A Holy Lent

Last Wednesday we marked (literally with ashes) the beginning of the season of Lent. There is a lovely phrase in the service where we encourage one another to ‘keep a Holy Lent’. Holy means set apart for a special, sacred purpose.

If you have been around St Nic’s for a while you will know that the purpose of taking seasons of focus in the church year is to realise God’s grace in our lives. We bless and receive blessings, we belong to Christ and to one another, we grow in our renewed belief, we see our behaviour change and participate with God for that transformation. As we live this out, we become increasingly the person God intended. Paul describes the process of putting of our old natures and putting on our true, new nature in Christ. This idea of putting something off is what lies behind the notion of denying ourselves certain things in order to develop certain things. Eg. take Facebook off your mobile phone and limit your social media to your laptop to create more mental space and time for a bible app a verse a day or simple prayer. Or just space!

If you live in solitude most of each day perhaps it’s putting on an additional social activity, joining a St Nic’s small group, visiting the craft group or serving at Little Lambs or in the Op Shop. Feel free to munch as much chocolate as you like. What is a Holy Lent between you and the Lord this year going to look like?

Australia Day Breakfast 2020

On Sunday 26 January, St Nicholas was involved with the Australia Day breakfast along the Australind foreshore. It was great to see so many families and couples coming together to share in the celebration of those receiving their Australian Citizenships. Thank you to everyone who came down to help with the tea and coffee station and also to those who spent their breakfast along the foreshore. We hope to see you there again next year with the new natures playground that is currently in the works!!

Blessings of a Moon-Boot

Last October I learnt a valuable albeit obvious lesson:

Breaking your foot is debilitating.

Especially when said break is caused by something as mundane as tripping on a shoe! I mean where’s the awesome anecdote to be gained? There is no story to relish retelling when the questions come, and come they do. When you work in the church office and everyone is used to seeing you up and about there is no avoiding the inevitable “How did you do it?”

So while I didn’t gain a good story to embellish, what I did gain was some truly wonderful blessings.

Blessed to be blessed by brilliant medical care

You’ve probably heard it before, but I’ll say it again because it is well worth remembering how truly blessed we are in Australia to have access to affordable quality medical care. It’s amazing to think that I could hobble into Emergency one afternoon and leave a few hours later with x-rays, a care plan and an incredible contraption called a moon-boot that gifts mobility.

No out-of-pocket expenses (less the pain meds) and amazing after-care with access to highly skilled orthopaedic surgeons committed to ensuring I make a full recovery. How awesome is that?!

Blessed to be blessed by total strangers

It can be so easy to turn the other way. To tell yourself someone is okay or that you don’t want to embarrass someone by offering assistance. Thank God, so many do not do this.

From the nurse helping me carry my handbag to the bus driver letting me stay on the bus during changeover. Sometimes it was as simple as a door being opened or people moving their bags so I could navigate my way to the sidelines to cheer on my son at the sports carnival.

It was a blessing to be blessed by these total strangers.

Blessed to be blessed by friends and family

This one may be expected. I mean, how often do you say when helping out a friend, “What are friends for?” However, for me personally, the most poignant blessing of receiving assistance from friends and family was accepting it.

It can be quite a humbling learning experience. Generally driven towards independence, it was one I had some difficulty with. Fortunately, due to the incontrovertible restrictions of my injury and a few patient and persistent teachers (ahem Zoë!), I have learnt to accept help with a little more grace than before.

Blessed to be blessed by God

The Bible tells us “in all things God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). Broken bones, injuries or illnesses of any kind are never a good thing but through these God has an opportunity to work through us and in us. As such, from them good things can come.

So thank you God, for blessing me.

And thank you for reading. My prayer for you is that when you next experience an injury or illness you get to see the blessings in it.

By the way, the foot is healed now. I received the all clear on January 2nd. My kids were particularly excited because it meant I could jump on the trampoline and play Pokémon again (priorities!). So long as I don’t play rugby (gulp!) or run any marathons (oh dear…), three months from now my foot will be ‘as good as new’, so they say.

Carols, Cappuccinos & Celebrations!

Today, Saturday 15th December, we gathered as a community to celebrate. We held together two historical narratives that though distinct relate to one another around the person of Jesus.

Did you know…

… it was because of his love for Jesus that John Allnutt offered gatherings for Christians originally in his own home (now called Henton Cottage). On 12 September 1850 having reordered the cottage across the street it was consecrated as a church building where he led services until his death in 1861.

