Ian Robinson’s Report to Tall Trees ReSource  

December 2010


What’s been happening lately?

             Three weeks with a real bad tummy virus. Lost weight. Lost weeks. Sold boxes of books. Radio National. Western Suburbs Weekly.

             Paper on Contemporary spiritualities of land, presented to inaugural symposium of Australian Ecumenical Council for Spiritual Direction. Melbourne.

             National Uniting Network for Mission and Evangelism in Brisbane. Launched Makes You Wonder. Invited to speak in Brisbane in August 2011.

             Blog and websites have been creative work. Have a look.

             Annual forum, AGM and workshop of the Stolen Generations Alliance in Coolongatta.

             Bringing Them Home Ctee AGM, wrote the annual report, ECU lecture, committee meetings, liaison to set up Reconciliation Western Australia.

             Preached at Nedlands and Mount Pleasant Unitings and Collie Church of Christ. Evangelism training talks to Nedlands young adults, Augusta Beach Mission and Donnybrook chaplains council:  “Last Saturday was a good night from our perspective!! A lot of people thanked me for encouraging them to come and said how glad they were that they had. Also a lot of people want to do the study.I think people are relieved they don't have to get out there and "spread the word" in the old way we have often been modelled. Its too confronting for them let alone the people they talk to!On a personal note I would like to thank you for ....Anyway, again we really appreciated you coming down for us and we felt inspired and lifted. Things have been a bit hard for us through one thing and another and focusing back on our purpose in this world through God is always uplifting”

             PNEUMA Campfire at Yealering a great success

             One morning teaching to complete 2010 Leadership Intensive.

             Creative Spirit Journey to Mt Elvire was very difficult for me,

             Chaired a theological reading group, the only option out of the attempt to run a course on Leadership in Mission and Evangelism.

             Support person to several colleagues in ongoing situations.

I feel delightfully and happily held up by your prayers and support, as I go for the goal. God is good.

I have been planning for 2011.

I have 15 weeks to give to Tall Trees priorities, aiming to influence Australians to become radically converted, spirit-deepened, and reconciled.  All three areas have seen advances this past twelve months, so prioritising is a matter of prayer and wisdom. Hence your part. Which of the options below will be most influential ?

Desert Spirituality Agenda    5 weeks

             Spirit Journeys: Set up better admin of registration,money and insurance. Scheduling journeys. March 25 New Norcia weekend;  May 1 Wellspring Community; June 30 Centre and Edge; Jul 16 Simpson Desert; Sept 26 with UWA; Oct 1 Creative Journey. I would like to innovate the next level.

             ARIDS: Arrange a formal connection with Charles Sturt University. Academic papers.

             This Thirsty Heart: Marketting. Write the follow up Biblical book: “On Track” half done already.

Stolen Generations  Agenda    4 weeks

             Bringing Them Home Ctee: Sorry Day May 26 schools. Research essays. Education resource project with ECU. Noongar Radio Programme (recruit team). Foreshore site. Strategic planning.

             Reconciliation WA: Liaison meetings in Perth and teleconferences.

Missional Leadership  Agenda   5 weeks

             “Perth Leadership Intensive” 8 days : Budgets. Venues. Speakers. Network and recruit. Write Biblical case studies.

             Teach “Do the Work of an Evangelist”: formerly E4E. Nedlands monthly group. Interstate & interdenomination publicity.

             “Makes You Wonder”: Plan interstate introductory seminars to train trainers in association with other trips (Aug in Qld; Jul clergy conference; Nov in Adelaide; May in Perth; Sept in Melb) . Complete the revision and layout of series 2-5. Install Series One and Leaders Notes on website for sale. Occasional talks.

             Australian Association of Mission studies conference paper September.

Personal Goals 2011

             Sam’s wedding august 19. 10 days hol’s  plus Brisbane lecture.

             Set up 2012 international itinerary with lectures (desert/evangelism/reconciliation) in  Canada, USA and UK, and maybe Suisse(Caux).

             Join a choir with Charis.

             2x3day writing days. Rotto in June. New Norcia in March.

             2 weeks holiday. Margaret River December.  One other week.

             Complete two tax returns, make that three by next July.

Tall Trees Board Agenda

             Settle into roles with Brian Stephens as PA. Thank You !

             Finalise Paypal system to take several publications and desert journeys.

             Invite new persons onto Board to help open networks, and allow anyone tired to step down.


SUMMER 2010/11


Hello all Tall Trees supporters. Here is some news for your prayers, please. Two years ago, you will remember, we felt that the ministries detailed below needed to come to flower , and so we launched Tall Trees. It is really happening, what a wonder. And I have just noticed something - in Matthew chapter 4 Jesus returns from his desert tests to launch a leadership intensive, focussed around healing, evangelism and teaching.  We have stumbled into exactly the same pattern as Jesus’ original mission – am I the last to see it?

THIS THIRSTY HEART  was launched at a blessed morning event on October 23. I was severely gastric, so I have no idea what I said on the day. I do recall how blessed I felt by Dr Kim Scott’s comments, and by the amazing crowd. We sold six boxes of books on the day, and almost three times that number since then!  Feedback on text, pictures and design has been extremely good. We will be looking at e-book and international possibilities. I have plans in a small way for the next book  - my research on the bible’s desert imperatives, but don’t hold your breath. Listen to the most recent ABC Radio National interview : http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2010/12/bth_20101202_1139.mp3

Ian spoke at the peak national conference of spiritual directors.  Dr Anna Killgrew of Koora Retreat and Dr Robin Pryor of St Andrews Beach also spoke of the value of desert pilgrimage and I think the ‘indoor monastics’ might have felt surprised at the vitality expressed.

SPIRIT JOURNEYS have much better enrolments this year (though fewer leaders ). New Norcia has 6; May 1 Wellspring Journey is full; Jul 2 Centre and Edge is half full; Jul 16 Simpson Dreaming is full and maybe a second group, and Oct 1 The Creative Edge in the Western Woodlands is just open.  See http://www.desertjourneys.com/Default.aspx?TAG=DJ.Default.%20Journeys%202011

We need to replace some aging equipment soon. Very high fuel prices right now have spooked me into wondering how long we can do this for. 

MISSIONAL LEADERSHIP   We have at last seen a return to good progress on Makes You Wonder (MYW), a series of exercises that increase a Christian person’s capacity for authentic witness. Module 1 MY STORY is ready to publish. The Leaders Notes are ready for typesetting. Three sections are waiting for the polishing work before typesetting – The Leaders Resources and Modules 2 and 3, YOUR STORY, HIS STORY.  Still to be written is Module 4, OUR STORY.  MYW includes a Wonder Workshop, that can be run in the wider community. Last year my two long bouts of ill health delayed this project in effect by twelve months . Pray for us.

To handle the sales of MYW, I am setting up a separate website which will also facilitate feedback from users and trainers.  Once the modules are all done, we hope to run Training The Trainers workshops in all Australian and NZ capital cities over two years. Messy business, could be a challenge. Pray for us.

Where last year we used distance education and had two enrolments in the course “Do the Work of an Evangelist”,  this year with Pamela Armishaw, we are running instead a small group to equip, encourage and support evangelists.  It looks like being a dozen enrolments , a thrilling result. I am toying with the idea  of calling it “ACE of Hearts – Authentic Community Engagement”. see http://talltrees.yolasite.com/ace-description.php

We are well under way to engage again in a programme of intensive leadership development. The 2011 Perth Leadership Intensive is hoping to build on the success of the previous two years by inviting participants from a wider range of networks .   Dates- May 16-17,Jun 14-15,Aug3-4,Sep 15-16. If you are a change agent, this is a particularly relevant course. See: http://www.vose.com.au/Events/PerthLeadershipIntensive2011/tabid/656/Default.aspx

HEALING WITH STOLEN GENERATIONS        Plans are well under way in the Bringing Them Home Ctee WA for Sorry Day May 26 2011 at Wellington Square East Perth. It is attracting larger support in government and business sectors as well as education and community sectors. Once again there will be heaps of tabloid activities all over the square run by school children, stalls by collaborating groups, music, reconciliation walk and sausage and Yonga (roo) sizzle. We aim to build significantly upon the 1000+ school children last year, by targeting the hard-to-get-to government schools, and providing web-linked educational resources for both schools and adult groups. Aboriginal and Reconciliation Flags will fly at all city entries and along St Georges Terrace for two weeks. Has that ever happened before?

While  2009-10 was a terror due to the impact of the Redress Scheme in WA, this year we are involved in seeing two very positive steps. Plans are well advanced for Reconciliation WA to be relaunched (WA is the only state or territory without such a body) as a peak body linking many groups. AND the much vaunted central city river shore re-development is to include a signature international centre that celebrates Indigenous cultures. I can hardly believe it.


FROM THE CHAIR OF TALL TREES       Once again I commend these growing Tall Trees ventures to you. Please support them by praying these things into life. They all involve monetary costs, so donations to one or some of these projects to help share the weight are appreciated. We are about changing hearts and minds in line with how Jesus operates, to make a difference that last in the things that matter - and it starts with ourselves. Pray for our humility, for staying on the level, for attentiveness to each person and situation.

Jacqui Robinson

end of Report Summer 2010/2011




Dear Supporters of Tall Trees ReSource,

I commend to you Ian's report and encourage you to zoom in with your imagination on all Ian brings to these ventures that are on the edge of modern life and modern religious life. He walks his talk, and the context is very much a 'fierce landscape' which he speaks of in his desert spirituality work. He is drawn forward by his Calling, the Holy Spirit, and all your support, love and friendship and belief in him. May your curiosity in what he is doing lead you to ask more questions to deepen your understanding and growth and involvement, in the issues and in Tall Trees.

It is always hard to start something new and for us all to incorporate the new thing in our established patterns of giving, but I would entreat you to consider including Tall Trees in your regular giving.

Also intentionally share what Ian does, with your friends and colleagues, and please consider a desert trip next year. Maybe organize a group. My annual desert trip is a highlight and I go out a little further physically, and metaphorically and spiritually each time.


Jacqui Robinson

Chair of Tall Trees Board


Tall Trees inaugural AGM Saturday Oct 23 10am. All donors are eligible to become members.

Launch of Ian’s first desert book, This Thirsty Heart, with a provocative narrative and 110 stunning photos.


 Finalise publication of Makes You Wonder and This Thirsty Heart. Each of these will incur production expenses of $1000 or more.

 Present paper at Spiritual Directors’ National Symposium in Melbourne in late October.

 Attend Campfire 2010 Sept24-26 at Yealering, hosted by PNEUMA..

 Attend Mission and Evangelism national network Nov 16-18 Goldcoast. Launch of  Makes You Wonder.

 Attend Stolen Generations Alliance A GM as WA Non-Indig rep Nov 12-14 Brisbane

PNEUMA CampFIRE is on again this year at Yealering over the long weekend in September Saturday 25th - Monday 27th September 2010. This year's speaker is Gil Cann from Victoria. Gil has served in pastoral, evangelistic, church renewal, leadership training and writing ministries for over forty years. He works with churches of all denominations throughout Australia and sometimes overseas. This is going to be another great weekend to be refreshed, encouraged and challenged as we seek to represent Jesus in all we do and say. Contact me for the brochure.


Sorry Day on May 26 required many ‘schools’ meetings, site meetings, calls, emails and committee meetings. It ran very smoothly on the day, and Ian was the non-Aboriginal MC alongside Laurence Krakouer. Around 1500 people attended, the best for many years, including 700-800 school kids doing tabloid activities and listening to elders of the Stolen Generations. Flags flew on flagpoles around the city for an unprecedented three weeks. We also received our best yet sponsorship and the most volunteers. Highlights included the young Aboriginal men who were involved for the first time. Stories of change and examples of reconciliation came from every group who took the stage, and some great things took place there and then in the crowd.

