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THE NEWS MAGAZINE FOR SYDNEY ANGLICANS
Joy as SRE returns TEACHERS ASK FOR PRAYER AS THEY RECONNECT WITH STUDENTS
Do some of our church services put people off ? T h e p a n d e m i c o f p o r n u s e • P r a y f o r Ye a r 1 2
FROM SYDNEY TO THE WORLD
The next generation of labourers for the harvest.
SATURDAY 15 AUGUST
Scripture teachers excited to return Back to class: Primary SRE teacher Esther Smith with two students.
Lynne Gall (left) answers my call with excitement in her voice. “I’ve just been preparing my Scripture lessons for next week,” she tells me. After 18 years of teaching Scripture at Beverly Hills and Kingsgrove primary schools, taking a term off due to the virus has been disappointing. “We’ve missed those lessons, but I understand why we are doing it,” says Miss Gall, who co-ordinates several Scripture classes for the two schools. “Of course, we have missed the children. We miss their questions and their interest in the lessons and seeing the development of their understanding of the faith.”
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volume 26 number 7
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Once schools transitioned to online learning at the end of March, Special Religious Education classes were put on hold. Youthworks developed a clear set of guidelines for teachers and helpers to assist in the safe return to SRE lessons in Term 3, outlining what would be required for distancing and hygiene. In a video on the Youthworks website, the organisation’s primary school SRE advisor, Kate Haggar, advised, “When we go back things will look different… We want SRE to return as smoothly and safely for everyone as possible”. Matt Shannon (right), the families’ pastor and Scripture co-ordinator for Minchinbury parish, believes the months of disruption to classes will have been tough for some students. “Kids and young people, in my experience, thrive on consistency,” he says. “The fact that we haven’t been able to be there every week means there’s been a lack of consistency. We will be trying to rebuild the relationships with students, and I’m looking forward to that challenge. Pray that the children find their feet quickly and that they feel comfortable to ask questions and discover what’s in the Bible.” Mr Shannon’s team of teachers also longed to see the students and serve them and their families during the time away. “We want to... do our best to care for everyone in the school – the families, the staff and the kids themselves,” he says. “We obviously value spiritual health as SRE teachers, and physical health, so we want to follow the heart of the restrictions and love the people in the school.” During the period Scripture wasn’t able to run, Miss Gall and her team sought to use the time
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Raring to go: Life Anglican Quakers Hill children’s minister and SRE teacher Adam Jolliffe with an SRE student.
effectively. “My Scripture teachers said, ‘Well, we can meet at this time for prayer using Zoom!’,” she says. “Every week we have prayed for Scripture at the time of our Scripture class.” With physical classes now possible, Miss Gall asks that people would pray for SRE and the safety of everyone involved. “Pray that the children will be keen to pick up and run with Scripture once again, and that their attitudes will be positive. And pray that the Holy Spirit will work through God’s word as we teach. That’s the most important thing.”
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New ministry resource for Aboriginal inmates
Making cultural connections: Artwork from Mark 4 in the Indigenous edition of The Prisoners’ Journey.
Prison Fellowship Australia has launched a new resource specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who find themselves in jail. With more than 25 per cent of the prison population made up of Indigenous inmates, the team at Prison Fellowship Australia wanted to offer a course that introduced Jesus in a way that connected culturally. The Prisoner’s Journey: Aboriginal Edition is a mixture of video testimonies and stories from the gospel of Mark, highlighting who Jesus is and how following him could benefit lives. A team of various international organisations, Aboriginal elders and Aboriginal Christians worked with Prison Fellowship Australia for 12 months to produce the course, contextualising The Prisoner’s Journey for Aboriginal hearers and viewers. The team also collaborated with a Sydneybased artist, who grew up in an Aboriginal community, to create artworks that explore the key moments of Jesus’ life. “We decided to put a major effort into an Indigenous edition of The Prisoner’s Journey because some regions have a high Indigenous inmate population,” says Peter Abood, the manager of Prison Fellowship Australia for NSW and the ACT. “We wanted to make [the gospel of Mark] as real and relevant to them as possible.” SouthernCross
Faith in art for those behind bars: Mark 5 (left); and Mark 6 (right). The current prison statistics are sobering. “Over 25 per cent of the prison population is made up of Indigenous inmates, yet they make up only three per cent of the nation’s population,” Mr Abood says. “If we don’t do something about it, we’re only going to see these numbers escalate and grow.” Indigenous youth are also 25 times more likely to end up incarcerated compared to youth of other nationalities. Prison Fellowship Australia is excited to roll out the course once the pandemic is over, and hopes to see it utilised in prisons across several states. “As soon as we can go back into the prisons we hope we can launch this,” Mr Abood says. “We need to pray for the right volunteers to run the courses, particularly if they have a good understanding of Indigenous culture, or are Indigenous themselves.”
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Glenn Davies, Archbishop The Professional Standards Unit receives and deals with complaints of child abuse or sexual misconduct by members of the clergy and church workers.
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A Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme is available to provide counselling and other support to victims of misconduct or abuse. The Safe Ministry Board formulates and monitors policy and practice and advises on child protection and safe ministry for the Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney.
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Synod off, double for 2021 COVID-19 FORCES POSTPONEMENT OF ANNUAL SYNOD – AND MORE CHANGES
Archbishop Glenn Davies, after consultation with the Standing Committee, has decided not to call Synod in October. Synod is in effect the parliament of the Diocese, with more than 600 members – most of whom are lay and clergy representatives called together from each parish. A special Synod in August to elect the next Archbishop had already been cancelled and Archbishop Davies, originally due to retire in July, will now stay on until next March. “Ordinarily, the first session of the 52nd Synod would have been held in the second and third weeks of October this year,” Dr Davies wrote to Synod members. “However, COVID-19 has made many disruptions to our lives. “The Government’s restrictions on gathering, under the current Public Health Order, make it not feasible for me to summon the Synod in the next couple of weeks. In consultation with the Standing Committee, I have therefore decided not to summon the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod in October 2020.” Diocesan secretary Daniel Glynn reported to the Standing Committee, which meets when Synod is not in session, that extensive research had failed to find a suitable way of holding the Synod under current health restrictions. Dr Davies will consider calling a one-day session of Synod later in the year, possibly on a Saturday, but this will depend upon the public health restrictions at the time. If such a session does not eventuate in 2020, the Archbishop will call a double meeting early in 2021 with the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod in April, prior to a special session of Synod to elect a new Archbishop. “Since my retirement as Archbishop will now take place in March next year, we have set aside the week beginning April 19, 2021 for a special session of the 52nd Synod for the purpose of electing an Archbishop,” he said. “If it is not feasible to hold the first day of the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod before that week, then Monday, April 19 will become the first day of the first session presided over by Bishop Hayward, as the Administrator. The Election Synod will then be conducted over TuesdayFriday, April 20-23.” Dr Davies said the good governance of the Diocese is effectively being undertaken by the Standing Committee, alongside the Archbishop, regional bishops and archdeacons. “However,” he added, “in order that our various boards and councils may continue to operate effectively, the Standing Committee has recommended to me that October 12 be deemed as the first day of the first ordinary session of the 52nd Synod for the purposes of elections. “These are challenging days for all of us, when our usual routines are disrupted… I pray that we shall all play our part with grace and generosity, as we seek to honour our Government, in order to honour the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 13:1-2).” SouthernCross
Job hope amid COVID crisis Skilled and serving: Daniel and Jeanie Ough are helping people find jobs.
