Saturday, December 19, 2015

News at Christmas 2015

Our very dear friends,

What we would really like to do is sit down with each of you, and do what we all enjoy so much, recalling things that have mattered to us this year or longer ago, sharing the different ways in which we have experienced God and life, or questions about the same...delighting in sharing about those we love, very much still with us, or having gone on; there are SO MANY things to share with friends!
However, this year we will just have to make do with a summary of a year in a one side at a time communication!
The excitement at the beginning of the year was in having all our family together here at Battery Point. Anthony and Allan came from Adelaide, Catherine came from Los Angeles, USA, (minus Adrian, who was with us "in spirit") and of course Ruth, Moz, Jess and Caleb. The original purpose of our togetherness changed from shared holiday to "compassionate leave", when just a couple of hours before Catherine's arrival, John had a very serious fall from the deck of our home at Penna where he was working, and we all spent lots of time with him in the Royal Hobart Hospital and Hobart Private in subsequent weeks.
John was continuing recovery, from 10 broken ribs, damaged vertebrae, punctured lung, necessitating multiple drains and an op., when I experienced agonizing pain, which resulted in back surgery, and of course, several weeks in hospital including rehab., all of which brought us to about the beginning of April. Our summary of that time would be that we were overwhelmed with the love and practical support given by everyone in the Church, from Anglican leadership and our St George's and Midlands church families, to so many other friends in Christ, and amongst music loving friends in the choirs with which we are involved (3 of them) and almost every acquaintance in Tasmania, and around the world. Amazing!
As with everyone else we know, time has raced on for us, and our work has had both rewards and challenges; we are lovingly supported and trust that is how we care for others too. There are many aspects to the call to be in ministry leadership, and faithfulness in that calling certainly only happens through the Holy Spirit's enabling, and we have seen that as John has lived out that calling this year, in its many facets. He has also appreciated sharing times with others in the same boat, and found the transparency and accountability a great support. This year I have been part of Cursillo, and enjoyed the fellowship and leading worship with a beautiful group of women.
John has worked consistently on our house, with some dear friends' help, and it is great to see it look more and more like THE PLAN. It is no small undertaking to dismantle a house and then rebuild it. Building the house has occupied most of John's days off and holidays, but this year we took a week and went to Sydney to see, for the first time ever, an opera in the Sydney opera house, a wonderful enrichment! We also visited dear friends in Victoria on the way home, a great treat.
I have worked with our St George's Choir and the Midlands choir, "Bagdad Community Singers" as conductor and accompanist, and sung in the wonderful Festival of Voices choir (Haydn's "Creation "this year with a wonderful conductor from UK) and regularly with the Tasmanian Chorale, a lovely group with whom to sing, LOTS of fun. Working with choirs as conductor is my passion! It's so wonderful to hear things come together for those involved, and then to share the results with various audiences ... John is fantastic in his support of me in all these endeavours, especially as Parkinson's company gives us both a reasonable amount of challenge, re medication management and other implications re energy and strength. John also continues to deal with health issues so we have a lot of mutual caring going on!
In prayerful discussion with our diocesan and St George's leadership, our parish council and our family, we and our congregation have decided that John will swap places with our current associate priest, Victor, (a wonderful and gifted younger man of God) in January, that is, Victor will be priest in charge of St George's parish, John will be  part time associate priest, in Battery Point and the Southern Midlands, and we will move to Penna at the end of March (trusting the house will be liveable in by then!)
Just before Bishop John Harrower retired he appointed John as a Canon of the Cathedral, which is quite an honour and acknowledgement of his ministry. In June John will officially conclude his ministry at St George's. (As yet we are not sure about our ongoing role in the Midlands, and our new bishop will not be here until just before Easter). We will have been here over 9 years.
So that's us!
Love to hear from all of you.
We are, as you have doubtless noticed, not good correspondents; we are quite good with brief but loving Facebook messages, and fair with email, we LOVE Skype, and are so grateful to be able to talk to Anthony and Catherine that way! And anyone else who would like to talk that way!
God bless you this Christmas, our Lord Jesus IS the centre of Christmas and everything else!
Yours in His great love,
Roslyn and John

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

ANZAC Values Remembered ... Really?

