Comunidade Nova Aliança (New Alliance Community)

COMUNIDADE NOVA ALIANÇA (CNA) TIMELINE

1983 (March 31):  Eduardo Ramos was born in Governador Valadares, MG, Brazil.

1985 (March 26):  Debora Oliveira was born in Brasília, DF, Brazil.

1986 (July 21):  Jonathan Bolkenhagen was born in Planalto, RGS, Brazil.

2001:  Eduardo Ramos moved to Australia with his parents.

2002:  Debora Oliveira moved to Australia with her parents.

2002:  Eduardo Ramos and Debora Oliveira met at the Brazilian church “Assembleia de Deus na Australia Church” (Assemblies of God in Australia)

2003:  Eduardo Ramos and Debora Oliveira left “Assembleia de Deus na Australia Church” and joined another Brazilian church called “Assembleia de Deus na Australia Ministério Aguia.” This Brazilian church was located at Petersham Assemblies of God Church.

2006 (December):  Brazilian pastor of “Assembleia de Deus na Australia Ministério Aguia” church moved to Queensland and left the church leaderless.

2007 (January):  Pastor Barry Saar (Senior Minister at Petersham Assemblies of God Church) invited Eduardo Ramos to take over the Brazilian church.

2007 (February):  Eduardo Ramos and Debora Oliveira founded CNA. Eduardo became its Pastor.

2007 (February):  Eduardo Ramos and Debora Oliveira married.

2007-2008:  Pastor Barry Saar played the role of senior Pastor of CNA and mentor for Eduardo and Debora while the couple studied at Alphacrucis College (a Christian tertiary college and official ministry training college of Australian Christian Churches, formerly the Assemblies of God in Australia).

2008:  The first church camping trip took place over Easter.

2009 (March):  Pastor Eduardo Ramos was ordained by the Australian Christian Churches (ACC) and became Senior Pastor of CNA church.

2007 (October):  Brazilian student Jonathan Bolkenhagen arrived in Australia and joined CNA.

2012 (May 22):  Jonathan Bolkenhagen graduated from Alphacrucis College.

2012 (June 21):  Pastor Eduardo Ramos was fully ordained Minister of ACC.

2012 (November 22-25):  The first CNA conference was held. Pastor Vinicius Zulato of Lagoinha Church in Brazil was a special guest.

2012:  After the conference, Pastor Zulato taught a mini-course on Theology to CNA Pastors to strengthen their theological foundations.

2013:  Congregation members moved to Adelaide and Canberra and opened CNA connect groups in each city.

2016 (August 27):  CNA Canberra held its first service.

2016:  Jonathan Bolkenhagen was ordained as pastor at CNA.

FOUNDER/GROUP HISTORY

Eduardo Ramos [Image at right] arrived in Australia in 2001, when he was an eighteen year-old.IMG_3041Debora Oliveira arrived in 2002,  when she was 16 years old. In Brazil they used to be members of Baptist churches. After they arrived in Sydney they joined and met each other at the only existing Brazilian church at the time: the Pentecostal church Assembleia de Deus na Australia Church (Assemblies of God in Australia), later renamed Igreja Avivamento Mundial (World Revival Church) (Rocha 2006). However, a year later, in 2003, the couple and a few others in the congregation left this church to join a new Brazilian church located in the premises of the Petersham Assemblies of God Church. They stayed in this new church called Assembleia de Deus na Australia Ministério Aguia until December 2006, when the Brazilian pastor moved to Queensland and left the church leaderless.

As a result, in January of 2007 Pastor Barry Saar, the Senior Minister at Petersham Assemblies of God Church, asked the congregation to nominate someone to be trained as a Pastor to lead the church. The congregation chose Eduardo Ramos as their new Pastor. In February of 2007, Eduardo and Debora married and founded CNA. They agreed that Pastor Saar would mentor them while they studied at Alphacrucis College (a Christian tertiary college and official ministry training college of Australian Christian Churches). They were very young when they started the church (he was twenty-three and she was twenty-one); so in the first years they depended on Pastor Saar for almost everything (e.g., CNA’s theological foundations and constitution, directions on how to support congregation members and how to function as a church).

Eduardo and Debora thought their previous church was too conservative. This was so because it catered to the older generation of working class Brazilians who had arrived in Australia as part of a first wave of Brazilian migration (1970s-1990s). They wanted a less traditional church that would cater for the second wave of migration (late-1990s to present). This wave comprised of a growing number of young middle-class students who go to Australia to study English and possible migration (Rocha 2006, 2013, 2017). Eduardo and Debora envisioned a church where people could be free to dress informally, play worship music, [Image at right] and not stick too CNA3strictly to a denomination so that they could be welcoming of young Brazilians from all walks of life. They also wanted a church heavily focused on supporting this new cohort of Brazilians arriving in Australia, as they arrived without their immediate family and were very young.

Presently, the average age of congregation is twenty-five to thirty-five, and there are around ninety active members.However, because they are students in Australia, there is a high turnover in the congregation, with many arriving and others returning to the homeland. Many of them were not religious in Brazil and sought the church for emotional, social and financial support, and as a place to meet other Brazilians in the diaspora.

In 2016, another Brazilian member, Jonathan Bolkenhagen, [Image at right]  was ordained pastor at CNA after graduating from CNA4Alphacrucis College. In the same year Jonathan Bolkenhagen started commuting to Canberra to run a new branch of the church in the nation’s capital. This branch also caters for the Brazilian community there, but the congregation is a little older and comprised of families who have become Australian citizens. There are around thirty members in the Canberra congregation.

The church name can be explained in two parts: “New Alliance” refers to the alliance Jesus made at the cross with God. “Community” was chosen because the church is not representing any denomination in particular, although they are affiliated to the Australian Christian churches (former Assembly of God is Australia). The founders wanted to send a message that they accepted people from all denominations. In sum, they wanted to signal to this relationship with God and that they wanted to be a family (“community”) to followers. The church’s motto is: “a simple, happy, and transparent church.”

CNA uses the facilities of the Petersham Assemblies of God Church. Services are on Sunday evenings (as it is usual in Brazil), and therefore they do not clash with the regular English-language services on Sunday morning. CNA also has an office behind the church and is supported by Pastor Saar and his church.

Nevertheless, the founders have not circumscribed themselves to Pastor Saar’s church as a model for CNA. Given that they consider themselves non-denominational, they have continued looking for successful ways to establish themselves. One of the churches that inspires them is the Australian megachurch Hillsong (Connell 2005; Goh 2007; Riches and Wagner 2017; Rocha 2017, 2013; Wagner 2013). They admire Hillsong’s professionalism, success, informality, and non-judgemental and inclusive attitudes (in regards to dress, behaviour, and life situation) toward those who come to church.  Hillsong works as a good role model because, like Hillsong, CNA is youth-oriented. CNA’s services are similar to Hillsong’s albeit on a much smaller scale: they feature a band; there is an informal atmosphere (in the Pastors’ and congregation’s language and dress style); the church is dark and real-time telecasts of the band and the song lyrics are beamed onto the screens beside the stage.  Everyone in the congregation dances and sings together with the band. They may raise their arms, close eyes, or keep their hands on their hearts.

DOCTRINES/BELIEFS

CNA is a Pentecostal church affiliated to the Australian Christian Churches (formerly known as Assemblies of God in Australia). As such, it believes in spiritual gifts given by the Holy Spirit, such as glossolalia (speaking in tongues), divine healing, and prophesy. It also accepts the Bible as God’s word and believes that its lessons can be applied to people’s everyday lives.

Given that CNA is a church founded by Baptist Brazilians and is influenced by the Australian Pentecostal megachurch Hillsong, CNA has become a hybrid of a more traditional Brazilian Baptist church and a very informal, rock-concert-style Hillsong church.

On the one hand, like Hillsong, CNA can be considered a “New Paradigm” (Miller 1997) or “Seeker-friendly” church (Sargeant 2000). This style of evangelical Christianity has evolved globally since the 1960s and such churches “tailor their programs and services to attract people who are not church attenders” (Sargeant 2000:2-3). They do this by creating an informal atmosphere, using contemporary language and technology, and focusing on religious experience. Seeker churches borrow from secular models of business and entertainment, use marketing and branding principles, and innovative methods. According to Miller and Yamamori (2007:27), they “are at the cutting edge of the Pentecostal movement: they embrace the reality of the Holy Spirit but package religion in a way that makes sense to culturally attuned teens and young adults, as well as upwardly mobile people who did not grow in the Pentecostal tradition.” As a rule, their services are entertaining (featuring a live band, professional lighting and sound, large screens), and the focus is on people’s everyday lives (with topical messages on practical concerns).

On the other hand, while “New Paradigm” or “Seeker-friendly” churches focus on positive messages of God’s love rather than on sin, hell or damnation, CNA preaches also on the latter topics. CNA Pastors appreciate that young people may prefer a message of love, but they feel that they cannot focus on only love and should preach the Bible as a whole.

It is precisely this hybridity that attracts Brazilian students to CNA, as the church is able to function as a bridge between Brazilian and Australian societies and religious cultures (Rocha 2013).

CNA5

RITUALS/PRACTICES

Like other diasporic churches, CNA assists migrants in the process of overcoming nostalgia,homesickness and the challenge of adapting to the new country. [Image at right] CNA offers young Brazilians a space for community-building through services, weekly connect-group meetings, camping trips, barbeques, beach parties, community meals featuring Brazilian food, and other communal leisure activities. Before and after Sunday evening services, congregants socialise in the church foyer for quite a long time. The church usually provides coffee, soft drinks and food  so that congregants can meet each otherCNA4 and strengthen community/family feeling. [Image at right] This is an occasion for pastors to chat with congregation members and ask them about their past week and find out their needs.

Typically, pastors assist congregation members deal with issues related to their young age, being far from their immediate family as international students in Australia, their lack of English language skills, finding accommodation and jobs, and downward mobility.  CNA also helps them adapt to the new life in Australia by offering training courses in barista and cleaning skills, English language and CV writing to middle-class young Brazilian students, most of whom have never experienced paid employment in their lives.

CNA holds many activities during the year. For instance, every Friday congregants meet in smaller groups or “connect groups” across the city. These groups work as support groups to give members a solid family-feel. In these meetings, members bring food to share, socialise, and study a passage of the Bible and pray together. In addition, at the beginning of the year congregants undergo a twenty-one-day fast of some kind in order to focus on members’ behaviour in regards to God and how they are working as a church. Since 2008, they have organized a four-day camping trip over Easter. In this church retreat they have two services a day, Bible study, water baptisms, and leisure activities such as soccer games. Starting in 2012, CNA has run a three-day conference every November featuring invited pastors from Brazil. Given that CNA is mainly a church for the Brazilian community, it also celebrates typical Brazilian events such as July Party (festa caipira) in addition to Christian holidays.

LEADERSHIP/ORGANIZATION

The church is led by Senior Pastors Eduardo Ramos and Debora Oliveira, as well as AssistantPastor Jonathan Bolkenhagen. CNA’s day-to-day running is divided into “ministries” that are led by congregation members who are chosen by the pastors. These ministries are: reception of new comers, hospitality (organises food for the services and events), baby club (one to three year-olds), kids (four to seventeen year-olds), youth (eighteen to thirty year-olds), worship (the members of the band that plays during service), production (videos of services and events, publicity), and social assistance.

They also have six leaders of connect groups trained and chosen by the church leadership.

ISSUES/CHALLENGES

CNA suffers from the conundrum other migrant churches face. Because they are a home away from home for Brazilians, they use Portuguese language in their services and other activities, celebrate Brazilian holidays, and espouse Brazilian religious values and worldview. However, this hinders adaptation into the local population. Furthermore, by maintaining the homeland culture, language and mores, they may alienate long-term migrants, second generation Brazilians, and those migrants who want to “integrate” quickly. At the same time, if they adopt the host country’s culture language and cultural practices wholesale, they may not be able to provide adequate support for new arrivals.

CNA Pastors are keenly aware of this problem and have organized for services to be simultaneously translated into English for those Australians who wish to join them. They know that, as young congregants marry (other Brazilians and also Australians) and have children, CNA will need to have activities in English if it wants to retain this new generation.

Another challenge is the high turnover rates within the congregation given that members are international students in Australia. Because there is always a high proportion of members arriving in the country and leaving for the homeland, it is difficult to build a strong congregation and maintain the smooth operation of the church. This also means that the church struggles with funding. As students, members do not hold full-time jobs and have low incomes. In addition, sometimes the church assists students with money, accommodation and meals if they run into financial difficulties. Another consequence of the make-up of the congregation and their low income is that pastors work full-time outside the church and have little time to work for the church.

IMAGES
Image #1: Photograph of Eduardo Ramos.
Image #2: Photograph of a worship band.
Image #3: Photograph of Jonathan Bolkenhagen.
Image #4: Photograph of a connect-group meeting.
Image #5: Photograph of serving food after a worship service.
Image #6: Reproduction of the CNA logo.

