John Curtis

John Curtis ( – ) go-kart champion, community worker
His determination to meet people at their point of need from a heart full of love was wildly infectious and brought great hope to a community which felt sadly neglected by governments and industries.

Stuart Piggin from the Centre for the History of Christian Thought and Experience at Macquarie University, http://www.anchist.mq.edu.au/CTE/ writes:

I first met John Curtis in the early 80s on a trip to Broken Hill with my mate, Bob Linder, an American Professor who has made a twenty-years long study of the Australian character and I hope will address the National Forum on this subject next June. John Curtis extended great hospitality to us both. He was then a full-time lay pastor in the Churches of Christ.

He dreamed of taking Broken Hill for Christ, which in view of its history as a tough mining town with proud Union traditions was an ambitious dream. In 1982 he and his wife Judy sold their home and with another family bought the St Joseph’s Sisters of Mercy Convent.

• There they housed three families, a theological college which was a branch of ‘Cornerstone’ (an Australian evangelical training college operating mainly in country towns), a youth refuge, a family crisis centre, and a retreat centre for out-of-town Christian workers.

• To reach the rising tide of unemployed youth he purchased a double decker bus and used it as a mobile drop-in centre.

• When the novelty of this had worn off, Woolworths donated their Broken Hill store to the Barrier Youth Association of which John Curtis was the secretary, and it was converted to a massive games parlour.

• To provide money for the theological students to help pay their fees, he opened a pizza home delivery business, and soon had the whole town converted to pizza consumption.

• To reach people in times of need, he bought the local funeral business.

• To reach people at all times of the day and night, he bought the only commercial radio station in town, which alarmed the locals until they found that he did not intend to thrust religion down their throats. He had a more subtle approach. He decided that nothing would be broadcast which was incompatible with the Christian faith. So, for example, in a town, notorious for sexism, he would refuse to make any derogatory remarks, even in jest, about his wife. Only positive things would ever be said about the institution of holy matrimony. The radio station was also used to train Christian radio announcers so that they could go and do likewise.

• To give a job to an unemployed, bereaved man who was in danger of losing the fight with alcohol, he bought a tourist mine and put the man in as manager.

His determination to meet people at their point of need from a heart full of love was wildly infectious and brought great hope to a community which felt sadly neglected by governments and industries.

Now apparently he has become a member of go-kart fraternity – it has been the inspiration for this painting by Pro Hart, here with his daughter – and John Curtis was Kart champion in 2001.

Source : https://atributetoaustralianchristians.wordpress.com/2010/11/05/telling-untold-stories/

Pro Hart, Go Kart image from http://www.feral.com.au/kartclub/news.html

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One Response to John Curtis

  1. Mike says:

    Interesting to read this about John.
    He was/is a very influential Christian in the Broken Hill region.
    Just a minor correction. John wasn’t involved in the Pizza Business, that was a Cornerstone endeavour and as you mentioned, was designed to not only provide Broken Hill with great pizza and a solid Christian business but to help the students pay their way through Bible College v

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