How do we care for our fellow Parishioners? By John Jarvis Pastoral Care Co-ordinator
Pastoral care involves all of us, as we meet week by week, maybe day by day. As we greet people and talk and listen to people, we are showing we care for them.
Much of pastoral care is just that. We befriend people and look after each other and ensure they are o.k. We, in fact, are doing pastoral care whether we realise it or not.
When we have not seen someone at church for a week or two, we will phone them up just to see if they are alright. We may discover that they have been unwell and need some errands done. So, we help them. Maybe we go with them shopping of to see the doctor.
So where does the Pastoral Care Team come into this? What is their role?
Your friend may end up in hospital for a while and so one of the team will visit that person to see how they are progressing. Often, they will be offered Communion, prayed for, and when appropriate anointed with oil. We are doing this in the name of the church. This, of course does not stop you from visiting as a friend.
The team will also visit those who are house bound or in a Care Home, with Communion and have a time of fellowship with them. Instead of them coming to church, we are taking church to them. The team is often reliant on you to inform us of those who need a visit or particular help.
Our current team are Suzanne, Jamie, Verity, Ian, Fran, Jan and John.
A lot has happened in the past few weeks since writing about the WA government denying ACL bookings at public venues… you’ve probably seen it on the news. This is from the director of ACL Martin Iles:
Praise God, we got our bookings back, and Perth looks set to be our biggest event yet.
Sky News, Channel 7, Channel 9, The Australian, 6PR Radio, ABC and others, all sought interviews. Even secular journalists were shocked by the notion that a democratic government would have an official policy to cancel people who disagree with them.
But the WA government rescinded their decision on Friday evening, pending a review of their hiring policy.
I am grateful to God that this opportunity has been preserved to proclaim truth in WA’s public places… at least for now. Please pray for these events.
Whilst this is a win, it’s a compelling example of why robust religious freedom protections are needed in Australian law.
Thanks to your support, we can push back when it happens to us, but many people are not so fortunate. Cancel culture and discrimination are growing problems for ordinary Christians.
That’s why the Religious Discrimination Bill matters.
Winston Churchill made this observation “All the greatest things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honour; duty; mercy; hope.” We would want to add love. Here is a link to a song I wrote some time ago from Psalm 42 on where to look for hope.
Sunday 23 May was Pentecost. This is the time that we remember the first outpouring of the Holy Spirit in fulfilment of prophecy given by Joel and others many years before. It is the church’s birthday and so we celebrated with cake together afterwards and enjoyed the creativity of our brothers and sisters in art, gardening, ( see the flowers brought in especially below) music and hospitality. This outpouring was a validation of the authority and rule of Jesus fulfilling what He said as recorded in the gospels. The Holy Spirit is the life-giver in the most profound sense. The Holy Spirit precedes creation in Genesis 1, hovering over the waters. The Holy Spirit precedes the incarnation of Jesus. And the Holy Spirit worked in power to raise Jesus from death. The Holy Spirit is the one who brings the people of God to new life in fulfilment of Jesus teaching as recorded in John 3 and shared with Nicodemus. The Holy Spirit is the gift giver and it is the indwelling Spirit who bears fruit in the believer’s life. 1 Corinthians 12-14 and Galatians 6. Every believer is born again as the Spirit of God brings life to us. We are new creations 2 Cor 5:17
As we say each service We are the body of Christ
His Spirit is with us.
It was also the first of our ongoing joint services. We are now meeting together at 9 am for the next season and sharing life on a Sunday morning in one gathering. We had a most enjoyable celebration together and look forward to all the Lord will do in us and through us in the months ahead.
We have been attending the St Nic’s On-Line Zoom Growth Group meetings on Tuesday evenings at 7.30 pm to 8.45 pm with Jamie and Verity and have found them very interesting and easy to do. We were both skeptical at first, thinking that the flow of delivery would be slow or glitchy. However, we found this was not the case. After a short time of getting used to the system it was just about the same as if we were all in the same room. Logging in was quite straightforward and didn’t require any special equipment, user-names, pass codes or programs.
We have noticed how helpful it is for parents with children—they can attend the meeting while their kids are playing in another room, so no need for a baby sitter.
Personally though we have found “Zooming In” to be very efficient on time, especially for us, as we have a 40 minute drive to Australind to join the Connect or the Men’s Groups on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm. We have enjoyed the unity of the Online Group, listened to music together and discussed questions arising from the bible readings. We often take it in turns to read out loud and to pray together.
