Episode 34: Kerry Newill

Kerry was born in Cape Town, South Africa to her parents, Rog and Les Palmer. They served in uni ministry at the University of Cape Town during her formative years. Kerry studied at George Whitefield Theological College in Cape Town during her first few years of marriage. After completing her studies, she worked in uni ministry while also serving alongside her husband, Craig, in his role as a pastor at St James, Kenilworth. Their focus was on youth and young adult ministry, with a particular emphasis on training others in Bible reading and teaching skills. Today, Kerry, Craig and their three children find themselves celebrating their 10th year at Westminster Presbyterian Church Bull Creek, in Perth, where Craig serves as lead pastor.

 Links mentioned in this episode:


Sound-bites from this episode:

Terrorists came to our church that night with their AK47s and their bombs … By the time they left, there were 11 people dead and 50 people injured. That was a point where I thought I really needed to make sure that Christianity is true.  I didn’t understand. If God loves me and my church family, why he would let this happen? I started questioning if there even was a God.
He asked us, “If you believe that God’s word is truly powerful, why are you entertaining teenagers? Why don’t you just let the lion out of its cage? Let the Bible do its work!”
 Our youth ministry started to turn around when we started teaching teenagers the Bible – it was a remarkable thing to have Bible teaching front and centre.
I’ve spoken to people over the years about the very real and awful things that have happened to them. But when I talk to them about their stories and I hit something particularly traumatic, I end up seeing something that happens over and over again. Their response to this deeply traumatic event is to minimise it in some way. “Yeah well, you know, other people have had worse things happen.” It is something quite jarring given what they’ve just told me.
Human beings do not want to feel helpless in the face of radical evil. They want to be able to save themselves. If evil truly is as terrifying as what they’ve just experienced, they will feel helpless and vulnerable. They don’t want to feel like that because if they’re helpless and vulnerable they won’t be able to save themselves. I think our default setting is that we don’t want a Saviour. We want to save ourselves. So we tell ourselves a lie; a parallel story. We tell ourselves a different version of the events that took place so that we don’t have to be afraid or we don’t have to face how radically evil our experience is.
Lying to ourselves – in the face of radical evil  –  is a DIY salvation plan.

The Lydia Project is a podcast hosted by TGC-AU featuring informal chats between Christian women around faith, life, ministry and the ways in which God is shaping their thinking and their lives. Co-hosted by Tori Walker and Taryn Hayes in Brisbane, Australia.

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