WA’S BAPTIST NEWSPAPER
IN CONVERSATION Community Pastor Don Warner talks about his involvement in the community and Citizen of the Year award. PAGE 12 >>
“Significant growth in a Christian’s life comes through a range of experiences, some unique and others necessary to grow.” MICHAEL O’NEIL PAGE 13 >>
Looking to the future 3 A light on a hill Multilevel development for Como community >>
4 New hope for PNG
Baptist World Aid delivers protective equipment >>
BCWA seize the opportunity for a conversation to discuss the leadership’s needs and vision for the future.
Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) has been afforded a unique opportunity to have a denomination-wide conversation. This is due to changing global landscapes, predominantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the local challenges of navigating the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse outcomes, the merger of Vose Seminary and Morling College, and the recent farewell of the long-term Director of Ministries. BCWA Interim Director of Ministries, Pastor Karen Siggins said the conversation will cover the leadership needs of BCWA in the context of its vision to help people say ‘Yes to Jesus’. “We live in a changed and changing world; a post-
Christendom world that is in some part unrecognisable to us,” she said. “Many of the basic assumptions we have considered normal since the middle of the 20th century are now being questioned.” “As Scott Cormode wrote, ‘basic assumptions about time, money and community – and about membership, Bible study and ecclesiology – have all changed.’” The recent November 2020 McCrindle survey, The Future of Perth revealed that today’s school leavers are projected to have an average of 18 different jobs across six careers in their lifetime. “I am reminded of the quote, ‘isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different’,” Karen said. The conversation will be conducted both online and in
person and will allow opportunities for the diverse Baptist church community in Western Australia to have their voices heard. “We are committed to listening to people of different ages, genders and nationalities; people in congregations, pastors, local church leaders, staff members; those who may experience life more towards the fringes of our churches; and people from organisations we partner with like Global Interaction, Baptist World Aid Australia and Australian Baptist Ministries,” Karen said. “We will also listen, consider and learn from the experiences reflected in Australian surveys, including the National Church Life Survey.” Karen shared that there are few, if any, institutions in society unaffected by the current and ongoing cultural, social and economic change. While this may seem deeply
8 Gender equality disconcerting, it also brings change and the opportunity to revisit the big picture purpose of our institutions. As a result of the deep listening process, the BCWA Assembly Council will shape a job description for the Director of Ministries that reflects the leadership needs of BCWA. “The new job description will not be about change simply for the sake of it, as if anything new must be better than what is old,” Karen said. “That being said, our hope and prayer is that it will reflect the commitment of Baptist Churches Western Australia to respond with grace, creativity, intelligence and the compassion and love of Jesus to the pressing needs of our church and the wider community.”
Pastor Elliot Keane addresses a men’s problem >>
Committed to being honest, transparent and above reproach BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view JUNE 2021
When I think of heaven When I think of heaven, I think of Wes Caddy.
Rob Furlong Rob Furlong is the Senior Pastor of Woodvale Baptist Church.
The first time I saw Wes, he was standing in a church foyer, sharply dressed for a man in his 60s, proudly sporting a tie that showed off the Caddy tartan. Once you meet Wes, you will never forget him! Then, in 1986, God gave me one of the great privileges of my life – Wes was the Senior Pastor of Cairns Baptist Church and I was called to work alongside him as his Associate Pastor, or as the locals described me, the ‘Junior Pastor’! Wes was an encourager. I remember sitting in his office
one morning, having preached the day before. My subject had been church unity and there were genuine tears in his eyes as he said to me, “I thought to myself as I listened to you yesterday, ‘That man is growing!’ I was so terribly proud of you!” Wes loved the gospel and seeing people come to know Jesus. He would preach on hell – but mostly heaven – pleading passionately from the pulpit, “There is a heaven to be won and a hell to shun!” – and people would come to Jesus!
Above all, Wes radiated the joy of Jesus, often leading us in worship with his hands raised high in the air, in genuine praise of the Lord he loved. Noting some of the shocked faces on the more ‘conservative’ worshippers in the pews (we were Baptists after all!), Wes responded, “You had better get used to it – we will all be doing this in heaven!” To this day, I still believe he is right. If anyone enjoys heaven, it is Wes Caddy! Why am I reminiscing? Because of what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:29a NLT: “If the
dead will not be raised, what point is there in people being baptized for those who are dead?” It has been suggested Paul is referring to people at Corinth who came to faith in Jesus after reflecting upon the godly lives of Christians who had died. It may have been a Godly dad or mum, an aunt or an uncle or a close friend. It may have been a Wes Caddy. The memory of that person’s life, faith and influence spoke loudly and led some to faith in Jesus. When I think of heaven, I think of Wes Caddy. Who or what comes to mind when you think of heaven?
Discipleship making with prayer A disciple maker in Africa said “trying to make disciples [of Jesus] without prayer is like a bird trying to fly without wings.”
Jill Birt Jill Birt is a regional leader with Praxeis – a global discipleship maker ministry.
The last few years I’ve been learning more about prayer and making disciples. The connection between them is strong. Prayer is the engine of making disciples, disciples that multiply. Soaking, strategic, sacrificial prayer is needed. It is helpful to pray on the ground in new areas that need disciples of Jesus. On Resurrection Sunday, a group of us spent the day in the Wheatbelt, praying through the region. We left Perth heading east right into a magnificent sunrise.
Bakers Hill was our first stop, then on to Northam where we met up with local believers, including a group of Ballardong Noongar people who travelled with us for the whole day. They gave us insight into the land and people. At each stop we prayed for the people and the needs of their towns. We also prayed for churches struggling to keep functioning as people leave country WA. Talking with locals gave us insights into the unique needs of places like Cunderdin,
Dowerin, Toodyay and Wyalkatchem. The information became fodder for prayer, which you would never hear from news reports or shire websites. We prayed for new vibrant spiritual communities of the Kingdom of God to be formed; groups that can multiply through relational networks that are already in place. We also prayed for harvest workers, ordinary disciples of Jesus who are committed to helping others on their journey of becoming disciples.
What a day it was. We drove 450 kilometers, saw the land in a new light, made new friends and sensed God’s Spirit prompting us to pray for hope as well as disciples of Jesus who can raise more disciples. Prayer is key to enabling relationships to bear fruit. God loves hearing our prayers and when we pray, God births things, including vision, passion and new disciples. Prayer brings issues to our hearts. It changes how we view people and places. Prayer helps us bring needs to the one who has power and authority in heaven and on earth. It is crucial in making disciples.
Zoom meetings and wasted words … I was on an excruciatingly boring Zoom meeting recently, so I decided I would quietly carry on with other work, while looking back at the screen often enough to convince participants that I was enthralled with the tedious and seemingly endless waffle.
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Director of the AVENIR Leadership Institute and lectures at the Vose Campus of Morling College.
