Farewell Glen Campbell

Glen-Campbell

The world has lost a great talent with the passing of musician, songwriter, presenter and actor, Glen Campbell. He was 81 years of age.

It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Glen is survived by his wife, Kim Campbell of Nashville, TN; their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; ten grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald.

Campbell released more than 70 albums during a remarkable 50 years in show business. He sold 45 million records during his lifetime. Among the 70 albums there were 12 Gold albums, four Platinum albums and one Double-platinum album.

He also won many awards including five Grammy Awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame honors and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, seven Academy of Country Music awards and a 1998 Pioneer Award recognition, three American Music Awards, two Country Music Association Awards and a 2005 Country Music Hall of Fame induction, three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards.

The Final Years

In a sad twist, the man who created so many memories for millions of people slowly lost touch with his own memories.

In June 2011, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six months earlier. According to his family, symptoms of the disease had been occurring for years, becoming more and more evident as the years progressed.

Campbell went on a final “Goodbye Tour”, with three of his children joining him in his backup band; his final show was on November 30, 2012, in Napa, California. During the tour’s concerts and rehearsals, Campbell would often forget which songs he was supposed to play, repeating them after finishing a performance. He also frequently had to be reminded that he did have the disease, and relied on a teleprompter to remember the lyrics to most songs. Newer songs from his later albums had to be scrapped altogether, as Campbell struggled to remember the chords and lyrics for these. He performed “Rhinestone Cowboy” as a goodbye at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony held on February 12, 2012, his final televised on-stage performance.

In April 2014, news reports indicated that Campbell had become a patient at an Alzheimer’s long-term care and treatment facility. On March 10, 2015, NBC News reported that Campbell could no longer speak for himself.

On March 8, 2016, the Rolling Stone reported that Campbell was living in a Nashville memory care facility and that he was in the “final stages” of his disease. – Wiki

A Personal Reflection

Back in February 2008 I took my then 11 year old daughter, Emily, to see Glen Campbell performing with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) at the Burswood Theatre in Perth. The concert was absolutely amazing.

I’d never really been a big Glen Campbell fan before seeing his show but many of his songs have helped fill out the soundtrack of my life. At that time I was working in radio and I was asked by WASO if I’d like the opportunity to interview Glen’s daughter Debby on 98five Sonshine FM just before Christmas 2007. At that stage Debby was travelling and singing with her dad on some of his tours.

I enjoyed chatting to Debby (You can hear the interview by using the audio player at the bottom of this post.) and when I was asked if I’d like to go to the show I was more than happy to accept.

Having WASO involved always meant that it would be a spectacular show but it was even more impressive than I could have hoped.

Glen Campbell took to the stage and opened with Gentle On My Mind then Galveston and then continued to roll out hit after hit. His voice was in fine form but his guitar playing was extraordinary. Seeing him play the William Tell Overture on his 12 string electric guitar was breath taking. When he perched the guitar on top of his head and continued playing at lightning speed I just thought to myself that a guy of his age really shouldn’t be able to do that. He was 71 years of age at the time but apparently no one had told his fingers that.

When Debby was introduced I was ready for a change of pace and possibly some good vocals. She blew me away. She has a magnificent voice and it amazes me that she isn’t recording and performing full time. As well as doing a few songs on her own she joined her father for a number of duets. Brilliant.

The song I was really wanting to hear was the first one after intermission. As soon as the orchestra started playing I knew that Witcheta Lineman was on the way. It’s a song I love and the performance didn’t dissapoint.

Towards the end of the evening Glen Campbell walked on stage with some bagpipes which he said are the most temperamental instrument he’d ever tried to master. He used the bagpipes to great effect during a moving rendition of Amazing Grace.

The evening was completed with a fantastic version of McArthur Park. It’s an incredible piece of music and the orchestra really got the opportunity to show just how good they are by performing faultlessly.

Oh … and about me saying that I’d never really been a big Glen Campbell fan … I sure am now. I added some of his music to my collection right away and always enjoy listening to such an enormously talented man.