In a labour market downturn that’s seen almost a million Australians lose their jobs since March, it’d be crazy to imagine anyone could get a new job in this environment. But that’s not the experience of Daniel and Jeanie Ough – in fact, they’re seeing just the opposite. The couple, who attend church at Jannali Anglican, ran a career-coaching business in Dubai for seven years and have been based in Sydney for almost a decade. Since 2013 they have been volunteers – coaching individuals and teams in 23 countries at Bible schools, churches and through Christian organisations such as SIM, the Church Missionary Society and Wycliffe. With the onset of the pandemic the Oughs could no longer travel to coach others, so they sat down to consider how they could help the local community during the crisis. Within two weeks they had set up a website (www.jobsearchhelp4u.com) through which they’re now coaching about 40 people. Perhaps most importantly for those without work – and therefore short of funds – the pair are offering their expertise for free, and mostly online. “Some people lose a job and they handle it well,” Mr Ough says. “The majority don’t – they’re devastated – and I think the good thing is that we can offer them somebody who can walk alongside them until they get their next job. We want to get the news out because this is a service that we just enjoy doing. We’re giving people hope but they’re taking the opportunity to find the next job.” SouthernCross
One of their clients, Peter Ransom (right), was made redundant from his telecommunications job at Vodafone in November, but when he started looking for work after the Christmas slow period, he “got absolutely nowhere”. Then COVID hit and made everything harder. He applied for close to 40 jobs without a single interview. “The industry I’m in was supposed to be picking up with the rollout of 5G… there were supposed to be loads of jobs, but it wasn’t happening,” Mr Ransom says. “The [career coach] Vodafone put me on to said, ‘Your resumé is fine, it’s all great. No worries’ – but it obviously wasn’t!” He heard about the Oughs from his minister at Helensburgh and contacted them straight away. “I went to a few online seminars that they ran – things like getting your resumé up to date, networking, interview skills and a career readiness workshop.” The couple also spent time with him one-to-one, going through his resumé and helping him revise it. Mr Ough says the reason people don’t get a job interview is because their CV should be a marketing flyer but, instead, it’s a life story. “Several clients in the past months have said, ‘My CV’s not working’. Sometimes it’s hard to have to say to them, ‘You may feel it’s good but nobody’s reading it’. “When companies and organisations review CVs to decide which candidates to invite to an interview, typically the CV is only looked at for about 20 seconds, and 70 per cent are not turned to the second page. We feel that’s a very, very important point. If it’s not being read, what chance do you have of being called in for an interview?” Adds Mr Ransom: “The big thing [the Oughs] like to focus on is making it about your achievements, not just putting in a big job description. What did you actually achieve in that job? My resumé got shorter, and it just got much easier to read. “I could see after I revised it that anybody who picked it up, even if they don’t get past the first page like Daniel says, at least if they get through the first few paragraphs they’ll see some achievements – what you’ve actually done. And it makes them want to read more, I guess.” But the proof is in the pudding. Mr Ransom sent out his new resumé to two companies and heard promptly back from one about an interview. The day after the interview they offered him a job – a more senior role than the one he’d applied for. “I’d mentally prepared to do this other job and they said, ‘You can have that if you want, but we’d rather you were team leader!’” he says with a laugh. Adds Mr Ough: “Peter told us, ‘It’s the first time I’ve ever been promoted before I got a job!’ But that doesn’t surprise me because he’s a person that learns, he embraces it and gets on with it – and he’s reaped his own success by what he’s done.” Mr Ransom appreciates that the Oughs were not only helpful but honest. He had to make changes, but it meant his experience and capacities became clear to potential employers. “When you look for a job for a long time everybody’s got an opinion,” he says. “Everybody will tell you, ‘This is the right way to do it’ or ‘That’s the right way to do it’. It’s hard listening to all those voices. Knowing that Daniel and Jeanie were coming from that Christian background and their motivation was to help people – not any other agenda – made it easy to trust them.” SouthernCross
Packer praised as “Valiant-for-Truth”
A “champion of the faith”: Dr Jim Packer. photo: Maarten Stolk/Erdee Media Groep Apeldoorn
Tributes are being paid to one of the foremost evangelical thinkers and writers of the 20th century, theologian and author J.I. Packer, who died last month at the age of 93. Dr Packer, who passed away just five days short of his 94th birthday, ranks alongside John Stott as a giant of Anglican evangelicalism. Packer wrote dozens of books, and was known to millions of Christians around the world for his popular classic, Knowing God, published in the 1970s. But he was already an established scholar of note thanks to earlier works from the 1950s and ’60s: Fundamentalism and the Word of God and Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. James Innell Packer was an Englishman by birth and, after 35 years of ministry there, moved to Canada in the late 1970s to teach at Regent College in Vancouver. He provided firm leadership in the face of the liberal collapse of the Anglican Church in Canada when the congregation at which he was honorary assistant minister, St John’s, Shaughnessy, led an exodus of orthodox Christians out of the Diocese of New Westminster. The parish eventually aligned with the newly formed Anglican Church of North America, in which he was made Theologian Emeritus. Dr Packer was also made an honorary Canon of Sydney’s St Andrew’s Cathedral in 2008. SouthernCross
“We have lost a great champion of the faith in the death of Dr Jim Packer,” Archbishop Glenn Davies said in a statement after the news was announced. “Like John Bunyan’s Mr Valiant-for-Truth, he stood for the authority of the Scriptures against the erosion of trust in God’s word and has been a model for evangelicals around the world – not only Anglicans but from all Christian denominations. “We were honoured to have him as a Canon of St Andrew’s Cathedral as he visited Australia on many occasions. “Because he was such a prolific writer, Christians in future generations will benefit from his scholarship, evangelical fervour and heart for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. With his widow Kit, all Anglicans will be saddened by his death but we rejoice in the Saviour whom he proclaimed and in whose presence he now lives forever. We thank God for giving us the gift of Jim Packer.” The Rev Dr Mark Thompson, principal of Moore Theological College, wrote in a tribute that Dr Packer ranked alongside Stott and Dr Billy Graham in his influence. “With the brilliant mind with which God endowed him, he was able to answer the dominant liberalism of the mid- and late 20th century and help revive classic reformed theology in the life of the church,” Dr Thompson said. “Jim Packer’s writing was always clear, insightful, generous towards those with whom he disagreed, but uncompromising in its commitment to the truth given to us in the words of Scripture. “He was an encourager of others. The number of books he endorsed is almost legendary. He travelled around the world teaching the Bible and introducing people to his beloved Puritans. He loved the Puritans because they were determined to bring theology and life together. The knowledge of God, they knew, is not an abstract discipline – the kind of knowledge that puffs up. The knowledge of God is profoundly relational and practical. It shapes the way we live. “Others will be able to speak with greater authority about Jim Packer the man,” Dr Thompson added. “My personal encounters with him were fleeting. Every moment I spent with him was encouraging and thought-provoking. He was generous in person just as he had always been in his writing. He did not seem to be aware of the scope of his influence and the enormous help he had been to so many.” Biographer Leland Ryken, who announced Dr Packer’s death in Christianity Today magazine, said the theologian’s formal ministry ended in 2016 when macular degeneration left him unable to read, travel, or do any public speaking.
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Senior students face the most challenging Year 12 ever
“More pressure”: Jemma Woldhuis has found the COVID changes a challenge.
For Year 12 students, their final year of school has been a wild ride – and not for the usual reasons. Many have been unable to access resources and the school facilities they need for their studies, firstly due to bushfires and then COVID restrictions. “Some people who needed equipment had to put their experiments on hold,” says Jemma Woldhuis, a Year 12 student who attends St Matt’s, West Pymble. “It’s definitely put more pressure on, especially before [HSC] Trials.” The biggest challenge has been adjusting to changes. “We had systems set up at home, and then SouthernCross
when we just got into the swing of that, we had to come back to school,” she says. “It’s been hard to keep up with the work and get that deeper knowledge. Our school did incredibly well to prepare us for when we were home, but I can imagine a lot of people would have extreme difficulty just getting schoolwork finished. “I’ve learned so much about how much I value knowing that God is in control,” she adds. “When I felt confused or angry at being home or struggling with my school work, I would remember that there is a plan much bigger than my own and that’s God’s plan. It’s bigger, and better, and that’s super-comforting.” For Harrison Baker, the arrival of COVID meant he couldn’t attend church or youth group at St Luke’s, Liverpool, or serve on the music team, or practise his jiu jitsu: everything else outside school that occupied his time got taken away. “School became much bigger in my life as a result,” he says. “One of the biggest struggles during lockdown was the tension between school and my relationship with God – trying to ensure that I wasn’t idolising school, which can be a bit difficult with not much else going on!” Mr Baker has found it more of an effort to put God first but finds getting into the word points him in the right direction, as it reminds him “that school is so insignificant compared to eternity”. He and his Christian friends in Year 12 are “spurring each other on to work hard for the Lord, not for ourselves or our glory but because he’s given us the ability to work and the resources to work with”. UNEXPECTED AND DIFFICULT Preeti Jadav has found her experience of Year 12 nothing like she expected it to be. “I remember, before I started Year 12, going to Bible study and asking people to pray that I would still be able to prioritise God in my life instead of my HSC,” she says. “I didn’t think that God would make it this hard!” On top of the stress of online learning, which Miss Jadav describes as “the worst”, her youngest brother was born prematurely and is in a neonatal intensive care unit, so she helps her family while her mother is needed at hospital. She also appreciated the extra time lockdown gave her with her family, as her daily school commute involves two buses and takes an hour each way. Miss Jadav, who attends church at Rosemeadow, finds comfort in Scripture. “My favourite verse is Philippians 4:6,” she says. “I’m already a generally anxious person, and I overthink any situation. God is willing to listen to you even though you’re so sinful, and that you’ve turned away from him all your life. He still wants to help you and he is still in control.” Paul Burns recognises that, for some, the past year has been unusually difficult – even without the pandemic. As the director of teaching and learning for Wollondilly Anglican College, Mr Burns has seen students bearing the burdens of drought, bushfires and floods, long before Coronavirus was a concern. “This has been very unsettling for [students],” he says. “A real praise point has been their resilience through this time, We’re proud of the cohort and how they’ve come together. But they’ve missed significant time at the college, which means they were unable to access resources and are playing catch-up.” Daniel Mallison teaches Psychology and Christian Development at St Andrew’s Cathedral School SouthernCross
A little stress relief: Daniel Mallison puts up a meme so his class can start with a smile. to Year 12s who are studying for the International Baccalaureate (IB) rather than the HSC. He says most are managing well, but he has “absolutely” noticed extra stress, “which I would say has come from not knowing”. The final exams for IB students in the Northern Hemisphere were cancelled because of COVID, he says, so students can’t help but wonder “are there going to be final exams, do my assessments count, will I be able to graduate? Also, are we going to have a formal? “There are a number of ways they’ve been missing out on that close connection every Year 12 has with their teachers and each other,” he adds. “And I’ve had students comment on both of them. They feel like they’re missing out on the proper experience of Year 12.” Mr Mallison has a quiet time each morning before school and makes it clear to his students that, if he’s teaching them that day, he’s praying for them that morning. “Even if you’re not Christian you appreciate that someone’s praying for you,” he says. “You may not believe in God, but they’re thinking of you and that’s special.” He says it’s always difficult for Year 12 students to accept that the main purpose of school is to prepare you for life. “Even if the exams don’t happen you continue to learn for life,” he says. “That’s incredibly difficult to convince Year 12s of every year, but this year it’s an even more important message for them.” SouthernCross
PRAY WITH US FOR THE YEAR 12 STUDENTS OF 2020 Pray for energy and patience “We are all so exhausted as we come to the second half of this year,” Miss Woldhuis says. “Pray that we would really be patient with one another. It’s important that we be there to support each other and help others stay optimistic.” Adds Mr Baker: “Pray for continued strength going into this exam period, and determination that we wouldn’t burn ourselves out because it doesn’t feel like we’ve had much of a break”.
Pray for perspective “Going into the Trials and HSC examination periods, pray that we wouldn’t let school become bigger than it needs to be, or allow it to distract us from loving God,” Mr Baker says.
Pray for relationships Says Mr Mallison: “A big prayer is that students will deepen their relationships – for Christian students that they would deepen their relationships with God, and for all students that they would deepen their relationships with each other. School will finish, exams will or won’t happen… but there are three key relationships with God, each other and the world, and those continue to matter, no matter what.”
Pray for comfort in disappointing moments Many students grieve missed opportunities such as 18th birthday parties, sporting and other major events of their final school year. “Pray we would have comfort and that, when we miss out on things, we would find joy in the other parts of Year 12 that we do have,” Miss Woldhuis says.
Pray students remember God’s sovereignty “Pray that we would remember God is in control, even when it feels like he’s not,” Miss Jadav says. “Pray that he would use this as an opportunity for us to glorify him.”
Praise God for teachers “I think a praise point has been that the teaching staff here have particularly supported and cared for students, and they did remarkably well during the COVID period to foster and care for those relationships,” Mr Burns says. “[Praise God for] their ability to rally and support the students.” Adds Miss Jadav: “This has helped me appreciate how hard my teachers work. I think students don’t realise how hard teachers work to make sure the HSC can happen, and now they’re working doubly hard. They were so on top of everything, they planned the entire term to be online. I wasn’t as scared as I should have been because I felt like our teachers knew what they were doing, even if they didn’t.”
