Ready for an Easter Miracle?

Building a spiritual community at Binacrombi
my darling girl turns eleven!
my darling girl turns eleven!
Our dear brother, 'Binacrombi' Bob, turns 60!

.
Hi Fighter,

It’s Easter week, but it hardly feels like a time to celebrate. Yes, the great feast day of the Christian year is almost upon us – the day of new life and triumph and chocolate eggs – but there will be no dancing in the streets this year and no Easter-egg hunts in the church. We will all be shut in our homes, hiding from the virus!

We live in apocalyptic times – so it seems – and if it’s getting to you, be assured that it’s getting to me too. Moreover, I know there are a lot of people in far more precarious situations than me at the moment – people who have lost their jobs, may be losing their homes, and mentally fragile people who feel they are losing their minds.

My fear is that these lockdown measures – designed to save the lives of thousands – may end up destroying the lives of millions. I hope I’m wrong. Either way, I’ll shut my mouth for now as I’ve already been censored by my bishop for speaking my mind on this subject and I don’t want to attract further trouble. Be assured though that if you are suffering at the moment through this lockdown, I am with you, and it’s just possible that I may be able to help.

As Providence would have it, the timing of this lockdown has coincided exactly with the latest initiative being undertaken by our Order of the Fighting Fathers. We are forming a spiritual community in the bush.

When I drove away from Binacrombi last weekend, I left another two ‘fighting monks’ lodged in the Cloister. Another two have applied to join us. We have an initiation period, of course, involving two weeks of isolation in one of the more distant cabins. By the end of that period though it should be clear whether initiates are physically and spiritually suitable for our community, and there are plenty of beds available in the cloister.

We have even developed a draft Rule for the community. Every day our monks must devote at least one hour to prayer, one hour to fight training, and one hour to giving something back to Binacrombi. I appreciate that we’ll need to work on this a bit if we’re going to get it up to the standard of the Benedictine Rule but it’s a great start. 🙂

Would you like to join us? I can’t guarantee you a place in the community, and I can’t even guarantee that we’ll be able to take you for the two weeks’ initiation period if government rules change and make that impossible. I can guarantee though that I’ll talk it through with you if you contact me. See my promo video below if you need further convincing.

I don’t have a regular ‘sermon time’ sermon for you this week as we haven’t been having regular church services lately! I’ve streamed a couple of Eucharists from Binacrombi (which you can see here), and I’ll be streaming services from the Holy Trinity church building in Dulwich Hill for Easter morning and for the following Sunday.

Both services will be streamed from the Holy Trinity Facebook page. We’ll start each Sunday at around 9.15 am, and you don’t need a Facebook account to access these live events. Please join me if you can. These may be the last services I hold in our church building, though nothing has been finalised as yet.

It’s a difficult time for all of us at the moment. I know that. It’s a difficult time for our economy and for our planet, and it’s especially difficult for those who are on the underside of the system – the poor and marginalised, prisoners, the mentally and physically disabled.

Pray with me. Pray for our planet and for its people. So many of the issues needing our attention are getting scant consideration at the moment. How many know, for instance, that the extradition trial for Julian Assange is being pushed ahead with relentlessly in London. Sadly, there is only one item in the news at the moment.

That all makes sense, of course. When you have a toothache, you can really only think about two things – your pain and a dentist – and when we’re locked down in fear of the virus, it’s really hard to expect anyone to think of anything else, which is why this is the perfect time for corrupt corporations and governments to be about the devil’s work.

And so we must pray. We also need to mobilise, but it’s hard to mobilise if you’re not allowed to meet. We must therefore pray that God will show us how to do the impossible, which brings us back to Easter, of course, where we celebrate that the impossible indeed happens! Perhaps it will turn out to be a great Easter after all?

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Controlled by Fear?

Rallying for Julian Assange - Bring Him Home
Rallying for Julian Assange - Bring Him Home
Rallying for Julian Assange - Bring Him Home
Bush adventures at Binacrombi
Bush adventures at Binacrombi
My battle with the Combat Sports Authority continues
Celebrating Ola and Jessie's wedding on Lord Howe Island
Celebrating Ola and Jessie's wedding on Lord Howe Island
Celebrating Ola and Jessie's wedding on Lord Howe Island
Celebrating Ola and Jessie's wedding on Lord Howe Island
A foreword by the Grand Mufti of Syria
A foreword by the Grand Mufti of Syria

.
Hi Fighter,

I begin today’s newsletter from beautiful Lord Howe Island, somewhere off the east coast of Australia (though I have no idea exactly where). This is not somewhere I ever thought I’d end up, but about 18 months ago I agreed to do a wedding here for a young Swedish boxer named Ola (who also happens to be an Anglican priest) and his Australian partner, Jesse, and … here we are. Two days in paradise!

Back on the mainland things look far less idyllic. Indeed, we seem to be quickly degenerating into a society ruled by fear – fear of infection from this latest virus. People are fighting to empty the supermarkets shelves, preparing for a lock-down. Tempers are short and anxiety levels are high.

I guess we used up our resilience. Will-power is like any other muscle. You can only exercise it so much before it wears out, which is why advertisers always try to hit us repeatedly with their ads in order to wear us down. In this case, we survived the drought, the fires and the floods. We just didn’t have any will-power left over to resist the next crisis. It wouldn’t have mattered what it was.

Personally, I have no intention of being ruled by fear and I don’t think the church should give in to fear either. “Perfect love casts out all fear”, the Apostle John says (1 John 4:18). In Jesus’ case that meant Him touching all sorts of people who others considered unclean (lepers, people with different illnesses, etc). Likewise, in today’s environment, I can’t see Jesus refusing a handshake or a hug to anyone, I won’t either.

Mind you, I’m battling my own fears at the moment – fears about my own future, as my life’s vocation as parish priest of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Dulwich Hill draws to a close. Everyone has been asking me what I plan to do next – none more so than my youngest daughter who gets worried about where we will live. I thought I’d take the opportunity in this newsletter to share some of my hopes for the future.

