SouthernCross THE NEWS MAGAZINE FOR SYDNEY ANGLICANS
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MOORE WELCOMES TWICE THE NUMBER OF FIRST-YEAR STUDENTS IN 2021
Archbishop’s farewell column • Star t good habits Prayer for Myanmar • The challenge to forgive
Enrolments at Moore double in 2021
College life starts now: First-year students at Moore chat over morning tea during Orientation Day.
Tara Sing W ith g reat joy, Moore the students that God sends increase in enrolments, such as suggestions given for the reasons Theological College has seen full-time enrolments for the Bachelor of Divinity and Bachelor of Theology courses double this year. All up there are more than 95 enrolments for undergraduate students starting in 2021 – an answer to many prayers for more workers for the harvest. “Each year we give thanks for
to us, whether that number be small or great,” says the college’s acting academic dean, the Rev Dr Dan Wu. “But we do particularly rejoice with a large year like this because we are equipping more people to live and proclaim Christ in the world.” There are a number of factors that have contributed to an
SouthernCross March 2021
volume 27 number 2
the uncertainty of 2020 (which prompted many to reconsider their priorities) and the discourse around the need for more ministry workers. Ultimately, this is an answer to the prayers of many at the college and in the Diocese to see more people trained to serve Jesus. “There have been a few
for larger numbers, including the disruption to normal life that COVID-19 has brought,” Dr Wu says. “However, the number of enrolments had been trending slightly upwards in the lead-up to last year and we are hopeful that we will continue to see increasing numbers of people
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coming forward to be equipped for Christian ministry.” This large intake comes with the happy problem of trying to fit everyone in one lecture theatre while obeying social distancing requirements – an issue the college is delighted to have. Last year, 32 full-time
undergraduates began their studies, and across the college there were 253 students studying the Bachelor of Divinity, Bachelor of Theology and Advanced Diploma. In 2021, there are more than 30 extra students across the same disciplines. Female student numbers are
also on the rise. In 2021, women count for a third of the full-time enrolments and half the parttime enrolments. There are many things to pray for in light of the increased enrolments. “Give thanks for a great start to their college experience,” Dr Wu says. “Pray
for energy and enthusiasm throughout the course of their study – a deepening engagement with and love for God through their time with us at Moore. And that they would serve Christ, and the people he places under their care, faithfully and fruitfully for their lives.” SC
WHY I’M STUDYING AT MOORE IN 2021 Marc Safari I always had an urgency to go into ministry. My parents were missionaries working among Middle Eastern people in India, and after migrating to Australia they continued this same work. I always had a taste of what gospel work was like. I’ve spent the last two years in Parramatta looking after youth. I loved reaching out to the youth. They were so ready for the message. I didn’t want to come to college at all because I wanted to stay and do the simple work of sharing Jesus, [but] with time and prayer I saw that I needed [to study] for the long term. I want to serve Jesus for the rest of my life; the timing was right and so I’m here. I’m building skills that I will use for the rest of my life... I wanted to [study] as soon as possible so that I could be sent out as soon as can be. I’m interested in church planting, or helping churches reach people who would never usually step into church.
Caleb Torrence We moved from Moree to Sydney for college. We were encouraged to think and pray about studying by a few different people... who pointed out the need for church leaders in general in the Armidale Diocese and Sydney Diocese. I had a conversation with one of the ministers from the Armidale Diocese, and three days later the Bishop of Armidale said I should consider vocational ministry. We took that as a “hint hint nudge nudge” from God! We prayed about it and we felt this is where God was pointing us. The plan is to head back to Armidale Diocese at the end of college. We are open to wherever God leads us.
Kirsty Torrence We had been praying about what would be next for work for Caleb, so [being encouraged to go to college] felt like a big answer to prayer. It was not what we were expecting the answer to be, but we felt like this was God answering us about what he wanted us to do next. We felt we needed to be obedient to what he was asking us to do. These conversations were at the start of November last year, so it was a quick process of thinking and praying. I think the thing we have been learning is to not hold onto our plans too tightly. God has his own plans and they’re better and we want to obey him.
Ellie Williams Roldan When I was 17 I heard the gospel at a camp. I was blown away that I had gone for 17 years without understanding that truth. I knew there were so many people who hadn’t been told Jesus loves them. I wanted to spend as much of my day sharing the hope of Jesus in whatever form that takes. Through the past couple of years, through various griefs and challenges in my own life, I learned the best thing we can have is not the best circumstances but more of Jesus. He is the solid foundation that doesn’t change. I always wanted to go into ministry but last year sped up my decision making. I worked as a managing consultant, and most of my job was helping companies understand what their customers need so they can sell them more things. While there’s a certain “funness” in solving problems, I was solving needs for this life. Everything I did had an expiration date, whereas when we share Jesus, we share the solution to the greatest need we all have – which is to know our creator. A couple of people I knew were also thinking about this at the same time. We were to walk together in this very long journey of the joys and challenges of ministry. I know it’s important to have close Christian friends who can walk with you through that. That’s why I chose Moore College, because community is a big part of study. 4
A different pastoral plan begins at Woollahra.
Needed: missionaries and an escalator Judy Adamson The new sign at All Saints’, willing to take on a part-time Woollahra is getting noticed – not an easy thing when your church is tucked away up a hill on a busy street. The church service time is listed, along with a welcome for “All saints and all not-so-saints”. It’s doing its job as a talking point, which is just one way for the parish’s new ministry team – the Rev Simon Manchester and the Rev Marcelo Morbelli – to reach out to the local community. At the moment the beautiful old church, which is much bigger inside than its street frontage would suggest, has one service each Sunday, with a choir. Church members are very welcoming, serving people, but at the moment there is no Sunday school, youth ministry or young families. So, there is room for many more saints. And not-so-saints. “People asked me today, ‘What’s going to happen?’ and my response was, ‘I don’t think I have all the answers’,” Mr Morbelli says. “We’ve come to get to know the people here, the culture, the history – what makes All Saints’ tick – and then together we can think, pray, hope for a future where we do see this building filled up again.” It’s not your average rector and assistant team. Mr Morbelli is working three days a week at Woollahra and three days a week at nearby Centennial Park, where he will join the evening congregation at St Matthias, look after growth groups and lead and train others. Mr Manchester “retired” from St Thomas’, North Sydney in 2019, but with an old family connection and affection for Woollahra, he was more than SouthernCross
role at the parish for a year or two, working with and training a young minister. “I’m going to tell Marcelo how to make mistakes in ministry and he’s going to tell me how to be popular,” he jokes. Adds Mr Morbelli: “We’re working it out as we go along, and I’m keen to learn from all of Simon’s mistakes, and I guess make some mistakes at the same time! But it’s lovely to meet people and just to start – to begin.” Mr Manchester began two months ago, and already wishes there was an escalator from the street to the door of the church, as some members simply can’t make it up the hill any longer. There’s also been talk in the past of a minibus to bring people in. But what he really wants is missionaries. “We’ve followed a faithful and loving pastor in David [West] and his wife Jane, who gave many years with many initiatives,” he says. “Now we need some missionary people who feel as though they have received well and are ready to give – and, as it says in Acts, to ‘come over and help us’.” And there are plenty of gospel opportunities. The suburb has an average age of 42, with 30-33 the most represented age bracket, and mums with prams are a common sight on the streets. Mr Morbelli, who will share Scripture teaching at the local public school with the Uniting Church minister, says, “At Woollahra everyone walks there and drops their kids off. We want to see that as a mission field in and of itself and get to know the local families. “If they can walk to school,
All Saints’ saints: Simon Manchester (right) and Marcelo Morbelli with his daughter Aria, pose beside the new church sign.
then hopefully they can walk to hopefully that will build faith church on Sunday mornings. over time. “My long-term vision, at the Adds Mr Manchester: “We need most basic level, is just to see the lights to come on for people in people in the suburb won for Woollahra. We’re very thankful to Christ... to do it slowly and do it be here – it’s a lovely door that’s together. Not a lightning moment been opened – but we need a lot where the building is suddenly of wisdom, some patience and filled up, but as one person some breakthroughs, by the shares their faith with another, grace of God.” SC
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Technology with the theology Learning enhanced: Joy Manggurra (right), works through the Bible overview class with another student.
In the Certificate II class in Glenda McSorley, says members English as an Additional Language at Nungalinya College, the headphones are on and students are focused on their iPads as they work through an overview of the Old Testament. The technology has become a core part of the way students engage with learning at the Darwin-based Bible college, which teaches Indigenous men and women from more than 100 communities across the Top End and other parts of Australia. Joy Manggurra, from Numbulwar, says the class is “learning about Abraham and the book of Genesis” and that doing this with the iPad “helps me read and understand the Bible”. Yolngu man Walter Dhurrkay Makarrwala (right), from Milingimbi in East Arnhem Land, adds: “Reading the Bible on the iPad is good because it reads to me, helping me understand big words in the Bible quickly. Without the iPads, it would be very hard for me to read the Bible and understand it.” Funds for the technology has been provided by Mothers’ Union Sydney, which has a long-term prayer and support connection with the college. The president of MU Sydney, 6
received a request from the college for funds to buy iPads. So far, $10,000 has been sent. “We always take on a 12-month project outside our Diocese,” Mrs McSorley says, “but because COVID made 2020 such a challenging year and our groups weren’t meeting, we’ve decided to continue the project for this calendar year as well... because IT material needs to be replaced all the time!” The technology is used predominantly in Foundation Studies classes but Emily Quinn, the Foundation Studies co-ordinator at Nungalinya, says they’re also utilised by more senior students – including those studying for a Diploma of Translation. “[The iPads] have a dual focus in that we teach literacy and numeracy, but we do that with a biblical framework,” she explains. “We use the stories of Scripture as much as possible to improve literacy and numeracy and also help people learn more about God’s word.” The work mainly happens in English, partly because there needs to be a common language in the classroom. “I have 17 students in my class,”
Ms Quinn says. “This morning I asked for the language that people spoke at home and I got 13 – and people often speak more than one language! We try to incorporate [heart] language where we can but we’re dealing with a multilingual classroom, and we also want to develop competency in written and spoken English, [so] a lot of our work with the iPads is in English. “A really big part of coming to Nungalinya is to be able to meet Christians from other communities... it’s about empowering people to be confident to share with each other, to pray, share testimony and increase literacy... equipping them to share the gospel and minister to their people in the future.”
