ADM Grant Recipient at the United Nations     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Ruth, second from right, with with Anglican delegates from Japan, Madagascar, Botswana, north Sudan, DR Congo.  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


       Ruth Brigden – who receives an ADM grant to work with emerging female Christian leaders in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Northern Territory – recently attended the 62nd session of the United Nations Commission of the Status of Women (UNCSW62). Held on 12 to 23 March in New York, representatives from all over the world attended to discuss the main theme of ‘challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls’.       Here Ruth describes her experience and key learnings for Australian Christians, especially in working with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sisters towards their greater social inclusion.   The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women was a wonderful experience for me, despite the serious and weighty subject matter it dealt with.  It was wonderful to be part of a group of 20 Anglican women from places as far apart as Botswana and Japan, D.R. Congo and New Zealand, and Madagascar and Korea to talk about our work among rural women and girls, and to work together to think of ways ensure women and girls are given proper respect and recognition as image-bearers of our creator God.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Ruth with with the Anglican delegate from north Sudan  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     In many places around the world, women and girls still do not have the same rights as boys and men to education, health or financial resources. In some parts of the world, women and girls are deliberately singled out for harsh and inhumane treatment simply because of their gender. In an address by human rights defender Sameena Nazir from Pakistan, we heard that in some villages, women pregnant with female babies are beaten or denied food because it is thought that they are responsible for the resulting gender of their child.  Women and girls living in rural parts of the world face significant disadvantage with respect to standard socio-economic measurements. The word ‘intersectionality’ came up many times during CSW62 side events and parallel sessions. Intersectionality refers to the interconnectedness of social categories like race, class and gender, where these overlapping systems result in discrimination or disadvantage experienced from more than one angle. Discussions about ‘intersectionality’ are highly relevant to Aboriginal women living in remote parts of the Northern Territory and, arguably, other parts of Australia.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Ruth (left), with human rights defender Sameena Nazir (second from left) and two other delegates at CSW26  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     CSW62 afforded me a great opportunity to hear from Indigenous groups around the world about Indigenous women and intersectionality, some with very similar colonial histories to Australia. I attended sessions on the ‘Mass Incarceration of Rural and Indigenous Women in Canada’, hosted by the Institute for International Women’s Rights in Manitoba; ‘Violence Against Indigenous Women in Rural America’, by the Indian Law Resource Center; ‘Indigenous Women’s Rights’, by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; and others. These sessions were stimulating and helpful in thinking about how the Anglican Diocese in the Northern Territory, and the wider Anglican Church, could be working with Aboriginal women toward greater social inclusion .         Discover more about ADM's programs and funding for women...

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ADM Grant Recipient at the United Nations

Ruth Brigden – who receives an ADM grant to work with emerging female Christian leaders in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the Northern Territory – recently attended the 62nd session of the United Nations Commission of the Status of Women (UNCSW62). Held on 12 to 23 March in New York, representatives from all over the world attended to discuss the main theme of ‘challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls’.  

1 Comment

      International Women's Day      " Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise  ..." (Proverbs 31:31)  It's time – time to recognise the vital role that women play in Kingdom work. This role is not additional or supplementary. It's not minimal or optional. Women are fundamental, essential and foundational to the work of building God's Kingdom.  As we celebrate  International Women's Day (8 March 2018) , we recognise the work of the women who have gone before us, as well as that of today's Christian female leaders.  We hope to encourage Christian women to persevere, and inspire you to keep on innovating, serving and creating in every kind of Kingdom endeavour.   As a gift to you, we will be providing wallpapers for your desktop/laptop or your smartphone. We hope that you will be encouraged by God's word each day and spurred on in your Kingdom work.           DAY 7: "WHO KNOW BUT THAT YOU HAVE COME TO YOUR ROYAL POSITION FOR SUCH A TIME AS THIS?" – ESTHER 4:14       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 6 : "She speaks with wisdom" – Proverbs 31:26       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 5: "She is clothed with strength and dignity" – Proverbs 31:25       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 4: Honour Her for all that her hands have done (Proverbs 31:31)       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 3: Let Her Works bring her praise (Proverbs 31:31)       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 2: I arose, a mother ... God chose new leaders (Judges 5:8)        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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       Day 1: What She has done will also be told... (Matthew 26:13)        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
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International Women's Day

It's time – time to recognise the vital role that women play in Kingdom work. This role is not additional or supplementary. It's not minimal or optional. Women are fundamental, essential and foundational to the work of building God's Kingdom ...

