Cassius Turvey

Cassius Turvey, a 15 year old Noongar boy from WA, was beaten by a man wielding a metal pole, when he was walking home from school with friends. He died later in hospital. An innocent victim of a violent attack.

The PM has condemned his murder as racially motivated.

His tragic death has sparked a global call for justice. Rallies demanding justice are being held across Australia, New Zealand and even in the US.

4 vigils are being in Victoria at 6pm on Wednesday 2nd November.

A reflection by NSW/ACT Moderator Rev Simon Hansford:

More than two and half thousand years ago, an Old Testament prophet wrote:

O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
and you will not listen?
Or cry to you “Violence!”
and you will not save?
Why do you make me see wrongdoing
and look at trouble?
Destruction and violence are before me;
strife and contention arise.
So the law becomes slack
and justice never prevails.
The wicked surround the righteous—
therefore judgment comes forth perverted.

A child was assaulted on the streets in Australia in this last fortnight. As a result of the brutal beating he received, by an older man with an iron bar we are told, this child died.

The language we might use for this unjustified act of appalling violence, if we were so inclined, is that a child was lynched on the streets of Perth.

Where is the outcry? Where are the nation’s leaders – social, political and religious – crying out for justice? Are we so accustomed to violence like this that it slides from our screens and our memories as we swipe to a less confronting story?

Suddenly we remember the discomfort we feel when that Melbourne footy club remains accused of deep-rooted racism. We turn the channel to avoid listening (certainly talking) about offering a voice to our First People in a referendum.

Some will say that these are not associated, that one has no relevance to the other. Ask the ones whose voice is silenced. Ask the ones who received the violence of language, of social exclusion, of stereotype or worse.

And a child lies dead, and another family is paralysed in grief and despair.

Some will claim this child had caused harm to property. So, let me ask you, what crime can a child commit that justifies him being beaten with an iron bar? What community, what society, can use slippery language, or bastardised ethics, to justify the violent death of a child?

We grieve today, but only as a dim echo of this family’s grief. We pray, and act in support, because no-one can survive this trauma alone.

We speak because someone needs to do so. More than one – person, church, community – needs to cry out for justice, because a child lies dead at a man’s hand.

This child’s death cannot fade from our sight because we are afraid to discover what hides in the shadows of our lives and communities.

My faith in Jesus Christ talks of mercy, which is always hand in hand with justice. Our church speaks of the need to forgive each other and to be reconciled, but they come with the cost of humility and seeking forgiveness from the person we have harmed.

This is more urgent than any other story in our lives.

It is not enough to be sad, to offer thoughts and prayers.

What shall we ask, what shall we do, to find justice? What shall we require of our leaders? What shall we require of ourselves?


A statement by Australian Human Rights Commission


All Saints’ Day

Accompanied by a communion of ordinary saints

All Saints’ Day is a reminder of the faithful departed who made room for God, pastor Isaac Villegas writes on his blog site.

When we confess the Apostles’ Creed, our words echo with the voices of the dead – the saints, believers from throughout history.

Marked on Nov. 1, All Saints’ Day is a time for us to remember the people who’ve made possible our faith – to recognize that we speak with their tongues, that we’re indebted to their faithfulness. On All Saints’ Day, we remember that we are not alone, that they accompany us.

In the book of Revelation, we glimpse a heavenly vision of the communion of saints, of believers in solidarity with us — a multitude “from every nation, tribe, people and language” around the throne of God (Revelation 7:9 NIV). When we say, toward the end of the creed, that we believe in “the communion of saints,” we’re calling upon that scene in Revelation 7 – the reassurance of a people on our side, the knowledge that their God is our God.

“The communion of saints” isn’t a select club of very special people. Instead, the phrase is a name for the church through the ages, the people who’ve made possible our communion with God. They welcome us into a community that reaches out to us from the grave.

This year for All Saints’ Day, I remember my great-aunt. She would scold me for this attempt at her hagiography, which is certainly a quintessential mark of saints — that they don’t think they should be called saints.

