Christian Contemplative Prayer Workshop July 2020

Don Reid will host an online workshop about contemplative prayer on Zoom on Saturday 11 July at 9am. This will cover topics such as its history, and its inevitable distractions, and is intended to be cheerfully interactive. It is planned to last no more than 1 hour.

The event is free and open to anyone, but only 20 participants maximum.

The Zoom link will be sent to registrants by email closer to the date.

Registration and questions to Don on mobile 0417948141 or dongen@westnet.com.au

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

Developments on our site.

While we have not been able to gather on our site we have managed to complete several different projects. Here are some pictures of recent more visible developments. Our thanks to Tony our warden and Mr Kerry and others in the site management team for ensuring our site serves our mission.

Our lovely new shade sail has survived the recent storms.

Mr Kerry and Tony gave up a great deal of time to lay and set our signature brick path to the heritage church.
Our thanks to them both for taking this on and completing it to such a high standard.
The money raised has enabled us to establish a specific fund for our heritage church maintenance after the extensive renovations completed last year.
Mr Kerry worked with surgical precision supported all the way by Tony. I’m sure you will agree they have done a wonderful piece of work for us all.
Nearly there. Make sure you have a look next time your down.
Perhaps more mundane but something that has taken a long time to resolve. The gate is in place enabling greater privacy at Buxton House. Thanks, Trevor and Tony!

One of the glories of the church is that each person can bring and share differing gifts for the building up of the body. Following St Paul, here at St Nics, we use the language of a body made up of different parts with each part essential to the well being of the whole. For someone like me who is not naturally handy to watch our site team at work is always a reminder that each of us can bring a blessing to one another in so many ways. Once again our thanks to them all. I wonder what gifts you can share both with us and in our wider community?

Gathering details continued

We have completed our COVID Safety Plan and a number of us have already completed the tier 1 training in Hygiene as directed by our state government. Lois and Barbara have worked to label and sign as much as we can to make it work for all of us in this transition period. We have established a number of sanitising stations, worked out how many people can be in each space/ room and labelled accordingly. Barbara has kindly taken the level 2 training and is willing to act as our hygiene coordinator. Registration is necessary when entering the building.

In order to avoid turning people away at the door it is necessary to register beforehand. I am asking for the following next week.

Wednesday morning June 3rd communion at 9 am. If you have normally attended this service you are welcome to do so next week June 3rd. I will be calling people directly about this and would ask that nobody attend who has not been directly contacted.

To attend our additional Friday communion June 5th at 9 am please register here: the listing will close at 20 attendees.

https://www.trybooking.com/BJTJL

Communion will be in one kind, the bread, as directed by + Ian.

Sunday 7th June at 8 am is by registration only although I will be contacting those who are not accessing information online. Our family service at 10 am on June 7th has been worked out by e-mail contact and those attending will be confirmed by e-mail. To register for the 8 am service follow this link below.

https://www.trybooking.com/BJTKA

The following week we will review and build on this with small groups being able to take communion as they meet in church. This will require a decision to be made with you in your groups and confirmed to Jamie by your leaders.

I am sorry for the inconvenience and limited opportunity that faces us currently but remain committed to ensuring we keep ourselves and our wider community as safe as possible and support our state government in doing so. It may well be that our participating numbers will increase within a few weeks.

My thanks once again to Lois, Barbara and Tony for their help in ensuring we can gather again and to all of you for your patience and understanding.

Shalom Jamie

Gathering again?

While many people are finding grace in abundance in this time of retreat and social isolation others are understandably impatient to gather again, especially those who are not online. Within our diocese, we have a variety of churches with differing demographics and numbers. Consequently, our openings are not based on a one size fits all approach. Due to the size of our own church community and demographics and the necessity of compliance with current legislative requirements, we will not be opening to public worship on Sundays until June 7th. However please read the newsletter online here and next week for updates on this. We will require a system of booking for our services which is why I will be running additional mid-week communion services after Pentecost.

