Our OP Shop – year in review

Our op shop has been able to continue on again this year with the help of all our volunteers. We have 15 from the church and there are 16 from our community, which has enabled us to keep going so successfully.

At times it has been very challenging, with people sick or away on holidays, but we have all rallied around and filled in the gaps.  Everyone has stepped in so we would not have to close the shop. This enabled us to keep open most of the time.

As volunteers, we enjoy each other’s company and getting to know each other and everyone who comes through the door.   We do bless the op shop every morning and are always blessed in return.

Our outreach continues to the community and we have been able to help those in need and also the Shoe String Café in Bunbury to assist the homeless with clothing, books and shoes.  We help with other needs as they arise.  Our donations still continue to the Missions for Seafarers, Morrissey House, Aboriginal communities and local schools, and also assisting the women when they leave the Women’s Refuge. Australia Rags are taking our excess (approx. 7 T this year).  Harvey Op Shop also bring their bags over to be included in these. We are truly grateful to have an outlet with them, and these go to the third world countries in crisis.

At times our donations seemed a little low, but we are so blessed to have everything that is brought in to us and very grateful to everyone, so that we can continue to serve the community. At the same time, we can also be overwhelmed by the generosity of the community in all the donations to bring to us.

We have been working on the front of the op shop, with the help of Geoff, Phil, PJ and Elaine.   It will look fantastic for the future, with lawn and ground covers.

A big thank you for all the support given to us each year.

Our Heritage Church is Bloomin’ Beautiful

Spring has encased our Heritage Church in the joys of spring roses. Not only is the rose garden full of colourful blooms but the scent as you approach the archway is – quite appropriately, simply heavenly.

All are welcome to visit the rose garden at any time. On Thursday mornings from 10 am -12 noon, you can also see inside the Church, and take some time to pray or receive prayer if that would be of help. You may wish to just sit in peace for a moment, pray or perhaps learn about the history of the Church. All are welcome.

Seasons and times, blessings and challenges: a testimony and farewell to the Forster Family.

Recently we said a fond farewell to our parishioner family, Byron and Carol Forster along with their three children Lachlan, Emily and Abigail. It’s always a mixture of sadness and thanksgiving when a church member or family leaves a church well. We heard from Byron and were able to pray for them all as they make a new start with a different church family in Bunbury offering fellowship for their children with friends from school.   Byron shared the following with us for this blog post:

 The Forsters have been members of our church for the past 12 years. They first attended St. Nics when they were looking to have their son, Lachlan, baptized. It was suggested by Father Brian Newing that perhaps they would like to attend a few services before the baby was baptized into the church. Following the baptism service Byron and Carol felt that they didn’t want to leave and that they belonged here at St Nics. Father Brian and Byron developed a close bond and were able to work through Byron’s personal struggles with a troubled childhood and the ongoing struggles that were still evident since his teenage years. The next few years were a battle culminating in justice being served against the perpetrator of his lost childhood, as well as the ongoing addiction he used to numb the pain. God’s impeccable timing meant he could use Father Brian’s life experience to help a young man find his way to faith in a good God of love, mercy, and grace.

Carol’s second pregnancy with their daughter Emily was their biggest test of faith yet. It was discovered at the 20-week anatomy scan that the baby was actually infected with a virus from a very early point in her development. If she survived birth, she would most likely suffer severe complications and lifelong disabilities. They were offered to terminate the pregnancy, but they refused, stating that it was up to God what happened going forward. It seemed to be a very dire outcome for this family.

During this time Byron and Carol leant heavily on their faith to give them strength and hope. They returned to their church family at St Nics to pray. Many, many prayers were offered for Emily. Rev. Joe Sullivan led a prayer circle around Carol, speaking in tongues over her and the life growing inside her. The most amazing feeling of radiating heat was felt by Carol, as well as others in the circle including Byron. The baby continued to grow in utero, and ongoing scans revealed normal growth of the baby. This was unexpected by doctors, who were still preparing the family for the expected complications. While Emily was showing that things were going well,  abnormalities in the brain caused by the virus known as CMV were evident. While this virus is fairly common in the general population, the survival of rate of in-utero infections is very low and was not well researched at the time.

Emily came into the world a little small, but healthy. She spent time in the NICU wing of King Edward Hospital and future plans were discussed with doctors. Byron and Carol decided to not go ahead with other treatments as she appeared to be doing well. However, they allowed the doctors to test her core blood and platelets to look for answers. This is where God’s handiwork in Emily was revealed. Testing showed that the damaged cells had been BURNT OUT! Emily left the hospital as a healthy baby and continues to be a healthy young lady to this day.  What a true miracle this was and is tangible evidence that faith, hope and collective prayers in Jesus name really can produce a miracle.

Since then they have added to their faith thanks to the teaching of Pastor Jamie and others in the church. Byron attributes the one-on-one study with Alf Holmen, as well as the Men’s Group as key areas that have taught him about his relationship with Jesus through the Holy Spirit. When the Men’s Group ran the Alpha course Byron was able to invite his best mate Mark, who has since been baptized into the faith.

