WA’S BAPTIST NEWSPAPER
IN CONVERSATION Senior Pastor at MOZAIC, Keith Truscott shares his thoughts on Black Lives Matter from an Australian Indigenous perspective. PAGE 12 >>
“Persistent unforgiveness and stuffing your anger down deep inside will destroy your life in the end ...” ROB FURLONG PAGE 13 >>
Vale Arthur Payne In late May, the sudden passing of Reverend Arthur Payne shocked Baptist communities.
Research finds Australians will go online to learn about Jesus >>
7 Mabury’s podcast New podcast launched by Baptistcare to demystify aged care >>
11 Black Lives Matter Christian leaders worldwide grapple with how to respond to BLM >>
Photo: Sarah Wickham
Arthur was born in Subiaco in 1939 and undertook his Higher Education at The University of Western Australia and the then Baptist Theological College of Western Australia, becoming an ordained minister in December 1969. A ministry spanning 54 years, from 1966 to 2020, included Arthur pastoring at numerous Baptist churches. Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) Director of Ministries, Pastor Mark Wilson said that pastors and congregations throughout Western Australia have grown up under the encouragement and influence of his ministry. Baptist churches that have been under his leadership include (in chronological order) Dalkeith, Mount Pleasant, Geraldton, Hedland, Mount Gambier (SA), Lesmurdie, Karratha, Lakeside, Casuarina (NT), Morley, Mosaic (ACT) and Newman. Alongside his pastoral ministry, Arthur served as the President of the BCWA from 1987 to 1988 as well as serving on numerous committees. Of significance, Arthur was the Remote Area Superintendent while living in the Pilbara and was an influential contributor to remote churches in Western Australia. “[Arthur] was a significant pastor in the north-west of Western Australia in his own right, but in addition, he played an important role in supporting and encouraging other pastors in isolated and often difficult circumstances,” former remote pastor Rob Douglas said. Derby Baptist Church Pastor, Paul White also received Arthur’s support. “Arthur would visit all the North-West ministers twice a year in his little caravan and he displayed a genuine love for the North-West and had an incredible sense of humour,” he said.
5 Alpha goes online
Pioneering pastor Reverend Arthur Payne with wife Jane celebrating their conclusion of ministry at Lakeside Baptist Church in 2011.
In a 2011 interview with The Advocate, Arthur reflected on his retirement from full-time ministry. “I have loved enabling churches to grow, to become healthy, joy-filled, spirit-filled places with a strong family atmosphere,” he said. “Two things have helped me stay in ministry for so long: God’s call means I’ve served the Lord, and that is more important than serving the church, and Jane is the other. She is such an incredible support to me.”
Current Lakeside Baptist Church Pastor, Anthony Palmieri joined Lakeside under the leadership and mentoring of Arthur. “Arthur was passionate about many things, but his greatest love was Jane, his wife,” Anthony said. “There was such a deep and immense love for her; he would often say how much Jane supported him in life and ministry, I don’t know if I have seen a better team.” “They loved pastoring together, and they were very good at it.
They brought encouragement and care to thousands of people … they wanted to empower people and churches to grow in their relationship with Jesus to become joy-filled and spirit-filled.” Due to the impact of COVID-19, an intimate service was held to celebrate Arthur’s life and ministry, which was broadcast to several thousand viewers. To view the service, visit youtu.be/7zQ_qMtsu7E Author – Matthew Chapman
Building healthier churches.
BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view AUGUST 2020
On imagination … I enjoy playing Duplo with my two granddaughters, aged 2 and 5. Rather ordinary-looking creations are declared to be exotic palaces, while a single green Duplo block can be a flourishing garden.
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
I am the slow one in these creative games, regularly being reprimanded for my lack of imagination: “But grandpa, can’t you see it’s a frog/bird/squirrel?” One definition of imagination is “the ability to form a mental image of something not present to the senses ...” Creativity and imagination are closely linked, as before we create something, we imagine it. God creates the world by speaking it into being, “‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” [Genesis 1:3] We cannot know what was in God’s mind before those words were spoken,
but some image must have guided God’s verdict that what resulted from each day’s new command was “good”. Recently we have imagined new forms of church into being. Whether your church pre-recorded, live streamed or Zoomed a weekly service into your COVID-19 locked-down home, it did so because someone saw that this could be done. While it’s early days, indications are that around 20 percent of churchgoers would like online to be their permanent mode of attendance. What’s more, many
people who never attend physical church services have started to attend online, apparently enjoying the anonymity as well as watching services in their pyjamas, grabbing a coffee when the message gets dull, or snorting in disagreement if the preacher says something outrageous. What’s more, if you don’t live stream but log in to an already completed service, you can 1.5 or double speed it, which can be a good time management technique. It took the COVID-19 crisis for us to make this leap. How
many other leaps wait to be made, and could we make them without a crisis-precipitated creativity burst? Perhaps we should dig into what we mean by church. The Bible has some clear ideas, 1 Corinthians 12:27 suggests, “… you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it,” while 1 Peter 2:10 describes us as “the people of God”. These are lofty descriptors. So why not close your eyes, forget all you have seen before, and imagine what a group described as the “body of Christ” and the “people of God” looks like. Then ask: “Why not?”
Embracing the labyrinth life We recently visited a church that had a labyrinth on its grounds. A labyrinth, unlike a maze has only one path to follow and no dead ends.
Sam Good Sam Good is a cross-cultural worker with Global Interaction in Mozambique with her husband Ben and their children.
Our kids rushed out to play and they excitedly ran along the paths trying to make their way into the middle. They seemed to be making their way in and out very quickly, so I decided to try it. I slowly began the labyrinth, taking care to keep to the path, and as I walked, I became aware that I at times I seemed to be going back the way I came, or even away from where I wanted to go. At one point the path worryingly leads you from one side of the labyrinth all the way to the other side. I knew the path would bring me to the centre eventually,
but I wasn’t prepared for the roundabout way of getting there. Now, I’m not sure about you, but life for us seems to be a lot of twists and turns at the moment, plans to go in one direction that end suddenly and new plans that take us far from where we thought we would be, much like a labyrinth. But as I walked this labyrinth I saw my life in its twists and turns, the plans and decisions that had moved me around the path. Instead of being overwhelmed by the roundabout nature of the path I was on, I found incredible comfort, because I realised that
... I realised that if God was directing my path and if I take care to listen and stay on the path, just like the labyrinth, I will always get to the centre.
if God was directing my path and if I take care to listen and stay on the path, just like the labyrinth, I will always get to the centre. But with that realisation comes the challenging part, letting go of the way I think is best and embracing the path that has been laid out before me. I need to trust God and make the most of every part of the path, regardless of how long or short it is. As I continue to walk this path, I am sure I will come across more twists and turns, but I, like Paul, want to strain towards what is ahead, keeping my eyes on the goal, rejoicing in the steps that bring me closer to Jesus.
Spot the difference One morning recently I was having my quiet time reflecting on Acts 18:27, where Apollos ‘takes it up a notch’ in his ministry after Priscilla and Aquila explained the gospel in its fullness to him.
Peter Randell Pastor Peter Randell is the Pastor of Waratah Christian Community in Wannanup.
Here’s a bloke who is literally set on fire by the truth. It reminded me how awesome the Scriptures are in their authenticity and consistency. The gospel’s depiction of Jesus fulfils over 300 Old Testament prophecies for a kick-off. As I reflected on this, I realised that in order for us to doubt God’s Word, it takes either an enormous amount of forgetfulness, chosen ignorance or, I realised, distraction. Immediately my mind was taken back to Genesis 3 and the picture presented of the fall where Adam
and Eve took someone else’s words over God’s. And then it hit me, they spoke to a serpent. Before you say, “Duh!”, let me put it this way: Satan knew that if he showed up with ‘horns and a pointy tail’ (to put it colloquially), or more seriously as an ‘angel of light’, he wouldn’t have gotten an audience with the first couple. It would just be too weird for them. Rather, he sees to it that he’s just familiar enough to get a hearing. Therefore, he disguises himself as something
they already know, an animal. This, of course, happens after Adam names all the animals. An animal being something which humanity has dominion and stewardship over. So, in order to get them to listen to his words against God he makes sure he’s just familiar enough to be approachable and, secondly, something that they think they have dominion over. I’m hoping your mind is rushing ahead to the application here: how many people’s lives are shipwrecked because they were fooled out of elevating God’s
Word above all other thoughts and opinions, by stuff that looked familiar and controllable? I’m going to say quite a few. Truth, on the other hand, is partly recognisable because it is not controllable. It won’t fit in a neat box and it is completely unfamiliar to the unspiritual mind – because it comes from God. That is why the truth shall set us free. So, in this cultural moment we find ourselves in, if you’re wrestling and dissatisfied with the easy answers – keep going.
