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A place of hope opens in Sydney’s west “There are 50,000 people in our parish who need Jesus”: The Rev Steve Reimer with Archbishop Davies.
“To the Glory of God and the growth of His Kingdom”, reads the plaque unveiled at the official opening of Sydney’s latest Anglican church. The 21st-century design of Stanhope Anglican was projected onto the screen in the auditorium as Archbishop Glenn Davies joined Stanhope’s pastor, the Rev Steve Reimer, members of the church and invited guests in opening the building. “Stanhope Anglican is the first jewel of many in the crown of New Churches for New Communities,” the Archbishop said. “With thanks to so many people who have supported this initiative, thanks to the people of StanHOPE – a place of hope for the community – and thanks to our great God. “It’s a wonderful reminder to us all as we bring hope to the people of this suburb. What a great vision and what a great mission we have in bringing the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ to the people who live in this area.” It took two years after turning the first sod at the site for the building to be ready for occupation.
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COVER: Stanhope Anglican Church’s new building.
Community celebration: (from left) Stanhope churchwardens Jeff Atack and Rohan Smith, with the Rev Steve Reimer and Blacktown City councillor Moninder Singh, in front of the church entrance.
The sweeping modern structure and surroundings are set to become a landmark in the new suburb. Said Mr Reimer: “After 14 years meeting in the Blacktown Leisure Centre, we are loving our own space on top of the hill in the heart of the community at Stanhope. Stan means ‘place of’ in Persian and Urdu, and that is what we want to be – a place of hope; that hope being Christ Jesus. “We long to see people find real hope in Jesus. We long to see young people, especially, coming to faith and being established in faith, that they may stick with Jesus all their life. “We know we have not ‘arrived’ now we have a building, but it is already proving to be one useful tool in gathering as God’s people and connecting with our growing community. There are 50,000 people in our parish who need Jesus.” sc
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Church takes flight in new airport corridor
Far-flung dirt: Archbishop Davies enthusiastically turns the first sod at the Hope Anglican Church site in Leppington.
Another major Anglican Church construction is underway in Sydney’s west, just a short distance from the planned Badgerys Creek Airport. Archbishop Glenn Davies turned the first sod last month at the building commencement ceremony for Hope Anglican Church in Leppington. The Rev Glenn Gardner, executive director of New Churches for New Communities (NCNC) – which is helping co-ordinate the project – said: “The growth of the southwest and northwest corridors of Sydney is certainly staggering. “To keep pace with growth and to have only 2 per cent of residents in Anglican churches would require a new church of 700 people every 12 months in western Sydney over the next 15 years!” That’s why the new building, a 375-seat auditorium together with kids’ and youth ministry spaces, is such a significant project. The senior minister at Hope Anglican, the Rev Luther Symons, is aware of the need. “Our parish will grow to over 100,000 people as part of the extra 350,000 moving into the southwest in the next 15 years,” he says. “We need churches that will then plant other churches. Under God that is certainly our plan at Hope. We have grown from 20 to over 400 members in the past four years and hope to plant SouthernCross
ourselves in the next three-four years, 15 minutes down the road towards Badgerys Creek Airport.” This year the church has taken on a mission pastor, who is also apprenticing in church planting. “We hope to start gathering a church planting team in the next couple of years to plant again,” Mr Symons says. “Our plans are bold and so, prayerfully, we are entrusting them to God, praying that he might be pleased to use us to draw many more to himself.” Church members are already excited about the building now under construction. Sally Hutchinson, a member of one of Hope’s four congregations, says, “After four years we have reached the ‘no-room-in-the-inn scenario’ – or no more room in the converted garage – and yet there are so many more to reach with the good news of Jesus in the southwest.” Another parishioner, Ryan Smith, echoes the need for more space. “God’s grace and provision have been so evident to us at Hope. We are bursting at the seams! “We desperately need space to welcome all those coming to hear the hope of Jesus – we can’t have our church reaching capacity each week. We are eagerly looking forward to how our Lord will use these new facilities to grow his church here in Leppington.” Mr Symons emphasises the Diocese-wide support the project has been given. “I am just blown away by the generosity of those throughout the Diocese in making our building at Leppington possible,” he says. “Every parish is a part of this and some have contributed staggering amounts to see our church go forward. It’s truly humbling and heartening to see such single-minded commitment to the growth in this part of Sydney.” As for NCNC, the work doesn’t stop. “All our stakeholders are very encouraged that the new Stanhope Gardens church building is now officially opened and construction at Leppington is underway,” Mr Gardner says. “Our focus is now on raising funds for outreach at Marsden Park.” sc
Mask and number restrictions eased in churches “The churches have been fantastic”: NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard. photo:ABC
Churches can now host up to 300 people indoors, subject to the 4m2 rule, and masks are no longer needed in services, following talks with the State Government on COVID safety. After the NSW Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard, met with Archbishop Davies on the issue last month, Mr Hazzard said: “The churches have been fantastic, the congregations across the state have been fantastic, but they have expressed concern and frustration that more people would like to come to services, so the 300 [cap] now will make a big difference – but, can I stress... it is subject to the 4m² rule.” Dr Davies also raised the issue of singing in church, and said the advice given by the Health Department “continues to be cautious”. “Congregational singing is still prohibited, though we are allowed up to five singers from the front, appropriately spaced, to sing God’s praise on our behalf while we make melody to the Lord in our hearts,” he said. “However, I posed the question as to why we could not sing softly with masks. The Minister recognised the possibility of this, and has referred this question to Dr Kerry Chant, the Chief Medical Officer. Humming, with lips closed, of course, is permissible.” SouthernCross
MASKS NOT NEEDED Dr Davies added that masks are no longer recommended since social distancing is in place and congregational singing is not currently occurring. In an email to ministry staff in the Diocese he said, “I argued that our churches practise social distancing, hand sanitation, contact record keeping, cleansing of pews between services and even temperature checks in some churches. The Minister and his medical advisor both agreed that if congregational members were physically spaced at 1.5m2, then the risk of infection is so minimal that the wearing of masks need no longer apply. “Accordingly, ministers need no longer recommend the wearing of masks in church. This will be a relief to so many of our people. Yet some may wish to continue wearing masks for abundant caution and, of course, we should not discourage them.” The Health Department still recommends wearing masks when social distancing is not possible or when people are in “high-risk indoor areas”.
CAROLS UPDATE The good news for churches preparing for an indoor Christmas carol service is that the 300 cap also applies here. For carols events planned outdoors, up to 500 people are permitted, with an appropriate COVID-19 Safety Plan for each space. There is also the possibility of a further easing in distancing restrictions before Christmas, from the 4m2 rule to 2m2. In his earlier communication with the Premier and the Health Minister, Dr Davies assured them of the continued prayers of Christians across NSW. He also called on churches to “continue to pray for vaccine research, for our political leaders and for the further relaxation of restrictions upon the preaching of God’s word for the glory of our Saviour”. sc
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How can you serve those who have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic? The COVID-19 Church Response Program supports Christian women as they develop effective responses to the unique challenges faced by their communities. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a range of negative impacts. Financial insecurity, disruption to education, relational stress, mental health impacts and social tensions, to name just a few. Vulnerability and insecurity have deepened for many who were already facing challenges before the pandemic. Throughout history, when crisis has struck, Christian women have often been at the forefront, serving the vulnerable and sharing God’s love in practical ways. Anglican Deaconess Ministries (ADM) aims to continue this legacy.
A free workshop that will enable you to identify needs in your local community and give you tools to identify resources, assets and capabilities within your local church. We invite you to attend this online workshop either as an individual or as a group with up to three others from your church.
ADM’s COVID-19 Church Response Program is designed to respond to current needs, equipping Christian women to ‘do mercy and justice’ through their church communities. You are uniquely positioned to see areas of need in your community. You may already have ideas on how to meet these needs, you may be seeking solutions, or you may simply have a heart to serve. ADM wants to partner with you to address the needs of your community through the COVID-19 Church Response Program. The program is set out in two-stages The first stage is a Community Transformation Workshop, the second stage is the awarding of funding to seed church-based initiatives responding to need. Successful applicants will receive grants of up to $5,000.
Community Transformation Workshop
Workshop date: Thursday 26 November Time: 10am-2pm Location: Online Register at: deaconessministries.org.au/covid19-response Registrations close Sunday 22 November.
Application for Funding Attendees of the workshop will be invited to submit a brief application for grant funding of up to $5,000. Please note only attendees of the workshop will be eligible to apply for and receive funding. Submissions due: Friday 15 January 2021
To find out more visit: deaconessministries.org.au/covid19-response
Sharing food and faith love at Greenacre Pantry day: Volunteers fill dozens of bags with groceries for their customers.
