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,


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

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 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,


About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

On the road to Damascus

with Fran @ Vivid, Darling Harbour
with Fran and the Manus movie team - Olivia (video) and Angus (director)
with Fran @ Vivid, Luna Park
with Fran @ Vivid, Taronga Park Zoo
Father Dave's Last Stand (photo - Tim Bellamy)
Father Dave's Last Stand (photo - Tim Bellamy)
Father Dave's Last Stand (photo - Tim Bellamy)
Father Dave's Last Stand (photo - Tim Bellamy)
Boxers for Peace - Syria 2019 team
On the road to Damascus 🙂

Hi Fighter,

Father Dave here, and I’m on the road to Damascus (more or less).

To be exact, I’m starting this quick update on board a flight from Abu Dhabi to Beirut, at which point we’ll hopefully find a bus waiting for us that will put us directly on the road to Damascus.

It’s been a long time coming – this trip to Syria – and I’m full of hope that we will accomplish some very worthwhile things over these next twelve days. There are many faces I am looking forward to seeing again, and hopefully we’ll see plenty of new ones too.

Thanks to the support from you good people back home, we have a goodly amount of money to distribute while we are here. We also have bags of clothes, medicines, and other gifts.  

Our exact itinerary is still unknown at this stage, but I’ll be updating you daily via the usual mechanisms – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – and you’ll get a full debrief from me on the return journey.

So, the two weeks are full of promise and, frankly, the last few weeks are filled with some wonderful memories too.

As you may remember, we’ve had three major events recently:

  1. The first meeting of ‘Christians and Muslims supporting Julian Assange’
  2. The screening of the documentary film, ‘Manus’ on June 8th.
  3. The fundraiser stoush on the day before we left (June 22nd)

As to the event in support of Julian, it was well attended, especially by our friends from the Muslim community. I’m thinking now that I should rebrand the group as “The Christian/Muslim Justice League”. That way, after we’ve helped successfully bring Julian home, we can redirect our energies to supporting Yemen and/or Gaza and/or other areas of great human need that require our joint energies. I like the ‘Justice League’ concept too as it makes us sound like super-heroes – ordinary church and mosque-goers by day who get their super-powers from working together. 🙂

As to the Manus movie event, it was great to meet with director, Angus McDonald, and to hear how well this short documentary-movie is being received. It’s very gratifying to me personally too to see those voices were heard on Manus Island finally being broadcast to a worldwide audience.

It was an extreme experience for me – flying to PNG in November 2017 and making the boat trip in the middle of the night to the detention centre. What we saw and heard there was unforgettable, and then we flew home, and the men of Manus continued on in their struggle, and still they continue on in their struggle. Things still need to change, radically. Perhaps this film will help make it happen.

As to our not-boxing, unofficial, unsanctioned ring event last Sunday, it was great! Thank you to everyone who came and supported me and the Boxers for Peace team. Thank you to my opponent, Jason, to all the guys and girls from our boxing club and church who helped organise it, and thanks to those who poured in from the local community, many of whom stayed on afterwards for the fundraiser event.

We raised almost ten thousand dollars at the fundraiser! That makes it one of the most successful fundraisers I’ve ever been involved in. I have most of that money in a pouch around my neck at the moment, and I expect to leave all of it in Syria. As you would realise, sanctions make it impossible to send money to anybody in Syria though bank transfers or Paypal or any of the usual means. Walking the cash in is how you do it, and I’m deeply thankful that we are now able to do that.

Sermon Time

For a complete change of pace, let me include below my recent Trinity Sunday sermon on the doctrine of the same name.

If it seems really odd here to include discussion of the doctrine of the Trinity alongside travel adventures across the Middle East, keep in mind that it is the Trinity that is the chief point of contention between Christianity and Islam at a dogmatic level. One of my dear Muslim friends believes that if only we Christians could let go of this doctrine, it would remove the barriers between us!

Why has the Doctrine of the Trinity always been so dear to Christians if indeed we have so much to gain by abandoning it? Why especially, when it’s a doctrine that we all recognise to be ultimately incomprehensible?! Listen in if you want to hear my reasons for sticking with it (or read the printed version here).

By the time I post this report, I expect we’ll be in our hotel in Damascus.