Sydney’s Morling College and Perth’s Vose Seminary announced on 2 June that they are merging. The move will create one of the largest theological colleges in the Southern Hemisphere, enabling students and staff to access greater resources, better facilities and more expertise. In a combined statement the colleges stated, “We believe we are stronger together, and we can achieve more as one.” Both colleges have a rich history, with Vose starting under the oversight of Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) more than 50 years ago and Morling commencing over 100 years ago. The announcement of the merger was made by email to students and staff of both colleges, and to churches and supporters in each state. It thanked all for “being on this journey” and advised their commitment to continue to provide regular information over
We believe we are stronger together, and we can achieve more as one. the coming months to answer any questions. The merger is expected to be formally approved and finalised at the BCWA Assembly AGM in October 2020. Chair of BCWA and its ministry Vose Seminary, Pastor Karen Siggins and Chair of the Morling College Board, Kel Willis both expressed their excitement for the merger. “The merger was a milestone in the life of the Seminary,” Karen said. “The world is changing, and we must change with it, and our students will now have access to more subjects and
many more options towards their desired outcomes.” She said the most exciting result will be the “Kingdom impact”. “Our graduates already serve across many denominations and locations, and this will enable us to more effectively influence the mission field and the marketplace,” Karen said. Kel explained that going forward as one entity is a continuation of the combined vision of both colleges. “Our call is both national and global, and this historic agreement will enable us to better impact the world with the gospel of Christ,” Kel said. “Progress was a part of their history.” In 1957, the NSW Baptist Assembly resolved that Morling would be enlarged to train women, lay workers and missionaries, and in that era, it was a significant step. “In the future we will look back on this step with the same sense that it was a natural progression that honoured God and was led by Him,” Kel said.
Photo: Mark Wilson
Merger creates greater impact
Baptist Churches Western Australia Council Chair, Pastor Karen Siggins signing the Merger Heads of Agreement.
A digital future In 2001, The Advocate launched as a paper that Christians across Western Australia turn to each month for news, information, comment and entertainment. What started as a monthly newspaper, has transitioned into a bimonthly publication in both print and digital format, read by an estimated 12,000 readers each edition. In 2020, with the impact of COVID-19, The Advocate quickly adapted and moved solely online whilst churches were unable to meet in person. This edition is the first physical paper since February.
A more rewarding home care
However, our team recognise The Advocate isn’t immune to the current times. Newscorp recently announced the end of printing for over 100 papers nationwide and its shift to digital platforms. The team at The Advocate sees this move from print to digital as part of our future and we want to encourage you to join us on this journey. Readers can subscribe to The Advocate by going to tinyurl.com/ bcwaadvocate2020 We welcome your comments and feedback on this move, email email@example.com Author – Matthew Chapman
Join or switch to Baptistcare Home Care and we’ll reward you with a $250 EFTPOS card.* Baptistcare Home Care has been rewarding West Australians with personalised service and quality care for over 45 years.
Photo: Anna Demianenko/Unsplash
And now, for a short time, Baptistcare is also rewarding you with a FREE $250 EFTPOS Card. It’s yours when you join or switch to Baptistcare for your home care package.
$250 EFTPO S CARD
Hurry! You need to register for this offer today – and you’ll have until 31 December 2020 to sign up. Contact us:
1300 660 640 baptistcare.com.au *Terms and conditions apply. Go to baptistcare.com.au/tac/reward The Advocate has commenced the journey to become a digital only paper.
news AUGUST 2020
Baptist’s launch values project
The project run by ABM is led by ABM National Ministries Director, Reverend Keith Jobberns. Keith explained that people struggle to identify and articulate these values when explaining who Baptists are, especially those who have been in Baptist circles for a while. “In a post-institutional and post-denominational era, many leaders, staff and members of Baptist organisations and churches are unaware of the values that underpin the historical and cultural backbone of their organisations,” Keith said. The project consists of four short videos featuring a range of presenters who highlight key distinctions of the Baptist movement. The presenters include Fiona Cole and New City Baptist Church Pastor, Reverend Nic Cassar. The first distinctive highlighted is that Baptists are Christ-centred, with Jesus being their ultimate authority. Since their inception in 1609, Baptists have emphasised Jesus as the one they are called to follow.
Early Baptist’s were part of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century and then were later referred to as ‘dissenters’ in England. While other groups appealed to popes and kings to set their agenda, formulate creeds and write traditions, the early Baptists were different. They focused on the fact that Jesus reveals Himself to all people, at all times and in all settings. They believed that everyone can be open to hearing Him speak. Secondly, Baptist communities are open to all and their identity centres on shared experiences of being followers of Jesus. “This value distinctively shapes our practice in discipleship, discernment, decision-making and community building,” Fiona said. Thirdly, followers of Jesus are invited by God into His mission of making disciples. “Our expressions of the mission will look different in different places and different times, but we hold on to our core value of making Jesus known in all we say and do, seeing
Photo: Australian Baptist Ministries
In late 2019, Australian Baptist Ministries (ABM) launched The Values Project in Melbourne. The Values Project is a resource designed to promote conversation about Baptist values and embed these values deeper into Baptist organisations and churches.
Australian Baptist Ministries launches The Values Project, hoping to stimulate conversations that inform and embed Baptist values deeper into organisations and churches.
people’s lives transformed by him,” Nic said. Finally, the fourth video shared that followers of Jesus live out a different way of being a community within our society. Thomas Helwys, one of the Baptist founders penned A Short Declaration of the Mystery of Iniquity, the first English book written advocating for religious
freedom. Helwys shared that religious liberty was a right for everyone, whether Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims or atheists. The video highlights that Baptists value freedom of conscience, allowing space for each person to discern, share opinions and ideas, and, disagree with others.
“We aim to show a way of living that surprises, stimulates questions and invites others to participate,” Nic shared. For more information, visit baptist.org.au/about-us/thevalues-project Author – Matthew Chapman
Midland and York seniors join Baptistcare Aged care provider, Baptistcare officially assumed ownership and management of Global Care Group’s two residential facilities, two retirement villages, a day respite centre and home care services located in York and Midland on 1 July. “While bricks and mortar are an important part of aged care, retirement living and respite care, so are highly skilled and familiar faces who know and understand the people they care for and support.” Baptistcare now has a 1,500 strong workforce and a network of more than 300 volunteers delivering care and services through 12 residential facilities and 12 retirement villages. “Becoming part of the Midland and York communities is another step towards achieving our vision of enabling a meaningful life for more older West Australians,” Russell said.
Residents and customers were welcomed to the Baptistcare family at special morning and afternoon tea events hosted by Baptistcare CEO, Russell Bricknell. “While ownership might have changed, the local heritage and character of the facilities and services will remain,” Russell said. “The Swan and Wheatbelt catchment areas have a rapidly ageing population, and residents shouldn’t have to move away simply because they need additional care or support.” “We know it’s important to remain connected to family, friends and local community at every age.” Russell also warmly welcomed Global Care Group’s local employees and volunteers to the Baptistcare team.
Author – Alice Hennessy Baptistcare CEO, Russell Bricknell, Hamersley Day Club participant, Maureen Waite and Baptistcare General Manager Residential Care – South, Krystal Laurentsch enjoying the Morrison Gardens facility in Midland.
Learning about Jesus online
The research, conducted on behalf of Alpha Australia, goes on to state that more than a third (36 percent) of 18 to 34 year olds would also search online to explore the subject of faith further. The release of these figures comes as Alpha Australia launch their popular Alpha Course online for the first time, making it available for churches and individuals across the country. Millions of people around the world have attended an Alpha Course and despite recent reports of Christianity in decline in Australia in recent decades, Alpha Australia has seen over 500,000 attending since it launched. This coincides with a separate study conducted by McCrindle and released this month which also found that more than four in five Australians are positive about a shift towards online learning. Alpha Australia Acting National Director, Murray Averill led the organisation to make the online course a reality in Australia. “We are living in unprecedented times. There is a great deal of fear, uncertainty and loneliness during these weeks of isolation, and we know many are
Photo: Alpha Australia
A new study by NCLS Research has revealed that 31 percent of Australians who state they have ‘no religion’ would search online to find out more about faith or religion.
