of powerful earthquakes that killed more than 100 people and destroyed buildings, roads and crops along a 150km fault line. water tanks with plastic tarpaulins fitted to collect rain water. On 8 March, fellow MAF pilot Michael Duncalfe reported severe aftershocks caused large cracks in the airstrip surface, which could have resulted in its closure. “I did my best to encourage the people and to assure them that they were not forgotten,” Michael said. “But at a time like this, action is required, not just words.” Schools, hospitals and aid posts also sustained major damage. Many subsistence farm gardens that produce the highlanders’ staple crops have been destroyed. Villagers face unsecure food supply in coming months. International aid is arriving as the magnitude of the disaster continues to unfold.
Photo: Mandy Glass
The initial 7.5-magnitude earthquake on 26 February struck pre-dawn, killing more than 30 people in remote villages. Shocks continued for at least three weeks with quakes of 6.0 and 6.4 causing more fatalities. More than 150,000 people are desperate for safe drinking water, food and shelter with four-wheel drive vehicles struggling to reach isolated village communities due to damaged roads. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) Papua New Guinea Operations Assistant Sharlene Coker, who is also MAF’s trained International Global Disaster Response Administrator and Operations Specialist, is coordinating medivac flights from the MAF base at Mount Hagen. Massive landslips have changed the topography of vast areas of the razorback mountains, with rocks, soil and trees blocking rivers and causing unstable landslide dams, which threaten to burst and bring a new wave of destruction along river valleys. Village people are terrified and in deep shock following the large aftershocks. Brisbane woman Sally Lloyd, who grew up in the remote village of Mougolu where her parents served as missionaries, has returned to support villagers and bring emergency aid to communities close to Mount Bosavi. “Women wail and mourn in the village – they have no idea what is happening to them but feel an overwhelming sense of loss and trauma,” Sally said. Pilot Steven Eatwell flew relief goods and medical supplies into isolated villages, soon after the initial earthquake. Goods ranged from drinking water and food to
Author – Jill Birt Mission Aviation Fellowship ground staff at Mount Hagen help a medivac patient from Fau village who was crushed by debris in a landslide.
BWA protests new Bolivian law Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has joined other Christian organisations in protesting a new and ambiguous Bolivian law that could make proselytising illegal and place those who do at risk of prosecution and imprisonment. In a letter to legislators in Bolivia, BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown expressed concerns that the ambiguity of these laws could lead to unintended restrictions on religious freedom and to the direct persecution of churches and individuals of faith. “My concerns are not only for Baptists, but for all who might
find themselves unable to live according to the dictates of their conscience,” Elijah said. In a translation by Evangelical Focus, a European news and opinion website, the offending law declares: ‘Whoever recruits, transports, deprives of freedom or hosts people with the aim of recruiting them to take part in
armed conflicts or religious or worship organisations will be penalised seven to 12 years of imprisonment.’ The fear is that the law could ban public preaching and punish the mere act of inviting someone to a Christian or other religious event. According to Evangelical Focus, the new law collides with the country’s constitution. Article 4 of the Bolivian constitution reads, ‘The state respects and guarantees the freedom of religion and spiritual beliefs, according to their worldviews.
The state is independent of religion.’ In his letter, Elijah expressed hope ‘that freedom of religion and expression will be strengthened’ and said Baptists were praying ‘for the ongoing wellbeing of the country’. The BWA has two member organisations in Bolivia, the Baptist Convention of Bolivia and the Bolivian Baptist Union, comprising more than 50,000 members in more than 300 churches.
called on the government of Algeria to ensure that the religious freedom of Christians was safeguarded in accordance with international law.
according to the Barnabas Fund. By issuing the fatwa, with the support of 1,829 religious leaders who are signatories to the document officially released on 16 January, the Pakistani government is addressing extremism from a religious perspective. The fatwa declares that terrorist activity against the state and in particular, suicide bombings, are haram (forbidden under Islamic law).
international briefs Human rights award Christer Daelander, a Baptist World Alliance (BWA) representative to the United Nations (UN) and religious freedom representative of the European Baptist Federation, will receive the 2018 Denton and Janice Lotz Annual Human Rights Award. The award will be presented at the General Council meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, in July. Established in 2006, the Denton and Janice Lotz Annual Human Rights Award is given by the
BWA for significant and effective activities to secure, protect, restore or preserve human rights.
