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In Conversation Professor Bruce Robinson AM talks about The Fathering Project and the impact it has on dads and families’ lives. PAGE 12 >>

DECEMBER 2015

“Want a better holiday? Follow my Dad’s advice.” JOHN MAXWELL PAGE 13>>

5 The game changer A new TV series about Jesus’s teachings >>

10 Seeds bring hope

15 ission An agricultural loan interm program is changing lives >>

Photo: Andrew Hamilton

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After nearly 20 years, Quinns Baptist Church members Peter and Jean McSkimming will now have a change of scenery each Sunday morning.

Long drives for ministry In 1986 Quinns Baptist Church was formed with only a small handful of people meeting in Gumblossom Community Centre, Quinns Rocks. Early in its development, Peter and Jean McSkimming agreed to join the Church and offer their support temporarily as it was established. Already in their 60s they were the ‘old heads’ in a younger church and each Sunday without fail they travelled up to Quinns from their home in East Perth. The few months they originally committed to, turned into a few years, but as 2015 draws to a close they will no longer be commuting from the city each week. February 2016 would have marked 20 years for their weekly commute.

Just before the McSkimmings arrived, Mary Taylor joined Quinns Baptist Church (QBC) with her husband Dave and this year her time at QBC also comes to an end as she leaves for her new home in Bridgetown. A special service to say ‘thank you’ to these three people for their faithfulness and dedication over such a long period was held on Sunday 15 November. In leading the service, QBC Pastor Andrew Hamilton commented that in days where it is hard to get people to commit to a six week Bible study, the idea of doing anything for 20 years is inspiring and challenging.

“Quinns held the service to celebrate their contribution and to honour them, but also to say ‘this is a picture of how we want church to be – a community of people who seek the good of the community over their own preferences’,” Andrew said. During their time at QBC, both Peter and Jean have served on the leadership team, Peter has been known for his focus on hospitality and welcoming the newcomer, while Jean has served in various roles from finance to teaching children in Sunday School. Mary has been a worship team member, Quinns Baptist College teacher and a much loved down to earth member of the Church. Church member Chris Robinson spoke on behalf of the Church to thank each person and Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Ministries,

Pastor Mark Wilson, shared an inspiring and encouraging message on the importance of church as a team to the large crowd of past and present church members at the service. In his response, Peter McSkimming read passionately from Romans 15 and challenged the Church with Paul’s words: ‘Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, “How can I help?”’ [The Message, Romans 15:1-2] Andrew said that these words suitably sum up the heart and spirit that these three people brought to the Church during their time at Quinns Baptist Church.

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BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA


2

my view DECEMBER 2015

Slowing down to go deeper It occurred to me a number of years ago, while volunteering as a physiotherapist in Malawi, that there is a very different perspective on time in Africa compared to Australia.

Phil Beeck Phil Beeck is Senior Pastor at East Fremantle Baptist Church.

At home I would have my diary scheduled in such a way that every minute of the day was accounted for. In Malawi I could have thrown my watch away because rather than saying come on Friday at 9:45am, I’d just say come back later in the week. And they would! They would just ‘rock up’ one day and sit and wait until I could see them. Five minutes, five hours, whatever it took. No-one complained. No-one was in a hurry.

You may well, like me, be tempted to covet the carefree, timeless life of an African because if your life is like mine it just seems to get busier. In fact, this time last year we noticed that so many people at East Fremantle Baptist Church were tired, busy and in danger of burnout that we needed to address this issue head on. Our motto for this year has been ‘Slowing down to go deeper’ and the picture in our heads is of a stone skipping across a body

of water. Moving in such a hurry that it barely dips beneath the surface. We observed that the problem with busyness was that our relationships with God and people was often like that, very superficial, no time to go deeper. The alternate picture is the big rock thrown into the water that sinks deep and leaves ripples across the surface. Our hope was that slowing down to go deeper with God and people would have ongoing ripple effects in our lives and our culture.

Two thousand years ago Mary and Martha were having a battle about all the same issues. Martha thought what Jesus wanted most was for her to be busy serving her Master. Mary thought that most important was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to His words. It was Mary that Jesus said had chosen the better use of her time. Do you ever slow down? Slow down and go deeper.

The reflection One day at the beginning of spring I woke up to a mysterious intermittent tapping noise. The tapping came and went while I ate my breakfast and I could hear it – tap, tap, tap – as I went out the front door and down the pathway to my car.

Karen Siggins Karen Siggins is Lead Pastor at Lesmurdie Baptist Church and a member of the BCWA Council.

The next morning the tapping was there again and by the third morning I was starting to worry! I tried to imagine a conversation with my friends about regularly hearing unexplained tapping noises in the early morning and decided that I needed to discover the source of the noise … and quickly! So, early the next morning, I set myself up on a stake out.

Our garden is home to some fairy-wrens. They are small and very beautiful birds and they are feisty. Determined to protect their eggs, and always expecting the worst, these wrens see threat and danger everywhere they look! It turns out that they spend hours every day pecking at their own reflections in the windows of our house – tap, tap, tap. They flap and peck and flap and peck until they are exhausted and still

they flap and peck some more because the enemy is always there staring back at them! As I was shaking my head at their foolishness it occurred to me how like the fairy-wren we can be. We share the common ground of being made in God’s good image but sometimes it’s our God ordained diversity that consumes us so that we live on high alert, watching out for the enemy in the human beings we

live and work with; committed to seeing danger and threat in our relationships – always peck, peck, pecking away at each other. What if we were to stop pecking for a moment? We just might see how like us the other is – a reflection in fact; made in God’s image like me!

Stallion or donkey? At the end of 2006 I was challenged to step out and have a go at being a volunteer chaplain in Banksia Hill Detention Centre for offenders aged 10 to 17 years.

Gavin Douglas Gavin Douglas is the Pastor at Tom Price Baptist Church.

I was sure I would make a profound difference in the lives of incarcerated young people. I went in as if I was riding on a white stallion, full of confidence, ready to bring God to the prisons. I was empowered by Luke 4:18-19 and Matthew 25:31-46 – I was going to set captives free. So for an hour once a week for more than two years, I rode into the Detention Centre, ready to change lives. But my words fell on deaf ears. I don’t remember setting

anyone free. Eventually, my white stallion was tied up at the front gate. From 2010 to 2014 I had the opportunity to be a chaplain in a number of metropolitan prisons, including the juvenile facility. During that time I discovered that people in prison don’t need someone riding a stallion bringing God through the front gate. What is needed are people that are willing to humbly walk beside them as servants, like a donkey.

I discovered that God was already in every prison. In fact, there are already Christians imprisoned and at work there. God is moving but to see it and join in required getting off the stallion, observing, listening, and celebrating what God was already doing – and having a whole lot of patience. There is no greater need than showing care and compassion for individuals. God provided opportunities to speak into particular situations. I may not have covered as much ground

serving like a donkey, but over and over I saw people in prison mock and dismiss those who did not slow down to acknowledge the pain and suffering and see what God was already doing in the prisons. You may not be going into a prison, but it is likely that you are within a community which you are passionate about and in which you can have an influence. As you engage, can I encourage to think about how you do it? Are you riding a white stallion or walking like a donkey?

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 editor@theadvocate.tv by the 10th of each month.


news

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DECEMBER 2015

New church for new Aussies

Monica O’Neil

Surrounded by olive and macadamia trees, dams and the beautiful bush of the Great Southern region of Western Australia, a large group of new Australians, along with a few ‘old timers’ prepared to dedicate their new property. Balloons festooned the driveway and a ceremonial ribbon stretched the entrance. The faces and traditional clothing of the Karen people were alive with joy and colour. Church leaders from the Karen Church were joined by Karen leaders, Paul Kyaw, Community Settlement Officer with Multicultural Services Centre of Western Australia, Baptist leaders from around the state, a Shire of Katanning representative, the Karen

congregation and a host of wellwishers from the town and beyond. The ribbon was cut simultaneously by Greg Holland (Baptist Churches Western Australia Business Manager), Pastor Malcolm Good (Katanning Baptist Church Pastor), Robert Godfrey (Shire of Katanning representative) and Pe Tu Cho, the oldest and much honoured member of the Karen group in Katanning. The dedication service marked a significant blessing and achievement for the community. The church community of about 80 people were refugees. Not recognised within their own country of Myanmar they had fled to refugee camps on the Thai Myanmar border.

