Justice for Melissa

Twenty five years ago last month my sister Melissa Hunt (Hallett) was beaten to death and her body dumped in a remote dam in the Newcastle region, NSW, Australia.

An inquest had two main suspects before it was ended abruptly and information handed to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). Unfortunately nothing has happened since.

There was some attempt we believe to examine DNA evidence in 2000 and Operation Impey was created in a renewed effort to find Melissa’s killer.

Still nothing.

Recently an unknown person left comments on another post on this blog, speculating about who might be implicated. Obviously this was disturbing, the information was given to Crimestoppers.

Still nothing.

On Anzac Day April 25, 2019 – 25 years to the day since Melissa’s body was discovered in Burrenjim Dam, I visited the dam with some family members, to reclaim that place and that day and to bring (symbolically and spiritually) dark secrets into the light.

This video tells the story. Please watch, share and come forward if you know anything.

PLEASE VISIT JUSTICEFORMELISSA.COM FOR FURTHER UPDATES ABOUT THE UNSOLVED MURDER OF MELISSA HUNT (HALLETT)

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Watch Andrew Chan funeral: self-authored eulogy plus transcript

More than 1500 people attended the funeral service for Andrew Chan at Hillsong today.

Not long before he was executed, Andrew told a friend: ‘I love being a pastor in the prison, no-one can leave’.

The same sense of faith and humour is obvious in Andrew’s self-written eulogy.

‘Each day is a diamond. For each day is valuable, as you can never buy it back.’ Watch and/or read below:

‘Thank you all for gathering here on this day to witness something great. It’s a day that I will arise from my own coffin, rigandrew-chan-order-of-serviceht now as the words are spoken, in Jesus’ name, arise. Or I am just enjoying it too much in heaven, and I will wait for you all up there. Now I know it is a sad day, we would have all wished it didn’t come to this. However it is funny that even in death there’s still a lesson to be learnt.

‘We learned that we do not need to be old to die, nor do we need to have something wrong with us. But we learned that when it’s time to go home, God has the kitchen table and sink ready. Every person that is sitting here now has impacted my life in one way or another. The truth is, you have all taught me just as much as I have taught you. If I had to thank everyone individually, I don’t think I can place them on one sheet of paper.

‘And one of the biggest influences in my life is my brother. Stand up Mick, and look at the crowd, knowing that you’d hate to do that, because you don’t like the spotlight. People were touched by his love, time, effort, persistence, and many other things through him. And I’ve learnt a lot through Jesus too. I promised Mick I would not steal your birth certificate in heaven to make a fake ID.

‘Another person I learned so much from is my wife Feby. She has taught me the meaning of love and endurance, peace and much more. As I said, to all of you gathered here today, taught me something valuable in life which I have learned to cherish. Treat each day as a diamond, for each day is valuable, as you can never buy it back. Learn to use it doing the things you love, spend it with the people you care for most, because we just never know when we will say goodbye.

‘My last moments here on earth I sing out “Hallelujah!” I ran the good race. I fought the good fight and came out a winner in God’s eyes and men. I do have a story to tell, that story’s determined by you all on how you witness me. Ask yourself: “What did I leave with you?” That will determine my legacy. I leave now in peace and love. I pray that you will all know how I valued and treasured you. Treasure your love and friendship. As you all leave here today, who will you witness too, today?

Love Andrew Chan.”

Man vs Stage – Bear Grylls live in Australia

As Bear Grylls’ book Mud, Sweat and Tears hits number one for sales in the UK, tickets for his Australian live stage show later this year are already selling fast.

The star of Man vs Wild will be in Australia for three shows in September with special guest hosts including Merrick Watts of Merrick and Rosso fame.

Grylls has previously been to Australia to promote Christianity introduction course, Alpha, and to speak at Hillsong.

For more information about Bear Gryll’s Oz visit, go to Australian Christian News. And check out a message from Bear below.

Major new avant-garde dance talent discovered

As my vast readership will know, I am a great supporter of the arts… Mmm, I wonder if I could make that sound even more pretentious…. never mind.

As I was saying, I love the arts and so am proud to unveil a major new work in the field of dance… or is it comedy… most likely neither.

In the  words of a famous car commercial: Please Consider.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEt4KBJZYZY

Popular TV shows discuss faith and church

Two prime time television shows and classic re-run featured characters discussing the merits of church attendance and Christian faith in the past week.

