SouthernCross THE NEWS MAGAZINE FOR SYDNEY ANGLICANS
After the flood
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Water, aw ter..
What lies beneath: The new Windsor Bridge (completed last year) is invisible under last month’s floodwaters.
Judy Adamson The TV cameras have gone, of people in Sydney and beyond After the floods last year, a local massive scale of human need,” the water ha s – mostly – receded and the big clean-up is underway, but while the rest of NSW (and Queensland) has moved on, those in the path of the flooding caused in February and March by two East Coast low pressure systems have only just begun to count the cost. You may have been among the lucky ones to get through the torrential rain of recent weeks with nothing worse than a messy garden and some extra mould. But while we now turn our attention elsewhere – to work, to family issues, to the war in Ukraine – the floodsoaked nightmare for thousands
has only just begun. Sadly, for many in the hardesthit areas such crises have become all too familiar. “It’s a very demoralising event for the locals, because it comes so rapidly after the last one,” says the rector of Windsor, the Rev Chris Jones. “Some people have only just got their house fixed and kitchens redone and now there’s been a worse repeat of what happened a year ago. “Just below us is the Cornwallis Flats – that whole area was covered by water for kilometres... We’ve got five beautiful llamas and a pony over the back fence right now.
SouthernCross April 2022
farming family whose property is down there contacted us and said, ‘If it floods like this again can we put them up in your paddock?’ and we said, ‘Sure’. Their property was underwater but they brought the animals up beforehand. We were just glad that they knew they could do it.” A n g l i c a re ’ s m a n a ge r o f disaster recovery for NSW and the ACT, Magnus Linder, says that “at last count” there were 8000 dwellings affected by flooding in the HawkesburyNepean alone. “Twenty-five p er cent of those properties are deemed to be uninhabitable, so that’s a
he says. “There’s been f lo o ding around the Georges River, in Camden and up in the Southern Highlands at Mittagong, so it was all around Sydney but also down on the south coast at Sussex Inlet, so it has been very widespread. “At least in Sydney there were places that were totally unaffected, whereas in some towns up north the entire main street, every single shop, every single service, even the hospitals... were all flooded.” Linder adds that Anglicare is encouraging people to “give funds instead of goods at the
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Boats only: (from left) A Windsor street; a view from the St Matthew’s church tower in Windsor; animals moved to higher ground at the church for safety. moment”, not just because of the managing to run a business in logistics of storing and sending that area or somewhere nearby, physical donations but in an that money’s going back into effort to support the economy the community. It makes a big of the worst-affected areas. difference.” “We believe – and this is s o m e t h i n g w e t e a c h o u r NORTHERN RIVERS NEED volunteers a s well – th at “Up north” the Rev Cathy Ridd, recovery begins in the local associate priest at the Anglican community, with the lo cal church in Ballina, was deployed economy,” he explains. “It’s all over the Northern Rivers in better to have the money spent March as a volunteer disaster locally, so that if someone is still recovery chaplain.
“A lot of the roads were pantry is going in there, and closed so people couldn’t get honestly there was more pothole through, and we all lost phone than road! In Woodburn [half an and internet for days, so it was hour’s drive south of Ballina], very hard to know who to send the river goes right through the where,” she says. “People are middle and I think every house calling it the ‘Lismore floods’ but went under. really, it’s the Northern Rivers “I know Ukraine is much floods... a lot of the little villages more important from a global were cut off for a long time. perspective but [the needs “I drove out to Coraki last here] are falling off the radar week to scout out for Anglicare now. Evacuation centres have because a mobile community closed and there are ‘recovery
THE ISAIAH 61 PROJECT Up in Ballina, the Anglican Church all gone, many rental houses have runs the Isaiah 61 Project to care for been destroyed, and other locals were needy locals. Every Monday afternoon already homeless before the floods (during COVID lockdown, Christmas arrived. and public holidays, and whatever the “What really worries me is that all the weather) church members provide plans for dealing with the housing food vouchers, the Orange Sky laundry problem are for people who had a van, pastoral conversations and, more house before,” Ridd says. “The forms recently, op shop vouchers, free books don’t cater for if you were homeless to and magazines. Next on the list is start with! We’ve got people who were Anglicare’s mobile community pantry. living in tents and under the bridge. Things were fairly quiet during the They’re going to fall to the bottom of The evacuation centre at Alstonville. third week in March but, says associate the pile again.” priest the Rev Cathy Ridd, “up until Lucy Lim, executive director of the “I’m trying to reach out to Anglican now most of our regulars have been in Anglican Relief and Development Fund churches, schools and so on in the evacuation centres so they were under Australia, heard about the needs in areas most affected, and we have shelter. It’s going to be next week Ballina and elsewhere in the Northern just donated $20,000 to the Diocese and the week after, and as people are Rivers, and has arranged for funds to of Grafton,” Lim adds. “We’re also relocated to Ballina from elsewhere, help the parish with food vouchers for offering hardship bursary funds to that the numbers are going to go up at least the next three months. “But I the Emmanuel Anglican College in and up”. said to them, ‘Come back to us after Tweed Heads... because one third of The reason? The caravan parks and that’, because it will probably need to the school population have lost their homes and businesses.” other temporary accommodation have be longer term,” she says. 4
neighbourhoods. In a lot of places around here the houses need to be cleaned out and repaired but in some areas the houses have just fallen down... and they’re often rental prop erties so these p eople won’t ever move back to their neighbourhood with people that they know.”
“WE’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT” On Sydney’s northern beaches, where there were evacuation orders during the height of the second East Coast low on March 8, the water appeared with a suddenness that took locals by surprise. The rector of Dee Why, the Rev Steven Salmon, recalls that although the church building was unaffected, staff and volunteers who came to work or parish events that day had to wade to the bus stop to get home, or drive up to two hours to get around floodwaters. One elderly parishioner who had been at the church earlier in the day sought to cross the main road following an afternoon appointment and was almost washed away. “Pittwater Road is a big road,” Salmon says. “The rain was really coming down so just crossing the road was quite a thing and
her umbrella had broken... She He adds that the high volume was almost to the other side of of water that washed into the the road when this great wave of suburb was short-lived but water came down like a torrent “quite extraordinary... we’ve and nearly knocked her over, but never seen anything like it in fortunately someone came and Dee Why”. grabbed her arm and guided her In southwestern Sydney the across. And then she still had to Georges River broke its banks wade through water to get to the and plent y of lo cals were bus stop!” given late-night warnings that
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centres’ for people to come to... but the people who are here are still living in crisis. They’re so far from being in recovery.” In mid-March, Ridd wa s deployed to the recovery centre in Lismore, which contained a range of government services and charities all in the one location so locals could talk to representatives of whichever agency they needed, apply for funds and get basic needs met. However, she found the chaplains were constantly being called upon to provide support to locals who were too emotionally distressed to manage simple discussions about their needs. “People are just melting down,” she says. “This morning as soon as I walked in the door someone grabbed me and said, ‘Can you deal with this lady?’ and I spent three hours with her... I helped her fill in some forms and just let her talk and talk and talk about what she’d been through. “After three hours she was in a much better place, but she needed the SES to come out and do some work on her property... and she was so traumatised that she couldn’t ring them and talk to them about what had happened. “People have lost their homes, their cars and their businesses, and some have also lost their
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The aftermath: (from left): cows graze above the floodwaters in Richmond; a dog evacuated with her owner on the Northern Rivers mirrors his emotions; a Wilberforce family gets around by kayak; church members at Wilberforce pitch in to help clean up another family’s property.