Happily, no one else appeared to notice (they were probably doing the same) and the meeting’s resolutions were passed without dissent. I imagine the chair considered the meeting a great success. It got me thinking about the times when I am present, but not really there – if that makes sense. Like when my children were little and gave me a lengthy blow-by-blow account of their
day, and I would nod and smile while my mind dissected complex theological problems. I once discovered that I had agreed to my youngest getting triple his usual pocket money. Not listening can be a little costly! So why is it that we lean in and listen carefully to what some people say, but mentally opt out when others begin? We agree that we should listen carefully to one another, but some make it hard to
do so. This is especially true when they assume their story will be more interesting if they tell it for the fourth time. Communication is an art, and not all are artists. Not that I want you to think I am commending switching off when others speak. It is just that some talk so much that others do not get a chance. The words that are not spoken are the ones that might make a difference. I have often had
a post meeting conversation where a silent observer passes on a gem they would have said if they had a little more confidence, or if any of the other speakers had paused for a breath. It is said that God intentionally gave us one mouth but two ears, to indicate that we should listen more than speak, and that is probably true. Especially as God’s voice is softer than most, even though His voice gives the wisest of counsel. What if God’s voice is heard most clearly by our quietest group members? And I suspect it is …
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Como Baptist Church’s ‘light on a hill’ is set to shine even brighter with a multilevel development planned for a site where believers have worshipped for almost 100 years. Overlooking the Canning River, the development will comprise three buildings of up to 15 levels, as well as landscaped gardens and a plaza. The hope is that the accessibility and transparency of the buildings will enable new ministries to thrive, while a vibrant and supportive community is nurtured. Como Baptist Church Co-Senior Pastor, Phil Smoker said the church was privileged to be part of God’s plans for their neighbourhood. “At just the right time, He miraculously brought together the land, the changes in planning laws for the area, and people with development expertise so that we could bring our vision to reality,” he said. “We are humbled at how past generations took the bold step to purchase the land and
care for it, and now we are excited to see how this site will bless future generations.” The development features three buildings comprising 224 residential apartments for intergenerational living, an early learning centre, shops, cafes, offices, a medical centre, conference and community facilities, and spaces for worship. In response to the current changing expressions of church, Como Baptist envisages multiple, future groups of worshippers, rather than one large worshipping community. Therefore, flexible spaces have been incorporated. It is hoped that the office spaces will become a hub for ministry organisations wishing to share resources, make connections and work collectively. Co-Senior Pastor, Jackie Smoker said plans for the site
were in keeping with the church’s history of drawing people to Jesus, through outreach and caring for the wider community. “When the church’s chapel was opened in 1931, Rev. JA Lewis, president-elect of the Baptist Union of Western Australia, declared that Como Baptist had ‘the audacity’ to put their belief in the presence of a living God through tangible bricks and mortar expression of their faith,” Jackie said. “To some extent, the intention to build today could also be seen as a similarly audacious plan.” “This is a huge missional opportunity, where the church will be on the ground floor of a building in an inner-city suburb – surrounded by glass where people can see in and observe what’s happening,” she said. Subject to development approval, construction is expected to begin next year and take about five years to complete, while the historically significant chapel will be retained and become a central focus to the development.
Photo: DEM (Aust) Pty Ltd
Building ‘a light on a hill’
An artist’s impression of the Central Plaza in Como, showing the historic chapel and large transparent windows.
The project is being undertaken in conjunction with Baptist Development Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary group entity of Baptist Financial Services.
For more information, visit comobridge.org.au Author – Christine Daymon
Aged care podcast returns Following the success of series one, legendary broadcaster Graham Mabury is back behind the microphone for series two of Baptistcare’s Demystifying Aged Care podcast. “Once again Graham will be joined in the Baptistcare studio, this time with a range of fascinating guests shining a light on the aged care journey,” Baptistcare CEO Russell Bricknell said. Topics explored in series two include living in your own home with support, what it is like to work in aged care and the issues facing older Australians
from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. “The new episodes will be released soon, but in the meantime, make sure you have a listen to series one if you haven’t yet,” Russell said.
Care for a cuppa?
For more information, visit baptistcare.com.au/podcast
At Baptistcare, we know the importance of a personalised home care package. That’s why we’re taking the time to catch up for a cuppa to find out more about you and your home care needs. As the experts in caring for WA, we’re here to answer all your questions and help design a home care package just for you. Photo: Baptistcare
Care for a cuppa? Call 1300 660 640 or visit baptistcare.com.au Broadcaster and Pastor, Graham Mabury is behind the microphone again for series two of Baptistcare’s Demystifying Aged Care podcast.
news JUNE 2021
New hope for PNG hospitals Three Baptist-run hospitals in rural Papua New Guinea were set to close in April due to a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other challenges, placing the staff in a precarious position as the number of COVID-19 cases rose. Without measures like PPE and other provisions, the hospitals were due to close and would have had a catastrophic impact on the community. Baptist Union of PNG General Director, Joseph Lakai said that many people would have died because they serve rural communities in very difficult circumstances.
We knew our PNG neighbours were in desperate need.
Baptist Union PNG approached Baptist World Aid with the urgent request to help keep the three hospitals open. The funds raised provided initial equipment which enabled them to keep operating, including 3,000 pairs of gloves, 2,750 face masks, 1,100 face shields, 550 pairs of shoe covers, 330 protective coveralls and 300 bottles of hand sanitiser. They will also continue to help with ongoing administrative
and equipment needs for the hospitals. “I feel overjoyed and feel like crying when I see the overwhelming support that our Australian friends provided in such a short period of time,” Joseph said. “Thank God, it’s a blessing to have support connected through Baptist World Aid – thank you.” PNG’s Department for Community Development and Religion has requested that churches continue to play an active role in combating the spread of COVID-19. The support to the three hospitals in Kompiam, Telefomin and Tinsley has been an incredible example of our communities coming together and making a difference. “I am sure the hospitals will remain open and we will continue to operate, but it is difficult knowing COVID-19 is here to stay,” Joseph concluded. Baptist World Aid’s PNG COVID Emergency Appeal will remain open for continual care of the people in PNG.
Photo: Baptist World Aid Australia
Thanks to the generosity of Australians, the hospitals – Kompiam Hospital, Tinsley Hospital and Telefomin District Hospital – were able to keep their doors open to care Papua New Guineans during the COVID-19 crisis. After an emergency appeal from Baptist World Aid Australia, 95 churches and 1,664 individuals throughout Australia offered donations as little as $7 and as large as $12,000. The funds raised exceeded the organisation’s goal and were immediately used to help the hospitals with operating costs such as fuel, utilities, hospital staff salaries, PPE, sanitisers, and other emergency equipment. The funds have also been used for an information campaign across PNG to help reduce the virus spreading. “We knew our PNG neighbours were in desperate need,” Baptist World Aid CEO, John Hickey said. “When we prayed and asked, we experienced the reality of Ephesians 3:20, that “God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power at work within us.” “God, once again, has provided abundantly through His people and we’re so grateful.”
For more information or to donate, visit baptistworldaid.org.au/appeals Author – Jo Kadlecek
Baptist World Aid Australia funds enabled the delivery of personal protective equipment to Tinsley Hospital in Papua New Guinea in April.
Home is where the heart is for Wally and Beth Remaining active and connected to family and friends as we get older is a philosophy 88 year old Wally Meacock wholeheartedly embraces. Baptistcare team members now regularly help Beth with personal care and practical support, including meal preparation, cleaning and gardening. “For Beth and I, being able to remain at home with support and care means we can stay connected to our family at such an important stage in our lives,” Wally said. “Arranging for home care has given me my independence back, and I can continue to do the things I love knowing that Beth is well looked after.” Photo: Elsa Samuel
The octogenarian starts every day with a 6am swim with his fellow Port Beach Polar Bears in North Fremantle. Every Thursday, he plays 18 holes of golf, and each month he visits his local Probus Club to catch up with friends or listen to a guest speaker. However, keeping fit and in touch with mates became challenging a few years ago when Beth, his beloved wife of 67 years, began to develop dementia. “It became difficult to care for Beth on my own, and while I would do anything for her, we decided that we needed to get some help,” Wally said. That help came in the form of a Baptistcare Customer Engagement Consultant, who helped Beth and Wally find the right level of home care.
For more information, visit baptistcare.com.au
Being able to live in their own home has helped Beth and Wally Meacock remain independent.
The Vose legacy lives on
churches around the world is immeasurable,” he said. “The journey of Vose has gone through many chapters, and now continues as part of one of the largest theological colleges in the Southern Hemisphere.” “This has ensured that students in Western Australia continue to enjoy world-class opportunities with an enlarged faculty.” The Principal’s address was given by Morling College Principal, Dr Ross Clifford, who travelled from Sydney to join the event. Guest speaker, Dr Harris addressed the graduating class noting that now they are ‘religious leaders’ – with all the ambiguity that the term inspires! He challenged every student to consider what kind of religious leader they would be, encouraging them to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and the way of His cross. One graduate in the Master of Arts program was Kirsty Wager,
Australians go online for faith questions A new study found that Australians are more likely to go to a friend, family member or online to find answers to the questions they have about faith, beliefs and spirituality. A poll conducted by McCrindle Research on behalf of Alpha Australia, revealed that in the past year one in nine Australians wanted to have a conversation about Christianity, but have not been engaged. “We have known for many years the important role close relationships, such as friends and family have in spiritual formation,” Alpha Australia National Director, Melinda Dwight said. “However, to see that more than half of Australians would reach out to those close to them, is a significant reminder.” “In the past 12 months, as our lives have been disrupted our connections have often moved online, and we have seen that the exploration of faith has also moved online.” Recipient of the 2021 Young Australian of the Year,
Isobel Marshall is an advocate for Alpha and has seen firsthand how honest discussions about her faith and faith in general is shared in today’s society. “You just need to host an Alpha and start a conversation – you don’t need an outcome, it just sparks an intellectual conversation, in a nonjudgemental space,” she said. “When I have hosted Alpha sessions with my friends, I have always been surprised at just how open people have been to hear and discuss issues of faith.” “It has never been about converting them, it was more about sharing why Christianity and faith is so important to me and the difference it has made in my life.” Author – Lynda Martin
The 2019-2020 graduating class of Vose Seminary marks the end of an era for Vose.