Pray students will grow in faith – or find faith “[My church has] a Year 12 Zoom Bible study,” Miss Woldhuis says. “Each week I looked forward to Bible study. It was the best time of the week. It’s been a blessing to have that restful time to delve into God’s word.” Says Mr Mallison: “A big prayer is always that students would find God. This year that prayer has become more specific: that in the uncertainty of COVID they would find the certainty of an unchanging God.” Adds Mr Burns: “Pray that the students would take with them the message of Christ. Pray they would know the peace that surpasses all understanding.” This is something we can pray for all Year 12 students. SouthernCross
Clothing and other donations welcome, say Anglicare
Given the highly transmissible nature of COVID, it is understandable there may be some confusion as to whether or not clothes are welcome for donation, plus concerns about contracting the virus from donated clothing in op shops. Throughout the pandemic to date, Anglicare Sydney has accepted clothing donations (as well as funds and food) and will continue to do so. In a time of rising unemployment and insecurity about food and basic amenities, Anglicare’s services have never been more in demand. While COVID has led to massive challenges across Australia, it has also prompted great generosity to support the organisation’s work. Ian Moore, Anglicare’s head of retail and manager of the organisation’s op shop network, recalls what happened during the initial lockdown in March. “Clothing donations were the highest we’ve ever seen – at least 35 tonnes a week through our clothing bin network,” he says. Even though NSW op shops were closed until June, Anglicare has managed the influx of donations by stockpiling them in their Villawood centre. Here clothes are quarantined in accordance with the recommendations of Safe Work Australia before becoming available for sale to the public. Yet while the donations have been plentiful, the demand is just as great. Mr Moore encourages those who are able to donate food, clothing and/or funds to do so. “It is extremely busy at the moment,” he says. “Our customer levels are at the highest I’ve ever seen.” He asks people to “keep donating good quality donations – it helps us serve people in need”. The organisation’s head of fundraising, Ed Hercus, recognises that the COVID-led recession has had an impact on a number of donors. Yet, he says, “More than ever, our services need to expand. We want to encourage people to dig deep and the faithful to step up”. If you’re able to help, you can contact Anglicare on 1300 111 278 or see https://www.anglicare.org.au/ get-involved/make-a-donation/ SouthernCross
The mission before us
Dr Glenn Davies
eaders of Southern Cross will have noticed the large number of vacant parishes over
the past couple of years. Of course, the reason for listing vacant parishes each month should be obvious. We want you to pray for these parishes, for their nominators and for the Synod-elected members who comprise the Nomination Board that presents a name (or names) for the consideration of the Archbishop – offering him an appointment to the cure of souls, in accordance with the Nomination Ordinance. The list is not provided merely for curiosity’s sake, but for our prayerful consideration. I therefore encourage you, when reading your Southern Cross, to take a moment to pray for each of these parishes. There are more than 30 of them listed this month, so they all need your prayers. You might also consider praying for suitable men to fill these positions. For unless there are men willing and able, gifted and godly, prepared to take on the challenge of being the pastor-teacher of God’s people, these parishes will remain vacant and their ministry impaired. The role of rector is an important part of our parish system. Indeed, the appointment of presbyters or elders to lead the church of God is a God-given mandate for the health of his people. Jesus’ appointment of 12 disciples was for the purpose of training them to become fishers of men SouthernCross
and women, and teachers of God’s word under the new covenant so that the people of God might be equipped for every good work. The apostles were a discrete number of men, who exercised a foundation-laying ministry, along with the New Testament prophets (Ephesians 2:20). However, the “superstructure” gifts of evangelists, pastors and teachers reflect the ongoing gifts of Christ, equipping the saints for ministry and building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-12). The Apostle Paul saw this task as an imperative, as he appointed elders in every church with prayer and fasting (Acts 14:23) and gave instruction to Titus to do the same (Titus 1:5), outlining the qualifications for elders, as he did also to Timothy. Of course, we need deacons as well as presbyters, women in ministry as well as men. Paul was following in his Master’s footsteps, as Jesus encouraged his disciples to pray to the Lord of the harvest that he would send labourers into his harvest (Matthew 9:37-38). Note, firstly, that it is God’s harvest. He draws men and women to himself and he draws labourers into his harvest. Secondly, note that Jesus invites us to pray to God to that very end. How often do you pray to God to raise up men and women to become full-time labourers in the Father’s harvest? Who in your congregation might have the gifts of grace for leadership, but might lack the prayers of God’s people to encourage them and challenge them to consider full-time ordained ministry in our Diocese? The Rev Dr Ed Loane recounts this delightful story about the Rev D.J. Knox, father of Canon Broughton Knox. Although retired by the late 1950s, Knox often filled his Sundays preaching in different places. Once, while he was racing between two churches to preach, a policeman pulled him over for speeding. The officer asked why he was travelling so quickly and Knox explained that he would not have to travel so fast between churches if more young men like the policeman entered the ministry. This comment resonated with the policeman and Knox was allowed to travel without reprimand. Loane then makes the comment: Knox’s ministry is a good example of the dedication and priorities that have shaped Sydney Anglican clergy. At the same time, the interaction with the policeman highlights his concern that more Christians would rise to the need of leadership in the church. Dr Loane’s commentary on the need for more leaders in the Sydney Diocese forms one of a number of short essays on the theme: Mission Before Us. Why Sydney Anglican Ministry? The book is published by the Australian Church Record and will be promoted at the online event run by Moore College: “From Sydney to the World – The Next Generation of Labourers for the Harvest”. It takes place on Saturday, August 15, from 2pm-4pm. I am sending two copies of Mission Before Us to all parish clergy in the Sydney Diocese, which have been generously provided free of charge by the ACR. Why not ask to borrow a copy from your minister – or better still, obtain a copy for yourself, so that having read it you can then pass it on to a young man or woman in your congregation who would benefit from considering ordained ministry as a vocation. Encourage them to watch the online event at Moore College – or better still, watch it with them. Above all, pray. Pray for each of our vacant parishes. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he might raise up a fresh generation of labourers for his harvest. SC SouthernCross
The winning formula Struggling day to day with sin and temptation? Philip Kern finds the answer in a book written to a church in trouble.
re you struggling with temptation, hardship, or even, when it comes to your Christian life, apathy? If so, you’re not alone. Jesus himself, knowing the challenges, spoke of the need to persevere.
Hebrews addresses a congregation whose members were in some cases worn down by the challenges of life and as a result were like a boat adrift (2:1, 12:3). Others were crumbling in the face of temptation (3:12, 4:2). Still others were losing the wonder of gathering together before the divine presence (10:25, 12:22-24). Hebrews warns that these are serious dangers, and – worryingly – that drifting, crumbling, and failing to gather, can lead to sin. And sin connects with unbelief and interferes with one’s relationship with God. In the face of such struggles, the writer of Hebrews addresses his readers in loving but firm language. He has much to say about who they are in relation to this world and in the eyes of God. But his antidote, and his starting point, isn’t a discussion of his congregation. His beginning, middle and end draw attention to Jesus, and exhort us to look to one who died, and lives, and is exalted – all for us. In other words, Hebrews tells its readers that their internal map doesn’t correspond to the true boundaries of the cosmos. They think they are defined, or at least controlled, by what’s in front of them – namely this day, and this life, with all its challenges and maybe even ugliness. Oh sure, we can find some good in most days, but when the scales overwhelmingly tip toward life’s troubles, it is no surprise if we come undone. So, this writer moves to the centre those things that actually belong there. And once we recognise this north star, this Jesus who is at once boundary marker and cornerstone, life itself can begin to make sense. SouthernCross
What’s the good of looking to Jesus? That is, why should we look to him when so many alternatives vie for our attention and would happily define our horizons? Here are five reasons.
1 JESUS IS GREATER Hebrews argues that Jesus surpasses angels and Moses. He is also superior to the prophets, high priesthood, tabernacle and sacrifices offered there. Hebrews doesn’t attack these things. Instead it teaches that Jesus eclipses whatever defines your world – and those things formed the centre of Jewish life and thought – because he is greater in every way. So, giving up on Jesus to revert to those things isn’t back to square one. It’s more like falling off a cliff. When Jesus asked his disciples if they wanted to leave him (in John 6), Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” That’s a rhetorical question. And the answer remains the same today. There is nowhere else to go, for Jesus is greater than everything bad in this world, and he is also greater than everything good. That includes your job, friends, and even your family.
2 JESUS KNOWS SUFFERING AND PAIN AND CAN HELP US Suffering non-Christians often turn to God. Suffering Christians often turn from him. Suffering causes turning. To whom do we turn? Jesus confronted this enemy of faith – the suffering that visits every life. In fact, at the heart of his ministry was God making him “perfect through what he suffered” (Heb 2:10). This doesn’t suggest that Jesus lacked moral perfection before he suffered. It announces that he achieved an even closer identification with us through his suffering. He really knows what it is like and so can serve us more fully, because he too stared death in the face, would have preferred something other than what his Father assigned him, and yet obeyed in all things and at all times. In his suffering, he so identified with his people that he now without shame calls us brothers and sisters. He doesn’t despise us in our weaknesses. He isn’t embarrassed by our failings. Instead he celebrates the Father with and before us, and relates to us as siblings (2:11-12). Further, because Jesus identifies so entirely with us, we participate in his defeat of the devil. The Christian is therefore freed from the power of death, and even from the slavery that results from the fear of death. The world was turned upside down by people who weren’t afraid to die and who willingly endured suffering and pain to bring honour to their Lord. Jesus’ suffering was more than physical or emotional pain. It includes his temptation (2:18). This brings us back to the heart of the argument: look to Jesus because he is able to help those facing temptation. Is your suffering a threat to your faith? Jesus suffered, was tempted, and overcame the devil to set you free and call you his brother or sister.