they might need to evacuate. Thankfully that didn’t happen, but churches were ready. The pastoral care worker at Panania Anglican, Jacqui Roodenburg, says staff and wardens had temporary accommodation prepared at the church in case parishioners needed it, and they made sure one of their group was contactable at all times. “There was no one whose house went underwater, but we do know there were some streets where it came very close,” she says. “Whether you live by the river or not, with the amount of water there was, a lot of our members had water damage because the rain just seemed never ending. Drains just did not cope and the system was overloaded. “My children’s school was closed for two days one week and then two days the week after... roads were closed, staffing was an issue and there was flooding in some of the classrooms. “But there’s been no major damage [locally]. Throughout it all we were praying for each other but also so aware of everything else going on in the world, and in places like Lismore with all the dreadful flooding there. 6
“We were very thankful, even in to help, which was great.” support each other through its with the enormous amount of Because of the church’s third flood in as many years. rain, that it wasn’t as bad as had e l e v a t e d p o s i t i o n , l o c a l It was an eye-opening start been predicted.” farmers whose land is prone for new rector the Rev Dave to inundation parked their Esdale, who had begun his SERVING NEIGHBOURS BY machinery on church property ministry only a fortnight before. KAYAK to keep it above the flood line. He made sure the church hall Back in Sydney’s outer “I came across one farmer as he was open if anyone needed it northwest, Richmond almost was coming to pick up his gear, over the two weeks of flood became an island – mostly above and he was very appreciative,” crisis. A caravan was set up in the floods but with the two Hall says. “We’ve got quite a lot the church’s car park, and Esdale halves of the community cut off of land and he offered to bring and another church member from each other by the swollen over [his big mower] and cut our spent time at the council depot Hawkesbury River. grass as a thank you, which was filling sandbags. Rector the Rev Rick Hall says nice.” By week two, with the rain that a number of people in the Not far away in the semi- co nt i n u i n g , t he a s s i s t a nt community had to evacuate rural parish of Wilberforce, the minister’s wife suggested and were taken in by church community rallied together to opening the hall for local kids members, who also put up those needing somewhere to stay after driving – via Katoomba and PRAY... around blocked roads – to get • for parishes and aid agencies such as Anglicare and to the other side of the river. ARDFA, seeking to support and love those filled with “We’ve got some Year 13 girls anxiety and distress after the floods; at church and one of them lives • for medical, social and spiritual responders to see across the river,” he says. “She where there is need and act appropriately, especially drove the four hours around after the clean-up is over; the long way so she could go to • for the ongoing ministry of parishes in these areas – Loftus for her Year 13 training, that they would be sensitive, loving and able to speak then spent a couple of nights the hope of Jesus into the local situation; at our house because she had • that those affected by flooding will remain (or become) ministries and work that she confident in the God who loves them, who is familiar had to get to. with pain and suffering; “Even though half our • for generosity in time, care and finances from people congregation lives on the other unaffected by the disaster; side of the river, the impact • for the clean-up and rebuilding process, housing on the youth and children’s shortages and homelessness – that work will move ministries were minimised in forward quickly and no one will be left behind. that a lot of people just stepped SouthernCross
to run around and burn some energy – and 50 people turned up to play, and to chat. Most were managing well but some were stressed and anxious, while others were completely cut off – even from their neighbours. “One family, they got in and out of their house by kayak,” Esdale says. “They got in below their driveway, would come and visit me, and come to church – the water level didn’t stop them being a part of anything! They also delivered food to their neighbours and loved their neighbours all around them. “The people here are pretty resilient. But after [the flood] last year they said, ‘Well, it’ll be 30 years until we have another one’, so to get hit again like this is pretty rough. Some people have got great damage and need – we’ve got a family who have got
a farm on the river... a winery, and they’ve lost three years of their crop, so a few families went out after church on Sunday just to help clear the mud off their driveway.” By the time Southern Cross went to press the “mud army” was swinging into action in the most affected areas around the state. Chris Jones says the SES is mucking out people’s homes across Windsor and clearing river detritus away from the town. He, with the help of the Anglican Relief and Development Fund Australia, is supporting a local whose only recourse after the floods was to live in their car. And this is just the beginning of what will be needed in the months – and years – to come. Adds Cathy Ridd: “The ongoing needs [in the Northern Rivers] are going to be so
GIVE You can give funds to Anglicare in Sydney at www. anglicare.com.au/services/get-involved/donate/ or to the organisation’s Northern Rivers flood appeal at https:// anglicarenorthcoast.org.au/donate/. The Anglican Relief Development Fund Australia is also providing support through its East Coast Flood Appeal. See https://ardfa.org.au/flood-appeal. If you have goods to donate go to www.givit.org.au, which matches specific items to recipients in need.
complex. People are just so traumatised. They’re going to need counselling, and all the temporary accommodation that used to be here is gone – all the bedding, the carpets, every bit of furniture is out on the street. “A lot of the areas here where the flooding was the worst... are areas where people are hardest
up and more likely to be in rental accommodation and... it’s gone. “We have what I can only think of as a tsunami of housing crisis ahead of us. If [people] have their own property they can clean up and move back in, but many have nothing to go back to and I don’t know where they’re going to live.” SC
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Suring srvans in Ukrain
Russian bombs ripped the side off this apartment building in Kharkiv.
Russell Powell If there is one image that
try to help people, mainly the symbolises the Russian invasion elderly or the sick, by bringing of Ukraine for believers, it is the them food, water, and basic one taken by a photographer medicines.” from The New York Times showing There was supposed to be a the body of church volunteer humanitarian corridor in Irpin Anatoliy Berezhnyi lying beside where people could go on foot the mother and children he and then be evacuated. was trying to help escape the “We experienced the loss and fighting. incredible pain – our brother Almost two weeks after the Anatoliy Berezhnyi died,” the invasion began, 26-year-old pastor said. Mr Berezhnyi got his young “He actively served the last wife to safety and had stayed three days during the evacuation behind at Irpin Bible Church in “Loss and incredible pain”: Anatoliy and Diana Berezhnyi. of the civilian population. Mortar the suburbs of Kyiv, which was fire caught up with him in the sheltering church members “There are many people who “We evacuated as much as back as he helped a mother and local residents waiting to have remained in the city, but possible all the people who were with two children get to the evacuate. there is little food and water, hiding with us… a small team evacuation buses.” M r B e re z h n y i wa s o n a The evangelical church had many families do not have it,” remains in the church, serving mobilised staff and volunteers said Pastor Mykola Romanuk. people from the city who find bombed-out bridge leading to feed, house and help people “The water supply, electricity, shelter in the church. And when 43-year-old Tetania Perebyinis and gas have been cut off. there is a spare second, they a n d h e r t w o c h i l d r e n flee to safety. 8
Cheshcur ni eht ngri neli as Runsia ce.navd
Life on the ground:
(clockwise from top left) Kyiv on fire (photo: Irpin Bible Church); an evacuation bus for refugees in Lviv; graffitti near Maidan that says, “The end of empire. Freedom!”; volunteers distribute hot meals at a refugee centre in Lviv; people shelter in a Kyiv metro station. photos: Fotoreserg
– 18-year-old son Mykyta and scene as Ukrainian soldiers tried daughter, Alisa, who was nine. to help Mr Berezhnyi, who died They were several hundred on the roadway. Mrs Perebyinis’ metres short of the bus boarding husband and church members area when an explosion sent saw the photo on Twitter, which shrapnel flying toward them. is how they were informed of The photographer caught the the tragedy.
PRAYER FOR UKRAINE Sovereign Lord, you observe all those who dwell on earth. Have mercy we pray on those who now suffer the miseries of a war not of their own making. Have compassion on the wounded and dying; comfort the broken-hearted; confound the hatred and madness of those who make war; guide our rulers, bring war to an end, bring peace across the world. Unite us all under the reign of your Son, the Prince of Peace, before whose judgement seat the rulers of the world will give account, and in whose name we pray. Amen.