Byron, Carol and the children will be missed by us all. We all wish them well in their new location.


Renewing our Confidence in God’s Word

Here is a snapshot of session 1 – You can hear the session in full by clicking Can We Know The Truth? or read the answers to these questions below by clicking here https://www.stnicholasaustralind.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Week-1-Participant-Notes-1.pdf

How do we know what is true?

What does the New Testament say about Truth?

Is Truth knowable?

How do we know what is true?

What does the New Testament say about truth in:

Jesus Himself;

Jesus’ words;

the words of God the Father;

the Old Testament;

the Testimony and Teaching of the Apostles;

the Church of the Living God;

Where can the Truth be found in the gospels?

Church Mission Society in Australia: Empowering Communities Through Faith and Service

We have supported Church Mission Society (CMS) for several years now contributing $2400 per annum in support of our link missionary Joan, and on Sunday 23 July we extended a warm welcome to David Greeff, the Western Australian director for CMS.

CMS is a dynamic, mission-oriented organization that has been actively spreading the gospel message to communities both locally and globally beginning in the 19th Century. At its core, CMS is committed to fulfilling the Great Commission, as stated in Matthew 28:19-20, by making disciples of all nations. The organization’s mission is to empower individuals to serve and share the Gospel through diverse ministries catering to communities’ unique needs in various parts of the world.

Within Australia, CMS has established a strong network of churches, parishes, and individuals who share a passion for missions. St Nics is one of these. Through strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts, CMS provides support and training to equip believers for effective cross-cultural ministry.

CMS missionaries serve in diverse fields such as education, healthcare, community development, and church planting, endeavouring to bring holistic transformation to the lives of those they encounter. Our Missionary partner Joan services in a state-approved Language School in an East Asian country.

In addition to practical initiatives, CMS strongly emphasises prayer and intercession. Recognizing the spiritual battle in spreading the Gospel, CMS encourages supporters and partners to pray fervently for the mission fields and the individuals involved, locally and globally.

We have appreciated CMS’s responsible stewardship of resources. The organization maintains a high level of transparency and accountability, ensuring that financial support is used efficiently and effectively to advance the mission.

David’s visit encouraged us to continue both to own this in prayer and to offer financial assistance for the advance of the gospel.

A Testament to God’s Grace, Mercy, Infinite Love and Care

By Suzanne Saunders

About six weeks ago I had a health scare which sent me to my GP in a fairly concerned state. I had been having dizzy spell and shortness of breath over the preceding couple of weeks which also left me overcome by tiredness on some days and having to take a two hour nap. I had been praying fervently that God would reveal what was happening and would keep me safe.

The frequency of these episodes began to increase so that they were happening three to five days per week. My GP was concerned about my heart and sent me to have a Holter monitor fitted for 24 hours, as well as an echocardiogram. 

A week later, on 3rd July my doctor had the results of the monitoring and called me in to see him. He gave me the news that I was having pauses in my heartbeat from between 3 and 5 seconds. He said this was serious as the longer the pauses the greater the risk that I would pass out and my heart could stop beating. 

A lot of miraculous things then started to happen – and please note, God is in the detail here.

  • First, my GP immediately rang a Bunbury cardiologist to secure an urgent appointment for me.
  • I was given an appointment for 3.45 p.m. on Thursday 6th July.
  • The cardiologist informed me I would need a pacemaker and may have to go to Perth but then remembered a colleague of hers – an Electrophysiologist (Specialist Pacemaker Cardiologist) was in Bunbury that day and due to return to Perth the next day.
  • She rang him straight away and asked him if he could fit a pacemaker for me the next day before he returned to Perth – and he agreed!
  • Next my cardiologist arranged for me to be admitted to hospital early that evening to ensure I had a bed and was being monitored in the Cardiac Care Unit at St John of God.
  • By 7.00 p.m. I was in a hospital bed being “hard wired” to a heart monitoring machine. A nurse even found me some dinner – and not just sandwiches. I also started receiving text messages and emails from my beautiful church family who were all praying for me.
  • On Friday 7th July I was taken into surgery at about 12.15 p.m. I was incredibly calm going into that theatre and felt the presence of God around me. The nurses said it was quite remarkable that the monitor I had had actually picked up the problem.
  • By 1.40 p.m. I was back in my hospital room with the procedure all done. I just had to wait a couple of hours for more antibiotics to be administered and an XRAY to be taken.
  • By 7.00 p.m. I was home with my husband watching television. In and out in 24 hours!
  • I was also given an electronic monitor to set up by my bedside which takes a reading of my heart rate once per night while I am sleeping and transmits it to a monitoring service who then send it on to my cardiologist.
  • I was back in church on Sunday 9th July and while there received a text message that my monitor was working and connected to the monitoring service, I felt God really had me in the palm of His hand and was caring for me the whole time.