This past week Lois Eckersley in particular, and I along with Barbara Gore have worked hard on drafting a legislatively required COVID Safety Plan. This is now complete and as part of this, I have requested 27 of us to complete the tier 1 training on COVID safety and hygiene made available by AHA sponsored by our state government. I am hoping to establish an online facility for booking next week along with many phone calls and e-mails no doubt!

When we gather we are all going to have to exercise diligence for the sake of our whole community and especially those of us who would be considered more vulnerable.

It will not be as it was but it will be lovely to see more of you face to face ( 1.5 m apart minimum )

Shalom Jamie

Thy Kingdom Come Prayer Movement 21-31 May

We were the first Anglican parish in our diocese to engage with the Thy Kingdom Come prayer movement in 2016. Prayer is a key part of our life together .

Thy Kingdom Come is a global prayer movement that invites Christians around the world to pray from Ascension to Pentecost for more people to come to know Jesus.

Since its start in May 2016,just three and a half years ago, God has grown Thy Kingdom Come from a dream of possibility into a movement. In 2019 Christians from 172 countries took part in praying ‘Come Holy Spirit’, so that friends and family, neighbours and colleagues might come to faith in Jesus Christ.

During the 11 days of Thy Kingdom Come, 21 May to 31 May it is hoped that everyone who takes part will:

  • Deepen their own relationship with Jesus Christ
  • Pray for 5 friends or family to come to faith in Jesus
  • Pray for the empowerment of the Spirit that we would be effective in our witness

After the very first Ascension Day the disciples gathered with Mary, constantly devoting themselves to prayer while they waited for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Like them, our reliance on the gift of the Holy Spirit is total – on our own we can do nothing.

Through the centuries Christians have gathered at that time to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit. ‘Thy Kingdom Come’ picks up this tradition. Over the past three and a half years more and more worshipping communities have dedicated the days between Ascension and Pentecost to pray ‘Come Holy Spirit’.

This year at St Nicholas I am encouraging you to consider some of the many resources available online for free to download or as families to explore the suggested app. I am also wondering about organising a 24-hour prayer vigil in the heritage church with individuals or people from the same families taking time to pray there based on one-hour slots. If you would like to do this, please contact me directly at revjamiemurray@gmail.com. If we have sufficient numbers we’ll do it.

https://www.thykingdomcome.global/resources/key-resources-2020

Prayer Journals with helpful suggestions and short scripture passages.

A digital family prayer adventure 21 May to 31 May.

Our own Alpha Holy Spirit Day is on May 30th. Please do pray for all our participants and leaders to be richly blessed.

Prayers rising like incense

On Wednesday and Sunday morning here at St Nicholas, I have continued to celebrate the eucharist. Eucharist means literally the good gift, upholding our parish , our nation and our world in prayer, giving thanks for Jesus and for all the grace that meets us each day. Worship and prayer continues in our community with the Prayer Watch , Sunday evening Prayer meeting on Zoom, and our own devotions .

As I blew out the candles this morning wisps of smoke rose up to the ceiling reminding me of the Psalms where it says ‘May my prayer be set before you like incense; may the lifting up of my hands be like the evening sacrifice.’ Psalm 141:2. John writes of this in Revelation 8:4 ‘The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.’

Our gospel reading last Sunday spoke of Jesus the Good Shepherd and that His sheep would know His voice. He hears us and we can learn to hear Him. Our prayers are heard even if at times the answers are not as we expect or hope.

May you experience the grace of God today, may you hear His voice. If that’s something that interests you maybe join us next time we run Living Free where we teach more on how to do that.

Shalom

Jamie

Table Worship

This simple plate has been a focus point at our dining table in this Easter season. On Sunday morning we move it to our sitting room as we share Home Church. It’s a simple idea really and allows for all kinds of creativity. We had a different arrangement of candles on it through Holy Week.

The red plate reminds us of the cost to Jesus, his shed blood. The candle reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world and that the darkness of evil did not and cannot overcome him. The double wick was not particularly planned but reminds me of the two angels at the tomb. The stones remind us of the tomb burst open and that it’s empty.

The roses from our garden remind us of life and the beauty of life found in Christ.