Stay tuned over the next 12 days. I’ll be broadcasting everything I can via the Father Dave Facebook Page, Twitter and Instagram .

Keep us in your prayers please – myself, Imogen, Henri, Mike and Dr Lou. Pray that we will remain safe, and pray most of all that we will be able to make a difference for the people of Syria and for the Kingdom of God.

I’ll be in touch again soon.

Yours in the Good Fight,


About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Back into the Ring

Father Dave vs Jayson Mac Gura (March 22nd @ Club Punchbowl)

Hi Fighter,

It’s Dave, checking in from Binacrombi. I’m down here just for the one night, touching base with the team here and making a new friend. I’ve included a pic of my new best mate below. If you haven’t made it to Binacrombi yet, this guy is another good reason to come. He seems to be establishing himself as part of the community here.

Jack - Binacrombi's resident wombat

It’s curious. My vision for Binacrombi is to eventually establish a prayerful community here, so I’ve been waiting for the Lord to send me some wanna-be monks. Is God trying to tell me something by sending a wombat? (click the pic if you want to take a better look at him).

Anyway … the other exciting news is that I have another boxing match lined up for March 22nd – only three Fridays away. I’m fighting a guy named Jayson Mac Gura. He’s had 26 professional fights and is young enough to be my son. Even so, I’m reasonably confident of pulling off another win. It’s at Club Punchbowl, and should be a great night!

The idea with the fight is to fund a trip to Syria between Easter and Ramadan (April 21 and May 5, respectively). Neither the exact dates nor the team are confirmed at this stage, so if you’d like to join me, now is the time to let me know. It will be another Boxers for Peace mission, with the primary goal being to broadcast the voices of ordinary Syrian people around the world. I’ll also be hoping to establish a sister-church relationship between our parish and the Melkite community in Maaloula.

If you can’t join me on the ground in Syria, I hope you’ll support us in prayer and help me with the financing of the mission. If you’re subscribing to the Fighting Father’s member site, you’re already financially supporting this work. If you want to go one step further, just buy a ticket for the fight as I get a commission on the tickets. You can order tickets right here!

Ticket type

Sermon Time

“But I say to you that listen, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also” (Luke 6:27)

I appreciate that exhortations to ‘turn the other cheek’ seem rather out f place when I’m also asking you to support me in a boxing match! Even so, boxers are not the only people that have trouble coming to terms with these words from Jesus. If you missed hearing me struggling with this text last Sunday, you can click the link below.

That’s it from me for today. Keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Yours in the Good Fight,


About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

The Fight is ON

Greetings, Fighter!

Yes, it’s on! All the ‘I’s have been dotted and all the ‘T’s have been crossed. We have climbed the requisite mountain of paperwork and overcome all the obstacles designed to prevent people our age from letting loose on each other in the ring!

Fighting Father Dave vs. Wild Bill Kinbacher
17th November, 2018, starting at 7 pm
Club Punchbowl (921 Punchbowl Road, Punchbowl)

It should be a huge night. 7 pm is the starting time of the pro fights, and there’s over a dozen of those, but there’s just as many amateur fights too, starting at 3 pm, and I’m pretty sure your ticket gets you access to everything. Most importantly, of course, it gets you ringside to watch Billy and I stoush it out.

To say that this is an important fight for me is an understatement. I haven’t been able to fight in over a year, having had three fights cancelled on me. The last two cancellations were due to the brain haemorrhage I suffered last year while preparing for one of those fights. Even though I fully recovered, it hasn’t been easy to get a match. This is a big opportunity for me. If I do badly, it will be my last fight in this country – I promise you. If I do well, I’m hoping it will open the door to a few more.

The immediate goal, as always, is to raise funds. We are looking to take another Boxers for Peace team back to Syria straight after Christmas, and I’m really hoping that we’ll make an impact for good with this one. Funds will help us get there, and any excess funds we raise will be distributed while we are there. The other thing I need to raise funds for is to publish my “Christians and Muslims can be friends” book, which will cost me around $10,000. I hope to launch that not long after returning from Syria.