REFERENCES

Connell, John. 2005. “Hillsong: A Mega-Church in the Sydney Suburbs.” Australian Geographer 36:315-32.

Goh, Robbie. 2007. “Hillsong and ‘Megachurch’ Practice.” Material Religion 4:284-305.

Miller, Donald. 1997. Reinventing American Protestantism: Christianity in the New Millennium. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Miller, Donald and Tetsunao Yamamori. 2007. Global Pentecostalism: The New Face of Christian Social Engagement. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Riches, T. and T. Wagner, eds. 2017. The Hillsong Movement Examined: You Call Me Out Upon the Waters. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rocha, Cristina. 2017. “The Come to Brazil Effect: Young Brazilians’ Fascination with Hillsong.” In The Hillsong Movement Examined: You Call Me out upon the Waters, edited by T. Riches and T. Wagner. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rocha, Cristina. 2013. “Transnational Pentecostal Connections: an Australian Megachurch and a Brazilian Church in Australia.” Pentecostudies 12:62-82.

Rocha, Cristina. 2006. “Two Faces of God: Religion and Social Class in the Brazilian Diaspora in Sydney.” Pp. 147-60 in Religious Pluralism in the Diaspora, edited by P. Patrap Kumar. Leiden: Brill.

Sargeant, Kimon. 2000. Seeker Churches: Promoting Traditional Religion in a Nontraditional Way. New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press.

Wagner, Thomas. 2013. Hearing the Hillsong Sound: Music, Marketing, Meaning and Branded Spiritual Experience at a Transnational Megachurch. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation, Royal Holloway University of London.

Post Date:
2 May 2017

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Australian Christian Lobby (ACL)

AUSTRALIAN CHRISTIAN LOBBY TIMELINE

1995:  The Australian Christian Coalition was founded by John Gagliardi and John McNicoll.

2000:  John Gagliardi retired. Jim Wallace became Managing Director.

2001:  The Australian Christian Coalition was renamed the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL).

2004:  The National Marriage Coalition formed to oppose same-sex marriage legislation. The Compass Annual Conference for young Christians was established.

2007:  The first federal Meet the Candidate Event between Prime Minister John Howard and opposition leader Kevin Rudd was held.

2008:  The ACL opposed reintroduction of euthanasia legislation in the Northern Territory.

2010:  Prime Minister Julia Gillard promised Wallace (and other religious leaders) to continue funding the school chaplaincy program and support religious institutions’ ability to include religious criteria in making employee choices.

2011:  The Lachlan Macquarie Internship was established. Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with a group of Christian leaders organised by the ACL

2012:  Prime Minister Julia Gillard canceled her appearance at the ACL’s national conference.

2013:  Jim Wallace retired. Lyle Shelton became managing director of ACL.

2014:  Opposition Leader Bill Shorten used his keynote address at the ACL’s national conference to affirm his support for same-sex marriage legislation.

2016:  ACL lobbied against changes to abortion legislation in Queensland.

2016:  There was an explosion at the ACL Canberra office.

2018:  Lyle Shelton stepped down as the head of of the Australian Christian Lobby to pursue a career in federal politics

FOUNDER/GROUP HISTORY

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) was founded as the Australian Christian ACL1Coalition in 1995 by John Gagliardi, Queensland businessman, [Image at right]  journalist and lay leader of the Brisbane-based Christian Outreach Centre (COC) Pentecostal megachurch and John McNicoll, a retired Baptist minister turned lobbyist (Hey 2010:256). Other members of the original Australian Christian Coalition were Neil Miers, international president of COC from 1990 to 2009, and David MacDonald, senior pastor of COC (Maddox 2015). The original purpose of the group was to create a network of educated Christians to write position papers, impact election outcomes and hold politicians accountable to Christian values (Gagliardi 1995). The choice of name was inspired by the Christian Coalition in the U.S. In forming the Australian Christian Coalition, Gagliardi (1995) hoped to provide “a unified Christian voice to overturn decades of Godless, hedonistic, self-gratifying qualities and personal values.” The group claims to have 80,000 members and be “a voice for values” stating that their vision “is to see Christian principles influencing the way we are governed, do business, and relate to each other as a community” (ACL 2017). The ACL asserts it is both nonpartisan and non-denominationally aligned. The group’s lobbying efforts primarily focus on opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, and sexualised outdoor advertising and on support for the maintenance of funding to private schools and for chaplaincy programs. The ACL has successfully created an influential conservative Christian lobby group in Australian federal politics.

Gagliardi retired from the Managing Director position in 2000 and Jim Wallace, a Jim Wallaceretired Brigadier-General of the Australian Defence Force, took over the position. [Image at right]  Under Wallace’s leadership, the group changed its name to the Australian Christian Lobby in 2001. This step was taken to distance the organization from the U.S. model of Christian lobby groups, constituted a tactical shift in lobbying efforts, and began a suite of activities to consolidate the group’s influence. These activities included hosting meet-the-candidates webcasts called “Make It Count” during federal and state election campaigns, implementing the Lachlan Macquarie internship program, and maintaining an active presence on social media platforms. The ACL runs an office in the Australian capital city of Canberra from which they seek meetings with parliamentarians, and submit material to panels and parliamentary committees on issues of interest. The ACL also runs social media strategies through which they organise rallies and solicit donations from their supporters.

Under Wallace’s stewardship, the ACL collaborated with the Australian Family Association and the Fatherhood Foundation to form the National Marriage Coalition in 2004 (Maddox 2014:135) and this led to the development of the ‘Man+Wife=Life’ website which advocates traditional hetero-normative family structures. In 2011, The ACL established the Lachlan Macquarie Internship which offers post-tertiary educated Christians the opportunity to undertake a fourteen-week academic program culminating in a week’s work experience in Parliament House. This program aims to develop young Christian leadership skills to influence public policy. Lyle Shelton took over as Managing Director in 2013. [Image at right] Parliamentary discussions of legislation legalising same-sex marriage meant that the group directed more concentrated efforts to opposing such legislation, while at the same time supporting removal of discriminatory aspects of declared homosexual de facto partnerships. The ACL maintains an office in each Australian state and territory with a director to handle more localised events and campaigns. These offices organise local Make It Count events and meet the candidate forums for state elections, and offer voter information packages comparing candidates and party positions on hot-button political issues. The ACL operates a sophisticated lobbying effort at multiple levels of Australian government. Shelton stepped down as the head of of the Australian Christian Lobby to pursue a career in federal politics. He was succeeded by Martyn Iles (Doherty 2018).

The ACL claims to represent the majority of Christian opinion in Australia. The organization claims that it has an 80,000 membership (ACL 2017). The group often cites Australian census data to argue that because sixty-four percent of Australians adhere to Christianity, Australian values are therefore Christian. The ACL has managed to influence outcomes around several political issues, and their successful campaigns are usually coordinated with other conservative religious groups. In 2008, the group made submissions against the reintroduction of euthanasia legislation in the Northern Territory (ACL 2008). Crosthwaite (2013) argues that the ACL was instrumental in striking down human rights legislation during the 2009 National Human Rights Consultation arguing (in a contrary position to that of the Uniting, Catholic and Anglican churches) Australia should not “be protected by an Act enumerating legally enforceable human rights” (Crosthwaite 2013:8). On several occasions, the ACL managed to remove what they deem as sexually explicit or pornographic outdoor advertising images, particularly at the state level (ACL 2011). The group continues to make submissions to change the laws around outdoor advertising to the Advertising Standards Board. In 2010, Wallace contributed to concerted lobbying efforts to maintain the school chaplaincy program with the aim of reviewing the program for possible funding increases (Stephens 2010). In 2011, Prime Minister Julia Gillard met with over twenty leaders from Christian churches at meeting organised by the ACL, assuring these representatives that she supports freedom of religion, and opposes euthanasia and same sex marriage (Shanahan 2011). Meeting with Wallace and other religious leaders in 2013, Gillard provided further assurances that proposed changes to human rights legislation would not affect the ability of religious groups to select employees on the grounds of religion, gender or sexuality (Maddox 2014:137).  During the lead-up to a government vote on same-sex marriage legislation in 2012, the ACL worked with other religious organisations and lobbied government to oppose the bill. The bill was defeated in the lower house by 98-42, and Wallace claimed that Australians were ready to move on from the issue (Herald Sun 2012). The ACL’s successful lobbying efforts, which they often coordinate with other conservative religious groups, are primarily directed to single issues such as opposing same-sex marriage, advocating for a child’s “right” for access to parents of male and female sexes, and opposing aspects of proposed human rights legislation that could reduce the ability of religious organisations to discriminate on the basis of religion, sexuality, or gender.

PRINCIPLES/PRACTICES

The ACL (2015) asserts that the group is “nondenominational” and “rigorously non-partisan” in its lobbying efforts. Its stated purpose is to lobby for the preservation of Christian principles in all aspects of public policy and governance. The group represents conservative Christian foundations in their choices of issues and campaigns. The arguments they put forward regarding political issues are based on ideas of the need to protect the Christian values that they view as under threat from “secular humanism.” The founding principles and rhetorical strategy were originally modelled on the Christian Coalition from the United States. In his launch speech at the 1995 founding event, Gagliardi outlined the establishing principles upon which the ACL would position their various campaigns and lobbying efforts. He outlined a vision of Australian society beset by problems: “an adverse obsession with deviant sex, youth homelessness and suicide, drug addiction, alcoholism… marriage and family breakdown, increasing gap between the rich and the poor, abortion, euthanasia, pornography on primetime television” (Gagliardi 1995). Gagliardi (1995) blames Australia’s societal problems specifically on the advent of secular humanism in the 1960s: “a religion that has removed God… and replaced Him with man… Christians now live in a world run by the 60s free-love, anything goes, me-first generation.” His articulation of principles is similar to the rhetorical strategies employed by the Christian Right in the United States. The solution to the problems articulated in Gagliardi’s speech is a return to “lost Christian values.” In many ways, the ACL has developed Gagliardi’s vision and since 2001 has employed less strident rhetoric in public statements. Attempts have been made by ALC representatives to distance the group from US Christian-right strategies.

A number of people who have served in ACL leadership positions have links to conservative Australian political parties: the Liberal Party, the National Party and the Family First Party (Maddox 2014:140) and with conservative factions of the Australian Labor Party. The ACL’s ideas on economic management support free market capitalism. The group’s affinity for business is visible in the group’s “business-heavy board, business-oriented training and offers specifically to assist business people… with political connections” (Maddox 2014:140). Maddox (2014) observes that the ACL embraces free-market capitalism and denounces a homosexual “lifestyle.” For the ACL, humans are fundamentally unequal, a typically conservative view, and “membership of the elite is due to innate qualities—being born into a particular family or class” (Maddox 2014:142). The ACL’s views on marriage as a naturally occurring, biologically determined institution confirm their conservative political orientation. According to the ACL, homosexual relationships are not equal to heterosexual marriage, and homosexuals should not parent children because are they are not biologically connected to their children. In one his more controversial statements, Lyle Shelton has argued that allowing gay people to parent children would create a new “stolen generation” due to “the use of technology to sever a child from its biological parent in order that same sex couples could realise their desire to have children” (Swan 2013).

ACL’s organizational activities mainly involve lobby efforts, fundraising, and producing literature for persuading Australians to support its point of view. The group works to secure links to and meetings with as many politicians as possible, with varying degrees of success. As well as regular Meet the Candidate and Make It Count events, the ACL makes submissions to federal government committees on issues of interest with the aim of representing Australian Christian opinion. The group produces resources for use in the community to educate the public about campaigns and issues. Until 2012, it published a monthly magazine, Viewpoint, which is distributed at no cost to sitting members of parliament and available online for free download. Members of parliament in various parties were invited to write for this magazine, which was distributed to interested community members and churches. The group sends weekly update emails to members and releases an annual report every year. It maintains regular media interaction through interviews and periodic media releases. The ACL is highly active on social media and produces a regular podcast, sections of which are emailed to registered members. The group runs a website on which ACL leaders post blogs and media releases and they organise e-petitions on issues of interest to submit to members of state and federal parliaments. The organization also creates and promotes information packages for voters during federal elections comparing party policies with a view to explaining where the parties stand on issues considered to be important to Christians.

ORGANIZATION/LEADERSHIP

ACL is a not-for-profit group listed as an Australian Public Company Limited by ACL4guarantee and is run by a board of directors. Despite being founded through Australian Pentecostal megachurch COC (Christian Outreach Centre), the ACL’s organisational structure is corporate not ecclesiastical, and the group no longer has strong links to the church.  As of 2016, Wallace is Chairman of the Board. Wallace served in the Australian Defence Force for thirty-two years before taking over the leadership of ALC and holds a Member of the Order of Australia for his Army service in counter-terrorism with the SAS. As of 2016, company directors were: Mark Allaby, a financial services advisor; David Burr, a commercial property lawyer and businessman; and Michelle Pearse, who worked for the Western Australian branch of the ACL directly after graduating university (ACL 2015). Lyle Shelton was appointed as Managing Director in 2013; he worked as a Pentecostal youth pastor, journalist, and previously had been a candidate for the rural National Party and Chief of Staff to the Canberra ACL office. Tony McLellan serves as Chairman Emeritus and has previously been the director of a variety of Christian non-government organisations and the Felix Resources coal mining company WHICH ONES (Maddox 2014:135). In 2018, Shelton stepped down as the head of of the Australian Christian Lobby to pursue a career in federal politics and was succeeded by Martyn Iles (Doherty 2018)

The ACL has staffed offices in all states and territories with the exception of South Australia and employs a range of people from a variety of business, political, and communications backgrounds. Maddox (2014:134) notes that the ACL tends to employ people from business and conservative political backgrounds.

