“I recently shared some of my experiences with elected student leaders from St John’s College within the University of Queensland alongside the anglican focus editor Michelle McDonald. We were invited by the college to run a session for the student leaders on cultural capability and we shared the following personal stories in our workshop,” says Bishop Daniel Abot
I recently shared some of my experiences with elected student leaders from St John’s College within the University of Queensland alongside the anglican focus editor Michelle McDonald. We were invited by the college to run a session for the student leaders on cultural capability and we shared the following personal stories in our workshop.
During the civil war in Sudan in 1986, I fled my village home as a 12-year-old boy. I was one of thousands of the so-called “Lost Boys of Sudan”. We fled to escape the persecution of the government, walking long distances, for a month at a time, in 50-degree heat. During our desert journeys, many of us Lost Boys died from disease, starvation, dehydration, bombs, gunfire or from being eaten by wild animals. After six years of desert journeys, I spent nine years in Kakuma Refugee Camp, where I met my wife, Rachel. I became a priest in 2003 in Kenya and then moved with Rachel to Queensland after our claim for refugee status was processed by the United Nations. We now have seven beautiful children aged between 10 and 25 years.
In many African cultures, including my own Dinka culture, direct eye contact is considered rude and disrespectful. It is especially inappropriate for a youth to look an elderly person or a person in authority directly in the eye. We tend to look at the bridge of the nose in conversation and/or avoid facing each other directly. In the refugee camp I was told to look the Australian government immigration worker, who was processing my claim for refugee status, in the eye. I was advised to do this because some fellow Lost Boys had been denied refugee status for avoiding direct eye contact in their interviews — it seems that their lack of eye contact was seen as a sign of dishonesty. I remember needing to practise looking someone in the eye during conversation before my interview.
Before I told this story to the students, Michelle shared about how in “white” Australian culture, which she is most familiar with, direct eye contact during conversation is generally considered appropriate, sincere and respectful. Since coming to Australia I have learnt that this applies to people who are both familiar and unfamiliar. A person who avoids direct eye contact in “white” Australian culture may be regarded as being evasive, dishonest, guilty, disgusted or bored.
Michelle and I also spoke about how the idea of “familiarity” is connected to “unconscious bias”. Unconscious biases are among the barriers we need to recognise and address so that we can include, welcome and respect all peoples and treat them fairly. Psychologists tell us that our unconscious biases are simply “people preferences” that we have developed. Some people are more familiar to us, which can lead us to unconsciously “prefer” people who look like us, speak like us, behave like us or share our interests. Our life experiences, socialisation and values subtly shape how we think and feel, thus contributing to unconscious bias.
As a result, our unconscious biases can sometimes lead us to unintentional discrimination — Michelle gave the example about how she notices that “white” people are often asked to read scriptures and intercessory prayers at church services even if there are many people from different cultural backgrounds joining in the worship.
She then shared about how our desire to be fair helps us to challenge and change the way we think, and consequently how we behave. This leads to fairer decision making, a more inclusive and welcoming culture and better problem solving, especially in new or unusual situations. For this shift to happen, we need to be aware of our biases and associated habits, and unlearn these.
We also need to be wary of making assumptions about other cultures. Michelle shared an amusing story about how she dared Walters Nkemfack, a Queensland Community Organiser originally from West Africa, $100 to dance on the stage with South Sudanese Acholi dancers at a formal African gala in May. Walters twice gave her the opportunity to back out of the dare; however, Michelle — thinking that he was being timid, rather than gallant — then upped the offer to $1,000. At this point, Walters stood up, took $100 out of his wallet, and joined the dancers on the stage. He danced enthusiastically with them before giving the dance troupe leader the $100 as a customary “encouragement”. The following day, Michelle transferred $1,000 to Walters’ bank account and he, being a good man, donated the money to a Yes23 football event. They share this funny story in the first 4.5 minutes of this Queensland African Communities Council YouTube video.
The following day when I saw Michelle at Christ Church, Yeronga for their centenary anniversary service and she told me about her dare, I asked her, “Didn’t you know that in African cultures it’s considered polite to join dancers on the stage and dance with them?” Michelle responded with, “Well, I do now, Bishop Daniel.”
I look forward to writing more about cultural capability, including how we can unlearn our unconscious biases and become more culturally intelligent so our faith communities are more welcoming and inclusive, in future anglican focus reflections.
Dates & Seasons •
Thursday 7 December 2023
The Christmas gift that keeps on giving
By The Rev'd Jamee-Lee Callard
“Few people know about the season of Christmas — Christmastide — outside of the Church. Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is not just celebrated on 25 December,” says The Rev’d Jamee Callard, while offering a special Holy Hermits Online Christmastide subscription
Few people know about the season of Christmas — Christmastide — outside of the Church. Contrary to popular belief, Christmas is not just celebrated on 25 December.
For many, Christmas culminates a long lead-up of frantic preparation and chaotic materialism. Even for churchgoers, Christmas Day can sometimes be a finishing line to hurry across before finally getting a well-earned rest during the New Year.
It’s no surprise then that Christmastide has fallen out of focus for the wider world, other than perhaps the Twelve Days of Christmas being summed up in a cumulative carol with seven swans a-swimming, five gold rings and a partridge in a pear tree.
Regardless of how we approach Christmas Day, the tensions and heavy expectations of a commercial Christmas culture can be exhausting.
While our attention is turned to the second coming of Christ during Advent in the Church, we are invited into deeper relationship with Jesus between Christmas Day on 25 December and the eve of the Feast of the Epiphany on 5 January, also called Twelfth Night (when Christmas decorations are traditionally taken down). Traditionally, these 12 days were the major holiday period of the year, observed since the Council of Tours proclaimed Christmastide the time for joyful feasting after the Advent fast in 567CE.