In other words, this fight is part of the bigger fight, and I’m proud to say that my opponent, Billy, has his eye on the greater fight too. He’s a terrific bloke who has spent much of the last 20 years working with at-risk young people as he’s punched his way around the Favelas of Venezuela. It will be his professional debut though in this country and I’m trusting that my experience with ringcraft will prove superior to his raw strength and courage on the night. Either way, we’ll both raise some funds for causes we believe in, and I’m trusting that we’ll still be friends after the fight. 🙂

If you’d like to come and see the fight, you can purchase tickets via Paypal below. Make sure you include your mailing address as I’ll be posting the tickets to you.

There are four options with the tickets:

  1. A regular ticket is $60
  2. A regular ticket + a $20 donation is $80
  3. A ringside-table ticket (including food and drink) is $220 (sold out)
  4. A ringside-table+ $20 donation is $240 (sold out)

What do you get for the $20 donation to Fighting Fathers Ministries I hear you ask? Apart from the satisfaction you get from knowing that you’re supporting the work, you get a guaranteed selfie with me after the fight (providing I’m upright). 😉

Ticket type

If you have any trouble getting the Paypal system to work, email me and we’ll work something out. I do look forward to seeing you on the night. 🙂

Yours in the Good Fight,


P.S. If you’d like a higher-resolution image of the poster for printing, it’s here

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

The calm before the storm

Sheikh Noor visits us at Holy Trinity
Our wonderful bush-dance fundraiser for the 'House of Welcome'
Discovering some unusual wildlife at Binacrombi
Alex scores another big win 🙂
dinner after the G20 inter-faith seminar in Canberra
Father's Day dinner at Circular Quay
My darling adult girls - Imogen and Veronica - at Imo's 21st
Imogen and Rami at Imo's 21st
Ange turns 47

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave back with you after another prolonged period of silence. I haven’t been hibernating through the winter (as attractive a proposition as that would have been). I’ve been doing the usual – preaching, praying, training, fighting and celebrating – and I’ve been preparing for a series of big events. It’s time to share some of those with you and invite you to get involved.

Four things are looming large on my horizon at the moment, and I need your prayers and support in all of them.

  1. Warrior Weekend – October 5 to 7

Firstly, we’ve got another Warrior Weekend coming up on October 5 to 7. As ever, we combine intense physical training with sessions of monastic prayer and meditation every three hours. The three-hour pattern goes back to St Benedict (of the Benedictine Rule) who believed that you could only go for three hours without getting yourself into trouble. That’s particularly true when you’re racing around the bush, running, boxing, and plunging into icy-cold water.

If that description doesn’t entice you, click here to watch the 1.5 min documentary video that was made of our last camp, and then download the application form here, print it, sign it, scan it, and send it back.

  1. Boxers for Peace return to Syria

Our sisters and brothers in Syria need all the prayer and support they can get at the moment. They could probably also benefit from having a good boxing promotion staged in the capital! Let’s see if we can’t give them all three!

The plan is to put on a boxing show in Damascus in late November or early December. I already have a local opponent lined up and I’ll fill you in on the details when it’s all confirmed. I need at least four other fighters to come with me. Are you in?

If you can box and if you want to make a difference, let me know ASAP. We’ll put on a great show, and we’ll distribute funds and medicines wherever we go.

  1. I’m returning to the ring

I’m planning to have another fight in mid-November. This one will be in Sydney, and I already have an opponent lined up. Other details are being finalised now. As soon as everything is confirmed, I’ll let you know. I’m hoping to get maximum support for this one as everything we raise will be helping Boxers for Peace get to Syria. Whatever we have left over, we’ll take with us and distribute in Syria.

Sermon Time – sex and the Bible

I’ve come under a lot of criticism in recent years for not echoing the traditional teachings of the church when it comes to human sexuality. It’s the Protestant in me, always wanting to ground my values in the Scriptures rather than in church tradition, and the truth is that the Scriptures themselves are very ambiguous about sex. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Song of Songs.

OK, Fighter. I mentioned up the top that there have been four things I’ve been preoccupied with of late. The fourth is the relaunching of!

A few of us have been chipping away at this for some months now and we’re almost ready for a formal launch. has had a face-life. In fact, it has evolved as a whole new platform and we have it in BETA testing mode at the moment.

You may have noticed that the big social media sites (Twitter, Facebook and YouTube) have been deleting millions of accounts lately that they have earmarked as ‘fake news’. A number of my friends have lost their personal accounts.