The ACL is funded through donations from companies and private individuals, charging for attendance at special events, and revenue from advertising sponsors. As the group is a not-for-profit, it is not required to disclose all the names of those who give donations in its annual reports. As of 2012, Australian law requires a disclosure of political donations over $11, 900 (unless donated through a third-party entity), and the group is required to file political expenditure returns with the Australian Electoral Commission. The ACL is registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission as a large charity with an annual revenue of over $1,000,000 (ACNC 2015). According to the 2014 Director’s Report, the ACL received revenue from interest ($12, 853), donations ($2, 253, 724), special events ($81, 952), advertising ($36, 702), and other revenue ($46, 405) which gave the ACL a total annual revenue of $2, 431, 636 (ACL Director’s Report 2014:16). Maddox (2014:124) notes that the ACL receives donations from a variety of sources. MYOB software entrepreneur Craig Winkler, who also donates to conservative political part Family First,  donated $113, 238 to the ACL in the 2007-2008 financial year (Maddox 2014:135). In the financial year 2010-2011, ACL received $30, 000 from Gloria Jeans Coffees International (a company whose owners attend the megachurch Hillsong in Sydney); superannuation firm Christian Super donated $13, 636; and $100, 000 was donated by Neil Golding, who has links to the mining, construction and real estate industries (Maddox 2014:135). Almost thirteen per cent of the ACL’s donations came from corporate sources that year. While these donations represent a minor portion of ACL’s annual revenue streams, these sources demonstrate that many of these business areas support the ACL’s positions (Maddox 2014:135).

ISSUES/CHALLENGES

Opposition to same-sex marriage legislation remains a long-running issue for the ACL and rhetoric around these campaigns has attracted controversy. Many of the ACL’s campaigns use language that espouses protection of family values and places a concern for care of children at the centre of their arguments. In Australia, there is strong opposition to many of the ACL’s stated positions on a variety of issues, and leaders have occasionally attracted controversy over statements, arguments, and planned events. While these controversies mean that the ACL is often cast in the Australian media in a negative light (often as homophobic, old-fashioned or ill-informed),  the lasting result of the publicity afforded through these incidents is that the ACL appears to wield more influence in the Australian public sphere than may actually be the case (Smith 2013).

During his tenure as Managing Director, Wallace made several statements that politicians and community leaders condemned as misinformed. On ANZAC Day in 2011 Wallace posted on Twitter: “Just hope that as we remember Servicemen and women today we remember the Australia they fought for wasn’t gay marriage and Islamic [sic]” (Benson 2011). He apologised on Twitter immediately afterwards; however, the comment remained the subject of media analysis for the next few days. Benson (2011) notes on the ABC Religion and Ethics site that the ensuing Twitter discussion of Wallace’s comments ensured that the ACL received plenty of publicity from the incident and the number of people following Wallace’s personal Twitter account tripled in the days after the comment. The ACL often uses strong rhetoric to make claims that generate publicity in the media. Several LGBTI websites posted negative responses to Wallace’s comments, and some religious leaders refuted Wallace’s implied stance against Islam.

Queensland ACL Director Wendy Francis has led several campaigns against outdoor advertising images in her home state, attracting challenges to the ACL’s arguments of the need to protect the community, namely children, from sexualised images. In 2011, she campaigned to have one public health campaign image (of one man embracing another with a condom packet visible in one of the man’s hands) removed from her local bus shelter in the Brisbane CBD. The image was reinstated after community protests against Francis’ alleged homophobia. In an interview with the Brisbane Times, Francis made mention of three other campaigns she waged against outdoor advertising images: an advertisement for “The World’s Thinnest Condom,” billboards selling erectile dysfunction products, and an advertisement for HBO television program True Blood (featuring an image of two male vampires biting a young girl’s neck). Francis argued that the images were not appropriate for children to view and that discussions of sex should occur in the family home.

In 2012, Prime Minister Julia Gillard cancelled her planned appearance at the ACL national conference after Wallace argued during a debate against Greens Senator Christine Milne that being a gay male reduces life expectancy by twenty years (Packham 2012). Wallace said “The life of smokers is reduced by something like seven to ten years and yet we tell all our kids at school that they shouldn’t smoke… We need to be aware that the homosexual lifestyle carries these problems” (Packham 2012).  Explaining her decision not to appear at the conference, Gillard said that “There are a range of deeply-held views in the community on the issue of same-sex marriage but it is the responsibility of all parties in this debate to be respectful and responsible in any public comments they make… I believe yesterday’s comments by Jim Wallace were offensive. To compare the health effects of smoking cigarettes with the many struggles gay and lesbian Australians endure in contemporary society is heartless and wrong.” The incident is an example of the ACL attempting to use a concern for health to deploy a particular view, in this case opposition to homosexuality.

In 2014, the Canberra Hyatt Hotel was criticised for hosting the ACL’s national conference. A Facebook campaign titled “Hey Hyatt, don’t support hate” opposed the hotel’s decision to host the conference in light of the “aggressive and inflammatory rhetoric” the ACL uses in its campaigns against same-sex marriage legislation. In a media statement, a spokeswoman for the Hyatt said that the hotel chain supports marriage equality and that the hotel did not always agree with the views of those who used the hotel as a meeting space, “We don’t discriminate against those who want to conduct lawful business at Hyatt hotels” (Busby 2014). Bill Shorten, the federal opposition leader, also came under pressure to withdraw as keynote speaker at the conference. However, Shorten used his speech to state his support for same-sex marriage legislation stating “When I see people hiding behind the bible to insult and demonise people in the basis of who they love, I cannot stay silent.”  ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton thanked Shorten for a “frank and fearless” address and a few days later made a public statement defending the ACL’s rhetoric while characterising Shorten’s remarks as “wide of the mark” in understanding Australian Christians (Karvelas 2014).

In November 2015, the ACL called for a school-based anti-LBGTI bullying program called Safe Schools to be axed. Wendy Francis said that the program was “potentially damaging” to children, and the ACL distributed flyers claiming that the program “encourages cross-dressing, teaches students gay and lesbian techniques, encourages kids to use either girls or boys bathrooms and encourages girls to bind their chests” (Patridge 2015). In February 2016, Lyle Shelton went on the panel show Q and A and said “I think you can address bullying without using contested gender ideology, and this is contested. People like Germaine Greer and the feminist movement do not go along with this.” Around this time, the ACL began using the terms “rainbow ideology” to describe their understanding of gender theory and continued to claim that a “rainbow agenda” (i.e. support for LGBTI issues and concerns) is damaging to children (ACL Media Release 2016). The Safe Schools program underwent federal review and links to some online resources were removed. The ACL continues to run an anti-Safe Schools website that directs users to email their local members of state and federal parliament protesting the implementation of the program.

In 2016, Queensland independent parliamentarian Rob Pyne proposed to reform the state’s abortion laws and put forward two bills which, if passed, would decriminalise abortion. The ACL campaigned against the bills, getting twenty-four thousand signatures on an e-petition in two weeks (News.com.au 2016), and Wendy Francis sent emails to ACL members encouraging people to attend a rally opposing the bills in Brisbane outside state parliament (ACL 2017). Thousands of people attended the “March for Life” on March 11, 2017 (Bowling 2017), and it was supported by several Christian denominations, including conservative Catholics and Pentecostals. A parliamentary debate on the bills was postponed until mid-2017 pending further information from a panel of health experts (Caldwell 2016).

On December 21, 2016, a van carrying gas bottles ran into the ACL offices in ACL5Canberra and exploded. [Image at right] Lyle Shelton claimed that on Radio National the next day that he was “sure it’s a message to intimidate us, to cause us to be silent in the public square, and that’s something we’re not prepared to do” (Karp and Jamieson 2016). The driver presented at Canberra hospital with burn injuries, and a police statement was issued after an interview with the man which stated that, “Police were able to establish the man’s actions were not politically, religiously or ideologically motivated” (Karp and Jameison 2016). Shelton expressed puzzlement at this conclusion on Twitter, commenting that the ACL has received numerous death threats and threats of violence (Karp and Jamieson 2016). Several political opponents of ACL expressed sympathy with the group over Twitter. An investigation by the federal police concluded that the explosion had been a suicide attempt on the driver’s part who was still receiving medical and mental illness treatment two months after the incident (The Guardian 2017). Shelton maintains that the attack was politically motivated, and “The alleged bomber knew he was targeting our office” (The Guardian 2017).

The ACL remains a fighting force in Australian politics. Their adept use of social media platforms, email communication, and website management gives them an ability to respond quickly to issues of their choice. The ACL has shown in recent times that they can convince their supporters to attend protests, thus taking their oppositions beyond e-Petitions. Their regular embroilment in controversy serves the purpose of generating publicity, and while their online platforms facilitate this, Shelton’s appearances on the discussion panel show Q and A rarely fail to provide a source of headlines. While the ACL has not, so far, directly influenced an election outcome at either state of federal level, it is successfully maintaining a highly vocal representation of conservative Christian interests in Australian politics. Largely due to their ability to create controversy, they appear to be increasingly significant in public conversations on their chosen issues.

IMAGES

Image #1: Photograph of John Gagliardi.
Image #2: Photograph of Jim Wallace.
Image #3:  Photograph of Lyle Shelton.
Image #4: Australian Christian Lobby logo.
Image #5: Photograph of the ACL Canberra headquarters following the 2016 explosion.

REFERENCES

Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2014. “Opposition Leader Bill Shorten Takes Same-sex Marriage Stance to Australian Christian Lobby,” October 26. Accessed from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-10-25/bill-shorten-says-he-supports-same-sex-marriage/5841236 on 19 January 2016.

Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Register. 2015. Australian Christian Lobby. Viewed 19 January 2014. Available at <http://www.acnc.gov.au/RN52B75Q?ID=2DD34AB1-E89A-4443-B8FA-A2CD348E5DD9&noleft=1>.

Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Register. 2015. Annual Information Statement 2013: Australian Christian Lobby. Accessed from http://www.acnc.gov.au/AIS2013?ID=2DD34AB1-E89A-4443-B8FA-A2CD348E5DD9&noleft=1 on 19 January 2016.
Australian Christian Lobby. 2017. About. Accessed from http://www.acl.org.au/about/ on 10 April 2017.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2017. Brisbane March for Life. Accessed from  http://www.acl.org.au/brisbane_march_for_life on 7 April 2017.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2016. ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton on Q and A Explains Why Safe Schools Is Concerning Parents. Accessed from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpQCBoblkeg on 7 April 2017.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2016. Compass. Accessed from http://www.acl.org.au/programs/compass/ on 19 January 2016.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2016. Council’s Rainbow Capitulation a Worry for Parents Concerned about ‘Safe Schools’ Ideology. Accessed from http://www.acl.org.au/tags/gay_marriage 7 April 2017.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2014. Director’s Report. Accessed from http://www.acnc.gov.au/RN52B75Q?ID=2DD34AB1-E89A-4443-B8FA-A2CD348E5DD9&noleft=1 on 19 January 2016.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2013. Annual Report. Accessed from http://www.acl.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/ACL_AnnualReport2013_WebVersion.pdf on 19 January 2016.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2011. Man+wife4life Campaign Meeting a Success, February  4. Accessed from http://www.acl.org.au/2011/02/manwife4life-campaign-meeting-a-success/ on 19 January 2016.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2011. Media Release: People Power Wins in Removing Offending Ads. Accessed from http://www.acl.org.au/2011/05/mr-people-power-wins-in-removing-offending-ads/ on 31 May 2011.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2008. Submission to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee’s Inquiry into the Rights of the Terminally Ill (Euthanasia Laws Repeal) Bill 2008. Accessed from http://www.acl.org.au/wp-content/uploads/080409-ACL-euthanasia-submission.pdf on 19 January 2016.

Australian Christian Lobby. 2009. Submission to the National Human Rights Consultation. Accessed from http://www.acl.org.au/wp-content/uploads/090615-ACL-NHRC-submission.pdf on 12 August 2015.

Australian Electoral Commission. 2015. Political Expenditure Return 2009-2010 Australian Christian Lobby. Accessed from http://periodicdisclosures.aec.gov.au/PoliticalExpenditure.aspx?SubmissionID=24&ClientID=15605 on 19 January 2015.

Benson, Rod. 2011. “Jim Wallace and the ANZAC Tweet Firestorm.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation Religion and Ethics. Accessed from http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/04/27/3201328.htm on
19 January 2016.