VOLUNTEERS STAYING A l t ho u g h m an y C h r is t i an organisations have evacuated staff, others are staying to provide help and spiritual comfort. Northern Ireland missionaries Timothy and Rhoda Sloan (right) work in Lutsk, Western Ukraine. “Rhoda and I are not leaving – how can we?” Mr Sloan wrote in a prayer letter. “As an elder, my responsibility is to shepherd at all times. It would be a terrible testimony to get up and leave the Lutsk believers. “God is about to give us a great opportunity to show our Christian faith practically and reach out into our community with the gospel. As we close,
the military jets can be heard overhead and we covet your prayers! We are not any braver than you – but confident we are where God would expect us to be.” Anatoliy Berezhnyi’s wife Diana says the same for her husband. “He [was helping] them escape from death, but God had his own plan.” SC 9
Deaf ministry support at Belrose.
God’s word on hir ips Judy Adamson What do you do when people
with specific needs come into your midst at church? You figure out how to serve them – and serve with joy for as long as they need it. More than 35 years ago, Deaf couple Warren and Anne Booth walked into Belrose Anglican. They were good at lip reading, but the broad layout of the church made it difficult for them to follow everything that was said up the front. So, the parish’s Deaf ministry was born. “It began from love and a need,” says church member Barb Watt. She got the ministry under way, and soon a group of volunteers took it in turns to sit with the Booths so they had someone they could turn to – literally – when needed. And when, over time, Prayer Book services morphed into something less formal, support for the Booths evolved with it, including printed copies of the sermon and prayers plus
“We felt really loved and cared for”: Warren and Anne Booth have lunch with friends.
guidance through each week’s way that would disturb anyone songs. else. The assistant just made Says Mrs Watt: “The church sure the whole time that Anne is a very wide building, so the and Warren knew what was speaker up the front has to give happening.” a 180-degree overview – which The Bo oths themselves is fine with a microphone but it’s served wherever they could very hard for someone who’s lip and were also regulars at Bible reading when the speaker’s face studies, evening meetings and is turned. social events. A member of the “Anne might look at you and volunteer team would also be you would know straight away there to lend a hand if necessary. that she was not picking up This supp or t, whi ch grew what was being said up the into a number of friendships, front. The lip reader would revolutionised the couple’s then repeat the words so she experience of church. could follow along, but not in a “Without a doubt!” Mrs Booth says. “We were so thankful for all the help we received at St Stephen’s. We really felt loved and cared for.” Mr Booth died in 2019 (with As God is my judge, Jesus Christ is my redeemer. volunteers providing extra Partnering with your family and support during his illness), and church community in saying thank you. the ministry continued until a Servicing the southern, western couple of months ago when Mrs and greater western suburbs. Booth moved further north with her son and his family. Bradley Sinclair “It was amazing,” she says. “In 0418 447 753 hard times we knew we could firstname.lastname@example.org turn to the church. It’s a family www.danielgracefunerals.com.au really... I am quite nervous to
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attend a new church as all I know is St Stephen’s! It will take time to adjust and settle in.” Belrose rector the Rev Andrew Paterson says Mrs Booth will be a blessing to whichever church she joins, and that Belrose will miss her “sunny personality and vibrant joy in the Lord”. He adds that when he arrived two years ago he was “very moved to see the patience, care and love shown by those assisting Anne so unassumingly during the services each week... I’ve been very grateful to those before me at St Stephen’s who saw a need, found out how to best assist and then got on with the job of doing so.” Mr Paterson encourages other congregations to look around them and consider whether support is needed for anyone in their midst. “It may seem a daunting task if we’re unfamiliar with the people’s needs,” he says. “But having a conversation and finding appropriate information on how to best assist is a good first step.” SC SouthernCross
-delayed meeting set for Ma.y
Marriagst sctactstmstncts cto bst hstard by Gstnstra Synod Russell Powell Resolutions designed to or discipline of this Church”. of one man and one woman does not change the status of
allow General Synod to express support for marriage according to Scripture are to be put forward at its meeting in May. In what has been a twicedelayed session, the General Synod (or parliament) of the Anglican Church of Australia will convene on the Gold Coast. Delegates from across the country, including Sydney, will attend the 18th session of the three-yearly Synod. Despite the clarity of Scripture on marriage and human sexuality, societal changes have led to calls for the Church to revise its teachings about marriage. In particular, there are moves to allow the blessing of same-sex civil marriages in Anglican churches. The Diocese of Sydney, in co n s u l t a t i o n w i t h S y n o d members from across the country, will put forward two “statements”. This mechanism is provided for under the Constitution, allowing the body to make “statements as to the faith, ritual, ceremonial
Although such statements would not override the decision of a diocesan synod or diocesan bi s h o p , t h e y w o u l d g i v e guidance as to the views of the General Synod. A church legal body, the Appellate Tribunal, gave its opinion in 2020 that the blessing of same-sex marriages was not inconsistent with the doctrine of the Church, as expressed in the Fundamental Declarations of the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia. However, it is up to the General Synod to determine Church practice with respect to the solemnisation of matrimony and to express its view about the appropriateness or otherwise of the blessings of same-sex marriages. The first statement on which Synod will vote is titled “Marriage as the union of a man and a woman”. It states that “The faith, ritual, ceremonial and discipline of this Church reflect and uphold marriage as it was ordained from the beginning, being the exclusive union
arising from mutual promises of lifelong faithfulness, which is in accordance with the teaching of Christ”. Consequently, it says, “the solemnisation of a marriage between a same-sex couple is contrary to the teaching of Christ and the faith, ritual, ceremonial and/or discipline of this Church” and further, that “any rite or ceremony that purports to bless a same-sex marriage is not in accordance with the teaching of Christ” and the Anglican Church. The second statement concerns the scriptural definition of “unchastity”, that is, sexual activity outside a marriage relationship – defined in the Book of Common Prayer as the union of one man and one woman, in accordance with Jesus’ teaching about marriage in Matthew 19:4-5. “Sex between two p eople of the same sex always was, and continues to be, an act of unchastity,” the statement says. “A civil same-sex marriage
the sexual act, because this is not a marriage relationship in accordance with the teaching of Christ or the faith, ritual, ceremonial and discipline of our Church.” The Bishop of South Sydney, Michael Stead, who is also a member of the General Synod Standing Committee, says, “Please pray for the forthcoming meeting of the General Synod in May. This is the first opportunity for the General Synod to express its mind on these matters since the decision of the Appellate Tribunal that opened the door to the blessing of same-sex marriages on a diocese-bydiocese basis. “Overseas, the blessing of same-sex marriage has led to an irrevocable tear in the fabric of the Anglican Communion. This is not what we want in Australia, and the General Synod has the opportunity, via these two statements, to encourage the dioceses in Australia to remain in step with the teaching of Jesus about marriage.” SC
Two inner west parishes join forces to disciple youth.
Churchs work oghr o rach our ns
Game time: Leichhardt and Annandale teens play and learn together at Bayside Youth.
