Alpha: Kat’s Testimony

Kat’s Testimony

Alpha, 2018

When I first started Alpha I was very sceptical about everything: God, Jesus and Christianity as a whole. I was very set in the way of that in order to believe, I had to have hard evidence. I had to see it to believe it. I also desperately wanted to have an experience like I felt that everyone else was.

Alpha for me was one of the best experiences I ever had. I met people with similar questions to me and felt like I was not alone but part of a family. Being part of Alpha completely changed me and doing it in a group was wonderful because we had different questions and different views.

On Alpha I found my own path and started my own personal journey. I gave my life to Jesus and since then have started the most wonderful journey with God. I was blessed with a real experience with the Holy Spirit. My life changed for the better and I just know now, how real God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are and am so grateful they are in my life.

I truly recommend this course for anyone with question and who wants to develop a better relationship with our Lord. Alpha for me was the first stepping stone into my own personal journey with God and Jesus.

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!

Receiving the Word

A few weeks ago at our Wednesday service our reading was Mark 4 the parable of the sower. I spoke about receiving the word into our lives like good soil and the harvest that comes.  The key word we receive is Jesus himself, described by John in his gospel opening chapter as the Word made flesh. In receiving Jesus into our lives we are receiving life, light, bread, the way and so on. We are reconnected, reconciled to God and, through the life giving presence of God’s Spirit breathing into us, become spiritually alive, new creations.

However when we talk of receiving God’s word into our lives I mean putting the weight of our lives on it, our trust, our mindsets. All of this became evident to me on Tuesday evening. Returning from All Saints Donnybrook after a lengthy PC meeting I was stopped at a road works traffic management point in Boyanup. I glanced in the mirror and noticed a car racing towards me, I glanced again and realised there was no sign of it slowing down, I braced and it crashed into the back of me at some speed.

The driver was DUI , heavily intoxicated. Sadly she would not stop to reason and pulling back and swerving round nearly ran over the traffic flow person as she ‘ made her escape. ’ Fortunately I had pictures on my mobile and the police swiftly identified her. I prayed for her and others on the road to remain safe and for her to be quickly apprehended. That did happen although she did have a second crash. Remarkably the driver of the car in front was one of our Nourish members, a nurse. She helped me sort out a tow truck and drove me to the hospital for a once over. She was grateful I was between her and the car that crashed into me. I was grateful for the  blessing of my sister in Christ being there to help.

As I waited in hospital I was aware of the underpinning of several scriptures, especially Psalm 34:19 ‘A righteous person( i.e. someone in a right relationship with God ) may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all.’ What scriptures are you placing the weight of your lives upon?

Shalom

Jamie

Nourish – United together in Christ

It has been a great start to the year for Nourish. After the summer break it has been wonderful to connect with new members and reconnect with familiar faces. This year we have had the pleasure of Shirley’s enthusiasm and teaching skills in organising a fun and educational crèche program for our children.  Shirley joins our other fantastic volunteers who give their time generously to support our children while we meet.  Thank you!

This term we began with an overview of the book of Psalms which served as a great introduction to the Prayer Course we are exploring as a congregation. I can’t help but be amazed and inspired when exploring personal issues, such as your prayer life with God, within the small group setting. Everyone has a unique story and different experiences; yet often we are faced with similar challenges and shared frustrations. Together we have been able to explore, discuss, encourage and support one another, and it’s only week two! For every heartfelt moment shared there has been plenty of laughter and a deepened understanding that whilst we are all so very different we are united in Christ.

x Sophie

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'Meet the Team' Jan Jarvis

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Janet Jarvis

Jamie has asked me, because I received training in pastoral care in the U.K. to be the named pastoral care co-ordinator for St. Nicholas’ Church. So Karen has asked me to introduce myself… 

I was born, number four of five children, and educated in Gravesend, north Kent.  In my early teens I began going along to my school friend Susan’s church youth group which meant that we had to go church on Sunday. We sat in the back pews, having our own conversations. But God was at work in my life through an older couple who took time getting to know me and invited me to their home and to a Bible study group.  After a while I gave my life to Jesus and was confirmed.

I went to London to train as a nurse at Westminster Hospital and joined the Christian Union, met a group called the Navigators with whom I learnt a lot about discipleship, and met my husband John. We have two beautiful children: Helen and Andrew, and two amazing grandchildren: Sarah and Matthew. We came to W.A. to be nearer our family and have received the additional blessing of being led to Australind and St. Nicholas Church. 