“The saints never know their own sanctity,” Nicholas Lash writes in “Seeing in the Dark.”

My great-aunt was my dad’s aunt. She dreamed of becoming a nun. However, at the age of 18, before she took her vows, her older sister’s husband – my grandfather – died, leaving my grandmother a widow in her late 20s to raise their 11 children.

My great-aunt vowed her life in service to God and moved into her sister’s house instead of a convent. She lived in an isolated room in the back of the house, at the top of a long staircase – far enough away to pray undisturbed, yet close enough to share in the child rearing.

In that room, and in that household, she spent her life, secluded from the world, except for Mass at their parish each morning. Her life consisted of housework, Eucharist, caregiving and prayer. She was an ordinary saint, someone who gave her life for the lives of others. She surrendered her years to God’s self-giving love.

Saints are people who offer their lives as a home for God, to make room in the world for God’s life to grow. They bear witness to what it looks like to let God live in this world through them. In other words, saints show us how to be disciples. They reveal that discipleship is about hospitality to God: welcoming God’s love into our lives so that new life may be born for others.

That’s why Mary, the mother of Jesus, is the first saint — the person, writes the Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, who “brought God’s salvation to the world.” She is the first one in the Christian story to show hospitality to Jesus – God with us, God of her flesh.

Other than Jesus, there are two people named in the Apostles’ Creed: Pontius Pilate and Mary, “the one who says ‘no’ to him,” the Anglican theologian Rowan Williams remarks, and “the one who says ‘yes’ to him.” Pilate the sinner, Mary the saint. Their lives outline the possible responses to God.

As sinner and saint – each of us as both at the same time – we wobble from one figure to the other. From day to day, moment to moment, we teeter between resistance and reception of Jesus.

We’re usually like Pilate in our rejection of God’s work in the world and in our lives. But we’re called to be like Mary, to echo her yes, to emulate her posture of welcome to God’s life, the labor of hospitality, to make room for God.

“Behold, I am the servant of the Lord,” Mary responds to God’s plan for her life. “Be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).

Saints – like Mary, the mother of our faith, and my great-aunt – guide our discipleship. They testify to the miracle of grace. They bear witness to the movement of God, the labour of the Spirit who transfigures our lives with the Word when we say yes to the gospel. They share the life of God with the world. Their witness beckons us into the gospel, into Christ’s love, for God’s love to become flesh with us.

The lives of ordinary saints not only provide models for discipleship; they proclaim a truth about God – that the Spirit dwells with people, that Christ welcomes us into his body. Like Mary, Christ has said yes to each of us. He has opened his life to receive our lives; he draws us into communion with the saints.

We are here, as members of God’s people, because the Holy Spirit has baptized us with grace, joining our flesh to the faithful who’ve come before us, all of us as members of one another.

All Saints’ Day is an announcement of the hospitality of God – that we are being welcomed into a communion that reaches from Mary to us, through people of every generation, all as a declaration of God’s love for the world. Saints surround us with the Spirit’s embrace.


Reformation Day

October 31 is celebrated as Reformation Day. The Protestant Reformation was a movement intended to reform ecclesial authority from within the Roman Catholic Church. It is celebrated alongside All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween) in remembrance of the onset of the Reformation.

31 October 1517 was the day German pastor Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses on the door of the All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg.

Exactly 500 years ago, in 1522, Martin Luther translated the New Testament into German. On the occasion of the anniversary, the Lutheran World Federation is celebrating 2022 as a Year of the Bible. For Lutherans, the Word is Jesus Christ, God made flesh. Christ comes to us today, in the words of Scripture, in the celebration of the sacraments, and in service to the neighbour. These actions constitute worship – worship centered on three central things: water (baptismal font), a book (Scripture), and a table (communion with God and neighbour).