A lot has happened since that time here in Australind

Did you know…

… that many people continue to gather around the person of Jesus? Families such as the Narroways, the Cliftons and others have shared life together in and around this little building. In 1914 the Anglican Church purchased it and renamed it Church of St Nicholas Australind and consecrated it in December 1915.

Did you know…

… that in the 1990’s the church grew to sustain life as an independent parish? Since then the church community has grown and new buildings have been funded by the congregations over the years through sacrificial giving. The same love John Allnutt had for Jesus has continued to be shared here in the community that is St Nicholas, Australind.

Community stewardship, a historical resource and a place for prayer…

Do you know why we have given sacrificially to restore the smallest church building in WA? Firstly we are stewarding part of our shared heritage here in Australind. This is advertised by our Shire and attracts tourist interest and commercial benefit to the area. Tourists go across to the retail park following a visit here. We have appreciated the shire’s support of the project in helping provide a protective fence. Stewarding this building is in part a gift from us to the wider community. As we want to bless those around us in Jesus name.

Secondly did you know it allows us to create a meaningful historical resource that we can share with local schools? Several of our parishioners are professional teachers and we will work with local schools to facilitate resource packs and visits in line with curricular needs.

Last but not least did you know that though too small for our current congregations it will again be a renewed sacred space for prayer, worship and blessing? Jesus is the reason for the season, but He is also the reason for the continuing existence of the building. Do you know Immanuel, God with us, in your life? If you want to explore life with Jesus try an Alpha course in 2019 or join us for our open meals on Wednesday. It was a great pleasure to welcome so many people here today to celebrate with us.

Carols, Cappuccinos and of course the Celebrations!

Our celebrations continued with a sausage sizzle, children’s entertainment, specialty stalls and an excellent Op Shop fashion parade. It was a pleasure to have our younger members with us, enjoying the bouncy castle, and participating in the service and fashion parade. We look forward to the next chapter with them following Jesus as part of St Nic’s.

St Nic’s Snapshot: Presenting the marvellous Site Management Team

Wonderful things have been happening at St Nic’s! Parishioners have reported sightings of a group of men doing marvellous deeds around the church. Parking lines have been painted, pathways fixed, doors repainted, handles repaired and bookshelves assembled!

Who are these local heroes? Why our newly formed Site Management Team of course! Tony Wheeler, Trevor Freckleton, Struan Faed have joined Geoff Blechynden and have enthusiastically embraced the seemingly endless task of maintenance and repairs.

So busy are the boys we were unable to track them down for a group photo. “How did we ever find time to work?” wondered retiree Tony.

How indeed! Nonetheless we are extremely grateful and blessed by these men’s selfless service to our community. If you see them around, be sure to say hello and thank you!

December 15th – Save the Date!

We are going to celebrate the restoration of our historic church building with a service of dedication and thanksgiving including Carols on Saturday the 15th of December in the morning followed by a sausage sizzle and hospitality. Celebrations will continue with a fete around the Op shop with an afternoon tea and various other attractions! More details to follow.

This will replace our usual Carols and Cappuccinos this year.

 

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.

Prayer & Praise: Blessing & Belonging

Sunday evenings are a joy for me. At 6pm at the church there is an informal, almost organic service of prayer and praise with members of our parish. I wish to encourage you to come and be a part of it. We are always blessed – and are becoming as a community of St Nicholas. The meeting fosters a real sense of belonging. We are greatly ‘lifted in Spirit’ in our praise and worship.

When I first went, I felt this was very good. I felt the Lord was calling me to be a part of it. Personally, I find it to be exciting. Something always happens- either then or later down the track. Every week we each receive a prayer from two people, without hearing what the other person is praying. This I find exciting as I wait to receive the results of those prayers.We pray for matters of the church and also the broader community. Sometimes we pray in pairs, at other times in smaller groups. We are seeing answers to prayer on various scales: personal, for the church and the ministry of the church. Hopefully, you have heard by now about the progress with the Shire for the Historic Church and the no parking signs.

We are able to believe that the Holy Spirit will move amongst us because we see it each week. Gifts of the Holy Spirit are being used as we pray – prophecy, words of knowledge, words of wisdom, speaking in tongues and healing.

Wonderfully, the children who are coming learn to pray and be prayed for. They are learning how to listen to the Holy Spirit; to believe that they too they belong in the church community, can behave in a spiritual manner – learn how to bless others, and be blessed themselves – and to become more mature in their faith.

Seeing answers to prayer is very exciting but for me, the best part of it is going there to pray with other people.

By Glory Kitson

Prayer & Praise, 6pm at the church. All Welcome.