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Offering ‘an avenue back to enchantment’ provided the motivation for journalist Greg Sheridan to write books on Christianity, he told this morning’s (May 24) 600-strong crowd at the 28th Toowoomba Mayoral Prayer Breakfast at Rumours.
Mr Sheridan, who is the foreign affairs editor at The Australian, swapped his late-night working routine for a rare early morning speaking appearance at the community fundraiser. Funds raised from the Mayoral Prayer Breakfast will be presented to Winter Shelter Toowoomba in coming weeks.
“Journalists are looking for a good story and the truth,” Mr Sheridan said.
“Christianity is the best story and it also is true.”
Mr Sheridan said his early life in a Christian family meant he had no trouble with a belief in God. He said the decline in the role and influence of Christianity in western culture gave him the inspiration to write in its defence.
“While I didn’t realise it at the time, my first two books on Christianity were an attempt to answer falsehoods and to argue for Christianity from first principles. We shouldn’t be embarrassed by a belief in God,” he said.
Mr Sheridan recounted ‘five minutes of solidarity’ with a woman from the Salvation Army when she noticed a book he was carrying on a flight.
“In our culture, Christians need public solidarity. Non-Christians benefit from someone pointing the way to the truth,” Mr Sheridan said.
The morning started with a welcome by Town Crier Kevin Howarth and a musical performance by Kent Dustin before a scripture reading by Rev. Pauline Harley, Toowoomba West Anglican Parish along with prayers from Rev. Marius Kruger of Highfields Community Church.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio thanked all sponsors and supporters at the 28th Mayoral Prayer Breakfast for their ongoing generosity.
He said funds would help Winter Shelter Toowoomba run its operations for a second time this winter. (*See more details below)
Pastor Andrew Hoey, who is the Senior Minister at Rangeville Community Church and Toowoomba Mayoral Prayer Breakfast committee chair, also thanked the guest performers and speakers along with all supporters for contributing to the fundraiser.
One interested attendee was Papua New Guinea-based (Ukarumpa, Eastern Highlands) missionary and helicopter pilot Tim Lithgow, who previously was based at the Oakey Army Aviation Centre.
Background, contact details:Winter Shelter Toowoomba is an affiliate of Stable One, a program that has been successfully supporting people experiencing homelessness in Victoria for more than six years.
The Toowoomba pilot project is backed by Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland, in conjunction with several church organisations and support services to house up to 10 homeless people a night over winter.
Participating Toowoomba churches include, the Toowoomba West Anglican Parish, St Stephen’s Uniting Church, HumeRidge Church of Christ, South Toowoomba Baptist Church, Belong Church, Toowoomba City Church partnering with Reform Church and the Rangeville Community Church.
The seven Toowoomba faith communities open their facilities to residents without a place to stay, providing beds, free meals and a sense of community.
Volunteers stay at each facility to offer a range of support and advisory services to the clients.
Lifeline encourages new volunteers to join the program. Intending volunteers can complete an Expression of Interest by visiting, https://forms.office.com/r/hAntmPg17c
Donations can be made by visiting, https://www.lifelinedarlingdowns.org.au/Appeal/winter-shelter-toowoomba
Enquiries about Winter Shelter Toowoomba can be directed to Rodney Watton, Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland Chief Operations Officer (Partnerships and Business Development) on 1300 991 443 or 4699 1687. Email: email@example.com
Caption: Top: Guest speaker Greg Sheridan, foreign affairs editor at The Australian and his wife Jaessie with Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio (left) and Pastor Andrew Hoey (right) at this morning’s 2022 Toowoomba Mayoral Prayer Breakfast at Rumours.
Below: Helen McGrath (left, manager Hub Services Integration, Lifeline Darling Downs and South West Queensland), Winter Shelter ambassadors James (second from left) and Clayton (right), with Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio, 2022 guest speaker Greg Sheridan and Pastor Andrew Hoey.