3 JESUS KNOWS TEMPTATION AND CAN HELP US He who conquered sin continues to serve us. In 4:14, Jesus’ priesthood connects with keeping a tight hold on faith. Then in the next verse, which sounds a great deal like 2:18, the writer again tells us that Jesus engages with our weakness in that he was tempted but didn’t sin. As in chapter 2, the enemy of faith is sin, and sin’s point of entry is temptation. Weakness lives in all of us and is hijacked by the devil to get us to sin. But Jesus helps us in our SouthernCross
time of need (4:16). Need intersects with temptation – for in the moment of temptation, we need his help. And at the throne of grace we find what we need. We won’t find it elsewhere, certainly not in those places where temptation gives birth to sin. So where should we go in the face of temptation? We can’t stay where we are. We need to go to Jesus, who is at God’s throne. There alone will we find help in time of need. Sin can be a tricky business. Hebrews bids us “encourage one another” in order that “none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness” (3:13). Sin is a liar. But often it simply emerges from our own mangled heart. So, Hebrews, which says we need to look to Jesus, also recognises life on this planet as a communal, social and congregational reality, and therefore calls us to provide the encouragement each one needs. What do you do with your words? Movies, books, pop psychologists – and less “pop” ones as well – teach that they can hurt or heal. It isn’t the words: it’s the one who wields them. Though containing every hurtful word, dictionaries rarely kill. But the tongue destroys, lighting “the whole course of one’s life on fire” (James 3:6). Do we traffic in hurtful comments? More to the point, do we excel at sprinkling the lives of those around us with holy encouragement? An uplifting conversation can keep a brother or sister from sin and ultimately save a mortal soul. “Encourage one another daily” (3:13). This is a means of grace and reflects Jesus working in our lives.
4 JESUS CLEANSES DEEP INTO THE PERSON Comparing Jesus’ self-sacrifice with Old Testament sacrifices reveals that he is greater. The old sacrifices, good as they were, needed to be repeated and so were a constant reminder of sin. That makes sense. If I have to keep returning to the temple, lugging an expensive, smelly and cumbersome means of dealing with sin, I’d hardly forget about that sin. And so the conscience was never clean. But Jesus’ sacrifice is once and for all, and cleanses deep into the person. Previous sacrifices were meaningful pictures, and they dealt with the surface in that they held the people and nation together until the real thing – the sacrifice of Jesus – came along. Only Jesus, however, in his sacrifice could wash the depths of the whole person, scrubbing away sin sufficiently to take us where nobody in ancient Israel could go – into the presence of God himself. The Jews had to identify with the sacrifice offered for them. We’ve seen that Jesus identifies with us. In so doing, he provides the sacrifice which makes us right – forever – with a holy God.
5 JESUS PROMISES BETTER THINGS. The world promises many things, and even delivers a few. One of its tricks is to suggest that conformity will bring rest. Stop fighting against the current, let slide your confession, and life becomes easier. But whoever sells his soul and finds rest? Jesus’ burden may be light, but it is still a burden – in the shape of a cross. Hebrews nevertheless speaks of real rest. This rest so aligns with your eternal destiny that sometimes its benefits, like rays of sunlight under the door, seep almost imperceptibly into the present. Other times, like a rush of cool air, they refresh the soul. Have you found rest? Rest and sin don’t go together. Drifters don’t know rest. But as we live SouthernCross
in fellowship with one another, as we encourage and receive encouragement, even as we partake of holy suffering, we can know the rest ordained by our loving Father. In this, Hebrews offers a wonderful exposition of the words of Jesus, for in all these things we are called to look, and to direct the gaze of others, to the one who says, “come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).
HAVE THE RIGHT FOCUS That’s five reasons to look to Jesus. But how do we do it? Hebrews 11 provides a long list of “heroes of the faith”, but when 11 ends and 12 begins, we aren’t told to focus on them. We are instead exhorted to throw off sin and run the race with perseverance, fixing our eyes on Jesus. Every section of Hebrews is concerned that we stop sinning and finish this marathon-shaped, faith-filled Christian life. But the key here is Jesus – and the eyes. Humans are engineered, whether walking a tightrope or riding a motorcycle, to go where the eyes are looking. But as hard as we look, we can’t see Jesus. So, we wait for that day when we’ll see him face to face. Until then, we run the race with a fixed gaze. How? What does that mean? Jesus represents the finish line. Run toward him. But there’s more. Imagine you’re in a race and don’t know the course – and you’re blind. Now imagine that your closest friend is the best runner in the world, knows the route and wants to run alongside you, speaking words of encouragement at every step and pushing you to excel, telling you when you’re about to go off course, and sharing with you what it will look and feel like when you finish and receive the victor’s crown. As you run, keep close to him. Don’t look away. Don’t give up. Are you running with Jesus? Is he the friend who guides your steps? It might feel superficial to call him brother or friend, but the New Testament rejoices in such terms. He delivers us from the penalty of sin and the fear of death. He suffered and was tempted, yet never sinned. He runs alongside us and stands at the “throne of grace”. What’s this got to do with putting off sin, and how do we do it? We do it by cultivating a relationship with the conquering Son, praying to the one who offers mercy and grace, hearing the “last days” words of the Father, and gathering with Jesus’ (and our) brothers and sisters.
Know that you’re in a race you can’t lose – because he’s already won it for you. Fix your eyes, heart, soul and future on Jesus. That’s the winning formula. SC
Dr Philip Kern is head of the Department of New Testament and Greek at Moore College. SouthernCross
DATE: 15 SEPT – 27 OCT
COST: $60 FOR 6 LECTURES MOORE.EDU.AU/PTC-EARLY
PTC Lecture Series 24
Sing unto the Lord
…but not at church
f you’ve gone back to church, perhaps you’ve felt the incredible awkwardness when the band
begins to play and no one in the room is allowed to sing. Or maybe you’re still watching church from your living room, where – even though it might only be you and your household present – it still feels weird to sing along in such a strange circumstance. According to Daniel Sing, music co-ordinator at St Barnabas’, Bossley Park, one reason not singing together feels so strange is because it goes against everything we want to do as the gathered body of Christ. “I think people are generally thankful to meet together in community and fellowship again, but honestly they miss singing,” says Mr Sing, whose congregation has been gathering physically in small numbers since early July. “Singing is a profound and tangible act of unity together. There are not many things that express our union to each other through Jesus like singing. There are the creeds, sure, but music does SouthernCross
It’s singing, but not as we know it: (left) Daniel Sing is the only one praising aloud in church for Fairfield with Bossley
Park’s congregation and livestream; and (right) loungeroom singing required as St Paul’s, Castle Hill remains livestream only.
something that words can’t do by themselves. When you marry music and words together, there is something profound that happens that gives new meaning to words, or helps us to understand the words in a mysterious way.” He adds: “When people hear the sermon, what happens immediately after is the preacher prays – and then the first tangible thing we do to respond to God’s word is to sing. We’ve been robbed of a chance to express a response to God’s word when we can’t sing. Also, we’ve been robbed of the opportunity to teach and admonish one another as we sing.” St Paul’s, Castle Hill is still livestreaming its services, but the lack of singing is also being felt in its congregations. “People are still questioning – seeing that singing is such an integral part of what we do – will it be weird to go back and sit apart in a room?” says James Ferguson, one of the worship team leaders and a CityAlight guitarist and songwriter. For Mr Ferguson, this time has been a chance to reflect on other ways to worship God, and focus on pursuing God personally and praising him through prayer. “Not being able to sing together has challenged a lot of people and how they express their worship,” he says. “Not having the Sunday gathering makes me realise I miss the ability to sing with other believers.” Musicians at church are taught their role is to lead rather than to perform, and doing this well means the congregation can focus on Jesus and sing to him and each other. “We are taught as song leaders to connect with the congregation,” Mr Sing says. “I don’t know whether to engage with the camera or with the people sitting there. “How does it feel? At best, awkward; at worst, extremely uncomfortable. I’ve never been in a situation as a professional musician where I’ve been stared at while playing without the purpose of examination. This is not anyone’s fault. The leader of the service says, ‘This is a chance to sing in your heart and reflect’, so they might be being thoughtful, but essentially we’re getting a wall of faces. “Often what bands get encouraged by is when they feel people are facilitated to sing, but now we don’t know if we’re doing our job well. The metric for whether we were doing a good job was never how good the music was, but whether you could hear or see people singing.” The adjustment has also been strange for the worship bands at St Paul’s, with congregations still absent. “We do a devotion before rehearsal, and our focus in that time is to encourage and SouthernCross
remind people that there are potentially a hundred people watching online, even if we can’t see them,” Mr Ferguson says. “We want people to know and feel that the church is out there singing with them. People might feel weird sitting in their living room and singing to a screen, so we try to make people comfortable to sing at home and join in the worship.” Mr Ferguson believes this temporary change to how we worship will also lead to new songs birthed out of personal reflection and devotion. “Everything is in a state of flux and the world is being tipped on its head, so the songs I’ve been involved in writing have focused on the characteristics of God, in particular that he is unchanging,” he says. “We’re trying to put all the glory and focus on God, which will hopefully bless and connect with people.” SC
THREE WAYS WE CAN SERVE OUR MUSIC TEAMS AT THIS TIME 1 Offer encouragement Mr Sing, who also teaches high school music, says one key way to offer encouragement to musicians is through body language. “I teach my students that being a good audience means giving eye contact and smiling,” he says. “I think a smile goes a long way – it shows that you are engaging with something that happens up front. If a church is meeting together, find a tangible way to express that you’re engaging with the song, whether it’s a smile or clapping. No one said you can’t clap. “One thing that congregations can do if you’re watching online is shoot a message to say thank you to the bands and song leaders. That can really encourage your musicians.”
2 Be slow to offer feedback, even if it’s helpful Mr Ferguson observes that musicians have worked hard to adapt quickly to the changes, and many bands are figuring things out as they go along. Mistakes and other mishaps will occur, and things won’t always be perfect, but congregations can bless their musicians by showing grace and patience and not jumping to offer criticism – “even if it comes from a place of wanting to improve things”.
3 Pray for your music teams and fellow Christians “A good prayer would be to pray against pride and pray for humility,” Mr Ferguson says. “It’s inevitable that when you point a camera at someone and tell them to play, performance feelings creep in. That opens the door for people to have pride and forget that what they’re doing is for God. Prayer against that attitude would be helpful.” SouthernCross
Leaders who leave Tara Sing
hen asked if he’s ever known someone who was influential on his faith turn from the gospel, the Rev Jim Ramsay chuckles sadly. While he can’t name a mentor who went from following Christ to “hardcore atheist”, he has seen plenty of people close to him walk away.