who alongside her husband David, pastors the Kununurra Baptist Fellowship. “I felt so blessed to be at the ceremony – it can feel lonely pastoring remotely, so to see God releasing so many graduates into His service was a great encouragement,” Kirsty said. Morling College – Perth Vose Campus Principal, Dr Michael O’Neil advised that
not all graduates could join them for the event. “However, we congratulate every graduate and commend them for their success,” he said. “We pray that their lives will be so rich in wisdom, mercy, and good fruits that their legacy will shine both now and into eternity.” Another graduate on the night was the first student from
Morling College to graduate in Perth. Benjamin Styles, who lives in Western Australia, completed his Bachelor of Theology through Morling College, Sydney Campus, and so participated in the graduation service in Perth. Benjamin was the first of what is hoped to be many graduates in the future.
Pastoral retreat pauses for prayer Olive Tree Media CEO, Karl Faase addressed the issues faced by leaders and pastors in ministry, at the annual Baptist Churches Western Australia Pastoral Retreat in April. The three-day event was hosted in Mandurah with the 2021 theme of ‘Craft and Character’, Baptist pastors, chaplains and their spouses had the opportunity to gather for teaching, connection, worship and spiritual renewal. Woodvale Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Rob Furlong commented that Karl spoke to them as a colleague and fellow traveller in ministry. “I came away feeling personally affirmed in my ministry and encouraged to ‘keep on keeping on’ through Karl’s biblical, practical and refreshing insights,” he said. The retreat also provided an opportunity for pastors and chaplains to farewell the previous Director of Ministries,
Mark Wilson, and welcome Karen Siggins to the role of Interim Director of Ministries. Mark was presented with gifts and words of thanks from the leaders he served for 14 years. Kathy Sinclair of Baptist World Aid Australia reminded delegates of the opportunities that Australian Baptists have to be part of an incredible story of transformation for those living in poverty. She also encouraged them to lament
and pray for the hardships that many are faced globally. Following Kathy’s sharing, a significant moment arose to reflect and pray for the people in Myanmar as they experience military violence and oppression. Retreat host, Yvette Cherry created a space for delegates to stand in prayer and solidarity, and to weep and mourn with pastors who represent people groups from Myanmar.
Photo: Matthew Chapman
The graduation marked the end of an era – the final Graduation Service of Vose Seminary – but it was not the end of the story. A new chapter commenced this year, as Vose became Morling College – Perth Vose Campus. The theme of the graduation service was ‘legacy’, an opportunity to reflect on the rich history of Vose, founded in 1963 as the Baptist Theological College of Western Australia. Since then, hundreds of men and women have gone on to serve Christ in pastoral roles, as missionaries and chaplains, in volunteer services, in theological education, and as dedicated Christians in numerous professions and workplace roles. Former Vose Seminary Principal, Dr Brian Harris shared about the legacy of Vose. “The commitment and creativity shown by Baptist Churches Western Australia, to enrich not only their own churches but the life of the
Photo: Hannah Moore
On 25 March, 98 graduates celebrated the successful completion of their studies at Vose Seminary. The graduating cohort included students from 2019 who missed their graduation service because of the COVID-19 lockdown, and students who completed their studies in 2020.
Pastor Yvette Cherry (second from right) led a significant time of prayer for the people of Myanmar and the Baptist pastors who represent them in Western Australia.
news JUNE 2021
Oliver comes to life
The story follows an orphan boy who is mistreated and sold into slavery, taken in by thieves and is headed for a life of crime. The boy is later forgiven for those crimes and discovers his true identity in the home of a loving grandfather he has never known. This beautiful ‘gospel narrative’ was constructed by Charles Dickens, taking place in London during 1837. With over 1,100 audience members across four shows, the cast and crew performed their roles exceptionally well, with a level of professionalism and talent that wowed the audiences from the start to finish. Head of Arts and Executive Director of the Musical, Mrs Sharlene Cuellar said the past year had proven to be both challenging and rewarding for all involved. Due to COVID-19, they were unable to continue rehearsals last year. The performance season was postponed with the hope they
Photo: Harry Roberts
In March, after 18 months of careful planning and preparation, Carey Baptist College presented the production of Oliver!, bringing the musical to life with its current students.
Aspiring students from Carey Baptist College bring the theatre production of Oliver! to life.
would have the opportunity to perform in 2021. “It was a wonderful feeling to finally perform in front of an audience – the quality of the show was a testament to the passion and commitment of the students,” Sharlene said. “Time after time, the students demonstrated acts of hope and faith in every rehearsal.” “We were immensely proud of them for their ability to lift and
inspire connection in a world that has experienced such disconnect over the past year.” Head of Drama and Director of the Musical, Mr Tim Bowles, said he was immensely proud of the adaptability and perseverance of the students and for the way they flourished throughout the process. “It was challenging to do a show during the pandemic, but we had an amazing production
team who went the extra mile to bring it all together.” “There were some really memorable and talented performances and our students were able to experience that little bit of magic that happens when everyone brings their creativity together to bless others.” “With such lively, timeless songs such as Consider Yourself, I’d Do Anything, It’s a Fine Life and Food, Glorious Food –
it was fantastic to see the audience really engaged and singing along.” “We have all learnt a lot from this experience and have since gained a much better understanding to the colourful life lived by the characters.” “We’re very thankful to everyone involved – it was a privilege to work together as a community to bring this beloved story to life.”
Kesha’s journey from Kenya to Kalgoorlie Being born and raised in Kenya, East Africa, you might think that Kesha Davidson’s early experiences were vastly different from those in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. Meanwhile, Kalgoorlie Baptist Church was looking for a Children’s Ministry Leader for their Bright Sparks program. Having seen the position advertised, Kesha was drawn not merely to the job, but by the offering of a sense of community, adventure and Godly purpose. Kesha used the 3,400km drive across the Nullarbor to pray and prepare for her new life calling. Kalgoorlie Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Eliot Vlatko said the church has received Kesha with open arms and she has recognised that the Goldfields is not only a region of gold in mineral form but in human form also. “Kesha has shown that she is prepared to dig for that gold and invest herself in the children,” Eliot said. Author – Helen O’Sullivan
However, Kesha stated she has experienced similar feelings of home by taking on the role of Children’s Ministry Leader at Kalgoorlie Baptist Church. Kesha shared that she has a great affinity to the wide-open lands and endless horizons of Kenya, and found likeness in the red dirt, open skies and bushland of Kalgoorlie. Having moved from Kenya to Sydney to study six years ago, Kesha had well-established family connections and it was in her first year of university that Kesha found faith, placing her trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, which radically altered the trajectory of her life. Kesha completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and then a Master’s degree in Christian studies. Once completed she looked for churchbased work, but every door appeared shut.
Children’s Ministry Leader, Kesha Davidson builds a Narnia set for the children’s ministry.
New conference for missions The aim of the conference is to inspire and equip participants for the work of mission, evangelism and community transformation, locally and overseas. Global Interaction State Director Pastor Dan McGrechan, said that he is excited at the prospect of the conference. “As Baptists, we share a heart for people to know Jesus, and this starts with our neighbours next door and reaches overseas to the hardest-to-reach places,” he said. “As a pastor of a church plant in Midland, I am often sitting with my congregation wrestling with questions of how to engage the culture around us with the good news of Jesus.” “This conference is a great opportunity for our congregation to learn more about mission with others and get excited about joining what God is doing in our world.” It will be shaped around three major themes, which will allow for a wide range of learning for people involved in all kinds of
ministry. Day one – God Before Us – will focus on the mission of God; day two – God Around Us – will explore culture; and day three – God with Us – will inspire with instructive stories of transformation. The conference is a collaboration between Crossover, Global Interaction, Baptist agency partners and Baptist state associations. It will involve many speakers, including Pastor Mark Wilson (Australian Baptist Ministries National Ministries Director) and Dr Brian Harris (Morling College – Perth Vose Campus lecturer), and Global Interaction missionaries Kath Beeck, Bek Falconer, Ben Good and Sally Pim. A key approach for the conference will be to learn from the rich experience of generations of intercultural workers and apply their learnings into our local context. “Whether we are connecting with white Aussies or our multicultural communities, all mission involves understanding
Photo: Global Interaction
Australian Baptists will gather online and in hubs across Australia for the inaugural Baptists in Mission Conference in July.