Glen Campbell will be sadly missed by millions.

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Dreaming Again

perth-to-canberra-1987

Last night I had that same old dream, it rocked me in my sleep, and left me the impression that the sandman plays for keeps. – Larry Norman

I did indeed have the same old dream last night. It’s a dream that comes around now and then.

I dreamed about preparing to cycle across Australia.

Let me assure you it was a good dream. It wasn’t a panicked nightmare that had me waking up in a cold sweat. It was a happy dream. A very happy dream.

The dream was another reminder that it’s been way too long since my last Nullarbor crossing in 2003 when I rode from Perth to Hobart. It seems almost a lifetime away from my first of five crossings back in 1987. The picture above is me looking a bit nervous in Kings Park as I was about to begin a ride from Perth to Canberra. (Click on the photo to get a better look at my worried face.)

I’ve cycled across Australia in my twenties, my thirties and my forties. I’m now in my fifties and while nothing’s in concrete, I’m making plans for another crossing. Probably in 2018.

While my heart remembers endless days of cycling, battling wind, rain and hills, and the thrill of overcoming, my body keeps trying to remind me it’s not as young as it once was. Even the gap between my 1990 ride to Adelaide and my 2000 ride to Sydney let me know that body parts wear out and a lot more training is needed to go the distance. I can’t even imagine the amount of preparation my body would need to get ready for another crossing.

1987 – Perth to Canberra
1988 – Perth to Canberra
1990 – Perth to Adelaide
2000 – Perth to Sydney
2003 – Perth to Hobart

I’ve taken part in dozens of rides throughout Western Australia and even a couple on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, but none of them compare to pushing the pedals for thousands of kilometres to cross our wide, brown land.

So … are you interested in taking a month to ride across Australia? Let me know and I’ll keep you informed if anything comes together. 🙂

In the mean time, I’m only a couple of weeks away from my annual ride from Albany to Perth, the Ride for Compassion. If you want to support children in poverty through Compassion, you can donate via this link.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to ride across the Nullarbor again, but I can certainly keep dreaming …. and planning.

Do you have any big dreams you’d like to fulfill? Are you making plans towards those dreams? Take a first step and share that dream in the comments section of this post.

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Keys for Ministry Longevity

Ministry Longevity

For some it may just be a season, but for others it becomes a long term issue that can even end their ministries. We might not like to admit it, but most ministry leaders go through times where they lose their passion and energy for the things they used to love.

Over time, many pastors and others working in full time ministry suffer from burnout, mental breakdown or serious illness. Other causes, such as moral failings or loss of faith, see leaders leaving the ministry or even walking away from God.

How can you ensure that you remain passionate and effective over a life time of Christian ministry? What are you doing to give your ministry team the best opportunity to go the distance and finish well?

Compassion Australia is partnering with 98five to present a one day seminar for a range of Christian ministry leaders. If you know any ministry leaders or pastors in the Perth area, please feel free to pass on the details. You could even just use the sharing buttons at the bottom of this post to share the details through Facebook, email or whatever.

Keys for Ministry Longevity is a one day seminar with Keith Farmer, Peter Brain and Rob Furlong. It’s an opportunity for you and your team to benefit from many decades of ministry experience and learn practical ways to continue serving God and others over the long term.

Date: Thursday 16th June 2016
Time: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Venue: The Rocks, 26 Cecil Avenue, Cannington
Cost: $60 including morning tea and light lunch. Group bookings of 10+ $50pp.

Click this link to register.

You can click on the photo below to see a larger version and to read more about the three speakers.

MinistryLongevityDetails

This seminar is a valuable opportunity to support you and your team as you seek to engage your community. We hope that you’ll join us.

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Lest We Forget – ANZAC Day 2016

Olsens-in-Uniform

ANZAC Day, the 25th of April, has been described as Australia’s most important national occasion. While many public holidays are just about getting an extra day off, ANZAC Day has real significance for many Australians.

