The Advocate - December 2021

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IN CONVERSATION Pastor and blogger, Stephen McAlpine talks about his first published book, Being the Bad Guys, and why he refers to Christians in this way. PAGE 12 >>


“I’m a living, breathing, walking testimony to the healing and wholeness that having faith in the midst of difficulty provides.” RUTH WARWICK PAGE 13 >>

3 The end of an era Reflecting on 20 years of The Advocate >>

6 Leadership needs Photo: Phil Gabrielson

BCWA learns from listening >>

Pastor Victor Owuor and his wife Mary are excited about his new role as Director of Ministries.

A new season commences Victor Owuor was appointed as the next Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) Director of Ministries at the 2021 Annual Assembly in November. Victor, his wife Mary and children Jesse and Joy came to Perth from Kenya, where Victor had been a pastor and theological lecturer. When they arrived in Australia in 2013, Victor served as a pastor at Girrawheen Baptist Church before taking on the role of Cross-Cultural and Indigenous Ministries Consultant for BCWA in 2015. Albany Baptist Church Pastor, Phil Beeck was part of the search team for the new Director of Ministries. “As a team, we had prayed that God’s chosen person would be the one who became the next Director of Ministries; surprisingly, God dropped Victor’s name into two of our members’ minds between meetings,” Phil shared.

Lakeside Baptist Church Pastor, Anthony Palmieri agreed. “I have had some dealings with Victor previously and have always found him to be competent, professional and one who intently listened; however, he was not someone I would have automatically thought of for the Director of Ministries position.” “Nevertheless, his name kept coming to mind, so I mentioned his name in a search team meeting as someone who had been on my heart – to my surprise, others in the group and the broader Baptist community had had similar stirrings,” Anthony said. BCWA Council and search team member, Professor Vanessa Chang expressed her excitement at the appointment.

“God is good and faithful, He goes before us and He is with us – I am excited to see God’s grand plan unfolding further through Victor.” Interim Director of Ministries, Karen Siggins also shared her thoughts. “Victor’s appointment reflects the need articulated in various conversations across BCWA for a leader who will help us hold our current place in history with the confidence that God remains sovereign, and that the gospel of Jesus is still good news for all people,” Karen explained. “Victor embodies this confidence in word and deed; he is also theologically orthodox and generous – a collegial and collaborative leader who is a good listener and one able to facilitate curious and meaningful conversation – all of which bodes well for BCWA’s next chapter.” Karen reflected that, as is inevitable in periods of significant

change, there will be much for us all to learn and adapt to. “Into this space Victor brings emotional intelligence and security, cultural awareness and a considerable capacity to learn while also empowering and encouraging others; Victor is a steady paced, relationally warm, open and authentic person who is already a trusted and authentic communicator able to publicly and courageously hold the tension of difficult issues, while staying true to God’s story in the Bible,” she said. Victor himself reflected on his appointment to the role. “I hope to encourage our churches to create missional alliances with each other – such partnerships should lead to the revitalisation of declining churches and the planting of new ones,” he said. “I also hope to see all Baptist churches involved in leadership development that will result in planting more churches.”

15 Shining through Cam Beeck releases his debut album >>

We are stronger when we work together. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA


my view DECEMBER 2021

Experiencing beauty in the dry I love the rainy season. There is green everywhere, from the mountains to the trees. Crops are growing and there is so much water. The air is cool and mangoes are ripe.

Sally Pim Sally Pim serves with Global Interaction, working with the Yawo people in Massangulo, Mozambique.

Here in Mozambique, we have been sitting in the dry season for so long that I’ve forgotten what rain is. The leaves have fallen off the trees, the grass is long and dry. There is dust – so much dust – whirling around in the hot wind and landing on every surface imaginable. Wells are running out of water and there’s little movement between villages as people shelter from the heat. Yet, as fires tear through the bush around us, I am reminded that this season holds good things too. After the fires, small

green shoots will start growing. They will grow into long grass that will provide sustenance for the animals. With no rain, there is plenty of sun to make bricks and build houses. There’s less work to do at the farm and more time for visiting friends and spending time with family. There is a time for every season, as we are reminded in Ecclesiastes 3. These seasons might bring beautiful change, or they might be filled with pain and sorrow. Some seasons are easier to sit in than others, but all require the same choices.

... I forget that God is working in this time, too.

Are we willing to ask God to meet us in this season? Are we willing to see His goodness in this time? Are we willing to trust that He is giving us everything we need to not just survive the season, but actually grow in it as

well? What we see and learn in these times – the blessings – will be with us far longer than the season itself. When all I want is the rain, I lose out on experiencing the beauty that’s in the dry season. All I see is the dust, the heat, the trials and turmoil, and I forget that God is working in this time, too. He is refining. He is building. He is growing His created. Let’s embrace and celebrate today’s goodness, for whatever season we find ourselves in we can be assured that God sees us and is continuing to do His good work in us.

Times, seasons and plans … Perhaps you know the Ecclesiastes 3 refrain: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” It turns out this is the time to say goodbye to The Advocate, or to this form of it at any rate.

Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Director of the AVENIR Leadership Institute and teaches at the Perth Vose Campus of Morling College.

I will miss the discipline of writing this column. The approaching publication deadline always left me wondering, “Will I have anything to say?” You are entitled to your own opinion on that! People have asked how I write my columns. Those of you in the literary world (that’s you, I’m sure) will know that novelists are often asked if they are pantsers or plotters – the former writing by the seat of their pants, the latter carefully working out plot and structure in advance. I’m a pantser, and usually start with only a title

and the slightest idea of where it will head. And yes, at this stage I haven’t a clue where this column will go. My favourite detective novelists are all pantsers – including the wonderful Ann Cleeves (of Vera fame), who famously said that if she wasn’t a pantser, she wouldn’t have any interest in writing. Apparently, she writes to find out what happens and who did it, and perceptively asks why she would bother if she knew in advance. Truth to tell, most of us try to be plotters – carefully

working out the direction of our life. We have our goals, but somewhere along the way discover the truth of Proverbs 16:9 NLT, “We can make our plans but the Lord determines our steps.” Turns out, it’s not all up to us. Much of our life comes as a bit of a surprise and requires us to live according to our most deeply held beliefs, rather than in accordance with 3.7.5 of the strategic plan for our life. Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t have anything against strategic plans or working

intentionally towards a goal, and certainly advocate that people have clarity about what they hope to achieve. But I am old enough to know that things rarely go exactly to plan, and that God is often to be spotted in the gap between what I thought would happen and what actually happened. I have also discovered that gap is the safest of all places for, when there, we look for God most carefully. And those who seek God, find God …

The power of stories I wrote much of The Advocate for almost six years. It was a part-time position, one day a week.

Jill Birt Jill Birt is a regional leader with Praxeis – a global discipleship maker ministry.

Some months it consumed my life. It stretched my capacity and resilience, opening my eyes and heart. For every edition, it was a privilege to capture and distil stories of faith and hope. Stories of people enduring prolonged, deep suffering and others of bubbling joy. Stories of refugees and the emerging churches of Chin, Karen and Sudanese people. Indigenous followers of Jesus. Churches being birthed and others closing. Bushfires, floods, births, baptisms, deaths. Sport, education and music. Stories of the growing Kingdom of God.

There was a rhythm to The Advocate life. Editorial meetings with the team at imageseven, refining story ideas for each edition. Conversations with editor Terry Hicks, then often travelling hundreds of kilometres to attend gatherings, interview people and capture a picture. I filed stories from Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines as I travelled. Sometimes it was from hospital wards or medical waiting rooms while my husband Peter (1952-2012) pushed through his ‘apprehensive adventure’ with Jesus as he battled cancer.

The word count and deadlines never wavered. There is power in story. It connects us through shared experiences. And through imagination. We learn, almost through osmosis, from reading and hearing the stories of others. Health, sociology and anthropology fields know the value of story. I met two government workers on a remote section of the West Sumatra coast three weeks after a tsunami had destroyed hundreds of homes in the area. We talked about how they were helping the people recover. No cute games,

no lectures. “We help them get into their regular community networks and encourage them to tell their stories to one another. It’s so powerful,” one said. As a disciple-maker, people often tell me someone else’s story inspired them, challenged them or gave them courage to try again. It makes me more convinced than ever to give space and time to having people tell their stories, especially the stories of growing and developing faith. With the end of the printed version of The Advocate, Baptist Churches of Western Australia will continue to need space and time to tell the stories of people in ways that connect deeply with storytellers and readers across generations.




The end of an era Stories of the creation of the heavens and the earth, of light and darkness, of man and woman created in His image. A story about our fall from obedience to God to a state of disobedience. A story that climaxed 2,000 years ago when God entered creation in a new way to reconcile us to Him. The story of a loving saviour giving up His life so that we may have eternal life with Him. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” [John 3:16] The power of these stories and the stories of Christ’s followers have the power to change lives. In November 2001, The Baptist Advocate was launched at a special combined service at the Perth Concert Hall, with the purpose of sharing the stories of what God was doing in Baptist churches and ministries.

imageseven Founding Partner, Brad Entwistle has been involved with the design of the newspaper since its inception. “Over the last ten years I’ve read nearly every word that we’ve published,” Brad reflected in 2010. “There are stories that break your heart and there are stories that remind me how wonderful God is.” “But I really enjoy being able to report the small successes of churches and Christians across the state – when you add them all together, there’s a lot going on in Western Australia.” When launching the paper, inaugural Editor, Terry Hicks shared with churches that they anticipated it would “have excellent potential in reaching people for Christ”. In the tenth anniversary edition, he provided some reflections on reaching this milestone.

New bathrooms for campers Serpentine Camping Centre is on target to refurbish two cabin bathrooms. “Blue Ridge and Bushland [cabin bathrooms] will be renovated to modern standards with brand new fixtures and fittings,” Baptist Churches Western Australia’s Head of Campsites, Ross Daniels said. Ross shared that feedback from campers has been overwhelmingly positive as they can see significant site improvements that will dramatically enhance the quality of their camping experience. “We are thankful to our long-term plumbers and

“I’m hoping this journey has been helping Western Australian Baptists share the great things God is doing and how people’s lives are being challenged and transformed in their local communities,” Terry said. Twenty years since beginning, stories are still being shared but the team behind The Advocate realises the method in which they are delivered needs to change to meet the changing audience. “This edition of the paper will be the last in this format, however we are looking at new ways to engage with readers, including social media and a new website for Baptists that is currently in development,” The Advocate Editor, Matthew Chapman said. Readers are encouraged to continue sharing stories of what God is doing with Baptist Churches Western Australia

Photo: Sandra Iliev

“In the beginning God …” These four words begin a series of powerful stories that we read in the Bible.

To share a story, visit the BCWA Facebook page or The Advocate Editor, Matthew Chapman working on the final print edition.

Simplifying home care… Because you have other priorities

electrician, along with tradesmen Shaun Piercy and Ben Birch, who have been working tirelessly … through some challenging conditions,” Ross said. He also acknowledged the skilful leadership of the site’s Interim Manager, Damian Tapley who was overseeing the project. All the renovations have been made possible through the generosity of funding provided by CE Fairclough Trust. “We and the hundreds of campers who utilise our facilities are greatly appreciative of their commitment to the ministry of Baptist Camping Centres,” Ross concluded. Author – Linda Cummins

We’ve made simplifying your home care journey our priority. Introducing our FREE Demystifying Home Care Guide, your essential resource when it comes to navigating home care.

Photo: Michelle Sharpless

With over 45 years of caring for WA, we’re helping you from the start with up-to-date information on funding streams, eligibility criteria – there’s even clear tips on how to apply. Give yourself the time to focus on the things that matter. Call 1300 660 640 for your FREE copy or download yours today at Serpentine Camping Centre staff and tradesmen standing in front of the almost completed bathroom blocks at the camp site.


news DECEMBER 2021

BBSS launches new website BBSS is a team of bookkeepers, accountants and BAS (Business Activity Statement) agents who have a passion for serving the church with their skills. Their mission is to see Christian ministry flourish by providing a platform of strong financial administration, enabling ministries to grow and be sustained. This is primarily achieved by offering low-cost, comprehensive payroll and bookkeeping services to churches who wish to outsource this function. This has now been extended to all churches through a growing platform of resources and useful links available on the new website. “Operating as a charity in today’s regulatory environment is complex, and you don’t know what you don’t know,” BBSS Business Manager, Doug Patching said. “Our aim is to understand the requirements placed on churches and relay this information in understandable and practical ways.” The website contains videos, worksheets, articles and web links

on topics relevant to financial regulation and compliance specific to a Christian ministry context, including GST, paying honorariums, providing exempt benefits and more. In building these resources, BBSS has sourced information from, and collaborated with, professionals who understand the uniqueness of the sector. These professionals are available to assist with complex matters and their contact details are also listed on the website. “It does not matter whether your church is small or on the larger end of town, the same obligations exist,” Doug said. “If you choose to maintain your own payroll and accounting records, this website will help you understand your compliance obligations and set you on the right track to meeting them – mind you, this is tough terrain to traverse on your own.” Many churches have reaped the benefits of outsourcing their payroll and bookkeeping functions to BBSS. “Several years ago, our church switched to using BBSS services

Photo: Alissa Kok

Baptist Business Support Services (BBSS), a ministry of Baptist Churches Western Australia, has launched a new website to further support churches in Western Australia and beyond in their financial stewardship.

Robert Wells dropping off Wattle Grove Baptist Church’s financial paperwork to BBSS team member Michelle Smoker at the Baptist Ministry Centre.

to handle our bookkeeping requirements,” a member of the East Fremantle Church Council recounted. “This was to ensure that we adhered to ever-increasing compliance and reporting requirements, and to free up

valuable time for our ministry and support staff.” “It’s proven a very wise move that assists greatly with the financial stewardship of our church.” BBSS offers phone support for all Baptist churches in Western

Australia, with their services being available to church ministries of any denomination. For more information, visit Author – Alissa Kok

God leads the way in Thornlie

Back in 2015, Coolbellup Charismatic Baptist Church was relaunched as a campus of MPBC, pastored by Peter Christofides. In August of this year, they were launched as Coolbellup Community Church, a church in its own right, led by Pastor Michael Christie. They have since started the process of becoming a member church of Baptist Churches Western Australia. At the beginning of this year, discussions with Thornlie Baptist Church resulted in its closure. However, in late September it was relaunched as Thornlie Community Church, a campus of MPBC. A launch service was held on 24 October, with close to 200 people attending. Senior leaders at MPBC, Nick Scott and Simon Ford, spoke about the experience. “The entire process has been wholly of God – a miracle!” they said.

Long-time Thornlie Baptist Church member, Christine Thomas shared her thoughts on the launch. “It has been God’s leading and God’s timing … including the unanimous decision to close and join with MPBC; it was a God thing,” Christine said. A former Thornlie Baptist Church elder, Kim Parks also shared his perspective. “At the start of 2021, we felt weary and uncertain; now we feel empowered, energised and confident in the Lord leading His kingdom in our area; we are truly grateful for Him bringing us together.” New Campus Pastor, Craig Siggins reflected the sentiments of the whole church community. “We wait in eager expectation of what God will do through us at Thornlie Community Church!”

Photo: Neil Smalley

This year has been an historic one for Mount Pleasant Baptist Church (MPBC).

Commissioning Campus Pastor, Craig Siggins and his wife Lyn at the Thornlie Community Church launch service.




Gaps in ethical fashion The international development organisation has released its latest fashion scorecard for close to 100 fashion companies representing 420 brands, including its first new A+ to F grades in over two years. Twenty companies received A+ or A, 55 received B to C and 23 received D to F. New this year in the Ethical Fashion Report and the 2021 Ethical Fashion Guide is an explanation of how a company’s score out of 100 aligns to the familiar A+ to F grades, with the average company scoring 33.6. “We’ve seen considerable progress in the fashion industry and engaged with many brands that are committed to becoming more ethical and sustainable,” Baptist World Aid Director of Advocacy, Peter Keegan said. “But these grades show us we’re not there yet.” This year’s report highlights modern slavery and climate change as priorities for the fashion industry, as companies

make slow progress on both fronts. The number of companies with a commitment to reduce emissions has risen by ten percent since 2019. However, the total with a climate strategy is still less than half of those assessed in 2021. This year also marks the end of the first round of Australia’s Modern Slavery Act 2018, with a significant number of businesses required to disclose their efforts to address forced and child labour in their supply chains. Despite this impetus for the fashion industry to act, the report has found that attempts to empower garment workers remain lacking. The average company scored a D for their actions on wage improvement, worker unions and complaints processes. “Our research identified a vast gap between the ethical sourcing measures companies put in place, and real, tangible outcomes for garment workers,” Baptist World Aid Advocacy Project Manager, Chantelle Mayo said.