For the second consecutive year, Holy Hermits Online (HHO) has banded together to create a Christmastide subscription. This year we are offering the Animals of HHO Christmastide Subscription. Last year, one of our faithful members, Bob, surprised the anglican focus editor, Michelle, with the gift of our first subscription:
“I found it nourishing and encouraging after such a busy period and was delighted with the gift. It made Christmastide feel more real,” Michelle said.
Now we have established a successful Companion Animal Ministry at HHO it made sense that the focus this year would be our community’s animals. Those who subscribe will receive content composed, compiled and lovingly curated by our members.
Animals are a part of our DNA at HHO, and many of our people bring their animals with them to worship, and other gatherings, on Zoom. They have been for us the perfect icebreaker, as we often focus on the creatures that companion us. The way that they unlock our relationships with God and one another is remarkable. We take our call to care-take creation, one of the five Marks of Mission, very seriously at HHO.
“To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”
This subscription is the gift that keeps on giving. As well as being a meaningful present for many, 50 per cent of the funds raised will go towards supporting an animal charity. The other half will support HHO, so we can continue the work of the Companion Animal Ministry in 2024.
The soft cost of $15 AUD can also be offered as a donation for those who may like to pay it forward, so that a subscription can be gifted to one of the guest teachers who visited HHO in 2023 or to someone who can’t afford the subscription for themselves.
Giving direction and focus for the whole 12 days, which can get missed in the post commercial-Christmas-panic, the subscription offers opportunity for learning more about animal care and welfare and many a laugh at the antics of the HHO animals, as well insight into how they enrich our faith lives.
Receivers will enjoy a variety of offerings delivered daily to their Inbox, including:
A letter written from one of the HHO animals, with the help of their humans.
A biography of a HHO companion animal, including a story about how they celebrate with their humans at Christmastide.
Recommended reading for animal welfare or awareness.
Animal-related songs, blogs, poems, books and art that have been curated or created by HHO members.
Lay leadership and empowering vocations are a key focus of Holy Hermits Online and our Companion Animal Ministry has seen members flourishing as they bring their spiritual gifts to the projects we are undertaking in this space. We hope to extend care to the animals of our wider Diocese and have created two downloadable liturgies — Blessing of New Animals and Memorial Prayers for Mourning Animals. We hope to create more liturgies in 2024 to resource our brothers and sisters around the Communion. We will also expand our already ample resource guide that has links to animal information sites, books, poems and prayers on the ministries page of our website.
Members of our Diocesan community, as well as those beyond, are always welcome to join us in this collaborative space. Our next Companion Animal Ministry workshop is on 14 January and will focus on how we can outreach to the animal care industry, where veterinarian staff often suffer mental health crises due to compassion fatigue.
We ask for your prayers and support for our Christmastide project and hope that you will invest in the Christmas gift that keeps on giving this year!
Editor’s note: For a Christmastide subscription for yourself or as a gift for others, please register on the Holy Hermits Online website by Tuesday 12 December 2023. Subscriptions cost $15 AUD.
Thursday 7 December 2023
Towards an Anglican Church Southern Queensland apology to LGBTIQA+ people: listening to the voices of LGBTIQA+ people and their loved ones
By The Very Rev'd Dr Peter Catt
As part of a consultation process to develop a Diocesan apology, LGBTIQA+ people who are current or past members of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland, and their family members and other loved ones, are invited to share their experiences of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland through its parishes, schools and other institutions
Last year at our Diocese’s Synod a motion was passed that in part “acknowledges that the Church’s attitudes and behaviours have created and are creating trauma and affirms efforts to support those so affected” (page 12).
At the same Synod, a process to prepare an apology to LGBTIQA+ people was initiated, with our Synod intending to offer an apology to LGBTIQA+ people for the harm caused by the Anglican Church Southern Queensland’s treatment of LGBTIQA+ people.
A committee has been formed by Diocesan Council to work in consultation with LGBTIQA+ people to develop a Diocesan apology. Committee members include myself (Chair), The Rev’d Deb Bird, The Ven. Geoff Hoyte, The Rev’d Dr Margaret Wesley, The Rev’d David Ruthven and Dr Nadine Garraway.
A listening process is subsequently being initiated by the Committee.
An invitation to be heard
The Committee charged with developing the apology would like to hear from LGBTIQA+ people who are current or past members of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland, and their family members and other loved ones, about their experiences of the Anglican Church Southern Queensland (Diocese of Brisbane) through its parishes, schools and other institutions.
How you can share your voice
There are opportunities to:
meet one-on-one with a Committee member to share your experience*
meet with the whole Committee*
provide a written response to the Committee (this can be anonymous, if preferred).
To meet with a Committee member or the whole Committee, to provide a written submission or to find out more, please contact the Committee via email@example.com or by calling me (Committee Chair) on 07 3835 2239. Please respond to this invitation via email or phone by COB 12 January 2024. The Committee plans to provide the text of an apology, along with a report, for our Diocese’s Synod, which will next meet in June 2024.
* The Committee hopes to be able to meet with each person who wishes to share about their experiences and believes that it will have the capacity to do this. We wish to flag, however, that if this turns out to be unviable that we will encourage some people to make a written submission in lieu of a face-to-face meeting.
