Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church (Sydney, Australia)

Home > Online Magazine > Online Magazine: Edition 71 - Autumn (Mar-May) 2022

Online Magazine: Edition 71

Autumn (Mar-May) 2022

Welcome to the Seventy-first Edition of the Online Magazine of the Thornleigh Seventh-day Adventist Church.



Welcome to the autumn edition of our online magazine. 

Over the last few years, and more recently considering proposed legislative changes in Australia, I have got to thinking about the concept of religious freedom and how the theory plays out in practice.   I still probably have more questions than solutions, but I share with you my thought processes so far on this journey.

It should come as no surprise that the Seventh-day Adventist church supports the concept of religious freedom.  "The Adventist Church believes that fighting religious oppression and defending an individual's right to worship according to his or her conscience-regardless of that person's religious affiliation-is in everyone's best interest." (<>)

The concept of freedom, of religious convictions or otherwise, is built into our DNA.  However, within any society, freedom is never absolute.  It always comes with certain restrictions, mostly centred around the protection of the rights and freedom of others.  For example, you have the freedom to drive your car, but not the freedom to drive in such a way as would be a danger to others.  You have the freedom to speak as you like, but not to the extent that, without substantiation, it damages the reputation of others.

Unfortunately, religious freedom is not a right that is afforded to everyone in all countries.  Whilst we might consider it is a basic human right, we should also consider it a privilege, and with such privilege comes great responsibility.  "   From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." Luke 12:48 (NIV)

I am only beginning my journey of thinking through what, in practice, is an extremely complex issue.  I don't know that I have answered all my questions, let alone even asked all the right questions, but perhaps I have given you something to think about and possibly some principles that we should apply to the questions that we do have.

In summary my journey so far has led me to the following.  Religious freedom is a privilege which brings responsibilities.

In this Edition

Pastor's Piece - New Beginnings -  Pr Alexis Ratu

Last year we sadly said goodbye to Pr Mark Baines (our pandemic pastor, as it transpired) as he is moving on to pastoral roles with other churches.  As a result, this year, we welcome our new pastor, Alexis Ratu, to our church family.  Alexis is moving back to Pastoral ministry after being involved in Chaplaincy for the last 4 years at Macarthur Adventist College.  Alexis is half Fijian and half Cook Islander, having been raised in Australia and been involved in church ministry in Sydney for the last 12 years.  We are also pleased to welcome his lovely family - Erika, who is currently on maternity leave from Hurstville Adventist School, their 4 year old daughter and her new baby sister.

Alexis writes from a personal perspective of new beginning in his first article.

Time to Rejoice - Kira-leigh Josey

Kira-leigh writes of the Sabbath as a sanctuary from the rampant busyness of our everyday lives.

Buying a Better World - Joy Butler (writing for "Signs of the Times")

Joy Butler shares with us her search for justice in the world and her tips for how each of us can make small differences.

Book Review - Christianity in Australia - Resident Book Reviewer.

This time you get three for the price of one with our resident book reviewer researching the impact of Christianity in Australia (The Bible in Australia - by Meredith Lake, Beginnings Down Under - by Reg Brown and, Our Mob, God's Mob - Researched and Edited by Louis Sherman and Christobel Mattingley).

Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes - Erica Green

Our recipe column for this edition takes inspiration from the latest in kitchen gadgets, using them in non-traditional ways.

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