The money sent to date has funded the bulk of a class set of 20 iPads. MU plans to do more, and it’s clear this would be most welcome at the college. Says Ms Quinn: “Ideally we’d love to get another class set to add into the rotation – and perhaps replace our oldest set, which are no longer able to be updated! “At Nungalinya there is a coming together of the old and the new – traditional culture and language with mo dern technology. Through partnerships and support there is also a coming together of Indigenous and nonIndigenous, all contributing as they are able, with the common goal of strengthening the church and sharing the word of God in Aboriginal Australia.” SC SouthernCross
Nominations are slow in coming before the Synod, planned for May.
Slow start to Archbishop’s election Russell Powell There has been a low-key can take some time. The cut-off these prayers, my ministry would as good and godly men who, by response to the opening of nominations for the election of the next Archbishop of Sydney. The summons to the Election Synod was issued on January 25. A one-day ordinary Synod in May will be followed by the Election Synod, which will consider those nominated. However, as Southern Cross went to press in late February, there were no names yet announced. Under the election process, regulated by an ordinance (or church law), each person nominated must have the support of at least 20 Synod members and then agree to their name being put forward, subject to safe ministry checks. That process 38
date for nominations is March 23. COVID restrictions have made the process difficult and even the normal venue, the Wesley Theatre in Pitt Street, had to be changed to allow more social distancing for the large crowd of Synod delegates. The election will now take place at the International Convention Centre. Archbishop Glenn Davies will retire on March 26. This was extended from his original retirement date of July 2020. In his last Archbishop Writes column in this month’s Southern Cross (see page 14) Dr Davies has thanked Sydney Anglicans for their prayers for him and Mrs Davies since 2013. “Without
have been ineffective. Some have prayed each week, many friends have prayed every day. “I am conscious of these prayers, for the strength that God supplies is greater than human strength alone. I am aware that one dear friend, for example, prays for me daily as he fills the kettle for an early cuppa. I am therefore going to follow his good example by doing the same each morning for the next Archbishop.” Dr Davies is also urging people to pray for the nominees. “Remember, they are not candidates for office – as if they were seeking the position. Rather, they are nominees, recognised by some members of the Synod
God’s grace, can take the reins of episcopal leadership for the whole Diocese, and for the glory of God and the benefit of God’s people. Do pray for them and pray for the Synod that God’s mind might be clearly discerned by its members.” There will be an official farewell for Archbishop and Mrs Davies in St Andrew’s Cathedral on his last day – Friday, March 26. Because of COVID restrictions and the number of official guests, the Cathedral is full already. Dr Davies says he regrets that there cannot be a larger number present in person. However, the event will be livestreamed at http://bit.ly/abfarewell. SC
”Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” MATTHEW 9
From Bourke in the north-west,
Bishop Mark Calder would love to chat with: to West Wyalong in the south, the • Bible college students diocese of Bathurst covers central • Deacons and western NSW – around a third • Presbyters of the size of NSW. • Lay people considering their future, about coming PASTORS: are some of your and ministering here. people heading out west? Please The challenges are real, but the encourage them to immerse themselves in their local Anglican opportunities greater. You’ll make church and help make a difference! sacrifices, but see fruit for your labours to the praise of God. Just as AFES and MYTHBUSTING: Bathurst Diocese some missionaries raise their own support, is ‘high church’. Mark Calder has it may be necessary to raise a portion of said: “People on the ground in your stipend. But to be freed up to work our churches simply love Jesus full time in the name of Jesus will be a joy and want to be taught, nurtured, and a privilege. equipped and shepherded by clergy who will love them and love Please email Mark to arrange a conversation: their communities”. email@example.com
If you’ve already had loads of life and ministry experience it and appropriate gifts, you can move straight into parish leadership. Andrew Thornhill has done just that, arriving from SMBC to lead the church Coonabarabran in January. Andrew said: “From the first discussion I had with Mark, through the ordination discernment process, preparation for ordination, and now in the early stages of parish ministry, God has faithfully and powerfully used Mark, Susan and others in the diocese to encourage, equip, shepherd and guide me and my family. The entire process and experience from college to commissioning has been Biblically faithful, necessarily thorough, and wonderfully pastoral.”
VA C A N T PA R I S H E S - List of parishes, vacant or becoming vacant as of February 25, 2021 • Bourke* • Brewarrina* • Cobar* • Condobolin* • Coolah-Dunedoo* • Coonamble* • Cowra* • Cumnock* • Gilgandra • Grenfell* • Narromine* • Nyngan* • Oberon* • Parkes • Trundle* * Denotes necessary/desirable to raise a portion of the stipend • Warren* • West Wyalong* SouthernCross
Ordained to serve Physically separated, but united in service: The new group of ordinands listen to the sermon by Bishop Michael Stead.
Russell Powell A second group of new deacons was ordained at St Andrew’s Cathedral last month, in a smaller service because of COVID restrictions, but with the same scriptural charge to follow their Lord’s example. The Making of Deacons service is held annually in February following the completion of the ordinands’ theological studies the previous year. Due to COVID and the subsequent reduced capacity in the Cathedral, an additional service was held last November for half of the ordinands, who had already been working in parish ministry. This decision allowed the Cathedral to enable more family and friends to attend in support of the ordinands and encourage them as they begin their ministries. For Archbishop Glenn Davies, it was his ninth and final deaconing service since his election in 2013. He will retire on March 26. 8
The 14 deacons will go on to parish ministry across Sydney, and can now use “the Reverend” as their official title. For the Rev Jack Wong (above), ministering at Artarmon, it was a great joy to have family and friends attend the service. “It is wonderful encouragement to know that, in God’s kindness, he has provided them to help me persevere and grow all these years,” he said. “It’s really through their unceasing
prayers, encouragement, advice, feedback, rebuke and comfort – while patiently and graciously bearing with me – that has kept me going in ministry.” Archbishop Davies spoke specifically to the families of the ordinands, thanking them for their support. The wife and three children of the Rev Sam Darmo (above) sat proudly in the congregation along with other family members. Of Assyrian ethnicity, he
said the day was “a great encouragement” for ordinands and their families, “as they see us reach this important milestone for ministry”. “The ceremony itself is for our encouragement as God uses his Church to raise workers in the field through the laying of hands on people for serving in specific types of ministries.” He will be ministering in the parish of Fairfield-Bossley Park. The Rev Avril Lonsdale (above) SouthernCross
New ministers told to model Jesus’ humility.
ORDINANDS Charles Cleworth Grace City Church Simeon Cumberland Gladesville Sam Darmo Fairfield-Bossley Park Daniel Gale Riverwood-Punchbowl Joshua Hesford St George North Avril Lonsdale St George North Evan Moses St Marys Callan Pritchard Dundas-Telopea
Happy snap: Archbishop Davies’ final group of deacons pose on the Cathedral steps.
fulfil the promises that I have leads to self-sacrificial service. made.” Fourteen deacons who are the The Bishop of South Sydney, first to pick up the antiseptic Michael Stead, spoke on aspiring wipes to do the post-church to greatness in light of Jesus’ COVID cleaning, and who are the teaching to the disciples in last to leave after packing down Matthew 20. the church. “For our 14 deacons to be great “We need deacons who will ones, they need to work at being model humble, self-sacrificial humble like Jesus,” he said. “For s e r v i c e and i n s p ire t he our 14 deacons, the goal of your congregation to do likewise.” SC ministry is not to so convince
Jordan Smith West Pymble Dan Tooma Church at the Peak Jack Wong Artarmon Jie Sheng Yeo Lidcombe James Vigar Cranebrook
was supported by family and members of the St George North congregation she serves. She became a Christian in the parish during her teens, and said it was “a wonderful blessing to be able to return there and serve full time this year. “I can’t wait to see the gospel change the lives of men and women, just like it did mine, and it’s a joy to once again partner in the work of the Lord with my brothers and sisters in the St George area.” Like others, she is encouraged and daunted. “I’ve also been struck by the significance of the promises I’ve made today. It’s a privilege to be publicly entrusted as a minister of God’s word, and despite my weakness in this task, I know that the all-surpassing power of God is at work powerfully in me, equipping me for the task ahead.” Across Sydney at Lidcombe, Jie Yeo (right) is “looking forward to teaching and encouraging my congregation with God’s word and seeing them grow in their love and knowledge of our great God. Also getting to know my congregation better, loving them and sharing my life with them.” Echoing the words of his fellow ordinands, he told Southern Cross: “We are very thankful for the privilege it is to serve God in ministry. Please pray that I will
Joseph Pun Centennial Park
Supporting your independence and persuade people that they think on every point just like you. The goal is to transform yourself and those around you so that everyone thinks more like Jesus.” B is hop S te a d s a i d t he incarnation of Jesus climaxed at the cross where, although he deserved to be exalted as king, he put the salvation of others above his own needs. “I trust that our 14 deacons have this same mindset – valuing others above themselves – that
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Faith amid famine
Practical care: The efforts of Christians to distribute food in Madagascar have not gone unnoticed by locals.
Emergency relief efforts have team that people were also about would plant churches in their through us: many were baptised coincided with a spiritual awakening in famine-hit parts of Madagascar. The Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid launched an appeal late last year to help the Anglican Diocese of Toliara, a part of the Indian Ocean nation hard hit by COVID and now, by famine. Food packs have begun flowing, including a 10-day mission when Anglican Aid-sponsored theological students distributed rice, beans and water to more than 200 families across four areas of Toliara region. The deliveries got through despite security problems. When other trucks carrying goods to the area were attacked, some local Christians informed the 10
to attack and rob them. So the villages. Please pray that they team halted until protection was genuinely commit their life to arranged for the convoy. Christ.” Help arriving from a Christian Now, the challenge is to train organisation has prompted a catechists to lead these new spiritual awakening. The Rev churches. Another local leader, Berthier Lainirina, the provincial the Rev Tsiavandeza Gaston (who secretary for the Anglican has been personally distributing Church of the Indian Ocean, clean water supplies), says, “A reported that in the worst-hit lot of people are being baptised area, the parish of Amboasary, because they were being touched churches are full – some with by the love, and asking, ‘What standing room only. religion is this that cares?’” “People have responded to the The Assistant Bishop of Toliara, love of Christ testified to them Samitiana Razafindralambo, through distribution of food,” Mr put it this way: “The Diocese of Lainirina says. “Therefore, all the Toliara has been called by God churches are packed, and it is to become the hands of his heart an exceptional explosion. Seven full of love for everyone”. villages without churches have Bishop Samy told Anglican Aid, asked that the Anglican Church “People want to know Christ more
and want to join us. People were touched also by integrity and trust – they have received what [was] planned to give for them. They have noticed that others kept at least two-thirds of the donations.” Mr Lainirina told Anglican Aid that because Christians were distributing the food, this set them apart from other organisations. “We do not only share goods, we share the history [gospel] and motivation of Jesus,” he said. “The testimony makes the difference. We may think we’re just giving money, we may think we’re giving food but, through this, people are being saved eternally by God’s grace.” SC SouthernCross
Instability after another military coup in Southeast Asia.