Comment

      Fighting Female Trafficking      Penny Attwells is restoring and empowering women who have survived human trafficking through an innovative support program, writes Hayley Lukabyo.  The trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and children is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world. Penny Attwells, founder of Iysha and a member of ADM’s 2018 Hub program, is committed to caring for the victims of such crimes in Australia.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     For as long as Penny can remember, she has been “personally affronted by the oppression experienced by trafficked women”. However, it was an encounter with a woman supporting sex workers in Australia two years ago that convinced Penny to take action, and eventually led to the establishment of Iysha. “She explained to me that women are trafficked into Australian brothels, predominately from Asian countries,” Penny recalls. “She also explained that women in Australia can experience slavery as a result of forced labour or forced marriage. It was at this time that I started to feel a stirring to help. After doing some research, I realised the extent of human trafficking and slavery in Australia, and it is unacceptable.”  This year Penny is developing Iysha through The Hub. Iysha is committed to working towards the worldwide abolition of slavery, servitude and slavery-like practices, including forced labour, forced marriage, human trafficking and extreme labour exploitation. Iysha aims to empower and restore women who survive human trafficking by placing them with ‘safe families’ for periods of time. Many survivors are currently waiting for NSW priority housing or attempting to secure private rentals, and Penny hopes that that Iysha will provide them with the final step that they need before transitioning to independent living.  What makes Iysha unique from similar not-for-profits is its focus on Australia. Before founding Iysha, Penny noticed that while there were multiple organisations and charities focused on overseas women, those trafficked to Australia were being overlooked. “We wanted to establish a not-for-profit with a local focus,” Penny explains. “At the moment, there are only one or two safe houses in Sydney where survivors can be referred to for housing and support. We did consider starting another safe house, however, we decided to think about a strategy that was innovative, scalable and therapeutic.”  Penny hopes that through the work of Iysha, the lives of vulnerable women can be transformed by making them feel safe and connected. “We believe that the framework is restorative, empowering and has many therapeutic qualities,” she says. “Initially, we sought advice from a professional working directly with survivors and asked, ‘Do you think the survivors would feel safe in homes and would want to live in this sort of arrangement?’  Her response was ‘yes and yes’ because survivors want freedom of movement within the wider community, and they want to build new relationships and community connections. We believe that being placed with an Australian family provides a sense of connectedness and belonging, restores trust, provides positive experiences and helps survivors imagine a better future.”      
   
     “ I believe that a genuine love for the Lord will also meet those on the underside of power with mercy, compassion and justice. Whatever we do for the least, we do for Him. ” 
   
   — Penny Attwells 
 
     Penny acknowledges that the goal of Iysha is “quite ambitious”, but she trusts that God has called her to pursue it. “I believe that God wired me to deeply care about women experiencing oppression. And I wholeheartedly believe God is grieved by the oppression of women … Jesus made no secret of being opposed to certain things during his life and ministry, and he took particular aim at oppression in various forms: social, religious, political, etc. I believe that a genuine love for the Lord will also meet those on the underside of power with mercy, compassion and justice. Whatever we do for the least, we do for Him.”  Penny is qualified in law and community development, and has worked for 15 years among people facing disadvantage and marginalisation. Her work has mostly focussed on child protection and working with children and families. Penny sees the work of God in both her own life and the development of Iysha.  “Without trying to be overly 'spiritual', I do believe God has called me to start up lysha for ‘such a time as this’,” she says. “This is the first time I have led an initiative, and I believe I am ready and able for the task.”              Read more about Penny and how she is developing Iysha through The Hub

Comment

Fighting Female Trafficking

Penny Attwells is restoring and empowering women who have survived human trafficking through an innovative support program, writes Hayley Lukabyo…

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      Sharing the Storm of Postnatal Psychosis      For Deborah Vickers, becoming a new mum was a deeply traumatic experience. Now she is supporting other women who have experienced postnatal psychosis through a unique community, writes Elisabeth Carter.  Deborah Vickers seemed to be super-mum.  After her first baby was born, Deb didn’t feel the need to sleep. She took dozens of photos of her newborn. She was out and about attending conferences, baby in her arms, just a few weeks after giving birth.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     But in reality, all was not well. In fact, while on the surface Deb appeared to be coping amazingly well with new motherhood, this quickly tipped over into mania, which for her was characterised by obsessive behaviour and worry. It wasn’t long before hallucinations, delusions and paranoia set in.  For Deb, a family history of mental illness meant she and her husband were wary of postnatal depression. But postnatal psychosis (PP) came as a complete shock. Frustratingly, the symptoms of PP are the complete opposite of those of depression, so warning signs are often missed by those on the lookout for mums who aren’t doing so well.  Deb ended up in a general public psychiatric ward for a couple of months, on strong medication and unable to see her baby. Unlike other Australian states, in NSW there are no public Mother Baby Units where a family can receive the perinatal specialist care the mother needs, while also maintaining the important mother-baby bond.  It took nearly three years for Deb to feel herself again after her first baby was born. But sadly, despite careful plans having been made, PP struck again after baby number two.  Deb is a Christian, and although her faith was her stronghold while she was unwell, some of the doctors and nurses saw it differently. “In PP,” Deb explains, “religious grandeur can be a symptom of the illness – meaning women think that they are Mary, or that their baby is Jesus, or even that their baby is the devil … Being in a general psych ward where they were watching out for these things, it made it harder for me to read the Bible or to have the chaplain come and visit. Some people thought this was part of my illness and that I should be more medicated.”  Throughout that time, Deb clung to  Psalm 71 , which speaks of being protected by God when in horrible places, and of God caring for children and infants. Even when Deb was away from her babies, she recalls, “It was reassuring that God could still take care of them and they could rely on him.”      
   
     “ From birth I have relied on you;     you brought me forth from my mother’s womb.     I will ever praise you. I have become a sign to many;     you are my strong refuge. ” 
   
