Southern Cross JUNE-JULY 2024

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Proud of the cross

The first thing Michael Samir* did on arrival in Australia was to get necklaces with crosses for him, his wife Sofia* and his children aged 16, 14 and 8.

“It was emotional for them,” says Jude Simion, the director of Emerge, which helps families on arrival in Australia. “The crosses were not just pieces of jewellery but powerful symbols of their Christian faith, worn with pride and conviction. In Gaza, such expressions of faith were forbidden.”

The Samir family were among hundreds of Palestinian Christians caught in the

crossfire of the war in Gaza.

Since the attack by Hamas terrorists in Israel on October 7 last year and the resulting war, Christian and Muslim residents alike have had to flee their homes.

Michael’s wife Sofia told Southern Cross , “We leave our home on the third day of the war after it [was] bombed. We went to the church as a shelter.

“All Christians in the Gaza Strip, they went to the two churches as a shelter there. Then after 37 days of suffering there in the church, we leave to Egypt and then to Australia. It is a very

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scary trip, very scary trip. We saw a lot of people killed in the streets. We stayed in the sun and under [air] strike.”

Emerge, which is a ministry of Sydney Anglican’s Evangelism & New Churches, assists new migrants in finding meaningful work and, with the help of parishes, helps them establish roots in Australia.

“Meeting Sofia and Michael was a humbling experience,” Mr Simion says. “They are uncertain about how they will meet basic needs in a new country without Medicare or Centrelink support.”

Sofia adds: “Here in Australia

it is very hard, especially [as] we didn’t have a close relative, only the PCIA [a support association]. It helped us to rent the home for three months and it will extend for maybe another one or two months.”

Emerge has taken on this new group, as it did with Syrian and Afghani refugees in recent years, but funding has been difficult to find. It has now begun a new appeal to help the families already here, and knows there are more to come.

Says Mr Simion: “Of the more than 200 Gazan Christians with visas approved for resettlement

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2 SouthernCross June-July 2024
Public declaration of faith: At their new home in Sydney, a Christian refugee family from Gaza have joyfully placed a cross outside their front door.
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in Australia, a large number have already arrived. We estimate 70 are yet to come but many are having difficulty in purchasing their travel tickets. We want to be ready to support them fully when they arrive.

“We really need practical things such as Christian businesses prepared to offer employment and mentorship and, of course, financial help.”

Sofia testifies to the difference such help can make. “It is very hard to live here in a different country from our country, but also there is a merciful group [to] help us with used furniture – and our children go to school, but without paying anything.”


Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has commended the work, saying, “Our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ have often found themselves between a rock and hard place in their own homeland. I’m very thankful for the work of Emerge in offering Christian love and care to those who have been forced to flee their homes, and have been offered sanctuary and a new start in Australia.

“The magnitude of such a challenge should not escape us and I encourage Sydney Anglicans to generously and warmly embrace our siblings in Christ from that grief-stricken part of the world, where our

Lord himself once walked.”

Mr Simion says that, even before the war, freedom was limited for Palestinian Christians.

“In certain areas of Gaza, Sofia would wear a hijab when she went out, blending in to avoid persecution,” he says. “The consequences of being visibly seen as Christians would anger people, and they would throw stones at them if they were seen wearing a cross or if Sofia appeared in public without a head covering.”

This harsh reality was a common experience for all Gazan Christians, who lived in closed neighbourhoods for mutual support and protection.

Michael Samir spoke of the sense of freedom they feel in Australia, and why the display of the cross is so important. For the first time, they can openly display their faith without fear of persecution.

He describes the immense joy and relief of wearing the cross and placing one at the entrance of their new home.

This simple yet significant act represents a newfound freedom they have long been denied. It is a declaration of their identity and faith, a testament to their convictions, and a sign of a new start in Australia. SC

You can support Emerge online at ministry/emerge/

*Names changed for security reasons

The support circle for foster kids

Judy Adamson

Just after Christmas 2017, the Rev Mat Yeo and his wife Sarah got a call from Anglicare about their first foster child. They’d done training and checks in the months prior and had only been approved as foster carers a week or so earlier. Now, for the first time in years, they were responsible for a baby.

“Our feeling was a little bit of nervousness and a lot of ‘Let’s get going!’” he recalls. “We knew it was going to be an adventure, and we couldn’t wait to have this precious child join our family.”

Mr Yeo was first prompted to think about foster care when he met up with a fellow minister and his wife, and heard they were fostering.

“I thought, ‘What an excellent thing to do – a great way to show the love of God – and we could also be in a position to do this’,” he says. “So, I came home and brought it up with Sarah, and found she’d already been thinking about it.”

Adds Sarah: “My heart went, ‘Yes!’ because it just seemed perfect for us... The seed had been planted when I was younger, so it had always been in

the back of my mind. I had also been a stay-at-home Mum and we had five kids, love children and had coped well with that… and as they had grown, I had been thinking, ‘Should I be working? What should I be doing with my time?’ With this, all the little pieces fit together.”

The couple had decided they were best placed to look after babies, and were approved to care for children up to the age of two. In the years since, they have cared for children for between six and 18 months –one of whom came to them at six weeks of age, while the rest came virtually straight from the hospital.

A foster family was a new experience for their church at Hurstville Grove, but Mrs Yeo says members have been supportive right from the start – helping with clothes and extra food – as well as being curious and full of questions. Their children, aged between 10 and 18 when they began, were also very happy to have younger foster siblings to love.

“When our first [foster child] was leaving I was a mess – your

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heart breaks each time,” Mrs Yeo says. “I saw our children getting upset and I thought, ‘Are we traumatising our children?’ But when I said something to my son about it, he said, ‘But the joy is so much more’.”

Adds Mr Yeo: “Detaching is filled with grief but that is no reason not to do it. It’s so worthwhile. I think it’s been one of the best things we’ve ever done as a family together. It’s been great for our family. But I also think, for the children that we’ve had, it’s been excellent to have foster siblings.”


Hurstville Grove hosted a foster carers information evening last month, with people attending from Anglican parishes across the St George area.

Mr and Mrs Yeo and one of their daughters were part of a Q & A panel, and members of Anglicare’s foster care team spoke about the ongoing need for carers – there are 16,000 kids in out-of-home care in NSW – as well as the process of becoming a carer, and a support initiative known as the Foster Circle.

“The concept of the Foster Circle is realising that to be a foster carer is not an easy thing –there is a lot of joy, but we know that it is hard,” says Anglicare’s foster care and adoption chaplain, the Rev Bethany Downes, who attended the event. “So, how can we create a community that wraps around this child and this family to provide them with the different types of support they need, so it’s a flourishing placement and

flourishing family for that child to be in?

“We know not everyone can become a foster carer, but there are different ways in which people can be involved this ministry... and having that deep understanding that God has adopted us into his family as Christians motivates us to reach out to vulnerable children with the love, care and concern that God has shown us.”

Anglicare is delighted that a number of people at the event have already inquired further about becoming foster carers, or are keen to learn more about the process and how to offer support.

“We have been greatly encouraged by the response from churches to Anglicare’s Foster Circle initiative,” says Meredith Donkin, the organisation’s foster care relationship lead.

“Our goal was to pilot this program with five churches by the end of this year, and remarkably, we’ve already achieved that target, with interest continuing to grow.

“We believe that a strategic partnership between Anglicare and the local church can transform the current foster care story in NSW and provide a wider network of support for vulnerable children and foster families. Together, we can imagine a future where we have a waiting list of families instead of a waiting list of children.” SC

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How families, churches and Anglicare work
“It just seeemed perfect for us”: Foster parents Mat and Sarah Yeo. Passionate about Meantal Health? Senior Program Manager DV Supporting Recovery
SouthernCross June-July 2024 5

Anglicare Sydney aids domestic violence survivors

Anglicare Sydney is one of the partners helping people who have experienced family, domestic or sexual violence in southwestern Sydney.

“This program aims to fill a gap in services for victim-survivors,” says Dr Keith McDonald, CEO of the South Western Sydney Primary Health Network – a nonprofit organisation that is delivering the new program with Federal Government funding.

“Anglicare Sydney and CatholicCare Sydney will work with existing services, which provide short-term and crisis support, to ensure the thousands of people affected by domestic violence-related assault in our region have every support they need to get back on their feet.”

The two organisations will deliver the key mental health component of the Supporting Recovery program, which is aimed not at people in crisis, but those needing access to longerterm recovery and healing support.

Lynda Dunstan, Anglicare Sydney’s Family and Domestic Violence Advisor, says, “So often survivors of domestic family and sexual violence have to retell their story to many different services as they try to navigate their recovery – and it’s likely the abuser is still impacting them and their children, even if they have separated. Survivors will really benefit from the longer term, consistent therapeutic supports that Supporting Recovery offers, together with practical assistance that the local care team can provide.”


the Supporting Recovery program

Anglicare’s chief executive of community and mission, the Rev Dr Andrew Ford, says the organisation has worked alongside victim-survivors of domestic and sexual violence across a wide range of communities for many years, and “experience shows us again and again the journey toward healing and recovery can take time.

“We are committed to delivering culturally appropriate services that have a positive impact on mental wellbeing –which are accessible, inclusive and available at no cost for a period up to two years. These are the long-term supports crucial to supporting victimsurvivors in their journey to recovery.”