Pray for Myanmar “Pray for Myanmar and pray
those protesting and calling for a speedy return to democracy and the reinstatement of Aung San Suu Kyi as State Counsellor of Myanmar, which is equivalent to the post of Prime Minister. In an interview with Western Christian media, the Archbishop said many Christians are afraid there may be a return to the persecution of the past. “I think some may be afraid [of] going back to this situation,” he told the CBN network. “But if we believe in God and we really love each other, I think nothing should be so disappointed and tense in our hearts. “I think the main task for the church is unity and for peace. The way for the church is through the transforming love of Jesus Christ. I think this is the main principle to face all the challenges.” SC ANG6253
for the people of Myanmar to have that kind of mentality that we all are one family.” This is how Archbishop Stephen Than Myint Oo, primate and archbishop of the Anglican Church of Myanmar, appealed for Christian support in the wake of a military coup. Military leaders again seized power in Myanmar on February 1, claiming fraud in A long history of military interference: People in Myanmar take to the the landslide election last year streets in protest at last month’s coup. of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. after the coup, has issued an Christianity is long-established Myanmar, formerly Burma, appeal for prayer. “I have assured in Myanmar and is the country’s has a long history of military him of our prayers for wisdom second-largest religion, practised interference in government. After and grace in the challenging by 6 per cent of the population. a coup in 1988, Myanmar didn’t circumstances of leading his Protestant missionary work return to semi-democratic rule people in the wake of an army began in the 1830s and bore until 2011. Archbishop Stephen coup,” the Archbishop said, fruit, especially among the ethnic himself suffered imprisonment quoting 1 Corinthians 12:26: “If Karen people in the southeast of as a young man during the one member of the body suffers, the country. Archbishop Stephen political unrest of the 1980s. every member suffers with it; if is of Karen heritage. Archbishop Glenn Davies, who one member is honoured, every Christians, especially many spoke with him by phone just member rejoices with it”. young people, have been among
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Community building for Christ in areas of social challenge.
Ministry and mission at Mount Druitt New start: Craig Hooper (right) and Coz Crosscombe at their commencement service. photo: Douglas Hurlstone.
Judy Adamson It’s a normal weekday at Mount Druitt and part-time as to maintaining a parish in morning, so when the Rev Craig Hooper stands out the front of Mount Druitt Anglican he sees dozens of cars driving up and down the street, and lots of kids walking past with parents and carers, on their way to school. It’s busy, everyday suburban life. But it’s also life in one of the most socially and economically challenged parts of the Diocese. Mr Hooper has recently come as rector to Mount Druitt, with his wife Sandra. He had been part of the Ministry in Socially Disadvantaged Areas Committee – which was set up in 2017 to seek out ways for ministry to become more sustainable and well-resourced in areas of social challenge – and Mount Druitt was one of the 30 parishes the committee was set up to support. “This disadvantage isn’t just about income,” explains Bishop Peter Hayward, the committee’s chairman. “It includes things like the level of unemployment, the availability of technology, people’s education level and... generational factors. We want to encourage ministry in these areas and continue to develop gospel work that sees people follow Jesus. It’s as simple as that.” Mr Hooper will work part-time 12
a consultant with the Centre for Ministry Development at Moore College – supporting ministers and ministry in areas of social challenge. He has been joined in the parish by Coz Crosscombe, an Australian with 25 years’ experience in the US working in challenging urban environments, who will also split his time between Mount Druitt and consulting work. Says Mr Hooper: “Christians in Mount Druitt are very open about their difficulties and challenges. But they see where being a Christian makes a difference and understand the transformation God brings, and that it’s a slow process. Non-believers too, in my experience... you don’t have to convince them that there is brokenness and problems in areas of social and economic difficulty. “They’re not always open to repenting and believing in Christ, but there’s an openness to speaking about the Lord.” It’s going to be a different kind of parish set-up, but one that Bishop Hayward hopes will bear fruit for the gospel and potentially be replicated elsewhere. “We as a Diocese are committed
every community – that’s our commitment,” he says. “The committee is designed to sustain ministry and help develop ministry in tough areas, and this at a time when most other churches and denominations are withdrawing from these same areas.” Mr Hooper adds that while the need for the gospel is the same everywhere, “The difference here is that the people we’re coming into contact with can have a lot of difficulties just living day to day. “Many present as very broken, and their immediate needs can be quite overwhelming... The challenge is not to be overwhelmed by these issues but to see that they come as a person for whom Christ died and that, above all else, they need to be saved and have the gospel transform them. “My role is to shepherd the flock – to love them in the Lord, help grow them in the Lord. We’re also using Coz’s skills in understanding community to look at ways to build on the connections we already have, looking to understand the community better so we can work out other ways to bring the gospel to the locals.”
Mr Hooper is grateful for the work and ministry at Mount Druitt of previous rectors, wardens past and present, church members and the parish’s “tireless” children’s worker Elizabeth Bognet. He is also keen to explore further partnerships with Anglicare, which has existing links to the parish through its mobile food pantry and an onsite dementia day care centre. In addition, there is the ongoing financial and prayer support received from the Western and Wollongong regional councils, Evangelism and New Churches, the parishes of Turramurra and King Street and a number of committed individuals – which he describes as “great blessings”. “It’s like supporting missionaries overseas, where there’s longterm prayer and financial support needed. That’s what’s going to be needed here as well, but I’m okay with that because it provides the opportunity for Christians elsewhere to have the joy of gospel partnership. “There are so many opportunities here, lots and lots of people – all loved by God, created by him and for him, but who probably haven’t heard the wonderful gospel yet.” SC SouthernCross
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Begin and end with prayer
Dr Glenn Davies
even and a half years ago, I penned my first
contribution for Archbishop Writes. Now, some 75 editions later, I find myself composing my last article. At my inauguration as Archbishop, I preached on John 17: Jesus’ threefold prayer for himself, his apostles and for all who believed on him through their word – which includes us all! I then addressed the same text in the September 2013 edition of Southern Cross. Prayer is essential to any Christian’s discipleship, and all the more essential to ministers of God’s word. It is a great honour that our heavenly Father has bestowed upon us to allow our weak and feeble words to ascend before his throne. This is no mere trifle. Christian prayer is borne of the Spirit of God. It is our response to God’s invitation to pray, to bring our requests and thanksgivings to the Father. His Spirit not only prompts us to pray, he also intercedes for us with the Father. The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groaning too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27). When Paul speaks of the Spirit, he is referring to the Spirit of the 14
ascended Son, the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). Our union with Christ and the gift of his Spirit give us special access to the Father in our prayers. For God promises to hear our prayers, when we ask in Jesus’ name (John 16:23). I have on my desk an anonymous card sent to me last year at the height of the pandemic in Sydney. It simply says: “Please stop praying, it’s making things worse”. I keep it before me as a reminder that it is not the strength of my prayers that changes things, but the God to whom I pray that changes things. The card keeps me focused to keep praying – despite the intention of its author! It is a humbling reality to know that it is not simply our efforts, but God’s sovereign working in our lives that brings glory to himself. He calls us to pray, thereby graciously including us in his purposes, but it is he who answers our prayers. Daniel’s response was immediate when he read Jeremiah’s prophecy that the people of Israel, after 70 years of captivity, would pray to the Lord for deliverance (Jeremiah 29:10-14). When Daniel read that letter, some 70 years after his deportation, he immediately prayed (Daniel 9:1-3). Moreover, God graciously answered that prayer. The Lord’s Prayer for Christians is another example of God’s inclusion of us in the fulfilment of his will. How often do we pray SouthernCross
“Your kingdom come, your will be done”? By such a prayer we hasten the coming of the Day of the Lord (cf 2 Peter 3:11-12). What a privilege! What a responsibility! Such is the importance of prayer in accomplishing God’s purposes. Last year I encouraged you to pray at 1900hrs for COVID-19, and I am grateful for the many prayers that have been offered during 2020. Rest assured that your prayers have been effective in the successful development of not one, but many vaccines around the world, three of which will be available in Australia. While the researchers are to be congratulated for their efforts, the prayers of God’s people are not insignificant in seeing this outcome in record time. It is good for us to to remember that “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labour in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain” (Psalm 127:1). In September 2013, I wrote: I have been overwhelmed by the prayers that the Diocese has offered up for Dianne and me these past few months and especially since the Election Synod. Your prayers have calmed my spirit and warmed my soul. I too, as your chief pastor, am committed to pray for you, which is the responsibility of all pastors (Acts 6:4; 1 Thess 1:2). Join me in prayer for God’s love and unity to be so manifest among us that the world may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Father, whom to know is life eternal. I now write to thank you for your prayers for me and Dianne since taking up this office. Without these prayers, my ministry would have been ineffective. Some have prayed each week, many friends have prayed every day. I am conscious of these prayers, for the strength that God
PRAYER Father God, we thank you for your mercy towards us and pray that you would use us to declare your promises to the people of greater Sydney. We trust not in our own worthiness for this task, but in your bountiful grace. Strengthen us for every opportunity to declare with a clear conscience the reason for the hope that we have with gentleness and respect, grounded in the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. Amen.