   — Psalm 71:6-7 
 
     While Deb had her faith to cling to, PP is such a difficult storm to weather. It seems bizarre that so few people know about this serious illness in Australia, and Deb saw this as a major problem. She wondered how women were supposed to get the support they needed to work through the pain of what has happened to them – the effects of which are felt for years to come.  An online community for those who had suffered from PP existed in the UK, and Deb decided to reach out to those in this community who were living in Australia and New Zealand to see if they’d be interested in forming a smaller, localised community. ‘Beyond PP’ was born.  Since it began in 2016, Beyond PP has been involved in raising awareness about this distressing condition. They are also active in connecting people with PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia) and their resources, which include checklists of symptoms, stories from those who have experienced PP, and a hotline for those who want to chat.  Most importantly, Beyond PP is about connecting women with each other. As Deb says, “The best healing comes when you have someone you can relate to, share your story with, and talk about the good, the bad and the ugly with.”     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Deb Vickers (centre) amongst 4 PANDA Community Champions, 2 BeyondPP Mums, 1 Politician raising awareness for Postnatal Psychosis at a PANDA fundraiser  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Deb is hopeful that Beyond PP is a safe space where women can share the highs and lows of their journey – from the strangely funny moments, to the grief of missing out on the first few months with newborns, to the difficult process of considering a second child after such a harrowing experience. She hopes that it will provide a united voice for the 600 women and their families who experience PP every year in Australia.  As Deb says, “Women are good at taking care of each other”, and Beyond PP is a place where women can do what they do best.  This year, Deb is participating in The Hub program at ADM. She will receive one-to-one mentoring, essential training and guidance to help develop Beyond PP. She is looking forward to seeing how God continues to use this community as an encouragement for women who have faced PP.             Read more about Deborah and how she is developing Beyond PP through the Hub program  ...    Find out more about    Postnatal Psychosis    through    PANDA    - Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia    PANDA supports women and their families who are suffering from antenatal and postnatal anxiety or depression. If you or someone you know is worried about feelings or emotions associated with becoming a new parent, please call PANDA’s Helpline on 1300 726 306 (9am – 7.30pm AEDT Monday-Friday).    If you'd like to connect with the Beyond PP community,    send them an email.

Comment

Sharing the Storm of Postnatal Psychosis

For Deborah Vickers, becoming a new mum was a deeply traumatic experience. Now she is supporting other women who have experienced postnatal psychosis through a unique community ...

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      Who was Mary Andrews?     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Deaconess Mary Andrews  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Mary Andrews College and ADM* stand on a legacy of inspiring women – one of whom is Mary Andrews herself. This courageous pioneer sets an example for women of faith today, writes Hayley Lukabyo.  God has used many faithful women to do great works in his name. One example is Mary Andrews. She lived out her faith by helping other women to flourish in Kingdom work, as well as ministering to and caring for the gospel-poor and the disadvantaged. Throughout her life, there was a verse that guided and inspired Mary – Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me .”  Living by faith in Jesus led her to serve in dangerous and challenging places; to become a champion for the marginalised; and to be a fearless Bible teacher.  Mary was born in 1915 in the small town of Cooma in NSW. Her father was a grazier, and her mother had always hoped to be a missionary. As her mother saw that it was God’s will for her to remain in Australia, she prayed that somebody else in her own family would become a missionary.  Mary became a Christian as a little girl. Reading through the Bible when she was 10 years old, she wept at the injustice of Jesus’ crucifixion and at the realisation that she shared responsibility for his death. This led her to pray for forgiveness and, in thankfulness, she committed her life to Jesus – a commitment that she honoured for the rest of her life.  As a teenager, Mary heard the voice of God say to her, “China, China, China”. In response, Mary said to God, “From this day, I yield the control of my life to you. I am willing to be obedient, even if it means going to China.” After she finished school, Mary trained at Gladesville Psychiatric Hospital and then studied at Sydney Missionary and Bible Training College. Afterwards, she studied at Deaconess House, beginning a long-lasting relationship with the institution.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Mary Andrews visiting a family in Erskineville  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Mary spent time working among the poor, the sick and those who had suffered great injustice. She fought hard against what she called the “powers of darkness” around her. This impulse to work selflessly for the gospel continued when Mary felt the call of God to mission work in China in 1937. Despite her fears of going to China on her own as the threat of World War II loomed, and the dangers and obstacles that she knew that she may face, Mary was convinced that to fulfil the will of God, she must go. She was comforted by the knowledge that she was   “in the centre of the circle and will of God”. Mary was sure that God had sent her to China to share her experience of God’s transcendent grace with the war-torn country, and that God would protect her and provide for her as she endeavoured to do his will. While in China, she taught Sunday school and English Bible classes, ran home evangelistic meetings and made hospital visits. She also taught at short-term Bible schools.  In 1944, as the war progressed, Mary escaped from China to India. There she continued her ministry and care for the disadvantaged by working at a children’s home and a home for destitute women and girls. She returned to China in 1947, but was forced to move back to Australia when the Chinese Community Party came to power. However, this did not lead to the death of her ministry in China. It continued to flourish in her absence, prompting a pastor from Beijing to tell Mary on her visit there in 1991, “It is good that you came back to see that the fruit of your work, and that of the other Christian missionaries, is still going on, in fact increasing.”     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Deaconess Mary Andrews & students at King Memorial Middle School in Shaohsing, China  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Mary served as the Principal of Deaconess House (which later became Mary Andrews College) from 1952 to 1975. In her time as Principal, Mary was devoted to helping women flourish with the gifts, and in the ministry contexts, that God had given them. A student wrote this about her experience with Mary at Deaconess House:   “My memory of Mary Andrews is that of a loving yet firm director in a very big house of women … She always seemed to be calm and joyful … Her focus in all things was on the Lord. ‘Whatever you do, in word and deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus …’. She used the practical parts of the epistles with real effect as she attempted to guide us and mould our Christian characters. [Mary] made it clear that her strength and help came from our Lord.”  Mary was a strong advocate for recognition and respect for women’s ministry. She said, “The more I studied the gospels, the more amazed I was by the way our Lord elevated women and entrusted them with the deepest truths, and gave Mary the privilege of telling Peter and his other disciples that he was risen.”  In speaking about her life, Mary said, “The measure of what you can do for the world will be simply what you let God do with yourself. With most of us, God can do so little because we are so little between his hands. That Jesus really wants me and needs me is the wonder and strength of my life. He has met my every need and in him I am fully satisfied.”  Mary died in 1996. She leaves behind for Mary Andrews College and ADM a powerful legacy of what it looks like to be a courageous Christian woman, unafraid to boldly answer the call of God to fight injustice and help women flourish in Kingdom work, regardless of the personal cost. She has inspired Christian women for generations to use their gifts to serve God’s Kingdom, and her story continues to do so today.            All quotes taken from Going it Alone, by Margaret Yarwood Lamb.     *   Mary Andrews College    is a ministry of Anglican Deaconess Ministries. The college was first established as Deaconess House in 1891. The aim of the college is to raise up women with theological formation for practical ministry. For more information about the history and purpose of Mary Andrews College, visit    www.mac.edu.au/about

