“Let’s be brave enough to lead vulnerably and play our part in restoration in the workplace.” SCOTT INGRAM PAGE 13>>
IN CONVERSATION Christy Patrick reflects on her unique experience as a volunteer midwife with the Love Mercy Foundation in Uganda. PAGE 12>>
7 Fresh 2018 Fresh 2018 is set to inspire WA women to stand confidently in their calling >>
Photo: Mark and Karen Wilson
8 Sweeten our souls Patricia Weerakoon talks candidly on the biblical truth about our sexuality >>
Mark and Karen Wilson undertook an 800-kilometre pilgrimage in Spain to raise awareness and funds to support Syrian refugees.
Trekking for change In the seven years since war broke out, an estimated 5.5 million people have left Syria, often with nothing more than the clothes on their back, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. With the humanitarian crisis in Syria weighing on their minds, Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Ministries Mark Wilson and wife Karen, Director of Strategic Relations for Baptist World Aid Australia trekked the Camino de Santiago. Mark and Karen were determined to complete the 800-kilometre pilgrimage in Spain to help raise awareness and funds for Baptist World Aid Australia partners in Syria and Lebanon. Its partners assist refugees who desperately require food, water, shelter and medical care. Fleeing Syrian families have no time to gather supplies or pack
personal belongings. They leave their homes behind in search of food, clean water, shelter, medical care and safety with the hope of finding a new life. Reflecting on their trek, Karen said that away from the daily tasks of life, they only needed to consider the distance they walked, what food to eat and water to drink, and where to sleep each night. “Unlike Mark and I who had the resources to find accommodation, food and water and the knowledge that this would be over in five weeks, most refugees have no end in sight,” Karen said.
“My thoughts went to those fleeing Syria and what they must be going through.” “Their journey will be longer than ours and they have many years of hardship ahead.” “For those who find asylum in camps, they can expect to be there for the next 15 years. Those people must be longing for rest ... rest from hardship, sorrow, loss of all they have known and the concern of an unknown future.” “We found ourselves in the quiet times each day praying for these people.” Mark and Karen’s trek began in St Jean Pied de Port, in the foothills of the French Pyrenees, and finished in Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Each day, Karen shared highlights and reflections from their journey on Facebook and on their website.
Early on day ten, with 213 kilometres already covered, they met a pastor from the United States and were able to share stories of faith and ministry along with Mark developing his first blister. “A blister interrupted an almost perfect day,” Karen posted on Facebook. “In life, ‘blisters’ will happen and we need to stop and deal with them ... but then keep going.” To date, over $26,556 has been raised to support Baptist World Aid Australia and its ministry to those affected by the Syrian crisis. For more information or to provide financial support, visit www.wilsontrek4change.com Author – Matt Chapman
11 God’s smuggler Open Doors International founder, Anne van der Bijl turns 90 >>
We are stronger when we work together. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view JUNE 2018
The church down the road When quizzed on what she’d like to do to celebrate her birthday, our very quiet and introverted almost-seven-year-old Amelia told me that all she really wanted was hash browns, pancakes and her family.
Yvette Cherry Yvette Cherry is the Women’s Leadership Pastor for Baptist Churches Western Australia.
I figured we could manage a little more than that, so, after all her breakfast wishes were granted, we took the ferry from South Perth on a family adventure. The sky was blue and the air was unseasonably warm. We ate ice-cream, rode the train, splashed in the fountain, explored the quay, and laughed a lot. We ended the day with Nando’s and an ice-cream cake I’d bought that morning from IGA.
The next day we headed out to my niece Isabelle’s sixth birthday party; friends from school, beautiful handmade decorations, party games and lots of homemade food. Isabelle, the social butterfly, was in her element. I high-fived my sister for being a domestic ninja. But when the cake came out I felt that feeling that every mother knows … a twang of guilt. Isabelle’s cake was a labour of love; chocolate on chocolate,
ribbons, sprinkles and mini bunting. It was impressive. I thought about Amelia’s icecream cake and for a moment, I felt seriously inadequate. In my new role, I have had the privilege of visiting numerous churches. It has been fantastic to see the diversity of the body of Christ, and to notice the different ways the churches love the communities they are called to serve.
As more churches utilise social media to reach their local community, we have the opportunity to see what each other is doing. With that opportunity comes the temptation to make comparisons; their youth group looks amazing; they have a thriving seniors’ ministry. But God has commissioned each church to love and serve the unique needs and character of the community they are a part of. Making comparisons and feeling inadequate is a little like feeling bad for not giving your daughter a three-tier chocolate cake and a party when all she wanted was hash browns.
Travel agents, or tour guides? A range of happy circumstances have seen me able to do more travel than is usually possible. Actually, I’m writing this column from London, where I’m basking in the stimulating presence of staff and students from Spurgeon’s College.
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
They’ve urged me to make the most of my time in the UK, and I’ve had no shortage of suggestions on places to visit and sites to see. The experience has, however, highlighted for me the difference between travel agents and tour guides. Travel agents tell you where to go and what to do, and send you out to face the joy or chaos resulting from their suggestions, while they remain safely behind in the booking office.
One unnamed travel agent booked air tickets for my travel around Europe and for some inexplicable reason decided that my month’s trip around Europe would be without any luggage, and consequently booked tickets that allowed none. When I arrived at the airport with what I thought was my permitted 23kg (plus 7kg carry on), I discovered that a new (and most expensive) plan had to be made to accommodate my
luggage. The most I could get back from my travel agent was a slightly awkward “oops”. Likewise, when the “unusually spacious room” which had been reserved turned out to be an “unusually spacious matchbox” my travel agent was content with a “Really. That’s good to know”. By contrast, I’ve had some great times with tour guides. They fully understand that a day’s trip without a few toilet stops doesn’t work, make the
necessary adaptations to the program when the weather is foul, and allow you to linger a little longer when something has particularly caught everyone’s interest. It’s not that hard to do – provided you are present with the group, and able to see what is actually going on. It’s made me stop and ask what kind of spiritual leader I am – a travel agent (“do this and that and that”) or a tour guide (“let’s do this”). And I’m even more grateful for the One who is my guide, and travels the route with me.
Growth is a cause for celebration I am a competitive guy. Come down on Thursdays when I play squash and you can see that for yourself. As I often say with a smile on my face, I am not here to make friends I am here to win.
Mark Edwards Mark Edwards is the Senior Pastor of Inglewood Community Church.
Of course I play for a number of reasons, including fitness, fun and friendship. But we keep score. When pastors gather together for social and networking reasons this competitive spirit is under the surface. Like farmers enquiring about how much land another farmer owns, pastors want to know how many people the next leader has in their church. It’s natural. At some level it goes to their significance and place in the room. And like a farmer, it’s not
something we normally ask, but we find out somehow. It’s also ridiculous. This has been happening ever since Paul the Apostle wrote this in 1 Corinthians 3: ‘When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world? After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the good
news. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.’ There are a number of things here. Paul points out that when we ascribe loyalty to one particular leader, pitting them against each other in some sort of church contest, we are following worldly values, not Jesus’ values. Both those leaders are serving the same Jesus, the same Lord. They are both preaching the same gospel. Furthermore, those leaders are doing work which the Lord
gave them. Like talents, some are given two, some five, and some ten. The mission, target and focus did not originate with them but rather with the call of Jesus and perhaps their skills, gifting and placement. When another pastor, leader or church sees significant growth, people coming to Jesus, churches growing – it is a cause for celebration. We are all actually on the same side. And, when we are at our best we are winning, and so is everyone else on our team, the Church of Jesus Christ.