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supplies is greater than human strength alone. I am aware that one dear friend, for example, prays for me daily as he fills the kettle for an early cuppa. I am therefore going to follow his good example by doing the same each morning for the next Archbishop. The Election Synod will be held in less than two month’s time. Do pray for each of the nominees. Remember, they are not candidates for office – as if they were seeking the position. Rather, they are nominees, recognised by some members of the Synod as good and godly men who, by God’s grace, can take the reins of episcopal leadership for the whole Diocese, and for the glory of God and the benefit of God’s people. Do pray for them and pray for the Synod that God’s mind might be clearly discerned by its members. May God’s blessing rest on all Anglicans in our Diocese, that we might see Jesus honoured as Lord and Saviour in every community. Amen. SC
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Faith alone in the face of suffering Faithful to the last: The Execution of Lady Jane Grey (detail) by Paul Delaroche.
Christians today would do well to emulate the biblical confidence and spiritual conviction of Lady Jane Grey, writes Mark Earngey. 16
n 1833 Paul Delaroche completed his famous oil painting
depicting the moments prior to the execution of the first female Queen of England, Lady Jane Grey (1537-1554), the so-called “Queen of Nine Days”. Today this beautiful artwork belongs to The National Gallery in London and can be viewed in high-quality resolution on its website. In the painting the 17-year-old Lady Jane is presented, accurately, as a victim of conspiratorial forces. She is surrounded by darkness and shines white with purity as her hesitant hands are guided to the chopping block. SouthernCross
Church history insights from Moore College.
But there is far more to the story. While this superbly stylised picture of Jane’s execution tells the truth about the tragic nature of her death, it masks a few facts about her martyrdom: she would not have worn white, the scaffold for the execution was outdoors in the London Tower courtyard, and Benedictine monk John Feckenham stood nearby in the hope that she would change her mind, recant her beliefs and ask for the last rites. She would, as Feckenham soon discovered, not give him that pleasure. The last of these facts is important, for Lady Jane was an enthusiastic evangelical with a firm faith in Christ alone. Her family was involved in the earliest evangelical rumblings in England, associated with Thomas Cromwell and the reformation in Zürich. She resided within the household of evangelical author (and former wife of Henry VIII) Katherine Parr – a place that was a meeting ground for preachers such as Thomas Becon and linguists like Miles Coverdale. Her education was at the feet of England’s best and brightest evangelical rising stars, and she was even tutored remotely by Heinrich Bullinger (snail mail, not Zoom!). With multiple languages under her belt (Latin, Greek, Italian and some Hebrew) and a remarkable grasp of the Scriptures, Lady Jane was one of the besteducated and most articulate evangelical women in the kingdom (except perhaps for another future monarch, Princess Elizabeth). To be fair, Feckenham’s hope for her last-minute return to the Roman church was probably rather weak. He had just spent the last three days in theological debate with her and had come off second best. This is important evidence for Lady Jane’s personal faith, for Feckenham was nearly 20 years her senior, theologically trained, ecclesiastically ordained and a seasoned preacher and disputant – he even managed to trap Thomas Cranmer in a theological trial two years later. So celebrated was Jane’s fortitude in the face of Feckenham that the Marian exiles even published a smuggled transcript of the dispute – the so-called Conference with Feckenham – to embarrass the enemies of evangelicalism. We have that publication today, and its contents reveal the core evangelical concerns not only of Lady Jane, but the English Reformation itself.
Feckenham asks whether Jane needs any plainer words than “this is my body” to believe in the natural presence of Christ in the bread and wine. The teenage theologian replies that this was figurative speech, just as Christ taught “I am the vine” and “I am the gate” (John 15:5; 10:9). The Benedictine monk then mounts the case that God’s omnipotence could miraculously make the bread turn into the body of Christ just as easily as Christ walked upon water. However, Jane retorts that this was not God’s intention, for God intended that Christ’s body would be broken upon the cross, not within bread. Moreover, it would be absurd for Christ to have broken and eaten bread with his disciples if that really were his very own body! The heart of her point is that: “I receive neither flesh nor blood, but only bread and wine; the which bread when it is broken, and the wine when it is drunk, reminds me that for my sins the body of Christ was broken, and his blood shed on the cross. And with that bread and wine I receive the benefits which came by breaking of his body, and the shedding of his blood on the cross for my sins.” The third and last spiritual skirmish is over the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures. Feckenham provokes this point by suggesting that Jane grounds her faith upon theologians who disagree among themselves (a common anti-Reformation polemic). Rather, he calls her to base her beliefs upon the church, to whom she ought to give due credit. In response, Jane blasts back that the church, which grounds itself upon erroneous tradition, is an evil church, not good; not the spouse of Christ but of the devil himself. Her words have the enthusiastic echoes of the defiant German reformer Martin Luther, as she declares: “No, I ground my faith upon God’s word, and not upon the church; for if the church be a good church, the faith of the
A WOMAN OF THE WORD Within the Conference there are three main points of contrast between Jane’s evangelicalism and Feckenham’s Roman Catholicism. The first, and most controverted point of debate, is over the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Feckenham asserts that Christ’s second greatest commandment to “love your neighbour as yourself” implies that faith alone does not justify (Matt 22:39), and he employs Paul’s teaching that faith without love is useless (1 Cor 13:2). To this, Jane counters that faith and love agree together; where there truly is the one, there is the other. Essential to her position is the saving significance of justification by faith alone: “I affirm that faith only saves. It is right for all Christians, in token that they follow their master Christ, to do good works. Yet we may not say, nor in any way believe, that they profit to salvation: for even if we have done all that we can, yet we are unprofitable servants, and the faith we have only in Christ’s blood and his merits, saves.” The second major doctrinal dispute is over sacramental theology – in particular, the Lord’s Supper. The occasional modern interpreter may mistake this debate as a mere political concern, but it was as biblically and theologically driven as the debate about justification. SouthernCross
church must be tried by God’s word, and not God’s word by the church.” AN EXAMPLE TO FOLLOW In Lady Jane we have a serious student of the Holy Scriptures, a grateful recipient of God’s means of grace in the Lord’s Supper, and a determined defender of the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Christ alone. There is a tenacity, fortitude and erudition, which is shrouded by the stunning Delaroche scene. The truth is much grittier than the picture would suggest, and the grit of her faith more true. She was, in John Calvin’s words, “a lady whose example is worthy of everlasting remembrance”. Therefore, how might we remember her? • She was a student of the Scriptures: a theologically trained, linguistically learned and humble-hearted woman of the word. What a great example to the youth and young men and women in our churches to read, mark, and learn their bibles (let alone the rest of us who ought never rest from our searching of the Scriptures). • She had certainty for eternity as a sinner standing confidently before God, only by the blood of Christ. What a blessing that assurance is, and how many are our friends who need to hear the relief of those words, “no condemnation” (Rom 8:1). The covering of Christ’s robes of righteousness and the relief this brings is such liberation to weary and wounded consciences. • She valued the visible word of the Lord’s Supper: The outward signs of bread and wine brought her mind to the cross and thus brought afresh the cross to her heart. What a blessing it is that our Sydney Anglican clergy are ministers of word and sacrament, who likewise bring this rich pastoral blessing to their flocks. In a world of church growth strategies, we ought not overlook God’s means of spiritual growth, especially in the Lord’s Supper. Rather, let us taste and see that the Lord is good! • She was an underdog for Christ: a teenage woman in Tudor times, confronted with the ferocious intellect of a formidable monastic opponent twice her age. What a wonderful embodiment of Paul’s command, “Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity” (1 Tim 4:12). Above all, the most inspiring and uplifting example from Lady Jane Grey’s life and death is her extraordinarily firm faith in the face of suffering. She once wrote that “to me there is nothing that can be more welcome than from this vale of misery to aspire to that heavenly throne of all joy and pleasure, with Christ my Saviour”. This is the kind of faith we aspire towards and the type of trust we pray that the Lord would graciously grant our dearest friends and family members. May we all aspire to that same heavenly throne, with Christ our Saviour. SC
The Rev Dr Mark Earngey is head of the Department of Church History, and lectures in Church History and Christian Doctrine at Moore College. 18
How the science of habits can build your faith Tara Sing
ietitian Lana Hirth (right) believes that the science
she uses in her consultations with clients can also have a big impact on our faith. She doesn’t just help her clients eat more vegetables – she uses the latest habit-formation research to help clients manage conditions with healthy habits. “I’m fascinated by [habit science] because it’s not just something we can use in health. It has translated to help me read my Bible more often,” says Mrs Hirth, who attends Rosemeadow-Appin Anglican Churches. “I think more Christians should know about it. It can be a game changer for Christians to stick to godly disciplines, like Bible reading and prayer.”
THREE ELEMENTS MAKE A HABIT There are three core features of a habit: Cue: the event, feeling or action that signals the start of a behaviour Behaviour: the desired action Reward: a feeling, outcome and positive experience Humans make more than 35,000 decisions daily, and over half of these are automatic. When trying to make a new habit, people mistakenly start by altering the behaviour. “The classic example is trying to go for a 30-minute walk every day,” Mrs Hirth says. “That’s actually really hard. But telling people to put their shoes on everyday is the cue. Over time, that removes a barrier and acts as a reminder to tell someone to do the new behaviour.” SouthernCross
Using the mechanics of habit setting to godly advantage.
The next step is to associate the cue with a routine reminder. “We then pick an ideal time and tie it to a location,” Mrs Hirth explains. “What helps a habit stick is time. It needs to be repeated daily, at the same time, in a certain location. When it feels that something is missing if you don’t do it, that’s when you can say this has become a habit.” Knowing yourself is crucial to picking a realistic habit to work on. “Sometimes we set mammoth goals – like when we say at the new year, ‘I’m not going to eat any discretionary food’. We need to think much more simply. Isn’t it better to read the Bible for a little bit every day than to set the expectation of reading an hour a day that we can’t achieve?” Don’t be discouraged if the habit doesn’t form right away. It can
TOP TIPS FOR BUILDING HABITS • Tie your new behaviour to a location and time of day
take anywhere from 18 to 254 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. One study asked participants to form a new habit of drinking an extra glass of water daily and found the average length of time it took for this habit to form was 66 days. “The harder the habit is, the longer we would expect it would take to implement,” Mrs Hirth says. WE ARE FIGHTING THE WORLD There are some similarities between health and living a godly life. “From a health perspective, no one gets healthier by default,” she says. “You have to make active choices or the environment shapes a lot of our actions. God calls us to be different from the world in 1 Peter. A key component of Christian life is listening to God’s word, speaking with him, and sharing Jesus with friends and family. Using habit science makes this easier.” Knowing how to form habits has helped Mrs Hirth develop a practice of daily Bible reading. “Before, my Bible reading and prayer was always up and down like a roller coaster. Now, by the grace of God, I’ve been able to stick at my Bible reading. “My youth leader read the Bible every single day. I always wanted that but didn’t know how to get there. The habit science was the missing piece of the puzzle for me.” SC
Link it to an activity you already do, like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast
Set a realistic goal. It’s okay to start small if that is achievable.