Participants enjoying an Alpha course online with crazy hats, while learning about what it is like to have a relationship with Jesus.
looking for hope – particularly online,” Murray said. “For years, hundreds of thousands of Australians have seen the Alpha course as a safe space – not only to explore questions of faith, but to feel a real sense of belonging.” “We are delighted that the same hospitality and community continues to offer guests an opportunity to explore faith in an open, honest and friendly environment – albeit online, physically around a table.”
Alpha Online is an 8 to 11 week course. Guests are welcomed via Zoom after which they watch the online Alpha videos and then discuss questions in breakout rooms. Nathaniel Truong, an Alpha Course leader from Hillsong Church has already trialled the course online. “The last time we ran Alpha physically at our church premises whilst implementing social distancing, only two guests showed up. So, when we
then had 24 people online, we were pleasantly surprised,” Nathaniel said. “We saw leaders step up to lead in this new format and guests have genuine encounters with God.” “There is no limit to what God can do and I believe this is the greatest opportunity to reach people in the comfort of their own homes.” Mr Daniel Ang, Director of Parish 2020 at the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney agrees.
“In a time when our Catholic parishes and people are not able to gather as they once did, Alpha Online provides our priests and leaders with an easy and practical way of bringing people together online in small groups, offering formation in the core message of the gospel, and providing a continued sense of belonging to community,” Daniel said. To register, visit alpha.org.au/online
Across the Asia-Pacific, 40 million people are employed in the garment industry, all of whom are facing unprecedented challenges to their health, safety and livelihoods as a result of COVID-19. Millions of garment workers are now unemployed or on the brink of unemployment, as global fashion companies cancel or suspend orders due to the pandemic. Factories have closed their doors, with little or no choice but to dismiss their workers in droves. To respond to the impact of COVID-19 on the global fashion industry, Baptist World Aid has launched the COVID Fashion Commitments. Baptist World Aid CEO, John Hickey explained that these are six straightforward commitments for fashion brands in Australia to make to their supply chain workers, which consumers can call on them to deliver. “Coronavirus not only has the potential to wind back the
significant progress that the garment industry has made in the last decade, but it is already proving catastrophic for millions of vulnerable garment workers around the world,” John explained. “Many of these producing countries do not have social safety nets.” “Workers were already surviving on poverty-level wages before the pandemic. For some, their dismissal comes with a month’s salary, but most are left empty-handed, with barely any savings.” For garment workers, health and safety are also under threat. In Tamil Nadu, dormitory-style living conditions are the norm for those working in the 40,000 factories and mills.
“Their dismissal will likely result in overcrowded rooms, as the lack of shift work will mean all workers will require lodging at once,” John said. Others, in Bangladesh for example, will be unable to return home due to the suspension of public transport, and so will likely be stuck in crowded hostels – posing enormous health and safety risks, particularly for women. In conditions like this, social distancing is near impossible. For those who are still working, either due to the lack of lockdowns, or factory owners ignoring lockdown regulations, the risk of infection is also high. Baptist World Aid has continued to equip people to engage in advocacy for vulnerable garment workers in the global fashion industry. The 2020 Ethical Fashion Report, due to be published in October, will be a special edition report in light of COVID-19. “Our supporters consistently stand up for the vulnerable.
Photo: Baptist World Aid
Ethical fashion in the era of COVID-19
Millions of garment workers are in crisis because of COVID-19.
Now, we are asking them to use their voice to call on powerful companies to protect vulnerable workers through this crisis. We hope you’ll join us,” John said.
For more information, visit baptistworldaid.org.au/covidfashion-commitments
news AUGUST 2020
Passing the leadership baton
Pastors Andrew and Danelle Hamilton passed their leadership batons at QBC and YCC to Edward (Ed) Devine and Ryan Cristonsen, respectively. Also, Ed passed the role of leading Quinns Youth to Sara D’Uva. Andrew and Danelle will remain on staff at QBC, continuing to provide pastoral care and preaching in the community. “We have been at the head of the ‘cycling pack’ leading us forwards. Now is the right time to drop back into the middle of the pack and allow others to move to the front and break the headwind,” Andrew explained. Ed shared that he values the ‘realness’ of the QBC culture. “It has taken more than a year of discernment and asking each other honest questions and receiving real feedback to arrive where we have today,” he said. “The leadership team and community have been very encouraging and now we eagerly anticipate the next chapter of our Church’s story with God’s leading.”
Photo: Heinrich Krause
On Sunday 21 June, Quinns Baptist Church (QBC) and Yanchep Community Church (YCC) celebrated a ‘Passing the Baton’ service to mark several transfers of leadership.
Andrew and Danelle Hamilton passing the ‘leadership baton’ to Ryan Cristonsen with his wife Jen.
QBC and Quinns Baptist College work in partnership so students are introduced to Jesus through the College’s Christian Education programs and at the Church’s Friday Night Youth. Sara D’Uva and the youth team, therefore, have a great opportunity to meet the youth where they are at in life and to guide them to consider healthy decisions and trusting in God.
“We are looking forward to Yanchep growing and becoming its own distinct body of Christ, ministering to the needs of people here,” Ryan said. “We are trusting God to raise up people from this area to facilitate the work.” YCC runs a weekly food distribution service called ‘Food4All’ which has been a vital
part of the Church’s outreach so far. Former CEO of Compassion Australia, Tim Hanna, recently gave a webinar for the Global Leadership Summit on the topic of transitions. “The ministry, Church or organisation is always bigger than you. You have been given a gift to lead, to steer, to navigate that Church for a period of time
… then to make the successor’s transition as smooth as possible,” he stated. “We are grateful to be on the other side of the transition and to be seeing very healthy signs of life occurring,” Ed said.
East Kimberley College compete in Lego
“We had a new student who was grieving the loss of their dad and had just moved to our school. They had competed in the FIRST Lego League at their previous school, so I wanted to start up the club to support them,” said Kim. Kim established the club in collaboration with the College’s Digital Technologies teacher. The Lego League Club is a robotics program that consists of programming Lego Mindstorms robots to complete challenges, researching projects where students are asked to solve real-world problems and building social skills through team challenges. The initial team of six students has now grown to 13. Each year the team travels
to Darwin to compete in a FIRST Lego League regional tournament. The students meet each week to prepare for the regional tournament, going through problem-solving, programming and engineering skills. In 2018 and 2019 the teams won, putting them through to the finals in Sydney. “I love that through this program offers so much, our students have become more connected to each other, more confident in public speaking and have become great problem solvers,” Kim said. “The bonus has been that we have had these great opportunities to take students from a small town in the Kimberley to experience a big city like Sydney and mix with likeminded students from all over Australia, they will never forget these experiences.” * Surname withheld for privacy reasons.
Photo: Shane Nash/East Kimberley College
In 2018, YouthCARE Chaplain and member of Kununurra Baptist fellowship, Kim* started the Lego League Club at East Kimberley College.
Molly Dietrich and Maria Cox at the FIRST Lego League competition in Darwin.
New podcast with Mabury Board, sits on three animal ethics and three human ethics research committees and is an ambassador and patron of several non-profit organisations. “Everybody’s ageing journey is different, and it was a privilege to hear people’s deeply personal stories about the unexpected joys and challenges we can face as we grow older,” Graham said. “We also spoke to experts such as renowned dementia researcher, Professor Ralph Martins, and independent financial planner, Nick Bruining, so the podcast provides plenty of practical information and advice too.” Baptistcare CEO, Russell Bricknell was instrumental in the introduction of the podcast. “The idea for the podcast was born from the community response to the free Demystifying Aged Care information sessions the organisation has been running over the past few years,” Russell said “Attendees have shared many questions and personal stories with our team during these events, and it demonstrates that we need to be talking more about the issues that matter to people as they age.” Demystifying Aged Care is available on your favourite podcast app or visit baptistcare.com.au/podcast Author – Alice Hennessy
Briefs Pastoral changes
Vale Victor Young
Pastor Mark A Wilson commenced as the Pastor of Dalkeith Baptist Church in July.
Reverend Victor Young passed away Monday 1 June, at 83 years old. Victor was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and undertook his theological training at the Belfast Bible College and at the Baptist Theological College of Western Australia (now Vose Seminary). As an ordained Baptist minister, Victor served at East End (UK), Byford, Gosnells and Wattle Grove Baptist Churches alongside serving as a lecturer at the Bible College of Western Australia. Derby Baptist Church Pastor, Paul White shared that Victor had a “heart for encouraging the local church and the ministers in them” and that he would “often call out of the blue to support ministries throughout Western Australia”.