Hannah Thiem All Souls’, Leichhardt and parishes. These discussions Leichhardt runs regular youth f r o m b o t h c h u r c h e s . M r
Village Church Annandale have recently launched Bayside Youth, a combined group to better connect young people with Jesus. The partnership grew out of the churches’ longing for young Christians to have a consistent crew of peers walking alongside them as they follow Jesus or explore faith. With both youth ministries struggling for numbers after t wo y e a rs o f C OV I D , t he parishes decided to join their groups together – allowing them to have 20 or more young people meeting and encouraging each other in their faith each week. “At the heart of our partnership is a desire to see young people connected with each other as they meet around Jesus,” says the Rev Toby MacGregor, youth pastor at Village Church.
involved issues such as budget, safe ministry and leadership. They also needed to navigate the question of where to hold the youth group – but instead of this causing conflict, the ch u rch e s w e re u n i t e d i n prioritising simplicity for those attending. Rather than swapping locations each week or term, leaders decided to pick one “host” church to allow their youth to settle at one location, and chose Village Church. “We were convinced that hosting at one church would help young p eople feel comfortable and confident about the space they meet in, which, God willing, will help them be more confident to invite their non-Christian friends,” Mr MacGregor says. Both teams have also taken steps to help build a sense of BUILDING A PARTNERSHIP identity and ownership between Forming this partnership took the youth and their home 12 months of conversation and church. Joshua Taylor, assistant prayer between the rectors minister at All Souls’ and youth and youth pastors of the two leader with Bayside Youth, says 12
studies and includes youth in hosting evening services to help them feel they have a stake in their own parish.
GOSPEL UNITY With the combined youth group now in full swing, the two parishes have been encouraged by the level of unity they have seen between the youth and their leaders. Rather than members leaving one church to join the other, leaders have seen young people growing in their commitment to and engagement with their local church each week. “I think having leaders from both churches serving together, practising a gospel unity, has been a really good model for young people,” Mr MacGregor says. “They’ve been able to see older Christians serve Jesus together in both a local church setting and in a partnership setting.” The leadership of the team is equally comprised of leaders
MacGregor says this helps avoid the sense that one church is doing the other a favour, and instead emphasises the “kingdom thinking” that gave rise to their collaboration. Mr Taylor says this has also given leaders the chance to grow skills in a way that wouldn’t have been possible with a smaller group. “It’s given us a sen se of community and fellowship among the group of young adults who are keen to serve Jesus and serve the youth, too.” And this partnership has already started bearing fruit in the hearts and lives of those attending. “I liked how my friends and I could come and we shared dinner together,” says Year 6 student Aquila. “It was nice to try and answer some more advanced questions [and] fun being with people who I hadn’t met before. I really like youth and l can’t wait to go again on Friday!” SC SouthernCross
GACONF IV gosts cto Rwanda Planning in Kigali: (from left) Mariam Uwase, Erica Mbanda, Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, GAFCON’s operations manager Canon Daniel Willis, provincial general secretary the Rev Nathan Matahutu and conference administrator Paul Mirrington.
A f t e r two meetin gs in and Leonard Sharp, started
Jerusalem in 2008 and 2018, and one in Nairobi in 2013, the organisers of the fiveyearly Global Anglican Future Conference have decided that the 2023 meeting will be held in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference has been a landmark in international Anglicanism. The first meeting in Jerusalem drew bishops, clergy and laity from around the world and the Jerusalem Declaration formulated there has since become a key document for the movement that has followed. “The Anglican Church of Rwanda is looking forward to hosting GAFCON IV in May of 2023,” said Archbishop Laurent Mbanda, the Primate of Rwanda and vice chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council. “ We w i l l b e w e l c o m i n g Anglican archbishops, bishops and their spouses, and laity, from around the world.” The church of Rwanda was a missionary endeavour from the start. Two missionary doctors from the Church Missionary Society, Arthur Stanley Smith SouthernCross
mission trips to Rwanda in 1914. The first converts in the church were baptised in 1926. The Rwandan Anglican Church has recently started the Karongi missionary diocese under the supervision of Bishop Jean Pierre Methode Rukundo, who is part of the GAFCON church planting network. The Sydney Dio cese also partners with Rwanda’s Shyira Diocese in the Egg-a-Day project. As well as providing an egg a day to each preschooler, the Anglican Aid project addresses basic health education for young children.
PREPARATIONS FOR 2023 GA F C O N I I I i n J e r u s al e m four years ago was the largest gathering of Anglican clergy and laity for decades, and given the large influx of people expected in Kigali for GAFCON 2023, preparations are well underway. GAFC ON’s op eration s manager, the Rev Canon Daniel Willis, visited Kigali in March with conference administrator Paul Mirrington.
“The Anglican Communion is diminishing in numbers as it moves further and further away from God’s word,” Canon Willis told Southern Cross. “GAFCON, focused on proclaiming the gospel and bringing glory to the Lord Jesus, is seeing growth and renewal in many places around the world. “[At] Jerusalem 2008, those gathered recognised that the movement was a gift of God to the Anglican Communion. All our endeavours flow out of the Bible’s call to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations.” He says an international team of volunteers is preparing
for 3000 delegates to meet in Kigali from April 16-23 next year. “While the conference will address many topics, obedience to the faith once delivered remains foundational to all we do,” Canon Willis said. In the meantime, GAFCON Australia is planning its own Canberra conference in August. Chaired by the Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, GAFCON Australia had planned to meet in Sydney last year but the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. SC Churches and individuals can join GAFCON international at gafcon. org.
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One ow man’s journey to paradise.
Dying, bust nost actraid Hannah Thiem “I’ve got good news!” posted
Brooklyn Salisbury (right) on February 9, months into her hospice journey, to her 248,000 followers across Facebook and Instagram. Less than a month later, she had died. The good news Brooklyn was talking about? Her assurance of eternal life with Jesus. In the months leading up to her death at the age of 25, Brooklyn built a platform to share her love of Jesus and her journey back home. S he de di c ate d he r f i nal months to sharing the gospel and the hope we can have in Jesus, and reached thousands with her reflections on sickness, suffering, the gospel and hope. “I’m sick. Soon to die. But so are you. I’m just doing it faster… My goal is to highlight God’s strength in our her final months sharing her weakness (2 Cor 12:10-12, 11:30). confidence in Jesus and trying His faithfulness in the midst of to share that faith with as many suffering. Our future hope in people as possible. Jesus beyond death (1 Pet 1:3-9). Her short posts not only He alone is eternally worthy, and e x p l a i n e d w h a t s h e w a s I am only temporarily sick.” experiencing. They pointed to God’s wider purpose and love. POWERFUL IMPACT Join me on the journey of dying. Aside from medical TV shows More importantly, join me in a n d t r u e c r i m e e p i s o de s , running the race of the Christian Christians don’t often think faith. Joy awaits (Psalm 16:11). about the reality of death. Sure, One particularly powerful we talk about eternal life and the reflection was Brooklyn sharing gift Jesus has given but for many how her experience was making of us – myself included – it can her more aware of the brutality seem far away and sanitised. of Jesus’ death. When you grow up knowing “Jesus didn’t JUST die… I’m that “Jesus died for me so I dying in a bougie adjustable can have eternal life” it can be pillow top bed. He died naked easy to miss the significance. and exposed amongst criminals. Until you are faced with the I get kind notes and cards from heartbreaking reality of death. friends and strangers alike. He Brooklyn faced that reality was hurled insults and abuse. daily. After many years of “It leaves me in awe of a God struggling against chronic who was born into flesh, willing illness, she was put in a hospice to die in brutality (and rise again) last December. Brooklyn spent for the sin of humanity.” 14
FOCUS ON WHAT REALLY MATTERS Brooklyn touched believers and non-believers alike across the world with her testimony about the love of Jesus. Her greatest desire was for people to hear about Jesus and to know without a shadow of a doubt where they will go when they die. Reading through her story is a
powerful reminder of what really matters. A powerful reminder not to treat Jesus as a footnote in our own stories, but to spend every moment we can pointing people to his love and eternal life with him. Ultimately, as Brooklyn wrote in one of her posts, we are all dying. It’s what we do with that knowledge that counts. SC
BROOKLYN’S IMPACT Thank you for being a living testimony, and a dying one, too. I can’t wait to meet you in heaven and watch you, strong and whole, throwing your crowns at His feet. Praying for you and those who love you dearly. - Brin N. “I’m learning so much from you. I was born and raised Roman Catholic but became agnostic in my 20s. Over the last year I’ve felt a pull towards learning more about Jesus.” - Joanne A. “You’re heading to paradise but yet the transition is the thing we are all so afraid of. You are helping us! God is using every bit of you to be an example and testimony.” - Susan N.