Hymn: “A Sturdy Shelter Is Our God”
Shalom Rendering of “A Mighty Fortress”

A sturdy shelter is our God,
Whose refuge holds securely.
God restrains the rising tide
In which our world is swirling.
With dangers all around
We fear that we shall drown.
From harm God would protect
Each child from neglect.
We praise God’s loving nurture.

If we depend upon ourselves,
Our strength is insufficient.
We need the One who knows us well,
Who’s with God coefficient.
In every age the same
Christ Jesus is his name,
Prince of Peace, Emmanuel
Chooses with us to dwell
And we may trust this mercy.

And though this world with violence spins
Poised to harm the victim,
We need not fear for Christ undoes
Our scapegoat blaming system.
Who bends to wash our feet,
With love all hate defeats,
To still the rage and mend,
Turns stranger into friend,
Commanding us do likewise.

The Word of God hides in the poor,
Invites us there to find him.
Jesus is begging at our door,
Awaiting us to feed him.
With bread and wine the means
Through which Christ would be seen
Among the very least;
We are the kingdom’s yeast.
These are the things that make for peace.
© Craig L. Nessan, 2017

Hymn: Our God, We Are a Church Reformed

AZMON (“O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”)

Our God, we are a church reformed,
A church reforming still:
We long to grow in your true Word,
And follow more your will.

How awesome is your sovereign rule;
You reign from heav’n above.
Yet you knelt down in Jesus Christ,
In sacrificial love.

In love, you bring your people here
And call your church to you,
That we may know salvation’s joy
And serve in all we do.

You call us to community;
By faith our hearts are stirred.
In church, we seek an ordered life,
According to your Word.

As faithful stewards we find joy;
We need no rich display.
Lord, teach us all to use with care
The gifts you give each day.

The world makes gods of lesser things,
And wrongly uses power;
So by your Spirit may we work
For justice every hour.

This hymn is based on “Faith of the Reformed Tradition,” Book of Order, F-2.05.
Text: © 1998 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette.

Carolyn also has another suitable hymn, By Grace We Have Been Saved Through Faith. It is on her website.

News Sandy's Comments

Clothing Sustainability

30 October. Rev Philip Liebelt led the Warrnambool Uniting Church Op Shop Annual Service, telling Bartimaeus and Zacchaeus stories, and talking to the children about trash and treasure. The Op Shop has contributed $1,000,000 to the church’s work in the community over the six and a quarter year history of the shop. A great reason to support Op Shops!

As more and more people are waking up to the serious environmental impacts of the fast fashion industry, people around the world are searching for more sustainable ways to shop. This has led to a huge (and very well deserved!) surge in popularity for second-hand clothes.

Australia’s re-use charities are the biggest network diverting clothing from landfill and currently extend the life of $527m worth of preloved clothes.

Jan Donkersloot and Anthea Meadows in the Anglican All Saints op shop

Buying second-hand clothes helps to keep them in circulation for much longer. This is good for you, and it’s also better for the planet.

The fashion industry is extremely wasteful. Australians buy almost 15kg of clothes every year (or 56 new items) every year and most of it ends up in landfill, according to a recent report, making Australia one of the highest consumers of textiles per capita in the world. At the other end of the fashion cycle, roughly 260,000 tonnes, or 10kg a person, reaches landfill each year.

Only 7,000 tonnes of textiles are recycled in Australia, a very small percentage of clothing purchased.

On top of the huge amount of landfill, the textile industry also relies heavily on fossil fuels and other chemicals. Globally, 98m tonnes of nonrenewable resources are used in the fashion industry, including oil to produce synthetic fibres, fertilisers to grow cotton, and chemicals to produce dye.

In Australia, two-thirds of clothing is made up of synthetic fibres, which are often derived from petroleum.

One of the best ways to keep clothes out of landfill and reduce their impact is to keep them in circulation for longer. Keeping clothes in use for just an extra 9 months can reduce their carbon, water and waste footprint by 20-30%.

