Happy New Year!

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you, and I won’t keep you for long tonight.

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m sure you’ve got better things to do than spend your time reading a blog post from me. You might likewise be wondering why I’m spending my New Year’s Eve blogging when I should be out drinking and carousing (in a clerically-appropriate way, of course).

Well … I’m struggling with a stupid eye infection at the moment and I spent half the night at the hospital, so there’s no drinking or carousing on the agenda for me tonight. You’ll have to do my share for me!

It’s an odd time to get sick, of course, but I find it always happens when I slow down. My dad used to call it ‘pilot’s brain syndrome’.

According to my dad, during World War I there was a well-known phenomenon where fighter pilots would sometimes taxi in on the landing strip after a dog-fight, turn off their engines, and then die! When the support crew got to them they’d find that the pilot only had half a brain left. The rest had been destroyed in the dog-fight! Even so, the pilot had managed to complete his mission! He’d landed the plane, taxied in and shut off his engine before giving himself permission to shed his mortal coil!

Dad figured that a lot of us experience a parallel phenomenon where we push through the chaos of particularly busy periods and then we give ourselves permission to die once the pressure comes off. That certainly rings true for me. Anyway … I sincerely hope that you are in better health at the moment.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

If you missed my family-video-Christmas-greeting it is here. And don’t forget to grab some of the virtual presents from under the tree (yes, there really is a tree and there really are presents)!

I was quite pleased with my Christmas Day sermon this year.

I normally bang together a Christmas Day sermon late on Christmas Eve. This year I’d been ruminating on my Christmas message for about six months!

I’m always conscious of the fact that the church lectionary provides us with a series of alternative readings to use on Christmas Day. All of them tell the good ole’ Christmas story of Mary and Joseph and the manger and the shepherds, etc. – all except one!

Every year, alongside the depictions of the happy Nativity scene are these verses from John Chapter 1.

In the beginning was the Word.
The Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He existed in the beginning with God.
Through him all things were made, and apart from him was not anything made that was made.
In him was life, and that life brought light to humanity.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never overcome it!

From a preacher’s point of view, it always seemed to me a lot more straightforward and a lot more downright Christmassy to preach on the birth of Jesus, but about six months ago I got it into my head that this year I’d go with John and let people know that Christmas is about more than babies and presents!

Did I do Christmas justice? You can be the judge of that. Enjoy the video!

[imaioVideo v=1]

(and if you can’t view the above video, click here)

Well … I can hear fireworks going off outside now. The rest of the family has gone to an appropriate location to watch them all and I might try to catch an explosion or two myself from the balcony if I can, but not until I’ve share with you a little about my own hopes for the New Year.

I have two great hopes for 2013:

  • To launch a series of successful Fighting Fathers Warrior Weekend boot camps
  • To see peace in Israel/Palestine

I don’t expect you’ve ever seen those two on the same list before, but those are quite honestly my two greatest hopes for the coming year.

I don’t pretend that I’m going to have a great deal of input into the second of these hopes (apart from prayer) but I’ll certainly be pouring my blood, sweat and tears into the boot-camps.

My vision is to bring together some of this country’s greatest boxers and have them share a weekend in the bush with a variety of young people – some promising young pugilists and others who are homeless or in recovery. Together we share a weekend of hard training and gentle spiritual reflection, with the older men and women playing a mentoring role to the younger ones.

That’s the vision, and these are the dates we have set thus far:

  • March 22-24
  • May 10-12

If you’d like to be part of one or both of these weekends, we’ll be charging $220 per person for the weekend for those who can afford to pay. That will include accommodation, food and training fees.

I hope to have between 20 and 30 paying people on each camp so that we can then invite up to a dozen people who can’t afford to pay. The professional boxers and the admin team will all be donating their time, so we should be able to cover our costs. That’s the hope anyway.

The camps will each be held at our beloved Binacrombi Bush Camp. If you’d like me to book you a place now, just let me know.

Give Peace a Chance

And as for peace in the Israel/Palestine, things are certainly coming to a head.

I don’t know if you read the article I penned on this a week or so ago. I am convinced that this year will be a critical year for Israel/Palestine, and I do believe that if a true and lasting peace can be achieved there, it will have profound reverberations across the globe!

As my friend Bishop Riah (former Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem) always says, “the peace of the world runs through Jerusalem”. I believe this is true. If we can help make it happen there, it can happen anywhere and everywhere!

Follow me on Twitter or subscribe to my RSS feed on israelandpalestine.org if you want my daily updates on the Israel/Palestine situation. It is something that lies heavy on my heart and I will be continuing to write and pray and do whatever I can in this coming year to give peace a chance in that part of the world.

That’s enough from me for today. I’m sure you’ve got some champagne to consume.

Happy New Year, Fighter!

May the Lord bless and strengthen you for the work to which you have been called

Your brother in the Good Fight,






P.S. As I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Merry Christmas!