“That’s a big hurdle for any consumer trying to shop ethically, and an area we need to keep pressuring the fashion industry to address.” The number of companies paying some workers in their supply chain a living wage dropped from 20 percent in 2019 to 15 percent in 2021, a decline the report attributes to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. During the early months of the pandemic in 2020, garment workers in countries where many Baptist World Aid development programs operate lost more than 16 billion US dollars in wages. Keegan said this shows that although the industry is moving in the right direction, it still has a long way to go. “We want consumers to understand that shopping ethically isn’t as simple as choosing to buy only from top grade brands,” he said. “All of the companies we assessed have room for improvement.”

Image: Baptist World Aid Australia

Fashion companies are investing more than ever in ethical sourcing, but their efforts still aren’t reaching garment workers. This was outlined in the 2021 Ethical Fashion Report, launched by Baptist World Aid Australia in November.

A snapshot of statistics from Baptist World Aid Australia’s 2021 Ethical Fashion Report.

Church members give the gift of time

Giving in an increasingly cashless age

Spiritual wellbeing is as important as physical and emotional wellbeing at Baptistcare.

If you pass the basket around the congregation these days, you may well find it is a little light.

Photo: Supplied

It is why the aged care provider offers a spiritual care program to all its aged residents and customers. Supporting Baptistcare’s eight busy chaplains are dedicated Pastoral Care and Church Service Volunteers.

Parkerville Baptist Church member, Rob Skupin has been a volunteer at Baptistcare Yallambee Residential Care in Mundaring for the past six years. “I feel enlightened and privileged to volunteer at Yallambee,” Rob said. “Every day I am blown away by how kind the residents are, and I feel blessed to be able to listen to their stories.” Carol Scales has also been a long-term Pastoral Care Volunteer.

Baptistcare Pastoral Care and Church Service Volunteers Carol Scales, Joan Potts, Rob Skupin and Jeffrey Auford.

“Some visits are filled with happy chatter, while other visits may involve listening and supporting residents with their concerns,” Carol said. “I’ve made many valuable friendships over the years and continue to look forward to meeting up with the residents at Yallambee.” Baptistcare Chaplains Manager, Wade Sinclair said Pastoral Care and Church Service Volunteers add richness and meaning to the lives of many people who entrust Baptistcare with their care. “For some it is about participating in spiritual activities such as church services, Bible studies or prayer and reflection,” Wade explained. “But often it is about having someone to talk to, someone to listen without judgement, and someone to share a cup of tea and a laugh with.” Wade would welcome more Baptist Church members to become a part of the Baptistcare family. For more information, visit

Baptist Financial Services (BFS) Relationship Manager, Shelley Bartels explained that it’s not that people are less generous, but they are less likely to carry cash. “Giving online isn’t new – with everything from home loan payments to television subscriptions coming out of our accounts, it’s the new normal and it has its benefits,” she said. “Whereas people might have once been in the habit of deciding on Sunday morning what they should give, online giving requires a more thoughtful approach – and that’s not a bad thing.” However, it can be confronting for churches to know how to handle this revolution in giving. Short of publicising account details, how do you encourage faithful financial support? Or clarify

the difference between regular giving and special fundraising drives? BFS has recently revamped a product called ‘Giveway’ to address this need and support churches in their financial management. Giveway has been purpose-built to offer a cost-effective, secure and simple platform that provides congregations, treasurers and church leaders with all the tools needed for giving in a digital environment. The cleanly designed portal can be linked to church websites for ease of access, with reporting and tax receipting functions built in. The days of counting the offering after church are numbered, and maybe everybody is better for it! For more information, visit


news DECEMBER 2021

At the risk of overstating the obvious, the world is changing rapidly. Of course, this is not unique to this particular time in history, but experts confirm what most of us know – the speed, size and scope of the change that defines our current times is truly unprecedented. Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) Interim Director of Ministries, Karen Siggins spoke about this situation. “One consequence of the rapid change is that we are experiencing life as if we are constantly on the threshold of the next thing,” Karen shared. “For some this is exciting, for others it is sobering and for many it is simply exhausting.” “If you follow Jesus, it’s good to remember that, at the macro level, we occupy a threshold place in human history – the place between the ushering in of God’s Kingdom in Jesus and the fulfilment of all that this

promises when Jesus comes again.” It was from this perspective that the BCWA Council tasked a team in early 2021 to facilitate a process of discernment about the leadership needs of BCWA. They did this through prayer and attentive conversation with churches, pastors and leaders across the state, as well as leaders of Baptist organisations throughout Australia. The upshot of the conversations was the highlighting of several cultural emphases reflecting the shared values and vision of Baptist churches in Western Australia. Some of these include the conviction that God speaks in contemporary ways to each new generation through the Bible, and that people need the opportunity to explore faith in contexts that are safe, respectful and allow for diversity of views. The ongoing significance of the local church as the vehicle of God’s mission, even in a rapidly changing world, was affirmed

Image: Brett Jordan/Unsplash

BCWA learns from listening

BCWA recently undertook a deep process of engagement with churches, pastors, and leaders to discern the leadership needs moving into the future.

through the process. It was also agreed they value being authentic and collegial communities of a variety of sizes and expressions across regional, remote, cross‑cultural and city churches. Karen highlighted a recent McCrindle survey on Australia’s changing spiritual climate, which underlines the importance

of faith and spirituality as key elements for determining identity for many Australians. “Knowing this about our neighbours and having affirmed together this year that our shared identity as Baptists matters, means that the Baptist churches are well set to thrive in this threshold season alongside our

good and unchanging God, confident that He is still engaged in human history according to His good plans,” she said. “Leaning in and listening to God, to each other and to our wider communities has brought BCWA this far and will serve as a path on which to travel well into tomorrow,” Karen concluded.

Unshakeable faith at SportsFest 2021 SportsFest 2021 came to life in Australind over the September long weekend, with nearly 1,000 young adults from across Western Australia participating. Across the myriad of sports enjoyed, North Beach Baptist Church was crowned winner of the overall competition. This year’s theme of ‘Unshakeable Hope’ was inspired by Hebrews 6:19, “We have this

hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” After friendly competition on the sports field, the Saturday Night Live service was an opportunity to present Jesus as the unshakeable hope that lives can be built upon. Myanmar Baptist Church Pastor, Cung Uk Lal shared about Myanmar’s recent turbulence and gave an insight that regardless of where you live, without Jesus as the foundation we are lost. Alycia Randell from Waratah Community Church encouraged attendees, sharing that putting

Jesus’ words into practice is key to growing in their faith journey. Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) Next Generations Pastor, Ed Devine shared his excitement at lives changed through the message shared. “In response to these challenges, people put their trust in Jesus for the first time, with over 20 participating in the response time!” he said. Another great outcome of SportsFest each year is seeing new friendships begin. “A young man at my church let me know that he had plans to

meet new friends at their Baptist church the following Sunday and wouldn’t be at our service – this networking strengthens the Kingdom of God in Perth and encourages ongoing growth in faith,” Ed remarked. “SportsFest couldn’t run without the support of many faithful volunteers for whom BCWA are so grateful; planning will begin early in the new year for the 2022 edition of this much-loved event.” Connect 4 brings out the sportsperson in participants each year at BCWA’s SportsFest.




Being a safe church Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) Professional Standards Officer, Sue Ash AO often leaves participants of Safe Church training with three questions. “Our commitment to safety has steadily improved; churches now ask all people involved with children’s ministry, and those who are in leadership and governance positions, to undertake regular training,” Sue explained. “Resources such as videos, Zoom training sessions and specialist training for Safe Church Response Officers are all part of the options available through the Baptist Ministry Centre.” Sue highlighted that feedback from people observing BCWA churches is also very positive. “People outside the church are surprised we take their safety seriously and that so many people in the church spend time learning about how to do church safely,” Sue said. BCWA undertake Safe Church training because of


Weekend getaways help recovery

Dan McGrechan has commenced as the Ministry Support Pastor with Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA). Damien Bailey has been appointed the Interim Pastoral Worker at Margaret River. Craig Siggins has been appointed the Campus Pastor of Thornlie Community Church. Coolbellup Community Church has been accepted as a church plant associated with BCWA. Thornlie Baptist Church has closed and has been replanted as Thornlie Community Church, a campus of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. Mark A Wilson has been appointed as the Sole Pastor of Wattle Grove Baptist Church commencing later in the year. Johan de Swardt has been appointed the Campus Pastor of 1Church (Lakelands).

Pastoral accreditation Pastors Jonathan Crane, Yvette Cherry, Matthew Hall, Cung Uk Lal, Jessica Magowan, Joshua Thomas, Timothy van Aarde, Nicholas van Rheede van Oudtshoorn and Carmel Wright were recognised at the 2021 BCWA Assembly as Accredited Persons in Ministry. Alex Huggett had his Accreditation reinstated having moved back into Baptist ministry and Bernard Faulhammer had his Accreditation transferred to BCWA.

Christ’s example shows the importance of churches being responsible for all those in their care.

God’s love for all people. They are committed to seeing their ministries strengthened by their teamwork, understanding duty of care and working within sound interpersonal boundaries. “When it is your time to next attend Safe Church training,

please pray that God will give you new opportunities to express God’s love and concern for people through ensuring that His church is a safe place for all people to participate,” Sue said.

To find out more about the Safe Church ministry, visit or call BCWA on 08 6313 6300.

When Parkerville Baptist Church’s community outreach arm, Parky Care, learnt that residents from across Gidgegannup and Wooroloo affected by the February bushfires were living in converted shipping containers through a harsh winter, they were motivated to create an easy way for people to obtain some respite. Parky Care Director, Bruce Watkins explained that they tapped into their resources and community connections to provide opportunities for people who needed it the most. “I called my friend who runs Aldemor Holiday Services at Preston Beach and asked if she could help – having been on the backdoor of the Yarloop fires, she empathised and we got to work.” Working alongside the Department of Communities bushfire recovery team, Bruce mobilised support. Through donations from BCWA’s Bushfire Relief Fund, nine families have so far had a weekend holiday stay at Preston Beach. “Trauma doesn’t define us, but it does bring us together and builds bonds,” Bruce observed. “I’m happy these families could go away and regenerate by spending time together.” “One person told me how refreshing it was to get away from all the jobs, particularly in the lead-up to another summer.” Bruce hopes that by removing barriers to taking a break, this

Photo: Terry Penn

Pastoral and church updates

Photo: Jo Panuwat D/Shutterstock

“When someone asks what you did on the weekend, what will you tell them? Why? What did you learn?” At the end of one particular session, a participant told of her experience when remarking to a friend that she was going to Safe Church training. The friend expressed surprise that churches did ‘that sort of thing’. The participant took the opportunity to explain that BCWA churches are committed to ensuring all the relevant people are trained so that everyone who comes to any of its activities is safe. This led into a conversation that had not happened before with this friend. A conversation that about faith and Jesus and the church; places that had not been able to be approached previously in this longstanding friendship. Safe Church training has been part of BCWA since 1994.

initiative can create a change of perspective in recovery, even if just for a moment. * Surname withheld for privacy reasons.

Wendy* (right), has been living in a pod since losing her house and recently spent time away at Preston Beach, with the assistance of Parky Care and the BCWA Baptist Relief Fund.

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Pastor Vacancy Pingelly Baptist Church is searching for an energetic, Christ centred Pastor who has a calling from God to lift, build & encourage our community in Pingelly & our church congregation which ranges from young families to grandparents. Pingelly is based in a farming community and is located Pinge 155km south east of Perth. With a population of around 1,170, Pingelly has outstanding facilities for a small rural town. A 3x1 (plus office) house will be supplied for the successful applicant. To find out more, contact the pastoral search committee:



Dr John Olley and Dr Michael Parsons are pleased with the proposed affiliation between the Baptist Theological College and the Australian College of Theology.

Advocate MAY 2002

Keith Gallagher: Life as a Malawi missionary ... Page 7 From USA: Christians play another kind of football ... Page 12 THIS ISSUE AROUND THE CHURCHES

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INTERVIEW: Keith Gallagher

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Subsequently, two key recommendations were presented to the Autumn Assembly in Pingelly on 13 April. Firstly that the College withdraw from its partnership in the teaching of the Theology program of Murdoch University from the beginning of 2003, and secondly, to seek approval to teach the awards of the Australian College of Theology (ACT). All recommendations were passed unanimously and without abstentions. “We see this as a very positive move forward for the College,” said Dr Olley after the Assembly. “Particularly in light of the parameters that were set by the review in 2001, we believe this transition will help the college better meet the needs of Baptist churches.” In the report, the Board said there were several features of the ACT that make a link a positive way forward for the College: • an existing accredited curriculum with flexibility and diversity, and a wide range of practical subjects; • more people able to be involved in lecturing; • possibilities for cooperation with other Baptist Colleges; • possible cooperation with Australian College of Ministries and Trinity Theological College; and • protection for existing students in transferring. Under the recommended changes, current Murdoch and BTCWA students would be granted full equivalent status for theological units. Non-theological units can be recognised for the Bachelor of Christian Studies. Dr Olley agreed that one of the major impacts on students will be increased pressure in paying tuition fees. “Currently, the annual

tuition fees for a full-time student at BTCWA are about $3,400. Murdoch University fees were able to be deferred using the Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) but now these fees will have to be paid directly to the College each year.” The Advocate understands that the College Board is currently investigating ways to offer student loans to reduce the financial impact on students. Churches will also be encouraged to assist students from their congregations. There are also implications of these recommendations for BTCWA faculty members Dr John Olley and Dr Michael Parsons. Both are currently jointly appointed by BTCWA and Murdoch University where their contracts expire at the end of 2003. Both have offered to resign their university positions to remain committed to the College. “Our resignations from the University will mean that the full resources of a large institution that we currently enjoy will no longer be available to us,” said Dr Olley. The financial implications of the change, together with the appointment of a Principal-elect from January 2003, create $62,000 of additional costs for the next financial year. The College plans to meet the bulk of these costs with fees from 32 new students — including some students presently enrolled at Murdoch. In 18 years of the cooperative arrangement, many students have graduated — some also doing higher degrees — and are now serving as pastors in Baptist churches and churches of other denominations. Many graduates also serve as youth workers, missionaries, chaplains, lecturers in theological and bible colleges, and school teachers.

Learning from those without


cities are moving into crisis mode. Sydney’s water supply is on 36 per cent capacity, Melbourne on 38 per cent, Brisbane on 23 per cent, Perth on 27 per cent, Canberra on 38 per cent and Adelaide likely to run out of water entirely in 2008. Brian Pickering said, “Our goal in humbling ourselves before God for this 40 day period and gathering at the Solemn Assembly is to deal with the underlying cause of the drought and see a complete reversal of the weather patterns. One shower of rain will not solve the problem.” The Prime Minister, John Howard greeted attendees on a two minute DVD encouraging those who attended as they joined together to pray for rain.

Vose: New look BTC

Sarah Green After 16 years as the Senior Pastor of Whitford Church of Christ (COC), Mark Wilson has now started work at the Baptist Union of Western Australia as the Director of Ministries. Mark and his wife Karen, who was also a pastor at Whitford COC, nished there in November and were both on long service leave until February. “They had a great farewell for us and we had a fantastic day but it was also very sad — we have great relationships with many of the people at Whitford,” said Mark. While Mark does not ofcially begin at the Baptist Union Ofce in Rivervale until 5 February, he will be inducting Lake Joondalup Baptist Church’s new pastor Stephen Nosworthy on 4 February in his capacity as D.O.M. “I want to build relationships and meet with as many pastors

as I can in the rst year because I believe that building relationships is important and from that, you can have some inuence,” said Mark. “The other thing is obviously just getting to know the staff and working in the headquarters and dening what their roles are going to be for the future. I’m looking forward to working with the council and setting some new directions for the movement.” As well as pastoring at Whitford Church of Christ for the past 16 years, Mark has had numerous experiences in different churches, from middle sized to large churches and has also been the President of Churches of Christ in Western Australia for the last three years. While Mark said he would miss being able to work with one particular group of people over a consistent period of time to full a vision, he was looking forward to the challenge of doing that with a whole movement.

In his role as D.O.M., Mark will be building relationships through Baptist churches, schools, Baptistcare and Baptist Theological College, where he studied in the early to mid 1990s. “A healthy church is a church that is in good relationship with the people in the church and with people in the community,” said Mark. “My hope for the future is to see Baptist churches that reach out to their local community and make an impact in that community. “It’s a big denomination and sometimes people want to be ercely independent when we really should be inter-dependent and work together with one vision to make a difference.” Mark’s wife, Karen, has accepted a position as the Executive Producer for Australia and Asia for Willow Creek, which will involve overseeing the Global Leadership Summit in 2007 and onwards.


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FEATURE: New Pastors at Baptist churches

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INTERVIEW: Craig and Talitha Willis-Jones

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Catalyst is a programme designed to equip Baptists for advocacy ...