Comment

Who was Mary Andrews?

Mary Andrews College and ADM stand on a legacy of inspiring women – one of whom is Mary Andrews herself. This courageous pioneer sets an example for women of faith today ...

Comment

      Meet ADM's New Chief of Operations       Anglican Deaconess Ministries is proud to continue our heritage of exceptional leadership with the appointment of Clare Steele as the new Chief of Operations (COO), as long-serving Director of Operations Ken Breakspear steps down from this role.     “I’m ready to pass on the primary responsibility for the operations baton to Clare and to the rest of our exceptional team at ADM,” says Ken, who will continue to work as Company Secretary part time. Noting the wealth of experience that Clare brings to the position, he says, “Clare’s engineering and systems/ project management experience is a great asset to ADM in ensuring things get done on time and within budget.”     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              ADM's new Chief of Operations, Clare Steele (left) and Ken Breakspear (right), who has stepped down from the role of Director of Operations.  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     Clare began her career as a consultant at Accenture and then moved into project management at Macquarie Bank. She has since worked as a project manager and team leader across a number of different industries. She holds a degree in mechatronics engineering and a Master of Divinity, and has worked in ministry alongside her husband, Matt, who now serves as Assistant Minister at St Alban’s, Five Dock. Clare first began at ADM in 2016 as Special Projects Officer, driving a major review of ADM’s IT systems. In this role she worked closely with Ken, especially when he served as Acting CEO from February to July 2017, during CEO Dr Kate Harrison Brennan’s maternity leave.  According to Clare, the generous mentoring Ken provided has helped prepare her to tackle the role of COO. She says, “Ken has taught me to ask questions – to evaluate the risks and the needs of each situation. He also continues to inspire me to be prayerful about my work, to understand that we are stewards of the resources that God has given ADM for future generations.”  Ken has played a pivotal role in ADM since he was appointed in 2005. He spearheaded the sale of Hope Healthcare to Hammondcare, a project involving three public hospitals with 400 staff and $30M in annual subsidy funding. In 2007 he became Company Secretary, supporting the ADM Board in the appointment of Dr Karin Sowada as the first CEO in 2009 and in the appointment of Dr Kate Harrison Brennan as CEO in 2015.  Ken reflects, “Looking back over the past 13 years and even further back in ADM's remarkable 127 years, I clearly see God's hand at work in the lives of so many servants of the Servant. The long life of our organisation is a blessing of the Lord, as it means that we have remained faithful to our core gospel beliefs while adapting to the contemporary context and fresh opportunities arising.”  Both Ken and Clare are excited about the plans that God has in store for the future. As Clare shares, “ADM is in an exciting phase of developing. I love the passion that the team has for seeing women come to know Jesus and then to flourish as they spend their lives serving him. I am looking forward to working with Kate and the ADM team, as we build the future of ADM and serve the women who interact with us in all our different programs.”

Comment

Meet ADM's New Chief of Operations

Anglican Deaconess Ministries is proud to continue our heritage of exceptional leadership with the appointment of Clare Steele as the new Chief of Operations (COO), as long-serving Director of Operations Ken Breakspear steps down from this role ...