Vale Roland Maxwell Reverend Roland Maxwell passed away Thursday 25 June, aged 67 years, after a short battle with pancreatic cancer. Born in South Africa and moved to Australia in the 70s, Roland was an ordained Baptist minister who served at Riverton, Dalkeith, Riverton, Bentley and Gracewood Baptist Churches, and St John of God Murdoch Hospital. From 1992 to 1993, he was the President of Baptist Churches Western Australia. Retired Baptist minister, Reverend Alastair Bain shared that Roland was a gracious follower of Christ who was a “reflective leader, a scholar, a listener, considerate, spoke words of Godly wisdom and was a top bloke”.
Graham Mabury recording the new Demystifying Aged Care podcast.
24 hours with Spurgeon One novel response to the lockdowns associated with COVID-19 was a 24‑ hour Zoom preaching marathon of selected sermons of Charles Haddon Spurgeon. Spurgeon in the 19th century was hailed as the ‘Prince of Preachers’. Organised by Spurgeon’s College in London, the marathon endeavoured to make the sermons of Spurgeon accessible to a new generation. Preachers from around the world were recruited to fill 48 30-minute preaching blocks and included well-known leaders such as Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in the USA, Rick Warren, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, Lynn Green and British author Krish Kandiah. Spurgeon’s College invited five Perth representatives. Due to its long-standing relationship with Spurgeon’s College, Perth’s Vose Seminary was invited to provide four preachers – Dr David Cohen, Dr Brian Harris, Dr Michael O’Neil and Rev. Monica O’Neil. Baptist Churches Western Australia Council Chair and
graduate of Vose Seminary, Rev. Karen Siggins was the fifth local representative. In their 30-minute block, presenters read a section of one of Spurgeon’s sermons, before exploring its relevance for the 21st century.
After seeing the large global audience tune in to the event, Spurgeon’s College Principal, Prof. Philip McCormack, announced plans to run another preaching marathon in June 2021.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
As the name suggests, Demystifying Aged Care is about navigating what can be a challenging journey as people start finding they need extra support and care. The podcast includes conversations with experts, seniors and their families. Series one, which is now live on all major podcast apps, features six episodes examining the emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial aspects of ageing. Topics include planning for retirement, accessing home care, dementia, volunteering, what it is like to live in residential aged care and the concept of dying well. Graham, who is 73 years old, shares his personal experiences transitioning from life in radio and dealing with lifestyle changes he didn’t see coming. It has been six years since Graham Mabury signed off from his popular Nightline radio program on 6PR for the last time. After 33 years of using talkback radio to create a true sense of community among his legion of listeners, he retired from radio. This allowed him and his wife, Merle to spend more time with their sons, both successful musicians living overseas. Graham’s life is still full of commitments. In addition to his role as the podcast host, he is the Pastor to the Community at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church, he is on the Curtin FM Advisory
Photo: Tony McDonough
Legendary broadcaster and former 6PR Nightline presenter, Graham Mabury returned to the microphone for the Demystifying Aged Care podcast on 1 June. The podcast was launched in collaboration with Baptistcare.
The Prince of Preachers, Charles Spurgeon, was the influence behind the 24 Hours of Spurgeon event held during the COVID-19 crisis.
feature AUGUST 2020
If I was asked to name what I think is the number one issue that Christians struggle with today, without hesitation I would say it is anxiety.
Lessons from a Over the past 14 years, I have had many conversations with people who struggle with this in some form or another. Whenever I speak on the topic or share my struggles with anxiety it always elicits a response from listeners. And I will also say this – we do not need any more sermons telling us we are to not worry or that we should not be worrying. Of course, it’s true we are instructed by Paul in Philippians 4:6 to “be anxious for nothing” and to bring all our cares, concerns and worries to God. Peter reinforces this in 1 Peter 5:7. In both a straightforward and simple way Paul outlines how this is to be done in his letters. He explains to tell all your worries, stresses, cares and anxieties to your Father God and give them to Him. And, do this with thanksgiving and He will give you His peace. But to return to my point, this is where many sermons leave the subject, resulting in a sense of failure and guilt for those struggling with anxiety because they have tried to “leave it all with God” only to see their worries return after a brief respite of peace.
To help people pastorally, we need to move beyond spouting clichés like “Why worry, when you can pray?” or “Give it all to Jesus”. Rather, encourage them into some practical steps that will not only grow them spiritually but also enable them to experience God’s peace which is beyond our human mind’s ability to explain or rationalise. What follows then is based on my own experience as a person who struggles with anxiety but who has also sought God’s strength and enabling to grow through it. I call it ‘Lessons from a chronic worrier’. 1. Pray You must begin here; I cannot emphasise this enough. Bring your worry or care to God and be specific about it. You could pray a brief prayer along these lines, “Lord, I’m struggling with right now. Please help me and restore your peace to me.” And be thankful – thankfulness ultimately enables us to find God’s joy in the journey. It is interesting to note that regularly in Scripture thankfulness is associated with us bringing our concerns to God.
A notable example of this is Psalm 116 and is an excellent one to read when worry and anxiety begin to overwhelm you. Bestselling Christian author, Max Lucado has said, “No one can pray and worry at the same time.” A helpful application of this which I read recently said that every time you have a worrisome thought, pray about it. It doesn’t matter if you have to do it 50 times in one day – it means you have prayed 50 times that day! I have found this to be encouraging and liberating advice. 2. Fill your mind with Scripture Search your Bible for specific Scriptures that address the topic of worry, write them down and return to them again and again. I have many of what I call my ‘go to Scriptures’, which I read over and over, and they have become a great source of comfort and peace to me. Among them are Isaiah 41:10, 1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:6-7, Psalm 55:22 and 2 Timothy 1:7. I have also found the YouVersion Bible app to be a tremendous resource for finding relevant Scriptures and it also has some excellent devotions on worry, fear and stress.
3. Rest in the love of God Ephesians 3:16-20 is Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians that they might know the incredible depth and vastness of God’s love for them. There is great comfort in being able to rest in the truth that God made you who you are and loves you for who you are – worries, cares and all. I think enormous damage has been done by teaching that either implies or stridently affirms that God only loves believers. To affirm God’s love for all people does not undermine the individual’s need for saving faith in Jesus and His finished work at Calvary. Instead, it assures us of the Father’s love, compassion and grace for each one of us. To be able to rest in this love is a lifelong journey and is vital to our personal experience of learning to love God for Himself. 4. Music It has been shown repeatedly that music has the power to alter the patterns of our brains and this also enhances our ability to experience rest, serenity and peace. During one particularly difficult time in my life, I found myself returning to many of
the old hymns I had sung in worship services at church as a young man. Listening to them just before going to sleep at night became a great source of comfort and helped me to cope with the panic attacks I was experiencing at the time. 5. Rest Christian psychologist, Dr Archibald Hart has written extensively on the importance of regular rest as an important means of dealing with anxiety, of note his books: The Anxiety Cure and Adrenaline and Stress. As he succinctly states, “… we live our lives at a high octane pace but our bodies are built for camel pace.” In other words, we need regular times where we take a break from our work and supercharged lives. This is especially needed in the Christian church. It has become my practice to take a weekly Sabbath where I spend 24 hours away from my work – I do not read my emails or deal with ministry-related issues unless it is an absolute emergency. I also try to take regular holidays and I am grateful to my wife, Karen who keeps me accountable with this!
feature AUGUST 2020
worrier To help people pastorally, we need to move beyond spouting clichés like “Why worry, when you can pray?” or “Give it all to Jesus”.
I am beginning to try and incorporate ‘mini-Sabbaths’ into my day as well. For example, not looking at Facebook first thing in the morning, disciplining my exposure to social media and even turning the news off from time to time. I find it to be an excellent way to disconnect from the constant flow of information we are bombarded with and it also gives my mind a much-needed rest. Sitting quietly on the bench
at the front of our house for 30 minutes from time to time, just watching the world go by, is also becoming a source of healing and refreshment for me. 6. Cultivate the habit of realistic optimism There is no doubt that a positive or optimistic outlook assists us in coping with the worries and cares of life. But this does not mean that you deny reality. Genuine optimism is not afraid of the truth – it embraces it – but it is also able to rest in the truth found in Romans 8:28 that God does work all things for our good. Archibald Hart says that “once we appreciate life for what it really is, we discover a new thrill in being alive”. Through personal experience I have discovered the above principles, diligently applied by me and in cooperation with the inner working of God’s Spirit, to be life-changing, especially in recent times. I was asked recently if it is possible to know God’s peace and my answer was unequivocal – “Yes, for I have found it to be true in my own life.” What is required is for us to diligently apply the principles
God gives us, in faith that He will do what He has promised us He will do. To quote Archibald Hart again, “Faith [in God] will seek the right solution. Faith is our helper and healer because it puts us and keeps us in touch with God.” My sincere prayer for you is that as you apply these principles in your own life, you will come to know both the help and healing of God and above all, His peace. Author – Rob Furlong
Rob Furlong is the Senior Pastor of Woodvale Baptist Church. He is passionate about leadership development, mission and God’s Word and has extensive experience in teaching, training and preaching to leaders and church members. Rob is married to Karen and together they have four children and 15 grandchildren. He loves to read, cook and take bike rides with Karen.