The enduring peace of Easter Kanishka Raffel
s we prepare to celebrate the death and
resurrection of Jesus at Easter this year, we are conscious in a fresh and striking way of the need of the world for the forgiveness, judgement and healing that lie at the heart of the Cross of Christ. We feel deeply the injustice of the war against Ukraine and cry out for vindication for the innocent oppressed and judgement on wicked aggression.
In 1989 Vladimir Putin was a KGB officer in what was then known as East Berlin. At the time, the Berlin Wall had stood for nearly 30 years of the Cold War, a grim dividing line between the Communist East and the democratic West. It didn’t just separate different ideologies and political systems but, most painfully of all, it divided families and loved ones as well. If you’re as old as me you might remember the Berlin Wall
R E A DING T HE BIBL E TODAY SER IES
The church in Corinth was a church dividing. Serious theological issues, combined with a lack of godly love among its people, threatened its purpose and existence. The Apostle Paul, their ‘father’, sent 1 Corinthians in response. This strong letter, filled with challenging passages for its readers then and now, encourages all to be unified under the teaching of Christ and his example of love—a message achingly relevant today. In this insightful commentary, Paul Barnett embarks on a deep exploration of Paul’s teaching, revealing that this letter convicts but also refreshes its readers.
1 Corinthians • A Letter of Love • Paul Barnett
Paul Barnett, former Anglican Bishop of North Sydney, Australia, is an honorary Associate in Ancient History at Macquarie University, Teaching Fellow at Regent College, Vancouver and Emeritus Lecturer at Moore College. Paul is the Series Editor of the Reading the Bible Today Series, as well the author of many books, including A Short Book About Jesus: The Man from Heaven and Paul: A Pastor’s Heart. He is a frequent traveller to Israel, where Christianity began, and to Turkey and Greece, to which it rapidly spread.
1 Corinthians A Letter of Love
Praise for the Reading the Bible Today series
For over three decades I have been longing to see the very able Australian Theologians put their wealth of biblical insights on paper. Finally they did. This series of commentaries has great depth without being too technical. I highly recommend it. Dr Michael Youssef Pastor and host of the global media ministry, Leading the way
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Paul Barnett Series Editor–Paul Barnett
coming down in November 1989. It was a day of joy, freedom and reunion for the people of that once-divided city. I remember watching the events unfold on television and you didn’t have to imagine the feelings of East Berliners and West Berliners as they crossed back and forth. They were overjoyed! They were bursting with happiness because, in a moment, they had moved from separation to reunion, from estrangement to fellowship, from hostility to reconciliation. In the four gospel accounts of the death of Jesus Christ, we have recorded for us seven statements made by the Lord before he died. In Mark’s Gospel just one of those seven statements appears. It’s in the language that Jesus spoke, Aramaic, but Mark translates it for us: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34). Forsaken means cut off, abandoned, rejected. Jesus, who always lived in the presence and pleasure of God his Father, experiences abandonment, rejection, God-forsakenness on the Cross. Mark records further detail to explain what is going on: With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Mark 15:37-38). The temple was the cornerstone of the old religion. There was no access to God but by his temple, there was no experience of God apart from the temple, there was no peace with God without the temple. The temple curtain that was many layers deep and stretched metres from ceiling to floor put out the signal, loud and clear, that the God who is holy and pure, almighty and majestic, cannot be approached by anything that is imperfect, unholy, unclean and impure. The curtain stood as a stark reminder that no one and no thing that is not perfect in God’s sight can approach him. But when Jesus died the curtain was suddenly and dramatically
torn in two. As Jesus died the curtain, the wall of separation – the grim barrier between us and God – came down, was torn in two and done away with. Jesus on the Cross was forsaken by God. But this happened so that flawed and imperfect people like you and me could be welcomed into God’s presence. As Jesus on the Cross was shut out, an undeserving world was invited in. Jesus experienced the banishment we deserved; we experience the welcome that he deserves. His death on the Cross is our way in to life with God; he was forsaken, we are welcomed. As the writer to the Hebrews puts it: we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body (Hebrews 10:19-20). In the death and resurrection of Jesus, God has judged the sin of the world – our sin – and brought down “the dividing wall of hostility” (Ephesians 2:14) that separates people from God, and from each other. This Easter, as on so many occasions in the past, we cry out to God for peace between nations. War ravages Ukraine, Yemen, Myanmar, Nigeria, Tigray, South Sudan and the list goes on. God will not tolerate the sinfulness of humans forever. By his Cross, he has given testimony to judgement on sin, and wonderfully, mercifully, opened a way to forgiveness, cleansing and hope. As we rejoice in the gift of Easter this year, please join me in praying for all those who suffer in wars not of their own making, that they may know the comfort and sustaining of the Lord Jesus. Let us pray that the efforts of those who seek peace would prosper, and that the gospel may be made known in war-torn lands – announcing peace with God that endures forever and issues from the indestructible love and hope held out to the world in Jesus’ death and resurrection. SC
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“There is no place whatsoever for sexual abuse or other misconduct in the life of our churches. I am committed to ensuring the Sydney Anglican Church culture has a consistent cultu of safe ministry through regular and up-to-date training and resourcing of clergy and lay church workers.”
Kanishka Raffel - Archbishop The Professional Standards Unit promotes the practise of Christian ministry in accordance with the highest Biblical standards of respect and care. A Pastoral Care and Assistance Scheme is available to provide counselling and other support to victims of misconduct or abuse.
INFO MORNING 10AM 14 MAY DETAILS AT SMBC.EDU.AU/EVENTS
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“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses” At Easter time – and always – let us rejoice at the friend we have in Jesus, writes Andrew Leslie.
here is nothing quite like a friend or companion who
“gets us”. To have someone in your life who thinks similarly, feels similarly, rejoices similarly and struggles similarly is a very precious commodity indeed. We are social creatures and the presence of a person who not only acknowledges and respects but also, in some way, embodies our own passions, joys and sorrows, strengths and limitations, all the way down, is a priceless antidote to the dreaded isolation we would otherwise feel. It’s this kind of empathy that goes to the heart of what makes a truly intimate friendship – the sort of relationship that’s born at the moment when, as C.S. Lewis memorably put it, “one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one’.” Better than the best friend in the world, however, is surely the prospect our saviour Jesus held out to his grief-stricken disciples the night before he died: “I no longer call you servants… Instead, I have called you friends” (John 15:15). Here Jesus promises to let his friends in on the heavenly SouthernCross
Father’s secrets, a truly mind-boggling thought and another treasured mark of genuine intimacy. But what is also entailed in the prospect of Christ’s friendship is that he really “gets us”, all the way down. Not only does Jesus know about our humanity in the way that any parent knows their child, he embodies it as his own, even as far down as our own very frailties and temptations. As the writer of Hebrews remarks: “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet he did not sin” (Heb 4:15). What a friend we have in Jesus! Having said this, one thing C.S. Lewis rightly understood about friendship is that empathy can’t mean absolute identity. For one thing, it’s impossible. However much two people have in common, we are each unique. At any rate, no one wants to live in a solitary echo chamber. In small doses I like the sound of my own voice. Indeed, I have inherited the habit of talking to myself from my father. But such a habit is rightly said to be the first sign of madness because God 17
made us to enjoy the vast diversity that makes up the human family. So, any healthy and vibrant friendship surely has to embrace that delicate mean of similarity and difference. When Jesus is said to have been “tempted in every way, just as we are”, Christians have long recognised a critical sense in which Christ’s experience of temptation must have been radically different from ours, however alike it also may have been. It all stems from the little qualification at the end of this verse, which makes all the difference in the world: “yet he did not sin”. We may infer here that Jesus simply refrained from the specific, deliberate commission of any sinful act: “Jesus was tempted to eat the ice cream, eating ice cream is sin, but he chose not to eat the ice cream, therefore he did not sin”. But when the Bible thinks of sin it does so in a far more enveloping fashion than the commission of discrete thoughts and deeds. We only ever act in those ways because we are first bound to act that way. No single act can ever be separated from the snare in which we have been caught. That is the nature of what theologians have called “original sin”. When the Pharisees accused Jesus of being “steeped in sin” they were in fact right about one thing. They were correct if they intended to imply that every single human being is, as King David put it, “sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Psalm 51:5). But they were also blasphemously wrong, of course. “In him is no sin,” John defiantly insists (1 John 3:5) – a claim that’s emphatically repeated elsewhere in the New Testament (John 8:29; 2 Cor 5:21; 1 Peter 1:19; 2:22). But in making that critical claim, just as the writer of Hebrews does here – “yet he did not sin” – we must understand it in the most comprehensive sense. Jesus did not sin because he was not bound to sin in the way that you and I are. And that makes all the difference in the world to his experience of temptation.
