MY church was a business and paid no tax. It was started by volunteers from Islington Baptist Church as a Sunday school in the 1940s on the verandah of a home in Sandgate. This work grew and volunteers built a small church on land leased from the abattoirs.
Sunday school continued, a morning Bible study was commenced, a night service began and a couple transported on push bikes ran Christian endeavour. The husband learned that my dad was on an eight-week strike and gave mum a week’s pay. I did not know this until 40 years later.
Our honorary (unpaid) pastor was a returned serviceman who on return married his wife. They built their own home and had a son and daughter.
Sandgate Baptist Church, as it was then known, branched into Ash Island with an outdoor Sunday school. The most in attendance at any one time was 26 with 63 different children passing through.
Marvellous older girls in one family of 12 did their mother’s role for their widowed father. There were no bad kids in this group, however the social engineering, pursued at this time, did not assist all of them when moving into adulthood. The church was growing steadily and the members extended the building by using their own labour.
The only money coming into this church was weekly offerings from wages on which members had paid their taxes. In Australia there are no deductions allowed in your tax return for church offerings.
Our offerings paid the running expenses and were donated to people in need or in missions such as a home burned down uninsured, a family man injured without insurance, paying camp fees for kids on limited budgets and so on.
Every dollar going in was used this way. There was no money paid to taxation – when you have no money, you don’t pay tax.
The business of my church was to lead people to Jesus in a life changing way that makes them responsible, useful citizens and to be helpers of those in need.
Don Wilson, Anna Bay
LET BLOSSOMS BLOOM
A YEAR or so ago there was a million-dollar upgrade to Cary Street, the main thoroughfare through Toronto. In front of what is now KFC we were left with a pleasant little flower bed. Flannel flowers, I think. Nothing spectacular, but low maintenance and neat.
Low maintenance became no maintenance and the weeds grew. I complained to the council staff repeatedly and persistently. The weeds grew. Nothing was done until the weeds were shoulder high, literally, on the main street.
Eventually a team was sent with shovels and spent most of a whole day removing the weeds, promising to return and re-plant the flowers. After about six months spring is gone, no flowers and the weeds are growing again. You would think that the maintenance of a nice little flower bed was something that the local council could both afford and manage. I wish they would put in just a little effort.
With the money that's being spent on the Warners Bay foreshore, how about a flower bed for Toronto? Newcastle talks about the contempt that Sydney displays towards us. Is this the contempt that Warners Bay displays for Toronto? They were nice little flowers.
Tony Gibbs, Arcadia Vale
PLEASE tell me I'm wrong, but as I see it we have a proposal to build a new hospital to replace an icon in the middle of Maitland, the hospital catchment having outgrown the existing capacity to serve its clients.
Now the problem is, we have a new built facility called the Maitland private hospital, built next to the newly redeveloped shopping centre, and on the opposite side of the highway to the suburb of Metford. Now some bright spark wants to build a new hospital, either public or private, in said suburb when it is obvious that such a facility would be better placed in the Branxton or Greta region.
This would allow it to serve a catchment including the new suburb called Huntlee, which would also serve the increased population of all suburbs. Demand for housing in both is going gangbusters at the moment.
As I have no interest in a commercial sense in anything in those areas, I can count myself as an innocent bystander. I just hope that common sense will prevail. Maybe Gillieston Heights may be okay but beware of rising waters.
Erwin Zehentner, Singleton Heights
IT COULD BE WORSE
UNBELIEVABLE. Here we have a psycho in North Korea firing missiles anytime he feels likes it, the missiles becoming capable of reaching anywhere in the world including Australia. They are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. How do you think the people living in countries under the flight path where this maniac is already firing these missiles feel?
One day there will be a miscalculation or this maniac will put a nuclear warhead on one of these missiles . What do you expect Trump to do? Sit back and let this happen? I don't think so.
China, who have all the power over North Korea, are doing absolutely nothing. If you believe they are, then you are living in la la land. Russia are just sitting back just like China. I wonder what would happen if North Korea fired a few rockets over Russia or China. I guarantee it would only happen once. The North Korean people have absolutely no say in what this maniac is doing. If they had their way they would reunite with South Korea and live long and prosperous lives. Unfortunately because of their lowlife leader they will probably end up getting nuked.
So give it rest running down Trump. At least he has the guts to stand up for his country and their allies. It's more then I can say for some people.
Melville Brauer, Gateshead
DEATH TO INEQUALITY
THE overwhelming recognition of our right to equal treatment is so much more than just the right for people to marry their partner regardless of what sex they are. Hopefully it puts an end to the vilification, suffering, suicides and destruction of families that has plagued this group for decades. I believe that an even a greater percentage of Australians want the same understanding to be granted to them in their wish and belief that it is their choice alone as to when and how to die with peace and dignity. Just to have the knowledge that the option is there if the circumstances arise would be an immense comfort to so many people.