I’m not envisaging any further opportunities to work with a church, and, at 58 years of age, I think I’ve left my run a bit late to retrain as a neurosurgeon (as attractive as that option might seem). My hope is that I’ll be able to keep going with my work with the young people through the boxing club, and hopefully continue too with my social justice work – campaigning for peace, for freedom of speech, for a fair go for asylum-seekers, etc. The trick will be finding a way to stay financial while I do what I feel called to do. I’ve got a few ideas:

Firstly, I may be able to develop our campsite ministry – Binacrombi – into something that generates an income. After almost 20 years of operation, it’s yet to turn a profit. Even so, we’ve seen lots of wonderful things take place there, and it may be that if we can increase the number of wonderful things taking place, it may also generate enough to support Fran and myself.

I’ve been talking lately with some Indigenous leaders about running camps for Indigenous young people at our site. That would be brilliant. I’ve also been separately talking to an old boxing champion who now works with vulnerable men, and to a church leader who works with at-risk women. They are both really keen to try bush retreats as a path to healing for the people they work with. Who knows where this might take us? 🙂

Independent of this, I’m about to publish my second book – “Christians and Muslims can be friends”. As I said to my young daughter, all we need to do is sell a million copies at a profit of $1 per book and we’ll have enough to buy a house! That’s easier said than done, of course, and the aim of the book is not to make money. Even so, God works in mysterious ways. We’ll see where this takes us.

In truth, I am very excited about the book. I’ve been waiting for many months for the foreword to be completed by His Grace, the Grand Mufti of Syria. I received that forward in Arabic a few weeks ago and I’ve subsequently had four translators working on it to give me the best possible English translation. I’m so proud of this forward that I can’t resist sharing a part of it with you today. I’ve published an excerpt here. My sincere and deep thanks to my esteemed brother, Dr Hassoun, the Mufti – a man I deeply admire and pray for every day. May God’s peace rest upon him and strengthen him as he shoulders the task of rebuilding his country.

In terms of my hopes for staying financial, my primary hope is actually that I will land a big fight in the near future. I appreciate that 58 is not normally considered the ideal age for a professional boxer. Even so, I figure that being ancient also makes me a novelty, and the truth is that I have never been fitter, stronger or faster. I’m not sure how to explain that except that I believe it is God’s way of telling me to keep on punching.

Of course, the first step to getting a big fight is getting a fight, and the Combat Sports Authority (CSA) has made that very difficult for me. I took the CSA to the Administrative Tribunal (thGloves of God bannede poor man’s version of court) after they prohibited my last fight in my hometown – stopping me an hour before I was due to go on. Unfortunately, the case was ultimately dismissed on a technicality. The Daily Telegraph published an article about that last weekend (click the pic for a more readable version)

My plan was to fight in Port Moresby again next month, which was part of an attempt to draw attention again to the plight of asylum-seekers in Papua New Guinea, this time with the backing of Amnesty International. Even so, travel restrictions currently being implemented by the government will mean that I have to abandon that plan for the moment.

Even so, I’ve also got ‘Wild Bill’ Kimbacher wanting to rematch me in northern Queensland where the NSW-based CSA can’t reach me. Bill has even put together a video challenge (which you can see here). That will be a tough fight. I trust that these virus fears won’t stop the bout happening.

From there … Syria again perhaps (when travel restrictions lighten up) or perhaps they’ll let me fight in Sydney again by then? Time will tell. Pray for me though please – pray that the Lord will open the doors I need opened and that I get my shot at a brighter future.

Sermon Time

I’m including today my sermon on Jesus’ encounter with an unnamed woman that He met at a well in Samaria, as narrated to us in the Gospel of John, chapter four. It’s a story that I found myself identifying with in many ways, and I did share a lot that is personal in this sermon.

Henri Nouwen pointed out that it was only when Jesus shared his wounds with His disciples that healing began. Nouwen saw this as the model for the priest/preacher. I had hoped that this sermon might lead to healing too. Time will tell. Click below, or get the written version here.

In terms of what’s on, everything is in turmoil due to new regulations coming down in response to the virus. April 19 is still the key day for me – the day when I hand over leadership of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Dulwich Hill to Father Hugh Isaacs. Whether I’ll be able or organise anything special for that day, or whether we’ll even be meeting is now uncertain. I’ll keep you up-to-date, but if we can do something, we will do something, and we do do something, you are invited. 🙂

I’ll finish off today by adding a few extra videos below:

  1. Wild Bill’s Kimbacher’s fight challenge (4 minutes)
  2. My speech at a recent rally for Julian Assange (4 minutes)
  3. Episode four of Revved UP! (45 minutes)!





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

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

World on Fire

100 people turned out for our Carols on the Lawn this year 🙂
The carolers included my dear friend, Syed Shoaib Naqvi
a wonderful gathering for our Christmas Day lunch
a wonderful gathering for our Christmas Day lunch
mastering the art of patting two furry creatures at one time 🙂
with friends at the Imam Husain Centre, grieving the assassination of Qasem Soleimani
making an appearance on Iranian TV, discussing the prospects for World War
rallying in the Sydney CBD - Fight Fires, not Iran
rallying in the Sydney CBD - Fight Fires, not Iran
rallying in the Sydney CBD - Fight Fires, not Iran

Hi Fighter,

The year has only just begun and yet 2020 has been a tough one for many of us already. The fires in this country finally seem to be lessening in their intensity, but who knows if this is the end of this catastrophe. The whole country seems to have been on fire and, regardless of what happens from here, the devastation has been terrible.

Dozens of people have died, hundreds have lost their homes, and apparently over a billion animals have perished! I’m no expert when it comes to ecosystems, but are we going to recover from this? Can a billion animals (and countless more insects) really die and the rest of the country go on unaffected? I’m keen to hear what the experts have to say. In the meantime, I’ll continue to pray for more rain. We’ve had some – thanks be to God – but I believe we need a lot more yet.

And while this country has been burning, something happened in Iraq last week that had the potential to set the whole world on fire! Donald Trump ordered the assassination of Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, and I really don’t think he had a clue what he was doing! Even disregarding the barbarity of the act, I am mystified as to what the US was hoping to achieve by this killing. If they were hoping to destabilize the Iranian government and to weaken Iran’s influence in the region, this action had the opposite effect in both cases.

The Iranian people have responded patriotically to seeing one of their favourite sons murdered and have gathered around the government. This is as one would expect. In terms of Iran’s influence in the region, Iraq has now asked the US to withdraw their forces completely from their country, thus aligning themselves more closely with Iran. I can only assume that Mr Trump’s focus was on domestic concerns and that he thought this might help with the impeachment process. It hasn’t.