Photo: BCWA

Katanning Karen Baptist Church members gathered to give thanks and dedicate to God their new property on Sunday 27 September.

As part of the Katanning Karen Baptist Church community’s new property celebrations, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held.

Today they have made their home in Katanning. The Karen have become a vibrant part of Katanning life. They now live in peace, enjoy and contribute to the community, and have employment. Many were able to vote in the recent council elections because 26 of the families have purchased their own homes. “The purchase of their own homes and the purchase of this property means a great deal to the

Karen,” Malcolm explained. The purchase of the property was assisted by Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA). In the future the Church hopes to build a hall for their church services, according to Church Secretary Soe Moo Kwa. At the opening, Church member ‘Aunty Jean’ explained that the property had been owned by Christians in the past who hoped it would be a place of peace

and prayer in the future. “It would seem the Lord has had His hand on this property for a long time,” she said. “You are inheriting a place which was already a place of prayer and love for the Lord Jesus.” BCWA extend hearty congratulations to Pastor Jairus Maung and the Church members for their hard work, determination and dedication to one another and the Kingdom of God.

Terry Hicks

Newman Baptist Church celebrated the opening of a new youth and children’s facility in August. Built in Perth in five modules, the building was transported to Newman and placed at the rear of the existing Church building. The weekend kicked off with an international food feast on the Saturday evening, with church members from at least seven different nationalities bringing to the table traditional food dishes of their country of origin.

The evening was punctuated with items of song, dance and stories from each of those countries. Sunday morning was celebrated in a ‘Newman style’ service with the theme of the

message being ‘A great place for a fresh start’. After acknowledging the organisations and people who made the facility possible, the Newman Baptist Church pastors continued the proceedings with Pastor John Harris officially opening the new buildings and Pastor Garth Wootton giving a dedicatory prayer. This was then followed by an inspection of the new buildings, with an informal barbecue lunch concluding the celebrations. The town of Newman has experienced a significant

Photo: Newman Baptist Church

Youth facility for Newman

Newman Baptist Church Pastor John Harris officially opens Newman’s new youth facility.

depletion of families over the past 12 months due to the downturn in the mining industry. However, the church

is in good spirits and is looking forward to growth as they take on the challenge to introduce people to Jesus.


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news DECEMBER 2015

Beecks back to Mozambique

Jill Birt

How can they when they don’t believe in such things? They need a worldview that has Jesus at the centre.” Unlocking cultural understanding takes significant time and requires not just observation but immersion in the culture. Amongst many other cultural issues, one of the things the Beecks will focus on learning during the coming years in Mozambique is how decisions about new ideas and technology are made in Yawo culture.

Cam and Kath Beeck and their children are planning to return to Mozambique in January 2016.

Kath described some of her cultural learning about poverty, health care and extended families that she gained through friendships with local women. Cam, Kath and their children Jack, Tilly and Sydney, plan to return to Africa in late January

2016 to continue working as part of the Global Interaction team with the Yawo people. Now fluent in Portuguese, Cam and Kath will continue learning the Yawo language as they establish their family in Massangulo, 94 kilometres south of Lichinga.

Before their departure they need to increase their annual family support by $30,000. For more information on how to support the Beecks, visit www.globalinteraction.org.au/ support/workers

Perth mission

Jill Birt

Annual mission exposure program AMUC (Among the Urban Community) has been running in Perth for more than a decade and preparations for the week-long January 2016 camp program are well advanced. Organiser and director Steve McKinnon from TEAR Australia works with Scripture Union Western Australia on the Perth event which will run from 25 to 29 January.

“AMUC is an aid and development exposure trip into your own city,” Steve said. “It costs far less – $200 if you’re earning a wage – consumes less carbon miles, enables you to contextualise the gospel and live it out locally far easier than going overseas.” People who attend have been challenged by the opportunities to learn during the program. “If you are in the right posture it allows your heart to be broken by the people Jesus mainly mixed with: the marginalised,” Steve said. Homelessness, drug addiction, poverty of choice, poverty of friends and family, social exclusion, mental health, asylum seekers are just some of the issues and people with those issues that AMUC participants are exposed to.

Photo: Jill Birt

Family and friends from the Great Southern and across Perth joined the party atmosphere for a night of strong competition that tested modelling skills (building a clay model of a Mozambique house), drawing skills (the best sketched horse), knowledge of Mozambique and general knowledge questions. Garry Beeck from Gnowangerup Baptist Church presented Cam and Kath with a cheque for $350 and a commemorative book of pictures highlighting the history of the church and the centenary celebrations in 2014. The cheque was part of the proceeds from selling copies of the pictorial history book. Cam attended Gnowangerup Baptist Church before moving to Perth to study at The University of Western Australia. A whimsical oil painting of the Canning River by local artist and Riverton Baptist Community Church member Nick de Garis sold for $550 through a silent auction. Between quiz rounds Cam, formerly a lecturer in agriculture at The University of Western Australia before moving to Lichinga in Niassa Province, spoke about Mozambique agriculture methods and the connection with poverty, culture and adopting new ideas. “We see people from the West come and try to bring change without understanding culture and worldview,” Cam said. “Some development agencies don’t cope well with curses, ancestors and spiritual protection.

Photo: Global Interaction

A highly competitive group of more than 200 people joined Cam and Kath Beeck and their children at Riverton Baptist Community Church recently to raise more than $3,000 to help the family return to Mozambique in 2016.

Members of the AMUC team explored the hidden side of Perth city during the 2015 course.

Jaye Van Wollingen attended the event in 2015. “I highly recommend it for anyone seeking to bring Jesus to the world around us,” Jaye said. Steve said he believes the church in Australia is in a very privileged place, imbedded in a society that is in the top five percent of the world’s richest people.

“We need a paradigm shift – AMUC is a unique opportunity to begin exploring what that means and to engage in issues of mercy and justice on a personal level,” Steve said.

12/11/15

15/11/15

twitter.com/donaldmiller The reason listening to somebody’s story is so difficult is because it reminds us life is about more than just ours.

twitter.com/CSLewisDaily God allows us to experience the low points of life in order to teach us lessons that we could learn in no other way.

To apply for AMUC, visit www.suwa.org.au/amuc-2016

digital church 03/11/15

Andrew Shead moore.edu.au/resources/ thinktank A broken person gives God their trust and hope because trust and hope is all they have to give. These are the people we need in church with us.

06/11/15

Roger Morey 4pm.stmatthewsshentonpark. org.au/4pm-blog God’s ultimate plan is the blessing of all nations. In a world characterised by sin, violence, corruption and arrogance [Genesis 3-11], God still intends

to bless all the nations of the earth [Genesis 12:3].

08/11/15

Karl Faase twitter.com/karlfaase Facing a tough time? The Bible does not leave us with weak resignation to a miserable existence but resilient courage of faith, hope and love.

09/11/15

Stephen McAlpine stephenmcalpine.com Because I – we – are such ‘distractable’ creatures. Whether it’s running an actual race, or running the spiritual

race, we need the constant reorientation of God’s Word and God’s people under the tutelage of God’s Spirit to run with endurance and attain the prize.

12/11/15

Mark Dance lifeway.com/pastors Not only did Israel lose their song, but Ezekiel lost his sermon. God would not let Ezekiel speak for a season. I’ve been there, and it’s not fun. However, when God put His hand on Ezekiel again, he preached with great power and unction.

