Father Dave’s Missive – December 12, 2013

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Hi Fighter,

Father Dave here reporting to you from the air – en route to Bali!

No, I haven’t pocketed the offertory and fled the country. I’m actually heading to Bali to preside at the wedding of two much-love parishioners – Michael and Felicia. The couple were generous enough to pay for tickets for the whole family to attend the wedding and it seemed like a great idea at the time.

Mind you, I hadn’t really thought about how busy things were going to be this time of year, and perhaps if I’d been less flustered I would not have left it to last night to double-check that everybody’s passport was where it was supposed to be.

It’s a painful thing to be within half an hour of having to leave for the airport and to still to be totally unsure as to how many of you are going.  Apparently dear Imogen’s passport had been taken to school in the last week as proof of ID for some work-experience project. We wanted to wait till the school opened and the office staff had looked for it before giving up.

Fran, ready for an adventure
at least one of us was ready to go

Imogen graciously insisted on staying at the home of her elder sister, rather than spoil the holiday for her siblings. Her brother insisted on staying with her which made it slightly more complicated. Our little one, Francesca, still had her heart set on the great airplane adventure. In the end, with only minutes to go before we needed to leave for the airport, we decided yield to the respective wishes of both the older kids and their younger sister. At time of writing, three of us are in the air and three still on the ground.

I’m sure there’s a good sermon illustration in all this somewhere. I think it will be a while though before I’m ready to bring it out.

Fran in Bali
We made it – Fran in Ubud (Bali)

Youth Camp

Speaking of feeling flustered, last weekend was our big Youth Bush Camp.

You will remember me promoting this over the last few missives as an intense ‘Warrior Weekend’ boxing boot-camp. As it turned out, very few hardened athletes were able to make it to this one. The vast majority were our local youth centre kids, many of whom smoked and almost none of whom had any great desire to get fit. The weekend was going to be a challenge. Having said that, we didn’t anticipate the challenge we started with!

I thought we had the transport really well organised. We transported most of the kids down to Goulburn station by train (a three hour trip) from where two of us were to pick them up and ferry them across to camp Binacrombi. I was driving a troop-carrier that carried 12. My teammate’s car carried 7. We had 16 kids to pick up. What could go wrong?

The problem was that the two vehicles were travelling from Sydney separately. I was heading off early, taking supplies and luggage out to the campsite and then returning to Goulburn station. My buddy was leaving a little later and going straight to the station. I knew my mate didn’t know the route to Goulburn but the car has an efficient GPS so I didn’t think it would be a problem – not until I arrived in Goulburn to find that he was not at the station but had somehow taken a wrong turn and ended up in Katoomba!

For those who don’t know Sydney, Katoomba is about 3 hours west of Sydney. Goulburn is two hours south. How could anybody make such a mistake? Well … it’s not that I want to absolve myself of responsibility but to a large extent the culprit was Google!

Try it yourself. If you type in ‘Goulburn, New South Wales’ into Google Maps you get “Goulburn Valley Steelworks, Katoomba”. I’m guessing that they are paying Google for a listing whereas Goulburn railway station are not.

Suffice it to say that I managed to ferry all the kids to a local service station and they were fed and relaxed by the time our Katoomba tourist finally made it, exhausted from six hours of driving!

There’s another sermon illustration here, isn’t there?

Let me zip to the end of the camp and say that despite my foreboding and despite the disastrous start it turned out to be a magnificent weekend! The weather was lovely, the food was great and the kids were a delight! And they really took to the boxing too! Indeed, I think that we might have discovered some real talent!

In short, God is gracious. Everybody had a great time and we learned a few good lessons in the process.

Here are some pics of the weekend’s highlights. See a more complete slideshow here.

Welcome to Binacrombi
Discovering Binacrombi
The boys discover a football!
Everybody joins in the boxing training
Tony O'Loughlin shares his boxing wisdom
Chloe takes the fight up to Sol Egberime!
The kids cool off in the Binacrombi billabong
Some have evidently worked too hard!
Debriefing after a long day!

Sermon Time

I know we’re almost at Christmas but I’m going to take you back to the last Sunday in November, which was the last Sunday of the church year.

The Gospel reading for the day deals with the crucifixion of Jesus – hardly a fitting theme for the Silly Season but a sobering reminder, I think, that Christmas can be a time of great struggle for a great many of us.

Let me know what you think. Leave your comments below.

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if you can’t view this sermon, click here.

A few more things before I let you go today, fighter.

Firstly, if you’re going to be in our part of the world over Christmas, we’d love to have you come and celebrate with us.

  • 7pm, Sunday December 22nd
    our Christmas Concert with the Jubilate Singers
  • 7pm, Tuesday December 24th
    Carol Singing on the rectory front lawn
  • 9.15am, Wednesday December 25th
    our Christmas Day Eucharist

If you don’t know how to find us, maps and directions can be found on www.fatherdave.org and on the church website.

Christmas Angels
Christmas Angels coming!

Secondly, if you’re still searching for an appropriate Christmas present for someone who is spiritually earnest but has become cynical about organised religion, might I suggest my friend Keith Mascord’s book, “A Restless Faith“. You can find out more about the book and order a copy from the Restless Faith website.

Finally, will you say a special prayer for my dear eldest daughter, Veronica. Today is her 24th birthday.

She was the first true love of my life, and there is still no one and nothing in this world that I love more than her. The pic below is not a recent one but it is still one of my favourites.

1991 - Veronica and me
Veronica and dad 1991

That’s enough from me today, fighter. I’ll try to touch base with you again before Christmas.

Your brother in the Good Fight,


P.S. And as I’m apt to remind you, if you’d like to support our work, the best way is to become a financial member at fighting-fathers.com. It only costs you $10/month but it makes all the difference at this end!

About Father Dave Smith

Preacher, Pugilist, Activist, Father of four

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1 thought on “Father Dave’s Missive – December 12, 2013”

  1. Father Dave,

    Lovely sermon and blog. I would love to get lost in Katoomba just for the name of it lol. However I have sensitivy what a true pain that must have been. I admire how you quote people who you may not agree with. This shows wisdom, assertiviness in truth and not afraid of other peoples learned facts and displays. Also Christians do have an obsession to Christs death. Catholics wear him on the cross and this may be offensive to many others. I liked when you quoted or said “Pitty makes suffering contagious” interesting angle it made me think.

    I LOVE when you talked about in the sermon that INDEED it is not in “making it” in life do we find God. Trust me as you can relate my 2013 brokeness has ripped me of humility, sanity and left me face down arms spread up giving up and giving to the almighty. Which is EXACTLY where he can use us best. David, Paul/Saul,, Job, etc. etc. Thank you for fighting the good fight and keep preaching your online community needs it. I need it. Blessings and love brother.

    -Sister Adriana Johnson AKA Buzzy

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