Bowling, Mark. 2017. “Thousands Take to Brisbane Streets to Oppose Abortion Bill.” The Catholic Leader, February 16. http://catholicleader.com.au/news/thousands-take-to-brisbane-streets-to-oppose-abortion-bills on 7 April 2017.

Busby, Sec.  2014. “Hyatt Hotel under Pressure to Cancel Australian Christian Lobby Conference.” Gay News Network, October 22. Accessed from http://gaynewsnetwork.com.au/news/hyatt-hotel-under-pressure-to-cancel-australian-christian-lobby-conference-15454.html on 19 January 2016.

Caldwell Fiona. 2016. “Abortion to Remain in the Criminal Code in Queensland in 2016.” Brisbane Times, December 4.  2016. Accessed from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/abortion-to-remain-in-the-criminal-code-in-queensland-in-2016-20161202-gt2itr.html on 7 April 2017.

Crosthwaite, Hugh. 2013. “The Churches, the ACL and the National Human Rights Consultation.” Alt LJ. 38:8-13.

Doherty, Ben. 2018. “Lyle Shelton Quits Australian Christian Lobby to Enter Politics. The Guardian, February 2. Accessed from https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/feb/03/lyle-shelton-quits-australian-christian-lobby-to-enter-politics on 4 June 2018.

Francis, Wendy. 2015. “The Rights of Children Should Rule Same-Sex Marriage Debate.” Sunshine Coast Daily. April 1. Accessed from http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/rights-of-children-should-rule-the-same-sex-debate/2593468/ on 7 April 2017.

Herald Sun. 2012. “Christian Lobby Welcomes Gay Vote Defeat,” September 19. Accessed from http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/christian-lobby-welcomes-gay-vote-defeat/story-e6frf7kf-1226477342475 on 19 January 2016.

Karp, Paul and Amber Jamieson. 2016. “Australian Christian Lobby Van Explosion Not Politically Motivated, Police Say.” The Guardian, December  21. Accessed from  https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/dec/21/australia-christian-lobby-van-crash-gas-cylinders-canberra on 7 April 2017.

Karvelas, Patricia. 2014. “Bill Shorten’s Description of Christians ‘Wide of the Mark’.”. The Australian, October  30. Accessed from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/bill-shortens-description-of-christians-wide-of-the-mark/news-story/fc9a1765ee4354616b9a38a76f9527f5 on 19 January 2016.

Leys, Nick. 2012. “Christian Lobby Slams Seven’s Sunrise for Supporting Getup! Campaign on Gay Marriage.” The Australian, June 7. Accessed from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/christian-lobby-slams-sevens-sunrise-for-supporting-getup-campaign-on-gay-marriage/story-e6frg996-1226386779432 on 19 January 2016.

Lloyd, Peter. 2013. “How powerful is the Australian Christian Lobby?” PM, May 22. Accessed from http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2013/s3765154.htm on 19 January 2016.

Maddox, Marion. 2015. “Framing the Kingdom: Growth and Change in a Conservative Social Movement.” Pp. 49-74 in Religion After Secularization in Australia, edited by Timothy Stanley. Palgrave Macmillan: New York.

Maddox, Marion. 2005. God Under Howard: The Rise of the Religious Right in Australian Politics. Allen and Unwin: Crows Nest.

Maddox, Marion. 2014. “Right-wing Christian Intervention in a Naïve Polity: The Australian Christian Lobby.” Political Theology 15:132-50.

McIlroy, Tom and Ben Westcott. 2014. “Hyatt Hotel Defends Booking for Australian Christian lobby’s Anti-gay Marriage Conference.” The Canberra Times, October 21. Accessed from http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/hyatt-hotel-defends-booking-for-australian-christian-lobbys-antigay-marriage-conference-20141021-1196rn.html on 19 January 2016.

Moore, Tony. 2011. “Who is Wendy Francis?” The Brisbane Times, June 3. Accessed from http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/who-is-wendy-francis-20110603-1fkbe.html on 19 January 2016.

News.com.au. 2016. “Christian Lobby Fights Abortion Bill,” May 25. Accessed from http://www.news.com.au/national/breaking-news/christian-lobby-group-fights-abortion-bill/news-story/5f4fadf978d4c2b5494ab281abbc57aa on 7 April 2017.

Out In Perth. 2015. ACL Launches Fundraising Campaign to Lobby Politicians, May 25. Accessed from http://www.outinperth.com/acl-launches-fundraising-campaign-to-lobby-politicians/ on 19 January 2016.

Packham, Ben. 2012. “PM Cancels Speech to Christian lobby after ‘Offensive’ Gay Health Comment.” The Australian, September. 6 Accessed from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/pm-cancels-speech-to-christian-lobby-after-offensive-gay-health-comment/story-fn59niix-1226466341750 on 19 January 2016.

Partridge. Emma. 2015. “Australian Christian Lobby Slams Safe Schools Anti-bullying Program.” The Sydney Morning Herald, November 4. Accessed from http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/australian-christian-lobby-slams-safe-schools-antibullying-program-20151103-gkq6gr.html on 7 May 2017.

Piggin, Stuart. 2012. Spirit, Word and World: Evangelical Christianity in Australia. Acorn Press: Brunswick East.

Shanahan, Dennis. 2011. “Julia Gillard Reaches Out to Christian Leaders.” The Australian, April 5. Accessed from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/julia-gillard-reaches-out-to-christian-leaders/story-fn59niix-1226033650529 on January 2016.

Stephens, Scott. 2010. “The Prime Minister Puts Her Faith in Chaplaincy.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation Religion and Ethics, August 10. Accessed from  http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2010/08/10/2978228.htm on 19 January 2016.

Swan, Jonathan. 2013. “Senator Wong Condemns Christian Lobby’s Stolen Generations Comment.”

The Sydney Morning Herald, May 21. Accessed from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political news/senator-wong-condemns-christian-lobbys-stolen-generations-comment-20130521-2jyn3.html on 7 May 2017.

The Guardian. 2017. “Police Believe Explosion Outside Australian Christian Lobby Suicide Attempt, February 28. Accessed from https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/mar/01/police-believe-explosion-outside-australian-christian-lobby-a-suicide-attempt on 7 May 2017.

The Sydney Morning Herald. 2012. “Smoking Healthier Than Gay Marriage,” September 2. Accessed from http://www.smh.com.au/national/smoking-healthier-than-gay-marriage-20120905-25eca.html on 19 January 2016.

Warhurst, John. 2014. “The Australian Christian Lobby Will Not Go Away.” Eureka Street. Accessed from http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=42235#.VFfyTRZuojM on 24 November 2014.

Warhurst, John. 2014. “Pressure Groups and the Political Lessons Leaders Should Learn.” The Sydney Morning Herald, October 29. Accessed from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/pressure-groups-and-the-lessons-political-leaders-should-learn-20141028-11dfwi on 19 January 2016.

Post Date:
25 April 2017

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Our Lady of Yankalilla

OUR LADY OF YANKALILLA


OUR LADY OF YANKALILLA TIMELINE

1857:  The Christ Church was established at Yankalilla, South Australia.

1994:  The image of the Virgin Mary appeared through plaster at the front of the church.

1995:  The image was framed.

1996:  The shrine was blessed by the Bishop of The Murray [South Australia], Bishop Graham Walden; a pump was installed to access holy water.

1996:  The first shrine Mass held.

1997:  Changes to the image were noted; Christ Church was listed as a heritage building.

2000:  A vision of Mary was seen at the Church.

2000:  The Retreat Centre opened.

2001:  The first Assumptiontide Pilgrimage was held.

2002:  A rose was named after the shrine called Our Lady of Yankalilla Rose.

2003:  An icon was painted of the pieta.

2005:  Christ Church became a pastoral district; the position of parish priest became redundant.

c2010:  Healing masses ceased and instead were held on the fourth Sunday of the month following regular services.

FOUNDER/GROUP HISTORY

Yankalilla is a small country town south of Adelaide [South Australia]. The foundation stone for Christ Church, an Anglican Church at Yankalilla, was laid on November 8, 1856. In 1857, the church opened and became a heritage listed building in 1997. The church is significant as it reflects religious traditions brought to South Australia by early colonists (South Australian Heritage Places Database 2015).

In August 1994, an image of the Virgin Mary, holding the baby Jesus, seemed to appear through plasterwork on a wall at the front of the church to the right of the altar. A parishioner first noticed the image and eventually commented on it to the rector at that time, Father Andrew Notere (originally Nutter), a native of Canada whose father was an Anglican archbishop (Lloyd 1996a:3). There was a waiting period to see if the image remained, and when it did, it was discussed at a church council. The Australian media took up an article that had been prepared for the local diocesan paper by Father Notere (Morgan 2007:32).

It has been suggested that the image is a result of either salt damp or bad plastering; “although an apparition need not be judged authentic in order to deepen the faith and devotion of individuals” (Jelly 1993:50). Changes to the image have been reported since it first appeared. For example, some viewers could discern a rose appearing at the bottom, which others linked to local indigenous events or the possibility that an “image of a third person, possibly Mary Magdalene or Mary MacKillop was emerging” (Pengelley 1996:3). Saint Mary MacKillop [1842-1909], the first Australian saint [cannonised 2010], was a member of the Josephite order that established a school at Yankalilla.

DOCTRINES/BELIEFS

Contemporary Anglicanism in Australia has its roots in the Church of England, commencing with early settlers from England in the late eighteenth century.  The Anglican Church in Australia follows the Old and New Testaments, the Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer, which has since been supplemented by An Australian Prayer Book and later A Prayer Book for Australia (Frame 2007: 128-29). The Church organisation is made up of Bishops, Priests and Deacons (Anglican Church of Australia n.d.). There are twenty-three Anglican dioceses in Australia that have developed in a state-based fashion under a national umbrella. Unlike some other parts of Australia, the South Australian colony was based on the ideal of religious equality, without state financial contribution, and each religion establishing itself (Hilliard 1986b:3).  This was later changed, and in 1847 the Adelaide Diocese was formed (Anglican Church of Australia General Synod:4). The Church of England was established with the view being that “if provision for religion was left to the will of the people, nothing at all would be done” (Hilliard 1986b:5). Indeed, South Australia has a history of settlement by non-conformists, in particular Methodism, and this may have contributed to Anglicanism in South Australia being more ritual-based to make it more distinctive (Hilliard 1994:11).

The Province of South Australia has three dioceses and The Diocese of The Murray, which has oversight of Yankalilla, has particularly had a history of Anglo-Catholicism since the mid-nineteenth century (Hilliard 1986a:38; Frame 2007:12, 57; Anglican Diocese of Adelaide n.d.).  Clergy, after the establishment of the South Australian colony, were sourced from England (Frame 2007:207) and operated under the auspices of the Bishop of London then later the Bishop of Calcutta (Anglican Church of Australia General Synod n.d.:4). In 1962, the Church of England in Australia was established, thus creating a self-governing body separate from the legal ties with England (Anglican Church of Australia General Synod n.d:5), and in 1981 it became The Anglican Church of Australia (Anglican Church of Australia General Synod n.d:6).

Thus the early years of Christ Church Yankalilla were heavily influenced through the English clergy by Anglo-Catholicism and the Oxford Movement. This was seen in the type of services, the frequency of communion, and the church interiors (Morgan 2007:13). In addition, there was a greater use of ritual, the wearing of vestments, and stress on the importance of fasting prior to communion (Hilliard:44-46). Anglicanism in Australia has been labelled with “High, Broad or Low Church affiliations, or Anglo-Catholic, Liberal or Evangelical parties” (Frame 2007:213). South Australian country areas in particular were conservative (Hilliard 1994:12), and in this respect, Christ Church Yankalilla could be best described as being of a high church orientation (Morgan 2015).
The 1844 census found that country areas in South Australia, such as Yankalilla, had a large number of Anglicans (Hilliard 1986b:11, 25).  However, more currently Anglicanism in Australia has suffered a decrease in attendances with the population perhaps less interested in church settings (Frame 2007:132).  It could be argued then that the type of services that incorporated a mixture of worship styles, used when pilgrimage services were started at Yankalilla following the emergence of the image, might bring both Anglicans and non-Anglicans to the church and encourage them to engage with Anglicanism and the parish.  While in the early twentieth century there have been instances of promotion of the Virgin Mary, this activity was considered to be un-Anglican (Hilliard 1994:14). Frame notes that criticism of pluralism or diversity in Australian Anglicanism would be solved by “a renewed embrace of the Reformed Catholicism” (Frame 2007:229).
RITUALS/PRACTICES

Christian pilgrimage shrines can be viewed in terms of local history and current social trends as well as previous religious culture. When the images first appeared links were suggested to an Aboriginal corroboree (dance ceremony) site where Aboriginal massacres occurred, although there does not appear to be any evidence to confirm this. In respect of Saint Mary MacKillop, this may be attributed to a reconciliation of “the colonial past and colonial present” (McPhillips 2006:149). McPhillip’s view is that this link could be attributed to the fervour that surrounded the saint commencing with her beatification, while the indigenous link is of a pilgrimage centre to pre-Christian sacredness and connected to Aboriginal reconciliation (McPhillips 2006:149).

