1 minute prayer

This week I thought I would share with you a quick and easy 1 minute prayer based on our vision framework for our community life here at St Nic’s.

Lord,
Clothe me with the power of Your Holy Spirit so that today I may
Bless abundantly in Your Name,
Belong wholeheartedly to the Body of Christ,
Believe increasingly in Your Word,
Behave with integrity for Your sake, and
Become Good News for Your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Amen.

St Nic’s Snapshot: A week of wondrous work

Exciting changes are happening here at St Nic’s!

Small but Mighty…

On Wednesday, work on the historic church officially began! Praise God! This is the culmination of an incredible amount of work and dedication from the Heritage Church Committee. Congratulations and many thanks to Suzanne Saunders, Kerry Hawley, Wendy Dickinson and Ian Craig. Many thanks also to the Parish Council, the Heritage Council and Greg Meachem.
Check out the audio from the drive radio show and ABC’s online article that featured our little church earlier this week!

Let there be light…

You may have noticed things are looking a little brighter around here… The process of changing all our existing lighting to LED downlights has begun. This will help reduce costs both in terms of electricity and replacement costs as each globe is warrantied for 36,000 hours!
Speaking of power, last week our solar panels were installed by Brett and Mitch from Sunwise. This too, is an important step toward reducing our carbon footprint and reducing our power bills! In just 5 days our CO2 savings were 37kg—the equivalent of driving 245km in the car!
Thank you and congratulations to the Parish Council, Sunwise and Electrical Experts for making this possible.

St Nicholas Craft Group: The Biggest Morning Tea

Last Thursday, St Nicholas’s Craft Group joined thousands of others in hosting the Cancer Council’s Biggest Morning Tea. Over $920 was raised to help the fight against cancer!

Sixty-five members of our local community joined in to support the cause. The Australind Bridge Club provided a welcome boost to the overall amount with their generous donations.

“People seemed to enjoy themselves, the donations of cakes and savouries was excellent as usual,” said organiser Fran Craig. “We do it to help people with cancer, everybody that you speak to knows somebody who has suffered from cancer in some form or other. It’s all around us. It’s a cause close to our hearts, many of our parishioners have lost someone. Cancer does not discriminate.”

Special thanks to Stephen & Julie Lucas from Australind Post Office & Gifts and Rob Bertolli from Terry White Chemmart for their generous gifts for the door prize and raffle. Lucky attendees Val, Betty, Lois, Robyn, Pat, Judy & Geoff won the raffle spot prizes and Beryl scored the door prize.

Rev Jamie assisted with the raffle and Father Brian gave an inspiring address, “Never be negative, always be positive… with your small contribution we are all part of the ultimate solution.”

This year is the 6th year the Craft Group have hosted the event. If anyone would like to join the Craft Group you are most welcome Thursdays 10am- 12noon at the church. Bring your project and enjoy a cuppa and fellowship.

Rosalind Brown’s Day in the Diocese: A millennial’s perspective

My primary motivation to go to Rosalind Brown’s talk was because I had assigned myself the task of writing a post about it. After all, this respected author of Being a Priest Today was being hosted by St Nicholas for the Day in the Diocese.

In the closing address, Archdeacon Julie put it perfectly for me when she conceded “could’ve been in the office doing important looking stuff” (my important looking stuff is exponentially less important looking than what I imagine our esteemed Archdeacon has to do). However Julie, like myself, thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from the talk and it was (to once again quote her) “a real treat”.

Rosalind’s talk was engaging, well delivered, insightful, thought-provoking and oftentimes humorous.  A handout with an assortment of “I wonder” phrases given during the interim discussions made me laugh. For those of you familiar with Godly Play (the Montessori style ‘Sunday school’ we run at our family service) you would understand why; it felt a bit like Godly Play for Grown-ups minus the craft.

Rosalind’s address was delivered in three parts. The first was titled “Taking our smallness lightly but our presence seriously” (a quote from Joan Chittester and drew heavily upon Rowan Williams book Faith in the Public Square). The second part was an intriguing examination of Benedictine hospitality. Finally, the third, a biblical talk on Hagar and Elijah.

