Father Dave’s missive – November 21st, 2013

G’day Fighter,

What a magnificent time we had last Thursday night at Fight Club!

If you missed my invitation, we had six members of the Palestinian Olympic team join us.

Not all of the team were boxers but all of them were great ambassadors for their country and a number of them joined in the training even though it was their first time in the ring!

I had particularly memorable bouts with Ahmed, their swimming champ who did his best to put me on the canvas, and with Aseel – a lovely girl about the same age as my eldest daughter and a long-distance runner.

I also did a round with their former heavyweight champ, Nader Jayousi, who is now their boxing coach. He was gracious enough not to put me on the canvas.

I have to tell you that the pic of my stare-out with Nader is one I will always treasure. It was taken just before we did our round together and has Michael Dahdal (of Palestine MMA) keeping us apart. It’s the complimentary tatts that I love. I have my small white-boy logo of the Fighting Fathers on my shoulder. He has an enormous tattoo of Yasser Arafat on his!

(hint: hover your cursor over the pic to pause the slide-show)

Palestinian Olympians visit Father Dave's Fight Club
I teach Ahmed and Aseel their boxing basics
Heavyweight, Nader Jayousi, hits the bags
Sizing up against Palestinian Heavyweight, Nader Jayousi
This pic gives the illusion that I was in control! 🙂
Friends for life! 🙂
A great night! 🙂

Thank you to John Clutterbuck for providing us with these wonderful photos.

It was an inspiring night and one that has left me with a powerful sense of the way boxing could be used to help fight prejudice against Palestinians and build bridges between Christians, Muslims and Jews.

I’m not exactly sure at this stage how this will all play out but Michael and I were talking about sponsoring a Palestinian boxing team to come to Australia. In my mind I’d like to take it one step further and see a combined team of Australians and Palestinians of all faiths touring this country and then moving through Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Syria, teaching boxing to children in the camps and preaching a message of reconciliation and hope.

Does that sound overly idealistic? Watch this space … :-)

Sermon Time!

“Blessed are you poor!”

That’s the title of today’s sermon, and it’s a direct quote from Jesus! (Luke 6:20)

It’s NOT a typo. It’s “Blessed are you poor” and not “blessed are the poor in spirit!”, which is the better-known variation of the saying and turns up in a totally different part of the New Testament (Matthew 5:3).

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” sounds sort of poetic, but “blessed are you poor” sounds  like a crazy thing to say. Surely if you’re poor it means you missed out on being blessed!

Of course it’s easy to romanticize poverty when you’re young but once you’ve visited a refugee camp or have seen families lose everything through war, fire or flood you realise that there is nothing blessed about the state of poverty, or is there?

Perhaps Jesus sees something we don’t see?

Or perhaps He meant something else?

Or perhaps He was just plain wrong?

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you can’t see this video, click here.

Warriors’ Weekend

I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that our Warrior Weekends now have their own website: http://warriorweekends.com.

You’ll also, no doubt, be glad to know that you still have time to to book your place on our last Warrior Weekend for 2013, running from December 6th to 8th.

You can expect the usual combination of intense training and good, clean fun:

  • Develop your boxing skill
  • Build your fitness
  • Meet some great people
  • Enjoy the Aussie bush!

$110 per person covers accommodation, training and food for the weekend, and subsidies are available for those without a regular income.

We’ll also help organise transport if you can’t get to Binacrombi under your own steam. You can’t ask for much more than that! :-)

Call Fighting Father Marco on 1800 620 706 to book your place.

Solomon with his two boys

Solomon with his two boys

And before I let you go, please join me in wishing a Happy Birthday to our brother in the Good Fight, Sol Egberime – friend, fellow-parishioner at Holy Trinity, and senior boxing trainer for our Warrior Weekend.

I won’t tell you how old he’s just turned but I will say that he’s still young enough to take his shot at the World Junior-Welterweight title next yet. I’m hoping that 2014 will be a big year for him. Indeed, I’m hoping that it will be a big year for all of us!

