Calvary Hospital Hostile Takeover

Calvary Hospital Hostile Takeover:
There must be an Inquiry

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Calvary Hospital Hostile Takeover

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It was Christian schools, now it’s a Christian hospital under attack.

Your help is needed to demand an Australian Capital Territory Government Inquiry into the hostile takeover of Canberra’s Calvary Hospital by the deadline of 17th July 2023.

Cross being removed from the hospital.
For the ACT Government to forcibly “acquire” the Calvary Hospital in Canberra is authoritarianism in a way we have never seen before in Australia

Calvary Hospital should have the freedom to conscientiously object to intentionally taking lives through abortion and euthanasia.
If this takeover is allowed, who will be next?

In totalitarian style, the Australian Capital Territory Government rammed unprecedented legislation through the ACT Legislative Assembly to allow it to forcibly take over the hospital.

The Catholic-owned hospital has been a strong advocate for the sanctity of human life by conscientiously objecting to the provision of elective abortions and opposing the introduction of assisted suicide to the ACT.  This mandatory acquisition is a clear attack on religious freedoms in the nation’s capital.

The ACT Government’s unilateral action was taken without consultation, bypassing the normal parliamentary committee, and public submission process.

Please email State Senators and the Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee to demand an ACT Government Inquiry.

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Reaching an entire village from your desk


Reaching an entire village from your desk

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Reaching an entire village from your desk
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“What if you could reach an entire village with the Gospel… from your desk? This is what happened to our teammate, Amin,” reports German church planter Jürgen Kramer, who ministers in Hamburg among refugees from Syria and Iraq.

During the lockdowns in Hamburg, Amin asked God: “What should I do? I’m at home and not allowed to go out. How do I reach people with the Gospel?” The answer came quickly with a phone call from a Yazidi friend in Northern Iraq. This friend shared how they were struggling against evil spirits. Black magic is unfortunately part of Yazidi culture, and many Yazidi have also been traumatised by ISIS.

“I prayed that God would release them and bring them freedom from these spirits,” Amin said. I urged my friend: ‘Please accept Jesus in your life, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and be with you forever.’ My friend agreed, and I told him: ‘If you don’t connect with God every day, those evil spirits will be back, and they will be even more powerful.’ After this conversation, my friend in northern Iraq decided he wanted to study the Bible together with me. He also invited a friend and their two sisters. God had answered my prayer.”

‘The two sisters went from house to house to share Jesus’

“For 4 months, we spent 3 hours every day reading and studying the Bible together. We also prayed, and I encouraged them to share Jesus with their friends in the university. During this time, we also decided to fast and pray that the glory of God would go from house to house among the Yazidi people. We would skip one meal each day for 10 days and spend that time in prayer. We would pray that each person in this community would know and experience the true love of God.”

“Two or three months after we completed this Bible study, I started receiving good news from my friends there. The two sisters had been going from house to house to share Jesus in their Yazidi community. I got to know more and more new believers who had learned of Jesus from these two women. When the sisters encountered someone who had questions they couldn’t answer, they would direct them to me, and we would search the Bible together for answers.”

As a result, there is now a vibrant Yazidi house church planted in this community, and more and more Yazidis are coming to know the love of Jesus Christ. This house church has formed a couple of teams that go out and visit villages and camps. “Please join us in praying that this Yazidi church will continue to grow!” Amin asks.

Source: Jürgen Kramer, All Nations Hamburg

 Joel News # 1264, June 28, 2022


See also:

The Life of Jesus: History’s Great Love Story – Blog
The Life of Jesus: History’s Great Love Story – PDF

New Christian’s Guide – Blog
New Christian’s Guide – PDF

Terra Australis del Espiritu Santo

Terra Australis del Espiritu Santo

The Great South Land of The Holy Spirit

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Terra Australia del Espiritu Santo
Renewal Journal – a chronicle of renewal and revival:

This declaration was made by Pedro Fernandez de Quiros on the island of Espiritu Santo in Vanuatu on 14th May, 1606. Australia was previously known as Terra Australia Incognito.

“Let the heavens, the earth, the waters with all their creatures
and all those here present
witness that I, Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros…
in the name of Jesus Christ…
hoist this emblem of the Holy Cross
on which His (Jesus Christ’s) person was crucified
and whereon He gave His life
for the ransom and remedy of all the human race…
On this day of Pentecost, 14 May 1606…I, take possession
of all this part of the South as far as the pole
in the name of Jesus…
which from now on shall be called
the Southern land of the Holy Ghost
…and this always and forever
…and to the end that to all natives, in all the said lands,
the holy and sacred evangel may be preached zealously and openly.”

These words are the prayer of a Portuguese navigator, who was part of the Spanish
Voyages of Discovery to the Pacific Ocean. There were many ships and explorers of Dutch,
English, French, Portuguese and Spanish origins who passed near the northwest coastline
and so believed that a vast continent in the south was yet undiscovered by other explorers.

Until the arrival of Captain James Cook in 1770, the East coast remained unchartered.

The prayer of Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, invoking the Holy Spirit, so long ago is now,
more than ever, worthy of recalling, for a nation in crisis, built on Judeo-Christian foundations.
As a devout Catholic, Captain Pedro had passed through Rome, prior to this voyage, to seek
the Holy Father’s blessings on his distant voyages, that risked peril or joy and months or years
at sea, seeking a vast southern continent, Australia, we now know and love as home.

Let us, like Captain Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, pray to the Holy Spirit in this time of a virus
pandemic that has brought so much suffering and death so quickly throughout the world.
May the words “Come O Holy Spirit, and Renew the face of the earth” become our prayer.

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12 Spheres of Influence – National Prayer Strategy

Adapted from Prayer Strategy for the Spheres of Influence
The original 10 domains are now expanded to 12 spheres of influence

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You, or your group, could include these spheres in your prayers.

From the National Prayer Strategy:

The vision for the ten domains was revealed to Peter Kentley, the former CEO of Australian Marketplace Connections. Since 2009 we have received a number of confirmations to adopt and develop this vision in Australia, and to establish prayer (and mission) strategies for these domains.

The original ten domains were:

1. Trade and Finance (Business)
2. Government and the Military
3. Law and Justice
4. Religion and Philosophy
5. Creative Arts
6. Education
7. Charity and Not for Profit Welfare
8. Health and Science
9. Media and Entertainment
10. Sport and Recreation

These are now expanded to 12 spheres of influence


During the 20th Century life became multi-faceted and overly busy with Marketplace spheres (or mountains or domains) of influence dominating and competing for the Families’ time, money, affections and ambitions, and drawing them away from the Church (the eternal family) and God our creator.

