A Lenten Miracle

Mar 15, 2022

Creating and despatching ABM’s 2022 Lent Study

Neil Thomas, a parishioner at Holy Innocents’, Belair in Adelaide managed to despatch almost 2,500 copies of the 2022 Lent Study – Repairing the Breach — from his church’s parish office.

Neil said, “I was a bit apprehensive about my role before starting, but thanks to ABM’s Shopify consignment program it has been a very smooth and easy process. It was great to see the orders coming in from all over Australia and being a facilitator in sending out such a beautifully crafted book.”

Choosing to do this job as a fundraiser for the parish, Neil saved thousands of dollars that would have been spent on a professional mailing house.

Neil really enjoyed the volunteer job. And it was a great help to the ABM Sydney office, who also despatched about 300 books.

Members of Holy Innocents’ also helped write the book. Chris and Stacie Ellinger, Matthew Anstey, Steve Daughtry, Carly Osborn and Mike Penberthy all wrote sections, and the prayers were written by another parishioner, Robyn. ABM staff, Brad Chapman and former staff member, Rev’d Jazz Dow, also contributed.

The core of the story is in the book itself. Realising that local mission is always the best mission, parish priest and ABM Education Missioner, Rev’d Stephen Daughtry, talked to people in his own parish about a Lent study, and realised what treasures he had right on his doorstep.

The same is true of many Anglican parishes around Australia.

Here is what some of the writers said about their writing…

Matthew Anstey: For ABM, I wrote my study on the story of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness during a time when I personally had been in a long, difficult wilderness, a place where many breaches had been opened up in my heart and life. So, writing the study was a good thing to do, as it was one of the first fruits to emerge from that harsh season. The final product is beautiful and moving and timely. I’m glad I could participate in such a collaborative, grounded, and important venture.

Robyn: Writing the prayers was such a gift to me. Choosing to focus on Christ’s declamation of his mission in Nazareth as a way to hopefully echo the underlying theme and tie the studies together, meant that I could drop down deeply into these deceptively simple phrases. What a vision of God’s heart for humanity: freedom, clear sight, healing for broken hearts, rich welcome for the dispossessed. My prayer is that we can all recognise the Spirit which like the wind “blows as it will” as we grow into really seeing and living the ‘now and not yet’ of this kingdom vision.

Chris and Stacie Ellinger: Since returning from Cambodia, thinking through the ways that faith intersects with life, and how we care for others within an Australian context, has been really important to us. What does it mean to repair breaches caused by inequality, relationship breakdown, and environmental degradation? In many ways these are more complex questions from a comfortable house in the Adelaide hills even than from a concrete house in Phnom Penh. Becoming part of the Holy Innocents community has been a key part thinking that through. Both our time in that community, and the questions we have wrestled with, shaped how we approached the prodigal son passage, and the other readings we wrote to.

We have been grateful to be part of a community of people that also wrestle with these questions, together and with God. We were honoured to be asked to contribute to the work of ABM – it is rare in the development and missions world to see good development practice, good missiology and good theology all go together hand-in-hand. Writing this study challenged us, in a good way; we hope others will have the same experience.

And the illustrator, US-based Carol Aust, said, “I feel so honoured to be included in this book project. Thanks to reaching out to me! It makes the world seem so much smaller, and it is a very powerful reminder of how much we share in common across the globe.”

ABM thanks Carol and all the wonderful people at Holy Innocents’, Belair, for a remarkable achievement.

Although all the books have sold out, you can access the online version at https://imags.com.au/published/abm_repairing_the_breach/