Prayer Ministry Training

The Wednesday evening Connect group and men’s groups hosted a Prayer Ministry Training Course during the month of February.

It was a great time of fellowship and encouragement, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from those who attended.  Some people received tangible healing, others received new spiritual gifts and all were encouraged in prayer.  Many commented on the helpful video presentations by Sandy Millar (the then Rector of Holy Trinity Brompton in London) and in particular his humour and gentleness.

We also enjoyed practicing what we were learning in a safe environment, with the opportunity to ask questions and discuss as we were going along. As someone put it “it was daunting at first but so satisfying to be doing and not just listening”.

22 people attended the course, with 15 people attending all three sessions.  Nearly all expressed an interest in further training.  We are looking forward to continuing to learn and grow in this very important and encouraging ministry of Christ.

Verity Murray

Millennials @ Church: How to be found?

Part 2 in a 2-part series looking at millennials at church written by Dannielle Barry. View Part 1 – Millennials at Church: Reaching the ‘me, me, me’ generation here.

Millennials are seeking community, relationships, a sense of meaning and purpose – and as we know, all of this is answered in Christ, and in the local church. We don’t need to focus so much on reaching out, we just need to be found. 

Be prayerful 

This should be the first step to everything, it needs to be. Prayer changes things (insert applicable bible verse here). This is the first step to being authentic and practicing what we preach, it shows we are genuine and that we care. Pray for the millennials that you know, and for the millennials that are now teachers, doctors, and emerging politicians in our government. 

Be accessible 

This generation has grown up accessing the internet for information. If a millennial wants to go to church, the first thing they’ll search for is ‘churches in my area.’ Don’t worry about how flashy your website looks, just have a presence with the information they need – where the church is, what time you meet, what you have to offer.  

Additionally, being accessible can also mean being visible in the community. Run fundraisers for important causes, offer emergency relief, attend events run by others. Don’t limit the church to your physical location. 

Be inviting 

Be a church that wants to know people and make them feel welcome. Don’t wait for an ‘introducing Christianity course’, Christmas or Easter to invite someone along, be a church that is open to visitors every weekend. Treat everyone as a potential new friend, someone to ‘do life with.’ Again, don’t let the physical location of the church limit you – bring church into your week, into a coffeeshop or the dinner table or a walk along the beach. 

Be authentic 

Being authentic makes the above possible. Becoming a Christian changes your whole life, it’s not limited to church on Sunday. If you want to be a church that welcomes people, become people that welcome people. If you preach about prayer – be seen praying for one another. If you preach that God loves all his children, be people that love all his children, even those different to you. 

Be patient 

I’ve said before that important to millennials is authenticity, transparency, honesty – and these sometimes take time to notice. Don’t pressure a millennial to conform, to register for a class or immediately go onto a roster. Be patient and demonstrate all the above values, being accessible, inviting and authentic – and let the millennial settle in. With the time to ascertain if the church is a good fit, once the decision is made,  you will know you have a committed church member.

Millennials @ Church: Reaching the ‘me, me, me’ generation?

Part 1 in a 2-part series looking at millennials at church written by Dannielle Barry.

Why would a millennial join a church community? 

Who are the millennial generation? 

The millennial generation is one you mostly hear bad things about: lazy, self-entitled, ‘got too many trophies growing up’, over-confident, shallow and selfish, so different to generations before. The people in this generation seem to be delaying adulthood, marrying later and postponing becoming a parent. They appear to be jumping from career to career, searching for work life balance and questioning what a ‘normal life’ means. Time magazine calls it the ‘me, me, me’ generation. 

The millennial generation spans from 1980-2000. I was born in 1991 so at 27 I am one of them, and many of these stereotypes apply to me. I’m not yet married, and I don’t have children. I’ve moved cities in search of somewhere that ‘felt like home’. I’ve changed career direction because I lost faith and satisfaction in my work and wanted a better work life balance. I’m now pursuing graduate education in an area I’m passionate about. And most importantly for this topic – I’ve left many churches because they didn’t feel right.  

In saying this, I don’t believe I’m selfish or shallow, lazy, over-confident or self-entitled. I didn’t ask my workplace to change or cater to my needs, and I never really asked all the churches I’ve left to change either. I just kept looking until I found somewhere to fit, somewhere I could be myself, and somewhere my faith could grow. 

What interests the millennial generation? 

I believe this is the key to reaching my generation. More than any generation before millennials are looking for authenticity. Millennials are challenging the idea of normal because we accept differences; encouraging our peers to be honest, transparent and to have integrity – be your true self regardless of what anyone thinks.  

Contrary to popular belief millennials are willing to work hard, provided it’s for something they believe in. Maybe we are over-confident and self-entitled, but does that have to be a bad thing? From what I’ve seen, that over-confidence and self-entitlement mean my generation are willing to be open about wanting to live in a world that is better for everyone, advocating for human rights, sustainable living, and closing the gap for rich and poor. 

