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!!

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.