Use prompts, such as setting alarms on your phone or already having your Bible on the table before breakfast
DEVELOPING A HABIT - AN EXAMPLE
Be consistent. Doing this daily will help reinforce the behaviour more quickly.
Desired habit Daily Bible reading
Persevere. It can take up to eight months for simple habits to become automatic
Cue Sitting down to lunch at work in the break room
Expect it to take time
Pray for the Spirit’s help
Behaviour Read Bible for five minutes while eating
Ask others to keep you accountable as you form this habit
Reward Knowing your Bible more, understanding something new about God, finding comfort in Scripture 19
A remarkable year Remembering with love: Danny Abdallah and his son Michael plant a tree at The King’s School. Alex (right) wields a shovel while Leila Abdallah looks on.
remarkable week has turned to a remarkable
year. One year ago, while cooking a BBQ for friends outside, my husband heard sirens, lots of sirens, and very close. As is often my practice, I said a private prayer for whatever incident was the cause of those sirens. Never for a moment could I have imagined the extent of the tragedy that was about to unfold and how it would affect my faith and my community so deeply. Thirty minutes later, after much laughter and a lovely lamb cutlet, my husband’s phone rang. As it often does in our line of community service, a 24/7 role. He left the table and then my heart sank as he left the room – another prompt to pray. Our guests, in the same line of service, also noticed. We all went quiet. Tragic news was delivered: “four children dead” – our children in our school, in our community, in our safe place. Antony, Angelina and Sienna Abdallah, and their cousin Veronique Sakr, had been struck and killed by a ute that mounted the footpath as they walked to the shops to buy ice cream. Three other children were injured – one seriously and permanently. The news came to us from a fellow staff member and former teacher of one of the 20
children. She lives locally and called from the scene, describing it as “indescribable carnage”. Onsite that night were many emergency services. The first responders included neighbours, family members and friends. Many of these people are in our community of care – nearly all are part of our local community. Details were confused. We prayed, still unable to grasp the scale of the event, hoping somehow for fresh hope. Then the media report came out. The scale, the shock, unbelievable. Our friends quietly went home. After a rough night’s sleep, morning media reports told us there was no mistake. The same inexplicable facts. On Sunday mornings we attend a local church, and on this Sunday we both had a small role to play in the service. Neither of us could focus on preparing, so we just turned up. When we arrived we were greeted by three new families from our community. Waiting, desperately sad and, I think, hopeful to find something… perhaps love, care, community connection, and even GOD. Where was God in the face of such tragic news? Perhaps grieving alone is harder than grieving in community and grieving with a belief in God. This I know now, not just from SouthernCross
Tradgedy, forgiveness and i4give Day.
my own experience but from watching hundreds of people and having since heard the personal story of many. That Sunday, with only two hours’ notice, 400 people gathered to pray for the family in the school chapel. Many people of all ages and nationalities stood together in formal prayer, open shared prayer and private personal prayer to God. At the hospital and on the site of the accident many more gathered to pray. I watched over the days that followed as the Lebanese community, rooted in the Maronite faith, galvanised around each other to hug, gather, cry openly and – most powerfully – some like Leila Abdallah prayed openly. I watched as the rest of us started to follow suit, moved deeply now by the power of community connection, humility before God and forgiveness in action. I watched as the parents of three of the children, Danny and Leila, stood before the media in faithfulness and forgiveness, prompted by no one but God’s supernatural strength rooted in their own deep faith: “I am not angry at the driver, that is not who we are”. Leila’s incredible public statement of forgiveness for the driver in the face of extreme loss and obvious personal pain prompted me and many in our community to search our hearts for forgiveness and the ability to forgive. Danny and Leila had revealed something profound to us all. I moved my workplace to the school community chapel. Several of us hung out there, in case people needed some kind of community care, comfort in grief or divine dialogue. We got so much more. Many people came in voluntarily, arms wide, hearts open. It’s a strange thing to say amid such sadness, but it was a privilege to be part of this community that week. Leila and Danny had given our community permission to take our grief to God, to pray, to call out to God for understanding, for faithfulness and forgiveness. In our desperately sad and affected humanity, many of our people sought comfort – sometimes alone, sometimes with a counsellor, but mostly in community and with God. This past year I have had many moments of very real, deep and authentic connection to people in my local community. There were moments of deep grief, of meaningful touch and of inspired words. There were even remarkable moments of eternal significance. These moments occurred in various places: at the church, at the hospital, at the local cafe and even in the local greengrocer… as people searched for hope. I thank God that in the midst of the many prayers of the Australian community to help this family, this family has helped us so profoundly. Normal Australians from many backgrounds in western Sydney have been reminded what the true meaning of faith in community looks like. A year on, we have attended several services of prayer and
One year on: A prayer event at the accident site on February 1. remembrance – one at The King’s School with a special treeplanting ceremony. On February 1 we gathered with the community on the street of the tragedy, closed off to cars for one hour, to remember and to pray. While we continued to pray for the family, now we also prayed for our country as Leila and Danny launched “i4give Day”. They hope it will be a deep and thoughtful day prompting each one of us to commit to forgive. To practice forgiving by handing the burden to God. There is no good that can come from carrying anger, bitterness and resentment, because it affects our ability to move on and limits our ability to share the hope found in Jesus. Wonderfully, both governments (Federal and State) and Christian churches have indicated support for i4give Day. The Prime Minister wrote a lovely statement. Now friends, it is up to us to open our arms – in families, in our churches and in our local communities – to dig deep, practice forgiveness and share God’s light and love and hope. SC Dr Jen George is a thought leader and practitioner in community and place partnerships, and shares in the ministry and life of The King’s School, North Parramatta (the school attended by Antony Abdallah and his younger brothers Alex and Michael), where her husband Tony is headmaster. For more information on the i4give movement, see www.i4give.com.
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Move, change, serve
ustralia is among the most mobile societies in
the world, with 15 per cent of the population changing address in the year before the 2016 Census. When you go back five years the proportion of people who’ve moved jumps to 39 per cent. For Christians, this means our church friends will move house. A lot. Like Isaac Shumack. Over the past 10 years, he has changed churches five times. Now working at Toongabbie as the pastor responsible for church membership, mission and youth, he’s using his experience to help the church care for those joining the congregation. Having had his fair share of church farewells, Mr Shumack shares his insights on leaving church, farewelling friends and how to act afterwards.
IT’S NEVER EASY If your reasons for going aren’t something straightforward like changing jobs or moving to another city, it’s important to be clear about why you’re making the move – before you announce your departure. “We can have such a mixture of motivations – we can even fool ourselves for why we are making certain decisions,” he says. “We may decide to move because of deeply held personal preferences mixed in with aspects of church life which have tired us out after years of meeting with other sinful people.” He recommends having a chat with a wise Christian to check your heart before making a firm decision. Regardless of the reason, leaving a church is never easy. “Church is a family,” he says. “Prepare for the grief of not meeting with those you’ve grown close to. Communicate with others what you’re finding difficult about the move. It helps to have people to chat with about the move.” 22
SAY YOUR GOODBYES WELL How you farewell your church makes a difference. Taking the time to say goodbyes lovingly can provide encouragement to others in what can be a sad time. “You’ve gone through life together [with your church] for many years,” Mr Shumack says. “You might need to have particular conversations with specific people to show them how much you care or how much they meant to you. You’ve got an amazing pastoral opportunity. You can challenge, encourage and be encouraged by others. Go for it!” You won’t be able to keep in touch with everyone and have room for relationships with your new church family too, so it’s good to give thought to which friendships you will keep. “Make it clear that you’re keen to pursue friendships long term so that you can prepare for that,” Mr Schumack says. “As a ministry training apprentice, we used to call this ‘posse building’. It recognises that, as the years go on, you collect Christian brothers and sisters from all kinds of groups and you don’t sever ties with them just because you stop going to church together. “The principle is long-term Christian friendship,” he adds. “You’ve shared so much over the years. Going through all kinds of trials and being taught God’s word together binds us as brothers and sisters. Just like a family isn’t easily divided, leaving a church will inherently be difficult because there is such a strong unity in the gospel. “For anyone leaving, be mindful of your capacity but you’ve grown great relationships through Christ. It’d be a missed opportunity to sever ties completely.” When Mr Shumack left his church in Newcastle to move to Sydney for Bible college, he actively sought people out and made plans for friendships in the future. “I didn’t realise how hard moving a few hours away would be,” he SouthernCross
How to ensure church has the right priority in our mobile society.