Hi Fighter,

Being Christmas Eve, it’s a very simple Monday Missive this week with a very simple message:

[imaioVideo v=1]
(and if you can’t view the video, click here)

Make sure you wait until the video has finished as it should then re-direct you to my Christmas tree where you can collect your presents.
(and if you’re not redirected, click here).

I’ll catch you again on New Year’s Eve.

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. And if you’re trying to think of the perfect Christmas present for me, become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes a big difference at this end!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – December 10th, 2012

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you, though only very briefly today.

I’m back in the land of Oz, and glad to be back, but feeling a little off-balance!

A part of that is jet-lag, no doubt, but the other thing that has thrown me is the realisation that we’re only two weeks short of Christmas!

You’d think I would have picked up the Yuletide warnings during my 10 days in the USA, and indeed there was no shortage of decorated trees and red and green baubles in every town I visited. But I’m afraid I just can’t associate Christmas with snow and cold weather! It wasn’t until I touched down and confronted the scorching heat of the Aussie summer that it really hit me!

Anyway … I managed to squeeze out a sermon with a Christmassy sort of theme, and I found today that it’s actually been YouTubed, and I’ll include that below, but there’s two things I want to mention to you first:

I Now Hold the Official World Record!

I received the news while I was in the US! According to the Guiness Book of World Records:

“The most consecutive boxing rounds is 120 and was achieved by David Smith (Australia) at the Holy Trinity Church Hall in Dulwich Hill, New South Wales, Australia, on 1 April 2012.”

Yes, it took more than six months for my world-record to be officially recognised, and the not-so-good news is that in that time somebody has already attempted to break it!

According to this article, Gerry Cronnelly of Ireland felt so inspired by my efforts that he decided to have a shot at 122 rounds to raise money for cancer research!

Mind you, I don’t know whether Cronnelly’s attempt was successful, and there’s a rumor going round that he fought mainly with schoolgirls and farm-animals, but since I started that rumor I’m pretty sure that it’s not true.

Anyway, even if he did complete the rounds I’m guessing that it’s not official as yet, and that I’ll still have a few more days to bathe in the glory of being a world-record holder before I fade into the obscurity of sporting has-beens!

Indeed, you can relive the glorious occasion with me now via this video retrospective if you’ve keen.

[imaioVideo v=1]

(and if you can’t see the video, click here)

In all truth, I see a real opportunity in Cronnelly’s attempt. Whether or not he was successful. I’m intending to challenge him to a ‘Last Man Standing’ bout!

The idea will be to box each other till only one of us is left on our feet. Of course that might take only a few rounds, but if he’s a long-distance fighter like me I reckon we might be able to achieve another world record between us – ie. for the longest boxing match!

I’ve already got the marketing cliches worked out:

  • He’ll be on the floor in round 64!
  • (or if that doesn’t work) His ass will be mine in round 79!

Of course I shouldn’t get ahead of myself as I haven’t made contact with Cronnelly yet, but the Parish Council informed me yesterday that I need to raise another $10,000 for the Youth Centre in 2013, so unless I can come up with a way of raising money that doesn’t involve me getting beaten up …

Pray for Israel/Palestine

The other thing I wanted to raise today was simply a call to prayer for Israel/Palestine.

I do believe that these countries are at crisis point, and I do believe that the course that these two countries take in the coming days and months will affect us all, one way or another!

I’ve written a brief article about the situation –Crisis point for Israel/Palestine!. You’ll find it here.

One of the things that really struck me in my travels across the US was the difficulty of accessing a balance of information regarding what is taking place in the rest of the world. Indeed, as I scanned the radio stations over and over again during my many hours of car travel, I found it difficult to find news about anything that was happening in the rest of the world! Certainly the only news I could find on Israel and Palestine was very one-sided.

I’m not suggesting that my perspective is unbiased of course, but hopefully it will provide a balance to the perspectives you may get in the mainline media, as will the other 528 articles that are published on www.israelandpalestine.org. Read and Pray!

Tidings of Comfort and Joy … NOT!

That’s the title of Sunday’s sermon, and I’ll leave you with that.

It’s 13 minutes and 37 seconds long if you have time for it.

[imaioVideo v=2]

(and if you can’t see the video, click here)

If you don’t have time for that now, let me share the latest snaps from my family album with you instead. That’s two of my lovely daughters below. Francesca is the little one, playing the part of a Christmas angel. Imogen is just looking lovely, as she always does.

Francesca the Christmas Angel Imogen

(click either of the pics to go full-size)

And it’s actually my third (and eldest) daughter, Veronica, who is celebrating her birthday on Wednesday! I’ll include a birthday pic of her next week.

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. I put together an online slide-show of my recent US trip. If you’re up to it, click here.

P.P.S. As I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – December 3rd, 2012

Hi Fighter!

You’ll have to forgive me for sending out my ‘Monday Missive’ a little late this week!