SPORT: Formula Windsurfing — Allison Shreeve Page 16


Supermodel’ ... Page 3 Crouse signs with Lynx, McCormick goes to the US ... Page 16

Michael Dunjey plans to scale to the top of Mount Everest ...

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Craig and Talitha Willis-Jones head off to Mozambique ...

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‘V’ is for Vose: Brian Harris and Monica O’Neil at the Baptist Theological College, which is soon to become the Noel Vose Seminary. With the name change also comes the reminder that the seminary is there not just for those in leadership, but also for anyone interested in studying theology or topics related to the Christian faith. While the seminary will still be a resource to help train and equip pastors for Baptist churches, the scope of Noel Vose Seminary is much wider. ”The concept of a college has connotations of the academic or the cerebral. The concept of a seminary is that it is holistic,” Brian says. So if Noel Vose Seminary is ‘beyond Baptist’ and ‘beyond pastors’ it is also ‘beyond academic.’ It includes and values the academic, but is also so much more,” he says.

Dr Noel Vose was the founding president of the college when it began in 1963, and was instrumental in it’s development until 1991. Noel is now retired, but is still involved in ministry. Before helping found the college, he had studied at the Baptist Theological College of New South Wales and the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in Chicago. The new name also means that the seminary has the opportunity to expand in the future. The Vose Leadership Centre is the first of a number of planned centres of excellence. “So there will be ‘Leadership at Vose’, ‘Mission at Vose’, ‘Research at Vose’ and more,” Brian says. “Noel

Vose Seminary is thus the overarching support structure for a number of highly focused centres.” Director Monica O’Neil from the Vose Leadership Centre says that the name change also represents an awareness that healthy and effective Christian ministry needs to be strategically resourced. “We see the Seminary as a lifelong place of growth and support for Christian leaders,” Monica says. Despite the change in image, Noel Vose Seminary will still be found on Hayman Road in Bentley, and Brian Harris will remain on as principal. The new name will come into effect at the start of the 2008 academic year.


Brad Entwistle


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FEATURE: Baptist Camps

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FEATURE: Ancient Bones Found

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A candidate for the position of principal at the Baptist Theological College of Western Australia has been proposed by the Nomination Group. In a joint meeting the College Board and the Training and Resources Department unanimously supported the recommendation. The recommendation is of highly regarded pastor at Mt Roskill Baptist Church in Auckland, Brian Harris. He has previously led a Bible College in South Africa and has lectured


regularly at the New Zealand Baptist Theological College and the Bible College of New Zealand. In a letter to churches, Director of Ministries Steve Smith said “Council has strongly confirmed the recommendation of Brian Harris as the person we believe will provide the leadership the College needs to make a powerful contribution to training for ministry in Western Australia.” A Special Assembly has been called on Saturday 7 December to consider the nomination and vote on the motion that “Brian Harris be

Roberton Story ... Page 3

Ashley Brian

Local Baptist goes to Yemen ... Page 7

Bruton says, "... it's just a game." Page 8

called to become the Principal/ Leader for Change of the Baptist Theological College of Western Australia for a five year term (renewable) commencing at the beginning of 2004.” “I believe it is important that key leaders in our churches participate in this decision making process,” said Steve Smith. “Brian will come with the hope that this will be the most significant and final phase of his ministry. He anticipates being here for the long term and we need to acknowledge that with whole hearts and thankful spirits.”


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CURRENT ISSUES: Indonesia Analysis

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INTERVIEW: Dr John de Laeter

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SPORT: CJ Bruton

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With the national election called for 24 November, Australians will have the opportunity to decide on the leadership of our country. Christians across the country will be able to vote for a candidate that they feel best represents their values and beliefs. Apart from the two major political parties, the Liberal Party of Australia and the Australian Labor party, there are other options available to Christian voters, including the Christian Democratic Party and Family First. Both parties place importance on family values and ethics, and have been involved in initiatives to restore community values. The Australian Christian Lobby will host forums that allow all candidates to address the voting population on their policies, making it easier to compare competing political parties. “It’s not our job to tell people how to vote but rather to facilitate their being informed about how to vote,” says Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Perth will soon be host to Los Angeles pastor Erwin McManus and Brisbane Minister Wayne Alcorn. The two will be featured speakers at Riverview’s Big Weekend which runs from 9 November to 11 November. Erwin McManus is renowned for his role in pioneering the Mosaic in Los Angeles, a church famous for its creativity and diversity. He is also an established author, having written seven books. Wayne Alcorn is Senior Minister at City Church in Brisbane, and has previously worked in welfare and youth service. His church is well known for it’s commitment to their community’s poor. “For us this becomes a big spiritual weekend where our faith is lifted, our knowledge increased and our hearts refreshed,” says Riverview Pastor Phil Baker.

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ing with Albert and Val Tiedtke. The church has kept in regular contact with Costain and was first aware of his wife’s situation early in 2002. Because the insulin is so expensive for the family, the medication is used sparingly and is only given to Sharon when she does not wake up in the morning — which is obviously a great risk. The funds raised will provide her with insulin injections for 18 months and will enable her to lead a normal life. One week before the deadline, a shortfall of $500 remained, however by midnight New Years Eve the target was exceeded with the total raised standing at $2,405. Some time ago the Church youth tried to raise the funds, but fell short of the target and Ray

Brad Entwistle The Council of the Baptist Family of Churches in Western Australia has approved the establishment of a task team to prepare recommendations for a strategy to promote healthy church growth in the state. The initiative was suggested by the President of the Baptist Union of WA (BUWA) Bob Clark. “I was asking myself ‘What can I do?’ during my time as President.

New launch


2,000 Mighty Men

A Samoan Christmas



April 2009

Mighty Men’s Conference inspired over 2,000 delegates from across Australia and overseas as they gathered together for fellowship and spiritual encouragement. “It was a bunch of ordinary guys offering their talents and allowing God to work through them,” Craig said. “An amazing work of God occurred during the conference. There was a real sense of His presence in the meetings and a gentleness and openness to each other outside of the sessions. Many new friendships were formed.” Delegates from across Australia and overseas including Brazil and South Africa gathered together for fellowship and spiritual encouragement. “Angus said he wanted to light a fire and then head for the hills,” Craig said. “His desire is that men would become the spiritual leaders with their wives, families and in their local churches.”

“From 9.30pm until well after midnight on the Saturday we had men waiting for up to four hours for specific prayer with a prayer partner. I have never seen anything like it. It was wonderful to see men taking a stand and getting serious about their walk with God.” “A highlight for me was the worship service on the Saturday evening where over 2,000 blokes sung hymns and choruses, demanding to sing more worship songs after the session had ended. I will never forget hearing How Great Though Art in a cappella, it was awesome.” Inglewood Community Church Pastor Mark Edwards was a part of the organising committee. “We took along ten blokes from our church and they can’t stop talking

about it. Pastors need to get their men along to events like the Mighty Men’s Conference it will change the whole dynamic in your church,” Mark said. A farmer for over 40 years, Angus Buchan’s abrupt conversion startled friends of the explosive hard-drinking man. Today he has an international speaking ministry and has set up an AIDS orphanage and 500-seat auditorium on his Greytown, South Africa property situated in the heart of Zululand. Over 200,000 are expected to attend the South African Mighty Men’s Conference weekend from 24 to 26 April. Infrastructure will include 3,000,000 m2 of designated camp area and 330,000 litres of water provided per hour for campers. 50,000 have registered to date.

January 2010


Girls Brigade Shines

Same-sex law reforms New South Wales Minister for Community Services, the Hon Linda Burney MP has asked the NSW Parliament’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice to conduct an inquiry into whether adoption laws should be amended to allow same-sex couples to adopt within the state. Committee Chair, the Hon Christine Robertson MLC said, “This inquiry will examine whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to adopt children in NSW. Among other matters, the Committee will consider whether adoption by same-sex couples would further the objectives of the Adoption Act 2000.” Principal Officer at Anglicare Adoption Services, Jane West has told the inquiry that the current rules should not be changed. She says ideally children should be placed in a situation that promotes their emotional and social development. “Same-sex adoptive parenting is outside the norm and adopted children already struggle with feelings of difference,” she said. “In Anglicare’s view, it is important to avoid imposing more than the necessary adjustments on them.” Australian Christian Lobby National Chief of Staff, Lyle Shelton told the inquiry that same-sex law reforms passed by the Federal Parliament last year already provide gay people looking after children with the practical rights and responsibilities of parents. He told the Standing Committee that, given this was the case they should resist the transparent tactics of homosexual activists to use the situation of children who are already part of same-sex arrangements, as a lever to achieve same-sex adoption. “The social order of raising children within opposite sex marriage has been faithfully practiced by diverse cultures for millennia,” he said. At present, same-sex marriages are recognised in The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Canada, Norway and South Africa.

or demographics, will probably always be relatively small in numbers — but they can be healthy. “There is lots of information available in books and seminars about healthy churches and many of our people have used this information to benefit their congregations, but there has not been a collection of these principles and ideas into a documented strategy that all our churches can benefit from,” explained Bob.

Winter olympics

Basketball mission


dyed his beard red instead of being shorn. “I really believe the event gave us focus and helped us understand how well off we are in Australia especially with our medical system,” Ray said. “We will now continue to support Sharon for the rest of her life. We believe it was important to do this as Costain is a significant Christian leader in Zambia, but is limited in his ability to serve God because of his wife’s condition. Our hope is that this will now free him to be all that God wants him to be as a leader.” Following a church service in early January, a public shaving was organised and Ray’s face was exposed to everyone — including his three adult children who had never seen his clean shaven face before.

I was concerned at some of the statistics showing that between 1992 and 2001, 56 per cent of our churches declined in membership and attendance,” he said. “That obviously means that nearly half our churches grew in that time also, but it is a sure indication that not all our churches are healthy.” Mr Clark was quick to point out that healthy churches do not need to be large churches and many churches, because of geography

Life in the Zone

on our beachess

Challenging Aussie men with issues relating to life, faith and Christian manhood during the Mighty Men’s Conference was popular evangelist and author of Faith Like Potatoes, Angus Buchan. Known for his ‘man’s man’ approach, passionate dedication to Jesus and practical faith in action, Angus inspired over 2,000 delegates during the conference and 2,500 plus at the Sunday morning family service held at the Advent Park Campground in Maida Vale from 27 February to 1 March. Organising team Chairperson, Pastor Craig Lydon of Beaumaris Community Baptist Church was over whelmed by the response and humbled by the efforts of the organising team.

Pastor Ray Brown of Bellevue Baptist Church succumbed to the razor after cultivating a full beard for 26 years. The congregation at Bellevue Baptist Church decided to raise $2,000 to send to a Zambian woman. Sharon Kalusa is the wife of Costain Kalusa, Secretary of the Northern Baptist Association of Zambia. Sharon is a diabetic and the cost of appropriate medication is beyond their budget. The church first came into contact with Costain Kalusa in 2000 when he came to Perth for a week on the way back from the Baptist World Alliance Congress held in Melbourne. He spent time with the congregation at Bellevue stay-

Plan for healthy WA Churches



Voters have say

Shave for a cause

The Chris

Leavers 2009:

Surf lifesaving Chaplaincy

November 2007

The congregation of Bellevue Baptist were challenged to raise $2,000 towards a Zambian woman’s medical needs and the shaving of Pastor Ray Brown’s beard was used as an incentive.

versation and organising to take people back to the tent if they need to.” Rachel Harris from Claremont Baptist Church and Chaplain at Perth Modern School admits to being apprehensive and nervous on her way to Rottnest last year however she said, “I was overwhelmed by a consistently polite manner extended to us by the Schoolies.” “As I cleaned up a girl recovering from some undisciplined drinking she asked me why I would do something for her not even her mother would do. I told her that I was committed to her having fun and right now that wasn’t happening. Without hesitation or fear of being judged she confessed a bunch of things she regretted from the night. The next evening she was sober. The following night she chose not to drink because the previous evening was far more enjoyable. This experience was repeated in so many young lives,” said Rachel.

College principal nominated

at Vose

Big weekend brings big speakers The Baptist Theological College of Western Australia is soon to become the Noel Vose Seminary. The change of name is part of a rebranding process that will refresh the image of the seminary, and provide the flexibility to expand the facilities in the future. “If you ask why I’m excited about the name change I’d say it honours our past by paying tribute to the astonishing contribution of the founding Principal, Noel Vose, but also paves a way for us into the future,” says Brian Harris, principal College. “The original meaning of the word seminary is “a seed bed” or a “nursery”. A seminary is therefore a place of nurture and growth,” says Brian.

At the end of the school year hundreds of year 12 students make their way to the holiday havens of Rottnest and Dunsborough — it’s ‘Leavers Week’ again. If you only saw the television news, you’d be convinced Leavers Week was all about drunk teenagers doing themselves harm, but one agency, Drug ARM WA is doing its best to ignore the stereotype and help change the attitudes of the young people they serve. “Leaving high school is a significant part of becoming an adult, and is also often seen as the end of a huge burden. School Leavers see this as a time for celebration. In Australian culture, adult celebrations are often accompanied by the consumption of alcohol, which carries with it a number of risks. These risks are increased for School Leavers,” explained Matthew Waldron from Drug ARM WA. Volunteers from Baptist

churches, along with other denominations, operate as teams for three or four nights, starting work around 6pm, and finishing up around 4am, depending on the night’s events. The teams aim to reduce the harm school leavers cause to themselves and the local community by providing information and advice on staying safe, providing non-alcoholic drinks to help keep people hydrated, basic first aid, a caring friend to listen, a safe place to recoup after drinking too much, and a responsible, friendly ‘peer’ presence in the middle of the celebrations. “On Rottnest the team is based at the ‘Chill Out’ tent, where volunteers mingle with people out the front, encouraging the youth to take care of themselves, and inside first aid needs are attended to and there are beds for those that need to take some time out with other volunteers to look after them,” said Matthew. “Volunteer pairs will also walk through the Thompson Bay area, engaging the students in con-

Photo: Andy Lim

Australia Day, 26 January 2007 marked the beginning of a 40 day period of prayer and fasting to ask God to send rain on the nation. Brian Pickering, head of the Australian Prayer Network said, “The recent rains in central Australia and far western Queensland are a good indicator that God is hearing our prayers even before we ask, but we will continue with our call to prayer because good rain has not yet fallen on the drought stricken areas where much of the population lives.” The current drought situation in Australia is crippling the farming community: suicide and farm closures are increasing and now even

Baptist in Channel Ten’s ‘Search for a


Mark Wilson starts this month as the Director of Ministries for the Baptist Union of WA.

Sarah Green

College lecturer Richard Moore retires ... Page 2

Perth boys head east

New D.O.M. for WA

Forty days of prayer for drought across Oz

Brad Entwistle

Odd one out

Pictures and stories

The Baptist


Mark Day, Matthew Waldron and Luke Smith from DrugArm WA prepare for another Leaver’s Week on Rottnest Island and Dunsborough.


Blessing of the poor

SportsFest special



Brad Entwistle The Baptist Theological College of WA (BTCWA) is to sever its ties with Murdoch University by the end of this year. The changing financial situation at Murdoch University and enrolment patterns have been cited as the primary reasons for the radical change, which will have wide ranging effects on students, faculty and honours that can be conferred. BTCWA has been a participant in the Theology program of Murdoch University since 1985. It has been possible for a student to complete a BA in Theology or Bachelor of Theology taking theology units taught only by BTCWA faculty and part-time lecturers. Changing Government finances for universities and enrolment patterns have led Murdoch University to the conclusion that duplication of teaching on two campuses (BTCWA and Murdoch University’s South Street campus) cannot continue, and integrated teaching will be necessary. College Principal, Dr John Olley said, “Across the tertiary eduction system, small and ‘non-productive’ courses are being deleted and duplication is being reduced. And now it’s happening to us.” The BTCWA Board believed the development would not enable the College to fulfil its responsibility in the training of leaders for Baptist churches and recommended to the Autumn Assembly that the College withdraw from the relationship as from the beginning of 2003. During 2001 a major review of the College program was undertaken. At a Special Assembly in November parameters for future directions — including the strengthening of teaching in practical areas — were set.

