Father Dave’s Missive – February 28th, 2014

Hi Fighter,

It’s been a while since I’ve been in contact and I’m sorry about that. Life just seems to get overwhelming at times, and with the new school year, the re-opening of our Youth Centre, and the revving up of activities here in the church I have been finding myself under an avalanche of responsibilities over the last few weeks.

I’m back in serious training mode too. I’ve re-established a disciplined running program and I’m working a lot harder at my boxing training. I’m happy to say that I’ve lost just under 5 kilos since Christmas too, though this means that I’ve still got 5 to go before I hit my ideal fighting weight. Even so, I’m on track and in good shape. I’ll be ready for a fight when one comes on offer. 

Felicia and Michael have a Dulwich Hill wedding!
with Jennie Brockie on SBS 'Insight'
with the 'Hands Off Syria' chicks (+1)
with the Iranian Ambassador on the 35th anniversary of the Revolution
some great sparring with Chinese middleweight sensation, Rock!
Francesca has her first day at Big School!
I turn 52 and enjoy dinner with my children! 🙂

Moreover, the preparations for the 2014 Pilgrimage of Peace to Syria are in full swing now as we’ll be leaving in a little over a month! It seems that I’ll be taking a crew of eight sturdy lads and lasses with me (seven lads and one lass to be precise) and that we’ll be reaching Damascus via Tehran, participating in a peace conference there, and then possibly heading on to London and Dublin for a few days after our time in Syria!

I can’t give you the details at this stage – partly for security reasons and partly because the details are still being worked out – but I can tell you that I’ll be going into fundraising mode over the next month in preparation for the mission.

Our plan is to purchase medical equipment in Tehran and use a chartered flight to get these medicines and equipment directly into Damascus. Apparently it works out a lot easier and cheaper to get the staff in Iran rather than in Oz and then try to get it from Australia to Iran first.

There are massive shortages of medicines and medical equipment in Damascus, of course, and not just emergency first-aid-type medicines either but regular medicines for sorts of diseases we are all familiar with. Apparently there’s a terrible shortage of drugs for cancer treatment and heart disease, and of course there’s a dire need for polio vaccine! Anyway, I’ll be leaving the specifics to the experts but I do hope that we’ll be able to take with us more than a token amount of aid.

I’d love to talk to you more about our hopes for this Syria mission but I won’t take up space here. Instead please accept my invitation to join us for our special 2014 Pilgrimage of Peace to Syria Campaign Launch THIS COMING SUNDAY!

Yes, I know it’s short notice and I’m sorry about that. Even so, if you’re in the vicinity of Dulwich Hill this weekend we would love to have you!  We’ll be meeting in the church building of Holy Trinity Dulwich Hill and starting with a halal afternoon tea at 3.30pm (yes, I’m hoping that plenty of Muslim friends will join us too). Your official invitation is here.

You’ll notice from the invitation that the event includes a private screening of the short (20-minute) documentary movie that Fighting Father Denning made of our last trip to Syria. The film has not been publicly screened anywhere at this stage, chiefly because it’s been submitted to various film festivals that insist that you don’t have any public screenings before they assess your work. This will in fact be the first private screening of the movie and so it is by invitation only and numbers are limited. Even so, you are invited and you can bring your invitation as proof!

I should add that the film has already received an ‘Award of Excellence’ in the Canada International Film Festival (see here and look for ‘Wasted’).  Well done, Denning!

Sermon Time

I want to share with you my sermon of last week on Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The section I’m focusing on includes one of the most inspiring exhortations Jesus ever gave alongside one of the most disturbing statements He ever made!

The inspiring bit is the exhortation to “love your enemies” (Matthew 5:44). The disturbing bit is the statement that “he who lusts after a woman has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). They both occur in the same section of the Sermon on the Mount – side by side!

It occurred to me in my preparations for this sermon that the two are actually deeply related and inextricably linked! How on earth could that be true, you ask? You’ll have to click and listen. ;-)

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if you can’t view this video click here.

Before I let you go today, fighter, I must tell you that I’ve turned another year older since we last spoke. You might have noticed from the pics above that I had a lovely dinner with all of my children to celebrate turning 52 last week. It was lovely! 

If you forgot my birthday that’s OK. I’m hopeless at remembering birthdays too and I’m lucky to have people to remind me of my own. Even so, you are welcome to buy me a drink if you like or, if you really want to make my day, consider joining our Fighting Fathers Online Community and supporting our work. It’s only $10/month but makes all the difference at this end.

I’ll try to be in touch again soon.

Until then, I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.holytrinity.org.au
www.binacrombi.com.au
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.dulwichhillgym.com
www.warriorweekends.com
www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. If you missed my appearance on ABC’s “Insight” program last Monday night, you can see a replay of the episode here.

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Father Dave’s Missive – January 6th, 2014

Hi Fighter,

It’s New Year’s Day as I start this missive and, as is inevitably the case this time of year, I’m reflecting on both the year that’s past and the year ahead.

2013 was a big year for me personally, for my family, for our church and for the Order of the Fighting Fathers.

Personally, I was able to travel to Bali, Malaysia, Lebanon, Iran and Syria, and I had the privilege of meeting two heroes of mine for the first time – Mairead Maguire and George Galloway. I also caught up with some wonderful old friends such as Mother Agnes Mariam and Dr Chandra Muzaffar, and was able to share in their creative work!