Restrictions for Christians in Algeria Authorities in Algeria have increased constraints against Christian churches in the country, conducting what appears to be a ‘coordinated campaign of intensified action against churches’, according to the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty Commission.
‘Worryingly, the restrictions have also led to an increase in arrests of Christians in the country,’ WEA stated. According to reports, Algerian authorities formed a committee to inspect churches on their compliance with safety regulations. However, despite its main aim being safety issues, the committee has also questioned churches on whether they possess permits to conduct religious activities. WEA Deputy Secretary General Godfrey Yogarajah said it had
Historic fatwa brings positive change The Government of Pakistan has unveiled a historic fatwa (religious decree) condemning Islamic extremism and vigilante ‘blasphemy’ attacks, a potentially positive development for the country’s minority Christian community,
world news 11 APRIL 2018
Billy Graham preached an unchanging, oldfashioned message in new and innovative ways. He had a passion for the younger generations and advocated for the use of new technologies to reach them. The man known as America’s Preacher passed away on 21 February at his home in Montreat, North Carolina, at age 99. William Franklin ‘Billy’ Graham Jr preached the gospel to some 215 million people who attended one of his more than 400 crusades (largescale evangelistic ‘big tent revivals’) in more than 185 countries and territories. At the centre of his ministry stood a very simple, but life-changing message: Jesus died for our sins and rose again to give us eternal life. “By the time you read this, I will be in heaven, and as I write this I’m looking forward with great anticipation to the day when I will be in God’s presence forever,” the Reverend said, in his last blog post. “But I won’t be in heaven because I’ve preached to large crowds or because I’ve tried to live a good life. I’ll be in heaven for one reason: Many years ago I put my faith and trust in Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to make our forgiveness possible and rose again from the dead to give us eternal life,” he added. Rev. Graham’s ministry life started humbly as the first full-time, $75 per week staff member of Youth for Christ, one of the oldest youth outreach organisations worldwide. Driven by a true passion for sharing the gospel with young people, he championed the innovative use of new technologies and pushed for ministry work that engaged
young people in relevant and authentic conversation. Even in recent times, Rev. Graham continued to encourage Youth for Christ staff members to reach young people for Christ through the latest technologies. Considering technological opportunities of this era, he saw no reason why we could not touch the entire youth population of the world in the next quarter-century with the good news of the gospel. While Rev. Graham could be considered the most wellknown preacher among older generations, younger generations seem to have lost touch with the man who has appeared in the top ten of Gallup’s Most Admired Man list since 1955 (with the exception of 1969 and 1972). In a poll conducted in 2007, 30 percent of Americans under 30 said they did not know who Billy Graham was. While this might be surprising to some of the older readers, Rev. Graham might not have minded to hear that America’s upcoming generations did not know his name or legacy, as long as somebody shared the good news with them so that they would know the name of his Christ and Saviour. In his very last blog post, Rev. Graham wrote that he would like to be remembered “as someone who was faithful – faithful to God, faithful to the gospel of Jesus Christ and faithful to the calling God gave me not only as an evangelist, but as a husband, father and friend”. “I’m sure I’ve failed in many ways, but I take comfort in Christ’s promise of forgiveness, and I take comfort also in God’s ability to take even our most imperfect efforts and use them for His glory.”
Photo: Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
A humble servant and innovator
Billy Graham began his public ministry with the Youth for Christ organisation in 1945.
A tribute web page, is available online at www.yfc.net and memorial.billygraham.org Author – Ramona Ötting
ANNUAL BOOKSALE Saturday 7th April 2018, 9am-3pm A: 20 Hayman Road, Bentley WA 6102 T: 08 6313 6200
OVER 30,000 books and more. Sale of unsold books continues during business hours until April 27.
12 in conversation APRIL 2018
125 years of Girls’ Brigade Ahead of its 125 year celebration week in June, Vanessa Klomp had the privilege of catching up with the Girls’ Brigade Western Australia State Commissioner, Nikola Lewis.