Wednesday 29 November 2023
What is your favourite Gospel of Matthew passage and why? | Anna Deng, Sam Sigamani, Samuel Dow
By Anna Deng, The Rev'd Sam Sigamani, The Rev'd Samuel Dow
Three members of our Diocesan community tell us about their favourite passage from the Gospel of Matthew, including Anna Deng, The Rev’d Sam Sigamani and The Rev’d Samuel Dow
Anna Deng — Parishioner, St Bart’s, Toowoomba
My favourite line in Matthew’s Gospel is “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5.9). We have been studying The Beatitudes in school. We looked at them in an in-depth way and were asked to write about a role model or super hero whom we know demonstrates that Beatitude. I chose my dad because growing up I have seen him as a role model, super hero and second father to many others. One thing that is always set in my dad’s mind is peace.
This is my favourite line because I am shown a clear picture of what a peacemaker is through my dad every day. When I get a chance to talk to my family back in Africa, they always have something really nice to say about my dad. They remind me of how blessed I am to have him as a dad — they always have good stories to share about him. For example, a couple of years ago Dad assisted some South Sudanese orphan girls who were struggling to get an education. He was then sent a letter and a photo of the girls proudly wearing their school uniforms.
By saying this Beatitude, Jesus is saying that peace should be prioritised. It shows that he wants peace in all of us.
“Gospel books largely focus on the life and ministry of the adult Jesus. A very small portion is committed to Jesus’ childhood. This portion is very important — children can only identify with Jesus if they have a child Jesus to look to,” (The Rev’d Sam Sigamani from The Parish of Wynnum)
The Rev’d Sam Sigamani — Priest-in-Charge, The Parish of Wynnum
My favourite part of Matthew’s gospel is the infancy narrative (Matthew 2.1-23). Gospel books largely focus on the life and ministry of the adult Jesus. A very small portion is committed to Jesus’ childhood. This portion is very important — children can only identify with Jesus if they have a child Jesus to look to. The infancy narrative enables children to perceive a “child Christology”. As adults we often think of our saviour as an adult, and this focus can be transferred to our children — Jesus as the saviour adult. Baby Jesus here is a sought-after king. The noble Magi come all the way from the East to worship a child-king and child-Christ. What an honour! It makes me ask, “Do we honour our children? If so, how?”
The infancy narrative also describes the horrific bloodshed story related to the baby Jesus — the massacre of infants. It is an unpleasant story to share with children. It is the story of the child-Christ whose life was threatened, so he and his parents fled to Egypt as refugees to escape persecution. This story tells us that Jesus experienced the cross even when he was a child.
This infant Jesus survived and became the saviour. This Christ Jesus identifies with many children today who are victims of war, violence, persecution and abuse. He gives hope to them. He calls us as individuals and as a Church to protect and honour children in our midst.
“This passage demonstrates the nature of Jesus as an all-encompassing embrace of all whom he met on his journey. This radical welcome is evident in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection encounters,” (The Rev’d Samuel Dow — Chaplain, St John’s College within the University of Queensland and Manager of Baroona Farm)
The Rev’d Samuel Dow — Chaplain, St John’s College within the University of Queensland and Manager of Baroona Farm
My favourite passage in Matthew’s gospel is Matthew 25.31-46, “The Judgement of the Nations”.
Perhaps an unusual favourite passage because it speaks of judgement on those who don’t follow the ways of God. But it is the encouragement and challenge to the faithful that resonate with me.
Particularly poignant are the phrases relating to feeding the hungry, giving a drink to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, clothing the naked, caring for the sick and visiting those imprisoned. These six actions of faithful and Godly living have become a mantra that shapes my life in relation to human beings, as well as to the whole of creation.
This is lived out in my ministry with Baroona Farm, as we seek “to grow food and community with and for the nutritionally vulnerable”. Feeding the hungry is a central aspect of this ministry — particularly refugees and people seeking asylum — as are the imperatives of welcoming, nurturing and caring for fellow humans where we can. By giving dignity to all people, we honour the image of God in all.
Through this we also stand by the 5th Mark of Mission, “striving to safeguard the integrity of creation, and sustain and renew the life of the earth.”
This passage demonstrates the nature of Jesus as an all-encompassing embrace of all whom he met on his journey. This radical welcome is evident in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection encounters. Regardless of our background or the mistakes we make, the grace and love of God is always taking a step towards us through love, calling us to do likewise.
Monday 13 November 2023
St Margaret's student galloping to glory
St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School Year 10 student Eadie McWilliam recently returned from the south of France where she represented Australia at the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders and Juniors
Year 10 student Eadie McWilliam recently returned from the south of France where she represented Australia at the FEI Endurance World Championship for Young Riders and Juniors.
The 15-year-old was the only young Australian to qualify for the competition where she tackled 120kms of challenging terrain in blistering heat to finish in 19th position from a field of 70 international starters.
She rode Treasure, a gelding owned by her coaches Peter, Penny and Alexandra Toft.
Eadie said the Castelsagrat course was challenging, with hot, wet and hilly conditions.
“It was one of the toughest courses that I’ve ridden. It rained the night before the event, and by the 7am start time, it was still dark and raining for the first 10km, which made the track very slippery,” Eadie said.
“It was also very diverse, with challenges including mud, steep climbs and a lot of bitumen, which we don’t ride on in Australia.
“Every 30kms we break for a vet check, and fortunately, Treasure, who travelled with me from Australia, was recovering really well between each loop.
“I managed to complete the course in seven hours, averaging 16.1km per hour.
“It was definitely a super feeling to gain a top-20 finish in my first World Championship against a very talented and competitive field of young riders. We had no intentions of being on the podium at all, but only to have a successful completion on the tough course in Castelsagrat. So, this was a very exciting result after such a huge journey to get there.”
Eadie first started riding when she was just four years old, taking up endurance riding at age 10, and since then she has clocked up 4000km on horseback in various endurance competitions.
Her next big goal is to qualify for the Young Riders World Championship to be held in Sardinia in 2025.