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. And 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!


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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – November 19th, 2012

Hi Fighter!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a week since the latest assault by the IDF on Gaza. There has been so much death and destruction in the last few days! I’m afraid that it’s going to be difficult for me to talk about much else in my missive this week.

The Assault on Gaza

I appreciate that I will have already alienated a lot of my readers by speaking of the ‘assault on Gaza’ when the official narrative says that it is not an assault but a war. I’m sorry. I can’t use that language.

I appreciate that there are casualties on both sides of this conflict, and indeed I grieve for the Israeli dead as I do for the Palestinian dead, but a war suggests that there are two armies involved in this conflict. There are not two armies. There is one army. It is a highly-trained and well-equipped army. Fighting this army are disparate groups of home-grown militia-men.

If you think I’m being outrageous, let me quote from the great Noam Chomsky:

Israel uses sophisticated attack jets and naval vessels to bomb densely-crowded refugee camps, schools, apartment blocks, mosques, and slums to attack a population that has no air force, no air defense, no navy, no heavy weapons, no artillery units, no mechanized armor, no command in control, no army … and calls it a war. It is not a war, it is murder.

When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing. You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. (see Chomsky’s full statement here).

Chomsky’s last point is important too. Defending yourself is not always an act of self-defense! If a thug attacks an old woman in the street and she fends him off with her umbrella, the thug might indeed have to defend himself against the blows of the umbrella, but this would not make his assault an act of self-defense.

Don’t misunderstand me: I do not approve of the fact that the people of Gaza are firing rockets into Israel. I pray to God that they will show restraint and recognise the futility of retaliating in this way. Further, I am not anti-Israel and do not want to see the country wiped off the map or anything of the sort. But that is not what this latest outbreak of violence is about. What it’s about, I believe, is politics. Specifically, I believe it’s about the Israeli Prime Minister ensuring his victory at the polls in the forthcoming Israeli elections.

Am I being overly cynical? Read Uri Avnery’s analysis (former member of the Israeli parliament).

While you’re at it, you might appreciate a few other choice articles and videos that depart from the official narrative:

I include this last link as a reminder that this violence is not about race or religion. The problem is not the Jews or the Muslims or the Christians or the Arabs or the Palestinians or any particular racial or religious group. The problem is (as always) politics, greed, and the lust for power!

Pray for Peace!

And don’t simply Pray for Peace. Pray for Peace with Justice – the only kind of peace that can last.

And don’t simply Pray. Protest!

There is a wonderfully long list of protest rallies that are taking place around the world listed on the Facebook page of the Palestine Action Group of Sydney.

There’s a Sydney rally listed there for this coming Saturday. Perhaps I’ll see you there?

Heading to the USA

Thanks be to God, I am now booked to fly to the USA next week to support by dear brother and Holy Trinity parishioner, Solomon Egberime, in his fight against Paul Spadafora on December 1st.

The fight has evidently been generating a lot of interest. I did a quick Google search on ‘Egberime v Spadafora’ and got more than 22,000 results, including this press release from Roy Jones Jr.!

Egberime v Spadafora

I have had the privilege of being in Sol’s corner for each of his fights since 2008, but this is certainly the most significant one to date. I know I carry the hopes and prayers of our parish and suburb and country with me as I go to support our Nigerian-Australian brother.

Of course, I am also hoping to catch up with as many of my American friends and supporters as possible while I am in the US. My itinerary has not been finalised but my current plans are to:

  • Leave Sydney on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 27th
  • Arrive in Los Angeles about six hours before I left (go figure) !
  • Fly to Washington D.C. the same evening (November 27)
  • Drive from Washington to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 28
  • Drive from Gettysburg to the fight venue in Chester, West Virginia on November 30
  • Drive to the monastery in Princeville, Illinois on December 3rd
  • Fly out from Chicago airport on December 5th (landing in Sydney December 7th)

As I say, none of this has been finalised as yet, though the flights (and the fight) are fixed. Certainly I’ll be looking for someone to share lunch with in LA on November 27, though I suppose I can make a day-trip to Hollywood if I don’t get a better offer!