Craigie connects with the community ... Page 3

The Baptist

Advocate WA Leaver’s Week

BTC-Murdoch part

Photo: Shaggy Dog Productions

The Baptist


2009 Girls Brigade Queens Award recipients of various national and international awards for their achievements in the Girls Brigade. Twelve girls from WA Baptist churches are among this year’s Annual Brigades award recipients. The girls have been presented with various national and international awards for their achievements in the Girls Brigade, three of them received the Queen’s Award. “The Queen’s Award is the highest award in the Girls’ Brigade and is designed to encourage girls and young women to a personal commitment to follow Jesus, while respecting other faiths. They are inspired to greater endeavour in service within the general community and to make a contribution to the worldwide concept of the Girls’ Brigade,” WA Development Coordinator, Shirley Brindley said. Jessica Howell, from Parkerville Baptist Church was one of this year’s

Queen’s Award recipients. “Over the past 15 years, Girls’ Brigade has developed me into a leader with goals, creativity, confidence, perseverance and faith. God has blessed me with a serving heart and a passion to follow Him.” Shirley Brindley believes Jessica is a great example of what the organisation is all about. “Our vision is to see girls come into a relationship with a living God and to be able to actively and enthusiastically express their love for Him and others through their communities. Girls learn the motto — “Seek, Serve and Follow Christ”. The leadership training they receive through the Girls’ Brigade enables them to take leadership roles in churches and in their communities.” The Girls’ and Boys’ Brigades are ministries designed to work

through all Christian denominations and provide a way for churches to offer a program for pre-primary aged children right through to year 12. “The Brigades enable churches to impact generations of young people with the message of Christ. The organisation is structured in such a way that both Christian families and non-church families are able to let their children take part. Brigades are a great evangelical tool and form bridge to the community,” Mrs Brindley said. The State Development Coordinator also said involvement in the Brigades is sustainable for so many children because it is a low cost, ‘term-time’ activity. “The Brigades offer friendship, fun and structured activities in a Christian setting. In the case of the Girls’ Brigade it is obviously an all-girl

environment and the majority of girls join in their younger years, from preprimary to Year 4 and many remain until they finish school.” Reaching the highest level takes time but there is plenty of encouragement and help along the way. “It’s a step by step process. Girls have to be 15 years of age to begin their journey towards attaining the Queen’s Award and the final assessment or interview is taken between the ages of 17 and 25. The process involves doing voluntary service, initiative tasks and an assignment. There’s also a written examination and finally the Girls’ Brigade Assessment.” Other awards presented to local girls this year included Pioneer Pins and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.

WA Baptists’ heart for mission 400 years after the inception of Baptist ministry, the WA church is still showing its commitment to reach out to the farthest corners of the world with the message of God’s love. At the recent quad-centennial celebrations local Baptists gave generously, contributing more than $10,000 towards Global Mission. The funds were allocated towards supporting John and Angela Wilmot, and Andrew “Bus” Main. The Wilmots have been instrumental in spreading the Good News about Jesus to the Yao people of Malawi. In fact, John and Angela were amongst the first Australian Baptists to respond to the call to help ‘empower the Yao to develop their own distinctive ways of following Jesus’. As a result of God’s work through them, many Yao have expressed their own trust in Jesus through baptism, publically acknowledging their new life in Christ. The Baptist Churches of Western Australia have also significantly contributed to the missionary work amongst the Yao in Mozambique. “Bus” Main is helping to enable a new stage of ministry amongst the Yao as he seeks to promote discipleship amongst them. It is hoped his work with them will lead towards their becoming mature followers of Jesus. Looking to the future, local Baptists continue to support John and Angela Wilmot as they reach out to WA’s indigenous people — the Martu in Newman.

Local Newman Artist.

A walk down memory lane – “The Zone is our jewel in the crown ... ” CRAIG SAID.



6 Heart of Baptistcare


10 Challenging G20

Colin and Jill Howell's Mt Helena property during the January fires in the Perth Hills.

After 1,000 days of war, refugees are facing the realities of a harsh winter >>

Members of the 2012 Leavers Green Team in Dunsborough for the annual ‘leavers’ celebrations which was affected by storms and high winds.

Storm closes The Zone

The Zone, which is designed to accommodate up to 9,000 leavers, consists of live bands, DJ areas and a big rides area, pamper tent and Play Station tent. A first aid team is also

Anderson, Officer in Charge, Dunsborough Police Station. “The Zone is our jewel in the crown, it’s what the leavers come for,” Craig said. Due to the storm warnings

on hand to assist leavers that need help. Each year the Leavers Green

The Zone needed to be packed down for two nights, which was done by the Leavers Green Team.

rest! When the storm warnings came we had to pack it all down. It took the team a week to construct it, for the Leavers Green Team to come in and pack it down twice in a couple of hours was testament to the willingness of these people to serve.” This year the Leavers Green Team consisted of 176 volunteers. “It is our role to make sure The Zone runs safely,” said Michelle Smoker, Leavers Green Team Coordinator from Baptist Churches Western Australia. “We walk around The Zone and mingle and chat with the leavers. If there are any issues we have security and Police that help out.” A first time Leavers Green

Team are responsible for the construction and management of The Zone. “Watching it rise up from the paddock is the first sign that leavers is about to start. The Leavers Green Team gives the place some soul and each night over 6,500 leavers celebrate in a safer environment,” said Craig

Chad Kingston, The Zone Manager, elaborated on the logistics of packing down the huge venue. “It took a week to construct The Zone which includes, 16 Marquees, 32 lighting towers, 5 generators, 66 toilets, 310 chairs, 40 trestle tables, 30 beanbags, 44 Sulo rubbish bins, carpets, weed matting and the

Team volunteer reflected on their experience. “I was based in the games tent. People had plenty of relationship issues; they weren’t feeling the best or had done things they weren’t overly happy about. My buddy and I had plenty of motivational chats with guys and girls about alcohol and its effects.”

Over 7,500 Year 12 school leavers flocked to Dunsborough for the annual ‘leavers’ celebrations from 25 to 30 November. The 2012 Leavers Green Team had the added challenge of the weather this year with storms and high winds battering the South West.

“There were many stories of lost friends, lost phones, relationship issues etcetera. We really provided the leavers someone to talk to/advice for the future. There were also many instances of over intoxicated leavers who needed water, someone to tell them to take a seat or just someone to talk to after all their friends had ditched them.” Scott Bermingham, Leavers WA Project Manager, said the partnership between the Youth Policing Division and the Leavers Green Team is a very strong one. “The Leavers Green Team provide a significant visual presence from the moment leavers get off the bus, through their time at The Zone, until they get back on the bus. Through friendliness and concern for the wellbeing of leavers, the Leavers Green Team provide a bridge between public officers and young people, breaking down barriers and encouraging interaction and enjoyment of the leaver’s experience.”

“There was no question that we’d stay and fight,” Sarah Howell said. “It’s just what you have to do sometimes. I don’t know how you’d tell your parents you’re not going to defend.”

16 Ready to camp Serpentine Camping Centre is preparing for their popular Baptist camps >>

Generous hearts commited to building the kingdom of God. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Colin and Jill Howell breed Dexter cattle and run sheep on their 10.5 hectare property in Mt Helena.

ahead of the ground fire. “I think there were about nine of us by the time the fire front

They were on holiday in Dongara, a four hour drive from where the catastrophic fires on 12 January ripped through the Perth Hills. Radio announcements alerted them that their home would be under threat. But they were totally helpless. Their daughter Kerrie (18) was at home, making sure the stock had feed and water. She raised the alarm by phone and an amazing group of people emerged from the smoke-filled streets to help. Ferocious flames raged through bushland to the south west of the Howell’s property, devouring everything in its way. Adrenalin pumping, Sarah (22), Kerrie and their boyfriends, some extended family members and friends from their church, Parkerville Baptist Church, tackled the inferno as tree tops exploded

passed,” Sarah said. “When we heard the fire had crossed Traylen Road we knew we were in big trouble.” Colin Howell had rehearsed the family’s fire plan for several years. The girls knew the drill. Defend the perimeter of the house yard and control any spot fires within that area. Choking smoke almost blinded them. The heat was excruciating. Fickle wind changes ripped the fire in one direction then drove it back towards those guarding the house, literally zigzagging the fire across the paddocks. They struggled to force the fire front around the Howell’s home. Sheds, haystacks, wood pile and machinery were destroyed. Fences and grazing paddocks razed. But the house was saved. Once the front had passed the

into flames shooting the blaze

team started mopping up the area,

making sure there was a 50 metre buffer zone around the house that was completely fire free.

“When you're so far away and can’t do anything but others come so willingly and put their lives on

Colin arrived home during the evening. The firefighters were gone by 10.30pm leaving the Howell family to keep watch over night. They guarded their home in shifts, promptly dealing with the spot fires that burst into life during the night. Two of Colin’s Dexter stud cattle and his 25 sheep perished on a neighbouring property. The rest of the stud cattle were on a friend’s property out of the fire zone. “We’re absolutely grateful. I still can’t find the words to express how grateful we are,” Jill Howell said.

the line to protect your home. It’s overwhelming.” The community effort to save properties was immense. Residents, their friends and family fought the fires alongside volunteer firefighters and career firefighters. Some people saved their own property then moved on to fight to save someone else’s home. Fifty-six homes and almost 400 hectares of land were destroyed in the multi-million dollar blaze. This generation of hills people will never forget what could have been a quiet summer Sunday afternoon.

Relief Fund open The devastation caused by the bushfire in the Parkerville, Stoneville and Mt Helena region on 12 January was catastrophic for those affected. The Baptist Relief Fund Fire Appeal has been established to support the communities impacted by the fires.

To give a gift, visit the BCWA website at www.baptistwa. Gifts over $2 are tax deductible. For more information about the Baptist Relief Fund, phone 08 6313 6300.

Advocates dress up to highlight tax dodging in the G20 lead up >>

Photo: Mount Pleasant Baptist Church

Parkerville under fire

7 Crisis in Syria deepens

“We embarked upon a family adventure to make Easter more intentionally about the glory of God in Christ.” SCOTT JAMES PAGE 13>>

In Conversation Actor Joseph Fiennes on his new movie, Risen. PAGE 12 >>

5 Easter

A new medical ship allows YWAM to continue their lifesaving work in PNG >>

Gymea Catalyst advocacy group call on Premier Barry O’Farrell >>

Photo: Sarah Howell Photo: Leavers Green Team

10 Christmas show Cam’s Christmas Cracker will air on Christmas day >>

MARCH 2016

7 Medical hope

5 Gymea Baptist to end violence

Baptistcare celebrated 40 years of service in 2012 >>

In Conversation Harpist Eduard Klassen speaks about his ministry with Reach Beyond and how he became involved with the broadcasting group. PAGE 12>>

“Leadership is not about how far we advance ourselves but how far we advance others.” JOHN MAXWELL PAGE 13>>

In Conversation Natalie Page talks about coming out of the war zone PAGE 12>>

“The challenge is to overcome the resistance instead of being overwhelmed by it.”

In conversation 2013 marks the 25th anniversary of Steve Grace releasing his album Children of the Western World. PAGE 12 >>


Senior year for Mabury

15 School Scoop

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Pastor Graham Mabury OAM has been announced as Western Australian Senior of the Year for 2015.

We are stronger when we work together.


9 Ending slavery Baptist World Aid is aiming to write a different story for slavery >>

Baptist World Aid Australia has been working hard to let consumers know which companies are doing the most to protect workers modern day abuse.

2015 Western Australian Senior Australian of the Year, Pastor Graham Mabury OAM with his wife, Merle.

Quinns Baptist College students write for The Advocate >>

What happened over the Easter weekend 2,000 years ago? >>

Photo: Baptist World Aid Australia

was a light and hope in the dark hours for hundreds of thousands of radio listeners across Perth. His work required far more than the hours he was presenting the Nightline program. The citation for the 2015 WA Senior Australian of the Year award reads ‘He went well beyond the call of duty to provide companionship and

‘A pastor with Mount Pleasant Baptist Church and patron of many charities, Graham is an advocate for social justice, helping the homeless, mentally ill and the lonely. Graham has worked with homeless young people, designed and implemented youth rehabilitation programs, directed major musical productions and charity

compassion, entertainment and encouragement for people from all walks of life.’ ‘In 1986, Graham established Lifeline WA in response to

fundraisers and has received many awards for his outstanding public service.’ “We’re very proud to have Graham as part of our team at Mount Pleasant. This honour is a fitting response to the way he has served the community,” Nick said. 2015 will be a busy year for Graham as he advocates for seniors around the state on a range of issues from homelessness to health and volunteering.

The award was presented at the Australia Day Council of Western Australia’s WA Australian of the Year Awards ceremony at Government House in Perth on 15 November. Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Senior Pastor Nick Scott accepted the award on behalf of Graham, who was visiting family in the USA with wife Merle.

Graham and the other Western Australia award winners will join recipients from the other states and territories as finalists for the national awards to be announced on 25 January 2015 in Canberra. Graham was nominated for the 2015 Western Australian Senior Australian of the Year award for his work as a radio presenter and social justice leader in the Western

A speech prepared by Graham was read by Nick at the event which was attended by the Governor of Western Australia, Her Excellency the Honourable

Australian community. For 33 years, Graham hosted 6PR’s popular Nightline radio program, relinquishing his microphone and public voice

community need for counselling services. From humble beginnings with just a couple of off-air counsellors in the 6PR building, Lifeline has since evolved into a 24 hour counselling and support service which reaches out to

Mrs Kerry Sanderson AO.

earlier this year. For decades he

thousands of people in need.’

IN CONVERSATION Vose Seminary Principal, Dr Brian Harris talks about teaching theology in the 21st century. PAGE 12 >>

15 School Scoop Bethel Christian School students write for The Advocate >>

Living lives that are fully dependent on God in obedience to Christ and the Bible. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA

The truth behind our tech 14 Crazy days

Gershon Nimbalker Over 50 electronics companies have failed to make the grade on forced labour, child labour and exploitation in the 2016 Electronics Industry Trends report released by Baptist World Aid Australia.

in the trillions. If anyone can

companies to demonstrate any

afford to ensure they have an ethical supply chain, it’s our big tech companies,” he said. The report graded electronics companies from A to F on the practices and policies

measures to address poverty level wages. Thermomix, NutriBullet and GoPro were amongst the worst, performing at D-. According to the report no

they have in place to mitigate the risk of forced labour, child

company provided evidence that they had actively implemented

labour and exploitation. The grading reports on the levels of visibility and transparency these companies have across their key supply chain production phases:

a living wage for their workers. A living wage was defined as a wage that is sufficient for workers to ensure they can afford basic necessities for themselves and

raw materials level – extraction of minerals; inputs level –

their dependants – food, water, shelter and electricity – with a

smelting and refining and/or component manufacturing; and final manufacturing. Since the report’s release in 2014, 64 percent of companies

little left over for discretionary spending or emergency savings. “The median C grade suggests workers remain overworked and underpaid, working long shifts

showed some improvement, however no companies have

with little rest, and wages so low families struggle to make ends

Smartphones, televisions, tablets,

industry has not made sufficient

computers, navigators, gaming consoles and, now, wearable tech is everywhere. Brands like Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and Google are all global household names. Between them, they rake

progress in implementing steps to protect workers. Of the 56 companies assessed, none received an A grade and the median score was C. The report assessed many

in hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue each year and have

of the world’s most valuable companies including Apple,

supply chains so vast that they employ millions of people from across the planet. The products these companies produce have

Intel, Microsoft, Samsung and Sony. Baptist World Aid Australia Advocacy Manager Gershon Nimbalker said forced labour,

changed our lives and, in the process, changed the world, sadly

child labour and exploitation remain as significant problems

though, there is a dark side to our global tech addiction. The report released in

in the supply chain of the electronics industry. “This is the most valuable

improved their practices and policies enough to earn an A grade. Garmin and Dick Smith are amongst the best performers

meet. This lack of a living wage was a top concern as it meant workers still would not be able to afford the basics,” Gershon said.

February showed the electronics

industry in the world, worth

(B grade), and the only two

}} Continued on page 8

West Coast Eagles Chaplain Paul Morrison releases a new album >>

We are stronger when we work together.



“The beautiful thing was, this gospel wasn’t the foreigner’s gospel; this gospel was their own.” BEN GOOD PAGE 13 >>

6 Team evacuated

Photo: Shutterstock/SS studio photography

Scripture Union team brought to safety. >>

8 Colouring ashtrays “It’s not rocket science, it’s loving people.”. >>

More than $200 million has been donated to the Australian bushfires, which will go to victims and the fire and emergency services.

Principal saves womans life from fireball

Humanitarian crisis

Fires destroy Australia The worst wildfires in decades are ravaging Australia.


mm m


drought and now face additional

makes it easy for blazes to start

pressure with their livestock in danger. Baptist churches in Victoria

and spread. The consequent damage significantly exceeds that of the

According to CNN, since the fire season began in July last

have already taken initiative to provide free hay to these farmers. Members of Baptist churches

2019 Amazon rainforest fires, which destroyed more than seven million hectares, and the

year, across the country 27 lives have been lost, over one billion animals killed, more than 2,000

in the region have lost properties and homes; some are still without power and water.

deadly California wi

houses damaged or destroyed and over ten million hectares of land burned.