There are often a few jokes shared and laughs as you would get in a “normal” meeting. The only thing I think we have not managed to sort out is how to make a coffee/tea for each other or pass around the biscuits!
I attended the Combined Churches Prayer Meeting which was hosted at St Nic’s on Sunday 7th March.
During the service the previous week, Jamie had mentioned the meeting and how he was disappointed with the small number of parish members who had attended in the past.
To be honest, I had made many excuses about why I couldn’t attend previous meetings:
it was the wrong time for me;
I didn’t want to pray in front of people I didn’t know;
my husband gets home from work at that time.
But I was missing out on a fantastic experience.
Hosted here at St Nic’s there was the usual warm, friendly, and welcoming atmosphere but enhanced by other brothers and sisters from local churches in the area. The evening began with introductions of the members of each Church, a prayer, singing and worship.
🙂 After about 25 minutes of worship and praise we were encouraged to choose from one of 4 prayer focus stations set up for us to go and pray for others.
Prompted by the Spirit, I chose the station dedicated to pray for our church leaders and the churches in our community. Debbie and I paired together to pray for Unity, Evangelism and Protection.
At the end of the prayer time, some people wrote down words or verses to be read out by Verity and other church leaders.
I am so happy and pleased that I did not allow an excuse to keep me away from this meeting and I am grateful that Jamie encouraged me to attend. I look forward to attending the next meeting at Eaton Baptist (on 16 May at 6 pm).
St Nicholas is a Minster Parish which means that we were established in 2015 to look not only within our parish boundaries but beyond, to seek to enable and support other Christians in living out our shared call to follow Jesus.
We have been part of a movement to reignite Combined Churches prayer gatherings, our next one is here at St Nicholas on March 7th, 6 pm. We worship together and then pray for all Christian churches in the region and for our wider community. We especially pray for God’s kingdom to come in and through us reaching out to those who are yet unaware of God’s love, grace, power and presence in their lives. We take time to listen for prophetic insight on how to pray and orientate ourselves in His mission.
This Saturday, Feb 27th some of us will join with other local Christian church members at the South Bunbury Church of Christ, taking a slot from 1 pm till 2 pm as part of our commitment to a Day of Prayer and Fasting for Australia. This is a National initiative in prayer for the renewal of this wonderful nation in Christ.
The following weekend we will be hosting our Combined Churches prayer gathering here at St Nicholas 6 pm.
On the 27th some of us will be going along to support our Baptist brothers and sisters as they welcome many to their Easter Fest in Dalyellup. I think this initiative from South West baptist is great.
Some people think the Jesus movement is in decline. Yet the facts speak otherwise across the world. We are glad to play our own small part in seeing people come to know the love and power of Jesus and rejoice in the effective Christian ministries already at work in our region.
If you want to know about wisdom for life in matters such as relationships or finances consider joining us on the Boundaries course or on our Money management course. All our courses are free to participants. Wherever you live know that there will be Christians you can reach out to who would be glad to welcome you in the exploration.
Isaiah stated clearly about the King that was to come
‘Of the increase of his government and peace, there shall be no end’ This is happening. It has been happening and will continue to happen. Heres and analysis of the stats in the 20th Century.
How are you feeling as we enter 2021 as a church family? Full of hope or rather anxious? However you feel, we know that the Lord is with us and He has gone ahead of us, showing us the way forward into the new year – a year which promises to be full of new learning and new growth.
Lent Programme – Faithful God, Faithful Church
The new school term coincides with the season of Lent, a time when we ask the Lord to reveal to us what is in our hearts and how He wants us to grow more like Him. This Lent, Jamie and I have sensed that the Lord wants us to grow in two fruits of the Spirit in particular – the Fruits of Love and Faithfulness – and growing in these areas will require us to step out in faith.
Have you ever had a Family Meeting?
A time when you gathered as a family to discuss plans, make decisions or try to find solutions to problems? This Lent is going to be a bit like doing St Nic’s Family Business as we ask the Lord to show us what’s really in our hearts – the good, the bad and the ugly – ask Him to pull out some weeds and co-operate with Him in growing more of the fruit of love and faithfulness in our lives. We will be starting our Lenten teaching a little early this year as the ‘Faithful God, Faithful Church’ programme lasts 8 weeks, rather than 6.
