12 posts,12 months

It has been a year since I started my role as Communications Officer at St Nic’s. One of my earliest and enduring initiatives has been separating the feature of our weekly print bulletin from our (almost!) as regular blog posts.

“Looking back only gives you a sore neck!” is a regular saying in my favourite sport, Supercars. However, at times looking back can be also be a pretty awesome and satisfying exercise.

So for this blog post, I am looking back at 12 of my favourite posts from the past 12 months. In no particular order (drumroll please):

Our Stories

Finding Her Voice
Blessings of a Moon-Boot
God-incidences
Millennials @ Church Part 1 & 2

Our Prayer life

1 Minute Prayer
Prayer Changes Things
United in Prayer

Our Community

Presenting the Marvellous Site Management Team

Our Personal Growth

Where is Your Sacred Space?
Journaling Part 1 & 2

Our Understanding

An Easter Reflection
The Good Gift of Power at Pentecost

Happy Reading everyone!

AMP 2018/19 – Get Involved! Step 4: Get in on the Action!

So you’ve enrolled to vote, you’ve been praying about the nominations, you’ve read the report and sent in your questions- now it’s time for action!

Nov 25th AMP Part 1: Elections & Ministry Reports

This is when the actual election happens and where we get an overview of the past ahem… 9-ish months (we’ll explain soon). Voting takes place over 2 weeks (18th & 25th) and is like going to the polls – there’s ballot papers, instructions and you have to get marked on the roll that you’ve voted.

Feb 17th AMP Part 2: Financials & Budget

If you like numbers or are interested in stuff like income and expenditure you don’t want to miss this! This is when we will vote on our budget for 2019. We will release it 2 weeks earlier for us all to analyse and dissect. Again, please send in questions beforehand!

Why the 2 parts?

Having our elections early means our new councillors and office bearers can hit the ground running when they officially start their roles Jan 1st. It also gives a neat six weeks for any handovers to happen. The rhythm may feel off (with only 9 months since our last AMP) but by next year it will feel right in time!

And Voila! AMP accomplissez!

AMP 2018/19 – Get Involved! Step 3: Get in the Know!

This weekend we are releasing our Annual Meeting of Parishioners Report for 2018/19. Thus we humbly introduce to you:

Step 3: Get in the Know!

Inside the Report you will discover a collection of submissions from our Ministry Team Leaders (MTLs) and church leadership sharing their reflections of 2018 and their ministry goals for 2019. (If you would like a copy please get in touch with the church office here.)

Did you know…?

The who, what, when, where, why and how of our many ministries here at St Nic’s Minster? You’ll find some amazing facts and information about our community life in this report. Read it – and get in the know!

FYI the only thing you won’t find in the report is the financials (income, expenditure and budget stuff) – they can only be done at the end of the year so they will be released separately in time for Part 2 (Finances & Budget) of the AMP Feb 24th 2019.

Hang a sec, I have a question…?

We like questions- they’re great for learning stuff! Unanswered questions are not so great. That’s why we love it if you submit your questions before the AMP. That way we can ensure your question gets answered. And who knows? Maybe someone else would really benefit from hearing your question answered!

So please, if possible, submit your questions by Nov 22nd!

Stay tuned for Step 4: Get in on the Action!

AMP 2018/19 – Get Involved! Step 2: Get in the Mix!

Earlier this month we launched our 2018/19 AMP campaign and sent out the call to get those Schedule 9’s in (see our post here). Many of our parishioners jumped into action and before we knew it, those of us in the office had the fun task of compiling this years Electoral Roll.

If you are yet to submit your form, please do so this Sunday!

But enough of that, lets keep the momentum up! Next up is –

Step 2: Get in the Mix!

Nominate for positions – there a four vacant positions on the Parish Council for Councillors (all Councillors must be re-elected each year). Also, we have one vacancy for a Church Warden (we may have a maximum of three Wardens).

The Parish Council is integral to the governance and running of our parish (find out more here). If you are interested in serving our community in this way, speak to Jamie or Suzanne. Nominations close 8th November.

Next in line- Step 3: Get in the Know!

Serve up some justice!: Ping-Pong-athon 2018 @ Vineyard Church

St Nic’s parishioner and dad of two, Byron Forster joined the Fight for Freedom during Oct 12-13, read on to find out more…

There are some things about living in Australia that remind us how blessed we are. Then there are the things we see around the world that just make you hug your kids so tight. Human trafficking is one of those scourges of this world, especially when it comes to children. So Aussies have found a way to help rescue children from that life… by playing Ping Pong!