Ben Good ministering and praying with Yawo men in Mozambique, Africa.
the culture we carry and the culture we are entering,” Dan said. “Missionaries can help us to pay fresh attention to the way the gospel message makes sense to a diversity of culture.” Participants have the option of participating online or
meeting in a hub, where small groups will watch online content and then discuss. Morling College – Perth Vose Campus will host a hub and it is expected there will be several regional hubs across Western Australia as well.
The conference will be held from Monday 5 July to Wednesday 7 July, with sessions between 12pm and 4.30pm AWST each day. For more information and to register, visit baptistsinmission.org.au
Learning how to work in the presence of God
The conference will bring together theologians, Christians in the workplace and church leaders to receive fundamental teaching and join in conversation. Conference organiser Kara Martin said when people think of encountering the presence of God, they usually think of a church, or a retreat, or being in nature. “We rarely consider what it means to encounter God in our place of work,” she said. “However, this conference will challenge those ideas and show how we can connect with God anywhere.” “We are excited about this opportunity for theologians, faithful workers and church leaders to consider issues of vocation, work and equipping workplace Christian.” The conference will not only be a time of presentations, but also a place for conversation and learning how theological colleges and churches can better equip Christians for their workplace. The theme of the conference is ‘Working in
the Presence of God’, which is based on the book written by the keynote speakers, Denise Daniels and Shannon Vandewarker. They will lead participants to ponder how spiritual practices can enhance an ordinary work day, as well as provide the biblical background and opportunities for churches when considering how to work in the presence of God. There will be panels of workers, church leaders and theologians, and also ten research papers presented at the conference canvassing a range of diverse issues, including vocation, biblical concepts for working in the presence of God and the universal basic income. “We have had several faith and work conferences which focus on the ‘oh wow’ moment, when Christians realise that God cares about their ordinary work,” Kara said. “This conference will be much more about the ‘how’, learning what it means to go deeper in our understanding of how work fits into God’s story.”
Photo: Morling College
Issues of Christian faith and how it can intersect with everyday work will be explored at the Transforming Vocation Conference, online and at Morling College in Sydney, 15 to 17 July.
Australia’s only faith and work conference will enable conversation between theologians, church leaders and workplace Christians, and learn from one another.
Participants will have the opportunity to engage at the highest level in theological and practical reflection, as they consider the changing cultural and economic landscape in which workers operate. How churches and their leaders can more effectively equip members to think well and live faithfully as workplace Christians will also be addressed. For more information and to register, visit morling.edu.au/events/
Briefs Pastoral changes Craig Eccleston is concluding as the Associate Pastor at Woodvale Baptist and will be commencing as the Senior Pastor at Mount Hawthorn Baptist Church in July. Brad Paterson has concluded as the Associate Pastor at Parkerville Baptist Church. Kash Ng has been appointed as the Next Generations Minister at Perth Chinese Baptist Church.
Yvette Cherry has concluded at Baptist Churches Western Australia as the Women’s Leadership Pastor. Josh Thomas has been appointed as the Lead Pastor at Lesmurdie Baptist Church. Aaron Hines has concluded as the Associate Pastor at Morley Baptist Church. Bronwen Speedie has been appointed as the Associate Pastor at Perth Baptist Church.
feature JUNE 2021
In today’s society, some of the more overlooked topics are gender equality, and women’s rights and safety. We might also name this as the harassment epidemic, the sexual assault epidemic, and the domestic and family violence epidemic.
Gender equality, and safety in ou To all my brothers. To all men. In recent days we have been reminded again of the lived experiences of women at every level in our society. From the halls of parliament to the bedrooms of our homes, from the lunchrooms in your workplace to the footpaths in your suburbs, all women have experienced sexualised, objectified and harassing behaviour. This is a men problem. One where I, and we, need to take responsibility, listen, imagine a better world and put meaningful change into action. Before you fold your arms and lean back, I want to invite you to consider listening with a different posture. No, I insist you do because this is on us. And, before you say I don’t know any man like that, you do. Your friends, your workmates, your neighbours, we have all played a part. This is not just about men who abuse or control, who use force and strength, or who cross the boundaries of criminal law. This is about all of us who make comments, tell the jokes, carry on with the stereotypes, stare, don’t call out our mates, engage with porn in any form, move into personal space without permission, make assessments or comments based on appearance, talk over or ignore, give jobs to the boys, dismiss or devalue women and their input, sneak up on or follow too closely behind, do not consider how a women might feel and respond, and the list goes on. All of us have in some way participated in and contributed to the story we find ourselves in today. The behaviours and attitudes are so widespread that we need to change what has become unconscious behaviour. The fact that some of the behaviour is unconscious does not remove responsibility, instead it invites us to work harder to discover the bias and attitudes that shape our
behaviour. Our unwillingness to change our behaviour and actions in everyday interactions has created our current environment; where women are subject to everyday experiences of harassment and where extreme behaviours are prevalent. A significant step forward is for men to increase their awareness of the reality experienced by women – begin to understand what it is like for women to walk by themselves or need to carefully choose where to park, or consider what to wear, or say, or how their body language might be wrongly understood. And to continue the necessary and difficult listening to the stories and statistics as they become darker, and more sexualised and violent. Instead, you should choose to listen and read the studies and the brave stories that are already available, before you ask the women in your life to retell and relive their own experiences. As you read, know that every woman in your life, your friend, sister, mother, wife and daughter, all have similar stories. This is about real people that you know. There are lots of stories and statistics already out there that tell the story of the sexual assault and harassment epidemic in our society, so there really is no excuse for being uninformed or ignorant. Part of moving forward is to imagine a better world for everyone. As followers of King Jesus, we have language for this. We have an imagination of a world where all things are reconciled and restored. King Jesus brings with Him a Kingdom imagination for a world where the enslaved and the oppressed, the poor and the hurting, are restored and empowered. For far too long our society has held women captive to a life and future that is neither empowered nor free. King Jesus invites us to partner with Him in the reconciliatory work of gospel declaration and redemptive activity.
Followers of King Jesus are inspired and invited into transformative action that results in a flourishing life experience by everyone. It is not okay for us to be unimaginative or inactive in living out our Kingdom call. Starting with ourselves, our church communities and then into wider society. So, we must step up and take action. This requires changing culture and behaviour in the big and small parts of life. Starting with your own behaviours first. You might like to consider how you speak to or about women, the impact of your presence, body language or behaviour, whether on the footpath or in the workplace. You should catch yourself before you speak unhealthy words or jokes and have the courage to challenge your friends and colleagues when they do. Beyond this, you will want to consider whether or not you have any bias or hints of objectification that impact how you relate to and treat women. Watch your thoughts and patterns of behaviour closely. Repent of addictions to pornography or other influences that form you. More broadly, you should consider your household and workplace and make changes where necessary. In your home, this will mean considering carefully the taught and caught behaviours that your children and especially your sons will pick up. At work, this might mean taking the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces report, including 55 recommendations, into your workplace and leading change for the better. At our church, we will listen to our sisters. We will hear them and make our relationships and spaces safe for them, not just to be present, but to flourish. Brothers, this change is on us. Not on them. Will you join with me in loving our sisters as King Jesus first
loved us, by laying down His life, His power and His freedom and creating a way for a world where all can flourish? Author – Elliot Keane Elliot Keane is passionate about community engagement in our neighbourhood, church culture and seeing God’s people mobilised and engaged in God’s Kingdom work. Elliot is the Lead Pastor of Richmond Baptist Church in South Australia. He also works as the Leadership Development Facilitator for Baptist Churches of South Australia. Elliot is married to Sarah and they are parents to Aarian, Ronin and Torin. This article is republished with kind permission.