On the church front the year was somewhat dominated by the fire that burnt down our hall complex. We lost our Youth Centre and boxing gym and a whole lot of history that night, and the boy responsible still hasn’t been arrested! Even so, it was wonderful to see the whole community come together to support us, and both the Youth Centre and the gym are now up and running again on premises owned by our dear sisters and brothers of the local Salvation Army Corps.

On the family front, each of the children had their own particular struggles but each ended the year in good health and spirits (thanks be to God) and Ange started teaching full-time for the first time.

We shared a wonderful Christmas together. I know that Christmas is such a difficult time for so many people and I do not take for granted the privilege of being in a stable domestic and financial situation. I share with you the following Christmas pics in the hope that your Christmas was also an enjoyable (or at least a bearable) one.


Christmas Angels!
Our Christmas Concert
Our Christmas Angels steal the show 🙂
Our Christmas Pageant
Even the most professional performers need a support team
Carols on the Rectory Lawn is a great success!
Imogen and I lead the Christmas Day service


(note that you can hover your cursor to pause a slide and click to move to the next one)

I’ve been thinking a lot about the year ahead and I’ve set myself five goals for 2014.

I am a great believer in settings goals and sharing them with friends. I find that people achieve their goals a lot more often when they are shared. Perhaps it’s because the embarrassment factor kicks in? We hate the idea of failing to achieve a target that’s been made public? Even so, I’m told that more people achieve their goals even when they write them on a piece of paper and put the paper in a drawer – telling no one!

I’m making my goals public and am going to do my best to achieve each of them. This list is not exhaustive and contains nothing about rebuilding the Youth Center (which may not be completed until 2015). The list is nonetheless ambitious:

  1. Found a monastic Order
  2. Win a world boxing title
  3. Help end the war in Syria
  4. Help establish a state of Palestine
  5. Help each of my kids get through their years at school.

The last goal may well prove the hardest. At least it doesn’t require much explanation. I’ll give you a bit more detail on the other goals.

The Monastic Order

I have a real vision for developing Binacrombi as a place of prayer and reflection.

As you probably realise, Binacrombi is set up as a remote centre for extreme sports – primarily trail-bike riding and fight training – both of which may seem completely incompatible with a contemplative lifestyle. In my view though extreme action and focused contemplation are two sides of the same coin! We already have the boxing ring, wrestling cage, 530 acres of untamed bush, and a whole lot more there to cover the sporting side. What we need now is a chapel!

To cut a long story short, I’ve been talking to a certain Bishop over the last couple of months and it seems that he may have an old chapel that can be lifted from its current location and replanted at Binacrombi.

Of course there’s much to be done between now and our first monastic chant, and I’ll probably need to raise some cash in order to fund the replanting. Even so, I’m hopeful that we’ll have pews on the ground before the year is out and I’ve already got someone designing special monastic habits for me (habits that are light enough to train in).

What I’m looking for from you right now is a commitment to pray with me – not just in your bedroom but on location at Binacrombi. Would you be interested in taking off a few days or a week or even a month to come and pray with us in the bush? If enough of us start spending extended time in prayer out there the rest will follow naturally.

Boxing

Like most old pugs I’m feeling I’ve got one more good fight left in me. I’m sure there must be some obscure world title for 50-something year-olds that I can compete for! If not in this country then surely in the USA?

My first step will be to trim down about 10kgs and get back into fighting shape. I’ve given myself to the end of February to achieve this.

Syria

There’s talk of a major peace mission to Syria happening over the Easter period this year involving church leaders from around the world. I’m hoping to be a part of it.

Moreover, I have a more specific project in mind that I’ve shared with you before – teaching boxing to kids in refugee camps in Syria and along the Syrian border. This might seem far-fetched but I have a feeling that a number of high-profile boxers would jump at the chance to get involved if I can set something in motion. I’ve put it to prayer.

Palestine

As you may know, this year has been declared “Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People” by the General Assembly of the United Nations. I am hoping and praying that this will be a decisive year for all Palestinians.

My hope is that we can again make a small contribution through our boxing. You will remember that we had members of the Palestinian Olympic team visit our Fight Club last November and we started planning then to sponsor a Palestinian team to tour Australia and possibly the UK as well. Who knows where this might take us? I am trusting that it will all contribute to the greater quest for justice and peace.

Those are my public goals for 2014. What are yours? I’d encourage you to make yours public too, even if only be sharing them in the comment section below.

Sermon Time

I’ve been preaching rather incessantly over this Christmas period so I’ve got no shortage of sermon material to share. I’m offering you today the one I did on the Sunday before Christmas where the Gospel text focused on the person of Joseph, Mary’s husband, who is without doubt the least dynamic person in the entire Christmas narrative.

We know very little about Joseph and he seems to contribute very little to the Gospel story. He is a minor character in a great drama, which makes him a lot like us.

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(If you can’t view this video, click here)

Before I let you go today, fighter, I’d ask you to share a prayer with me for our dear brother Mordechai Vanunu – Israel’s nuclear whistle-blower.

