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Australian Presbyterian World Mission 2014 Annual Meeting

Representatives from across Australia gather in Sydney to set the agenda for another year of activity in supporting cross-cultural Gospel work by the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
Moderator-General David Cook began the day with a devotion from Luke 24:46-47 making the point that healthy churches need to affirm the truth of verse 46 that ‘the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead’, and also be engaged in the work ‘that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem’. He also suggested that healthy churches who want to follow this pattern might sack their elders and put the local mission committee in charge. (Or, less radically, to turn the eldership into the mission committee).
Stuart Bonnington and Rob Duncanson of the Presbyterian Inland Mission spoke to the committee about advances in the work of Patrol ministry in regional Australia, and the possibilities for that work to engage indigenous peoples in some situations, particularly in central Western Australia.
During the report of Convener Alex Shaw the work of Tracey Evans as the APWM office administrator during her recently concluded term of employment was recognised with thanksgiving.
The report of Director Kevin Murray provided a comprehensive overview of personnel and international church partnerships. We discussed arising future needs relating to the workers for Vanuatu and challenges surrounding appropriate insurance for workers located in places which are socially unstable. The relocation of the APWM offices to Christ College, the rebuilt NSW Presbyterian Theological College, will soon take place. This will be an exciting development in engaging those who are training for pastoral work to help them grow a cross-cultural mindset. (See comments from David Cook, above.)
A special time was set aside to consider developments in our code of conduct for people in positions of authority and protocols relating to protecting children and others from abuse, and dealing with situations of abuse. Given the national and international scope of our work this is a complex area, and the expert input of Elizabeth McLean has been greatly appreciated as we move toward a workable yet comprehensive coverage.
The Timor-Leste semi-autonomous collective presented their report.
Among other matters, the Aboriginal Sub-Committee report dealt with the possibility of cooperating with the Bimbadeen Aboriginal Training College, and leadership training.
Financially, the financial blessings and provision that the committee has experienced have seen us able to forgo our modest administration fee for projects. The concept of part-time APWM workers based in Victoria and Queensland is an exciting idea that is being explored in partnership with the relevant state committees.
Reports on Partner Churches in Bangladesh; Japan; Malawi; Myanmar; Sudan; Vanuatu; and Zambia were received.
I had to go to another meeting during the reports from the various states.
A rearrangement of membership and meeting arrangements is being trialled with a view to being formally adopted in the committees’ regulations in the future.
The meeting concluded with prayer at 4.17pm.

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When Object Lessons Go Wrong


source: Melbourne Age.

Those of us who use object lessons have had times when they haven’t worked out to plan.
Pope Francis released two ‘peace doves’ recently, but upon release they were set upon and attacked by a crow and a sea-gull.
Sort of underlines the old adage about the uncertainties of working with animals or children.
Here’s a report from CNN.
And one from Melbourne’s Age.


Australian Presbyterian East Timor Committee Meets

Before the full federal church committee meetings take place this week, the Timor Leste Committee (more like a task force, or even a semi-autonomous collective, really) of the Australian Presbyterian World Mission conduct our annual face to face meeting.
It’s a helpful time as we coordinate plans and purposes to partner with the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Timor Leste.
It would be very easy to fall into well-meaning but unhelpful ad hoc actions which could hinder the growth and harmony of this young denomination which is still at a formative stage in its development. It would also be easy to project our own agenda on the church, instead of responding to their priorities.
Our annual afternoon enables us to consider various cultural issues and think about the most constructive ways to develop our partnership. During the rest of the year matters are dealt with by circular email.
We’re reviewing the adequacy of the quarterly block grants, given the depreciation of the Australian dollar and inflation in Timor Leste.
Coordination of visits by Australian personnel is also important given the demands this places on the few folk in the EPC-TL who can function as translators, especially outside of Dili.
Important, yet more personal matters will include ways in which we can respond to situations such as supporting the widow of Manuel Rodriques, and others who are in her situation.
Even the meagre support the Presbyterian Church of Australia can offer could outstrip the capacity of the EPC-TL to effectively administer and utilise, making it an unhelpful burden rather than a means of enablement, so we strive to ensure that the partnership we offer enables the EPC-TL to carry out their mission to their utmost.

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Clever Dog Steals Chicken Nuggets From Oven

In this entry to the ‘I never know what to have for lunch on Monday’ series, this dog’s owner couldn’t figure out how the chicken nuggets kept disappearing from the oven, so they set a camera and captured the action.
Dog lovers will probably think this is cute and charming.

