Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Jack on camp

Jack went off to grade 6 camp on Monday, its now Wednesday night and we haven't heard a thing from him, which must mean no news is good news I guess. Here is a pix. of Jack and some other rather excited 12 year old boys just before boarding a bus for the mighty Rubicon river. See ya Friday Jack...

Make Poverty History Party

This morning we had a photo shoot with one of our local papers for our upcoming Make Poverty History Party that we are hosting here in Ferntree Gully on Sunday December 11. Got some cool photos of friends Mike and Naomi with our banner made by our other good mate Marc.Got me thinking that this year there is this incredible focus on us in the so called "richer nations" cancelling out debts to many of the poorer nations to enable them to eradicate extreme poverty, and the world is responding quite well to this. Yet again in my own area last weekend 6 out of 9 local candidates won a council election on the sole premise of lowering rates so that we can all have an extra $100 in our pockets, regardless of what community services will get cut as a result. We live in a weird and sometimes tragic world, with those who have much just wanting more and more all the time. Thy kingdom come...

Nearly there

Only 6 more days to go till THE tickets go on sale... Anyone know someone who works at Ticketmaster??

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Local Elections

Last Saturday our local council Knox City, had their elections like many others councils to elect their ward councillors. it was an interesting day and has caused me to reflect on local politics and politics in general. In local council elections there is very little, if any opportunity to get a fair hearing on what the real issues are. Our one was no exception. The BIG issue for many candidates was lower our rates. For many people that is very appealing, we all want to spend less money, yet when we see our local rates in action it is a different thing. I reckon elections are lost rather than won, the amount of deceit and lies put out there was incredible. I know what your thinking, this would never happen at state, federal or even at a global level. But I have come up with a couple of new theories, one is that I reckon 80% of voters have no real idea who or what they are voting for and so are vulnerable to the glossy images, and secondly I reckon people get into local politics for 1 of 3 reasons. They are either a) concerned about local issues and already involved themselves in wanting to make their community a better place, b) see it as a stepping stone into something bigger and better, ie state/federal or c) have a huge ego and need for power.

So these last few weeks were interesting, I personally backed a local candidate our sitting councillor not because of brownie points, but because I reckon she has done a great job, is a local and gets her hands dirty. So when confronted at the booth last Saturday with "vote for this guy and lower your rates" I asked him what services he was going to cut, he couldn't answer that one. So I asked for another reason to vote for him, and couldn't get a satisfactory response so I stuck with the person who I know is committed long term to our area. Call me naive, but I have another theory that truth will win out in the end, well it seemed to for some of our wards anyway.

The Long Walk

Last year former Essendon champion footballer Michael Long walked from Melbourne to Canberra to visit little Johnnie and have a talk about the treatment of indigenous people in Australia. He, like many others, was upset at the sacking of ATSIC, the national body set up to negotiate on behalf of indigenous Australians and the government. The walk turned into an epic, as more and more people joined in so that in the end Johnnie had no choice but to receive Long and have a chat. This weekend Michael and others have issued an invitation to ordinary Australians to remember that walk with a smaller symbolic walk in Melbourne. Some have called this a reconciliation walk, others a sorry walk, Long simply says,

"This isn't about indigenous Australia and white Australia – this is about ALL Australia".

Our neighbourhood communities at Foothills are hoping to go and join them this Sunday morning, 10.00 at Optus Oval in Carlton, wanna come for a walk?

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Squad Norway

Congratulations to my brothers in Norway who at the weekend became the first lot of patched up members of God's Squad CMC from that neck of the woods.Well done and may Jesus guide you both now and in the future.

Name the caption...

Here's a classic photo I just got sent from the other nights great UNOH dinner, what do you reckon Ash is thinking? Come up with your creative caption, and we'll vote on the best.

When love comes to town

Have just heard the news that U2 are comin to town with their Vertigo Tour, playing at the Telstra Dome here in Melbourne on Friday, March 24. Tickets go on sale December 5, not long to save my pennies. I saw them last during their Zooropa Tour at the MCG, many moons ago. Actually met Larry after he sat on my Harley, but the best tour was the 'Love comes to Town' one with BB King must have been 16 years ago now. Rock on.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Schoolies lunch

Yesterday we took a punt and invited the principals and vice principals from 5 of our local primary schools, and our local secondary college around for a lunch. It was a chance to say thankyou for the amazing work they do with many of our young people within our community, and I guess to show our appreciation. Worked out fantastic, we have great relationships with 3 of the local schools, so there was great conversations and a chance to show that Jesus is interested in sitting at tables with all sorts. Had my great mate Janelle, along with Helen for support, cooking up a feast and a half. Mike then complimented the lunch beautifully with lates all around. Gave them all a little card with the gift of a christmas angel made by our thai partners. Thanks Janelle and Mike for your amazing hospitality, and thanks to the prins and vice prins for a great afternoon of conversation and the chance to serve.