Every month we dedicate prayer for these 12 spheres (click on each):

To a great extent God is being largely relegated outside these spheres of our society. The cost of this relegation has been incredible: costs to society in the form of corporate ethical failures, physical and mental health burdens resulting from people failing to engage with Biblical solutions such as forgiveness, and the near-meltdown of the whole global financial system (the ‘GFC’ and potential ‘GFC2’) as a result of debt-driven artificial wealth creation that was not based on Godly values and principles.

Even the Church has been largely seduced into a Greek world view of the division of sacred and secular, creating a separation of Sunday from Monday. This resulted in the Church only accessing some 5% of its people’s waking time and Christian discipleship becoming emasculated (minimizing the impact of the Great Commission).

Yet the Marketplace is the place where Christians spend some 67% of their waking time Monday to Friday. It is in the workforce that the Christians’ attitudes and character are put to the reality test…

…and if the Christians’ Monday behaviour does not reflect their Sunday belief, why would anyone believe their belief?

From this we can conclude that the BIG answer for the Church impacting the world is not primarily in programs, as good as some of these may be. The answer is in the excellence of discipleship expressed into the world: i.e. into the workforce, into the marketplace, into the shopping centres, into the schools, into the hospitals, into the courts and onto the sports fields and so on. This is our original Commission from Jesus in Matt 22:37-40 and 28:17-20 and John 17:18.

Our Principles are God’s Principles;
‘… on earth as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:19)

(Reviewed by Ps. Geoff Armitage)

At this time in history we are living under God’s grace, where good and evil can produce order or disorder (respectively), and according to our obedience or disobedience to God. In this reality two doctrines work in parallel: the free will of man and the sovereignty of God. While God calls all people to himself through His truth and kindness, not all will respond. God is not responsible for our sin and He will ultimately have the last say.

Ultimately, for the life we have been given we will all be held individually accountable (John 3:16-18). The time will certainly come when the Lord Jesus Christ will return to earth to rule and reign as King of Kings and Lord of Lords over the whole earth from the city of Jerusalem (Micah 4:1-8).

Therefore, our faith is in Christ the Son of the Living God (John 3:18), and this is where we stand.

Our Mission is to pray and connect people who are passionate about participating in growing the governance of Christ in every sphere/mountain/domain of influence in our society and follow God’s command to love one another as He loved us (John 13:34-35).

We look to connect Christians, who are passionate about the Great Commandments (Matthew 22:34-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) in everyday life. This connection is without regard for denominational affiliation.

Our ethos is vibrantly alive around nine magnificent truths:

  1. The Government rests on the shoulders of Jesus and his government and peace will never end – the Lord Almighty will accomplish this (Isaiah 9:6-7).
  2. The offices of Jesus in Heaven and Earth are Prophet (Hebrews 1:1-2), Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and King (Revelation 19:16).
  3. The three institutions of God on earth are Family, Government and Church.
  4. Church and State have separate jurisdictions under Jesus. For the Church Jesus is the head and high priest. For the State Jesus is the King of kings and Lord of lords.
  5. Society operates through spheres/mountains/domains with a multitude of sub-spheres/mountains/domains.
  6. The foundations of the Kingdom of God are Justice and Righteousness (Psalm 89:14).
  7. The Power of God works through all spheres/mountains/domains.
  8. Jesus Christ will come again to rule and reign over the earth.
  9. Our connection with God is through humility, faith and obedience (Matthew 18:4, Hebrews 11:6).

We are implementing these truths through praying and encouraging many church and marketplace leaders who represent their spheres/mountains/domains of influence.

Adapted from Prayer Strategy for the Spheres of Influence

House Church: The fastest-growing expression of church

House Church: The fastest-growing expression of church

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House Chruch: The fastest-growing expression of church
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Joel News International, # 1231 | October 5, 2021
view on the web or translate
“The church has to become small in order to grow big.”
– Wolfgang Simson

Global: The fastest-growing expression of church

German missiologist Wolfgang Simson published a global status report on house churches, in his observation “the fastest growing expression of Christ-followers on the planet.”

House churches like we read about in Acts have been present throughout church history, but these groups were often sidelined and even persecuted by the mainline church. However, since the early 20th century, we see a major comeback of house churches. First in China, where some researchers speak of 160-200 million members in more than 10 million house churches.

Since the 1990s house churches also experienced a rapid renaissance outside China. In particular Egypt and India have experienced the emergence of large house church networks, and became modern-day apostolic epicentres for this global phenomenon. The sum total of all current believers in house churches in India alone, about 80 million, already outnumbers the Lutheran Word Federation.

Simson estimates the number of house churches in mid‐2021 as follows:

1) 10 Million house churches in China.

2) Since 1996, about 2 million house churches have been planted in India, Egypt and the rest of the Middle East.

3) 3 Million house churches have reportedly been planted by various missions collectives like 24:14 and T4T.

4) 2 Million house churches are not on the official radar. This includes movements like Hoffnung Deutschland (founded by Marcus Rose, about 1,000 house churches) and 20,000 newly planted village house churches in Uganda – many meet under a tree for the lack of a hut large enough – as reported by Riccardo Meusel.

5) 1.5 Million ‘ halfway houses’ for church misfits in the USA. According to American sociologist Josh Packard, in his book Church Refugees, the US experiences a gigantic church exodus of so-called ‘doners’ – people who are done with church, but not with God, and organize themselves in ‘halfway houses’.

6) 1 Million ‘doner’ [done with church] house church groups outside the US in countries like Australia, the UK, South Africa, Korea, Singapore and Israel.

7) 1.7 Million house churches inside businesses and Insider Movements. Insider movements are house church movements that do not openly identify with Christianity but remain outwardly loyal and therefore hidden inside existing religions like Islam, Hinduism, Shintoism or Buddhism. Many see their religious environment as their cultural heritage within which they have become secret followers of Christ. This phenomenon also exists inside secular groups, clans or tribes. An additional form of this are ‘business churches’, house churches that function inside a business as their cover. Close observers speak of about 500,000 ‘business house churches in China and 200,000 outside China.