The Bringing Them Home Ctee have set up a new Educational project to research the gaps in available educational materials around Stolen Gen aspirations. This involved defining parameters, employing and directing a worker. Alongside this, we started to document policy arising from recent Sorry Days, stuff that is in my head and various minutes.

However, we have again failed in our efforts to create a mechanism for consulting statewide. We need a project officer to help with setting this up. The federal senate stepped backwards from their earlier decision to hold hearings about compensation levels for people harmed by government actions. They wish to exclude forced removals. We will be making submissions.

Ian continues to give a few occasional community addresses, on “What One Whitefella has Learned on Reconciliation Road”, which thrills some and threatens others.


http://arids.atspace.com www.desertjourneys.com

The winter is a busy time. We have held group meetings, managed registrations and cancellations, done map work finding routes and information, sought permits, shopped and packed food (with great help from Jacqui, Maureen, Sharon, Kylie and Tiana) and equipment for three journeys in WA - June 19-25, June 27-Jul 6, and Sept 11-17. The group in the Simpson were badly rained out! Want to see some photos from the WA end?



In July we resumed positive negotiations with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture in Canberra, an arm of Charles Sturt University, asking them to ‘adopt’ ARIDS (The Australian Research Institute for Desert Spirituality) as a centre within their orbit. The partnership would add credibility and accountability to ARIDS, and add a fresh and vital perspective to ACC&C.

After yet more hard work, and with the able support of Insomnia Design, This Thirsty Heart is almost ready to be printed. This beautifully illustrated book traces the desert journey of ten ‘fictitious’ people using Ian’s real-life research and experiences. It will be launched on October 23rd. This will be a superb gift item also.


The developmental course Leadership In Mission and Evangelism (LIME) at Murdoch Uni has been cancelled due to lack of registrations, but will go ahead as a reading group. It will be launched by Gil Cann on Sept 29 at 9am. Other events are Sept 29-Oct 1. This is even more exciting for me because there will be no marking of assignments! Contact me for details.

The Leadership Intensive has held retreats at Chittering, Applecross, Lesmurdie and Yallingup, with an enrolment of twenty people – Anglican Baptist and Uniting clergy and Uniting Care divisional managers. Marg and I are receiving great feedback, and seeing an emerging teamwork. We are unsure how to decide about 2011, but there is growing interest.

The production of the faith-sharing resource Makes You Wonder (MYW) is half way to complete, incorporating graphics and layout work. and parts of it will trial as professional development for teachers in Christian schools. It is the successor and revision of ‘Gossiping the Gospel’ and therefore should also find an international reputation.

Ian has really enjoyed meeting with the students in the Evangelism for Evangelists (E4E) course, now half-way through, and we are looking at a national roll-out. As you would expect from Tall Trees, it brings a strong and fresh perspective to an ancient biblical calling, based around respect and authenticity.

Ian has spoken at a VOSE Seminary retreat, a YouthCARE Conference or two, and SU Transform conference.


When Ian said:”I should be right by the end of April, or maybe May”, it was all lies. The eye problem that hit him very hard in February is still lurking. It is now September and his eyes are still unstable, easily tired and occasionally painful. It holds him back.

On the other hand, Marg and Ian took a holiday in April for a wedding in Bendigo then on to Thoona, Canberra, and Sydney. And then in Ubud Bali for a very wonderful familyweek in August. Then, we bought a new mobile phone, and the world caved in!


In Tall Trees initiatives and in my day job at Uni of WA (contact me if you want to hear about that ministry too), I am always finding strategic opportunities to bring positive influence. Every step adds something. There is a long way to go before Australians respond to the Holy Spirit instead of the lure of wealth, before Reconciliation Road is a treasured memory, before leaders lead the church into service instead of leading church services. I am so grateful for those who support us in prayer and encouragement. I cannot see how these things could happen without you.

God is good.


Winter 2010