What helps me in my Christian life is to read the Bible and pray daily and the stimulus of being in a Christian community.

Emmanuel – God is with us!

Sunday the 18th was a day of gathering and celebration.  81 of us met together in a joint service in the morning and over 150 of us gathered for our Carols and Cappuccino service in the evening.  This was a time of encountering Jesus, not only the first encounters by Mary, Joseph, Shepherds and Wise Men but also hearing from people encountering Jesus today.  The light of Gabriel blinded us (Paul with a builder’s lamp) as we remember that Emmanuel is what all Christians share and why we are celebrating Christmas. – God is with us!  Enjoy the 12 days of celebration.

You can download the newsletter from our Carols service below.

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A Celebration of 50 years ordained Ministry

This coming Wednesday we celebrate with Father Brian Newing and his wife Judith 50 years of ordained ministry.  Father Brian’s faith journey has seen him as a Parish Priest in country towns around WA from Ravensthorpe to Pinjarra, to Corrigin and Brunswick.  During this time in 1974 he was made Canon of St Boniface Cathedral.  From 1990 to 2000 he held the position of Residential Archdeacon and Administrator and then became the Dean of St Boniface for 3 years.  This amazing journey into ordained ministry began in 1966 on the 21st December when Fr Brian was ordained by Bishop Ralph Hawkins.  The past 13 years has seen Fr Brian undertaking Prison ministry in his ‘Semi Retirement’.

Wednesday won’t be the first time the services of Fr Brian have been celebrated.  In 1999 he was awarded Bunbury’s Citizen of the Year and in 2008 he was awarded the prestigious Order of Australia Medal for his work in the Anglican Church and the community. 

To give you an insight into Fr Brian here are his answers to the following questions.

What has been one of the most significant changes you have seen in the Church over the last 50 years?

Well the most obvious one is the ordination of women however there have been some other significant changes I’ve seen.  In the past you were sent to a parish at the discretion of the Bishop and you went. Now the priests have a say about where they are feeling called.  Another interesting change has been the advent of clergy wives having a profession they are the unsung heroes of many parishes.  The other thing I have noticed has been the change in the ‘loyalty’ of congregations.  What I mean is that there is more transition with people attending different churches when their needs change.

What helps you daily with your walk with Jesus?

Knowing that Jesus is an intimate friend.  He is involved in all my decision making he is the perfect role model I stride to but often fail to follow. Also knowing his perfect act of mercy and forgiveness.  I always say I have a Christian Faith not a Christian religion.

How about the future? What have you got planned next?

I think I will continue to do what I’m doing one day at a time!  I will continue my work with alcoholics anonymous and narcotic’s anonymous they are really important to me and I have been involved with them for the last 38 years.

Favourite hymn or worship song?

How Great Thou Art and Here I am Lord.

Any last thoughts?

I want to end by giving my undying gratitude to my wonderful wife Judith of 49 years.

Courage in the power of His Spirit

There have been 2 distinct times in my ‘short’ (39 years) life where I have experienced grief.  Why am I going to tell you these very personal things?

  1. Because you are my church family and I want to belong, trust and share my life with you and
  2. I need to testify to the power of God and the Holy Spirit – make known his deeds among the nation

My first real taste of grief came with the loss of a baby.  I had left a very active role in my church to follow my husband on a new adventure – one which didn’t involve church.  We had been trying for 3 years to have a baby so to find I was pregnant was a great joy.

I eventually miscarried.  I was told and I told myself ‘it’s just biology, these things happen’, but the pain was still very real.  I felt lost, despair, anger…I distinctly remember throwing my laptop across a room.  While I had family and friends I had no church and felt so distant from the God I needed comfort from – I was drowning.

Within 2 months I was pregnant again with the beautiful boy you see in church today.  After the birth a real need to return to church weighed heavy on my heart and so I returned.  The Busselton Uniting Church was a wonderful place.  It had a strong christian community where my son learnt to crawl and walk among the pews and people.

Two and a half years later my second taste of grief came in the end of my marriage.  It felt like the world I new and loved had been ripped apart.  While I was devastated, this time I walked through the storm with a sense of calm and peace which I can only attribute to the Holy Spirit.  It was only by God’s grace I could forgive – and no broken laptops this time.  It is because of his strength and power that with in 3 months I had moved towns, bought a house, and found a new church family, but that in itself is another testimony.