A gruelling training and competition schedule means that Eadie, who attends St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, is busy balancing the pursuit of her passion with her education.
“St Margaret’s has been very flexible, giving me extensions to finish assignments or the ability to reschedule exams that I might miss when I am away competing,” she said.
“Through the Flyers Program for elite athletes, I have two spare periods each week to complete my study and homework, which really helps when I am away most weekends competing.
Well-versed St Aidan’s English teacher scoops major writers fellowship
By Ben Rogers
As one of only three writers in the state to be awarded the prestigious Queensland Writers Fellowship, St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School English and Literature teacher Brett Dionysius is an inspirational role model to the school community for pursuing one’s literary passions as he develops his next poetry collection
St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School English and Literature teacher Mr Brett Dionysius was recently awarded the 2024 Queensland Writers Fellowship, a major achievement for the teacher and author who was one of only three writers in the state awarded the annual fellowship.
Established in 2013 and supported by Arts Queensland, the State Library of Queensland and the Queensland Writers’ Centre, the Queensland Writers Fellowship provides three winning authors with cash prizes of $15,000 and development funding up to $4,500 to support their creative practice, write their next book and reach new audiences.
Mr Dionysius will receive funding to support research and writing of a new poetry project, The Eromanga Sea, that will explore Queensland’s geological, ecological and socio-cultural evolution since the Cretaceous Period 100 million years ago.
“My project will map how Queensland’s climate has changed over this long time and how these often radical shifts have affected our state’s landscape, ecology and topography, producing quite resilient and adaptive species, including humans,” Mr Dionysius said.
“Personally, I come from western Queensland and have had an interest in writing about the environment for over 20 years.
“As well as a project proposal and budget details, I had to supply 10 pages of writing (poetry) to be assessed by a panel of three interstate writers who judge the fellowship each year.”
Mr Dionysius is no stranger to poetry as a literary form — he was the founding Director of the Queensland Poetry Festival in 1997, and since 2000 has published nine collections of poetry, including five book-length volumes, two chapbooks, an artist’s book and a verse novel.
After winning or being short-listed for over 60 literary prizes, including short-listing in the prestigious Montreal International Poetry Prize in 2017, he can now add a Queensland Writers Fellowship to his many accomplishments.
For St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School Principal Toni Riordan, Mr Dionysius’ achievement exemplifies the kind of creativity that the school values in its teachers and students, and serves as an important reminder to students of the great outcomes that can be achieved in the literary world.
“Brett is an outstanding educator of English and his writing success reflects the generosity and commitment to foster in others their literary and poetic talent,” Ms Riordan said.
“Through mentorship, creative writing opportunities, and exposure to renowned writers, Brett’s journey exemplifies the possibilities that are available when passion goes hand-in-hand with determination.
“As a school community we have a very strong culture of reading and writing and a passion for literature. We expect our students will be inspired to continue to embrace the literary world, as well as recognise that everyone has unique and personal aspirations.
“When teachers and mentors unlock our potential, great things can be accomplished.”
As one of Mr Dionysius’ English students, Year 11 Student and 2024 Prefect Louisa has always found her teacher to be an inspiring figure in the classroom, and his latest accomplishment has shown students how to authentically pursue their goals with humility.
“Mr Dionysius’ extraordinary humility after such a remarkable writing accomplishment is a role model to all his students to work towards achieving their goals without fanfare,” Louisa said.
“His example reinforces the importance of embracing our authentic selves and to wholeheartedly pursue our unique passions.
“Mr Dionysius has nurtured my confidence and honed my skills in responding to English assessment tasks. His unwavering support, combined with his profound knowledge of the world, its history and its people, has provided me with a wealth of inspiration and insights.”
As a progressive educational institution that values creativity in both its students and teachers, having students like Louisa witness their teachers’ literary experience and interests outside the classroom is an important lesson Mr Dionysius feels can only enhance learning outcomes.
“It is critical for high school students to understand that their teachers often have real-world experience in the subject areas that they teach, and that we have passions that complement our pedagogical approaches, which can extend the syllabus objectives and enhance classroom engagement with unit content,” Mr Dionysius said.
Books & Guides •
Monday 4 December 2023
I want to fix ears
By The Rev'd Lauren Martin
“Key themes of Clark’s story are his determination, persistence, underlying faith and love of family. His desire as a young boy to ‘fix ears’ was driven by observing his father and the challenges he faced, particularly working as a pharmacist,” says The Rev’d Lauren Martin
Graeme Milbourne Clark’s autobiography I want to fix ears: Inside the cochlear implant story tells the story of his life-long goal to “fix ears”. Even as a kindergartener, this was Clark’s goal (p.79). The inspiration to “fix ears” came through watching the challenges his deaf father faced.
This book describes Clark’s remarkable journey, through his studies and research, including the challenges and criticisms both he and his team faced developing the cochlear implant. Clark commenced his medical training in 1952, eventually performing the first cochlear implant operation on Rod Saunders on Tuesday 1 August 1978. After reaching a level of satisfaction with the progress of the cochlear implant, in 2000 Clark and his team expanded their work from cochlear implants to other related areas of biomedical engineering, such as researching the restoration of function after spinal cord injury, activating limbs or prostheses, the bionic eye and the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy.
Throughout the book, the reader is invited to join Clark on his journey. This starts with the many challenges and unexpected turns Clark and his team faced, not just in developing and refining technology for the cochlear implant, but equally so the unexpected opposition to the project itself. One of the more unusual aspects of the journey, as it garnered much needed public attention and subsequent support, arose in 1972 “when [Clark] was approached by a [woman] who wanted [him] to see if [he] could cure her deaf dog…” (p.133). The opposition and criticism Clark and his team faced were broad-based, coming from the scientific, medical and Deaf communities. Clark felt that “it was ironic that [he] was now confronted by the very people [he] wanted to give an opportunity to hear” (p.226).