10 world news AUGUST 2020
God TV ordered off air in Israel Shelanu’s Israeli spokesman said the station would reapply for a licence. “The station’s management hopes the council will approve the request and thus avoid a severe diplomatic incident with hundreds of millions of proIsrael evangelical Christians worldwide,” he said. Ward said that since the channel started 25 years ago, one of their core objectives has been to support the State of Israel. “As a global broadcaster, we aim to defend the land God calls His own; to rally the Church worldwide to bless the Jewish people and to pray for the peace of Jerusalem,” Ward explained. From its broadcast beginnings in Israel, the channel has faced criticism. Avi Mizrachi of Adonai Roi Congregation spoke of the opposition Messianic believers face. “Israel is a democratic country, where we have freedom of speech, however, there are those who try and stop us,” Avi said. “We have had threats, but we are Israelis – we love our country, speak Hebrew, and are here to stay until Yeshua returns.” Freedom of religion is embedded in Israeli law, and proselytising is allowed as long as missionary activities are not directed at minors and do not involve economic coercion.
Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, Zaman (Saheb) Fadaie, Mohammadreza (Yuhan) Omidi and Yasser Mossayebzadeh were initially sentenced to ten years in prison. After an appeal, on 22 June it was discovered, Youcef and Saheb had their sentences reduced to six years, and Yuhan to two years. The decision regarding Yasser is not known. The men were arrested in Rasht, Iran, in 2016. They were given a ten year prison sentence for “acting against the national security” for running and participating in house churches at a court hearing in June 2017. Youcef and Yuhan were also sentenced to two years’ internal exile in the south of the country.
Baptisms declining in US Several Southern Baptist leaders, missionaries and pastors are voicing a unified response to the continuing decline of baptisms across the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), “It’s on me.”
Author – Matthew Chapman
International Briefs Iranian Christian prisoners’ sentences reduced by years
God TV was instructed to take its Shelanu TV off air due to the content it broadcasts.
Churches ordered to praise China In order for churches to reopen in China, Bitter Winter, a magazine on religious liberty and human rights in China, reported that churches must prove their loyalty to the Communist Party. The Gangxi Christian Church in the province of Henan reopened 14 June. “The church finally reopened after five months, but instead of singing hymns to praise God, the government required us to raise the national flag, sing the national anthem, praising Xi Jinping’s ‘victory in fighting the epidemic’,” a congregation member commented. “This is completely contrary to our belief.”
In the face of a steady, 20-year decline, a new video released by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) emphasises the need for Southern Baptists to take both responsibility and action for sharing the gospel. The video begins with the NAMB President, Kevin Ezell. “In the past 20 years, North America’s population has risen by 48.2 million people,” Ezell says. This is followed by others on the video noting the ongoing drop in baptism and Ezell’s response. “I’m Kevin Ezell, President of the North American Mission Board, and when it comes to baptism decline in the SBC, it’s on me.” NAMB Senior Vice President for Evangelism and Leadership, Johnny Hunt and Ezell lead off a chorus of Southern Baptists who rally around the message that pastors and congregants need to be focused on evangelism, personally in their lives and corporately through their churches. In light of the challenges, leaders shared their vision for
Photo: Vince Fleming/Unsplash
God TV President, Ward Simpson released an address to viewers about the situation. “God TV was removed from the airwaves … but God is still good. He’s in control. And the mission to make a Hebrew language channel which proclaims Jesus/Yeshua, as the Jewish Messiah, is not dead,” Ward said. The country’s media watchdog, the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council opened an investigation to ascertain whether God TV had misrepresented its content when it applied for a licence. “The channel is aimed at Jews with Christian content, in contrast to the original broadcast request, which stated it was designated for Christians,” the Council Chairman, Asher Bitton said. In responding to this claim, Ward stated, “God TV is called to be a friend and champion of Israel. We are passionate about being her defender and her watchmen on her walls, now and always.” Shelanu TV shared in a statement that it was stunned by the decision and its existing licence “stated unequivocally” that it would broadcast its content in Hebrew to the Israeli public. Most Christians in the Holy Land speak Arabic. “Therefore, it is not at all clear what was wrong beyond political considerations,” it said. In an interview with The Telegraph (US), Ron Cantor,
Photo: SC Designs/Shutterstock
God TV’s Hebrew language channel, Shelanu TV, was ordered off the air at the beginning of July. Its broadcasting licence was rescinded by Israeli authorities who accused the television broadcasters of seeking to influence Jews with Christian content.
NAMB have released a new video declaring the need for all Southern Baptists to take ownership of the declining baptisms across the US.
how to move forward to equip and encourage pastors and Christians to develop a culture of embracing and sharing the gospel. Baptist Resource Network Director of Healthy Churches, Dr Larry Anderson highlights three ‘I’s’ to pastors: institution, internet and intimacy. “I encourage pastors to make institutional, corporate evangelism a priority through their churches, utilise the
internet and social media as a creative platform for sharing their faith and to embrace their intimate relationships with friends, family and co-workers where they have been given the privilege and responsibility to be alive and saved, to be witnesses of the gospel,” Anderson said in written comments. Republished with permission from Baptist Press.
world news 11 AUGUST 2020
Church leaders respond to Black Lives Matter
As thousands of people joined the protests, Christian leaders worldwide grappled with the question of how and whether to take action in support of the demonstrations. The Barna Group surveyed 400 US pastors and found that nearly all (94%) agree that “the Church has a responsibility to denounce racism”. The majority (76%) of pastors say the Church should support peaceful protests in response to Floyd’s killing and many (62%) released statements on the events, along with resources on racial reconciliation. According to Christianity Today, “… around a third of the pastors surveyed continue to believe the Church should not be involved in movements aimed at political change” and the majority (61%) said that “the current conversations about race are too political”. In Australia, some pastors responded to the protests by contributing the perspective of Aboriginal peoples to the conversation, reported Eternity News. Senior Pastor, Jeremy Burr of Generations Church in Victoria invited Pastor Aaron Wallace, an Aboriginal man, to share his experiences with racism and his thoughts on the Church’s stance on the issue. “For me, I believe ‘the Church’ has been silent on these matters for a long time,” Pastor Wallace shared. Theologian and bestselling author, Timothy Keller dedicated three in-depth blogs to address the “sin of racism”, outlining the biblical truth underlying racial equality. “It is a sin to violate – in thought, word, or deed – the divine truth that all humans have equal dignity and worth as persons created in the image of God,” Keller wrote. According to Keller, the Bible teaches that to practice equality of the races is an important feature of the new creation. “Revelation … foresees the kings of all the nations bringing their glory into the City of God and the people of God consisting of ‘every nation, tribe, people and language’ [Revelation 7:9]. These remarkable visions of the
The recent Black Lives Matter protests and unrest stemming from the killing of George Floyd have drawn renewed attention to racial injustice against black people in America and many Western cultures.