I’m afraid I’m on the wrong side of the world, in a different time zone, and I’m currently encloistered in a monastery where hi-speed Internet access is not the priority for residents.

Actually, I’m not sure if ‘encloistered’ is a proper, word but if it’s not, it should be!

Either way, I am very glad to be here and have been made to feel very welcome by the brothers, and this despite the fact that they are all currently maintaining a day of silence!

In truth, the contrast between the environment here and that of the casino that I emerged from after the fight could not be greater, but I can elaborate on that later. First things first: let me tell you about the fight!

Egberime v Spadafora

This was Sol’s big chance to prove himself on the world stage. Spadafora had a record of 46 wins, 1 draw and no losses! He is a former world champion, and his team’s plan was simply to use Sol as a stepping-stone to another world title shot. We knew though that they had underestimated Sol.

Sol v Spadafora - weigh-in
click the pic to see full-size

In truth, there is a lot more to the Spadafora story. Like so many boxers, his life has been filled with turmoil and tragedy. He has a history of addiction problems and has spent a lot of time in jail. More recently though he has given his life to Christ and is trying to make a fresh start.

I met with the Team-Spadafora attorney, Joe, before the fight. He is a great guy who has played a key role in the fighter’s recovery. I told him that I was keen to meet Paul Spadafora after the fight. He told me that unfortunately that wasn’t going to happen because it was his young son’s birthday, and Joe was taking Spadafora straight from the fight to go see his son. I couldn’t argue with that!

Sol Egberime - ready for the big fight!
click the pic to see full-size

Sol had trained for this bout like his life depended on it. He had spent a month in Las Vegas with Luis Tapia (pictured above) who really impresses me as a manager and as a trainer.

As we did the final preparations in the changing-room, there was a real sense that nothing had been left out. Sol had done the hard work in the gym. He was fit and he was ready. This was going to be his night!

Unfortunately it was not to be. Sol fought well, and he did his best to stick to the plan – moving forward on the lanky south-paw and trying to stifle his movement. He was certainly the more aggressive of the two fighters and he really started to take control in the final rounds. I believe if he’d had another round or two he might have put Spadafora on the canvas.

The fight went the distance, and I truly thought that Sol should have been slightly ahead on points. But it’s impossible to win a points decision against a former world champion in his home town.

One of the judges scored the fight 100 to 90 against Sol! For those who don’t know how boxing scoring works, that’s ten rounds to zero! That was just a slap in the face. The other judges scored the fight more evenly, but no one gave it to Sol. I think if the fight had taken place anywhere else in the world we would have at least scored a draw.

Sol loses to Spadafora on points after ten rounds
click the pic to see full-size

In truth, Sol put in a great performance and I hope that this might have been enough to open some more doors for him in the US fight scene. Time will tell. For the moment though he will return home unscratched, knowing that he did himself and his family and his country proud.

Traveling Across the USA

I had hoped that these 10 days in the US would be relaxing for me. In truth, they have been full-on! At the same time, they have been terrific!

Fighting Father Ricardo
click the pic to see full-size

I met up with Fighting Father Ricardo in Los Angeles – a young man who is studying at University and is determined to become both a medical doctor and a Catholic priest and a Muay Thai champ! Ricardo is my sorta guy!

click the pic to see full-size

From there I headed to the East Coast and drove to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where the great battle took place in 1863. The pic above is of me standing on top of the lookout on Culp’s Hill, where much of the fighting took place on the second day of battle. That’s the town of Gettysburg in the background.

The high-water mark of the Confederacy
click the pic to see full-size

While on the battlefield, I made sure to pay my respects at the Armistead marker – the monument that marks the spot where General Lewis Armistead fell on July 3rd, 1863, while leading his troops across the stone wall that was held by the Union troops. This point is considered the ‘high water-mark’ of the Confederacy. It was as close as they came to winning the war.

Rob Burgess
click the pic to see full-size

From Gettysburg I drove four hours to the fight venue in Chester, West Virginia (the story of which has already been told) and from there I drove six hours north-west to St Joseph in Michigan, where I met up with Fighting Father Rob Burgess – a great guy and a full-time custodial grandparent to his lovely grandson, Colin (who was unfortunately asleep at the time we took the photo).

Father Iovane
click the pic to see full-size

From there I drove another four hours south-west to arrive at the monastery on the Community of St John in Princeville, Illinois, where I am now. The invitation to be here came from my old friend, Father Iovane, who I met through Father Elias some years ago. He is a beautiful man and this is a beautiful place. I only wish I had more time to spend here.

Iovane and I have been chewing the fat about the three years of ministry that he’s just completed in Addis Ababa, and about his visions for ministering to young people where he is now. Who knows but there might yet be a significant work for the Fighting Fathers to do here too.

From here I head off early tomorrow morning to drive to the airport in Chicago, where I hope to meet up with some more friends before spending the requisite 16 hours in the air that it will take me to get back home.

God willing, I’ll be writing to you from there again as usual next week. Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. As I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four