About the Author:

In 1935, I was born into the family of Louisa and Linton Peters, a well known Methodist family in the Maryborough/Dunolly region within the gold-fields district of central Victoria, Australia. I was one of five children, and each sibling has made a considerable contribution to the life of the church and community. I attended the local Primary and Technical schools and I remember chairing my first adult Church meeting at the age of 14.

When I was 20, I left Maryborough to live in Geelong at a YWCA Hostel, and then trained as a nurse at the Geelong Hospital. For many years, I was involved in teaching Sunday School, leading Youth Groups and Christian Education in Schools.

Mrs Joan Stott I was married for 14 years to Stan Stott and we have two daughters, who I eventually raised alone. They are now wonderfully mature married women, although both have experienced breast cancer. I also have two grandsons in their 20s.

I worship at Wesley Uniting Church in central Geelong, formally a Methodist Church prior to the Church Union of the Methodist, Congregational and most of the Presbyterian Churches in Australia in 1977. I have held many leadership positions within my Parish, including being a qualified Lay Preacher.

My special interests and involvements have been with Adult Fellowship Groups and the Pastoral Care of the church congregation, as I believe these two commitments can become a forum for people of all interests and hobbies to become involved in the “real life” of their local Church.

This involvement has led me in many directions, including completing a 12 month part-time Clinical Pastoral Education Course at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, which led to me being requested to develop a regional training program for lay people, to learn how to visit elderly people in aged care facilities. This was a commitment I made for 6 years.

After that, I was appointed to several state and national leadership roles in the Uniting Church’s mission and outreach programs. As National President of Adult Fellowship Groups, I represented Australia at my first World Assembly in 1986 at the “World Federation of Methodist Women(WFMW) and the “World Methodist Council” in Kenya, of which I was a council member for 20 years. At that time, I was also an executive member and National Vice President of “Australian Church Women”, Australia’s national women’s ecumenical organisation.

In 1991-1996, I was elected the South Pacific Area President and World Editor of the WFMW, and then elected in 1996-2001 as the World Secretary of the newly titled “World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women” “ (WFM&UCW)”.

At the completion of those involvements, I became the inaugural Board Chairperson of the “Wesley Centre for Life Enrichment”, a community outreach from our Parish which offered subsidised professional counselling and educational courses.

For 12 years I prepared material for “International Bible Reading Association” publications; and after 10 years, I continue to prepare material for leading “Worship on Thursday”, a worship service for people unable to attend Sunday worship, and occasionally preaching.

In 2010 I retired from all these “committee commitments” due to a chronic, debilitating and very painful spinal condition, and concentrated on writing “The Timeless Psalms”; and other occasional written articles.

I have found a new joy in life with my writing, reading and gardening, and delight in living in my own home. I consider myself to have been extremely blessed with so many wonderful opportunities to have met interesting people; to have extensively travelled the world for ten years; and to offer help to people as I can.

Why the You Yangs are an inspiration to me:

The name “You Yangs” is derived from local Aboriginal words and means “big mountain in the middle of a plain” and there are three main granite peaks that rise up from flat volcanic plains near Corio Bay, around which the city of Geelong is situated.

For me, the You Yangs have always had a Trinitarian aspect, alongside the concept of the hills of Zion that surrounded Jerusalem, to which the pilgrims gazed in hope and anticipation as they journeyed to their religious festivals. In Jerusalem, they experienced their pivotal worship experiences which strengthened them and their faith in God, but which had to last them for unknown lengths of time.

As we meditate on the Psalms, we are spiritually nurtured to help us understand that “...His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him - though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist...” (Acts 17: 27-28a); until the next moments of meditation and prayer.

Psalm 121 is always part of my meditations every time I look to the You Yangs: “I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth!

I am always reminded that although the “hills/mountains” were places of refuge in times of struggle, but that ultimately, my help has always come from God.