My itinerary from Washington D.C. to Chicago is flexible, apart from the fight. I do hope to take some time to re-visit some of my favourite US Civil War battlefields, but I won’t let that take priority over meeting up with new members of the Order of the Fighting Fathers should there be opportunity.

Congratulations and Thanks

Let me say a big thank you to everyone who turned out to support the team from Holy Trinity Gym last Friday night at our charity boxing night.

  • Fighting Father Caine put in a strong performance to win his bout quite decisively.
  • Kath Biggs also put in a brilliant performance but lost a narrow points decision.
  • I likewise lost my bout in a points decision to Fighting Father Rod.

Mine was a bit of a surprise. I thought I’d done enough to win but the judges thought otherwise. This was sort of fitting though as in my last fight against Rod I thought he’d won but the judges scored it my way!

As I always say, you can’t control the judges decision. All you can control is how much effort you put in, and I can assure you that both Rod and Caine and Kath and I all put in 100%. Congratulations to everyone who had the courage to step in the ring on that night!

Holy Trinity Gym
(click on the pic to see it full-size)

And while I’m congratulating people, let me extend my congratulations to my dear brothers and sisters of the Passionist Order who celebrated 125 years of ministry in our area on the weekend.

Ange and I had the privilege of attending a fantastic celebratory Mass at St Brigid’s church in Marrickville. I know that our Catholic brothers and sisters in this country are facing some serious challenges at the moment, but this just made the celebration all the more wonderful to me. In the midst of adversity we celebrated the goodness of God and all the good things that the Passionist Fathers have brought to our region and our country.

God’s blessing to all our Passionist sisters and brothers, and a special congratulations to Father John (pictured on my left) for staging Saturday’s celebration.

125 years of the Passionist Fathers in Marrickville
(click on the pic to see it full-size)

And before I let you go I must apologise to you if you’ve been trying to catch the live video-cast of our service here at Holy Trinity.

We have been trying to stream our worship services to you each week but unfortunately the church.tv server has crashed and it’s taking them some time to put their network back together!

This Sunday coming Dr Keith Mascord is giving the first of a two-part sermon series on homosexuality, and I’m sure that many of you would have been keen to join us for the video-cast. Be assured that if church.tv can’t manage the live broadcast we will be recording the sermon anyway and will post it to YouTube as soon as possible.

Unfortunately my Sunday sermon from yesterday was recorded by neither video nor audio device, though you can read the written version here if you’re keen.

My text from the Gospel of Mark is about war and destruction in Israel, so you won’t be surprised to find more than one reference to Gaza in the sermon. In truth, it’s been difficult for me to think about much else of late. My heart bleeds for all who are caught up in the bloodshed.

That’s enough for this week.

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!

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – November 12th, 2012

Hi Fighter!

You’ll have to forgive me if it’s a rather bare-knuckle missive this week – no pics, no videos, nothing fancy. I’m afraid it’s been that sort of week for me – a bare-knuckle bash!.

There hasn’t been any literal violence. It’s been more of a spiritual stoush.

Mind you, I did fear that some real blows were going to be thrown a few days back when Judas (whom I mentioned last week) showed up again at our Youth Centre.

I must tell you about it as it ended up being almost humorous (in a tragic kind of way).

Racism in the Youth Centre?

Our boy is now wanted by the police for a number of incidents (and suspected of a number more) and I have banned him from the premises of our Youth Centre for the most obvious of reasons. He compromises the safety of the other children!