The silver lining at this stage is that the Iranian response to the assassination was only a symbolic missile strike on a US facility in Iraq. Hopefully, by the Grace of God, the violence will end there. Keep in mind though that the US also assassinated the deputy-head of the Iraqi militia when they took out Soleimani, and they have promised to respond with no less severity than did Iran.

May God have mercy on us and preserve us from war.

Sermon Time

I’m sharing my Christmas Day sermon with you today. We had a big turnout at Holy Trinity on Christmas Day and my sermon was well received. Was that because it was shorter than usual, or was it because I was the only preacher in the world who began their Christmas Day message by extolling radical left-wing journalist, Caitlin Johnstone? You be the judge. Click below or find the written version here.

As you know, 2020 is a big year of change for me. In a little over a month’s time I’ll be going down to part-time work with the church of the Holy Trinity in Dulwich Hill. In April I’ll lose my position as senior parish priest. Father Hugh Isaacs will take over that position and I will continue on as his assistant, at least until the end of the year. The formal date of the hand-over will be April 19th (the Sunday after Easter).

I’d ask you to put that date in your diary now. I’d like to set that Sunday aside to celebrate with my friends and to reminisce over all we’ve achieved here over the last thirty years. It’s been an amazing ride. I suppose it couldn’t go on forever.

It’s not clear to me yet how I will support Fran and myself financially once I go down to part-time work but my hope is to use whatever extra time I have to focus on other ministry, such as our youth camps at Binacrombi and the development of our Christian-Muslim Justice League. I’m hoping to have my “Christians and Muslims can be friends” book published at about that time too, which will hopefully open up new possibilities for speaking engagements.

Another idea I’ve had is to develop a podcast/videocast that looks at current social and political issues from a Christian perspective. I managed to convince my friend and colleague, Rev. Joy Steele-Perkins, to help me put together a pilot for this. It’s a bit unpolished and it goes for a full half-hour. Even so, if you could take a quick look at it, I’d be very grateful for any feedback you can give me.

As you can see, I’ve got lots of ideas for the future. How to translate them into something that will help support Fran and myself in the days ahead remains to be seen. I’m trusting that the Good Lord has it all in hand. Keep me in your prayers though please. Keep this country in your prayers. Keep our world in your prayers. Let’s pray that 2020 will not be remembered as the year of fire but as the year we came of age – the year that we learnt to respect each other and our environment.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Merry Christmas

catching up with Father Bob
Antony Loewenstein wins the Jerusalem Peace Prize
Brian Dawe - a great comedian and committed supporter of Palestine
with Eddie Wardy on 'The Good Smoke' (Radio Skid Row)
with Albo (Australia's next Prime Minister) discussing Julian Assange
Bring Him Home! Support for Julian Assange is growing worldwide.
Luke Cornish throws his support behind Julian
Fran and I construct gingerbread houses 🙂
My darling Veronica turns 30!
My darling Veronica turns 30!
Soren gets his first tattoo!


Hi Fighter,

“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

The quote (in case you don’t recognise it) is from Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” and is his description of Europe at the time of the French revolution.  For me it equally describes the experience of being in the middle of the Christmas rush, with all the busyness and goodwill and tinsel and chaos.

In the light of ‘the rush’, I’ll be brief, but I must ask you to pray with me for our country. We seem to be in the grip of the worst fires in recorded history!

A friend of mine is amongst the many who have lost their homes, and Bob sends me the photos from Binacrombi. It hasn’t been hit yet (thanks be to God) but the smoke is so thick there sometimes that you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

I know some scientists believe that it’s already too late to recover from global warning and that things will only get worse from here. I pray that they are wrong. I pray too for our many courageous fire-fighters, including the countless volunteers. Strengthen and protect them, O Lord!

Of course, it’s not only Australia. The whole world seems to be on fire (literally as well as figuratively). My friends in Syria are buckling in for a harsh winter without access to diesel to heat their homes (courtesy of our draconian sanctions). Meanwhile, the situation in Palestine continues to degenerate, and our dear brother, Julian Assange, continues to languish in Belmarsh Prison – paying the price for telling the truth!

Forgive me if none of this rings of Christmas Cheer. There are plenty of lights shining in the darkness. We have not given up the struggle, and I’m trusting that the New Year is going to bring with it new vigor as we continue to fight the good fight together.

If you’re in the Dulwich Hill over the next few days I can assure you too that there will be plenty of love and laughter circulating here. You would be very welcome to join in.

  • Christmas Carols on the lawn on Christmas Eve (Tuesday) from 7 pm
  • Christmas Eucharist at 9.15 am on Christmas Day (Wednesday)

And for anyone who will be themselves on Christmas Day, you are welcome to join me and my family for lunch from midday onwards. Just give me a bit of notice that you’re coming in case I need to add a few more tinnies to the fridge.

Sermon Time

Christmas, for most of us, is a time for family, which is also why there are more suicides at Christmas than any other time of year. A lot of us don’t want to be reminded of what happened to our families, and the pristine images of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus only highlight our own failings.

But not so fast! While religious art has always depicted the holy family as an image of perfection, the Gospel accounts themselves are far more realistic. The birth circumstances of Jesus are far from ideal, and with Jesus’ broader family, there were plenty of skeletons in the closet!

Take a moment to listen to Matthew’s account of Jesus family and you may find that it is not too dissimilar to your own! The written version is here.

I do pray that you have a great Christmas and New Year. A big thank you to all my faithful friends and supporters this year. 2019 has probably been the most difficult year of my life and you guys have helped me get through.

the view from Binacrombi

Like the view from my cabin at Binacrombi, it’s hard to know what lies ahead for me in 2020. Even so, I am trusting that the God who has brought me this far will both bless and protect me and my children in the year to come. I believe I still may have my best fights left in me, and I look forward to having you stand alongside me in the rounds that lie ahead.

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

Yours in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Things have got to change

Christmas is on its way! 🙂
The numbers supporting Julian grow daily!
The numbers supporting Julian grow daily!
The numbers supporting Julian grow daily!
with Superhero, Jennifer Robinson - Julian's lawyer
Alex wins yet another Karate tournament!
Nestor fights for the title
Nestor fights for the title


Hi Fighter,

It will be a quick one today as I’m weary after another round with the Combat Sports Authority (CSA).