8) 400,000 Informal small groups in mainline churches like the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches that fulfill a role in ‘re-evangelisation’.

9) 1 Million house churches in 20,000 smaller house church networks and so-called ‘Apostolic Networks’.

Small expressions are booming. Picture: tiny houses in Almere, The Netherlands.

There are several significant contributors to the expansion of house churches:

1) Mission researcher Dr. Todd Johnson, in his ‘Status of Global Christianity 2021′, lists 113 million ‘unaffiliated’ or ‘Crypto-Christians’ who are following Christ outside the official church system, often in private, non-public gatherings in homes.

2) An Egyptian missiologist reported that during the Arab Spring at least four million Muslims in Egypt alone have turned away from Islam – many in search of God.

3) A growing number of young evangelists, like Torben Sondergaard (The Last Reformation) and Werner Nachtigall (Global Outreach Day) are intentionally connecting evangelism with the immediate planting of house churches.

4) Several megachurches in the US feel called by God to be instrumental in the planting of house churches. Mission strategist Curtis Sergeant has created a web-based ‘simple church saturation’ project planning to plant one simple church for every 5,000 people in the US and for every 50,000 people globally with material currently available in at least 37 languages.

5) During the COVID19 lock-downs many traditional church members have been forced to engage in ‘stay-at-home-church’, and a significant percentage will continue in this mode. They organised themselves into neighbourhood churches in homes, sometimes with online input. These numbers are not yet fully researched but may be very significant. One thing is evident: the post-corona church will not be exactly the same as pre-corona-church.

6) A large percentage of the children of church-goers have said their farewell to ‘mum’s-and-dad’s church’ and are in search mode for community, values and lifestyles that are radically different. Abraham Piper for example, the son of famous US‐theologian John Piper, runs a TikTok account with more than 1.1 million followers where he is trying to deconstruct fundamentalist evangelical church culture in search of a new and non-religious framework for life. It is to be seen what forms of following Christ will emerge from this very explosive and creative global people group.

Source: Wolfgang Simson

Editorial note: Wolfgang Simson did not research house church networks empirically or scientifically. Such a research is fairly difficult, if not impossible, with organic small groups that in many countries operate under the radar. He used ‘informed estimations’ of ‘trusted insiders’. Obviously data from church leaders who estimate the size of their own movements, and don’t keep records (although many of the Indian movements track conversions and groups), are less reliable and can only be indicative. In the past Simson has exaggerated numbers, and on various occasions was not willing to provide the contacts of those he claimed to have spoken to. So it was not possible for Joel News to check these claims as thoroughly as we would like to. On a general note we can say: house church movements are surely one of fastest-growing segments of the church, and the drivers that Simson suggests are valid, but the exact numbers are debatable.

Germany: The secret behind 1,000 new house churches

One of the networks, Hoffnung Deutschland (Hope Germany), planted an estimated 1,000 communities in 20 years, which for Europe is quite remarkable.

When Joel News asked Marcus Rose, Hoffnung Deutschland’s founder based in Berlin, about the number of house churches in his network, he responded: “We crossed the 500 sometime in 2017, after which we stopped counting.” What also stands out is that most people in these house churches are new Christians. On the question how this remarkable growth happened, Rose remarked drily: “There are many reasons. The one I usually give is that we just never stopped doing the small things.”

Photo: Marcus Rose

In a podcast on missions he elaborated on this: “I always wonder why people ask me: ‘What is the secret of the growth around you?’ And I would say: probably the most important thing is that I would never ask myself that question! I consider growth in an individual’s life the necessary foundation for growth as churches. In 1 John 2:12-14 the Christian work is described as newborn babies who are supposed to become fathers with children of their own. The way to get there is by overcoming the evil one, by being so strong in Christ, his Word and the Spirit, that the world stops being the place where you get your answers from.”

‘Church is the most progressive institution in a country, with the power to transform’

“It’s a continuous process to encourage people on that track and to do it together, to put in their time, giftings and financial resources. The most important part of leadership is just observing: what do people already get from God, and how can we connect people with a similar vision?”

In another podcast, Rose shares his own life story – how he grew up in communist East Germany, and at age 15 had a personal encounter with Christ. When the Wall fell in 1989, even though he was still a teenager he contacted schools to ask if they were interested to replace the lessons on communism in the curriculum with the teachings of Jesus. This opened many doors, and 30 house churches were established.

Later on, in Thailand, like Jonah on the run from his calling, Rose discovered church as “the most progressive institution in a country, with the power to transform, because it brought together prostitutes and millionaires as new people in Christ.”

‘There was no formula, I simply connected with people I met’

Around 2000 he moved back to Germany with the explicit instruction from God to not work in the Christian scene, but to work under the radar, connecting with non-Christians and discipling them in the way of Christ. This was a challenge as East Germany was culturally atheist, almost immune to the Gospel. In the first three months in Berlin God gave Rose a kick-start with a handful of young people getting baptised. “There was no formula. I simply connected with people I met, showed genuine interest, told them I had come to Berlin to plant a church, and if they were open to continue the relationship, I got their number and followed up.”

It quickly spread to several other cities in Germany. Rose communicated from the start that his vision was to see communities started in every region and subculture, and for God to raise up 10,000 missionaries out of Germany.

Image: A visualisation of apostolic hubs and the explosive growth potential of house churches in regions and subcultures

From 2010 onwards the network developed what Rose calls “an apostolic pattern” that started to catalyse things. “God instructed us to divide Germany into 90 minute regions. The idea was that a German could get in his car or step on a train on a Saturday, drive 90 minutes to a place, do outreach there, mentor people, organise something, pray for sick people, do sports, make it a family trip. This is something that people dare to do, that feels very natural.”

‘Continuously ask God what He wants you to do’

Rose also helped new Christians to focus on what he calls ‘the three steps of spiritual planning’, as explained in a third podcast:

1. Ask God: what are the qualities He wants to establish in your life, and through your life in the world around you?
2. If you have security about that, then ask God how many of your resources (time, money) you should invest in that.
3. Then ask Him in which specific projects you should invest yourself.

“This creates an atmosphere in which people continuously ask God what He wants them to do. Not what the church expects of them, or what others might want them to do, but what God says.”

New Christians with an apostolic gifting receive personal coaching to start similar processes themselves in other regions and countries. This is how the multiplication takes place. Rose’s vision for the next years is to start and support 100 apostolic teams, with every team being unique in giftings and reach. Each team could support 100 house churches, reaching people Rose or the apostolic workers could never reach themselves.