It’s fresh food pantry day at Greenacre Anglican, so volunteers are busy packing bags with fruit, vegetables, bread and other essentials for the 80-85 customers they provide for each fortnight. The reason they’re so busy is that their numbers have doubled since COVID began, according to Katie Thompson, one of the pantry co-ordinators. “Beforehand, we wouldn’t have thought we could do 80 people, but God has given us the strength and provided everything we need,” she says. “We’re very thankful that God provided extra people over this time… we’ve had about 20 different volunteers. We’re a small church, quite missional, but most of the volunteers come from other churches around Sydney.” Greenacre has held a fortnightly pantry for about four years. Initially they used the long-life food van, but moved to a fresh food pantry two years ago. Each fortnight their driver from Anglicare, Ron Piilau, picks up fruit and veggies from Foodbank and delivers them to the church. A bag is packed full for customers – who all have an immigration card, a pension card, a low-income health care card or a referral from one of the church staff – and then four or five volunteers stay to hand the bags out when people arrive. “It’s a big bag for $2,” Miss Thompson says. “They used to come through, walk past the tables, we’d SouthernCross
give them maybe two tomatoes or five carrots and so on, and they could say, ‘I won’t eat this, or that’. Now because we need to pack the bags ourselves, if they don’t want something in it they can give it to their neighbour.” Prior to COVID, the church also hosted a morning tea on pantry day. People would sit down, be served coffee by some of the older ladies from the parish and enjoy time in conversation together. The morning teas aren’t possible at the moment, yet Greenacre hasn’t missed a single pantry day, pivoting immediately to a drive-through option, as well as delivering the groceries to some people Drive-through service: A grocery bag is offered to one of Greenacre’s regular customers. in their homes. “We’ve also been giving out lots of bibles in different languages – especially when we were in lockdown – and lots of Jesus DVDs,” Miss Thompson says. “When we had to move to the drive-through it’s less relational as we don’t have that extended time with people, but we’ve actually found the depth of conversation we’ve been able to have is greater.” SOLID RELATIONSHIPS That has happened, she believes, because members from the church had already established relationships with a number of customers, which has developed a level of trust. “We ask them how they’re going, how are their family members – remembering things you’ve spoken about before – and we offer to pray for them if they would like us to. With the DVD and the Bible we talk about how it’s comforted us during COVID, and the hope that Jesus gives. It’s nothing super-fancy but it’s giving people the opportunity to think more.” Miss Thompson says customers are of all nations and all religions (or no religion), with varying experiences of church. Some have a refugee background, others migrated decades ago and some were born here. Their level of education and English also varies widely. While there is still some stigma attached to seeking help, “they come because they feel valued and they see it’s not just about the food – it’s about the relationships, too. And it’s a reciprocal thing. People will often bring in biscuits and all kinds of things because they just want to say, ‘Thank you’.” She is concerned about what will happen once the downturn in Centrelink payments begins to bite. “We’re expecting more [will need food assistance] – the statistics are terrible in terms of western Sydney. But we all need a little bit of help sometimes and there’s no shame in that. It’s a Western value that says we’re in control of our circumstances, but COVID has shown us more than anything that we’re not.” Miss Thompson suggests anyone interested in volunteering with a community pantry contact Anglicare and find out where and when they are held. “I’ve thought about this a lot – about people who make the sacrifice to come week after week,” she says. “It’s nice to have the warm fuzzies, to want to help and see this as something we should be doing, but it is costly to actually do it. So, we’re really thankful for the people who do.” sc SouthernCross
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Frontline church leader battles cancer
“Trusting in his Lord for the future”: Archbishop Ben Kwashi from Nigeria. photo: JD Media
There’s been a worldwide prayer request for one of Africa’s senior church leaders, who has been hit by colon cancer. Archbishop Ben Kwashi, the general secretary of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) and Archbishop of Jos in Nigeria, has begun treatment after being diagnosed in September. GAFCON’s chairman, Archbishop Foley Beach of the Anglican Church of North America, broke the news in a message to churches around the world. “Archbishop Ben and Mama Gloria along with their children are grateful for your prayers and concern,” Archbishop Beach said. “Please pray for Archbishop Ben, that he will be comfortable SouthernCross
Church outside: Archbishop Kwashi leads a service at the family compound in Jos. photo: JD Media and pain-free during the chemotherapy, and that it will be effective in dealing with the tumour.” He spoke of the optimism of the Nigerian leader, who is known in Anglican provinces around the world for his clear and passionate faith. “Archbishop Ben is very positive, trusting in his Lord for the future and continues to be committed to the clear and effective proclamation of the gospel,” Archbishop Beach said. Archbishop Kwashi has said the first round of chemotherapy went well. In an interview with The Pastor’s Heart podcast, he said doctors believe the cancer is contained. “The good news is that – because they were all looking out for spread – it had not spread. It was localised in the colon. The liver was okay and so they decided that they should go immediately to start on chemotherapy... I will be going for two chemotherapies then go for another exam, and if they feel comfortable they will then go for surgery.” Apart from once when he was too ill, the archbishop has led a weekly church service for the 80 orphans who live with him and his wife Gloria in the family compound in Jos. They have been forced to isolate in the compound because of COVID-19 but hold church services in the open air. In a video posted on Facebook, Archbishop Kwashi can be seen energetically leading the children at church in the open air, despite the effects of the treatment. “I wanted to debunk the news so…. I rushed out and we had a great time with the kids [but] I was in pain, yes,” he told the podcast. Archbishop Kwashi and his wife Gloria established the orphanage in their home more than a decade ago, caring for children made homeless by violence and poverty. He said he has been putting off revealing the full nature of his illness to the orphans. “What I did was not to tell them it was cancer,” he said. “I just said, ‘Daddy is sick’ and so they’ve been praying. I mean, they are praying like crazy.” The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, has sent a message to Archbishop Kwashi. “We all know Ben as a passionate preacher, a fervent evangelist and man who doesn’t hesitate to reach out and pray for others,” Dr Davies said. “In the wake of his cancer diagnosis I assured him that we are now praying for him, that he will be restored to health soon so that he might continue his work – both locally in his diocese and more widely in the global arena.” sc SouthernCross
Preliminary Theological Certificate
A new twist on sponsorship – back a Bible student
Have an impact on a nation for eternity : Students at Johannesburg Bible College. photo: courtesy Anglican Aid
“My mother was a witch doctor. She devoted me to her gods expecting me to inherit her work. But by the grace of God I was chosen by the almighty God to be purified and used for his glory.” This is the story Meshack, from the Rorya Diocese in Tanzania, shared at an Anglican Aid virtual launch event, heralding the start of a significant new sponsorship program for Bible college students. Meshack, who is married with five children, hopes to study at Uganda Christian College. He says a sponsor for further theological study will help him “serve the Almighty God in a proper way and be more help to the people of God”. Speaking at the event of the needs in the developing world Dr Peter Jensen said, “We are dealing with a problem of success, not with a problem of failure”. Dr Jensen, who is the director of the theological education network for the Global Anglican Future group, or GAFCON, was upbeat as he outlined the problem. “In so many of the countries of Asia and Africa the church is exploding,” he said. “Evangelism is going on and people are coming to know the Lord. Unfortunately, so many of those who take responsibility for being pastor-teachers have not themselves been taught. There is a lack of training. It’s not their fault, it’s simply that the church is expanding and someone needs to take that responsibility.” He added that the stakes are high, as churches are exposed to false teaching. SouthernCross
“It’s easy for those who teach a social gospel, for example, for those who promote liberalism or who promote prosperity teaching. It’s so easy to come in and take the church members away because our people have not been taught the significant truths of the word of God because their leaders have not been taught.” Pastor Samuel Majok, who leads the South Sudanese congregation at Oakhurst Anglican Church, knows these issues first-hand. “In some cases, because pastors want to retain wealthier new visitors to church, they tend to fast-track them into membership and baptism, even leadership,” he said. “This has been very unfortunate. In some Mxo’s goal: “My desire is to preach the truth.” churches, lay leaders are appointed according to the size of their wallets rather than their Christian maturity. Thanks to Anglican Aid and to all other supporters of Bishop Gwynne College in Juba, South Sudan, already hundreds of full-time students have been sponsored in Bible colleges across Africa.” Pastor Majok was only one of a line of speakers who strongly backed the new initiative. “We are in the midst of a culture war within Anglicanism,” said Canon Ashley Null, chairman of the Alexandria School of Theology (AST), by video link. “So often, biblical faithful exposition is seen as a Western idea being imposed upon the rest of the Communion. “As AST continues to strengthen as an institution of biblical faithfulness in Africa, led by Africans, it will have a great influence in shaping mainstream Anglicanism in the 21st century. Therefore, when people sponsor students, they are not only helping that student – which is incredibly important – they are also investing in an institution that will increasingly play an important role in shaping the communion.” Anglican Aid’s director the Rev Tim Swan went even further, declaring, “Training can have a significant impact on a church, a diocese and even a nation for eternity. The most effective way of strengthening the church around the world is by sponsoring Bible college students.” But perhaps the most striking testimony about the new sponsorship program came from prospective students like Meshack. Another person keen for sponsorship, Mxo from Inchanga in South Africa, spoke of his hope to study a Bachelor of Theology at George Whitefield College in Cape Town. “Seeing that the false gospel is becoming popular in our rural areas and everywhere in the world, after finishing my studies I would like to go back to my rural area and pastor a church there,” he said. “Without the proper understanding of the word of God it is easy to preach heresy. I need the training to help me to know the Lord better, and to love him more. “Our brothers and sisters are giving their hard-earned money to the false gospel – this shows the need for the Bible training. My desire is to preach the truth of the Bible as God wants.” sc For more information about the scholarship program, see https://www.anglicanaidbcss.com SouthernCross
Toys ’n’ tucker ’n’ COVID
Socially distanced service: A group of volunteers chat before the packing begins at Anglicare’s Villawood warehouse.