The CSA is the government body that oversees all combat sports, including boxing. Unfortunately, my stoush with them is a legal one. It’s over the prohibition they placed on my fight last March.

In case you don’t know the story, the CSA had approved my fight against Jason Mac Gura some weeks before it was scheduled but then reversed their decision at the last minute – issuing a probation order just an hour before I was due to go on!

They gave no reason. They communicated their decision to the promoter via an email. I tried calling them to get the decision reversed, or at least to find out what the problem was. I got nothing. Given that I had 50 supporters there, many paying upwards of $200 per ticket to watch me fight, the CSA’s action left everyone out of pocket and me without credibility. I haven’t been able to fight in my home state since!

I was hoping that today I’d have my day in court. I had taken the case to the Administrative Tribunal, rather than to the regular court, as it only costs $100 to go to the Tribunal and I simply can’t afford anything else. I had all my points prepared and I really thought I’d be able to convince the judge to order the CSA not to treat me like this again, and perhaps to even give us some compensation that I could put back into our work. Unfortunately, the CSA instead asked that the case be dismissed on a technicality. According to their legal team, if the CSA cancels my fight on LESS than 24 hours’ notice, they cannot be taken to the Tribunal. Go figure!

Anyway, the judge told them to put their dismissal case in writing and to send it to me so that I have a right of reply. Of course, I wouldn’t have a clue how to respond to this, though dismissing the case because I was NOT given any notice seems radically unjust! So … if there are any legal eagles out there who’d like to give me advice on this one, I’d love to hear from you.

Social Justice Theatre

On a brighter note, this coming Saturday – November 23rd – we’ll be holding the first of our Social Justice Theatre screenings in our church hall. Our focus this time will be on Palestine, which this week took another big hit when the US government decided that the illegal occupation of Palestinian land was no longer illegal. Again … go figure!

We’ll be screening Budrus – an award-winning feature documentary film about Palestinian community organizer, Ayed Morrar, who unites Palestinian political factions and invites Israeli supporters to join an unarmed movement to save his village of Budrus from destruction by Israel’s Separation Barrier.

We’ll begin with coffee and snacks at 5.30 pm and start the actual film no later than 6 pm. That will make it easy to do dinner afterwards for any who are interested. More details are on the Facebook event page (here).

If you can’t make it this week, our second screening will be a fortnight later – December 7th. I haven’t got the title for the movie that night but it will be about our brother, Julian Assange, and we’ll have Julian’s dad, John, with us for the evening.

That evening may be a big one, as support for Julian is definitely growing! I attended a meeting at the University of Technology (UTS) last Friday where Julian’s lawyer – Jennifer Robinson – was interviewed. It was a full house!

I’m not sure why we’ve had such a surge of support.  Is it because the alleged rape allegations in Sweden have finally been shown to be a ruse? Are people concerned about the inhumanity of Julian’s treatment? Has the penny finally dropped with regards to the impact it will have on humanity if everyone who reports a crime committed by someone powerful is imprisoned and tortured? Maybe it’s a combination of the above, along with a healthy respect for the importance of free speech? I’m not sure, but I am sure that support is growing, and I’m praying that it will grow into an enormous wave that will sweep across this country and bring significant change.

Put it in your diary – same time, same place.

Sermon Time

I’ve given a few sermons since my last communication. I’ve decided today to share one entitled, “Love is forever. Marriage isn’t”. This is not a commentary on my personal struggles but a reflection on Jesus’ argument with a group of religious academics about marriage and the resurrection. In the end, the dialogue isn’t really about marriage at all but about the new and beautiful future that God has planned for our world. I hope you’ll find this encouraging, whatever you are struggling with. Click below for the video, or read the written version here.

In closing, thank you for your prayers for Bob – our caretaker at Binacrombi. Our dear brother is doing much better – in body, and certainly in spirits.

It was a horrible accident. The car blew a front tire on a remote dirt road and it rolled. Tragically, Bob had the window down and his arm resting on the outside of the door, and the car rolled on to his arm! Thanks to the wonders of modern surgery, we remain hopeful that Bob will regain full use of the arm. Keep praying.

That’s all for now. I hope to see you Saturday night if you’re in the vicinity. Either way, let me know what sorts of films/subjects you think we should be covering in our future Social Justice Theatre sessions. I’d love to hear from you.

Yours in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Ted Time

Free Julian Assange #bringhimhome
Free Julian Assange #bringhimhome
Privileged to give Sydney's first Ted Talk (TedX)
Privileged to give Sydney's first Ted Talk (TedX)
Privileged to give Sydney's first Ted Talk (TedX)
another birthday for our beloved Imogen ❤
another birthday for our beloved Imogen ❤
Founding the Australia Iran Friendship Association in Canberra
Soren completes his time at High School
Soren completes his time at High School
Soren completes his time at High School
my friend, Dr Tim Anderson, launches his new book
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
Imogen and Fran in Melbourne ❤
with Imogen on our annual Fright Night adventure on the Gold Coast
with Imogen on our annual Fright Night adventure on the Gold Coast
with Imogen on our annual Fright Night adventure on the Gold Coast


Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave. Forgive the long time between posts but I had two weeks’ holidays and things have been predictably hectic since I got back.

Much has happened since I last wrote. A lot of it involved me spending time relaxing with my wonderful children, but there have been other events worth sharing too:

  • I helped found the Australia Iran Friendship Association in Canberra.
  • I had a tribunal hearing in my battle with the Combat Sports Authority
  • We had an amazing meeting of Julian Assange supporters in our church hall
  • I was privileged to deliver Sydney’s first Ted Talk.

It was indeed a humbling experience to give Sydney’s first Ted Talk. I had always quietly hoped that one day I might join the ranks of TedX speakers – a group that includes Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking, Billy Graham, Richard Dawkins and Pope Francis. Of course, I’m more comfortable being associated with some of those characters than with others. Even so, it was a great privilege.

I’m adding the TED talk below, right after the sermon. It’s had a lot of good feedback so far. I hope you like it.

As to my Tribunal hearing, it was less inspiring.

My issue with the Combat Sports Authority (CSA) is that they prohibited me from fighting on March 22nd of this year. Indeed, they cancelled my fight about an hour before it was scheduled to take place, while I was getting ready to go on!

