Pentecost 2021 Celebrating the birth of the church

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.

The Two Wings of the Church

Taken before Covid restrictions.

(Please note the picture above was taken earlier in the year before COVID restrictions applied- it illustrates studying together in groups.)

Last Sunday we completed our teaching on the Armour of God. It’s His armour and He gives it to us.

However, that does not mean we now park it and forget all about it. Armour needs to be put on. We can readily incorporate this in our daily prayer as a helpful spiritual discipline. Combine that with the Lord’s prayer and you have a whole pattern of prayer to draw upon. As we explored at our 10 am service there are significant overlaps. This next three weeks we are following the lectionary and then beginning our series on the ‘God of Joy’ starting October 18th.

Thanks to those of you who have already given us feedback on the Armour of God series. (18 families so far on the 10 experience) along with informal comments along the way. We appreciate all of you taking the time to do this. There were many encouragements and some things to explore further.

If you did not participate in our group bible study written to support the sermon series on the Armour of God, you can ask Amelia via stnicholasminster@gmail.com. If you want to explore the teaching more fully our bible studies really are helpful in this. Working through a study with others brings alternate perspectives and insights.

When we think of our community life and learning together, my hope is that we understand our Sunday gatherings are only one part of our discipleship. We encourage as many of you as possible to join a small group as this is where we explore the teaching more fully, build closer links with one another and bless each other. Small groups and congregational gatherings are the two wings of the church. If you cannot commit to a small group, it may be possible to form a triplet. Do talk to me more about this if it interests you. We also need to consider our emerging youth and how we can support them in small groups in the future. Please pray about this with me.

Pray for all our families on holiday. Please uphold Alf, John, and I as we prepare for our diocesan synod. Pray that we will be a diocese that remains in step with the wider Anglican communion and faithful to His word. Remember it’s in prayer that we stand together, in Christ and see His kingdom come.

Shalom, all,

Jamie

Chaplaincy Catch Up

Greetings fellow St Nicholas-ians! Thank you so much my lovely church family and wonderful sister & brothers-in-Christ for your patience and understanding as I’ve journeyed through this process—the initial part, until my appointment at a school, waiting to be informed of what and when I could do things and let you know.

The role is so much bigger than I thought or anticipated, not only at the school but also with the connections to the YouthCARE District Council (of which our own Jan Capp is a rep) and with the church community, all of which has been made a little more challenging with the current pandemic. However, God is gracious in surrounding me with support in all areas and in reminding me that it is still early days. The need is big, but our God is bigger!

I love my role as a Chaplain at Parkfield Primary School on Tuesday and Thursdays. I am now fifteen weeks in and things are settling into a lovely routine. My key roles are; providing pastoral care for students and staff; supporting and building upon our existing Virtues and Wellness programs and providing a link between the school, the community and local support agencies. I have always had a heart and love for others and pastoral care. As many of you know chaplaincy too has always been a focus of mine, although  I thought it was to be a support person with prayer and fundraising or donations! The main message(s) of our training were: we are called and equipped—we are appointed and anointed; we are the most valuable resource, and be you. As most of you who know me would know the ‘be you’ part I can’t help but live out and the being called and equipped is the ‘wind in my sails’! I do know that I am called and equipped and know when I have my eyes set on God I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

YouthCARE’s theme this year is to ‘be Peacemakers’. This follows their previous themes of being a ‘light on the hill’ and ‘salt of the earth’ people. We have been celled to reflect the light of Christ by living out our lives with hope and, in our encounters with others, through our words, actions and deeds, to demonstrate peaceful confidence as we go about engaging with all in our school communities. I pray as I answer God’s call that I may be an encouraging peacemaker, an instrument of peace, looking at everyone through the eyes of Jesus and all in God’s strength and in, and for, His Glory and that everyone sees Him in me and my actions. I am so grateful for you all, for your amazingly insightful words for me, your encouragement of me and mostly for your love of me just as I am, and that is what I take with me. I would appreciate your prayers, especially on Tuesday and Thursday,  for me to ‘walk the talk’ and ‘practice what I preach’ through God’s strength and with His Holy Spirit breathing through me—especially on the ‘tricky’ days and with the ‘tricky’ parts.