Source: Marcus Rose, Hoffnung Deutschland

Small is the new big… Do you long to be part of this global movement? Consider supporting Simple Church Europe, a project of Dutch charity Joel Ministries. We equip Christians to start missional simple church groups in Europe that multiply.

See also

House Church: the fastest growing expression of church

Grassroots movements with no church buildings explode

Dinner Churches

House Churches, by Ian Freestone

House Churches in China (Barbara Nield)

China: how a mother started a house church movement

Laos: a church for the So

Joel News – Inspiring stories on the advance of God’s Kingdom around the globe today, delivered once a week in your mailbox. We cover all continents and serve mission-minded Christians in over 100 nations.


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From Jim Elliot to Saint Patrick, and Gladys Aylward to Harriet Tubman, heroes of the faith can help inform our own Christian walk. We can see the bravery they displayed, their commitment to the Lord and His mission, and the incredible love that they showed to people all over the world. With these things in mind, we can help teach our kids and grandkids the eternal truths of God’s Word, and show them how a life lived in love of God and neighbor can truly change everything.

RevelationMedia is committed to bringing you, your kids, and your grandkids quality Christian content for FREE. Over the course of 2021, we have been releasing episodes from the Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith series weekly. All 20 episodes are now available to watch; simply click the link below the hero you’d like to know more about, and you can stream the episode instantly.

As you watch, prayerfully consider a generous donation to RevelationMedia. Your contributions help us continue to offer online events like this and help us distribute faith-based content to the global missions community at no cost to them.

See Jim Elliot’s commitment to the Gospel on display as he ultimately laid down his life trying to bring the Word of God to the Waodani in Ecuador.
From the bonds of slavery to a life lived in service to God, St. Patrick’s commitment to the Lord compelled him to return to Ireland to bring the Gospel to those who had enslaved him.
See how William Tyndale succeeded in his mission to bring the Scriptures to the common people despite a devastating shipwreck and church leaders that would have him killed.
As Martin Luther boldly stood for the true Gospel against the church that would like to see him silenced, he sparked the flame of the Reformation that would reverberate across world history.
Take to the seas with Robert Thomas and see the lasting impact he had on the people of Korea. God used the Bibles he carried to bring the life-changing Gospel message.
From the depths of the jungle to the American academy, Samuel Morris was an inspiration to all who met him. Because of his faithfulness, countless missionaries have gone on to spread the Gospel all over the world!
See the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that transforms love of worldly vice into love of neighbor with William Booth, the leader and founder of the Salvation Army.
Eric Liddell was willing to give up fame and glory to serve the Lord and share the message of the Gospel.
Through war-ridden lands, Gladys Aylward remained steadfast, trusting the Lord for deliverance.
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand boldly preached the Gospel wherever he was—even in prison!
Only 22 years old at the time of her imprisonment, Perpetua boldly proclaimed Christ and faced death knowing that she would spend all eternity with Him.
Amy Carmichael stepped in and rescued countless children from their fate as temple children, and dedicated her life to serving those who needed help.
John Bunyan was imprisoned for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, and from his prison cell he wrote one of the most influential Christian books of all time.
From pagan philosopher to committed Christian, Augustine became one of the most important theologians in all of early church history.
When Corrie ten Boom and her family were imprisoned by the Nazis, she had no idea that one day she would be faced with the difficult task of extending forgiveness to her captors.
God lit a fire in John Wesley’s heart, and used him to spark a great revival in England.
Though faced with incredible opposition, Adoniram and Ann Judson brought the Word of God to Burma.
George Müller trusted the Lord for provision, and with God’s help, he opened homes for thousands of orphans.
God used Harriet Tubman to free hundreds of other enslaved African Americans in what would come to be known as the Underground Railroad.
Mary Slessor stepped into the danger of the jungle to bring the truth of the Gospel to a people who didn’t know God.
Support RevelationMedia and help our ministry bring quality Christian content to families and missionaries around the world. Each online event offers the opportunity to make a donation to RevelationMedia and receive a free gift. Please consider supporting RevelationMedia today with your generous donation.
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PM speaks to church leaders

PM speaks to church leaders

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From Vision Christian Media

On Tuesday 20 April 2021, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave an address to Christian Leaders at the Australian Christian Churches conference on the Gold Coast. This is not the first time Mr Morrison has spoken about his faith, nor did he say anything particularly controversial, but that has not stopped a storm of news and social media coverage about the place of faith in politics.

PM speaks at ACC Conference

Following is a transcript of what he had to say (after his initial greetings):

“I do want to share something with you tonight, a few things that are on my heart. I need you help… Jenny sends her best by the way, thank you for your prayers for Jen, particularly most recently. She’s amazing. I’m just thrilled the rest of the country is getting to work out what I’ve known for a very, very long time. She’s a great blessing, you know, she’s got an amazing heart, the way she’s used the opportunity God has given us for such a time as this. The way that she has been able to reach out to people and just be a blessing to them and a comfort to them. Her heart is just as big as it comes and God is using her, I think, in great ways, in political ways. I didn’t come to talk about politics tonight … the opportunities that have come her way. Leila and Danny Abdallah, I don’t know if you know Leila and Danny? They lost their three children, when they were run over at Oatlands and Jenny has forged an amazing friendship with her and that family, and the other families that are affected, and that’s an amazing faith that forgives and they’ve been a blessing to this country.

But, I do need your help. My father-in-law was an amazing Christian. There wasn’t a day that went past when Roy wasn’t in complete wonder about how God saved him. He grew up in Bondi when it was a lot tougher than it was today, and he had a bit of a rough time growing up. He was a bit of a loner and God reached him through a great church where he was and he just lived the rest of his life saying “I can’t believe how great God is” and he would just give thanks every single day. And, when I was younger – because I started going out with Jenny when I was 16 – I would sit and we’d have discussions, Roy and I. Even back then I was interested in things political and so was Roy. We would talk about government and talk about all this and he’d get very frustrated with me because I wouldn’t answer all the questions. And I said, “you know Roy, you know, I can’t fix the world. I can’t save the world. We both believe in someone who can”. And that’s why I’ve come here for your help tonight because what you do, and what you bring to the life of faith of our country is what it needs, in my view.