While the Federal Government has committed to an initial $2 billion for a national recovery

“The bushfires … are causing unspeakable heartache, massive devastation and huge

fund, still plenty of support is required. The United States, New

loss of livestock,” Director of Mission and Ministries at the Baptist Union of Victoria,

Zealand and Singapore are among many countries who have offered aid through

Rev. Daniel Bullock said. “This is a time for all our Baptist family to stand together to

providing personnel and financial assistance. Natural causes are primarily

help those in need,” he said. Many farmers were already experiencing hardship with the

responsible for the extent of the fires – heatwaves, strong winds and Australia’s hot, dry weather

14 Mixed reactions Kanye West’s newest album divides listeners. >>

Responding to COVID-19

We are stronger when we work together. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA

W w

w w



Advocate It’s cross country

Australia’s most notorious hacker, a Christian ...

Ashley Brian

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Farmer Graeme Lange has seen his decade-long vision reach fulfilment. The vision called for a huge cross to be built on a hill on his farm overlooking the wheatbelt town of Pingelly. Graeme had been on the lookout for the suitable steel pipe to form the cross. He found it in 2002 and construction commenced. Graeme — a member of the Pingelly Uniting Church — built the cross with help from fellow Christians in the south-east town. Graeme’s brother Kelvin Lange and Pastor John Mallaby from Pingelly Baptist Church rallied together to support the project with donations of money, materials, and manpower. The cross took 3 weeks to construct and stands at 15.5 metres high and 9.4 metres wide. 16 tonnes of concrete went to a depth

Fremantle’s Year of Jubilee ... Page 3

Eagles Chaplain, Neale Fong on life at the top ... Page 16 THIS ISSUE

of 2 metres underground to reinforce the 2.7 tonnes of steel. The cross — located about 1 kilometre from Pingelly’s centre — can be seen from anywhere in the town. A solar powered system with solar panels have been attached to the top of the upright and on the north arm, charging the structure during the day and keeping it lit at night. “At a prayer meeting of combined churches for the Avon Valley, a visiting lady said she also had a vision seeing the cross on a hill above Pingelly — this was confirmation that I needed to get on with the construction,” said Graeme. “Subsequently at church one Sunday, I was sharing that the hole was dug for the concrete and it would cost a lot to fill. A member of the congregation said she had been in prayer for sometime and God had told her that He would provide for me. The next few days were amazing as the concrete was

a gift, and so were the reinforcing, bolts and washes. The special base plate was also given just prior to that church service. The lighting cost around $2900 and was covered by gifts of money — none of which has been asked for at any stage — people are just giving.” “Every person in Pingelly has to look up at the cross which overlooks the township. It has had a profound affect on the whole community — no one seems neutral. As a Christian symbol it is revered by some, rejected by others,” said John Mallaby. “I see it as a constant reminder that the cross of Christ stands between us all and eternity, the empty cross is the greatest symbol of hope — because He is risen.” Graeme’s finishing touch to the construction was to weld the words ‘God is our Provider’ at the base of the cross.


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Marina Prior at Church Together


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Ashley Brian

CURRENT ISSUES: Ethics and War

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SPORT: Dr Neale Fong

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Australia’s leading lady of musical theatre, and Christian, Marina Prior will be the guest artist at this years Church Together held at the Burswood Dome on 23 March. ‘Stand together’ is the theme for the ninth Church Together gathering which has become WA’s largest multi-denominational event.


One Uncommon Woman

Marina Prior is best known for her lead role in The Phantom Of The Opera. Marina has had many lead roles and concert engagements including performances with the Australian Philharmonic Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Pirates Of Penzance, Cats, Les Miserables, and West Side Story. Crowds are expected to be greater than last year’s record

breaking attendance of about 12,000 people. Popular 2001 Church Together speaker J John has accepted the invitation to return as this years speaker. The program includes Prayer Together beginning at 5pm, Kids Together at 6pm and Church Together 7pm, followed by Next Generation Worship at 8.30pm and an after party featuring Jive Express at 9.30pm.


The Baptist

Flying high at SCC

Scooter craze hits metro

Ashley Brian

gets baptised ...

Karyl Mackay

churches ...

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There is a new attraction at the Serpentine Camping Centre. During August the campsite became home to a unique 100 metre long dual ying fox. Camp Managers, John and Catherine Berger, have decided to hold a competition to name the ride. Ben Smit, Engineer and Camp Manager at Camp Kerem campsite was helped by a crew of six men from the local Karnet Prison as they spent many days working on the construction of walkway bridges and the ve-metre platform. Ben has been kept busy recently, since nishing the dual ying fox at Serpentine he has been constructing high and low rope elements for other campsites in

An unexpected nd has revealed a glimpse of the past on one of Western Australia’s early Baptist churches. Hidden for nearly a century — a seemingly impromptu time capsule from the original Midland Junction Baptist Church has been recovered during demolition in late September. In 1907, the Midland Junction Baptist Church was built with two foundation stones, one on either side of the building. The building was then sold to the Churches of Christ in 1930 and remained in their possession until 1984. It then became a restaurant before the shopping complex adjacent to the restaurant acquired the building like many others along the same street.

WA Baptist pastor

Taking the Gospel to WA pubs and clubs ... Page 3 Expected growth from bumper harvest ... Page 3

Ashley Brian Page 2


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The Baptist Ministries Centre will be changing the dates of the 2004 Baptist Combined Service to accommodate Church Together that has been moved to the month of October. Originally scheduled for 24 October, the Baptist Combined Service has been rescheduled in order to give all Baptists around the state the opportunity to attend Church Together. Church Together is the yearly multi-denominational

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FEATURE: The legend of ‘Santa Claus’

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INTERVIEW: Geoff Westlake

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SPORT: Motorcross

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Once completed, the crew were given the opportunity to ‘test drive’ the unnamed ying fox and each of them gave a thumbs up as they ‘ew past’. Safety is a large focus at the campsite with all riders required to wear a helmet and harness. Each rider must have a thorough brieng with a qualied supervisor before attempting to ‘y’. The competition to name the ying fox is well underway and readers are encouraged to submit two names (one for each ying fox) by posting suggestions along with your name and age to Serpentine Camping Centre, PO Box 58, Mundijong WA 6123. Entries must be received by 15 January and winners will be notied by mail.

Combined Service rescheduled


Queensland and South Australia. The crew, all on voluntary community work projects from the local Karnet Prison, spent over one hundred hours labouring on the duel ying fox project. “We were delighted by the crew’s willingness, attention to detail and positive contribution to the campsite — the exchange of labor was such a positive experience,” said Catherine. The Deputy Superintendent of Karnet Prison visited the site and was very impressed with the crew’s work and the overall outcome for the men as a voluntary community work project. “Without the crew’s help, such a large construction would not have been possible,” remarked Catherine.


service, organised through Riverview Church and has moved from March where it has been scheduled for many years. “In the context of the wider church in Perth, the decision to move Church Together to October was made with the Baptist’s Assembly in mind,” said Baptist representative, Phil Bryant. “It was only one of the many issues that needed to be considered; however, it was essential that Church Together reschedule to coincide with the Rise Conference, which

is also organised and run by Riverview Church, and would allow them to pool resources for both events. “The decision to move the Baptist Combined Service was not handled lightly,” said Michael Carter, Administrator from the Baptist Ministry Centre. “The Combined Service and The Baptist Assembly of which it is a part has been running on the same date every year for over 20 years, only rescheduling once in order to not clash with the Olympics in 2000.”

Page 3 Serpentine upgrades ‘infamous’ camp water ... Page 3 Photos and results from Sportsfest ...

Brad Entwistle


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FEATURE: Sportsfest

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INTERVIEW: Andrew Duncan

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SPORT: Ice Hockey

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The Christian influence seen in the 2004 federal election seems to be now rmly planted as part of the political landscape as well as part of the wider social debate in the nation. The House of Representatives contains a number of politicians representing various parties who take their Christian faith seriously in the parliament. But the high prole battle was fought in the Senate. Family First Party looks certain to have at least one representative



The discovery of the time capsule all began when Alf Entwistle, from Bellevue Baptist Church, noticed an article in the local newspaper stating that the owners of the shopping complex planned to demolish the building. Alf made contact with Ann Harding, President of the Baptist Historical Society, who inturn contacted Archivist, Richard Moore. The Baptist Union then followed-up and made arrangements with the manager from the shopping complex to preserve the foundation stones. With Bellevue Baptist Church celebrating their centenary this year, Alf Entwistle and Brian McGrechen have authored a book on Bellevue’s history, called Looking Back. “In researching the beginnings of the Bellevue Baptist Church for the book, it became quite evident there

(Steve Fielding from Victoria) in the Upper House when new Senators take their seats midyear. The party also considers their Tasmanian candidate Jacqueline Petrusm as a strong possibility. Family First does not like being labelled as a ‘Christian’ party, but have said, “the family values and positive and practical policies of Family First Party would attract the support of Christians and we welcome their support.” Prime Minister John Howard has promised to pass all legislation through a ‘family impact’ lter.

APRIL 2005

Singers, Tess Meldrum and Danielle Faed at the Mount Hawthorn Baptist Church’s Good Friday Service.

The Christian Democratic Party (CDP) failed to gain the required number of primary votes and preferences to gain a Senate seat from any state. “We know that many Christians who responded to our message still did not put us rst out of fear that their vote would be lost,” said WA candidate Dr Lachlan Dunjey. The CPD is pleased that many of the policies they stood against are now off the political agenda. After all preferences have been counted, the CDP looks to nishing fourth in a eld of 15 political groups in WA.

missionaries” ...

Easter is for real

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Sarah Green

“I want to feed the

was a close relationship between Bellevue and Midland Junction”, Alf said. “I then became interested in the records of the Midland Junction building and when I noticed the article stating the demolition was going to happen, I immediately thought of the foundation stones. While removing the foundation stones the time capsule — a glass bottle — was found containing three items from the turn of the century. One of the items was a copy of the WA Baptist periodical for June 1907. The column was written anticipating the laying of the foundation stones on 19 June. There was also a sheet of paper with type-written names and handwritten amendments — thought to be foundation members of the original church, and a single 1906 penny.

Your political influence

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Richard Moore and Alf Entwistle inspect the time capsule found from a 1907 foundation stone of the old Midland Junction Baptist Church in Viveash Road (now Cale Street) Midland.

History revealed

Baptist Ministry Centre Administrator, Terry Hicks, stands on the five metre high flying fox platform with Serpentine Camping Cantre Manger, John Berger.

Cross creator Graeme Lange and Pastor Dennis Doust of Pingelly Uniting Church together with Kelvin Lange and Pastor John Mallaby of Pingelly Baptist Church with the 15.5 metre cross built on a hill overlooking the town.

INTERVIEW: Steve Izett



MARCH 2003


The Baptist

The Baptist

The Baptist




Churches across the state met over the Easter weekend to remember Jesus’ death and its importance for Christianity. Anglican Dean, Dr John Shepherd used the opportunity to assert that “the theory that Jesus died on the cross on Good Friday for our sins had the potential to destroy Christianity.” The centrality of Jesus’ death and resurrection to the Easter message was afrmed by Baptist churches across Western Australia. Lakeside Baptist Church staged ‘The Last Supper’ on Good Friday, a production based on Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous painting of the same name that featured the immediate reactions of Jesus’ disciples upon Christ’s announcement that one of the 12 would betray him. Eight members of Lake Joondalup Baptist Church were invited to dance at the Joondalup Festival, which they did several times over the weekend. Valli Bachelor, who runs dance workshops in the community to teach the Christian message through dance, organised a re-enactment of Palm Sunday. South Perth Baptist Church held an interactive Good Friday service that began at 7:00 pm. The church lights were dimmed and candles placed around the hall to create a reective atmosphere. Seven stations were set up to give people a chance to reect on the Easter mes-

Another earthquake hits Indonesia ... Page 3 CJ Hobgood on surfing, success and spirituality ... Page 8 THIS ISSUE AROUND THE CHURCHES

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FEATURE: New Bible hits the shelves

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INTERVIEW: Brian Pickering

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SPORT: CJ Hobgood — Surfing

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sage, including a multimedia station that played a clip from a movie, a communion table, a prayer well and a puzzle station. “I think it went great,” said Nathan Jolly, member at South Perth Baptist. “People responded very well and the candle light was very effective — it was a moving experience.” Maida Vale Baptist Church invited their congregation to make a public confession by writing their names on a slip of paper and then pinning it to a wooden cross. “When we were nished, you couldn’t see the cross because it was completely covered in paper,” said Pastor Ken O’Reilly. “We then realised that if just our single small church covered the cross completely, then what a weight Jesus took onto Himself — what a stunning visual impact.” Bentley Baptist Church held a ‘Live the Life Conference’ over the Easter weekend, for teenagers Year 10 and above. The Conference was a ‘live-in’ with all meals provided on site, and 30 young people moved in on Thursday evening. The Conference commenced with a special Good Friday Service involving the young people with Communion and special features. It was comprised of a number of Workshops on a variety of topics including ‘Busy Lives’, ‘Today’s Culture’ and ‘Live the Life’. Recreation options included speedball

and ultimate frisbee down at City Beach. The Conference nished with a Communion Service before teenagers chalked messages throughout the car park proclaiming ‘Christ has Risen’. Brighton Missional Community held their rst Sunday Easter service as newly-named Upstream Community. Pastor Andrew Hamilton said, “We are trying to make it a bit of a tradition to do brunch at the local park and then do some kind of Easter reection activity. “In the middle of some serious humidity we all cooked and ate brunch and then did a ‘stations of the cross’ type of deal. One of our members had a great idea that we use different points in the park to read passages of Scripture that tell the Easter story. “We went from Gethsemane (garden), to trial (gazebo), to Golgotha (hill), to resurrection (park). As well as the four families from our team there were ten other local families present to share the day.” The variety of services held over the weekend was a testament to the efforts undertaken to make the Easter message fresh, relevant and accessible. While Anglican Dean John Shepherd saw the idea of God suffering and dying as nonsensical, Christians across Western Australia upheld the death and resurrection of Jesus as the focal point of their faith.


Exciting moves Rev head at Serpentine nanny


“Winning was not my goal.”

In conversation Annie Hilton helps Indian women escape the sex trade. PAGE 12 >>


May 2011

“ ... there may be slight differences between our beliefs ...” PAGE 5 >>

In conversation Wes Jay talks to Roma Waterman about her new album Release The Sound Sound. PAGE 12>>

Census data shows there is a deeper spiritual search taking place. PAGE 4>>

In conversation Actress Shari Rigby talks about her role in the faith-based movie October Baby. PAGE 12 >>


Photo: Brad Entwistle

The inaugural group of Baptist Schools Western Australia was formed on 5 April with the signing of the relationship agreement. From left to right: Stephen Nosworthy (Lake Joondalup Baptist College), Philip Bryant (BCWA), Mark Wilson (BCWA), David Kilpatrick (Carey Baptist College), Stephen Galambosi (Maranatha Christian College). On screen: Trevor Kershaw (Goldfields Baptist College) Aashish Parmar (Goldfields Baptist College). Board members of seven Baptist schools and colleges made history on Tuesday 5 April when they signed a relationship agreement marking the beginning of a group called Baptist Schools Western Australia. Baptist Schools Western Australia (BSWA) exists in relationship with Baptist Churches Western Australia. “This is very significant for Baptist schools and colleges to come together and sign off on the agreement,” Director of Ministries for Baptist Churches Western Australia, Mark Wilson said. “We invited all the Baptist schools and colleges to be part of this group and currently we have seven who have signed on. We expect others will join in coming years.” The chairperson or a designated member of each school’s board

signed the Relationship Agreement along with Mark Wilson and Philip Br yant from Baptist Churches Western Australia. The schools in this foundation group that formed the BSWA include Carey Baptist College, Goldfields Baptist College, Lake Joondalup Baptist College, Mandurah Baptist College, Maranatha Christian College, Somerville Baptist College and Winthrop Baptist College. The purpose of the group is four fold: build up healthy missional schools; build healthy missional school partnerships; empower and resource the planting of new schools and churches; and provide positive servant leadership to build healthy missional schools. “The potential for planting new schools and churches is significant and strategic,” Mark said. “Baptist

Schools Western Australia exists to enable members to use their combined resources to be more effective in advancing the Kingdom of God through Christian schooling in Western Australia.” The synergy of the group has the potential to enhance the expertise and influence of Baptist schools and colleges in the community. BSWA can enhance and foster stronger relationships between new schools and new churches. Cooperation between member schools and colleges can enhance professional development for school and college staff, both teaching and administration. The group will enable schools to creatively and safely share intellectual property. “It’s a very practical relationship too. Imagine the savings for schools

and colleges if they combine their purchasing power for stationery or other types of equipment,” Mark said. “The synergy is going to be great. We’ll be able to do so much more together than we could ever imagine doing as individual schools or colleges. There has been a lot of discussion over several years to get to this point.” Mark Wilson continues to meet regularly with John Smith, the catalyst for starting several Baptist Colleges in Western Australia. “We’re incredibly thankful to John Smith for pioneering Baptist schools and colleges in Western Australia,” Mark said. “We wouldn’t be where we are now without his vision and courage.” One of Western Australia’s newest schools, Alkimos Baptist College, in Perth’s northern suburbs, was formally opened on 8 April.