Buying second-hand clothes is a super simple and effective way to extend their active lifespan, keep them in circulation and out of landfill.

And, as we approach Christmas, it might impact on what we purchase, and where we purchase from.

Give thanks for the daily opportunities to serve customers, to pray and give witness to God’s love. Give thanks too for the volunteers who work in op-shops, and for all who donate items.

The Guardian

Anglican Focus

National Clothing Product Stewardship Scheme

Fashion Journal

How Australia’s op shops are caught up in the cost of living crisis

News Sandy's Comments

Ohi/Oxi Day

Melbourne has a large Greek population. The Greek Orthodox Church is a member of the Victorian Council of Churches.

October 28th is celebrated by Greek communities around the world as Ohi Day or Oxi Day (Greek: Επέτειος του Όχι, romanized: Epéteios tou Óchi, lit. ’Anniversary of the No’; Greek pronunciation: [eˈpetios tu ˈoçi]).

In 1940 the Greek prime minister Ioannis Metaxas told Italian dictator Benito Mussolini that Axis Forces were not welcome in Greece. He allegedly answered Mussolini’s request to occupy certain territories with a single laconic word: όχι (No!). However, his actual reply was, “Alors, c’est la guerre!” (Then it is war!).

In response to Metaxas’s refusal, Italian troops stationed in Albania, then an Italian protectorate, attacked the Greek border at 05:30 am.

On the morning of 28 October, the Greek population took to the streets, irrespective of political affiliation, shouting ‘ohi’. From 1942, it has been celebrated as Ohi Day.

It is a celebration of resistance, even though it ultimately led to the beginning of Greece’s participation in World War 2.

Reflecting on this, Archbishop Demetrios (U.S.A) wrote:

Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ

Our commemoration of OXI Day each year leads us to reflect on a very challenging time in our world and for the people of Greece.  As war was spreading throughout Europe, the Axis forces demanded the surrender of Greece on October 28, 1940.  Bravely and honorably, the Greek people replied, “NO.”   Today, we honor the bravery and sacrifice of our fathers and mothers who stood valiantly against the armies of the fascist powers.  They proclaimed a resolute “NO” to occupation.  The people of Greece affirmed their love of liberty and their right of self-determination.  They saw the evil and unchecked power of fascist regimes, and in their response they committed their lives to protecting their country.  In faith they knew that no matter the outcome they were willing to stand courageously in the face of this threat knowing that ultimately nothing could separate them from the nobility of their heritage and the love of God.

Today, we are inspired by our forbearers as we celebrate their courage and honor their memory.  They said “NO” to those who advanced power and control at any cost.  They stood firm against an ideology and its forces that would only separate them from their freedom, their rights, and their way of life.  We find courage in their example and hope and strength in the promise that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:38-39).

The experience of God’s love and the promise that His love is always with us helped the people of Greece in hope and faith to endure all things (I Corinthians 13:7).  They knew that the power of God’s love was greater than the power of fascist regimes.  They knew that the love of God was essential to their freedom, and to their love for their families and communities, and for their country.

With the assurance and truth of God’s love, we are able to stand firm against any evil use of power or false ideology.  As the people of Greece in 1940 and as many witnesses of our faith have done, we can boldly proclaim “NO” in the face of those who seek to destroy life and liberty, those who use power to abuse and manipulate others, and those who try to separate us from our faith and the love of God.

As we commemorate the valiant people of Greece on OXI Day, and we laud their courage before the world, may we give thanks to God for the witness offered to us and to generations to come. 

News Sandy's Comments

God’s Squad: 50 years

Sincere condolences to members of God’s Squad who were celebrating 50 years with a ride that ended in tragedy with a fatal accident involving Barry ‘Baz’ Porter. May our God hold him in loving embrace, and comfort those who mourn his passing.