It’s been happening forever, or so it seems – the annual call to donate or collect food items and toys for those who need Anglicare’s services around Christmas time. However, as with everything else in 2020, Toys ’n’ Tucker is going to be a bit different this year. The donating, the collecting, the packing and the distributing have all needed to change to become COVID safe. Even some of the people receiving help are different. “This year with COVID there’s no way in the world we could doorknock!” says the Rev Denis Oliver, rector of Mortdale and Peakhurst, whose church has been involved in T’n’T for more than 20 years. “We could sit out the front of the shopping centre, but I think people would be reluctant [to engage with us] – and I think some of our people would be reluctant, too.” He adds that this year, the goal is “one family helps one family: I told my parish, we want to help the local primary school. They said they want 10 hampers… so I’m looking for 10 families to help 10 families. “I’ve already got rid of 10 boxes and we haven’t even [officially] kicked off! It’s not rocket science – that’s the best part about it. You’re given a list and a box. How hard is that?” The program manager for Toys ’n’ Tucker, Nathan Moulds, says this year Anglicare is looking to fill 6000 food hampers – about 1000 more than usual – plus 4500 toy hampers. The need is greater because the economic hardship linked to COVID has driven more people to seek help. In addition, some parishes and people that would normally give, or get involved, have reduced capacity or funds this year. One example of this is the group collection points for T’n’T donations: 250 churches, schools and businesses are needed. By late October, Anglicare usually has 150 of them registered. However, SouthernCross
Mr Moulds says, by the same time this year they only had 80 registrations. “People are leaving things till later because COVID has changed the way we plan and think about time. We recognise that some people are waiting to see what happens... but we’re committed to this target and want to be confident that we can meet the needs in the community.” In addition to collection points, 800 volunteers are needed to help sort food and pack hampers in Villawood. The need to be COVID safe with packing and social distancing means this will officially begin on November 2, a fortnight earlier than usual. Hampers will then be quarantined for another two weeks, just to be on the safe side. “There’s a need for people to consider how to be creative in the way they give, and consider alternatives,” Mr Moulds says. “If they can give less in material aid donations, they may be more able to give time or talent or capacity. There’s a Sharing God’s “radical” love: Nathan Moulds. need on both fronts.” For him, being generous at Christmas – particularly when times are hard – is a mirror of God’s own generosity to us in sending Jesus. “This idea that God doesn’t abandon humanity in our suffering, that he takes on flesh, is born as a baby and steps into our world with all of the grief and the pain and hardship, is pretty radical,” he says. “One of the small ways we try to extend that radical generosity is through hampers and gifts. A hamper doesn’t transform someone’s life... but what people don’t forget is that sense of care and love and connection they experience. It can open people up to considering the love of God, and perhaps interacting with churches or our staff in a deeper way.” Adds Mr Oliver: “Being involved is easy and accessible and it’s meaningful. You’re packing a box, man! And each box represents a family. To me that’s a tangible thing: pack a box, help a family. Make a difference.” sc
SIX WAYS YOU CAN GET INVOLVED WITH TOYS ’N’ TUCKER: • Register your church, business or school as a group collection point (see www. toysntucker.org.au)
include toiletries or gift cards from a sports store, cinema or music/DVD shop) • Donate funds through the T’n’T website
• Become one of the 800 volunteers needed to sort through donations and pack boxes at Villawood
• Help out at a group collection point • Pray for COVID safety for all involved, and for the many families who will be helped this year
• Buy food or toys/gifts to donate. Gifts are particularly welcome for teenagers (ideas SouthernCross
Love and Letterbox Church with Mr Ken Print and prepare : Every week since March, Ken Leard has printed out the sermon, news and more, so members of St John’s, Maroubra at a higher risk from COVID-19 can remain connected to church.
Each week, about 20 letterboxes linked to St John’s, Maroubra receive a visit from Ken Leard. There may be an opportunity to talk to a few letterbox owners as well, but more often than not he simply delivers. “This is some of my congregation,” he jokes, showing a photo with a group of mailboxes. Mr Leard – or Mr Ken as he is known to a generation of Sunday school children and parents – has been delivering sermons (and more) to church members since the COVID lockdown in March. Concerned to ensure that those who weren’t computer literate could remain connected to their church family and encouraged in faith, he offered to print out the sermon each week and take it to their homes in person. Before long, this morphed into “Letterbox Church”, which continues to serve a range of members who haven’t been able to return to physical services – as well as a few who have but enjoy the opportunity to read and ponder the sermon again at home. On Fridays, the sermon is emailed to Mr Ken by Maroubra’s senior minister, the Rev Jim Crosweller. SouthernCross
Another staff member prepares and sends the Letterbox Church news sheet, which contains a Bible passage, a short devotion and prayer points. Mr Ken prints everything, adds church handouts (plus the occasional special extra like chocolate), and addresses each envelope. He gives a few to another couple to deliver, then drives around the local area to hand deliver the others himself – mostly into mailboxes but sometimes to the door, which provides the opportunity for a socially distanced chat. “I think people feel appreciated that they’re still remembered,” he says. “You do run into the problem of delivering to apartments that are locked and have letterboxes inside the front door, but I’ve been fortunate that each time God has provided a solution for me.” Says Mr Crosweller: “We could easily have done all of this by post, but Ken has done it by love... it’s just an absolute labour of love and Chat time with the letterbox owner: Mr Ken arrives at Berrie Rickert’s home with the latest Letterbox Church. honour for him. “People have very little stamina for long, humble service without significant props along the way. Ken reminds us of a certain kind of Christian character that will commit to long-term humble deeds, which clearly is driven by his own gospel-heartedness and not by external validation.” While Mr Ken’s main concern throughout his months as Letterbox Church delivery man has been that no St John’s member loses contact with church, his weekly reach has become wider than he anticipated. He now emails the sermon each week to a lady in Marrickville – “I don’t know how she heard about it!” – as well as to a member of staff at a nearby Anglicare aged care home, who prints it out for residents. In addition, he says, one man from Lakemba found the church’s email address online and asked if sermons could be posted to him. And he certainly looks forward to it. If the post is slow, Mr Ken says, he will make contact and say, “I haven’t got my sermon notes from last week!” sc
Cry to the Lord, with hope Twice a year, Newtown and Erskineville Anglican Church hosts a service of remembrance and hope to comfort and encourage locals who have lost a loved one... but 2020 hasn’t been your average year. Assistant minister the Rev Mike Hastie says the church team considered how it might alter this month’s event in light of the extra grief and loss caused by COVID, and the result will be a psalmbased service of lament. “Our Christmas theme this year is ‘A weary world rejoices’, and we’re going to start that season of Christmas with the service of lament,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be a downer, it’s just appropriate – it’s flat-out appropriate – to acknowledge the need for lament, that it should be part of what we do, and even more so this year. “We probably struggle to lament in general... it’s just not in the pattern of how we do life, and yet life contains things that we ought to lament because things aren’t the way they ought to be.” The November 20 service will focus on Psalm 77, beginning with a cry to the Lord and praying through the many different things that have caused people grief this year (such as loss of work and connections, fear, illness and death). There will be specific times of lament, times of silence, petitioning and prayer through word and song, plus a reflection on our reason to hope. What particularly concerns Mr Hastie is that, once the pre-Christmas season begins in the community, the talk and attitude will be focused on joy. “Every shopping centre is going to be trying to recapture the joy of Christmas,” he says, “and there’s an emptiness to that which we didn’t want to be part of.” He adds that while Christmas is obviously a time of great hope and joy for people of faith, to rush straight to that without working through the difficult year that has passed seems hollow. “I want to create space to boldly lament before God, even expressing our frustration towards God like the psalmists often do. Raw expression is part of coming before our relational God. “We’re even going to put the service of lament on our Christmas advertising. We really want to give it that prominence. We’ve had success in the past in writing articles in the local newspaper and I think this will be of particular interest... even just explaining what it means to come together for the purpose of lamenting, as that will be strange for some people.” The church will take registrations for the service, asking each person who registers what they are lamenting and the specific things they would like to ask God for. “We certainly want to help people acknowledge the particular things that have led them to come to this,” Mr Hastie says. “Usually, at least half of the people who come to the service of remembrance and hope would be from the community – and those people don’t necessarily know Jesus – so it’s always an interesting thing to try and help them and show them hope, and acknowledge that they don’t have a Christian understanding of these things. “I want [people] to feel ministered to. I want them to feel like God gets them in this, and that he’s with them in this and that he’s bigger than this. They are not alone, their pain is shared, God answers and he is mighty. All those things.” sc Anyone interested in using the lament service can find it at http://neac.com.au/lament-service-outline SouthernCross
Who will make the bombs stop? The fragility of life: Bombed-out remains of a home in the Artsakh region.
ourteen thousand kilometres from here, there is a war. It’s not front-page news, but Azerbaijan has attacked the Armenian people who live in Artsakh (also known as Nagorno-Karabakh).