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This year’s All Together Baptist Pastoral Retreat’s theme was Heartbeat. Held in April, 248 pastors, chaplains, pastoral staff and their spouses assembled to hear speakers explain what it meant to hear the heartbeat of Christ for His Church. Event organiser and Inglewood Community Church Senior Pastor Mark Edwards said that the retreat had grown from humble beginnings into a feature event on the annual calendar for Baptist pastors. “It is a refreshing and spiritually enriching time for all those who attend,” Mark said. Held during the April school holidays in Mandurah, the retreat draws attendees from all over Western Australia. One pastoral couple travelled over 1,000 km, just to catch their flights to Perth. Riverton Baptist Community Church Lead Pastor Wayne Field said it was an exceptional pastors’ conference, and probably the best one he had been to. A range of Baptist musicians and vocalists, representing the diversity and unity of the
movement, came together under the leadership of Inglewood Community Church Worship Pastor Jess Magowan to conduct the worship times. “It was brilliant to see leaders engaging in worship at a time where they do not have to be responsible for the ministry, but instead be ministered to,” Mark said. “A particularly poignant moment was when over 200 pastors came forward for communion and expressed a desire to devote themselves afresh to Jesus.” Rev. Stu Cameron from Newlife Uniting Church in Queensland was the keynote speaker. “Stu bought a wealth of experience and wisdom to the sessions, having pastored for over two decades,” Mark said.
“A highlight for many, was his leading of an open prayer time where pastors and leaders were ministered to by each other.” Baptist Churches Western Australia Council Chair Pastor Karen Siggins shared her personal journey, speaking about hearing the ‘heartbeat’ of God, and listening for the ‘heartbeat’ of those ministered to. A member of the retreat organising team, Matt Chapman, said it was an exceptional message from Karen. “Those listening were captivated by each word she spoke,” he said. In an increasingly marginalised society, Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Ministries Pastor Mark Wilson encouraged pastors to continue to be ‘salt and light’ in their communities, helping those around them say ‘yes’ to Jesus. “We believe that healthy pastors help create healthy churches and the retreat is a great opportunity to build into the health of our pastors,” Mark said.
Photo: Sarah Wickham, SJ Creative
Hearing the heartbeat of God
Pastor Victor Owuor leading a time of communion at the All Together Baptist Pastoral Retreat.
Australians shopping ethically In April, Baptist World Aid Australia released the 2018 Ethical Fashion Guide to remarkable public response. The world-leading research was featured in more than 150 media stories and by major news outlets throughout Australia and overseas. grades 407 brands and is the biggest edition yet. To order a free copy of the 2018 Ethical Fashion Guide, visit behindthebarcode.org.au Author – Samara Linehan
The free 2018 Ethical Fashion Guide is now available.
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news JUNE 2018
Aged care living redevelopment Aged care provider Baptistcare has been given the green light to explore a range of options to create new accommodation choices for seniors in Rockingham. The initiative is part of the City of Rockingham’s Challenger Precinct Redevelopment Project.
support more members of the Rockingham community. “Delivering accommodation choices that are fully integrated into the overall Challenger Precinct, and can be built with minimum disruption to existing residents and the surrounding community, are key drivers for Baptistcare for this project,” Russell said. For more information, visit baptistcare.com.au Author – Linda Lee
Resident Olavi Narva and volunteer John Crouch at Baptistcare Gracehaven Residential Care in Rockingham.
Vose Commencement and Conferral Gratitude and a celebration of academic achievement were on display at Vose Seminary’s annual Commencement and Conferral service, held at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church on 21 March. Notably, Kyle Vermaes received not only dux, but two other awards from the Australian College of Theology for academic achievement, topping his student cohort nationally. Kyle is an example of the students’ commitment to their studies, often while juggling families and ministries as well. Baptist Churches Western Australia Women’s Leadership Pastor Yvette Cherry delivered the keynote address based on the theme, ‘Glorify’. Yvette spoke about the wisdom gained from years of discipline and dedication. Director of Business Development and Online Learning Cate Vose said Yvette’s address provided honest reflection on the Christian life and the journey of study, strengthening and encouraging all present. Dalkeith Baptist Church, Katanning Baptist Church, Perth Baptist Church and Riverton Baptist Community Church all contributed finances towards the academic prizes. Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Creative Ministry team provided worship.
Photo: Sarah Wickham, SJ Creative
Baptistcare CEO Russell Bricknell said the Challenger Precinct land offers a unique opportunity to consider innovative and contemporary solutions to meet the needs of Rockingham’s rapidly ageing population. Approval was granted by the City of Rockingham to Baptistcare to commence project scoping and feasibility studies for the redevelopment, following a formal expression of interest process. “Baptistcare is looking forward to working with the City of Rockingham to assess the project’s potential and gain a comprehensive understanding of the community’s needs,” Russell said. “We’ve been providing care, support and retirement living options for seniors in Rockingham for almost 25 years, so we are thrilled to continue our relationship with the local community and plan a new era of accommodation and services.” “Our philosophy of putting people first and delivering support tailored to each individual’s needs is very much in line with the City of Rockingham’s vision for the Challenger Precinct Redevelopment.” Russell said project planning is in its early stages, and will involve extensive community consultation and a staged rollout over the next decade, subject to City Council and Baptistcare Board approvals. The project aims to meet future needs and provide design and construction solutions that put Rockingham at the forefront of contemporary accommodation for seniors. It will build on Baptistcare’s established local networks fostered through Baptistcare Gracehaven Residential Care, Baptistcare Gracehaven Village retirement living and its At Home Services in the Peel region. “We intend to take the time necessary to properly plan and engage with local representatives and residents,” Russell explained. A provider of aged care in Western Australia for more than 45 years, Baptistcare offers residential care, retirement living accommodation and home care services, all of which will be incorporated in the plans for redevelopment. Integrating the organisation’s multiple aged care services at one site will provide many opportunities to
Dr Graeme Cross prays for new students as they commence their academic journey at Vose Seminary.
Vose welcomed 38 new students at the start of this semester – a new record. Many of them were in attendance with their families and friends, coming forward to be commissioned for the journey of study. “The evening was one of gratitude for what has been, and what was still to come,” Cate said. “It was a beautiful picture of the mission and vision of Vose; that our community would be one which reflects the glory of God to the world around us, and among us as we teach, learn, worship and live together in unity through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Vose Seminary is undergoing a period of enormous growth on all fronts. Vose Principal Dr Brian Harris is presently away on a sabbatical at Spurgeon’s College as a visiting ‘distinguished scholar’. While there, he hopes to make some headway on his latest book, which will be a text for pastoral ministry. Brian’s recent book, titled Why Christianity Is Probably True is due to be released in October this year. Acting Principal Dr Graeme Cross said with numerous visiting guest lecturers, keynote speakers and presenters arriving on campus on a regular basis, there has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the Vose community. “In April, we had Dr Paul Windsor from the Langham Partnership bring a two-day preaching seminar, and in August Dr Tremper Longman III will be the keynote speaker at the Vose Conference,” Graeme said. “Also in August, we will welcome the Reverend Steve Dixon, who will be delivering a one-week intensive on youth ministry leadership.”
Director of Business Development and Online Learning Cate Vose said the Vose student body continues to flourish in all sorts of ways. This semester Vose had a record number of new students enrolling in its degree level courses, and new teaching hubs are being developed with Riverview Church and Lake Joondalup Baptist Church as well as an ever-expanding offering of online and intensive units. “These developments mean it is now easier than ever to study at Vose,” Cate said. “It is a joy to create space for students to have transformative encounters with Jesus through the exploration of Scripture, community life, prayer and reflection.” “On a positive note for current and prospective students, a successful application to become a provider of VET student loans now means that students can enrol in the Diploma of Leadership and Management through Vose Training and access financial support from the Department of Education and Training,” Cate added. In the past months, key partnerships with Christian Schools Australia and YouthCARE
Photo: Nika Savins
What’s coming up at Vose?
