Tribute to Peter Jensen | Sydney Anglican Synod

Rick Smith finished his moving speech...refering to Peter's last words on the ABC Q&A the other night ...and how Peter pointed us to Christ. I want to start with Dr Jensen's very first words to the city of Sydney as Archbishop...speaking to our gathered media... In a packed news conference:

First, I want to stake my life on the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

My journalist friends went along to the press conference said there was a vibe around the news conference ..... Wow - this guys got views. And depth. We have a new player in town. A new leader in the city.

And over a decade that view of Sydney’s media ... hasn’t changed... A Channel Seven journalist said to me - Whatever Jensen says is news. Pell as well, but especially Jensen.

Going back 15 years ago before Peter, I think Sydney Anglicans were defined in the media and amongst ourselves by our enemies.

But it wasn’t just the media... it’s been our view of ourselves - as Sydney Anglican Evangelical Christians.

Peter, with your election and your adoption of a diocesan ‘heart grabbing goal,’ his championing of the mission of Jesus....

You have given us a goal, a purpose, a direction, to unite behind --- Christ.

One old dog from this chamber said to me, Peter enjoys more support in synod than any Archbishop I can remember because he is so clearly leading us to where we want to go - he is leading us to Jesus.

*** I have been excited as we have started to do the review of the diocesan mission, our mission.. to begin to chart the progress that has been made.

  • It is amazing to reflect that under Peter’s chairmanship we have seen the conversion of ANGLICARE.
  • Our social issues committee - they are now so sharp and incisive in their statements to the world.
  • The way Anglican Retirement Villages have been brought back into the family.
  • The way Anglican Media is about promoting the mission of Christ.
  • And the way we now have a confidence in Youthworks that ten years ago - we just didn’t
  • And then the revolution in the school system - with the Christian Principles and School Councils!

Things we could not have imagined 15 years ago.

Well done good and faithful servant!

Hobart to Straughn - January 2, 2012

It was a long and difficult drive from Hobart to Straughn.  We left just after ten and apart from stopping for lunch in Queenstown we were on the road till mid afternoon.  The drive had hills, corners, a moonscape appearance and more corners. On the way out of Hobart we stopped at the hardware to buy a new plug for the sink - having survived this whole trip without a sink plug (washing up at camp kitchens).  At the hardware the kids were playing a game and Hannah’s iPhone screen was smashed (this wasn’t an emotionally neutral event - there were requests that we go straight back to Sydney and the Apple Shop).

I arrived at Straughn completely drained.  The campervan and windy hills are hard work.  It takes me coke and chocolate to get though - and when I’ve pushed myself I’m then wacked afterwards.

Queenstown was nothing much a town - a center of mining activity - and a place Cathie’s late dad Wilf, used to work - along with Wittanoon and Mount Isa (being a mining engineer seemed to work in a trifecta of unattractive mining towns).

Straughan was much more attractive and we set up the awning - we were staying two nights (fantastic!).

Cathie and I went down for a coffee at the coffee shop and to check out the cruise timetable etc for the next day.

The Wall

By far the cultural highlight of the day was a stop at ‘The Wall.’  It was well worth stopping for - and a welcome break - about halfway between Hobart and Straughn. A Tasmanian sculptor has chosen to display aspects of his area’s history in 26 wood panel carvings.  Each carving is 3m x 1m of huon pine.

It was absolutely inspiring as a work of art - due to be finished in five years.

There are no photos of this on this blog as taking photographs was forbidden.  There were quite a few unfriendly signs about the taking of photographs - and I get that the artist needs to make money and a way to do that is to restrict the taking of photographs.  However the strength of this message did leave me with a tinge of rejection.

Mobile Phone reception

It really is quite astonishing how bad mobile phone reception is in Tasmania on the Optus network.  I don't think we have had mobile reception anywhere on the west coast of Tasmania (from the outskirts of Hobart all the way through Queenstown, Straughn, Cradle Mountain) finally getting it back as we headed into Sheffield.