What does this mean for the church? 

So, what do these big ideas mean for our little church? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is Good News for everyone. So, we want to reach out to millennials who now make up the bulk of the working adult population (19-40) and are becoming parents themselves, raising the next generation.  

The good news is I don’t believe we need to work hard to reach out. Millennials are seeking community, relationships, a sense of meaning and purpose – and as we know, all of this is answered in Christ, and in the local church. We don’t need to focus so much on reaching out, we just need to be found.

The revealing of a role model for all humanity

by the Venerable Brian Newing.
Fr Brian has been a priest of this Diocese for over 50 years, faithfully serving the South West.

We are all living through a breathtaking revolution in electronic communication which is changing almost every aspect of our life. Nearly all communication is through the written word and not face to face conversation. This change is being driven by business and picked up by institutions such as Centrelink and Medicare. Have you ever tried to speak to a police officer in the middle of the night? By the time you have pressed two sets of number buttons, confusion reigns supreme. Even worse, trying to get your NBN phone to work when it has failed.

Comments fly to and fro on Facebook making all sorts of comments and allegations. All this communication takes place without seeing the face of the other person. There is no way of knowing how the other person is feeling, laughing, crying, disappointed or even in shock. Things are written that can never be retracted. I recently attended a Supreme Court trial where the judge addressed the jury and instructed them to disregard all they had all they had experienced using social media because it had led people to making snap judgements on limited evidence. He further stated it had cost people their jobs, destroyed relationships and driven people to suicide.

I am not trying to say all in the social media are wrong, but I do believe there are very real danger signs and it is against the way God wants us to live in the community.

The incarnation

In the fullness of time the God of all creation chose to communicate with His beloved people to reveal Himself to the world for all generations. The wisdom of God was to communicate with His people face to face in the person of Jesus Christ. The scriptures reveal to us Jesus was the exact image of God. “Not what God looks like but what is”. Jesus lived in community first with His family and later with His disciples and followers. He spent countless hours teaching them and preparing them for their ministry.

He taught them stories centred on everyday experiences they could easily remember. The shared His frustration and disappointment when so many people failed to comprehend or refused to hear His simple message of salvation. The disciples experienced the pain of Jesus trial and crucifixion. Following these events, they also shared the joy of His resurrection and the birth of the Christian church on the day of Pentecost. The Christian faith has come down through the centuries because people have shared their faith stories from generation to generation.

The Epiphany of Our Lord

The Epiphany means the revealing of Jesus to all people throughout the world. Peter declares, following Pentecost, that he now understands that God has no favourites but loves all people equally. This was the theme the disciples and Christian converts carried throughout the known world, from India to Britain, from Africa to northern Europe. Despite persecution, the Christian faith flourished and transformed the lives of millions of people. The new Christians were recognised by the love they shared with one another.

Down through history we have been called to shape and mould our lives on the role model of Jesus Christ. To look at the world through the eyes of Jesus. To make our decisions in accordance to the moral values of Jesus. To love sacrificially as Jesus loves us even to the cross. To forgive one another as Jesus forgave the repentant thief crucified with Him.

The word Christian means to be a Christ-like person. May we all strive to be a little more Christ-like during 2019 and reflect His glory to a world that is in need of a perfect role model to follow.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

A Prayer for Christmas and Epiphany

Blessed are you, Lord our God,
our eternal Father and David’s king:
You have made our gladness greater and increased our joy
by sending to dwell among us
the Wonderful Counsellor, the Prince of Peace.
Born of Mary,
proclaimed to the shepherds,
and acknowledged to the ends of the earth,
Your unconquered Sun of righteousness
destroys our darkness and establishes us in freedom.
All glory in the highest be to you:
through Christ, the Son of your favour,
in the anointing love of his Spirit,
now and for ever and ever.
Amen

From the Prayer Book for Australia (p.436)

Synod 2018: A millennial’s perspective

I have been a member of the Parish Council for almost two years and have really enjoyed seeing the background workings of the church. When it came to preparing for Synod, it was noted that we did not have any reserve Synod Representatives. I was reassured I would not need to do anything so I put my name forward to Carli. Then, unfortunately John Jarvis couldn’t make it…

The Run-up to Synod

As a precaution to John Jarvis not making it to Synod, it was suggested that I attend the Pre-Synod briefing. In the car with Jamie, Suzanne and Alf, I was brought up to speed on what usually happens at these events and once there, I quickly settled into reading the supplied documentation. Archdeacon Julie ran this briefing very effectively and covered all the required topics quickly. Any relief felt from the efficiency was quickly quashed on the drive home, as I was promptly informed that Synods rarely run to time.

