Glen Scrivener on the ‘Secular Sermon to Archbishop Justin Welby‘

Glen Scrivener at Speak Life responds to ‘a secular sermon’ open letter directed to the Archbishop of Canterbury by high profile UK TV presenter Sandi Toksvig.

Can we love people and disagree? Very helpful in thinking about how to respond to those with whom we disagree.

Watch here.

Bishop of Tasmania’s Training Event 2022

From the Diocese of Tasmania:

“On 17 and 24 September, over 500 Anglicans from across Tasmania gathered in Hobart and Launceston to attend the annual Bishop’s Training Event.

In its 6th year, it was our biggest year yet, and we enjoyed encouragements from Bishop Richard and Wei-Han Kuan (the State Director of CMS Victoria). We are making the videos of the keynotes available and you can watch them below.”

Most encouraging.

Amazing Grace shown to sinners like us

Two hundred and fifty years ago today, the hymn Amazing Grace was first sung. The Rev. John Newton wrote it to accompany his sermon on 1 Chronicles 17:16-17 on New Year’s morning 1773.

At the time, Newton can have had no idea of what a blessing that hymn would be to millions.

There’s no better way to begin a new year than by remembering God’s grace shown to us in Christ, to bless God, and to tell others of him. has resources linked from their front page.

Update: Marylynn Rouse, Director of the John Newton Project, has contributed this piece just published in The Times.

(What is the good news Newton knew? Glad you asked.)

Twenty-three years closer to Eternity

Sydney celebrated the beginning of 2000 by displaying on the Harbour Bridge the word Eternity in the iconic copperplate handwriting of Arthur Stace.

A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then, and in many ways the world has changed. But the basic and urgent need of men and women is the same – to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and be saved.

In 2023, be encouraged to continue to trust Christ, and to live in the light of eternity. Romans 13:11.

Faith in the historical Jesus

“One of the great joys of 2022 has been The Rest is History podcast with Tom Holland and Dominic Sandbrook. I don’t think I have missed any of its 288 episodes! It is informative, entertaining, accurate, stimulating, challenging and never dull. It is also remarkably balanced and fair in its treatment of Christianity. Nonetheless I was a little apprehensive when I heard that they were doing a double edition on the historical Jesus.

I need not have feared. As usual it was interesting, informative and fair. There was much I could agree with but there were some things that were a little more challenging.

Tom and Dominic demonstrate the historicity of Jesus and offer some insightful and helpful historical background details. For example, no credible historian thinks that Jesus is a myth. They also acknowledge the enormous impact of Christ on human history. It is interesting to note that the name of Jesus is used every minute of every hour of every day on this planet! …”

– David Robertson writes at about the historicity of Jesus.

Bishop of Bathurst’s video message Christmas 2022

This video is a companion to Bishop Mark Calder’s text version previously published.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel’s 2022 Christmas message

With thanks to Anglican Media Sydney. Download your copy here.

And read this report from

The worst of all nightmares!

“What is your worst nightmare? We all have those trivial nightmares. Falling into an endless pit. Being encircled by sharks. Waking up with a nest of spiders on you (which happened to me for real at beach mission one year!). But if I were to ask you to seriously consider your worst nightmare – what you fear most – what would you say? …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Mike Leite reminds what truly wonderful news Christmas really is.

A Christmas 2022 message from Bishop Mark Calder

Bishop of Bathurst, Mark Calder, has written this Christmas op-ed:


Christmas is the sure sign that God is real and that he loves us.

That he’s real? We know that because he turned up. Jesus is none other than God in person. That’s extraordinary. And he turned up not in a palace, but in a food trough among farm animals. Such was his humility!

That he loves us? Only love would motivate the God of the universe to step into the world he created and be therefore vulnerable to humanity which had already turned its back on him!

Why did he do it?

Because he loves us so much that he didn’t want to leave us in the mess we’d made of things by shutting him out. Through his teaching, his life, and his death and resurrection, he makes it possible for anyone who wants to welcome him back into their life, to be forgiven, and reconciled to him for a great life now, and all eternity.

2022 has been another very tough year. Our only hope is not that things will get better, or that next year will be free of sadnesses and challenges (though I hope it is!); our only hope and help is to welcome the love, strength, and new life that God turned up 2,000 years ago to make possible.

Have a great Christmas!

Mark Calder
Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Bathurst – covering central and western NSW.

Christmas 2022 message from Dr Peter Barnes, Presbyterian Church of Australia

“In the din and distortion of a modern Christmas, it can be easy to miss the claim that the Child in the manger is the Saviour, the Messiah, and the Lord. …”

– See the full Christmas message from the Rev. Dr Peter Barnes, Moderator General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

The Stable & Cross

Joshua Bovis at St John’s Tamworth shares this Christmas message, written for his parish newsletter.


There are certain words, certain objects and certain things that at first glance don’t seem to work when they are combined. For example, my older brother Colin, who is a chef in England, once worked at a lovely pub called The Axe & Compass. For the life of me I cannot work out what an axe has to do with a compass nor how one points to the other.