Spend time together: Isaac Shumack (above, in blue) hosts church members for lunch at Toongabbie.
says. “I’m more diligent to chat on Facebook or Zoom. Sometimes we run Zoom hangouts, and we have a Facebook group. “I think planning out weekends to [go] back can be helpful... I planned to visit Newcastle in the first six months [after moving] so I could catch up with old friends and continue that support network and feel that connection with them.” GUARD YOUR TONGUE Once final goodbyes are said, we need to be aware of the danger to speak badly about our past church. This is especially tempting if we have been hurt or feel burned by things that have happened. “Be mindful how you speak about the body of Christ,” Mr Shumack warns. “In Scripture we see that the church is esteemed by Christ – it is loved – so be mindful about how we speak about any churches: ones we’ve been a part of in the past or churches we are just joining. We can recognise their sinfulness, but we need to be mindful of not gossiping.” A good antidote to gossip and bitterness is to practice gratitude and exercise self control. “Pursue thankfulness in all circumstances,” he says. “That was really helpful for me in joining my new church, and to think about how I was praying and speaking… Imagine if your past church members heard you speaking about them to your new church. Would you say it in the same way?” IS THIS THE CHURCH FOR ME? When you join a new church, going from first visit to feeling like part of the community takes time. There are things we can do to make the process as pain-free as possible, whether we’re the ones joining or the ones welcoming someone in. In addition, remembering that every church is different will help you to be flexible and prevent getting caught up in comparisons. “Embrace the new church you go to,” Mr Shumack says. “There SouthernCross
will be quirks. It’s like visiting another family home. Go with it, take off your shoes if you need to, try and figure out what’s happening. Sometimes it will be uncomfortable because this new church has a new culture and recognised habits. Try and embrace that as much as you can.” Work out ahead of time what areas of church life are non-negotiable for you, and where you are willing to compromise. “The core thing is, are they teaching the gospel?” he aks. “That’s got to be where we start. Have they taught from God’s word? We hope that a loving and welcoming environment is an effect of the gospel, but they’re only going to get there by the word dwelling richly among them. Do people love God’s word? Are they wanting the Spirit to change them? Are they praying for that?” Be wary of searching for the “perfect” church, rather than selecting one with faithful teaching and getting stuck in. “Church shopping for months on end can reveal a consumerist mentality,” Mr Shumack says. “There will be many things that take a long time to get used to. Maybe we found a great fit, even though there are some rough edges. I would caution against having months of church shopping. It can be really tiring for you and also for the many churches you visit.” SETTLE INTO YOUR NEW CHURCH FAMILY So you’ve found a church to call home. One of Mr Shumack’s tips for settling quickly is to take up invitations and connect with how the church welcomes you. “Head along to welcome lunches and courses, not because it’s a duty but it can speed up that process of understanding what the church culture is,” he says. “I would encourage people to get on board and listen really closely to understand the church.” It’s also worth being proactive and making an effort to form friendships. “It can be easy to expect people to have us over and 23
wait for people to make that connection. I would encourage people to try and ask people around for lunch, ask about what things happen regularly and how people interact throughout the week. Don’t just expect to be brought into those relationships by the other person. “Seeing that church is family, most families don’t just meet once a week!” he adds. “You’re in each other’s lives. Midweek time – whether it’s a formal structure or something relaxed – can really help a new person get a picture of what life [at their new church] could be like.” Spending time with his new church family outside of Sunday has helped Mr Shumack in many of the churches he has joined. At one church, a midweek game of squash helped him feel like he was part of things. The key way he felt connected was through joining a Bible study group and sitting under God’s word with others. “It can be overwhelming to meet so many new people, but to have a smaller group can be a really comforting thing when you’re going through the grief [of changing churches]. You can get to know people in a really relaxed way.” RELATIONSHIPS TAKE TIME When we may still feel the grief of missing our old church family, the hard work it takes to build new relationships can make this ache more prominent. Mr Shumack encourages us not to be disheartened when we don’t have the same closeness to our new church family. “Don’t have any high expectations in the first few months. Relationships need to be fostered. I know of others who have taken months or years to even feel like this is their group.” Where possible, we need to extend grace to the church we are joining. “No church is perfect. Some really struggle in welcoming. Often you might get a nametag or a smile as you walk in but it can be really hard to integrate. A church might be very loving [and] people are growing to be like Christ but welcoming can be difficult for them.” SEEK WAYS TO SERVE There is a temptation to sit back for a while and let settling in take precedence over serving. However, seeking ways to serve often helps speed up the settling-in process. “It’s a great way to get to know people as you wash up together,” Mr Schumack says. “You can really see people’s character shine through these moments. Ask what areas of need a church might have. Most churches would love to hear that from a new person.” Serving others isn’t just about building relationships, although that’s one of the benefits. Serving God together is ultimately an expression of what the church has been gathered together to do. “Many people take a year off from serving Jesus [when they change churches],” Mr Schumack says. “That’s not good for faith. There are a large amount of ways that even a new person who is a bit unfamiliar might be able to help out. The leadership will have their wisdom about what roles are suitable. “As you’re getting to know the church, the church is getting to know you. I would encourage you to ask how you can help out right from the start.” SC 24
Are you on your way to becoming a cranky old Christian?
obody ever plans to become crotchety in old age but it
happens to some. On the other hand, we all know elderly Christians who refresh us and build up the church with their presence, kindness and encouragement. How do we go about becoming more like one than the other? In his role as chaplain at Woolooware Shores – one of Anglicare’s independent living retirement villages – the Rev Garry Dawes has the privilege of working alongside many older people. He’s observed some of the key ways Christians in the village provide encouragement and are a blessing to him and their neighbours.
1. THEY ARE PRAYING PEOPLE “I have a person who, in every sort of interaction we have, will take me aside and let me know that I am part of their constant prayer list,” Mr Dawes says. “There is a real sense that we are in this part of God’s journey together. He understands [that] we’re to be about encouraging one another.” 2. THEY ARE MISSION FOCUSED Mr Dawes says the mission-aware residents of Woolooware Shores recognise that “we’re the group of people God has put in this place at this time to represent Jesus and build the kingdom. Folk will often want to encourage me and let me know they’re praying for me. They also give me ideas for how we can care for each other or reach out to the wider village community to encourage and care for them.” 3. THEY UNDERSTAND GOD’S PURPOSE Society can easily make older people feel as though they are past their prime. However, the lives of encouraging saints are profoundly shaped by the knowledge that they are not forgotten by God. “They know he continues to have a purpose for them at their age and stage,” Mr Dawes says. “Various people might say, ‘Grandma and Grandpa, you sit in the corner’, but the God of creation says to press on in the purposes he gives us. The notion of being encouraging to one another flows from that.” “Having a walk with the Lord and seeing stuff with the eyes of his heart means the things that could consume you are kept in their right proportion… I started my sermon the other week with the phrase ‘Old age is hard work’, and everyone engaged because that’s the reality of life. But it’s not the sum total of what life is about. Their walk with the Lord allows them to put that reality of SouthernCross
Five marks of an encouraging older saint.
life onto a bigger canvas, into a bigger perspective and keep it in proportion.” 4. THEY KNOW GOD’S FAITHFULNESS Mr Dawes considers it a privilege to see people continue to trust God, whether they’ve developed this trust over nine decades or whether they’ve recently come to Christ. They truly know what it is to experience trials and hardships and they know they will not be abandoned by the Lord. “The benefit senior saints can pass on, having walked with the Lord, is they can add a perspective for younger folk,” he says. “To the young family who feels overstretched, or to the person who has lost their job, or to people who had a split in the church or whatever it might be [they can say] that this tough time, whatever it might be, will pass. And if you continue to trust in the Lord, he will be with you now and he will also be with you in five or 10 years’ time when this experience is just a memory. “As we reflect on the reality that this person has walked with the Lord... and has lived their own ups and downs, their own highs and heartaches, it’s a tangible, visible, standing-in-front-of-me example that the Lord is faithful.” 5.THEY ARE SHAPED BY THE GOSPEL Whether people have been following Jesus for weeks or years, God still grows their trust in the same way. “How will the Lord have done that?” Mr Dawes asks. “It will have been the same ways we always talk about: his word, his Spirit and living among the saints. I don’t think God has a new toolkit when you get to your senior years. The toolkit is the same.” Mr Dawes places great importance on bringing village residents to God’s word. “In our little ministry context we need to keep the
Trust developed over the years: Older saints have much to teach us.
saints fed and focused. Keeping them fed and focused is about encouraging them in the grace of the Lord Jesus, and reminding them they’re still part of God’s purpose.” THERE IS MUCH TO LEARN We must be careful of only doing church with people in our stage of life because there is so much to gain from gathering regularly with people who are older and younger than us. “I think one of the dangers in our churches is that we can fail to value the strength of the older saints, their stability and sturdiness,” Mr Dawes says. “We may fail to value the benefit of having older saints around as an encouragement to keep pressing on ourselves. Considering the example of older saints... will strengthen you to then hand the baton on to those who come after you.” SC
U S O N LI N E FO
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The centre for all information about our churches and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic in faithfulness to God and love of all people.
Unpacking Exodus with Kids
O I N FO + R E G
CHILDREN’S MINISTRY CONFERENCE SATURDAY 1 MAY 2021 25
How families can work alongside youth and children’s leaders.
The partnership that positively impacts your child’s faith
A report from Youthworks into the impact of COVID-19 on youth and children’s ministers has highlighted why developing a strong partnership between families and youth and children’s leaders is vital. Youthworks surveyed a sample group of 257 youth and children’s workers. The strongest correlation noted in the data was between youth and children’s workers who said they were confident to ask families to disciple their own children during COVID-19 and those who observed much spiritual growth in the young people they were leading. “The most likely answer to what’s going on is that there was a preexisting partnership between youth and children’s ministry and the parents,” says Al James, youth ministry advisor for Youthworks, who headed up the study. “When a crisis came along, the partnership was there and that enabled growth to continue or to happen during the hardest COVID restrictions.”
A PARTNERSHIP THAT IS BENEFICIAL FOR ALL The takeaway is clear for youth and children’s leaders: keep building strong relationships with the parents and families of the young people you lead. Mr James insists that this effort should not be in one direction. “Pewsitter, you can be involved too,” he says. “Get in there and support, encourage and have conversations. A strong partnership between ministry and families is good for ministry in a crisis. The resilient faith in young people is highly correlated to strong partnerships with parents.”
SUPPORT WITH WORDS AND ACTIONS The first step to partnering with leadership teams is to know what’s happening in these ministries. 26
“Don’t be shy,” Mr James says. “Go and talk to the leaders. Ask them what they’ve been doing in the lesson in kids’ church. Ask them what’s happening in the term for youth ministry. Ask them how they’re going and be involved in their lives.” The second step involves jumping in and finding ways to serve alongside the leaders. Mr James offers a few suggestions: • Drive young people to outings, gatherings and camps • Offer to provide supper • Ask for prayer points regularly (and then pray) • Give unsolicited gifts to youth and children’s leaders to thank them for their work • Offer to be “youth group/children’s ministry parents”, providing a listening ear and care for youth and children’s leaders • Pop in when picking your kids up in order to make conversation with leaders and other parents and children “The free flow of conversation and of relationship between youth and children’s leaders and parents and families is only going to be good,” Mr James says. “I remember the parent of one of our youth kids, who was always there to support the ministry in all kinds of ways. She would drive a Tarago load of kids to youth every week. She would have people over. She would ask how I was going. She would share [encouraging stories] with me and my team.” He adds that the motivation to do this stems from striving towards the goal of seeing Christ made known. “We want our young people to know and love and follow Jesus, and when there’s a space of conversation between leaders, parents and families, that means we can be all the more effective as we disciple our children. “We share a common mission: that is, the long-lasting faith of children and youth.” SC SouthernCross
Fixing ears and fixing lives.