Additional Reading and Resources Australian Baptist Ministries: Statement on Domestic and Family Violence A Just Cause: No Place for Violence Here Common Grace: Domestic and Family Violence Australian Human Rights Commission: Respect@Work: Sexual Harassment In Australian Workplaces
feature JUNE 2021
, women’s rights ur society Baptist Churches Western Australia Statement on Women and Men in Ministry History
In 1991, the Western Australia Annual Assembly established a task force to address the issue of women in ministry. The task force had a twofold brief. First, to address the issue of women in ministry with reference to which positions women could appropriately hold within the Baptist denomination. Secondly, the task force was instructed to consider how best to deal with issues of contention within the denomination to maintain unity while embracing diversity. The results were presented to the Western Australia Annual Assembly in October 1992 with the task force recommending, among other things, that when a woman is nominated to a denominational position, normal voting procedures should be followed. A move that went hand in hand with both the appointment of the task force and its final recommendations was the establishment of another task force to investigate replacing the practice of ordination with accreditation. This second task force presented its report, Baptist Churches of Western Australia Task Force on Ordination and Accreditation to the 1995 Spring and Annual Assemblies, making the recommendation to cease ordaining pastors and practice accreditation only. This recommendation was accepted by the Assembly and has since been the practice in Western Australia.
We believe the Bible teaches that men and women were created by God and equally bear His image [Genesis 1:27]. God’s intention was for them to share oneness and community [Genesis 2:23-24], even as the Godhead experiences oneness within the Trinity. Each had a direct relationship with God and jointly shared the responsibilities of rearing children and having dominion over the created order [Genesis 1:26-28]. However, human oneness was shattered by the Fall. The struggle for power and the desire to “rule over” another is part of the result of human sin. Genesis 3:16 is a prediction of the effects of the Fall rather than a prescription of God’s ideal order. However, God has acted in Christ to redeem the human race, and to offer all people the opportunity to be part of the New Community, His church. It is God’s intention for His children to experience the oneness that exists between the Father and the Son [John 17:11, 20-23]. This means that old divisions and hierarchies between genders and races are not to be tolerated in the church, we are all “one in Christ Jesus” [Galatians 3:28].
Practice In the formation of the church at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on women and men alike, as had been predicted long before the coming of Christ [Joel 2:28, Acts 2:18]. In the New Testament, women as well as men exercise prophetic and priestly functions [Acts 2:17-18, 1 Corinthians 11:4-5, 1 Peter 2:9-10]. Further, the Spirit bestows gifts on all members of the New Community sovereignly, without giving anyone preferential treatment based on gender [Acts 2:1-21, 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11]. Every believer is to offer her or his gifts for the benefit of the Body of Christ [Romans 12:4-8, 1 Peter 4:10-11]. To prevent believers from exercising their spiritual gifts is to quench the work of the Spirit. In all attempts to understand and put into practice appropriate relationships between genders in the body of Christ, our sole authority is the will of God as expressed in Scripture. A few isolated scriptural texts appear to restrict the full ministry freedom of women. The interpretation of those passages must consider their relation to the broader teaching of Scripture and their specific contexts. We believe that, when the Bible is interpreted comprehensively, it teaches the full equality of men and women in status, giftedness and opportunity for ministry.
Based on the theological position above and resolutions of the 1992 BCWA Baptist Assembly, we are committed to the following practices: •
To provide opportunity for ministry based on giftedness and character, without regard to gender.
To pursue the kind of purity and loyalty in relationships between genders that led New Testament writers to describe them in terms of family: ‘brothers and sisters’.
To use sensitivity in language that reflects the honour and value God desires for maleness and femaleness, and to encourage the use of translations of Scripture that accurately portray God’s will that His church be an inclusive community.
To be intentional where appropriate in overcoming sexist elements of our culture and to offer encouragement to women in areas where their giftedness has been traditionally discouraged.
10 world news JUNE 2021
Queen’s former chaplain receives tributes response to global issues such as climate change, poverty and the worldwide pandemic. “In tumultuous times, as we grapple with ongoing injustices … and the continuing worldwide pandemic, John Stott’s radical vision remains as relevant as it ever was,” LLIC CEO, Paul Woolley said.
[He was] ahead of his time in many cases, urging action on social inequalities, climate change ...
“His perspective was simple but deeply powerful: that the Christian faith should lead us to seek the good of others, for the glory of God, in every part of life.” The quietly influential theologian was chaplain to the Queen and wrote over 50 books in 60 languages. He sold over 2.5 million of the classic 1958
International Briefs Solidarity weekend for Myanmar In response to ongoing violence and unrest in Myanmar, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) called Baptists worldwide to unite in prayer, reflection and action, culminating in a Myanmar Red Ribbon Solidarity Weekend in early May. Baptist World Aid Director, Marsha Scipio reflected on the need for this gathering. “The blood-stained streets of Myanmar is a clarion call for the global Baptist family to mourn with our sisters and brothers in Myanmar,” Marsha said. “This is not a mourning veiled only with tears, but [with prayer] to the God who is near to the broken-hearted and act in obedience to God’s beckon to us to seek justice and correct oppression.”
Saddleback Church ordains first female pastors California-based megachurch Saddleback Church, headed by Pastor Rick Warren, announced that they ordained their first three female pastors in early May. The ordinations proceeded despite being affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, which prohibits female ordination. “Yesterday was a historic night for Saddleback Church in many ways! We ordained our first three women pastors, Liz Puffer, Cynthia Petty and Katie Edwards!” it stated in an announcement on the Saddleback Church Facebook page.
The globally recognised social and political influencer’s centenary was marked through a series of events in April. “Stott’s vision of a renewed evangelical identity, alert to the most pressing issues of our times – justice, human rights and dignity, the environment and the arms trade – was always rooted in a clear-eyed and generous fidelity to the unique gift of God in Jesus Christ,” Williams said. In 2005, TIME magazine ranked John Stott among the 100 most influential people in the world. Others on that list included Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama and Bill Gates. Drawing on Stott’s vision of a Christian faith that touches every part of life, centenary events were held marking 100 years since Stott’s birth in conjunction with organisations founded by Stott: All Souls Langham Place, Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion, Langham Partnership and The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity (LICC). Organisers said the events encouraged Christians to consider how they can make a difference right where they are – whether on a small scale, or in
book Basic Christianity, and lived a simple life, often out of the spotlight. His book royalties funded training for ministers in more than 100 countries. He lived in a modest two bedroom flat built above the garage behind the All Souls rectory, with his entire global ministry run by a team of three. BBC Radio 4 contributor and Langham Partnership Director, Chris Wright said that despite his humility, John Stott was a profoundly influential man. “[He was] ahead of his time in many cases, urging action on social inequalities, climate change, eradicating poverty, abolishing armouries of mass destruction, and asserting the human rights of women and children in all cultures.” This year marks 100 years since the birth of the influential,
Author – Rebecca Taylor
evangelical theologian John Stott.
Malaysian Christians can use the word ‘Allah’ Following a decadeslong battle, Malaysia’s high court has overturned a policy banning Christians from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God. The result comes as part of a case brought by Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill, a Christian whose personal religious materials were confiscated at an airport as they contained the word Allah in their titles. Muslims make up almost two-thirds of the Malaysian population, with almost ten percent of the population identifying as being Christian. The issue of non-Muslims using the word Allah has sparked tension in Malaysia in recent years. These Christian communities argue that they have used Allah, which entered Malay from Arabic, to refer to their God for centuries and that the ruling violates their rights. The Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the High Court in Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, ruled that Jill had the right to not face discrimination on the grounds of her faith. In 2014, the courts declared the seizure of materials unlawful
Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams has spoken of how John Stott, the TIME magazine 100-listed ‘Hero and Icon’ and former chaplain to the Queen, will be remembered as one of the most significant Christian teachers of our time.