How did you become involved in the Girls’ Brigade and what led you to your position as the State Commissioner? When I was 14, I moved to a new school. A girlfriend asked me to join Girls’ Brigade with her. Most people join as young girls but I started in the oldest group – we are seeing more of that these days because this age group need to be connected. They’ve found it’s a safe environment where they are not judged. I started at Riverton and went through to receive my Queen’s Award, the highest international award. At 15, helping with the youngest section, I was asked to attend a leader’s meeting. I said: “I’m not a leader”. I never saw myself as a leader – I was a very quiet, reserved person. This encouraged me into leadership, and I stayed there until my university timetable clashed. When I returned to Perth after some time in South Australia, I attended Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, which was looking for new leaders. After ignoring it for a while, I started as an Assistant Leader, progressing over a few years to Captain of the company. I was then asked to be Regional Coordinator to represent the region at a State level. Initially I said, “I don’t have the skills for
that, I can’t do that.” Eventually, after praying about it I said ‘yes’. I was head of one of the four regions in WA. Then, a friend became State Commissioner and asked if I would be her Deputy. When she stepped down as State Commissioner, multiple people asked me if I would do the role. After praying and discussing it with my husband because we knew it would impact our family, I decided to go ahead. I was elected in and I’ve recently commenced my second threeyear term. We’ve had a lot of fun, and a few tears. What does your role as State Commissioner involve? What do you do day-to-day? The main things are to make sure the State is functioning well and represent WA at a national level. Twice a year I go to Sydney to meet with other State Commissioners. We discuss what’s best for Australia to move forward. We also reevaluate what we are doing, how we can improve and support each other. Volunteering as State Commissioner, I spend one day a week in the office supervising the three part-time admin staff, and work with churches to resolve conflicts – one of my biggest growth areas. Daily, I approve bills to be paid and contact the companies to hear what they are doing. We have a grant from the Department of Communities so there are reporting regulations to attend to. A lot of the details required come from the conversations. I also helped organise the national camp held in Perth in January. I attend Bull Creek Westminster Presbyterian Church, where I am a Girls’ Brigade leader, helping with the Juniors (Years 3, 4 and 5), and have two daughters at that company as well. Part of my goal as a leader is to encourage and support the year leaders and the young leaders coming in. One girl said to me, “Why are you helping me so much?” I said, “Because I want you to be the best you can be, what God created you to be, and that’s my role.” What part of this role do you find the most satisfying? Hearing that people are happy, feel safe and treasured, and that God loves them. I enjoy seeing the girls come to an understanding of who God is. One of my favourite memories
Photo: Tara Adams
Please share a brief background of the Girls’ Brigade. The Girls’ Brigade is an international and interdenominational Christian youth organisation. It started in Dublin in 1893 and then the Girls’ Guildry was founded in Scotland in 1900, and the Girls’ Life Brigade was founded in England in 1902. These three organisations amalgamated on 10 June 1965. The first Australian company was formed in Wyalkatchem, Western Australia in 1927 when English Mission ladies saw girls weren’t receiving an education. The organisation provides girls with a Christian education and teaches them skills like cooking, sewing and selfimprovement. It’s always been not just about God but also life skills. Due to the Depression, the company didn’t last very long, and the next one was formed in Wagin in 1950. From there it’s taken off. In WA we currently have 16 companies with more than 500 members from Baptist, Anglican, Church of Christ, Uniting and Westminster Presbyterian churches.
Nikola Lewis ready for an evening at Girls’ Brigade with Amy Lewis (back), Cayley Adams and Belinda Lewis.
