Presbytery Ministers’ Pastoral Letter July 2018

RIVERINA PRESBYTERY  UNITING CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA

PASTORAL LETTER from the Presbytery Minister                    25 July 2018

(This letter is for all Uniting Church Members. Please copy it and pass it on.)

Dear Presbytery Members, Church Council Secretaries and Congregations,

Scripture provides a wonderful experience for the remaining season of Pentecost – right through to the end of November. While not neglecting the treasures of the Old Testament, the gospels and epistles are full of passages to deepen our faith and support us in daily living. The focus of the New Testament readings is Christ – in Mark the fast-paced narrative of Jesus, in John the miracles and good works of Jesus and in Paul’s letters the meaning and significance of Christ, not just for believers but indeed, as we truly pray, for the entire world. 

Just this week I have been reading from Ephesians in preparation for preaching. Bible scholar William Neil writes that “many people will feel that Ephesians is the greatest of all St Paul’s letters”. Why does he say that? Simply, there is no hint of controversy but rather a “deep devotional spirit filled with praise and thanksgiving”. My spiritual formation bible advises reading Ephesians on our knees! – “ready to pray and eager to rise up” in obedience to Paul’s plea: “I beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called” [4:1] In pointing to the inclusive message of Our Lord and Saviour, it is little wonder that the great Reformed leader, John Calvin, would write: ‘Since so great a storehouse of every good thing is found in Christ, let us drink from this fountain and no other’.

Presbytery Meeting: The next full Presbytery Meeting is Saturday 18 August at Leeton Uniting Church. The Moderator Simon Hansford will be present. Sheila Ayliffe from Tumbarumba will be commissioned as the Presbytery Chairperson.

Elections for Presbytery Positions and Committees will take place.

Moderator’s Visit to Riverina Presbytery:

Following the Presbytery Meeting, the Moderator will be spending a week in the Riverina. This will be an opportunity for you to meet up with him at a centre near to you. A detailed itinerary will be made available in August. At this stage, the Moderator’s program looks like this:

  • Saturday August 18th                  Leeton to Griffith (Central and Northern Regions)
  • Sunday August 19th                     Griffith to Hay (Northern and Western Regions)
  • Monday August 20th                    Hay to Deniliquin (Western Region)
  • Tuesday August 21st                    Deniliquin to Wagga Wagga (Central and Southern Regions)
  • Wednesday August 22nd             Wagga Wagga to Tumbarumba (Southern and Eastern Regions)
  • Thursday August 23rd                 Tumbarumba to Wagga Wagga (Eastern and Central Regions)
  • Friday August 24th                       Wagga Wagga to Sydney.

Regions

We want to acknowledge and thank Rev. Fie Marino and Rev. Dr Ian Robinson for their facilitation of ‘Pathways’ and the introduction to ‘Makes You Wonder’ for four workshops across the Regions.

Come and join in the Regional Events. Those who have participated have really appreciated the days.

Each Region has some dates for gatherings in August to November.

Planning for next year’s Regional Events will be in October.

Date                                  Seminar                          Region                             Place

Saturday 18 August       Presbytery                       All                                      Leeton

Friday 7 September      Pathways Feedback      Central and Northern              Leeton

(afternoon)         Stage 2 and 3

Saturday 8 September  Proclaiming Jesus          All                                      Leeton

Sunday 9 September     Proclaiming Jesus          All                                      Leeton

Friday 21 September    Pathways Feedback      Eastern                            Cootamundra

(early afternoon)     Stage 2 and 3

Saturday 22 Sept           Proclaiming Jesus          All                                      Leeton

Sunday 23 September  Proclaiming Jesus          All                                      Leeton

Friday 13 October         Pathways Stage 2 & 3   Southern

Makes You Wonder

Saturday 14 October     Pathways Stage 2&3     Western                           Berrigan

Makes You Wonder

Friday 19 October         Safe Church                     Central                             Leeton
Northern

Saturday 20 October     Family Worship             Central                             Leeton
Northern

Sunday 21 October        Family Worship             Eastern                            Cootamundra

Monday 21 October      Safe Church                     Eastern                          Cootamundra

Saturday 10 November Retreat for Lay              All                                      TBA

Saturday 17 November Curating Worship         All                                      Narrandera

 

Courses:

Lay Preacher Training                Proclaiming Jesus: 8, 9, 22 and 23 September (Leeton)

Curating Worship: 17 November (Narrandera)

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: There are many reports of activities on the website; including Regional Events. The website information is updated regularly.  Send website information to Paul Ballard or Andrew Thornley. If you have photos make sure you have permission to have them on the website. Our Website Administrator is John Milnes, webmaster@riverina.unitingchurch.org.au

Resources:

With Love to the World A Resource for Daily Devotion, Bible Study, and Worship

To subscribe, visit website at http://withlovetotheworld.org.au, or phone (02) 9747 1369

Presbytery Library is housed at the Ministry Centre in Wagga Wagga, behind Wesley Church. You may borrow books. Ring Betty Loiterton, 6931 1219, and she will locate the book, pass it on the us to bring out to you or near you. The book list is on the website. Hours are 9am to 3pm Monday to Thursday. Phone 6921 4275.

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.

NSW ACT Synod publish a weekly ‘Insights’.

Write to www.nswact.uca.org.au  or contactus@nswact.uca.org.au to receive a copy.

Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital and Calvary Hospital

If a member of your congregation is in hospital in Wagga Wagga we wish to let you know that there is a Pastoral Care Team at Wagga Wagga Uniting Church.  Phone the Ministry Centre on 6921 4275. In emergencies ring 0447 262 802.

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 thornley@exemail.com.au; an alternative email address is revcarolynthornley@gmail.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 prayer by David Adams from Tides and Seasons, Modern prayers in the Celtic tradition.

Awaken me, Lord,
to your light,
Open my eyes
to your presence.

Awaken me, Lord,
to your love.
Open my heart
to your indwelling.

Awaken me, Lord,
to your life.
Open my mind
to your abiding.

Awaken me, Lord,
to your purpose.
Open my will to your
Grace and peace,

Rev. Carolyn and Pastor Andrew Thornley