“I had a close friend who left his wife for another woman. That shocked me,” says Mr Ramsay, who is chaplain for the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches Australia and former head of the Department of Evangelism. “I know of a theological lecturer who has [given up his faith]. There was a man when I was in my teens who stepped away from Jesus. He just didn’t believe any more. I felt sad about that.”
GRIEF IS A NATURAL RESPONSE According to Karen Ray, a lecturer in pastoral care at Mary Andrews College, our response is shaped by the type of relationship we’ve had with the person who has turned away from Christ. “If you’ve had a mentor, you have a relationship where you trust them,” she says. “They inspire you often, you’ve formed some of your own views, perhaps, on how they’ve explained or taught you. Now they’re telling you they no longer [believe], and everything they taught you previously or modelled they’re now saying isn’t true.” It’s common to go through several stages of grief when this happens. We shouldn’t be surprised if we feel betrayed, or doubt, or express denial or anger, because what we’re experiencing is a loss of relationship. The first thing Mr Ramsay does is point to 1 Corinthians 5:2, where Paul speaks about mourning the unfaithfulness of church members. “When people disappoint us or trash the gospel, it’s easy for us to get angry or judgemental,” he says. “I’ve found it curious and helpful to notice that when Paul becomes aware, the first thing he says is, ‘you should mourn’. It shows we should grieve in the face of deliberate sin.”
OUR FAITH IN GOD MUST REMAIN The loss of a human relationship shouldn’t change our relationship with God. When another person influences our faith more than God, we are in danger of making them an idol. “I’m not a big fan of holding tight to other people when it comes to my faith,” Ms Ray says. “I love my rector, but if he did something wrong I would see him as a fallen human being. I would SouthernCross
be distressed, but it wouldn’t impact my faith. We need to keep God as our primary relationship.” This doesn’t mean we won’t feel shaken by watching someone give up on Jesus. It’s okay to feel sad, angry and even betrayed in such circumstances. The key is not to bottle up these feelings, but instead find the right people to listen to you. “We’ve got to process those feelings to be able to make sense of them,” Ms Ray says. “People should speak them out with someone who can listen well and help them think about what they’re feeling. Once we understand the meaning of it, we can be inspired to understand how we can resolve those feelings. We need to talk through it, gain context and perspective, and find the insight that God wants us to have about the situation and rest in him.”
RELYING ON GOD IS KEY Another key element is relying on God and the Holy Spirit as we process someone turning away from the faith. “The practical ways I see people rely on God differ, but at the end of the day it comes down to actually engaging in his word daily,” Ms Ray says. “Find in Scripture that which informs you about what you need at the moment. Be encouraged and supported in prayer daily, whether it’s having someone you trust to give prayer points to, or someone you pray with. Often when we struggle, prayer is the last thing we feel okay to do.” She adds that if praying and reading the Bible feel too painful, reach out and ask for help. “We need a kind, loving and gentle person to sit with us and pray and read Scripture for us. People forget that when we’re struggling with prayer, the Holy Spirit will connect with God for us. God is working in us when we can’t work in ourselves. Reaffirm the truth that we know to ourselves.”
WAYS TO PRAY Christians should pray for their own faith, especially if they are in a position of encouraging others in Christ. “We need to not think that this could never happen to me,” Mr Ramsay warns. “We don’t realise how important a gospel relationship is. You are, in one sense, an ambassador of God’s word to people. If it can happen to them, it might happen to me. As Paul says to Timothy, watch your life and doctrine closely.” It’s also important to pray for ourselves as we process. “Pray for the words to express how we’re feeling,” Ms Ray says. “Pray for clarity, because for a while we’re going to be potentially quite emotional about it, so pray we can gain insight about what God wants us to learn from that. “For the other person, my prayer would always be that they are drawn back to God. That the Holy Spirit works in them again to show them the truth of the gospel again. Pray for the hardness in their heart to be removed, that they repent and seek his forgiveness.” We are in danger when we attempt to rescue the other person, and we must remember that it is not our responsibility to do so. “I cannot make my children Christian, I cannot make my wife love me, I cannot rescue my old minister who has given up the faith,” Mr Ramsay says. “I might want to, but I can’t control it. But I can pray for people. I can ask God to change hearts, bring repentance and rekindle faith.” SC SouthernCross
Roll out the red carpet
How to welcome a new minister well
A happy beginning: the Paterson family open a gift given by a member of the church at Belrose.
o, it’s happened: after months of prayer, investigations and interviews, a minister has accepted the invitation to come and be rector of your parish. Everyone in the congregation is thankful, delighted and – in a range of different ways – expectant about this next phase of your church life.
But there’s a lot more to a new minister arriving than changing the name on the church sign, particularly when the family may be moving from a completely different area and starting almost every relationship from scratch. How can a parish make them feel they are not only welcome, but at home?
DON’T WAIT UNTIL THEY ARRIVE The Rev Andrew Paterson became rector of Belrose in January and says there were many things parishioners did before and after his family’s arrival that they really appreciated. First, they were invited to see the house months in advance and make a wish list of things that needed doing – such as replacing the sailcloth over the outdoor area – which the congregation then donated money to pay for. “That was very generous and showed us how much they cared to make our transition be the best it could,” he says. “What we also appreciated was their concern for our previous church to SouthernCross
find a new rector. The church prayed regularly for [my previous parish of] Kangaroo Valley and, by the grace of God, a new rector was found remarkably quickly. We praised God for our new church’s care to think like that.” The transition period was also helped by the locum at Belrose, former long-time rector the Rev David Reay, who helped prepare the congregation for the Patersons’ arrival by explaining “what sort of emotions we’d be going through with moving and being in a new church family and new city. He also gave me a rundown of ministries and history of the parish, which was very helpful. “We heard also that a large prayer meeting was held monthly at Belrose for over a year to ask God to bring his choice of rector to them,” Mr Paterson adds. “This was great to hear and very affirming to us in our decision to leave our former parish and head back to Sydney.”
Thought and care: The flowers and card of welcome that greeted the Patersons on arrival.
The Rev Steven Layson has done the reverse – he moved from a Sydney parish to the Illawarra, arriving at St George’s, Gerringong last December. A number of parishioners made the family feel welcome well in advance of their arrival by sending them a basket of local produce, six months’ worth of local newspapers and signing them up to the weekly parish email so they could begin to get a taste of what was happening in the church and area. One of the wardens also hosted a meal with some of the church’s older, stalwart servants so the Laysons could meet them. In addition, Mr Layson says, “We received a number of cards while we were still at our previous parish to let us know they were looking forward to us coming and were praying for us”. Lynn Kaye, whose husband the Rev Roger Kaye became rector of St Anne’s, Strathfield in November last year, reflects that “it is often the small gestures that mean the most – although coming to a sparkling clean rectory was a very clear indication that people wanted us to have an easy transition!”
YOU’RE (REALLY) WELCOME An official welcome event is always a lovely part of bringing a new ministry family into a parish, but there are plenty of other things congregation members can do as well. Mrs Kaye recalls that, on the day she and Mr Kaye moved into the Strathfield rectory, “one family brought us dinner, which was wonderful. The church council provided us with a hamper of fresh food and basic essentials [and] several people rang us, sent cards or dropped in with small gifts. All these acts of kindness indicated that people were pleased that we’d come and were eager to welcome us”. SouthernCross
The Patersons arrived to find “lovely flowers and a welcome note” plus a game for the children. Some congregation members also visited to welcome them in person. In addition, at the commissioning service, they were presented with a voucher for dinners at a nearby restaurant. Once at Gerringong, Mr Layson says, a number of people invited them over for meals and for walks around the local area, and one congregation member “offered to be an ongoing prayer support for me”. He adds that a long-term member of the parish also provided some tremendously practical support by going through the parish directory for him. “It has photos – which is a huge plus! – and she wrote down a little bit of history about each family, such as what service they went to and how long they’d been here.” Mrs Kaye says that getting to know everyone in a new parish quickly is difficult, and any opportunity others in the church might initiate to help a new ministry family meet people and begin to build relationships is a blessing. “I remember from the past that welcoming children individually with a small gift – a book or toiletries or sports thing – helps them to feel included and acknowledged,” she says. “Moving is a big upheaval for them, too, and they are grieving lost friendships, activities that feel comfortable, a sense of belonging and having a role. Families will settle well if their children settle well.” And just in case anyone’s feeling pressured to perform for their new minister, Mrs Kaye says that it’s great to have somthing simple and genuine. “I really appreciate expressions of welcome and inclusion [such as] a card to welcome the family, with a plate of homemade cookies or muffins, flowers from a garden or fresh fruit… small things can mean a lot.” SC
IDEAS FOR WELCOMING A NEW MINISTER (AND THEIR FAMILY) • Don’t wait until they arrive. Let them know you’re looking forward to meeting them – all of them. Try things like a card, an email, or offer a link to the parish newsletter.
• Remember that the family will need a little time to get settled, so don’t expect them to host and invite lots of people over straight away. • Organise a simple event to help them build relationships with other families at church, such as a picnic in the park, or a meal that provides a cultural window into the local area.
• Let them know you’re praying for them as they make this change. • Consider sending simple information that will give a window into the new parish and area. Think about what you found helpful when you were new to that church.
• If the minister has children, invite them to places that church kids enjoy going to – but be prepared for the kids to say “No” if they aren’t quite ready for this, and be willing to ask again later.
• Make sure the rectory is cleaned and/or updated, ready for their arrival.
• Depending on the age of any children, questions about things they feel comfortable with – such as their previous home, church and friends – might be more welcome in the early stages than queries about what they like in the new parish.
