AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – AUSTRALIAN NEWS 13th NOVEMBER 2013

  • BROTHERHOOD TAKES GOSPEL TO BIKER FAMILY
  • NSW PARENTS AND CITIZENS FEDERATION REFERRED TO CORRUPTION COMMISSION
  • WEST AUSTRALIAN ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP REJECTS SAME SEX UNION BID
     

BROTHERHOOD TAKES GOSPEL TO BIKER FAMILY

Sydney’s Brotherhood Christian Motorcycle Club (CMC) is continuing to minister and conduct outreach to the Australian biker community. The Club, based on land leased from the Diocese of Sydney in Parramatta in Sydney’s west, has been in operation for over 36 years, and seeks to reach people for Christ while being authentically ‘biker’ in culture. In a political culture where bikers are cast as negative influences, Grant Howard, a member of Brotherhood CMC and pastoral Team Leader with its Street Level Christian Community church plant, says there are many positive aspects of biker culture, and many ways in which Jesus can be made known.

“Lots of people want to belong to a family,” he said. “They want to be cared about, and have genuine mates. People in the club are really committed to each other. They’re committed to the lifestyle, riding together, and living life together. People often come from situations where they don’t have particularly strong family, and clubs often meet that role.“  There are negative aspects to the culture too according to Mr Howard, where it’s important to provide an authentic Christian witness.  “There’s a lot of alcohol, strippers and things that can cause people to stumble in their walk with God in the culture,” he says. “And so we’re really careful about watching out for that.”

Greg Hirst, the head of Brotherhood CMC, says it’s important to “be in the world, but not of it.”  It’s the ability of the Club to maintain a true love of bike culture whilst drawing a line of separation when it comes to some activities which as Christians we do not want to be involved nor associated with. “They come knowing that being Christians and talking God stuff is part of how we run an event like a motor show,” says Mr Howard, “but they accept us with that. They may not agree with it, it may not fit into their lifestyle, and what they’re involved with would not be a part of our lifestyle, but it results in that mutual respect, and opens ways for us to point people to the Gospel in meaningful ways.”

Current projects for Brotherhood include its TV show ‘Temporary Australians’, currently airing its second season on Network Ten’s ONE digital channel, which showcases bike culture and the stories of bikers, both Christian and non-Christian. “There’s a mixture of the real breadth of bike culture, including police clubs, Christian clubs, and “outlaw” clubs,” says Mr Hirst.  We look at the breadth of the culture, withholding moral judgements, as tastefully as we can. People connect to that… Some of the stuff, I’ve gotten feedback on. One of the testimonies, from a guy named Vic was that he thought it was the best story he’d ever heard. People are listening.”

Tim Robinson, the director of the TV show became involved with the club through his work on the TV show. He says he became part of the club scene for the first time through seeing how Brotherhood integrated its faith and its culture. “To me it felt like a natural thing, because I can integrate my faith with what is now my culture,” says Mr Robinson “I love bikes, I love Jesus, I love documentaries, and they all kind of fit together here”.  The Club is now looking to expand its relationships with churches. It’s already planning to bring its experience in motor shows to bear, as it currently runs an annual show called the Silverwater Motor festival.

The club also has experience in counselling and pastoral care, and has a particular heart for men and youth, with many members of Brotherhood having backgrounds in youth work.  Mr Hirst says prayer for the biker community is needed, with many people in the scene thinking through what it means to follow God.  “There’s actually a lot of people trying to figure out the God stuff, just secretly,” he says, “When you’re actually out in their culture, you find this stuff out, because those gospels [copies of Mark’s Gospel published by The Bible Society] are remarkable. At all sorts of motorcycle events, even the wilder ones, people will take a gospel, and they read it.”

Source: The Sydney Anglican

 

NSW PARENTS AND CITIZENS FEDERATION REFERRED TO CORRUPTION COMMISSION

NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has referred the state’s main body representing public school parents to the Independent Commission Against Corruption, amid continuing internal division and turmoil within the organisation. Mr Piccoli’s office has confirmed that he had received allegations involving the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW and had referred them to the corruption watchdog, although it would not comment on the nature of the allegations. Media reports suggest the allegations may involve the misuse of funds. 

Although the minister confirmed the referral, it is unclear whether the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) will be able to investigate the organisation, as it may not meet the definition of a public sector agency under the act.  The minister’s move comes after he told the organisation it would not receive further public grant money until it broached appropriate reform. Mr Piccoli froze an annual payment of $380,000 to the body, which also receives fees from up to 2100 parent organisations affiliated with it. Some members of the  state council attending a recent meeting and voted to remove the president, Lyall Wilkinson, and elect a new one.

Mr Wilkinson said he did not recognise the legitimacy of the meeting and warned he would take the matter to the federation’s lawyers.  The latest drama follows a report last year by a former official in the Department of Premier and Cabinet, that found the organisation was racked by bullying and self-interest and risked disintegration. He laid some of the blame on the unwieldy size and power of the state council, which runs the federation and can have up to 108 members. His report found many members of the council were long-serving and no longer had children at school with some regarding the trips to Sydney for meetings and conferences as ”pleasant weekends away”.

Mr Piccoli said his office had received many complaints ”that the federation currently provides ‘poor service levels’ to its district councils and school P&C associations” and there appeared to be ”serious internal issues”.  Mr Wilkinson said he had cancelled a council meeting planned for this weekend more than a month ago and denounced the decision by some members to go ahead with it.  But Sharryn Brownlee, who was elected president at the meeting, said there was a quorum at all times and the action taken to remove the president was done with knowledge of the ICAC referral. She said the organisation had become ”paralysed” and ”unable to operate”.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

 

WEST AUSTRALIAN ANGLICAN ARCHBISHOP REJECTS SAME SEX UNION BID

Perth’s Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft says he could not have possibly backed a proposal to recognise same-sex relationships in his diocese, despite it receiving the support of two-thirds of the Church’s synod.  Both the clergy and laity houses in the diocese have backed a Synod motion acknowledging that “legal recognition of committed same-sex relationships may coexist with legal recognition of marriage between a man and a woman”.  The motion, which was put up by the Rev. Chris Bedding from the Darlington-Bellevue parish, also noted support from many within the Anglican Church for civil unions between same-sex couples.

But it was the first part of the motion, which called for the recognition of diversity within the diocese “both in our sexual identities and in our theologies of human sexuality”, that drew the most concern from Archbishop Herft.  Archbishop Herft, who vetoed the same motion last year after it received support from half the synod, announced he was unable to support the motion. He said the Anglican Church welcomed people of all sexual orientations but the motion could have “unintended consequences”.  “What the resolution does is put the diocese and the Archbishop in a very difficult place,” he said. 

“There was the unintended consequence of formally accepting certain behaviours that resulted in abuse, promiscuity and exploitation – something to which the Church could never agree.  “I could not, knowing the history of what has happened in this diocese, assent . . . you cannot afford that type of looseness in this whole issue.”  He said he also could not assent to formally supporting civil unions for same-sex couples because the relevant legislation did not exist on a State or Commonwealth level.  “The motion lacked the required local legislative context and opened the diocese of Perth up to accepting any form of legally sanctioned same-sex union,” he said. 

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports