Pastoral Letter January 2020

RIVERINA PRESBYTERY

UNITING CHURCH IN AUSTRALIA

PASTORAL LETTER to the members of Presbytery:
2nd February, 2020

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

WHY DO I GO TO CHURCH?

Going to church is probably a habit for most of us from a commitment we made some time back to follow our Lord and Saviour Jesus, but because it has been part of our lives for a long time we sometimes forget why. Most of us feel something is missing when for some reason we can’t go or when we are introduced to some new ways of worship and the old traditional ways are changed. It is good I think to stop occasionally and to wonder why we are going and if the style of Service we are experiencing is achieving this. Perhaps some things need to change. And for anyone who has just started attending church maybe it will help you to understand why you are attending the Service.

First and fore most to worship God.

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness,
bow down before him, his glory proclaim;
gold of obedience and incense of lowliness
bring and adore him; the Lord is his name.

All that we say and do in a Worship Service should be to the glory of God. Once, when we were associated with another Church, Roger had a vision one morning of Jesus sitting on a chair at the front waiting for us to finish our talking and greet Him. Always our Service should be about acknowledging and worshipping God:

Father, Son and Holy Spirit. When I did a lot of preaching my favourite prayer before the Service was that the

Worship might be acceptable in God’s sight. I still pray this frequently.

The second reason for going to Church is to be fed spiritually. Paul writes about worship in 1 Corinthians and in chapter 14:26b says but everything that is done must strengthen all of you. We need to leave Worship feeling that we have been touched by the Spirit. It may be comforting, confirming or challenging. It may come from a couple of words in a prayer or the Bible reading, from the verse of a hymn or a quiet moment of contemplation.

Ideally, I suppose, it should come from the sermon but not all sermons speak to everyone. We need to pray before we attend Worship and ask that we might be blessed, as well as that the Service is acceptable in God’s sight.

Low at his feet lay your burden of carefulness,
high on his heart he will bear it for you,
comfort your sorrows, and answer your prayerfulness,
guiding your steps in the way best for you.

The third reason for going to church is to have fellowship with other believers. There are many aspects to this. It is comforting to know that others believe as you do when so many in the community do not believe in God. It is a time when you may be helped by the concern of someone else, it may be a time when you can comfort or challenge or confirm someone else, it may be a time when a new idea for a church activity may be explored, it may be a time when you welcome newcomers or it may just be a time when you enjoy the company of others.

Always it is a special time.

May you experience refreshment as you attend your Church Service.

Gwen Webb

CENSUS

**** Glen Powell from Uniting Mission and Education (UME) has requested all congregations to complete the census and return it to UME either by mail or email. ASAP ****

PRESBYTERY MEETING

The February Meeting of the Presbytery will take place at Narrandera on 15th February. During the Meeting, the Rev Nigel Hawken, our new Presbytery Minister, will be inducted.

In June 2020, Nigel will be joined by his wife Rev Annette Hawken who has been appointed as the Central Regional Minister. Annette is currently Minister at Keiraview Uniting Church in West Wollongong within the Illawarra Presbytery.

They have 4 adult sons, with the youngest currently doing his HSC and the others working and studying in the Illawarra. Annette and Nigel will be living in Narrandera, with their sons remaining in the Illawarra.

Nigel and Annette have expressed their delight at God’s Call and the Presbytery’s and the Synod’s invitation to minister alongside people in the Riverina. They look forward to supporting the rural churches and communities in the joys and challenges ahead as a people of God in the country.

NEW PLACEMENT

Rev John McKane from Merredin in the Swan Presbytery in the W.A. Wheatbelt, has accepted a Call to be the Northern Reginal Minister based in Griffith. He and his family hope to settle in by September this year.

KID’S CAMP OUT 2020

This is an exciting event in the life of Churches in the Riverina and beyond, which can support and encourage your children’s ministry. This year it will be held on 4th and 5th April.

If you would like to participate please contact Neena Evans, KCO 2020 Coordinator on phone 0427 562 179.. All forms are available on the Uniting Church Riverina Presbytery website http://riverina.unitingchurch.org.au/kids-camp-out-2020/

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 is the webmaster. If you wish to put something on the website contact Paul Ballard (Interim Treasurer) or John Milnes (Webmaster) via this contact form

Regional Courses and Events:

All are open for anyone to attend. Lay Presiders are to attend one of the Sacrament Refreshers.

Remember that you are invited to attend Seminars in other regions. If you are wanting to attend a full Sacraments Course could you please let Wendy Frazier (Descipleship and Education Secretary) know via this contact form.

Liturgies and Sermons Contact Form
A number of people in the Presbytery have agreed to share their Orders of Worship and in some cases Sermons. They are willing to be contacted individually if you would like to receive these resources fill in this Contact Form, select from the Dropdown list and submit the from.

RIVERINA PRESBYTERY DISCIPLESHIP AND EDUCATION COMMITTEE

Could those who expressed interest in the following now please register via the Riverina web site: http://riverina.unitingchurch.org.au/course-applixcation-form

If there are any problems registering, please call D & E Secretary Wendy Frazier on 0427 423 101.

Full Sacraments Course

A four (4) session Course equipping Lay people to preside at the Sacraments, leading to accreditation, then followed by Church Council application to PRC for authorization,

Sessions 1 & 2: were held on Saturday 30 November & Sunday 1 December 2019:

$50 per person for the full Course, being for Course Reader & Assignment Book, supplied by UME

Sessions 3 & 4: are on Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd February 2020 (place to be announced)

In conjunction with UME Rev Keith Robinson & Rev Yvonne Ghavalas will be the facilitators of Sessions 3 & 4 which will be held on 22nd & 23rd February 2020

Lay Preacher Continuing Education

Ethics & Preparing for Easter

Saturday, 28 March 2020: 9.30 – 4pm Place to be announced. No cost. BYO lunch

Facilitated by Rev Yvonne Ghavalas

Annual Leader’s Retreat

For all leaders in the Presbytery, Lay & Ordained to be held at St Clements Retreat Centre, Galong. between Monday 4 and Thursday 7 May 2020

Congregations are encouraged to sponsor their leaders

A Meditation on God’s Creation: Consider the following promises of God, in the light of the current discussions and fears about climate change and environmental damage:

Some words of the Apostle Peter: “We are looking forward to the new heavens and the new earth He has promised, a world where everyone is right with God” (2 Peter 3:13: NLT).

The Prophet Isaiah: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19: NRSV).

Some words of Jesus: “See, I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5: NRSV).

If you wish to contact Rev Dr Roger Web