is when one of the older girls wrote a card to me at the end of the year that read “I finally understand what devotions are.” I thought, ‘You’ve been doing this for years, how could you not know?’ How have you grown spiritually through this? In a lot of ways, listening to God and really hearing His voice. I really fought against becoming State Commissioner as I’m more of an introvert and it is an extrovert role. I discovered that if you’re an introvert, it doesn’t mean you are not a leader. You need to depend on God. Joshua 1:9 is one of my favourite verses: ‘Be strong and courageous’. That got me through the first two years of being State Commissioner. Sometimes you can get so busy that you don’t take the time to listen. When I first said to God, I can’t be State Commissioner because I don’t know anyone who will be treasurer and chaplain. He gave me the names of two people that said ‘yes’. Every time I encounter a barrier and ask for guidance, He has put the people in place to ask, and they’ve always said ‘yes’. Listen to God. If He’s telling you something, obey. How does your faith fit in with the Girls’ Brigade? The reason I do Girls’ Brigade is because it’s God’s
mission. Most of the leaders do it because it’s an opportunity for girls to hear the Word of God. In a lot of companies the girls don’t go to church – Girls’ Brigade is their church. When I was Captain, 60 percent of the girls were non-Christian. Many of the companies have stats skewed to non-Christian girls so that’s why I am so passionate about it. It’s our mission, we don’t have to go overseas, it is right here. If more girls learn about God that is wonderful. Empower and support them, and help them to reach their potential. This year Girls’ Brigade will be 125 years old, what does Girls’ Brigade WA have planned to celebrate this significant milestone? Fonomarae (‘getting together’ or ‘meeting place’), the national Girls’ Brigade camp in Perth kicked off the year, where worship sessions were a highlight. One of the girls asked to be baptised, and as she came from interstate we rang her Mum for permission. Her Dad was a non-Christian and lived in Perth. He and her halfbrothers came and watched her be baptised at the beach. It was a special time and an opportunity to show her faith to her Dad. To celebrate the 125 years, all girls and leaders will receive a Bible with devotions based on our motto: Seek, Serve and Follow Christ, and testimonies
from girls and leaders that have been involved in Girls’ Brigade. Usually we have a Captains’ day at the beginning of the year but this year we celebrated with a leaders’ celebration. In October, we have our State Awards Presentation where we present our Queen’s Award and Pioneer Pins. This year instead of only the current girls attending we are opening it up to all past and present people to come along and enjoy, making it a much bigger event than usual. Each region is organising other events, for example The Northern Region is having a sleepover. We are encouraging girls to experience other companies throughout Australia so they realise it is not WA specific, like doing a leadership course that’s run by the Girls’ Brigade in Queensland. In October, we have our National Conference in Tasmania, and our International Conference of Girls’ Brigade in Zambia, Africa in July. What are your aspirations for the future of Girls’ Brigade? I would like to see the numbers of girls participating grow, as well as the number of churches with a company. Ultimately, I want everyone to know about God. The more companies there are the more opportunities there are for mission and more people to hear about God.
growth 13 APRIL 2018
Something about finding my car keys It’s Wednesday morning, and that means taking Molly to her school in North Albany while Fiona drops off Clover to a friend’s place en route to her relief teaching job in North-West Albany. Sounds convenient enough. There was nothing amiss with this plan until I needed to hop in the car. Without keys. I hunted all the usual places without success and made sure, just before she left, that she wasn’t about to drive off with my keys in the car she was driving. It’s not as if I don’t have a designated place for my keys to live; there’s a red glass bowl on our bookshelf that makes an ideal resting place for them most times. No. My problem is more fundamental than that. I don’t often drive my car (in the same way that I don’t often use my wallet!) So, if I can’t find my keys, it’s not about remembering what I was wearing last night or where I went when I first walked in the door from a day at the office. It’s a little more convoluted than all that. I need to retrace the tracks of my days until I get to a time in my past when I’ve needed to drive my car and, having done that, work out what was happening when I arrived home, and pick up the scent from there. That all sounds simple, but it usually involves looking in a bunch of places while I’m getting my head ready for the re-trace. I did find them. They were in the pocket of some jeans that
Photo: Odua Images
I couldn’t find my keys this morning. That’s not unusual. It happens more often than I’d care to admit.