Malaysia’s high court rules Christians can use the word ‘Allah’ for God.
and they were returned. However, the decision did not address the constitutional points raised by Jill, who asserted she had a right to use the word Allah for religious purposes. In her decision Justice Datuk Nor Bee Arrifin further ruled that the word Allah – along with three other words of Arabic origin: ‘Kaabah’ (Islam’s holiest shrine in
Mecca), ‘Baitullah’ (House of God) and ‘Solat’ (prayer) – could be used by Christians. “The freedom to profess and practise one’s religion should include the right to own religious materials,” she said. The Justice said the directive that banned the use of the four words was “illegal and unconstitutional”.
world news 11 JUNE 2021
Call for fair vaccine distribution COVID-19 vaccines to be produced as widely as possible by sharing their knowledge free from patents,” she said. “The failure to provide vaccine equity to some of the poorest and most marginalised communities around the world is a moral issue, which the world must face up to.” The World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested that putting an end to the pandemic will require at least 70 percent of the world population to have immunity, but the recurring problem remains. Low to middle-income countries are not able to afford the vaccines, while some high-income countries have purchased more than their required share. “As of April 2021, less than one percent of the vaccines delivered around the world have gone to people in low-income countries,” WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. According to researchers at Duke University, which monitors
To find your local Baptist church visit baptistwa.asn.au
Medical staff at the Lady Ridgeway Hospital for Children in Colombo, Sri Lanka prepare a COVID-19 vaccination.
deals between governments and vaccine companies, several highincome countries have secured more vaccines than needed to fully vaccinate their entire population. Canada leads the list, having secured enough doses to vaccinate its entire population five times. Australia follows not far behind, having secured the
fourth highest number of doses per person worldwide. The religious leaders’ statement concluded: “The COVID crisis has reminded us all of our interdependence, and of our responsibilities to care for one another.” “We can each only be well, when all of us are well.”
“If one part of the world is left to suffer the pandemic, all parts of the world will be put at everincreasing risk.” Author – Ramona Humphreys
China bans Bible apps Various Bible mobile applications and Christian chat groups can no longer be accessed in China in a recent move by the Chinese government to stifle the influence of Christianity. According to International Christian Concern, all Bible apps have been removed from the Chinese app store and access to Christian accounts on WeChat – a Chinese social media platform – has been blocked. This is not the first time the Chinese government has targeted Christian resources in the cyberspace. In 2019, access to the WeDevote Bible app was cut after it had been downloaded ten million times. Online retailers have been banned from selling Bibles in China since 2018, limiting legal sales of the Bible to bookshops, by the state sanctioned Three-Self Church. According to International Christian Concern, these official sanctioned stores have increased their focus to selling books that promote the Chinese Communist Party’s ideology.
Baptist World Alliance General Secretary Elijah Brown, united with 144 religious leaders to call for the steps necessary to produce and distribute enough COVID-19 vaccine for the entire world population and embrace a commitment to global vaccine equity. The statement published on 27 April highlighted the pressing need for the global vaccine production to be urgently and massively speed up and for countries to release their excess doses. Head of Global Advocacy and Policy at Christian Aid, Fionna Smyth said that they know the best chance of everyone staying safe is to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available for all as a global common good, as soon as possible. “This will only be possible with a transformation in how vaccines are produced and distributed – pharmaceutical corporations must allow the
Photo: Ruwan Walpola/Shutterstock
Church leaders and other religious dignitaries have urged leaders around the world to reject greed and vaccine nationalism.
The Chinese government has banned Bible apps in a recent move to further
Author – Ramona Humphreys
restrict access to the Bible in China.
12 in conversation JUNE 2021
Baptist pastor is Citizen of the Year
How did you become a Christian and develop a faith in Christ? I was born in Portsmouth on the south coast of England. My parents became Christians when I was very young through the godly witness of an older lady who lived two doors away. The 60s was the era of gospel campaigns with Billy Graham and Leighton Ford, but dear old Dorothy just loved her neighbours and gossiped the gospel in the housing estate, so I guess she was a forerunner of what we would call relational evangelism. Dorothy also ran a Sunday School in her home so that was where I first heard of Jesus, and as a youngster I prayed the ‘sinner’s prayer’. At the age of eight we moved to Barrow-in-Furness, a shipbuilding town in the north-west of England. It was quite a cultural shock moving to a working-class town like Barrow and for the first time in my life I saw poverty. Thankfully my parents found a spiritual home at the local Gospel Hall. I grew in my knowledge of Jesus at the Sunday School but found the church and leadership to be quite ‘cold’ and distant, which didn’t tie in with the teachings I knew of Jesus. As I grew into my teens, I discovered several families who were very different. They had a joy in the Lord and lived out what they believed; this had a big impact on me. I believe at that point I sincerely accepted Jesus as my Lord and Saviour and was baptised soon after. This is a constant reminder to me in later life that we are Christ’s ambassadors and how we behave as Christians has a profound impact on others. How did you come to Perth and become involved in serving the local community? In 1988 I moved back to the south of England to the Port of Southampton. I joined a local church and as a bonus soon got to know a lovely young lass called Anna. We married in 1990 and ran a greengrocer’s store, Dons Fruit & Veg, while starting a family. These were tough times as we worked long hours and with interest rates of 18 percent we just made ends meet. During those times we experienced poverty for ourselves and many times we experienced the grace
of God and the love of fellow believers as we struggled to provide for our family. In 1998 we emigrated to Perth to start a new life in the sun. We first lived in Leeming, I had a well-paid job, we joined Melville Baptist Church, and all seemed well. But then my job came to an abrupt end and we had some family dramas. Our very young son had severe eczema and numerous allergies, I ran over our middle daughter and nearly killed her, and at the same time a business partner in the UK robbed us of $250,000. So, in lots of ways, life started to unravel and all of this put severe strain on our marriage. At that time, we moved to Oakford, next to Byford. We decided to reset as we had done previously and open our own retail business. So, Crazy Don’s Discount Groceries and Homewares was born in the back streets of Kelmscott. We opened this business to primarily pay our mortgage and feed our children – there was no greater cause in our minds, but God had other ideas. We soon started building relationships with customers through the simple medium of offering them a cup of tea in our office. We soon discovered that there were numerous people who came in our shop who had given up on life, and just getting through each day was a monumental battle. There were broken families, addictions, poverty and mental health issues. We found this all incredibly confronting and sometimes terrifying. So we prayed, “Lord help us to love the unlovely and through your Spirit please give us ears to hear and appropriate words to say.” God answered this prayer in incredible ways, and some days we would make many cups of tea and have great opportunities to share the gospel. You are now the Community Pastor at Byford Baptist Church, what led you to this position? About ten years ago our family joined Byford Baptist Church. We had been travelling to Melville for many years but felt under God’s conviction that we should be part of a local church. The folk at Byford welcomed us
Photo: Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale
Don Warner is the Community Pastor at Byford Baptist Church, which provides the Byford Free Food Market every Thursday morning to community members as well as other community activities. Vanessa Klomp had the opportunity to catch up with Don recently.
Byford Baptist Church Community Pastor, Don Warner receiving his Community Citizen of the Year award on Australia Day this year.
so lovingly that we soon felt right at home. At that time, the church had just started helping the local shire with serving drinks on Australia Day. I was asked by our pastor to further develop our community links and God gave us great opportunities to serve in His name. It has been an incredible privilege to develop close ties with our shire and be trusted by them to run events and see our community volunteer shirts at most major events in the area. So two years ago the church decided to call me officially as its Community Pastor. I was not looking for a position but it has been so lovely to be known as a Christian in our town and to be stopped in the street and asked to pray for situations and people, and conduct funerals – all wonderful gospel opportunities. What is a highlight that has come out of this ministry? We have run events with a gospel focus and over 1,000 locals have attended; we run a Free Food Market which feeds over 200 needy families each week; we have helped may people in severe debt through our partnership with Christians Against Poverty; we have helped victims of domestic violence move home; and I could go on and on. But, what is our primary cause? It is to go out into the world and make disciples. These community connections have led to our church being described by our community as a ‘beacon
of hope’ for Byford. From this, we have non-Christians regularly walking into church on a Sunday morning because they feel like they already know us. They know that we are not going to judge them, that they can smoke in the car park and, most of all, they know that we love them. On Australia Day this year the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale presented me with their Community Citizen of the Year. It was a great honour to receive this on behalf of our church and in the current climate to hear the Shire speak so warmly of a Christian church. But you asked, ‘what is the highlight?’, it is when these folk come to know Jesus. Recently we had a baptism service and two ladies who came to know us through our community ministries gave their testimonies: “I have lived most of my life as an angry bitter person, but I came to this church for food and I found God and I found a family.” “I was a complete sceptic but when I saw how this church looked after my parents and loved them, I started on a journey and now I am a believer.” These are the highlights, praise God! What are some challenges churches may face as they seek to find unique ways to serve their community? It’s tough. We are in a spiritual battle and when we take up our cross and stand
as Christians in our current society we will see opposition from within and outside. Many folk want an easy comfortable church with nice seats and a chai latte. That is not what God has promised or called us to. Some folk may say let’s find a couple of volunteers to make up food boxes and we can call that mission and tick that box. No, the church is called to mission as a whole. In some ways the focus of our church is now Thursdays rather than Sundays as that is when our large group of volunteers has contact for the first time with our local families. What advice you would give someone establishing a ministry serving the local community? First of all, pray that God will give you a love for those that Christ died for. That He will give you a clear vision for how you can connect with your community because what works in Byford may not work in Claremont. And pray for perseverance as it will be tough – physically, emotionally and spiritually. Secondly, appoint a leader who will enthuse the ‘troops’. Be honest with each other and encourage others along the way. Lastly, praise God together as you see His provision, as you experience meaningful conversations, and as you make new friends.