Channel 7’s Packed to the Rafters this week had character Nick ‘Carbo’ Karandonis telling his girlfriend Loretta ‘Retta’ Schembri that she would have to convert to the Greek Orthodox faith for them to be married. She replied she would not convert as she didn’t believe and it would be hypocritical. She also questioned the sincerity of Carbo’s faith, given that he claimed to be Greek Orthodox and never attended. So they attend church together and afterwards Retta says she felt the spirituality of the service and wants to attend every Sunday. Carbo is horrified that she might take faith seriously and the theme is set to continue in the show – next season.

Channel 10’s The Good Wife saw Grace Florrick challenging her mother Alicia about belief in Jesus. Mrs Florrick, the good wife, replies she believes Jesus was a person who lived 2000 years ago and she couldn’t see what impact he had on her life. grace replies that you either ‘love Jesus or hate him’, there’s no middle ground. She further argues that she is an intelligent person who believes in Jesus, and that the two things aren’t mutually exclusive. The episode finished with Mrs Florrick agreeing to take her daughter to church.

And a classic episode of Everyone Loves Raymond screened on one of the digital channels. Titled The Prodigal Son, it features Raymond arguing with his parents about going to church. Also, his wife and children go to church every week but Raymond refuses to go. After some hilarious interactions, the episode concludes with a serious discussion of church going and faith between Raymond and wife ?

‘Why don’t you go to church Raymond?’ she asks. And after complaining that all the kneeling is hard on his knees, the focus moves to ideas such as parents wanting to pass on their values, feelings of guilt and the need to believe in and be part of something bigger than ourselves.

When Raymond turns the questioning back on his wife, ‘Why do you go to church?’ she replies, ‘To say thanks for you and the children… and to pray for strength to get through another week with you and the children…’

Hopefully Australian households are discussing faith in a similarly open and revealing way and perhaps these episodes are a case of art imitating reality.

While the conclusions drawn, arguments used and theology displayed are not always satisfying, it is encouraging that writers and producers are willing to include spiritual, faith and religious issues (very occasionally) as themes for their shows.

Check out a small part of the final ‘church’ conversation in Everybody Loves Raymond…

http://www.tbs.com/video/index.jsp?oid=84388&eref=sharethisUrl

Finding faith in the deathly grip of AIDS

Being unable to sleep sometimes has its rewards such as seeing some extraordinary world cinema late at night (or early morning) on SBS.

Early Saturday morning as part of SOS (Shorts on Screen), SBS showed an 18 minute film by somewhat notorious French director Gaspar Noe called, Sida.

In Sida, Noe moves away from the explicit nature of his feature films such as Irreversible, and instead presents the story of an AIDS victim, Dieudonne Ilboudo, in Burkina Faso.

Dieudonne tells his story, withholding nothing, and as the story of his illness is portrayed, so to is his Christian faith, to the extent that the film ends with Dieudonne reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

Sida is part of a longer film titled 8 in which each segment promotes one of the eight Millennium Goals. Sida picks up the theme of Millennium Goal six which is ‘combating HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases’.

Another of the films, The Water Dairy, is directed by Australian producer, Jane Campion.

Please take 20 minutes to listen to Dieudonne’s story – to honour his life, to remember the plight of AIDS victims worldwide and to be inspired by the power of faith even in the darkest hour. (The film is in French and if subtitles are not showing, click the CC button at the bottom of the YouTube screen.)

Flood of faith better than backwater of unbelief…

Western society – especially the white, European, inner city, educated elite – is little more than a secular-atheist backwater when compared to the vast ocean of faith and religious fervour that dominates most of the planet.

And this was clearly on display last week with two major events bringing God to the front pages of newspapers and onto prime time television.

Sweeping the planet from Rome was the ardour of Mary MacKillop’s canonisation which eventually overcame the most cynical media hack and had them sincerely discussing miracles, faith, worship and the value of a genuinely humble, self-sacrificial life.

Simultaneously we had the remarkable rescue of the Chilean minors and 90 point headings on major Australian dailies screaming, ‘GOD AND THE DEVIL FOUGHT OVER ME AND GOD WON!’Read More »

Remember the City2Surf, we’re still on track…

The pain started in the lower back, moved painstakingly through to the hip, on the knee and then meandered around the left calf for a while.  And this just from walking… Hopefully it has disappeared out my foot, a bit like being struck by lightening…

Despite all this (violins please) and the curly toe syndrome (ask my family) our City to Surf preparation is moving forward well – we are up to 8.5km fast walks, hills and the occasional jog.

By the time the event arrives on August 8 we’ll be blisteringly fast… or just blisters…

Check out some video of a recent ‘training session’ which, for the first time, featured the Green Lantern. And head to the City2Surf page of this blog and click on the links to sponsor us for a good cause or two.

PS Utterance now has its own YouTube channel, Uttuberance.