In 2006 and 2007, I had the privilege of spending some weeks in this beautiful place – meeting its people, spending time in the villages, playing with the local children and teaching them the Bible and the sure hope of eternal life in Jesus. Now, with each day I hear news of the recent conflict, I am devastated for these people and the children I met all those years ago – many of whom are now at an age where they would be signing up to defend their homes and families and land; land where they have lived for longer than those who seek it by force. On October 22, the NSW Legislative Assembly recognised the independence of the Republic of Artsakh, 61 votes to 2. The motion also condemned the current attacks by Azerbaijan and Turkey against the indigenous Armenians of Artsakh. I’m so thankful to our State Government for recognising these injustices. Yet, the conflict continues. War is a great thief – it takes lives and leaves us with the memory of the horrors of which we
Attacked: Damage inside Ghazanchetsots (Holy Saviour) Cathedral; a man stands amid the detritus on a local street. are capable. It exposes us to humanity’s terrifying capacity for evil and reminds us of the fragility of life, and the heartache of death. I’m praying for peace, justice and an end to this war. But there is no promise in this life that those can be achieved. Human wisdom is so flawed and finite that even the very best of minds and hearts cannot bring perfect justice to this terrible situation. Even if the bombs stop and the guns are stood down, there are still the dead to bury. And who will give them justice? There is only one who can. It is he who not only died, but rose again to life. Because it’s only the perfect Son of God, Jesus Christ, who can bring lasting justice and peace. It’s a justice that is sure and true, that cannot be bought off, or manipulated, or silenced. A justice that cuts every soul to its core and exposes each of our hearts for what they are. It’s a terrible, perfect justice. It’s justice I would not want to face, because I know my heart is a deep well of sin: often selfish, angry and hateful. And there is a peace, too. A peace that surpasses this war, this life and its death. It’s a peace with God the Father. And it’s a peace available to every man, woman and child in this world – for all who turn to Christ as Lord. So I pray for God’s justice – because it is right. And I pray for God’s mercy – because without it, I am as guilty as the next. And I pray for peace – that every man, woman and child, on either side of this conflict, would know the lasting peace of God the Father through the mercy he shows us in his Son. Two thousand years ago, in the greatest war crime this world has ever seen, mankind exposed the depths of its sinful heart when we turned away from God and killed his Son. And God let it happen – not because he was powerless, but because by this greatest evil we might know the greatest peace with our eternal God. So, if you pray, pray for peace, justice and an end to this war – that more countries will follow the lead of our NSW parliament and other nations that have condemned the injustices committed against the people of Artsakh. Pray also for those involved, that they would each know the eternal peace of God in Jesus. sc Talar Khatchoyan was born in Australia of Armenian heritage. She is children’s minister at NaremburnCammeray Anglican Church. SouthernCross
“You don’t know how long you’ve got… you’ve got to be very clear on the gospel.”
he Diocese of North West Australia is so large it could easily fit in the whole UK three times
over – reaching from Geraldton on the coast to Kununurra on the border of the Northern Territory. A population of 150,000 is scattered across 2 million square kilometres, and Bishop Gary Nelson and his team work hard to share the gospel with each person who passes through the world’s largest land-based Anglican diocese. Although the landscape and ministry challenges are vastly different to Sydney, there are valuable lessons for every Christian to learn from the top end of our country. Bishop Nelson uses the acronym TRIM to explain to people the unique elements of ministry in North West Australia. It’s a ministry that is Transient, Remote, has Indigenous needs, and is Missional. “People are on the move all the time through employment contracts, seafarers and tourism,” he says. “No one hangs around for very long. Most places could have a new congregation every SouthernCross
two to three years. And most of our towns are a long way from other places. The furthest church from me is a 6000-kilometre return drive.” Working out how to meet huge needs, including in Indigenous communities, with extremely limited resources has been tough. “You see the needs and there’s so little you can do,” he says. “The North West is like going on missionary service: there’s remoteness, other pressures… resourcing and recruiting is not easy.” Through these unique challenges, he has seen key truths about God that are relevant for every Christian. GOD’S WORD IS TRULY POWERFUL Bishop Nelson (right) says that, time and time again, he has seen people’s lives transformed by the word of God alone. “It’s only God’s word that changes people and, as you commit to praying to do that, you see changes occuring.” He now makes it a priority to always carry Scriptures with him, in order to give them away to someone else. “You don’t know how long you’ll have with people, so you’ve always got resources with you. My wife, on one occasion, sat next to two guys on a plane. She dialogued with them for the fivehour flight and asked them if they wanted Luke’s gospel to take with them. It’s being prepared to use the conversations to talk about real issues.” TIME IS SHORT, EVANGELISM IS URGENT With large ministries to mining communities, fly-in-fly-out workers, travelling farmers and seafarers whose boats could dock at ports for anywhere from three days to three months, there isn’t much time to beat around the bush. “You’ve got to be very clear on the gospel, have it on the tip of your tongue and dialogue on life and death issues at the drop of the hat,” Bishop Nelson says. “You see the urgency with people coming and going. You see the urgency with the roads being so dangerous. “In Sydney, you can see someone next week, or make time to see them in the future. Here, you don’t have the luxury of that. A little while ago, a retired farmer came through town. He was really low and felt the urge to go to church. He came, and the minister and the congregation worked with him over three days and he came to faith.” CONSISTENTLY PREACH THE TRUTH With enormous distances between communities in the region, and some towns being quite small, often the only resident minister is from the Anglican church. “We are the most consistent, biblically focused church. The word of God is proclaimed there.” Being able to open church doors weekly (when health regulations allow it) means there is an opportunity every Sunday for travellers to hear the truth of the gospel. SouthernCross
GOD IS BUILDING HIS KINGDOM It’s hard to persevere when you can’t see the fruit, but there is great encouragement for those in the Diocese of North West Australia knowing that God is growing their efforts to extend his church worldwide. The hard work put into teaching and sharing the gospel benefits communities abroad. “Unless you have a kingdom perspective in a mission-focused area, you will really go down the gurgler,” Bishop Nelson says. “People who get converted through the Seafarers’ ministry are being sent back to churches in China, Philippines etc. “It’s very hard to build bigger churches because of that constant flow of people. You’re constantly developing new relationships, you train and equip people knowing you won’t get the benefit of that.” CHRISTIANS NEED THE SUPPORT OF OTHER CHRISTIANS There are many other tough elements to ministry in this part of Australia. “Isolation with limited resourcing makes things very difficult,” the bishop says. “When someone has problems, it could be days, weeks or even a month before I can physically visit. “There’s not the same choice of schools, or job potentials if you’re [a minister’s wife] thinking about working. You are a long way from family and friends. Weather conditions are harsher. It’s hot for most of the year, there’s cyclone danger and there’s the harsh red dust that gets into everything. “You’re doing ministry in a context that is much harsher and it becomes draining. You drive for hundreds of kilometres without any phone reception, so you always travel with plenty of water, food, blankets and clothing just in case. It’s a very different world to live in, but there’s a beauty to it.” Many pray and offer financial support to the North West from across Australia and the world. This provides a huge source of encouragement for those working for the Lord in these tough conditions and remote locations. “We are thankful for some of the people who are keen to support the diocese,” Bishop Nelson says. “Please pray for our pastors, and for the recruiting of people. Pray for... people to see the vision and mission and ministry in North West Australia and to support it prayerfully and financially. There is a group in Bathurst that regularly meets to pray for us. We are so thankful for people like that.” SC SouthernCross
How do we disciple our tech-native kids? Tara Sing
t’s obvious that social media and technology are changing the fabric of society, but recent Netflix
documentary The Social Dilemma went further, showing how technology is designed to keep us scrolling and how it is shaping how we think and analyse situations and events. That’s a problem in anyone’s language – and we don’t just need to work on the challenges of this for ourselves, but for our kids. Findings by McCrindle Research released earlier this year show that, on average, kids between the ages of five and 17 spend up to 3.5 hours each weekday using screen-based devices. That’s a big proportion of their total waking hours. “Phones in particular have the potential to be an issue,” says the Rev Al James, youth ministry advisor for Youthworks, who has witnessed the challenges phones pose to young people as he visits many youth groups. “Phones out during talks and discussion groups with every member scrolling on their phones is not hard to imagine. It’s a constant distraction, and there is an addictive quality.” He recognises screens have a lot of positive contributions to offer, and encourages people to use screens as socially as possible. “The more personal and less social the screen is [ie.the smaller it is], the greater the potential for usage without social discernment or community discernment,” he says. “It has the potential for issues. There is a secretive element, which is a spiritual danger for young people.” Mr James recommends families encourage consumption of content on big screens whenever possible, so parents can model how to view wisely and with discernment. “Families need to work out their values together,” he says. “Christian parents, you are parents. SouthernCross
Monitoring or making rules [around screens] is not an invasion of privacy, it is parenting. Just as we help our children navigate other issues in life, we have a responsibility to navigate the digital terrain.” HAVE THE CONVERSATION EARLY, AND ALSO HAVE IT LATE It is vital that families discuss use of screens early and often, and Mr James recommends parents initiate these conversations. “Don’t wait until there are issues,” he says. “Ask your children, ‘What do you think about this?’ or ‘I heard this on the news, what do you think?’” And for those of us who haven’t raised the topic with our children yet, he assures us that it’s never too late. “Screen limits and arguments with teens [may happen], but it’s worth having hard discussions. Especially because of the secrecy nature of screens.” WE DIDN’T GROW UP IN THE “GOLDEN YEARS” “God is sovereign over all, even the suffering inflicted through these mediums,” Mr James says. “He can be trusted. If we grew up in the golden years, we just didn’t see the challenges [of screen use]. Now is no different, even in a screen pandemic. When we think about suffering and the bad results of screen time, this is God revealing the reality of sin when the things we put our hope in go wrong. Not that God inflicts suffering, but the world is broken. Our hope is in Jesus.” He also encourages us to continue engaging with the Bible, even if it’s for small pockets of time together. “Don’t underestimate the power of the word of God. Our Bible time might be less than our screen time, but God’s word is powerful and sharper than any sword, and speaks to reality. So much of what we consume [on screens] distorts the truth.” As the primary disciplers of children, this can all feel overwhelming for parents and caregivers but, Mr James says, “it is our responsibility. We can be there to help our children navigate these issues. God placed family in the lives of young people for a reason. It is right for us to give that community a place in helping young people.” GOOD SCREEN GUIDELINES FOR FAMILIES “Keep screen time as social as you can,” he says. “Where possible, don’t have screens in bedrooms. Kids can’t filter what they consume alone. How can you keep screen time a part of the conversation? Let family and the word of God speak into our circumstances.” Parents also need to be careful how they react when children confess they’ve seen something online that they shouldn’t have. “The moment that you respond negatively to a child who confides in you that something popped up on their socials, that will reduce the likelihood of effective ministry,” Mr James says. “Operate with grace. Expect them to get it wrong. The best outcome is for them to come to you with the issues.” Above all, Mr James emphasises the importance of providing places and spaces for children to share what is going on and for parents to understand what their children are consuming. “Foster moments of connection so there is room for conversation. Take your child for ice cream, or make the most of other moments where you are spending time together.” SC SouthernCross
The gracious God who answers prayer Dr Glenn Davies
round this time last year, I called upon the Diocese to offer prayer to our heavenly Father for the end of the drought that ravaged NSW for a number of years. While the world may think our prayers merely drift upwards without any apparent benefit to those below, we know that is not the case. God answers prayer.