Rabbi Jonathon Sacks, you may know of him, he was the chief rabbi in a synagogue in London. If you haven’t read any of Rabbi Sacks’ work, I strongly encourage you do. He wrote a book just before he died called Morality. Now, it wasn’t about what you might think or I think, most people who are outside of faith communities would think when you say “morality. And he said this about it, he said: “You lose your morality and you’re in danger of losing your freedom.” He said “Our rights used to be how we were protected from the state and now, it’s what we expect of it.” He said “What we once expected from family and community, now we can track this to the state and to the market.”

And he channelled someone else, famous economist Friedrich Hayek: “Freedom has never worked without deeply ingrained moral beliefs.” He was talking about community, and you can’t replace community with governments, with the market, with other institutions, you can’t. You can’t replace the family, you can’t replace marriage, you can’t replace the things that are so personal and ingrained and come out of us as individuals with systems of power or systems of capital. These are important things but they can’t replace community.

At every church people say to me, “what church do you go to?”… I say “Horizon Church, used to be known as Shirelive Church”. You know other churches, there are Baptist churches, there are Brethren churches, I’ve always been at a community church. That’s where I want to be, and a church that believes in community and creates community. And the essence of community is each individual understanding that they’re valued, that they’re unique. That they can respect one another. That they can contribute to one another.

We cannot allow what we feel entitled to be to be more important than what we’re responsible for. This is very important stuff that Rabbi Sacks is talking about, because he gets it, that the essence of morality is not what others would think it is, about sexuality and all of these issues. Of course, these things relate to it, but it’s about the dignity and value of each and every human being and the responsibilities that they have one to another. Now, you cancel out one human being and you cancel community because community is just human beings who God loves, and, and is intended to connect us one to another. Morality is about focusing not on ‘you’, but on the person next to you. It’s about focusing, for me, on you, not me. That is the essence of community. You can’t pass a law for it. You can’t create a building for it. It is essentially what springs from each and every one of us. Community. It’s born of what he likes to call a covenant and a covenant as we read, particularly in the Old Testament – he tends to read the Old Testament a bit more often than you! He seems to understand it a lot better than many…

But he speaks about this in a way, it’s not a transaction because in a covenant there are responsibilities. Not just obligations, but responsibilities. There is relationship in covenant, which is what God sought with Israel, in covenant, deep relationship, it’s personal. It goes beyond. There’s the giving of oneself the respect, the dignity, the caring together. The sharing of interests, the sharing of lives. The pledging of faithfulness and achieving together what cannot be achieved alone. A covenant, more than a transaction. Family and marriage, God has created in the same way, to reflect that covenant that we can have. And so I need you to keep building community in this country. I need you to keep doing the things that you do which allows Australians, right here, wherever you may be. Brad [Bonhomme] does amazing work up in Papua New Guinea. I know how much he loves going up there and I’m sure there are many other teams that have blessed our Pacific family. But it’s so important to continue to reach out and let each and every Australian know that they are important. That they are valued, that they are significant. Because we believe they are created in the image of God and that in understanding that, they can go on a journey that I’m very confident you can take them on. And I’m relying on you to do that because that’s not my job, that’s yours.

There are some threats to this that I want to share with you. There is a fashion these days to not think of Australians as individuals, there is particularly, I think, amongst our young people, and I worry about this. It’s called “identity politics”. People think of themselves by the things they can describe and connect them with others. These are important things. One’s ancestry. One’s gender, where one’s from. If you’re from The Shire, well, that’s great, starting ahead of everybody else. As they say, “prayer in The Shire is a local call”. It’s Cronulla for those of you not familiar with what I’m referring to. But there is a tendency for people not to see themselves and value themselves in their own right as individuals. And to see themselves only defined by some group and they get lost in that group and you know when you do that you lose your humanity. And you lose your connection, I think, one to each other and you’re defined by your group, not by, I think, I believe who God has created you to be. And to understand that. And that’s a big thing going on in our community, in our society and it’s corrosive, it’s absolutely corrosive and, I think it’s undermining community and, I think it’s undermining the self-worth that Australians can have because if youre only defined by what pack you’re in or what group you’re in or what group you’ve been in or what box you’re put in, how others have defined you or sought to define you either to enlist you to their cause or whatever that might be. Australians need to understand that they themselves individually and personally are unique and wonderful. Because, you know, if you look at each other not as individuals but as warring tribes, you know, it’s easy to start disrespecting each other. It’s easy to start not understanding the person across from you, and this is important for politics for us too, that there is a beating heart over there, there is a unique individual with a unique set of issues and challenges and opportunities and possibilities and all of these sorts of things. And when you stop seeing that and just see someone as, well, they’re of that view and that group.

That’s why people start writing stupid things on Facebook and the internet, being disrespectful to one another and we all know how that is corroding and desensitising our country and our society, not just here but all around the world. I think it’s an evil thing. I think it’s a very evil thing and we’ve got to pray about it, we’ve got to call it out and we’ve got to raise up our spiritual weapons against this because it’s going to take our young people. It’s going to take their courage. It’s going to take their hope. It’s going to steal their hope. We’ve got to pray about that, we’ve got to pray against that because it is such a corrosive thing that we’re seeing take place. Yeah sure, social media has its virtues and its values and enables us to connect with people in ways we’ve never had before, terrific, terrific. But those weapons can also be used by the evil one and we need to call it out.

So, this is the help I need from you. I need your help to keep doing what you’re doing. I need your help to remind Australians how precious they are and how unique they are.

Can I finish with four verses? I just wanted to share this with you in closing. Things that I have learned while I’ve been Prime Minister and, indeed, long before that.

[1] The first one is 1 Chronicles 13:3. It’s about David. It talks about how in the time of Saul they didn’t inquire of the Lord. And it’s important for us to inquire of the Lord. And this is how David established and set up when he became King. That all other kings, Saul had not done that and we know that over the course of Israel’s history that those who didn’t inquire of the Lord, those who neglected the Lord, those who put what the Lord had put in their heart to one side, then their kingdoms went where they went and the people followed them where they went. And we all remember what happened when that occurred and this is a constant reminder to me just in my own personal walk and I’m encouraged by the people I’ve mentioned already tonight and many more. That is something I seem to do and a lot of people outside this place you will understand what I’m talking about, it’s not a political thing. Faith is very much an ingrained part of my life and I just seek His wisdom in the same way you do each and every day and it’s important we do that.