The immediate result of that was that we didn’t raise the money for Syria that night that I’d hoped to. More serious though is that it destroyed my credibility for future events. I haven’t been able to get a fight in Sydney since!

So … I finally had my matter heard before the tribunal. I was hoping that the judge would immediately see that I’d been grievously wronged and order the CSA to give me what I’d asked for:

  1. A guarantee that the they would not arbitrarily prohibit me from fighting again
  2. A payout that would allow me to compensate all my friends who spent money on tickets that night, with something left over for Syria.

It didn’t quite go that way, with the CSA’s lawyer catching us out on technicalities. Even so, they did promise to tell me why my fight was cancelled – just not there and then.

So … the CSA is now going to write to me some time in the next two weeks and tell me what the issue was. After that we return to the Tribunal. If I do get a payout, the first thing I’ll do is restage the match we had scheduled for March and pay for the tickets for everybody who missed out the first time. 🙂

Finally, let me say a word or two about the meeting of Assange supporters that we had in our church hall this week. It was truly inspirational.

I was contacted recently by a wonderful woman named Adriana who is a lawyer and a keen supporter of Julian Assange. She asked if she and some other supporters could come and meet with me at the church. I put aside an hour last Tuesday afternoon when I knew there’d be some space in our church hall. I was initially expecting half a dozen souls to show up. Well … word evidently got out and when I turned up at the hall there were more than 50 people waiting for me!

I learnt two important lessons from that wonderful session. Firstly, there is evidently growing support for Julian and for the issues his case raises – most obviously, the importance of free speech and the need for the rich and powerful to be held accountable for their crimes. Secondly, that we need to get organised. Everybody seemed to be asking ‘what are we going to do?’ I was left wishing I had a good answer. Well … watch this space.

We will get organised, and as a first step in that direction we are scheduling more meetings – not just for supporters of Julian, but for all people in my area of Sydney who are wanting to take a stand for justice and peace. Our church will host a series of film nights on different social justice themes between now and Christmas. The goal will be to bring together persons of conscience from across our region with a view to mobilizing for social action.

The proposed dates are November 9th, November 23rd and December 7th. We will focus on Julian Assange, Palestine, and Indigenous Australia (respectively). I’ll be trying to get the Muslim community involved in this project too. Indeed, hopefully we’ll be able to consolidate our Christian-Muslim Justice League through this process. As I say … watch this space.

Oh … and if you’d like to hear what I had to say at the gathering last Tuesday, someone recorded it and published it here and here.

Sermon Time

Two Sundays back I gave a sermon that was very personal, but which I think touches an issue close to all our hearts. The subject was prayer and, more specifically, why so often our prayers seem to go unanswered. Jesus addressed this subject very directly on more than one occasion. You can hear my reflection on one of those occasions below, or click here for the written version.


Stop Press – prayer request

While preparing this post I received some distressing news about Bob Williams – my friend, and our caretaker out at Binacrombi bush camp. He had a car accident and has done some serious damage to his hand. If you know Bob, you know that he’s a rough diamond and a soul who is prone to accidents as he tends to live life on the edge. I love him dearly and ask that you’d join me in praying for his full recovery.

Further, if you’ve been thinking of spending more time out in the bush and would like to support our work at Binacrombi, now would be a good time to put your hand up. Even if Bob recovers fully, it’s going to take time and he’ll need support.

Let me know if you’d like to help out there on a weekend, or even get away from the big smoke altogether and move in there for a while. I’m not sure what the future is for our bush-camp ministry but I suspect that the Lord has someone unexpected out there that He wants to involve in this process. If that’s you, please contact me ASAP.

That’s all for now. Keep me in your prayers, please, as I do you.

Yours in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

One more round

The 2-minute ice-water challenge
The 2-minute ice-water challenge
a happy Father's Day gathering 🙂
a happy Father's Day gathering 🙂
bunny
Imogen's wonderful gift
Imogen's entry in the art competition
Our Boxers for Peace Syria 2019 team reunion dinner


“We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9)

Hi Fighter,

I remember as a young Christian – still a teenager – hearing a woman preach on these words of St Paul (reprinted above) to the church in Corinth. I remember her colloquialising Paul’s language using boxing terminology – “we are on the ropes but not on the canvas. We are down but not out!”

I don’t think the preacher knew any more about boxing than I did at the time, but I have indeed lived that experience since (both and out of the ring). What struck me as these words came to me again this week though was that the Paul used the word ‘we’ and not just ‘I’ when he spoke of his struggles. The experience of hardship and persecution is never something we go through alone. It just seems that way.

A number of us had our physical limits tested last weekend courtesy of the bush camp at Binacrombi. As ever, the Saturday involved lots of running and punching – all of which was exhausting – but all of which paled in comparison to the greater challenge of the Winter camp – the two-minute dip in the billabong.

In summer, a swim in the billabong is a great way to cool off after a hot day. In winter though it gets very cold, and two minutes submerged in its icy-cold waters can seem like an eternity. Bob (our beloved caretaker and amateur meteorologist) reported that the temperature had fallen to 15 degrees below zero overnight and that it had still been below freezing in the morning. The sun had subsequently made a timid appearance but could have made no more than a cosmetic difference.

I spent a lot of mental energy during my morning run trying to think up a worthwhile excuse as to why I couldn’t attempt the billabong challenge this time. I had a cough, after all, and didn’t want to make it worse. Besides that, I was exhausted, and thought it foolish to push my body further when I might already be at breaking-point. I imagined what my friends would say  and they were of one voice – “Don’t do it! You have nothing to prove. Set an example of common sense!”

And then some other words came into my head. I wish I could pretend that they were the words of Jesus. No, I recalled something I heard Kostya Tszyu say when he was explaining why he lost his fight against Ricky Hatton in London in 2005. Kostya said that the reason he lost that fight was because that night he hadn’t been prepared to die in the ring.

That made a lot of sense to me when I first heard it. It still does. Indeed, Kostya articulated what, for me, ring-fighting is all about. It’s a parable for all of life where you commit yourself completely – body and soul – to task at hand, whatever the cost. You can’t go in half-hearted.