Busselton lease 3 Just Prayer

6 WA nurse awarded

Six thousand people groups across the globe have almost no opportunity to hear of Jesus Christ >>

Ann Mitchell awarded an OAM for work in developing countries >>

Winner of this year’s Master Chef, Kate Bracks.

Masterchef disciple Winning the Masterchef competition on 7 August rocketed Kate Bracks into the realms of media hyperbole. Television, radio and press journalists hounded her for weeks after her win, but as always she remained true to her Christian faith throughout and following the competition.

years. Their commitment to

There’s a rich food culture in

serving the Kingdom through welcoming ‘brother and stranger’

Orange,” Kate said. “Food helps people relax,

is motivating the Bracks’ dream

be comfortable and engage

to use the Masterchef prize winnings of $100,000 to open a

with one another,” Kate said. “Whether it’s afternoon tea for

bed and breakfast in Orange. “I’d love to use and promote

my Bible study group, or a meal for friends, I’ve seen it work so

local produce as much as possible.

many times.”

Now back home in Orange, Kate used part of her ‘one telephone call a week’ with her husband, Luke, during the

New South Wales, Kate is working on recipes she will include in her recipe book to

competition to give him points for

be published in April 2012. The publishing contract is part of the

how to pray for her. “The biggest challenge for me in the house with all the other contestants was that I might be over influenced by the others,” Kate told The Advocate. “I’d come from a world that had routine and rhythm – family, school, church and Bible reading each day. Would I be tempted to become like the world I was immersed in?” Kate didn’t ask her husband to pray that she would win; she asked him to pray she would stay true to Jesus, bring glory to God and live a life that pleases Him. Winning was not her goal. “I really wanted to cook the best I could and learn as much as I could,” Kate said.

prize for winning Masterchef. “I’m trying all these amazing recipes, and of course it’s all sweet and yummy because the book is about desserts. Most of the food I cook we end up giving away to friends and family.” The Bracks family moved to Orange from Sydney five years ago. It was a thought-through life decision on big issues, not just a whim. “The move has been great. Luke teaches at a local school and we get to be part of and to contribute to the life of a vibrant country town. We love Orange and all it has to offer.” Hospitality is a spiritual gift Kate has nurtured for many

Leading the nation

Karen is the Coordinator for Western Australian Baptist Women and also works for Willow Creek International as the Executive Director Asia Global Leadership Summit. She travels extensively in this role and enjoys building and developing leadership teams across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Mrs Tracey Hawke was

Administrator/Treasurer for Australian Baptist Women. Based in Perth, Tracey is currently the Administrative Assistant for Western Australian Baptist Women. Her primary role is to oversee the general administration tasks that help the leadership team operate well. Both of these key roles are voluntary positions. “This is a great day of rejoicing as we see God anointing and appointing women of His choosing to lead a vibrant and relevant ministry with the Australian Baptist Women team to Baptist women in our Nation,” Pastor Joanne Jarlett, Past President Australian Baptist Women said.

Sunday Jam children feeding India through 50 Cent Challenge >>

Dr Lucy Morris, CEO of Baptistcare, with recipients of Baptistcare’s inaugural Recognition Awards during the 1970s themed 40th Anniversary Gala

From WA to Space 10 Voices of Justice Micah Challenge supporters converged on the lawns of Parliament to join Federal MPs in a queue for a giant toilet >>

We provide support to Baptist churches without seeking to take control. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA

5 MPs face poverty Anti-poverty campaigners confront politicians at Voices for Justice >>

Dinner in early September. NASA Expedition 16/17 Flight Engineer Garrett Reisman on an amateur radio as part of ARISS program aboard the International Space Station.

re-appointed as National

Australian Baptist Women announced at the Fresh conference in Perth on 17 September that Karen Wilson is the new National Director.

Dr Ian Harper is keynote speaker at Beyond the Bottom line >>

7 Meals for 50 cents

5 Fresh conference The day of teaching, worship and sacrificial giving drew women from around the state >>

4 Inaugural business conference

Photo: Evermore Photography

Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) has been negotiating the renewal of the lease for the Busselton Baptist Camping Centre on Caves Road for more than four years with the Shire of Busselton. The current lease expires at the end of 2011. The Shire of Busselton is talking with lease holders of all eleven campsites along the sought-after waterfront location. Some lease holders have chosen not to renew their lease. The campsites offer a wide crosssection of the Western Australian community an affordable opportunity to enjoy the relaxed beach-side experience. BCWA currently holds the lease for property number five and manages the property for lease number six, in conjunction with the lease holders, Four Square Church. The Busselton Shire formed the Locke Estate Working Group (LEWG) to liaise with lease holders during the negotiating phase. The Working Group consists of three lease holder representatives, two Shire of Busselton Councillors and Shire of Busselton administration staff. Ro s s D ani e l s , D ir e c t o r o f Camping for BCWA and Terry Hicks, the BCWA Business Manager, have been heavily involved in the lease renewal negotiations. There have been some complications with the negotiations for the renewal of the leases. Busselton Shire Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Matthew Smith, said: “The individual Locke Estate lessees were required to make application for their existing leased premises and submit a business plan. The submissions have now closed and are currently being reviewed by the Shire. A report will be presented to Council in the future with recommendations for lease renewals and any vacant sites will then be advertised for ‘Expressions of Interest’.” Many of the Baptist Churches throughout Western Australia who regularly visit the campsite are interested in the outcome of the lease renewal process as they try to plan future camps.

Photo: NASA

Schools join forces

Martin Diggens, a Ham Radio Operator (or Amateur Radio Operator) from Waratah Christian Community Church in Wannanup, is connecting kids from all over the world with astronauts on the International Space Station.

From his amateur radio telebridge station in Mandurah, Martin is one of nine operators worldwide who is part of a program called Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) which facilitates the communication between students and astronauts. “Each contact is approximately ten minutes as this is the time it takes the International Space Station to travel from one horizon to the other at 28,163 kilometres per hour,” Martin explains. Sponsored by National Aeronautics and Space

Administration (NASA), the American Radio Relay League, and the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, ARISS affords students the opportunity to develop their interests in technology, science and the space program.

... speaking to an astronaut can be very emotional.

Schools use the opportunity to talk directly to an orbiting astronaut as part of the science syllabus.

school and then check with the telebridge operators to see which of them can be available.”

Awarding caring people 10 50 years of service Kazuo Ozaki has been sharing the good news for half a century >>

Baptistcare’s inaugural Recognition Awards were presented to winners during their 1970s themed 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner in early September. The theme of the event reflected the era in which Baptistcare commenced operations in 1972 and guests dressed accordingly.

“The times are relayed to

“A space contact is usually a once in a lifetime opportunity

NASA to see which are the best for the crew on the International

which does not happen for very many people around the world,” Martin said. “Usually an entire school is present for the contact in a school hall, with 10 to 15 students selected to ask questions of the astronaut.” “For the students the experience of speaking to an astronaut can be very emotional.” “The astronauts really enjoy a ten minute break to talk to the kids as the excitement they generate on the ground is rather infectious and they really like to be involved in the education process.” Martin explains the scheduling of a telebridge connection is very complicated. “The ARISS coordinators determine the best times for a

Space Station and NASA makes the final decision as to which telebridge station will facilitate the connection,” he said. Amateur radio telebridge stations also form a contingency communication network as a final emergency communication system between Houston and the International Space Station. Martin holds the highest level of amateur radio certification and has a morse code speed of 12 words per minute. Martin studied for two years at TAFE to develop the skills and pass the necessary exams.

The Awards recognised staff who display Baptistcare’s values of dignity and compassion,

Baptist Churches Western Australia Better together

integrity and respect, courage and justice, stewardship and accountability as they carry out their roles in our communities. “Tonight is the opportunity for Baptistcare to say ‘thank you’ to its employees, to honour the extraordinary women and men who make up this organisation ... which exemplify Baptistcare’s values and who continue to

Morris, CEO of Baptistcare, said during her speech on the night. “The awards recognise individuals from every part of Baptistcare’s services. It has been extraordinary to see the diversity of nominations and to read and hear the powerful stories of the difference that is being made every day by you and your colleagues. To each of you, thank you.” Dr Morris determined the two CEO category award

make a difference to the lives of thousands in WA through the

winners while a panel of three judges, including Stephen Kobelke, CEO of Aged and Community Services WA, Dr

services we provide,” Dr Lucy

Nicky Howe, CEO of Southcare,

and Rob Douglas, Leader of Mission and Service at Baptistcare, decided the winners

Preparations for the 40th anniversary year and the design of the Recognition Awards

of the other five categories. The winners of the Recognition Awards were Kim Collet (Dignity and Compassion Award), Sandra Coulson (Integrity and Respect Award),

began in late 2010. “It is exciting to be here, finally, and to be able to thank you for your hard work and commitment in ensuring that the celebrations for this, our 40th anniversary year, are

Wendy Cream (Stewardship Award and CEO’s Award for Advocacy), Vicki Leishman (Courage and Justice Award), Kwame Selormey (CEO’s Award

so successful and in making this evening a truly wonderful celebration,” Dr Morris said. The prestigious awards will be held annually, serving

for Leadership) and Margaret West (Accountability Award). Certificates of appreciation were also awarded to selected staff on the night. “[This] is the opportunity for

as a yearly reminder to every member of the Baptistcare team that practising our values in our daily work provides the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others.

11 Gift box shock Gift boxes raise awareness during the Olympics >>

Baptist Churches Western Australia exists to build healthy churches.

each of you to accept the thanks of your colleagues for your hard work, and in particular, to recognise the award finalists, who represent the dreams and aspirations of the nearly 1,500 wonderful individuals who work at Baptistcare,” said Dr Morris.

– 20 years of The Advocate

MAY 2016

In Conversation Perth Wildcats and Perth Lynx CEO Nick Marvin shares how he balances work, faith, family and life. PAGE 12>>

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JUNE 2016

In Conversation David Watson talks about helping people and organisations across the world adopt and develop disciple making principles. PAGE 12 >>

“Is your pursuit of success drawing you closer – or further from – the most important people in your life?” JOHN MAXWELL PAGE 13>>

7 Evening with Silvie

After years of work by Global Interaction, the opportunities for the Yawo people could be at risk.

Missions feeling the pinch Global Interaction, the global mission arm of the Australian Baptist Ministries, has teams working across Africa, Asia, the Middle-East and Outback Australia. “Opportunities abound as we begin to see the fruit of years of pioneering work,” Mrs Coleman said. “People are coming to Jesus and faith movements are beginning in both Muslim and Buddhist settings.” This ministry takes years of patience and dedication, building trust, respect and love. Mrs Coleman spoke of Simon*, an orphan who became headman

“For years Simon shared a friendship with Global Interaction team member Ian Dicks, sharing life, praying and discussing the scriptures.” “When Simon’s relative plotted to overthrow him and threatened his life he turned to Ian as he fled the country.” “Later, in South Africa, Simon was caught up in ethnic violence and again fled. He eventually and miraculously found his way back to Malawi and reclaimed his position as headman.” “As he travelled he remembered the story of Joseph and opened the Bible Ian gave him, recognising that the God

Joseph was the One who protected him too.” “He sought out his friend Ian and told him about his encounters with God. Late last year he chose to be baptised and now is an enthusiastic follower of Jesus, part of a movement of Yawo people turning to Jesus!” At the same time the General Director noted the two greatest challenges facing mission: the need for more workers committed to long-term ministry and the financial consequences of the falling Australian dollar. “We are currently in a period of our history where those who are retiring after long faithful service outnumber those being sent out. The harvest is plentiful; the workers are few.” The falling dollar means doing ministry overseas costs a lot more. $100 becomes $70 causing workers to be under supported and Global

of a Yawo village in Africa.

who protected and delivered

Interaction is feeling the impact

Addressing a recent Global Interaction Directors Meeting, General Director Heather Coleman observed “we are entering a time of remarkable opportunity and significant challenge.”

of providing the extra money to cover the gap. In a letter to pastors, Heather wrote, “our teams around the world have examined their budgets and made savings. In Australia, staffing levels have been reduced.” “Our priority is to reduce expenditure while maintaining key ministry goals. God has called nine families who are preparing to go and another eight waiting in Australia to return to crosscultural teams.” “There are opportunities for many more. But a significant budget deficit stands in the way.” This May Global Interaction is calling all Western Australian Baptists to join in specifically praying for more long-term workers to join Jesus in the harvest and to give sacrificially to secure the future of God’s mission to the least reached. * Name changed for privacy reasons.


IN CONVERSATION Singer/songwriter, Colin Buchanan talks about his career and his quest to let his natural life be spiritual. PAGE 12 >>

8 An ego dinted Phillip McCallum learns a lesson on reliance on God in the WA outback >>

We are stronger when we work together.



“God wants to reach out to each person, to connect personally with them, through people.” ANDREW TURNER PAGE 13 >>

End of an era for Mark Pastor Mark Wilson’s 14 years as the Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) Director of Ministries is concluding in March, as Australian Baptist Ministries has appointed him the National Ministries Director.

communication to pastors and churches shared that Mark had overseen 14 years of service and significant achievements as the Director of Ministries. “Mark leaves BCWA a

connection with the health of its pastor.” Tom Price Baptist Church Pastor, Gavin Douglas is one of the many pastors who experienced Mark’s support firsthand. “I have loved how Mark is for the pastor – Mark stood alongside

significantly transformed organisation and we are very thankful for the numerous changes he has pioneered,” Martin said.

us, listened, empowered and championed for us.” Alongside his service as the Director of Ministries, Mark has served on numerous foundation

Council member, Pastor Karen Siggins shared the Council’s excitement on Mark’s new appointment: “Mark has led Baptist Churches Western Australia with integrity and skill – the Council is

boards for Western Australian Baptist ministries including the Baptist Relief Fund. This fund partners with local Baptist churches to help individuals and families who have been affected by natural disasters, including

delighted that Mark will have the opportunity to make even more of a difference for the Kingdom, at a national level.” In an interview with The Advocate in 2007, Mark

the South West fires in 2016. Mark also served as Chair of the Western Australia Heads of Churches for five years and will continue to serve as a Vice President for the Asia

shared that even though Baptist’s were a “big denomination”, there was a place for churches to “work together with one vision to make a difference”. In his tenure, Mark along

Pacific Baptist Federation, helping to revitalise the body that represents over 33,000 local churches and 63 conventions in 22 countries across the Asia

with BCWA staff committed to finding ways to fulfill the vision of being an empowering movement helping pastors, ministries, churches and their communities say yes to Jesus. A defining example of this

Pacific region. In its announcement to Baptist churches regarding Mark’s appointment, Australian Baptist Ministries National

was revitalising the pastoral retreat for pastors, chaplains and their spouses. Mark’s Executive Assistant, Matthew Chapman said Mark was very committed

Chair, Reverend Steve Ingram said, “We are delighted that Mark Wilson will be stepping into the role.” “Mark brings excellent

to ensuring the organisation had healthy churches. “Mark’s commitment to the health of those in ministry is remarkable,” he said. “Mark is passionate about the health of pastors – spiritually,

experience and understanding for the position and we are excited to see where God will lead us as a national movement over the coming years.”

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10 Persecution rises COVID-19 has intensified persecution of Christians >>

We are stronger when we work together BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA

physical and emotionally – his strong belief is that the health of

Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Ministries, Mark Wilson

the local church has an intrinsic

Director for Australian Baptist Ministries.

will be concluding in March to take up the role of National Ministries

5 Music memories In spite of an unpromising start

leadership was recognised by his election as President of the

and colour blindness, he rose above his circumstances and the extreme conservatism of the Baptist denomination with

Baptist Union of Australia (1975-1978). Noel’s spiritual leadership was also recognised on

which he came to identify.

the world scene when he

Without models readily at hand to follow, he managed to transcend Western Australia’s isolation and embrace a grander vision. This was achieved

was appointed President of the Baptist World Alliance (1985-1990). Tragically, while Noel was undertaking his Presidential duties with his wife

in a balanced way, without

Heather, she died in the USA a

developing extremes, by wise choices and the use of diplomacy. Within his own state his

few months before the end of his term. While glad to be identified as a Baptist, Noel served the

gifting as a spiritual leader was recognised in his appointment

wider Christian community. In earlier days it was through

as Founding Principal of the Baptist Theological College of Western Australia (today named Vose Seminary).

the Crusader movement, the Evangelical Union, Teachers’ Christian Fellowship and Evangelical Alliance. Later he

Former Vose Seminary

Baptistcare reconnect people impacted by dementia using music >>

Within Australia his spiritual

in life, with frequent changes of school, deafness in one ear,

served with World Vision and


8 Multiply your impact

APRIL 202 Dr Noel Vose was a pastor to many, from pastors in Western Australia to those in the family of Baptist churches around the world.