It would appear that if you’re offering perspectives that could be considered pro-Russian or pro-Iranian, there’s a good chance you’re going to have your account deleted. In other words, the days of free speech on the Internet are coming to an end.

One of the few things we can do about this is to set up independent social networks where people can still express dissident opinions without risk of censure. I’m keen to establish as one such network. Let me know if you’d like to be a part of the BETA testing group and I’ll get you the details.

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

Yours in the Good Fight,




About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Time to retreat!

Baptisms on Easter Day! 🙂
With Fran at the Easter Show
with my beloved Veronica 🙂
Soren turns 15
Celebrating my birthday with my brothers 🙂
Get well, Danny!
showing off our church to Syed Shoaib Naqvi
with Luke Cornish at his 'Road to Damascus' exhibition
Hands Off Syria!
Pick on someone your own size! 😉
The match that has got to happen!
Cooling off in an ice-bath at the Wim Hof seminar in Melbourne
with the amazing Wim Hof!

Hi Fighter,

It’s Father Dave, writing to you from the middle of the Australian bush! No, I’m not retreating from the Good Fight but I am retreating from the Big Smoke for a while.

I am on long-service leave, and will be spending most of my weekends up to the end of May at Binacrombi – our remote prayer-space, dirt-bike farm and boxing-training facility.

I’m hoping that these five weeks will be a rejuvenating time, though they are not a holiday. I’ve got three goals I want to achieve over my time away from the parish:

  1. Get Binacrombi functioning on a renewed basis
  2. Finish the book I’m working on – “Christians and Muslims can be friends”
  3. Get fully fit for my next fight.

As for the fight, I don’t have a date fixed yet, but I’ll be letting you know as soon as something is confirmed.

As for the book, I won’t say more about that here either, except that I’ll be looking for your help to spread it around once I get it published. In the meantime, you might like to help me come up with a better title.

As for Binacrombi, do you have a weekend spare before the end of May when you can come and join me?

I’m planning another Warrior Weekend for May 19 to 21 (and I’ll say more on that below) but I’d be happy to see you on any of the other weekends too. If I’m left here by myself, with only the kangaroos to keep me company, I may get a bit jumpy! 😉

OK … It’s not really the lack of company that I’m concerned about, but I am looking for good people who will help run weekends out here. Binacrombi has developed enormously over the last few years under the tireless and dedicated management of Fighting Father Tez. Even so, Tez is not as young as he used to be, and it’s time for a few more of us to step up and give him a hand.

Perhaps you’ve always seen yourself as a farm-manager or as a fighting monk, or perhaps you’d just like to help develop the ministry of the Fighting Fathers? Here is your opportunity! Join me down here at some point in the next month and we’ll train you in the ways of Binacrombi. You might then consider coming back once every couple of months, to be an ongoing part of the team.

In truth, even if you only want to come and help me pray for Syria in the chapel here, I’d be very glad to see you. Call me or email me and let me know when you’d like to come. All my details are on (the non-mobile version). Mind you, the obvious weekend to join us is May 19 to 21 – the date of our next …

Warrior Weekend

Yes, it’s happening again. From Friday evening (May 19) to Sunday afternoon (May 21) we will be giving you another opportunity to Train like a Trojan and Pray like a Monk at our remote bush training facility, Binacrombi.

The workouts will be fitness-focused and won’t be restricted to boxing training. Even so, you’ll get plenty of chances to show your prowess in the ring if you so desire, so bring your gloves and your mouthguard.

The prayer sessions are not compulsory, of course (and neither are the workouts), but those who are willing will meet for prayer and meditation according to the traditional Benedictine schedule – at 6am, 9am, noon, 3pm and 6pm. There will be separate prayer spaces allocated for Christian and for Muslim prayers.

We already have some young people from the Muhammadi Welfare Association joining us for the camp, and I’m hoping that our friends from Fighting for Autism will  join us too. These camps not only offer participants great personal benefits in terms of physical and spiritual fitness but are also wonderful opportunities for social integration. 🙂

The prices for the weekend have not changed:

  • $200 for the rich
  • $100 for the poor
  • Free for the destitute

These fees cover accommodation, training, and all meals (excluding the BYO Saturday night BBQ). If you feel you fit into the ‘destitute’ category, let me know and we will organise sponsorship for you.

The flyer for this camp is here. Right-click and choose ‘save target as’ to download it.  The flyer includes a form that you can sign and forward to me.