If you don’t know the story you can Google him. If you don’t know my connection to Morde, it’s simple. He stumbled into our church one Friday night back in 1986. We became good friends. Then he was kidnapped by the Mossad!

This year marks 27 years since Morde’s abduction. 27 years was notably the same length of time Nelson Mandela spent in custody.

  • The first 11 of those years Morde spent in solitary confinement!
  • The next 6 years were spent in a regular prison
  • Over the remaining 10 years Morde has been constantly harassed by Israeli authorities, has been refused the right to leave the country, and was re-imprisoned for a month for the crime of speaking to foreigners!

On Christmas Day just past Morde once again appeared in court, pleading for the right to leave Israel and live a free life. As usual his appeal was refused.

My friend Eileen Flemming has put together a petition to put an end to Morde’s endless punishment. Will you sign it please?  It’s a small gesture, I know, but apart from prayer and petitions I’m not sure what else we can do for this dear brother at the moment.

Morde Vaunu and me in 2004

With Morde after his release in April 2004

One last thing please …

By way of an annual appeal can I encourage any of you who want to support the work of the Fighting Fathers to do so by taking out a membership at www.fighting-fathers.com?

It will only cost you $10/month and you get plenty for your money. As well as a great library of eBooks and software in the members’ area you get the privilege of being part of the greatest online community on the planet! You’ll also get to help me cover the monthly cost of maintaining our online infrastructure (which seems to get heavier by the year).

Please do consider joining the team but be assured that, either way, I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight.

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

P.S. Forgive this act of pure self-indulgence below but I added a slideshow retrospective of personal highlights of 2013. It was an amazing year!

I turn 51
February 17 - Imogen is confirmed
Meeting John Shipton (Julian Assange's dad) and joining the Wikileaks Party
March - We hold our first Binacrombi Boot Camp!
April - Francesca turns 4
Soren Lee turns 11
April 21 - the Youth Centre is on fire!
May - Welcome to Damascus!
Meeting Mairead Maguire!
Overwhelmed by the Grand Mufti of Syria, Dr Hassoun
Meeting up with dear Mansour again in Tehran
June - Guest speaker at the Muslim Youth Conference!
July - Mother Agnes at Holy Trinity!
Meeting up with Kevin 07 in Canberra!
Meeting up again with Dr Chandra Muzaffar in Kuala Lumper
George Galloway comes over for coffee!
September - Imogen turns 16
August - we reopen the Gym and Youth Centre in the Salvation Army hall!
October - Imogen and I go to 'Fight Night' at Movie World
Francesca makes her own scary Halloween mask
November - the Palestinian Olympic team joins us at Fight Club
December - the great Youth Centre bush camp!
The great Bali wedding!
Christmas Angels

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Weekly Missive – August 14th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

I hope you’ve been travelling well since last we touched base. It’s been a period of highs and lows for me.

In terms of what’s been happening in our little hamlet of Dulwich Hill, it’s been almost all highs. In terms of what I’ve seen going on in other parts of the world (such as Syria) it’s been frankly heart-breaking.

Let me share the highs first:

The rebirth of the Youth Centre!

We had a magnificent afternoon at the Salvo’s centre in Dulwich Hill last week, celebrating the re-opening of our beloved Youth Centre and Fight Club in their new venue!

Re-opening the gym and Youth Centre at the Salvos hall

Thank God for the Salvo’s (click to enlarge)

It’s a real win-win situation! :-)

The Salvo’s recreation hall and lounge area provide a magnificent space for both sporting activities and informal gatherings for our young people. In truth, it is a better space than we were ever been able to provide in the old church hall!

Having combined forces, we now also have (potentially) twice the person-power to drive the project forward. It’s just a pity that it took an arsonist to burn down our old Youth Centre before we were forced to see the many advantages of working together!

Admittedly, we are a bit thin on the ground at present with regards to staff and volunteers. I’m trusting that this will all be resolved over the next couple of weeks, but if you’re in the area and you have some time to volunteer just let me know!

a few rounds in the new ring with Kath Biggs

A few rounds in the new ring with Kath Biggs

And if you can’t join us in person, please consider ‘liking’ the Facebook page that the Salvo’s set up for our new venture.

Tears for Syria

I said when I came back from Syria that I felt I left a part of my heart in Damascus. It is still there. I still see the faces of so many of the people I met there and I wonder if they are OK.

One person I have kept contact with is Ghinwa Maia. She was translator for our delegation while we were in Damascus and is a sweet young girl, about the same age as my eldest daughter. That’s Ghinwa on the right, below, with her sister, Rima, on the left.

Rima and Ghinwa Maia in Damascus

Rima and Ghinwa Maia in Damascus

I’ve had some lengthy text conversations with Ghinwa over the last few days where she has been telling me about massacres taking place in Alawite villages in area of Latakia. Ghinwa is an Alawite.

Let me share with you some excerpts from our conversation. Note that English is not her first language:

Ghinwa: The situation is very bad now in Latakia province. 7 Alawite villages were massacred. We know about the killing of 136 villagers all killed on sectarian bases. A friend of mind lost 21 member of his relatives.

Dave: If you can think of some way we can hep from here please tell me.