Principal John Olley said that Christ’s love and a vision of what His church is to be guided Noel throughout his

the Bible Society and from his first contact with the Baptist World Alliance in 1970, he continued to attend the annual

involvement with what is now Vose Seminary.

meetings of its Executive and the five yearly Congresses.

“Theological education was to be of the highest excellence and never separated from a life of love and compassion for all,

These later commitments extended well into his retirement years. Noel received community

especially those who may feel ‘less important’,” John said.

recognition for his work when he was awarded the Member of the

to have a thriving and relevant

capture and retain the attention

“Students, staff, family members, tradespeople, volunteers – all experienced Noel’s unassuming personal

Order of Australia on Australia Day 1989. Noel was first and foremost a pastor-teacher, his pastoral

ministry,” Vose Seminary Principal Dr Brian Harris said. “He genuinely loved people. He was warmly outgoing,

of his audience or congregation, and always with something significant to say. Noel is survived by his son

interest, encouragement

vocation pervaded all the activities

generous with his time, and

Stephen and daughter, Valerie

and prayer.”

in which he engaged. It had a

he remembered things about

Sorensen, and their families.

strong evangelistic edge. On his retirement in 1991 he founded Parkerville Baptist Church, near his home, and practised

people, using his knowledge to help people to feel special – ‘he remembered what I said all those years ago’.”

hospitality for both evangelistic

“To be a Sacred Agent is not just about doing things for God, but with Him. Active together.” ANDREW TURNER PAGE 12 >>

We are stronger when we work together.

“He took people under his

and pastoral purposes. “He was a superb pastor … Not many start church planting when they turn 70, but the church birthed from his efforts continues

wing, and nurtured them. He was graciously hospitable, and opened his home in the hills to many.” In the public sphere he was a superb communicator, able to



APRIL 2021

“Freedom shouts at the doorways of hope beckoning a listening ear, but can we perceive its call? Can we hear its song?” AMANDA VIVIERS PAGE 13 >>

The 2021 fire season was catastrophic. There was the January bushfires in the Shire of York that threatened lives and destroyed a number of properties. Then in early February, the Wooroloo fires destroyed 86 houses and two fire trucks. The February bushfire was a fast-moving fire that started in Wooroloo, 45 kilometres to the north-east of Perth. By the time the fire was contained, it had spread west into the City of Swan, 26 kilometres from its ignition point, scorching 109 square kilometres. In an email to churches, Baptist Churches Western Australia Head of Finance and Administration, Greg Holland shared that stories were starting to emerge of the fire’s impact on church communities. In response, the Baptist Relief Fund launched an appeal for funds to be able to assist those impacted by the fire alongside supporting community organisations working with impacted communities. Well-known Baptist Pastor, John Harris and his wife Rosemary lost their family property on the outskirts of York to the January fire. “It is all gone. So fast. House, Cam’s Cabin, sheds, Harris & Son Silver business of three generations, all gone,” John’s daughter said. John shared that the speed of the fire and its impact was alarming. From the time of messaging their daughter about the fire at 1.09pm, and then being ordered to leave their property at 1.35pm – “everything was gone by 1.44pm.” “Rosemary grabbed our overnight bags out of the house and we took off down to the highway where we watched the fire engulf our home,

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John Harris standing within the rubble of his business, Harris & Son Silver, surveying the damage.

Building healthier

sheds, studio and Cam’s Cabin, built in memory of our son,” John recounted. “Initially we were a bit numb. But we knew we could do nothing to change the situation, so we decided there and then to accept the situation, draw the line and step over it – to look forward rather than behind.” “Since then we have no questions of God – He has promised to ‘supply all [our] needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus’.” [Philippians 4:19 BSB]


Baptist World Aid’s Matching Grant Appeal extends donated gifts >>

Fires ravage properties 3 A flash of hope

Photo: Supplied

BCWA Council Chair, Martin Alciaturi in a

The largest gathering of WA Baptist pastors met to receive spiritual input >>

Photo: Carmel Bain

Photo: Tobias Houston

Mount Pleasant Baptist Church will host singer Silvie Paladino in May >>


3 Pastoral retreat

Baptist Churches Western Australia Noel Vose was outstanding as a Christian leader, not merely in his own generation, but within the first century of Baptist life in Western Australia. Although he was born in one of the most isolated cities in the world, at the height of his career his influence extended right around the globe. Noel passed away on 2 May at the age of 94, but will leave a legacy to Christians worldwide.

Photo: imageseven

4 120 years


Mental Health

Noel Vose – a tribute Katanning Baptist Church is celebrating their 120th anniversary in 2016 >>

John and Rosemary shared how words had failed to express their gratitude since the fire. “Since the fire we have been overwhelmed by the love and generosity of the ‘Family of God’,” Rosemary said. Baptist Churches Western Australia representative, Matthew Chapman said that it is moments like these devastating fires that provide an opportunity for the church community to shine and support those around them who are doing it tough.

“The Baptist Relief Fund is one way that we can demonstrate what it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus – providing care and support to those the Christ loves so dearly, ” Matthew said. For more information on the Baptist Relief Fund, phone 08 6313 6300.







10 world news DECEMBER 2021

Building a wall of hope community-focused structure that carries a legacy; generations in hundreds of years’ time will see it and be inspired.” “Every penny donated through this crowdfunder will go directly into building the Eternal Wall and create a people-driven place of hope,” he said. Once constructed, all profits raised from the ongoing operation of the wall will fund one million bricks to be donated to local social housing – a brick for each answered prayer. Organisers behind the project will link with two social housing partners, as well as local council housing charities and international social housing initiatives to provide enough finance to build 100 houses. “This sculpture is making hope visible, whilst planting seeds of hope to meet others at their point of greatest need also helps change their narrative to one of restoration,” Gamble continued.

International briefs Indian pastors forced to document worshippers Pastors in India’s Madhya Pradesh state have started to document the names of Christians attending services in order to protect themselves against false allegations of illegal conversions, it was reported in November. “We are now living in a very difficult situation where a worship service in a church is being portrayed as religious conversion and false cases are registered against ministers,” Pastor Biju Thomas said. Anti-conversion laws introduced in nine Indian states have made Christians sharing their faith, or even just meeting for prayer or worship, vulnerable to false accusation.

Leave Haiti now The United States Department of State and its Haitian Embassy urged Americans to leave Haiti immediately as violence continued to escalate, in mid-November. According to the Miami Herald, bandits in Croix-desBouquets opened fire on a vehicle, killing a young child and injuring his father and

older brother. The incident was confirmed by the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Portau-Prince, which stated that its Student Coordinator, Pastor Stanis Stifinson, was in the car with his children. This follows in the wake of the 17 missionaries who were kidnapped on 16 October.

Bible app removed from app store in China A Christian software company has been forced to remove its Bible app from the Apple App Store in China after failing to gain the necessary authorisation from the Chinese government, in early October. The Olive Tree Bible app and the Quran Majeed app were both removed because they supposedly had inadequate official documentation to satisfy regulations of the authoritarian Chinese regime. Apple has faced harsh criticism over its general silence on human rights abuses committed in China, which is one of its biggest markets and where it manufactures many of its products.

The national monument to prayer being built in the United Kingdom to show the continuous nature of how God is always listening and answering prayers.

“Social housing is at a crisis point in the UK and it is our hope that we can play a small part in contributing to providing more homes.” “Our hope would be that Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer creates opportunity to support those charities who are working to help those most in need,” he said.

The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer was given the green light in 2020, after the local council granted planning permission, and the UK’s Secretary of State ratified the decision. Chief Executive of North Warwickshire Borough Council, Steve Maxey shared the Council’s enthusiasm for the project.

“We are greatly excited by this project – I strongly believe it will come to be as loved by people locally and nationally, and brilliantly complements our work on improving mental health and wellbeing,” Maxey said. Author – Gareth Russell

Fishers of men … and Bibles Forty years ago, Open Doors saw one million Bibles delivered into China overnight. Operation Project Pearl was dubbed by TIME magazine as one of the most successful smuggling operations of the 20th century. To celebrate, Open Doors is inviting people to join the next wave of Bible smugglers and ensure Bibles continue to reach people living in the most dangerous places to be a Christian. To raise awareness of the anniversary, founder of Open Doors Australia, Dean Keaney shared his experience of Project Pearl. Dean was the radioman and his job was to signal the underground church. “The time had finally arrived for a very important message to be sent to the church in China: ‘We’re having a party. Prepare 18 bowls of rice and 21 cups of tea,” Dean recalled. “The 18 bowls was the date when a million Bibles would be at the beach – 18 June 1981; the 21 cups of tea was the military time for 9pm in the evening, when thousands of believers came to the beach, prepared and waiting.”

Photo: Open Doors

The crowdfunder aims to raise GBP2.5 million in just 40 days, with every penny contributing directly to the building of the monument. The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer will be built between two motorways on the outskirts of Birmingham, and aims to make hope visible by profiling a million answered prayers. The public art piece will stand at 169 feet tall, which is just shy of the size of Sydney Opera House. It is expected to attract 300,000 visitors each year and contribute GBP9.3 million to the local economy. The visionary behind the Eternal Wall, Richard Gamble, explained its purpose. “The idea behind the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer has always been to build a crowdcreated piece of public art that will make hope visible.” “We’re not building this landmark to have something nice to look at, we’re building a

Photo: Supplied

The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer, a much‑anticipated national landmark to be built in the United Kingdom (UK), has launched its final crowdfunding campaign before building of the structure commences.

The founder of Open Doors Australia, Dean Keaney, experienced the Project Pearl Bible smuggling operation firsthand.

As the Open Doors crew neared the shore, thousands of Christians were waiting expectantly. As the boat drew closer, they jumped into the water, risking arrest just to get their hands on the Bibles. After Open Doors left the beach, the secret police arrived. “The police tried to burn some of the Bibles, but when it began to rain – putting the fire out – they just threw the open Bibles into the sea,” Dean said. “As these Bibles began floating in the moonlight, the reflection

of the white pages looked like fish to the local fishermen, who quickly started hauling them in with their nets.” “Realising they had something very valuable, they dried them out on their rooftops and began selling them back to the believers at very low cost.” The Bible delivery was a resounding success and China was flooded with the gospel. Author – Bethany Westwood

world news 11 DECEMBER 2021

Uniting for climate justice

Representatives of faith movements around the world attended to present their demands for climate justice. More than 150,000 actions, including petitions and prayer boats, were gathered together with statements from religious leaders and young people. The UN has had a growing focus on the concept of climate justice over a number of years. “[Climate justice] … looks at the climate crisis through a human rights lens and on the belief that by working together we can create a better future for present and future generations,” their website states. “As the impacts of climate change accelerate, extreme weather events are taking a major toll in developing countries … global warming of 2˚C would put over half of Africa’s population at risk of undernourishment.” “The impacts of climate change will not be borne equally or fairly, between rich and poor, women and men, and older and younger generations.” The statements of churches and faith-based organisations included calls on the world’s governments to put in place policies that will limit global warming to 1.5°C and achieve global net zero emissions;

Photo: Lutheran World Federation

People of faith gathered to advocate for creation care and climate justice at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow in November.

People of faith share petitions and actions at the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow, Scotland.

deliver on existing finance commitments; and ensure the voices of those at the frontline of the crisis are at the heart of decision-making. Founder of Memoria Indígena (Indigenous Memory), Panamanian Jocabed Solano Miselis, included her voice. “People in six continents have signed the Renew Our World Reset21 petition – we are united by our faith, our love of justice and our care for creation,” she said.

“My people, the Guna of Panama, are being hit now by the rising seas and changing climate, and we call on the world’s leaders to find the money they promised [at the last climate summit], cut the emissions they promised, and ... take care of the world God made.” The Young Christian Climate Network (YCCN) was represented by Jennifer Morris. “The climate crisis is both a symptom and a cause of global injustice, with the world’s

poorest paying the heaviest price for the actions of the richest,” she observed. YCCN organised a 750 mile relay, arriving at the conference in Glasgow, to encourage conversation about what churches are already doing and what more they can do to reduce carbon emissions. Around 2,000 people joined the relay alongside YCCN’s Rachel Mander, who told Christianity Today that she hoped the relay would serve as

an encouragement to others along the road. “As we walk, we show the way,” Rachel said. “There’s no road to zero emissions unless we start to move toward it together, today.” Author – Ramona Humphreys

The Chosen Christmas special

Within 12 hours of the Christmas special being announced on social media, US cinemas recorded 1.5 million USD in ticket sales. As a result, an additional 450 locations and a week’s worth of screenings were added to meet demand. Christmas with The Chosen: The Messengers shows the birth of Jesus Christ through the eyes of Mary and Joseph.

It also features performances from Christian artists, including Phil Wickham and for King & Country. According to Eternity, Crossroads Distributors is hoping to negotiate an Australian theatrical release of Christmas with The Chosen. The Chosen is the first ever multi-season series about the life of Christ and the number one highest crowdfunded project of all time. The freely available online series completed filming its second season earlier this year and has been translated into 50 languages. Seasons one and two have so far been watched over 160 million times. Author – Ramona Humphreys

Photo: The Chosen/Share Alike

Fans of The Chosen television series have overwhelmed United States (US) cinemas with their demand for pre-sale tickets to the Christmas special screening.

Jesus (played by Jonathan Roumie) in a scene from The Chosen Season 1, Episode 5.

12 in conversation DECEMBER 2021

Are Christians the bad guys? Pastor and blogger, Stephen McAlpine has been reading, writing and reflecting for as long as he can remember. Stephen’s first published book, Being the Bad Guys, has recently been awarded the 2021 Australian Christian Book of the Year. Vanessa Klomp had the privilege of catching up with Stephen. (and the one foretold in the Old Testament) is sufficient to meet every need and desire we have as humans. After all, He is the Word who made us! My wife Jill is a major point in my whole life, including my faith life. She is a deep, considerate, quiet person who has a take on things that I often don’t have. I realise how much she has dealt with in marrying someone who was already on the ministry pathway before she met me. I’m also a big fan of CS Lewis’ idea that God shouts in our pains, because it’s a megaphone to rouse our deaf world. Or, in my case, a deaf me. Not that God causes our pain but, in pain, He shows us how He can take our brokenness and our despair and mould us into the image of His Son. So, whether that’s been a physical pain (I’ve been through a major health scare), or emotional/ psychological (church problems/ relational breakdowns), God has forged something in me that, at the age of 54, feels more visceral than ever. I do sense a shadow over the horizon that we all know as death, and cannot believe that the last 20 years of my life have gone so quickly. Life will end. We will be forgotten. But not by the Lord Jesus. The resurrection spurs me on, in the knowledge that the very humanity that feels so earthbound in me, with all my weaknesses, is the very humanity that will one day be glorified with Jesus. That’s either preposterous nonsense or it’s completely true; there’s no halfway house.

wrong, but as bad or dangerous for holding to certain previously unchallenged truths (at least publicly unchallenged). This is particularly around the areas of the exclusivity of Christ and sexual ethics/what it means to be human. I wanted to write a book that wasn’t ‘shouty’ like the culture wars, and that would encourage Christians to live joyfully for Jesus, even in straitened times. Many Christians hadn’t seen the hostility coming and were discombobulated by it, wondering why we were viewed, particularly by popular culture, academia, legal and business leaders, as part of the cultural problem, not the solution. Oh, and we didn’t exactly cover ourselves in glory all of the time either – let’s not forget that. Some of what is happening is a day of reckoning. So, it is a book to help us navigate our times.