That the deaf may hear! John Lavender
was fortunate enough to catch a television news item
about a new book I Want to Fix Ears – Inside the Cochlear Implant Story. The book is an autobiography by a remarkable Australian, Dr Graeme Clark, who at the age of five, told a school teacher “he was going to fix people’s ears when he grew up”. The great achievement of Graeme Clark was that with extraordinary determination he developed the “bionic ear”. This revolutionary scientific discovery has meant that, over 40 years, an estimated 350,000 cochlear implants have been successfully implanted – enabling people to hear and communicate with friends and family, and to be able to experience with joy the sounds of life. As part of the TV news story and interview with Graeme Clark, brilliant footage was shown of the reaction of adults and children when the “bionic ear” was switched on, and for the first time they could hear the voice of a parent or a wife or husband. The reaction of pure delight, amazement and wonder brought tears of joy to the TV hosts conducting the interview and, I don’t mind saying, to myself as well as I watched. Graeme Clark, himself a Christian, humbly spoke of how he never tired of the overwhelming experience of joy and happiness as he was able to work this significant medical breakthrough in the lives of so many people. This remarkable, encouraging news story powerfully reminded me of the importance, in my new role of working with Evangelism and New Churches (ENC), that we as Christians continue to encourage and urge one another to keep on praying and speaking about Jesus. How important and urgent it is, that those of us who were once deaf to the good news of Jesus, and who can now hear, would continue Jesus’ mission of declaring the wonders of God! The Bible often speaks about the need that the “deaf may hear” the good news of Jesus. For indeed Jesus does bring good news – wonderful, extraordinary, life-changing news! Do you remember how good it was when you first really heard SouthernCross
about Jesus? The forgiveness of sin. The promised sure, confident hope of eternal life. The removal of guilt. The assurance of peace. No longer being an enemy of God, but now a friend, in fact, now a precious child of God. News like this brings tears of joy. I can still clearly remember the first time that God in his kindness opened my ears so I could hear and understand who Jesus is, and that it was what Jesus had done in his death and resurrection that brought me forgiveness and the promise of a fresh start and new life with God. I am forever thankful for the friends who persevered and kept praying for me and kept on speaking to me about Jesus so that my deaf ears would be opened, and I could hear about him. In the final chapter of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Paul encourages his readers to do two things. He urges them to pray – to talk to God about people – and he urges them to speak: to talk to people about God. We know that people hearing and responding to God is a work of God’s Holy Spirit unblocking deaf ears. This is why it is vital we keep a regular pattern of prayer, praying not just for boldness and wisdom when we speak, but also praying that, as we do speak, God in his mercy and kindness would take and use even our stumbling words to enable people to hear and respond to the truth about Jesus. The story of Graeme Clark is magnificently inspiring, yet how much more encouraging and inspiring it is when those who are spiritually deaf have their ears opened and are able to hear of Jesus and put their faith and trust in him! SC
The Rev John Lavender is a consultant with Evangelism and New Churches who helps equip people and churches to talk about Jesus. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. 27
The Rev Dick Lucas became rector of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate in London in 1961 and preached to hundreds of businessmen every week – brought by their colleagues to hear the word. In his 33 years at St Helen’s the ministries to students, medics and families expanded widely, and from his work emerged Read Mark Learn training, The Proclamation Trust, The Evangelical Ministry Assembly and the Cornhill Training Institute. For good reason did Paul Barnett call him “the apostle to London” and beyond. He talks to Simon Manchester. photo: Ramon Williams
Dick, you turn 96 this year – does it feel like a long life so far, or has it rushed by? Time flies away – so I’ve found when life is good, human contacts are rich, and there’s worthwhile work to do. But with this wretched [COVID] bug, so many are finding that days are dark and nights are long. Me too. But to get to the point, at 95 I’m no oddity; we nonagenarians are two a penny from what I read! And I’m deeply grateful to a gracious God for years in which to serve him. You became a Christian under the remarkable ministry of Eric “Bash” Nash – did he lead you personally to Christ or was it listening to his (or another’s) very clear talks? Yes, how very fortunate I was, in the school holidays, to go to one of these camps. August 1941 is a date I won’t forget. I realise that the talks at evening prayers must have been superb, since in wartime it was required of us to do some kind of holiday war work: for [us] in the country, this meant farm work. How come that for us – well fed, tired and sleepy – those prayers and the talk were the high spot of the day! And the leaders were such good 28
news, too. That lit up the message we heard. The man who led me to Christ was a brilliant sportsman and university double-first. You might well expect a tad of hero worship but, really, the leadership simply impressed us as the joy of life at its best. Just that. How did you come to decide on ministry in the Church of England (Anglican) Church? As I look back, it seems more accurate to say that ordained ministry decided on me – perhaps as big an influence as any being the example just mentioned of the men I met, some of whom, it appeared, were ordained. At school I met a form of Christianity in the daily worship assembly. It was sincere enough, and sufficiently enjoyed. But as I see it now, and as I began to realise then, it was “form without power”. Camp, quite evidently, was different. Did you make a definite decision on the single life, or did it just evolve that way? “Just evolved that way” gets pretty close to it. From school straight SouthernCross
Dick Lucas reflects upon a life of faith.
into wartime service with the Navy (a fairly useless able seaman, then midshipman, then a “sub” – the chap everyone can order around to do the dirty jobs); on to university, followed by theological college, and out into the strange world of a curacy. Hardly time to breathe over 12 years; some strong affections both felt and received of course, but as it turned out in the end, the state that God has described as “good”. When the St Helen’s job was offered to you, were you genuinely persuaded that speaking to men in the City was the best thing to do? It all happened by chance, of the divine sort, rather than by any strategic thinking on my part. Christian businessmen invited me, still in my curacy, to lead a series of lunch-hour services (hymn, prayer, talk: total 30 minutes) in the City of London for six months. These were senior men so, largely due to their influence and energy, we started with a healthy crowd. Early in Spring, a vacancy occurred at St Helen’s and a formidable Christian managing director recommended (ordered!) that I apply. Without any realistic expectation, I did so, and was appointed. Some say that there were those determined to resist the bishop’s nominee. Who knows, or ever will? Suddenly I was rector of a particularly large City church with a choir and no congregation. Was your conviction that “hearing the text comes before speaking the text” something that you picked up from others, something that slowly dawned on you or something that hit home suddenly? You must blame John Stott for this, not me. That early preaching in All Souls’ [Langham Place] during the ’50s and ’60s set a new standard in expository preaching. In the ’50s I occasionally slipped in among the students, packed to the rafters on a Sunday evening. Here was a pattern to aim for. What would you hope young – and old – people would grasp by attending Proc Trust or EMA (Evangelical Ministry Assembly) or Cornhill events? Are there a few things you hope every servant will get? a. Stimulating fellowship with fellow workers. These were years when, for instance, Free Church and Anglican Evangelicals needed to put all hurts aside and learn from one another. Which they did. The Gospel Partnerships are a contemporary example of similar good work. It can have transforming value. A pity if we draw apart again; it’s the Enemy’s speciality. b. Training. Many theological colleges were deficient in this area of training in preaching, which, after all, is the pastor’s primary task. No doubt this was in part due to pressure, with so many specialities to cover: theology, church history, ethics, languages – just for starters. But it is a glaring lack. And it is the reason why churches with the resources take this practical training into their own hands. Preaching, prayer and pastoral work are best learned on the job. For many pastors, the ground is hard and progress is slow. How did you keep going in the tough times (especially with no wife to talk to)? At present, I’m in Hebrews. How often must I have taught this epistle! Yet the call to perseverance (10:19-25), daily heard, has been a shot in the arm for me, not unlike my recent vaccination against the present deadly danger. This morning it was 3:6 – the SouthernCross
very same message, repeated once more – “hold fast”. It is all throughout the book: “don’t lose heart”, “no shrinking back”, “stand firm”, “don’t be carried away”, “strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees”, “don’t throw away your confidence”. No, Lord! By your grace I will not fail to stand my ground. Amen. The early days at St Helen’s – with men coming in droves and then students and families – must have been wonderful. How do you explain the present spiritual climate in so much of the West? St Helen’s had a fine start, with a strong wind behind the good lady; an obvious need of the midweek work; a strong group of supporters from influential City men; a small enthusiastic team. All sorts of possibilities beckoned, such as the nurses and medical students from the great teaching hospitals near us. Under God’s hand there has been growth and blessing. The Enemy paid us his compliments with IRA bomb damage: painful, though with enormous benefits in the end. Today, under my gifted and staunch successor, things have wonderfully developed for which I and many give great thanks. I see living gospel churches everywhere, but even stronger opposition, too. You and John Chapman struck up a terrific (and very happy) friendship – did you and Chappo sharpen each other, do you think? What a joy and gift Chappo was to St Helen’s and its rector. I think he gained from his travels, but how much more did we receive from him! Boldness, originality, shrewdness, encouragement. Plus the unique humour! How could you think the battle lost when John Chapman hove in sight – that ample and reassuring figure. I miss him still. Speaking for thousands, we owe you so much for your friendship and ministry. What keeps you hopeful for the church and for yourself? In speaking to ministers in July 1922, Karl Barth expressed hope for the future by quoting from Calvin’s commentary on Micah 4:6. In a century since, some denominational establishments may have seemed pretty lifeless and sickly. But on the ground here in the UK there is good ground for hope. I believe in so many local church resurrections because I can see them! A reality we do have to face is the disappearance of longaccepted Christian ethics. A friend pointed out to me how revered City institutions, long boasting traditional Christian standards, are unable to remain committed to them. It is a significant breach in the wall. In days gone by, City churches often had beautiful painted boards at their east end of the Apostles’ Creed and the Ten Commandments. They stand together, of course. As the one slips away, so must the other. “Although the church is at the present time hardly far from a dead or at best sick man, there is no reason for despair, for the Lord raises up his own suddenly, as he waked the dead from the grave. This we must clearly remember, lest, when the church fails to shine forth, we conclude too quickly that her light has died utterly away. But the church in the world is so preserved that she rises suddenly from the dead. Her very preservation through the days is due to a succession of such miracles. Let us cling to the remembrance that she is not without her resurrection, or rather, not without her many resurrections” (John Calvin). SC 29
Changes, clergy moves, positions vacant and classifieds.