Ghinwa: I don’t really know. But perhaps you could help spreading the news about what is happening here! A friend of mine is going to document the witnesses of those who ran away or perhaps injured … Maybe I’ll be able to get this info and translate them. Send them to you. I will keep in touch if I would still be alive.

That was a week ago. Yesterday I received this:

 Ghinwa: All of my friends who were documenting the name and the events of massacres in Latakia against Alawites are now being threatened to be killed by FSA and Al Nusra terrorists … On TV we are shown something different. It is only a propaganda. They’re trying to say that Alawites are not being killed or displaced. The truth is being hidden by mass media. .. This is sick… My sister now is very ill … I guess a part of her illness is caused by sadness … we are afraid.

Al Nusra promised to kill every Alawite and of settling those who came from Idleb and Aleppo instead of displaced Alawites. I have never been sectarian but what is happening here makes everyone think of sectarianism. I translated a report today from Al Jazeera International channel. They described Alawite vilages as being ‘settlements’ as if this land has never been a land of those Syrian people. I mean Alawites .. and even before Islam. Those who know the history of Syria, they know that Alwaites and Christians are the original people of Syrian and those Muslims came later on.

Dave: Have courage, my friend. All will be well. I am praying for you and for your sister. Please send my love to her. Are you happy for me to share what you are telling me with my online subscribers? I would like to share what you have said in my weekly email to my friends and supporters.

Ghinwa: Of course, Father, you could share all information with your subscribers.

my Syrian friend Ghinwa Maia

Ghinwa in Tartous

Please join me in praying for this courageous girl and for her family. I would also like to give you the opportunity to talk to her about their crisis – perhaps as soon as this weekend.

I have asked Ghinwa whether she would be willing to do a conference-call with members of our Fighting Fathers online community. We haven’t done one of these for a while now but the pattern is:

  1. I give you a phone number in the USA and a time.
  2. You dial that number at that time and enter the access code I give you.
  3. I do a brief interview with Ghinwa and then throw open the lines for discussion.

We’ll try to record the whole conversation for those who can’t participate in the call but, if we can make it work, it would be really great if we could have a good number join us live.

Anyway, nothing is confirmed at this stage. Getting a conference call to work from Damascus may prove no easy feat. Even so, if we can make it happen I’ll be emailing all subscribers before the end of the week with details.

Please note that it will be a Fighting Fathers members-only call. That should screen out any trouble-makers. If you’re not a financial member of fighting-fathers.com you’ll be able to listen to the recording afterwards but you won’t be able to participate live.

Stay tuned and keep praying!

The Rich Idiot

The struggles of Ghinwa and the people of Syria do help us put our own struggles in proper perspective, I think. If the worst problem we have is our mortgage, we’re doing pretty well really.

This was certainly Jesus’ perspective – “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Luke 12:15). Jesus’ words to His followers about money-matters are as clear as they are unpopular.

This sermon on ‘The Rich Idiot’ of Luke 12 isn’t the most brilliant or insightful I’ve ever given and yet I was surprised at how many people were apparently challenged and helped by it. Let me know how it affects you.

[imaioVideo v=1]

If you can’t view the above video, click here.

And before I let you go today, I want to take a moment to welcome back to Oz one of our long-time members, Fighting Father Mike, who has spent most of the year in Gaza.

Mike has been working on Gaza’s Ark, and if you want to know all about that work you’ll find the Ark’s website here.

Michael in Gaza, promoting the Ark

Michael in Gaza, promoting the Ark

In short, Gaza’s Ark is sort of like the flip-side of the Freedom Flotillas, where the idea was to sail boats into Gaza from ports around the world in order to break the Israeli siege. In this case the idea is to sail a boat out of Gaza, filled with Gaza-made goods that can be traded in ports around the world to help support the struggling people of Gaza.

It’s a brilliant concept and I’d encourage you to make a financial contribution via their site. If you can’t do that, at least consider ‘liking‘ their Facebook page.

OK …

That’s more than enough from me for this week, but if you’re free this Sunday afternoon and in the area do consider joining us at the Croatian Club where a couple of our boys will be fighting, including the ever-popular Fighting Father Mungo!

In a bizarre twist, Mungo will be fighting the man I made I professional boxing debut against  back in 1996, then known as ‘Jimmy Pat‘! It’s a long story, but if you want to see the latest chapter unfold you’ll need to be there on Sunday!

Fighting Fathers members can send words of encouragement to Mungo through the member site. If you’d like to see ‘Jimmy Pat‘ in action, the archive of the last round of our 1996 fight is here.

I’ll hope to see you ringside on Sunday!

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

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!

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Weekly Missive – August 1st, 2013

G’day Fighter,

Let me begin today with a big thank you to everyone who responded to my job offer last week. Thank you for the emails. Thank you for the phone calls. Thank you for the prayers.

It was wonderful to have people making contact from around the globe, ready to make the big trip down-under. Serendipitously, I think we may have found the persons we are looking for much closer to home.

Having said that, this is an ongoing and expanding work and we are always going to be looking for new players on this team. If you’re interested in the work we do with young people and/or our activities in the bush, come and spend some time with us here.

Spend your next holiday break doing a Fighting Fathers apprenticeship! :-)

Thank you Bourke Street Bakery

Bourke Street Bakery, Kings Cross

Bourke Street Bakery, Kings Cross

A big thank you to Dave and all the team at Bourke Street Bakery for the fundraiser last Saturday night. These people donated their time, their restaurant and all the food to raise $3,650 towards our Youth Centre rebuild.