Statistics show there is a major need for this service, with about 5200 domestic violence-related assault offences reported in the year to June 2023.

Services will initially be

delivered from hubs based in the Campbelltown, Liverpool and Fairfield communities due to higher rates of offences in these areas. However, services may be expanded across Bankstown, and further south into Camden, Wollondilly and Wingecarribee based on need and demand.

Clients do not need a doctor’s referral. They can access the service by calling 1300 316 554 or by going online and completing a self-referral.

For more details about the Supporting Recovery program see


The launch of the service coincided with Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, marked annually in May.

“This year has been particularly horrific, [with] reports of the murders of women in regional Victoria and NSW in recent months,” says Archdeacon Kara

Hartley, Sydney’s Archdeacon for Women’s Ministry. “National rallies… shone a further spotlight on the issue and there are calls for greater government action to prevent violence.

“As a national church we have had our own reckoning with this issue in the last few years, and there is continuing work on our diocesan domestic abuse monitoring committee –as well as our national church family and culture commission, which is specifically seeking to resource and educate churches about domestic abuse, with a focus on prevention.” SC Archdeacon Hartley urges church workers and congregations to use the diocesan policy and guidelines, the training course for church workers, and online resources at domestic-family-abuse/ If you are currently experiencing domestic violence and need crisis support, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732). If you are in immediate danger, call the police on 000.

A need: Survivor advocate Kathy Donnelly and Anglicare Sydney case manager Fadia Mansoor at the launch of last month.
targets long-term recovery in southwestern Sydney.
A new program
6 SouthernCross June-July 2024

Five-way mission to meet Jesus

The 2024 Moore College mission is one the Anglican churches of Normanhurst, Asquith, Hornsby Heights, Waitara and Hornsby will not soon forget.

“The week of mission… has had a lasting impact on our congregation and community,” said Rob Elder, a member of St John’s, Asquith. His church is one of the five that engaged in a week of evangelistic events just after Easter.

The area’s churches have a history of working together for evangelistic training, sharing resources and ideas for church administration, as well as running Anglicare Toys ’n’ Tucker events. But this was a new idea: to partner with Moore College for a week of targeted mission.

Teams of students fan out across the Diocese and beyond each year for the Moore College mission, and this year 220 students and 28 faculty and chaplains covered 14 locations. These were as far afield as the Solomon Islands, Kununurra in far northern Western Australia

and Townsville in northern Queensland, as well as locations in country NSW and Sydney.

For Anglican churches in the corridor from Normanhurst to Hornsby, the joint mission was a chance to kickstart some outreach ideas.

The Rev Mike Begbie, rector of Hornsby Heights, said they had been talking and praying about mission for a long time, “so as a consequence, we were very glad to welcome the Moore students into our church”.

The centrepiece of Meet Jesus Week was 600 people packing Leslie Hall at Barker College to hear Archbishop Kanishka Raffel preach evangelistically from John’s Gospel. Parishes also partnered in children’s work such as SRE assemblies.

The Rev Peter Blake, an assistant minister at

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Normanhurst, summed it up: “When we work together we have a better vision of what God is doing and how he is using his church. With the broader church working together we see God’s church growing.”

The ministry has had an impact on all the parishes, with new believers and a new enthusiasm for evangelism.

The Rev Dr Lionel Windsor, one of five college faculty members who accompanied the teams, said, “For the students, being part of a team committed to Jesus Christ, sharing in their work with individuals and within programs that serve those under their care, was a reminder of the ministry many of them are training for.” SC

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Russell Powell Lasting impact: Moore College students Caleb Knight (left) and Ed Lau lead Sunday school at St Stephen’s, Normanhurst as part of Meet Jesus Week. Northern suburbs parishes and Moore College collaborate.
SouthernCross June-July 2024 7

How do we take Jesus to every town and city?

In an historic move, Anglican parishes from around the nation will take part in “an intentional season of sharing hope in Jesus” in 2025.

Hope25 will run from Easter Day (April 20) to Pentecost Sunday (June 8). A group of Australian Anglicans encourage participation in a video for the joint outreach, saying: “Imagine every Anglican church, every town and city, every suburban community, all working in the same season to proclaim hope in an uncertain world”.

In February, Anglican delegates from across the nation, including Sydney representatives, formed the Hope25 Workshop in response to the decision of General Synod’s Standing Committee to make evangelism one of its immediate strategic priorities.


The result was Hope25 – Hope in an Uncertain World.

Officially launched last month on Pentecost Sunday, the project has downloadable resources for parishes and videos on its website ( ). There are links to courses such as Alpha , Christianity Explored ,

Hope Explored and Introducing God, and there is also a version of the Alpha series in Mandarin.

The organising committee is chaired by the Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, who has encouraged parishes and dioceses to start praying and planning now. Parishes

are asked to form a team and sign up to the email list on the Hope25 website.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel summed up the project in the introduction video, saying, “We want every person in Australia to know the hope we have in Jesus”. SC

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8 SouthernCross June-July 2024

Joy as new Korean church begins

Lidcombe welcomes church plant from Strathfield.

Stand outside Lidcombe Anglican Church and it’s obvious you’re in a booming construction zone. There’s a huge crane moving to and fro, the jackhammers are busy and wherever you look you can see shiny new apartment blocks.

But it’s who’s moving in that captured the attention of the Rev Danny Au Yeung when he became rector in early 2023.

“Ten years ago, there were a lot of Chinese migrants from mainland China coming to Australia, and quite a lot of them settled in Lidcombe,” he says. “However, in the past three to five years Koreans started moving in... A lot of Koreans will now come to do their shopping in Lidcombe or meet with friends here to eat.

“The high rises will keep

coming, tons of apartments, and 70 per cent of the apartments will be bought by Koreans. So, when I first came here, I started chatting to Kevin [Kim, the rector of Enfield and Strathfield] because I wanted to learn from him about Korean ministry and then see if some sort of partnership between his church and ours might be possible.”

Mr Au Yeung, whose church already has services in English, Cantonese and Mandarin, was happy to explore all manner of Korean ministry options – from Bible study groups to church planting. And, by God’s grace, his call to Mr Kim came at just the right moment.

Says Mr Kim: “We had been thinking about planting a new congregation for quite some time... considering a number

Reaching the Korean community: (from left) John Shin, Kevin Kim and Danny Au Yeung announce Lidcombe’s newest congregation.

of possibilities like West Ryde, Parramatta or Chatswood. While we were thinking about the whole process, just out of the blue Danny gave me a call. I call it divine intervention!”

There was a possibility that the entire Korean congregation from Strathfield might move to Lidcombe, but the church building wasn’t large enough so, in the end, members were asked to consider being part of a church plant in Lidcombe.

Says Mr Au Yeung: “It all came together quite quickly. I met with the leadership team from the Korean congregation at Strathfield and could really see there was a lot of goodwill... They’re very gospel-hearted and wanted to see this happen.”


By the end of last year one of the assistant ministers from Enfield and Strathfield, the Rev John Shin, felt called to lead the church planting team, and in late February the group began weekly meetings to prepare for

a “soft” launch on May 5.

“Before we evangelise and make disciples, we just decided that, as a new church, we needed very strong connections and bonds among ourselves,” Mr Shin says. “Without that kind of family bond, we can’t do proper ministry. So now I’m focusing on those things, teaching them what is church and what is the church’s mission... so, we already feel like one family.”

He adds that people in the new congregation have been tremendously encouraged by how services have run up to this point – adding that, even though the congregation isn’t officially public, members have already begun inviting non-Christian friends and acquaintances.

“Every planting member, they are so keen to share the gospel and preach the gospel!” he says.

The public ministry will begin with a thanksgiving service on June 30 at 4pm – a different time to the usual Sunday meeting so members of other Korean churches can come,

invite friends and, together, rejoice and pray for this growing ministry network.

Says Mr Kim: “I’m particularly excited about John serving under Danny’s ‘umbrella’.

I think Danny is a great, gospelminded, generous leader who understands the ins and outs of ethnic ministry. And just the fact that, when he first went to Lidcombe and looked around his parish, he immediately saw the need for a Korean ministry to happen, just speaks volumes.

“Lidcombe has been a Chinese parish for quite some time, so for Danny and the whole parish to expand their vision and go beyond Chinese ethnicity to reach out to Koreans is so admirable and gospel rich.”

Mr Au Yeung says that even though most of the people moving into Lidcombe are from South Korea, part of the church’s vision is to connect with everyone in the community, which includes migrants from all over the world. People from South Asia and the Middle

East have joined Lidcombe’s English service in the past year, and the new Korean ministry adds another big piece to the community puzzle.

“Our Chinese Christians at church were very excited that we could be part of reaching out to another nation with the Korean ministry,” he says. “They are so keen to have them come along. The Cantonese congregation was also quite sacrificial in that they were happy to move to their service to church hall and let the Koreans use the main church building, so the Koreans have the space for ministry and growth.

“On the first Sunday [of the new congregation] the Cantonese and Mandarin lunch teams prepared lunch so the Koreans could share it with us. They clapped when the Koreans came in and we all ate together, so it was quite lovely... The Koreans were very thankful, so their kitchen team cooked for the Chinese the next Sunday – bulgogi and rice and kimchi for 150 people!” SC

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10 SouthernCross June-July 2024

The upsidedown kingdom

The world into which Jesus was born was a world that was harsh to live in and often deeply harmful to children. Jewish parents regarded their children as a blessing and a gift from God. Parents and rabbis were involved in training children and passing on to them the knowledge of God. But outside the Jewish community, those kinds of protections and advantages were non-existent.