I confronted him as soon as I saw him enter the premises and asked him to leave. He wanted to argue his case with me, claiming:

  1. That he had smoothed over all issues with the police and that they were now not charging him with anything (which I knew was garbage).

  2. That since he hadn’t actually assaulted anybody on our premises (yet), none of his acts of violence and intimidation should affect his standing with the Youth Centre.

  3. That I had no right to ban him from our premises because the Youth Centre belonged to the church as a whole and that therefore only the congregation as a whole could ban him!

You have to give this guy points for ingenuity!

Of course my response was that his issues with the police were not resolved, that I didn’t care where his crimes had been committed, and that as far as he was concerned I was the church.

At this point Judas dug down deep and came out with what he considered to be the verbal equivalent of a knock-out punch. You’re being RACIST!” he cried.

I have seen this trump card played so many times now and yet it never ceases to amaze me that these kids seem to expect me to take them seriously when they play it!

I still remember one of the girls we banned, walking out of the Youth Centre with one fist held defiantly in the air, crying STAY BLACK!”

The girl in question had been involved in numerous thefts and assaults and had just stolen a brand new motor-bike from one of our Youth Centre staff ! I’m still scratching my head trying to work out how she construed that our taking exception to her actions had anything to do with the colour of her skin!

In the case of young Judas, I think his parents are Egyptian. The kids he’s been beating up on are Islander kids, and (for what it’s worth) they are certainly ‘blacker’ than he is. Playing the race card just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me in this context!

Anyway, in terms of my bare-knuckle week, this was more like the comedy relief than a stoush. The real battle-front was at Binacrombi.

For your Prayers

I don’t know if this is your experience, but I find that whenever I attempt something creative that could really make a difference, everything always starts going wrong!

I know that some people will think me superstitious but I believe there’s a spiritual dimension to this sort of thing. If you make a direct assault on an enemy stronghold, you get resistance!

The ‘assault’ was in terms of a decision we made last week to launch a series of youth camps down at Binacrombi in 2013. The ‘Fighting Fathers Warrior Weekends’ will combine fitness workouts, boxing training and spiritual reflection. We’ll be calling on some of Australia’s greatest boxers to help us lead the camps – men who will not only be able to impart their pugilistic expertise to their young charges but who will also function as mentors and role-models. We’ll draw our clients from boxing clubs, youth centres, refuges and anywhere else we can find young people who need inspiration and direction.

The vision has been taking form for a while. Last week I spent a night at Binacrombi talking it through with Fighting Father Geoff (our onsite manager). We committed ourselves to the project and to a timeline. Within days we’d taken so many hits that we were tempted to throw in the towel!

I won’t go into all the details, but the culminating blow was when Geoff and Laura had a vehicle accident that could have been very serious!

Oil slicks on dirt roads are tricky at the best of times. When you hit one just after a rain-storm has started there is little you can do to maintain control of the vehicle. Thanks be to God that Geoff and Laura avoided going off the side of the ravine where they were.

The vehicle isn’t in great condition. Geoff and Laura were shaken but not disheartened!
As we say in the game, they were down but not out!

I would appreciate your prayers for both Geoff and Laura and for the Warrior Weekend program of 2013. The time has come for us to offer Australian youth a real alternative to the culture of reality TV and virtual violence! Let’s get our young people back to basics, back to nature, and back to building real relationships with real men and women!

OK … I’ll get down from my pulpit. You get the idea. The bottom line is that we are not going to step back from this one. We’ve got a great team and a great venue and it’s time to do something great together – something that we can all be proud of!

Prayers for Peace

Of course ours battles at Binacrombi are only small skirmishes in a much larger theatre of hostilities. I’m conscious of the fact that the US elections have been the focus of attention for most of the world in this last week.

I confess that I am glad to see Mr Obama back for another term. That’s not because I think he’s the Messiah. Indeed, for all I know my Republican friends may be right and he may be the man to bankrupt the US economy. Even so, I believe that he’s also less likely to lead us into World War III. Indeed, I think Uri Avnery is entirely correct when he says that Obama’s re-election means that any plans for an Israeli attack on Iran are off the table, and this is something to be thankful for!

