PASTORAL LETTER from the Presbytery Ministers. 10 March 2018
Dear Presbytery Members, Church Council Secretaries and Congregations,
“The Hour has come for the Son of Man to be Glorified” (John 12:23)
Our Lenten readings leading up to Easter feature the Gospel of John – a deeply spiritual Gospel which focusses on how we are known by God through Christ, the depth and meaning of our Christian belief and how we can express our love to God and neighbour. Observe how often the words “know”, “believe” and “love” occur in the writings of John – there alone is a message.
Chapters 12 and 13 of the Gospel are emphasized in Holy Week, beginning on Palm Sunday with John 12:12 and concluding on Maundy Thursday with John 13:35. The word “glorify” comes to our notice. Yes, ‘glorify’ is about being praised but it means more than that. Our text speaks about God being “glorified” through Jesus. This echoes the words of Isaiah (49:3) regarding the servant role of Israel “in whom I shall be glorified”. Indeed, it is Jesus’ role as the obedient servant – even unto the Cross – that symbolizes the new Covenant and glorifies or honours God by so doing. This is the challenge for all of us in our Christian journey: to follow the example of our Lord and Master as obedient servants in love of God and our neighbour, thus contributing to the glorifying of God and divine peace among all peoples.
Lent Event 2018, organized by Uniting World, provides an opportunity for us “to champion the rights for women, overcome poverty and stand with our Pacific neighbours in their fight to save their island homes”. See www.lentevent.com
In our prayers through Lent, may we pray for the reconciling work of Christ throughout the world and in our local communities.
‘Living is Giving’ is being phased out at the end of June 2018. The February Presbytery meeting has resolved there be one congregation levy bringing together Presbytery and ‘Seeds of Growth’ (Synod) contributions. Congregations will receive a letter by the end of the month from the Finance and Property Committee advising them of their particular contribution.
The Northern Region celebrated with an Inauguration Service and Three active Workshops on Saturday 3 March. A Report is on the website. The previous evening we attended the World Day of Prayer evening Service at Griffith. Women from the Griffith Congregation acted parts of the Service. Following this day we visited Hillston and Tullibigeal to lead Worship and share in fellowship.
Organisational Meetings across the Regions have, in the most, been attended by every congregation in the Region. These are the beginnings of building up relationship and connection between congregations.
The Southern Regional Day (Three Seminars and an Inaugural Service) is Saturday 24 March 10.30am to 3pm at Wesley, Wagga Wagga.
The Western Regional Day (Three Seminars and an Inaugural Service) is Saturday 7 April 10am to 3pm at Deniliquin.
The Eastern Regional Day (an Inauguration Service and three Seminars) is Saturday 28 April 10am to 3pm at Cootamundra.
The Central Region have their Inauguration Service on Sunday 6 May followed by lunch and a time of fellowship.
Each Region has some dates for gatherings at the end of May. These dates were planned by Uniting Mission and Education personnel and ourselves in the latter half of last year in order to enable these people from Parramatta to have Presbytery dates in their diaries.
Friday 19 May Safe Church Southern Region Wagga Wagga
Saturday 20 May Family Worship Southern Region Wagga Wagga
Sunday 20 May Family Worship Western Region Deniliquin
Monday 21 May Safe Church Western Region Deniliquin
Saturday 26 May Pathways and Central and Leeton
Makes you Wonder Northern
Sunday 27 May Pathways and Eastern Cootamundra
Makes You Wonder
Lay Preacher Training New Testament: 12 and 13 May, 2 and 3 June
Proclaiming Jesus: 8, 9, 22 and 23 September
SRE Training (refer to Presbytery website and UME website)
You are able to attend this training with another denomination who is hosting a day in your area. SRE training can also be done on line.
Riverina Presbytery Website:
The website information is updated regularly. Please send any information for the website to Paul Ballard or Carolyn and Andrew. If you have photos make sure you have permission to have them on the website. Could you please look at your congregation information and send on any updates or information to our Website Administrator John Milnes, firstname.lastname@example.org.
MediaCom in South Australia, www.mediacom.org.au , provides resources for worship, study groups, messy church, etc. The outlet also holds all Uniting Church resources.
Church Music Wendy Frazier has sent these free You-tube links for Church Music in the public domain and in mp3 format. Some can be downloaded free.
A full communion service from Tis 756
Fair Trade Conference: 27-29 April 2018 at Queanbeyan Uniting Church, Queanbeyan. Registrations fairtradefaithconference.com.au
Fair Trade Fair: 28 April 2018 at Queanbeyan Uniting Church.
NSW ACT Synod publish a weekly ‘Insights’.
Write to www.nswact.uca.org.au or email@example.com to receive a copy.
Contact Information: Our contact details are landline 02 6932 0315, mobile 0448 110 407
(Carolyn) and 0455 537 036 (Andrew) and our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org; an
alternative email address is email@example.com.
Do not hesitate to get in touch with us if your contact details need to be updated and if you have any other queries. We are as close as a phone call or an email message.
Below is a paragraph from a Lenten Reflection by Rev. Dr Peter Millar of the Iona Community.
“Forgiveness is not easy which is why one writer said: “To forget is human, but to forgive is divine.” But let us think for a moment how much the world today needs this particular quality of the human heart. In every aspect of life there is a need to be able to forgive and to experience forgiveness. We need look no further than our own inner feelings to know how hard it is to forgive. All of us harbour inner resentments, sometimes for years. There are times when all of us allow bitterness and anger to control our behaviour. Yet even in such times, we can pause and take stock and learn to forgive. And today in our divided world these words of Jesus surely have a powerful resonance. To reach out across the myriad barriers which engulf the human family with the message of forgiveness is today an act of prophetic intention. That is why these words from the Cross are always life-giving, even if difficult to actually live out day by day. Yet always the Spirit of God is there to be an enabler.”
Grace and peace,
Rev. Carolyn and Pastor Andrew Thornley