Life Together July30th

August 1st, 2018
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Warmest greetings from the National Office.

 Connect Camp 2018

 At a small lodge in Belgrave Heights, nestled in amongst Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges, Connect Camp 2018 once again hosted young adults from varying corners of Australia… with some international guests too. Laughter, friendship and stimulating conversation were plentiful.

  Discussions of internet ‘rabbit-holes’, effective time management, whether or not our humanity is important to God, the secrets of sex and marriage, love languages, moving away from home and the current gender debate meant that we were challenged and encouraged throughout the weekend. While our souls and minds were fed each day during these sessions, Nadia Peters ensured that our bellies were equally filled with warmth and delightful culinary creations.

  This year camp was not just an intellectual venture. We found time to get our hands dirty… literally. The environmental enthusiasts amongst us were very pleased to be participating in the revegetation of the area surrounding the Monbulk Creek. Those amongst us who were not environmental enthusiasts begrudgingly found joy digging holes and playing in the dirt.

 As with every Connect Camp, the chance to catch up with folk we may not get to see very often is especially valuable. As we took time to (attempt to) disconnect from the devices that often seem to be an extension of our arms and fill our minds with information beyond what is required for the next university due date or the hyper-reality of social media, I am increasingly grateful for the community of friends who feel more like family and for the time the wiser minds among us put into sessions that reorient our thoughts towards God and His everlasting, unfailing love for us. – Jenna Pederson

National Day of Thanks Mayoral Breakfast

Breakfast 2018 was excellent! Not just the delicious food, but even more so the company, the stories and the opportunity to gather again for the National Day of Thanks Mayoral Breakfast. Australia’s National Day of Thanks was launched officially in 2004 by the Governor General of the day Major General Sir Michael Jeffery with the Government support encouraging “Australians to pause as a nation and say thank you to God and to each other”.

 A Mayoral Breakfast has been held on the National Day of Thanks since 2005; hosted enthusiastically by the Mayor of Yarra Ranges Council in Victoria, along with other Councillors and State and Federal politicians, local sponsors, and churches in the vicinity of Mooroolbark. Each Mayoral Breakfast is a beautiful occasion, drawing the community together in thankfulness. This year was no exception, with 200 plus people enjoying breakfast which began with prayer, followed by a message from the Mayor of welcome and expressing appreciation for those “Unsung Heroes’’ who were about to be acknowledged, and for the local church leaders who organise this annual event. In the months prior the community had opportunity to nominate local “Unsung Heroes” to be acknowledged. Eight were chosen by the Mayor to be thanked this year.

Randall Bourchier has been facilitator for each of the 13 Mayoral Breakfasts. In this role he contacts each of those to be acknowledged at the breakfast and in his inimitable disarming way, elicits an extensive history of the variety of ways each person has been serving their community. Randall shared about 5 minutes of each person’s story, with compassion and warmth, of stories that are often fascinating, always inspiring and greatly encouraging. Stories of lives lived for the ‘other’. These “Unsung Heroes” were each presented with flowers by the Mayor, followed by prayers of thanks for each of them and their community.

 Oxley College volunteer each year to share their beautiful harmonies, often acapella, singing songs of thankfulness woven into the Breakfast proceedings.

 These Mayoral Breakfasts also include a guest speaker. This year we had particular privilege to hear from Tim Costello with a message of community care and hope. He encouraged each to look out for simple ways to help; to ‘’water them geraniums” as his grandmother would say. Tim shared uplifting and courageous examples of service he had seen and experienced in his international role with World Vision, stories of communities and government leaders working generously to alleviate the suffering of poverty.

 Another bountiful Mayoral Breakfast of thankfulness was shared and enjoyed greatly by people with diverse stories and situations within this Yarra Ranges community. – Ruth Castledin

Phil Hopwood takes ACCM to Asia

Phil Hopwood has spent the last five weeks travelling through the Philippines, Malaysia, and India teaching the ACCM classes Pastoral Care and Preaching. He began in Manila, where he was expecting 25 students and ended up teaching 60! From there he went to Malaysia and then on to India.

In Bangalore, Phil said he was inspired by the humility and respect between members. He mentioned that the class was especially helpful for the members who enjoyed discussing leadership, meetings, and Trinitarian theology. In Hyderabad, Phil rejoiced at the wide variety of participants, including a man who ministers to a group of “untouchables” and a few people who work with Hindu students.

 Phil returned to the Philippines last week a bit worse for wear after suffering from a stomach virus, but recovered quickly thanks to God’s grace and a diet of bananas and crackers. His class in Tagaytay again brought much higher numbers than expected (45) and he was pleased at the progress of students – many of whom were unfamiliar with Biblical exegesis.

 Only a couple of weeks remain before Phil returns to Tasmania, he has another class in the Philippines and then his last stop is a class in Rayong, Thailand. Thank you for your prayers for Phil, for ACCM, and for our GCI brothers and sisters in Asia!

 PNG Trip

 Mark Latham and Bill Sidney returned safely from their trip to visit our members in PNG. Making it into the Highlands is always a challenge. Our local pastors, Ben and Richard, continue to do a lovely job taking care of our church there. The people are still experiencing the difficult fallout from last year’s elections, with political and inter-tribal strife a constant presence. We’ll have a more detailed report for you next time.

 Thanks for your prayers for one another and for our fellowship, as we seek to live out the divine reality of our calling as part of the body of Christ, participating in his gracious mission from the Father through the Spirit to live and share the gospel, making disciples and building communion.

 God bless,



John McLean
Mission and National Director



July Church Matters

July 12th, 2018
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The July Church Matters is now available. It can be read by clicking ChurchMatters2018-07


Australian Conference Report

July 6th, 2018
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Our National Conference, on June 15-17 on the Gold Coast, saw 235 in attendance – from all the states of Australia, and  brothers and sisters from five overseas countries. Speakers included our present President Joe Tkach and his wife Tammy and present Vice President Greg Williams.

To read John McLean’s report please click Life Together, June 27, 2018-1.