I wore last Saturday night. We’d arrived home late with a girl who’d fallen asleep in the back of the car. I’d obviously shoved my keys in my pocket and concentrated on the task of child-to-bed transportation. Then I’d hung up my jeans to make the keys harder to find. All this seems pretty mundane to be documenting but as Molly was reading Geronimo Stilton to me on the way to school this morning (must be audible, minimum of 20 minutes), I multitasked another thought. The longer I wait before coming to Jesus, the longer I take before bringing Him my heart, soul, mind and strength, the more I forget who I am and where I was. Worse, I go looking in places that I know I will never discover my identity because my journey
to Jesus has been hijacked by stuff of lesser import. This is a little like looking in the toilet out of desperation just in case you dropped your keys there – you know the chances are all but zero, but you check all the same. There’s an account of Paul speaking at the Areopagus in Acts 17. He’s speaking to a bunch of learned people who have all lost their keys and were trying to find them. Paul speaks in a language they might understand so that they’ll either remember where they left their keys or, more even better, discover that they have keys! ‘Starting from scratch, he made the entire human race and made the earth hospitable, with plenty of time and space for living so we could seek after God, and not just grope around in the dark
but actually find him. He doesn’t play hide-and-seek with us. He’s not remote; He’s near. We live and move in Him, can’t get away from Him!’ [Acts 17: 24-29, The Message] While it may occasionally seem the case, Jesus’ desire is not to hide His face from us, but to be found. His desire is greater still: that we might abide in Him. Locate ourselves in Him. Be a branch of His vine. His desire is that, despite our wandering heart, we’d find our rest in Him and abide. I don’t even need to re-trace every step to know where I might have left Jesus. I need to find myself again. The one I am following is up ahead or right beside, not languishing on a park bench or hanging up in my wardrobe. “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your
hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded,” James writes. There’s a key right there. I come back to Jesus by allowing His kindness to draw me into a place of repentance and, at that moment, I find my keys. My contrition and humility before Him put me back in the way of the one that I declare Lord of all. He wants to be found in us. He is not remote. He is near. As it turns out, that’s usually true for my car keys as well. Author – Simon Elliott Republished with permission, writesomething.org.au
It’s the pre-baby holiday, and my wife and I are sitting on a jetty at Darling Harbour having lunch. There’s a pylon sticking up from the water, and a seagull sits on top. Maybe even the seagulls are more ‘alpha’ in Sydney, but this seagull is defending his pylon and the zone around it so fiercely that he looks ridiculous. There are many high places to land, but this guy’s not budging. Clearly in a chilledout holiday mood, I calmly think that the seagull needs to get some perspective. It is, after all, just a stump of decaying timber covered in dried droppings. “Is it really worth that much fight, buddy?”, I want to say.
God prompts me to think about what I devote my time and energy into defending – and why. When we so fiercely defend our space, people or ideas, we are of course attempting to protect both them and ourselves. But God’s been showing me that the invisible boundaries I build to keep some things out, can also end up keeping me in. Setting personal boundaries is usually couched in positive terms – take control, learn when
to say no, set expectations. But in the workplace, they can become a shield instead of a guide. That wasn’t included in the quote. I’m not the person who deals with that. I always go home on time. We don’t offer that service. Returning to work after holidays, I noticed how sticking rigidly to boundaries deprives me of the opportunity to have influence, to show grace and kindness, to extend myself, and to invest into other people’s lives. Now, I don’t speak seagull, and for all I know, there was a lot more going on that I missed. But what does God think when He watches me metaphorically squawking and flapping around
in fight mode over a rotten old stump, when there are free chips on the foreshore? As a business owner, manager, husband, father-to-be, board game tragic and servant of Jesus, I think this will be my growing edge this year. I want to keep a look out for the limiting boundaries at a personal, company and community level. They might just be holding me back. Author – Scott Ingram Scott Ingram is the Director of Helium Digital Marketing and attends Church at the Stadium in Warwick.
Photo: Kirsty Russell Photography
What I learned from a seagull in Sydney
14 news APRIL 2018
MercyMe releases new album
Editor: Managing Editor: Subeditor: Production: Creative: Advertising: Distribution: Editorial deadline:
Matt Chapman Andrew Sculthorpe Suzanne Willcock Vanessa Klomp Peter Ion Sally Phu Sally Phu 5th of each month
J Michael Finley plays Bart Millard in the film I Can Only Imagine, based on the story behind the song with the same name.
platinum twice. MercyMe has been nominated for five Grammys, won numerous Dove and Billboard awards and released 17 albums in the band members’ 24 years of playing together. I Can Only Imagine was released on 15 March in cinemas across Australia. MercyMe’s new album is available on iTunes, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon. Author – John Igglesden
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Marvel blockbuster has Christian influence Black Panther actress Sope Aluko said Christian cast members would encourage one another in their faith whilst filming Marvel’s latest blockbuster. Since its record-breaking opening weekend in late January, Black Panther has continued to fill cinemas across the globe. In-between filming her character Shaman’s scenes, Aluko found she shared her Christian faith with some of her co-stars. This commonality amongst the actors saw them encourage one another throughout the filming, sharing their testimonies and Christian experiences. “During breaks we shared our testimony of how we got to where we did and most of the people were testifying to God’s miracles, it was almost like church,” she explained. When asked about her career so far, Aluko replied that she asked the Lord for discernment and wisdom for every single step she takes. Black Panther is in cinemas now.