Jakeb Gosling looks after the popular Bake Sale stand at the Vose Annual Book Sale.
are also bringing spiritual formation and biblical literacy projects to life, which will support the work of those organisations. “In amongst the growth, new life and packed calendar of events, our students, staff and
faculty are invited each week into a space of reflection and worship at our Wednesday chapel and spiritual formation program,” Graeme said. “At the heart of all we are doing, is an unwavering
commitment to the pursuit of the Kingdom of God in all its many expressions.” For more information, visit www.vose.edu.au
Late last year, Baptist World Aid Australia staff met a woman named Sem Rith in a poor rural Cambodian village. She told them her painful story. One of ten children, Rith was only in grade 2 when she dropped out of school. Her parents were too poor for her to continue with her education. “I had to help my family in the farm and look after the younger ones,” Rith explained. “I was not able to follow the lessons and I decided to stop. I was never able to go back.” When you’re an uneducated girl like Rith, you have few prospects. Rith can barely read or write. And with no education to speak of, she had no hope of getting a good job. Years later, and now a mother herself, Rith was stuck doing the only work she’d ever known – growing rice. But even that was not enough. “Rice is not very profitable,” Rith said. “In the rural area, whatever we have, we just eat that … if we have less, we eat less. And in the seasons when we don’t grow
enough rice, we need to beg from others to eat.” This was Rith’s life. A constant struggle to survive. Every waking hour marred by underlying fear – fear of going hungry, fear for her children’s future. And then disaster struck. It happened when Rith was heavily pregnant with her second child and her husband was bedridden with sickness. The rains came. So much rain. Too much rain. Rith could only watch as a huge flood devastated her village and destroyed her crops. Her family was left with nothing. Last month, Baptist World Aid launched its annual Matching Grant Appeal to support work that gives new, urgently needed livelihoods to mothers like Rith. Through the appeal, gifts are matched with an Australian Government aid grant – which means they can have up to six times the impact. And, for Rith, that means six new income streams to help support her family. When Baptist World Aid’s Christian partner in the field set-up a savings group in Rith’s community, she joined. Through Rith’s savings group she learned to keep chickens,
Photo: Baptist World Aid Australia
Mums feel the impact of matching grants
Baptist World Aid Australia’s Matching Grant Appeal helps mums like Sem Rith secure a livelihood.
cows and fish. She also learned the skills to run a business. Today, Rith’s six businesses generate enough income to give all her children the schooling she missed out on herself. “I am uneducated, but I want my children to be educated,” she said. “I want them to have good jobs, so they would not have difficult lives like us.”
“I am very grateful for the Australian supporters that have changed my life … now I am happy, not scared, or worried like before.” That’s why gifts to the Matching Grant Appeal are so important. Without your support, mums like Rith can never escape poverty, or get rid of the fear that lives in their hearts every day.
Help stop the fear in a poor mother’s heart. Fill out the Matching Grant giving envelope in this issue of The Advocate and return it by the 30 June deadline or visit www.baptistworldaid.org.au/ matching-grant Author – Samara Linehan
news JUNE 2018
Carey secondary school to open 2022 with the facilities to cater for upper-secondary Science subjects such as Physics, Chemistry and Biology. The Forrestdale campus is located on 15 hectares and has a master plan to demonstrate the scope and potential of the land. The landscape has provided the College with unique opportunities to incorporate outdoor learning in its curriculum. Carey Forrestdale Educator David Boldy said the campus bush setting, with wetlands and bush areas, has been intentionally retained to provide high quality, on-site outdoor classrooms. “The landscape that surrounds us provides unlimited opportunities for academic, personal, community and spiritual growth.” There are also plans to incorporate horticulture into the College’s curriculum. As the pioneering cohort for Carey Forrestdale’s Secondary School, students and families will have an integral role in developing the programs and culture of the campus. The campus will continue to grow each year to eventually provide Kindergarten to Year 12.
Excitement is building at the Carey Forrestdale campus as the launch of its Secondary School in 2019 approaches.
Need for chaplains raised on radio
For more information, visit carey.wa.edu.au
Photo: 98five Sonshine FM
The Forrestdale campus, which opened in 2016, is the Carey Group’s second campus which has already grown to offer Kindergarten to Year 6. A new community and learning facility is currently being built on-site and features a community hub and auditorium, six classrooms, a café kiosk and state-of-the-art breakout spaces. The new build is scheduled for completion in October 2018. The facility will be used by both the College and Carey Baptist Church and is designed to be a place where families can connect and grow in relationship with one another. Carey Forrestdale Principal Nigel Wise said the hope is for families to be an integral part of the school community as they focus on the holistic needs of the young lives they are shaping towards a fulfilling future. “A wonderful sense of community has already developed and this will continue to be fostered and developed as the College grows,” Nigel said. Busy Bee events at the College are planned for later this year, where families and members of the community will gather to get involved in the development of the growing campus. Other projects in the works include a multi-purpose outdoor court facility and a second oval. A specialist Science building is also expected to open in
Photo: Storyfully Media
Carey Baptist College has announced the launch of a secondary school at its Forrestdale campus, commencing with Year 7 in 2019.
briefs Upcoming events
1-5 July – Juniors Winter Camp 6-10 July – Inters Winter Camp 21 July – Fresh Leadership Conference 25-30 July – Sexuality with Dr Patricia Weerakoon 17-18 August – NextGen – Children | Beyond Kidsmin Conference 28-29 August – Vose Conference 21-24 September – SportsFest 2018 6 October – Vose Open Day 20 October – 2018 BCWA Annual Assembly 25-26 October – Global Leadership Summit 3 November – Friends of Global Interaction Morning Tea 19-22 November – Leavers Green Team
Allan Malacaman, Lani Pabalate, Nolan Panaligan and Cecilia Parao were baptised at the Ammo Jetty Beach, Coogee, by Pastor Craig Siggins of Yangebup Baptist Church on Sunday 8 April.
2018 Beyond KidsMin Conference The Beyond KidsMin Conference is for all who love God and are passionate about bringing up the next generation of young people to love Him. Speakers will look at what it means to have an innovative look beyond kids’ programs and think intentionally about discipleship. The conference is ideal for all kids and family ministry pastors, NextGen leaders, volunteers, chaplains and teachers. It will be held on 17 and 18 August at Warnbro Community Church. To register, visit www.trybooking.com/ book/event?eid=367842
Gosnells Primary School Chaplain Grace Munnee being interviewed by 98five Sonshine FM’s Kirste and Morro.
Gosnells Primary School’s Chaplain and Principal took centre stage to share how their duty of care stretches much further than the classroom at 98five’s Brekky with Kirste and Morro on Friday for the station’s fortnightly Free Coffee Friday broadcast. “In a low socio-economic area, there are daily challenges that hinder the education of the students at Gosnells Primary School,” Chaplain Grace Munnee said. “One of the main areas of concern the staff see are the
growing numbers of children who arrive to school hungry or without any lunch.” Grace told Kirste and Morro that she saw this need and enlisted the help of a few teachers to volunteer their time to come in early on Tuesday mornings to run the breakfast club. So far, Grace and her team have provided breakfast for 70 students this year. “It’s not just about providing them with food so they can concentrate properly and learn, it’s an opportunity for them to feel loved and cared for.” Grace also makes up to 20 sandwiches a week for students with no lunch and arranges food hampers provided by local churches for families in need.