ANZAC Values That Shape Our Nation … Really?

On ANZAC day I watched the service from Gallipoli, a profound, moving memorial honouring those who laid their lives down to serve their nation and empire. All the more heartbreaking as the well-known story of mistakes, ineptitude and failure is told.

Our prime minister, the Honourable Tony Abbot gave what I thought was a well prepared speech, in fact, all of the addresses were good. Mr. Abbot’s finished with the three values that epitomised the spirit of the ANZAC soldier, and that reflect the spirit of our great nation: Duty; Selflessness; and Moral Courage. Of course there was the singing of the national anthem – including that wonderful second verse.

Predictably there was the repeated theme “Lest we forget” this time supplemented with an emphatic “We remember!”

But it seems we only remember one day a year for the occasional hour. The rest of the time we conveniently choose to forget. When people flee the terror of war in other places, we forget and send them back if we can.  When people seek the life we claim we nobly fought to have, and are willing to die at sea seeking it, we forget and determine they’ll not share our “boundless plains”.

We strip them of their identity, their medicines, even their names. With one side of our faces we speak in hushed tones of our own who have been prisoners of war, and with the other side we demand families and even children are put into prison camps – and persecute those who try to protect them. We support courts that even today pursue war crimes, yet again we forget when we incarcerate people and refuse to tell them what their supposed crime was, and refuse them the opportunity to defend themselves.

Where is the memory of the suffering of war when it comes to those who need our help?
Where is the sense of duty toward those in need?
Where is the spirit of selflessness when we push needy families into prison camps on tiny islands when we have “boundless plains to share in Australia”?

And where is the moral courage of our politicians from the major parties, now Malcolm Fraser has gone, to give some leadership that has a higher moral value than populist dog whistling in order to get elected?

John Langlois
28 Cromwell St.
Battery Point
Tasmania 7004

Friday, December 26, 2014



  • What a season! Rich with music and activities.
  • What a reason! That God would come to us in such humility, as a child born into poverty.
  • What a gift! Life eternal, a transforming companionship through this world, and of growing excitement in the new heaven and earth to come because of the intriguing hints He has left us.

We pray you all rejoice with us in this celebration of new life!

The pictures are from the Advent Pageant involving all the children from two country schools in one of the parishes I'm serving in a pastoral capacity - though the program in these schools is the work of a wonderfully gifted chaplain who has a longstanding and very effective ministry there, and also part of one of the churches in the parish. In case you are wondering we have permission of the parents of the key children to use these pictures in our Christmas card.

We would love to have had this up much earlier but with our administrator off work with a severe illness, my associate in ministry moving house the week before Christmas and having to prepare for Lessons and Carols in three churches the week before Christmas; plus two services Christmas Eve and two more Christmas Day, I simply have not had time to even think about it! To all our dear friends, we offer this as a token Christmas card with the hope we can in the near future be more personal in our communication.

If you are really interested ... here is my Christmas sermon:

Imagine what would have happened if God had looked down on the human race and saw we were doing it tuff – so at the appropriate time he sent some angels to cheer us up!
Instead of singing “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men of good will” or as the carol paraphrases it  “Joy to the world the Lord is come!” they sang :

Don't worry, be happy ………..(who can remember that song?)
 In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don't worry, be happy
Ain't got no place to lay your head
Somebody came and took your bed
Don't worry, be happy etc

For those who can remember it the song is VERY catchy but I find it has very little substance.
And what does it actually mean to “have a Merry Christmas” ?

Now I actually think it’s wonderful to have a time in our culture when everyone really genuinely want all their friends and acquaintances to be happy. It’s great!
And there is a psychological truth, I’m told, that if you actually make the effort to laugh often, it does, to some degree, help your disposition.

But, affirming though that may be, unless there is already a trusted framework of relationship – ie a degree of commitment / substance – telling people to “have a merry Christmas” has a very limited effect.

But that is not what the angels said: They said: “Hey guys, if you duck into that little village over there on the ridge, the place called Bethlehem, you will find a baby who will grow up to be the one person who will save the world!”