Port Arthur - New Years Eve - December 31, 2011

Today up early and away from Bicheno just before ten.  We drove straight to Port Arthur, listening to David Jones talk on Joshua 1 on the way.  Abraham stayed awake for this one and we had a couple of good family discussions about about church planting, God's promise, God's word and God's presence.  


Port Arthur is now a significant tourist destination.  When Cathie came here last time in the days after we were engaged in early 1993 the broad arrow cafe was there, but it wasn't the key attraction it is now.


We went on a tour - which was supposed to last 40 minutes and actually went for an hour - and was about twenty minutes too long.  Then coffee, then a harbour cruise - which was excellent.  Our guide was a descendant of convicts and part aboriginal as well.  He told us to google 'black wars Tasmania' to learn about the massacre of Australia's first inhabitants at the start of the nineteenth century.  His presentation was fascinating - although I wondered whether he presented Port Arthur a little too positivelly.


We enjoyed looking through the museum facilities and the 'separate prison,' an early experiment in solitary confinement.


On thing that did disappoint me was the memorial to the victims of Martin Bryant's massacre in April 2006.  The victims were well remembered but the story wasn't told at all.  All our kids were born after the massacre, none of them knew about it at all.  


It was a sharp contrast to Beaconsfield yesterday where there was a historical presentation stretching back on mining over two centuries but a special focus on the mine emergency of a few years ago.  


Today, I felt disappointed that there wasn't a room in the display to tell the story of what happened in 2006 and how people responded - as part of educating a new generation about that terrible page in Australian history.  



We drove to Hobart and registered at Barilla Caravan Park where we will spend the next 48 hours.  As I write this it's just before midnight on New Years Eve.  As a family we have just watched Harry Potter Seven Part Two.  The caravan park is delightfully quite (in fact we were the noisy ones - someone came and asked us to turn the speakers on the movie down).  This is such a delightful contrast to Currarong Caravan Park the last five+ years where we have faced consistent drunken unpleasantness on New Years Eve - and the kids a sitting around now debating whether or not to stay up to midnight or not.  

We decided to stay up.  So Sol is serving everyone an extra plate of ice cream! 



Village News

Book that changed the world launch tomorrow nightThis is so cool! I just crashed the conversation between Greg Clarke and the SMH's Leesha McKenney about Celebrating The Book That Changed The World exhibition that opens tomorrow night here at Village Church Annandale Sydney. The exhibition opens at 7pm check the photos here. Introducing God starts Tuesday July 26 I am really excited about the reports of people praying and inviting people to our Introducing God Introductory night on July 26. Summit From Monday a group of us from Christians in the Media will be away for the whole on our Summit Conference looking at the Holy Spirit and praying for holiness in our own lives Peter and Vini Riches Are in Fiji for seven weeks missioning with the Year 13 crew. I’ve enclosed their prayer program.

Annandale North School Big day here at Village Church. We’ve had 400 people through the church building today from Annandale North Public School to watch their senior school drama.

Welcome Lounge

We’d love to see you at a 'Welcome Lounge'!

Join us for tea, coffee and supper after church every Sunday evening, 8.30–9pm.

We’d love to meet you personally & introduce you to what goes on at Village Church.

Please call 9660 2444, for more information.

See you there!

Rescued or trapped?

The judge said tomorrow the court will sit not at 10am but at 1pm. And so we all changed our arrangements.

Defendants, Plaintiff, Barristers, Solicitors - we all arranged our day differently.

Why? Because of what's at stake. A court can compel. A court can take away freedom.

And we so want freedom.

Jesus' Apostle Paul in his letter to the Christian Church in Galatia writes:

Galatians 1:3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age,

It is the Apostle's view that we are trapped in this present evil age - and in need of a rescue.

I was trapped and now am released. God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt. God sent an angel to rescue Peter from Herod's jail.

What are some of the symptoms of being trapped? When we make good things into primary things. When we make our marriages primary - instead of God. When we make our children primary - instead of God. When we make ourselves primary - instead of God.

Jesus gives himself for our sins to rescue us from this present evil age.

Let me put it bluntly - have you been rescued or are you still trapped?

Tim George

Tim George celebrated his 50th birthday today. There were about 70 people there for the lunch in the backyard of his and his wife Liz's home at Epping.