growth 13 JUNE 2021
Let’s get growing In the gospel Can our lives really be changed? Can our lives be really changed? Significant growth in a Christian’s life comes through a range of experiences, some unique to each person, others necessary for any Christian who wants to grow. All Christian growth is a result of the the Holy Spirit’s work and involves a deepening engagement with Scripture and our response in prayer and thanksgiving. Trials, suffering, service and ministry are also common catalysts of growth. At the root of all Christian growth, however, is a fresh encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The story of Jesus is the gospel [Mark 1:1], and includes the story of His birth and baptism, His preaching and teaching, His healings and miracles, His parables and promises, His compassion and companionship, and supremely, His suffering, death and resurrection. By returning again and again to the Gospels – prayerfully, studiously, hopefully, and in conversation with others – we open our lives to a transforming encounter with the gospel.
These stories speak to us, challenge, call and commission us. They summon us to repentance and faith, to believe impossible things – and to hope for their reality, to a vision of the Kingdom of God, to a life of companionship with Jesus, and to a participation in His mission. So, let’s get growing by reading, meditating and pondering their message. We can do this in conversation with others, in small groups and at church. And with those who have written commentaries, and with the great preachers and theologians of the church. Let’s deepen our engagement with the gospel so that His message might penetrate the deepest corners of our minds, spark our imagination with new visions of life, and guide our decision-making and will in those directions. But I want to say more. If engagement with the gospel is the root of transformation, at the heart of the gospel is a message of grace. At the heart of the gospel is the story of God who has loved us, turned to us, come to us,
and suffered for us, in our place. God stoops down to gather us up, even in our sinfulness and alienation, even in our opposition to Him. But this is a disruptive grace by which God not only forgives our sins but also claims us as His own. By this grace, He calls to us out of the life we have independently constructed, and into a new life of friendship and obedience. To be touched by grace is to know that we are profoundly loved – and confronted. When Peter saw Jesus’ majestic power and authority, he also saw himself with fresh eyes and cried out, “depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord” [Luke 5:8 ESV]. That Jesus did not depart is pure grace. That he called Peter into a life of discipleship and service – this too is the same grace, and the two cannot be separated. At the heart of the gospel – and therefore at the beginning of all Christian growth and
Photo: Natykach Nataliia/Shutterstock
The Apostle Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed” [Romans 12:2 ESV]. To the Corinthians he said, “we … are being transformed into his image” [2 Corinthians 3:18]. Yet, it seems that this ‘transformation’ comes ever so slowly, especially in my own life!
In the second part of a new series for The Advocate, Morling Campus Dean Michael O’Neil explores patterns and dynamics of Christian growth and maturity.
transformation is God’s gracious gift of the forgiveness of sins [Luke 24:47], and of friendship with God [John 15:13]. But only real sinners need apply! It seems that it is only as we honestly face our own willfulness, brokenness and sinfulness that this grace captures our hearts with its transforming power. Where sin abounds, grace much more abounds [Romans 5:20] and begins its healing work. How might we experience this transforming and liberating grace?
By turning again and again to Jesus, the friend of sinners [Matthew 11:19], coming clean with Him and with those we have wronged, and letting grace do its work. And by participating in communities of grace where the gospel of His grace is practised and exemplified. We’ll talk about that next time.
wonderful thing to just reflect on the Bible, and it’s a bit like drips in the bucket. It’s not like every day I’m walking two feet above the ground, it’s day by day, drips filling the bucket.
Guitar winning singer/ songwriter whose remarkable career includes being an ABC TV Play School presenter, soughtafter hit song collaborator, Australia’s number one Christian kids’ artist and regular panellist on ABC Radio Sydney Drive’s ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ with the cream of Australia’s comedy community.
Author – Michael O’Neil
Following the In Conversation interview with Colin Buchanan in the February issue, Vanessa Klomp had one more question to ask Colin. What is a helpful but little-known fact that you would like to share with The Advocate readers? It’s not something that I call big ... [shout it] from the mountaintops … but pretty much every day I pull out my Bible and a little notebook and spend some time reading the Bible and reflecting on it by writing. I’ve found this has been very helpful. It shouldn’t surprise me how it helps your relationship with other Christians. At times, when I might get a negative attitude, say, to church or something like that, sometimes we go through seasons like that, I just spend time in the Word getting reshaped. The funny thing behind it was, a friend photocopied
some Daily Bread notes, and then made an announcement in church, saying, “Oh, we’ve got some Daily Bread there. You should try it out. It might be useful. You should read the Bible every day.” He was a bit of an unconventional character and it was a bit of a strange way to do it. But Robyn brought home some photocopies and that was the beginning. At first, it was like, I’ll just read the Bible and read the notes, because I wasn’t being as consistent as I would’ve liked. Then I had a plan. It was like, “I’ll just do that really briefly.” After a while, I thought, “Well, I wouldn’t mind writing some stuff. “And I sort of lingered over it a bit longer. That’s become a whole bunch of notebooks that I’ve filled up over time, which are just reflections on the Bible. I find it helps family life. It feeds you and shapes you. In some ways, it’s one of the most private moments because it’s just me, God’s Word and my thoughts. It’s not a public moment, but my
Daily bread in Colin’s life
experience of that being really helpful is something that I’d like to encourage people [with]. Some people will say, “Oh, you don’t have to have a quiet time every day.” And that’s true, but there’s not much of a win if you don’t read the Bible. If you think you’re free not to have a quiet time, all that means is that you don’t read your Bible. It’s a simple but
Author – Colin Buchanan Colin Buchanan is an ARIA, APRA and nine times Golden
14 arts JUNE 2021
MercyMe release tenth album Grammy nominated, multiple American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards and Dove Awards winning band MercyMe released their long-awaited tenth studio recording, inhale (exhale), 30 April.
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The band made history in 2014 as I Can Only Imagine surpassed two million digital downloads, making it the first song in Christian music to go platinum and double platinum in the digital domain. Alongside this, a major motion picture was based on the life of front man Bart Millard. Bart wrote the mega-hit song I Can Only Imagine after the loss of his father and opened at a remarkable number three at the box office on 2018.
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Biblically grounded counselling
Almost Home, a stunningly poignant anthem that topped the American charts for a combined total of 17 weeks. Worship Leader magazine in their album review commented that “the content of the whole album directs listeners to a place of worship as they are reminded of a God who has offered overwhelming grace, new life and abundant joy.” Since the band’s debut in 2001, MercyMe has sold more than nine million units in CD, single and DVD sales, garnered more than 48 number one multi-format radio singles, and had four consecutive mainstream radio hits.
MercyMe’s single Say I Won’t, from their new album inhale (exhale), pushed them into Pandora’s Billionaires Club.
Album breaks streaming records on first day Old Church Basement, the collaborative album from Grammy-nominated and Billboard No. 1 worship groups Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music has made history. The album set a new worldwide record for the most first-day streams for a Christian and gospel album on Apple Music, 1 May. “Before any lights and a stage, for a lot of us, it was just a few chords on an acoustic guitar or piano in a youth room with a few of our friends,” Elevation Worship’s Chris Brown said. “But that’s where we fell in love with God’s presence – our hope is that this collection of songs makes it easy for you to return to that pure-hearted place of worship within you.” Old Church Basement, released April 30, is a powerful collection that aims to bring listeners back to a pure place of worship and features vocals from Chandler Moore, Brandon Lake, Naomi Raine, Chris Brown, Dante Bowe, Tiffany Hudson, Joe Barnes and Amanda Lindsey Cook.