Blessings to you all, Jo xox

World Refugee Day June 20

On 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 55/76 decided that, from 2000, 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day. In this resolution, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.[1] It is commemorated to honour all refugees, raise awareness and solicit support.[2]Each year on June 20 the United Nations, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and countless civic groups around the world host World Refugee Day events in order to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees and Internally displaced persons worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict and persecution. (Wikipedia)

The annual commemoration is marked by a variety of events in more than 100 countries, involving government officials, humanitarian aid workers, celebrities, civilians and the forcibly displaced themselves.

We recall that Jesus Mary and Joseph had to flee persecution to Egypt before safely returning to the North of Israel to settle out of harms way. We are encouraged in scripture to welcome and care for those who are in need.

Precisely how we attempt this can seem overwhelming to the point of inaction. Yet every small step we make can be multiplied in blessing. I have not always found the grace to welcome the stranger . Perhaps like me you can draw encouragement from Mother Teresa who said ‘If you can’t feed a hundred people , then feed just one.’

May God guide us as to what we can do.

Shalom

Jamie

News From Our Youngest Members

How our families continued in their relationship with God over the Covid isolation period – Melissa Cahill

Hello to all the members of St Nicholas. I have been asked to collate some of the Home Godly Play experiences of the families from St Nics with young children during the COVID isolation. As much as we were unable to connect at Church and at Godly Play, we still continued some form of Godly Play within our families at home. We wanted to share some of the activities we did with all of you, so we can continue to feel connected as a Church Family, even though we haven’t all caught up in person yet!

Leading up to Easter, although it was quite sad knowing we would not be able to attend church, it was also a little easier to arrange Godly Play with my family, as it provides a clear platform for our readings from the bible and enacting out the stories. Our first attempt was a little disorganised, though having a bit of a perfectionist personality, was more about too high expectations! Emily and Imogen were so excited to set up our Godly Play area. We set up candles on a plate on the floor, had my laptop ready to play worship songs the girls knew from school (YouTube is great for this!). The girls grabbed barbie dolls for our enactment of the bible story. We used a children’s bible so the girls could read from it easily. We also had a cup ready with water and rice crackers to do our own little ‘feast’. We said the Lord’s Prayer and then each of us said a prayer for our family and the community. I found it easier when we had set roles, everyone wanted to do everything the first time, which was too much. So we started with having set roles for the reading, the story enactment and also the asking questions about the story. My girls loved organising the Godly Play, which included, making more appropriate clothes for their dolls, dressing Jesus and the donkey, and making props. They also relished each having a lead role in the Home Church.

Emily & Imogen Cahill

We also added from Verity’s suggestions and Carol’s, lighting coloured candles, and placing the various items such as the palm cross in the centre of the plate of candles. We also included standing in a circle, placing a hand on each others’ shoulder and saying a personal prayer for that family member at the conclusion of our Godly Play. Even though it was a difficult time, it’s been lovely to see my children’s development in their understanding of God and understand how they relate to Jesus.

Lighting of the coloured candles

Other families participated in more structured Home services, such as the online Zoom church services provided by a few other churches, which meant they could see other families and share a spiritual connection via online video. The Elliott family watched a lot of online ‘Bedtime Bible Stories’ which they found entertaining and perfect for primary and older age groups.

Karen and Logan enjoyed using the children’s Examen in the ‘Pray as You Go’ app. They enjoyed incorporating the Examen at the dinner table or as part of the bedtime routine. Karen and Logan explained how they loved the simplicity of the app and found the daily reflection helped them to focus on God and how he had worked in their day. Karen expressed how ‘it had been a great springboard into other conversations about school, their needs and wants and what was important to them’. Karen included the app which you can download from the App Store or access the website https://pray-as-you-go.org/.

Karen also described ‘how they held a special blessing for their puppy ‘Jack’, the newest member of their household. They lit Logan’s baptism candle as a reminder to him of God’s light and that we are responsible for looking after God’s creation. They sprinkled water on Jack to bless him from his dog bowl to remember that water is vital for God’s creation’. Karen and Logan described this as ‘a very memorable ‘service’ and one they won’t forget as a family’.