Key themes of Clark’s story are his determination, persistence, underlying faith and love of family. His desire as a young boy to “fix ears” was driven by observing his father and the challenges he faced, particularly working as a pharmacist. Throughout his career, Clark made time to be with his family and felt especially supported by his wife, stating to a reporter that “it was my wife, team, friends, doggedness and faith in God” (p.260) that sustained him through the many challenges he faced in the cochlear implant’s development. Early on in life Clark found understanding and meaning in both scientific enquiry and his faith in God, finding that both “science and faith in God are indeed compatible” (p18). He believes that God is central to finding truth and in the project’s success.
This book primarily focuses on Clark’s scientific journey towards the cochlear implant; however, it also contains reflections from a few notable recipients and their families. It is clear that, for Clark, those who were implanted were not merely part of the process or part of his job. He often built relationships with his patients as they worked together to refine the programming or attended various functions. The recipients were not immersed in the Deaf community, either becoming deaf later in life or born to hearing parents. Those deafened later in life found that the cochlear implant restored self-esteem, gave renewed purpose, and gave back “something unbelievable precious and uniquely human” (p.40). While those born deaf found that the implant gave them the choice to be part of the Deaf world or hearing world (Clark, 2021, pp. 31-34, 41-43, 52, 54, 60-62).
I found this book to be interesting both from a scientific perspective, and from my understandings of the Deaf community as someone working with parishes translating and presenting services and events in Auslan. Although having a cochlear implant has since become more acceptable in the Deaf community, it still can be a sensitive topic for some. As Clark mentions in his book, many Deaf community members do not see deafness as a disability or something that needs to be “fixed”, and therefore the significance and perceived value of the cochlear implant may not be as great as otherwise expected from a hearing perspective.
History has shown that cochlear implants do not work for everyone, and if they do work, recipients require extensive (months or even years) of speech therapy and learning how to process the new sensory input. The operation and implantation are just the beginning of the process.
Implantation with a cochlear implant and subsequent aural/oral approach to education can impact access to Deaf culture, which necessarily includes access to signed languages (there are many different sign languages, just like there are spoken languages).
Therefore some feel that implantation represents a loss for Deaf culture, or that the Deaf person is trying to make themselves “hearing” — after all, if they do not consider themselves “broken” or disabled in the first place they may ask “why receive an implant?” and “why turn away from one’s culture?”
I am encouraged by Clark’s love of his family, his faith in God, and his understanding of God’s presence guiding and enabling him in his work, despite the challenges he endured.
This book explores the vision and passion of one person standing at the forefront of scientific and medical progress of the time while he and his team developed the cochlear implant. This story reveals a man with a generous heart, wishing to help others and serve God. This book highlights a time of scientific discovery and progress and is an encouraging example of faith and trust in God.
I recommend this book to my fellow Anglicans, whether you have an understanding of science or not. It is not too “science-y” to be exclusionary, while providing enough substance for those interested in science and engineering. This book highlights a time of cutting edge scientific discovery, a discovery steeped deeply in God’s loving and consistent presence.
Parenting hacks and fun activities for childhood development
By Eliza Wilson
World Children’s Day is an annual celebration and day of action for children. On 20 November 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since then, World Children’s Day has been a highly regarded day for promoting children’s rights and welfare
World Children’s Day is an annual celebration and day of action for children. On 20 November 1989, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Since then, World Children’s Day has been a highly regarded day for promoting children’s rights and welfare.
At Anglicare Southern Queensland, we work with families to identify and make use of their individual strengths so that they can achieve their goals. Our Children and Parenting programs aim to enrich the lives of families and assist parents wanting to improve their child(ren)’s social connections and development.
Recently, staff from our Children and Parenting teams across Southern Queensland revealed their favourite hacks for busy parents of young children. A few even shared some cost-friendly DIY activities that can keep children busy while improving their development. Keep reading to learn more…
Hacks for busy parents
It’s normal for families to experience times of chaos. Raising children isn’t always smooth sailing.
At Anglicare, we know that parents want the best for their families and that’s why we’re sharing some of our favourite tips for busy parents:
Seeing if your local council are running any free supervised activities during school holidays. This may be a great opportunity for you to take a few extra hours to do things that you need to do.
Preparing food and freezing meals. This can be done on one of your less busy days of the week and ensures you have nutritious meals ready to go when life gets hectic.
Creating a weekly schedule for your family. This helps everyone in the household to know what activities, chores and jobs need to be done. When creating your weekly schedule, make sure to plan some quality time to spend together as a family.
Setting aside some time (whether it’s daily or bi-daily) to support your children with their homework or extracurricular educational pursuits.
Using the evenings to prepare your family for the next day; for example, cleaning your main living spaces, preparing meals, or laying out everyone’s clothes for the next day.
Fun activities for child development
Keeping the kids as busy as you can be a challenge. Here are a few of our staff’s favourite activities that support the cognitive and sensory development of young children, while giving them hours of fun:
Sensory bins allow children to explore different textures and colours. They are a great way to let kids play with things that would typically make a big mess since the mess is contained, and far easier to clean up. In just a few minutes, you can create endless hours of joy for your young one. Click here to find out how you can create a rainbow rice sensory bin.
Do you have a child who enjoys fiddling with household items like doorknobs, remotes, or locks? Instead of worrying about them ruining everything they touch, create a busy board with old items or cheap novelties from discount shops. This activity is great for refining their motor skills. Click here to see how you can make one.