Peaceful marches against racial injustice, like the pictured protest in Orlando, Florida, took place all around the world.
final new creation show that our distinct ‘peoplehoods’ and nationalities ... are so important that they will be carried over, not eradicated, into the new creation,” Keller explained. He goes on to highlight two ways in which Christians can demonstrate repentance of racism: individual repentance – including for unconscious disrespect shown to others – and corporate repentance, for racial injustice that our society has committed, now and in the past. “Daniel repented for the sins of his ancestors [Daniel 9]. [He recognised] that he was the product of a community that had sinned against God, and he recognised his own corporate participation in it,” Keller stated. Keller put forward that to trace out and admit historical acts of racial injustice, to “come to grips with the way our society has treated various people groups”, is part of this act of corporate repentance. The theologian emphasised that according to the Bible “we have not repented if we do not change and ‘produce fruit in keeping with repentance’ [Matthew 3:8]” and said that Christians should work to produce this fruit outside the church, through advocating for equality and reform, as well as inside the church. “One of the ways to bear fruits of repentance is for the members of more and more churches to make the sacrifices of power and comfort needed to form churches
that show how in Christ the racial and cultural barriers that divide the world outside the church do not divide them inside, because of the power of the gospel.” Institute of Cross Cultural Mission Executive Director and author of The Beautiful Community: Unity, Diversity, and the Church At Its Best, Pastor Irwyn Ince Jr explained in an interview with American radio station NPR that churches often say they want to become multiracial, but are unwilling to compromise on their [white] cultural norms which have influenced their standard of what ‘doing church’ should look like. According to Pastor Ince, churches try to follow “a kind of superficial multicultural or multiethnic pursuit” without wanting to integrate other cultures into elements of their services, such as the style of music or preaching, or the way they engage with issues of racial injustice. “If we really want to become not simply a multiracial church that’s culturally white but one that really is cross-cultural, we have to begin to look into examining the choices we make that are informed by our cultural preferences. And that’s hard ... you’re not going to drift into it. It has to actually be intentional.” Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Executive Director, Ed Stetzer recently devoted a Christianity Today article to some pastors’ reluctance to address issues of racial
injustice out of fear of making a misstep and being called a racist. Writing from the viewpoint of a white American man, Stetzer acknowledged that “talking about racial injustice is challenging” but he reminds pastors that “experiencing racial injustice is much more so”. “We are trying to understand an unshared reality and it’s not an easy process.” “Don’t be easily hurt if you aren’t understood fully; clearly define terms as you discuss them; and especially listen, learn, and empathise with brothers and sisters of colour.” Stetzer also addressed some Christians’ practice of replacing the phrase ‘black lives matter’ with the words ‘all lives matter’. “As one black pastor said to me: ‘If you are at a [anti-abortion] march for life, and someone says to you, ‘All lives matter,’ you would reply, ‘That misses the point. What’s in question is the life of the unborn and whether they matter.’ What’s in question in my community is whether black lives matter.” Premier Christianity Editor, Sam Hailes said that some pastors may shy away from the phrase ‘black lives matter’ due to liberal ideologies promoted by the founders of the organisation Black Lives Matter. The organisation, founded in 2013 in response to the fatal shooting of 17-year-old black American Trayvon Martin, advocates for same-sex equality among other points of contention.
“[However], when we – and most others – say ‘black lives matter’ we do not endorse every opinion of that organisation’s founders,” Hailes said. “We simply acknowledge the tragic reality that racism has flourished within the structures of Christianity, and we vow to stamp it out.” “Racism is not a subject that Christians can agree to disagree over. It’s a gospel issue. Black lives matter to Jesus.” Dr Krish Kandiah, Founding Director of the UK charity Home for Good, recently wrote for Premier Christianity about his decision to take his children to a Black Lives Matter protest in Oxford. While his family often discusses racial identity, inequality and injustice around the dinner table, he explained, “… on this occasion it [didn’t] feel enough just to be angry over a bowl of spaghetti at dinnertime.” “Football players are taking the knee. Tea companies are joining the fight. I want my family to be part of this.” “I believe it is an opportunity for us to demonstrate the radical grace of God that offers love, mercy and compassion to all.” “I have taken my children to the protest, not because I want them to witness history but because I want them to be involved in changing it,” Dr Kandiah explained. Author – Ramona Humphreys
12 in conversation AUGUST 2020
Indigenous lives matter Pastor Keith Truscott is the Senior Pastor at Mount Zion Aussie Indigenous Church, and having experienced racism during his life as an Australian Indigenous man, shares his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter issue from a historical and pastoral position.
With the current conversation about Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the movement it has created, how have you found the response from your perspective? I believe it is helpful to remember that historically the BLM movement has deep roots that go back to the unreconciled, sad issues coming out of the African slave trade to the Americas in the 1600s. This brutal trade in human life was supposed to end after the American Civil War in 1865. This did not occur as the Civil War and the freedom of the African slaves was tied up tightly with economics, industrialisation, social equality and how far all Americans would willingly give genuine justice and equality in employment, education and citizenship to their now freed African American population.
If slaves are freed, then should not they also be welcomed into mainstream society fully in all social, economic, educational and political parameters? Too often fullness of freedom was slow to occur especially in the South with their ‘Jim Crow’ laws which allowed prejudice, discrimination and racism to become institutionalised for the next 100 years. It was the civil rights movement of the mid1960s that broke down a lot of the segregation laws. However, the legal gains of the civil rights movement have not been matched with a reconciliatory heart response each generation. Dr Martin Luther’s “I have a dream” speech that “my four little children … will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character” has not come into full reality across the USA. Yet I believe, to America’s credit, there are Christian and non-Christian people of goodwill on both ‘colour’ sides wanting, waiting and working towards lasting reconciliation. When the BLM movement started, what conversations did you have with your fellow ministers, church leaders and Christians about it? Do you remember any type of nervousness at all about being too closely associated with it? The BLM started well before a white policeman placed his knee on the neck of George Floyd on 25 May starting his eight minutes and 46 seconds collapse and death. As previously mentioned, systemic racism has been around a long time in the USA, even longer than the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Junior on 4 April 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. I have been married to an African American lady for nearly 30 years, so racism in both our countries always hits home. Racism does not shock us or members of my Indigenous congregation and my close Indigenous ministers in Belmont. Indigenous Australians still face systemic racism, before and after the Commonwealth Government was given powers to make laws for Aboriginal people, which allowed them to be counted in the Australian Census after the 1967 Referendum. Many of us are also aware that of all the places in Australia, the highest percentage of the white population that voted ‘no’ to gain us these normal citizenship
rights was in the mining town of Kalgoorlie. Like in the postAmerican Civil War there appeared a link between economics, business and industrialisation and granting proper social equality to a previously oppressed group. How have the people in your community responded to the BLM movement? This year, supportive protests have been held in Perth and Melbourne to BLM post-George Floyd’s death. West Australians do identify closely to the BLM movement because historically our community have experienced police brutality and deaths while in custody. Most significant was the 28 October 1834 Pinjarra massacre, when 15 to 80 Bindjareb people were killed. Recently there has been the deaths in custody of Ms Dhu on 2 August 2014 in Port Hedland. All our community hurts in sympathy whenever there is a death in custody, whether it is a black or white person, in Australia or overseas. We know how it feels. There is research that states racial marginalisation affects the psychology of individuals who have carried this for a long time. What do you think the impact of the movement’s support and conversation is going to be on the generations of people who have been carrying such heavy psychological trauma for so long? Whether it is old or new research we find that ‘racial marginalisation’ does affect the psychology of individuals. In the 1980s, I personally experienced quite a few telling questions from Indigenous people visiting Perth from the North West. They would ask me if I had heard of a certain person who had been taken away from their ‘country’ to ‘down South’ near Perth. I sympathised with them at their loss and unanswered questions in which their children I understood as belonging to the Stolen Generations. The unresolved psychological trauma of abandonment and cultural loss within families are still felt today. There has been a conversation that the majority agree that black lives matter, but some have pushed an agenda that all lives matter and this has been criticised. What are your thoughts on this? As an Indigenous Pastor, I do believe that all lives matter. I support this by actively
Photo: Keith Truscott
What was your journey to become a pastor and be involved in Mount Zion Aussie Indigenous Church (MOZAIC)? I am thankful to have my first eight years in an Aboriginal mission in Darwin. Then I was adopted ‘down south’ to Gosford in New South Wales by the Truscotts in the 1960s. They gave me structure, discipline and support in my education. While living with my adopted non-Indigenous parents I saw firsthand their commitment for Church work as I watched them in their roles as Sunday School teacher, superintendent and elder. This was balanced in that my Dad held down a steady job. Later, I reconnected with my Indigenous community by working and living among them. When I came to Perth in 1975, I completed an Arts degree at The University of Western Australia and then completed theological studies at the Baptist Theological College of Western Australia (now known as Vose Seminary) in the early 1980s. In the 1990s, I worked in an Indigenous nonprofit organisation in Perth and taught at a university to mainly Indigenous students. The two latter jobs were done consecutively while my wife and I worked as live-in hostel parents in Perth to North-West Indigenous teenage girls for 16 years. These are some of the things that prepared me spiritually and socially to become Pastor for MOZAIC in Perth, Western Australia for 30 years now.