Even though I don’t know what to have for lunch today, I am looking forward to a meal of Chinese food, shared with good friends, tonight.

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Everything You Might Want To Know About The Word ‘Kangaroo’

In honour of today’s Australian based national public holiday, here’s a post on Kangaroo: the international and regional word, which was prepared by the Australian National Dictionary Staff and posted on the Oxford Dictionary Blog.
Turns out that explorer James Cook and botanist Joseph Banks learned the name from local peoples while temporarily ship-wrecked in North Queensland.
Unaware of the many different linguistic forms among the peoples of the island continent they included the word in a lexicon of local language.
When Arthur Phillip made his journey to a very different region of the same continent and tried to use that lexicon hijinks ensued.

Here’s an excerpt:

The word kangaroo was therefore well established in international English when in 1787 Joseph Banks gave Governor Phillip a copy of his ‘New Holland language’, which included kangaroo. Phillip and his men, however, were surprised to discover that the Aborigines of the Sydney area were baffled when these Europeans pointed at the hopping animals and mouthed the word kangaroo. The local Sydney Aboriginal language had various names for the different species of this hopping creature, including bandharrbarrbaayganuurrwalarroo (which was borrowed to become English wallaroo), and yuluuma. It took some time before the Europeans realised that the Indigenous peoples spoke different languages (we now know that more than 250 languages were spoken at the time of European settlement), and it took them even longer to discover that Cook and Banks had taken the term for a particular species of kangaroo from the Guugu Yimidhirr, and transformed it into the English generic term for all such hopping creatures.
But the die had been cast, and kangaroo had become an ‘English’ word before European settlement of Australia, and before there were any glimmers of the language that would be called ‘Australian English’. Kangaroo is part of the language of all English speakers.
It is part of World English, at the same time as it is the most recognizable of Australian words, and one of the most enduring symbols of Australia. What most speakers of World English will not know, however, is that in the two centuries since that first ‘Australia Day’ in 1788, the word kangaroo has developed many more distinctive meanings and uses in Australian English.

Read the rest of the post to find out about those distinctive uses.

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You Are My Vision by Rend Collective Experiment – Sunday Songs

I bought Rend Collective Experiment’s album Campfire yesterday. It collects re-recorded songs from their first two releases. It seems to be primarily aimed at introducing them to the USA.
The group sort of answer the question ‘What would it be like to have Mumford And Sons for your church musicians?’ The answer is ‘Not too bad at all.’
Since we sang Lord Be My Vision / Be Thou My Vision at mgpc this morning I though I’d feature RCE’s version of the hymn You Are My Vision.
I think it contains sufficient of the lyric and melody of the original while making for a song that any group should enjoy singing.
Here are the lyrics (minus the ooh oohs)
You are my vision, O King of my heart
Nothing else satisfies, only You Lord
You are my best thought by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Your presence my light
You are my wisdom, You are my true word
I ever with You, and You with me Lord
You’re my great Father, and I’m Your true son
You dwell inside me, together we’re one
You are my battle-shield, sword for the fight
You are my dignity, You’re my delight
You’re my soul’s shelter and You’re my high tower
Come raise me heavenward, O power of my power
I don’t want riches or man’s empty praise
You’re my inheritance, now and always
You and You only, the first in my heart
High king of Heaven, my treasure You are
High king of Heaven, when victory’s won
May I reach Heaven’s joy, O bright Heaven’s Son
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall
Still be my vision, O ruler of all

Words: Tr. by M.E. Byrne (1880–1931) & E.H. Hull (1860–1935)
Music: Ancient Irish Melody
Arr. & Adpt. by Rend Collective Experiment

This is the re-recorded track from Campfire.

This is the original recording, not as polished, but more lively.

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Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 4

Heidelberg Catechism – Lord’s Day 4

Q. Is not God unjust in requiring of man in his Law what he cannot do?
A. No, for God so created man that he could do it. But man, upon the instigation of the devil, by deliberate disobedience, has cheated himself and all his descendants out of these gifts.

Q. Will God let man get by with such disobedience and defection?
A. Certainly not, for the wrath of God is revealed from heaven, both against our inborn sinfulness and our actual sins, and he will punish them according to his righteous judgment in time and in eternity, as he has declared: “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the Law, and do them.”

Q. But is God not also merciful?
A. God is indeed merciful and gracious, but he is also righteous. It is his righteousness which requires that sin committed against the supreme majesty of God be punished with extreme, that is, with eternal punishment of body and soul.