[2] The second one, I like this one, it’s Psalm 23:5, where he talks about preparing the banquet for you in the presence of your enemies. We’ve got to sit down with them at that banquet. I sit down at that banquet every single day. But that’s where were called. He didn’t prepare a banquet for us in the presence of our greatest admirers and friends who would tell us wonderful and lovely things, as nice as that is. He said, “I have prepared this banquet for you in the presence of your enemies that I will be with you at that table”. It is a wonderful reminder to me each and every day.

[3] I was up in The Pilbara the other night, and Jenny, many many years ago got me this lovely little verse and she put it in a frame so I’d see it each morning, about being strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, from Joshua 1:9. There was a young fellow who was up there, he worked in the mines. And he just came up to me because people were just saying “G’day” and we were talking, just came up and said, “Joshua 1:9”. Now, I said I’ve got that one, I’ve got that one.

And when you read, as we all do, the thing that keeps coming back to me over and over and over again, any of us in leadership understand that, is yes, He’s prepared that banquet and yes we inquire of the Lord, but you must be strong. You must be courageous and you must not be discouraged. What I like about that verse is He knows that we’ll be discouraged. He knows that those who will seek to hold us back would have us feel discouraged, so He knows it’s going to happen. It’s no surprise to Him that we may feel like that so He simply says “don’t be”… Be strong, be courageous, do not be discouraged.

[4] And this came home to me, importantly, during the last election campaign, in fact, and I was up on the Central Coast, and I was up there with Jenny. It was a pretty tough week actually. The last couple of weeks of the campaign and I was at Ken Duncan’s Gallery. And I hadn’t, I didn’t know we were going to go to Ken Duncan’s Gallery, we were speaking at a rally that day and we had to go and hold somewhere as we often do before we go over to the next event. And, I must admit, I was saying to myself “Lord, where are you? Where are you? I’d like a reminder, if that’s okay”. And so I didn’t know I was supposed to be at Ken’s Gallery. Ken’s a great Christian guy as you all know. And I walked into his gallery and there right in front of me was the biggest picture of a soaring eagle that I could imagine. Of course, the verse hit me that soaring on the wings of an eagle, run and do not grow weary, walk do not grow faint. [Isaiah 40:31]  But the message I got that day was, “Scott, you’ve got to run to not grow weary. You’ve got to walk to not grow faint. You’ve got to spread your wings like an eagle to soar like an eagle”.

So, I hope those few things encourage you. They certainly encourage me and Jenny every day. We are very grateful for the amazing prayers and support that we get from Christians all around the country. It is an avalanche, the letters we get, the support we get, the books that are sent to me. I’ve got them all there, down in Canberra, it’s quite a library that’s building up. People send me verses, they tell me their stories, they share things with me. They share things with Jenny.

It’s a privilege, it is an absolute privilege. I’ve been in evacuation centres where people thought I was just giving someone a hug and I was praying. And putting my hands on people in various places, laying hands on them and praying in various situations. I was just in Kalbarri, where the cyclone just has gone through. In all these places, it’s been quite a time and God has, I believe, been using us to, in those moments, to be able to provide some relief and comfort and just some reassurance. And we’ll keep doing this for as long as that season is. That’s how we see it. We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely, and uh, for each day I get up and move ahead. There is just one little thing that’s in my head, ‘for such a time as this, for such a time as this’. God bless you, thank you very much.”










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Pandemic brings churches back to life

Pandemic brings churches back to life

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Reports continue about churches coming to life during the coronavirus pandemic. New and revived forms of evangelism and welfare abound.

UK: Pandemic brings British churches back to life

Public attitudes to churches have changed for the better with faith groups winning praise for their response to the pandemic.

More than a third of non-Christians (34%) now agree that local churches are making a positive difference in their community – up from 20% three years ago. During this time the overall share of UK adults who think churches are helping their community has gone up from 35% to 42%, according to a study by Savanta ComRes.

The research, commissioned by YourNeighbour – a network of more than 1,000 churches across over 40 denominations – and the children’s charity World Vision, found people had clear ideas about how churches could help meet needs in their communities. They said churches could provide events for the elderly, homeless services, and collect and distribute food, clothes and toys.

The findings come as churches across the denominational divide have joined together to help people get through the pandemic by supporting the Give Hope campaign.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove praised the contribution of churches as the country battles Covid-19, saying: “The Church has been there for all of us – it’s been burying our dead, it’s been comforting the bereaved, it’s been feeding the poor and it’s been praying for the nation. And now the Church is determined to play a critical, central and important role in building back better and enabling us to come out of this pandemic and to be a stronger and more united nation.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also applauded the contribution of faith groups during the pandemic, saying: “It has been wonderful to see how churches have adapted to meet the needs of our communities, with countless examples of them stepping up. Now we have the vaccine, it’s a very powerful thing to see churches transforming into vaccine centres, congregations volunteering and leaders offering the hope we need.”

Source: David Williamson

UK: Stories of answered prayer spread hope during Covid-19

Stories of answered prayer are bringing hope to millions of people during the current lockdown.
The Answered Prayer Campaign was launched in the UK on 25 January and went viral in the first 24 hours, with posts containing the hashtags #answeredprayerchallenge and #makehopevisible reaching 1.3 million people. It is a joint initiative of Premier Christian Media and the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer. Founder Richard Gamble said they want to gather answered prayers from Christians across the world, “to demonstrate that Jesus is alive and relevant today as he ever was.”
Evangelical Alliance director Gavin Calver was one of the Christians who have shared their stories of answered prayer. He recalled one answered prayer as a child that would shape his faith for years to come.
“The prayer that was answered most powerfully that I can remember, was as a nine-year-old boy at Spring Harvest,” he said. At this Christian conference, after a teaching on prayer, “they said if there is anyone in your circle who wants to pray for healing, then do that. Immediately, my friend James ripped off his sock and said: ‘I want healing for my verruca to go.’ I remember thinking that I didn’t want to put my hand on his foot!”
“Nonetheless, we prayed and as a nine-year-old, believing that the Lord can do anything, I prayed that Jesus would take his verruca away. When I opened my eyes, I could not believe what I saw, as the verruca had disappeared. The faith that has grown from that encounter has led to me praying for all kinds of things, because I believe that God can change stuff.”
Source: Richard Gamble, Gavin Calver
Photo: The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer is a large-scale monument to prayer being built in Coleshill, near Birmingham.
May be an image of monument and outdoors

UK: 500 Churches welcome Hong Kong refugees

More than 500 churches in the United Kingdom have joined a nationwide initiative welcoming immigrants from Hong Kong.