• Provide grocery staples for when the family moves in (and perhaps discover any likes and dislikes first!). • Cook dinner for the day they arrive or invite them over/take them out in the first few weeks. SouthernCross
Are we shooting ourselves in the foot? Simon Manchester
’m retired, and I know I’m getting grumpy,
but I’ve visited lots of churches this year (in person or online) and too many of our church services are just too terrible to be helping the gospel cause. Some, of course, do a great job, but many seem lost and hardly prepared. Bear with my grumpiness for a moment. Would it shock you to know that I’ve been
to services this year where the welcome is dull and tedious, the message to children is long and embarrassing, song leaders are out of tune, service leaders are clichéd and random, Bible readers are unengaged and sermons are unrelated to text or life? I am amazed by the loyalty of the laypeople who put up with this. I am staggered that they might ever bring a friend – but I cannot imagine a visitor saying, “This was helpful – I must come again”. So, now I’ve said it. I know things are difficult, we need all the help we can get, and I should be encouraging, encouraging and encouraging – but the stuff that many are doing is just too bad and the issues are just too great to pretend it’s all fine. At the very time when the secular world is contemptuous of Christianity, why give it fuel for its contempt? Just days ago, we heard the news of J.I. Packer’s death and I found these words on the dust jacket of Knowing God – written in 1973 but permanently relevant, and never more than to us today: “Ignorance of God… of His ways and… communion with Him lies at the root of much of the church’s weakness today… Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit… that spawns great thoughts of man and leaves room for small thoughts… of God.” How true this is. You would think today in many gatherings that we people are the centre of the universe and God is some small friend we met somewhere whose job is to run errands. Packer goes on: “Christians preoccupied with maintaining religious practices in an irreligious world have… allowed God to become remote. Clear-sighted persons [i.e. unbelievers] seeing this are tempted to withdraw from the churches in something like disgust to pursue a quest for God [or life] on their own. Nor can one wholly blame them, for Christians who look… through the wrong end of the telescope… cannot hope to end up as more than pygmy Christians and clear-sighted people want something better.” So, I give you these challenges.
Do you know why you are meeting? It is not to keep people happy (that will never work in the long term), but because God calls his people to meet and a. hear his word well; b. respond in thanks and godliness; c. build one another up in light of the past (his words and deeds), present (ministry and mission) and future (meeting him). You can test your planning of the gathering by how much you understand why you are meeting. If you think it’s for lightweight things it will look like it – and vice versa. SouthernCross
Do you know that the gathering has a conversational or relational or logical flow to it? Do you know that the Covenant God relates to his people in the gathering? Please know that what I set out here are not details to follow but the principle of gathering before our relational God. Those who lead must have some logic to their leading. a. The first thing might be a (downward) reminder of God’s greatness or goodness from the Scriptures as we begin; b. then comes our (upward and outward) response of praise – song or psalm as allowed; c. we hear (downward) our condition – sin – expressed freshly and thoughtfully; d. then we (upward) ask forgiveness, and (down) hear his mercy – again in a fresh way. Incidentally, how many people would be helped by truly grasping the concepts of sin and mercy? e. after this, perhaps the Creed – or a word to children (outward); f. then prayers (up); g. a song (up and out); h. readings and sermon (down); i. song (up and out); j. then a final word to go in his strength and service (out). Again, please get the principle. Does the service plan make sense? Is it well thought through and purposeful?
Now, a few (desperate) words to various people who take part. Leaders
Singers and musicians
• Have you prayed privately and with others for the gathering?
• Can you help us focus on God?
• Have you planned what you will say and do?
• Can you get (and take) feedback on your helpfulness?
• Can you use notes or script without reading them in a strange voice? • Can you avoid clichés and overworked words?
Speakers to children
• Can you keep believer and unbeliever in mind?
• Can you be quick?
• Can you be brief and not tedious?
• Can you be mindful of all? • Can you “gospel” us, not just “moralise” us?
Pray-ers • Can you model what it is to speak to the great God and Father? • Can you balance the gratitude and petition? • Can you make us glad we had you lead our prayers? • Can you think out of the ruts of congregational prayers?
Readers • Have you read and grasped your passage? • Can you help us get “on board” with a word of introduction?
Preachers • Can you get your passage right – and across? • Can you help us begin, stay and finish with you? • Can you say true and interesting things (because the word is interesting)? • Can you preach what is meaningful to you? • Can you stay within your gifts when it comes to sermon length? • Can you lift up the Saviour, so we know and love him more? • Can you say, “Let us pray” and not, “Let me pray”?
Finally, leaders • Can you do notices quickly, freshly and interestingly?
Somewhere, someone started saying “Let me pray” and, like lemmings, everyone is doing it. First, it’s unnecessary – no one is going to stop you. Second, it’s aggressive, as if you are being held back from your wish. Third, it’s forgetful: you want everyone to be part of your prayer. And fourthly, it sounds defensive – borrowed by someone and now baptised into our Diocese. But don’t think I’m annoyed by it!
• Can you take baptisms and communion in a fresh and helpful way (i.e. not boring)? • Can you send us out with truth and joy?
If we were to work on our gatherings with a serious (and prayerful) eye to God’s glory, our people’s growth and the visitors’ benefit, things might look very different. To those who work hard at these things and prepare well and help us hugely, God bless you. If you have seen decline, you must ask yourselves whether the blame for our decline lies at the feet not of the Lord, nor of the members, nor of the naughty world but ourselves, who have been set aside to do things well and are – for whatever reason – doing things poorly. To those who can heed a challenge and are willing to do things so that people are lifted up and not slumped down – so the Lord is seen to be great and gracious, not distant and unhelpful – he is faithful and he will help you. SC Simon Manchester served as long-term rector of St Thomas’, North Sydney and is Senior Mentor of the John Chapman Preaching Initiative at Moore College. SouthernCross
One thing we need to confront right now Marshall Ballantine-Jones
’ve just spent four years researching how to reduce the negative effects of exposure to pornography and sexualised social media among young people. With solid evidence at my fingertips, I’m now ready to say some things that can give hope in this disturbing and confronting arena.
The same stats keep recurring – 70 per cent of males and 20 per cent of females struggle with pornography use. This is true in Christian schools, our churches and among ministry staff. Pornography negatively impacts individuals, their relationships and society. Males are more likely SouthernCross
to initiate sexualised behaviour over social media (called “sexting”), while females are more likely to be targets of sexting. If this is news to you – please check out the resistporn.org site, which has the research. For now, it is sufficient to say that there is a long list of people in our ranks affected by pornography. No one is immune, and the problem remains urgent. My quest has been to help find effective solutions. There is no easy fix or silver bullet, but there are effective ways forward. First, some sobering news. Porn addiction is real. The more frequently a person uses pornography, the harder it is to stop. Tragically, I saw this first-hand, when a high number of teenagers in my studies could not reduce their pornography use – even though their desire and efforts to stop were substantial. Neurologists know why. The brain adapts to the cocktail of hormones produced during sexual arousal. Neural pathways are ingrained, memories are altered, self-control is reduced and the volume of healthy brain matter shrinks. Porn-user brains resemble those of drug addicts. It’s extremely serious, and if you have been struggling to kick the porn habit, you are likely an addict and need serious help. Another challenge: people’s online sexualised behaviours, including using pornography, are amplified by other online behaviours. Social media is making us narcissists, and this is a gamechanger. Narcissism increases with the quantity of use and earlier starting age of self-promoting apps like Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok and Facebook. Why is this a problem? Narcissism distorts and inflates self-esteem, increases permissive sexual attitudes, leading to more sexting and poorer social conduct. Narcissism deteriorates the moral compass and impedes healthy relationships. Friends become vehicles of adulation and praise,
Self-referenced reality: Echo and Narcissus (detail), 1903 by John William Waterhouse. SouthernCross
existing to supply the narcissist with the recognition their false reality demands. This is true not just for males, but females – who are using social media more. So, is there a way forward? Yes, but it is a process using multiple strategies. What I describe below is helpful for both preventing and reducing problematic pornography and social media behaviours. These strategies dovetail together. Each on its own is not enough.
COMMUNICATION It is vital we create good narratives or, in the case of the “affected”, replace the poor narratives. This is through: • education about the problems and risks associated with pornography, the internet, social media and narcissism; • education about good sexuality, healthy relationships, improving the common good; • education about God’s will from the Scriptures for living as his disciples. Christ renews the mind. His gospel teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness. This starts with repentance and faith. For young people, parents are key. For students, this involves their teachers and curriculum. For church communities – programs, preaching and Bible studies.
CONTAINMENT Rules, access restrictions and the removal of triggers are strategies to protect the unexposed and contain those at risk. The fact is we are sexual, and pornography is very tempting. It delivers a quick high. Unfortunately, too many young people discover this privately and in isolation. With an average first-time exposure age of 11½, they are developing compulsive behaviours and corrupted sexuality well before anyone warns them of the risks.
CO-OPERATION People need to regularly communicate with their peers about these matters. Regardless of our age, our perception of what is normal to others is highly influential. This is called normalisation. The influence of FOMO (fear of missing out), and imitating others’ conduct, shapes our attitudes and behaviours. Regular transparent engagement, with shared critical thinking, challenges these narratives. “Iron sharpens iron”, and good dialogue dispels the sense of “Everyone is into this” while you co-operatively tackle the issues.
CLINICAL SUPPORT As mentioned, pornography is addictive. You are deceived if you think you’ll conquer the problem on your own. The challenge is in proportion to the years of investing in that porn habit. Get help from a therapist! They are specialists – experienced at helping people change, like life coaches.
