HOME:  Amazing Grace

AMAZING GRACE MINISTRIES

PRESBYTERIAN REFORMED CHURCH, MAROONDAH

 

The desire for a radio ministry began some time before the inception of Amazing Grace. Graeme had been involved in radio ministry whilst living in Bendigo. He produced two programs for local radio; one half hour and another fifteen minute version. The program was called “Old Paths” (Jeremiah 6:16) It was also aired on a station in South Australia.

 

During the time in Bendigo as a member of the PRC Melbourne congregation some of the members in Melbourne shared with Graeme the desire to see a radio work established. Upon coming into the ministry of the Melbourne Congregation prayerful steps were taken to commence a radio ministry.

 

Towards the end of 1997 a few stations in the east of Melbourne including ECB (later Eastern FM) were approached without success. Pilot programs had been sent to prospective stations. We were at the point where we thought the door was closed to this work. Melbourne session wrote one final letter to our local station Eastern FM to consider Amazing Grace for their Sunday line-up. The rest is history. Eastern FM was pleased with the program and after a meeting between Daryl Burr (program manager at Eastern FM) Graeme Hulls, and one of the PRC elders, the program became a reality.

 

The radio ministry was a team effort. The PRC Melbourne congregation provided essential assistance throughout the ministry. This was through financial support for the cost of program time on Eastern FM and FLOW FM as well as audio gear, CD’s and necessary equipment maintenance. One produced promotional materials and others handled the dispatch. Some assisted with the task of uploading the radio programs to the website. Constant prayer seeking the blessing of God and unity of purpose were the foundation of Amazing Grace.

 

There have been very significant provisions for the radio ministry. The early programs were recorded on an Ampex Studio Mastering Recorder using the downstairs powder room as a recording booth. A serious breakdown in the Ampex machine in 1998 led to the purchase of state of the art digital recording software and associated gear, including a CD duplication system. A very generous gift from the PRC Sutherland congregation of $20,000 enabled us to obtain a sound booth for the recording of the messages, voiceovers etc. In July 2006 a bequest from an estate enabled upgrading of the computer and the audio processing systems used to record the programs. These provisions were key elements to attain the broadcast quality of Amazing Grace and the expansion which followed.

 

The PRC Adelaide congregation has kindly given financial support to Amazing Grace over the last few years.

 

We were greatly encouraged by the support of men from within the PRC who offered to preach on the program. Greg Fox spoke on Missions, Denis Shelton on the Shorter Catechism, Don Burgess added a series on the Ark, Abraham, Judges, Ruth and practical Christian living, Terry Ingleton spoke about the seven sayings of Christ on the cross and David Hodges expounded some of the great prayers of the Bible. We were pleased to have Maurice Roberts - from the Free Church (continuing) in Scotland - record some talks for Amazing Grace while he was in Australia for a Bible Conference

 

One of the highlights of the ministry was its great expansion. It commenced with a program on a local community station (Eastern FM). From this the ministry grew to 27 stations touching many thousands of people each week. Wayne Phillips of Freshstream FM had a vision for a commercially owned and operated Christian radio network. After initial contact with him we obtained a time slot on the stations in his network. As Freshstream FM (later FLOW FM) expanded so did our outreach. Several stations in various parts of country Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory were added to our line-up. Another major addition was Radio HCJB. We were given three time slots initially on their shortwave stations which saw Amazing Grace go into South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific sections of their network

In addition to these large networks there were individual stations in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and across the Tasman to New Zealand. Many of these were Christian stations.

 

An important expansion of the radio ministry took place when the program messages and related bible reading were put on the Amazing Grace website. At the time of writing this report there are over eight years of programs available online. We don’t keep a record of the hits on the site – but we have heard from a church in the Philippines which uses the messages as does a local Presbyterian church here in Melbourne. Although there will be no new programs added to the archive once production ceases, we plan to maintain the existing web site, and so the existing material will continue to be available to anyone with web access.

 

Obviously a great highlight of Amazing Grace was the contact with people. We received feedback from many sources. Some was through personal conversation, others wrote to us, sent emails or spoke on the phone. Many requested copies of particular programs. Expressions of thanks for the hymns played on Amazing Grace was a regular theme of the feedback but the benefit of the messages came across with remarks like “the message meant so much to me” “I listen every Sunday morning” “ I don’t know what I’d do without it”. There were a few who opposed the messages and sent anonymous notes. The Lord God richly blessed the ministry over the years – just to read one letter from someone whose heart and life were changed and touched by it makes it eternally worthwhile.

 

It is with great sadness that this ministry has come to a close.

We give thanks to God for all that has been accomplished through this humble ministry over the last thirteen years. To Him be the glory.

 

Isaiah 55:11 “So shall my word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it”

 

Graeme Hulls

February 2011

 

(as edited by B Gregor)