New head for NCNC
Collier moves to Morling
At the beginning of last month
The head of St Andrew’s
G ab r i e l L a co b a b e c a me executive director of the Archbishop’s New Churches for New Communities. “I believe the most effective way of people coming to Christ is coming into contact with vibrant Christian communities,” he says. “So, the thought of me being instrumental in seeing money raised for new Christian churches reaching out into communities is just right in the sweet spot! It’s something I love to see.” Mr Lacoba is long-term member of Christ Church Inner West, where he was executive pastor between 2014 and 2016. He also spent 6½ years at Anglicare, part of that time as head of marketing and fundraising. “I’ve worked my entire career within the not-for-profit sector – churches, church organisations and charities such as the Cancer Council and the National Breast Cancer Foundation,” he says. Most recently he worked with Baptist World Aid as the organisation’s director for community engagement.
“I’m pretty excited [about being at NCNC]. It’s about relationships and casting a vision. Getting people on board and sharing in that vision... If you believe in something. generosity springs as a natural consequence. “My hope and desire are that we will create a sustainable platform so that NCNC becomes a permanent fixture within the Sydney Anglican ecosystem – and that we just have an eye to the future of the entire Diocese, because we really believe that vibrant Christian communities are the lifeblood of our work. “What better way for the whole Diocese to get behind the vision of seeing churches planted in the growth areas of our city!”
Cathedral Scho ol and St Andrew’s Cathedral Gawura School for the past 11 years, Dr John Collier, has been announced as the new Dean of Education at Morling College. Dr Collier, who has spent 31 years as a principal of government and independent schools – and is the current chairman of the Anglican Education Commission – announced last year that he planned to leave SACS at the end of 2021. He will take up the Morling role at the start of the 2022 academic year. This news has been met with enthusiasm by the Morling community, whose principal, the Rev Dr Ross Clifford, said, “For our students the quality of our faculty and staff are the number one reason for studying at Morling. In this regard we believe it is a real answer to prayer”. The chairman of the Morling board, Bill Rusin, said that “as a former principal I have known John for many years and he is a highly respected and insightful educator, who brings Scripture to bear on every aspect of the
educational endeavour”. Dr Collier said he was “delighted, honoured and excited” about the appointment and hoped to “continue the fine work” of his predecessor, Professor James Dalziel. “I am looking forward to being engaged in the vital area of equipping teachers for the strategic work of Christian ministry in schools,” he says. “I see this as a priority area for the reach of the gospel, given the declining numbers of young people who are found in our churches as compared with the growing numbers of students able to be influenced by the gospel in Anglican and other Christian schools.”
Marquez, became the new rector of North Epping on February 10.
The Rev David West retired from the parish of Woollahra on December 31. Following 12 years as rector of Peakhurst-Mortdale, the Rev Denis Oliver became chaplain at Thomas Hassall Anglican College at the end of January. The rector of Cherrybrook for the past 16 years, the Rev Gavin Poole, became rector of St Mark’s, Malabar on February 8. On February 10 the rector of Keiraville, the Rev John Reed, became chaplain to Donald Robinson Village in Kirrawee and assistant minister at St John’s, Sutherland. An assistant minister at Christ Church, St Ives, the Rev Anton 30
After more than 11 years’ ministry in the parish of St Paul’s, Wahroonga, the Rev Robert Happer became rector of Gordon on February 13. VACANT PARISHES List of parishes and provisional parishes, vacant or becoming vacant, as at February 22, 2021: • Albion Park • Cabramatta* • Cherrybrook • Cronulla • Eagle Vale • Figtree • Granville • Greenacre* • Gymea • Harbour Church** • Huskisson • Katoomba • Keiraville • Kellyville
• Menangle • Minto • Mosman, St Clement’s • Paddington • Peakhurst/ Mortdale • Pymble • Rosemeadow* • Ryde • Toongabbie • Wahroonga, St Paul’s • Wilberforce
* denotes provisional parishes or Archbishop’s appointments ** right of nomination suspended/on hold
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Music and podcasts reviewed.
Whoever has ears, let them hear Grow on the go with these Christian albums and podcasts.
questions and responding to them biblically.
Released last month, Modern Hymns features beautifully performed instrumental versions of favourite Christian songs. The 12 tracks on the album are calm and peaceful. With soft piano tones and rich swells, these songs help us to slow down and, although vocals are absent, familiar melodies instantly bring well-known lyrics to mind.
This podcast is useful for women who want to test what the world says against the word. Bakarich draws from articles and opinion pieces in secular media for lively dialogue about body positivity, how housework should be divided in the Christian home and the “pink” recession of Covid-19.
Through this album, Christian artist David Andrew hopes to inspire thankfulness and help us reflect on the good promises God has for us in Christ.
Do you long for your church to be a community of believers that anyone can join? So do the community team from City on A Hill Melbourne. They explore what makes Christian community and how to create a culture in our churches that welcomes people like Christ does.
Listen on Spotify and YouTube
The Joy of Being The latest album from Christian rock band Citizens helps us lift our eyes from the burdens of the world to the hope we have in Christ. These eight songs call us to take time to just “be”: be in God’s presence and spend time reflecting on who he is and what he has promised us in Christ Jesus. There are no musical surprises in this record. It’s a collection of familiar, mid-tempo soft rock songs with anthemic choruses you can’t help but want to sing along to. The lyrics are apt and timely, speaking clearly to a world wearied by chaos, illness and unpredictability. Each song presents a comforting reminder of God’s grace, mercy, and the hope of heaven that we have. Listen on Spotify and YouTube
Eve Reloaded podcast Rebecca Lui and Zhien-U Bakarich ask each other the question, “If Eve were alive today, what deceptions would the snake be trying out on her?”. The hosts’ friendship warms their discourse as they go back and forth, raising tough
The People People podcast
It’s worth listening to their exploration in Episode 2 of Dunbar’s number (the theory that a person can only maintain 150 social relationships in their life at a time) and how it impacts church life, as well as the five episodes on elements of a strong community. anchor.fm/coahmelb-community
Her Theology podcast Two Aussie women aim to make exploring God’s word normal and accessible for women, “because bad theology hurts people”. Some episodes are dedicated to working through books of the Bible while others are devoted to topics such as sex, the “solas” and forgiveness. Looking for an episode to start with? Forgiveness and Deep Wounds Part One is a great place to dive in, discussing the tension between offering real forgiveness and continuing to work through incredible grievances and pain. Listen on Apple Podcasts
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Heart and hope
Judy Adamson The Grizzlies Rated M Suicide themes, coarse language
t seems impossible that a film in which someone suicides
before the opening credits could be life-affirming, but The Grizzlies is absolutely that film. Yes, it’s a shocking beginning (and there are more shocks to come), but perhaps we need to be shocked occasionally – to help us see the reality of life for many people, particularly indigenous people, so it doesn’t just slip past our consciousness. The Grizzlies is based on a true story, set in the tiny town of Kugluktuk above the Arctic Circle in Canada. Russ Sheppard, a just-graduated teacher who needs to pay his college debt to the government by teaching in this far northern outpost, arrives full of confidence – both in himself and in the expectation that he’ll be moving onward and southward after his “debt” year is over. The first sign this new job will take him out of his comfort zone comes while he’s still in the plane, gazing out onto the snowcovered tundra below and remarking that there aren’t any trees. He turns to the Inuit man beside him and asks, “You lived here a long time?”. He receives the deadpan reply, “Six thousand years”. The realities of a high school class where many students don’t turn up, don’t engage or just leave when they feel like it, simply knocks him for six – as does the punch from one of the students on his first day. And penalities for truancy? Well, not really. A heavy air of boredom and hopelessness pervades Kugluktuk. While traditional Inuit skills such as hunting and art are honoured and practised, there’s a huge gulf between culture and the white man’s system of education and life, and everyone feels it. Older generations bear heavy psychological scars from the “residential school” system formerly imposed on First Nations people. Some of them take it out on their kids, most of whom haven’t been further from home than you can drive by snowmobile. How do you live, and hope, and dream, when all this is around
you? Many of them choose not to – hence the death in the film’s opening minute, and the confronting information that, at the time the story is set (2004), this region of Canada had the highest suicide rate in North America. Russ is desperate to get out, but also feels for the kids in their helplessness. An enthusiastic lacrosse player – who even jogs in the morning with his stick in hand – he offers to teach the class. After a few false starts (thanks to their suspicion and his lack of cultural nous) the kids come, and they really enjoy learning what turns out to be Canada’s national sport. Who knew? It’s not like Russ solves all the students’ problems by teaching them how to play a game. There’s no “white saviour” here! He continues to stuff up, relationally and culturally – and the kids still have the same issues to face at home. What Russ does have, however, is the time and will to care, and the capacity to learn as well as teach. Given simple encouragement and support, the students gradually utilise what they learn in lacrosse to move forward in their own way – in life and as a team. No one’s looking to Jesus in this film, but it’s well able to challenge Christian viewers. How do we relate to those whose backgrounds are vastly different to ours, those who have suffered at the hands of family or the system, or those for whom life is a struggle every single day? Do we have time for them? Do we care? Do we even notice? The Grizzlies is hard viewing in places, but the filmmakers strike a careful emotional balance that keeps you with them. It’s a film with tremendous heart – not to mention joy, unexpected laughs, and cracking performances by the mainly Inuit cast. There’s no doubt that the issues of despair, mistreatment and family violence will be triggering for some but, if you can manage it, you’ll feel well rewarded by the time the credits roll. SC