NOT BOUND TO SIN Let me tease out the logic of that claim a little more through two observations. First, you and I are naturally helpless in the face of temptation. On the one hand that might immediately seem false. Perhaps you can point to plenty of occasions where you have managed to resist this or that temptation to sin. On the other hand, a more probing and honest assessment will probably admit that however righteous your resistance may have been, at least part of your heart remained elsewhere, in some way misaligned from the good will of God. Such is the scope of original sin that the Bible urges us to be pessimists, not optimists, when it comes to our hearts: “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” declares Jeremiah (17:9). We are never as evil in our thoughts and deeds as we could be all the time, praise the Lord! But the inclination and capacity for evil is, alas, thoroughly inescapable. And denial and minimisation of that capacity are two of its most trusty conceits. That is why we are ultimately helpless in the face of temptation. What this means is that if Jesus is to rescue us from this state, to “help those who are being tempted” (Heb 2:18), he cannot himself have also been a helpless and condemned victim of this sinful state. On the contrary, he was so untainted by sin and so thoroughly committed to the will of God that even the very possibility of sin would have been anathema to him! But if Jesus’ sinlessness means that he is so different in the face of temptation – incapable of sinning in a way that you and I manifestly are not – how then does it make any sense to say that “he was tempted in every way, just as we are”? This question takes us to a second observation.
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THE UNIQUENESS OF JESUS’ TEMPTATIONS Christ’s suffering in the face of temptation was in a critical respect unique, but that does not at all mean he is unable to “empathise with our weaknesses”. Let me try to explain. If we take temptation to mean what we normally think it does – some enticement to act contrary to the will of God – then it’s clearly true that Christ encountered it many times. We might think of the time Satan tormented him in the wilderness (Matt 4:1-11). Or we might think of the time when even his disciple Peter rebuked him for choosing the way of the cross: “You are a stumbling block to me”, Jesus said (Matt 16:23). There are two things that make Christ’s experience of these temptations unique, but no less real – as if to say a perfect man, without any weakness or vulnerability were simply putting on an act. The first is his very sinlessness. Remember that when the eternal Son took on human flesh, he entered a desperately fallen and broken world, alienated from its maker and groaning under the curse. He knew and even embodied the effects of all this firsthand: he hungered, he grew thirsty and weary, and ultimately, he knew what it was like to suffer the corruption that drags us all to the grave. More than that, he encountered the full force of darkness firsthand: tormented by the evil one, disowned, denied, betrayed by his countrymen and even his closest friends. Driven to a death he didn’t deserve, he was the victim of the most outrageous injustice. We would be deeply mistaken to think that Jesus’ righteousness would somehow make all this easier to bear. If, as I said before, one of sin’s best tricks is to deceive us of its real gravity, the righteous Christ faced it with a thoroughly honest appraisal of its truly horrendous scope. We simply know not what that was like. There’s a real sense in which the perfection of Christ meant that what he experienced was infinitely worse than anything we will suffer – in a way that makes it unique and ultimately indescribable by sinners, however relatively righteous we are. But there’s another thing that makes Christ’s temptation unique. Of course it would have been wrong for Jesus to bow the knee to Satan or to be drawn in by Peter’s well-meant if profoundly ignorant free advice. But we wouldn’t be presumptuous to assume that resisting these, and undoubtedly numerous other isolated temptations the Bible doesn’t mention, was the easy bit for Jesus. Surely the far bigger deal was the ever-present knowledge that he never had to find himself in this situation in the first place. You see, he “chose the cross”, to borrow the opening line from Martyn Layzell’s song. All of it he willingly endured, out of no compulsion or necessity, but sheerly out of love for us and for our sake. That remained true throughout the entirety of Christ’s earthly life, from the cradle to the cross. When Jesus prayed there in the garden the night before he died, sweating drops of blood – “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me” (Luke 22:42) – we are not to take this as damning evidence of a divided heart, a hairline fracture within his otherwise untainted perfection. From the early centuries, theologians have wisely concluded that Christ’s prayer reflects the very natural vulnerability of his own righteous humanity as it is brought face to face with the prospect of something he never deserved, never needed to suffer, and would never have chosen but for the train wreck of sin that his own creatures defiantly and tragically brought into his world. Of course it would have been sin for Christ to deny the cross, SouthernCross
having now taken this vocation to himself. And so, in this prayer, he turns his frailty over to his Father and resolves, “yet not my will, but yours be done”. But it was no sin for his pure and holy humanity to quake in terror at that prospect. WHAT A FRIEND So, it is indeed true that “we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathise with our weaknesses”. Yet while we know human weakness and frailty only as those whom Jesus declares to be “evil” (Matt 7:11), he knows the same human weakness and frailty as one who is not only thoroughly righteous, but who never needed to find himself there in the first place. What a friend we have in Jesus! So like us, facing all that we could ever face and then some, and yet so wondrously and beautifully unlike us in a way that means he can truly “help us in our time of need” (Heb 4:16). I said before that we are naturally helpless in the face of temptation. This is exactly the point that the writer of Hebrews wants us to grasp. As we are called to deny ourselves, take up the cross and submit ourselves to the will of God – even when every fibre of our being tells us otherwise – at last we have one who can help us do the impossible: “Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Heb 2:18). Alleluia! SC
The Rev Dr Andrew Leslie is head of the department of Theology, Philosophy and Ethics and lectures in Christian Doctrine at Moore College.