Karen and Logan’s newest addition – Jack

The Lotufo family read Bible story texts and watched YouTube videos of Bible stories with a discussion afterwards as part of their Godly Play at home. Julieta provided one of the stories here, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYO_382TpCc the YouTube story on The Good Shepherd which she recommended to watch and discuss.

Julieta described Levi’s two favourite stories.

  • The Easter Story – the story of Jesus dying and being resurrected and what this means for us today – His great sacrifice, which shows God’s love for us. They also discussed the bread and wine and what this means and why we partake of them. Julieta explained, “Levi does not like the part in which Jesus is arrested by the soldiers, he thinks this is ‘bad’ and would like to stop them from taking Jesus. However, Levi knows that happens next and the outcome. He likes the part in the story in which the tomb is empty and understands that Jesus has risen to heaven”.
  • The second favourite story is David and Goliath. Julieta expressed, “Levi has a great interest in how David was able to defeat Goliath with only the use of rocks.” She explained, “they begin the story by talking about how God looked after David and received God’s favour”. Julieta added, “I secretly think he likes the story because a giant was killed by a boy who used rocks instead of the swords that the army had. Every time we read this story he always says that if he had to fight a giant he would do the same thing – I do love how his little mind works. Only 5 years of age and such innocence.”

So as you can hear from our stories, we have all found a way to continue our relationship with God and share this with our families. It has been a wonderful time for sharing and interacting together and gaining a greater insight into how our children are building a relationship with God and learning from them.

Emily’s and Imogen’s Barbie dolls dressed up for Palm Sunday, with Jesus on the donkey.

Surrendering my prayers to Jesus during Isolation

Dear friends,

I would like to encourage everyone to consider sharing some of their isolation experiences. Today I will set the ball rolling.

I have been blessed in many different ways. I’ve shared with you before the wonderful results since I started surrendering my prayers to Jesus and asking him to take care of everything. Last month, I was praying for Kelvin who had throat cancer. He wasn’t eating and was rapidly losing weight. I told him that I was surrendering him to Jesus during my daily prayers. he’s not a believer but thanked me anyhow. Then, out of the blue, he told his wife that he fancied a lamb chop. It was grilled and cut into the smallest pieces and he got it down. Since then, his appetite has returned and he’s put on weight. Last week, he was told that the cancer has gone and that they don’t need to see him until six months time!

Another friend who had survived prostate cancer was told he had pancreatic cancer and the prognosis was very dire. He had no idea that he was being surrendered to Jesus everyday, but the cancer has miraculously disappeared. Thank you Lord!

My sister, who had sunk so low into depression that she had convinced her family and herself that she was dying, has been reading the daily Novena and surrendering herself to Jesus. She has since completely recovered. her husband mocks my claims of answered prayer and attributes her recovery to the drugs, but I tell him the doctors were guided by the Holy Spirit.

 Our friend, Patricia, sent me a chain mail with a difference. I was asked to send a poem or story to the name at the top of the page. I thought of a short poem exchange I had with out second son who was meddling with drugs nearly forty years ago. I sent it and the stranger responded saying, “it was inspiring and deserved a bigger audience”, so here you go! I wrote,

Moth dancing around a flame 
Fascinated, flirting with death 
Don't ask me to join your game 
Don't ask me to watch you play 
But when you've had enough 
Come home 

The blighter cheekily answered his distraught mother,

I don't want to cause you pain
To see the tears etched on your face
One day I will find my place
And when I do I'll shout Home Base

Thank God he did, and is now a wonderful self-employed family man.

Love and Blessings,

Betty

Foodbank Australia

We are aware that many in our community are struggling with loss of work and uncertain incomes. One way we can help is through supporting the foodbank. We are collecting resources to take down to the Foodbank in Bunbury. If you would like to donate, please bring your donations down to the church building while it is open during these times: Tuesdays to Thursdays 9:30am to 11am.

Items that cannot be accepted include:

  • regulated products such as alcohol, tobacco or drugs of dependence
  • products past its use by date
  • products more than 6 months past its best before date
  • products where the packaging seal has been broken
  • mouldy or rotting products
  • products where the cold chain has not been maintained
  • products subject to a safety recall, and
  • unlabelled products provided without ingredient details.

Any donations will be greatly appreciated.

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!!