I remember well the one fight I had where my heart wasn’t in it. It was my fourth fight – a kickboxing bout – against a guy named Toby. With the first kick of the fight he cracked the patella in my knee. I remember the pain shooting up my leg and my heart sinking. I just wanted to go home. Yes, I fought on for three rounds and lost on a split decision but, in truth, I lost that fight in those opening seconds.

Anyway … recalling Kostya’s words reminded me of who I am. I asked myself out loud, “are you the ‘Fighting Father’ or the ‘Frightened Father’?” Within half an hour I was charging into the freezing waters of the billabong, accompanied by the only other two warriors there who were willing to join me.

Big Max showed a lot of guts to follow me into that water and submerge himself. He only lasted about ten seconds though before charging back out. Henri stayed in with me for the full two minutes – God bless him! He was in pain, and kept cursing me for smiling at him the whole time, but he endured!

I smiled my way through it. Once I got my breathing under control, I found the experience surprisingly easy. Isn’t this always our the way? Our opponents are ferocious demigods in our imaginations. Then we absorb their punches. We survive!

All this was going through my head as I floated in the billabong on Saturday, and it emboldened me for the greater fight. For me, that greater fight is the battle for the soul of our church community.

It’s been hard to go on pastoring the church without my partner. What has made it harder still has dealing with the rumours that have been spread about me. I won’t repeat them again here. Suffice it to say that I thought people knew me better.

“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you” (Luke 6:22). It is the words of Jesus that come to mind this time, and perhaps I should feel blessed by all this attention? I don’t. I feel like I’m struggling to stay upright – on the ropes but not on the canvas, down but not out!

So … what to do? The better angels of my nature speak with one voice – ‘Fight!’ Fight to preserve your community. Fight to maintain Holy Trinity as a place where God is truly worshipped and where all people are truly welcome.

In truth, I have always been driven by a vision of who we might become as a church. It’s a vision of a large church community made up of people from every nation, wealthy people and homeless people, people of various educational levels and differing sexual identities. All are welcome, and all are one in worship.

That vision has been driving me for the last thirty years. I’m accepting now that I won’t be around to see that vision reach its full fruition. That doesn’t matter. We are building for the future, and if we commit ourselves to the greater work, by God’s grace we will build something that will outlast us all.

I think this is something worth fighting for. How exactly we conduct the fight is not entirely clear to me yet but two things are clear. Firstly, we need to stand together if we are going to be successful. Secondly, we go one round at a time. Again, words of wisdom come to mind, this time from one of the fathers of modern boxing, ‘Gentleman’ Jim Corbett. …

“Fight one more round. When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the centre of the ring, fight one more round. When your arms are so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard, fight one more round. When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired you wish your opponent would crack you one on the jaw and put you to sleep, fight one more round – remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped.”

(you can download a poster I created that displays these words here)

Sermon Time

You probably feel that I’ve been doing enough sermonising in this post already, but let me my thoughts on one of Jesus’ healing miracles that we read about in the Gospel according to Saint Luke, chapter 13. It really struck me when I read this how Jesus’ opponents were never thieves or addicts but always upright religious people. How is it that religion so easily goes bad – a question as relevant for today as it ever was.

Click below for the video or access the written version of my sermon here.

I won’t take up more of your time today, fighter, except to ask you to continue to pray for me as I do for you.

I won’t take up more of your time today, fighter, except to mention that I’ve been invited to give a TEXx talk in Sydney this Friday evening. If you’d like to be a part of the audience, hit me back and I’ll let you know the details.

Please continue to pray for me as I do for you.

Yours in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Feeling Weary

proudly wearing the colours of the Syrian Arab Army
taking the girls on a one-night holiday to the Blue Mountains
taking the girls on a one-night holiday to the Blue Mountains
taking the girls on a one-night holiday to the Blue Mountains
taking the girls on a one-night holiday to the Blue Mountains
taking the girls on a one-night holiday to the Blue Mountains
Imogen takes her shot at the Miss World title
Imogen enters an art competition
with my darling girls 🙂
Introducing Fran to Luna Park's Wildmouse


Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, and I am feeling weary as I pen this week’s update. Energy levels ebb and flow for all of us – I know. I’m at a low energy point today.

Coming to terms with the fact that this may be my last year in parish ministry is something I’m struggling with today. It tends to be par for the course when clergy lose their family that they lose their job and home as well.  That might sound rough, but this is my second time round. I’m just thankful that I had a stay of execution after my first marriage broke down in 1991.

I’d been at Dulwich Hill for less than six months when that happened. I remember praying fervently back then that I might be given just a bit more time in the parish. I’d spent the previous ten years preparing for the opportunity and my heart’s desire was just to pour myself into the work. Well … that was almost 30 years ago, and it’s been an amazing ride. I wouldn’t swap it for anything in the world.

Where to from here? I am trusting that the Lord God has something planned for me – something that will allow me to contribute my remaining energies where they can do the most good and where I can generate enough income to support myself and my dear little one.

Of course, it’s only right that us preachers should be put to the test. We are always telling others to ‘have faith’ and ‘God will provide’. It’s one thing to say that very eloquently from the pulpit though and another thing to step forward in faith yourself. Having said that, I’ve never hesitated to step forward when it’s only my own life that’s at risk. I’ve put my body on the line plenty of times in Syria, Manus Island, in the backstreets of Sydney and in the boxing ring. Risking me is not an issue. It’s when I’m pulling others that I love along with me that it gets scary.

So, pray for me and Fran please. Pray for Ange and Soren too, and pray for our adult children – Imogen and Veronica. We need your prayer. We probably don’t need your good advice, and we definitely don’t need your judgement, but we do need your prayer. If you’re up to giving us the one without the others, thank you. And if you didn’t see last week’s letter to the parish and you’d like to see it, it’s here.

Sermon time

I preached last Sunday on the letter to the Hebrews, chapter eleven. Hebrews is not one of the church’s most loved letters and I don’t deal with it often. Even so, the great list of the heroes of the faith that the author gives us there caught my imagination, though perhaps not in the way you might have expected. Listen below or click here if you’d prefer my thoughts in writing.

Back to the bush

The timing may not be ideal but I’ve committed myself to running another ‘Warrior Weekend’ before the end of winter. That means we’re looking at August 30th to September 1st.

Are you ready to gird up your loins and head with me into the middle of nowhere for a weekend of running, fighting, immersion in icy-cold water and prayer? Who wouldn’t jump at such an opportunity?

