John’s Blog

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THE REASON FOR THE SEASON

by John Barr

Christmas in my family has always been a little mixed up. When we lived in Indonesia gift-giving took place, not on the December 25th, rather, it took place on 5th – the Feast of St Nicholas. This is a tradition inherited from the Dutch. Christmas then continued through December 25th (Christmas One), December 26th (Christmas […]

REFORMATION 500th ANNIVERSARY

by John Barr

500th ANNIVERSARY OF REFORMATION A “hero-protestant” who “re-founded” Christianity or a “wild boar who was let loose in the vineyard? Renewal almost as profound as Pentecost or the unleashing of sectarian schism in the church and the creation of mayhem across all society?” In a recent presentation to the NSW Ecumenical Council, Bishop Mark Lieschke, […]

A TRAGIC WEEK

by John Barr

A few we weeks ago, on a Sunday, a lone gunman stormed a worship service and massacred 26 people as they sang in the First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. Then on the following Tuesday morning a vehicle crashed into a classroom in Greenacre, here in Sydney. Two little boys were killed. Meanwhile, an 82 […]

IS THE SKY FALLING IN?

by John Barr

“It’s a debacle!” This is how the current state of our federal parliament is being described by some media. I know it’s important to sell newspapers and hold a TV audience. But a “debacle”? “Debacle” refers to a sudden downfall, a rout or a defeat. Here we refer to a “total failure”, a “right-off” or […]

Saints and Scholars – One and All! ~ by John Barr

by West Epping UCA

My wife and I have just returned from a holiday in Ireland.  Known as the “Emerald Isle” because of its lush, green texture, this fascinating country is also referred to as the “Land of Saints and Scholars”. These “Saints and Scholars” include the great St Patrick, who converted Ireland to Christianity without recourse to any […]

The ‘Blame Game’ ~ by Rev John Barr

by West Epping UCA

Energy Minister, Josh Fryndenberg, and Opposition front bencher, Joel Fitzgibbon’s awkward stoush in the halls of Parliament House last Tuesday morning delighted the media pack who are always on the prowl for a controversial story. But the finger-pointing and an eagerness to play the “blame game” on the issue of national energy policy troubled me. […]

September is Here! ~ by Rev John Barr

by West Epping UCA

“Grey winter hath gone, like a wearisome guest, and behold, for repayment, September comes in with the wind of the West and Spring in her raiment!” The poet, Henry Kendall, lived on the Central Coast and his works are obligatory for people like myself who attended Gosford’s Henry Kendall High School.  Kendall’s poem “September in […]

A SPECIAL KIND OF FAMILY

by John Barr

What kind of buildings around the world serve to inspire you? What kind of buildings leave you breathless because of their sheer magnificence and beauty? The Taj Mahal in Agra, India, left me stunned and awe-struck as I rounded a curve after an arduous trip by car from Delhi. Then there was Sikh Golden Temple […]

Humanity Matters ~ by Rev John Barr

by West Epping UCA

Last Monday night I had the opportunity to share some of my experiences in North Korea with Men’s Fellowship.  North Korea has made a significant impact on me.  It’s a brutal, sombre, totally isolated place.  And here I deeply yearn for the 20 million people who are trapped there in a most miserable existence. Today […]

Living with change – A message for today ~ by John Barr

by West Epping UCA

Last Tuesday I decided to take public transport between my home in Blacktown and West Epping.  It was a pleasant journey with a fast nine minute train trip between Blacktown and Parramatta and then a sluggish but comfortable ride on the M54 bus up the hill to Carlingford. But the return trip was a nightmare.  […]