Comment

      2017 Fellows Finish at ADM       It’s been an incredible journey for our first cohort of    Fellows   , with their time at ADM coming to an end on 31 January. We caught up with them in the final month of their fellowship to ask about the experience and the inspiring projects they have created.         Meredith Lake, 2017 ADM Senior Research Fellow   It is hard to believe my time as an ADM Senior Research Fellow is ending! The program has been a wonderful provision for me, all year, bringing joy to my work and enabling me to complete some big projects.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     In the last few months, it’s been a privilege to co-edit a special issue of the   St Mark’s Review  on the Bible in Australia (no. 240, July 2017) . It includes new findings from the National Church Life Survey, perspectives on the Bible in youth work and in cross-cultural theological education – as well as the text of the Commencement Lecture I delivered at St Mark’s National Theological College earlier in the year, outlining three reasons why the Bible has mattered to Australia.   It was great to visit Ridley College, Melbourne, to give the biennial Evangelical History Association lecture in September. I spoke on the Bible in 20th century Australia – taking up the question of secularisation and exploring the place of the Bible in the Arts. The  audio is available here  (the lecture begins at 14.10).  I’ve also had the joy (and relief) of finishing my major fellowship project – a book-length history of the Bible in Australia. In the last four months, I completed the full manuscript, worked through revisions, collaborated with an editor to polish the text, consulted on a cover design and checked the final page proofs.  The book,   The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History ,  will be published by NewSouth Books (UNSW Press) in April 2018. I’m really excited to be offering Australian readers the first general interpretation of the Bible and its complex place in our social and cultural fabric. It’s a surprising story – with a great cast of characters from convicts to suffragists to Indigenous activists!        Jo Chew, 2017 ADM Creative Fellow      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     For the last part of my fellowship, I have been focusing on the second group of paintings following on from my June exhibition ‘Numbering Stars’.  Rudimentary, temporary and primitive shelters are central features of many of the new works. These refer to our mortal ‘dwelling’, our contingent connection to the earth and those around us and our desire for refuge and shelter – particularly in the knowledge of our vulnerability.   Elements from nature taken from photographs and paintings surround the shelters, representative of the larger and ongoing story that we exist within.  I have continued to compose my works through collage and with visual links to stage sets, arising from a knowledge that fiction can communicate truth, that we are players in a great play and that, although flimsy and frail, we are being built and brought together into something unified and complete.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Alongside working at the ADM office, I have used some of my fellowship funds to access a great studio space in Rozelle for the past few months. This has provided a wonderful space to work on the paintings and to see them evolve alongside each other. It’s also been beneficial to connect with other artists, providing valuable support, feedback and exchange of ideas.   I have continued to use the time made available to me through this fellowship to read books and essays relating to the creative arts from a Christian perspective. I have found it particularly helpful to discover thinkers, writers, artists and teachers who are championing the importance of art – both for Christians to be encouraged as contributors and makers, and for the church to understand the value of engaging with modern and contemporary art (even when it’s difficult or seems challenging to our beliefs).  From this research, I have been writing short articles, referring to personal stories and anecdotes. One of these articles will be published in  Eternity ’s February edition, with the potential for a follow-up article. Prior to this fellowship, I had never considered writing for publication – evidently the  Engage  workshops and the mentoring from ADM’s  Visiting Fellow  had a positive impact!      Louise Gosbell, 2017 ADM Senior Research Fellow   Being an ADM Fellow was not only incredibly rewarding for me, but also gave me the opportunity to meet many new people and bring them into contact with the work I am currently doing in relation to disability and faith.  While my original plan had been to use 2017 to complete a research project on people with disability in the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, getting ethics approval for this project proved to be a more difficult process than anticipated. This has led to some delay with regard to the research for this project. However, through building new contacts with the Centre for Disability Studies at Sydney University and Anglican Aid, I am still hoping to be able to complete this research in the near future.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     I used the greater part of my fellowship time to work on my other proposed output, which was a disability manual designed for distribution throughout churches. This manual is almost complete. I am currently circulating it among a range of reviewers to check the content and offer feedback.  In addition to this, I was also able to complete a number of other significant tasks during my fellowship. Firstly, I completed the work on the final form of my PhD thesis in order to make it ready for publication as a monograph. The book, titled   The Poor, the Crippled, the Blind and the Lame': Physical and Sensory Disability in the Gospels of the New Testament   ,  will be published with Mohr Siebeck and will be available in early 2018.  I have also almost completed a book proposal for a second book I am hoping to write on the role of the senses, and sensory disability, in the Johannine literature. I was able to spend the last few months of my fellowship beginning research on this new project.  I also had the opportunity in January 2018, in conjunction with winning a  DAAD  scholarship at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal, to present some of my initial findings at two separate academic seminars in Germany, and through this to continue building my international research links.  Lastly, the workshops and seminars we participated in as part of the ADM Fellowship also encouraged me to start writing some more ‘popular’ pieces of writing. This was one of the things I noted in my original application as an area that I was interested in developing. The most successful piece I wrote in 2017,  on disability and the body of Christ , was published in  Insight  magazine.      Alix Beeston, ADM Senior Research Fellow    Alix finished her ADM Fellowship a few months early in order to    take up an academic position at Cardiff University   . She reflects on the last couple of months:      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     My dream job is panning out to be as great as anticipated. The English faculty at Cardiff University have been very welcoming and kind, giving me the first few months off teaching so I could finish off the various research projects I’d started at ADM.  Most significantly, I’ve been finalising the last details on  my book , which was published at the start of January. It was fantastic to flip through the advance copy of the book for the first time – as well as to see the book on the Oxford University Press stall at a big literary studies conference in New York City!  My husband Dave and I are settling in to Cardiff well, though we are missing our friends and families in Australia quite a lot – not to mention the Sydney summer. But I'm very grateful for Dave’s support, and we both feel certain that this is where God wants us, at least for now.  At the time of writing, I’ve just finished writing my first lecture for my undergraduate course this semester, and I'm really looking forward to meeting the students later this week. I'm also looking forward to launching a new project on Instagram in late February, which I started writing in the lovely Fellows’ office at ADM last year;  you can follow along here  if you like.      We’ll be continuing to pray for all our 2017 ADM Fellows, as well as eagerly following their work. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next!              Learn more about the ADM Fellowships Program

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2017 Fellows Finish at ADM

It’s been an incredible journey for our first cohort of Fellows, with their time at ADM coming to an end on 31 January. We caught up with them in the final month of their fellowship to ask about the experience and the inspiring projects they have created...

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      Building A Safe & Strong Marriage in 2018        ADM's brand-new marriage course ­– Building A Safe & Strong Marriage – will be launched in 2018, created by our Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute. Co-Directors of the MH&PCI, Keith and Sarah Condie, give a sneak peek into this home-grown course, which combines strong biblical content with significant insights from marriage research.              