The legal immigrants are fleeing a Chinese communist crackdown which has taken away the freedom of speech and religious liberties and has landed pro-democracy activists in prison. A website,, has been created to help the estimated 130,000 people expected to seek refuge in Britain this year.

Hundreds of churches signed up to be ‘Hong Kong Ready’ through the website which was launched after the UK government opened the door to Hong Kong holders of the British National Overseas (BNO) passport.

Source: Christian Today

  #1204, March 3, 2021


Only Frequent Church Attendees Avoided Mental Health Downturn in 2020

The real Lord of the Flies – 6 boys shipwrecked for 15 months

The real Lord of the Flies
6 boys shipwrecked for 15 months

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Renewal JournalThe real Lord of the Flies: 6 boys shipwrecked for 15 months

Christian faith sustained and guided 6 boys, aged 16 to 13, marooned on a small island for 15 months – the opposite of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. 

“We were very happy, but the first thing we did, we say a prayer, thank God for what he brought us to.”
“Their days began and ended with song and prayer. Kolo fashioned a makeshift guitar from driftwood, half a coconut shell and six steel wires salvaged from their wrecked boat.  …  It’s time we told a different kind of story. The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other.”

The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months

Excerpts from The Guardian, Saturday 9 May 2020

When a group of schoolboys were marooned on an island in 1965, it turned out very differently to William Golding’s bestseller, writes Rutger Bregman.

A still from the 1963 film of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Photograph: Ronald Grant

In the 6 October 1966 edition of Australian newspaper The Age, a headline jumped out at me: “Sunday showing for Tongan castaways”. The story concerned six boys who had been found three weeks earlier on a rocky islet south of Tonga, an island group in the Pacific Ocean. The boys had been rescued by an Australian sea captain after being marooned on the island of ‘Ata for more than a year.  …

Peter Warner [captain of the rescue ship, the man who rescued six lost boys 50 years ago, now living at Tullera, near Lismore in northern NSW] went to work for his father’s company, yet the sea still beckoned, and whenever he could he went to Tasmania, where he kept his own fishing fleet. It was this that brought him to Tonga in the winter of 1966. On the way home he took a little detour and that’s when he saw it: a minuscule island in the azure sea, ‘Ata. The island had been inhabited once, until one dark day in 1863, when a slave ship appeared on the horizon and sailed off with the natives. Since then, ‘Ata had been deserted – cursed and forgotten.

But Peter noticed something odd. Peering through his binoculars, he saw burned patches on the green cliffs. “In the tropics it’s unusual for fires to start spontaneously,” he told us, a half-century later. Then he saw a boy. Naked. Hair down to his shoulders. This wild creature leaped from the cliffside and plunged into the water. Suddenly more boys followed, screaming at the top of their lungs. It didn’t take long for the first boy to reach the boat. “My name is Stephen,” he cried in perfect English. “There are six of us and we reckon we’ve been here 15 months.”

Peter Warner aboard his fishing boat in 1967.
Photograph: Fairfax Media Archives/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

The boys, once aboard, claimed they were students at a boarding school in Nuku‘alofa, the Tongan capital. Sick of school meals, they had decided to take a fishing boat out one day, only to get caught in a storm. Likely story, Peter thought. Using his two-way radio, he called in to Nuku‘alofa. “I’ve got six kids here,” he told the operator. “Stand by,” came the response. Twenty minutes ticked by. (As Peter tells this part of the story, he gets a little misty-eyed.) Finally, a very tearful operator came on the radio, and said: “You found them! These boys have been given up for dead. Funerals have been held. If it’s them, this is a miracle!”

In the months that followed I tried to reconstruct as precisely as possible what had happened on ‘Ata. Peter’s memory turned out to be excellent. Even at the age of 90, everything he recounted was consistent with my foremost other source, Mano, 15 years old at the time and now pushing 70, who lived just a few hours’ drive from him. The real Lord of the Flies, Mano told us, began in June 1965. The protagonists were six boys – Sione, Stephen, Kolo, David, Luke and Mano – all pupils at a strict Catholic boarding school in Nuku‘alofa. The oldest was 16, the youngest 13, and they had one main thing in common: they were bored witless. So they came up with a plan to escape: to Fiji, some 500 miles away, or even all the way to New Zealand.

There was only one obstacle. None of them owned a boat, so they decided to “borrow” one from Mr Taniela Uhila, a fisherman they all disliked. The boys took little time to prepare for the voyage. Two sacks of bananas, a few coconuts and a small gas burner were all the supplies they packed. It didn’t occur to any of them to bring a map, let alone a compass.

No one noticed the small craft leaving the harbour that evening. Skies were fair; only a mild breeze ruffled the calm sea. But that night the boys made a grave error. They fell asleep. A few hours later they awoke to water crashing down over their heads. It was dark. They hoisted the sail, which the wind promptly tore to shreds. Next to break was the rudder. “We drifted for eight days,” Mano told me. “Without food. Without water.” The boys tried catching fish. They managed to collect some rainwater in hollowed-out coconut shells and shared it equally between them, each taking a sip in the morning and another in the evening.

Then, on the eighth day, they spied a miracle on the horizon. A small island, to be precise. Not a tropical paradise with waving palm trees and sandy beaches, but a hulking mass of rock, jutting up more than a thousand feet out of the ocean.

[Mano Totau adds, “We did not get to the island until nighttime, in the dark, so I had to swim ashore,” says Totau. “I had to go first and I told the boys: ‘We have to say a prayer first before I hop in the sea.’”

Despite the fact that the reef was not far from the boat, Totau said he had a “very, very hard time” reaching it because he was so weak from “lying in the boat for eight days without food, without water”.

“When I reach the shore, I tried to stand up but when I stand up the whole world is spinning, so I laid down and crawl ashore and when I touch the dry grass, then I lie down.”

The other boys called to him from the boat to see if he had made it, but he was so weak he could not stand, he could only call out to them that he was alive.