The book launch of ‘The First 50 years’ culminates a project to gather the history of the God’s Squad, from its origins in Sydney in 1971 to the beginning of God’s Squad in 1972 under the leadership of John Smith, with the blessing and guidance of the original Sydney chapter. From that base in Melbourne, God’s Squad spread from Australia, where it has had multiple chapters for many years, throughout Europe, into New Zealand and also the USA.

Since its birth, out of the counterculture Jesus movement days of the late 60s and early 70s God’s Squad has continued, for nearly five decades, to devote its efforts amongst those on the fringes of society. The Club continues to primarily exist to minister among motorcycle clubs and associated groups, where it is an accepted and relevant expression of the Christian Church.

God’s Squad has also maintained a long commitment of service among the poor, advocacy for the rights of first nation people, active ministry in prisons, schools and the public space. All of this is built on a foundation that takes the call of radical discipleship in Christ seriously, which finds its roots in his teaching.

On the occasion of Melbourne Chapter’s 25th anniversary back in 1997, John Smith offered the following reflection on our behalf. This still holds true.

“… our faith and commitment remain stronger than ever. You need a faith to live by and a friend to stand by. Like Jesus, who we follow, we are committed friends of the outcasts of this world. We are friends, not to manipulate our mates to faith – but because we talk and live a faith that is free for all. True love is no weak sentiment – for Christ it led to crucifixion.
To all our mates on the bike scene, we want to say on our Anniversary, we are a club that exists not for ourselves, but for non-members. If you ever need an honest believing friend, we are here for you and so is Christ.
Cheers and God be with you.”

As part of the 50 years celebrations, a Thanksgiving Church service was held on Sunday October 2, hosted at TLC Church, 265 Canterbury Rd, Bayswater North. Tim Costello was the guest preacher.

Sources: God’s Squad website and Facebook page


2022 Budget and First Peoples

(Source: ABC)

Some significant provisions in the Budget for First Peoples, and indigenous justice.

The budget includes a number of items targeted at improving Indigenous health and education outcomes as well as “a record $99 million invested in First Nations justice”.

Almost $315 million over five years has been pledged to support initiatives aimed at closing the gap for Indigenous Australians’ health and wellbeing, including:

  • a $164.3 million investment in modern health clinics in areas with large and growing Indigenous communities
  • $54.3 million to deliver up to 500 traineeships in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care
  • $45 million for 30 new and upgraded dialysis units
  • $22.5 million to build a Birthing on Country Centre of Excellence.

    The funding for improved Indigenous justice outcomes will primarily go towards initiatives aimed at “addressing the underlying causes of incarceration” and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal services.

    The government will also spend more than $14 million over the forward estimates to support teaching First Nations language and culture in 60 primary schools.

    And, of course, there’s $75.1 million put aside over the next two years for the referendum on enshrining an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the constitution. The vast majority of this amount ($52.6 million) will go to the Australian Electoral Commission and other agencies so they can start preparing.

Drop the Jargon Day

Tuesday 25 October is Drop the Jargon day. Drop the Jargon Day is an annual campaign hosted by the Centre for Culture, Ethnicity & Health. The aim of this campaign is to reduce health inequalities and improve health outcomes for people from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

While this day is for professionals in Australian health, community services and local government to practice and promote the use of plain, jargon-free language, it’s also a time to pause to reflect on the inordinate amount of ‘jargon’ that happens in ‘church-world’. It’s difficult for the ‘uninitiated’ to navigate insider church-speak, and often involves people developing skills as ‘translators’.

A blogpost by G.W.Smallwood raises some issues. He writes:

Do you really need to be justified in order to work out your sanctification by loving on the kids in Sunday School? Are you feeling led to covet the prayers of others to strengthen your hedge of protection? Does your testimony attest to your stewardship? Are you fully leaning into the words of your Jesus? Are you intentional about doing life with others?

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then that makes two of us. I just gave you a crash course in one of my pet peeves when it comes to church: jargon. The Oxford Dictionary defines jargon as “words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group of people, and are difficult for others to understand.”

