What an extraordinary month we've had since last we spoke! Let me fill you in on a few of the highlights.
We've had a change of government here in Oz, which we're hoping will lead to some long-awaited social justice reforms and a better deal for the marginalised in this part of the world.
Ironically though my friend the Sheikh Mansour has simultaneously found himself about to be deported from the country for reasons that are a complete mystery! In response I formed the 'Christian Save the Sheikh Coalition', which now has its own website: www.savethesheikh.com.
You'll see some of the pics from last Sunday's 'Save the Sheikh' BBQ on the right. It was a great event. You'll find a write-up on the BBQ (and the complete story on the Sheikh) on www.savetheshiekh.com.
The next piece of excitement for me came last Monday night when Father Elias (alternatively known on the forum as 'Father Elijah') arrived in Sydney, with a view to working with us here for the next year!
I picked up Elias at 9pm. By 9.30pm we were sitting in our seats at the Sydney Entertainment Centre to watch Anthony Mundine defend his world title and (more importantly for us) to watch our brother-in-ministry, Solomon Haumono, have his 13th professional fight.
I was privileged to be part of Sol's entourage, walking out with him to the ring. We'd had many prayers inside the change room, and emerged to a guard of honour, made up of our Youth Centre boys, doing a traditional Tongan war dance with spears and drums. It was fantastic!
Solomon dispatched his opponent in the second round with a straight right to the jaw and gave thanks to God in his victory speech, which might be typical in other parts of the world but is not so common here. Anthony Mundine also enjoyed a magnificent win, and it was a great way to welcome Father Elias to the land Down Under!
To cap off the week my beautiful little girl, Veronica, became an adult yesterday - turning 18! We enjoyed a lovely dinner with the family. Veronica's boyfriend joined us. Ange gave a great speech. It was a great night.
And now Christmas is almost upon us - that time of great celebration and mayhem, and yet also of great loneliness for so many in our community. The battle continues, and yet there are so many reasons for celebrating.
Thank you for being part of our lives this year. Let's continue to Fight the Good Fight together in the year ahead.
Your brother in the Good Fight,
P.S.Spare a thought for our dear brother Morde Vanunu this Christmas, who is appealing six more months in prison for the crime of talking to the media!
You can also send him a Christmas card: c/ Salah Adin Street Post Office, PO Box 2012, East Jerusalem 91384, Israel
"You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance." (Matthew 3:7-8)
These are hardly greetings of yuletide cheer, yet this is the greeting that we receive from John the Baptist each year as we kick off the Christmas season.
Tis the season to be jolly? Well ... I think John would say that all jovial expressions of goodwill need to be backed up with solid acts of faith if they are not to be meaningless. Perhaps that's not what we want to hear at Christmas time, but perhaps it is what we need to hear.
For a copy of my 'John the Baptist Christmas Greeting Card', right-click here and choose 'save target as'. Use the buttons below to listen to the sermon.
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Here's where you'll get all the info on the 'Save the Sheikh' campaign.'
copies of the latest press releases
guidelines on how and where to write letters of support
updates on our progress
While you're there, be sure to look at some of the comments that have been made on the posts. Almost all are from members of the Islamic community, expressing their thanks and fraternal love for their fellow Christian supporters.
Crossing the Line is one of the greatest resources available for those who really want to know what's going on in occupied Palestine. It is a weekly podcast, interviewing academics and journalists and also people on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank, attempting to give 'a voice to the voiceless'.
People often ask me how I know so much about what's going on in Gaza. Here's my secret. I listen to material like this. You can too. Click here.
Here's an amazing photographic exhibition put together by Anne Paq, Keren Manor, Nir Landau, Oren Ziv, Tess Scheflan, and Yotam Ronen - some people who believe in photography’s power to create change through awareness.
The photos are not sensationalised images of mangled bodies or anything of the sort, but rather images of the daily life of people living under occupation. These pics truly do say thousands of words. Click here.
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