Sermon of the month

Easter is the time of year when Christians remember how God confronts evil in our world. It was therefore an extraordinary time for Donald Trump to drop the ‘Mother of all Bombs’ on Afghanistan, and yet that happened on Good Friday (Australian time)!

This seems to be the only way the powerful in our world know how to deal with evil. They drops bombs on it and hope it will go away. In this case, the Mother of all Bombs was dropped on (what is perceived to be) the Mother of all Evils (Al Qaeda). The result was that 36 people died, which was apparently considered a success.

It is the unambiguous teaching of the New Testament that evil cannot ultimately be stopped by other forms of evil. The Easter story tells us about a God who confronts evil in a different way altogether – through suffering and death and resurrection!

(forgive me for the poor quality of this video. The written version of this sermon is here)

Becoming the Ice-Man

Before I let you go today, I want to explain the picture that appears at the top – the one of me and a group of men in an ice-bath!

Yes, it was ice! Perhaps you didn’t look too closely at the pic and thought I was enjoying a relaxing session in the pool with my mates. Take a closer look and you’ll see that the water was thick with ice-cubes. It wasn’t relaxing! 🙁

The reason for this bizarre behaviour is that I’m doing a ten-week course put together by a bizarre man, Wim Hof, otherwise known as the Ice Man! There’s a picture of me and Wim up the top too. 🙂

The ice-man has been able to perform some amazing physical feats, considered impossible before Wim did them. He climbed Mount Everest in his swimsuit and  broke the world record for swimming under the ice. He then ran a marathon through the Sahara Desert without taking any water! And he’s a couple of years older then me!

Wim’s training method combines breathing techniques with stretching and ‘cold therapy’, which means cold showers and ice-baths, and by the time I make my next blog post, I should have reached the end of his 10-week course. I want to share my progress with you.

I’m hoping that Wim’s techniques will give me an edge in the boxing ring, and at my age I need every edge I can get. And if you do decide to join me on the camp, be aware that I’ll be integrating some cold therapy into our training routine (though, of course, it is not compulsory for anybody except me).

That’s plenty for today. I’ll hope to see you at the camp. 🙂

Your brother in the Good Fight,


About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

an update from Syria

Soren and the Mufti
on the set of Syrian TV
with His Holiness, Patriarch Ignatius Aphrem II
Father Michael with the Patriarch and Father Alexi
with the team at the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate
we joined Damascan church leaders for a wonderful dinner in the old city
with Issa - boxing coach of the Syrian Olympic team
Christians and Muslims meet at the Orthodox Patriarchate
in the footsteps of St Paul - Father and son at the home of St Ananias
a humbling meeting with Dr Faisal Mekdad - Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria
in St Thecla's church in Maaloula
Maaloula - one of Syria's most ancient Christian villages
Soren does his first media interview
with Father Toufic in St George's Maaloula

Hi Fighter,

Firstly, let me thank all of you who made our New Year’s trip to Syria possible – supporting us financially and with prayer. Secondly, let me apolgise for the time it has taken to feed back to you about the trip.

I’ll address my time issues later in this missive, but let me say first that I think the trip was highly constructive and that we achieved most of our aims, if not all of them.

We didn’t get to Aleppo, and we didn’t get the media focus on the Syrian people that we had been looking for. Even so, we did deliver some tangible aid and, most importantly, we did work out a way of getting ongoing aid where it’s most needed.

This, in my opinion, is the biggest problem facing Syria at the moment. The victory on the battlefield is all but complete. Even so, life is not returning to normal. So many homes have been destroyed and so many people are in need, and the country is simply out of resources! The Syrian people need help in order to rebuild, yet instead of sending them aid, we impose sanctions, making it impossible for them to rebuild!

There is a demonic paradox at the heart of Western foreign policy towards Syria:

  1. We bomb their country and destroy their homes
  2. Through sanctions, we then stop them from rebuilding
  3. We then complain like hell if they try to leave their country to join us!

US Senator, Chris Murphy, summed up the situation rather succinctly in a Twitter Tweet recently: “We bomb your country, creating a humanitarian nightmare, then lock you inside. That’s a horror movie, not a foreign policy.”