I appreciate that we don’t all see eye-to-eye on these matters of course, and I’ve been encouraged to see some healthy debate on the forum of late. Please keep the discussion going!

Pray for me!

And put in a prayer for me as I take on the formidable Fighting Father Rod Walker at the Randwick Labor Club this Friday night. I’m not asking that you pray for me to win but just that we both perform to the best of our ability and that we don’t do too much damage to each other!

It’s a rematch! If you missed the original stoush you can see it here.

Rod is a great man and a great man of faith and, in truth, I’d sooner lose a bout to Rod than to anybody else I can think of. Even so, I’m planning on coming home with another win, but I know it won’t come easily.

If you’d like to join us, the show starts at 7pm, and Fighting Fathers Caine and Mungo and Kath will be performing as well as myself and Rod. The address is 135 Alison Road, Randwick. Tickets are $40, with all proceeds go to support the Urban Compassion project of Hope Street Baptist Church.

Heading to America

My plans for a trip to the USA to support our friend and parishioner, Sol Egberime, in his fight against Paul Spodafora are slowly coming together.

At present I’m thinking to arrive in Washington D.C. on Tuesday 27th November and leaving (probably from Chicago) on Wednesday December 5th.

These plans are tentative and open to change. I’m hoping to touch base with as many friends and subscribers as possible in my brief sojourn this time, while hopefully indulging myself with a few visits to US Civil War battlefields (a passion of mine that not everybody may be familiar with).

Anyway, hit me back if you think I’ll be coming through your area, and be assured that I don’t mind taking a hefty detour for a good home-cooked meal!

OK. That’s enough bare-knuckle brutality for one week!

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!

P.P.S. A big apology to everybody who tried to join us for our worship service last Sunday on church.tv. Apparently the church.tv servers in the US went down just at the time we began. We’ll be back on the air next Sunday at 9.15am (Sydney time). Take out a free membership at church.tv if you want to join in.


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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – November 5th, 2012

Hi Fighter!

I hope you’ve had a good week.

Mine has been a roller-coaster, and the ride hasn’t stopped yet!

I could do with your prayers this week – especially for our Youth Centre.

Postition Vacant!

We had some violence issues over the last week, and the unfortunate result was that one of our Youth Workers threw in the towel. He resigned on the spot. He’d had enough!

I won’t mention the name of our beloved brother who quit and I won’t mention the name of the boy who has been causing all the trouble, but I will say that our brother was no novice. He’s been a part of our staff for three years now and has had a wonderful record of service to our young people.

The situation deserves careful analysis, and I’ll share some of the facts with you here so that you can pass on any wisdom you might have. I’ll refer to the trouble-maker as ‘Judas’.

  • Judas and his brothers have been a part of our Youth Centre for many years
  • Judas is only 17 but he’s of immense stature. He’s over 6 foot and at least 100kg.
  • He’s never been difficult but lately he’s been increasingly loud and aggressive.
  • He’s been driving various cars around and seems to have money (but no job)!
  • Apparently his mother has left his father and that he has moved out of the house.
  • He’s living on the streets and spending time with some very shady characters.

This gives you the background to a series of incidents, the latest of which saw Judas thump another local boy, claiming that the boy owed him money! It was done in public. Everybody witnessed it. Our Youth Worker took the victim down to the police station so that he could make a statement. The result was that Judas targeted the Youth Worker and blamed him for ‘snitching‘!

That’s it in brief. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks yourself. I confronted the boy when I found him and gave him a stern, fatherly talking-to. I also promised to support him if he went to the police himself and took some initiative in resolving his issues. My fatherly wisdom accomplished absolutely nothing! He was back the next day shouting, threatening, and carrying on, and when the police arrived he jumped the fence and took off!