The album features 13 of the band’s most loved songs, chosen by the band members themselves. It includes ‘I Can Only Imagine (The Movie Session)’, a special version of their hit reworked specifically for the movie. With songs like ‘Flawless’, ‘Word of God Speak’ and ‘God With Us’, as well as the original version of ‘I Can Only Imagine’, the album covers a variety of MercyMe’s hits from the band’s vast discography. “We’re so excited to get to share this new version of ‘I Can Only Imagine’ with everyone. The song has meant a lot to me over the years, and it really came out of a difficult season,” Bart shared. “It brought me a lot of hope, but there has always been something very melancholy about the song in the way that it was recorded before.” “Getting to do it over this time around, I really felt like it would be awesome to shape it in a more celebratory tone, where it conveys us rejoicing in the fact that we don’t have to imagine much longer,” Bart reflected. According to Billboard, the original version is the most played contemporary Christian song of all time, having gone
Photo: Five Loaves Media
Contemporary Christian rock band MercyMe released its latest album, I Can Only Imagine – The Very Best of MercyMe, in early March. The album is the soundtrack to the film I Can Only Imagine, which tells the story of how MercyMe frontman Bart Millard wrote the song.
The filming of the Black Panther provided Christian actors
Author – John Igglesden
opportunities to share their faith.
intermission 15 APRIL 2018
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Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Became Parents Gary Chapman with Shannon Warden Gary Chapman, author of The 5 Love Languages, strikes again with his practical and life-changing little books on how to do life and relationships well. His co-author Shannon Warden speaks authentically about her own journey with fertility and the strengthening of her faith in God in difficult seasons. It contains 12 short, sweet and sharp chapters beginning with, ‘I wish I’d known ...’. Gary and Shannon give practical tips, personal stories and subjects that get the conversation going with you and your spouse, ranging from money to time management, to things like the need to apologise to your children. This book has helped me prepare for children and will be on my bookshelf for many re-reads to come. – Gemma Uren
Pastor Wayne Field Lead Pastor at Riverton Baptist Community Church
Photo: Credit supplied
What led you to this role? There’s a lot that appeals to me about ministry at ‘Rivo’. Our people have a deep commitment to global missions, an intentional and effective focus on reaching international friends and the next generation in the local community, and an openness to change. I am privileged to partner with them. What were you doing prior to this role? I worked with Operation Mobilisation training missionaries. What is your church known for in its community? We are known as a generous and caring church, accepting of people from all age groups and many cultures.
The Masterpiece Francine Rivers Francine Rivers newest novel The Masterpiece hooked me in so much I couldn’t put it down. Following the encounter of two lives brought together by what they thought was convenience could actually be God’s design. Roman Velasco is a successful artist, yet so troubled by his past he hides his pain and fear behind anger. Grace Moore has struggled from her past too, with the guilt of bad choices she needs to find a way forward. Both lives change forever when Grace becomes Roman’s personal assistant and they slowly open up to share their hidden secrets. It is a fantastic read, capturing all emotions, and gives readers the prompt to search their inner self. It is a reminder that no matter where people come from or the choices they make, God loves them. – Alison Newton
What do you think God has been trying to say to you lately? Take a day off, son. So, I did. What is the most important ‘nuts and bolts’ lesson that you can give? Move towards people whenever possible, not away from them. It’s easy to avoid people when things get difficult, but healthy churches and communities depend upon those who are willing to do the hard work of relationships. What is one characteristic that you believe every leader should possess? Emotional intelligence (EQ), because it is inseparable from authentic spiritual maturity. I would take high EQ over skill in a leader any day. Skills can be learned but it is very, very difficult to dispel ignorance and build competence while humility and self-awareness are absent. What book have you read recently that changed or impacted the way you think? The Mystery of Marriage by Mike Mason. Mason offers a commendable treatment of the sensitive issue of mutual submission in marriage, which has expanded my thinking. Who are the historical figures who have influenced you the most? I’ve been deeply influenced by the lives and/or writings of Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels, Dallas Willard, Jason Mandryk, Martin Luther King, Nicky Gumbel, John Kaiser, Stephen Winward, my first ministry mentor Bruce Jenner, my wife Jodie and my three daughters. What would you like to go back and change? I would start a family sooner. The earlier you have children the longer you potentially have to enjoy each other. A final thought … Do what you love to end what you hate.
