IN THE STEPS OF FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Tomorrow, Sunday, my local church, the Aspley Uniting Church, at which I have been an Elder for 63 active years, celebrates ACTS SUNDAY, as we do every year at this time.

ACTS is the community service arm of our small Church which has about 100 regulars attenders.

Obviously named after the New Testament book, ACTS is an abbreviation of ASPLEY CARING THROUGH SERVICE.

It’s purpose is make direct cash grants to people in strife, especially those who are not members of our Church and live far beyond Aspley. We achieve this through a network of friends, usually Members of Parliament or Ministers of Religion, who let us know of people facing tough times and have little hope of receiving government aid.

For the last two years, we have made grants totaling 75000 dollars each year. The funds are donated to ACTS by our church members over and above our usual Sunday offerings, plus friends of members who want to identify with what we do. Gifts are tax deductible as we have legally established ACTS as a public charity.

We take pride in the fact that all of our ACTS team are unpaid volunteers. Our only expenses are the annual fees to our auditors.

On Sunday, when I report to the congregation on our work (especially mentioning 29 grants of 1000 dollars direct to bank accounts of flood victims this year and 35 grants of 1000 dollars to people hit by bush fires last year), I will talk about the man who is our role model.

SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI

Francis was born into a wealthy family in Assisi one thousand years ago and lead a very happy social life in the days of his youth. This changed when on separate occasions he was significantly confronted by a beggar and a leper seeking alms.

To cut a long story short, he renounced all claims to his family wealth and went to live for the remainder of his short life with the poor and the sick, begging for alms in the same manner as they did, wearing the most shabby clothing, and sleeping with them in the streets.

Eventually, he founded an Order of Franciscan monks who spent their lives caring for beggars and lepers. The Order exists to this day in many nations.

Frances, on many occasions, told people that, while making regular gifts to the poor and the sick is an essential element in the life of a Christian, we cannot possibly know what their existence actually is in reality until we choose to live the same life.

Few of us, and particularly me, will deliberately choose to live in poverty, but we can come to a realisation that no matter how generously we give to people in need, we are only ‘dancing around the edge of the fire’. Even though our actions help, we can always do better.

Francis died a young man. Only in his mid forties. The toll of his spartan life caught up with his huge huge personal commitment to humanity.

So it is. At the Aspley Uniting Church, we intend to do better every year by extending the size and outreach of our work and identifying more closely with the pain of those we try to help.

Huge challenges lie ahead of us in facing crises in the areas of domestic violence, elder abuse, homelessness, poverty, mental illness etc.

We intend to give it our best shot.

Listen in to our Church Services on ACTS Sunday tomorrow, 19 June, on https://aspleyuc.org.au at 8.30am or 10.15am or any time later on live streaming.

If you would like to get involved with ACTS, we will welcome your contact on https://aspleyacts.org.au

If you buy any of my signed and personalised books, ACTS gets 5 dollars from the royalties of each book sold, Go to https://everaldcompton.com & click on Books.

Choose from (or buy all three)

THE MAN ON THE TWENTY DOLLAR NOTES

DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS

A BEAUTIFUL SUNSET

Our world is a great place when we work together to make it progressively better for everyone.

Let me close with a few words from a famous hymn written in honour of Francis of Assisi.

‘Make me a channel of your peace. Where there is despair in life, let me bring hope.’

Everald

Voluntary Assisted Dying. Crunch time at Queensland Parliament.

Last year, the Queensland Parliament voted to authorise its Health Committee to hold public hearings throughout Queensland to assess public attitudes to Voluntary Assisted Dying and Palliative Care. They did an extraordinary job of holding hearings far and wide across the State and encouraging all opinions to be expressed.

I spoke at one of the hearings and it was evident that there was huge support for Queenslanders to have the right to choose to end their lives peacefully and in comfort when faced with an incurable illness. It was also clear that people felt that palliative care services were not adequate and were not an alternate to Voluntary Assisted Dying as many people will choose both. People who attended other hearings gained the same impression as I did. Continue reading “Voluntary Assisted Dying. Crunch time at Queensland Parliament.”

Future of Marriage

I voted YES because I do not believe that heterosexuals like me are finer human beings than homosexuals, nor are we entitled to any special privileges.

So, I cheered mightily when YES won decisively and have now set out to play my part in healing the deep rifts in society caused by having a totally unnecessary Survey when Parliament had the power, but not the guts, to pass legislation without it. As a result, we have experienced an awfully vindictive and divisive time in the life of Australia as a nation that has destroyed goodwill.

Sadly, I note in the social media that some ‘Christians’ have stated that the institution of marriage has now been trashed to the extent that it has absolutely no value for humanity. They intend to get divorced, but still live together, so they are not ‘shamed’ by being married in the same manner as gays.

My only observation on the plight of these sad people is that in October next year, Helen and I will celebrate the 60th Anniversary of our wedding and we can confidently say that, while the piece of paper we signed on our wedding day has had nothing whatsoever to do with us living happily together for 60 years, it is a treasured document that we are not going to tear up. Continue reading “Future of Marriage”