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       Why did you develop the marriage course?    We believe, both from our experience and from others approaching us, that there is a real need for such a course.  As we set out to design the course, our focus was particularly upon youngish couples. There just did not seem to be many resources to assist couples who wanted to strengthen their relationships. We had seen a number of marriages end and other couples struggling in their relationships. We continued to develop the material over many years.  As we get set to publish the course next year, we hope it will help couples to establish healthy patterns of relating, particularly in the early stages of marriage.       Who is the course designed for?    The course is for couples of any age or stage of marriage who experience the usual ups and downs in their relationship. It is not a substitute for professional counselling where serious difficulties exist. It is also not suitable when domestic abuse is present in a relationship – such couples need professional assistance.        

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


       How does it differ to other marriage courses ?   The course is a home-grown Australian product. It stands out from other courses by combining strong biblical content with significant insights from marriage research. The sessions include input from us (Keith & Sarah Condie), interviews with a number of couples on a range of relevant topics, some role plays using professional actors, and activities for couples to work through together.     When and how will it be released?    We hope to launch the course in the first half of 2018, after running a few trials early in the year. It is designed to be user-friendly and easy to run in a variety of contexts – in a large setting with numerous couples; in a home with a small group of couples; or even just one couple working through the course in their own home. It will be available as a DVD or online resource. There will a facilitators’ guide and a workbook for participants.       What do you hope that participants will get out of the course?    The title of this course was carefully chosen. We hope each couple completing the course will come away with the sense that their marriage is stronger and healthier. We hope the information and activities in the course will draw a couple closer to each other in a way that enables them to feel safe, to share openly and honestly, and to support each other through the challenges of life that we all face. Ultimately, we hope the legacy of the course will extend beyond the participants and bring blessing to all who are influenced by these safe and strong marriages.   

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Building A Safe & Strong Marriage in 2018

ADM's brand-new marriage course ­– Building A Safe & Strong Marriage – will be launched in 2018, created by our Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute. Co-Directors of the MH&PCI, Keith and Sarah Condie, give a sneak peek into this home-grown course, which combines strong biblical content with significant insights from marriage research.

3 Comments

      Advent: A Beautiful Interruption        ADM's CEO Dr Kate Harrison Brennan launched Common Grace's Advent series with a reflection on Christ interrupting our world in a beautiful, political and dramatic way.     Today's reading is    Micah 4:1-7    As we enter into the season of Advent, we begin to follow, anew, the life of Christ the King, and enter into his political drama. And so we find that the whole earth, and everything in it (from the earthly kings and cities, to neighbours and enemies), have been re-cast.  For many of us, the words of Micah 4:1-7 will be well known, resonating within our cultural imagination. For me, they will always be inscribed on the wall of the Peace Memorial, on the United Nations plaza, that I saw on a trip to New York when I was an undergraduate at law school. The memorial bears the words, found also in Isaiah 2: ‘They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.’  These words stayed with me (for much of the time, as a postcard on my desk), as I studied international development in Sierra Leone, conducted my PhD research in Ethiopia, close to the border war with Eritrea, and returned to work in New York, directing communications for the Australian Consulate-General.  They are the words of the Lord that came to Isaiah, and to Micah in the 8th century BC: two prophets who hoped and hungered for God to act, and received a vision from the Lord of the future. During the earthly reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah (the kings of Judah), Micah received a vision of the coming of the King. The word of the Lord that Micah received was announced in this way: ‘Hear you peoples, all of you, listen, earth and all who live in it’ (1:2).  But could Micah have ever imagined that the vision he and Isaiah received would one day be inscribed on a wall, thousands of years later, and thousands of miles away?  While almost certainly unimagined by the prophets themselves, the inscription and dramatic, political challenge that it poses is in-keeping with what was core to Israel’s longing. The passage not only physically confronts the buildings of the United Nations across the plaza and challenges its power, but it also confronts our frustrations with the way things are. Nations are lifting up sword against nation, and war still schools us, even the children amongst us. When this is the reality, can we affirm common grace, whilst actively waiting for God to act?  The fact that the inscription marks the perimeter of such a tiny parcel of land, that was later named in honour of Ralph Bunche, the first African American to win the Nobel Peace, is a physical reminder of the dent that the gospel and our Christian witness has made on society, and on the laws of the nations. We have international law and covenants, for example, only because earthly rulers recognised that there seemed to be a law that was “above” any individual nation. And the United States had a civil rights movement, in large part, because of the Christian commitments of its activists.  As a “foothold,” the tiny parcel of land in New York, and the scriptural oracle it bears, symbolises the gospel as a challenger within the walls of earthly power. This is the opening to a political drama that breaks into our lives, recasts us all, and throws into relief the status quo.  As citizens of the city of God, we find ourselves, affirming common grace but hoping and hungering for God to act – for Christ to come again. This drama interrupts our world but it is also for our world. This is the unexpected beauty of Christ the King that we allow to be rebirthed in our heart during Advent.   First published on    Common Grace

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Advent: A Beautiful Interruption

ADM's CEO Dr Kate Harrison Brennan launched Common Grace's Advent series with a reflection on Christ interrupting our world in a beautiful, political and dramatic way.
 

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      ADM hosts Walk with Me (Mercy & Justice in Action) Workshop      The inspiring Walk with Me (Mercy & Justice In Action) workshop at ADM on 28 November 2017 explored the challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.   Special guest speaker Andrea Mason – 2017 NT Australian of the Year and 2016 Telstra Australian Businesswoman of the Year – shared about her experiences as an Aboriginal Christian leader and gave insight into the challenges facing Aboriginal women in remote areas. As Chief Executive Officer of Ngaanyatjarrra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC), Andrea spoke about the council’s successful work to break the cycle of domestic violence and other challenges in remote communities.  During an interactive Q&A panel session, Sharon Minniecon (Scarred Tree Indigenous Ministries, Glebe) and Kayleen Manton (Mt Druitt Indigenous Church) shared about ministry among their Aboriginal communities in greater Sydney.  Many attendees came with questions for the panel, and took the opportunity to listen and learn about how non-Indigenous Christians can better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.       