I’m sure ancient parents loved their children, but they were not

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walk the talk

sentimental about childhood in the way we are, and they were not shaped by the Bible in the way their Jewish counterparts were. Roman fathers had lawful authority to kill their children if they were mentally or physically deformed, or if they were unwanted or unable to be cared for. In the first century, only 50 per cent of children lived to be five years old. Of them, only 40 per cent would make it to 12.

It was into this world that God chose to come – incredibly, as a

changing people’s lives and their own communities.

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How Jesus shows us the importance of children.
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child. Jesus had a real childhood. God became a baby, vulnerable, weak and dependent. The one who sustains the universe gasped for breath. The Bible records little of Jesus’ childhood because it reflects the ancient world’s essential disinterest in childhood. To be a child was to be marginalised, an adult in waiting, of no great interest or influence.

Jesus grew in “wisdom, stature, and favour with men” – he experienced developmental growth. We even have recorded in Scripture a moment of tension between Jesus and his earthly parents, when he gives them a short lesson in the Trinity – “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?”

Every human being in every age has experienced childhood, and so has Jesus. I think that is quite significant in terms of sharing Jesus with children. God, in his kindness, has come to us in such a way that we may say to little children, “There was a time when Jesus was a little child, too”.


Apart from what the gospels tell us about the infancy of Jesus, they do not contain a large number of verses about children. However, given the low profile of children in the ancient world, the gospels do record that children were surprisingly present in the life and ministry of Jesus.

Scholars of Jesus’ day rarely spent time with children outside of classes, but Jesus seems to have enjoyed the company of children. In Luke 7:31-35, Jesus uses the play of children to make a point. He evidently took notice of children and their activities. He healed children – Jairus’ daughter, the Syro-Phoenician woman’s daughter, the boy with the spirit that threw him into the fire. Jesus took children in his arms and blessed them, and included them in his teaching. Their presence at the feeding of the 5000 and 4000, for example, is recorded, although the number present is not.

John highlights children as metaphors to understand entering into a relationship with God (John 1:12; 3:3-6). Matthew, Mark and Luke, however, all include in their gospels the same elements of Jesus’ teaching regarding children.

In the crucial area of who enters God’s kingdom and how it is to be done, we find that Jesus uses children to teach adults a lesson. People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it”. And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them, and blessed them.

(Mark 10:13-16; cf Matt 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17).

The disciples reflect their culture and ours. Children should not be allowed to bother important teachers and men of God. Keep them away, he’s too busy for mere children. But Jesus’ response reflects God’s heart. Everything about Jesus in this passage is a surprise. His attitude to children is a surprise, his words about children are a surprise, and his actions towards children are a surprise. First, he’s angry. Jesus only gets angry occasionally – and one of the things that Mark’s Gospel records him being angry about is people trying to keep children away from him.


I remember when my daughter was very small she attended a kindy ballet held in a local church. On the noticeboard was a one-page leaflet titled “Children at St Ethelbert’s” (not its real

name). In small font, there was a whole page full of text that explained how children should be managed through the service, including what kind of food packaging met acceptable limits of noise. Several times through this very helpful brochure was the reassurance that if at any time you were unsure about whether your child was disturbing the worship, you should feel perfectly comfortable about taking them outside!

My first thought was that, as a parent, I would get the message loud and clear that I wasn’t welcome. But my second thought was how angry Jesus would be with that. In what ways do we hinder children?

Jesus’ words here are shocking, too, because of the way they exclude those who will not receive the kingdom “like a little child”. I take that to mean empty-handed, dependently, humbly, thankfully, no merit of our own, trusting the grace of God – not on the basis of any kind of self-assertion or personal achievement but as a gift.

But the real shock is that, as much as the Scriptures exhort parents to instruct their children, here Jesus is saying that the children you must train to know and serve God you must also learn from. Jesus says God is at work in them in ways that are absolutely essential for adults – all adults, not just parents – to understand and imitate. The kingdom may be entered only if it is received like a little child.

That doesn’t mean everyone has to love children but everyone has to learn from them. I don’t mean that the teaching and learning of adults and children is an exact balance, a 50-50 swap. But Jesus makes it clear: you cannot be his disciple and dispense with children.


Children are not only used as models of who and how to enter the kingdom but also as models of the life of the kingdom. Jesus uses children to illustrate discipleship.

The Twelve are obsessed with greatness and Jesus often finds them arguing about it. How can Jesus open their eyes to the reverse values of the upside-down kingdom of God? In Luke 9 we read:

An argument started among the disciples as to which of them would be the greatest. Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

Once again, Jesus shocks the disciples by putting a mere child in the place of honour next to him. Jesus places a child in the place that should have been reserved for the most prominent and favoured person.

If you were looking for encouragement to be involved in ministry among children, this would have to be the theme verse, wouldn’t it? Whoever welcomes this little child welcomes Jesus. To serve children by encouraging them to know and love Jesus is to serve the Lord himself.

Jesus’ kingdom is an upside-down kingdom. God has chosen what is weak and foolish to shame the wise and the powerful. God has made known to babes what he has concealed from the selfrighteous. Keep reading the Bible to kids, keep filling their hearts with songs to the Lord, keep painting pictures of the rainbow that reminds us of God’s faithfulness and love, and keep explaining how Jesus died and rose again, King of Kings and the friend of children.

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Meet the students who are now published authors

CLARISA Roa has many passions: the ocean, her pets, dance and performing. Now, she can add publishing poetry to her long list of interests. She and her peers at Oran Park Anglican College have published a collection of poems, short stories and creative pieces capturing the journey of their school and fellow students.

The book, titled Of Hope As We Grow, showcases the creativity and talent of the student writers and celebrates the foundational values of the college: courage, compassion, collaboration, curiosity and craftsmanship. The pieces in the anthology share the unique experiences of different students at the college – everything from friendship to grief to the joy of animals and creation.

“It was really empowering to work on such a big project like this,” says Miss Roa, who is in Year 8. “To see the book come together with all the amazing writing pieces was so inspiring, and the fact that now people are taking an interest in these pieces makes me proud of what our school and everyone who has put work into this has accomplished.”

The idea for the project came from teacher and writing group co-ordinator Jim Ward. “I wondered whether combining interesting photography with poems and stories under a uniting theme could

spark an interest in Jesus – simply because the students involved come from Oran Park Anglican College, and that stands firmly for Christian faith,” he says. “With care and a vigilant eye to preserve consistency between college ideals and student art, the result glorifies our Creator, who gifts us the skills to do well.”

After positive feedback from the college community, the student creative writing group is now working towards its next publication. Mr Ward longs for the works to glorify God and encourage reflection and personal insights.

“We have found that it is so important to have colleagues and friends to share ideas with and discuss editing, so as to hone insight towards high-quality celebration of the riches of hopeful lives that come as we learn who Jesus is and what he has done for us,” he says.

Miss Roa is excited to continue working on something creative alongside grades and assignments. “I really enjoy testing out different ideas for my writing, and creating storylines, plots and characters for fun. I’m so thankful for the opportunity [to contribute to the collection] and I’m looking forward to seeing what the students in our community can accomplish next.”

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Tara Sing “It was really empowering to work on such a big project”: Clarisa Roa (second from left) with fellow students from the creative writing group and co-ordinator Jim Ward.

New Anglican college welcomed in rapidly growing area

SYDNEY’S northwest has seen incredible changes over the past decade, with multiple suburbs established and thousands of families moving in and now calling the area home. With high demand for education options and established schools bursting at the seams, a new Anglican college is a welcome addition.

After operating as a campus of Richard Johnson Anglican School since 2017, Marsden Park Anglican College officially opened as an independent school this year. It already has a strong primary school foundation and is on its way to becoming a full-service Prep to Year 12 school.

The inaugural Year 7 cohort has 80 students, and more than 100 are enrolled to start Year 7 in 2025 – evidence that values-based education is in demand by local families.

“Our community is aspirational,” says principal Darren Cox. “They’re moving into new houses in a new area. When you move into something new, you want something new and fresh. ‘New’ says ‘opportunity’. People are moving to Marsden Park for a house, they’re wanting opportunities for their family, for their home, and that translates to their young people.

“We’re a really multicultural school as well. The families want these incredible opportunities to thrive and flourish and give success into life and opportunities through schooling.”

Marsden Park Anglican College (MPAC) will eventually be a fourstream primary and six-stream secondary school catering for 1750 students. Mr Cox is no stranger to growing a school, having previously led a new Christian high school in the Hunter Valley region for nine years. “It was a small, little school that had only just started high school, and my job was to grow the high school and grow the college,” Mr Cox says. “It is an incredible blessing to get the opportunity to do this again. I’m living the dream.”

As MPAC establishes itself, staff are excited to ingrain the college mission and pillars into the culture of the school.

“What do we want to be known as?” Mr Cox asks. “Our pillars are live with passion and purpose, love Christ and others, and lead with excellence and integrity. We want to raise leaders now and into the future. Our motto is “Impacting the world”, and the cross is central. These are my own personal pillars as well. We’re raising our young people with the notion that they will be a positive influence in their families and in their community.”

Although Mr Cox is ambitious for his school and students, he insists that there must be room for joy and delight and he hopes to foster a culture where people can be authentically themselves.