We light it at each evening meal and give thanks for the resurrection and the hope we have in Jesus. Short and sweet. Have you found any simple ways to celebrate Easter? Some of our families have been remarkably creative.

So What’s Next, Jesus?

I hope that despite the challenges you continue to experience blessing and grace over the Easter season. It was a moving and yet uplifting experience to greet my neighbours in the early hours of Saturday morning as we remembered those who have given their lives for our freedoms.

I have already heard that several people are experiencing joy in the various sources of encouragement and witness on TV and the internet. I’m glad to say that our own material is being accessed and welcomed as well. Praise God for all the opportunities being taken by His church worldwide at this time to share good news, and a peace that passes understanding. I have once again registered our church community to be part of the Thy Kingdom Come prayer movement for the 10 days running up to Pentecost.

So what’s the next step? This is a question being asked increasingly by Australians as we wonder how to move forward after the encouraging downward movement of infection and the time to prepare ventilators and specific medical support for those who may be more seriously ill. Over the next few weeks, we will be exploring that question with the disciples. They continued to encounter the Risen Jesus over the 40 days. it was so hard to grasp what the implications were and what they were supposed to do with this incredible fact. So what’s next Jesus? Jesus left the upper room but the next day the disciples still needed to eat and go to the toilet and think about basic provisions. In fact, some of them decided to go back to fishing in the interim! There is a lag between an event and it’s gradual outworking. The glorious outworking of the resurrection continues to this day however that required a next step which Jesus told the disciples to wait for.

In the meantime, there was breakfast on the beach, evenings in the upper room, encounters on the way to Emmaus and an appearance to a larger gathering in one place. There were a number of eyewitnesses. We are asked to witness to Jesus and so it’s with joy that I can tell you that at the time of writing we will be running Alpha with 11 of us involved. Please do pray with me that each person is richly blessed on the course and that all the technical challenges do not get in the way.

Christ is Risen. Alleluia.

We will remember them

PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING AND FOR PEACE IN OUR WORLD

Our Lord Jesus Christ said: “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lays down his life for his friends.”

Two prayers to help us with thanks to The Rev Mark Charleston from St Andrew’s Cathedral , Sydney. 


Almighty God and Heavenly Father,

Whose kingdom rules over all and in whom there is perfect freedom. We give you thanks on this Day for all who have served in the defence of this country.

As we remember those men and women who served – in the ranks of our Navy, Army, Air Force, Merchant Navy and Police, we give thanks to you, gracious God, for their great sacrifices in conflict and in captivity – for the cause of peace and freedom. In our nation of wealth, prosperity and comfort, let us not forget the cost of these privileges which we now enjoy. 

And, gracious Father, we pray for peace. Have mercy on our broken and divided world and banish the spirit that makes for war. We ask that leaders of nations and governments will pursue freedom, justice and the welfare of all peoples.

And finally, we pray for ourselves. In the midst of worldly turmoil and strife, make us yearn for peace – not only with each other – but peace with you through our crucified and risen Saviour.  Trusting in Him for the forgiveness of our sins, help us to look forward to His kingly return.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.



PRAYER FOR DEPLOYED MILITARY PERSONNEL

The Psalmist says: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”


Gracious Lord,

You have reconciled to yourself all those who trust in your Son for the forgiveness of their sins. We pray this day for our deployed military personnel serving around this world.

Watch over our men and women, especially in places like Afghanistan where conflict and strife seem at their worst. Give them courage in adversity, safety in service and protection from harm. 

We pray for those who may be sick and injured. Strengthen all who will care for them. Provide ample resources and energy to doctors, nurses and chaplains coping with prolonged work hours and deeply distressing circumstances.

We pray again for the families and loved ones of those deployed. Protect them during their periods of separation and reunite them in joy.

And, heavenly Father, we especially pray this morning for those who are now grieving the loss of loved ones killed on active service. Help them to cast their anxieties upon you, the God of all comfort. Enable others to minister to their needs with sensitivity and respect. And may they know the prayers and support of their fellow Australians.

We ask all these things through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.