Donald Miller

CS Lewis

16/11/16 13/11/15

Dan Doriani

backyardmissionary.com We are not intended to live the life of faith alone and our hope of becoming like Jesus only gains traction as we do it with other people.

challies.com I call this ‘Nike Christianity’. The mentality is, ‘Here are the rules; just do it’ … the Christian life is more than rules and guidelines for good and godly living.

Andrew Hamilton


news

5

DECEMBER 2015

Jill Birt

Game changers are recognised in sport, industry and marketing as altering the outcome of an event or project. Karl Faase and the team at Olive Tree Media are currently filming interviews for a TV series about one of the most influential game changers in history: Jesus Christ. Jesus the Game Changer is due to be launched in mid-2016. “The teachings of Jesus have made a huge difference to the moral fabric and foundation to western societies around the world,” Karl explained. “Not only Jesus’s teachings and values, its Jesus’s life that transforms lives and has transformed nations, communities and people,” he said. Former Australian Deputy Prime Minister, John Anderson affirms the importance of understanding how Jesus has influenced Australian society. “There are many in our society who want to ignore our Christian heritage,” John said.

“Whether you are a Christian or not, intellectual rigor and integrity demand that we acknowledge the foundational place of Christian belief in a free, open, liberal democratic society.” Jesus the Game Changer follows on from Olive Tree Media’s award-winning apologetics series, Towards Belief, which has had more than 5,000 copies of the DVD sold around the world. The new series includes interviews with academics, theologians, researchers and speakers where they discuss the difference Jesus’s teaching and His influence through

the lives of people, including William Wilberforce and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, has made through the centuries. Since filming began in October they have recorded ten interviews in the UK. In Oxford Karl spoke with Joanna Vitale whose research work for her recently submitted Doctor of Philosophy focusses on women in the New Testament. The last UK interview was filmed in Bath with Jonathan Hill, an atheist who has written extensively on the growth and positive impact of Christianity in the areas of education, health, care for the poor, development of reason and science as well as the voracity of the historic Jesus. Eight more interviews were filmed in Australia during early November, including two in Melbourne with Ridley College Principal Brian Rosner and economist Ian Harper, exploring the topics of money, generosity, giving, stewardship and how Jesus has been a game changer in these men’s lives.

Photo: Jane Faase

Jesus – the game changer

Karl Faase being on location in London filming his new TV series.

The production team travels to Asia in December followed by Canada and the USA to complete filming another 16 interviews by January 2016. Award-winning Hollywood Director Simon Hunter is working

on this production with Karl Faase and the Olive Tree Media team. For more information, visit Jesus the Game Changer Facebook page for updates on progress of the series.

Young adults look for answers

Kathleen Bryant

Questions such as, “What if there was a way to make sure we head in the right direction and answer those nagging questions that hold us back?”, “What would we do if we were free from the fear of failure?”, and “Nobody sets out to fail. Everyone desires to win. But, why do we so often settle for something far less than what we hoped for in our lives?”

Young adults from across Perth, plus a few older people, heard from a world-class line-up of speakers and communicators: Hank Fortener, Jason Jaggard and Jamin Goggin from California. The unique conference format of worship, seminars and workshops, TED-style talks and Q&A sessions with the speakers, challenged the young adults to

Photo: Josh Fernandes

Perth Young Adults (PER YA) provided a forum for answers to questions we all have about life, faith, love, work, pain, friends, church and the future, held at Kennedy Baptist College, Murdoch in mid-October.

The inaugural Perth Young Adults (PER YA) provided a unique opportunity for young adults across Perth.

explore options, find their next steps in life and relationships, and use their gifts and talents to make a difference in their world. It provided an inspirational and challenging time for all the participants as well as practical next steps.

Feedback from the young adults was very positive: “I don’t want this day to ever end! I have been challenged in so many areas of my life.” “I feel like I now have the language to describe what I have thought

and been experiencing for a long time.” PER YA is coordinated by Lead Different with a team of young adult leaders from churches around Perth and there are plans to establish it as a yearly event.

Governor presents awards to Girls’ Brigaders

Terry Hicks

Photo: Girls’ Brigade Western Australia

The Governor of Western Australia, Her Excellency Kerry Sanderson AO presented four girls with the international Queen’s Award and eleven girls the national Pioneer Pin at the Girls’ Brigade (GB) 2015 State Presentation, held late October at North Beach Baptist Church.

Girls’ Brigade State Award recipients with Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO.

Girls are required to meet set requirements to gain the awards. Pioneer Pin recipients must complete two leadership courses, three achievement

awards, and six months service in their GB Company. Queen’s Award girls need to have obtained their Pioneer Pin, completed two initiative

tasks, a project and six months of community service. When presenting the Queen’s Awards, Her Excellency asked the girls questions such as “What did Girls’ Brigade teach you about leadership?” Girls delighted attendees with their thoughts on GB, community service and faith. Attendees described it as an inspiring event with girls sharing what GB has taught them and their plans for the future. Out of the 15 girls being presented with awards, ten girls were from GB Companies conducted in Baptist churches.


6

news DECEMBER 2015

21st Century spiritual formation

Kathleen Bryant

The Capacity Builders group conducted by Baptist Churches Western Australia met with Jamin for a teaching session and mini-spiritual retreat that participants said they found both challenging and refreshing. A larger group from a wider range of churches and denominations met at Vose Seminary to spend the best part of the day on a retreat; an intentional decision to set aside time and space to learn how to ‘be’ with God. Jamin taught the participants that God is not our neurotic fixer, but that He knows us fully and loves us completely and unconditionally. Jesus didn’t die for the cleaned-up me, but the weird me! We do not transform ourselves, but God does. We begin at the cross on our knees and we stay there. “We like shortcuts, but the way forward for spiritual growth is the realisation that without Christ we can do nothing, absolutely nothing,” Jamin said. Jamin showed that we have a frenetic, restless culture, trying to be productive, managing our life, and finding

our identity in our work. Our culture defines rest as an escape or detachment from real-life and responsibilities, like a holiday on the beach at Bali. But deep rest for our soul is abiding attachment with Christ in the midst of our messy reality. Life in God is a life in rest. Jesus does not offer answers. He offers us Himself. The deepest truth of our identity is that in Christ we are God’s beloved children. After a time of teaching, Jamin sent the retreat participants outside with written guidelines to find a place for a time of prayer and reflection. One of the youngest participants later said it was the most life-changing teaching and experience he’d ever had, and that he wished he had brought more people to the event. People are able to buy Jamin’s book Beloved Dust at Koorong and online. Lead Different plan to bring Jamin Goggin back to Australia, including Perth, next year.

Inglewood Community Church are celebrating the opening of their new church building on Sunday 6 December at 10am at 10 Cleveland Street, Dianella. For more information, visit www.inglewoodchurch.org.au

Leavers Baptist Churches Western Australia again operated the Entertainment Zone at Leavers in Dunsborough from 23 to 26 November, in conjunction with the WA police and other support agencies. The 130 Green Team volunteers did an excellent job caring and supporting approximately 6,500 leavers.

Historical Society afternoon tea A plea for more people to join the Baptist Historical Society Western Australia and for a suitable person to become the Archivist was made at the Baptist Churches Western Australia Annual Assembly.

Jamin Goggin taught about spiritual formation while visiting Australian churches.

To register for future Lead Different events, including this one, visit www.leaddifferent.org

Employment Opportunity

briefs Inglewood celebration

Photo: Josh Fernandez

Saddleback Church Spiritual Formation and Discipleship Pastor Jamin Goggin travelled from California to visit churches in Brisbane and Perth in October to teach and experience spiritual formation in the 21st Century.

An afternoon tea will be held on Sunday 13 December to discuss the future of the Baptist Historical Society Western Australia and conduct the Annual Meeting. All are invited and welcome. It will be held at South Perth Baptist Church at 2.30pm. The delay in holding the Annual Meeting has been due to a lack of personnel. If you can possibly come and enjoy afternoon tea and the discussion, we would value your input.

Street chaplains Pray for the Street Chaplains in Northbridge, Fremantle, Joondalup, Busselton and Bunbury as they take on the vital ministry of working in the nightclub districts, offering compassion and pastoral care to people, particularly on Boxing Day and New Year’s Eve.

