Presbytery Ministers Pastoral Letter November 2018


PASTORAL LETTER from the Presbytery Ministers.  29 November 2018

Dear Presbytery Members, Church Council Secretaries and Congregations,

The great chorus from Handel’s Messiah, “Unto Us a Child is Born”, draws its text from Chapter 9 of Isaiah’s prophetic proclamation where we behold the coming of a Prince of Peace. It is interesting that so much royal imagery is ascribed to Jesus, to the extent that we name the Sunday before Advent “Christ the King”. Jesus of course steadfastly denied any such titles during his ministry. In his encounter with Pilate, Jesus converses with a leader accustomed only to the secular world; Pilate in his anxiety accuses Jesus of being the ‘King of the Jews’. However, Jesus rejects any such “kingdom” and with it any eternal value in the political life of humanity. Now He declares that his “kingdom” is not of this world. Instead, Jesus calls all of us to a different Kingdom – one of God’s truth revealed through the life of Jesus and our obedient life of discipleship; this is sometimes referred to paradoxically as “servant kingship”. We are reminded that we are, all of us, God’s children and the essence of our abundant life is to dwell in God’s love for us and to share that love with others – an inclusive love for all people, even (as Christ commanded) for our enemies; some scholars have referred to this as Christ’s ‘kin-dom’ rather than kingdom, highlighting the importance of loving relationships in our lives. What a peace-making and powerful message to take into the season of Advent and to celebrate the birth of this very precious child.

Presbytery Meeting: Next Presbytery Meeting is on Saturday 16 February 2019 at Narrandera Uniting Church.

Eastern Region:

Rev. Keith Robinson is the Regional Minister.
His email is baldmagic “at” gmail “dot” com
phone numbers are 02 6942 1787 or 0401 699 580.

Southern Region:

Rev. Yvonne Ghavalas commenced Supply Ministry in the country congregations of the Southern Region 1 October 2018. Rev. Paul Cosier’s Conclusion of Placement is 23 December 2018 at Wesley Church, Wagga Wagga at 10.30am. The Southern Region Profile is at ACOMP (Advisory Committee on Ministerial Placements).

Northern Region:

Rev. Abera Abera’s Conclusion of Placement is 27 January 2019. The Profile is at ACOMP. We are awaiting further conversation. Leaders are meeting at Lake Cargelligo mid-December to plan Events for 2019. If you have any ideas pass them on.

Central Region:

The Profile is at ACOMP. We are awaiting a conversation. Leaders will meet at this stage. If you have any ideas for regional events pass them on.

Western Region:

The last Event is 2 December at Finley Uniting Church, see below. Draft planning of Events and confirming dates is in progress.

STOP PRESS: Drought Relief for the Riverina – Message from Paul Creek.

If you wish to distribute Synod drought relief finance could you please talk with Paul Creek. His contact details are:
email pcreek7 “at” gmail “dot” com
Mobile : 0429207252.
If there are pastoral needs identified in your area could you also mention these to Paul Creek.

In response to the very low price of milk in the supermarkets, which is putting many of our dairy farmers under great stress, it has been suggested that one way of helping those farmers is by purchasing Riverina Brand Milk which sells at a much more realistic price.

 Safe Church Contact persons.

Jenny Rose has offered to be the Safe Church Contact person for the Northern Region, email – jlrose “at” gmail “dot” com or 0434 773 307, and Marilyn Walter has offered to be our Safe Church Contact person for the Southern Region, mgwalter “at” tpg “dot”  or 0447 262 802. Marilyn and Jenny are available to offer advice. We are looking for people to occupy a similar position in the other regions. Church councillors should attend Safe Church Seminars; in the wake of the Royal Commission, this has become an area of prime responsibility for all in leadership positions. Next Safe Church Workshop is 30 November, Culcairn, 9.30am to 3.30pm. You are able to attend any Ecumenical Safe Church Course.

All Congregations are expected to have two or more people who have done the “Safe Church” Course. It has come to our attention that many Congregations have no-one who has completed the Course. This is a matter that needs to be addressed.

Working with Children Checks

You will receive a reminder from the Government about renewing these.

Regions and Courses

Planning for next year’s Regional Events has begun. Remaining events for the year are;

Date                                  Seminar                          Region                             Place

Friday 30 November    Safe Church                     Southern                          Culcairn (9.30am-3pm)

Saturday 1 December   Intergen. Worship         Southern                          Wesley, Wagga Wagga (10am-3pm)

Sunday 2 December      Intergen. Worship         Western                           Finley (10am-3pm)

For your Diaries

Presbytery Retreat for Leaders 6-9 May (Monday afternoon to Thursday after lunch; led by Rev Niall Reid)                      

Lay Preacher Training                Old Testament: 1&2 June and 15&16 June (place TBA)

Lay Presider Training and          The Sacraments Course: 21&22 September and 12&13 October

        Refresher                                 (place TBA)

SRE Training                                  (Refer to Presbytery website and UME website)

You are able to attend this training with another denomination.

Lay Preacher Training on-line from or

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.

Riverina Presbytery Website: John Milnes, jmilnes “at” live “dot” , is the webmaster. If you wish to put something on the website contact Paul Ballard or Andrew Thornley. If you have photos make sure you have permission to have them on the website.

The Presbytery Library is housed at the Ministry Centre in Wagga Wagga, behind Wesley Church. Ring Betty Loiterton, 6931 1219, if you wish to borrow books. The booklist is on the website. The Thornleys can carry the books to you. Hours are 9am to 3pm Mon-Thur. Ph.6921 4275.

With Love to the World A Resource for Daily Devotion, Bible Study, and Worship. To subscribe, visit website at, or phone (02) 9747 1369

NSW ACT Synod publish a weekly ‘Insights’.

email: contactus “at”nswact “dot”
to receive a copy.

MediaCom in South Australia, , provides resources for worship, study groups, messy church, etc. The outlet also holds all Uniting Church resources.

Finance Matters: Thank you to Congregations depositing the Stewardship Contributions and the finance for Regional Ministers. If you have any questions Annie Brophy is the Presbytery Bookkeeper. Her email address is riverinapresbytery “at” gmail “dot” com.


Contact Information:  Our contact details are:
landline 02 6932 0315,
mobile 0448 110 40 (Carolyn)
0455 537 036 (Andrew)
our email address is thornley “at” exemail “dot”;
an alternative email address is revcarolynthornley “at” gmail “dot” 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 Saint Thomas Aquinas (1225-74)

Give us, O Lord,
A steadfast heart,
Which no unworthy thought can drag downwards;
An unconquered heart,
Which no tribulation can wear out;
An upright heart,
Which no unworthy purpose can tempt aside.
Give us, O Lord
Understanding to know you,
Diligence to seek you,
Wisdom to find you,
And a faithfulness
That may embrace you.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Grace and peace,

Rev. Carolyn and Pastor Andrew Thornley