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Left to right: Margo Leach (ADM's Director of Mercy & Justice Ministries), Sharon Minniecon (Scarred Tree Indigenous Ministries, Glebe), Andrea Mason (Chief Executive Officer of Ngaanyatjarrra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council), Kayleen Manton (Mt Druitt Indigenous Church) and Kate Harrison Brennan (ADM CEO)  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


      

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Left to right: Andrea Mason, Kayleen Manton and Sharon Minniecon

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ADM Hosts Walk with Me (Mercy & Justice in Action) Workshop

The inspiring Walk with Me (Mercy & Justice In Action) workshop at ADM on 28 November 2017 explored the challenges facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women. 

Special guest speaker Andrea Mason – 2017 NT Australian of the Year and 2016 Telstra Australian Businesswoman of the Year – shared about her experiences as an Aboriginal Christian leader and gave insight into the challenges facing Aboriginal women in remote areas. As Chief Executive Officer of Ngaanyatjarrra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women’s Council (NPYWC), Andrea spoke about the council’s successful work to break the cycle of domestic violence and other challenges in remote communities.

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      ADM Hosts Master Trainer Workshop for Aboriginal Women     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     ADM was privileged to host 13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women for a two-day Master Trainer Workshop on understanding the Aboriginal experience of loss, grief and trauma, on 18–19 November 2017.  Christian Aboriginal women from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria came together to be trained by clinical counsellor Keren Masters (from Perth) and artist Ngardarb Francine Riches (from Melbourne).  The participants learned how to deliver a program that will enable Aboriginal women to understand their historical and personal losses, learn about psychological and emotional responses to those losses, and to develop healthy coping strategies for managing loss and grief. The program is grounded in a biblical framework for understanding loss and grief, and the joy of healing found in Christ.  The participants, who have been trained in pairs, will now deliver the program in their own communities across Queensland, NSW and Victoria in the first half of 2018. There was much enthusiasm and excitement for the difference the training might make in their home communities. Several of the women shared how the training had already been significant in helping to understand their own experiences of grief and trauma. By the end of the workshop, all participants expressed greater confidence to deliver a workshop in their communities.  The weekend was a wonderful time of making new connections, or reconnecting for some, with many of the participants linked through kinship or church fellowship ties. There was a celebration of the numerous First Nations represented. There was deep encouragement in coming together as Aboriginal women with a sense of shared purpose and mutual support. There was joy in depending on God for the task ahead of bringing his healing to Aboriginal women and their families. Aboriginal Evangelical Fellowship (AEF) Women’s Fellowship and Anglican Deaconess Ministries (ADM) partnered together to design and implement a Loss, Grief and Trauma Care Pilot Project for Aboriginal Women, titled ‘ Our Story: Finding Hope Beyond Grief’ . The 11-month pilot project is now halfway through implementation.  It is a privilege and blessing for ADM, through our Mercy & Justice Ministries, to walk in partnership with our Aboriginal sisters in Christ.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


     Click  here  for more information about the Loss, Grief and Trauma Care Pilot Project for Aboriginal Women.               

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ADM Hosts Master Trainer Workshop for Aboriginal Women

ADM was privileged to host 13 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women for a two-day Master Trainer Workshop on understanding the Aboriginal experience of loss, grief and trauma, on 18–19 November 2017.