Whether the shepherds realised the full import of what they were hearing or not, it was not lost on the angels! It is as though heaven could not contain itself – certainly the angels couldn’t.
They burst into vision and song ; singing “Glory to God in the highest…” It was as though they could not remain invisible any longer , they just HAD to burst forth.

But why was a saviour born? Do we need saving? Have you listened to the news lately? I remember my own pride in living in Tasmania where such things NEVER happen … but then there was the Port Arthur massacre, and I have since discovered it was not the first.

In terms of the history of mankind there seems to be a fairly dramatic swing in how we perceive ourselves.
It was not that long ago that it was thought, in the West, how absurd it was to not consider mankind to be the centre of all creation, to think that everything revolved around us.
Now of course the total reverse is true, we see ourselves as an almost insignificant life form on a small planet of smallish star that’s part of an average solar system, in just one of innumerable galaxies.

But the real question is, how does God see us?
God sees us several ways, in fact an infinite number of ways - because he is an infinite being who lives in infinity.
And we keep getting these little hints from questions that arise from the New Testament writings. The star the wise men followed for instance.

Modern Astronomer have been fascinated by the wise men’s star – is it a cycling Nova? Until recently, they thought not, because the time frame was too small, but now novas have been discovered to cycle within 2 years which, for some, fits perfectly into their calculations (which I can’t follow).

That God would come to us in Christ Jesus is amazing enough.
That he told us he was coming through the prophets hundreds of years before is stunning.
That he would plan things like the wise men’s star hundreds of light years in advance is incredible.

To what lengths would God go in order to demonstrate to us his commitment that we should know his love for us?

He would go to these lengths:
He would come as one of us!
                        But one that all could identify with, we certainly can’t all identify with one born into privilege or money (In a study, I heard of a little while ago, to find out how people became billionaires, they discovered a very interesting fact: over 90% of them were born into families of millionaires.)

We all know there is some things common to all mankind, death, grief, loss, pain of rejection. There is nothing that can prevent these … and it was into such a state that the King of Glory came. Born into poverty and inconvenience. Born into social stigma and rejection – a situation not talked about in polite company – except in derogatory tones. 
He was born into trauma such that those in the news over the last week in Sydney, Cairns, and Pakistan could identify with.

Political power has always attracted two types of people, those willing to serve to change the world for the better, … and those who lust after power for their own selfish ends. In fact when Gaius became emperor he said: “This is good, I can now do whatever I like to whomever I like.” It seems He did just that!
King Herod was such a person – he immediately eliminated any threat to his power including his wife, his mother in law, and three of his sons!
And he eliminated every child born in Bethlehem once the wise men alerted him to the fact that a king had been born there!

Grief and mourning were a significant part of Jesus life from the time of his birth to the time of his death.

There was nothing privileged about Jesus life.
Yet there was something special, in the midst of all this suffering, Jesus was never separated from the love of the Father – the love of God. And the reason is because there was nothing selfish about him at all. You could say in terms of attitude and action his life was perfect.
And the love of God flows through Jesus to all who meet him.
In fact Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson were likened to Jesus in that they gave their lives to save others. They did in the immediate, and local situation, for the other hostages, what Jesus has done for all people for all time. It is as though we are all hostages to the dark side of selfish human nature that separates us from the love of God, and Jesus has set us free.

He was willing to suffer rejection from God and die in order that we may know the loving acceptance of God and live.

But that is not all: Jesus rose from the dead to show us there is life beyond this sin-sick world and we are welcome to join him there when the time comes.
The great thing is that we don’t have to wait, we can be in fellowship with him now as we negotiate this life.

Quite frankly I would not want to negotiate this life with out him!

It does of course mean that we have to let go of every selfish desire and action, and turn from them, and consciously and actively accept the gift Jesus gives through his life and death and resurrection from the dead.

One thing we can be grateful for is the depth of God’s love for us, and the substance of it – it has weight! It has dimensions! Paul says to his friends in Ephesus “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,...