The Bible is not only replete with answered prayers and fulfilled prophecies, our own experience confirms this to be the case. With the psalmist we declare: “Surely God has listened; he has heard my prayer” (Ps 66:19). Last month we heard the wonderful news that farmers were expecting their best harvest in three years, with heavy rainfall across NSW. Even Broken Hill, still classified as being in drought, saw the heaviest downpour for more than two years. Last year more than 97 per cent of the state was classified “in drought”, whereas today that is only 3 per cent – though some areas are still regarded as drought-affected. This should be a cause for much celebration, and much thanksgiving to our gracious God. Elijah suffered a similar situation in the 9th century BC when the land of Israel had drought for more than three years. Of course, in that situation the drought was caused by God’s chastisement of Israel for their unfaithfulness. Elijah had to flee to the Brook Cherith for safety, where he found God’s miraculous provision of food and water. Yet when the drought lifted, there is no record of SouthernCross
thankfulness to God from the Israelites, especially King Ahab and his wife. The apostle James reminds us that Elijah’s prayers were instrumental in both the lack of rain that caused the drought and the coming of rain that ended it. In his case, he had a word from the Lord regarding the drought, but he saw the importance of his prayers. For his prayers were the means by which God fulfilled his promises. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops (James 5:17-18). We have no revelation from God that particular disasters have particular causes, as if we can identify when sin and calamity reflect cause and effect. While the sinfulness of humankind, generally speaking, is the reason why our world is full of suffering and decay, God’s goodness is still indiscriminately showered upon the believing and the unbelieving (Matthew 5:45). We should have every confidence that our prayers are part of God’s plan for the world. For the revelation upon which we stand is the call to prayer that God summons his people. Indeed, as we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we are doing precisely that. For we know the Lord Jesus will return at the appointed hour, to wrap up this old world and usher in the new heavens and new earth. Yet, when Jesus invites his disciples to pray, he asks us to say: “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as in heaven”. As Peter reminds us, our prayers hasten the coming of the King (2 Peter 3:12). God invites us to be a part of his great plans for the end of the world and the beginning of the next. May we, with renewed humility, boldly pray the prayer our Lord taught us, so that his purposes might be fulfilled to the glory of his name. As I issued a prayer last year concerning the drought, so I have composed a prayer for our people to pray, with thankful hearts for his mercy in ending the drought for so much of NSW.SC
PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING FOR THE END OF DROUGHT Our heavenly Father, we give you praise for the answer to our prayers. When our land was suffering drought and famine, we brought our prayers before your throne. While others may have mocked, we held firmly to your promise that seedtime and harvest are in your hands. As your apostle Paul declared to a pagan city so long ago, you have not left yourself without a witness to your sovereign power and goodness, for you “gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness” (Acts 14:17). For the abundant crops growing in NSW, we give you thanks. For the joy of fruitful harvest, we give you thanks. For the opportunity for workers to labour in the fields, we give you thanks. May we your people continue to trust you in all our ways, not fearing the Adversary nor those who despise your name. May we continue to depend upon you in prayerful anticipation – your kingdom come, your will be done. So, we also beseech your mercy upon those who labour in laboratories to discover a vaccine for the Coronavirus. Prosper their work so that we might live in peace and harmony and rid the world of this deadly disease. We ask these things in the name of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord. Amen. SouthernCross
Three great truths about our God
What does it mean for decisions to be theologically driven, asks Mark Thompson.
hristian life and ministry involve making decisions. Living through this period of COVID has meant making decisions. Usually around this time of year our Diocese meets as a Synod and makes a variety of decisions.
On what basis do we make them? No doubt the new year will bring with it a raft of decisions we as a Diocese will have to make. Might it be helpful if we were a little more conscious of the basis on which we make them? Our Diocese has a long history of theologically driven decision making. We do not just decide what to do on the basis of what works, or on the basis of personal preference, or on the basis of institutional mandate. We want to operate on principle. More specifically we want to operate on theological principle. We might not always have been consistent in this. We are certainly not perfect. We have most definitely made mistakes. Yet this has long been our goal and this, we trust, explains why we do what we do. SouthernCross
What exactly do we mean when we talk like that? It can sound rather abstract or even grandiose. It can be mistaken for arrogance, insisting we are always right – and that is certainly not the case. It can sound like the ultimate trump card to be played when we disagree with others. In reality, though, theological thinking, or being theologically driven in our decision making, is quite simply thinking about everything in relation to God. Theology, it is often said, doesn’t try to say everything about everything, but it does try to say the most important thing about everything, and that is that everything is related to God. So, we approach decisions – especially ministry decisions, but really all decisions – with an awareness of who God is, what he is like and what his grand purpose is for all creation. A RELATIONAL GOD What is God really like? If we are viewing everything against the backdrop of his person and his purpose, then we need to be very clear in our answer to that question. The very last verse of 1 John warns us about the danger of creating idols. Another John, John Calvin, warned that the human heart is “a perpetual factory of idols”. Our tendency, ever since the Garden of Eden, has been to fashion God to suit our person and purpose. “I like to think of God as…” is really a ridiculous way to begin a sentence when you think about it. It doesn’t really matter how I like to think of God. That is not likely to cut much ice with him on the last day! Instead we need to make sure we are thinking of God, and responding to him, as he really is. The basic truth about God is that he is deeply relational. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit from all eternity. Love and self-giving are the core of who God is, the core of who he has always been and will always be as the Holy Trinity. Of course, our thinking is stretched almost to breaking point as we speak of God as eternally one and yet eternally three. There is no precise analogy to the Trinity in creation. All our illustrations have serious limitations. Yet the love of the Father for the Son from all eternity, the faithfulness of the Son to the Father from all eternity, the presence and power of the Holy Spirit with both Father and Son from all eternity – this we can and must affirm. To think about everything in relation to God is to think about all things enjoying the overflow of the Father’s love for the Son, the Son’s faithfulness to the Father and the Spirit’s presence and power, among much else. The decisions we make have to take account of the priority of relationships because God is fundamentally about relationships. This one simple truth has profound consequences. Decisions which exploit others, or devalue others, or treat others as simply a means to an end (“punters”, “consumers”, “participants” etc.) are not decisions that have been thought through theologically. If God is as he is, loving, self-giving relationships take on an importance that can reshape what we do. GOD AS CREATOR A second important truth about God is that he, and he alone, is the Creator. There are, when everything else is boiled down, only two realities in the universe: the Creator and everything he has created. Everything depends upon God for its existence and for its continuing SouthernCross
existence. God depends on nothing other than himself for his existence. He has life in himself (John 5:26), while we all have life as a gift from him (Acts 17:25). We will never cease being God’s creatures. Even at the end, when all things are brought to the conclusion God intended from the beginning, we will not transcend that fundamental distinction between the Creator and the creation. Alongside a deep and unavoidable dependence upon him, this distinction reminds us of an inescapable accountability to him. The Creator alone has the right to order the creation according to his will. He has expressed his mind on how we ought to respond to him and how we ought to behave towards each other. He has made quite clear that all things have been created through, by and for Jesus (Col 1:16). He has told us of his intention for men and women in marriage (Matt 19:4-6), for integrity and generosity in our business dealings with each other (Mic 6:11), for the sanctity of human life (Gen 9:6) and for a priority borne of the urgent need for gospel proclamation in a lost and broken world (John 4:35; Matt 24:14). Human beings have a long track record of seeking to set up their own agenda, of refashioning priorities, relationships and much else to serve our own interests. Yet we do so always as creatures who must one day give account to our Creator (2 Cor 5:10). To insist we know better than the Creator is just plain foolishness when seen in that light. To think of everything in relation to God is to remember that he is the creating Lord, we are those he has made, and we are sustained by him. It means he must set the agenda and has a right to tell us how things do and should work in the world he has created. His word becomes critically important in all our thinking and decision making, even challenging the enlightened consensus of today’s opinion makers. He determines what are appropriate ministry priorities, what is an appropriate pastoral response to the varied situations and conditions that we encounter, and how we should live in a world whose people are always finding new ways to assert their independence of him with the breath, the heartbeats and the brainwaves he graciously gives them. GOD AS REDEEMER A third wonderful truth about God is that, despite his eternal self-sufficiency (he needs nothing and no one, is never lonely or unfulfilled), he is determined to redeem a people for himself. He is our maker and our Saviour. Through sheer grace, since it could never be deserved, he calls men and women out of darkness and into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9). Redemption is not a goal in itself. It is the means towards the great goal of new life, of reconciliation and restoration, a new heaven and a new earth where righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13). Even at the end, when all is as God intended, the centrepiece in the new creation remains the Lamb (Rev 5:6). God’s redeeming love, his costly determination to save those who were utterly lost without him, is a cause of eternal thanksgiving and joy. In this way we see again that all things were created not only through and by Jesus, but for him. To think of everything in relation to God is to see everything in the light of God’s redeeming purpose and on the trajectory to God’s goal of people from every tribe, nation and language gathered around the throne of the Lamb, rejoicing in the salvation he has effected for them (Rev 7:9-10). SouthernCross
Growing like Jesus, being conformed to the image of God’s son (Rom 8:29), is quintessentially growing in concern for the salvation of the lost from every nation. That is what he is like (Luke 19:10). That is what God is on about in this world. That is where everything is heading. Theologically driven decision making means thinking of everything in relation to God. It means who God is and what God is on about – and the word God has given us so that we might know who he is and what he is on about – is the prime consideration in our decisions. His deep personal investment in relationships, his unique power and sovereign authority as the Creator (while we and everything else remain his creation), his determined love (which bears the cost of our sin in order to redeem us, give us life and reach out to those still lost) – these three great truths are not all we would want to say about God but they are important things to say. Our Diocese is not perfect. No human fellowship is or can be this side of Jesus’ return. Yet we can rejoice in a long history of seeking to order ourselves and our life together under God in accord with the word he has given us in order to know him. That is why we talk about being theologically driven or operating on theological principle. That is why theology matters to us. Whether in synods, or parish councils, or individually as disciples of Jesus, thinking theologically is our responsibility and our privilege. SC
The Rev Dr Mark D. Thompson is principal of Moore Theological College. PROTECTION AND CARE FOR EVERYONE
“I am committed to strengthening our culture of ‘safe ministry’ through education and professional development of our clergy and lay people, as we seek to maintain the standards of Christian ministry which are grounded in the teaching of the Bible.” 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.