Finance Manager We are seeking a professionally qualified and experienced Accountant to lead the finance team and oversee all aspects of our financial activities across the Baptist Churches of Western Australia operations and ministries. You will be able to demonstrate both your technical abilities and also how you can use your business and communication skills to meet our organisations needs. You will also love to serve and deeply share our Christian values and ethos. If this excites you and you want to join a great team @ the BMC, please make initial contact with Greg Holland on 08 6313 6300 or greg.holland@baptistwa.asn.au to discuss this opportunity further.


news

7

DECEMBER 2015

Dinah motivates for long haul

Photo: Compassion Australia

Twenty-two Western Australian cyclists raised almost $48,000 by riding from Albany to Perth in the 2015 Ride for Compassion.

Former Compassion sponsor child Dinah Awiti with Relationship Managers from Compassion in WA, Rodney Olsen and Geff Gomez.

Motivated by a concern for children in extreme poverty, the group gave up their time and paid their own expenses to take part in the ride covering a distance of over 520 kilometres from 12 to 17 October. The cyclists were supported by a hardworking support crew of eight people. The funds raised from this year’s ride will help build dry pit latrines and shower rooms, reducing hygiene and sanitation related diseases for around 4,500 people in Bule Hora and Yirgachefe, approximately 450 kilometres from Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The ride had extra significance for participants this year as they had the opportunity to spend time with Dinah Awiti, a former Compassion sponsored child who travelled with the team for the first couple of days of the ride.

Christmas celebrations Austin Cove Community Church

Scarborough Baptist Church

Christmas Eve Service Thursday 24 December Supper from 6pm and service from 6.30pm to 7.30pm Inlet Boulevard, South Yunderup A small gift for the children

Carols by Candlelight and Family Fun Day Sunday 13 December Family Fun Day from 5pm to 6.30pm followed by Carols by Candlelight from 6.30pm to 7.30pm 158 Brighton Road, Scarborough For more information, phone 08 9245 1491

Collie Baptist Church

Yangebup Baptist Church

Christmas Block Party Saturday 5 December, late afternoon Corner Princep and Elouera Streets, Collie Bouncy castle and a spit roast for neighbours and the community

Carols Night Saturday 19 December Sausage sizzle from 6pm and carols from twilight, approximately 7.30pm 6 Mainsail Terrace, Yangebup Join in a traditional Christmas carols evening Bring folding chairs or rugs to sit on grass Sausage sizzle, hamburgers, soft drinks, safe ‘candles’ and ‘glow’ bracelets available. Part proceeds to support local YouthCARE chaplains All welcome to this alcohol free event For more information, phone 0419 961 966

Harmony Baptist Church Christmas Carols Saturday 12 December, 4pm to 6pm 34 Fairlight Street, Mosman Park Sing carols and share a light dinner together in the church hall at this family friendly event

Riverton Baptist Community Church Carols on the Shelley Foreshore Sunday 13 December Kids and youth from 5pm, sausage sizzle from 6pm and carols from 7pm For more information, phone Steve Moore on 0430 853 814

Born into poverty in Kenya, the youngest of six children, Dinah’s father died when she was just two years old. Hope grew when Dinah became a Compassion sponsored child. She received educational opportunities, medical care, life skills training, mentoring, food and spiritual guidance. After finishing high school, Dinah was accepted into Compassion’s Leadership Development Program and studied a Bachelor of Arts, Gender and Development Studies at Kenyatta University in Nairobi. Dinah aims to work with the destitute and those vulnerable to gender violence, passing on the hope that she received through Compassion. One of the ride organisers, Compassion Australia Relationship Manager Rodney Olsen said

that the reality of what the ride could achieve really hit home for the team. “We had opportunity to spend time with someone who went from being among the poorest of the poor to being a voice for the poor,” Rodney said. “Dinah went from hopelessness to a life of hope through Jesus Christ.” Compassion is Australia’s second largest child sponsorship organisation and is part of a global network of both funding countries and 26 developing countries that is Compassion International. Together they are a Christian holistic child development organisation committed to working in partnership with local churches to foster the development of over 1.7 million children living in extreme poverty. Around 100,000 of these children are currently supported by over 75,000 Australian sponsors. Plans are already underway for Ride for Compassion 2016. If you are interested in participating in you can contact Rodney Olsen on 0412 177 307.


8

feature

Photo: Baptist Care Australia

DECEMBER 2015

Carolyn Kelshaw (Baptist Care Australia Executive Director), Frank Quinlan (Mental Health Australia CEO), Phil Glendenning (Edmund Rice Centre

‘The Transformation of Aged Care’ panel discu

Director) and Rev. Dr Lucy Morris (Baptistcare WA CEO; Baptist Care Australia Chair) at Baptist Care Australia’s national conference.

Martins AO (McCusker Alzheimer’s Research F and Rebecca Tomkinson (Baptistcare WA Chie

Perth recently played host to more than 120 delegates from the national Baptist community as they gathered for the Baptist Care Australia Annual Conference, themed ‘Daring Greatly’. As this year’s host, Baptistcare WA took the opportunity to showcase Perth and organised a highly successful two-day conference at the Hyatt Regency. Inspired by Brené Brown’s bestselling book Daring Greatly, presenters at the conference urged everyone in attendance to address the challenges they face as service providers and advocates for the disadvantaged people in the community with courage, humility and determination. Baptist Care Australia is the national peak body of Baptist aged care and community service organisations, all of which play a pivotal role in ensuring the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our communities are met. Each year the national conference attracts the leaders and decision-makers from these service providers and churches

around Australia, including CEOs, executive directors, board members and senior management. The conference is a much anticipated annual forum when all participants have the opportunity to hear from world-class speakers, participate in strategic groundbreaking discussions and policy development, and share industry expertise with their interstate counterparts. Baptistcare (WA), Baptist Care (SA), BaptistCare (NSW and ACT), Baptcare (VIC and TAS) and Carinity (QLD) and Baptist Care (NT) are among the largest providers of aged care, disability and mental health services in Australia and contribute substantially to the economic, physical and spiritual wellbeing of our communities. Through community initiatives and programs such as residential aged care, meals for socially vulnerable individuals and families, housing and training programs for refugees and disadvantaged youth, and

chaplaincy services, they provide support to 12,000 people and housing to over 6,000 older Australians annually. A series of pre-conference masterclasses were hosted the day before the official conference at Baptistcare’s Support Services Office in Belmont. Topics focused on ‘Keeping the Faith in FaithBased Care Organisations’ and ‘An Introduction to Collaborative Leadership’, which representatives from Perth’s churches and schools were invited to attend. The conference provided a showcase of international, national and local WA speakers who collectively and individually unpacked the three streams of Mission and Service Delivery; Economics and Philanthropy; and Advocacy and Humility. Delegates heard and engaged in stimulating discussions with high profile speakers from a range of sectors across the five keynote speeches, seven workshop sessions, three panel discussions, four short bite presentations and one debate. Attendees were fortunate to have Martin Laverty (Royal

Flying Doctor Service CEO) speak on the importance of mission and service in our regional communities; Frank Quinlan (Mental Health Australia CEO) posed the challenge of raising the bar for mental health care in Australia by investing in early intervention and prevention; and Professor David Gilchrist (Curtin University’s Not-forProfit Initiative Director) spoke on economics in the not-forprofit sector. Professor Ralph Martins AO (McCusker Alzheimer’s Research Foundation Director of Research and Chair in Ageing and Alzheimer’s Disease at Edith Cowan University) expressed the urgency of addressing the needs of people living with dementia. “If dementia were a world economy, it would be the 18th largest in the world. Spending on dementia will surpass any other health condition by the 2060s,” shared Professor Martins during his presentation. Professor Martins also praised the conference for the thoughtprovoking ideas discussed. International Economist and Senior Editor of financial website The Automatic Earth, Nicole Foss spoke about the global economic situation and the opportunities for us all in the future. Her predictions as a futurist were confronting but had the room engaged and in conversation after the presentation.