So at Christmas we are celebrating not just that a baby is born, but that God has come as one of us to be our saviour.  This was the pivot point of all time. This is the time when we actually see the evidence of God’s love for us, and it is the greatest, most wonderful, incredible reason to celebrate.

It is a time of great joy and hope that transcends our pain and loneliness.

We pray you all rejoice with us in this celebration of new life!

John and Roslyn 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dear friends, wherever in the world you are, away from you, we miss you...we often talk about you, we pray for many of you almost every day, and others as the Holy Spirit prompts one way or another ... through good old Facebook, just thinking of you,or some other stimulus! We are so aware of the importance of true friends, the sort you just pick up with when you see one another, as if you have never been separated by distance or circumstances or time. We've experienced that a little this year, as we so enjoyed having different ones visit for a week,a couple of days or an afternoon or evening, but HOW we soaked up the joy of being together.
Friendship shows us something so wonderful of the love of God. Who is our dearest Friend? Abba, Jesus, Holy Spirit,God Who is Love, from Whom all our loving relationships flow, because of the way we are made. Thankyou beautiful God for Your friendship, and all these wonderful people who reflect you to us...
To round off on the subject of friendship, we are so sorry we are not better at more regularly keeping in touch. We just don't seem able to do much better at the moment, even with all the wonders of the web, Facebook etc. and we won't begin to make excuses. Thankyou for loving us despite our tardiness ...

This year has been very full, on the work and calling front,here in Battery Point and in the Midlands, with beloved local family and friends,with buying, moving, and working on THE HOUSE, with choral music at St George's, and in the Tasmanian Chorale! One of the joys recently in the Midlands part of our life has been our Alpha course, such good stimulus to really share with others (a very small group) about our Lord Jesus and the Gospel, and to see the Holy Spirit stirring us up in questions, understanding and experience. Shoots of new life are springing up, and in Battery Point, numerical growth and growth in the fruit of the Spirit are beautifully evident among us as we share in worship and fellowship in all its various forms. We have been, like many in the Body of Christ, caught up in the joys and busyness of carol services and children's nativity plays, and it is a delightful time of reaching out to the community. As we have letter-boxed the area there has been a very warm response, praise God, eg a group of 30 people sang carols walking around the community on Christmas Eve, despite threatening rain ... they were all SO enthusiastic about the experience, and most were not from St George's.!

You'll all be glad to know I am doing really well healthwise, just a bit creaky in the right leg joints because of bursitis. I haven't given a recital this year,but am playing Bach and Schubert, and at the right time will share with others! I am passionate about choral music, love conducting my own group at St George's, and love singing in and getting to assist occasionally with conducting the Tasmanian Chorale. Thinking about possibilities for next year.

The life of a pastor is rich and full, and in my chaplaincy work with other pastors there is a significant mutual blessing as we share and pray together about personal and ministry issues and finding God's perspective. The parish work (particularly the people interaction part) is life giving for me, the other unavoidable aspects (admin, meetings etc) I am not so good at but we get through, though I think I would not without my assistants Paul and Luke who with their wives contribute so much to the life of the church here. As mentioned above we have moved the house and you can see the story in pictures here. The restoration will be a long term project (nothing will happen quickly on less than one day a week! Though amazing things happen when I am joined by friends from church or Roslyn's brother Ray or my brother David – what a blessing these guys are! I am also enjoying producing cards from some of my photography in time off when not working on the house.

We are very thankful for the closeness of Ruth, Moz and our gorgeous grand children, (Jessica now 16, and Caleb 13) and the times we share together. Jessica and Moz went to Korea and China on a school trip this year, had a WONDERFUL time. What a great thing for them to share, along with all who participated. Both Jess and Caleb are doing extremely well in study, in dance, (for Jess that is like breathing!) and Caleb is enjoying piano. They are very involved in the life of St Clements Anglican Church, as are Ruth and Moz, who have significant responsibilities in the fellowship. Ruth is continuing her post doc. research at ANU and Sydney universities requiring quite a bit of travel and is also teaching at Tas Uni. Moz is loving teaching at Calvin Christian school (high school level).