“Schools should be engaging, fun places,” he says. “Laugh, enjoy life, but don’t mistake that for not being strategic or excellent. When starting a new school, you need energy to create momentum and bring new things in. People want to connect with people. That creates a sense of authenticity. When people are confident to be themselves,

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“We want to create a learning environment where every individual is celebrated”: students at MPAC. then you get the best of people. We can see joy in our teachers – it’s great to hear parents say that the staff look so happy, and it’s flowing through the school.

“I want every young person to feel validated for who they are and be the best person they can be. There are quieter students thinking they

need to be louder, and louder students feeling they need to be quieter. You need to be who God created you to be. So we want to create a learning environment where every individual is celebrated, whether they are artistic or academic, sporty or scientific. I’m passionate about individuals being the fullness of who God has created them to be.”

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Praise God for school chaplains


IHAVE worked in school ministry since 2015, and became a chaplain at Abbotsleigh in 2019.

About half of my time is allocated to preparing chapel services, overseeing the Christian lunchtime group along with Christian leadership development, meeting with students to talk about faith concerns and preparing for our Christian group camp. I also prepare for special services such as Easter, Christmas or confirmation. The other half of my time is spent in the classroom, teaching Christian Studies, Theology and Studies of Religion.

A big part of my role is contributing to the academic and characterforming goals of the school and all that comes with teaching. My day could also include professional development, conversations about pedagogy, looking after a pastoral care group, going on camps, carnivals, parent-teacher interviews and reports.

While I’ve spoken about these as two “halves” of my role, really each interaction with students, staff or the community feeds into the other. The job of the chaplain is to be embedded into the fabric of the school, to be “delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thess 2:8).

School chaplains are all things to all people – sometimes that means you’re a marker of essays, or a chanter of house songs; a preacher, or a listening ear. The gospel opportunities are abundant. This can be seen

explicitly through teaching the Bible each day in class, exposing the gospel clearly in chapel and facilitating student opportunities to share the gospel with their friends.

Opportunities can also look like bringing a gospel perspective to bear in the lives of the people we serve, to help them understand and respond to the joys, difficulties and competing perspectives of our world with the hope of Jesus.

The vast majority of my role is serving students. We have a great team of chaplains, and senior chaplain the Rev Sarah Hobba facilitates staff prayer and pastoral care, which is fantastic. We are always looking for ways to serve beyond students.

I love seeing the positive impact that the gospel can make on the lives of our community. Whether that’s sitting and praying with a struggling student, hearing the joys of students singing proudly about their faith in the chapel band, seeing the quiet contemplation of a student as they consider the Bible, or encouraging staff members and families in their faith.

There are endless things I want to do with my time. There are thousands of people that we are connected with – students, staff and families. We are constantly generating ideas to support everyone in our community further, but our time is finite and knowing the things to prioritise is a challenge.

The Rev Polly Butterworth Chaplain at Abbotsleigh
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“The gospel opportunities are abundant”: the Rev Polly Butterworth teaches Christian Studies at Abbotsleigh.


BEING chaplain at Macarthur Anglican School is such a fulfilling ministry. Before I began at Macarthur, I had trained as a primary school teacher, been a youth and children’s minister and, more recently, lectured and been the academic dean at Youthworks College.

Alongside two assistant chaplains, school ministry involves eight weekly chapel services, teaching Biblical Studies to years 7-9, and Studies of Religion to Year 11. There is also a combination of assemblies, events, meetings to attend with staff and students, and weekly school sports each Tuesday.

Each student attends chapel once a week, giving us an opportunity to share the gospel regularly with about 1200 students and staff. Teaching and administration staff attend devotions each morning and, over the year, attend professional development in their Chistian faith, life and teaching.

Ministry also extends beyond the classroom to the wider school community. Throughout the year we run Hope Explored and Christianity Explored for parents and carers. I also have regular gospel conversations with parents and grandparents in the school community. I’m not a trained counsellor, but there are always opportunities to pray and care for students each day.


In God’s kindness, we see students come to a saving faith each year. Recently, I discovered a student had become a Christian at our lunchtime group’s weekend away. Another Year 12 student came to faith through conversations with her science teacher. It’s wonderful to see God at work.

It’s also a privilege to help students explore Christianity and begin to take it seriously. Seeing students take a stand for Jesus at school and talk publicly about their faith is amazing! Once a term, the student ministry team runs a chapel service and shares their testimonies and how God has worked in their lives.

We don’t hide that we are a Christian school. Students will be

challenged with the Christian faith and appropriately invited to respond, but of course there are challenges. As I walk to the pulpit to speak at senior chapel, in front of about 200 students aged 15 to 18, I feel the weakness and the power of the gospel simultaneously. There’s nothing about me or my personality that will change people’s hearts. It’s only God that can do this.

Another challenge is that a large portion of students are “apatheists”. When I started at Macarthur, I was surprised by how many kids weren’t atheists but, instead, were apathetic towards God. This was evident after I taught a unit to Year 9 on the history of the Bible and the historical Jesus. After the final lesson, one of the students said to me, “Rev, I can see how Christianity is true but I just don’t care”. The challenge of engaging apathetic students… please pray!


As you may be aware from media reports, last year one of our students died in a terrible accident at the end of the school day. Cameron’s death was a tragedy for our school and even more so for his family. For many, the grief continues.

The two weeks immediately after the accident were particularly hard as the school community dealt with the grief and trauma of the incident. With the help of other schools across Sydney, we managed to ensure that students and staff who needed help received it. There was a lot of hurt and there is still ongoing trauma for many.

This year, on the anniversary of the accident, the school opened a quiet garden area within the grounds called Cameron’s Corner. A plaque has been placed where Cameron used to sit – this is a space in his memory.

As you can see, the ministry of the school chaplain is diverse. At the heart of the ministry at Macarthur is a desire for students, staff and the school community to know and love Jesus. For all those involved to know the grace and mercy of God, and respond in faith. My prayer is that all Anglican schools would be the “fragrance of life” to many.

The Rev Michael Hyam Chaplain and Head of Biblical Studies at Macarthur Anglican School
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Privilege, joy and challenge: the Rev Michael Hyam reads the Bible with a group of students at Macarthur Anglican School.


Kerry – St Luke’s, Miranda Chaplain in a public school

IWANTED to be a school chaplain in honour of my daughter, who passed away. She was going to be a teacher in a primary school. She loved Jesus and our family loved doing children’s ministry together. I’ve now been working with Scripture Union Australia as a chaplain in a public school for eight years, two days a week.

I love what I do. Every chaplain in a public school does different things in line with their skills and the school’s needs.

A typical day starts with whoever is in the staff room. I chat to staff and check in on them. Then I head out to the playground and say “Good morning” to as many kids as I can. Sometimes I support children struggling with separation from their parents; there might be tears.

I am blessed to chat with children one to one. Sometimes children are referred to me who are struggling with anxiety, behaviour, focus and motivation. Sometimes they just need a break from the classroom. Sometimes kids don’t go into class well, so it’s talking them down from their worries or frustrations. I’m an extra pair of hands they can call on.

I have wellbeing chats with staff as needed or noticed. Staff all have families and things they have to deal with in life. Sometimes I support them to support their students. I also call parents and work out strategies for supporting their kids with them.

I go into classrooms and do wellbeing activities and programs that highlight topics such as kindness and gratitude. I provide parent seminars on a variety of topics, and consult with the school counsellor and work as part of the learning support team. Anywhere you think

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you could be pastoral and supportive, I try to be there.

Public school chaplaincy comes under the Department of Education’s National Student Wellbeing Program guidelines. This essential support provides social, emotional and pastoral support for students, staff and families, giving Australian children opportunities to participate, learn and grow.

The school community refers to me as the chaplain, and they know that I come from a Christian faith background. I tell those I’m supporting that I’m praying for them. For those in our community who are seeking spiritual support, or wish to discuss matters of faith, my door is always open, just as it is for those who need social and emotional support.

I get random questions often. One staff member, who doesn’t identify as having a faith, asked, “Did your faith help you when your daughter was sick?” I was able to say, “Yes it did, and it gives me hope as I live with the grief”.

I love working with kids. Their energy and watching them interact is joyful. I know that I am helping people go through really tough stuff and while that is difficult, there is still joy in being able to do that. We can reflect love and compassion in a way that others don’t get the opportunity to do. The teachers have to teach, the parents have to parent, but I can be a person who is completely dedicated to care and support. It’s a real honour.

I do wellbeing lunches for the staff and take soup, create a dessert bar or provide other small treats for them. We established a wellbeing week and the teachers enjoy a little pampering and extra care throughout that week. My focus is on caring for the whole school community and finding ways that I can make their day a bit brighter.

It’s good to recognise that chaplains are in schools because their heart is for Jesus. They need prayer and support and wisdom in managing what they say. Funding for chaplaincy programs can be difficult. While there is funding for some schools under the National Schools Wellbeing Program, that is not available to all schools.

I know hundreds of schools across NSW would have a chaplain tomorrow if funding was available, and so it really relies on churches and individuals being willing to finance chaplains and looking for ways to work with them.