As I said on the night, with most of the businesses who support us there is some degree of reciprocity in the relationship. They support us financially and support their club or business by promoting their work or attending their events. In the case of Bourke Street Bakery, we give these people absolutely nothing, and yet they continue to support us!

with Will of the Bourke Street Bakery team

with Will of the Bourke Street Bakery team

They have been providing our Youth Centre kids with their left-over gourmet breads and pastries on a daily basis now for some years, and when our doors closed (or, rather, were burnt down) they found another way to support us! So … if you’re in Sydney, here is their website with the location of all their branches. Go and buy a loaf of bread from them and say ‘thank you’ from Father Dave’.

The Grand Reopening of the Youth Centre!

And speaking of the Youth Centre, this Sunday is the date of our grand re-opening! :-)

No, we haven’t built a new youth and community centre yet but what we have done is team up with the Salvo’s to launch an exciting new joint venture!

Captain Tara has named the venture “Alive and Free” and that captures something of the vision and energy that she and her husband, Captain Peter, are putting into the project. She’s also put together a poster that you can access here.

In terms of content, we will basically be returning to our familiar routine:

  • ·Youth drop-in Monday to Friday, 3pm to 6pm
  • ·Boxing training, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm and Sundays from 4pm
  • ·Sunday night prayer and worship to follow the boxing on Sundays

Actually, the Sunday night worship is something that we haven’t been doing in recent times, and the energy for this is again coming from our Salvo friends. Personally, I have always found prayer and pugilism to be a perfect partnership!

Anyway, it all starts this Sunday with doors opening at midday. There will be music and a BBQ and 2nd-hand clothing stalls and all sorts of good fun! The address is 46 Dulwich Street, Dulwich Hill (right on the corner of Marrickville Road and New Canterbury Roads).

I’ll be taking my gloves and am happy to do a couple of rounds with anyone who is willing to make a donation to the cause! I’ve already had a few challenges and, while I’m not in tip-top condition at the moment, I’m trusting that the occasion will nonetheless prove to be a fitting baptism for the new boxing ring!

putting together the new ring

Thanks to Matt and Suhail for all the help in putting this together!

Captains Peter and Tara and I celebrate the new ring!

Captains Peter and Tara and I celebrate the new ring!

Is God Incomprehensible and Irrelevant?

I want to share my Trinity Sunday address with you today – my sermon on the doctrine of the Trinity.

I appreciate that Trinity Sunday was some time ago, and I appreciate, moreover, that a sermon on the doctrine of the Trinity was probably not something you were looking for. After all, whether you are an orthodox Christian believer or not, what has the doctrine of the Trinity got to do with anything?

Big things are happening in our world at the moment:

  • Bradley Manning is being crucified for exposing US crimes
  • Israelis and Palestinians seem to be about to begin real negotiations.
  • The death toll in Syria has topped 100,000

What has the doctrine of the Trinity got to do with any of this?

Well … in my view the connections might be far more tangible than we might have thought.   Click below and get my take on the subject, if you dare!

[imaioVideo v=1]

And if you can’t view this video click here.

That’s enough from me for this week, fighter, though I’m sure you won’t mind if I share another family pic with you before I let you go. 

In the last few missives I’ve included pics of my son, Soren Lee, and my 15-year-old daughter, Imogen. It’s about time I added one of ‘the baby’ – Francesca – now 4 years old!

Baby and me

I’ll hope to see you at the re-opening of the Youth Centre on Sunday.

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.prayersforsyria.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

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!

Please follow and like us:

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – April 29th, 2013

Hi Fighter,

I’m going to try to be brief, as I leave for Syria today. :-)

This last week has been one of constant activity and high emotion for me – most of which, of course, has revolved around the burning of our Youth Centre.

The community support has been overwhelming. I have received literally hundreds and hundreds of emails, text messages, phone calls, snail mails and visits from friends and supporters around the community and across the globe.

This has been both wonderful and exhausting, as I have tried to respond to everyone as best I could. At one stage I felt like I was holding back the tide, as every time I’d answer a text message two more would come in while I was still typing!

My apologies to anybody who didn’t receive a response from me. I fear that some messages have fallen through the cracks. Know that I am thankful to everyone for their prayers and support.

I won’t continue on about this much further, but I do want to single out a few expressions of support that I found particularly touching:

  • Phone calls and a letter of support from our local Jewish community.
  • The offer from our Islamic community to relocate our gym to their centre
  • The young girl who lives in the flats alongside the Youth Centre who baked me a batch of cookies.
  • The handful of letters from elderly people whose connection to our church goes back 50 years and more, some of which included cheques for amounts that are small in terms of our costs but large for those on pensions!

Again, thank you to everyone who has offered their support, whether it be in terms of money or expertise or lending us their truck. It is all appreciated. If we don’t need your help now we might well need it in the future.

For the moment our priorities here are helping the police in their investigations, finding ways to keep our work going, and determining exactly where we stand with the insurers.

As far as the police go, I am expecting some arrests to take place very soon – hopefully while I am away. We all know who the three boys were who did it. Now it’s just a question of tracking them down and charging them.