The most disappointing aspect of the whole saga has been how the majority of our Youth Centre kids sided with Judas against our worker. That would make me want to throw in the towell too!

I asked our brother why he thought this boy was so popular. He said it’s probably because he’s big! I guess that makes sense. The Bible says that Saul was chosen as king of Israel because he stood a head taller than everybody else (1 Samuel 9:2). It’s all very primitive of course and, as King Saul’s record demonstrated, physical size is rarely a good indicator of leadership ability.

Anyway, that’s been one of the biggest downward dips in my roller-coaster ride this last week though of course there were some positives that came out of it. It gave Fighting Fathers Jim and Denning a chance to show their metal once again, for instance. They filled the breach and did a great job of maintaining equilibrium when things were chaotic.

Of course the ride hasn’t stopped yet. I’ll be putting in the hours at the Youth Centre myself for the next few weeks, alongside Fighting Father Caine, and we’ll be working closely with the police to try to resolve these issues and ensure that our Youth Centre remains a safe place for all local kids.

This also means that we’re looking for a new Youth Worker!

I’m guessing that few who read this will suddenly feel a need to send in their resumes. Even so, I’m sure that the Lord will stir up someone and send them to us. Could that someone be you?

A great time at the Imam Husain Centre!

I had a wonderful time at the Imam Husain Islamic Centre yesterday! All the members of our church community were invited to an open day there yesterday, with a free BBQ, jumping-castle for the kids, etc. I enjoyed some wonderful food and caught up with many good friends!

Open Day at the Imam Husain Islamic Centre

The girl on my left (your right) is Sister Feruzan. She has been de-facto Sheikh down there since dear Sheikh Mansour was taken from us two year ago. The guy on my right (your left) is Brother Muzaffar – the Syrian brother who first made me aware of what was really going on in Homs! Click the pic to go full-size.

Now, I know that every time I talk about my Islamic friends I get a plethora of emails telling me what Muslims are really like and why they can’t be trusted. While I appreciate the genuine concern behind such emails I do find that all those who warn me about the evils of Islam generally have one thing in common – none of them have ever sat down and shared a meal with a Muslim person!

This for me is the key! Sit down and break bread with your Muslim sisters and brothers. You’ll be amazed at how radically this can change your perceptions!

Egberime vs. Spodafora

Let me share another one of my recent high-points with you. It has to do with our dear brother Solomon Egberime, who flies off to Las Vegas tomorrow to prepare for his fight against Paul Spodafora on December 1. The pic was taken during our service yesterday, shortly after we’d said some prayers for Sol.

Sol Egberime heads to the USA

The story I wanted to share regards an email I received from Paul Spodafora’s attorney!

Now … if you know me well at all you know that I don’t generally react well when I receive a letter from a lawyer or a legal firm, most especially when the letter begins by drawing attention to things I’ve been saying on my websites!

In this case though the letter was entirely positive! Spodafora’s attorney was encouraged by what I’d written and wanted to extend his hand in friendship! He also offered to assist in helping me get to the US for the fight! In short, I’m mightily impressed with Team Spodafora, and the quality of the team generally reflects the quality of the main man, so I’m very much looking forward to meeting him too!

Mind you, our friendships will most likely be developed over drinks that take place on the other side of the big fight. Right now our focus is on the stoush, and Team Egberime is going to the US in order to win!

Sol and I went on a final half-marathon run together today. I confess that I failed to make the distance this week and had to walk the last 3 kilometers. Even so, as Sol and I walked and talked it was clear to me that he is mentally ready for this event, and with a few weeks of training in Vegas he should be physically ready too.

Make no mistake – Sol will fight like his life depends on it! He will give this fight his all. We know that he is fighting a worthy and capable opponent with forty-six wins and zero losses, but we are confident!