Mount Zion Aussie Indigenous Church Senior Pastor, Keith Truscott believes that by understanding our history and God’s reconciliation plan for all people we have an opportunity to successfully work together.
acknowledging the historic and healing event of the new covenant when Jesus Christ died on a wooden cross for the sins and wrongdoings of governments and their institutions, and also for the healing of the grief those families who have suffered all kinds of injustices at the hands of the lawless. The forgiveness cry from the cross is clear “… Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” [Luke 23:34 NKJV]. I believe all lives matter because we have the same heavenly Father who lovingly calls us back as scattered children and nations groups from the Tower of Babel [Genesis 11] confusion to come home and belong to His family – through faith in the power of the cross event that reconciles and all peoples back to each other, and to our Creator God.
The Church (made up of individuals and families) should apply the power and forgiveness of the Cross of Calvary I hinted at earlier, and pray individually and corporately that God’s Holy Spirit will change hearts as He works through His Church. Looking not to conform to but to transform the evil practices of prejudices, discrimination and racism. Finally, pray and work through the government instrumentalities as we acknowledge these were created by God for the health and wellbeing of all ethnic groups, black and white, or purple. Governments have the power to legislate to improve rates of employment, education, home ownership, and health and wellbeing statistics for the less privileged, and the last, lost and least.
How would you hope that Christians and the Church responds to the BLM movement? I would hope that Christians would respond with prayer, praise and a strategy regarding the BLM movement. One sound way would be to use our three institutions of family, church and government to work together to denounce systemic racism in all its forms. The family passes on truths, customs and worldviews. For example, when the freed Hebrew slaves were about to settle the Promised Land, God reminded the family heads to teach the next generation God’s commandments, and love and serve God faithfully [Deuteronomy 6 and 7] to receive blessing and not cursing. This was to remind the upcoming generation of the greatness of the Hebrew God to mightily deliver them from their forefather’s slavery that had gone on for 430 years.
If Jesus was here and now walking on earth, what do you believe He would be sharing with us in regard to the issue at hand? If Christ was walking on earth as a physical person, I think He would still say, “… the poor you always have with you” [Matthew 26:11a NIV], in the sense of, requesting that we still give Jesus the costly fragrant oil of worship and praise as He died for our sins and transgression. Let’s still continue to give the poor support and combat racism, discrimination and prejudice in the power of forgiveness and healing – prayer and praise through the God-given institutions of family, church and government. For through Spiritled teamwork we can confidently hope for lasting reconciliation.
growth 13 AUGUST 2020
What I wish my Dad had taught me “We must love them Corrie. We must show them that love is stronger than hate …”
Photo: Sabine van Straaten/Unsplash
Those words were uttered by Betsie ten Boom to her younger sister Corrie, as Betsie lay dying in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp in 1944. They may sound like strange words to quote at the beginning of a Father’s Day piece, but they are words that changed my life. I first read them in Corrie’s autobiography, The Hiding Place, when I was about 14 years old. I say they were life-changing because of the context in which Betsie spoke them. Sharing her vision with Corrie of what they might do once the war was over, Corrie thought that Betsie was referring to them both loving and bringing healing to the lives of the women who had been shattered by the Nazis through the brutal concentration camps. But Betsie was actually speaking about their captors and her heart was to minister the love and forgiveness of God to them. As Corrie said, when she looked at the guards she saw only hate-filled people, but Betsie saw broken human beings. What does any of this have to do with Father’s Day? Good question. I have been thinking a lot lately about the number of things that men will face in life but no-one
ever prepares us for and it has led me to reflect upon the things that I would have liked my Dad to have modelled to me in my growing up years. One of these was the importance of practising forgiveness. My Dad did not find it easy to forgive and there is a history of grudge holding in my family that goes back through the generations. On one occasion, after hearing the testimony of a couple who had publicly forgiven a drunk driver who had killed their son, my Dad replied, “I could never do that.” I realise that forgiveness never comes easily, especially in a situation like that, but it left me wondering whether my Dad was even willing to try and forgive. Forgiveness is one of those principles that is vital for us as men to both practice and teach to our children. Consider the number of men in recent years who have murdered their children and then taken their own lives as their way of responding to the breakdown of a relationship or family. It is the ultimate payback and devastates not just individuals but whole communities. When men experience depression (and they will) and bottle up their anger they leave a legacy of destruction that is passed on from generation to generation. I have seen men who nurse hurts and grudges for years ultimately become angry
bullies to everyone around them reacting in violent rage at the merest of provocations. Inevitably they isolate themselves from everyone and become increasingly resistant to change and the support of others. “It is to one’s glory to overlook an offense” King Solomon said in Proverbs 19:11. Persistent unforgiveness and stuffing your anger down deep inside will destroy your life in the end, which is why Betsie’s words are so precious to me. As impacted as I was by them as a boy of 14, it is has taken a lifetime for me to learn to put them into practice. And with the help of my Heavenly Father, I have learned and practiced the wisdom of them again and again and experienced the healing that comes with them. It is a principle that I have endeavoured to pass on to all of my children and which I intend to also model to my grandchildren. It is a principle that has set me progressively free from the past and which I first encountered all those years ago through The Hiding Place. And it’s a principle as men we must both practice and model to the generations to come.
made. Although the year 2020 has been a challenging one, it is not over yet. It is a powerful opportunity for us all to press reset and focus again.
Amanda Viviers is the author of ten books and co-founder of Kinwomen. She is the Head of Narrative for Compassion. She was on the leadership team at Riverview Church, for over a decade and currently volunteers in her local church Hillsong, Perth.
Author – Rob Furlong Rob Furlong is the Senior Pastor of Woodvale Baptist Church. He is passionate about leadership development, mission and God’s Word.
“Oh, that my steps might be steady, keeping to the course you set.” [Psalm 119: 5 MSG] Amid change and transition seasons, it can feel like steadiness is as complex as trying to hit the bullseye of a moving target. This season of intense information, pivot and redirection can be so tiring. The lethargy is not because we are running fast and hard, the lag comes from trying to hold steady. The resistance causes a full-body response. When our brain is overthinking, our body responds. When we are making big decisions and holding space for others, our body feels the weight. Tiredness is not just from physical exhaustion it is also from the toll of emotional processing. Are you holding up the arms of others?
Do you have a backpack full of responsibility? The tiredness you feel comes from the deep core decisions that are confronting your everyday. We are being asked to show up and make decisions from our centre. The steadiness that requires is like doing a balance class and doing a hundred sit-ups each day. Decisions around work, the safety of our family, future plans without knowing what the world will look like in two years’ time, the list goes on and on. I have been having a lot of dreams lately. One reoccurring is of long tunnels that never seem to end and then suddenly they change, and I am left feeling afraid. I have also had a reoccurring dream of running a marathon, running, running, running and the finish line seems to never appear. Then Psalm 119 asks us, me, to steady.
Oh, that my steps would be steady. Steadiness reminds me of a tree. It’s flexible and moves with the storms but it is planted deep. The beautiful encouragement I have been getting throughout this season from Psalm 119, is that it is a psalm of pilgrimage. We often think that steadiness is about staying still, retreating and hiding from the intensity. Although rest and retreating are a necessity to honour the sabbath and finding our strength again, this psalm encourages us to move forward with small, slow and simple steps. This is moving towards the course set before us. This is the beauty of steady, simple steps. Move forward. Keep on, keeping on. Finding the beauty amid the broken, messy places and staying true to the integrity of who you are and the decisions you have
Steady my friend, steady
Author – Amanda Viviers
14 arts AUGUST 2020
Australia unites in blessing
Since the initial release of the song, Christian musicians and worship leaders around the world have been creating covers of the song referred to as ‘blessing videos’, to encourage and bless their nations during the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. Based on Aaron’s blessing in Numbers 6:22-27, the song was written by Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, Steven Furtick and Chris Brown of Elevation Worship in Charlotte, North Carolina. It was released in early March on Elevation Worship’s YouTube channel and then circulated to radio stations on 1 May. Some of the earliest covers were released by a women’s choir from Brazil on 9 April referred to as ‘The Northeastern Blessing’, and a group of churches in Pittsburgh covered the song on 10 April, called ‘The Pittsburgh Blessing’. The UK version of the song was the first to be considered viral and is credited with starting the worldwide movement of ‘blessing videos’. At the time of writing, ‘The UK Blessing’ had 3,581,850 views, which was superseded by a Latin American version sung in Spanish which amassed 8,037,855 views. On 7 June, a collection of over 300 Australian churches collaborated and released its cover version of The Blessing. The churches spanned many Christian denominations, including Baptist, Anglican, Catholic and Pentecostal.
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Photo: WorshipCollective.co/The Blessing Australia
On 29 May, a collection of Perth Christian musicians and singers joined the global trend of covering the Elevation Worship single, The Blessing.