To be completely honest, I am hoping that the police find the culprits soon as I am starting to fear for their safety if they are not taken into custody. There are still some serious criminal elements operating in our area and I’m told that the leaders of these groups are not happy with what the boys have done. Quite frankly, I hope the police get hold of the lads before some of these other characters do!

Enough said.

Soren and I sit on the steps of our old boxing ring

Soren and I sit on the steps of our old boxing ring

Heading to Syria

Denning and I head off to Syria in only a few hours.

I don’t know if you’ve been keeping up with the news from Syria but it is not good. A few days ago the White House issued a statement about Bashar Al-Assad having weapons of mass destruction. This is not good news.

The exact wording of the White House communique is as follows: “our intelligence community does assess with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria” (read the full statement here).

For those not educated in political speak, a rough translation of this is “we are planning to kill more Syrians”.

I’ve just finished reading a wonderful book by Brian McLaren where he suggests that Christian propaganda all began with the Roman Emperor Constantine. It was Constantine who saw a vision of the cross in the sky and heard the words “with this conquer”.

A proper translation of Constantine’s words, McLaren points out, would be “with this murder”, for this is exactly what Constantine went on to do. He raped, murdered and pillaged his way across the known world – all in the name of the crucified Christ!

I think the statements of our modern Christian Emperors need to be translated in similar ways. When the US President speaks of Bashar Al-Assad’s chemical weapons and the need to save the suffering Syrian people from Assad’s tyrannical rule, this translates as “we are making plans to kill more Syrians”, and this is all that it means.

If you want to read more on what’s really happening in Syria, let me refer you to this excellent article by Sharmine Narwani, entitled Chemical Weapons Charade in Syria. Beyond that, keep an eye out for the stuff that Denning and I will be publishing over the next two weeks. We’ll be giving you a front-line report from Damascus very soon.

Time to go!

I haven’t packed my bags yet so I must be brief. Let me give you the other urgent matters in point form:

  • Holy Trinity is having a fair/jumble sale/fundraiser this Saturday (May 4th). If you’re in the area, do join in. Of course we can’t hold this in the church hall now so we’re doing it on our front lawn (11 Herbert Street, Dulwich Hill) from 10am to 2pm.
  • Binacrombi Boot Camp II takes place on the following weekend (May 10th to 12th).  I’m not going to be there for this one but I’m confident that the team – headed up by Fighting Fathers Mungo and Caine – will do an excellent job. Call 1800 620 706 if you’d like to book a place. If you didn’t see the video of our last camp, click here.
  • zerocostwebsite.net is now fully operational. If you’ve been putting off getting yourself a website, now’s your chance to do it, with zero design costs! :-)

Dreaming and Killing

I was really pleased with what I said in this sermon. Unfortunately the quality of our audio and video seems to deteriorate from week to week! 

So I apologise in advance for the ‘packaging‘ but I do believe that there are some significant issues raised in this week’s sermon, and I’d be grateful for your feedback (via the comments box at the end of this post).

My text is from Acts chapter 11, and focuses on a dream the Apostle Peter had that changed his entire way of thinking with regards to what he should eat and who he should associate with. For Peter, these were not simply health issues or matters of tradition but deeply religious issues, and my interest here is not so much in the conclusions Peter came to but in the process he went through to reach his conclusions.

The basic question is ‘how do we think through issues in a way that has spiritual integrity?’ It may be that Peter models a way forward for us here, or perhaps what he shows us is that there is no simple pattern that everyone can emulate.

[imaioVideo v=1]

  • If you can’t see this video at all, click here.
  • If you get sick of the poor sound or video, the written version is here.

OK! That’s it for today, fighter. I’m actually finishing this missive in an airport lounge in Abu Dhabi. From here it’s only a few hours to Beirut, and from Beirut it’s only a three-hour drive to Damascus (assuming the road is open and uncluttered with war machinery).

I’ll be blogging and tweeting as I go, so expect plenty of updates from me over the coming days, and from Denning too.

In the meantime, if you haven’t joined us at www.fighting-fathers.com yet, please consider taking out a membership and supporting the cause.

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – April 22nd, 2013

Hi Fighter,

I’m afraid this is going to be a single-issue missive. 

I had planned to tell you more about our trip to Syria next week and about plans for the next Boot Camp and a whole variety of other things, but I’m afraid everything was turned upside-down for us on Sunday morning when a fire gutted our gym and youth centre!

I’ll try to be brief in my description but I can tell you that it was quite a drama!

A Cat in the Yard?

I didn’t get to bed till after 3 am on Saturday night/Sunday morning. I’d been attending a  “Hands Off Syria” function that evening and hadn’t returned till near midnight, and then had to work on my sermon for Sunday morning.

I’d been sitting in my study, which looks out across the road at our Youth Centre and gym. I turned off the light a little after 3 am as I was exhausted. On reflection, I wish I’d stayed up just a few minutes more!

It was 3.45 am when the dog started barking uncontrollably. I thought there must be a cat loose in the yard again. Suddenly there was a powerful flash of light across the bedroom! When I looked out my bedroom window, I was struck with an awesome sight!

Trinitys on fire! (click to enlarge)

Trinitys on fire! (click to enlarge)

I ran out on to the balcony and was hit by the wall of heat!