Pong vs Slavery

This year our local event was at the Vineyard Church in Bunbury, organized by Tim Wheeldon and his team. Not only did he arrange it, he then went on to play for over 13 hours straight! You would think that by that point fatigue would set in and I could get a few wins, but I guess it just meant he really had his eye in and morphed into the Roger Federer of ping pong!

Regardless of the scores, the kids are the real winners. There are 9 different organisations across SE Asia that the Pong raises money for. More information on each of these wonderful organisations is available at www.pingpongathon.com.

We set ourselves a goal to raise $6000 at the Bunbury Pong and by God’s grace we achieved our target before we were even half way through the event. Our grand total was over $15,000 to contribute to the national pool. Congratulations to everyone that was involved with playing and donating. With ping pong marathons happening all over Australia throughout October, we have been able to band together and raise over $318,000 this year, bringing our grand total to over $1.57 million since the Pong started in 2011.

We can really make a difference in the world of Human Trafficking when we band together. I am so proud of all the people that make this happen from those hitting a ping pong ball over a net, to the men and women who pick up those children and show them the first sign of love that many of them can remember. Next year we will set ourselves a new target, and you are more than welcome to be involved!

Thank you and God Bless
Byron Forster

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!

AMP 2018/19 – Get Involved! Step 1: Get on the Roll!

On November 25th we will be holding our 2018/19 Annual Meeting of Parishioners.

This year the AMP will be delivered in two parts. Part 1, November 25th, covers Ministry Reports and the elections for church offices. This year we have vacancies for the office of Parish Councillors and a Warden. Part 2, February 17th, will look at our finances for 2018 and the budget for 2019.

But wait! Before you get all excited about being here for the AMP there’s

Step 1: Get on the Roll!

Make sure you are registered to vote on the Electoral Roll – complete and return a Schedule 9 Statutory Declaration to the church office by October 28th. You need to register every AMP. Please note your partner cannot witness for you- please ask another member of the congregation or see Sophie, Ian, Suzanne or Rev Jamie.

 

Don’t worry, we’ll keep you posted on Steps 2-4. In the meantime, sign that Schedule 9!

 

 

United in Prayer

‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Each Sunday at St. Nic’s we have a prayer and worship service at 6pm, which (although I know you’re not meant to have favourites) is most definitely my favourite service to attend! It’s usually a smaller gathering of around 7-20+ people who come together, firstly to spend time worshipping God through song, then to pray.

Each week this looks different. Sometimes we sit in smaller groups and pray into different situations that have become apparent in church or in the community. There are some great testimonies to how God has answered prayer following this dedicated time of prayer – but again, that’s for another blog post! We have also used prayer stations, prayer walks and often we spend time simply seeking God’s face and asking Him to speak to us to share a word or a vision that He may have for us as a group or as a church.

Churches Together, united in prayer

The most recent Churches Together united prayer service was represented by 7 different churches and had 41 people attending, who gathered together in Jesus’ name, believing in the power of prayer. And how amazingly powerful it was. We began with a time of worship, and it was a real testimony to how ‘where two of three gather together in [His] name, there [He is] with them’ (Matthew 18:20). It really was beautiful to see different churches, people of different nationalities and of different denominations come together to worship the same God.

Prayer stations and a prayer walk were the two main ways that had been set up for our time of prayer – and we were asked to choose one. Then in small groups, we spent time praying into these different circumstances. We prayed for individual churches, for leaders, for streets and areas within Australind, Bunbury and the surrounds, highlighting places that were placed on our hearts and praying over them. We also prayed for the leaders of churches and over other aspects within the community.

There was also an area dedicated to quiet time in prayer, with Bibles available and scriptures available to provide a starting focus for prayer. I spent some time asking God to speak to me and I was really encouraged with a word for everybody, from Romans 12:4 ‘For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts according to the grace given to each of us’.

Together we are one body

It was a real encouragement for the individual churches represented there to continue doing what they’re doing and that they each have their own gifts that they can use to bless different areas of the community in different ways. Not every church needs to be great at youth ministry, and it would be unrealistic and unnecessary if we all focused on that one aspect! Similarly, not every church needs to provide a playgroup to bless the local community. However, together we are one body, united; with all local churches individually doing a great job at what they’re already doing! Isn’t that encouraging?!

Fortunately, as I spoke about in my previous blog post, we are called to pray into and focus on the areas that God has placed on our hearts according to our passions and interests. So this applied directly to churches too. What are people specifically gifted at in your church? What are you passionate about that you could serve your church in? Maybe God has placed one of His desires on your heart and has been nudging you to act upon it; something that you are personally deeply passionate about that you could serve God in.

