Event List

  • Sun
    2:00 pmSt John's Anglican Church Coffs Harbour

    Despite it being a fundamental human right, access to education for many is just a pipe dream. But Kassimiro Yanga and the South Sudan Children's Education Fund believe it is the key to future peace.

    Kassimiro escaped war-torn South Sudan to avoid becoming a boy soldier. Seeing the atrocities up close, he is adamant the development of South Sudan can only be achieved if children are able to be educated.

    "Me and my sister have seen the situation in South Sudan, and many kids are dropping out of school. We're hoping in the next few years we'll be able to help fund more children's education,” said Kassimiro, an instigator of the SSCEF.

    The SSCEF, an initiative of Coffs Harbour Council of Churches, said schools in the country charge an equivalent of around $200 each year, and many children are orphaned or have lost their fathers which makes it difficult to pay these fees.

    Raising funds for schooling in Juba, the capital of South Sudan, the SSCEF is once again holding its Salem Variety Concert at St John's Anglican Church.

    "The African community in Coffs is understandably anxious to help those back home who are having a great deal of difficulty not only with the conflict, but also with famine,” said Rev Jan McLeod.

    The concert takes place from 2pm Sunday, May 27, at St John's Anglican Church.

  • Fri

    Francis Tenison "Frank" Brennan SJ AO (born 6 March 1954) is an Australian Jesuit priest, human rights lawyer and academic. He is known for his 1998 involvement in the Wik debate when Paul Keating called him "the meddling priest" and the National Trust classified him as a Living National Treasure. Brennan has a longstanding reputation of advocacy in the areas of law, social justice, refugee protection, Aboriginal reconciliation and human rights activism.

    Brennan is the first born son of Sir Gerard Brennan, a former Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia and Patricia O'Hara, an anaesthestist.

    Brennan is a fourth generation Australian. He is of Irish descent on both sides of his family and has German ancestry from his paternal grandmother.

    Brennan studied at Downlands College in Toowoomba, and at the University of Queensland where he graduated with honours in arts and law. He then studied at the Melbourne College of Divinity, where he graduated, again with honours, in divinity. He was awarded a Master of Laws as a result of further study at the University of Melbourne.

    Brennan's contact and involvement with Aboriginal Australians began early in his priestly ministry. In 1975 he worked in the inner Sydney parish of Redfern with priest activist Fr Ted Kennedy, where he also met and worked with Mum (Shirl) Smith among others who were founding indigenous Australian legal, health and political initiatives.

    In 1997, he was Rapporteur at the Australian Reconciliation Convention and the following year he was appointed an Ambassador for Reconciliation by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation. On 10 December 2008 he was appointed as the chairperson to the Australian Government's National Human Rights Consultation Committee. In 2009 this independent committee consulted with the Australian community about the protection and promotion of human rights. On 30 September 2009, it reported its recommendations to the Attorney General, the Honourable Robert McClelland MP.

    Brennan is a professor of law in the Public Policy Institute at the Australian Catholic Universitya visiting professorial fellow at the University of New South Wales and served as the founding director of the Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre in Sydney from 2001 to 2007. In 2005, he returned to Australia from a fellowship at Boston College.

    During 2011, Brennan was critical of the refugee policies of the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, saying that she has led the Labor Party into moral decline and that the Malaysia Solution is morally derelict and tantamount to "offshore dumping".

    On 15 August 2017 Brennan stated that if the law was changed to require clergy to report child sexual abuse learned of during confessionals he would consider breaking it. Brennan told ABC Radio National that "I as a Catholic priest would have to make a decision, whether in conscience, I could apply with such a law". He also claimed that "I think it would make children more vulnerable and not less".

    During the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey, Brennan dissented from traditional Catholic teaching, telling the media he would vote yes and stating that "We've got to factor that in to the common good argument about what's necessary." He stated that, while in the context of Catholic marriage he would continue to uphold marriage as being between a man and a woman, he considered the issue of civil marriage to be separate. Following the survey, Brennan was appointed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to serve on a Philip Ruddock-led review into religions freedoms.

  • Fri
    6:30 pmMarian Grove Sawtell
  • Fri
    St Augustines Parish Church Coffs Harbour
    In a world where too many people are facing pain, suffering and injustice, supporting the Christmas Bowl appeal is still an essential act of compassion, just as it has been since its humble beginnings in 1949.

    The story of the Christmas Bowl has now become a key part of the history of Christian compassion in Australia. On Christmas Day 1949 the Reverend Frank Byatt of Victoria placed an empty bowl on the dinner table and asked his guests to give a gift to bring relief and hope to refugees who had fled the horrors of World War II. 

    Rev Byatt could never have known that his simple act would grow into the incredible outpouring of love and compassion it’s become today. Last year alone, people like you helped to raise a record-breaking $2.5 million for those around the world who are suffering hardship and hunger. 

    As well as being a much loved ecumenical tradition, the Christmas Bowl appeal is a demonstration of unity for Christians in Australia. “Making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3), the Christmas Bowl brought together 1,800 churches from 19 denominations last year to help those in need. 

    Sadly, the Christmas Bowl is needed now more than ever, with unprecedented numbers of people displaced around the world and millions more suffering from severe hunger. Supporting the Christmas Bowl is a powerful act of faith and love as well as a tangible act of solidarity. By taking part, we’re affirming that every displaced or hungry person is an individual worthy of empathy and compassion. 

    This year, we’re helping hard working farming families in Zimbabwe who are struggling to feed their children after suffering the worst drought in 35 years. We’ve already taught hundreds of farmers new techniques that can save lives, but so many more are in need of help. 

    By supporting the Christmas Bowl this year, your act of compassion will help make a life-changing difference to the people who need it most.