I’ve never been this close to a fire like this before. I always thought that if I saw a house on fire I’d run inside and check if anyone was there. I couldn’t have gone anywhere near that fire even if my children had been in there! The wall of heat was impenetrable, and I was on the other side of the street!

I went to call 000 (our emergency number) and had no sooner dialed than a police car screeched to a halt in front of our house. Evidently someone had already called, and thank God they had! The police were followed by the fire-brigade within about three minutes.

Fire-crews were mobilising within minutes! (click for full-size)

Fire-crews mobilised within minutes! (click for full-size)

The Miracle!

It took the fire-brigade two hours to put the fire out! It was a raging inferno! The miraculous thing – and I’m not using the word ‘miraculous’ metaphorically – is that no one was hurt!

On the right-hand side of our blazing Youth Centre is the house of a Vietnamese family. Six people had been asleep in that house. The heat was so intense that it melted both glass and metal, but not a single hair on any of their heads was burnt!

Look closely at the first picture above. Is that the hand of God I can see, holding back the flames from their house?

I spoke to the father of the family this afternoon. He said that he’d had a phone call from his mother-in-law in Vietnam the night before, telling them that she’d been down at the church praying, as she’d had a premonition that something bad was about to happen to them! Moreover, the father told me that he always sleeps soundly, but that night he was wide awake at 3.30 am and heard some noise coming from the Youth Centre. He got up to check out the noise and saw that some lads had broken in and were starting a fire. He called the police and mobilised his family!

It may be that this good man’s prompt action saved the lives of his family and neighbours! On the other side of the Centre are a series of mechanic’s workshops – each storing large quantities of highly-flammable fuels – while above those workshops numerous elderly people and families live in small flats.  I hate to think what might have happened if those fuel-tanks had caught on fire while all those people slept! Truly, It was a miracle!

Only the shell of the old building remains! (click for full size)

Only the shell of the old building stands (click for full size)

The End of an Era

And so the sober light of dawn revealed that the Youth Centre was completely gutted BUT not a single dwelling on either side, nor at the back, had been affected!

People have been asking me why I am so up-beat about what is obviously a tragedy, and I am concerned about the impact this is going to have on all the young people for whom the Youth Centre is a second home, and for the boxers from Father Dave’s Fight Club, and for the mums and kids in the playgroup, and for everybody else who’s been using the facility BUT, having experienced the intensity of that raging fire at 4 am on that Sunday morning, I just can’t believe that nobody was hurt! To God be the glory! Great things He hath done!

Trinitys church, hall and Youth Centre - 1886 to 2013 (click for full size)

Trinity’s Church hall, Gym and Youth Centre – 1886 to 2013 (click for full size)

Community Support

The other thing that has been extremely gratifying is the outpouring of warmth we have received from the community. It has been absolutely overwhelming!

I’m afraid I have not been able to keep up with the phone calls, emails, text messages, Skype calls, people coming to the door, etc. And it hasn’t just been warm words either, but casseroles and home-made biscuits and even a bottle of red! :-)

I think that some people have been a little confused, as they’ve been expecting to find me tearful, sitting on the ash-heap, scratching myself, but I know that we can rebuild, and that this time we’ll be able to involve the whole community in consulting with us on a facility that will be tailor-made to respond to needs across our area!

And of course we are not going to abandon our young people nor our fighters while we wait for the building to restart. We will find ways to keep the work going. Indeed, offers have already started to pour in from people who want to offer us support and space.

To be frank, the most exciting proposal I’ve had thus far has been from the Imam Husain Islamic Centre, who are looking to see whether we might be able to use a part of their property for our gym! It might not be possible, but if it doesn’t work it won’t be for the lack of goodwill from these wonderful people! :-)

We’ve also had other offers from other churches and community groups, and it won’t be easy to keep both our Youth Drop-In program and our Fight Club going. Even so, the opportunities for working alongside other people of goodwill in our community are mind-blowing, and I’m excited by the possibilities! :-)

Media Coverage

I’m going to leave off here with a TV News report. We’ve had extraordinary media coverage thus far and, to tell you the truth, I haven’t even looked through it all yet. Even so, Denning tells me that the Channel Seven coverage was the best so I’m featuring that one.


[imaioVideo v=1]

Lend a hand!

I should say something in closing for those who wish to get involved in helping us get back on our feet and keep going.

As I say, we are entirely committed to continuing to do what we do best. We will eventually rebuild and there may be numerous fundraisers to come, and we will no doubt be looking for trades-people who can contribute their skills to that process. Even so, in the meantime you can help in one of three ways:

  1. If you are a local and you have space and you’d like to see that space used for a gym or youth drop-in centre, come and see me or Pastor Caine!
  2. If you’d like to make a one off financial contribution to keep the youth drop-in going, there’s a donate button on the church website (follow the ‘News’ link).
  3. If you’d like to support the work of Fighting Fathers (who run the gym side of the work, the boot camps, and all the online stuff) please join our member site.
    It only costs $10 per month but it’s what keeps us going (click here).

I’ll try to touch base with you again next Monday before we head off to Syria.

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.zerocostwebsite.net
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

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About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

Monday Missive – February 25th, 2013

G’day Fighter.