This site has become known as The Shrine of Our Lady of Yankalilla. This pilgrimage centre developed spontaneously and has continued to the present day. Many common Marian pilgrimage motifs are present such as miraculous events, healing and messages. This traditional, high Anglican church has accepted the image in its Church despite the general “Protestant view [which] tends to limit the communion of saints to the living and does not look favourably on the possibility of supernatural intervention by deceased saints” (Turner and Turner 1982:145). At the Shrine of Our Lady of Yankalilla visitors have the chance to observe, and to have experiences, that they do not have in their home parishes. Interestingly, the initial rituals at the shrine were drawn from Charismatic, Catholic, Anglican and Buddhist practices (Jones 1998). These rather New Age practices could attract visitors who may not necessarily be drawn to an Anglican church (Cusack 2003:119). McPhillips considers such a mix “in effect releases Mary into new realms of enchantment” (McPhillips 2006:149). It did however cause conflict at a parish level (Jones 1998).

Pilgrim masses to Anoint the Sick were held for a number of years at Yankalilla on Sundays at 2:00 PM, and it was estimated that “1000 pilgrims have gone to Yankalilla” ( Lloyd 1996b:4). In approximately 2010, these dedicated services were discontinued, and the practice was incorporated as part of the normal church service every fourth Sunday. This occurred as a result of Christ Church ceasing to be a parish and becoming a pastoral district and because there was not a priest who lived in accommodations adjacent to the Church as had occurred previously (Gardiner 2015).

Holy water became available at the Shrine for purchase after a pump was installed during 1996. Streams were reported to run “under the apparition wall, and a number of streams converge under the altar to form three crosses” (Chryssides 1997: 16). There have been reports of the curative powers of the holy water; however, the water now available is for anointing purposes only and is labelled “Not for human consumption.”

A number of other common Marian motifs have been present at Yankalilla, such as moving statues, photographs of Jesus, photographs of mysterious figures only seen on a photograph but not by church visitors, and figures in the Church surrounds. In addition, messages were reportedly received from Mary; some of those messages referencing Diana, Princess of Wales, indicative of a combination of ideas both traditional and New Age ( McPhillips, 2015). A sculpture has been placed in the rose garden near the church celebrating the “site of Our Lady’s Apparition, Easter Monday, April 24, 2000 at 6.40 pm.” More recently, no messages or images have been reported by current members of the local congregation.

A statue of the Virgin Mary was set up within the Church grounds, and in recent years this statue has been tended by a number of visitors originating from India, most notably from Kerala and Goa, while others are from the South Australian Indian community (Gardiner 2015). The visitors’ book indicates pilgrims are local, interstate as well as from Europe, South America and Asia. These visits may just be curiosity; however, “a tourist is half a pilgrim, if a pilgrim is half a tourist” (Turner 1978;20)

Imagery within the Church initially emphasized the Virgin Mary. The reorganization at the front of the church was a stumbling block for parishioners (Jones 1998). Banners were placed near the altar, a white banner draped over the cross above the altar forming an “M,” and the priest wore vestments that reflected the apparition of the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje. The altar area has now been simplified and is plainer. There remains a holder for votive candles and a book in which pilgrims can write prayers.

At the inauguration of the site as a shrine, a large section of an interior wall of the church was set aside for pilgrims to place notes asking for the Virgin Mary’s assistance. This area has since been reduced to a small board. Pilgrims may also write messages in a book placed adjacent to the message board. These notes are revealing of Mary’s curative powers, and it has been reported that “around 100 people have been healed” (Connolly 1997: 29). The messages are also related to help and assistance with everyday issues, such as examinations and requests for attaining permanent residency.

Initially, many items were available to pilgrims such as postcards, medals, holy water and a pilgrim newsletter. These materials have currently been reduced to holy candles and water.

LEADERSHIP/ORGANIZATION

On December 15, 1996, the Bishop of The Murray, Bishop Graham Walden, blessed the shrine “with holy water from an Anglican international shrine” (Smart 1996:6 Innes 1996:4). This blessing would appear to indicate that at the time of the emergence of the image there was official Anglican support and acceptance. It is important for miraculous events to fall within the boundaries of the traditional religion with which it is associated. T he Virgin Mary can be found in Anglican shrines, such as at Walsingham [United Kingdom], a site visited by many pilgrims each year, and Christ Church Yankalilla is high Anglican, which accepts veneration of the Virgin Mary (Kahl 1998:257). To link these shrines, an icon dedicated to Walsingham hangs on the Church wall. Such an icon, a pieta (a statue depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus) image, may assist visitors in seeing the apparent image on the wall (Morgan 2007:31).

During his incumbency, Father Notere embraced the shrine enthusiastically, despite local opposition (Mullen 1999; Jones 1998). In 2005, the position of priest at Yankalilla ended and Father Notere left the parish (Allison 2005:3). Following his departure, media attention has waned considerably; however, local parishioners have maintained the shrine and ensure that the church is open daily for those who wish to see the image or to meditate and pray.

A religious community initially to be known as the Oasis of Peace but later named the Servants of the Humility of Jesus and Marywas formed but since disbanded. The aims of the community were to work with pilgrims and foster a healing spirit at the shrine (Kahl 1998:50). A Retreat Centre next to the church was established in 2000, but the space is now utilized for general parish purposes (Morgan 2007:33). A Maori group of singers was reportedly considering moving to the area, drawn by the image. The group joined a local choir to make a CD dedicated to the Virgin Mary appearing at Yankalilla (“Choirs Combine” 2002:14).

ISSUES/CHALLENGES

Christ Church Yankalilla lost the services of Father Notere in 2005, and, having become a pastoral district (Morgan 2007:1), it has been served by part-time and locum priests who are challenged by the travel distances required (Gardiner 2015). There have been other challenges within the Diocese relating to the position of Bishop of the Diocese of The Murray. One of those issues was a three-year vacancy until 2013 when a Bishop was appointed (Strathearn2013:6). In addition, like many other mainstream churches, Yankalilla has experienced a decline in attendance.

The image has assisted the parish financially through visitors, donations and purchases of candles and holy water (Morgan 2007:33). However, a major challenge for the local church members has been the time spent in dealing with the shrine. The emergence of the image meant the parish council had to attend to a number of issues, such as access, visitors, security and attention of the press (Morgan 2007:32). Many local parishioners considered this time was being taken from the parish generally and the local community, and, as a result, there was a division within the parish.The local parishioners are not intensely involved in the shrine, and those who do not agree with the shrine attend other parishes (Jones 1998).

The shrine has experienced fluctuating numbers at the pilgrim services. At present, pilgrims attend of their own accord at pilgrim services held in conjunction with regular services or at the annual pilgrim service held annually in September. This service held in September is popular with pilgrims and attracts many members of the Adelaide Indian Catholic community (Gardiner 2015). Despite Father Notere’s 2005 prediction that the church would be closed (Notere 2005:5), it is open every day for reflection and prayer and attended by enthusiastic local volunteers.

REFERENCES

“21st Birthday Ball for Christian Singles:  Articles of Faith.” 2002. The Advertiser, August 12, p.12.

Allison, Lisa. 2005. “Priest Demands Unpaid Wages.” The Advertiser, March 30:3.

Anglican Church of Australia. n.d. “Who We Are.”  Accessed from http://www.anglican.org.au/home/about/Pages/who_we_are.aspx on 6 November 2015.

Anglican Church of Australia General Synod. n.d. “Outline of the Structure of the Anglican Church of Australia.” Accessed fromhttp://www.anglican.org.au/home/about/Documents/1391%20Outline%20%20of%20the%20Structure%20of%20the%20Anglican%20Church%20of%20Australia%20-%20Website%20Version%20020713.pdf/ on 6 November 2015.

Anglican Diocese of Adelaide. n.d. “About Us.”  Accessed from http://www.adelaide.anglican.com.au/about-us/ on 6 November 2015.

“Choirs Combine to Make Religious CD.” 2002. The Advertiser, August 12, p. 14.

Chryssides, Helen. “Visions of Mary.” 1997. The Bulletin , September 2, p. 16.

Connolly, Paul. “Mary, Mary, On the Wall.” 1997. Who Weekly, August 4, p. 29.

Cusack, Carole M. 2003. “The Virgin Mary at Coogee: A Preliminary Investigation.” Australian Religion Studies Review 16:116-29.

Frame, Tom. 2007. Anglicans in Australia. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press Ltd.

Hilliard, David. 1994. “The Anglo-Catholic Tradition in Australian Anglicanism.” St Mark’s Review 158:1-17.

Hilliard, David. 1986a. “The Transformation of South Australian Anglicanism, c. 1880-1930.” Journal of Religious History 14:38-56.

Hilliard, David. 1986b. Godliness and Good Order: A History of the Anglican Church in South Australia. Netley: Wakefield Press.

Innes, Stuart. 1996. “Interest Grows in Church’s ‘Healing’ Water.” 1996. The Advertiser, December 10, p. 4.

Jelly, Frederick M. 1993. “Discerning the Miraculous: Norms for Judging Apparitions and Private Revelations.” Marian Studies 44:41-55. Accessed from http://ecommons.udayton.edu/marian_studies/vol44/iss1/8 on 29 October 2014.

Jones, R. 1998. Yankalilla (television documentary), SBS Independent.

Kahl, Janet. 2012. “Some Recent Trends in the Study of Pilgrimage and Tourism.” Literature & Aesthetics 22:257-70.

Kahl, Janet. 1999. “Miracle Image of Mary at Yankalilla.” Australiam Religion Studies Review 12:32-39.

Kahl, Janet. 1998. Virgin Territory: Mariology in Australia. Unpublished Honours IV Theses, Studies in Religion, University of Sydney.

Lloyd, Paul. 1996a. “Holy or Hooey?” Advertiser, December 14, p. 3.

Lloyd, Paul 1996b. “The Puzzle of the Bubbling Patterns?” The Advertiser, December 14, p. 4.

Maguire, Shane. 2005. “A Miracle or Myth in Sleepy Town Church.” The Advertiser, March 7, p. 28.

McPhillips, Kathleen. 2006. “Believing in Post-modernity: Technologies of Enchantment in Contemporary Marian Devotion.” Pp. 147-58 in Popular Spiritualities: The Politics of Contemporary Enchantment, edited by Lynne Hume and Kathleen McPhillips. Aldershot: Ashgate.

McPhillips, Kathleen with Rachel Kohn. n.d. Virgins, Vampires and Superheroes. Accessed from http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/spiritofthings/virgins-vampires–superheroes/3341180 on 31 July 2015.

Morgan, Margaret. 2007. Christ Church Yankalilla: 1857 to 2007: A Story of Change and Continuity. Yankalilla: Pastoral District of Yankalilla.

Mullen, Mike. 1999. “Once upon a time …” Times Globe, October 1. Accessed from http://search.proquest.com/docview/423078804?accountid=32873 on 31 July 2015.

Notere, Andrew. 2005. “Closure of People’s Shrine Another Anglican Failure.” The Advertiser, April 27, p. 20.

Our Lady of Yankalilla Rose. n.d. Accessed from http://corporateroses.com.au/recent_release_roses/ourl_lady_of_yankalilla_rose.htm on 30 July 2015.

Pengelley, Jill. 1996, “Divine Help Finds ‘Holy Water’ Under Church.” The Advertiser, August 21, p. 3.

Personal Communication with Ann Gardiner on July 31, 2015.

Personal Communication with Margaret Morgan on July 1, 2015 and September 28, 2015.

Smart, Nick. 1996. “Mass Marks Blessing of Yankalilla Shrine.” The Advertiser, December 16, p. 6.

South Australian Heritage Places Database. 2015. Accessed from http://apps.planning.sa.gov.au/HeritageSearch/HeritageItem.aspx?p_heritageno=13211 on 14 August 2015.

Strathearn, Peri. 2013. “ Three Years Later, Anglicans Get New Bishop.” The Murray Valley Standard , July 4, p. 6.

Turner, Victor and Edith Turner. 1978. Image and Pilgrimage in Christian Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.

Turner, Victor and Edith Turner. 1982. “Postindustrial Marian Pilgrimage.” Pp. 145-73 in Mother Worship: Theme and Variations, edited by James J. Preston. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Author:
Janet Kahl

Post Date:
4 October 2015

 

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Hillsong

 HILLSONG TIMELINE

1954:  Brian Houston was born in Auckland, New Zealand.

1974:  Houston graduated from Bible College in Auckland.

1977:  Houston’s father, Frank, founded the Christian Life Centre in Sydney, Australia. Brian married Bobbie Houston in New Zealand.

1978:  Brian and Bobbie Houston moved to Sydney.

1983:  Brian and Bobbie Houston planted a separate church, the Hills Christian Life Centre, from Frank Houston’s original church.

1986:  The first Christian Life Centre Conference was held.

1992:  Christian Life Centre’s first international plants were established in London and Kiev.