John Jarvis was slowly improving and was back in Australind. However, Rev Jamie was keen to have me attend. So I found myself filling out the Synod Representative profile and submitting the required documentation. What followed was the biggest eye opener for Synod 2018: the size of the Diocese. When I first joined St Nicholas I thought the Diocese covered the Australind Minster and the Bunbury Cathedral. The Diocese actually covers all of the Anglican communities from Mandurah down to Albany. Altogether, there were about 16 reports that needed to be read. I won’t bore you with the minutiae here!

Synod 2018

Synod 2018 started at 1pm on Friday at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar in the Chapel. I found myself being snapped up for discussions at any available opportunity. People were keen to see who I was and what I thought about it. I think that this was partly due to me being the youngest there.

Archdeacon Julie ran the Synod with the same punctuality that she drove the Pre-Synod Briefings. By the end of Friday, we had already discussed and passed half of the Saturday agenda items. However, once again on the drive home, my relief from the efficiency was quashed. The most controversial topics were specifically left to Saturday and most of the time gained would be needed.

For me, the evening meal on the Saturday was an opportunity to spend time with the representatives from Donnybrook and their partners. We sat together at the same table and I listened to stories from when they were young and learnt a bit about their lives. During the meal, a certain conversation made it clear of the difference in age. They were talking about their children who I commented were the same age as my parents, which made everyone laugh! It was an enjoyable and enlightening evening.

Listening to the concerns and opinions from, dare I say, the older generation really opened my eyes to the need for younger people to get involved within church. For them to understand the changes that are being made and to hear the reasoning behind it. As young people, we need to voice our approval to those in positions of making changes, and let them know of any concerns when required. As a member of the younger generation who has been getting involved in different aspects of church life, I would like to encourage you to proactively step into where you feel God may be calling you and not just wait until there is a void which desperately needs filling.

Michael Plug

Serve up some justice!: Ping-Pong-athon 2018 @ Vineyard Church

St Nic’s parishioner and dad of two, Byron Forster joined the Fight for Freedom during Oct 12-13, read on to find out more…

There are some things about living in Australia that remind us how blessed we are. Then there are the things we see around the world that just make you hug your kids so tight. Human trafficking is one of those scourges of this world, especially when it comes to children. So Aussies have found a way to help rescue children from that life… by playing Ping Pong!

Pong vs Slavery

This year our local event was at the Vineyard Church in Bunbury, organized by Tim Wheeldon and his team. Not only did he arrange it, he then went on to play for over 13 hours straight! You would think that by that point fatigue would set in and I could get a few wins, but I guess it just meant he really had his eye in and morphed into the Roger Federer of ping pong!

Regardless of the scores, the kids are the real winners. There are 9 different organisations across SE Asia that the Pong raises money for. More information on each of these wonderful organisations is available at www.pingpongathon.com.

We set ourselves a goal to raise $6000 at the Bunbury Pong and by God’s grace we achieved our target before we were even half way through the event. Our grand total was over $15,000 to contribute to the national pool. Congratulations to everyone that was involved with playing and donating. With ping pong marathons happening all over Australia throughout October, we have been able to band together and raise over $318,000 this year, bringing our grand total to over $1.57 million since the Pong started in 2011.

We can really make a difference in the world of Human Trafficking when we band together. I am so proud of all the people that make this happen from those hitting a ping pong ball over a net, to the men and women who pick up those children and show them the first sign of love that many of them can remember. Next year we will set ourselves a new target, and you are more than welcome to be involved!

Thank you and God Bless
Byron Forster

Journaling Part 2: The only rule? There are none…

How to Journal?

Now, if the previous post has convinced you that this is worth it, the question is where to start? How does one develop a journaling habit?

The most freeing thing I have learnt is that there are no rules to this. Journaling is something that is meant to help you relieve stress, not add to it, so the key is to make it work for you. Below I will write about what works for me, and other tips that I have read, but honestly just experiment with it until you have a method that works.

Some ideas

How long for? Now I tend to journal just as I need to, as having a ‘rule’ that I must journal every day, at a specific time, tends to make me panic and not do it. Many ‘journaling for beginners’ articles (such as this one from Mindful Parenting and this one from the Gospel Coalition) suggest starting by setting a rhythm of picking a time each day, for around 10-15 minutes and just writing about anything.

What do I use? I love pretty stationery and I’m rewards-oriented so I buy nice journals a lot and good pens. I also love organisation so I have a prayer journal, a goals journal, a study journal etc. Again though, this needs to be what works for you. A lot of people now use an iPad, computer or their phone to journal – apps like ‘Evernote’ and ‘Microsoft OneNote’ are good. There is definitely no one ‘right way’ here, at the end of the day any form of paper, pen or technological item will work.