WHAT PROGRAMS DO CHAPLAINS RUN IN SCHOOLS? 749 Breakfast clubs 228 Educational support 1061 Social-emotional support 39 Anti-bullying 297 Mentoring and role modelling 296 Spiritual support programs 4 Funerals and memorials 32 Diversity support 43 Parenting 683 Community development, events and activities Source: McCrindle Research/SU Australia, public school chaplaincy snapshot 2023
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CHRISTIAN schools are a ministry of hospitality. As we open the school gates to offer an excellent education, we also invite students and their families in to experience the kind of community that Jesus creates. We have an open enrolment policy, and we welcome students from all faith backgrounds and none at all, but having Christian families in our school is essential to bringing the Christian foundations of Meriden to life.

A new building is going up on our school campus at the moment. The foundation is laid, and we’re looking forward to seeing walls and floors! But a building doesn’t really come to life until people are in it. The same is true for the Christian worldview of a school. It’s in the lives of Christian staff, students and families that the life, hope and freedom of knowing Jesus becomes tangible.

We hope that the girls who are educated at Meriden will leave as women of integrity, appreciative of the Christian faith. We hope that they will have heard the gospel message over and over again, in Christian Education classes and in chapel services, and in the playground in conversations with teachers and friends. We hope that they will understand what it means to follow Jesus and why he’s so good.

We hope that they’ll have learnt God’s truth over the time they spend at school, but we also hope they will have experienced the care and compassion of God’s people, and seen the lightness and love that

marks their lives. We are so thankful for the Christian families who partner with us in showing Jesus through their intentional presence in our school community.

As our Christian families make time to meet and pray for us, go out of their way to encourage our staff or extend a warm welcome to new families, they bring God’s love to life. As Christian families share how God has transformed their lives or create space to hear the stories that matter to other families in our community, they bring God’s truth to life. As Christian families volunteer in the P&F or as class parents, attend school functions and weekend sport, they have thousands of opportunities over their daughters’ years at school to be known as Christians and to offer a glimpse into the richness and beauty of life with Jesus.

The joy of doing this at a Christian school is that the foundation is already laid. The Bible is open often at our school events, and so

Meriden girls make their

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The community that Jesus creates: a student Christian group at Meriden.

Jesus is naturally part of the conversation. The Christian families who embody this ethos offer a witness that is very hard to ignore.

I remember sitting down for a parent-teacher interview with a parent holding on to her daughter’s school Bible. “She brought it home and I read it,” she said. “She just kept talking about what she was learning about God at school.”

1. Be present at school “In order to be a light, you need to be visible,” she says. For Nissa, this includes chatting with other parents at school whenever possible. “The best way to be in community is to enter into community. This never used to be part of my personality. But I have gone from being a person who walks in a room and doesn’t talk to people to having to learn how to talk to people. If I can say ‘Hi’ to someone alone at church, I can do that at school as well.”

2. Be present in the community Many families and children recognise Nissa from her volunteer roles in other parts of the community. “One of the things that has made it easier to be a light in the school community is that I served in the

The parent read her daughter’s Bible from beginning to end, and wanted more: “Then I met some other parents, and they were so welcoming”. They happened to be Christian parents, and as they showed her Jesus in word and action, she came to put her faith in him.

The presence of Christian families in our school community has such a positive impact as they partner with us to make Jesus known.


As a Christian, Nissa believes she can be a blessing anywhere the Lord puts her. With three out of four daughters enrolled at her local western Sydney public school, this means she and her family are seeking ways they can be a source of hope and encouragement to those around them. She shared some of the ways she seeks to be a blessing to her local school community.

local playgroup,” she says. “When my kids went to school, we already knew some families. They already knew we were a Christian family.”

3. Be open about faith “Talk about your faith,” Nissa says. “It’s not scary to say, ‘I had a great weekend, we went to church and then out for a family lunch. How about you?’.” She also tries to explain how her beliefs influence decisions her family makes. “It’s okay to say when RSVP’ing to an invite, ‘I’m sorry we can’t go, I’m serving in church on Sunday’. People who go to sport will talk about sport, so I think we need to be less nervous mentioning that we are people of faith.”

4. Offer support to other parents Being known as a Christian has meant that when others have

had questions or needed support, especially in matters of faith, they’ve felt comfortable to reach out to Nissa. “My friend’s daughter asked her mum [questions about God], and her mum thought to contact me to ask, ‘What else can I give her to nurture her faith?’. Being in those spheres means that if someone has a question, I’m in the right place to answer them.”

5. Be prayerful “We pray for things happening at school,” Nissa says. “It would be good to pray for the school as a whole. In your Sunday church prayers, pray for local schools, for the Christian teachers and families, for those who might have questions about faith and for those who might come to our church one day.”


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I became a student again to become a better teacher

WHEN Jessie McMaster stepped into the classroom as a teacher, it didn’t signal the end of her life as a student. In fact, wanting to grow as a teacher inspired her to temporarily pause fulltime primary teaching and take up theological studies.

“I love teaching in a Christian school environment,” says Miss McMaster, who teaches at Wollondilly Anglican College. “I thought I could be better equipped in teaching Christian [content] to kids.”

She was longing for an opportunity to advance her practice through deepening her faith. “It was a good opportunity to explore knowing God better and be better equipped with [teaching] strategies and tips.”

She enrolled at the Youthworks Centre for Christian Education, which helps teachers to strengthen their theological and gospel expertise either before or after gaining a teaching qualification. The goal of the centre is to see more well-equipped Christian teachers in schools with a rich understanding of how the gospel shapes and supports their vital work.

The Rev Mike Dicker, principal of Youthworks College, says, “Our Christian schools have been looking for and needing more Christian teachers for a long time. If you don’t have a groundswell of Christian teachers on your staff in a Christian school, it’s quite difficult to maintain the Christian culture.”

He hopes the program will be a theological complement to the training that teachers receive at secular higher education institutions, where their ethical stances and views will be challenged. “This will make them really sharp as teachers; they then go back into schools equipped and ready to engage with those same ideas.”


Students at the Centre for Christian Education are expected to work in a school setting while they study. For those who already have a teaching degree this could involve teaching, while those yet to complete a qualification can seek employment as a teacher’s aide or member of the support staff. Miss McMaster is working part-time as a relief from face-to-face teacher, running Christian Studies classes with upper primary school students. Her learning is already having an impact on her lessons.

“[The course] has opened my perspective to the importance of teaching straight from the Bible,” she says. “It’s highlighted how having a better picture of the whole Bible shapes how I point kids to different aspects, like creation to new creation. I’m putting things into practice and regularly reflecting on what I’m doing.

“In our Formative Christian Teaching unit, we spent a lot of time reflecting on what it means to teach Christianly. I can be a Christian teacher in any school setting. My character and my knowledge of Jesus and serving him shape how I teach and how I value the kids. Knowing they’re a child of God [helps me to] approach things from a compassionate and loving perspective.”

She says it has been “really special” to invest time in her faith and see it as a priority, rather than having the sole focus on her profession as a teacher.

“I’ve no idea what the future looks like, but I’ll be more equipped. This year has been a valuable year, regardless of whether I step [back] into full-time teaching or a different education role.”

Investing time in their faith: Jessie McMaster (second from left) with fellow students at the Youthworks Centre for Christian Education.
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Barker students weave a “tapestry of compassion”

ANGELINA Barnsdall knows that you can’t make a global impact alone. So she inspired her fellow students at Barker College to come together, raise funds and, as a school, sponsor six students from some of the world’s poorest countries in partnership with Compassion Australia.

“At our school we have a motto called ‘The Red Thread’,” says Miss Barnsdall (left), who is in Year 10 and a school house captain. “It represents the connectedness of each Barker student. Just as the red thread symbolises the interconnectedness of our school community, I wanted to encourage students to remember that our actions, regardless of how big or small, are intricately linked to the wellbeing of those in need.”

Each year group, from Year 7 to Year 12, is sponsoring a different child and is responsible for organising fundraising, letter writing and celebrating the achievements of these children.

Students banded together to sell food and drinks at Barker’s annual House Fair in March, raising $3500 – which was enough to completely cover the sponsorship costs of six children for the first year. The initiative aligns with the school’s global vision of inspiring hope.

The head of Butters House in the Senior School, teacher Sally Filtness, is sure this will positively contribute to the development of each student’s character. “It’s a great initiative that I believe will increase the students’ global awareness, empathy and foster a sense of responsibility and cultural understanding,” she says.

Compassion Australia is greatly encouraged by the students’ efforts and initiative. Cooper Kruize, the organisation’s business development partnership team manager, says it’s a great example of how Compassion seeks to empower the next generation of leaders.

“Our partnership with schools is much deeper than fundraising,”

Schools and colleges directory



Broughton Anglican College

81-83 Menangle Road

Menangle Park NSW 2563

Meriden School

3 Margaret Street, Strathfield NSW 2135

Oran Park Anglican College 60 Central Avenue, Oran Park NSW 2570

St Peter’s Anglican Grammar 5 Howe Street Campbelltown NSW 2560

he says. “Our goal is to support schools in cultivating empathy, compassion and global awareness in students. We aim to provide students with meaningful opportunities to help alleviate child poverty, inspiring them that their actions can truly make a difference.”

Miss Barnsdall hopes that through writing letters, students will learn more about the children they are sponsoring, foster deep connections and grow in understanding of the challenges they face.

“Together, I know that the students at Barker College will make a difference, one act of compassion at a time. Each kind gesture, each act of support, is like a stitch in the tapestry of compassion that we are collectively weaving.”