1997:  The fFirst Colour (women’s) Conference was held. Brian became the new National President of the Assemblies of God (AOG) in Australia.

1999:  Frank Houston was removed from the church and stripped of ministerial credentials after confessing to sexually abusing an underage boy thirty years earlier in New Zealand. Brian referred the matter to the National Executive of the AOG and became Senior Pastor in his father’s place. Brian rebranded the family of churches as Hillsong.

2002:  Hillsong started holding services in its purpose-built conference venue (Hillsong Convention Centre) in Sydney’s Baulkham Hills.

2013:  Zion, an album of Hillsong United (the band of Hillsong Church), debuted in the U.S. secular billboard at number five.

2014:  The “Royal Commission – Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse” asked Hillsong to appear as it examined the way the church handled the complaint of sexual abuse made against Frank Houston.

2015:  Hillsong is due to release its first feature-film ( Hillsong – Let Hope Rise) in September. The film charts the rapid rise of Hillsong United.

FOUNDER/GROUP HISTORY

Brian Houston, one of the founders and now Senior Pastor of the Hillsong family of churches, was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1954. Frank and Hazel, his parents, were Salvation Army officers and Brian Houston explains that his parents left the Salvation Army to join a Pentecostal congregation “with nothing, really, at that time. We grew up in what would be a Housing Commission house” (Houston 2005). Houston’s father, Frank, “got filled with the Holy Spirit” and went on to become a Pentecostal minister in New Zealand. Houston himself went to Bible College in Auckland, graduating in 1974.

Houston met his future wife, Bobbie, on a beach during a summer Christian Conference, and they married in 1977. They moved to Sydney in 1978 to join Frank Houston, who had founded the Christian Life Centre there the year before. Brian, together with Bobbie, planted the Hills Christian Life Centre in 1983 from Frank’s original church. The church started out of the Houston’s Sunday night outreach program and was not an immediate success . Houston explained: “the very first Sunday we had 70 people turn up. The second week, there were 60, the third week, 53, and by the fourth week, 45. I ‘ve often joked that we worked it out at the time- we had only four and a half weeks left until there were no more people. It was about that time that we had our first ever commitment to Christ. We outgrew the school hall after twelve months. The crowds were so big that we were using road-case as the platform, and what should have been the stage as a balcony so that we could fit more people in” (Houston 2014).

The first Christian Life Centre conference was held in 1986, and, by 1989, the popularity of the church had grown to the point that it was relocated to a warehouse in Baulkham Hills. The church again relocated in 1990, this time to the Hills Centre, an entertainment complex, the design and space of which was to set the tone for future church buildings. The church held its first women’s conference, the Colour Conference, in 1997, led by Bobbie Houston.

In 1999, Frank Houston was stripped of his ministerial credentials after he confessed to sexually abusing a child thirty years earlier in New Zealand (Morton and Box 2014). Brian oversaw his father’s removal from the church, and he and Bobbie took over leadership of the original Sydney Christian Life Centre. The Houstons rebranded this family of churches simply as “Hillsong,” in recognition both of the Hills district where the church had experienced such tremendous growth, and the music that played such an important part in worship and services. Having continued to grow in number, Hillsong built a large conference venue, the Hillsong Convention Centre, in Baulkham Hills. Then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, opened the centre in 2002.

Where the Christian Life Centre held its first meetings in the homes of its forty-five members, Hillsong now has a congregation of around 20,000 in Sydney alone. An additional 10,000 people attend their services in other Australian cities (O’Malley 2013). In 1992, international churches were planted in London and Kiev, and there are now Hillsong churches in South Africa, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, the United States (U.S.), Germany, France, Russia, and the Netherlands. Hillsong has today been described as “Australia’s most powerful brand” (Hicks 2012).

DOCTRINES/RITUALS

Hillsong is a Pentecostal church that believes the Bible is God’s Word and is “accurate, authoritative and applicable to our everyday lives” (“Hillsong: What We Believe” 2015). The Church believes in the use of spiritual gifts and baptism, including divine healing. To receive forgiveness and “new birth” individuals must repent, and submit to the will of Jesus.

Brian Houston argues that there are four levels of Christianity. The first is enjoyment, the exciting moment of discovery and perhaps the first experience of Spirit. The second is “servanthood,” and “Christians who rise to this tier are those who have added to their enjoyment by committing to serve in God’s House.” The third level of Christianity, according to Houston, is “giving.” Not giving time as above, but money. The fourth level is “sharing the load,” doing “whatever it takes” to promote the vision and work of the church. In this, Houston argues, the clergy is not separate from the laity, and the “work of the ministry” becomes the responsibility of every believer (Houston 2013:102-5).

Brian Houston is well known for his “How to Maximise Your Life” series of books, which includes How to Live a Blessed Life; How to Build Great Relationships; How to Flourish in Life; How to Make Wise Choices; and How to Live in Health and Wholeness (Houston 2013) . These five books were published together as How to Maximise Your Life after the earlier publication of the work, You Need More Money: Discover God’s Amazing Financial Plan (1999) was lambasted by the press for its title. In the book, Houston argued that “God actually gets pleasure when we prosper” financially, because “money answers everything” (Houston 1999:2, 20). To Houston, faith can lead to prosperity and an individual’s faith is tangible and reflected in their health and wealth. He describes this attitude to wealth, which is often labelled as embodying the “prosperity gospel,”as “prosperity for a purpose” or “prosperity on purpose” (Houston 2008: 123). This has become one of the central tenets of Houston’s preaching and Hillsong’s message (Houston quoted in Marriner 2009).

Houston and other Hillsong Church leaders also embrace the concepts of individualism and aspiration. There is a focus on the power of positive thinking and the ability of the church to help individuals transform their lives. Houston explains: “ I’m sure not so blind that I can’t see that people suffer and struggle. I just believe that we should have and can have answers that do something about it. I am an absolute believer in the potential of people” (Houston 2005). Bobbie Houston in her 2008 book, I’ll Have What She’s Having, builds on this idea by arguing that people need to “ rise up ! Time to get over the negatives” and achieve all they can. She believes that “ ultimate compliment” is for someone to see your lifestyle, attitude, and sense of purpose, and then want those same things (Bobbie Houston 2008:26). This belief in the potential of people, along with the emphasis placed on prosperity and the repeated use of aspiration language, indicates the way Hillsong emerged out of the neo-liberal ideas that came to define Australia’s economy and society around the time that Hillsong Church was established.

Worship music has been particularly critical in the success of Hillsong Church internationally and is seen as a chance to praise theLord and build a close, personal relationship with him (Houston 2013). Ben Fielding, one of Hillsong’s music/creative leaders says that “music reflects the creativity and beauty of God; its ultimate purpose is to bring enjoyment and cause us to draw near to our Creator” (Fielding 2012). Hillsong released its first tape of worship music, Spirit and Truth, in 1988, though the church had had a music pastor (Geoff Bullock) since 1985. Darlene Zschech replaced Bullock in 1994, and remained the church’s worship pastor until 2007. Zschech is probably the best-known Hillsong worship leader and was instrumental in increasing the popularity of Hillsong’s music, with 35,000,000 Christians around the world sing one of her most popular songs, Shout to the Lord, at church each week (Houston 2005).

Today Hillsong’s music is most strongly associated with the band “Hillsong United,” which started as the church’s youth band and began recording original music in 1998. The band is currently led by Joel Houston, the son of Brian and Bobbie. Hillsong also releases albums recorded at its London and Sydney services (Riches and Wagner 2012:24).

ORGANIZATION/LEADERSHIP

Hillsong is a member of the Australian Christian Churches (formerly the AOG in Australia), a movement of 1,100 churches with over250,000 adherents around the country. Hillsong, like the AOG/Australian Christian Churches, embraces apostolic leadership, or “leadership by God appointed apostolic ministries” (Cartledge 2000). Brian Houston argues that Hillsong represents a “network that connects hundreds and thousands of pastors…committed to the apostolic anointing of leaders” (Houston, “The Church I Now See,” 2014).

While Brian and Bobbie Houston are both described as the “Senior Pastors” of Hillsong, who oversee the rest of the “Eldership,” there is a strong belief that men and women play different roles in life and in the running of churches. Men tend to be the ultimate decision makers and leaders, yet Bobbie Houston describes herself as being an “equal partner” in her marriage and argues that she and Brian pastor and lead the church together (Bobbie Houston 2008). Similarly, Brian Houston argues that: “Bobbie works alongside me. We’re very much a team …I certainly don’t adhere to the mentality that a woman must submit of that she should be pushed down,” but also acknowledges that “I’ve got a conservative, biblical idea that a man should take a role of leadership in his life” (Houston 2005). This conflict in understandings of gender roles and power dynamics is part of what sociologist Bernice Martin described as “the Pentecostal gender paradox” (Martin 2001).

Hillsong International Leadership College forms a significant part of the church’s vision and income stream. According to Hillsong Church Australia’s 2013 Annual Report, the total revenue generated by the College is $8,155,639 (Hillsong 2013 Annual Report:18). Students can study Pastoral Leadership, Worship Music, TV & Media, Dance, Production, or can undertake a Bachelor of Theology, offered in conjunction with Alphacrucis College. Attendees spend part of their time at College doing “Fieldwork,” where students “get the opportunity to serve in church life” (“What Makes Hillsong College Different?” 2014). Hillsong College also runs shorter evening courses on a variety of topics including money, relationships, and parenting (“Evening College Life Courses” 2015).

ISSUES/CHALLENGES

Hillsong has been the subject of much negative publicity. One former member wrote a book People in Glass Houses exploring her experiences in the church and detailing what she felt were the major flaws of the organisation (Levin 2007). Before this and since, there have also been repeated criticisms of the church, usually centred on the church’s finances, its size, and its theology. Brian Houston says that “if anybody is an expert in media opposition, it’s me,” joking that he essentially has a PhD in public relations (Pulliam Bailey 2013).

Brian Houston and Hillsong Church regularly receive negative media attention discussing the finances of the church. Houston openly acknowledges that his book, You Need More Money, was poorly received. He said: “ If you said to me ‘what are the three silliest things you’ve done’, that would probably be No. 1. The heart of the book was never just being greedy and selfish …I put a bullseye on my head” (Marriner 2009). In a 2005 interview explaining this public attitude towards Hillsong, Houston said, “Hillsong church today has facilities valued somewhere near $100 million. In our last accounting period, the total income was fifty million dollars. I think that the idea of a church being big and successful and effective threatens some people” (Houston 2005). Tanya Riches, who grew up attending Hillsong and is now postgraduate student studying the church, believes that the Australian media “doesn’t get Hillsong” and sees it as “money hungry, a sham, flamboyant, corrupt” (Riches 2014). One journalist described Hillsong’s marriage of faith and finance as “Praise the Lord and pass the chequebook” (Beaurup 2005).

Hillsong, like other Pentecostal churches in Australia, faces particular challenges when it comes to retaining members over the long term. Pentecostal churches in Australia have experienced growth rates that outpace other Christian denominations, and the number of Australians identifying as Pentecostal has steadily increased relative to the size of the Australian population over the last thirty years. However, these figures do not show the high number of “visitors” to Pentecostal churches, who do not remain in the church over the long term. From 1991-2001, AOG churches retained less than sixty percent of members while retention rates for other Protestant denominations in the same period were over eighty percent (NCLS 2015).

Hillsong is one of only twenty-one megachurches in Australia (Hughes 2013:7). Being a megachurch is perhaps one of the reasons retention rates at Hillsong are so low. That is, people are looking for a more personal connection with a pastor and the congregation than is possible when you are one of thousands worshiping at a service. More than this, as a megachurch, Hillsong has become a large institution that caters for more than religious needs. It embraces modernity and makes faith convenient through the live online streaming of church services, the provision of food and drink outlets in church foyers, the ability to make donations using EFTPOS facilities, and the increasing use of social media platforms to release information and content. Hillsong has since been criticised by various social commentators for producing a form of religion that is “light” on theology and very broad. Some argue that the church is more focused on giving attendants an enjoyable worship experience, than on Bible teaching (Pulliam Bailey 2013; Marr 2007). However, some argue that being a megachurch has helped Hillsong’s popularity because people today are comfortable in large institutions associated with market success (Connell 2005:317).

REFERENCES

Bearup, Greg. 2005. “Praise the Lord and Pass the Chequebook.” Sydney Morning Herald, February 18. Accessed from: http://www.smh.com.au/news/National/Praise-the-Lord-and-pass-the-chequebook/2005/02/18/1108609391134.html on 23 May 2013.

Cartledge, David. 2000.  The Apostolic Revolution: The Restoration of Apostles and Prophets in the Assemblies of God in Australia . Sydney: Paraclete Institute.

Connell, John. 2005. “Hillsong: A Megachurch in the Sydney Suburbs.” Australian Geographer 36:315-32.

Fielding, Ben. 2012. “Part Two: Can music bring you closer to God? Ben Fielding says ‘Yes.’” Bible Society” Culture. 8 July 2012. Accessed from: http://www.biblesociety.org.au/news/part-two-can-music-bring-you-closer-to-god-ben-fielding-says-yes#sthash.unQyRaLi.dpuf on 5 August 2015.