US radio, SiriusXM’s The Message channel exclusively premiered the album on their inhale (exhale) Album Reveal Special, allowing fans to hear the entire album from beginning to end along with hearing the story behind each song as told by the band. During the Album Reveal Special, the band was surprised by Christian and Gospel Music Curator, Melissa Chalos with streaming service Pandora, with a plaque presentation welcoming them into the Pandora Billionaires Club, commemorating over a billion streams of MercyMe songs across the platform. In progress for over two years, the 16-song collection is the latest chapter in MercyMe’s creative adventure, and includes
The cover of Elevation Worship and Maverick City Music’s new worship album, Old Church Basement, released 30 April.
coffee break 15 JUNE 2021
He knows my name A minute with ...
On Saturday 10 April, an enthusiastic crowd gathered at Bellevue Baptist Church for the launch of He Knows My Name: One Woman’s Journey, a book written by Diana Bailey.
What did you do prior to the Professional Standards Officer role? I finished full-time work four years ago. Prior to that, I spent almost 20 years as CEO of various community service organisations. I have also managed child protection services in WA and ACT, and taught social policy and human services management. I originally trained as a social worker. What does the role involve? The Professional Standards Officer (PSO) works with individual church leadership teams to establish Individual Accountability and Safety Agreements between local churches and Persons of Concern. Persons of Concern usually have convictions of abuse or violence and wish to attend their local church. In addition to this core work, the PSO regularly presents Safe Church refresher training and response training for Safe Church response officers (usually lead pastors). From time to time, complaints are lodged about people and processes within Baptist churches, and the PSO contributes to the church support and health teams who work in this area. What drives you to undertake this ministry? As I finished full-time work, I prayed that God would take skills and experience from my old life into a place where I could serve. I see the role of being PSO as an answer to that prayer. I’ve valued providing support and input into the work of local church leaders and pastors as they grapple with the reality of ministry in the WA community. In this role, you hear stories of hurt, despair, abuse and neglect (to name but a few), what do you do to look after yourself spiritually and emotionally? Like all people in ministry, self-care is critical. I keep learning. I finished a Graduate Diploma of Divinity at Vose Seminary in 2020 and I regularly reach out to the Australian Baptist Ministry Professional Standards Taskforce. I actively seek support from the BCWA Church Health and Pastoral Support team, especially Pastor Jackie Smoker and Pastor Mike Bullard. From time to time, I access specific professional supervision. Seeing so much of the broken parts of the church can be personally challenging. I need to find ways of staying strong in my personal faith by setting goals. My 2021 goal is to know and love Jesus more than I did at the beginning of the year.
Photo: Morling College
Sue Ash AO is the Professional Standards Officer for Baptist Churches Western Australia along with being Chairperson of the Riverton Baptist Community Church Board. The Advocate caught up with Sue to ask about her ministry.
He Knows My Name is a compilation of poems Diana wrote as she processed through life experiences. The launch was so well received that Diana almost sold out of the first print run. It commenced with a welcome address delivered by former pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Ray Brown. Long-time friend of Diana, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Pastor to the Community, Graham Mabury formally launched the book with a brief overview, drawing on its contents and highlighting various aspects of Diana’s journey. The opening poem in the book shares the precious memories of her beloved Papa, from whom her only experience of unconditional love and acceptance came in her early years, and whose loss was to prove devastating. It is Papa who is credited with nurturing a love of words and literature within Diana. There were many ‘lost’ years for Diana, however there was always a constant yearning to find the pathway to a God she believed existed. Not knowing how the path would be found, Diana always knew it had to be there. In collating her poetry for He Knows My Name, Diana came to realise that each poem came out of a significant place of change that was beneficial in ways she hadn’t previously understood. The poems are arranged to somewhat reflect the chronological order of her life, and it became evident that they essentially map her life’s journey from brokenness and despair to faith and healing. Being keenly aware of that space in her life when she was robbed of her identity and her voice, Diana has dedicated this book to those “who can’t speak for themselves because they don’t have the words”. It is her fervent hope that this book will help others to find their own journey to wholeness, and she reiterates, “there is hope, always, even when you cannot see it now.”
Why couldn’t Jonah trust the ocean?
He just knew there was something fishy about it.
Calvary Love I met Him on the slopes of a far-off hill; He drew me to Himself and supported me up that path knowing my feet could no longer carry me. As a lover He embraced me; stretched out my arms with His. Nail pierced, thorn scarred His blood covering my nakedness, He held me through death into new life. He Knows My Name: One Woman’s Journey is $10 per copy. To order a copy, please email firstname.lastname@example.org Author – Carmel Wright
Photo: Sarah Wickham
Sue Ash AO
Diana Bailey and Bellevue Baptist Church Associate Pastor, Steve Wickham with Diana’s newly released book of poetry.
BCWA prayer points BCWA future Pray that the process of deep listening being facilitated throughout Baptist Churches Western Australia will be effective and help the BCWA Assembly Council to shape a job description that meets the leadership needs of BCWA.
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Pray for peace to come to the nation of Myanmar, safety for those under threat of extreme violence and that all the aid and those working to support them will be able to get to and help those most in need.
Baptist education Pray for Baptist education providers throughout Western Australia – early learning centres, Baptist schools and Morling College – that their love for Christ would be evident through the education and care they provide to those under their stewardship.
16 sport JUNE 2021
New era for Lakeside Lightning Formerly the State Basketball League, NBL1 West is a re‑branded league that will bring a high level of attention to basketball in WA. The NBL1 is a national brand with leagues in Victoria (NBL1 South), South Australia (NBL1 Central) and Queensland (NBL1 North) in a national second tier competition. Lakeside Lightning are based out of Lakeside Recreation Centre in North Lake, which is owned and operated by Lakeside Baptist Church. Inaugural Lakeside Lightning men’s captain, and now Lakeside Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Anthony Palmieri said the aim of the program is to provide quality services and programs that develop and grow people in all areas of their life – physically, mentally, spiritually and socially. “Here at Lakeside we believe that the development of the whole person is just as important as jump shots and slam dunks,” he said. “We are blessed to have the platform to make a positive contribution to our local community through basketball and its development.” “We aim to provide a basketball pathway from domestic basketball to the State Basketball League by delivering excellent basketball outcomes and player development.” Former Olympian and head coach of both NBL1 West teams, Dave Daniels, recently spoke about his excitement for the new format. “I’m super excited for the first NBL1 West season – we have two
very competitive teams with our men’s and women’s squads.” “Our men’s team have been together for several years with a core of battle-tested veterans who have been in the game for years.” “With leaders like Jarrad Prue, Kyle Armour, Jack Isenbarger and Jay Bowie, we have a group of guys that can really lead themselves and the team.” “Our women’s team is in a season of rebuild, but we have some very strong and proven players with Ashleigh Isenbarger, Emma Clarke and Mikayla Pirini.” “We also have strong young players that are improving rapidly and have a very bright future ahead of them.” Dave said the highlight of coaching both teams, is the strong friendships that are formed when you spend so much time together in an intense but fun environment. Another unique aspect of the Lakeside Lightning ministry is the team times held every week. The focus of the sessions is to build the athletes to help their personal development and spiritual growth. “It’s such a crucial time of life and many of them are at a vulnerable age, so we place a high value on our team times,” Dave said. “I am really excited to see what God is going to do in and through our teams this season.” Further enhancing the accessibility of the NBL1, all games will be live streamed via the NBL platforms and include highlight packages to excite fans on social media. The championship winning NBL1 West men’s and women’s teams will play off in
Photo: Erin Tuckey, ET Multimedia
Lakeside Lightning have commenced a new phase of West Australian basketball, teaming up with the National Basketball League and 13 state league associations to launch the new look NBL1 West.
Lakeside Lightning basketballer Jack Isenbarger making a dash to the basket.
a National Championship this September, against the winners of each of the four conferences that comprise the NBL1.
All fixtures, live stream information, plus statistics and box scores for the games can be found online on the Lakeside
Lightning NBL1 West website, lakesidelightning.nbl1.com.au Author – Matt Plenty
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