All the details are on this flyer. Just print it off, fill it out and get it back to me. That can be as simple as taking a photo with your phone and texting it to me, and the cost for the weekend is negotiable, according to your means. Getting there is the easy part. Getting through the experience is the challenge, perhaps especially for me at the moment. Even so, I have two weeks to prepare for this mentally and physically and, in truth, I’d really enjoy your company if you can make it.

I’ll leave it there for today. May the Lord bless you and strengthen you for the work for which you have been called.

Yours in the Good Fight

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Back from Damascus

Meeting with the Ministers of Sport and Foreign Affairs
Boxing with the boys of the Syrian Olympic sqad
a great night out with our best mate Chris
with Hanny and Sally from Attaa children's charity, and my best mate, Tom
with journalist and great Syrian patriot, Nana Lancaster
in Jodidi - the place where St Paul fell off his horse and met Jesus!
touching base with the Mufti
at the tomb of the great Salah Al Din (Saladin)
wandering the streets of the old city of Damascus
Imogen was a big hit with the local kids!
catching up with Vanessa Beeley
in Maaloula with Father Toufic
the ancient caves of Maaloula
in the house of Saint Ananias, where Saint Paul was baptised
in the wonderful art school in Damascus, receiving gifts from the children
with Father Alexi of Gopa Derd - the largest faith-based aid agency in Syria


Hi Fighter,

Dave here – back from Syria and finally ready to debrief the experience.

It was my eighth trip to Syria in the last six years, and it’s been remarkable to see how the country and the people have evolved over that time. Back in 2013, I’d look out from my hotel room in Damascus at night and see the glow of mortar fire encircling the city. Now the talk is all about rebuilding, or at least about the hope of rebuilding. The horrible sanctions we’ve placed on the country make rebuilding difficult in the extreme.

Of course, there is still fighting in Idlib, and those who have a vested interest in keeping the conflagration going seem to be doing all they can to slow the progress of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) as they attempt to clear out the remnants of Al Qaeda and ISIS. There is also a fear amongst many in Damascus that an American war with Iran is about to begin, which could mean the beginning of a whole new battlefront in Syria. I trust that none of that will happen though. Despite the rhetoric, I’m trusting that the Americans are not stupid enough to start another war they could not possibly win.

Back to our trip. It was intense and stressful for me in many ways, but wonderful too, and I believe all our team – Dr Lou Lewis, Mike Lekkas, Henri King, my daughter, Imogen, and me – all gained a lot from the experience.

Happily, we were able to achieve my two primary objectives:

  1. To establish a sister-church relationship with St George’s church in Maaloula.
  2. To meet with the Mufti and ask him if he would write a forward for my about-to-be-published book, “Christians and Muslims can be friends”.

We had a wonderful time in the ancient Christian village of Maaloula, which is one of only two places in the world where Aramaic (the language of Jesus) is still spoken. We were able to give Father Toufic some money that we had raised and commit to praying for one another as churches. I’m trusting that this will be a long and mutually enriching relationship. If you’d like to see the video of my interview with Father Toufic, it’s part of the video archive of the trip that I’ve posted on www.prayersforsyria.com.

As to our meeting with the Mufti, it was wonderful to see that he is still in robust health, and I hope to have that forward from him within the next couple of weeks.

Let me share with you just one other story from our visit. It happened when we visited the village of Jodidi, which is on the road to Damascus, and is supposed to be the place where Saint Paul fell of his horse and met Jesus.

I’d been told that we had been invited there to be a part of some special Christian festival and service, but when we arrived the service was well underway, taking place on the outskirts of the village, whereas, waiting for us in the centre of the village, was a troop of young boys wearing boxing gloves!

I held the pads for a stream of enthusiastic young lads, after which parents brought out their children and asked me to pray for them. I was deeply touched by this but became concerned when people started murmuring “bring out the blind girl so that he can pray for her”. I started to wonder whether I was getting in over my head!

A young girl, about ten years old, was led out to me. She had apparently been blind since birth. She seemed a lovely young girl and I prayed for her. The parents then asked me whether she could be healed!

I wasn’t sure what to say at first but then remembered that I had Dr Lou Lewis in my group. I called him over. Lou gave her a quick examination and took a picture of the girl’s eyes with his phone camera. He then told the parents, “She has cataracts. These can be healed with a simple operation.” The parents were flabbergasted! After this people started lining up to see Dr Lou. I could hear one man asking Lou about his skin condition and Lou saying, “that’s called ‘eczema’ and can be cured with a cortisol cream”.

The whole scene was starting to look like something out the Gospels, where Jesus would go into a village, praying for people and healing them. I was doing the praying and Dr Lou was doing the healing! And then the scene was made complete by the appearance of a Pharisee!

Another group of boys had come and asked me if I would referee their boxing match. I said, “of course”, but then I felt someone tapping me on the shoulder. I looked around and saw a young priest, fully dressed in liturgical garb. He asked me what I was doing. I told him. He said, “you can’t do that!” I said, “why not?” He said, “because you are a priest, and because the service is still going”. He then moved on.

Indeed, the service was still going on about 200 meters away from where we were but we were not interfering. I thought “what would Jesus do?” and I went ahead and refereed a few boxing matches. 🙂

I’ll resist telling any more stories about the wonderful places we visited and the wonderful people we met. Syria is a beautiful place with so many wonderful people. Hopefully the pictures above and the videos I’ve posted on prayersforsyria.com will give you a glimpse of that beauty.

Keep praying for the people of Syria. Pray especially that the sanctions imposed by the US and supported by Europe and Australia will be lifted. Sanctions are designed to weaken the government by making life impossible for ordinary Syrians. In other words, they are a form of warfare against the civilian population. They need to end.

Pray for Syria, thank you for your support in helping us get there again, and try to come with us next time – probably around the same time next year.

Sermon Time

I’m adding my sermon on the Parable of the Good Samaritan below (Luke 10:25-37). You may have heard me speak on this before. Even so, it’s so relevant to the issue of prejudice against other races and religions. I had to include it here today.

In closing, I must report the sad news too that my darling daughter, Imogen, didn’t make it through to the final selection for Miss World, Australia. I was personally flabbergasted that the judges could overlook her. She took it in her stride, saying “I’m not a pageant girl.” The shame of all this is that this pageant might have given Imogen a platform to raise funds for Syria.