TO REACH THE LOST
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.
Abuse Report Line 1800 774 945 35
How to get the most out of church… right now Judy Adamson
eel like you’re suffering from innovation fatigue at church? You wouldn’t be the only one. It’s been one heck of a year – and it isn’t over yet.
That being the case, we need to think deeply about how we can encourage our members to get the most out of church. To help others in the pews (and ourselves) run the race of faith better. It’s an issue the Rev Dr Tony Payne has reflected on for years. The ministry trainer and writerin-residence at the University of NSW even wrote a book about it some years ago – How To Walk Into Church – and you might be surprised at the simplicity of what we can do, and don’t think about doing, when it comes to church and each other. “It’s quite common for us to think of church as largely a thing between us and God, because that is so much an important part of what the gathering of church is,” he says. “But the ‘horizontal’ element is a really key aspect of how the New Testament talks about our gathering: that we need to build one another, to encourage and exhort one another, to strengthen and comfort one another. A lot of ‘one anothering’ happens when we get together!” Dr Payne adds that, with the exception of those who need to remain at home because of pandemic safety concerns, this is “a hugely important reason” to get back to church in person. “There’s a reason that the word church means ‘assembly’, because it means gathering together. In COVID lockdown, [online] was the best we could do and in the circumstances that was all we could do, but we want to make the most of the three wonderful gifts God blesses us with in his church: his word, his Spirit and each other. To have his word in our minds and on our lips and, with prayer, to pray for one another before and during and after church together. That tends to make church go really well, I find!” He says it’s very common for Christians not to truly understand the mutual edification and encouragement aspect of church, and the importance of coming with the mindset, confidence and ability to do it. SouthernCross
“The question is, how do you change that?” he asks. “It’s the way that you train people to do anything, which is with some patient personal teaching, some encouragement and examples, some practice and some perseverance. It’s okay to do a sermon or talk about it, but you really need to read, think, change over time and model, encourage and train people to do this week by week.” LEARN AND PRACTICE HOW TO SERVE The Rev Joe Wiltshire does this at St Barnabas’, Ingleburn by pulling 10-12 people each year out of small groups to spend that time with him, working through a program called Prepared to Serve. He created the program to help members think about how they approach church and service, commitments and priorities, doctrine, spiritual gifts, prayer, evangelism and Christian growth. “In summary, life’s about serving God – with everything you’ve got,” he says.
Encourage and train: Joe Wiltshire with this year’s Prepared to Serve group at Ingleburn.
Because of Ingleburn’s location at the heart of the Crossroads COVID cluster, the parish didn’t return to in-person services until last month. Members were asked to register for a specific service, with gentle reminders of “what we’re on about… what we’ve taught them in Prepared to Serve, reminding them of Bible principles and what church is for”. And reminders have been needed. Mr Wiltshire acknowledges that it’s much easier to watch church at home, or in small groups at a friend’s house, and says some have been a little reluctant to make the commitment to turn up. “But it’s the right thing to do,” he says. “Jesus put himself out for us and we’ve got to put ourselves out for other people – especially our brothers and sisters in Christ. We’re gathering to spur each other on towards love and good deeds [and] we’ve got to be deliberate and thoughtful about it.” In addition, there are some who have come to faith through one of Ingleburn’s online services or daily devotions, and there are others who have become willing to discuss the things of faith. “They need to see church,” Mr Wiltshire says simply. Adds Dr Payne: “A way of making this point is that when we walk into that building, we’re walking in ready to love and serve and minister to other people. It’s a really critical reason to get back there – you can’t do that [as effectively] unless you’re with others. Yes, there’s a little less scope for free mingling right now, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t opportunity for conversations and encouragement and presence. “I understand the decision fatigue and the innovation fatigue that sets in from having to change things so regularly. I suspect the COVID experience has been a severe test… but it does bring to the surface how well we have trained and equipped our congregation members in these areas.” SC Tony Payne writes and records a weekly journal called The Payneful Truth (https://thepaynefultruth.substack.com). SouthernCross
Meaning of life found in Christ
photo: courtesy Anglican Church League
Simon Manchester talks to writer, lecturer, traveller and bishop, Dr Paul Barnett. I remember you speaking at an outdoor mission at Sydney University in about 1977 with John Chapman. Did you do a lot of missions like this, and did you like doing them? I was blessed by working with John at missions to the University of Sydney in 1977 and to the University of NSW in 1978. Chappo was a much-loved and very effective evangelist. He came across as unpretentious, human and very funny, but he never overdid the humour. One of the great joys of life was to hear John preach. A decade earlier I led missions in Christchurch and Auckland and some years later in Hobart and Perth. Back in 1963 I was part of Dudley Foord’s mission team to Melbourne University. Did you grow up in Sydney, have believing parents and plan to go into ministry from an early age? I lived on the Northern Beaches in primary school years, [went] to Manly Boys’ High and finally to Gosford High (co-ed). My mother, a widow, became a believer through Billy Graham’s ministry in 1959. SouthernCross
As a young adult my search for the “meaning of life” led me to a nearby church, St Stephen’s Willoughby. The preaching of the Rev Alan Begbie, the apologist’s skills of [his wife] Effie Begbie and the friendship of Brian King were God’s instruments that helped me become a believer. That was 1957. I had a job as a cadet quantity surveyor which meant four nights a week at the University of NSW. Who helped you grow – and which Christians have impacted you significantly? Mr Begbie enrolled me in Elizabeth Mildenhall’s (later Foord, married to Dudley) PTC course. The parish was gearing up for the Graham Crusade in 1959 – all-night prayer meetings; counsellor training courses, newly created Bible studies. I had become involved in streetside evangelism with the Sydney Evangelistic Crusade, with Roy and Graham Gordon. As you reflect on parishes and theological colleges, being a bishop and now (busy) retirement, do you look back with special fondness on any particular time? I loved my years of study at Moore College and my teachers – Knox, Robinson, Smith, Cole, Goldsworthy, Langdon. As a former part-time student, it was great to be able to study full-time. Knox appointed me as a lecturer and encouraged me to undertake further study, which I did – in ancient history, where Edwin Judge was one of my instructors. Judge is a world-class authority on Roman history and the social setting of the New Testament. Each ministry was special – St Barnabas’, [Broadway]; Holy Trinity, Adelaide; Robert Menzies