With ten percent of students needing lunches, Grace and Principal Craig Anderson hope to increase the amount of food and resources they can provide to their students. The School’s duty of care also extends to the development of a specialist program for students with autism. Craig reflected on the program’s success during his chat with Kirste and Morro. “As the first school in the state to rollout the Specialist Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, we have faced many challenges but are successfully integrating these students into mainstream learning,” Craig said. Author – Rachel Murphy
Fresh aims to inspire women Women from all over Western Australia will join together for Fresh Conference 2018 on Saturday 21 July. Bible Society Group Chief Operating Officer Melissa Lipsett will lead the line-up of gifted speakers, which also includes West Australian leaders Zoe Bradfield, Kellie Chisholm, Sarah French, Amanda Viviers and Fresh Conference founder Karen Wilson. we lead well in everything God asks us to lead in, we do life better and blessings flow to others.” Fresh Conference will be held at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and is open to women of all ages. To register, visit www.freshconference.net
Photo: Lance Chicote
In its 12th year, the Conference has become a popular event for women across the state and has contributed to a culture of unity and collaboration among women across many denominations and churches. The ‘heart’ of Fresh is to inspire, equip and encourage women to be all that God has created them to be. The theme in 2018 is ‘Stand’ and the speakers will use Scripture as well as their own testimony to teach and encourage West Australian women to stand confidently in their calling; to courageously live out the unique passions and giftings God has given them. Bunbury mother and business woman Mish Pope attended Fresh for the first time in 2017. “I loved how open, collaborative, real and connected Fresh felt,” Mish said. “Speakers shared stories of their journey and encouraged other women to walk in their faith as they step into leadership. It was a turning point in my life.” This year Mish will join seven other women in a panel discussion led by Baptist Churches Western Australia Council Chair Karen Siggins. They have been invited to talk candidly about their leadership joys and lessons learned, knowing that courage is contagious. In her new role as Women’s Leadership Pastor with Baptist Churches Western Australia, Yvette Cherry meets with many Baptist leaders across the state. “It has become quite clear to me that if we want women to flourish in ministry and leadership, then we need to model that – after all, you can’t be what you can’t see,” she said. “I love that the conference provides an opportunity for women to see other women leading strongly.” “This opportunity for role modelling is especially important for young and emerging leaders.” Although there will be a focus on leadership, event organisers want to be clear that Fresh has great relevance for all women. Baptist Women Australia National Director Karen Wilson said everyone leads in some area of life and everyone has influence, and encourages all women to attend. “God has given us each an assignment for our life and when
Rachel Wong, Chara Prigg and Jade Botha enjoying Fresh Conference 2017.
Tom Price gains new street library A street library has been established by a member of the Tom Price Baptist Church as a unique service to her local community. Long-time Tom Price resident, Melissa Howe, set up the library at the front of her Oleander Street home as a way of sharing her love of reading with her neighbours, and the idea has already attracted media attention around the Pilbara. “Because the town is so transient, this is a good way for me to meet new people and to help them connect to the community,” Melissa explained. “It fits the easy country lifestyle we have in Tom Price and helps us to connect to workers and tourists when we can. New people can find it hard here.”
Melissa got the idea from Pinterest and asked a friend to build the library, which looks like a toy house. It even has a light so it can be accessed at night. She stocks about 20 books for children and adults, and people are encouraged to borrow or exchange books. Street libraries are part of a worldwide network of small standalone book exchanges, usually situated in front yards and visible from the street. Author – Rob Douglas Melissa Howe (centre) with patrons using the new street library in Tom Price.
Children and Families Worker (part time) Maida Vale Baptist Church is seeking the services of a passionate trainee who will work alongside our Children and Families’ worker with a view to growing into this role in the future. The church has an active ministry to unchurched families in the High Wycombe area and beyond, and seeks to maintain a strong missional focus. The successful candidate will be a team worker, and will be confident to communicate with both children and their parents/ caregivers. For details of the position and information about the church, please contact Team Leader, Rob Douglas on 0448 473 513
To find your local Baptist church visit www.baptistwa.asn.au
feature JUNE 2018
A sign on the wall of the chocolate café reads ‘Sweeten thy soul’. As we sit down for a hot chocolate and a chat, Patricia Weerakoon, a Christian sexologist living in Sydney, said “what better place to talk about sex than where we can ‘sweeten our souls’.”
SEX a sweeten says christian se “Even better than sweet chocolate is chilli chocolate,” she said. “That’s an aphrodisiac, you know.” In 2011, Patricia retired from a weighty academic career in sexual health at The University of Sydney, having run its graduate program in Sexual Health. “I have a double passion,” Patricia said. “I’m passionate about sex. And I’m passionate about God. It’s what brought me to where I am now.” Almost everything Patricia says could be included in a romance novel. In fact, she has penned several such novels already, published in Sri Lanka. She talks of growing up on a tea plantation in Sri Lanka in the end days of the British Raj as if there was still mist on the hills. “My father was a factory tea maker, a native Sri Lankan. And there were layers of society which still existed around that time of independence. The British weren’t allowed to mix with the natives. And the natives weren’t allowed to mix with the indentured Indian workers.” A bright student, Patricia was accepted into medical school, despite an upbringing which groomed her to become a Sri Lankan housewife, with plans for an arranged marriage. At the same time that Patricia met her husband, Vasantha, at a camp for Christian university students, divisions among the native Sri Lankans, between Tamils and Sinhalese, were rife. “My husband is Sinhalese, and I am Tamil, which were the two groups trying to kill each other. It was a bit of a Romeo and Juliet thing.” Ultimately, the fact that Vasantha was a Christian resulted in her parents’ consent. Patricia said God has been in her life for as long as she can remember. After her marriage, Patricia and her new family moved to Hawaii, where she undertook postgraduate studies in sexual health.
“It’s where I got into sex, where I got my sex passion.” “It’s amazing, really. I was already five years married with a two-year-old son at that time. But apart from ‘it doesn’t go in the belly button’, I didn’t know very much about sex at all. Nobody ever talked about it. And, you know, things aren’t that much different now.” Patricia worked under a professor and sexologist in Hawaii who specialised in gender. She said the professor encouraged ‘desensitisation’ to gender issues by taking them out on the town. “I’ve basically seen everything,” she said with a shrug. “From gender bending, partial and full gender transitions and surgeries, live shows, pornography. I’ve seen it all.” Patricia said she is often asked how she managed to keep hold of her faith and values amongst the things she saw. “It was actually my husband who kept me grounded. And to all of the places I went, he would say, ‘I’m coming along if you’re going.’ Half the time he’d just have his eyes closed. ‘Oh no’, he’d say ‘Not another sex show!’” “When we came home, he would always say ‘We must read the Bible and pray together.’ He pulled me back, grounded me in the faith. And we had a wonderful church too.” During her time in Hawaii, Patricia said her eyes were opened to the beauty of the human body. She talks freely about the penis as an “engineering marvel” and the clitoris as “the only organ created solely for pleasure”. “How can we take something so beautiful and make it so ugly?” she questioned. Patricia went back to Sri Lanka in the 1980s, to a region bursting at the seams with 18 million people. She felt like she was the only sex therapist in the country. But ethnic problems in the country moved them on to Australia, where
Patricia began teaching sexual health to graduate students in Sydney. “Other sexologists would ask how I can be a Christian and do the work I do, speak about the things I speak about. And I would say, we all research sex, but as a Christian, I know the Creator.” “I look at the Bible and seek the biblical truth about our sexuality. And now, the more I learn about the brain science around sexual desire, there is a beautiful fit with God’s purpose.” “If desire is used as intended, it’s a wonderful urge.” Patricia said bringing all the thoughts on the mechanics of sex within a biblical framework is what she has worked towards in her career. “After 30 years of studying sex and retiring from university life, I’m able to talk about how God’s purpose and the biology and research actually come together.” “The world can pick at it and distort, but that doesn’t take away how the Bible presents sex, how your brain and body have been formed.” Talking about sex for so long, and to so many, does come with its fair share of challenges. But her family have been her constant support. “Oh, my poor darling husband. He’s always been my greatest supporter. We’re friends and lovers, but of course we have our own ups and downs.” Patricia says her husband, Vasantha, has had to have a great sense of humour, being married to a sexologist and also being a ‘subcontinental’, from the home of the Kama Sutra. Perhaps more so, as he worked as an engineer for the fire department – with a lot of other men. “They often said to him – ‘here comes the sex therapist’s husband’ and ‘no wonder you’ve always got a smile on your face!’”, Patricia laughed cheekily. Looking back, Patricia said she was crazy to even think about coming to
Australia – an entirely different culture – and say “I want to talk about sex”. But God has guided her, and she said she prays constantly that everything she says and does will be to His glory. “I constantly take things to the Lord. ‘To live is Christ and to die is gain.’ – especially now that I’m 65. Every time I’ve done a crazy thing, I’ve asked God before, during and after.” Being so audacious about sex also means there are times of potential embarrassment. Though, after speaking with Patricia for almost two hours, it is clear that when it comes to sex, nothing fazes her. Giggling, she recounts one such incident: “We had a new minister at our church a little while ago now, and we walked out after church to greet him. He asked me whether I worked, and I said ‘Yes, I work in sex’.” “My husband said later, do you realise that poor minister could barely greet the next person after what you said?” “To this day, that minister says I told him I was a sex worker! I know I wouldn’t have said that, but I guess ‘I work in sex’ was stunning enough.” Patricia talks about sex like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Which, in her view, it is. “Look at Genesis – we are created in the image of God, we are created with gender, given a command to procreate. And God made it fun!” “Imagine if sex was like doing your tax return – who would bother? We would have died out a long time ago. It’s because it’s fun – and God has made it that way – that we actually do it.” She said she has been overwhelmed, as she moves further into sex therapy and counselling, by the number of Christian couples who want to talk to her. “The cross is a good place to start when you’re hurt as a couple. Forgiveness, repentance, grace.
