Worship and the “Never again” rallies, school palaces

Worshipping together: At the Never Again rally last weekend, organiser Mark Leach correctly acknowledged the debt Christians owe to the Jewish people.

“Every spiritual blessing that any follower of Jesus has, they have because of the Jewish people. The New Testament scriptures are clear, and I want to issue a call to the Christian Church around the world. Now is the time to pay that debt. Now is the time to stand against hate and to stand with those to whom we owe everything in terms of our faith. Now, this is not just a rally, this is actually a service of worship. So I’d like to say welcome to church.”

The Christian debt to the Jews was further explained in a speech by the Australian Christian Lobby’s new CEO, Michelle Pearse, what was a straightforward mini Bible study.

But perhaps more controversially, Leach invited the crowd to sing songs of worship together while acknowledging that not everyone there was a believer.

“The last Psalm in the Bible, Psalm 150, ends with an invitation. ‘Let everything that has breath, praise the Lord.’ Praise Yahweh, praise Adonai, praise Hashem. And that’s what we’re going to do in this classic hymn. Praise to the Lord the Almighty. It’s pretty simple. Just listen. Enjoy the music, and let us worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

Adonai is familiar to many Christians as an English rendering of the Hebrew word translated as “Lord.” Hashem (the name) is a term used by Jews to refer to God, outside of prayer when Adonai is used, and avoiding the tetragrammaton, the four letters in the Hebrew scripture translated as “God.”

The first song after Leach’s speech was “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” based on psalm 150. Later, the band sang the Christian song “Blessed be the name,” changing the lyrics to “Blessed be Hashem” and “Blessed be Adonai”, and perhaps carried away sang “Blessed be Yahweh” – a breach of Jewish tradition, which the crowd ignored. (Yahweh is an attempt to say the tetragrammaton.)

Obadiah wondered if “blessed be Allah” would be acceptable or not.

“Blessed be Your Name” was a good selection because none of the lyrics mention Jesus, although Obadiah suspects many who sing it sing it to him. And Adonai, Hashem, and Yahweh fit theologically.

But is holding a joint worship service with Jews – not simply Jews who happen to be Christians – syncretism or not?


Building palaces for schools: A campaign by the Australian Education Union (AEU)has highlighted the large amount of capital works spending by wealthy schools, earning the ire of the Catholic schools – and likely others.

Here’s what the AEU had to say, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:

“Five private schools – Cranbrook School, Barker College and Abbotsleigh College in NSW, and Caulfield Grammar and Loreto Mandeville Hall in Victoria – spent a combined $175.6 million on capital works in 2021. That’s more than all governments spent that year on capital works at half of the nation’s 6699 public schools.

“That same year, Cranbrook spent more on works ($63.48 million) than the total public school capital expenditure of Tasmania and the Northern Territory combined ($62.4 million). Just two schools in Victoria, Haileybury College and Caulfield Grammar, together spent more in the decade from 2012 to 2022 than the entire Tasmanian public school system did. There are 190 public schools in Tasmania.”

Catholic Schools NSW said the unions should have got an “F” for this analysis. They said, “It is wrong and misleading to compare the top-funded non-government schools with the bottom-funded government schools. However, a like-for-like comparison reveals the top five government schools in NSW and Victoria had a total capital expenditure of $248.2m in 2021, $72.6m more than the amount quoted for the top five non-government schools in the same year.”

Sounds like game set and match to the Catholic schools? Especially when the current NSW budget for schools capital works is $3.5bn, and the Victorian expenditure
Obadiah is not so sure. The government spending for “top-funded” schools will include new schools. A press release lists new and upgraded schools in NSW, including the new Jerrabomberra High and Gulyangarri Public School in Liverpool. Another release indicates that Empire Vale Public School, affected by the Lismore flood, is being rebuilt. Three new schools are listed as temporary (which probably means demountable): Nirimba Fields Public School, Melonba High School and Tallawong Public School.

In Victoria, 14 new state schools are listed for 2024, with many more in the pipeline.

So it is clear that the top funded schools in the state sector are new schools. Meanwhile, the schools listed by the AEU are rebuilding only part of their already extensive facilities. Apples are being compared to Oranges. The Union has a case.

Like anyone else with eyes to see, Obadiah is concerned that there is an arms race between high-fee independent schools about who is building the best-designed, high-quality campuses. It is hard to say who wins in this war, but it is not hard to think who might be losing.


  1. The left will never be satisfied with the undisputed fact funding per pupil is less in independent schools than it is in the private system.
    Sadly, it is not only funding being assailed but freedom religion, thought and conscience.
    Obadiah might think less, we know our Lord is not a mere prophet, not to denigrate the Prophets in saying that.

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