Ultimately, the problems from pornography and social media are real and urgent. They pervade our communities like cancer. We can confront and beat them by committing to these strategies. Many people like myself are producing resources to prevent and reduce the negative effects from pornography and social media. But please – don’t just wait for us. What’s stopping you from using these strategies now within your own context? SC Marshall Ballantine-Jones is an ordained Anglican minister who has conducted PhD research at the University of Sydney’s medical school on the use and effects of pornography. SouthernCross
Why workplaces need religious freedom, too Michael Stead
he COVID-19 pandemic has indefinitely delayed the introduction of the Commonwealth
Religious Discrimination Bill, which would have provided protection against religious discrimination in the workplace. With Federal reform on pause, One Nation MP Mark Latham has introduced a bill to the NSW Parliament, which will protect people of faith (and no faith) from discrimination. This Bill has been referred to a Joint Select Parliamentary Committee, with public submissions invited until August 21 (see below). Mr Latham, who does not identify with any particular faith, has turned into an unlikely defender of religious freedom. Perhaps also surprisingly, it is a One Nation Bill championing the right of employees to wear religious dress and religious symbols at work (subject to reasonable limitations related to workplace requirements). The Bill is welcome, because reform is long overdue. More than 20 years ago, the NSW Law Reform Commission recommended the inclusion of religion as a protected attribute in antidiscrimination legislation. As the Ruddock Religious Freedom Review noted in 2018, NSW is now one of only two states that does not protect employees from discrimination on the basis of religious belief. The Ruddock Review recommended NSW amend its laws to enhance the protection of the right to freedom of religion in Australia. The Latham Bill addresses this. Why is protection necessary? SouthernCross
A report published by the Human Rights Law Alliance details 36 recent Australian cases of religious discrimination, including people who have lost jobs or qualifications because of their religious belief. Here are two examples from the report. Madeline* is a Christian who was an entertainer for a children’s party business. During the lead-up to the 2017 same-sex marriage postal vote, Madeline posted on Facebook, “It’s ok to vote no”. Her employer sacked her in response to the post, alleging that she was homophobic and hurtful. The employer also publicised her dismissal on social media. During this time, Madeline suffered significant anxiety and stress. An inquiry by the Fair Work Ombudsman led nowhere and Madeline had no real recourse against her employer. Marcus* is a support worker who helps troubled youth in the community. He is also a Christian and holds traditional views on sexuality and gender. As part of his role, Marcus was asked to sit a psychological suitability assessment, which he was deemed to have failed due to his traditional views on sexuality and gender. Marcus was fired from his position and suspended from working with youth at any residential facility for 12 months. Marcus now has a record lodged with the regulatory authority that will make it difficult for him to find employment in his field of work. The Latham Bill seeks to provide real protections for people in these situations. Clause 22N(4) of the Bill ensures an employer cannot take adverse action against an employee for a religious belief expressed outside of work – for example, on social media – provided it does not involve a direct criticism of the employer or cause them direct and material financial detriment. Latham’s version of what has become known as the “Israel Folau clause” is a significant improvement on the counterpart proposed in the Federal Religious Discrimination Bill because it applies to all employers, not just large corporations. This clause would provide a remedy for someone in Madeline’s situation. Clause 22S of the Bill prevents a body that confers authorisation or qualifications for a profession to discriminate against a person on the ground of religious beliefs or religious activities. This clause would arguably help someone in Marcus’s situation. The Latham Bill seeks to respond to current deficits in NSW anti-discrimination legislation. It extends the legislation’s framework by providing for all human rights to be treated equally, and follows recognised principles that any restrictions on human rights need to meet standards such as legality, evidence-based necessity and proportionality. The Bill balances the need for protection against religious discrimination with the need for “religious ethos organisations” to be able to operate in line with their religion. The Sydney Diocese will be making a full submission to the Joint Select Committee with a detailed analysis of the Latham Bill. The committee is inviting individuals to submit comments about the Bill via an online questionnaire at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/F8KFWXB. This closes on August 21. I encourage you to complete this short survey to indicate your support for these protections against religious discrimination. SC
The Rt Rev Dr Michael Stead is the Bishop of South Sydney and chairman of the Diocese’s Religious Freedom Reference Group. SouthernCross
* Identity anonymised 41
Teaching as a vocational mission Stephen Kinsella
hen Anglican EdComm interviewed young Christian teachers I was struck by their responses, but especially by Emily, who said, “Teaching is the most rewarding thing I could possibly do in my life”.
It was a tonic to everyone jaded by the grind of education and bowed down by underappreciation. Emily’s words capture the enthusiasm that Christians new to teaching are bringing to our schools. Another emerging school leader, Alex, described “a strong sense of mission as a teacher” as his motivation “to make Jesus known in everything I do”. Most people understand the work of teachers in leading our children through the curriculum requirements of state education departments, but one of the few positive outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic – and the requirement that children engage in remote learning (often at home and supervised by their parents) – has been a greater appreciation in our community of the complexity of classroom teaching. Classroom teaching is just one aspect of a teacher’s role. Professional and community expectations for teachers now go beyond quality teaching. Teachers are also required to be involved in: • curriculum and program design (administrator and curriculum designer); • supporting the holistic development of each student (life coach); • pastoral care and counselling for students and their families (counsellor); • modelling of acceptable and appropriate adult behaviour (role model). It is exciting that Christians new to teaching are not daunted by the complexity of their role. Instead, they are choosing teaching as their vocation because of the opportunities for gospel ministry it provides. Emily gave two reasons why she chose teaching. The first? “I can choose to love my students in the way Jesus did, I can choose to have compassion for my students in the way Jesus did, I can choose to empathise with students the way Jesus did, and I can choose to see them in the way God sees them.” SouthernCross
In my previous roles as headmaster of two Anglican schools, I found that statements like Emily’s, given during interviews for an appointment as a teacher, were common. It was my baseline expectation. Christian teachers are instruments of Christ’s love and care toward our children. Emily’s second reason for choosing teaching as a vocation was that “there is a creator God who created everything and he speaks into every single [subject] discipline. It can be Science, Maths, Art, English, everything. So there are opportunities throughout the State curriculum where you can speak God’s truth into the lives of young people.” There are strong echoes of Colossians 1:15-20 in Emily’s thinking. If “he is before all things and in him all things hold together”, then the revelation of God’s creation and intention for human beings is possible through the learning, thinking and robust exchange of ideas that is enabled by the curriculum. Skill demonstrated in delivering this aspect of Christian education is highly sought after in our Anglican schools. The opportunities for gospel ministry, through the relationships that develop with students and through the teaching of the curriculum, make the vocation of teaching highly attractive and fulfilling for Christian teachers. More than 40,000 students are enrolled in Anglican schools in the Diocese of Sydney. To meet the expected growth in enrolments over the next decade, an additional 1500 Christian teachers will need to be recruited. In fact, we need more than 1500 new Christian teachers. It is important that the voice of Christian teachers be present and heard in all schools – government and non-government – to challenge the many “isms” and ideologies that are actively influencing our students and the education system in general. The vocation of Christian teaching is not for the fainthearted. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus refers to his followers as being the salt of the earth and the light of the world, in order that people “may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”. This is certainly true for Christian teachers. Christian teachers need to be equipped with the “full armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11). The responsibility, extent and complexity of their gospel ministry means they also need the spiritual resources and support of their Christian family. How inspiring it is that young Christian teachers such as those we interviewed understand the missional nature of their vocation and are attracted to promoting the gospel through their role. We need more Christians to embrace the vocation of teaching. Victoria says it best: “I’m happy that I got to do my business degree but I am super-duper glad that I studied to be a teacher. I do think that God put that joy in my heart for teaching.” Please pray for our Christian teachers and that more Christians will be attracted to this vocation. See the interview with young Christian teachers here: edcomm.org.au/vocation SC
Stephen Kinsella is executive director of the Anglican Education Commission (Anglican EdComm). SouthernCross
Letters WHERE HAVE OUR CLERGY GONE? Many thanks for Peter Lin’s article in July Southern Cross, “Where are all the senior ministers?”. This is a topic of particular interest to me, being one of the few from my college year who are now senior ministers in Sydney Anglican churches. I think this is an issue worth exploring and trying to understand in its entirety. In particular, we need to identify the largest holes through which the pool of senior ministers is drained so we know where to focus our limited time and resources as a Diocese. The problem is complex, but I think it can be analysed in two parts. 1. Lack of supply: • not enough people entering college to be trained; • graduates choosing career paths other than ordained parish ministry; • demographics – Baby Boomer clergy nearing/reaching retirement age; rapid population growth in Sydney • assistant ministers not being discipled to become senior ministers. 2. Lack of retention: • senior ministers overwhelmed with the increasing technology, administration and compliance demands; • leaving parish ministry for other roles within the Diocese; • assistant ministers resigning, for a variety of reasons. I believe we would be well served by research into each of these reasons to understand them in our context. Otherwise, we are left to our own opinions and anecdotal evidence. When I graduated from Moore College less than 10 years ago, 35 people were ordained. From this group there are now only six presbyters (five senior ministers) and nine deacons in Sydney parishes. We could focus our attention on these 15, but what about the other 20? I was surprised the article made no mention of this larger group who, in my opinion, were those most likely to become our next senior ministers. With 57 per cent of those ordained with me not in our parishes, it appears an unsustainable rate of attrition. But maybe this is unique to my year group? Perhaps the decline in numbers being sent to college is even more stark? Or the number of graduates choosing other ministry options is increasing exponentially? I hope further research will be done to understand this complex problem troubling our Diocese. With the primary causes identified, we can then probe into the specific reasons why and start making changes we know will have an impact for the long-term leadership of our churches. The Rev Scott Lovell The Oaks Bishop Lin identifies the need for qualified men to be attracted to accept positions as rectors, a role identified as having never-ending expectations. The rector of my youth worked extraordinarily hard with long days. During the 1950s I called on Mrs Barlow in Doonside, almost 50 kilometres from the CBD, to find Archdeacon T.C. Hammond – rector of St Philip’s, Church Hill and principal of Moore College – making a pastoral visit. Such SouthernCross
visits are a rarity today. The Apostle Paul’s letters mainly direct how ministers need to act and behave, being examples of love, kindness etc – something all clergy need to take to heart. Enthusiastic and passionate for Christ, Bishop Lin offers prospective rectors a mission field within the confines of outer Sydney and in many parishes where experienced laity, in need of a refreshing rest, will likely be keen to assist with the monotonous but necessary tasks needing to be maintained. Now, clergy, remember the vows you made at your ordination and “Go West” young men to an unpretentious population where I spent 40 years of my life. Reg Lobb Stanwell Park
Clergy moves The Rev Lisa Boyd became part-time chaplain at Northern Beaches Hospital on July 13. The hospital’s foundation chaplain, the Rev Emily Carpenter, has moved to a full-time position at Concord Repatriation Hospital. The assistant minister at Enfield and Strathfield, the Rev Matthew Whitfield, will become rector of West Ryde on September 16. The rector of Penshurst, the Rev Bart Vanden Hengel, will retire on September 21 after 23 years in the parish, and 36 years of ordained ministry – in the Armidale Diocese, with SIM in Niger, and then in Sydney.