We must urge our governments to show some humanity and drop  these vicious sanctions. Until this happens though, we must find ways around the sanctions to get resources where they are most needed. Is there a back-door into Syria for humanitarian aid and medicines? The answer is YES, and that back door is the church!

Our delegation was deeply impressed by the aid work being done by the church in Syria, and no work was more impressive than that of ‘Gopa Derd’ – the aid arm of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate.

The Greek Orthodox Church is by far the largest Christian communion in Syria, and they have aid work going on across the country, including major food-distribution and education centres in Aleppo and other critical areas. Gopa Derd does not discriminate in terms of who benefits from their aid. No preference is given to Greek Orthodox Christians or other Christians over Muslims or anybody else. It is a truly Christ-like work!

Most importantly, Father Alexis Chehadeh, the head of Gopa Derd, has a German passport, allowing him to travel in and out of Syria with ease. This means that money can be sent to Alexis’ German account and he can physically carry that money back into Syria to channel it where it’s most needed. Thus we get around the sanctions!

If you’d like to know more about Gopa Derd, this 20-minute video is worth watching in its entirety. If you’d like to contribute to their work, contact me. I can give you the bank account details you need. Personally, I’m trying to coordinate a broad fundraising effort from churches in Sydney to support the work of Gopa Derd. At the same time, I (and my fellow delegates to Syria) are doing our best to lobby our government to end the inhumane sanctions.

Our interview on Syrian TV

In keeping with the Syria focus of this post, the video I’m featuring today is of the delightful Vanig Gonjian interviewing our delegation on Syrian TV. I note that neither my son, Soren, nor Troy Hester – both of whom were essential members of our team – were included in the interview. Even so, it was a great opportunity for Mother Carol, Father Michael, Maher and myself, to further extend the hand of friendship to Syria, not only on behalf of our greater team, but on behalf of all Australian people.

If you feel you’ve missed out on getting your sermon fix today, you can always get my latest sermon on, or my entire sermon video-gallery here! You may also be interested in my Syria video-gallery, featuring our 20 most recent Syria clips.  You’ll find that here.

I need your help

In closing, let me apologise again for the time it’s taken to get this update to you. The truth is that I am not on top of things and that I frankly need more help if I’m going to keep all the balls in the air. I balance a variety of responsibilities:

I’m also trying to finish a book on “Christians and Muslims can be friends”. On top of that, there’s my commitment to Syria and all that is involved in that, as well as my other social justice and community commitments.

I sincerely believe in the work I’m doing but I need more help if I’m going to get on top of things. So far as I can see, I have three options:

  1. I find an apprentice who is willing to do long hours for next to nothing
  2. I broaden my support base so that I can afford to pay people to help.
  3. I get a boxing match that will pay big dividends and so solve all my problems in one hit (pun intended)!

My search for that big fight is no joke. I haven’t fought for more than a year now and have just had another fight cancelled on me (my 3rd cancellation in a row). I’m fit and ready to rumble if any of you can help me find an opponent.

While I wait for that, I’m open to all suggestions about broadening my support base. As things stand, about 20 of your guys subscribe to for $10/month and one of you contributes $100/month. I am deeply grateful to you guys, and if it wasn’t for your support we would have crumbled long ago. Even so, I need a lot more active subscribers if Fighting Fathers Ministries is to move forward, and I’m not sure if that’s even plausible.

So … if you have any ideas, please share them with me. Alternatively, if you’re feeling called to be that overworked and underpaid apprentice, let me know. In truth, I’m wanting to hear from you. All my contact details (including my mobile number) are in the ‘contact’ section of (non-mobile version). Call me, visit me or email me with your wisdom.

Your brother in the Good Fight,


our delegation meets Dr Hassoun - the Grand Mufti of Syria

our delegation meets Dr Hassoun – the Grand Mufti of Syria (and one of my favourite people)

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Peace in Palmyra

Hi Fighter,

We are back from Syria.

We’ve been back for a a couple of weeks now, in fact, and I apologise for not publishing much about our journey until now. In truth, I’m still trying to process it all.

It was a magnificent trip. We saw some amazing things and met many amazing people. As has always been my experience in Syria, we were greatly blessed by the generosity and grace of the Syrian people. They took us into their hearts and homes, showing us great love and hospitality.