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e t i m Co on Law d n a usti J ce or f u r i y nq d n a p e or t – with e th peort ued yb eth str tings yad in 20. i n d N o tg w h s a e t h t a c f t h a s t h i u r i y n q a w s l s t i i n o c e p r s , e h t e v i t a l s g L y l b ms e A t n e w a e d h h t i w t i s n o i t a r e d s c f o e h t B i l l a s t y e a r , a n d t he B i l w a s p a s e d y b t h a h o u s e w i t h s o m e elytivar inorm tsendma on bermNov 26. T h e r w a s s i g n f c a nt p u b l i c i nt e r s a n d e n ag m t w i t h eth ruiynq oces.pr eTh ingdSta etimCo on Law dna usticeJ e c r i d v 3 9 , 0 e s p r o n o t a n l i n e o u e s q to in a r a n d e m o r t h a n 3 0 w r i t e n s u b i m o n . T h e o ic m t e h e a d r o f m r 7 5 w i t n e s o ve r t h e r d a y s o f p u b l i c h e a r i n g i n l a t e 2 0 1 . T h e noismbu morf eht yendS oiDecs fo eht niAlgca hcuCr nca be doun f ta y/V tps:bi.lh ADsub T eh e p r o t o f m r t eh i u n q r y w a s t a b l e d o n e b r u F a y 2 . T eh o ci m t e n o t e d t h a t e h r e a r s o t n r g a n d p a s o i n t e o p i n s 22
on both sides of the debate, and that there is no consensus among stakeholders as to the merits of the Bill. Given this diversity of views, the committee elected not to take a position for or against the Bill, and instead its report outlines the key arguments in support of and in opposition to it. Christians should remain concerned about the provisions of the iB ll. Assisted dying legislation opens the way for state-sanctioned killing, which (based on overseas exp erience) is likely to lead to abuse and expansion beyond its original intent. The Bill before the parliament should be rejected, because it prioritises voluntary assisted dying over palliative care. Palliative care provides a legal, effective, holistic and ethical option for helping people with terminal illness. The B i ll does not provide sufficient protections for the vulnerable. I t is because of documented abuse of voluntary assisted dying legislation in other jurisdictions – and the sad reality of elder abuse more generally in Australian society – that adequate safeguards are necessary to protect the vulnerable. The diocesan submission on the Bill identiftes eight essential SouthernCross
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Clergy moves and classieds.
Smihs go o h Gong On May 25 the Rev Mark Smith will become rector and senior canon of St Michael’s Cathedral in Wollongong. Mr Smith and his family have lived and ministered in the parish of Lithgow for almost a decade. He says, “We are entrenched here and happily so, which sounds strange when it’s in a moving context! We were very much planning for 2022 and beyond to be serving here and seeing the gospel grow, but a couple of days before Christmas the Archbishop rang me and asked me to consider this role.” Although it is Archbishop Raffel’s appointment to make b e c au s e Woll o n go n g i s a diocesan cathedral, he also invited chapter members to come and speak with Mr Smith and his wife Anna while they were considering the position. “Not surprisingly, we discovered they were people who really love Jesus and each other!” Mr Smith says. “They’ve got a love of truth in the cathedral there and that’s
a beautiful thing. You can see God has been working through the ministry for a long time and we’re hoping, in God’s kindness, to build on that. “There is something exciting about trying to bring the gospel to a whole city. The cathedral sits on top of a hill and they’re in the midst of the action in the CBD... but so many people there still need to hear about Jesus!” The family is working through the grief of saying farewell
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Deaconess Val Clements died on January 10, aged 95. Born Valerie Clements on May 7, 1926, she grew up in Willoughby where, at the age of 10, she invited Jesus to be Lord of her life after a guest speaker at church preached about the
to Lithgow, Wallerawang and Portland – “It’ll be a great parish for someone to come and lead... the people here are great!” – and Mr Smith adds that it’s a particularly “big and courageous call for [Anna] because she’s not only leaving a church that she loves and serves, she’s leaving her job as a specialist music teacher. “She’s not going to St Michael’s with any plan. She’s just going to see where she can serve and use
her gifts to love and bless rather than coming in and saying, ‘This is what I’m going to do’. “Our great desire and hope would be that St Michael’s continues to be a place that works with other churches in the area. It has been blessed with lots of gifts from God in people and resources, [so] to be able to be salt and light in the heart of the city, and build on the gospel work with others there, would just be fantastic.”
broad and narrow way. Miss Clements studied at T h e f a m i l y m o v e d t o Deaconess House in 1959 and Naremburn in her teens and 1960, then worked again in began attending St Cuthbert’s. diversional therapy before Miss Clements taught Sunday joining the staff at St John’s, school, sang in the choir and Parramatta where she did took part in youth group and hospital visiting, Scripture and the Girls’ Friendly Society. In Sunday school teaching. She the late 1940s she also joined the then worked for seven years at new Church of England Youth the Braeside Church of England Department, which she later Maternity Hospital in Stanmore, said greatly contributed to her and it was during this time – growth as a Christian. on June 11, 1965 – that she was She spent 1953-54 studying a ordained a deaconess. diversional therapy course with Dss Clements’ varied roles the Red Cross, working there in the 1970s and ’80s included for another four years teaching Divinity teacher and house former servicemen skills such m o t he r at S C E G G S Mo s s as leatherwork and weaving. Vale, deaconess to PeakhurstSouthernCross
Trust God in the dark Ella Quist Two Sisters & a Brain Tumour
by Emily J. Maurits Published by Daughters of Love & Light
estimonies. The beautiful and soul-reaching stories that
move us, teach us and change us. Often in testimonies we hear of someone’s fierce internal, physical and emotional battles, tragic or perfectly ordinary circumstances that, ultimately, bring glory to God. Two Sisters & a Brain Tumour is a beautiful, vulnerably written memoir that is a testimony of God’s mercies, love and faithfulness amid sickness and fear. It is a story of trust, prayer, sisterly love and God’s character. The pages meet you where you are, spiritually and circumstantially, bringing tears to your eyes and fresh, biblical understanding to your heart. The four-part memoir, which includes scattered reflections and diary entries, begins with a devastating diagnosis for Emily’s 16-year-old sister Jasmine: a large craniopharyngioma (a rare type of non-cancerous but often fatal brain tumour). Having grown up with a chronically ill mother, questions of God’s plans continue to plague Emily as she navigates the emotional and spiritual toll this new diagnosis brings into her life. Through her intimate style of writing, she is able to shed great insight on how sickness truly impacts family life and dynamics and gives her readers a new empathy for those they know in similar situations. When trouble comes it is easy to retreat… It’s hard to trust that others will say the right words… be enough for you during this time… Is it really them I’m trusting? Or is it God, who can use all people and heal all wounds? (pp74-75). A sister’s love is one of fortified strength, nurturing and protection. This couldn’t be more plain through Emily’s internal
Lugarno, a ssistant to the chaplain at ARV Castle Hill, plus work for Scripture Union and in diversional therapy at a nursing home in Ashfield. In 1987 she became a resident of ARV Castle Hill, attending church in West Pennant Hills where she taught ESL and SRE. She eventually moved to the South Coast and became an active member of St George’s, Gerringong. At her funeral in January her former deaconess chaplain, the Rev Jacinth Myles, said many SouthernCross
had been touched over the years by the care and kindness of Dss Clements and her faithfulness in prayer for them: “At her ordination over 56 years ago, Val committed herself to serve the Lord for the rest of her life,” Ms Myles said. “[She] was remarkable in how well she kept in contact with the other deaconesses... and also with some of the female de a co n s . S he pho ne d o u r members whether she had met them or not and included the new deacons, who were many
monologue, trying to balance being a sister by blood as well as by faith. This is one of the most heart-wrenching aspects to read. Emily gives readers access to her emotions, taking us along the journey with her. Ultimately, God’s mercy and character are highlighted so brightly by the faithfulness of Emily and her family amid the multiple struggles they endure. “I’ve been thinking… ‘all things work for the good of’… But getting a brain tumour helped me see how supportive the church is… that’s the good” (Jasmine, p95). In the above excerpt Jasmine lies in her hospital bed, drowsy from drugs after her second surgery yet deeply contemplative. Of course this wasn’t the only good thing to come from Jasmine’s brain tumour but, in these moments of spiritual reflection, the reader is prompted to pause and reflect on their own life. How has God used my trials for his good? How has God been glorified in my suffering? How can I bring God’s love to people through these times, whether it be I or another who is enduring it? At the end of the day, all God asks of us is “that we seek him one dark day at a time” (p241). The real impact of Two Sisters & a Brain Tumour is the encouragement to focus on who we can encourage in Christ. The sisters are pillars for each other, not only as familial sisters but as sisters in Christ. The pair walk alongside each other through their spiritual journey as much as the physical one. The book is a reminder to reflect on your commitment to seeing your friends and family walk with Jesus, and be encouraged to trust God through even the darkest seasons. SC
decades younger than she was.” A eulogy prepared by friends ended with some words from Dss Clements herself: We’re not saying goodbye, but as someone wrote, “See you in the morning!” If you know and love the Lord Jesus, we shall all be together with him in his heavenly home. If you do not know him, I urge you to speak to someone today who can help you to come to the Saviour. Remember what Jesus said to the dying thief on his cross: ‘Today you will be with me in paradise’. So, my friends, I’ll see you in the morning!