Over 300 churches across Australia united to cover the Elevation Worship song, The Blessing, as a blessing over Australia during the 2020 global pandemic.
Such a rich representation of what the Kingdom of God should look like.
Within these contributors to the video were also multiple Indigenous churches. Elevation Worship followed the trend by releasing a global choir live version of the song on YouTube, which at the time of writing had gathered
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1,634,144 views. One YouTube viewer of this video commented on the gathering of people from different backgrounds. “Such a rich representation of what the Kingdom of God should look like. All nations, people, tribes and languages singing as one for our King Eternal who was, is and is to come. Amen.” Other nations to cover the song include Canada, Hawaii, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden and Zimbabwe. ‘The Blessing Australia’ was created from recorded contributions from different denominations of churches in every state of Australia. Notable contributors include theologian John Dickson, Taya Smith of Hillsong Church and Colin Buchanan, the singer/songwriter
who presented on Play School in the nineties. In an interview with Laura Bennet from Hope Springs in South Australia, one of the creators of ‘The Blessing Australia’, Luke Munns, discussed the creation of the video. “I saw ‘The UK Blessing’, and obviously the Kari Jobe one first, which is so anointed and it impacted me like a ton of bricks, and the thought popped into my head, you know, maybe I should make an Australian one,” Luke said. “We’ve got an amazing team from all different churches – I think there is about 12 to 15 of us all kind of working on this behind the scenes. And it came together like as a real unity project. It’s been amazing.”
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The video on YouTube, at the time of writing, has had 445,628 views and 923 comments, including emotional responses. “Tears rolling down my face. So beautiful to hear all churches come together as one,” one viewer wrote. Another YouTube viewer commented on the unity they felt seeing Christians outside of their church coming together. “Helps me feel like I am a part of something greater than my local church,” the viewer wrote. Author – John Igglesden
coffee break 15 AUGUST 2020
A minute with ... Gavin Douglas
In 2014, Gavin Douglas along with wife Alana and their two boys moved to the Pilbara to minister to the people of Tom Price. Recently Gavin shared his thoughts about their calling to the Pilbara. What led you to you pastoring in the Pilbara? I grew up in the Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne, and moved to Perth when I was 17 years old, where I grew up as a child of a pastor. Since that move, I have had an urge to move to the North West again. There is saying amongst those that have lived up here ‘The red dirt of the North West gets in your blood and keeps bringing you back’. I wanted to see the North West Baptist churches flourishing. Prior to taking on this role I had a feeling that it was time to grow, to stretch. I received advice from others that had done ministry in the North West that pastoring there would provide this. All of this and other factors led me to Tom Price. What has been a high point of your six years in Tom Price? Pushing my sons in kayaks down our street after heavy rains and sitting around the camp fire in the middle of the bush – we have had many adventures. I think there are so many opportunities up here to try something new, to push one’s own capacity and be embedded in a community while doing this. I have loved this. Another highlight is seeing the stability amongst the Baptist churches in the North West. The current pastors are amazing. I have a sense of strength and an opportunity for growth. What has been a challenge during this time? Lack of stability. The North West is constantly moving, saying hello and goodbye to people. The mining communities shift from construction to production, and this impacts the whole community. Another thing is seeing people arrive in town to transform an issue in their life and then seeing them leave without working on it.
New Jesus the Game Changer series out this year Australian Christian media ministry, Olive Tree Media, has started production on a new season of Jesus the Game Changer. The new series will be released in October by Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in the US and will be available in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom for churches soon after that. CEO of Olive Tree Media and host of Jesus the Game Changer, Karl Faase said that the Olive Tree Media team are excited by the prospect of releasing a new season of 13 episodes. This will be the third season of Jesus the Game Changer and will be called Jesus the Game Changer: One Life. The first season focused on how the life and teaching of Jesus changed the world and why it matters. Many people have described this first series as cultural apologetics. The second season is subtitled ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ and was released globally late 2019. This season of Jesus the Game Changer focused on the movement of Christian faith from the backwater of the Roman Empire to become a truly global faith. With global travel being suspended and most media production seriously curtailed in 2020 due to COVID-19, the team at Olive Tree Media began discussions with TBN regarding a possible new season. The challenge all broadcasters face is what will new programming look like in 2020 and 2021, given the global travel and social distancing restrictions.
After completing filming and editing of two seasons of Jesus the Game Changer, Olive Tree Media knew they had some inspiring and beautiful stories to tell that didn’t ‘make the cut’ and will now create season three from this never-before-seenfootage. This series will focus on the personal lives and faith stories of many of the guests in season one and two, such as Dr Billy Kim, Craig and Medine Keener, and Robert Woodberry. The stories will be from all over the world – USA, UK, Africa, South Korea and Australia. Karl Faase will be returning as the host of the season. “In filming the past two seasons we have 85 interviews, filmed in 11 different countries, with guests sharing inspirational stories of challenge, belief, faith and ministry,” Karl said. “The new series will be a combination of beautiful cinematography, high production values and inspirational stories.” Jesus the Game Changer: One Life will be released late 2020.
What advice would you give to someone who finds themselves in a remote location for an extended period of time? There is a consistent temptation to see the town as if it is there to serve you. Mining towns need you and your skills to make it a great place to live. Get involved, learn the town and call it home.
Photo: Olive Tree Media
What has it been like to minister through the COVID19 season? It’s been strange, so many changes regularly, which at times has been exhausting. I am so glad I have been remote, and in a town that has had the security of work and accommodation. I am very thankful.
Did Noah include termites on the ark? Host of Jesus the Game Changer, Karl Faase interviewing Christian evangelist and humanitarian, Dr Billy Kim.
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16 sport AUGUST 2020
Sporting glory to God’s glory
Her passion is sharing her testimony on how God gave her a new life ...
Iona excelled first as a ski instructor and then as a speed skiing representative for the United Kingdom from 1985 to 1987, securing the multiple titles overseas. However, a life-threatening fall at 160 kilometres per hour
this truth. Iona’s powerful life story will not only move you, it will cause you to consider your own obstacles in a new way, and more than anything else, it will give you hope,” Cathy said. Iona is now a lay minister for the Anglican Church of Australia, an artist, speaker and avid animal lover. Her passion is sharing her testimony on how God gave her a new life – one of freedom, peace and joy. Prior to writing her book, Iona was the Coordinator of the Global Sustainability Network (GSN), an interfaith led organisation relating to antislavery and the United Nations Sustainability Development Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Iona shared her story of living in the fast lane of speed skiing and equestrian endurance racing. She also described her near fatal accident and the years she spent chasing dreams of fame and glory on the sporting stage in her search for purpose, hope and meaning. Iona said that growing up in a strict Catholic family and attending convent school instilled a belief in her from a young age that God was both distant and impersonal, so turning her back on anything religious she leapt into the high-octane world of competitive skiing.
while speed skiing in France led Iona into a brief encounter with Jesus. Doctors told her that she would never be able to do sports again. Undaunted, Iona pursued her love for horses. So, it was not until Iona’s life hit rock bottom years later as a member of the Irish equestrian team that she truly surrendered her life to God. “My story is a story that takes people from all walks of life on a journey, allowing them to step back and consider where they are going,” Iona said. “I came to the realisation that worldly possessions and fame bring fleeting happiness, but the emptiness I felt would remain until I filled it with the truth of who Jesus is and what He did for me.” “It matters because it’s a no holds barred, real-life story of someone who was lost, broken and desperate to find meaning in the world we live in.” “Having tried every path from fame and fortune to Buddhism, tarot cards and more, I hope this book will relate to many who may be asking the same questions.” There have been many notable people review the book, including Holy Trinity Brompton Vicar, Rev. Nicky Gumbel. “I am so glad that Iona Rossely has written this book about how God has been at her side through her extraordinary life,” Nicky stated. Speaker, writer and author of Irrepressible: 12 principles for a courageous, resilient and fulfilling life, Cathy Madavan also reviewed the book. “If the saying ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is true at all, then Iona Rossely is an extraordinary example of
Author – Sarann Bucky Iona Rossely’s ebook version of Racing on Empty.
United Kingdom sporting champion, Iona Rossely, now living in Australia, had her remarkable story published as an autobiography, Racing on Empty, on 20 May.
Iona Rossely enjoying the post-sporting days on her Australian farm with horses, Zara and Charlie.
The Advocate is the source that Christians across Western Australia turn to each month for news, information, comment and entertainment.
Published on Jul 30, 2020
The Advocate is the source that Christians across Western Australia turn to each month for news, information, comment and entertainment.