Travelling to the USA

I haven’t finalised any travel arrangements to the US yet myself, but I have received some lovely invitations already from friends and subscribers in the US. One that came in today was from my dear friend Father Iovane from the Community of St John. The Community of St John is the Catholic Order to which Father Elias belongs.

If you don’t know who Elias or Iovane or the Community of St John are you’re probably getting a bit confused by now, so let me explain:

Elias joined us here at Holy Trinity in 2007 and stayed with us for 18 months. The Community of St John sent him over here so that he could work on his boxing! If that all sounds a bit crazy, you can read one of the stories that was written about the two of us and appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald (just click the pic to go full-size).

Sparring Padres

I met Iovane through Elias, and last thing I heard he was running a mission in Addis Ababa (in Ethiopia). He’s now apparently in Chicago, and no doubt doing some cutting-edge work with young people there! He wants me to come and see their work first-hand, and I’m very keen to do so!

Anyway, I’ll be finalising my own travel plans over the next few weeks so please, if you’d like to touch base with me while I’m in the US later this month and early December, let me know now!

Join us for Worship this Sunday!

Let me conclude this week’s missive with an invitation to join us next Sunday morning for worship!

If you’re not in the Dulwich Hill area it matters little. The bulk of the service will be videocast live from 9.15am, Sydney time, on church.tv as we’ve been doing successfully for quite a few weeks now.

Indeed, I believe the quality of our broadcasts is getting better and better. We finally had the sound working properly yesterday, which meant that my controversial sermon on the Book of Ruth would have been easy to hear even if it wasn’t easy to take!

Anyway … the reason I’m suggesting that you make a special effort to join us this week is because we have a guest preacher joining us – Father Elias!

Father Elias will be joining us directly from Utrecht in the Netherlands via the miracle of Skype! How we’re going to get the Skype broadcast fed directly to the church.tv feed I’m not sure at this stage, but Fighting Father Jim is working on it!

Father Elias was arguably the greatest preacher we’ve ever had in our church, so I trust we’ll be able to work out the technology side so that everyone can benefit from his wisdom. Just sign up for a free account at church.tv and visit timeanddate.com if you’re not sure how 9.15am Sydney time translates in your part of the world.

As to yesterday’s offering on Ruth, I wasn’t sure whether to entitle my sermon:

  • “Ruth – a Prostitute for God?” or
  • “Ruth – the Hot and the Holy!”

Either way, you can hear the podcast here or read the written version here if you’re interested.

That’s plenty for this week!

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!

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – August 27th, 2012

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you and I’m feeling particularly buoyant tonight!

I did a good time in my Monday half-marathon earlier tonight (1:56:20) – pushed along by my boxing buddy, Sol Egberime – and that has no doubt contributed, but it’s not the key reason.

I’m feeling genuinely thankful to God this week for two reasons:

The first is for the response I received to what I shared in last week’s Monday Missive about my Al Quds Day dilemma.

Thank you for your emails!

You may remember that I decided NOT to participate in the Al Quds Day protest two weeks ago, even though I was scheduled to speak, and I had been feeling very torn up about it all, and was feeling that I had not only let down the organisers but the long-suffering Palestinian people themselves!

I was both surprised and touched by the size of the response that my sharing generated, and the prayers and support I received from many of my Islamic friends was particularly meaningful to me.

Of course not everybody agreed with my decision, but each of you who wrote assured me of your on-going friendship and respect, and recognised that my non-participation in Al Quds Day did not indicate any lessening of my commitment to the cause of justice and peace in Israel/Palestine.

My own perspective now, a week further down the track, is that it doesn’t really matter much whether I made the right decision or the wrong one, for God has a way of seeing to it that ‘all things work together for good’ anyway (Romans 8:28), and my petty decisions don’t make a great deal of difference in the end! Ultimately, justice will come!

My second reason for feeling cheerful tonight is even more surprising than the first!

I had a Good Day in Court!

