Youth and Reconciliation

Published: Tuesday, 04 March 2014

Do you know what young Australians think about the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians?

In 2012, Reconciliation Australia and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition launched the Yarn About Youth program to find out what issues matter to young people and how young people and the youth sector can progress reconciliation.

They discovered, for example,

  • 90% think the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is important
  • 35% think the relationship is good
  • 16% think that we trust each other
  • 51% think the relationship is improving
  • 80% think Australia is better off because we have many different cultures
  • 67% rank their knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories as high 

Click here for more information.

I’ve Just Met a Girl Named Maria!

Published: Monday, 03 March 2014

Delving this week through the earliest records of the Ashburton Baptist Church, I’ve just a met a girl named Maria.

Not exactly a girl but Mary Maria Upton had the energy of a young woman.

19 Fuller Street Glen IrisOpen Home

Maria lived in 19 Fuller Avenue, Glen Iris (pictured) with her husband, William James Upton and their five children, Nellie, Will, Hilda, Arthur and Millie.

Check out her house here on Google Maps because her house was always open to visitors, newcomers and because her house was always open to visitors, newcomers and people needing friendship. When Ashburton Baptist only had a rented hall, Maria’s home was always available for prayer and business meetings.

They said of Maria that her hospitality to visitors was without limit.

Visiting Christchurch Three Years After the Earthquake

Published: Saturday, 22 February 2014

Julie and Ian Robinson recently visited Julie’s home city of Christchurch. Here are Julie and Ian’s reflections three years after the earthquakes:

Cardboard Cathedral Inside

Quake City

We were in New Zealand over the summer and the last week of our visit we spent in Christchurch, the city of my birth. We had been there in April 2 years ago for our 70th birthday, celebrated on a day when it was earthquake free. The city has had 11,000 after-shocks from 2010 until now! Much of the inner city was fenced off then, but now there is access to all of the CBD.

Smile for ChristchurchSmile for Christchurch

We were impressed by the creative and inspiring installations in the many empty spaces cleared of rubble. It certainly helps to raise the spirits of the people.

One such effort was the map of New Zealand with 1000 photos of smiling ‘Kiwis’ from 19 towns and cities painted brightly on a wall. It is called: ‘SMILE FOR CHRISTCHURCH’.

Bonhoeffer - A Life in Outline

Published: Wednesday, 05 February 2014

The following is the first chapter in a book by Rev Dr. Keith Clements entitled, ‘The SPCK Introduction to Bonhoeffer’. It was published in London in 2010 and is posted here by gracious permission of the author.

The Rev Dr. Keith Clements was formerly Senior Tutor at Bristol Baptist College, part-time lecturer at the University of Bristol and the General Secretary of the Conference of European Churches. He is a member of the editorial board of the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works English Edition, is the author of Bonhoeffer and Britain (CTNI, 2006) and is the editor of Dietrich Bonhoeffer: London: 1933-1935 (Fortress Press, 2007).

Keith Clements is visiting Melbourne to teach an intensive Whitley College course on Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He is preaching at the Ashburton Baptist Church on 9 February 2014. This chapter gives a marvelous outline of Bonhoeffer’s life. It warms the heart and stretches the mind in preparation for hearing the preached word.

Do You Love Your Customers?

Published: Tuesday, 04 February 2014

Seth Godin Asks ‘Do You Love Your Customers’?

Seth Godin, best selling author and writer of one of the most popular marketing blogs in the world, has posted (3 February 2014) the following article that applies just as much to the church as to the business that you work for or the institution where you study or serve:

There are two ways people think about this:

  • We love our customers because they pay us money. (Inherent here is customers = money = love.)
  • We love our customers, and sometimes there's a transaction.

The second is very different indeed from the first.

In the first case, customers are the means to an end, profit. In the second, the organization exists to serve customers, and profit is both an enabler and a possible side effect.

It's easy to argue that without compensation, there can be no service. Taking that to an extreme, though, working to maximize the short-term value of each transaction rarely scales. If you hoard information, for example, today your prospects will simply click and find it somewhere else. If you seek to charge above average prices for below average products, your customers will discover this, and let the world know. In a free market with plenty of information, it's very hard to succeed merely by loving the money your customers pay you.

I think it's fascinating to note that some of the most successful organizations of our time got there by focusing obsessively on service, viewing compensation as an afterthought or a side effect. As marketing gets more and more expensive, it turns out that caring for people is a useful shortcut to trust, which leads to all the other things that a growing organization seeks.

Your customers can tell.

ABC Down Through the Ages

Published: Friday, 24 January 2014

This year the Ashburton Baptist Church celebrates its 80th anniversary.

We’re looking back with gratitude on those who got us going in the 1930s.

As you think about the church:

What are the areas in which we have changed significantly?

In what areas have we stayed the same while styles have changed?

Think about these questions as you watch this video that depicts 100 years of fashion and dance moves in 100 seconds. This video, that has gone viral, helped to promote the opening of Europe’s largest mall, Westfield Stratford City in the UK.

How did the fashions change among the men and women who attended ABC from the thirties?

Did these different dance steps find expression among the members of ABC or is it enough to state that we’ve changed from a ‘No Dancing’ policy to a time when dancing is not an issue?

Hope you can be part of the celebration this year and share in the constructive change as we help create the future.

Geoff Pound