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Letter from Australia 16 – Chinese Presbyterians and a Community Church on the Sunshine Coast

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Smoke seen from our flat..

Thanks for all your prayers and inquiries about the bushfires here.  Monday and Tuesday were somewhat surreal days.  As I flew down from the beautiful Sunshine Coast on Monday evening it was an awesome sight to see the sky to the West red with fire as Queensland burned.  On Tuesday our daughter and her family were evacuated from their home in the Blue Mountains to stay with us – although they returned on Tuesday it was a worrying time.  At one point there were over 90 fires in New South Wales.  And this is only the beginning of the fire season.

Letter from Australia 15 – Australia’s Burning

The Churches Baptismal Pool!

I was up on the Sunshine Coast for a meeting about Christian media…one which was based in The Good Life Church.  This church has a remarkable community outreach and vision – it has a quality cafe, swimming pool and a wonderful community arts programme.  It is certainly a different way of doing outreach..

I was impressed with the facilities, the vision and the professionalism.  Providing the Gospel is being preached and practiced it seems to me that this is a great way to reach out.



The art project on display. 

Chinese Presbyterians

But this has really been a week of the Chinese Presbyterians.  On Sunday I preached at Gracepoint Presbyterian Church, Sydney,  where Eugene Hor and Elliot Ku are doing a remarkable work.  I spoke to the 4pm service which largely consists of young people.  I was so tired and quite discouraged – but the over two-hour service was invigorating and refreshing.  They remind me so much of our students in St Peters – enthusiastic and hungry for more.

Then during the week I visited Cornerstone Presbyterian Church in Eastwood Sydney.  The minister CS Tang is one of the most remarkable pastors I have met – it was a hugely encouraging time with CS and Mark Powell, another of the pastors – and an excellent writer (see his articles in the Australian Spectator).

Annabel and our new Chinese family

Cornerstone was a church plant from Surry Hills Chinese Presbyterian Church  We had a lovely meal at Balmoral beach with a couple of elders from that Church – whose knowledge of Presbyterianism and the Church situation in Australia was illuminating.  Thanks to Keith and Wendy and Andrew for their stimulating fellowship and encouragement.

Then to cap the Chinese theme – an elderly Chinese man was baptised this morning at St Thomas’s with a good number of his relatives in attendance.  This evening we were at another large Anglican church which is seeing so many Chinese coming that they now give out Chinese bibles and have translation into Mandarin at one of their morning services.

I hope it’s not being racist when I say that I love being with the Chinese Christians more than any other group.  Maybe it’s just the ones I have met – but I find the enthusiasm, intelligence and love for the Lord infectious and stimulating.  I guess I am also fascinated by Chinese culture.  I met a Chinese Malayasian lady this morning – and as we chatted about KL and Malaysian food, I was reminded of our beautiful Malaysian students in St Peters.

I never tire of the fact that whilst others often talk about diversity and multiculturalism, the church practices it!  This morning on door duty I spoke to people from China, India, Malaysia, Fiji, Ireland, Scotland, England, the US and Australia.   We even spoke to an 88 year old Australian midwife from Berneray  – but that’s a story for another day!

Rev. 7:9    After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.10 And they cried out in a loud voice:

“Salvation belongs to our God,

who sits on the throne,

and to the Lamb.”

I hope the Lord has granted you a wonderful Lord’s Day…!  And may his blessing be upon you this coming week,

Yours in Christ,




  1. Some years ago in Singapore I met an ethnic Chinese Presbyterian, a citizen of that city – state, who unthinkingly averred that he was “now a Christian and no longer Chinese”.

    What he meant , of course, was that his ancient racial belief system had been altered – but not by very much as it turned out because he invited my wife and me to his house for a Chinese New Year celebration.

  2. A large part of the revival in Australian Presbyterian churches, apart from our return to our confessional heritage, has been the influx of people from overseas, usually, though not always, with a Presbyterian/Reformed background.

    I attend such a church in Melbourne with around 50-60 persons, though in truth the number keeps growing, so many different nationalities. Those of us of British heritage are in a minority. Our pastor is from the island of Mauritius, we have two converts from Islam, others from South Sudan, India, Pakistan, South Africa, Switzerland, Philippines, and may be some others. A real mix, but all one in Christ, a little forecast of heaven where our joy will be made complete.

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