Backyard obstacle course
By utilising items like hula hoops, pool noodles and frisbees, you can transform your backyard into a child-friendly obstacle course. The best part about this activity is that you can tailor the difficulty, depending on your child’s skill level and age.
Find out about our Children and Parenting programs
Anglicare Southern Queensland offers Children and Parenting services in and around Acacia Ridge, Beaudesert, Caboolture/Morayfield, Charleville, Gympie, Hervey Bay, Lockyer Valley, Maryborough, Rocklea, Roma, Somerset, Toowoomba Region and Warwick.
The impact of the cost-of-living crisis is increasing and taking its toll on our most vulnerable community members — children. This Christmas, Anglicare Southern Queensland is calling on the community to help children in out-of-home care to have the Christmas, and the future, they deserve
Christmas is a time for love, hope, generosity and joy. However, with increasing interest rates, inflation and general costs of goods, this Christmas is expected to be a modest affair for many Queenslanders.
Anglicare Southern Queensland Chief Executive Officer Sue Cooke said that many of their 1,600 foster and kinship carers are expected to be stretched by the cost-of-living crisis this Christmas, and they are calling on the community to help bring a little joy to these special families.
“We know that many of our clients are doing it tough at the moment,” Ms Cooke said.
“With the cost-of-living continuing to rise, spending on non-essential items such as Christmas treats and even gifts, is expected to drop.
“With your help and support, we can add a little joy for Queensland foster carers and children in their care, and help to create a special Christmas that they’ll remember forever; even a donation of $40 will help to bring joy to a child in out-of-home care, this Christmas.”
In the last year, Anglicare Southern Queensland supported 1,695 foster and kinship carers to provide 383,863 nights of care for children and young people.
“We believe that every child deserves a safe and supportive home, and we work tirelessly to match them with dedicated foster carers who can provide the love and stability they need,” Ms Cooke said.
“However, with more children entering our programs, there is always more that can be done.
“All donations will help to provide practical support for our foster and kinship care families. This includes vouchers for groceries and essentials, gifts for children and even short holiday breaks for carers and children to experience a ‘family holiday’ together.
“Community support is vital to ensuring that, together, we can continue to make a difference in the lives of these children this Christmas.”
“Through collective prayer and collaboration, our foodbank has been blessed”
By The Rev'd Loretta Tyler-Moss
“As we launch our foodbank in early December, please hold us in your prayers. The need is great, and we are very keen to respond to human need in loving service. Please pray that we may be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, compassionate to those we seek to serve and creative and collaborative in our work together,” says The Rev’d Loretta Tyler-Moss
I recently met a mother with two children buying some fruit, yoghurt, juice and a couple of tuna meals in tins. She caught my eye when she asked the IGA checkout operator for a couple of spoons. As I walked out she was returning to her car and talking to her children about where they were going to park to sleep for the night.
I haven’t met him yet, but I have been told that a local gentlemen regularly checks the bins for food.
And, our local Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) President has commented to me about the increasing demand for food vouchers.
Homelessness and food insecurity are as real in rural areas as they are in the CBDs and suburbs.
Just as I was being struck deeply by all this, I received a call from Lyn Buchanan, the Somerset Regional Council Community Development Coordinator.
“Loretta, could the Anglican Church start a foodbank?” she asked.
Given the size of our parish and the average parishioner age, realistically our parish couldn’t (or at least not independently).
However, the Brisbane Valley Churches Together (BVCT) could. Our ecumenical group is marked by six denominations regularly worshipping together. Individually most of us have small, aged congregations. But collectively we have a critical mass of age, abilities, skills and numbers.
Perhaps providentially our next combined service was scheduled soon after Lyn broached the subject of a local foodbank, and I was leading it. I proposed that BVCT accept the opportunity to initiate an ecumenical foodbank in Esk and Toogoolawah. A collective sigh of relief that we “could do something” was accompanied by an enthusiastic response. Our volunteer drive drew 24 helpers — a feat that no individual Brisbane Valley church could have achieved on its own.
Through collective prayer and collaboration, our Foodbank has been blessed with premises for secure food storage, volunteer shoppers, packers and servers, equipment and donations from local organisations and groups. We’ve had to keep in mind that food rescue organisations SecondBite and OzHarvest are not options in our neck of the woods due to the travelling distance and that sourcing items for food parcels presents its own creative challenges given we don’t have a Coles, Woolies or Aldi.
As we launch our foodbank in early December, please hold us in your prayers. The need is great, and we are very keen to respond to human need in loving service. Please pray that we may be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, compassionate to those we seek to serve and creative and collaborative in our work together.
Editor’s note: The Bush Ministry Fund solely funds rural ministry in our Diocese, and it is the only fund that financially supports rural ministry in our Diocese. The Bush Ministry Fund money boxes are a fun and easy way for individuals, families, parishes and schools to donate to bush ministry in our Diocese. Order your BMF money box today by emailing Helen Briffa in the Western Region office via firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 07 4639 1875.
Justice & Advocacy •
Thursday 7 December 2023
Seeking nourishment, healing and a way forward after the referendum
By Aunty Dr Rose Elu
“One of the greatest tragedies of the referendum outcome is that the lives of non-Indigenous Australians who voted ‘no’ will continue on the same just as their lives would have continued on the same if they had voted ‘yes’. It is the lives of First Nations peoples who will be impacted by the referendum result — and negatively so for decades to come,” says Aunty Dr Rose Elu
My people are of the sea. Since the devastating referendum result, I have spent much time reflecting by the Bay in prayer and meditation. I have been turning to God’s creation — in both land and waters — for nourishment and healing. The crocodile is one of my family’s totems, so I have also been wearing my crocodile dress to remind me of this to help keep me strong during this time.