feature JUNE 2018
ner for the soul, exologist These are the things underpinning my sex counselling for couples. No wonder we can’t live with someone, because we’re not willing to make the sacrifices like Christ made on the cross.” Author – Kaley Payne Article used with the permission from Eternity. Original article published 24 August 2012.
candid conversations about sexuality Over six days in July, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church will be hosting Patricia Weerakoon for a series of candid conversations about sexuality. Mount Pleasant Pastor of Church Community Ministries Sue Ford said that in a highly-sexualised culture, the biblical pattern for relationships and sexuality are being challenged on many fronts. “How do we bring God’s view of gender, relationships and marriage to a world which screams out the message that every desire must be met, whatever the consequence. How does this play out in life and relationships for youth, singles, newly marrieds and long term couples?” Sue said. “What does it mean for Christians to live their whole lives, including their sexuality, to the glory of God? Does the church have a positive duty to help people form a healthy sexual self-identity and behave in healthy, appropriate ways?” “The leadership at Mount Pleasant have felt the need to better equip the Church to think and live in healthy, life-giving ways regarding their sexual lives.” Patricia will be presenting several talks on sexuality, appropriate to
a range of audiences, specifically focused on building up Christians at different stages of life. Most talks will target specific audiences such as youth, young adults, men/women, marrieds, parents and pastors/leaders. They will cover a range of subjects including singleness, premarital and extramarital sex, sex and intimacy in marriage, pornography, gender and the challenges of parenting children in a super-sexualised cyber world. Registration is required for most events. For more information, visit www.mounties.org.au/sexuality Author – Matt Chapman
10 world news JUNE 2018
Beach baptism for new believers On a day focused on celebrating life transformation, the Quinlan family decided to be baptised together as a symbol of how Jesus has been working in their lives. when 79 people were baptised at the One Family event in South Florida. Churches of different ethnic and racial backgrounds gathered on Key Biscayne to publicly proclaim, that no matter their differences, they are united in the gospel. “Events like this are a catalyst for us,” Kell said, speaking of the Acts 2:41 Beach Baptism day. Kell said his church enjoys knowing that they are joining with congregations all over the state impacting people outside of the four walls of the church. Green said it was a powerful testimony of salvation and baptism through the Acts 2:41 emphasis. “We rejoice in lives that are eternally changed through Jesus Christ. Let’s keep pressing on with the Gospel of Jesus Christ!” he said. Reprinted with permission from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Photo: Florida Baptist Convention
Their church, The Island Chapel in Tierra Verde, was just one of hundreds of Florida Baptist churches that participated in Acts 2:41 Beach Baptism emphasis on 6 May. Becky Quinlan, along with husband Scott and children Emma, Anna and Brady, joined nearly 1,100 others who were baptised at beaches, lakes, springs and even fountains in a celebration of life transformation that echoed from coast to coast all around the state. Tommy Green, Executive Director-Treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, launched the baptism emphasis in 2017 by challenging Florida Baptist churches to get outside and baptise new believers in public places, highlighting the power of the gospel testimony. “I am grateful for the strong evangelistic heartbeat of our Florida Baptist churches,” Green said as stories of baptisms were shared and celebrated on social media. Cornerstone Baptist Church in Inverness had a record number of baptisms at a lake this year. Thirtyone people were baptised, up from the 19 that were baptised last year. Pastor Greg Kell said having a baptism service at the lake creates a special moment for people and keeps the conversation about the gospel going for weeks afterward. A father and his three children chose to visit Cornerstone on Acts 2:41 Sunday, and they all made professions of faith in Jesus and were baptised that day. In the 24 hours following the baptism at the lake, Kell noted, the church had three people confirmed for baptism on 13 May, with more to follow. The baptism celebrations actually began on Saturday 5 May
Tommy Green, (centre) Executive Director-Treasurer of the Florida Baptist Convention, talks to the crowd during Acts 2:41 Beach Baptism emphasis on 6 May.
Nepal Baptists celebrate 25 years Baptists in Nepal celebrated the 25th anniversary as a national group on 11 April. Many packed into a rented hall to celebrate, with people standing in a courtyard outside and listening through the windows. Baptist Word Alliance General Secretary Emeritus Denton Lotz assisted in the 1993 formation of the Nepal Baptist Church Council, and he returned for the celebration. “What a joy to see God’s leading among young Baptists
eager to share the good news of Christ,” Lotz wrote. “The Nepal Baptists now have 219 churches and 248 fellowships, for a total of 467 meeting places. They have 20,000 baptised believers,” Lotz said.
“Nepal Baptists are not a Western missionary-led union; they are led completely by local pastors and indigenous leaders.” “They are enthusiastic about the power of the gospel and the joy Christ brings to their lives.” About 700 attended the 25th anniversary celebration, in the midst of challenges. “Although the new constitution declares Nepal to be a secular state, ... Christian evangelism is prohibited, and many people fear another era of
persecution could come,” Lotz wrote. “Pray for our brothers and sisters in Nepal as they stand firm in their faith in Christ and rejoice in how God has led them these past 25 years.” “Pray that the next 25 years will be even more glorious and that our new BWA General Secretary Elijah Brown, who sent video greetings, will help Nepal Baptists celebrate their 50th anniversary.”
several recommendations at its meetings in early March. General Secretary Elijah Brown recommended and the Executive Committee unanimously affirmed that his immediate predecessor, Neville Callam, be named General Secretary Emeritus. The proposal is to be formally voted on by the General Council at its meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, in July. Callam retired as BWA General Secretary in December after serving the organisation for ten years. He will share the honorific title with Denton Lotz, BWA General Secretary for 19 years, from 1988 to 2007.