  • We trained with the Syrian Olympic boxing team in Damascus
  • We celebrated the liberation of Palmyra by boxing in its ancient amphitheatre
  • We taught our sport to hundreds of young orphans in Homs
  • We travelled into remote villages in Latakia to touch gloves with the locals.

That is a very superficial summary, of course, but I’m going to resist the temptation to say too much more about our experiences here as I want to focus on inviting you to the exhibition that we have organised.

The Peace in Palmyra exhibition

The Peace in Palmyra exhibition opens this coming Sunday – June 19th – at 3pm, and will run for the entirety of Refugee Week (June 19 to 25). It will be held in our church’s new Community Centre in Dulwich Hill (2 Herbert Street, Dulwich Hill).

The exhibition will include photographs, video and live art (ie. boxing) that chronicle our 2016 Boxers for Peace mission to Syria, with a special focus on our time in Palmyra – the site of so many famous ancient ruins – overtaken by DAESH (ISIS) in 2015 but retaken by the Syrian Arab Army on Easter Sunday (March 27) 2016.


If we really want to solve the global refugee crisis, we have to tackle the problem at its source. We need to create conditions on the ground where people no longer have to flee from war and famine but can live in safety, and those who had been forced to leave can return to their homes.

In Syria, more than half of the country’s population has been displaced since the outbreak of violence five years ago. Millions have fled overseas, but millions more have fled into other parts of Syria. This exodus of Syrians from their homes had seemed irreversible, and yet in recent months, hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been able to return home as their cities have been liberated!

The retaking of Palmyra was especially significant in this regard, not because of the magnitude of the refugee exodus from the city but on account of the place Palmyra holds in the hearts of all Syrians. As one Syrian army officer said “when my son died defending Homs, I didn’t cry. When my men were beheaded by DAESH, I didn’t cry, but when they took Palmyra, I cried.”

Palmyra, with its rich history and spiritual beauty, is the beating heart of Syria. The liberation of Palmyra was not only a major defeat for DAESH (their first major defeat since their inception) but a victory for all Syrian people, and for all of humanity! Homelessness and destitution do not have to be the final word! Liberation happens! Refugees can return home!

  • You can download a poster with the details of the exhibition here.
  • If you’re coming, please register on the exhibition’s Facebook event page.

Video time

We took a lot of video footage during this last trip to Syria and you can see all the stuff we’ve published so far on

What I’ve published below is a wonderful short compilation put together by boxer, artist, and much-loved team-member, Luke Cornish (ELK). It speaks for itself.

Let me close by thanking once again everybody who supported us on this mission trip. Quite literally, we could not have done it without you. It is only  because of your generosity and support that we are able to make any of these initiatives work.

Mind you, I know that a number of you guys tried to send us a donation through Paypal and most of those contributions were rejected! Unfortunately, Paypal has automatic filters that are tripped when anyone mentions the word Syria.

This is understandable. What is less understandable is why it took them more than a month to work out that we are not supporting terrorism but are Boxers for Peace (and this despite my repeated calls and emails), and why they cancelled donations rather than put them on hold until they worked us out!

If you did get your donation rejected or if you’d still like to support the work, let me encourage you either to:

  1. Take out a $10/month subscription to Fighting Fathers Ministries through our member site (
  2. Buy an item from the Fighting Fathers’ online shop (

With regards to the shop, I’m pleased to announce that there is a whole new batch of Fighting Fathers monastic smocks have recently been delivered. They are a unique style – modelled on traditional Benedictine design but short enough to allow full leg movement, allowing the wearer to both run and train as well as pray!

The Fighting Fathers' Monastic Smock on display in Palmyra

The Fighting Fathers’ Monastic Smock on display in Palmyra

I hope you can make it to the exhibition, fighter, where I’ll be very happy to talk your ear off about the Syria trip. For those who can’t make it, I’ll be publishing more photos and videos and stories to

That’s enough for today. Keep me in your prayers as I do you.

Your brother in the Good Fight,


About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Still on my feet!

Nader warms me up
Tony leads us in prayer
acknowledging our supporters
the stare-out
parrying the jab
left rip to the body
keeping him in the corner
some wisdom from Danny
looks like I'm in trouble!
looks like he's in trouble!
Thanks to my team, thanks to my opponent, thank you God, and thank you Tom Toby for these wonderful pics 🙂

Hi Fighter,

It’s been an intense time for me of late. I turned 54 a week ago. Two days later I made my return to professional boxing, scoring a TKO over Glen Aristides in the 3rd round.