Hicks, Robin. 2012. “Hillsong – Australia’s Most Powerful Brand.” mUmBRELLA, July 26. Accessed from: http://mumbrella.com.au/hillsong-australias-most-powerful-brand-104506 on 1 August 2012.

Hillsong College. 2015. “Evening College Life Courses.” Hillsong International Leadership College Website. Accessed from: http://hillsong.com/college/evening-college-life-courses/ on 7 August 2015.

Hillsong College. 2014. “What Makes Hillsong College Different?” Hillsong Collected Blog , August 1. Accessed from: http://hillsong.com/collected/blog/2014/08/what-makes-hillsong-college-different/#.VcRWI_mqpBc on 5 August 2015.

Hillsong Church. 2015. “What We Believe: Statement of Beliefs.” Hillsong Church Website. Accessed from http://hillsong.com/what-we-believe/ on 5 August 2015.

Hillsong Church. 2013. “Hillsong 2013 Annual Report.” Hillsong Church Website. Accessed from: http://hillsong.com/policies/2013-annual-report-australia/ on 7 August 2015.

Houston, Bobbie. 2008. I ‘ll Have What She’s Having: The Ultimate Compliment for Any Woman Daring to Change her World. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Houston, Brian. 2014. “Brian & Bobbie.” Hillsong Church Website. Accessed from http://staging.hillsong.com/brian-bobbie on 24 December 2014.

Houston, Brian. 2014. “The Church I Now See.” Hillsong Church Website. Accessed from http://hillsong.com/vision/ on 24 December 2014.

Houston, Brian. 2013. How to Maximise Your Life. Castle Hill, NSW: Hillsong Music Australia.

Houston, Brian. 2008. For This I Was Born: Aligning Your Vision to God’s Cause. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Houston, Brian. 2005. “The Life of Brian.” Australian Story (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), August 1. Accessed from ww.abc.net.au/austory/content/2005/s1427560.html on 30 March 2012.

Houston, Brian. 1999. You Need More Money: Discover God’s Amazing Financial Plan for Your Life. Castle Hill: Brian Houston Ministries.

Hughes, Philip. 2013. “Australian Megachurches.” Pointers: Bulletin of the Christian Research Association 23: 7-9.

Levin, Tanya. 2007. People in Glass Houses, An Insider’s Story of a Life in and out of Hillsong. Melbourne, VIC: Black Inc.

Marr, David. 2007. “Hillsong – The Church With No Answers.” Sydney Morning Herald. 4 August 2007. Accessed from http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/08/03/1185648145760.html?page=fullpage on 23 May 2012.

Marriner, Cosima. 2009. “Next Stop, Secular Europe, Says Hillsong Founder.” Sydney Morning Herald. 25 May 2009. Accessed from: http://www.smh.com.au/national/next-stop-secular-europe-says-hillsong-founder-20090524-bjj1.html on 28 March 2012.

Martin, Bernice. 2001. “The Pentecostal Gender Paradox: A Cautionary Tale for the Sociology of Religion.” Pp. 52-66 in The Blackwell Companion to the Sociology of Religion, edited by Richard K. Fenn. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.

Morton, Rick and Dan Box. 2014. “Senior Counsel Calls for Hillsong Founder to be Referred to Police.” The Australian, December 20. Accessed from: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/senior-counsel-calls-for-hillsong-founder-to-be-referred-to-police/story-fngburq5-1227162370779 on 23 December 2014.

NCLS (National Church Life Survey). 2015. “Protestant Churches Inflow and Outflow.” Research: Who Goes to Church, Church Size and Growth. Accessed from: http://www.ncls.org.au/default.aspx?sitemapid=5911 on 22 March 2015.

O’Malley, Nick. 2013. “The Rise and Rise of Hillsong.” Sydney Morning Herald, September 8. Accessed from http://www.smh.com.au/national/the-rise-and-rise-of-hillsong-20130907-2tbzx.html on 21 February 2014.

Pulliam Bailey, Sarah. 2013. “Australia’s Hillsong Church Has Astonishingly Powerful Global Influence.” Huffington Post, May 11. Accessed from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/05/australia-hillsong-church-influence_n_4214660.html on 24 December 2014.

Riches, Tanya. 2014. “Why the Media Doesn’t Get Hillsong: Reflections of an Australian Pentecostal.” Australian Broadcasting Corporation. January 8 . Accessed from http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2014/01/07/3921786.htm on 23 December 2014.

Riches, Tanya and Tom Wagner. 2012. “The Evolution of Hillsong Music: From Australian Pentecostal Congregation into Global Brand.” Australian Journal of Communication 39:17-36.

Post Date:
9 August 2015

 

 

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Answers in Genesis

ANSWERS IN GENESIS TIMELINE

1951:  Ken Ham was born in Cairns, Australia.

1980:  After teaching public school, Ham and his wife, Mally, decided to minister full time and founded the Creation Science Foundation (CSF).

1980:  Dr. Carl Wieland handed over his magazine, Creation, to CSF. Ham merged Wieland’s Creation Science Association into the Creation Science Foundation.

1987:  Ham and his wife moved to the United States and located in the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in San Diego to help the Creation Science Foundation gain more international influence.

1993:  Ken and Mally Ham believed that it was time to begin a new U.S. ministry and resigned from ICR (Mark Looy and Mike Zovath followed, helping to found “Creation Science Ministries.”

1994:  Answers in Genesis (AIG) was founded in Florence, Kentucky.

1994:  AIG’s first major conference held in Denver, Colorado, with around 6,000 attendees. The first ministry newsletter was mailed

1996:  The Boon County Fiscal Court denied AIG’s proposal to build a Creation Museum to serve as headquarters for the AIG ministry.

2000:  AIG purchased fifty acres along Interstate 275 in Petersburg, Kentucky for the museum.

2001:  Construction on the Creation Museum began.

2005:  AIG-U.S. and AIG-Australia separated due to leadership issues.

2007 (May 28):  The Creation Museum opened.

2010 (December 1):  AIG announced the construction of the Ark Encounter LLC.

2016:  The Ark Encounter Project is scheduled to be completed.

FOUNDER/GROUP HISTORY

The longstanding tensions between the scientific and biblical narratives have flared historically whenever advances in various scientific disciplines have raised questions about the empirical validity of biblical accounts of creation. For example, around the beginning of the nineteenth century, the development of Geology as a discipline, with its findings that the Earth was far more ancient than suggested by the account in Genesis, led to increased support for Gap Theory and Day-Age Theory as alternative theories for the discrepancy between geological and biblical accounts. Gap Theory posits that there was a long time-gap between the first two days of creation as chronicled in Genesis while Day-Age Theory proposes that the days of creation listed in Genesis were themselves long periods of time (thousands or even millions of years). Most recently, evolutionary creationism, which postulates that God created life and humankind while evolution constitutes an explanation for how life developed (Saletan 2014).

Beginning in the 1960s, conservative Christian groups of various kinds have mounted active opposition to evolutionary theory with creationism, in part due to the struggles over a variety of issues (e.g., science education, sex education, prayer in schools) in the public school system. One outgrowth of these struggles has been the formation of a variety of museums, research institutes, and foundations defending the biblical creation narrative (Numbers 2006; Duncan 2009). Creationist museums are found primarily in the United States, but there is a sprinkling of such museums around the world (Simitopoulou and Xirotitis 2010). The most prominent creationist museums in the U.S. was established by Answers in Genesis.

Ken Ham, the founder of Answers in Genesis (AIG), received his bachelor’s degree in applied science from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia and a degree in education from the University of Queensland. He went on to become a public high school science teacher. Ham expanded his educational credentials with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity in 1997 from Temple Baptist College in Cincinnati, Ohio and another in Literature in 2004 from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (Answers in Genesis n.d.). In 1979, Ham left teaching to become a full-time minister with his wife, Mally Ham. Initially, they established Creation Science Supplies, a book ministry, and Creation Science Educational Media Services, a teaching ministry. Later, these two initiatives were combined to form the Creation Science Foundation (CSF), co-founded with John Mackay. Even at this point, Ham had dreams of building a museum that taught history as it is recorded in the Bible.

In 1986, Ken Ham reported feeling that he was called by God to travel to the United States and continue his ministry there. The CSF board in Australia sent Ham to work with Dr. Henry Morris’s Institute for Creation Research (ICR) in 1987 as a speaker; he remained the Director of the Australian CSF ministry until 2004. Ham went on to lecture not only in the U.S. but also in the U.K.

After working with ICR for seven years, Mally Ham approached her husband about separating from the research group to form their own more “layperson-oriented” creation organization. Ham then resigned from ICR, along with colleagues Mark Looy and Mike Zovath, and together they formed Creation Science Ministries (CSM). Supported by donations, CSM was able to become an independent organization, while still maintaining a sister-relationship with CSF-Australia. CSM began its first year of ministry in 1994 and changed its name to Answers in Genesis. The name change was intended to reflect the importance and authority of all scripture, not just the portion pertaining to creation. Soon after, CSF-Australia changed its name to Answers in Genesis as well. In the same year, the three original founders relocated their families to Florence, Kentucky to establish a headquarters for the organization. Two-thirds of the United States’ population lives within 650 miles of Cincinnati, Ohio, which is only fourteen miles from Florence, giving considerable accessibility to a substantial portion of the American population.

DOCTRINES/BELIEFS

Contemporary creationists can be divided into “old earthers” and “young earthers.” The former postulate that science-based dating of the evolutionary process is correct but that the process itself was initiated by a Creator. The latter, the strong creationists, attempt to validate biblical dating and the biblical creation narrative. Answers in Genesis (AIG) can be categorized as Young-Earth Creationists (YECs). AIG asserts that the Bible is the word of God and the absolute authority on all matters. The Board of AIG explains that any evidence in any area of knowlege must be confirmed by the Bible to be valid. As AIG puts the matter, “no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record” (Answers in Genesis 2012). Therefore, AIG accepts the Bible as the accurate historical account of Earth’s creation recorded in Genesis 3:14-19 (Ross, 2005). From its perspective, the organization of the natural world is “irreducibly complex” and could only have been originally designed (Petto & Godfrey, 2007).

On February 4, 2014, AIG leader, Ken Ham debated renowned scientist, Bill Nye on the question “Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins?” and provided an explanation of AIG’s view on science. AIG makes a distinction between observational science and historical science. During his presentation, Ham commented that “People by and large have not been taught to look at what you believe about the past as different compared to what you observe in the present. You don’t observe the past directly. Even when you think about the creation account, we can’t observe God creating.” Ham and his followers therefore hold that mainstream science is not viable because there was no one in the past to observe any events that transpired. AIG accepts the natural laws of mainstream science, but believes they have divine origin, which allows for their belief in a six-day creation (Foreman, Ham, and Nye 2014).

ORGANIZATION/LEADERSHIP/

With its increasing speaking ministry, radio program, and web outreach, AIG searched for a building site in northern Kentucky fortheir creation museum. Two efforts to rezone land for the project met strong opposition from evolution proponents and other secular groups. Despite this resistance, hundreds of radio stations began featuring AIG’s Answers program. By 2006, AIG’s website, AnswersInGenesis.org, was chosen out of 1,300 ministries to receive the “Website of the Year” award from the National Religious Broadcasters. The website has gone on to host about 25,000 visitors a day. The AIG magazine, Creation, which was originally published in Australia, is also distributed in the United States. In 2006, however, AIG-US discovered that over half their subscribers did not renew their subscriptions after one year. The organization recognized the need for a new magazine, Answers , which would feature biblical and scientific articles about the origins controversy and emphasize the biblical worldview with practical applications. Further differences between the American and Australian branches caused AIG-US to stop distributing Creation and focus solely on Answers. After only five years in operation, Answers received the “Award of Excellence” from the Evangelical Press Association (Ham n.d.).

By 2004, AIG was able to obtain the site for its Creation Museum, fifty acres near Interstate 275. The museum opened on May 28,2007. Ham created the Creation Museum to spread “Biblically correct science” to the public and to try and bring Creationism into the mainstream. He preferred a museum to a church because museums are accepted as places of public education and for the display of scientific research findings. Further, a museum is a more engaging environment in which to encourage learning among children. Finally, a museum could connect directly with visitors and AIG’s message would not be filtered through mainstream scientists or the government (Duncan 2009). According to Ham, AIG simply wants the Creation Museum to tell people that “the Bible is true and the Bible is God’s word, that’s what it’s all about” (Jacoby, 1998). The museum features a planetarium, the Johnson Observatory, SFX Theater, a petting zoo, an insectarium, a zip-line course, dinosaur fossils, and animatronic exhibits. The Creation Museum was very successful in its first year, attracting 404,000 visitors but suffered declining visitation, with only 280,000 visitors in 2012.