How did you become interested in writing and what led you to publish Being the Bad Guys? Writing has been my thing since my first story in Grade 2 at Palmyra Primary School back in 1974 made it into the school compendium. I write a blog on a regular basis and the key to my writing has been to use turn of phrase and metaphor to coalesce and give flesh to ideas. Preaching is supposed to be that vivid too, although much preaching today is like the moon – clear, bright and cold, when in fact it should be warm, enlightening and enlivening like the sun. Being the Bad Guys was the result of numerous conversations – primarily through my blog posts – around the issues facing us culturally today in which Christians suddenly find themselves not only viewed as

In your book, you refer to Christians as ‘bad guys’ – why do think this is the case? We’re the bad guys because our gospel of salvation in Christ is bumping up against another gospel – the gospel of self-fulfilment and extreme individualism found in, especially, post-Christian sexual ethics and gender identity. Though there’s a conservative version of that too, pitched around career, lifestyle and experiences. The good news of today is that you can become who you feel destined you were meant to be, and the high point of this is to align your sexual self and your gender with who you know yourself inwardly to be. Anything that challenges that – and by anything I mean any worldview construct outside of a belief that we are autonomous,

Photo: City Bible Forum

What was your journey to becoming a Christian and developing your faith in Christ? My early years (and some teen years) were in Northern Ireland at a time when the socalled ‘The Troubles’ were afoot. Church for us was quite formal, a little bit fundamentalist and defined somewhat by what we were against. I remember in our early years in Australia praying a prayer of repentance and faith, and something did seemingly change, though I can’t remember not knowing about Jesus – ever. Moving to Australia was a big move back in the 1970s; it felt like another planet and, to be honest, so did church – for a start the women didn’t have to wear hats! A key moment in my life was when my father left our family, and for a long time left his Christian faith. It rocked our world and our church world, too. But in the midst of all that – and starting an Arts degree at Curtin University – I had a growing conviction about Jesus and His love and care for me. My Mum never stopped praying for my Dad. She loved him until the day he died. And I guess it was in a lovely gospel reconciliation between them that I see God’s providence at work, weaving the painful tapestry of our lives into something beautiful. So, it would be fair to say that I became a Christian when I was young because, in part, I didn’t want to end up in hell. But I’ve stayed a Christian into my mid-fifties because, well, because Jesus is so gracious and kind and forgiving and good, and I recognise how much I need all those things that He brings. But for me, when we become a Christian we don’t simply get the gifts of God, we get God Himself, and that’s amazing. God’s biggest gift to us is Himself. I’ve been in full-time/parttime ministry for a long time, so the other question is how that happened. I’ve always been a reader/writer/speaker and had a mind to ask a lot of questions. I did do some other work before ministry, including working as a journalist in the early days of 98.5FM, which I still hold out as an excellent example of how to engage an increasingly postChristian culture. But for me, ministry kinda just happened. I loved being able to show Jesus from the Bible to people, because I became convinced that the Jesus we meet in those pages

Stephen McAlpine encourages Christians not to be ashamed of the gospel as it is more fulfilling than anything the world can offer in his award-winning book, Being the Bad Guys.

non-transcendent beings whose destiny is in our own hands, is going to be viewed as a threat to that ‘gospel’. What do you think is the biggest pressure facing the church today? The fact that the church does not recognise that the discipleship program on offer Monday to Saturday from the world, is shaping and discipling Christians far more effectively than their own discipleship program. Turning up week in week out is half the battle. Deciding to embed oneself in a local Christian community for an extended period of years, and refusing to pick and mix what you belong to in the spirit of the consumer age, is going to stand Christians in good stead whatever the culture throws at them. Consumption Christianity will consume us! Blogs are your favourite form of writing – why is this and what prompted you to begin writing blogs? What topics and issues do you like to address? I began writing blogs as a church planter, but somehow it was when I started addressing some of the pressures that the Western church is facing in a post-Christian setting that things really started to take off. It helped that I’m not just a thought leader and that most of my ministry has been in the local church setting in fairly robust, down-to-earth, non-flashy church settings. I’ve also written plenty of material about church abuse situations, and spiritual abuse in particular. It hurts my heart that since I started writing about this (based on my own experiences) I have rarely gone a week without

someone – often floods of someones – contacting me with painful stories of toxic leaders whom Jesus would never have recognised as a shepherd of His sheep. And whom He may not recognise as such on the Last Day. That’s a sobering thought. How have you grown spiritually and what is the biggest challenge in your Christian walk? Growing? The basics: Bible, prayer, church and a bunch of ‘No Men’ who challenge me. And my wife Jill, who does all that and more. The biggest challenge? The constant slide towards cynicism that can come with age and all the questions that raises: is God really changing me and if so, why so slowly? Why is church so hard at times and why are Christians so mean at times? I mean, I know the theological answers to those things, but boy it can be an emotional roller-coaster. What is on the horizon for you and what are your aspirations for the future? No idea. I’ve never mapped out career or advancement or anything. I want to keep writing and preaching, so something in that ballpark. But to be honest, loving my wife well, raising my children to love Jesus and for them not to see too much of a gap between my own life and my claims about Jesus – that’d be enough. I want to die well, not with huge ungodly regrets. Hearing “Well done, good and faithful servant” – that’s as good as it will get! Oh, and to run a sub-three hour marathon some time in 2022.

growth 13 DECEMBER 2021

Blue trees help make things OK I don’t mean trees that grow to be blue, but dead trees being painted blue! At the time of writing, there were 687 blue trees around Australia. They are becoming so popular that the paint company Wattyl changed the name of one of their blues from ‘Billie Jean’ to ‘Blue Tree’, matching the original blue tree that was painted. The first blue tree was painted by friends who were cleaning out the shed belonging to one of their dads on a farm in Mukinbudin, country Western Australia. They were sorting through tins of dried-up paint and found one that was still runny and bright blue. They hatched a plan to drive around the farm and secretly paint a dead tree with that paint. They imagined the day when the surprised dad would discover the blue tree and wonder what it was doing in the middle of his farm! But the idea became so much more than that. Not long after the tree was painted, one of the friends took his own life. The tree became a memorial, turning this tragedy into a movement to save lives. The Blue Tree Project became a new initiative committed to spreading the mental health message, ‘It’s OK to not be OK.’ I like to take note when our community has something collectively to say about mental

health. Here’s another interesting thing our community is realising about mental health. Secular mental health professionals recognise that having a faith is a protective factor. They recognise faith gives people a belief in a higher power, meaning, hope, comfort, the ability to pray and be prayed for, and a community to belong to. I’ve been a blue tree. I know exactly what it is like to not be OK, to feel helpless and hopeless, and to feel like I couldn’t go on anymore. The statistics say that one in five of us will be a blue tree at some point, which means a significant number of people around you could be struggling. Or it may even be you. It’s OK to not be OK! Not only have I been a blue tree, but I’m a living, breathing, walking testimony to the healing and wholeness that having faith in the midst of difficulty provides. That doesn’t mean I don’t use all the other supports available – I take medication, have a doctor, a psychiatrist, a psychologist and understanding family and friends, but all of that is first grounded in my faith in God. I know the journey of going from being a dead blue tree to a flourishing green tree. It’s not easy, but it is possible. “Blessed is the one … whose delight is in the law of the Lord …

Photo: Blue Tree Project

Have you noticed that there seem to be blue trees popping up in random places?

The original ‘blue tree’ in Mukinbudin, country Western Australia.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers.” [Psalm 1:1-3] So … are you OK? Or do you feel like a blue tree? Be brave and tell someone. Don’t travel this journey alone. It’s OK to not be OK. A healthy community is one that journeys well with each other and well with God.

Or … have you been a blue tree, but now you’re flourishing? Tell someone. Encourage someone else with your story. Give them hope that things can get better. Look for ways you can show God’s love to those around you. I do the work I do because of the following verse. “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and

the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” [2 Corinthians 1:3-4] It’s OK to not be OK. Author – Ruth Warwick Ruth Warwick is a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and member of Lesmurdie Baptist Church.

Let’s get growing ... as lifelong learners

There’s an old saying: “knowledge is power!” Let’s say it better: knowledge of God is empowering and freeing. The apostle Peter urges his readers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” [2 Peter 3:18]. Jesus encourages us to know the truth for “the truth will set you free” [John 8:32]. Paul warns that we are involved in spiritual battle – a battle of ideas in which we must “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ” [2 Corinthians 10:3-5]. Our world teems with ideas and opinions; many insightful and wise, others not so much. This is true also in the church. There is an abundance of good biblical and theological resources. But there is also an abundance of rubbish – spiritual

junk food, shallow and even harmful interpretations of Scripture, pagan spirituality masquerading as Christian, ‘fake news’ gospels. How can we discern “what is best”? [Philippians 1:10] How might we distinguish between the true and the false, the good, the bad, the ugly – and the better? By growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. By a deeper, clearer grasp of the truth of Scripture and of the gospel. By engaging in the battle of ideas, bringing every thought into obedience to Christ. Lifelong growth requires lifelong learning. Lifelong learners are committed to certain central practices: they read widely and regularly; they participate in discussion; they expose themselves to others’

perspectives; they actively seek opportunities to learn; they challenge themselves with specific goals; they leave their comfort zone for a learning zone; they live for a greater purpose. The main requirement is to overcome inertia and fear, and just get started. At Morling College, we are committed to lifelong learning. Come join us on this journey! Be empowered for greater responsibilities. Explore the truth that makes you free – by using our library or taking a course. We would love you to join us! Author – Michael O’Neil Dr Michael O’Neil is the Dean of Campus at Morling College – Perth Vose Campus. In this regular column, he explores the patterns and dynamics of Christian growth and maturity.

Photo: Linda Dunjey

When I learnt to drive, I was empowered to be and do new things. I was freed in new ways from old dependencies, empowered for greater responsibilities.

Some lifeglong learners browsing the bargains at the Morling Vose book sale.

14 arts DECEMBER 2021

Photo: Hillsong Worship

Hillsong Worship’s new album

Hillsong Worship has released a new album, These Same Skies, their first live recording since 2018.

The Grammy Award winning band recorded the album in Orange County, California and it is their 27th live album of 33 albums produced. These Same Skies was inspired by the gospel of Matthew and the setting of the Sermon on the Mount. It is the first Hillsong Worship album to be recorded completely in the United States. The album includes the recently released singles That’s The Power featuring Benjamin Hastings, Hope of The Ages featuring Reuben Morgan and two time Grammy nominated Cody Carnes, and Never Walk Alone featuring Mi-kaisha Rose Masella.

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Hillsong’s Brooke Ligertwood commented on the album. “It is under these same skies that Christ’s church – His body on earth – exists today,” she said. “And, though separated by oceans and closed borders, the mission of Hillsong Worship continues under these same skies.” “One in heart and spirit, unified in mission and cause, to glorify the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, to build His church and to serve His church with the new song.” “We pray and believe that all of our labour sown in faith will mean a harvest for God’s glory, and we pray something that really blesses you and helps you to encounter Jesus in a fresh way in this season,” Brooke explained. The album features Hillsong Worship leaders Brooke Ligertwood (also known as Brooke Fraser), Reuben Morgan, Benjamin Hastings, Aodhan King, Chris Davenport and Mi-kaisha Rose Masella.

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PUBLISHERS GENERAL DISCLAIMER All the articles, comments, advice and other material contained in this publication are by way of general comment or advice only and are not intended, nor do they purport to be the correct advice on any particular matter of subject referred to. No reader or any other person who obtains this publication should act on the basis of any matter, comment or advice contained in this publication without first considering and if necessary taking appropriate professional advice upon the applicability of any matter, advice or comment herein to their own particular circumstances. Accordingly, no responsibility is accepted or taken by the authors, editors or publishers of this publication for any loss or damage suffered by any party acting in reliance on any matter, comment or advice contained herein.

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One in heart and spirit, unified in mission and cause ... Hillsong Worship has been active since their first iteration in 1983, with various band members over that period. Author – John Igglesden

Lauren Daigle donates to New Orleans Christian musician Lauren Daigle has recently donated $375,000 USD to five different New Orleans not-for-profit organisations. The organisations – KidSmart, New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, Ellis Marsalis Center, Roots Music and Young Audiences of Louisiana – all support troubled youth through music/art education, food support and literacy. The two time Grammy Award winner and multiplatinum selling artist explained her donation. “Thanks to everyone’s generosity, through The Price Fund, we were able to give back to New Orleans in a way that will truly make an impact.” “All these organisations are doing so much for the community and it’s an honour to

Photo: HITC

Hillsong Worship released their latest worship album, These Same Skies, on 5 November.

Christian music artist, Lauren Daigle, donates to five New Orleans based not-for-profit organisations.

be able to help in any way possible.” “Knowing that the next generation of kids are able to find hope through these programs puts wind in my sails,” Lauren said. Daigle established The Price Fund in 2019, in order to provide

care for children and the elderly in need. To date, she has donated over one million USD to various charities, all through ticket sales alone. Author – John Igglesden

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Cam shines through If you had to put a soundtrack to your life, what type of songs would it feature?

Terry Hicks

The Advocate commenced 20 years ago. What was the purpose behind starting the paper? We recognised that the Baptist and Christian communities in Western Australia and further afield had some exciting things happening and issues worth discussing. Recognising this, and to help encourage community amongst Baptist churches and other Christian fellowships in Western Australia, The Advocate was born. Bringing together interesting, realThe Advocate Founding Editor, Terry life news and stories in a newspaper Hicks, celebrating the tenth anniversary format enabled the provision of more edition in November 2011. insight and depth to understanding stories. The approach was to cover local, statewide, national and international content with an uplifting and encouraging approach. What are some of the memorable stories you were able to share with readers? All the stories were memorable as they reflected where people were at and what God was doing in their communities. There were times when we stretched the bounds with stories such as ‘Addiction to pornography’ and ‘Halloween’, but people were gracious and also took these complex issues before the Lord in prayer. Why do you think sharing stories of what God is doing resonates with readers? In my view, the resonance comes from the realness of the news and stories, both in content and presentation. Reflecting the great times and difficult times in a positive light. Sharing with people that everyone has stories of joy, sadness and triumph, and that we all need Jesus in order to cope and to realise our full potential. Receiving feedback from readers as they were inspired by the articles was a great joy. Please share your final thought. The unique thing about The Advocate was that it was a team effort of writers, our publication team at imageseven and all those who were willing to share insights into their lives. I pray that in its 20 years it had a positive impact and helped us be a caring community. It was a privilege to be part of the journey. This last edition of The Advocate is not the end, but merely a move into new ways of sharing and building community.

What did Adam say when he was asked his favourite holiday? It’s Christmas, Eve

Photo: Brad Entwistle

Terry Hicks is a member of Morley Baptist Church and the Founding Editor of The Advocate. The current team from The Advocate caught up with Terry to hear his insights regarding the paper..

Likely, you will need a mixture: happy ones, sad ones, some upbeat and some more mellow. You may want songs of joyous praise or some of lament. Often you need to search through multiple albums and artists to find the right mix. However, Cam Beeck, a Global Interaction intercultural worker in Mozambique, has taken the hard work out of this search by recently releasing his debut album Shine Through. The album was written and produced in Niassa Province in the north of Mozambique, where Cam and his family live. The album’s ten songs do a great job of capturing the full gamut of emotions that are experienced in everyday lives. Cam acknowledged the unique circumstances that inspired many of the songs on the album. “Some songs reflect the unusual situations we find ourselves in here in rural Mozambique (Know Your Spirit) and others are a reaction to the lows that can come with life abroad (Shine Through),” he said. Each song on the album explores the intersection between life and Scripture. Love Never Fails is a reflection on the well-known passage in 1 Corinthians 13. With The Prodigal, Cam skilfully retells the parable of the prodigal son from the son’s perspective. The Tomb Was Empty and Started One Night are songs of reflection told from the perspective of the disciples in the first instance and Mary in the second. As well as these gospel narrative inspired songs, Cam has also put three Psalms to music. “Mid 2021 seemed like a good time to start a project – I have been playing around with home recording for a while but decided that 2021 was the year to learn more, collect together some of my songs and work on making them as good as I could with my guitar and computer,” Cam said.

The result is a well-produced album that has an acoustic rock feel featuring layered vocals. Prior to moving to Mozambique, Cam and his family worshiped at Riverton Baptist Community Church, where Cam was regularly involved with the music team and leading worship. Recently Cam has had the opportunity to write some more songs, this time in the local Yawo language and style, with a friend of his who has just begun walking the path of Jesus. “It seems a universal human desire, that once we discover Jesus, we want music to be involved in our worship,” Cam explained. “Ultimately that’s what happens in my music in English – it’s my desire to express something of my journey as I follow Jesus.” For anyone on the journey of following Jesus, Shine Through is likely to resonate. Shine Through can be found on all major music streaming services. Author – Ben Good

BCWA prayer points BCWA Annual Assembly decisions Pray for Victor Owuor has he begins to transition into the role of Director of Ministries and out of his role as the Cross-Cultural and Indigenous Ministries Pastor. Pray that the Lord would provide His peace and guidance as one new season begins and another concludes. Pray for the newly appointed Assembly Council members and those continuing in the role – that the Lord would guide their decision-making and governance of Baptist Churches Western Australia.


letters to the editor send us your letters

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

Pray for church leadership teams as they minister in the COVID-19 environment and implement instructions from the state government.

Myanmar Pray for those who are displaced by artillery attacks and other violence. Pray for peace, safety and security of children and their families. Pray for peace and reconciliation in Myanmar, for democracy to be upheld and restored, and for the safety and protection of all citizens of Myanmar, of all ethnicities, from violence and brutality.

Photo: Cam Beeck

A minute with ...

16 sport DECEMBER 2021