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College. In each I was blessed by wonderful co-workers. At Robert Menzies, the late Evonne Paddison somehow enrolled 100 students into weekly Bible study groups (that’s 50 per cent!). My decade at Robert Menzies College gave me time to write and to lecture in New Testament at Macquarie University and the University of Sydney. How do you assess the church in the West at the moment (and perhaps specifically the Sydney Diocese) in terms of its health and role in the world? A lecturer at the Reformed College in Geelong pointed out the weakness of Christianity in Melbourne. When I asked why, he replied, “You have Moore College, and we don’t. That’s the difference”. The Western world has reached its acme in prosperity and access to health treatment but has become disillusioned. There is little knowledge of history or awareness of how different things could easily be – and were. In your travels were there any places or people you felt specially privileged to see or meet? I once met Billy Graham, but it was no more than a handshake – but I got to know his son-in-law Leighton Ford. I had been chairman for the Ford mission in Adelaide, 1978, and reconnected with him years later at Macquarie University. John Stott stayed with us three times in Adelaide and I used to visit him whenever in London. I saw him shortly before his death. Through a 30-year association with Regent College I was privileged to meet J.I. Packer, a great but humble scholar and genuine world figure. Also, I have been privileged to know Dick Lucas – “the apostle to London”, as I think of him. Your writing has sought to feed the people of God (commentaries etc) but also reinforce faith in a historical Saviour. Were you conscious of unbelievers as you wrote your historical books? What are the top three Paul Barnett books to look out for? If there is one thing I am sure of it is that Jesus of Nazareth is a genuine figure of history, whom God raised from the dead, who loves us and who is our Saviour. I aim to do my research based on the highest standard of historical method. All truth is God’s truth. Books: A Short Book about Jesus: The Man from Heaven (Aquila); Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity (IVP); Making the Gospels: Mystery or Conspiracy (Wipf and Stock). I’ve heard you say that as you did your research you felt some risk in checking the foundations of the faith. What has the Lord taught you along the way that you specially hold onto? After I became a Christian, I had a lingering doubt about the truth question. That continued even when I was a student at college. When Dr Knox pressed me for further study, I enrolled in ancient history at Sydney University. When I worked out how good the evidence was for the birth of Christianity, compared – for example – with what we know of the Caesar at the time (Tiberius), I felt thankful at last to have had that question answered. But that epiphany led me to start taking the study of history seriously. Two higher degrees were history-related. My various journeys to the lands of the Bible also proved helpful in matters related to topography, climate, as well historical figures. SouthernCross
What do you love about Anita, and your family? I cannot express how deeply Anita and I love one another. She is my soulmate and partner in all things. Anita is highly principled and is a wonderful mother to our children and to their children. She is patient and caring, and a great support to many people. Anita is the most others-centred person I know. I met a guide in Israel this year who regards you as a spiritual father. Are you conscious of a wide family that you have impacted and who thank the Lord for you? Over 30 years of visits to Jordan, Israel, Turkey and Greece (and Egypt, to a lesser extent) we have become close friends with local guides. We have sought to commend Jesus to them by the quality of professional engagement, and hopefully respect. On the coach I would always begin with a Bible reading and prayer. Maha, our guide in Jordan, whom we all love, has 15 bibles (many from “keen” Christians) and knows the Old Testament better than many pastors. Go figure! What are you looking forward to? Seeing how the future unfolds for our children and grandchildren, enjoying fellowship with our friends, the opportunities to keep teaching and writing – but above all to meeting the Lord Jesus and his disciples, the father who died before I could know him, and my mum. Is it true you surfed a lot as a boy? Does Revelation 21:1 mean no surfing in heaven? I used to be in a surf club and enjoyed the waves on our wonderful seaboard. Now I just watch and marvel at the skill and courage of the board riders... and, since the new creation is the perfection of the present creation it follows that there will be surf and surfing. SC SouthernCross
Bling on a bus stop
s I write this, my friend and dear Christian brother looks like he will soon lose his home. He came from little and has even less due to a past, and a body, ravaged by one extreme of the human condition. But he has a home. Lived there 60 years. All his life, bar three years of it.
It’s nothing to look at. Old, crumbling, patched, cheap, slightly musty, in an undesirable part of town. But he thinks it’s more than he ever imagined he deserves. There he grew up, but it was far from paradise. There he saw brutality and anguish and horror. Words were weapons, damage happened daily and the scar tissue on the heart remains. He himself was no angel. He’d be the first to tell you that. Then… God happened. God shredded the darkness and mess of his life, and my friend turned to Christ in that house. And a transformation took place in him that those who knew him couldn’t, and some wouldn’t, believe. And rather than desire understandable escape, he stayed in that home, as if SouthernCross
it were a perpetual reminder to him of the extraordinary power of the gospel and the unimaginable love of God – that through Jesus, God would save him… him!! This place became a pointer to God’s goodness and grace in Jesus. You will not meet a more humble, thankful, never-take-salvation-for-granted person anywhere. He turned that home into a place that demonstrated the love of God that had been shown to him. He showed extraordinary sacrificial love for his father as he nursed him through years of a long, slow, tortured death… in that house. He was tireless in his care for his ageing, immobile mother. Daily, like clockwork, never missing a day. She, too, turned to the Lord Jesus, and I had the privilege of pastoring her as well for the last decade of her life. His deceased father and weeks-ago deceased mother wanted him to stay there, live there, die there. So did he. But now he will lose it, for nasty greed and the love of money followed him home from his mum’s funeral. Vicious. Heartbreaking. See, this house may have once been like a war zone but it was also a place to return, even when at his worst. We all need somewhere to return. His home was a beacon when he lost his way, and haggard though it was and is, it eventually became a harbour. A refuge. A balm. It’s also a picture frame of memories. Human history. His story. It’s almost all he has known. He will lose it. But here’s the thing. On the day he turned to Christ, that home became a bus stop. You know the ones with a little rain/shade shelter and a bench seat? Bus shelters are temporary, and we are only there temporarily. They are a place to wait on your way to a destination. But we still need them, while we wait. He had hoped this shelter would see him through. He thought the walls that had absorbed such wounds would now embrace him in familiar comfort till his last breath. It’s still only a bus shelter, but it’s the only one he has or will ever have. I was with him when he was told it was most likely he would lose the house. Broken, heaving, sobbing, not simply by the loss but due to someone with far more for whom more is not enough. King hit in the heart. Callous. Savage. The law is not always just. Completely insensitive, I said, “It’s a bus shelter”. He, transformed by grace, gave me grace. “I know,” he gently sighed, with a tone in which quiet trust in God remained after the desperate sadness subsided. I wonder, do you see this life as a bus stop? All you have, a bus shelter? Times are difficult and uncertain for many. Hang in there. Persevere. It’s a bus stop. For some, times are not so difficult. It’s still a bus shelter. No matter how much you add, it’s bling on a bus stop. The birds will still bomb it, dogs will relieve themselves on it, and some kid will decorate it with a spray can. My friend will still lose his bus shelter but there is a home he will not lose! His destination is certain. Just not sure where the next stop is. Pray for my friend. SC
The Rt Rev Peter Lin is Bishop of the Georges River Region. SouthernCross
We can all help to raise up workers for the harvest
he topic of a perceived shortage of rectors has generated some interest, but should we be satisfied even if we had enough?