It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. While the date is aligned with that event in the First World War, the day is a remembrance of all those who have been to war to protect our freedom.

ANZAC Day goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day we remember all Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of ANZAC, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity. On ANZAC day, ceremonies are held in towns and cities across the nation to acknowledge the service of our veterans.

Sadie OlsenMy parents served in the Royal Australian Air Force during the Second World War. (You can click on any of the photos for a closer look. As well as the individual photos of my parents, the top picture shows my dad on the far right with his father and two of his brothers.)

I’ve watched television coverage of many ANZAC ceremonies over many years. After all these years the support for these commemorations continues to grow as the stories of heroism are remembered. As I look at the faces of those who served our country I see the pain as they remember their service during the dawn services as well as the joy of being remembered as they travel the route of the marches along city streets.

When they see the faces in the crowds and hear the cheering as they pass, they know that this country is grateful for their sacrifice and the sacrifice of those who didn’t make it home.
Tom Olsen
This year will be the second time that, together with my wife and my son, I’ll be volunteering to help at today’s ANZAC March through Perth. It’ll just be a small way for us to say thank you to those who have risked it all on behalf of others. Our small task of helping along the march route won’t even begin to show our gratitude for those who have given their lives.

War is a terrible thing, and I’m glad that I’ve never had to fight, but I am grateful for the courage and sacrifice of those who fought for our country. I shudder when I imagine what it would be like to face a hostile enemy, knowing that any moment could be my last.

I would hate to have to go to war. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to say goodbye to my loved ones, not knowing if I’d ever see them again. Having kids of my own, I don’t even want to think about the parents that have seen their children go to war. My hope is that we will continue to work towards finding better, peaceful ways to overcome conflict. War should never be the answer.

ANZAC Day isn’t about glorifying war, it’s about paying our respects to those who put their lives on the line for their countrymen and the generations to come.

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Ride for Compassion 2015

ethiopia

What’s your image of Ethiopia? Are your ideas about the country still shaped by the famine that filled our television screens around 30 years ago in the mid-eighties? Thankfully much has changed since that time. Ethiopia is not a totally dry wasteland. In fact, it’s a land of rolling green hills where improved infrastructure and living conditions are driving the country forward. Everywhere you look in the capital city of Addis Ababa you see cranes and construction machinery as new buildings take shape. This hardly seems like the country that sparked Band Aid back in 1984.

Unfortunately though, not everyone is enjoying the benefits of the developments. There are still many battling poverty.

I was in Ethiopia in July last year and I saw conditions that confirmed that there is still much to be done there. Thankfully Compassion is there and is serving the poorest of the poor. That’s why I’m so glad that the Ride for Compassion is supporting a project in Ethiopia this year that will see thousands have access to hygienic toilet and showering facilities, dramatically reducing the risk of disease and illness.

Ride for Compassion 2015

Every year since 2009 I’ve traveled between Albany and Perth, a distance of over 500 kilometres, by bicycle. Next week I’ll be out there again. The ride will involve over 20 cyclists riding around 520 kilometres from Albany to Perth.

If you’ve been reading my blog for any time you’ll know that I work for Compassion, but I’m not supporting Compassion simply because it’s my job to do so.

I work for Compassion because I am convinced that there is no more effective organisation serving the world’s poor. I have seen no other method of working with those in poverty that even comes close to the way that Compassion is working.

I’ve seen Compassion’s work first hand in Haiti, Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Thailand. Every time I visit another church that is partnering with Compassion I am amazed at the change it is making in the lives of the most vulnerable members of our world, children.

If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of children who desperately need your support, simply visit my fundraising page.

I can assure you that your money will be well spent in releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

For the 14th consecutive year, Compassion International has earned the highest rating for U.S. charities from Charity Navigator—the nation’s largest charity evaluator. The 4-out-of-4 stars rating places Compassion International in the top one-percent of non-profits reviewed by Charity Navigator.

Let me thank you in anticipation of your support for children in poverty.

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