I am immensely grateful and in awe of the way in which the Lord worked to care for me and ensure I received the medical attention, as well as the spiritual attention that I needed over those few days – and then afterwards through my church family. Only God could have lined up all those things to occur in the sequence they did. I have had the best cardiac care in the realm and I am feeling and functioning so much better now. I can only thank you and praise you my Lord. You are my Saviour.

Purim Celebration

Last term the Women’s Connect group did a study on the book of Esther using the ‘Swedish Study Method’.  Esther is one of only two books named for women (Ruth is the other) and while God’s presence is clear throughout the book His name does not appear. 

At the end of the study, we decided to celebrate in the same way the Jewish people did all those years ago – and still do to this day – with a Purim feast. The Jewish people celebrate the Feast of Esther and the holiday of Purim annually on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar (March).  They observe the days with feasting and joy and giving presents of food to one another and gifts to the poor.  One of the traditions of Purim is the reading of the Megillah, also known as the Book of Esther, which recounts the story of the Purim miracle. When Haman’s name is mentioned in the reading, children twirl graggers (noisemakers) and adults stamp their feet to eradicate his evil name. It is also customary for children (and adults if they desire) to dress up in costumes. 

Purim was established to remember Esther’s intercession and the victory of the Jewish people over Haman. The Jews took it upon themselves to establish the custom that they and their descendants and all who join them should without fail observe these days every year. These days should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family and in every province and in every city. (Esther 9:28)

We sat down at a table decorated by Robyn and feasted on a shared meal consisting of Verity’s delicious soup, Panida’s famous spring rolls, party pies, Stephany’s spinach and ricotta triangles, Michelle’s yummy roast pumpkin and Rhonda’s delicious cannoli.  To top it off Lois made some Hamantaschen (Haman’s pockets or Haman’s ears), a traditional Purim party snack. 

A pile of cookies with jam

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After our meal we watched a video from The Bible Project on the book of Esther.  

For a bit of fun, Lois provided the music and taught us some Jewish dance steps: the Mayim (which Jamie and some of the men once demonstrated for us) and Kelzmer. This was a truly wonderful celebration which we all enjoyed sharing.

Zoom Alpha with St Nics Tuesday 18th July

The Alpha course we run here at St Nics allows people to join us and explore life’s big questions from a Christian perspective. As many of you already know it can be a transformative experience.

Alpha has impacted lives worldwide since its establishment in 1977 and has helped millions across more than 100 countries. Its effectiveness lies in engaging videos and open discussions underpinned by prayer. Participants embark on a personal and communal exploration of faith, in an environment where questions are welcomed, doubts are explored, and friendships are nurtured.

Each week’s thought-provoking video presentation delves into core topics of the Christian faith, covering subjects such as Who is Jesus? Why did He die? How can I have faith? Does God heal today? How and why pray? How and why should I read the bible?  Who is the Holy Spirit? What does the Holy Spirit do? The videos serve as a catalyst for discussion helping participants go deeper in their own spiritual understanding.

The discussions will happen in breakout groups following the video with  Vance and Chelsie helping me lead this course. It’s here that participants can share their thoughts, ask questions, and engage with the material presented. It is a place where genuine conversations occur, doubts can be voiced without judgment, and new insights can be gained.

Alpha covers the foundational principles of the Christian faith. Since we have run Alpha we have welcomed people each year into our church family who have renewed their faith or chosen to follow Jesus for the first time.  Often people discover answers to long-standing questions, while others encounter a renewed sense of purpose and a deepened relationship with God. Alpha is a journey of discovery, inviting participants to explore their faith, encounter the love of God, and find belonging within a supportive community.

Are you joining us? Flyers are available from today. Please take some and make prayerful invites perhaps to the 5 people you are praying for. Register your interest via the stnicholasminster@gmail.com



Local Houses of Prayer Training Days in Western Australia

In May 2023, the newly forming LHOP leaders network in Australia met at Ffald-y-Brenin, West Wales, UK. The purpose was to worship and pray together, encourage one another with testimonies of God’s grace working through current LHOP in Australia and reflect on how we might make this teaching available widely in Australia.

Ann de Leyser, the director for LHOP and Cate Lewis the Australian coordinator commissioned Verity and me to bring this training to WA.

As a pastor and church leader I see this as a wonderful way to enable church communities to look out and discern together what is on god’s heart for their local communites and spheres of influence. Seeking god for what He wants to bless around us has already made a significant impact for us here at St Nics.

If you are interested in finding out more in the first instance look here for an overview. We are working on a bespoke Australian website but this will take you to the international site. if you are interested in bringing this teaching to your church please contact Jamie and Verity via the contact details on this website and will get back to you. Training is free though we would ask for expenses and accommodation to be covered by the hosting church community.

Read more: Local Houses of Prayer Training Days in Western Australia