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Year 13 11 Fifth Avenue Loftus NSW 2232

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Fundraising for Compassion kids: students sell food at Barker’s House Fair in March.

A culture of winning souls for Christ

In 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 the apostle Paul famously gives insight into one way Jesus’ love drove him to create deeply meaningful, personal connections to bring people the gospel: Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

Key to Paul’s strategy is using culture – understanding and adapting himself to others’ life patterns – to win souls for Christ. Moreover, this is not for Paul alone. He also calls on the Corinthians to “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor 11:1). All Christians are to become all things to all people, so that by all possible means we might save some.

Understanding culture is vital for Christians. However, it can also seem daunting – reserved for quirky, safari-suited academics studying strange tribal rituals in a remote place! I want to give a simple, accessible description of culture I’ve found very helpful in putting 1 Cor 9:22 into concrete, real-life practice.


Culture can be complex because people are complex, yet all humans are more alike than we recognise. This can help us see significant commonalities, even between the world’s very different cultural groups. In this light, the broadest, most useful definition of culture I’ve found is simply “the things that bind and motivate a group of people together”. This involves three main factors:

1. The thing(s) a group is formed around . Common examples include:

• ethnicity – I could describe myself as Chinese, Australian, or Australian Born Chinese;

• families or networks – the Wu family or Sydney Anglican;

• interests and activities – from skydiving to stamp collecting. Anything.

2. A set of symbols, ceremonies, rules and activities showing one belongs to this group, such as clothing and codes of conduct. In practice, these are a combination of “caught” and “taught” – some things are formally articulated, but as you spend more time in the tribe you just start to “vibe” how things work.

3. Behind all this is the group’s values and ideals, which the symbols, rules etc. are designed to build and uphold. For

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Moore College

example, a social sports club may not be fussed about ability or uniform, because their ideal is including as many people as possible. On the other hand, a professional team has strict dress and conduct rules, befitting their context of elite competitive sport in the public eye. So, culture is how you describe a group, by its symbols and values. I find this definition simple and accurate enough to help me engage in concrete ways within and across different groups.


Understanding culture this way helps life and Christian ministry for three main reasons:

Culture is like a relational door, opening the way for personal connections. I once met someone at church, and conversation was initially awkward. But when we discovered we were both fishermen, it was like we were instantly best friends! We shared pictures and stories, and the warmth and openness created was tangible. Most importantly, it allowed conversation to turn to Jesus far more naturally and positively.

Understanding, adopting and/or acknowledging cultural symbols and values (while still remaining genuinely ourselves) can open surprisingly quick and effective avenues for us to connect with others.

Culture is like relational glue. God didn’t design us to be isolated beings, but to be bound and shaped together in relationships. But relationships deepen through sharing and repeating experiences and activities with each other over time. The clearest example of this relational glue is our families. However, other groups we “do” life with also affect us, even as we have an impact on them.

For example, some of my best mates and supporters in serving God are from my year cohort at Moore College. Because of those years together, we now belong to each other and share the most vulnerable parts of our lives. There is immense power in just being there with and for others. Taking part in committed, repeated activity with one another (like weekly church attendance) is a key way God takes strangers and binds them together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Yet it’s important to note the possibility of being swept up and glued together into an undesirable, even harmful, culture. We must think carefully about our patterns, practices and rituals in work, family, friendships and church. Are they truly bonding people in positive connection to God and his people, helping them to flourish in Christ, or do they hinder, even harm, those God gives us to care for? We must ensure the bonds we build bind us together with Jesus’ restful yoke, not the world’s burdensome chains.

Culture is like a group’s cosmic shopping guide How people value things in life is determined by their culture’s perspective. For example, how much would a banana duct-taped to a wall be worth? In 2019, as a piece of art, it sold for $US120,000! This seems crazy. But for someone immersed in art culture, it so captured some symbolic ideal that it was worth every cent.

This is a facetious example, but it illustrates the point. Culture –your group, its activities, practices, symbols and rituals – shapes how you perceive and value things. What is worth your money? Your time? Investing your abilities and talents? How much, and to what extent? A big part of the answers come down to how your culture values things.

However, no one is part of just one culture. If culture revolves around a group of people with something in common, how many groups are you part of? Lots! Family, education or work circles, church and whatever you’re into – surfing, coffee, music, reading, sport – often compete within us over the same resources. This can be both challenging, and illuminating, when it comes to being a Christian.

For example, how should we best spend a Sunday morning, afternoon or evening? The Christian culture part of us sets high value on Sundays as a regular time to meet with our Christian family. However, to the secular culture part of us, Sunday’s value is as the best (possibly only) leisure day of the week. It calls us to value beach, sport or sleeping in as the best investment for that day. This competition of cultural values within us can create a surprising amount of tension in our decision-making.

Perhaps the decision to go to church on Sunday is not the most difficult one for regular readers of Southern Cross. But what about alcohol, whose abuse is a massive problem in Australian society, including among churchgoers? Or how sexual activity outside marriage is valued in general society versus the Bible? How about following Jesus over against the demands and requirements of your earthly family?


Understanding the importance of culture helps us set our hearts and minds on living for God with greater clarity and competence. It encourages us to keep building on what Bible-believing Christians have always held on to as of first importance.

Our commonality is that we are God’s people, gathered to him through the gospel of Jesus. Our lifelong passion should be to grow in understanding the loving, life-giving truths of his word that give us, and define, our very identity.

What might that involve for you? Setting aside time in your day for personal Bible reading and prayer? More regular attendance at church, or joining a Bible study? Taking a course of theological study? We are who God says we are, so the better we know his word, the clearer and stronger we will all be together in our identity and security as brothers and sisters in Christ.

Our culture, built around Jesus’s character, is of love and faithfulness, mercy and justice, grace and truth (John 1:14), drawing people to him as their Lord and Saviour, as we relate to him as our Lord and Saviour.

However, cultures and their symbols and practices change over time and, rather than facilitating the culture, symbols and ceremonies can hinder its health and growth, or vice versa. This is

14 SouthernCross June-July 2024

not a call to abandon any formality or tradition, but to respectfully assess and critique whether these help or hinder people now in engaging personally with God through his word. If they continue to serve well, great! If they no longer do, or could do better, we should not be afraid to consider modifying, or even shelving them. As Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27).

Behind a group’s symbols, activities and rules are its ideals and values. When we gather as God’s church (physically and relationally), we help each other to hear, through the oftenbewildering clamour of worldly voices, the trumpet call of God’s word to give our all for what is of ultimate worth: knowing Jesus and hoping in his kingdom (Phil 3:7-14).

As we come together, sing, speak, hear and live together, we strengthen each other under the sound of God’s word to treasure Christ above all else, in a much louder and more powerful way than we could ever hope to do by ourselves. Like scones on a tray in the oven, we need each other’s company to rise together in seeking God’s glory above all else.


Understanding culture also helps us win people for Christ. We may have experienced amazing conversations, even conversions, through things like walk-up evangelism. We may also have seen God do amazing things when we’ve invited people to church, or Bible study, where they’ve heard the gospel and turned to God. That is wonderful, and I want to encourage us to continue with these evangelistic activities.

However, they aren’t the only avenues for winning people to Christ. I’d even dare suggest they aren’t the most powerful or effective, especially as our surrounding culture becomes increasingly hostile to direct confrontation by the gospel.

The best and most effective evangelism is relational, where the gospel is shared in a context of deep personal connection and trust, and where conversion can be naturally extended into follow-up, because you’re just around the person anyway.

For this to happen, we need to first open relational doors to others, then bind to them with relational glue, so that together we can treasure Christ. Even if they will no longer come to us and enter our cultural space of church, that’s okay, because as Paul makes clear, nothing need stop us entering their cultural spaces to win them for Christ.

for him. What an energising and humbling prospect! Perhaps I could reframe the apostle’s words to close: Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the soccer parents I became like a soccer parent, to win the soccer parents. To those who belong to a book club I became like one belonging to a book club (though I myself prefer Netflix), so as to win those belonging to a book club. To those not having a drink I became like one not having a drink (though I am free to have a drink), so as to win those not having a drink. To those less fortunate I became less fortunate, to win those less fortunate. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

Who is God calling you to open cultural doors and bind yourself


As I think about the cultural groups in my life, I think of my children’s school and sports team parents. My extended family. The committees I sit on. My own sports team or fishing buddies. Even other owners of my dog breed, who have a social media group and do meet-ups. The list goes on. Each of these is a cultural group with a cultural door, cultural glue and cultural values. If I can understand, acknowledge and live in them (while still remaining genuinely myself – and, even more importantly, genuinely devoted to God), then perhaps, by God’s grace, I may be used to win some

ANNUAL MOORE COLLEGE LECTURES 2024 Theological Seminary All Welcome SouthernCross June-July 2024 15

How do we reach Australia for Jesus?

There’s no doubt that the spiritual state of our country is dark. We live in a society that has rejected Jesus Christ for generations. This big picture is often reflected in much smaller snapshots in our own lives – our attempts at evangelism are so often rejected, we can feel as though there’s very little point in continuing our efforts. It’s common for us to feel discouraged, dejected and dismayed.

In the face of such darkness and discouragement, what can we do?