I know the difference that God can make in our lives with how we deal with the storms that come.  Without Him I drown, with Him I can rise above it.  The Lord God is my strength and my might, He and He through you has become my salvation.

Most loving God, you send us into the world you love.  Give us Grace to go thankfully and with courage in the power of your Spirit – Amen

Your sister in Christ

Karen

"They have real coffee!" – A testimony about grace, friendship and belonging

“I just found this really great playgroup!” exclaimed my friend. “It’s at a church and they have cake and fruit for the kids and heaps of toys. They even have NICE coffees, like barista style. And best of all? It’s FREE! Want to go with me?” Little Lambs was my first introduction to St Nicks. A noisy somewhat chaotic playdate shared with two dozen mums, twice as many children and a host of mature ladies and gentleman INSISTING that they serve us and we take the time to rest and recharge. For a new mum suffering child-induced cabin fever it was heavenly. My friends and I attended Little Lambs for the better part of a year. What stood out the most to us, and what my friends still remember it for, was how welcoming, encouraging and gracious the hosts were each week.

One week when I was visiting on my own with my (now) two children a lady came and sat next to me. She introduced herself as Verity and we had a pleasant talk before she handed me a pretty little invitation to Nourish, a new Bible Study group aimed at mums of young children. She explained that I would be welcome to bring the kids and pointed out Emma, the organiser, a mum I had often seen and spoken to but until that point had never been able to remember her name and had been too embarrassed to ask.

I was very excited about getting the invitation. I had been a Christian for five or six years but my Christian walk hadn’t so much as slowed to a crawl as stopped dead. I had only attended a group bible study a few times, and only in the company of my husband (as nice as that was, I confess I rather prefer it when we go separately…), and a group that catered for mums with young kids (i.e. not in the evening or during nap time) was what I had been wishing for.

Nourish was or rather IS a blessing. At first it was quite a challenge. Six or seven mums, a dozen kids and a bible. As any parent knows, children have this fantastic propensity to drive you to the brink of insanity and they really don’t care who they do it in front of. Fortunately for all of us, they took turns. If it wasn’t your child throwing a tantrum, pushing the other children over or face planting it into a door that week then you knew most likely next week it would be.

Hence, what I believe, one of the greatest lessons learnt in Nourish, at least for me personally, was grace- both how to give it and how to receive it.

Interestingly the more I received it, the better I became at giving it. Those early days were like a prolonged team building exercise.

We have evolved quite a bit since those early days. We now have MINDERS- truly wonderful people who give up their Friday mornings to care for and entertain our young children. This has really given us the opportunity as a group to delve more deeply, talk more freely and listen more attentively. We have realised we are an extremely diverse group of ladies from different backgrounds and at different stages of our walk but still with so much in common and that we can relate to.

I love it that on Thursday nights my three year old son is always happy to go to bed because tomorrow is Friday and “on Friday mum goes to bible study and that means friends! Friends for Michael and friends for you too mum!”

X Sophie

Have you encountered Jesus?

Many of us are involved with the Alpha course. Last week we had 54 adults and 14 youth go through Alpha. Thank you to each one of you taking part in the groups and our group hosts.  You are blessing one another. Thank you to Fran and Rob for enabling our hospitality and for our faithful children’s carers on Friday: Jan, John, Andrea and Anne.   

 One of the striking things in Alpha is the power of story. What we often call testimony. As I prepared today’s talk on Zacchaeus I was struck once again with the power of testimony. I wrote about this in our blog post, His-story in Me and newsletter (Aug 7th) and enjoyed Rob’s recent testimony on his Wescarpade and Camp Quality experiences. (Oct 4th)

 What happens when we encounter Jesus?  I have been talking with Karen about how we might release testimony in our community. Some of you have walked with Jesus for a considerable time and it would be wonderful to hear some of your insights. How did you first encounter Jesus? What have been some of the highlights of walking and talking with him? What have you found challenging? What has helped you most in your ongoing relationship with Jesus?

Please consider getting involved in this initiative and speak with me or Karen.  I am praying for video conversations that we could use in services and on our website. Zacchaeus’ story still speaks today. Your story may well encourage and help someone else.

 

Shalom

Jamie

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