Sunday, September 24, 2017

Where Time Stands – Still!

Small, leafy historical towns like Longford punctuate Northern Tasmania’s fertile coastal farming belt, evoking much of the charm of 19th century English rural villages.

Begun by free-settlers with the aid of convict-labour in 1813, Longford reflects how England’s landed gentry transferred their lifestyle to a new hemisphere; with one pioneer farm now becoming a National Rose Garden, displaying over four thousand blooms.

Longford’s historical fabric has even woven in features like high-speed engine noise!

From 1953 to 1968, its local roads annually became a seven-kilometre circuit, hosting major world motor racing events like the 1959 Australian Grand Prix.

Longford’s elegant stone Christ Church also springs its surprises: its First Settlers’ Cemetery has graves dating back almost two hundred years; its clock and bell almost as old; and an arboretum that once grew every tree mentioned in the Bible.

As gifts from King George IV, Christ Church’s bell and clock still keep Longford locals on time, and last September a volunteer guide told my wife and me the secret of this old timepiece’s accuracy.

“We’d come to the stage where church members were getting too old to climb up to ring the bell and the stairs themselves were becoming unsafe. We prayed long and hard about what to do. Then we discovered we could automate the mechanism and receive satellite signals to keep it corrected!”

Their solution shows how God invites us to trust him to inject new opportunities into our challenges, especially when our concerns include others’ benefits.

 

Noel Mitaxa

On behalf of a church near you

Inviting you to explore God’s love

 

Noel Mitaxa is from South Eastern Australia and has been in ministry since 1973, firstly with Churches of Christ – similar to the Disciples in the USA – until 1990, when he moved to a faith-based inter-based inter-church sports ministry of sports evangelism, sports chaplaincy and sports media, before returning to pastoral ministry with Baptist Churches in 1996.

Throughout his ministries, he has always aimed at building the kinds of churches that express God’s love practically, as much as verbally.  Most recently, this included a community centre for woodworking, a community garden and counseling and education programs.

He also enjoys the methanol fix of speedway chaplaincy, in which he has served nine seasons as the Head Rev of all those rev heads!

He and his wife Judy have been married for 35 years; their four kids have grown up and they have three grandchildren.

His writing began in 1982, with his first weekly Good News column, which has always focused on helping unchurched people to realize that God loves them and that He is already there for them.  The column has also been a tool for feeding and starting ‘water cooler’ conversations among Christians and non-Christians.  He also writes for Cypress Times in Houston TX.

 

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