VACANT PARISHES List of parishes and provisional parishes, vacant or becoming vacant, as at March 22, 2022: • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Ashbury** Berowra Camden Cherrybrook Corrimal Cronulla** Eagle Vale** Forestville Greenacre* Guildford* Kingswood Lawson Lidcombe Lithgow
• Liverpool South • Menangle** • Panania • PeakhurstMortdale** • Regents Park* • Rooty Hill • Rosemeadow* • St James’, King Street • Ulladulla • West Wollongong
* denotes provisional parishes or Archbishop’s appointments ** right of nomination suspended/on hold
oM vie review.
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and images blend together to provide a powerful, sometimes graphic reminder of all that Jesus has done for us. Artistically, there is beauty, ugliness and numerous “Wow” moments as we walk with our a S viour through sorrow, evil, suftering, shame and death to eventual glory. There was an attempt to release this fllm at Easter last year that was thwarted because of CO.DIV This time, it will get a wider release, although for a brief window around the week before Easter. Included in the fllm are regular observations from art experts and historians, some of which are tremendously insightful (such as the comments about Judas wearing yellow, the “colour of betrayal”, in Giotto’s The Arrest of Jesus), while others veer into speculative art speak and aren’t at all helpful. The fllmmaker also muddles his biblical timeline and manages to put eJ sus’ ascension before the Road to Emmaus but, in the end, it doesn’t really matter because the story is still being told. In one sense it’s all about the art, but it’s brilliant to have the wonderful truths of Scripture shared with it – and on the big screen. SC Scngeir at eht Deydn Newn,ot Palace levChau dna Noonrt Stet,r enydHa Oreum,hp Huskion Piesurtc dna Avoca Behac nemas.ci SouthernCross
Retirement – the new (vastly inferior) heaven Simon Manchester Distinctively Christian Retirement by Simon van Bruchem Published by Written for our Instruction
erth pastor Simon van Bruchem has written a very
thoughtful book on life after we hang up the work boots, calling it Distinctively Christian Retirement. Because he is a pastor, van Bruchem regularly sees how people think about their future and how they plan for it in all the best and worst ways. He’s written this helpful book because every Christian of every age should be thinking of the way they can serve Jesus Christ right to the end. Of course we should! And it is a tonic for all ages, with plenty of insights along the way. The author discusses the way “retirement” entered our global thinking and how the Bible revolutionises age issues; he presents some fresh challenges that older people face (in mind and body) and great ways to be more useful than you thought possible. This is a careful look at the issues through the biblical lens. As a semi-retired guy, I found it heartening and quickening. Did you know, for example, that former German chancellor, Otto Von Bismarck, introduced the first pensions for retirees and
that a “bucket list” is a 21st-century invention? Did you realise that photo albums are as selective as our memories? How many photos of sadness and struggle do we take? No wonder we look back with rosy spectacles! Van Bruchem challenges our foolishness in places – for example, will we really be remembered in one hundred years’ time? And will we know or care? So why seek to be famous or try to leave an empty legacy? He also comforts our fears, pointing out how powerful our witness can be in normal contacts – and how impactful, despite our sufferings – and reminds us that we are stewards and not owners, so let us use what we have with eternity in view. This is a good book to teach the wonder of Jesus and salvation, to inspire a long and keen race for Jesus and to establish the real retirement that believers will have with Jesus. SC Distinctively Christian Retirement is available through Koorong, Amazon, Booktopia and other outlets, in print or as an audio/ebook.
From page 28
story is embedded in a Chinese community in Toronto doesn’t matter a bit. Yet somehow I felt less emotionally connected to this film than something as far removed from real life as Mulan, which also delves into Chinese culture, the spirit world and the importance of family. Despite all the efforts Turning Red makes to engage the attention or tug at the heartstrings, the emotion sometimes feels forced. It won’t be that way for everyone – certainly, friends of Chinese heritage see much that’s familiar and true in Mei’s family dynamic and cultural experiences. But for me, although most of the focus is on the relationships between the women/girls in the film, the most emotionally authentic moments are those Mei shares with her gentle father. Perhaps I am also dealing with my own version of the overprotective mum, but I confess the disrespectful, lying element to the “new” Mei didn’t sit well with me – although, to be fair, she does swerve wildly between trying to please her mother and trying to please herself. And that, too, is part of growing up. I’m sure Turning Red will be a hit. There is plenty of appeal in its colourful craziness, laughs and “magic” – and even a clutch of SouthernCross
songs written by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas O’Connell for the film’s boy band, 4*TOWN. It’s always good to be reminded of the importance of family and supportive friends who love you despite your flaws – and that puberty is just a phase to be negotiated with patience. Not sure if Turning Red is the best vehicle for expressing that, but the target audience will probably think so. SC 27
Puberty panda-monium Judy Adamson Turning Red Rated PG In cinemas and streaming on Disney+ Magical themes and some scary moments.
expected to enjoy Turning Red but I confess it left me a
little emotionally flat. It is the latest animated release from Disney’s Pixar stable, in time for the school holidays. The trailer sets you up for a magical ride through a slightly unusual coming-of-age experience, when 13-year-old Meilin Lee discovers that red pandas run in the family – literally – when she turns into a big fluffy beast after an emotionally charged day. We discover it’s something that has happened to every woman in Mei’s family since, hundreds of years earlier, their esteemed ancestress prayed to the gods for a way to protect her family in a time of war. Your average teen just gets zits, but it’s a bit harder to hide unexpected panda breakouts in 21st century Toronto! Up until now, Mei has been the perfect daughter: obedient and high achieving – almost to the point of obsession. She’s a super nerd and proud of it, with a tight friendship group (three close friends, three cultural backgrounds) and confidence that she’s going to ace Year 8 at school. Then, suddenly, every time she experiences a strong emotion she morphs into the emblem of the family temple, the red panda, in all its fluffy glory. How is she going to navigate this? When Mei locks herself in the family bathroom in distress, her over-protective tiger mum Ming (voiced by Sandra Oh), believes
that the “red peony” has blossomed and rushes around collecting sanitary items and offering helpful tips for period cramps. Female viewers will wince and laugh with recognition, while viewers from a range of cultures will see their family’s own tiger mums in Ming’s exhausting, over-the-top atitude. But Turning Red is really about (female) puberty. In capital letters. While there’s no red peony yet (I do love that line), the appearance of the red panda does signal a change in Mei’s attitude. She begins to doodle cartoons of herself in clinches with boys, sighs ever more emotionally over the latest boy band and becomes increasingly sassy with her parents. While Ming and all the other women in the family have, with the help of a shaman, magically “trapped” their panda selves, Mei revels in her panda – not listening to her mother’s warnings that the more frequently she transforms, the harder it will be to get rid of it when the time comes. Mei’s friends are impressed by her new assertiveness and willingness to go against her family. And everyone at school wants to hang out with the panda. What does Mei want in exchange for some panda time, a group of girls ask: “Money? My kidney? My soul?” Just a little creepy, that. Yes, the experiences of puberty are global, so the fact that the nuedtiCo on page 27