What to write? This is generally the hard bit for people, and I can relate to staring at a blank page or screen and wondering where to start. What I would suggest here is to use the prompts in the Boundaries course book each week, or for anyone not studying boundaries – start with writing down your thoughts on Sunday’s sermons, what did you learn? How is it applicable to your life? Then as you go through the week, write about any worries or stressors, write down the good things that happen or things you are thankful for. Once you start, the possibilities are endless!

Hopefully this has provided you with some inspiration and ideas for how to approach journaling. I encourage you to just give it at try, and pray that you’ll be surprised and blessed by the experience.

Blessings,
Dannielle 😊

Journaling Part 1: A Reflection on the Benefits

This week and next week will feature a two part series on Journaling by Dannielle Barry.

Many of us (40 odd!) here at St Nic’s are currently studying the Boundaries course in our small groups on either Tuesday or Wednesday. In our Boundaries workbook there is a section on journaling, which is what I’d like to talk about in these posts.

It’s a love-hate relationship…

First of all I should say that I have a love-hate relationship with journaling. Fortunately now its more often love than hate, and it often comes naturally, but it has taken a little bit of effort and practice to get to that point. I say this to give you hope. If these journaling sections intimidate or even terrify you, it’s okay, it will get easier, there’s light at the end of the tunnel – and I promise the experience is helpful, and maybe even rewarding.

Why Journal?

For me journaling provides an outlet when I feel overwhelmed: with thoughts, with life, with questions. Have you ever had the experience of racing thoughts, too much to think about, that awful panicked or anxious feeling? Try writing some of it down. The act of physically putting thoughts on paper will often stop the thought spiral or slow it down, and making short lists when you feel like you have to much to do helps to form a plan of attack. Often I’m surprised that in taking this time to write I realise that the things I need to do are achievable, and the things I’ve been worried about might not be as bad as first thought.

Another good reason to journal is to keep records, particularly records of prayer requests and answered prayer. This is only something I’ve started this year, but it has been such a blessing to go back over my prayer requests and record some of the ways God has answered them. In doing this I’ve also realised how quick I can be to forget all the times God has provided, and therefore so quick to doubt and question whether he’ll be faithful again in my future worries and problems. Keeping records also helps me to reflect on my life journey, learn from it and see the ways I am constantly growing and changing. Having recorded stories of good memories and not so good has been an unexpected blessing, a way to really see how God is working all things for my good (Romans 8:28).

If you’re not yet convinced there is also some evidence that journaling can be good for your health. One psychologist from Texas, James Pennebaker has researched the strengthening effect journaling has on our immune cells. Other research into problem solving hypothesizes that by transferring our thoughts to paper the right side of the brain becomes unlocked to solve problems from a creative point of view rather than the left brained analytical approach we tend to.

Please visit again for next week’s Journaling Part 2: The only rule? There are none…

God-incidences

Last month, I had a phone call from my specialist; I was due for an annual check-up. It just so happened there was an appointment available at 8.30 the very next morning. After the test, I was talking to the young specialist – he was new, I hadn’t seen him before.

He asked me what I did for a living and I told him I was a retired Anglican priest. “Is that like in a church?” he asked. “Yes” I said, “in the Anglican church”. He asked me how I got into a job like that and I explained that it wasn’t a standard career option that was discussed at school; that for me it was a realization later in life that God was calling me to ordained ministry. He got that! “Ah, so it’s like a vocation,” he said.

He continued, “Does that mean you found Jesus? A friend of mine found Jesus and his life turned around.” I asked him what that meant. He told me that his friend was severely depressed and on his birthday he had decided to commit suicide. He then had an experience of feeling at one with the world. From that day, my specialist told me, his friend started to live a healthier life, lost a lot of weight and wanted to find out more about what his experience meant. I asked how his friend was doing that and he told me that he was using the internet and reading the Bible. I told him about St Nicholas and Alpha and how important it is to find out more about Jesus in a safe group setting. I gave him the St Nic’s website address.

As a Christian I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in God-incidences. God puts people in our way for a reason. I encourage you to reflect on the ‘coincidences’ in your life. Could they be ‘God-incidences?’ How are we being asked to be ‘salt and light’ for others? Perhaps you might like to reflect on Matthew 5:13-16.

‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled underfoot.
‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.

We are so blessed with the vibrant community at St Nic’s. We can have confidence to invite people to deepen their faith with our community whether that is through prayer or worship, Wednesday dinners, bible studies or group discussions.

Let us pray (adapted from David Adam Complete themed intercessions)

Lord God, help us to be aware of the God-incidences in our lives.
Teach us to walk in your way and to rejoice in your truth.
We ask your blessing on all in this parish that we may be salt and light for others.
We pray for all who are new to the faith
and all who are growing in a deeper awareness of your presence.
May we all know that wherever we go and whatever happens
you are with us and ready to lead us. Amen.

by Carol Reid