Our friends in Gopa Derd (the Greek Orthodox aid agency in Syria) have started a fantastic program supporting women who have been victims of violence. This includes not only cases of domestic violence, but victims of sex-slavery and similar atrocities committed by terrorist groups. Tragically, this has been very widespread.

Expect to see us come up with some alternative strategies to raise money for this worthy cause over the coming months. Stay tuned!

Yours in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Needing Prayer

my darling Veronica graduates with first class honours 🙂
my darling Veronica graduates with first class honours 🙂
Iftar dinner with the Mufti
Iftar dinner with the Mufti
Al Quds Day Iftar
Al Quds Day Iftar
Christians and Muslims supporting Julian Assange
Christians and Muslims supporting Julian Assange
night with dad (and Honey the bunny)
night with dad (and Honey the bunny)


Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, and I’d appreciate your prayers.

For any who don’t know, my family is having a rough time at the moment. Ange and I are not currently living together. Two weeks ago, Ange and my son, Soren, moved to an adjoining suburb. My youngest daughter, Fran, stayed with me. It’s been a tough time for all of us.

Situations like this are always difficult, and there are special difficulties involved when you’re pastoring a church. Suffice it to say that the future for me is uncertain. Even so, I am currently getting some wonderful support from the church, from my boxing club, our Binacrombi team, and especially from my children. Indeed, last week Imogen decided to move back in with me and Fran, and last night Veronica organised for all of the kids to join me for dinner. It was lovely.

I won’t say any more on this subject for now, and we’d appreciate not being bombarded with questions. Your prayers are what we need, and plenty of divine grace.

I know that people in these situations are often counselled to take immediate leave, rather than deal with the stress of work on top of personal struggles. My advice to others in these situations has generally been the opposite – to maintain your routine as far as possible.

I think of how the captains of the old sailing ships would respond when they were hit by a devastating storm. They would lash their arms to the wheel so that they could maintain a straight course through the storm. That’s the approach I’m trying to take myself at the moment. Accordingly, I’ve been continuing to plan ministry and mission activities a plenty.

Christians and Muslims supporting Julian Assange

We had our first meeting of “Christians and Muslims supporting Julian Assange” on Saturday. It was an Iftar dinner held in our church hall with about 35 people in attendance. I am hoping that it will prove to be the start of something big.

I believe that all attempts at social activism face an almost insurmountable problem. It’s basically impossible to achieve anything on your own, but once you form a coalition of people, powerful enough to make a difference, that group becomes subject to the same forces of corruption that affect all large groups.

The only solution, I believe, is to have our activism rooted in faith communities such as churches and mosques. These groups are not necessarily immune from corruption (particularly at the higher levels) but faith communities by definition maintain a doctrine and an idealism that binds people together and empowers their activism – especially at the grass-roots level. This is what gave birth to my vision for a Christian and Muslim coalition for justice and peace.

The imprisonment and torture of Julian Assange is an obvious point of common concern for both Christians and Muslims. The rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press are important to all of us, and the revelations that the US wants to indict Julian on are specifically related to the war on Iraq – a particularly sensitive issue in the Muslim community. I believe this is an area where we may be able to achieve something significant if we can pool our energies and work together.

If you’d like to join “Christians and Muslims supporting Julian Assange” let me know. Once we’ve helped to bring Julian back home to Oz we will redeploy as “Christians and Muslims supporting Gaza” or “Christians and Muslims against domestic violence”. Maybe we’ll even expand to become “Christians, Muslims and Jews for peace”. We are a work in progress. Let me know if you’d like to be a part of it and I’ll add you to the mailing list.

Manus – the movie

Julian was the focus of last Saturday’s meeting. This Saturday we’ll be focusing on Manus Island again with a screening of Angus McDonald’s 15-minute documentary, ‘Manus’.

Manus is made up almost entirely of footage from our trip to Manus Island in November, 2017 – the final days before the detainees were forcibly removed from their decommissioned detention centre. There were three of us on that trip – Jarrod McKenna (of “Love Makes a Way”), Olivia Rousset (our videographer) and me. Livy and I, along with Angus, the director, will be present for Saturday nights’ screening and will field questions afterwards.

Saturday, June 8th, from 7.30 pm
Trinity’s Community Centre
(2 Herbert Street, Dulwich Hill)

And if you’d like to join Angus and Livy and me (and Fran) for dinner beforehand, just let me know.

Father Dave’s Last Stand

Having still received no response from the Combat Sports Authority after having my March 23rd fight cancelled at the last minute, I’m taking matters into my own hands and having a stoush with the same opponent in my own boxing ring.

This will not be an official boxing match. It’s unofficial and unregistered. It won’t even technically be boxing. It will just be two blokes jumping into the ring and doing what they do best. I’m told that under these circumstances the Combat Sports Authority (CSA) don’t have any jurisdiction over us.

There will be ZERO cover charge – that’s requisite to not having the CSA involved. We won’t even take up a collection. However, following the event in the ring there will be a sausage-sizzle fundraiser for Boxers for Peace in the adjacent church hall. Everyone is welcome to join us for that too, but there is no obligation or expectation.

The ring-events will simply showcase the talents of the ‘Boxers for Peace’ team. We leave for Syria the following day. Meet the team and hear about our work.

Saturday, June 22nd.
Doors open at 6 pm with main event on at 7 pm.
Trinity’s Community Centre
(2 Herbert Street, Dulwich Hill)

Sermon Time

I don’t think this was the best sermon I’ve ever given but it was one of the toughest. It was delivered on the same morning Ange and I announced our new living situation.

The Gospel text for that week was John 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Preaching the Gospel is always a challenge, but sometimes especially so.

A final favour

Before letting you go today, I have one final request. I need help with web design.

I need to upgrade two of my sites – www.binacrombi.com.au (our bush retreat site) and www.christiansandmuslims.com, which will soon become the launch site for my new book, “Christians and Muslims can be friends”.

I’m quite happy to pay someone to help me upgrade these sites but I can’t afford the prices I see some people charging. If you think you can help me yourself, or if you know someone who you think is capable and decently priced, please let me know.

That’s all for now. Keep us in your prayers, please, as I do you.

Yours in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.boxersforpeace.com
www.warriorweekends.com

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four