The timing of this was significant in a number of ways. For one thing, it meant that I became the oldest Australian ever to box professionally, beating the record set by Dexter ‘Dingo’ Dunworth, who boxed until he was 53. Secondly, it meant that there was no cake and feasting on my birthday, but I made up for that tonight with a lovely dinner out with the family. 🙂

As for the fight, it was a really positive experience for me. My opponent was an absolute gentleman, and despite his lack of experience, he was no push-over! Indeed, he showed greater balance and finesse than I had anticipated. I was counting though on his lack of match-fitness being his Achilles heel, and so I stayed on him tenaciously from the opening bell. By the end of the third round I had indeed worn him out and the referee stopped the contest.

As I say, it was a really positive experience for me. It was an honest and gutsy contest, and we raised some good money that will go a long way towards getting our Boxers for Peace team to Syria a little later this year. I am deeply grateful to my team, to my opponent, and to God. I am also grateful to all you guys who supported this mad venture with your finances and your prayers.

Expect a few more fights from me over the coming months. A number of offers have already come in but, quite honestly, I’m only now looking for fights that will deliver decent pay-packets. I know that sounds horribly materialistic but I believe in the work we are doing, and I believe that broad numbers of people are ultimately going to benefit from this work.

Sermon Time

We are in Lent – that 40-day period in the church year which is set aside for sombre reflection and personal spiritual reformation. It’s a 40-day experience that draws its inspiration from Jesus’ 40 days in the wilderness, as outlined in the Gospel according to St Luke, chapter 4.

The thing that really struck me this year as I read though the story again is that Jesus never suggests explicitly that we should all follow Him into the wilderness. Indeed, it’s not obvious that there is anything in Jesus’ temptation experience that we can model ourselves on. When was the last time I was tempted to turn stones into bread?

But if the temptations story is not given to us as a model for discipleship, what’s the point of Lent and, more importantly, what were the Gospel writers trying to teach us through this narrative?

Father Dave’s selfie competition

OK fighter, I’ve finally got a competition going for you, and it’s one where you can accomplish some good simply by entering!

Over the last few days graffiti images of me have been turning up in various spots around Sydney. I think there are around 20 so far! They each carry a message. You can see examples of them below.

In truth, I’m not sure about the location of many of these. There’s one on the side of our church building, and one of the ‘Hands Off Syria’ versions is on the wall of the Prime Minister’s electoral office (included above). This could get me into trouble!

In truth, I haven’t posted any of these though I certainly am keen to get the message out, so here’s my plan: a competition!

Here’s what you have to do:

  1. Get a selfie of yourself alongside on of my graffiti images. You can adopt whatever pose you like but just don’t obscure the message.
  2. Share the image through your social media network (eg. Twitter)
  3. Send a copy of the pic (or a link to the pic) to me.

If you want to get really creative you could hold up your own billboard, either echoing my message or broadcasting a similar one (but not a contrary one please). Hopefully this will help spread the message! 🙂

Prizes! I’ve come up with four:

  1. A year’s training at Father Dave’s Old School Boxing Academy (value $1,500)
  2. A weekend or mid-week stay at Binacrombi (value $300)
  3. Lunch on a Sunday arvo (value $20 as I’m into cheap eats)
  4. A front-row pew at Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill for life (value: priceless)

Depending on the number of entries, these prizes may go to multiple people or they may go to just one person! This competition is obviously limited to people living or staying in Sydney, and most of my readership is NOT in Sydney. This means that if you’re  local you’ve got an excellent chance of winning, so get out there and take your selfie and spread the word!

I hope to hear from you soon. 🙂

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. My friend Keith Mascord is launching his new book “Faith without Fear” on Friday, March 4th, and you’re invited to the launch. Here’s a link to the Facebook Event page.

P.P.S. If you missed the fight, you might enjoy seeing this post-fight Today Show interview or this video of our time in the training room, preparing for the battle.

P.P.P.S. Support the work of the Fighting Fathers by joining our online community at It only costs you $10/month and the first month is free.

P.P.P.P.S. And if nothing else, you can always buy me a belated birthday drink here.

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four