I remember saying to someone at church the morning after referendum day, “This is the first time in my life I don’t have an immediate response — the first time I don’t have any words.”
I am still in mourning over the referendum result, which had only 39.94 per cent of Australians voting “yes” and Queensland’s majority percentage being the lowest at only 31.79 per cent. This dismal result has tested and challenged my faith.
For over five years, non-Indigenous Australians were invited through the Uluru Statement from the Heart to “walk with us with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.”
The Uluru Statement from the Heart’s invitation was unifying. However, most Australians and all states bar one refused this invitation.
One of the greatest tragedies of the referendum outcome is that the lives of non-Indigenous Australians who voted “no” will continue on the same just as their lives would have continued on the same if they had voted “yes”. It is the lives of First Nations peoples who will be impacted by the referendum result — and negatively so for decades to come.
This gracious invitation was about building on the healing momentum of the overwhelmingly successful 1967 referendum and closing the significant health and life expectancy gap between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.
I have been wondering to what extent my Anglican brothers and sisters are aligning their faith with the Christian values of truthfulness, compassion and respect, as well as with the willingness to listen and learn.
I acknowledge all those who advocated for the “yes” vote, both individuals and organisations. I especially thank and acknowledge Bishop Daniel Abot from Toowoomba and The Rev’d Rebecca King from Christ Church, Yeronga. They stood faithfully alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the lead up to the referendum, despite the significant trauma they and their congregations and families are experiencing due to the civil war in Sudan. I will always remember Daniel’s and Rebecca’s courage and steadfastness.
I would also like to thank the Queensland Community Alliance, which our Diocese is a member of through the Social Responsibilities Committee and The Parishes of Logan and Mt Gravatt. The Alliance members worked tirelessly this year to educate our community about the importance of the “yes” vote. I am convinced that if it were not for the Queensland Community Alliance’s work, that the Queensland majority percentage would have had a 2 in front of it instead of a 3.
I have to ask, when and how are we going to come together so we can be reconciled? We must find an effective and honest way forward together.
Dates & Seasons •
Friday 10 November 2023
“The end of the war — coming home”
By The Ven. Rob Sutherland CSC
“World War I was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but this Remembrance Day we are again confronted by the utter sadness of war around us,” says Principal Chaplain, The Ven. Rob Sutherland CSC
World War I caused horrendous human destruction and suffering inflicted by nations and armies — by human beings. In this war, humankind used new industrial weapons, including machine guns, poisonous gas and rapid-firing artillery to inflict new kinds of death, injury and suffering. World War I was supposed to be the war to end all wars, but this Remembrance Day we are again confronted by the utter sadness of war around us.
Australia, to its great credit was keen to stand up to what it saw as injustice in this first world war. People volunteered and we sent them to war. One hundred and ten years later I don’t know if our nation’s decisions were right or wrong, but I am proud of those who were prepared to lay down their lives in service of their — our — nation and beliefs. This service was motivated by lots of things, but primarily love — the sort of love that Jesus spoke of when he said, “greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”. In war, every death or serious injury involves both the individual, as well as the person’s whole family, friends and community.
Having served with young Australian service women and men on numerous operations in several countries overseas, I am proud of the courage, integrity, compassion and mercy that I have seen in their service. We can’t say it often enough for we owe these young people and their families a great debt, but this, going to war and serving in war is the story of Anzac Day. Remembrance Day is about coming home because it is about people — Defence force members who have died in the line of duty in wars, conflicts and peacekeeping missions, and also about those who are struggling with war’s effects.
Australia selects our finest — our training is world class and our equipment now is the best. We prepare and we do well, but going to war hurts. Even peacekeeping operations are both dangerous and can be deeply traumatising.
Australian infantry commander Brigadier Mick Moon says, “Everyone comes home with dents in the soul.” This is both a good thing because good people should be affected by what they encounter in war and a tough thing because it makes coming back home really complicated.
When we are away from home, all that we think about and long for is home. Home might be a country, a town, a community, a beach or a mountain or it might be a house or a family — whatever it is, it’s what we long for, where we long to be loved.
Preparing for and going to war are emotionally charged and physically hard, but actually relatively easy — coming home from war is much harder. Veterans are physically, mentally and spiritually changed by their war experience, and families and communities are both changed and ill-equipped to receive veterans back “home”.
Of course, homecoming can be successful; love and time and more love and more time are very good healers, but often the people whose love we crave even though they love us can’t give us what we need. How can families handle sleeplessness, screaming nightmares, anger, crying, self-harm and suicide?
Our God speaks frequently into this darkness of spirit; speaking directly to those who know the “valley of the shadow of death”. Jesus speaks directly to and also heals wounded veterans. In Mark 5.1-20, Jesus encounters a man — whom some Biblical scholars believe to be a Roman legionnaire, a retired veteran — with many demons from his service, demons whom he chooses to call the familiar term “Legion”.
There is a vital role for our Church to help veterans who can no longer live at home, who scream out during the night and who may self-harm or consider suicide. This starts by making veterans’ families feel welcome and being willing to listen to them and understand the complex issues they face.
Veterans’ chaplains and the Warrior Welcome Home program are bringing God’s healing to veterans so that they can find peace and “go home” to their families and friends.
As chaplains we can produce small group resources and studies, refer veterans to services and lend an ear; however, we need many more churches that are willing to be places where veterans can find God’s love and peace so they can return, and be at, home.