At times it will be challenging. We may have to confront our own sin or disappointments – but thanks be to God, thorugh Jesus sacrifice on the cross He has provided free forgiveness and has promised to cleanse us from all sin. At other times we will be challenged to step out in faith in ways we have not done before. And at other times we will just need to keep on doing what we have been doing – what Eugene Peterson called ‘a long obedience in the same direction’. That can be a challenge in itself. Yet the Lord doesn’t ask us to do anything He isn’t already doing for us daily , over and over again – and Jesus is our model. Learning to love and be faithful like Him is going to be a wonderful adventure!
Church membership can be a little bit like a gym membership. We join full of good intentions but we often do not make the most of the opportunities afforded. In order to grow together as a community, we need everyone to be involved wholeheartedly. We recognise that in our framework for the community. We aspire to Bless abundantly, Belong wholeheartedly, Believe increasingly, Behave with integrity and Become Good News. We don’t want to be merely hearers of the Word, but doers of the Word too – and not just a few of us – but all of us!
We would like to encourage everyone who considers St Nic’s to be their spiritual home to do the following:
Attend a Sunday service every week of the ‘Faithful God, Faithful Church’ teaching series, starting on Feb 7th and culminating in Easter Week. The family service will be following the same theme each week as the 8 am service.
If you are unable to attend a service each week, listen to the sermon that you have missed on line.
Do the Faithful God, Faitihful Church Study Notes each week either with a St Nic’s small group, a spouse or a friend. These notes and exercises will be much more productive if done in conversation and prayer with others.
Take time to do the personal reflections and responses each week in order to effect genuine change and/or perseverance in your life.
Does that seem like a tall order? Well the good news is, if you commit to each of these you will have your Lenten Disciplines all worked out for you! And what’s more you will have a family of supporters walking the same path with you, praying and encouraging you along the way. And, if you ‘drop the ball’ one week, just pick yourself up and get back on track, with no judgement or condemnation. We’re in this together – all hopefully trying our best, but none of us yet perfect.
For Parents and Children
An information and activity pack will be available by February 7th so our younger members can put some of our learning into practice too. These will be available on the table in the church building. Please ask Amelia if you would like it emailed to you.
I want to end with the famous words of the Three Musketeers – “All for One and One for All”! Let’s aspire to love and faithfulness that brings that kind of unity among us at St Nic’s!
On Sunday 24th in our services, I made use of some of the resources offered by the organisation ‘Common Grace’. Common Grace is, to quote, an
‘online Australian Christian movement for justice. We exist to inspire and organise Australian Christians to think, speak and act like Jesus for a more just world.’
As part of this movement there is a desire to mobilise the wider Australian church in building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Island peoples who themselves are following Jesus. Key Aboriginal Christian leaders, including Aunty Jean Phillips who we heard from through video in our services recognise that true reconciliation can only be found in Christ.
This message resonates with Verity and I as we have been facilitating prayer across the Greater Bunbury region over the past few years. When we unite before our Father in heaven, recognising one another as the body of Christ and pray in the Spirit we know that God will command His blessing. We have been very aware that there has been no representation to date of brothers or sisters from our Christian Aboriginal communities locally. We were finally able to meet with some of our Aboriginal Christian sisters recently and hope that we can walk together and learn from one another as we all seek the Kingdom of God on earth, something we pray for in the Lord’s prayer.
Our first identity as Christians is just that , we are ‘in Christ’, we are His body. One of our roles may well be to prayerfully seek a greater reconciliation and peace among all the peoples of Australia, starting with local relationship building and prayer together.
There is much to celebrate about Australia. We are blessed to reside here. We continue to pray for Australia that the kingdom Jesus announced would come increasingly here and that God’s will would come here as in heaven.
As we walk close to Jesus, we walk close to those who are walking with Jesus-.
On Sunday the 20th of December we held our ‘Share the Joy’ musical evening. How wonderful it was to see the kids involved as well as the adults taking parts in acting, reading verses, or as a part of the musicians and singers.
Due to Covid, we had to plan and run things differently to our past Carols and Cappuccino nights as we were restricted in the number we could have in our main building. This meant we had to make it a ticketed event with allocated seats.
I would like to thank everyone who played a part in making the night the success it was, and also to those who came along. While it was a time-consuming task to make sure that we did everything according to government guidelines, we did manage to continue the wonderful feeling of joyous celebration, inclusion and warmth.
After the singing finished we also enjoyed the Vocal Fusion Youth Choir singing out the front of the Heritage Church, as well as the coffee machine up and running and a sausage sizzle.