AIG announced plans in 2010 for a project to build a full-scale version of Noah’s Ark and biblical village. The Ark Encounter, is to belocated on 800 acres near Interstate 75 in Grant County, Kentucky and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2016 (Ham, n.d.). The Ark Encounter is described as “a 160-acre park with a life-size replica of Noah’s Ark built to stand 500 feet long and 80 feet high” (Goodwin 2012). Initial construction plans were delayed until 2014 due to a weak economy and a decline in visitation to the Creation Museum (Goodwin 2012). Based on outside consulting term estimates, AIG has anticipated 1,600,000 visitors in its first year, as well as improved visitation. The initial financial projections were also optimistic as a result of tax breaks pledged by the State of Kentucky; these were withdrawn after considerable controversy concerning church-state separation (Alford 2010; “Kentucky” 2015). AIG subsequently announced plans to sue Kentucky over the withdrawal (Linshi 2015).

ISSUES/CONTROVERSIES

AIG has met some opposition within the conservative Christian community. For example, in March, 2011, the Board of GreatHomeschool Conventions, Inc. (GHC) voted to disinvite Ken Ham and AIG from “all future conventions [as Ham made] unnecessary, ungodly, and mean-spirited statements that are divisive at best and defamatory at worst” (Blackford 2011) about another speaker at the convention. The board stated that “Ken’s public criticism of the convention itself and other speakers at [the] convention require him to surrender spiritual privilege of addressing a homeschool audience” (Blackford 2011). Ham, in his blog, explained that Peter Enns of the BioLogos Foundation teaches misleading information about Genesis that compromises Genesis with evolution and is an “outright liberal theology that totally undermines the authority of the Word of God” (Answers in Genesis Board of Directors 2011). After the allegations against Ham being un-Christian and sinful were made, AIG launched an internal investigation of GHC, but has yet to find any resolution (Answers in Genesis Board of Directors 2011).

Predictably, AIG has received heavy criticism from scientists representing a variety of disciplines who regard the Creation Museum as a “monument to scientific illiteracy” (Kennerly 2009). According to Jerry Lipps, professor of geology, paleontology, and evolution at University of California, Berkeley, even most mainstream Christians do not agree with AIG’s interpretation of Earth’s history. Lisa Park, a professor of paleontology and a firm follower of Christianity views Creationism as focusing “on fear… [and] a malicious manipulation of the public” (Kennerly 2009). Daryl Domning, professor of anatomy at Howard University claims it imbibes visitors to the museum to believe in “a major distortion and misrepresentation of Christianity as it is of science” (Kennerly 2009).

It is not surprising, therefore, that Ham’s initial plan to locate the museum next to Big Bone Lick State Park, which is the birthplaceof vertebrate paleontology in North America, drew vigorous opposition from scientists (Goodwin 2012). From the scientists’ perspective, this location implied that the local government was giving support to a sectarian religious group. Ham’s proposal was subsequently denied after several zoning disputes and legal proceedings, and he then decided to move his museum strategically closer to the Cincinnati International Airport.

The most direct confrontation between Ham and an opposing scientist took place on February 4, 2014 in a public debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham at the Creation Museum. Nye argued in a YouTube post that “Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children.” He stated that “If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you’re not going to continue to innovate” (Lovan 2012). For his part, Ham attempted to substantiate the YEC model of the universe’s origins. He reasserted that Earth was created by God approximately 6,000 years ago and dinosaurs and humans once coexisted, as it is specifically stated in the Genesis. Nye sought to refute Ham’s claims by citing widely supported observations by scientists that the Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Ham responded that “I believe science has been hijacked by secularists…and that there is a difference between historical science and observational science” (“Bill Nye Debates Ken Ham” 2014). Nye pointed out that a variety of methodologies (radiometric dating, ice core data, and the light from distant stars) supports the position that the Earth is much older than 6,000 years (Lovan 2012). When Ham referred to the Genesis flood narrative and Noah’s Ark, Nye pointed out that the Ark as described in the Book of Genesis would not float. Nye also pointed out that, using Nye’s calculations, an ark containing 7,000 kinds of animals would require that approximately eleven new species would have to come into existence every day for the Earth to contain all presently known species (O’Neil 2014). While Ham does not have appeared to have won over a majority of the audience, he seemed unconcerned. From his perspective, the publicity generated by the debate was a source of fundraising for AIG’s construction of the Ark Encounter theme park (Chowdhury 2014).

REFERENCES

Alford, Roger. 2010). “Full-scale Replica of Noah’s Ark Planned in Kentucky.” USA Today, December 3. Accesed fromhttp://usatoday30.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/2010-12-05-noahs-ark-kentucky-creation-museum_N.htm on 27 February 2015.

Answers in Genesis Board of Directors. 2011. “Kicked Out of Two Homeschool Conferences.” answersingenesis.org, June 10. Accessed from https://answersingenesis.org/ministry-news/core-ministry/kicked-out-of-two-homeschool-conferences/ on 31 January 2015.

Answers in Genesis. 2012. “Statement of Faith.” Accessed from https://answersingenesis.org/about/faith/ on 6 January 2015.

Answers in Genesis. n.d. “Ken Ham.” Accessed from http://creation.com/ken-ham on 7 January 2015.

Blackford, Linda B. 2011. “Founder of Creation Museum Banned from Convention.” kentucky.com, March 24. Accessed fromhttp://www.kentucky.com/2011/03/24/1682122_founder-of-creation-museum-banned.html?rh=1 on 31 January 2015.

Chowdhury, Sudeshna. 2014. “Bill Nye versus Ken Ham: Who Won?” The Christian Science Monitor, February 5. Accessed fromhttp://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-357806905.html on 26 January 2015.

Duncan, Julie A. 2009. Faith Displayed as Science: The Role of the Creation Museum in the Modern Creationist Movement . Honors Thesis, Department of the History of Science. Cambridge: Harvard University.

Goodwin, Liz. 2012. “The Creation Museum Evolves: Hoping to Add a Life-Size Ark Project, The Museum Hits Fundraising Trouble.news.yahoo.com, July 5. Accessed from http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/creation-museum-evolves-hoping-add-life-size-ark-170347907.html on 31 January 2015.

Ham, Ken. 2009. “If You Don’t Matter to God, You Don’t Matter to Anyone.” Answersingenesis.org , April 20. Accessed fromhttps://answersingenesis.org/sanctity-of-life/mass-shootings/if-you-dont-matter-to-god-you-dont-matter-to-anyone/ on 29 January 2015.

Ham, Ken. n.d. “The History of Answers in Genesis through December 2014.” Accessed fromhttps://answersingenesis.org/about/history/ on 7 January 2015.

Jacoby, Steve. 1998. “Culture Clash.” Cincinnati Best & Worst 33: 80-86. Accessed from http://books.google.com/books?id=7u0CAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA80#v=onepage&q=50%2C000&f=false on 29 December 2014.

Kennerly, Britt. 2009. “Paleontologists Brought to Tears, Laughter by Creation Museum.” Phys.org, June 30. Accessed fromhttp://phys.org/news165555744.html on 29 January 2015.

“Kentucky: No Tax Break for Site of a New Noah’s Ark.” Associated Press, December 11. Accessed fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/11/us/politics/kentucky-no-tax-break-for-site-of-a-new-noahs-ark.html on 27 February 2015.

Linshi, Jack. 2015. Noah’s Ark Theme Park Group Sues Kentucky Over Withdrawn Tax Breaks.” TIME, February 3. Accessed fromhttp://time.com/3694802/ken-ham-genesis-kentucky-lawsuit/ on 27 February 2015.

Lippard, Jim. 2006. “Trouble in Paradise: Answers in Genesis Splinters.” Reports of the National Center for Science Education, 26(6) .Accessed from http://ncse.com/rncse/26/6/trouble-paradise 14 January 2015.

Lovan, Dylan. 2012. “Bill Nye Warns: Creation Views Threaten US Science.” AP Online, September 24. Accessed fromhttp://www.highbeam.com/doc/1A1-07009c71ef51419a98865a691635f294.html on 26 January 2015.

Numbers, Ronald. 2006. The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design . Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

O’Neil, Tyler. 2014. “Science vs. Bible? 5 Arguments for and Against Creationism From the Ken Ham, Bill Nye Debate.” The Christian Post, February 5. Accessed from http://www.christianpost.com/news/science-vs-bible-the-5-best-arguments-for-and-against-creationism-from-the-ken-ham-bill-nye-debate-114005/pageall.html on 26 January 2015.

“Richard Dawkins Interview.” 2010. AIGbusted.blogspot.com, December 26. Accessed fromhttp://AIGbusted.blogspot.com/2010/12/richard-dawkins-interview.html on 29 January 2015.

Ross, Marcus R. 2005. “Who Believes What? Clearing up Confusion about Intelligent Design and Young-Earth Creationism.” Liberty University. Accessed from http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/bio_chem_fac_pubs/79 on 5 January 2015.

Saletan, William. 2014. “Creativity for Creationists.” Accessed from http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/human_nature/2014/12/evolutionary_creationism_jeff_hardin_reconciles_
evangelical_christianity.html
on 28 December 2014.

Simitopoulou, Kally and Nikolaos Xirotitis. 2010. “The Revival of Creationism in Contemporary Societies: A Short Survey.” Bulletin der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Anthropologie 16:79–86.

Wieland, Carl. 2005. “Rushing in—Where Wiser Heads Might Not.” answersingenesis.org, April 12. Accessed fromhttp://web.archive.org/web/20080307123315/http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2005/0412zimmer.asp on 14 January 2015.

Authors:
David G. Bromley
Merin Duke
Simren Bhatt

Post Date:
27 February 2015

ANSWERS IN GENESIS VIDEO CONNECTIONS

 

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Articles, Papers and Dissertations

ARTICLES AND PAPERS

Vassillios Adrahtas, “Dancing Up Circular Quay: Indigenous Australian Popular Culture, Hybridization, and the Local Performance of the Glocal.”

Vassilios Adrahtas, “Prolegomena to the History of Indigenous Australian Prophetic Consciousness.”

Zoe Alderton, “Nick Cave: A Journey from an Anglican God to the Creative Christ.”

Zoe Alderton, “The Limits of Taste: Politics, Aesthetics, and Christ in Contemporary Australia.”

Sarah K. Balstrup, “Sentient Symbols: The Implications of Animal Cruelty Debates in Contemporary Australian Art.”

Gary Bouma, “Globalization and Localization: Anglicans and Pentecostals in Australia and the United States.”

Annabel Carr, “Beauty, Myth and Monolith: Picnic at Hanging Rock and the Vibration of Sacrality.”

Carole M. Cusack, “Mysterious Ways: Some Reflections on the “Religion, Literature and the Arts Project,” 1994-1996.”

Carole M. Cusack,”Religion in Australian Society: A Place for Everything, and Everything in Its Place.”

Carole M. Cusack, “The Virgin Mary at Coogee: A Preliminary Investigation.”

Justine Digance and Carole M. Cusack, “Secular Pilgrimage Events: Druid Gorsedd and Stargate Alignments.”

D. W. DockRill, “Archbishop Gough and the Sydney Philosophers: Religion, Religious Studies, and the University.”

Lucy Ellem, “My Colour Country: Landscape and Spirituality in the Art of Ginger Riley Muduw Alawala.”

Jan Epstein, “Jews and Films in Australia.”

Christopher Hartney, “Open Temple, Open Eyes: Viewing Caodaism.”

Lynne Hume, “New Religious Movements: Current Research in Australia.”

Patrick Hutchings, “Australian Aboriginal Art.”

Richard Ingold, “God, the Devil and You: A Systemic Functional Linguistic Analysis of the Language of Hillsong.”

Janet Kahl, “Miracle Image of Mary at Yankalilla, South Australia.”

Suzanne Langford, “In Search of an Australian Soul: Reflections on Religion and Spirituality in Rabbit-Proof Fence and Japanese Story.”

Renee Lockwood, Sacrifice and the Creation of Group of Identity: Case Studies of Gallipoli and Masada

Sheila McCreanor, “The Construction of an Australian Saint.”

Lyn McCredden, “Symbol-Making in Australia.”

Trevor Melksham, “What Manner of Men are These? Peter Weir’s Gallipoli as an Expression of Australian Civil Religion.”

Jane Magon, “Spirituality in Australian Art.”

Susan Murphy, “The Ordinary Street, The Storehouse of Treasure.”

Rod Pattenden, “Artists do the Big Picture.”

Peter Pierce, “The Problem of Consolation in the Country of Lost Children.”

Adam Possamai, “Alternative Spiritualities, New Religious Movements, and Jedism in Australia.”

James T. Richardson, “New Religions in Australia: Public Menace or Societal Salvation?

Maurice Ryan, “Religion Courses in Australian Schools

Marian de Souza and Richard Rymarz, “The Transmission of a Religious Heritage to Younger Members of Small Ethnic Communities in a Pluralistic Society: The Perceptions of Young Austalian Copts.”

DISSERTATIONS

Stephen John Carthew. 2012. A World within a World within “The World”: The Origins of the Universal Brotherhood, an Australian Countercultural, Back-to-the-land, New Age, Alternative Society and New Religious Movement Community. University of South Australia.

 

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