The key to that definition is “difficult to understand”. I think it’s time to retire all of these weird phrases. They do nothing to help people understand what we’re talking about or why Jesus is so awesome. In C. S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, a demon instructs his protege nephew that:

Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him (referring to his human target) from the Church.


I think this is true. A common set of phrases, slang, and dialect can help strengthen bonds within a community. But when it comes to the church, I think the problems with jargon far outweigh the benefits. People need to be able to understand what we’re talking about in order to feel like they belong. By using language and phrasing that is confusing (even to those of us within the church most of the time) we’re alienating a big portion of those we’re trying to serve.

Get rid of the jargon. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

He goes on to say that the leadership group at his church devotes an entire session to creating an outsider-focused culture. One of the ways that happens is eliminating insider language. Remember, the gospel is good news, of great joy, for ALL people (Luke 2:10). Let’s make sure all people can understand what we’re talking about.

Rev. Becky Zartman, who blogs as the Vicar of H Street, writes:
“if I ever use a church word I define it or explain what it means. Better yet, I don’t use it. I might write an entire reflection on the Incarnation and never use the word. People either don’t know what it means or think they do and they don’t.”

Nadia Bolz-Weber in an online post (language alert) about jargon language in churches and seminaries concludes: “Let’s watch our language out there. The church has some beautiful things to offer. Let’s all speak of God and faith and community in clear and simple language”.

May it be so!!



At this time, we hold in our minds and hearts all those affected by the floods and pouring rain and rising rivers. From suburban Melbourne to regional Victoria – floods this past week have caught residents off-guard as waters inundated homes and properties. Many scrambled to salvage what they could and face an anxious wait to see what will remain when they are allowed to eventually return home.

We pray for
Those whose lives have been devastated,
Those who are feeling vulnerable and weak
Those who are stranded
Those who are facing both long-term and short-term needs
Those who are homeless in this crippling time 

We pray also for all those who are meeting needs at this time:
Volunteers and community workers
Those working to rescue people who are stranded and feed the hungry
Those supplying food, water, equipment, money and urgent supplies
Those working to clear roadways and homes that have been damaged
Police officers, emergency personnel, medical and social welfare responders
Those seeking to offer protection from theft and fraud.

We pray that each of us will play our part in responding to the overwhelming conditions of this time, and particularly in reaching out to those who will be struggling to rebuild their lives.

We pray too, that we will continue to urge the Government to play its part in strengthening structures that will heal our land, restore creation, and relieve those suffering homelessness and poverty.

We make all our prayers in the name of Jesus, who reached out always to those most in need. AMEN.

Adapted from a prayer by Jan Barnett rsj, Josephite Justice Co-ordinator, Josephite Justice Network

This prayer is from the Sisters of St Joseph website.

Sandy's Comments

Open Letter Climate Justice

Many multi-faith leaders in Australia and the Pacific have signed a letter to the Australian Government about climate justice. The letter was released ahead of the multi-faith services held around the world on Thursday 13th October.

Dear Prime Minister Albanese

We are grateful for your Government’s efforts to take the climate crisis seriously.

Yet Australia is a wealthy country that profits from exports that are causing the crisis. We hear the cries of anguish from those most vulnerable in the human family who are losing their lives, livelihoods and homes through climate-fuelled disasters.

We humbly and respectfully request that Australia:

*Stops approving new coal and gas projects
*Ends public subsidies for coal and gas projects
*Fully respects First Nations peoples’ rights to protect Country
*Re-starts contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund
*Assists extractive industry workers to prosper through jobs in sustainable industries
*Actively participates in creating and endorses a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The current level of warming is not safe. This moment in history calls for an urgent, courageous, visionary response, especially from those in power. Australia’s leadership in this response, as part of its First Nations Foreign Policy, is vital for the vulnerable communities and ecosystems who depend on it.

Yours faithfully,

Signed by First Nations and Australian and Pacific faith leaders
(see the full list of signatories here)

Background notes to the letter