Stimulating workshops on social justice advocacy and faith were presented by Baptist World Aid’s Scott Higgins (Senior Consultant and Advisor) and Gershon Nimbalker (Advocacy Manager). “We need to create narratives of hope. Social justice activists can tell you everything that’s wrong with the system but we need to actually be able to paint a picture of what the alternative looks like,” said Scott during his address. “Organisations like Baptistcare have the expertise to identify these positive alternatives.” CEO and Founder of Dreamfit Foundation and 2007 WA Young Australian of the Year, Darren Lomman delighted everyone with stories about how his organisation has developed into helping people with disabilities make their lifestyle dreams come true through customised design solutions. Delegates reported that the conference dinner was a real highlight where guests were treated to spectacular views of Perth’s skyline at Fraser’s restaurant in Kings Park and encouraged by Phil Glendenning’s (Edmund Rice Centre Director and Refugee Council of Australia President) inspiring speech on the responsibility of faith-based organisations and churches to be advocates and speak out for those without a voice.


feature

9

Photo: Baptist Care Australia

DECEMBER 2015

ussion with Martin Laverty (Royal Flying Doctor Service CEO), Professor Ralph

Foundation Director of Research), Cam Ansell (Ansell Strategic Managing Director),

all the world-class speakers and keeping everyone to time,” said Rebecca. “It was a fabulous conference and I am so proud of the team involved. The conference attracted big name sponsors including Samsung, Baptist Financial Services, Baptist Insurance Services, HESTA, Arjo Huntleigh, Bunzl, Hewlett Packard, Mirus Australia, Logicalis, Vivir, Acetek and Austco. Samsung drew many visitors to their exhibition stand with their virtual reality headset and other technology innovations for aged care and people living with dementia. Baptistcare WA CEO and Baptist Care Australia Chair, Rev. Dr Lucy Morris said that everyone really enjoyed the event, and it is a credit to this organising committee. “The conference was a world-class event – professional, thoughtful, interesting and challenging, engaging and relational,” she said. “Baptistcare can be justly proud of their commitment, hard work, creativity, and organising skills. It was a great week.” Next year’s event will be hosted in Melbourne and all delegates agreed the Perth 2015 ‘Daring Greatly’ Baptist Care Australia Conference has raised the bar in terms of themes, speakers and sponsors.

2007 WA Young Australian of the Year, Darren Lomman has helped people with disabilities through the organisation he founded, Dreamfit Foundation.

Photo: Baptist Care Australia

Wrapping up the conference was a theological debate on the hypothetical question “Would you employ Jesus?”, facilitated by Karen Siggins of Lesmurdie Baptist Church and featuring Rev. Dr Lucy Morris (CEO of Baptistcare WA), Stephen Hall (Leader of Mission and Service, Baptistcare WA), Rev. Keith Jobberns (National Ministries Director, Australian Baptist Ministries), Rev. Olivia MacLean (General Manager Mission Development, Baptcare VIC & TAS), Don McPherson (Manager Chaplaincy and Mission Services, Queensland Baptists’ Community Service Organisation), and Allen Sibley (General Manager of People & Strategy, BaptistCare NSW & ACT). The intriguing topic provided a fitting end to the conference, especially when the question was flipped to consider whether Jesus would employ them to carry out his mission, providing an opportunity for everyone to reflect on the previous days’ discussions. Chief Operating Officer of Baptistcare WA, Rebecca Tomkinson was MC for the conference and made sure that everyone kept to time, skilfully facilitating all presenters and following with many insightful comments and questions throughout the conference. “The event was stimulating and inspiring, I enjoyed meeting

Photo: Baptist Care Australia

f Operating Officer).

Rev. Dr Lucy Morris (Baptistcare WA CEO; Baptist Care Australia Chair Australia) delivering the opening address at Baptist Care’s national conference.


10 news DECEMBER 2015

Seed harvest brings hope

Jill Birt

Unlike a monetary loan system which lends cash, Cents for Seeds lends women, who are some of the poorest in Uganda, 30 kilograms of seeds, supplies a handheld gardening tool and educational workshops with the goal of increasing resilience across the communities where the program runs and relieving poverty. Love Mercy Foundation, an Australian not for profit organisation registered with the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) began working in Uganda in 2009. Cents for Seeds was one of their first initiatives. Currently they are working with 11,000 women and have a goal to engage with 20,000 women by 2020. Love Mercy Foundation CEO Caitlin Barrett was studying for a degree in International Studies and Development when she met Australian Olympian Eloise

Wellings in 2009. Eloise was part of a group that launched Love Mercy Foundation after returning to Australia from visiting Ugandan Olympic runner Julius Achon’s home area where she saw the devastating hardship caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army. (See page 16 for more of Eloise’s story.) “Our goal is to assist the communities of Northern Uganda to improve health, food security and nurture resilience,” Caitlin said. Cents for Seeds is supported by individuals and groups across Australia who give $30 a month to the community changing initiative. Women are loaned 30 kilograms of seed – rice, sesame, peanuts or beans. Harvest is usually about 150 kilograms. They return 30 kilograms to the Cents for Seeds program and are free to store, sell or use the remainder.

Photo: Benjamin Bourke

Cents for Seeds, an agricultural loan program working with women in Northern Uganda, is bringing significant changes to village life.

Women carry home the seeds loaned through the Cents for Seeds program in Northern Uganda.

Sophia, the secretary of Cents for Seeds in Barr village, Northern Uganda reflected that life for women before the program started was very difficult as they were dependent on their husbands or the government for everything. “This program has changed our lives and relieved this

frustration as it give us women a role to play,” Sophia said. “Now we received the seeds, plant the harvest and then provide for the family. The seeds can be used as food for the family or sold to pay for school fees.” “The program is so important because it is helping to eradicate poverty and famine, helping with

school fees, improving our health and other small things,” she said. Love Mercy Foundation also sponsors a fun run in Sydney each year to raise funds. Caitlin said they would love to start a fun run in Perth to raise funds for the Foundation and ultimately their goal is to have a fun run in every Australian capital city.

international briefs Islamists are suspected of the murder of Samson Nfunyeku, a Christian evangelist who led many Muslims to Christ. His body was found close to his home in Kibuku District, Uganda after he had taken part in a churchorganised debate with Islamic scholars. The discussion had to be cut short after tempers flared. Islamists threatened Samson after a similar discussion four months ago. “They gave a warning that such debates were not good for Muslims,” one participant told Morning Star News. At his funeral, a church leader commended Samson for his courage and passion in sharing his faith with Muslims for more than 30 years.

Porn shutdown The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) reported that Hyatt Hotels recently joined the Marriott group and Hilton Hotels and Resorts in removing all on-demand pornography in guests’ rooms worldwide. “These moves indicate a significant cultural shift as more companies refuse to profit from, or facilitate, sexual exploitation of women in particular,” ACL’s spokesperson for the dignity of women, Wendy Francis said. “The corporate world is showing the way in this cultural shift on human dignity.” ACL believes the Federal Government should put

internet service provider filtering of pornography back on the table so that children can have access to a clean internet feed.

Mosul refugee Sister Hayat, 30, lived a sheltered, spiritual life in a Dominican monastery near Mosul, northern Iraq. She took care of the children in an orphanage and taught anthropology at the local university. In 2014, Islamic State fought their way into Mosul and the Dominicans were forced to flee. She expected to return soon, but the military strength of the Islamic State continued to grow. Most of the tens of thousands of Christians that fled the Mosul area in 2014 are still stuck in refugee camps in the area. Sister Hayat is now helping in a refugee centre in Erbil.

Thai prison visits Hope Behind Bars Inc, is a group of volunteers from Australia that support Thai prisoners through visits and writing letters to penfriends. In November the group visited Thailand’s top security prison where they held an inspirational church service bringing hope to the 99 men who attended. Thai pastors led the service and baptised five men during the visit. Western Australians Ellen Broerse and her daughter Nicole were part of the team again this year.