Letâ€™s just say we had enough rectors to lead all our churches, and enough waiting in the wings to replace those retiring. Does that mean we should stop recruiting and encouraging people to consider vocational ministry? In other words, when should recruiting be a priority? Do we recruit to fill gaps, or for some other reason? Most of us would agree that recruiting to fill gaps is ultimately short-sighted and to do so is to adopt too narrow a world view â€“ that the goal of our churches is to have enough people to lead them, rather than having enough people to be equipped and encouraged to bring the message of Jesus to the ends of the earth. I led one of the larger parishes in our Diocese. On most Sundays, there were more than 1000 people. But given there were 40,000 people who lived within the parish and many, many more within a 10-minute drive, while you could think we were doing well, there was so much more that needed to be done. Even with the assistance of other churches, we were barely scratching the SouthernCross
surface when it came to people having an opportunity to know the Lord Jesus. In other words, the perspective we need to have – whether our parish is large or small – is that we need to be looking beyond our barns to see the fields around us. We need to be looking beyond the four walls of our churches, and the people already attending, to see the needs of others who haven’t met Jesus. We all need to be like Jesus when it comes to those around us. In Matthew 9:36, when Jesus sees the crowds that are following him, he is deeply moved and has compassion on them, because he sees that they are “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. Harassed and helpless because they had yet to trust Jesus, whom God had sent to be their shepherd. He then turns to his disciples in the following verses and says, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field”. Jesus sees the need: people need to know him. Jesus sees the problem: the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Then he offers the solution: ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field. Ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up more workers. There is no sense of seeking to fill gaps, or vocational ministry being some sort of profession or career. Nor is what Jesus is saying here restricted to those in vocational ministry. All of us are being called to be workers for the harvest because the harvest is plentiful and the workers are few. This means as we view those around us with heartfelt compassion – as those who need Jesus as the shepherd of their lives (and all of us are encouraged to be workers for the harvest) – some will be encouraged to consider vocational ministry, because of the gifts and opportunities they have. If our hearts are open to the needs of those around us then recruiting will be happening all the time, because we want as many people as possible bringing the life-giving message of Jesus to the people around us, both near and far, so many would be saved to the glory of Jesus. How we approach recruiting is another discussion, although there are two things I’d like to say that I think are foundational: 1 that the motivation for recruiting flows out of sharing in the compassion of Jesus, and 2 that the local church is primarily responsible for raising and recruiting workers for the harvest. This is not to say that other ministries such as Youthworks, university ministries or the Ministry Training Strategy don’t have a role. At the recent MTS Recruit conference, we had more than 300 people from 51 of our parishes thinking about how they could be serving Jesus. Having said that, the very heartbeat of recruiting lies with the local church as the gospel is proclaimed, people pray for one another, people are discipled and equipped and share in ministry together. Recruiting isn’t something that other people do. It’s a vital task for all of us to be engaged with, even if we have enough rectors. Because the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Let’s ask the Lord of the harvest to raise up more workers. SC
The Rt Rev Gary Koo is Bishop of the Western Region. SouthernCross
Clergy moves and changes
New CEO for ADM Mrs Jo Gibbs (above) will become CEO of Anglican Deaconess Ministries on November 17, moving from her position as care and assistant discipleship minister at St Paul’s, Castle Hill. “I’m passionate about creating spaces for women to use their gifts for the glory of God, supporting the work of women in our Diocese and beyond and continuing the ground-breaking work of ADM,” she says. “I’m excited to see what God has in store.” Mrs Gibbs has a background in social work, served for more than a decade in South Asia with CMS among locals and expats in development and discipling work, and has a Master of Divinity from Sydney Missionary and Bible College. She is completing an MA in theology from Moore College and is an ordination candidate in the Sydney Diocese. Announcing the appointment, the chairwoman of ADM, the Rev Jenni Stoddart, says, “Jo loves Jesus, and she has a particular heart for lifting up women to serve in gospel-shaped ministries of mercy and justice. “She has been developing and leading teams for over 25 years in a range of settings. Her experience both in Australia and overseas has given her a heart for the needs of the world, as well as crosscultural ministry in Australia. She is known for her commitment to seeing women transformed by the gospel and for her collaborative and innovative approach to her work.” Says Mrs Gibbs: “It’s an incredible honour and privilege. ADM draws on a rich history of ordinary women doing extraordinary things for God, grounded deeply in God’s word and taking the lifegiving gospel to the world, in even the hardest places.” SouthernCross
The Rev Toby Campbell will become rector of Bomaderry of November 9. He has spent the past six years as assistant minister to the parish of Cranebook with Castlereagh. After 17 years in charge of the parish of West Lindfield, the Rev Phillip Read will become rector of Penshurst on December 17. After 23 years of ministry in the parish of Cabramatta – 20 of them as rector – the Rev Min Yaw Law will retire on December 28. The Rev Andrew Barry will become rector of Menai on January 1. He has been an assistant minister in the parish of Jannali for 13 years. The Rev Dr Andrew Errington will become rector of Newtown Erskineville Anglican Church on January 18. He moves from his role as academic dean and lecturer in theology at St Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra, where he has worked for the past five years.
NO “ISMS” WHEN WE TRULY FOLLOW JESUS I commend Chase Kuhn’s thoughtful article about race (SC, October), but would make two suggestions about the issue he covered. 1. While nobody would disagree with the comment “black lives matter” there is also the movement or organisation Black Lives Matter, and it is worth having a close read of their webpage to see what they are about and how they go about it. 2. Even more fundamental than the texts Chase examines are the second of the great commandments and, stemming from that, the Golden Rule that Christ gave us: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12). Christ simply gave us this command and gave it without qualification. In the face of this, any “isms” ought to be unnecessary. Jeremy Lucas Turramurra
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Vacant Parishes List of parishes and provisional parishes, vacant or becoming vacant, as at October 27, 2020: • • • • • • • •
Albion Park Balgowlah Cabramatta* Carlingford and North Rocks Cronulla Darlinghurst Eagle Vale Ermington*
• • • • • • • • •
Figtree Gordon Granville Greenacre* Gymea Huskisson Katoomba Kurrajong Leura**
• • • • • • • •
Menangle Mittagong Mosman, St Clement’s Newport North Epping Paddington Rosemeadow* Wilberforce
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New radio show merges the spiritual with sport Spiritual sport: Jason Stevens and his wife Rebecca (centre) with actors Kat Hoyos and Isabel Lucas from Chasing Comets.
If you think you have heard it all, there may be a new radio experience for you starting this weekend. For more than 85 years, Radio 2CH has broadcast Christian content along with its regular programming because the original owner of the licence was the NSW Council of Churches. The call sign was short for “Church House”. In the 1970s the station switched to an easy-listening format, derided as elevator music when it was first introduced. Now 2CH, at 1170 on the AM dial, has been bought by the Sports and Entertainment Network and renamed SEN 1170. The new format will be a mix of sports talk and live commentary. The challenge of integrating Christian content into a sports format is being met by a series of vignettes to be broadcast across the week, featuring the stories of sport and the sayings of Jesus. On Sunday nights, former rugby league player Jason Stevens is hosting a program called The Spirit of Sport. Stevens, well known as a Christian during his playing years, is now a media personality with credits SouthernCross
in TV, film, stage and radio. He will interview prominent sportspeople every Sunday night from 9pm on 1170. “My hope is to have a good conversation with people and learn about their lives – their highs, their lows, how they climbed the ladder and what they’ve learnt thus far,” he says. “Ultimately I’d like people to walk away having listened and been encouraged and inspired. But I also like people to have a laugh because life can be so stressful at times – we need to see the Open mic: Jason Stevens records an interview. lighter side!” Stevens’ humour has been evident in a range of media performances, which have included singing, appearing on Dancing with the Stars and making a movie based on his faith and time as a footballer called Chasing Comets. But he has also delved into serious issues, narrating a documentary on child soldiers and underprivileged children in South America. His challenge on The Spirit of Sport is getting sportspeople and sports fans interested in Jesus. “I think the best way is to be authentic, and if people can share their stories then it always opens the door for someone to think about the role God is currently playing – or maybe not playing – in their life,” he says. “It’s important for me to try and let people know that they are much loved.” sc The Spirit of Sport starts on November 1 on 1170 SEN. Stevens’ special guest will be former rugby league international Brad Mackay.
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Old lessons for new evangelism
Phil Wheeler Thomas Cranmer: Using the Bible to Evangelize the Nation By Peter Adam The Latimer Trust
t is not often you get a book providing a succinct overview of 1500 years of church history,
thoughtful theological reflection, ministry strategy and personal challenge – all in less than 50 pages! Peter Adam’s Latimer Trust study is just that and more. Dr Adam poses a series of simple questions and proceeds to answer them using his skills as historian, theologian and pastor. He traces the history of the evangelisation of England before the Reformation, examining especially the vision and work of Thomas Cranmer as he used his position as Archbishop of Canterbury to evangelise and transform the nation in his day. The final challenge is to think about whether the principles identified might guide us today in the continuing need to evangelise our own nation. This short but stimulating study addresses three simple questions: HOW WAS ENGLAND EVANGELISED BEFORE THE REFORMATION? Essentially this was through migration – the gospel coming from Europe to England as the word spread (Acts 1:8). It was very much a “from below” movement as believers shared their faith wherever they went. Monasteries, local parishes and itinerant evangelists/preaching orders were significant methods in this evangelisation. However, despite the extensive growth and impact of the gospel upon England, by the time of the Reformation the nation still needed evangelising. Dr Adam astutely acknowledges that “evangelism is a continuing task and constant responsibility” (p7). Churches, like individuals, “have a natural tendency to drift from the gospel” and to neglect evangelism. Paganism may easily occur because of invasion, persecution, nominalism, syncretism or simple neglect and distraction by the world (p7). Every generation therefore needs to clarify the true gospel, to return to that gospel once delivered, reform its practices to God’s word and evangelise the age in which they live. SouthernCross
WHAT WAS CRANMER’S STRATEGY FOR EVANGELISING THE NATION IN HIS DAY? Grounded in Cranmer’s deep convictions about the power of the word of God, with its self-revelation of God and the gospel of salvation, he wanted the Bible “read aloud, available to be read, studied, preached, prayed” in every church, and from every church, in the nation (p11). He believed the Scriptures alone, by the agency of the Spirit, were God’s effective means of grace to transform a nation (p11). This was a program for evangelism and edification. Cranmer set about implementation by provision of the Book of Common Prayer with a systematic, comprehensive and sequential reading of Scripture (in the vernacular English, not Latin), by training ministers how to teach, by homilies modelling that teaching, by the Bible being prayed aloud in daily services to inform the prayers of everyday people, and much more. IS CRANMER’S STRATEGY ONE WE OUGHT TO USE TODAY? While Peter Adam recognises the danger of merely “reduplicating past culturally conditioned methodologies” (p1), he rightly observes that a “conversation with the past, especially such a significant past, will enrich and enlarge our thinking, our imagining, our prayers and our actions, as we work to evangelise our nations today” (p1). Cranmer’s principles and the theological reasoning behind his strategy, drawn from Scripture, are as relevant today as then. His emphasis upon the place and power of the word of God – in our evangelism in particular – challenges us when we so easily rely upon the latest courses, communication skills, cross-cultural awareness, apologetics, technology and new programs rather than prayer and the word. Dr Adam offers a series of searching questions about evangelism in our age (p46) that warrant careful reflection. Following Cranmer, he offers a vision for what we still need – “well-trained godly and able ministers, well taught in the Bible, with gospel clarity and faithful perseverance, willing to serve and to suffer, who know they must give an account to God for their life and ministry… and godly, obedient people, confident in their salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, and full of love of neighbour and all good works” (p45). May it be so in all our churches! SC
I highly recommend this stimulating Latimer Study. The Rev Phil Wheeler is director of Evangelism and New Churches.
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