This voucher entitles you to 15% off your next purchase in store at Mount Lawley The Advocate – April 2018
Reviews by Koorong Mount Lawley staff Website: www.koorong.com Address: 434 Lord Street, Mount Lawley Phone: 08 9427 9777
listen Surrounded Michael W Smith Asking the question, ‘What expression of worship does He require from us?’ led Michael W Smith as he put together one of his latest albums, Surrounded. Working from the understanding there is not one ‘correct’ expression of worship, but an overflow from a heart turned towards God, he has put together a superb live album that reminds me of his foundational album, Worship – a piece of work that I played until it nearly wore out. This is one of those albums where the listener can close their eyes, draw a deep breath and find they have been transported into the experience of the congregation. ‘Smitty’ has been around since the early 1980s, has won six gold records, two Grammys and six Dove Awards. – Andrew Belbin
16 sport APRIL 2018
Bobô cares for the persecuted
“When you say, ‘I’m a Christian’, you could see people look differently at you,” Bobô said. Bobô met Jesus through his wife. Raquel grew up in a Christian family in Brazil and people would tell her she would be a missionary. “But living in a Christian home does not mean that you are a Christian, and I moved from the ways of Christ,” Raquel said. Raquel met Bobô when he was playing in Brazil. The pair got married, had their first daughter and moved to Turkey for his career. In a competition final, when Raquel walked onto the field to celebrate another win, a reporter approached her to ask about Bobô’s success. “Everything has been given right to you,” he marvelled. For Raquel, the comment stuck in her mind. “I could only think of the years I had turned my back to God. How did God still take care of me?” “I started praying again – I poured myself into God’s presence, and something began to change within me. I prayed to God that He would give me at least one person to walk with [in my faith], because two are better than one.” “After a week, my husband decided to give his life to Jesus – it
Photo: Open Doors Australia
Bobô, a leading player for Sydney Football Club, recently broke the club record for the most number of goals scored in a season. What many people don’t know, is that he and his wife, Raquel, have a strong faith in Jesus as their Saviour, and are passionate about social justice and the persecuted church.
Bobô and his wife Raquel are ambassadors for Open Doors Australia, encouraging Christians to support the persecuted church.
was beautiful, we prayed together and began to study the Bible.” Turkey shares a border with Syria. Conflict and persecution against the church continues to grow. Bobô recalls a news story about a Bible study attacked by Turkish Islamic extremists. The extremists spent six months pretending to be converts, building trust with the small group, until one day they turned on them. Everyone was killed except the mother who wasn’t
at home. When she was asked about how she felt after losing her family, she simply said, “I forgive, because Jesus forgave me first.” Bobô and Raquel lived through the rise of the civil war in Syria, and watched as Syrian refugees fled across the border into Turkey. “There were 15,000 in one day,” Raquel said. “Of course, I felt sad. But I thought, okay everybody is feeling sad but you need to move. You need to help.”
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“And, when it came time to leave Turkey, we knew God would use us wherever we were.” Bobô and Raquel now live in Sydney after signing with the A-league. In his first season, Bobô led Sydney FC to win their first premiership since 2009, and became the second player in A-league history to score back to back hat-tricks. Caring for the persecuted church continues to be close to their heart. This year, Bobô and
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Raquel have become ambassadors for Open Doors Australia to encourage Christians to support the persecuted church. “It makes me feel like I can help,” Bobô said. “I feel like I can do my part in the body [of Christ]. I think that’s the most important thing.” Author – Beth Ross
The Advocate - April 2018