From Mozambique to Perth

Jill Birt

Global Interaction volunteers Scott and Bek Falconer and their children are on home assignment from Mozambique and are looking for invitations to visit small groups or churches in Perth to share their experiences, or even offers of coffee and conversation and play dates. In Mozambique their reputation in the town of Massangulo, in Niassa Province where they lived has changed over the last few months. Stories going around the town said they were ghosts who live on a mountain. More encouraging feedback they have been hearing from their Yawo neighbours and others is that ‘they are part of our community’ and ‘they care about us’. “We’re really encouraged by this change. Coming to the end of our first three year term we’re excited about the ground work that has been laid and what God will do in the future,” Bek said.

Photo: Global Interaction

Ugandan murder

Scott and Bek Falconer and their children recently returned to Perth after three years working with Global Interaction in Mozambique.

Over the past few months the Falconers have been meeting with various government directors about the greatest needs of the people in their area. An opportunity opened up for them to partner with the government and local community to expand a village school to accommodate the growing number of children attending. As well as being part of their local community, the Falconers

shared they have a strong desire to see the Yawo develop a deep knowledge of God’s hope and see the reality of His freedom in their lives. They would love to see a distinctive and vibrant faith community among the Yawo in the future. To contact the Falconers, phone Pam Gallagher on 6313 6300 at Global Interaction’s Perth office.


news 11 DECEMBER 2015

Reaching the Vadar people

Jill Birt

Based in Pune, four hours southeast of Mumbai, Dynanesh and his wife Joycee live in a one bedroom flat with their two teenage daughters, mentoring and training leaders and coordinating strategy to engage the Varda people across the city and country. The Vadar were known as the rock breakers of India, one of the lowest classes in Indian society. Today mechanisation has forced a change to their working lives and the Vadar now work in construction. Deeply entrenched in Hindu religiosity and despised or ignored by the majority of Indian culture, alcohol abuse is an issue for many Vadar people.

... it opened doors into other areas of life. “Even though I am a Vadar, we needed to know more about Vadar culture, so we spent the first three years learning about what the Vadar like and don’t like and how their communities work,” Dynanesh said. For Joycee there were some significant personal choices. “I

am not a Vadar and my family have been Christians for four generations – I lived with a lot of freedom,” Joycee said. After months of learning about the culture and listening to God’s Spirit, Joycee gave up eating beef. “I discovered that a Hindu Varda person would never even drink a cup of water in our home if someone in the home ate beef, so I gave it up,” Joycee said. “It wasn’t the easiest decision, but I sensed strongly that God was asking this of me.” Together Dynanesh and Joycee prayed from 9.30am to 12.30pm Monday to Friday for four years before they saw the first fruit on making disciples among the Varda. One of the first people to meet Jesus was a lady they prayed for who had a heart condition and was subsequently healed. Today there is still a small house church that meets in that home in Pune. “Another thing we learnt was to discover what the Varda believe about God,” Dynanesh said. “As we did this it opened doors into other areas of life.” “We saw alcohol was a big issue.” “The Varda are rock breakers with hearts of stone, but we’re seeing God change their hearts to be soft and open to him,” he said.

8,000 flee Aceh

Jill Birt

World Watch Monitor reported Christian churches in Indonesia’s Aceh province are being dismantled following more than a week of religious violence during mid-October. According to a local church leader Rev. Erde Berutu, “around 8,000” people fled the area crossing into the neighbouring province of North Sumatra. Muslim residents had demanded that unlicensed churches in the area be pulled down, citing a lack of building permits, but religious and political figures, including Christians, agreed at a meeting on 12 October to close the houses of worship.

Police started tearing down the churches with axes and sledgehammers on 19 October. Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population, although Aceh is the only province to implement Islamic sharia law. The national government had granted Aceh autonomy as part of a 2005 peace agreement that ended decades of separatist violence. The agreement was signed eight months after Aceh was devastated by the 2004 tsunami.

Photo: Jill Birt

In 1995 Dynanesh was the first person in India’s Vadar population to meet Jesus and have his life transformed. Today there are more than 5,000 Christians meeting in more than 100 simple churches among the five million Varda people.

Dynanesh and wife Joycee are giving their lives to reach the Vadar – the rock breakers of India, one of the lowest caste groups in the nation.


12 in conversation DECEMBER 2015

Fathering from the fast lane Professor Bruce Robinson AM is a lung specialist, Professor of Medicine, Director of The Fathering Project, Western Australian of the Year (2013/2014) and WA Australian of the Year (2014) and is recognised as a world leader in cancer immunology and asbestos diseases. He recently spoke at the City Bible Forum event, Life in Perspective, at Perth Town Hall, and The Advocate spoke with him following the event.

Tell us about the work of the Project. Our strategy is to go out to various groups, particularly schools, and we talk about how to be a good dad. In each school we form a ‘Champion’ Dads’ Group, which sustains the ideas. They run events, show videos and help other dads. This makes it effective and sustainable. We also do this in workplaces and community groups. In addition, we have tips on our website and a weekly email that goes out to dads, and we have lots of other resources: we have videos and a series of books. That is basically the strategy and it seems to be working pretty well. There are lots of before and after stories of men whose lives have been transformed. And, before and after stories told by the mother who has seen the kid’s father transformed by having been involved in The Fathering Project, and they love it. Please give some examples of how The Fathering Project has impacted people’s lives. I’ll just pick one example; a guy came up to me after one of my seminars – a big guy, Aussie bloke, with his ‘tradie’ shirt on and he said, “look, thanks very much for your seminar, I came a year ago, that was pretty good so I thought I’d come this time as well.” And he shuffled around on his feet and he said, “actually, to be honest, your seminar a year

ago completely transformed my life. I used to be a workaholic, I’d come home, spend an hour in the office, never engage with the kids, but some of the things that your Project told me to do, I’ve been doing them. Now I come home and I play with the kids, and I take them with me on the weekends when I go to Bunnings, I didn’t bother with it before,” he said. “And, what used to happen, when the car got into the driveway at night the kids would be watching TV and wouldn’t pay any attention to me and I’d just walk past and go into my office. Now when the kids hear the sound of the engine and the car in the driveway, they run out and throw their arms around me.” This is quite poignant I think. It is beautiful to hear. What are you working on at the moment and what are your aspirations for the future of The Fathering Project? The Fathering Project has been very successful in WA and our aspirations for the future are quite simple – we want to be in every school in Australia with a ‘Champion’ Dads’ Group and lots of resources. If we do that, then kids will have much better input from fathers and father figures and that will markedly influence the wellbeing of our children into the future, their risks with things like substance abuse, crime, depression, suicide, bad behaviour – all those things. What do you think has been your greatest contribution to God’s Kingdom so far? I don’t know if I’ve made a great contribution, but I think I’ve been someone who has tried to be a good Dad himself and I think that is important. I hope my kids see my life as a Christian as a life that is attractive to them and hasn’t put them off Christianity – it seems to be the case. I think as parents you can make kids into ‘moths’ and ‘cockroaches’. Moths are attracted to the light and the cockroaches run away from it. I hope we have made our kids into ‘moths’. I think The Fathering Project has been a great community service. In my role as a doctor, I do a lot of teaching and I try to make medical students think

Photo: University of Western Australia

You co-established The Fathering Project. What prompted you to establish this organisation? Firstly, I wrote a book about busy dads [Fathering from the Fast Lane], which arose from my experience talking with men who were dying because I had to break bad news to them in my role as a lung doctor. They often told me that they regretted not spending more time with their kids, so I wrote a book to help dads in the early stages of being a dad to work out how you can get around a busy life and spend time with your kids. It turned into a best seller so we set up The Fathering Project to try to multiply that around the country so we could help all dads be better dads.

