What an incredible time we've had since last month's ezine:
We enjoyed a movie night at the Islamic community
We held the inaugural 'Jets at Prayer' worship service for our community football team.
We hosted a dinner for the Mayor of Bethlehem
We had Father Amjad, of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem come and preach for us.
We crowned 13 years of fight-night spectaculars with Christians v Lions XXII.
On top of that, my lovely daughter Imogen turned 10!
Moreover, there has been a tremendous feeling in this place over the last month that, after so many years of hard work in this community, we are starting to see significant results.
I am seeing a wonderful harmony developing in our Youth Centre in particular, between teenagers of different ethnic backgrounds - Asian, European, Pacific Islanders, and indigenous Australians.
To a great extent this is also mirrored by the unified diversity we see in the congregation, where we seem to have so many people of different ages, ethnic backgrounds and educational levels coming together to form a unified community.
Humanly speaking, we owe this wonderful renewed experience of community to our tireless team of lay leaders and volunteers - too many to mention individually by name - though you'll see some of them in the pics to the right (click to see full size).
We are also seeing wonderful developments at Binacrombi bush camp and an increasing integration of this work with our inner-city ministry. Peter and Pauline (our onsite managers) have been doing an amazing job, and this despite the fact that, after finally saving up for a bike for their youngest son, it was stolen from their trailer before they even made it home!
The war isn't over yet, and at a global level I admit that things have never looked worse, but the light continues to shine in the darkness, and the darkness is never going to quench that fire!
May the Lord continue to bless and strengthen you, for the work to which you have been called.
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S.Click on each of the thumbnails for some favourite pics from the last month.
Christians v Lions XXII Relive the battle, blow by blow!
They trained hard, put their bodies on the line, fought valiantly, and gained glory!
Not everyone won their bouts that night, but all who participated went home with a sense of having been a part of something bigger than themselves - something worthwhile, something that will last!
It was the last Christians v Lions Fight Night extravaganza. If you missed the show, there ain't gonna be another, but you can relive the entire experience on DVD by grabbing a copy now.
It's a 2-disk DVD set. Disk one covers the entire show, and includes six boxing matches, a kickboxing and a Pankration bout, and a terrific martial arts display from the local kids. Disk two is a set of hi-res still photos from the night.
You'll see some well-known faces (including Father Dave and heavyweight champ, Solomon Haumono) and some faces you never expected to see in a boxing ring!
I've reduced the price of this DVD set to cost, to allow all our supporters everywhere to share in our final pugilistic fundraising spectacular.
Ecclesiastical Electioneering comes to Dulwich Hill
In case you haven't heard, the Australian Federal election is just around the corner, and in an attempt to better educate our community here in Dulwich Hill, I've invited some of the characters who will be contesting the election to appear in church to put their case to the people. If you're a local, please put these dates in your diary.
October 28th: Anthony Albanese (ALP)
Anthony is an old mate of mine, and I can't pretend to be unbiased in this contest. At any rate, Ant is the currently elected member, has been since 1996, and his chance of losing his seat in this election is ... well, he's probably got the safest Labor seat in the country.
Anthony's potentially significant role in the new government makes our time with him all the more important, as we'll be getting an up-close-and-personal opportunity to quiz him about things we want to see happen once the current political regime has been properly hosed out of office.
Anthony is currently Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Water, and is married to the equally-well-known Carmel Tebbutt, with whom he has a young son, Nathan.
November 4th Andrew Markwell (Family First Party)
Relatively new to Aussie politics, Family First claims to represent "commonsense, mainstream values and everyday Australian families and small businesses - two groups which do not have a strong voice."
'Family First' will hope to pick up a good percentage of the Christian vote, which is generally associated with 'family values', despite the often ambiguous attitude towards the human family taken by Jesus Himself (as seen in our 'Sermon of the Month').
Andrew Markwell, who'll be with us, is the party's 'lead candidate' for this state, and is a man with a long history of service in the not-for-profit sector.
November 11th: Saeed Khan (Greens)
Saeed is a man who has lived in this area almost as long as I have - a good 18 years. Moreover, he's a man who has shown a consistent commitment to this community over that time, and to its ever-changing demographic.
Saeed has held a position on Marrickville Council since 2004, where he has been a strong advocate of cultural diversity, and a great campaigner for refugee rights. He's also a passionate poet!
With his Greens party focusing on issues of climate change and indigenous rights, and with Senator Bob Brown very confident of re-election, I' think we'll all be keen to hear something of Saeed's vision for his community and country.
That's the lineup as things stand. I haven't covered all the competing parties, but at time of writing, the Socialist Alliance candidate hadn't returned my call.
The plan is to have each of the candidates spend five to ten minutes sharing with us during the announcement spot in our Sunday worship. After the service, if they haven't skedaddled, you can confront them with your questions over morning tea.