Fair's, rain and dinner's

Well Saturday was a day of great contrasts. Started early in the morning with a 7.15 drop off for the boys at their cricket games, then off to the Ferntree Gully Fair. Here amongst other things I was stage managing and the MC. Was a great day, although a little damp in places, infact rained until midday. Highlights were FTG Idol again, seeing the kids perform in the rain, our Funky Foothills Hair girls were champs coloring hair all afternoon, our Make Poverty History stand went well, selling about 50 bands as well as thai handmade crafts from Ta Rua church, our partner church in the slums of Klong Toey. Special thanks to my good mate Marc who went beyond the call of duty to get our MPH banner up, advertising our day on Sunday December 11.
We finished up at 3.30, home, unpacked, repacked then off to pick up my mate Mike to go to the UNOH benefit dinner. I was MCing the nite and helped to organize it, so the pressure was on.
This was a great night with over 300 people there, a great chance to honour some true champs, the UNOH crew who love and serve their neighbours in Springvale, Noble Park and Bangkok. Tim Costello spoke, Jim Reiher's new book was launched, and a great asian feast was had by all. Was great to catch up with Ash Barker who is in town for a few days of UNOH catch up's.
I love days like today when everything seems to come together so well, even if it was panic stations behind the scenes.

Friday, November 18, 2005

My mother told me there would be days like these...

Sometimes I have days that just float by and other times they kind of scream at ya. Yesterday was one of them. Started at 6.00am when Jack at I got up and spent the next 2 hours delivering pamphlets for his job, my fault I figured that was the only spare time in the week to do it. The kids off to school but that was delayed because the tree cutters were there to take down our massive pine that dominates the driveway/powerlines/shed and most of Ferntree Gully, so Ella was late, I get pretty embarrassed walking into school AFTER the bell has gone and all the other parents are walking OUT.

Bits and pieces of running around then off to Churches of Christ HQ in Fairfield for our first real get together of everyone (almost) under the churches of christ banner in vitoria who is part of a new/emerging/missional style community. A great time with some great people, wanted to spend an hour talking to each person there. Looked at some great possibilities for the future, then race back to school, via Blackburn to drop off Mark Sayers, and yep late again, DOH, twice in the one day, I must be a bad parent. Race back home check on other kids, check in with builder and tree people, who by this stage had broken their machine and had to come back another day, race to the bank, get money out for builder, race back pay builder, race Rory to cricket practise, answer some phone calls and emails, race Ella to basketball practice and arrange night at friends, then race off to Knox council for their citizenship night where Foothills does the suppers. This is a great time which I love.

Had a great chat to Jenny outgoing Mayor as she gave me a donation for our christmas day lunch, spent 2 hours preparing supper for 300 people with 6 others, cleaned up, raced at 9.00pm to a Ferntree Gully fair meeting about our fair this coming Saturday, tomorrow. Got home at 10.00, saw some family members, Helen just home from work, Rory watching TV, then off to the emails for another few hours, mainly working on UNOH's supporters dinner for Saturday night, it's amazing how mnay people are still up at 2.00 in the morning.

The night ended with the thought should I get up at 6.00 for swimming tomorrow, but I can't remember what the answer was...

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Birthdays at the park

Last Sunday was Helen's birthday, she ended up working a morning shift for the day. She works as a midwife at a hospital not too far away and loves her work, so not a bad start to the day. Her plan was to come home at 4pm and have a nice quiet picnic with the family down at our local park at the end of our street, The Arboretum. But me as I am ended up inviting 8 families of neighbours and families from our Foothills community. So after a treasurer hunt for birthday presents around the house, aided by cryptic clues, we ended up having 30 or so people for what I thought was a great afternoon and evening of story telling, eating, playing with kids and enjoying Helens birthday in the setting sun that was Ferntree Gully. Quite a nice wasy to spend a Sunday evening I thought...