about being compassionate and kind to patients. I’ve tried to speak to groups of people, like last night [City Bible Forum event], about science and suffering and help people realise that no matter what people say out there, neither science nor human suffering is an argument against Christianity – at least, not a strong argument. What are the biggest challenges in your Christian walk? I get pretty worn out sometimes, doing all the things that I do. I do struggle, at times, to find the right ‘nest’ – be it a home group or church because as an academic and a scientist I’m used to thinking originally and authentically; it is hard to be exposed to too much dogma. I need to be around thinking people and I’m not being critical of different Christian environments, but it’s sometimes hard to be in environments that are nurturing in that way. It is hard to find environments that are appropriate for that sort of brain configuration. As a medical professional, how does your Christian faith impact your career? I think that it has meant that at every stage, with every

Professor Bruce Robinson AM has a vision for every school in Australia to have a ‘Champion’ Dads’ Group.

decision that I’ve made, I’ve tried to understand what it is what God might want from me. So, for example, when I went to do a doctorate in the United States, not everybody agreed it was a good thing to do, but I did it because I had a sense that God wanted me to do it. And then, later on there was a position that became available that lots of people told me I should apply for – a particular leadership position. But, I had a strong sense that I should not. My faith has meant that I probably ‘zigged’ when other people thought that I should ‘zag’. But also, it has meant I have a different view of people. I don’t do medicine for money, or power, or fame. I do it because I try to find out what the right thing to do is, and get on and do that. In conclusion, is there anything you would like to add? I was asked the question last night [City Bible Forum event], which I think is a good one, “Why am I still a Christian? Is there anything in medicine enough to make me want to dump Christianity?” And, it

is the ‘bit mad’ answer. I am a Christian because I’m a ‘bit mad’. B – I – T: Because it Is True. At least it is a reasonable explanation for things, but equally importantly, it Makes A Difference. There is no doubt that being a Christian makes a difference. Being a genuine Christian makes a difference to parenting. It makes a difference to marriage relationships. It makes a difference to friendship and work and all sorts of things. It’s not necessarily where you are, it is where you start from. So, it makes a difference in any individual’s life. People who know what someone was like before [becoming a Christian] can see the difference. Just being able to live in grace and understanding how to be a parent and a partner, these are deep and profound things that you don’t have to be a Christian for, but Christianity puts you way ahead. For more information, visit www.thefatheringproject.org


leadership 13 DECEMBER 2015

Want a better holiday? Follow my Dad’s advice

John C Maxwell

In the lead-up to Christmas, I suspect that you might be spending some time with family. I’ll be spending a lot of time with my wife, our kids and grandkids in the days before Christmas. I consider myself incredibly blessed to have a family where we unconditionally love each other, but I recognise that not everyone experiences the same blessing. For many people, the holidays can be extra stressful because of the complicated relationships that come together over Christmas dinner. People are different, even in families that love each other, and conflict can arise over even the smallest things. There’s lots of great advice out there about handling relational conflict over the holidays – from setting healthy boundaries to sharing feelings kindly but honestly. I’d like to share one behaviour that my Dad modelled in my family, and that I’ve done my best to demonstrate in all my relationships ever since. It’s made the difference in my friendships, my marriage, and my parenting. My dad advised to: Always travel the high road. In every interaction, there are three roads that we can take: 1. The low road, where I’m out to get you, 2. The middle road, where I’ll basically treat you as you treat me, and

3. The high road, where I’ll treat you well regardless of how you treat me. When I was younger, I watched my Dad consistently treat people well, no matter what. Often that meant he treated them much better than they treated him. As a young person, I sometimes wished that he would exercise his rights more. But he didn’t. Instead, he consistently travelled the high road in every relationship. He gave way. He let things go. He forgave. He loved people anyway. I didn’t understand how valuable that habit modelled by Dad was as a young person, but now I see the wisdom. When you treat people better than what they deserve, you don’t carry emotional baggage. Taking the high road allows you to let go and move on. It involves acceptance and forgiveness, and loving someone enough to treat them better than they might deserve. A lot of people can’t progress because they’re loaded with emotional baggage. They carry grudges and disappointments and hurts. Everyday they’ve got to travel with that luggage, but they can’t travel far due to the burden.

When you take the high road, you don’t have baggage, because you’ve chosen to let go of it. There were times when I put up with poor treatment. That’s okay. I carry no grudges, have no scores to even. I have found that taking the high road is worth it. I’ve learned that when you hold a grudge, it’s actually holding you down. While you’re holding that grudge, the person you’re holding it against could be out having a good time. They might be moving on, but you’re not. Taking the high road allows you to move on, even when others haven’t. Over Christmas, you’ll probably be interacting with

people you love, but who are very different from you. Conflict will come up. Old wounds may get ‘poked’. In those moments, that’s when you have a choice: Which of the three roads will you take? Do you respond to negative comments in kind, or do you choose to be kind? I can tell you that my Dad would tell you that taking the high road is worth it. It’s allowed him to ‘travel light’ and go a lot farther in creating great relationships than many of us will ever dream of. Take the high road with the people around you, and you’ll have a lighter journey. It’s just might help you

experience the best holiday you’ve ever had. Copyright 2015 The John Maxwell Company. Articles accessed www.johnmaxwell. com may not be reprinted or reproduced without written permission from The John Maxwell Company, except for brief quotations in critical reviews or articles.

Esther Murray

It’s that time again – and I have to admit that at times it has filled me with dread. The pretty lights are twinkling, the Christmas trees are blinking. The jolly, dressed-up Santas are spreading Christmas cheer. We Three Kings and Silent Night fill the parks, while ‘merry melodies’ tell tales of elves and presents, sleighs and snow, and of course ‘Rudolph with his nose so bright’. Occasionally, among the commotion, we find a picture of serenity: Mary, Joseph and their baby sitting quietly, watching the crowds file past. Those crowds search shelves and fill trolleys from stores overflowing with hams, puddings, candy canes, tinsel and toys. The credit cards are ‘maxing’,

the party catering is in full swing, and the kids are dreaming of bigger and better ‘things’. This is Christmas – the ‘silly’ season. It’s supposed to be an exciting time – a delight for the senses – but over the past few years it has not really been a season I have looked forward to. I have resented the copious amounts of money poured into ‘stuff’ we don’t really need, and the narrative about Santa (‘He knows if you’ve been bad or good ...’) that is so opposite to what Jesus offers in His gift of grace. Perhaps for some, the disappointment of not being able to meet cultural or family

expectations may overwhelm any joy they might feel. I don’t enjoy being a ‘downer’, but neither do I desire getting swept up in the craziness. Rather, I have been challenged of late to focus more intentionally on how my family ‘do Christmas’ and make it a season to look forward to. Most significantly, I have been challenged by the words of Moses about the legacy I am leaving. After faithfully sharing God’s commands and promises with the Israelites, he said, ‘These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.’ [Deuteronomy 6: 6-7] How well am I impressing God’s word, wisdom and truth on

the hearts of my own children, both in my words and my actions? For this Christmas season, I am praying for God’s wisdom, strength and courage to ensure my family stays deeply focused on the wonderful gift of Jesus – not just the baby born, but the Son of God who came to give us life. As we reflect on the love Jesus poured out on us, I desire to find creative ways (that don’t buy into the consumer frenzy) to see beyond ourselves and make it a priority to reach out to those around us. Perhaps – in a practical outpouring of love – our family, neighbours and world will see more clearly the message of Jesus amidst the other cultural distractions. I hope that this Christmas can be a joy and a delight as we celebrate Jesus – the real ‘reason for the season’.

Photo Credit: Lance Chicote

The reason for the season

Esther Murray writes for the online network Kin Women. She and husband Clive have three young daughters and worship at Como Baptist Church.


14 news DECEMBER 2015

Photo credit: Tyler Vawser

’Tis the season for community

The Pines Christmas Festival is one of many Christmas carol concerts around Perth.