The Baptist leaders and representatives from 25 countries, who met in Falls Church, Virginia, in the United States, paid tribute to late American evangelist, Billy Graham. Graham was lauded for his impact on Baptist life and Christian witness on a global level. In addition to speaking at every Baptist World Congress from 1955 to 1990, Graham collaborated with Baptists and other Christian groups in various countries in his evangelistic campaigns that spanned more than five decades.
international briefs God is not a foreigner The people of South Sudan have rarely known peace. The decades since Sudan’s independence from Britain and then South Sudan’s independence from Sudan have been marked by turmoil and war. Despite the turbulence, Bible translation has been taking place. The Baka translation began in 1980 in southern Sudan. The team endured civil war, violence, having to flee as refugees, and a kidnapping. Through it all, translation continued, and in March 2017, the Baka community celebrated the launch of the New Testament.
Translation project manager, Pastor Bennett Marona said now that the Baka have God’s Word, God is not a foreigner anymore. “Jesus is one of us. He can talk [our] dialect,” he said.
Ban on online Bible sales China’s Christians may not be surprised by recent tighter government control of religious affairs, including a ban on online Bible sales. But they are unsure what comes next. Following the announcement in March that Bibles could no longer be made available online, large websites like
Taobao, Jingdong, Weidian, Dangdang, and Amazon China have now stopped selling them. The Catholic news website UCAN reported that “books about Christianity have also been blocked and the business licenses of some shops have been cancelled,” and that, according to social media users, websites had started to stop the sale of Bibles as early as 30 March.
BWA tribute to Billy Graham The Baptist World Alliance Executive Committee made important decisions and accepted
world news 11 JUNE 2018
Open Doors founder turns 90
Author – Ramona Ötting
Anne van der Bijl’s autobiography God’s Smuggler was translated into 45 languages and sold over ten million copies. Published in 1967, the book tells of dangerous border crossings and persecution during the Cold War.
World Vision empowers women A new World Vision program set to support female entrepreneurs in Myanmar and Ghana has received a $4 million dollar grant from the Australian government. The program aims to help businesses with high potential which are struggling to access bank loans. World Vision Australia CEO Claire Rogers said success with this pilot project would reduce poverty in the Asia-Pacific by encouraging economic growth.
Investing in small businesses generates both employment and marketing opportunities ...
Photo: World Vision Australia
Faced with the pressure Christians were experiencing in communist Poland, Brother Andrew decided that he had to stand behind those who could not express their faith freely under the communist regime. Inspired by Revelation 3:2 ‘Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God’, he set out to smuggle Bibles across the Soviet border in his VW beetle (earning him the name ‘God’s Smuggler’). On one occasion, Brother Andrew was watching cars being stopped and carefully searched by the border patrol. Knowing very well that his car full of Bibles would cause trouble, he prayed a trusting prayer and even placed a few Bibles in plain sight. Miraculously, when it was his turn to cross the border, the guard merely glanced at his passport and waved him through. Van der Bijl’s goal has been to build-up Christian communities around the world and to open doors wherever he went, in order to share the good news. More than 60 years ago, he laid the foundation for Open Doors, the world’s oldest ministry serving persecuted Christians. He has visited approximately 125 countries to share the gospel and continues to travel to countries like Pakistan to spread awareness about the world’s most difficult places to live as Christians. According to Open Doors, Brother Andrew has always believed that God uses ordinary people in extraordinary ways. He emphasises that he is no one special, but that he simply obeyed the daily call to bring the Bible to those who do not have it. “Brother Andrew boldly lives out the call to bring the gospel to all nations,” President and CEO of Open Doors USA David Curry said. “Open Doors continues his legacy of supporting persecuted Christians in all areas of their lives, so they not only hear the gospel, but are able to live it as well.” Today, Open Doors tracks the variations in persecution from year to year and ranks the top 50 worst countries to live as a Christian on its World Watch List.
Photo: Open Doors Germany
The founder of Open Doors International, Anne van der Bijl, turned 90 years old last month. Known to many as Brother Andrew, the Dutchman started his ministry in 1955 when he travelled behind the Iron Curtain and was confronted with the struggles of persecuted believers.
Myanmarese entrepreneur Cho accessed a series of small World Vision loans for her childcare centre. Today, she employs 11 staff and provides care for almost 400 children.
“Investing in small businesses generates both employment and marketing opportunities for surrounding vulnerable community members, particularly women,” Ms Rogers said. “Women and children are among the most vulnerable in countries with high levels of
poverty and fragile economies. Women entrepreneurs face extra hurdles compared to men. This program will help them to build a sustainable livelihood for themselves, their employees, their families and local communities,” she added. World Vision expects the three-
year grant to help create 6,500 new jobs, sustain another 6,500 and positively impact the two regions beyond the life of the grant. Author – Ramona Ötting
12 in conversation JUNE 2018
Midwife delivers in Uganda What led you to volunteer as a midwife in Uganda? I had been looking and praying for an opportunity to volunteer somewhere – anywhere – where I could use my skills. A friend mentioned that she had heard Love Mercy had started a maternity service, but it sounded like they could use the advice of a midwife. So I contacted Caitlin Barrett, the CEO of Love Mercy, which funds part of the Kristina Health Centre, and chatted to her about what they were doing and what their needs were. After much prayer on both sides, a plan was made where I would come to Uganda for four months and help design policies and procedures in conjunction with the midwives and staff at the health clinic. For me, it was a matter of looking for opportunities and following up every lead until the right volunteering opportunity came along. What are some of the ‘sacrifices’ you have made to spend time in Uganda? I don’t really think of myself as having sacrificed anything, more like dealing with the consequences of the decision to follow Jesus and come to Uganda. I have left my husband, Shaun, back at home in Sydney for the four months I am here. That has been the hardest part for both of us. Then there are my family and friends back home. When the internet works, I am lucky enough to be able to chat and message friends and family, so that has made it a bit easier. I saved all the money from my overtime shifts at the hospital where I work for the past three years to help cover the ongoing expenses for the time I would be away. While I was fortunate that my hospital gave me some leave without pay, I have also used all my annual leave. So no holidays for a while when I get back home. A ‘sacrifice’ that I didn’t expect was learning how to live with spiders. I hate them, and they are quite prolific here. I also share my apartment with some rodents and geckos, plus an innumerable amount of mosquitos. Another thing that people don’t often think of is the vaccinations required before going abroad. Amongst a myriad of other vaccinations, I had to get three rabies shots and each one made me feel really sick for about 48 hours.
What were your first impressions of Uganda and the health centre you are working in? My first impression of Uganda was how green it was! I had arrived at the end of the wet season and all the colours were so vibrant. The Ugandan people are so warm and welcoming. In the towns, most Ugandans can speak English, so that’s been very helpful. The health centre was better than I expected, with chairs for the patients to sit on, tiled floor and educated staff. I did find the chickens wandering through the postnatal ward unusual! Then there are all the goats, chickens and pigs kept on-site that wander around freely. Women labour outside mostly, just walking around or sitting on the grass. Ugandan women, as a general rule, labour quietly. Unless you know what to look for (and I didn’t at the beginning), you might not even realise they are in labour. Our patients are almost entirely uneducated peasant farmers, so none of them speak English. About one in six of our mothers cannot sign their name and illiteracy is high. Patients and their support people need to bring their own food and cooking equipment. The health centre does not provide food for any patient and this is standard in Uganda. Often, groups of support people and patients will combine their food and sit to eat communally, taking turns to cook. What do you hope to achieve in Uganda? My role at the health centre is to write and implement useful policies and procedures to minimise neonatal and maternal mortality and morbidity. I do this in consultation with the midwives and clinical officers. I had some big goals when I arrived. Now, I hope to improve the documentation and also improve our rate of referring appropriate patients to other hospitals, so high risk women are not birthing at our rural clinic. Ultimately, I hope to improve the birthing experience for women in the Otuke District of Uganda. How do you see God working in your life through this work? Through the ex-pat and local community here in Uganda, God is showing me how to love others and how God loves us. In the past, I underestimated the witness that loving others
Photo: Rebecca Stanley
Christy Patrick is a volunteer midwife at the Kristina Health Centre in Uganda. Vanessa Klomp had the pleasure of meeting Christy on a trip to Uganda with the Love Mercy Foundation team in November 2017.