You've got the dates. The time and place are the same for each of the weeks:
9am Sunday worship at Holy Trinity Corner of Herbert & Seaview Streets, Dulwich Hill (for a map of how to get here, click here).
This month's sermon deals with everybody's least favourite Gospel passage - the one where Jesus tells us that we've got to hate our mothers, and fathers and even our partners and children, if we truly want to be His disciple!
They must be the most unsavoury words ever recorded from the lips of Jesus, and I want to resist the temptation to try to dilute their obvious offensiveness. But what do we do with these exhortations? Surely the Lord doesn't really want us to hate anyone, does he? And yet, if that's the case, why did he say this?
You'll have to be the judge, but you can read my thoughts here or use the buttons below to listen now.
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I've got six more fantastic sites this month (including one of mine). I don't know whether the Internet is getting better and better, or whether I just keep coming across the gems in the mire, but, either way ... enjoy!
I'm really impressed by these guys. This is the first online attempt I've seen at helping men deal with Internet pornography and sex-related addictions in a confidential and professional manner, and it's really well done!
Yes, it's a Christian site, but don't expect the boys at pureonline to be holier-than-thou judgemental wowsers. When they approached me, asking for my support, I was dubious at first, but having checked out their programs I can say with authority that you'll find professionalism and understanding at pureonline.
Internet porn is a $10 billion industry, and this is the first group I've seen trying to fight back with integrity and passion. Click here and show your support.
Here's the latest site that Ange and I have put together (though most of the credit goes to Ange this time).
This site grew out of the article I wrote, entitled, "Kids, Court and Custody Battles", where I spoke about the need for separated parents to stay out of court when making child custody arrangements.
It seems like a lot of people read that article and found it helpful, so we've pulled together a few other relevant articles and created a resource site that I hope you will never have to use. Click here in the case of an emergency.
It's time I came clean and confessed that I'm actually not able to manage over 200 websites on my own, while running a church, a campsite, a fight club, and continuing to work at being a decent father and husband. My secret is outsourcing.
I'm guessing that a lot more of you guys would outsource if you knew how affordable and worthwhile it could be, but I appreciate that it's hard to know who you can trust in this game.
Let me solve that problem for you. His name is Raam Anand, and I've been handing over most of my online hack work to him for all of this year. Raam is a consumate online professional himself, and he employs a team of assistants who he assigns individually to his clients. And I can tell you, that if the skills of my assistant (Ranjitha) are indicative of the general skill-level of the team, Ramm must have the most enviable online team on the planet!
Now let's be honest. If you're the sort of person who thinks that you should be able to make a big impact online all by yourself, and that it shouldn't cost you a cent, then Raam and his team are not for you. But if you've reached the stage of realising that online success requires hard work and all the good help you can get, Raam is your No.1 guy! Click here and tell Raam Father Dave sent you.
Here's another creative new twist on the Social Networking phenomenon!
Social Networking sites (like MySpace and Facebook) continue to grow in popularity, and last month I featured Yuwie.com, which came up with the novel idea of sharing their advertising revenue with their members!
Now Friendswin.com have gone one step further and have integrated a multi-level marketing system into their social networking system. Click here to find out more.
Rob Baxter is an old mate of mine from University days, and he'll be known to some in the Fighting Fathers community already through his contributions to the Forum.
Rob's greater contribution to the cause of humanity though comes through his extra-ordinary photographic art and his engaging reflections.
Here's a quote from Rob that will inspire you to peruse his work: "I like maximising the things I enjoy and minimising the things I don't. I like cats most of all, then reading and writing. I dislike injustice and gossip."
Another great subscriber site, and this time from a man who I'm proud to say also happens to be my cousin - the ineffable Chris Bendal!
Chris is a man of vision and insight, and theatre is the avenue through which he directs his passion on to the world.
Visit the site by clicking here and, when you're next in Melbourne, take a risk and visit one of his shows!
OK, that's six of the best that I've seen this month. Keep forwarding me details on your own sites and recommending other URL's of interest. And if you have comments on the sites mentioned today, please have your say on the forum.
We were privileged indeed last month to be joined at Holy Trinity by Dr Victor Batterseh and his friends from Bethlehem.
Father Amjad was a part of the delegation, taking a break from his pastoral work as parish priest of the Church of the Nativity. Amjad and I hit if off immediately as friends.
Amjad's parish is well known to all Christian people, as, according to tradition, his church building is constructed directly over the cave in which Jesus was born!
The Church of the Nativity became infamous though in recent times, as the scene of a terrible siege. When Israeli forces entered Bethlehem in force in April 2002, 256 Palestinians fled to the church for refuge. The siege lasted for 39 days and cost the lives of eight people.
If you read the Wikipedia entry on the siege, you'll see that it mentions 'a Fransican Priest' who chose to stay with the persons trapped in the building for the duration of the siege. Father Amjad was that man.