98five Music Director Chela Williams

As another year prepares to close, most local churches are busily arranging events during the Christmas season. A standout event on the calendar is undoubtedly the Christmas carol concert with the sentimental singalong gatherings providing the local church an unapologetic chance to share the heart of Christmas. True North Church Carols in the Park’s vocal director Ryan Clune fervently shares there is no Christmas without Christ. “Anyone can go [to] a carols event and sing songs, but if you don’t hear about why those songs even exist, then how is

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Terry Hicks Andrew Sculthorpe Maclain Bruce Vanessa Klomp Hayley Emmett Catherine Bartlett Sally Phu Sally Phu 5th of each month

it any different from going to a concert?,” Ryan said. It’s for this reason many local churches place great importance and pour voluminous resources towards these events. Event coordinator of the Pines Christmas Festival Tam

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Jones explains the events are opportunities to create a bridge between the local church and the community. “What we have loved seeing in the past is that families come down with their picnic blankets or chairs and just relax

in the open space, sharing a meal together while the children happily run around in anticipation for Christmas Day,” Tam said. Local governments and community organisations also enthusiastically partner with their local church to provide Christmas carols for the public. Stirk Park Carols team leader Karen Siggins said her team is a very ecumenical group made up of pastors and others from various local churches. “Not only do local churches get involved but so do local schools and other community groups,” Karen said.

“This year the Kalamunda Youth Swing Band will provide the music and accompany the schools’ choir, [the] SES helps with parking and safety, local community radio station sends the event to air live and replays it on Christmas morning and the Shire supports it as well, both financially and with volunteers and official presence on the night.” To find a local carols event near you, visit www.98five.com/diary

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intermission 15 DECEMBER 2015

Get festive and find Christmas words listed below in the diagram. The words appear horizontally, vertically, diagonally and backward.

Angel Bethlehem Children Christmas Donkey Egypt Escape Happy John Joseph

Z O L H R M D D O

P X M J N E J X O H G

S E O L N I F C M A M Y

D H Y L E K O V H P N R

T E I J R G E Y R Z Q B

S L E O D Y N Y I S Y

H C U H L H L D S A S M O

N P A I O T B N I D V N T T

E H J P R F T E A X H X I B M

K K E O I E N B T I C D C O A

Y E S R S P S T A R M K S B

Judea Mary Men Messiah Presents Stable Star Straw Wise

Q E M E H E L H T E B E M

P Y N D D P I T S P P

Y H T T K F U I S S Q N

P B Z I S E W M A T I W

P I R X G C E A E R A G

1. EDRHO

9. OHSEPJ

2. EEPRSHHD

10. RMAY

3. RERDAMI

11. TSRA

4. STELBA

12. IMENESW

5. EMNGRA

13. NIGK

6. JUESS

14. FLOCSK

7. ISSARTHCM

15. LENAG

8. TEPYG

Answers will be published in next month’s issue of The Advocate.

A H N Q Q T H P Y

Answers to the Feeding the Five Thousand crossword in the November 2015 issue. 1 3

2

G A

N D

R E

L

R R D Y A U H W J D G

E 4

I 5

F

6

A

I 7

P

A S

R 8 9

P

H

F I V E

S

O V

Y

L

L O N E

V

E

E

E

S R

H

O L

I

P H E

10

B

11

T W O Y

read

listen

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus

Simplify

Open Heaven / River Wild

Nabeel Qureshi An amazing biography of a man earnestly seeking the true God, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus takes you on a personal journey through the eyes of a devout Muslim. Whilst growing up in the west, Nabeel Qureshi questions his own faith, searching for answers and asking God to reveal Himself. Nabeel tells his story with knowledge and insight for an engaging and challenging journey into Christianity. He shares insight into living in a Muslim home and then the heart-wrenching decision made from discovering the truth of Jesus. Nabeel’s testimony helps Christians understand how to reach out and talk with Muslims through his own experience and challenges us about God’s heart for everyone.

Bill Hybels Simplify is highly recommended and a great book for anyone who feels overwhelmed, overworked, restless, or exhausted. Written by Bill Hybels, author and pastor, Simplify is a book to help you clean out your inner world to live the fulfilled life God intended you to live. It aims to reveal what is most important in your life with many examples of what a fulfilled life looks like and how you can make it a reality. With practical steps, Bill Hybels slowly works through each area of your life, helping you understand what to focus on, what may need to change and how to go about the change in a very encouraging way. This book is for anyone who wants to move from not just a simplified life but to a satisfied life with God.

Hillsong From the time Hillsong released ‘O Praise The Name (Anástasis)’ but was yet to make an album I waited in anticipation, a triumphant song and a great opener to this new album, Open Heaven/River Wild. Let heaven wash over you like a river with the worship from this album. But even more, let it inspire you to let the river of God’s love flow out of your life and into your world to bring life to all around us and to light the way to the Kingdom. This is what we are called to do and this is what Hillsong are doing through their music. Available on CD or DVD and in a deluxe version with both, you can also get the music book to take it into your church or just enter deeper into the experience.

Reviews by Koorong Mount Lawley Assistant Manager Dorothy Waddingham

Website: www.koorong.com Address: 434 Lord Street, Mount Lawley Phone: 08 9427 9777

T

W

This voucher entitles you to 15% off your next purchase in store at Mount Lawley The Advocate – December 2015


16 news DECEMBER 2015

Photo: Getty Images

Lane change for Olympian

Eloise Wellings runs in the 5000m race at the International Association of Athletics Federations World Championships in Beijing in August this year.

Jill Birt

Running has been a passion for most of Eloise’s life. She has represented Australia at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the 5,000m and 10,000m events, placed fourth in the 5,000m at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games in 2006 and competed in the 5,000m (sixth) and 10,000m (fifth) at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010. Alongside these highlights there have been agonising seasons of injury. Eloise has suffered 11 stress fractures during her running career. After qualifying for the Sydney 2000 Olympics as a 16 year old school girl, Eloise’s hopes were dashed when a stress fracture sidelined her from the event. She isolated herself to cope with her deep disappointment, but a new friend at school pressed in and invited Eloise to church. That was the beginning of the transformation of her life and worldview.

“My friend Lisa never gave up on me and I started to learn about grace and to love myself,” Eloise said. “I felt I had lost my identity when I couldn’t run.” Eloise missed the Athens 2004 Olympics and suffered another stress fracture to miss the Beijing 2008 Olympics. “Missing Beijing was devastating but while I was at a rehabilitation centre in Portland, Oregon, I met Julius Achon, from Uganda.” Julius had been a child soldier in the Lord’s Resistance Army before returning to his village. He started to run and proved to be very good, becoming a national champion and later a Ugandan Olympian. He was part of the Ugandan Olympic track team and carried the Ugandan flag at the Sydney Olympics. Hearing of the plight of his war torn village and Julius’s own traumatic story inspired Eloise. She visited Uganda in 2009 and

Photo: Jill Birt

Australian long distance runner and Love Mercy Foundation co-founder Eloise Wellings has qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 5,000m event. She expects to also qualify for the 10,000m event in early December.

Eloise Wellings uses running to assist her passion, Love Mercy Foundation.

then was instrumental in starting the Love Mercy Foundation, a group set up to support the people of the area as they returned to their village following years in internally displaced people camps. During the London Olympics she wrote Love Mercy Foundation on the palm of her hand and raised it to the TV camera filming her as she was introduced to the crowd and television audience. The image went global and interest in Love Mercy Foundation spiked.

Love Mercy Foundation has become a personal passion for Eloise. She visits Uganda each year and uses her running in charity events to raise awareness and funds for the Foundation. “By running I’m not just realising a childhood dream anymore, but this is for Uganda, to help Julius and his community,” she said. Her disciplined life impacts far more than the physicality of being a runner.

“It’s a daily decision to remain close to God.” “I have to do the work to remain at the top of my running, but I have to let it go. Not to control it all. I have to give it all to the Lord.” During a visit to Perth to promote Love Mercy Foundation in October, Eloise ran with the BT Run Club in South Perth. For more information, visit www.lovemercyfoundation.org

The Advocate December 2015  

The Advocate December 2015

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