Volunteer midwife, Christy Patrick with Kristina Health Centre midwives, Rebecca and Betty*.
can be to those that experience it. Learning how to love with abandon. It’s been amazing to watch how people flourish when you love them with the love that comes from God. The answers to prayers – even half-formed, incomplete prayer – have been eye-opening. Little things, big things. Even having a friend text just as I am heading to bed asking, “I was praying and thinking of you. How are you?”, when I am facing my third sleepless night from the noise of the rats. Her prayer resulted in the best night’s sleep I’d had in six weeks. How have you grown spiritually and what challenges do you face? In the midst of a place and a people that are so different to home, I have been forced to lean into God. Pray more, study His Word. It has been an unexpected blessing. Without the ‘distractions’ of
The answers to prayers – even half-formed, incomplete prayer – have been eyeopening. television, entertainment and a full calendar, I have enjoyed the quietness of sitting still in prayer. Not rushing, not trying to quickly pray before the next event, but just sitting with a question or comment. The stillness has been refreshing. I think the big challenge I face is remembering how wonderful the stillness can be when I return to life in Australia. Already my diary looks full and I can almost hear the ‘noise’ of life
crowding that quiet space. But in terms of challenges while I am here, finding a faith community to be involved with has been difficult. While speakers outside shops in the main street pump out Christian music, it has been difficult to find a church with a deep spirituality. The teaching here is generally poor and I’ve even heard heresies preached from the pulpit. But being surrounded by many Christians at work and where I live has helped greatly. Can you sum up your overall experience to date for anyone considering volunteering? Go for it! If you think that maybe God is calling you somewhere, you are probably right. Paul prayed, God told him to go, and he went [Acts 16:9-10]. Just remember to bring your bug repellant and your Bible, you’ll need both. * Surnames not included for privacy reasons.
growth 13 JUNE 2018
The case of the 3/10 email
Perhaps she misread the email, so I tried to explain that this particular client and I have a special understanding, and we both like to get straight to the point with one other. “If you read the email trail, you’d understand,” I told her. She said she was aware of the context and it was still a 3/10 at best. Now I was starting to get frustrated! As the day went on I kept raising the subject to potentially shed new light on the situation. Still a 3/10. I went home feeling heavy and didn’t sleep that well as I absorbed the gravity of the situation – after nine years working in client services, I couldn’t manage to string together a basic email! “I’m a complete failure!” I thought. Why is it that some simple feedback on a half-baked email had me going through the seven stages of grief? Isn’t it ironic how we all seemingly subscribe to the notion that it’s human nature to make mistakes, but any shortcomings are so hard for us to swallow? I believe it’s because as humans we have the potential to be perfect through Christ but so often choose to live our own way instead. Therefore, our failures are a reminder of the gap between who we are and who we could be. It was only when I managed to accept that I had missed the mark and put my own feelings aside that I was able to really engage with the feedback. The next day I had a shot at rewriting my email and sent it through to Kylee, eager for her opinion. She rated it a mere 5/10. “Please help,” I replied. She reworked it, and my eyes were opened to just how strong that email could have been. Not only did I learn how to write an email better, I also reflected on how, when under pressure, I tend to swing from being a people person to being task oriented – and that comes through very transparently in communications, potentially leaving someone I value feeling insignificant. Proverbs 12:1 tells us that, ‘whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid’. While it is far-fetched to say I love correction at the time it is given, I know that I can’t grow without it. Similarly, from my own experiences, I’ve found that the closer something is to being true, the more it offends me! It makes sense
Photo: Helium Digital Marketing
The General Manager, Kylee, pokes her head in my office, “Do you have five?” She tells me that my latest email to a client was pretty substandard. I asked for a rating and she gave me a 3/10. Ouch! I was in shock.
Scott Ingram (centre) is the Director of Helium Digital Marketing. This month Scott reflects on restoration in the workplace.
though, doesn’t it? We’ve built up sensitivities to those things that have caused us pain previously, and we’re pressing on tender skin. But we’re also reminded of how far we still have to go. As organisations, we sometimes measure growth in terms of turnover, number of staff or size. And as people, we often think about growth in terms of changes in roles, responsibilities and remuneration. While these things are important, I believe a deeper, more satisfying form of growth is building both culture and character through a culmination of little moments like these, where we close the gap between who we are and who we could be. In the case of the 3/10 email, there were ultimately benefits to the business, and to me as a person. One of my favourite authors over the last two years, Ray Dalio, sums this up nicely when he says that ‘pain plus reflection equals progress’. This process often starts when someone who works with us closely notices a limiting pattern and shares this feedback with us. At Helium, we have three core values, one of which is ‘Invest in Others’. This is a value I really get excited about as I want to nurture a workplace where people join the team and don’t want to leave, because they’ve never before been immersed in an environment where they’ve learned so much about themselves and those around them. For us, truly embracing a growth culture has meant exploring effective ways to help each other, which can sometimes mean some short-term pain. This
commitment to radical candour is a monumentally difficult feat to reach in the workplace, as this can only be truly achieved when every person in the group is acting in the best interest of others, which goes against the grain of human nature. However, we know that God offers restoration and makes all things new, and that He uses us to achieve His will on earth. Maybe our part to play is as simple as single acts of honesty in the best interest of others? While the word ‘corporate’ often leaves a bitter aftertaste, it is a word which relates to a united and allied group who has a responsibility. One where there’s a shared vision and its people
are so deeply invested in the performance of the organisation they are driven to want to help those around them become all that they can be. It can be a new thought, working these things out in the workplace, bringing out the best in each person so they can live life to its fullest potential. In some environments, maybe corporate culture has deteriorated and it’s time to bring back the true meaning of the word. This is addressed in the first five verses of Galatians 6, where we as Christians are encouraged to support one another by ‘gently and humbly helping [each other] back onto the right path’. I particularly like this passage
as it speaks to this as a joint ‘responsibility’ and ‘burden’. Let’s be brave enough to lead vulnerably and play our part in restoration in the workplace. Author – Scott Ingram Scott Ingram is the Director of Helium Digital Marketing and attends Church at the Stadium in Warwick.
14 news JUNE 2018
Legacy alive in new music
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Matt Chapman Andrew Sculthorpe Suzanne Willcock Vanessa Klomp Peter Ion Sally Phu Sally Phu 5th of each month
Members of the Parkerville Baptist Church Toddler Jam team and several graduates from the past ten years of the program launch the new song book My Dad with Jill Birt (back row, centre).
“We miss him deeply but having these new songs is really great.” Jill said that since the latest recording she has found some more songs, so there may be another album one day. All Peter’s music is registered with Christian Copyright Licensing International. Any churches using the songs for children’s ministry programs should include them in their regular usage report. Music and MP3 files for all three albums are available to the public for free at www.peterbirt.com/music
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Lincoln Brewster releases God of the Impossible Four years after the release of his worship album, Oxygen, Lincoln Brewster has returned with the release of his eighth album, God of the Impossible. The album features 15 tracks, including acoustic versions of three new songs and an instrumental. The album includes songwriting from Mitch Wong (Planetshakers) and Mia Fieldes (The Belonging and Hillsong) as well as members of Brewster’s own church worship team. After starting his career in the mainstream music industry, Brewster decided his musical talent was best used for the Lord, taking a job at his local church at the time. The American contemporary musician is now the Senior Worship Pastor at Bayside Church in Granite Bay, California. “The more of life I see, the more I need to remember that He really is the ‘God of the Impossible’,” Brewster said. “He is our Father who holds every circumstance, He is in complete control and nothing can separate us from His love.”