Vale The Rev Derek Brown died on June 13. Born Derek Michael Brown in Durban, South Africa, on March 22, 1937, he trained as an accountant, and travelled to the UK in 1961 for further experience – where he met his wife Ann. Mr Brown came to Christ at a church in London in early 1964, and the couple were married in Sydney the following year. Challenged to consider mission by their church (St Andrew’s, Roseville), they studied at Sydney Missionary and Bible College to prepare for the mission field – heading to South Africa in 1969 to serve with the Africa Evangelical Fellowship (now SIM). In the 33 years the family served with AEF/SIM, Mr Brown worked in theological education, church planting, hospital administration and as a parish pastor in rural areas, towns and major cities. He was ordained in South Africa in 1988 as part of this service. One of his parishioners at St Matthew’s, Leondale in Johannesburg, Zanele Ntsibande, sent a letter of thankful memories to Mrs Brown after she heard of his death. As a teenager she and her mother lived next door to the church and, when she first met Mr Brown, she and a friend were SouthernCross
making fun of him in Zulu, unaware he could understand them. Once he spoke to them in their own language, she was so intrigued that he wasn’t angry with her that she accepted an invitation to church. Zanele listened and learned from Mr Brown’s focus on Jesus, on the word, and watched the example he and Mrs Brown set of love, support and prayer. “I have countless stories to tell about this man who said to me, ‘While I’m preaching in that pulpit, I don’t want to see your eyes. Your eyes must be in Scripture checking if what I am preaching to you is in Scripture,” she wrote. “Lala kahle Qhawe [sleep well, warrior].” When the Browns retired from SIM in 2002, they returned to Sydney and began attending church at Waitara while Mr Brown undertook a number of locums elsewhere. He was honorary assistant minister at Waitara from 2006 to 2014, when the couple moved to a retirement village in the Hills district – and continued to serve, this time at Stanhope Anglican. The rector at Waitara for much of Mr Brown’s time in the parish, the Rev Bruce Stanley, remembers him as “an evangelist with a heart for sharing the gospel with people wherever he went… Even in his final days, he continued to hand out gospel tracts to those working in the hospital. “He was a humble servant… a man of prayer, upholding many, many people in prayer throughout their lives, especially those in the ministry. He has seen many hearts won for the gospel and served his great God faithfully until the very end. “His favourite verse as far as I know – because he quoted it in nearly every sermon – was 2 Corinthians 5:20: ‘We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: be reconciled to God’.” The Rev Dr Evonne Paddison died on July 14 after a year-long battle with a brain tumour. Born Evonne Anne Paddison on March 23, 1950, she grew up in Guildford where, at Sunday school, she decided she wanted to be a missionary. Dr Paddison trained as a teacher and taught in a range of schools for a decade before heading to Tanzania in 1979. After ill health brought her home two years later, Bishop Paul Barnett (then Master at Robert Menzies College) created the position of assistant chaplain at Macquarie University for her. She also became dean of female students at RMC, and later Deputy Master of the college. Bishop Barnett gave the sermon at Dr Paddison’s funeral last month, in which he drew on the “living hope” of 1 Peter 1 and the Apostle Paul’s thoughts of “home” in 2 Corinthians 5. “Evonne had that [living] hope from her teens,” he said. “She clung to that hope always – even in difficult times… many, many people owe their love of Jesus to her.” Despite serious bouts of sickness that caused breaks in her ministry, Dr Paddison spent eight years at Macquarie University and RMC, and two years at Croydon Bible College lecturing in New Testament. She worked for the Diocesan Board of Education and established and ran Eagleswift Press and Aquila Press. Amid this work she obtained a Diploma of Religious Education, a Bachelor of Divinity, a Master of Letters in English Literature and, in 1997, began a PhD at the University of Sydney focused on the SouthernCross
Gospel of John. She finished this in 2001 and moved to Melbourne to be warden of Ridley University College and lecturer in New Testament at the college itself. She was ordained in Melbourne in 2004. In 2006 Dr Paddison became CEO of the Council of Christian Education in Schools in Melbourne (now Access Ministries) – a job she held until her retirement in 2014, when she returned to Sydney. She joined the staff of Christ Church, Lavender Bay as an assistant minister in 2016, resigning due to failing health at the end of last year. Dr Paddison was known for her sense of humour and fun, and her particular joy in nieces, nephews and godchildren. Her close friend the Rev Di Nicolios described her as “a great gift to God for all of us”, saying that in her final illness, during “two long stints in hospital, she was always encouraging the nurses to have fun… [There was] always time for fun with the kids, but she loved nothing better than a good conversation that was real”. Miss Nicolios added that Dr Paddison had “particularly insightful teaching in matters of faith”. “She was a visionary, always making plans for the future… either personal or ministry. [At] Access Ministries she reshaped the whole of religious education across Victoria, so that what was being taught was theologically sound and engaging for children.” In finishing his sermon at the funeral service Bishop Barnett said, “What would Evonne have me say? ‘Don’t be like those who grieve without hope. Hear the word of God. Become a believer in Jesus. Place yourself in the hands of Jesus who loved you and gave himself for you’.” The Rev Bruce Southwell died on June 22. Born Bruce Selby Southwell on December 15, 1943 in Cowra, he was brought up in Cowra and Five Dock, studied engineering at the University of Sydney and was involved in beach missions on the South Coast with his future wife Julie from the mid-1960s. They married in 1969 at St Luke’s, Dapto. In 1979, as part of his work as a civil engineer, he was transferred to Wollongong, where he and Mrs Southwell attended St John’s, Keiraville. At that time, congregation members were praying that the Lord would raise up people from among their number to train at Moore College. In an interview many years ago, he said, “As with all our moves, the Lord made it very clear to both Julie and me that this was the right course of action”. Speaking at Mr Southwell’s funeral last month, his son Philip said his father saw himself as a full-time Christian minister before going to college, and that his role in paid ministry was “never just a job”. He added: “Dad’s love for others and his servant heart came from his deep and unwavering personal experience of God… and he devoted his life to sharing that offer of a relationship with God to others”. Mr Southwell was ordained in 1986 and became curate of Glenquarie for the next three years. After this, he spent a fruitful 15 years as rector of Riverwood-Punchbowl, before being called to the Northern Territory as rector of St James’, Sanderson in 2004. Retiring at the end of 2010, Mr and Mrs Southwell returned to Sydney and moved into Donald Robinson Village in Kirrawee, attending church locally and serving wherever they could. Friends Kevin and Brenda Carter gave a joint eulogy at Mr Southwell’s funeral in which they SouthernCross
spoke of his service, friendship and godly character. Said Mr Carter: “Bruce gave sermons, led services, joined Tuesday night Bible study, wrote Bible study booklets. He realised the need for senior residents to have a less demanding and more focused Bible study group, so he started ‘A verse a week’ Bible study [and] commenced a weekly prayer meeting in the chapel. Julie took up playing for services and supporting Bruce as they engaged with membership of the Sunday@5 service committee [at St John’s, Sutherland] and village life. “Bruce was always on the lookout for opportunities to meet and talk with others and to engage in Christian conversations. “He never complained about his condition, and never gave up when his movement was interrupted, or his words escaped him. He was always willing to pray, focused on others – both family and friends – his trust and his strong faith in the Lord Jesus always obvious and visible. Just like a lighthouse, Bruce continued to shine little rays of sunshine into our hearts and minds.”
VACANT PARISHES List of parishes and provisional parishes, vacant or becoming vacant, as at July 29, 2020: • • • • • •
• • • • • • • • • •
Albion Park** Balgowlah** Bomaderry Bulli** Campbelltown Carlingford and North Rocks** Cronulla Darlinghurst** East Lindfield** Figtree Gordon** Granville Greenacre* Gymea Huskisson Kurrajong
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Leura** Mt Druitt* Malabar Menai Menangle** Mittagong** Narrabeen Newport** Newtown with Erskineville North Epping North Sydney Paddington** Penshurst** Pitt Town Rosemeadow St Clair Sans Souci Wilberforce
*denotes provisional parishes or Archbishop’s appointments **right of nomination suspended/on hold
Director, St James’ Institute St James’, King Street, Sydney, is seeking a new Director for the St James’ Institute because of the pending move of the present Director to a ministry position in Tasmania. The Institute is the educational arm of St James’, initiating events and public discussions around Christianity and contemporary issues, within the liberal broad church tradition. The next Director will have an opportunity to expand the Institute’s reach and to take it to a new level. They will need to have an understanding of theology and education, an ability to network and be creative, an enthusiasm to initiate ideas, and be effective at marketing and administration. Applicants may be lay or ordained. Applications close on Friday 21 August 2020. A brochure outlining the position and an application form are on the St James’ website: I nst i t u t e www.sjks.org.au/life-and-learning/ Life & Learning
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Driven to serve
Judy Adamson Saint Judy Rated M Coarse language
ow many of us – despite the injustices and danger faced by millions across the globe – would put our family, finances or careers in jeopardy to help?
I’d suggest the answer to that is, “Not many”. We might be concerned, and perhaps prayerful; willing to give some money, write a letter and even attend a demonstration or two. But boots-and-all passion is the calling of a very few. The titular character of Saint Judy is one of those few. Hers is a true story, and although she is described online as a “devout Christian”, this is not even referred to obliquely in the movie. And just to make it clear it’s not important to the filmmakers, she’s well able to swear with the best of them! Judy Wood, played by Michelle Monaghan, is a defence attorney devoted to serving her clients
A persecuted minority?: Asefa Ashwari (Leem Lubany) is sworn in at her immigration hearing. – and it quickly becomes clear this has been at the cost of her marriage. It also makes life difficult in an ongoing way for her young son Alex. The film begins in 2003, with Wood and Alex moving from New Mexico to California to be closer to his father. Wood joins the immigration law office of Ray Hernandez (Alfred Molina), whose only real interest is in turning a buck. He knows little and cares less, it seems, about the people whose cases are crammed into his filing cabinets. However, when he suggests Wood look through a few to get a feel for the work and meet some of the people involved, she does much more than he expects, or wants. The main focus of the story is the case of Asefa Ashwari (played with dignified restraint by Leem Lubany), who was forced to flee Afghanistan after being targeted for opening a school for girls – something forbidden by the Taliban. Wood takes up Ashwari’s cause and that of many others, creates ripples at their detention centre and is promptly fired by Hernandez. Undaunted, despite having very little money, she opens her own office and continues working. She’s determined to ensure Ashwari can be granted asylum, despite US law not recognising women as a minority in need of protection. Is there a legal avenue open to her, or will Ashwari be deported and face almost certain death back in Afghanistan? There are great performances and some real heart to the film, and if you can ignore the occasional soapbox speech, there’s much to enjoy in Saint Judy. It contains echoes of Erin Brockovich as Wood battles against the odds, her circumstances and the system, so there’s really no need for table thumping. The story can speak very well for itself. It’s also a pity Wood’s faith is hidden under a bushel rather than explored as part of what drives her to serve. What this knowledge can do for us, however, is inform our viewing. And just as some of the characters challenge Wood about her motivation and priorities, Saint Judy can challenge us to think about ours. We may not like the answers, but we should be ready to ask the questions. SC SouthernCross