I won’t mention the name of the young man whom I accompanied to court last Friday, but I will say that he is someone we have been working with for a number of years and that the charges he was facing were serious and could have resulted in a prison sentence of some years.

Of course this was by no means the first time I had been a part of a courtroom procedure like this and I must confess that over time I have grown to despise the whole process:

  • the esoteric language and strange procedures that seem to be designed to confuse and intimidate the uneducated.
  • the cold and clinical way in which people’s lives are analysed and dissected and held up to public view

and worst of all …

  • the often jovial interplay between the legal professionals, upon whose whims the fate of so many people depends!

And don’t assume that I’m always the bleeding-heart advocate of the accused. I’ve seen as many notorious criminals slip through legal loopholes and walk away laughing as I have seen decent people locked away by a system that treats crimes against property far more seriously than it does crimes against persons!

Anyway …

My experience last Friday was one that left me gob-smacked, and what really impressed me was not just the verdict (which was a suspended sentence) but the summation of the judge, which must have lasted for a full 20 minutes!

This judge really seemed to understand what it was like for people struggling with mental illness, just as he seemed to grasp the effects that repeated childhood abuse can have on a young man.

Indeed, at one point the judge actually scolded the prosecuting attorney who had suggested that the accused’s history of childhood abuse was not relevant to the case. The judge said, “When the accused is an abuser, you prosecutors are always telling me how many lives this person must have damaged and destroyed, but when the accused is someone who has been abused you tell me that their history is not relevant!”

Good call, judge, and good verdict!

As the Judge left the court our lad called out, “Thanks Judge. I won’t let you down!” which was as touching as it was inappropriate in the context (though the boy swears that he saw the judge smile).

The experience was not enough to restore my faith in the system as a whole, but it did remind me that it is possible for the system to work effectively and achieve the purpose for which it was designed.

In point of fact there were a number of systems in operation that day.

  • There was the government-funded legal welfare team who had been working with the young guy even longer than we had.
  • There was the courtroom system that offered him another chance at life.
  • And now he moves into our system (of sorts) whereby we give him some time out at our campsite, while working with Probation and Parole, etc.

Enough said …

Of course I don’t have any pics to share with you of our day in court, but I do have a few others from the last week:

Veronica at Sydney Airport

That’s my beautiful eldest daughter, Veronica, about to head off to the USA for a couple of weeks of well-earned holiday.

Master Chef Po

That’s a personality that I wouldn’t expect anybody outside Australia to recognise. It’s the runner up in the Australian reality-TV show ‘MasterChef’: Poh Ling Yeow.

Poh was one of the main guests on this week’s Can of Wormsshow, in which I also made a brief appearance as an authority on youth violence! I’d suggest that you watch it except that it already went to air earlier tonight.

Don’t worry. I didn’t see it either. And nobody rang up either to tell me how I came across, which is probably indicative of the show’s ratings. If you’re really keen though, you’ll eventually be able to watch the episode online here.

One more pic …

Peter and Pip Hinman

That’s Peter and Pip Hinman. Pip is a candidate at our forthcoming Council elections with the Socialist Alliance. Pip asked me to speak at a party gathering last Saturday. I’m not a member of the Socialist Alliance but I love Pip and Peter so I said ‘yes’. I still can’t work out though why they put me on straight after two comedy acts!

Tickets for Lovemore’s next fight!

Before I let you go let me tell you that I have multiple tickets available to Lovemore’s next fight.

Lovemore will be fighting Rivan Cessaire, and I’ve already purchased 20 tickets for friends and supporters.

When: Friday, September 7th
Where: The Melbourne Pavilion, Flemington, Victoria (Australia)

The bottom line is that if I can’t sell all these tickets I’ll give the remainder away. Just let me know if you’re interested in coming. Financial members of www.fighting-fathers.com will of course get preference with the free tickets.

OK. That’s enough from me today.

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

Your brother in the Good Fight,


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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four