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      Take a Tour with the Queen of Pop: Alissa Wilkinson       ADM’s 2017 Visiting Fellow – New York writer, critic and scholar Alissa Wilkinson – led hundreds of people through the labyrinth of pop culture during a week of events from 9–14 October 2017. Read on to find out more about these events, described by attendees as “stimulating, engaging, urgent and thoughtful” …    Hundreds of people came together to hear 2017 ADM Visiting Fellow Alissa Wilkinson share her expertise on the relationship between faith and culture during a series of events in October. Around 300 people attended events from 9–14 October, including the ADM Annual Public Lecture, with countless more reached through Alissa’s media appearances on  The Drum ,  The Minefield  on Radio National and in  Eternity news . ADM was excited by the large amount of positive feedback we received from those who found Alissa’s insights into contemporary culture to be both insightful and challenging.  Alissa is a staff writer and critic at  Vox , where she covers film, culture and, sometimes, religion. Alissa is also Associate Professor of English and Humanities at The King's College in New York City, where she teaches courses on criticism and cultural theory. Until September 2016, Alissa was the critic at large at   Christianity Today   and regularly contributed to a number of publications, including   Rolling Stone  ,   Vulture ,   RogerEbert.com ,   Pacific Standard  ,   The Washington Post  ,   The Atlantic  ,   The Los Angeles Review of Books   and   Books & Culture  . Her book,  How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, and Politics at the End of the World , co-written with Robert Joustra, was published by Eerdmans in May 2016.  At the Annual Public Lecture on 12 October, Alissa tackled the topic ‘Why pop culture is obsessed with religion’, exploring the sudden re-emergence of religion as a prominent theme in film and television. She took the audience of 160 people on a tour through contemporary pop culture, uncovering the religious questions at the heart of movies and TV shows. The lecture, chaired by ADM Senior Research Fellow Alix Beeston, was thought-provoking and challenging. One attendee described it as “a unique chance to think about my faith and the wider culture”. Another noted how the event left them excited “to see deep Christian thought become more a part of our cultural landscape”.  The lecture was held at St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, and Dean Kanishka Raffel had this to say on the topic: "Though the place of Christianity in Western culture is contested, it would be a very big mistake to conclude that questions of identity, meaning, transcendence, and even the afterlife have faded from popular interest or imagination. On the contrary, those unfamiliar with the contours of the Christian story, are surprisingly open to exploring those vistas, especially in the company of wise and compassionate guides.”  On 10 October, a crowd of 80 people gathered at ADM for a unique panel event.   Alissa Wilkinson  joined with other leading Christian thinkers and creatives for an in-depth conversation about re-imagining Christian public engagement. The panel included  Michael Jensen  (Rector, St Mark’s Darling Point), Scott Stephens (Editor, ABC Religion & Ethics) and Jenny Ihn (Artist). At the event, participants were also treated to a poetry reading by Lachlan Brown. One audience member commented: “It was an excellent attempt to bridge culture, as a first step to understanding how and where we find presently find ourselves … I thought the panel discussion was … superb.” Another attendee had this to say: “What a fantastic event! Stimulating, engaging, urgent, thoughtful. Hearing from a range of culture makers, commentators, critics was fantastic. A well-moderated panel which left my head spinning (in a good way).”  There were 25 happy participants at the inspiring Engage masterclass with Alissa at the ADM offices on 14 October on the topic: ‘How to write so anyone can read it’. Alissa also covered the process for pitching media pieces and offered a number of insider tips. ADM was proud to offer valuable professional development to all the women who attended, and we can’t wait to read their writing ‘in print’ soon. It was a brilliant opportunity for writers to chat and network with other women and to hear from an experienced writer like Alissa. One of the women described Alissa as “amazingly helpful – very practical and down to earth”.  Alissa also gave a public masterclass to 26 people based on her recent book with Rob Joustra,  How to Survive the Apocalypse: Zombies, Cylons, and Politics at the End of the World  (published by Eerdmans in May 2016). The masterclass helped attendees to get a sense of how popular culture’s current fascination with the apocalypse fits into the larger history of apocalyptic stories, and to gain a better understanding of Charles Taylor's framework for understanding our age and what it says to Christians about living faithfully today.  Alissa also found time to visit Abbotsleigh school and address Year 11 students on the topic of ‘Utopia, dystopia and the link with Christian faith’. The Q&A time went for over 90 minutes, with many engaging questions from the students.       Watch Alissa's public lecture below:               For more about the ADM Fellows program,  click here.   Want to hear more from Alissa? Follow these links to see her appearance on  The Drum ,  The Minefield  and in  Eternity news .

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Take a Tour with the Queen of Pop: Alissa Wilkinson

ADM’s 2017 Visiting Fellow – New York writer, critic and scholar Alissa Wilkinson – led hundreds of people through the labyrinth of pop culture during a week of events from 9–14 October 2017. Read on to find out more about these events, described by attendees as “stimulating, engaging, urgent and thoughtful” …

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      Seeing Women Flourish in 2017       "Unlike the way of the world, which pits women against one another, when we as Christians see other women helped to steward God’s grace to them, we are all the better for it as God’s gospel is advanced and he is glorified..."   As we come to the end of 2017 and reflect on what God is doing through the work of ADM, we thought you might like to hear a summary from our CEO of how ADM's ministries and programs have helped women to flourish in Kingdom work this past year.  Download a pdf to read more from ADM's CEO Dr Kate Harrison Brennan's address at our 2017 AGM.     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          

         
      
       
    

  


    
 
	 Download pdf

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Seeing Women Flourish in 2017

As we come to the end of 2017 and reflect on what God is doing through the work of ADM, we thought you might like to hear a summary from our CEO of how ADM's ministries and programs have helped women to flourish in Kingdom work this past year...

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      ADM Supports New Domestic Violence Shelter in Vanuatu     

  

    
       
      
         
          
             
                  
             
          

          
           
              Celebrations as construction begins on the Women's Safe House and Care Centre  
           
          

         
      
       
    

  


     In March 2015 Cyclone Pam, the most powerful cyclone ever to hit the Pacific, tore through Vanuatu. In the wake of this disaster, ADM gave $50,000 to Anglican Aid's Emergency Appeal (which equated to almost half of all funds donated).   ADM is thrilled to see these funds now being used to construct the first domestic violence shelter in Santo, Vanuatu, in partnership with the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Diocese of Vanuatu. The Women's Safe House and Care Centre will provide a safe space for women fleeing domestic and family violence. Tragically, domestic violence is a significant issue for the women of Vanuatu, with 70% of women and girls in the Pacific experiencing rape or sexual violence in their lifetime.    The women who are welcomed into the Women's Safe House and Care Centre will be loved and cared for by Sister Phyllis and her team, who also run the only domestic violence shelter in the Solomon Islands. Women will be provided with safe accommodation, counselling, appropriate health care and income-generating skills to provide for themselves and their families.    Please join with us in praying for the construction of the centre, for those who will serve and work there, and for the women who will seek shelter there.   To read more about the project, or to contribute to it financially, please visit  Anglican Aid's website .

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ADM Supports New Domestic Violence Shelter in Vanuatu

In the wake of the Cyclone Pam disaster, ADM gave $50,000 to Anglican Aid's Emergency Appeal (which equated to almost half of all funds donated). 

ADM is thrilled to see these funds now being used to construct the first domestic violence shelter in Santo, Vanuatu, in partnership with the Anglican Church of Melanesia, Diocese of Vanuatu.

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