Dear Friends,

The events of Saturday onwards have been a constant onslaught. The news of killings in the Bondi Junction Shopping Centre. The heartbrokenness of parents grieving for the lives their son had taken, as well as the life of their son. The extraordinary acts of courage in the face of danger. The reinforcing of threat; of harm and illogical hatred, towards women.

And then came the events of Monday night. The attacking of a controversial priest. The terrible actions of a 16-year-old boy. A response from a church community that resulted in injuries to two police officers and damage to 51 police vehicles. As one member of the community stated, “They’re torn between wanting to get retribution for their bishop and protect their community … and keeping Jesus and forgiveness with them.”

That is the question, isn’t it? How do we, in the face of hurt and anger and fear, “keep Jesus and forgiveness with us”?

In the Anabaptist Association of Australia and New Zealand newsletter this week, the Bible reading was 1 Kings 19:11-13a from The Voice translation:
The Eternal passed by him. The mighty wind separated the mountains and crumbled every stone before the Eternal. This was not a divine wind, for the Eternal was not within this wind. After the wind passed through, an earthquake shook the earth. This was not a divine quake, for the Eternal was not within this earthquake. 12-13 After the earthquake was over, there was a fire. This was not a divine fire, for the Eternal was not within this fire.
After the fire died out, there was nothing but the sound of a calm breeze. And through this breeze a gentle, quiet voice entered into Elijah’s ears. He covered his face with his cloak and went to the mouth of the cave.
The mighty wind was not a divine wind. The great earthquake was not a divine earthquake. The terrible fire was not a divine fire. The Eternal comes to Elijah in a gentle quiet voice.

For me this week, amid the onslaught, that gentle, quiet voice has repeated the words that we sang on Sunday. “Be not afraid… for I am with you always. Be not afraid… for I am with you always. Be not afraid… for I am with you always.”

Grace and peace to you in the knowledge that God is with you always.


PS Three important announcements!

  1. The Walk for Peace for Gaza, for Christians here in Canberra, has been postponed till Saturday, 4 May. For more information and to register, go to –
  2. RSVPs for the Community Engagement Exposure Tour in Melbourne (Wed-Fri, 15-17 May) are closing soon!! Steve wants to hear from you THIS WEEK if you can come. The tour includes a wide variety of churches and organisations making significant connections with their communities, including Brunswick Baptist, Crossway LifeCare, Mornington Community Support Centre, Fusion, Now and Not Yet cafe, Westgate Baptist and Baptcare Home Help project. See the itinerary here.
  3. RSVPs for the visit to Community of the Transfiguration, near Geelong (Fri-Sun, 17-19 May) are also closing soon!! Steve also wants to hear from you THIS WEEK if you would like to be part of this visit. As I mentioned on Sunday, Community of the Transfiguration, is a Baptist monastic community! It contains two former members of our church community here, Garry and Ann Lock, and is an active part of the Open Baptists. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience a unique monastic Baptist tradition of prayer and common life and hospitality.

Numbers for both tours need to be finalised this week. Please register by this Sunday, 28th April. Click here to register for the tour and/or the retreat. For more information speak with Steve Coster

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