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Dear HealthServe Australia Members, and supporters,

May I offer a brief scriptural reflection From N. T Wright regarding the ‘Day of Rest’; as we head into a very busy time of the year.


An Excerpt from “Simply Jesus…” by Dr Tom Wright

“In the opening of the Bible…when God made the world, he ‘rested’ on the 7th day. This doesn’t just mean that God took a day off. It means that in the previous six days God was making a world — heaven & earth together — for his own use. Like someone building a home, God finished the job & then went in to take up residence, to enjoy what he had built.

Creation was itself a temple, The Temple, the heaven-and-earth structure built for God to live in. And the 7th-day ‘rest’ was therefore a sign pointing forward into successive ages of time, a forward-looking signpost that said that one day, when God’s purposes for creation were accomplished, there would be a moment of ultimate completion, a moment when the work would finally be done, and God, with his people, would take his rest, would enjoy what he had accomplished.

One of the few things that ancient pagans knew about the Jewish people was that, from the pagans’ viewpoint, they had a lazy day once a week. From the Jewish point of view, it wasn’t laziness; it was the chance to celebrate time in a different mode. The Sabbath was the day when human time & God’s time met, when the day-to-day succession of tasks & sorrows was set aside & one entered a different sort of time, celebrating the original Sabbath & looking forward to the ultimate one.

This was the natural moment to celebrate, to worship, to pray, to study God’s law. The Sabbath was the moment during which one sensed the onward movement of history from its first foundations to its ultimate resolution. If the Temple was the space in which God’s sphere & the human sphere met, the Sabbath was the time when God’s time & human time coincided. Sabbath was to time what Temple was to space.

The Sabbath law was not, then, a stupid rule that could now be abolished (though some of the detailed Sabbath regulations, as Jesus pointed out, had led to absurd extremes …e.g. not healing the sick on the Sabbath). It was a signpost whose purpose had now been accomplished. [The Sabbath] was a marker of time pointing forward to the time when time would be fulfilled; and that was now happening…Jesus is a walking, living, breathing Temple. He is also the walking, celebrating, victorious Sabbath…”

And as followers and participants in this tradition, we embody and reflect notions of temple and sabbath that showcase eternity in our world today. We in HSA enact this engagement in the service of better health in strategic relationships and partnerships.

We are soon to launch a new membership drive for our strategically important and eternally valuable; HealthServe Australia. We ask you to be generous with your prayers, with your time and with your money. If you are happy with the ministry of HealthServe Australia, please be generous.

I am hoping you will join us in these partnerships and transform your generosity into improved whole person care of individuals and communities. Let me share with you some recent highlights of our year.

Dr Sharon Darlington led a PRIME team including Foshan, Ronald and myself to Maranatha Christian University in Bandung Indonesia in June 2018. The team taught on Whole Person Care. This training highlights the person and community in their horizontal (current), their longitudinal (historical) and vertical searches for hope, meaning and purpose.  A wide range of over thirty Indonesia medical educators attended. Plans are underway to return and expand these networks in mid-year 2019. Team members will be sought to join the next team/s.

An HSA PRIME (Partnerships in International Medical Education) group of Tony and Trudie Rombola and Melinda Choy attended a General Practitioner training in Hainan, China addressing “rational use of resources” including antibiotics. This was a partnership activity with our colleagues in the Hainan General Practitioners Association. Hainan province is one of the top three sites for general practice medical work in China today.

One of our key activities highlighted in our HealthServe Australia 2019 – 2021 strategic plan is to strengthen our activities in our Partnerships in International Medical Education (PRIME) programs. In 2019 we will be visited by Chinese colleagues and in turn will visit China, East Timor, Indonesia and Vietnam and the UK. We hope to also better equip Australians to teach on Whole Person Care.

We are finding the financial load for running Healthserve is being spread too thinly and relying on the generosity of only a few. A Membership subscription annual payment is an essential way to redress this imbalance and to help members become genuine supporters of the life of HealthServe Australia.

We ask that those who are able to invest, make an annual membership payment to HealthServe Australia of $90 AUD. Details of how you can be part of this community of members will come out in the next few weeks on the Website – www.healthserve.org.au and through email.

For those unable to afford this support, they are able to join our community of HealthServe Friends.

Finally, The International Christian Medical and Dental Associations ICMDA Dignity and Right to Health Award is calling for nominations. Nominations close 20th November 2018. Please visit our website for more details about this award. 

Many Blessings,

Michael Burke

EO, Health Serve Australia

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HealthServe Australia is a signatory to the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) Code of Conduct reflecting HealthServe's compliance with industry standards of good practice, transparency and accountability.  If you have any complaint or concern please click here  and you will be redirected to our complaints form. A copy of our Complaints section in our Procedures Manual can be accessed by clicking here.

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HSA works in partnership with other international organisations, complementing their strengths with health resources. It has a special relationship with the largest group of Christian health professionals in Australia, the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia (CMDFA) through which it was established. Many of the CMDFA members have worked for a number of years overseas in health work.

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