It’s Father Dave back with you again, and I’m feeling a bit sick and a bit annoyed this week.

The fact that I’m a bit sick is a good sign actually because I’ve been a LOT sick over the last day or two, and have spent most of that time in bed!

I thought it was food poisoning initially, but it seems to have been more persistent. Anyway, you truly don’t want to or need to know the details, beyond that I am getting better and stronger by the hour and hope to be fighting fit again by tomorrow. :-)

The reason I’m feeling annoyed is entirely unrelated to the illness. It’s more to do with a certain local character who continues to plague our Youth Centre.

I mentioned him last year (though I’ve refrained from using his name). Mr X is only 17, so is still technically a youth (though he is larger than most men). He has been involved in numerous assaults of persons smaller than himself, and I have it on good authority that he is also involved in the local drug trade. He has been banned from our Youth Centre.

He has reappeared at our Youth Centre this year and has refused to leave when asked. Each time he does this I call the police. Each time I call the police he leaves and is gone by the time the police get here. On the last few occasions he has done malicious damage to our property on his way out.

Below is a picture of the new sign we’ve just had completed for the front of our Youth Centre. Above it (and out of picture) is an arched window where the glass has been broken.

Holy Trinity Youth Fitness Centre

Now … in a sane society what would happen in such a situation is that the police would arrive, find that the culprit has gone, and follow him to his known place of abode. They would then charge him with malicious damage and with trespassing (and hopefully with a few outstanding assaults) and our Youth Centre would be safe from him. But that’s not how it works in our system!

No! The police ask me whether I can prove that he knows that he is not allowed on the premises. I tell them that of course he knows this because he has disputed with me over it at the top of his voice in the presence of all our other clients! They then ask me whether I could get him to sign something wherein he acknowledges that he knows that he is not allowed on the premises! 

The police ask me whether I have evidence that he committed the malicious damage. I tell them that not only do we have eye-witnesses but that one of our team actually videoed him doing the damage on their phone-camera! The police watch the video and agree that it is clear, but tell me that the video would not be admissible evidence in court because we didn’t get his permission to film him before capturing the video!

I wonder how many people ask “do you mind if I film you while you commit this crime?” and receive the answer, “sure! No problem!”

So I’m feeling annoyed – not so much with the young trouble-maker, and not so much because of the cost and effort that will be required to repair the damage, but because of the inane system we have that allows young people between the ages of 16 ad 18 to get away with this sort of crap with apparent immunity!

It all changes when they turn 18 of course. Then they suddenly have to face big-boys’ court and the prospect of big-boys’ prison, for which they are totally unprepared. And while I don’t like this lad much, I genuinely fear for him once he reaches legal adulthood. With his brash and arrogant attitude, he won’t last long in a real prison!

Time to go Bush!

On to more pleasant topics, this is the year I hope to take a lot of our people out into the bush – young and old alike!

My vision for Binacrombi was that it would one day become Australia’s premier adventure camp for young people,and a place where confused and disorientated youth could make a fresh start. 2013 is the year I really hope to see that vision come to fruition!

  • This weekend (March 1 to 3) our church is having a weekend away at Binacrombi. We’ll be spending some time swimming, go-karting and caving, as well as singing, praying and discussing how to build ‘Christian Community’, and if you’re free this weekend there are still plenty more beds and cabins available! :-)
    a
  • March 22 to 24 will be the first of our Boot Camps for 2013. We will be targeting young people primarily, but everyone is invited! We are flying in world-renowned Boot Camp expert, Mick Richards, to run the camp. He’s coming to us all the way from the Netherlands for the event. The weekend will be focused on fitness with an emphasis on boxing.
    a
  • May 10 to 12 will be the second Boot Camp. Again Mick Richards will be flying in from the Netherlands to run the camp. Again it will be a fitness camp with a boxing emphasis.

I am hoping that a goodly number of members of our online community will be able to join us on at least one of these weekends in the bush. Having a virtual relationship is great, but it helps if we can balance it every now and then with something blatantly physical!

I’m giving you plenty of notice! If you can’t make it to the church weekend, put one of the Boot Camps in your diary now!

  • If you’d like our latest general information pamphlet about Binacrombi, click here.
  • If you’d like to download a promotional poster for the Boot Camps, click here.

 A Blessing from the Bishop!

My lament last week was that I couldn’t bring you the sermon from Bishop Rob, given at our Confirmation service. I lament no more! Here it is!

[imaioVideo v=1]

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

It was pointed out to me many years ago that, as a Parish Priest, you can’t lose when you invite a visitor to give the Sunday sermon. If the congregation like him or her, they thank you. If they don’t enjoy the new preacher they look forward to having you back!

Either way, I’ll look forward to being back with you next Monday, though I’ll hope to see some of you in the bush with us this weekend!

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,

Dave
www.fatherdave.org
www.fighting-fathers.com
www.israelandpalestine.org
www.how2changetheworld.com

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!

Please follow and like us:

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,

Dave
dave@fatherdave.org

www.fatherdave.org

www.fighting-fathers.com

www.how2changetheworld.com

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,

Dave
dave@fatherdave.org

www.fatherdave.org

www.fighting-fathers.com

www.how2changetheworld.com

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