Biggest Morning Tea 2019

St Nicholas was one of many places to hold the Biggest Morning Tea on Thursday the 30th of May raising money for the Cancer Council. This year’s numbers were up and there were a number of visitors who came in after seeing the sign out on the front fence.

This year we invited Alison Comparti who is chair of the South West Women’s Refuge to be our Guest Speaker. Alison’s message was excellent and she invited expressions of interest to people who may like to become involved either as active committee members or by coordinating groups of people to donate goods such as toiletries for the Women’s Refuge. It was great to know that Bonnies Op Shop and The Salvos in town are happy to receive donations of household goods and clothes that can be stored on their premises for those who leave the Centre sometimes with just the clothes they are wearing. Those leaving the temporary accommodation are given a card to show the Op Shop workers informing them of the client’s need of emergency assistance and that enables them to choose necessary goods free of charge.

God blessed us with a sunny morning and it was a joy to meet up with friends and to be able to browse and shop at the Craft Stall. A sincere thanks to Pam, Barbara and Eve who manned the stall and to the ladies who contributed by donating saleable goods.

The lucky door prize was a queen sized quilt donated by Shellagh was exquisite. Thank you so very much for the many hours spent machine embroidering the quilt. A thank you to Margaret for being our welcoming person as guests arrived, a thank you to everyone who worked in the kitchen, and to those who provided the delicious food served for morning tea. To the people who set up the chairs and tables and especially to Fran Craig who once again provided her exquisite china tea pots as decoration for each table, it was very much appreciated. Appreciation to you Fran for all you do so quietly behind the scenes.

The total takings we raised this year of $1,350.75 will be donated to the Cancer Council to be used for research.

My appreciation to everyone who helped in anyway and to everyone who attended.

Judith Newing

Reflections On Lent – Part 2

The Way of Ignatius

A Prayer Journey through Lent: The focus for this particular lent retreat has been on pilgrimage, with sessions including, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”, “Journeys of self discovery”, “the Pilgrim sets out”, and “who do you say I am?”. My favourite part of this journey though has been the repetitive prayer at the end of the session:

“You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me
only your love and grace, that is enough for me.”

This is somewhat a ‘dangerous prayer’ to say, acknowledging that the Lord has given me all I have. Would I be willing to return it if asked? Would you? Is God’s love and grace, the sacrifice he made for us for the forgiveness of our sins, really enough? This is the perfect season to wonder.

Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday I taught Godly Play. During the teaching I encouraged the children to take part in the story, laying down purple coats and palm leaves saying “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”. I asked the children how it felt to participate in that story. I wonder what it would have been like to be there?

Good Friday

How wonderful was it to participate in such a contemplative and solemn service. I went home in tears and wonder of what Jesus did for us on that day. A prayer that spoke to my heart on Good Friday was: Lord Jesus Christ, the story of your suffering is written on our hearts,
and the salvation of the world is in your outstretched hands. Keep your victory always before our eyes, your praise on our lips, your peace in our lives. Amen.

Easter Sunday

Isn’t Easter Sunday just such a glorious, joyful day? Just speaking the words, “Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed, Hallelujah, Hallelujah!” is so powerful. Nothing else needs to be said, however I did enjoy reflecting on this prayer: “Most glorious Lord of life, we thank you for
the mystery of Easter. Fill us with the Spirit of love, and unite us in faith, that we may witness to the Resurrection and show your glory to all the world.”

My hope in this blog post is that you can appreciate the rich liturgy and prayers we have to express worship towards God. I find it so helpful in my prayer life, and so powerful speaking words that are said by others and have been said for so long throughout history.

Now I’m looking forward to Pentecost and praying with others around the world through Thy Kingdom Come. You can find out more about that here.

 

Reflections On Lent

In our Anglican Liturgical calendar we are blessed with these wonderful times of reflection on our faith throughout the year. Traditionally during the season of Lent we spend the 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, fasting, healing and anticipating the Great celebrations of Holy Week and Easter. This year in my own journey of Lent I have embraced the traditions of our church and taken the time to participate in the Ash Wednesday service, Good Friday, Palm Sunday (where I had the pleasure of teaching Godly Play), and of course Easter Sunday. I also followed a wonderful program that released teachings for each week of lent: The way of Ignatius: A Prayer Journey through Lent from the pray as you go app (https://pray-as-you-go.org/retreat/lent-retreat-2019-the-way-of-ignatius-loyola).

Here is my first reflection of my Lenten Journey that I hope may offer some inspiration for you:Ash Wednesday: Before receiving the Ashes during the Wednesday Service the priest says the following words:

“Blessed are you God of all creation. You are eternal, we are mortal, formed from the dust of the earth. As we receive these ashes, make them a sign for us of repentance and returning to you. Breathe into us again the breath of life. Blessed be God forever.”

Following this as we receive the ashes we are told, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” Think about that for a moment. God is eternal, we are mortal, formed from dust, to which we will return. We depend on God for the breath of life, how does knowing that affect your daily life?

Ash Wednesday is the day the season starts. Come back next week to read about my experiences of the next 40 days.

Blessings,

Dannielle Barry

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Alpha: Kat’s Testimony

Kat’s Testimony

Alpha, 2018

When I first started Alpha I was very sceptical about everything: God, Jesus and Christianity as a whole. I was very set in the way of that in order to believe, I had to have hard evidence. I had to see it to believe it. I also desperately wanted to have an experience like I felt that everyone else was.

Alpha for me was one of the best experiences I ever had. I met people with similar questions to me and felt like I was not alone but part of a family. Being part of Alpha completely changed me and doing it in a group was wonderful because we had different questions and different views.

On Alpha I found my own path and started my own personal journey. I gave my life to Jesus and since then have started the most wonderful journey with God. I was blessed with a real experience with the Holy Spirit. My life changed for the better and I just know now, how real God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are and am so grateful they are in my life.

I truly recommend this course for anyone with question and who wants to develop a better relationship with our Lord. Alpha for me was the first stepping stone into my own personal journey with God and Jesus.

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)