Although we miss physical proximity with Catherine and Anthony, we are SO grateful for skpe (especially when it works!!!).We have some lovely chats with Catherine, and are so excited for Catherine, as her musical giftings in the area of composition are flowering, and she is being affirmed by commissions, and performances of her works ... and then there is her composing for films, and her involvement in the whole film production area. You can catch up with Catherine here. So there is LOTS to talk about when we skype.

Anthony continues to be flat out busy with his work as associate professor and head of international relations at Flinders University in Adelaide,and the various extracurricular responsibilities that are part of that position,writing articles on various aspects of human rights, conferences,meetings, but his love of music does provide a balance, and he participates in at least one of Adelaide's choirs! We miss him, and we won't see him or Catherine this praise be for skype!!!

As we flick through our diaries, (John's of course is on his mobile phone,along with so much information!!!) the impact of the speed of time passing is almost scary...Events that seem to be recent,turn out to be months ago, some I thought happened this year were actually last year...extraordinary!”Our times are in His Hands”, and we will rest in that.

So whenever we get to see you, it will be soon, one way or another! You each are so dear to us, thankyou for what you mean because of your love and your prayers.
God bless, in the Beloved,
John and Roslyn

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas News and Blessings

Our very dear friends, gift of God's love to us, we pray for you and us over this beautiful Christmas season blessings of His Love - whatever the awesomely creative Holy Spirit causes that to be for each in our unique personal situations. The thought reminds me of the Ephesians 3:20 description of God that He " able to do exceedingly abundantly beyond all that we can ask or imagine..." through His Presence at work within us. We worship You our God...

We are looking back over 4 years of ministry at St George's, with the lovely group of people God has brought together here at Battery Point, and over this year, the care of four more churches in the Southern Midlands. John is also chaplain to the City South Network – about a quarter of the states clergy. He could not do it without the two young and very gifted associate clergy here. We also find ourselves praying with friends who lead churches from other denominations about various issues. The fellowship across the Body of Christ is a very rich blessing.

The 4 years have gone very quickly, it is really only a short time, but we believe that the witness to the living, loving God in diverse expressions through the Holy Spirit is bearing and will bear yet more fruit, as He has promised. Our various groups, the large Sunday morning gathering and the sundry smaller groups all over the week, are expressions of love and joy. We are in relationship with our local community, giving us opportunity to witness, and we have specific overseas mission goals, and are praying that some day that will result in people actually going on short term teams from our church family. John is very busy with all the challenges involved in leadership, but we try very hard each week to take our day off, as we realize that without that, we would seriously risk burnout.

For our holidays this year we took our 4 weeks in Europe, (10 days, primarily to see the Passion Play at Oberammagau, quite wonderful!), UK (very brief, but good time with Auntie Joy Jewett and our Anthony, just arrived from OZ as we were just departing!), and USA, where we caught up, if ever so briefly, with St Paul's Haymarket and Masterworks Festival friends, and our beloved Catherine and Adrian. Time is so strange, that now seems ages ago!

As with all ministries there are challenges which are a provocation to personal growth as well as deepening relationship. His joy remains our strength, and it is a deep stream. So we move into our 5th year with great hope and longing, that love and joy will deepen and increase among us, and that Jesus Himself will be known in who we are together.

As we write, we are very thrilled that Ruth is now Dr Ruth, with her PH.D in biochemistry, we all celebrated her graduation, and some of us were physically here in Tas. to do so! Anthony has spent 6 months in UK as visiting fellow to the London School of Economics, trying to come home to Adelaide in the time of those huge snow storms in London. Catherine, who gained her Master's degree last year, is very excited to be focusing on film movie composition, she is on the board of film composers in Seattle, composes regularly, works for a film composer while still continuing with music teaching from home. Our grandchildren Jessica and Caleb are enthusiastic students. I (Roslyn)am doing well health-wise, and as music director for St George's I am enjoying building a choir, (am actually passionate about it!) and singing in the Tasmanian Chorale. Most of my performing on piano this year has been at St George's services. Hopefully next year I will again give recitals, this year I have not managed to do so.