Photo: Integrity Music
Songwriter and former Parkerville Pastor Peter Birt (1952-2012) couldn’t record his third album of fun songs for young children in early 2012 because the damage to the nerve endings in his fingers from chemotherapy stopped him playing the guitar. Jill Birt, Peter’s widow, discovered the 11 songs on the new album in a file in 2016. Jill decided to record them as part of Peter’s legacy. “I called some family members and friends and we spent a day recording the songs in November 2017,” Jill said. Jules Birt, Peter’s son, played drums and ten-year-old, Bailey Birt, Peter’s grandson, played glockenspiel on the album. Musicians Cameron Day (bass), Bethany McGrechan (keyboard), Lawrence Osborne (trombone), Eliot Vlatko (ukulele and mandolin), and singer Karen Entwistle offered their talent and time for free to join Jill (keyboard) to record the songs. Darren Entwistle oversaw the technical side of recording and mixing the final product. Peter wrote and recorded two other albums Are You Ready? (2008) and Run, Run, Run (2009), writing specifically for Toddler Jam groups as well as fun songs for children. “We loved having Peter as part of our Toddler Jam team at Parkerville,” Toddler Jam leader Karen Entwistle said. “He brought so much energy and fun to our group each week.”
Photo: Brenton Ludemann
My Dad, an album of songs for young children was launched at the ten-year celebration of Toddler Jam at Parkerville Baptist Church in late March.
God of the Impossible is available now for digital download or on CD. Four years after the success of his last album, Oxygen, Lincoln Brewster
Author – John Igglesden
has released his tenth album, God of the Impossible.
intermission 15 JUNE 2018
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90 Minutes in Heaven 90 Minutes in Heaven, adapted from the autobiography of the same name, tells the story of Don Piper. Don is a Baptist Minister involved in a fatal accident, and is brought back to life. What I like about this true story is the directive Don Piper gave to the filmmakers, “Just tell the book!” Then, there are the credible facts themselves, pointing to Don Piper’s ‘death’ as hard to contest. He was pronounced dead by four people, and Piper sustained the type of catastrophic injuries no one else has ever recovered from. While the heaven scene is very short, and most of the movie is about post-accident recovery, viewers get to meet the real Don Piper and his family which just adds that final authentic note. This is a good quality film worth sharing with anyone wanting to take a closer look at eternity. As a bonus, all the movie’s takings are going to charity. – Janine
Matt Chapman Editor of The Advocate and Executive Assistant What led you to this role? Previous to ministering at Baptist Churches Western Australia, I was a pastor of a Baptist church in Marlborough, New Zealand. I loved pastoring in a local church, however, I discovered that my gift in administration enabled me to serve the church better and I made the move into my current role. Who makes up the ministry team you are a part of? I love ministering with the great team at Baptist Churches Western Australia. Across all the ministries are a great bunch of people who have a heart to serve the local church through pastoral ministry, finance, administration or the like. What is your church known for in its community? I believe that Baptist Churches Western Australia is known for its great schools, our sporting ministries and the way that we serve our communities through our many hybrid ministries such as cafes and early learning centres.
read You Are Special Max Lucado You Are Special follows the story of Punchinello who hails from a people called Wemmicks – small wooden people. The Wemmicks have a system of worth – gold stars for good and grey dots for bad. Punchinello is covered in grey dots and so believes that he is useless and unworthy as this is all he is ever told by others. He meets Lucia who has neither stars or dots and she takes him to meet the woodcarver – Eli – who explains to Punchinello how very valuable he is regardless of what others may think of him. Through this process of believing the word of Eli, Punchinello loses all his dots from past mistakes and discovers new ones don’t stick to him. This allegory is an essential message for all children as everyone needs to understand how very special they are to God. – Renee
What do you think God has been trying to say to you lately? It’s okay to say no. What is the most important ‘nuts and bolts’ lesson that you can give? In ministry, it’s easy to get caught up with each new request that comes across your desk. Trying to say yes to everything. As I gain more experience, I’m running more of my decision-making through the lens of our vision and goals. If the request is outside of those areas, is it taking me (you) away from the core things I (you) should be undertaking? Did anyone put you through an intentional plan for leadership development? What was the plan? I went to the Bible College of New Zealand to undertake my ministry training. As part of the course work, we undertook an internship in a local church where the pastor of my church mentored me during my training. Do you have a plan to intentionally develop yourself as a leader? Each year I look to attend conferences and events that help build me in my thoughts and actions. I love attending the Global Leadership Summit each year, along with meeting colleagues at the Australasian Religious Press Association conference.
What would you like to go back and change? Looking back, I wish I listened more, and spoke less!
There is More Hillsong Worship There is More is an album of anthems bringing listeners back to who they are in Christ, and who Christ is to them. It is a reminder of the original freshness and creativity that made the Hillsong Music name, this album is one not to miss. Favourites would have to be ‘Who You Say I Am’ and ‘So Will I (100 Billion X)’ reinforcing in my spirit my place in God and my response to that. The Special Edition includes the CD, DVD and a booklet with the words and some background to each song’s lyrics giving greater insight and understanding of each song. – Dorothy
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16 sport JUNE 2018
Prepared to speak out
Last month, Folau controversially responded to an Instagram question that asked what God’s plan for gay people was, with, “Hell, unless they repent their sins and turn to God”. Refusing to back down, Folau followed this up by posting a video link to Twitter warning against tolerance of same-sex marriage. Considered as Australia’s most highly regarded rugby union player, Folau is a devout Christian who has stood firm amidst the furore and used Scripture to highlight the importance of his personal faith and power of the Word. This stance has seen him come under attack by rugby supporters across the nation and put millions of dollars in sponsorship money into jeopardy. Global brands such as Qantas and ASICS expressed disappointment with Folau’s comments but have stood by Rugby Australia. Folau met with Rugby Australia chief Raelene Castle and NSW Waratahs boss Andrew Hore to discuss his social media use. “We’re proud of the fact that he’s a strong believer and he’s prepared to stand up for what he believes in,” Castle said. “We want athletes in our code who are prepared to do that and that’s really important.” “But at the same time, Rugby Australia’s got a policy and position of inclusion and using social media with respect.”
Photo: David Molloy Photography
Wallabies superstar Israel Folau has come under fire following several social media comments stating that gay people will go to hell unless they repent.
Australian Rugby Union player Israel Folau has stood firm and defended his social media posts about gay people.
“So that’s where we shared stories, shared ideas and shared positions and both of us recognise that what we want is a situation where we use our social media platforms in a respectful and positive way.” Speaking in PlayersVoice, Folau has given context to his original statement. He quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, ‘Or do you not know that the unrighteous will
not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor the drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.’ Folau claims his message had been intended to demonstrate that we are all sinners before God, himself included.
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Folau went on to explain that he believes the Bible to be the truth and sometimes this can be difficult to hear. In his meetings with Rugby Australia he told them that he had never intended to hurt anyone but that he would not shy away from his beliefs, stating that he was prepared to walk away from his contract immediately if the situation had become untenable.
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Folau remains a contracted player and lynchpin in the Australian side. In an extract from PlayersVoice he said, “God loves each and every one of us. He just doesn’t love the sin we live in. This is what Jesus died for, to give us a chance to be forgiven”. Author – Andrew Sculthorpe
The Advocate - June 2018