Monday Missive – February 11th, 2013

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Hi Fighter,

Yes, it’s Father Dave, and I’m still here!

I’m still here in Sydney that is!

I was supposed to be in Damascus today and I had anticipated filling today’s missive with pics of Damascus and Beirut. It was not to be!

In case you missed my announcement on Friday, our Peace Mission to Syria was suddenly postponed that morning. We were due to fly out on Saturday!

Our Mission to Syria Postponed

This was an enormous disappointment for me and the other 15 delegates from around the world. Even so, I appreciate very much that the organisers were giving priority to our safety. Apparently you can’t even reach Damascus from Beirut at the moment. The fighting is just too intense!

Dear Mother Agnes wrote to us: “You cannot imagine how difficult it was to make that decision!  It was your security and it alone that motivated us to postpone your visit to Syria – a visit which took weeks of painstaking preparation.  As you all have said – it is just a postponement.”

So I am hopeful that the trip will still happen – perhaps in the next few weeks or perhaps later this year? As the situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, the importance of Mother Agnes’ ‘Mussalaha‘ (‘reconciliation‘) Mission becomes increasingly obvious. Even so, we internationals will not be serving the interests of Mussalaha or the people of Syria if we get ourselves killed or (more likely) abducted.

One of the other delegates really brought this home to me. I won’t mention the delegate’s name but will say that English is not their first language: “We could damage Mussalaha, if anything happens to us….Personally I was as a peace activist in many war areas BUT in this case we would not risk personally, Mussalaha (idea and people) would risk and that, we cannot accept.”

While I can’t mention the names of the other enlisted delegates at this stage, I must say that the dialogue that has circulated between us since last Friday’s announcement has left me deeply impressed with the calibre of the other team members! They are seasoned peace workers and human-rights activists from around the world. What a privilege it will be to meet them in person (if indeed the Mission goes ahead).

Anyway, I don’t have any pics of Beirut or Damascus for you. The best I can offer you is this pic of me and two Syrian ‘Abounas‘ (Arabic for ‘Fathers‘).  As I was still in Sydney, I accepted an invitation to a fundraiser for Syria, hosted by the ‘Australian Syrian Christian Association’. I met these two magnificent men at the function and many other wonderful people too.

me with Syrian Fathers Farid and Michael
Three Abounas – me with Syrian Fathers Farid and Michael

It was a wonderful afternoon of music, dancing and fundraising. Even so, the thing that stuck with me the most from the discussions I had with the other participants was the extent to which they all shared the same perspective regarding the plight of their home country – a perspective that runs completely contrary to what we are being fed by the mainline media.

These Christian Syrian people testified, one after another, that there had been no tensions between Christians and Muslims in Syria prior to these recent hostilities and that Bashar Al-Assad had been a very popular President. The agitation, they all believed, had come from outside their borders. It was their neighbours who wanted to destroy them, with the backing of ‘the West‘.

I won’t rehash the political complexities as I understand them, except to say that almost everyone there agreed that the real target in all this violence, so far as Syria’s Middle-Eastern neighbours and the rest of the world is concerned, is Iran.  Syria’s enemies want to see regime change in Iran, and the suffering of the people of Syria is just an unfortunate by-product of their greater and more sinister project.

How tragic! How demonic! Let us pray!

Jesus turned the Water into Beer!

You’ll forgive me for moving so rapidly from the deadly serious to the seemingly ridiculous, but so much of life is like that I find!

I know Jesus didn’t really change water into beer, but if He’d been in Australia I’m sure that’s exactly what would have happened!

Either way, I’ve got a wonderful sermon for you today, delivered by Holy Trinity’s most eloquent preacher – my friend, Dave Baldwin!

Dave (believe it or not) is not a professional preacher. He is, by trade, an actor! Even so, I don’t think I have ever heard anybody preach with such insight and clarity on the miracle of Jesus at Cana in Galilee – the turning of water into wine – as Dave did a few Sundays back.

We are privileged to have Dave Baldwin as a part of our Holy Trinity community, and I am privileged to be able to give you this video recording of the sermon. 🙂
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(and if you can’t view the sermon, click here)

And that will complete today’s missive, my friend!

I’ll be heading off on my Monday half-marathon soon so need to go and get changed.

Hopefully I’ll have some better news about Syria when we speak again next Monday.

Until then I remain …

Your brother in the Good Fight,


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 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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