We are all of equal value to God

A particular point that stood out to me was that of each individual’s value. That is, we are all of equal value to God. Whether it was a Williams quote or her own, I loved it when Rosalind stated that “there are no superfluous or spare people”. This is profound for those of us with distorted views of our self-worth but also a challenge. This value does not come from one’s own merit but from who we are to God. We are precious in His eyes.

The connection Rosalind drew between the viewpoint of Equal Value and its implication for the current attitudes to work, attitudes like the increasingly demanding and all-consuming expectance of performance driven from both forces within and external to the worker. Dehumanising was the word used and I am finding it hard to disagree. The connection was startling in its directness yet disturbingly unsurprising all the same. How often have we felt sucked into that seemingly inescapable cycle of commitments and additional ‘extra credit’ projects all for the so called sake of… what? Our boss? Or our professor’s approval? Our career aspirations? Or perhaps our own so-called ‘self-improvement’?

That last paragraph sounds rather negative and depressing (I assure on the whole, the talk was actually very encouraging). But perhaps instead of boring you with another few hundred words or so I might instead heed Rosalind’s recommendation and read the transcript of Rowan William’s lecture ‘Benedict and the future of Europe’. And likewise, I might wonder about my own rhythm of life. And perhaps if you too dear reader, are intrigued or are one of the many ever-chasing the elusive ‘balance’ we so crave, could spare some precious time I would encourage you to do some wondering too.

An Easter Reflection on Psalm 22: The Suffering God for Suffering People

On the cross Jesus cried out ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’

Jesus, the Son of God, had been rejected, tortured, insulted, humiliated and left to die. In the midst of excruciating suffering and approaching death, Jesus quoted Psalm 22. This is a psalm of suffering. An expression of loneliness. A pleading to God for help.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
by night, but I find no rest.

However, it is also a psalm of hope. The psalmist is turning to God for answers in his time of need. It is a psalm which expects God to come. It expects God to act in times of suffering.

I will declare your name to my people;
in the assembly I will praise you.
You who fear the Lord, praise him!

For he has not despised or scorned
the suffering of the afflicted one;
he has not hidden his face from him
but has listened to his cry for help.

On the cross Jesus revealed more than the depth of his suffering. He revealed more than his agony. Jesus revealed his trust in God his Father. He experienced the mystery of how God uses suffering to accomplish good. The cross is the revelation of the holy love of God dealing with the sin and evil of the world, and it is utter agony. But it brought life, healing and hope. We see this in the resurrection when Jesus conquered death itself.

Suffering is a problem we all face. It takes many forms. Rejection. Loneliness. Illness. Grief. Loss. Humiliation. Jesus shared in our suffering and invites us to bring our suffering to God and ask ‘why?’ Why are we suffering? Why is God not removing our suffering? Why does God appear far away?

We can ask ‘why’ because we know that our loving God is present in our suffering. He has suffered, he understands our suffering; he is never far away. We can expect God to act. But the deep mystery is the God can, and will, transform even our worst sufferings into good. His action may not be what we expect, it may be much more.

Written by Paul King.

Life is All About Relationships…

Life is all about relationships: the different kinds of relationships that we have and those who those relationships are with. Some relationships are good, some not so good, some are temporary, and others are lifelong. A loss of a relationship, whether through death or some other ending, can force us to consider what and particularly who, we prioritise in our lives.

This week has been a tough one for many of us as we say goodbye to two of our beloved sisters in Christ. Our community has been challenged to reflect on what’s really important; we have been confronted with the frail and mortal nature of our humanity.

For some it may arouse some challenging questions: Where am I going? What is my purpose? Why am I here? What is it all for?

Alpha is an opportunity to explore these questions. It’s not so much of a course as it is a journey- and one here at St Nicholas that we would love to invite you on.

If you would like to know more, please feel free to watch the video or click on the link to our Alpha page. Please contact Jamie to register your interest, we would love to journey with you.