Give it back to God

I would really encourage you to pray about this – give it back to God and ask Him to give you the reassurance or the nudge that you might need to act upon it! God calls us, just as we see in Jesus’ life on earth, to serve others. ‘For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many’ (Mark 10:45). Don’t get me wrong; we are not all called to give our lives, but throughout scripture, we are reminded to ‘serve one another humbly in love’ (Galatians 5:13). I would love you to share any words or passions that God places upon your heart following this blog post. Let’s come together, united in prayer, believing that prayer changes things.

Blessings, Zoë x

Prayer Changes Things

‘If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land’ (2 Chronicles 7:14)

The thing that struck me the most about St Nic’s when I first started attending almost 2 years ago, was their heart of prayer. Prayer that supports, prayer that heals, prayer that changes. It changes circumstances, it changes hearts, it changes relationships and it changes lives! All we need to do is call upon the Lord, pray to Him and He will listen to us (Jeremiah 29:12). There are so many promises throughout the Bible of God promising His people (that’s us!) that if we engage in a relationship with Him through prayer, He hears us and responds. Although that response may not always be in the way that we imagine or hope for, we can trust that ‘as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are [His] ways higher than your ways and [His] thoughts your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9).

Recently I have been wonderfully blessed by two separate events at St. Nic’s: The Australian Prayer Network (APN) Foundational Level prayer course, and the Churches Together united prayer evening. I just wanted to share some of my experiences, some of what I’ve learnt and how I have been encouraged me in my own prayer life in the next two blog posts…

Prayer Changes Things

The APN has several ‘levels’ of different prayer courses and this was the first one which focuses on the beginnings of really learning about how prayer works and how we can put into practice some Biblical truths. I want to focus on HOW prayer works. The main thing that I took away from this session was that prayer only changes things if we do what God tells us to do in response to our prayers to Him. There is no point in us praying and hearing a response from God then completely ignoring what God is telling us to do! Prayer requires action.

Prayer requires action

Prayer is an activity of God and it requires our cooperation: to be ‘totally available and radically obedient’! He wants to work through people – through you and me – to change the world. There’s a thinking that prayer requires God’s cooperation; that when we pray we want God to do exactly what we want and exactly how we want it. But that’s where we’ve got it completely wrong! God is far bigger, far greater than our circumstances, and if we focus on trying to simply find the right words to say, or believing that we have the answers then we’re losing sight of WHY we pray. Prayer is praying into God’s plans and purposes which are already known; ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

You know that feeling of when you’re praying for somebody or something, and you just can’t find the right words to say? That you don’t really know what to pray for? That the circumstance feels too big or too out of your own depth that you are lost for words? I want to encourage you and reassure you that THIS IS OK. It is not our words in our prayers that change the world. We need the power of God to change the circumstances. All we need to do, in every aspect of our lives INCLUDING our prayer lives, is to ‘trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…’ (Proverbs 3:5-6) And prayer is one beautiful way that we can reach out and touch the power of God, and allow it to flow through us in our lives! While I am aware not all of us pray in tongues, I have found this I have found that using this gift can really help me personally when I don’t know what to pray for – but that’s for another day!

Prayer and your passions

One of the big questions that many people have is ‘what do I pray for? There’s so much to pray for: my own family, friends, my community, my nation, the world… Where do I begin?’ Don’t worry. God has it covered. Start by understanding the passions of your heart; those individual talents and passions, remembering that He created you in His image (Genesis 1:27) and that He knit you together in your mother’s womb and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14). This is where to begin. God wants to use these things that He has given you to make changes in your life and others’.

I spent some time in prayer after this challenge and I wanted to share one of my biggest passions – people. For people who are hurting, people who are in need or who are suffering. And also just to love people, to connect and encourage people as they are, where they are. For those of you who know me, this may not surprise you (ha!) but I’ve been really following God’s passion and trying to take every opportunity that presents itself in action and in prayer whenever I can, on a whole new level. It’s something that comes very naturally to me and I just love meeting and connecting with others wherever I go. But this is what God wants to use! He wants to use what we already love and are already passionate about to increase His kingdom here on earth!!

What you need to pray for every day

So I want to encourage you to seek God’s face and to ask Him what He wants you to pray for. Consider what are your passions? What gets you out of bed in the morning? What encourages you to keep going? These are the things that are God’s call on your life – and what you need to pray for every day.

Lift these things up to the Lord. Place them before Him and then ask Him want He wants you to do – then act on it! Remembering that faith moves the hand of God. Passion moves the hand of God. God searches for our hearts and uses those passions. So keep praying – passionately praying. We can’t NOT pray if we carry God’s heart for something. And we can stand secure in the faith that God will hear us, and He wants to work in us and through us to change the world. All we need to be, is ‘totally available and radically obedient’. That’s my challenge to you today.

Blessings, Zoë x