In the year to come we are looking forward to seeing some of our dear American friends here in Tasmania,and to enjoying our days off on our land, called “The Sanctuary', but most of all, to seeing God continue to grow us and those we are called to serve amongst, as ambassadors for His kingdom. May we all grow in the knowledge and love of our God, and be a means of others coming to know Him.

With all our love,
John and Roslyn

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Well we are on our way and awaiting to board at Melbourne airport
:- )
What a blessing to be able to travel in God's wonderful world.
Next stop Singapore.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

We're coming

The meaning of our whole existence is tied up with that wonderful truth, and we praise our awesome true and living GOD for it!
As you all know, we are NOT good correspondents, so sorry, but we do thank you for loving us nonetheless, and now we come with some of our latest news and our assurance that you mean SO MUCH to us, and any chance we have to have time with any of you is highly valued. Within Australia that has happened with some wonderful friends already this year. And God willing we will catch up with a whole lot more of you, at least briefly, in June/July this year too, in USA.
We (John and Roslyn) have talked and prayed and prayed and talked, and have come to the conclusion that we should go to the Oberammagau Passion Play in Germany this year,(it is a once every 10 years event),see a little of Germany and France and UK,(as we pass through)then as part of a round the world ticket, catch up with as many as possible of our beloved friends in Virginia for a few days (it won't be long enough, but Heaven is coming),then be at the Masterworks Festival in Indiana for a few days, then be with our beloved Catherine and Adrian for almost a week in Seattle, and then return home to Little Tassie.
We are grateful to be able to make this trip, after having served here at Battery Point for (by then) 3 1/2 years, using holiday time from both last and this year. The relationships God has given both in and beyond Australia are so precious, and our sharing in the Beloved with all our
friends is an incredible privilege.
There is LOTS happening in our growing fellowship here in our St George's parish, which now includes responsibility that part of country Tasmania known as the Southern Midlands, which has involved John in quite a bit of regular travel, and visiting, often, praise God, with the company of some of our city fellowship, including his "other half" sometimes. We are praying for
revival/transformation and are very thankful for growth in loving relationships, joy in the Lord, and a growing congregation numerically.
Back to our trip...we will include our itinerary as it is known to us at present (see below), and look forward to seeing each of you, if at all possible, if you are in Virginia, Indiana and Seattle when we are!
Warmest love and prayers, and thanks for yours, we run on prayer.
In our awesome God Who is LOVE, Abba, Lord Jesus, Holy Spirit.
John and Roslyn

Fri 25 Jun 2010 at 19:34 Arrive at WASHINGTON DULLES
Flight No : UA925
Tue 29 Jun 2010 at 09:20 Depart from WASHINGTON DULLES
Tue 29 Jun 2010 at 10:20 Arrive at CHICAGO OHARE (TERMINAL 1)
Flight No : UA895
Tue 29 Jun 2010 at 13:10 Depart from CHICAGO OHARE (TERMINAL 2)
Tue 29 Jun 2010 at 14:53 Arrive at SOUTH BEND
Flight No : UA7978 operated by /UNITED
Sun 04 Jul 2010 at 15:22 Depart from SOUTH BEND
Sun 04 Jul 2010 at 15:11 Arrive at CHICAGO OHARE (TERMINAL 2)
Flight No : UA7978 operated by /UNITED
Sun 04 Jul 2010 at 17:25 Depart from CHICAGO OHARE (TERMINAL 1)
Sun 04 Jul 2010 at 19:57 Arrive at SEATTLE TACOMA
Flight No : UA905
Sun 11 Jul 2010 at 17:43 Depart from SEATTLE TACOMA
Sun 11 Jul 2010 at 20:25 Arrive at LOS ANGELES (TERMINAL 8)
Flight No : UA6053 operated by /UNITED
Sun 11 Jul 2010 at 22:32 Depart from LOS ANGELES (TERMINAL 7)
Tue 13 Jul 2010 at 09:40 Arrive at MELBOURNE (TERMINAL 2)
Flight No : UA839
Tue 13 Jul 2010 at 12:00 Depart from MELBOURNE (TERMINAL 3)
Tue 13 Jul 2010 at 13:15 Arrive at HOBART (DOMESTIC TERMINAL)
Flight No : DJ1322