Editor’s notes: Principal Chaplain, The Ven. Rob Sutherland, CSC joined the Army in 1974 as an Infantry Officer. He has since served for 25 years as an Army chaplain. Rob currently leads the Veterans’ Chaplaincy Pilot Program for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, is an Archdeacon to the Primate and leads Warrior Welcome Home, a program to help veterans and families recovering from the effects of war and Defence service.
Immediate support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; for Veterans and Families from Open Arms 1800 011 046 and in a crisis call 000
Dates & Seasons •
Saturday 11 November 2023
Defence Sunday — remembering with thankfulness and hope
By The Ven. Rob Sutherland CSC
“As a veteran and chaplain, I ask that on Defence Sunday people remember with thanks the sacrifice of those who served, suffered and died for us and their families; to commit to helping those wounded in body, mind and spirit; and, to pray for those who still serve in our name,” says Principal Chaplain, The Ven. Rob Sutherland CSC
“ ‘No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends,’ ” says the Lord (John 15.13).
Defence Sunday is the closest Sunday to 11 November, Remembrance Day. On Defence Sunday, our Lectionary invites us to use the Prayer for the Defence Forces of Australia (APBA p.204, prayer 10), although it is also appropriate to use the Sentence, Prayer and Readings for Anzac Day (APBA p.629).
Some churches, like mine, will also invite people to lay rosemary, to observe a minute’s silence and to play “The Last Post” (which may be downloaded from the Anzac Portal website or played on Spotify).
Anzac Day commemorates and remembers Australians and New Zealanders going to and serving in wars — their valour, courage and service. It commemorates and remembers the sacrifices made by sailors, soldiers and aviators and their families.
On Defence Sunday and Remembrance Day we remember the cost of war, the love of those who were prepared to lay down their lives for us, and the hope for a future without war.
As a veteran and chaplain, I ask that on Defence Sunday people remember with thanks the sacrifice of those who served, suffered and died for us and their families; to commit to helping those wounded in body, mind and spirit; and, to pray for those who still serve in our name.
On this Defence Sunday, I encourage anglican focus readers to listen to this Defence Sunday video message from Bishop Grant Dibden, the Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force, as he shares about the critical work of Defence Chaplains.
Editor’s notes: Principal Chaplain, The Ven. Rob Sutherland, CSC joined the Army in 1974 as an Infantry Officer. He has since served for 25 years as an Army chaplain. Rob currently leads the Veterans’ Chaplaincy Pilot Program for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, is an Archdeacon to the Primate and leads Warrior Welcome Home, a program to help veterans and families recovering from the effects of war and Defence service.
Immediate support is available for those who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; for Veterans and Families from Open Arms 1800 011 046 and in a crisis call 000.
Tuesday 14 November 2023
Student-led radio station to launch at Flinders
Matthew Flinders Anglican College Secondary School students are starting a radio station and who better to teach them the ropes than one of the Sunshine Coast’s best, Old Flinderian and Hot 91.1FM Radio Host Sam Coward (Flinders Class of 1996)?
“Goood Morning, You’re listening to Flinders Radio.…!”
Secondary School students at Matthew Flinders Anglican College are starting a radio station and who better to teach them the ropes than one of the Sunshine Coast’s best?
Old Flinderian and Hot 91.1FM Radio Host Sam Coward (Flinders Class of 1996) visited the College on Wednesday, 18 October to share his tips and tricks on how to host a successful radio show — and have fun along the way!
The first students on the Flinders Radio mic are Lucy McCann and Tristan Mon in Year 9, who will be responsible for all aspects of the show, from the script to the music selection, interviews, editing and more.
Lucy said, “I found it really inspiring to talk to Sam! He shared how to create an engaging radio from his nine years of experience.
“He gave us invaluable advice that will help us develop our radio and he was really interesting to chat with as he has lived an amazing life.”
Tristan said, “I am very grateful to have had this opportunity to meet Sam from Hot.91, and to learn so much about radio and broadcasting from his experience. I’m excited to see what the future holds, and how our project will grow from there (hopefully with some new members!).”
Next week the students will join Sam in the 91.1 Hot FM studio in Maroochydore to observe a show in progress.
Each Flinders Radio episode will feature lessons on cyber safety to build awareness and support the safety and wellbeing of young people at the College and in the wider community.
The first show will feature an interview with Flinders’ new Head of Music, Dr Cade Bonar with a link to a whole-school competition for the students to compose a Flinders radio jingle that can be used to kick off each show.
Flinders Launches New ENIGMA Program in 2024
The radio station project is part of the new Flinders ENIGMA program, which aims to drive entrepreneurship, innovation and tech awareness at the College.
Next year, Flinders ENIGMA students will contribute to a large-scale project and also work on smaller initiatives, such as the radio station project and a project that began in Term 4 this year to build a retro arcade machine.
The College’s Head of Learning Futures Mr Patrick Morrow said the ‘Flinders Mission to Mars’ would be the large-scale project opportunity in 2024.
“As part of the ENIGMA program’s Mission to Mars, we’re inviting students to form a team to enter the Australian Space Design Competition. Teams will vie for the chance to win a trip to the Kennedy Space Center (Florida, USA),” Mr Morrow said.
“The Flinders Mission to Mars will also see a FarmBot introduced to our Flinders Farm to engage and inspire the next generation of farmers, engineers, plant scientists and coders,” he said.
“Students will get hands-on as they explore this cutting-edge STEM-based learning and research experience which can help with everything from weeding to planting seeds with precision and watering plants.”
Mr Morrow said the Flinders ENIGMA program would give students the chance to try different roles that build diverse skills, from writing application letters and applying for jobs, to writing funding proposals, designing and managing budgets, pitching ideas to supporters and investors, prototyping, 3D modeling, robotics, installing electrics, marketing and more!