When McCrindle Research conducted a nationwide survey in 2017 to gauge Australia’s attitudes towards Christianity, it discovered:

• only 7 to 8 per cent of people regularly attend a Bible-believing church;

• 8 per cent of Australians don’t even know a Christian;

• 38 per cent of people are either hostile to the faith or entirely apathetic.

The good news is that we’re not the first people who’ve had such experiences. Jesus, the greatest evangelist who ever lived, faced a culture that, while very different to ours, was also very similar in its widespread rejection of him. So, what can we learn from his response?

The end of Matthew 9 gives us clarity. In verse 36 we’re told that Jesus had “compassion” on the crowds of people he engaged with. That should come as no surprise; he was living in a time of great political and social upheaval, not to mention a lack of medical care for common people.

What may be surprising is that none of these things are what brought about his empathy. Instead, it was because “they were

harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. This is not a description of the physical condition of the crowds, but their spiritual condition. Jesus is compassionate because the people are distant from God; as a result, they are facing his judgement.

In the face of this, verse 35 tells us that Jesus spends his time speaking and acting in such a way that people might see he is the Messiah, come to earth to gather God’s people into his kingdom. Why would he do that? Because he views the world with eternity in mind. He sees the reality of heaven and hell, of life and death. He also knows that there is no one outside of the saving power of the gospel.

The diagnosis is spiritual darkness. The cure is the gospel, which brings spiritual light.


But there’s one other thing I want to show you. After proclaiming the gospel from a heart of compassion, Jesus turns to his disciples and says these famous, yet surprising words:

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few” (v37).

This verse is an explosive truth!

Fire up! 16 SouthernCross June-July 2024

We might be tempted to think the biggest barrier to evangelism in our society is a hostile world. Opposition. Persecution. Disinterest. Yet Jesus is saying that despite what may appear dark, there are many people ready to believe in him. Jesus surveys the world around him – hostile and disinterested – not with exasperation, but with expectancy for what God’s gospel can do. So, he gathers the disciples and urges them to pray for more workers (v38), then sends them out to proclaim the gospel (10:1-7). They become the very workers they had been told to pray for!

What does this mean for us, you might ask? How does this help us see Australia won for Christ?

I think that before we do anything, we need to see. We need to shape our lives around the reality of life that Jesus offers. We then need to remind each other that the biggest problem facing unbelievers is that they are spiritually lost. This means that no matter how they may present themselves to us, we must treat them with the greatest compassion possible: by telling them the gospel.

We need to view the harvest field in front of us in the same way as Jesus – not with exasperation, but with expectation.

While many of the statistics about Christianity in Australia are alarming, the survey mentioned above also presented an alternative picture. Yes, millions of people don’t know a single Christian – but 79 per cent of Aussies know at least two people

who say they’re Christian. The group surveyed was also asked what words described the Christians they knew. The top three answers were caring, loving and kind. The media might dislike us... but our mates? They like us!

But here’s what I really want you to notice: in answer to the question, “How open would you be to changing your current religious view?”, 26 per cent of unbelievers were “extremely” or “slightly” open to change. That’s 6.8 million people. One out of four Aussies!

Of course, the issue is that we don’t know who these people are. Three out of four people are not interested in change. But one in four are! The question is, will you go through the three to find the one?

There’s no shortage of rejection awaiting us, but also no shortage of opportunity.

Let us partner together in praying that the Lord of the harvest would raise up more workers to toil in the harvest field; and, in so doing, remember our own part to play in harvest work where we live. SC

Dave Jensen is the assistant director of Evangelism & New Churches and co-host of the Fire Up! podcast.

SouthernCross June-July 2024 17

God’s mission strategy for the gospel

Some years ago I was asked what the mission strategy was for the youth ministry at our church. What did we do for evangelism? How were we reaching the lost and proclaiming the good news to non-Christians?

I took the question in good faith, even though I detected a hint of haughty accusation underlying the question. “If you’re not running courses, holding attractive evangelistic events and presenting Two Ways To Live each week, then are you actually doing any evangelism?” seemed to be the subtext.

In an attempt to provoke some further discussion and get to the meat of the question, I gave this somewhat facetious response: “Our youth [and children’s] ministry uses God’s mission strategy for the gospel”. The bait worked!

What is God’s mission strategy for the gospel? In God’s infinite wisdom his mission strategy is, simply, you. Not just you, but all believers in God’s church, both collectively and individually. God’s mission strategy for the gospel is us, his people. From the smallest to the greatest, the educated to the unlearned, God uses each of his people to be his mission strategy for the gospel.

This doesn’t discount the fact that itinerant evangelists are a wonderful asset to the church, and evangelistic events provide creative ways to prompt discussion and challenge people to believe. It’s handy to have gospel tracts with succinct gospel

outlines. Evangelistic courses are useful avenues for unbelievers to investigate and explore the gospel in community. And apologetic techniques help individuals explain their faith with clarity and persuasion. But none of these are God’s mission strategy for the gospel.

God’s mission strategy for the gospel is his people, and in the mission of God from beginning to end he always involves human beings – his beloved image-bearing creatures. From the command to Adam and Eve, the call of Abram, the covenant with Israel, through to the incarnation of Christ and the commission of Jesus that his disciples should be his witnesses to ends of the earth. To paraphrase the apostle Paul, God uses “jars of clay” to display the treasure of the gospel; he uses the weak and foolish things of this world to frustrate the wisdom of the world.

The mission strategy for children’s and youth ministry, therefore, is to nurture their faith and confidence in Christ, and to cultivate their love and dependence on the gospel, so that their life and hope in Christ would overflow in sharing their faith.

Here’s what I love about this view of mission with children and young people. I love that it means mission is not all about me, and not about my program, my ministry or my events. I love that God is pleased to witness the gospel through each and every one of his disciples. If you think about it, this gives the gospel a more

Talking points 18 SouthernCross June-July 2024

extensive global reach! There are people in places that I can never get to. People in personal relationships that I don’t have. People in communities and networks in every part of the world, who are there as disciples of Jesus to make more disciples of Jesus.

This means that children’s and youth ministry is not about inviting friends to evangelistic events, although you might do that. And it’s not about drawing the world into your orbit so you can tell them the gospel efficiently and accurately – though you might do that, too.

It’s also not about being invited (or inviting yourself) into every space so that a gospel “expert” can deliver the message. It’s about all the disciples of Jesus bearing the good news of Jesus wherever they are and in whatever context they find themselves. The mission strategy of God is to enable and equip the disciples of Jesus to be his witnesses in all the world. And this is such a liberating thought! This is what I love about God’s mission strategy.

However, I’ll tell you what I don’t like. I don’t like that it’s not all about me. I don’t like that I can’t control how mission happens. I don’t like that the mission of the gospel in my local high school is in the hands of a 13-year-old. Because, to be honest, I can probably speak the gospel more accurately and more persuasively then they can. I’ve got a degree in theology and years of ministry experience. I’m probably more courageous (though not always),

and I reckon I’ve got a better shot at clearly presenting the gospel and answering questions.

If my young people invite their friends to a youth evangelistic event I can control the music, the atmosphere, the activities and the gospel presentation (to a certain extent). But if my mission strategy is to rely on my young people to speak the gospel, then how can I control any of it? How will I help them to be bold, or to answer questions with correct doctrine, or to be clear with the gospel, or to properly engage the unbelief of their friends?

And yet, this is the mission strategy of God. Jesus places the gospel in the hands of his disciples, both simple and knowledgeable, both young and old, both timid and bold, both proficient and sloppy. And he does this so that people might come to believe and know life in the name of Jesus. This is God’s mission strategy for the gospel of Jesus.

Next time someone asks you what your evangelistic strategy is for your children’s or youth ministry, or for your church, don’t point to a program of events, or a course, or a tract. Point to the people around you and say “This is”. SC

The Rev Mike Dicker serves as principal of Youthworks College.
SouthernCross June-July 2024 19

Ross of Rockhampton

The Rt Rev Ross Nicholson was planning to retire from the parish of Epping in July – until he got an email from the Registrar of the Diocese of Rockhampton, the Rev Jen Hercott. Could they have a chat?

Their conversation opened up a new avenue of ministry and, around the time Bishop Nicholson thought he was going to retire, he will become the Dean of Rockhampton.

“Our retirement got shortened!” he says with a laugh. “They’ve been without a dean for two years, so [Bishop Peter Grice has] been the acting dean while he’s trying to run a diocese, which is a pretty big call.”

Bishop Nicholson finished

Dr Amelia Haines

his seven-year stint at Epping on May 5 so he and his wife Jenny could take a break before starting their journey north.

They already had plans to attend the GAFCON Australasia conference in Brisbane on July 1-4, but will now continue northward to Rockhampton, where he will be made Dean of the cathedral on July 20.

“I am a really strong believer in the call of God to ministry,”

he says. “Everywhere we’ve been we’ve had this strong call... I was feeling a strong call to retirement! But as we talked to people about it, it was really evident that this is what God is calling us to do in the next phase.

“We’ve got to be thinking of

Dr Amelia Haines

Dr Amelia Haines

Dr Amelia Haines

Dr Amelia Haines

Dr Amelia Haines

Mr Philip Andrew Edney has relinquished his holy order as deacon, effective April 26, 2024.

On May 13 the Rev Michael Hanbury began working for Anglicare as the new assistant chaplain at Woolooware Shores in Taren Point.

After nine years as assistant minister in the parish of Newtown with Erskineville, the Rev Matt Aroney will become rector of South Head on June 19.