Eventually the others made it to the island. “We were very happy, but the first thing we did, we say a prayer, thank God for what he brought us to,” he said. –…/the-real-lord-of-the-flies-ma…]

These days, ‘Ata is considered uninhabitable. But “by the time we arrived,” Captain Warner wrote in his memoirs, “the boys had set up a small commune with food garden, hollowed-out tree trunks to store rainwater, a gymnasium with curious weights, a badminton court, chicken pens and a permanent fire, all from handiwork, an old knife blade and much determination.” While the boys in Lord of the Flies come to blows over the fire, those in this real-life version tended their flame so it never went out, for more than a year.

The kids agreed to work in teams of two, drawing up a strict roster for garden, kitchen and guard duty. Sometimes they quarrelled, but whenever that happened they solved it by imposing a time-out. Their days began and ended with song and prayer. Kolo fashioned a makeshift guitar from a piece of driftwood, half a coconut shell and six steel wires salvaged from their wrecked boat – an instrument Peter has kept all these years – and played it to help lift their spirits. And their spirits needed lifting. All summer long it hardly rained, driving the boys frantic with thirst. They tried constructing a raft in order to leave the island, but it fell apart in the crashing surf.

Worst of all, Stephen slipped one day, fell off a cliff and broke his leg. The other boys picked their way down after him and then helped him back up to the top. They set his leg using sticks and leaves. “Don’t worry,” Sione joked. “We’ll do your work, while you lie there like King Taufa‘ahau Tupou himself!”

They survived initially on fish, coconuts, tame birds (they drank the blood as well as eating the meat); seabird eggs were sucked dry. Later, when they got to the top of the island, they found an ancient volcanic crater, where people had lived a century before. There the boys discovered wild taro, bananas and chickens (which had been reproducing for the 100 years since the last Tongans had left).

They were finally rescued on Sunday 11 September 1966. The local physician later expressed astonishment at their muscled physiques and Stephen’s perfectly healed leg. …

It’s time we told a different kind of story. The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other. After my wife took Peter’s picture, he turned to a cabinet and rummaged around for a bit, then drew out a heavy stack of papers that he laid in my hands. His memoirs, he explained, written for his children and grandchildren. I looked down at the first page. “Life has taught me a great deal,” it began, “including the lesson that you should always look for what is good and positive in people.”

Mr Peter Warner, third from left, with his crew in 1968, including the survivors from ‘Ata. Photograph: Fairfax Media Archives/via Getty Images

In the four days after its publication in The Guardian, this article was read more than 7m times and shared by Russell Crowe, US senator Ted Cruz and former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, to name a few.

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Renewal JournalThe real Lord of the Flies: 6 boys shipwrecked for 15 months

Dinner churches

USA: Dinner churches spring up nationwide

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In 2009, Saint Lydia’s, a Lutheran church in Brooklyn, New York garnered national attention when it began holding a weekly service over dinner. Longing to dispel feelings of isolation often reported among young New Yorkers, founder Emily Scott decided to model her service around the early church practice of having a meal together as Eucharist.

Meanwhile, the Assemblies of God Community Dinners in Seattle, Washington, the Disciples of Christ Potluck Church in Madisonville, Kentucky, and the Episcopal Southside Abbey in Chattanooga, Tennessee, began experimenting with their own ideas of meal-centered worship. One by one, communities began to emerge, though many remained unaware of others participating in the movement.

In the years since, the model has grown from four to over forty congregations across North America and Europe, with new communities emerging on a weekly basis.

While every church has its own feel, the concept is the same: connect with others in a language spoken by all – food. Serving a hearty meal at a table with real napkins, dishes, and silverware, the services aim to feel like a dinner party, fostering conversation among men, women, and children who might otherwise never meet.

‘For the first 300 years, Christianity was done around dinner tables.’

These churches encompass a range of denominations, both conservative and progressive, and they meet in a variety of settings: in church basements, restaurants, gardens, and art galleries. Found in urban, suburban, and rural areas, they attract wealthy, middle class, and unhoused neighbors. The intergenerational and multi-ethnic congregations create engaging dialogue; and the meals become a space where diners can disagree and still maintain close relationship. Throughout the evening, they read Scripture, sing, and pray, but most importantly, they eat. Central to the process of eating is engaging in dialogue, providing space to respond to the Scripture or sermon.

This new way of doing church, which Saint Lydia’s fondly coined a ‘dinner church’, is modeled after the earliest gatherings of Christians as described in Acts 2: “They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,” (Acts 2:46). Early church father Tertullian further describes these early church meetings, called Agape feasts, all based on the idea that Jesus’ Last Supper was intended to be a model for how Christians worship together. “For the first 300 years, Christianity was done around dinner tables more than any other way,” says Verlon Fosner of Seattle’s Community Dinners, who uses the writings of Tertullian as a model for his services.

Something very powerful happens when meeting in this manner. By intentionally pulling together a diverse group of people around the shared need to eat, it is impossible to worship without acknowledging the variety of needs and experiences of those around the table. The Apostle Paul chastised the Corinthian church for stratifying their services based on socioeconomic status, stifling diversity at the table. The poor were left hungry while others got drunk, turning the worship gatherings into places of division rather than methods of unification (1 Corinthians 11:17-34). For contemporary dinner churches, returning to the table for worship aims to reclaim the social boundary-breaking power of the Eucharistic meal, signifying a commitment to unity in Christ’s Body.

‘Eating together signifies a commitment to unity.’

“If we say we come together at the Lord’s Supper, at the table, what does that look like if we spin it out into something more tangible?” says Alex Raabe, pastor of Table of Mercy in Austin, Texas. “All of our physical eating becomes spiritually nourishing, and our spiritual nourishing becomes physically fulfilling even outside of church.”

Despite inevitable disagreement during dinner table discussions, participants share a loaf of bread and worship together. “The meal allows for that to happen,” says a regular participant of Simple Church in Grafton, Massachusetts. “It feels natural. If you were to sit down at a table without a meal, you would feel like you were having a meeting, or like you were deliberating on something. The stakes would feel a little higher; people might feel a little more on edge. But eating, it reminds you of all the times you’ve eaten with friends before, or with family. It evokes a comfortable experience that I think allows people to be more real with each other.”

Each congregation has found a unique way to fit the dinner church model into its denomination’s patterns or its location’s restraints, but all have achieved a similar mission: seek unity in the midst of diverse individuality. “Whenever I get overwhelmed by the whole thing,” says Zach Kerzee, pastor of Simple Church, “I just remember that in the end, all I’m doing is throwing a dinner party.”

Source: Christian Food Movement

Joel News International # 1062, December 4, 2017

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