I've known Tim for 25 years exactly. He was the first person to systematically read the Bible with me.

My key memory is of sitting with him as he insisted that we contribute nothing to our salvation and that it is all of God, from Ephesians 2:8-9.

This was the first time I had really grappled with that idea.

I am very grateful to God for Tim and for his 25 years of example of Christian manhood, marriage and family life

Ten Pin Bowling

Cathie and I had a really great family time with the kids at Ten Pin Bowling yesterday. When we got home we disassembled the swing set in the backyard and carried it down to church. It's going to be a while before we can afford a kids playground at church and we have outgrown the swing set at home and so it was good to give it to a useful home. ps Cathie beat me at bowling.

Cathie's home

We called in to the hospital this morning to see Cathie. The registrar
had just been through and told her that she could go home. So we took
her home. Praise God for this amazing recovery - 48 hours after
surgery and she is in less pain than she has been for several months.

She has been asleep for most of the day. But she would rather be here
sleeping than at hospital (even with the sound of kids squabbling).

It's been a quiet day otherwise. Hannah and Solomon's sport was
cancelled. Abraham has gone for a sleepover at a mates. Solomon's
AFL game tomorrow has been cancelled as well.

There's a BBQ after church that I'm looking forward to.

ps Our phone is being switched over to a new phone company so we have
a few days with no home phone.

The thinking behind what we are Imagining

A friend has emailed ...

I'm inspired by the vision stuff you are doing at church.
We are trying to work out a process of developing a vision.
From watching and listening to your talks I've worked out some of your steps but is there a document you could send me that maps out the steps you are taking to establish your vision?

I think we are 'building the bridge as we walk on it' and are making it up as we go along. But I'll try to use this blog for the next little while to think aloud about what we are doing.

Cathie is up and about

Cathie had neurosurgery yesterday and I have learnt a lot about this
subject in the last 24 hours.

She has had serious back pain for a few months now. She had an
injection a fortnight ago, it reduced the pain somewhat. But she
started to loose function below the waist. So the doctor on Monday
said go straight to surgery do not pass go. The operation was
yesterday afternoon.

I dropped her at the hospital at 11am and waited with her till 12:30.
The operation list started at 12:30, there were two of them on the
list and she was second. Theatre for her didn't actually start till
3pm. She was out by 5:30pm and when I arrived at her ward (30 mins
earlier than they told me to be there) she had just arrived and was
groggy but conscious.

There's a scar about two and a half inches long on her lower back.
This morning while I was there she did two walks down the corridor.
Her brain is functioning normally, the pain is much reduced and
although she appears to have pretty much full function back. So it's
so far so good.

I've pulled out of a regional planning day on Saturday. Hannah's
doing netball on Saturday morning, then we will visit Cathie in
hospital, then Solomon will do AFL and Hannah take Barack to dog

I am expecting to be at church on Sunday and looking forward to
speaking on 'Imagine a church that loves the lost.'

Thanks so much to all those who have prayed and offered support.


Imagine Christ | 1 of 7

Our project as a church family the next seven weeks is to Imagine what Christ might do through us. We are spending the time 1. Giving thanks, 2. Setting forward a proto-vision for this ministry and 3. Asking for support.

It's linked to the fact that we are opening a new building on October 11, 2009 and so entering into a new phase of ministry. We are also changing the way we operate from a pastor model church to a team model church. And we are going to need everyone involved if we are to realise the vision that we think God has given us.

It's the start of the conversation rather than the last word. The elders are going to be taking note of what is said and digesting it and then reporting back at our AGM next march with a more concrete vision.

In the meantime we are also asking all involved with church for their take on how we as a church, their community group specifically and they individually are going at:
* Remembering what Christ has done
* Following Christ
* Loving each other
* Loving the lost
* Blessing beyond

We are also attempting to put the ministry on a sounder financial footing by asking for 12 month commitments of support to both our operational costs and building debt, as well as a one off gift towards the building ahead of June 30.

They are exciting times. But it marks a change from 'stake in the ground and run,' to planning to be a more settled long term sustainable steadily growing ministry.

Please pray for us.