Go to hell... or not

mission not just as overseas, but all over Australia. Australia is a mission field. This is another exciting opportunity for service.”


List of parishes and provisional parishes, vacant or becoming vacant, as at May 28, 2024:

Asquith / Mt Colah / Mt



Baulkham Hills

Belmore with McCallums Hill and Clemton Park

• Concord and Burwood


Darling Street





Helensburgh and Stanwell Park


Liverpool South**


• Newport

• Regents Park*

• Rosemeadow*

• Shoalhaven


South Hurstville** Turramurra


• Westmead

* denotes provisional parishes or Archbishop’s appointments ** right of nomination suspended/on hold

It was very surprising to read the article in the May-June edition of Southern Cross on the end times of the Church Army in Australia without seeing any reference to Captain John Cowland. He was the English clergyman who founded the Army in Australia in the early 1930s and led it for years afterwards.

I came to know Captain Cowland in the late 1950s, after his retirement, when he acted at least twice as locum at St Andrew’s, Wahroonga. He had obviously been a force to reckon with and was still a powerful preacher. He could summon a very loud voice, whether he was preaching or singing.

Dr Amelia Haines

M.B.B.S (Syd), M. Hlth Sc. (Sexual Health) Grad. Cert. Psychiatric Medicine

M.B.B.S (Syd), M. Hlth Sc. (Sexual Health) Grad. Cert. Psychiatric Medicine

M.B.B.S (Syd), M. Hlth Sc. (Sexual Health) Grad. Cert. Psychiatric Medicine

M.B.B.S (Syd), M. Hlth Sc. (Sexual Health) Grad. Cert. Psychiatric Medicine

M.B.B.S (Syd), M. Hlth Sc. (Sexual Health) Grad. Cert. Psychiatric Medicine

M.B.B.S (Syd), M. Hlth Sc. (Sexual Health) Grad. Cert. Psychiatric Medicine

M.B.B.S (Syd), M. Hlth Sc. (Sexual Health) Grad. Cert. Psychiatric Medicine















For information on booking any time of the year, please see

Enquiries and bookings: (02) 9130 8587

On at least one occasion during his ministry, he was confronted with prisoners who refused to keep quiet as he stood to give his sermon. He said in a very loud voice, “You can all go to hell!”. A stunned silence ensued and then he completed the sentence with, “but you don’t have to”. He then continued with his sermon. He was a bit too “high church” and non-Reformed for my taste, not an evangelical but a good evangelist. I believe that many came into the kingdom of God because of him and his co-workers. He should be remembered by name in any account of the Church Army in Australia.

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weekly newsletter. 20 SouthernCross June-July 2024
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Principles, not pragmatics in practice

Australian Evangelical Perspectives on Youth Ministry

It is easy to be driven by pragmatics. But to put our theology into the driver’s seat of our ministry practice is a much harder task.

Recently, we were faced with a decision at church. It was wet again, church was over-full again, and the easiest solution was to put all the children on the floor at the front until they went off to kids’ church after the kids’ talk.

I had just read through Australian Evangelical Perspectives on Youth Ministry and viewed this decision with fresh eyes. As Chase Kuhn wrote in his chapter, “How much do these ministries present the cart-before-the-theological-horse approach to church? The responsible challenge is to seek clarity in our theology, working from first principles to refine and revise our ministry practice”.

In reading this book, I revisited so much of the theology and principles that had laid the foundations for my ministry philosophies and practice. I wanted our ecclesiology to drive this decision, not rainy-day pragmatics.

Over the past 20 years, Youthworks’ annual House conference has shaped and sharpened the theology of children’s and youth ministers across Sydney, helping them to develop theological frameworks and principles for best practice and reflect on the implications of these lived out in their weekly ministries. Ruth Lukabyo has collected the rich, clear theology and thinking expressed in these conference papers to produce a book that lays out a Reformed, evangelical, Anglican theology for children’s and youth ministry. It is a fresh perspective that will contribute a strong, clear evangelical voice to the worldwide conversation about youth ministry.

Thirteen authors have contributed papers for the book, and they include faculty of Youthworks and Moore colleges, scholars and experienced practitioners. Each author’s voice is uniquely heard through their paper, but collectively they weave a rich tapestry to display the Reformed theology, biblicism, congregationalism, intergenerationalism and concern for evangelism and discipleship

from page 22

Chinese viewer put it, “I’d never seen British people cursing in that way until I watched the show”.

In this season Clarkson takes responsibility for what he calls “unfarming”. That is, how to turn a quid from side hustles such as jam making and mushroom propagation. Kaleb, who really knows what he is doing, is responsible for the arable side of the farm, including barley and other crops.

In the final episode, they compare which of them has made the most money. Put it this way – there is a reason the farm is called Diddly Squat.

that underpins contemporary Sydney Anglican youth and children’s ministry.

The papers have been collated around the themes of identity, church, culture and discipleship. Many of the questions we face in ministry are explored through these themes, such as what stories are we allowing to shape our view of our children and young people… do we believe they are passive, or active agents, consumers or contributors? How do we help young people shape their identity, interact with the culture around them, and live wisely in the world?

Further, what is the place of children and youth in church when we gather corporately? How do we shape our churches to be intergenerational communities and help our youth stick with their faith? Is “kids’ church” church? What is the place of families and parents in the discipleship of children and young people? What is the history of the Sunday school movement in Australia and how effective was it? How do we talk to children about sin?

Not only do these papers offer deep and rich theological reflection on these questions, they provide thoughtful, clear and practice-based responses. This book is now a must-read for all our students, staff and ministry trainees. If you want to know what is shaping and driving good children’s and youth ministry in Sydney, this book holds your answer!

Returning to our rainy day issue of space, after some theological re fl ection I had my answer. I believe our children are active members of our gathering. They need to feel warmly welcomed to learn, and they need to be with their parents – and among the adult members – to sing, worship, watch, learn and participate, not be isolated or segregated. So, if we need more space, then we would ask our parents to move with their children and invite other members of the congregation to join them on the floor, too. SC

The Rev Naomi de Vries is an assistant pastor at the Bridge Church with responsibility for children and families.

Throughout the series, I kept thinking of the trials our farmers go through here. One veteran farmer at my church told me he liked how the hardships of agriculture were portrayed in this show for all to see. The farming analogies in the Bible become a lot more real when you see close up what a gift of providence any successful farming must be.

It also shows that you can’t always judge a book by its cover. I think it came as a surprise to Clarkson that he’s gone from TV’s bad lad to a poster boy for British farmers. I bet it also shocked many type one people to find they are now cheering him on. SC

Book review.
SouthernCross June-July 2024 21

From bad lad to farmers’ poster boy

Clarkson’s Farm

Seasons 1-3 on Amazon Prime Seasons 1 & 2 on 9Now

There used to be two kinds of people in this world. Type one were those who thought Jeremy Clarkson was a boorish oaf; type two were those who also thought this, but didn’t mind watching him on the telly.

Now, there is type three. People who have started watching Clarkson’s Farm and have seen another side to him.

Season 3 of Clarkson’s Farm dropped in May. As one who discovered it late, I am amazed at how popular it has become.

First, a quick explainer. Jeremy Clarkson, an outspoken motoring journalist best known for the laddish show Top Gear , retreated to the Cotswolds just before COVID to try his hand at farming. A 1000-acre property, which Clarkson soon named Diddly Squat Farm, became the backdrop of a reality show on the Amazon streaming service.

We were introduced to a cast of local characters from the village of Chadlington in Oxfordshire. There’s Kaleb, the tractor driver who is the second star of the show, Charlie the farm specialist and money man who brings Clarkson back to reality (pardon the pun) from his crazy schemes, Clarkson’s partner Lisa – who is, to put it mildly, long-suffering – and Gerald the stone-waller, who has a West Country accent so thick they don’t even bother subtitling it.

It’s easy to introduce the cast, but hard to explain what happens on the show. It is at times contrived and at times compelling. In Season 1, Clarkson starts by buying a huge, expensive and impractical tractor just because it was made by Lamborghini. After that, he is crash- or crash-through trying his hand at arable

farming, animal husbandry and then retailing through a hastilyerected farm shop.

In Season 2, we see just how hard it is to make money. It takes long hours, and what they get is bad weather on good days and good weather on bad days. Then the local council stops them from running the shop and a restaurant – their only chance to start making money and help out nearby farms by selling their produce as well. The local councillors prove to be type one people (ie. Clarkson is a boorish oaf).

So, to the latest series, which begins with the council stalemate over the shop and a visit to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. It shows how much punch the show has when Diddly Squat Farm becomes an advisor to Downing Street on agricultural policy. Mind you, one of Kaleb’s contributions to the top-level talks is to tell Sunak that he has “lovely hair”.

Clarkson’s Farm broke Amazon viewing records. British farmers have got behind the show and hailed it as one of the best things to happen to the industry. The show is even a hit in China, among apartment dwellers who love the scenes of rural England.

I don’t want to give any spoilers on Season 3. Let’s just say it is funny, sad and ultimately uplifting. Gerald has a battle with cancer, which brings out a tender side in Clarkson and Kaleb. Lisa and Jeremy try pig farming, which proves heartbreaking when the sows kill the piglets (it’s not even clear whether this is accidental).

Be prepared for the language. Clarkson is still Clarkson. As one

continued on page 21

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