Christmas reminds me of The Axe & Compass. Not because it is pub where much drinking will happen, but because the essence of Christmas contains two words, two objects that at first glance, also don’t seem to work when they are combined, and those two things are the stable & cross. 

Perhaps your response to these two things is the same as my initial reaction when I heard about the Axe & Compass, what does the stable have to do with a cross? How does one point to the other? After all we all know the Christmas story. We have all seen the nativity scene in our local shopping centres. Ok, so the traditional nativity scene has taken some liberties regarding the number of wise men, wherever there was actually an inn or an upper room, a stable or a cave. But we all know the basics, there a young very pregnant woman, her concerned husband, a birth, a healthy newborn baby boy, a star, Bethlehem and Angels. 

So what does the cross have to do with a stable? Why is that part of Christmas? How does that fit with a stable? A cross is about Easter isn’t it? And wait a second…the stable is about a birth, Easter is about a death, how can the stable and cross go together?

The answer is not as way out as it seems. The stable and the cross go together when we ask the question ‘why’? Why was Jesus born? Why did he come to this earth? Why did Jesus leave his throne in heaven to become vulnerable flesh and blood? Why did God become one of us?

The wonderful thing about these questions is that they are questions that have an answer, and even more wonderful, Jesus himself answers the question. 

In his Gospel, Mark records an event where two of Jesus’ disciples, James and John had plans, big plans. They were ambitious and wanted great things – for themselves. And they thought the key to greatness was Jesus, so they asked him to make them great. Jesus turns their worldview upside down (or is it the right way up?) by telling them that the key to greatness is serving others. Then Jesus gives them the example of himself and, at the same time, answers the question of why he was born. He says:


A sad fact of Christmas for many of us is that we often receive gifts that don’t last, that are not that useful and (let’s be honest) that we don’t like. To me, gifts like this could be described as hollow. The stable and the cross are the ultimate gift from the God who loves us, for it is the person of Jesus who links them both together and He is the point of both.

Christmas is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family and friends, it is wonderful opportunity to eat food we don’t normally eat, (and to eat more than we would normally eat), and it is often a time of connecting with others. The stable and cross is God’s way of connecting with us and the stable and cross is the only way that we can connect with him. 

The Stable & Cross words seem like words that don’t go together – but to have Christmas without them makes for a Hollow Christmas. No-one likes hollow gifts at Christmas, so when we see the Stable & Cross, why settle for a hollow Christmas? Why would we want to?

Have a blessed Christmas!

Be Inspired by Mr Eternity!

From St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney:

Written in Chalk – the echo of Arthur Stace!

On the evenings of Friday 11th and Saturday 12th November, on our doorsteps, St Andrew’s Square is hosting outdoor screenings of a fascinating documentary on the inspirational impact of the Eternity Story on Sydney’s history and culture! The documentary starts at around sunset, 7:30pm, and runs for about 70 minutes.

It occurs at the 90th anniversary of Arthur Stace first writing ‘Eternity’ on Sydney’s streets (14 November 1932)!

All welcome for a unique experience. View the trailer here.”

Whatever line the film takes on the legacy of Arthur Stace, you can learn about the man and his story –

Making your life count for eternity.

The Eternity waterfall after 40 years – 12 July 2017.

Arthur Stace in his own words.

Halloween resource from Matthias Media

Do you have lots of families in your street going door-to-door at Halloween?

This new tract from Matthias Media might be something you could use!

It’s Halloween! is a very short tract written in language a child can both understand and delight in.

The tract engages them as they dress up for Halloween and explains the difference between dressing up and the actual horrible things that happen in the world.

With the explanation in place, the contrast is drawn between a mixed world going its own way and a world loved and cared for by God through his Son, Jesus. The tract links to the online version of Who Will Be King.

This leaflet is perfect to give out with lollies and treats to children over Halloween, either to trick or treaters door knocking or at a church event. It assumes no familiarity with Christianity or Jesus, and is suggested for children aged 6-12. ”

Two Ways Ministries Forum on The Necessity of the Resurrection

“In light of the National Day of Mourning next Thursday we will be holding a special Forum on The Necessity of the Resurrection.”

Phillip Jensen writes:

“You may not have been to Forums for a while or you may not be able to get to Forums on a normal Thursday evening but do join us next week, Thursday 22nd September.

The time, location and arrangements will stay the same:
7 pm till 9 pm, Marcus Loane Hall, Moore College.

If you would like to bring your own food to eat dinner beforehand, please join us in the Knox Common Room which will be open with tea and coffee from 6pm and for supper after the Forum.

I hope to see you there, as our nation mourns the death of the Queen of Australia, we consider the resurrection of the King of Heaven.”

Photos: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, 2006.

Loving Jesus exposes our hearts

“No matter how many times I read Luke’s Gospel, it always impacts me. This is because we meet Jesus as he meets with different people.

Although it is a little hard to choose, I think my favourite encounter is Jesus’ interaction with the woman who was a sinner from Luke 7:36-50. There is so much to unpack in this story, but let me share with you just three things that struck me. …”

– Ben George writes at The Australian Church Record.

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