Presbytery Ministers Pastoral Letter March 2019


PASTORAL LETTER from the Presbytery Ministers. 28 March 2019

Dear Presbytery Members, Church Council Secretaries and Congregations,

It is the Year of Luke – Year C as it is known in the Revised Common Lectionary. Luke wrote particularly for the Gentile community, aware that the message of Christ was both inclusive and universal. One of the great themes of Luke’s gospel is the gentleness of Christ, as we see in Our Lord’s teachings about the readiness of God to extend forgiveness and mercy. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, one of the greatest stories ever told and how grateful we should be to Luke for recording this teaching (Chapter 15). For good reason, many commentators have acknowledged that this story should be more appropriately called the Parable of the “Loving Father”, for in his character we see God’s gentle, forgiving and merciful spirit. On the one hand, the Father extends compassionate love to a younger son who has “come to himself” and regretted his wayward and disobedient conduct. On the other hand, the Father encourages the elder brother (who, after all, has inherited most of his father’s wealth) to put aside his resentful and self-centred attitude and embrace with joy the return of a lost brother. Humanity is represented in the lives of the two sons and, while there remains a divine trace of goodness in their characters, God will work to bring reconciliation and eternal life. Hallelujah!

Resources for Lent: It is Week 4 of the Season of Lent. You are welcome to use With Love to the World as a source of study. As well, there are resources available at Media Com (see contact info below) and – from Uniting World – the particularly stimulating Lent Event material which you will find at www.lentevent “dot” com .

Liturgies and Sermons

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.

  • Mrs Myra Cowell – mgcowell “at” bigpond “dot” com
  • Mrs Larraine Hoffman – lahoffman “at” bigpond “dot” com
  • Mrs Jenny Rose – jlrose32 “at” gmail “dot” com
  • Mr. Arnold Spackman – csp91675 “at” bigpond “dot”
  • Rev. Yvonne Ghavalas – yvonneg1312 “at” gmail “dot” com
  • Rev. Keith Robinson – baldmagic “at” gmail “dot” com

Presbytery Meeting:

Next Presbytery Meeting is on Saturday 17 August 2019 at Leeton Uniting Church 10am to 3pm. Rev. Mark Faulkner, the Saltbush Executive Director, will be in attendance.

Nominations for Synod 4-7 July at Knox Grammar, Sydney. If you are interested, please contact Jackie Strempel at Leeton Uniting Church:
strobert “at” bigpond “dot” com

Eastern Region:

Rev. Keith Robinson is the Regional Minister. His email is:
baldmagic “at” gmail “dot” com and phone

numbers are 02 6942 1787 or 0401 699 580.

Southern Region:

Rev. Yvonne Ghavalas’ is the Regional Community Minister. Her email is:
yvonneg1312 “at” gmail “dot” com .

A full-time Placement will begin in Wagga Wagga 1 May 2019.

A Lay Preacher morning will be held 13 April at Lockhart from 10am – 12 Noon.

Northern Region:

The second Event, a Lay Preacher Day, is being held at Griffith, Saturday 30 March.

Central Region:

A refocused Profile is with ACOMP. Central Region has been invited to events in the Northern Region and Central Region. The main Regional Event will be Worship and a BBQ on 15 September.

Western Region:

A Pastoral Care Training Morning will be held at Deniliquin from 9.30am to 1pm on Saturday 13 April.

Kids Camp Out

This event is on 6 and 7 April at Narrandera. Please contact Neena Evans for more information. – wmnjevan “at” bigpond “dot”

Church Property Insurance.

If you have any questions about matters relating to Church Insurance, contact the Presbytery Property Officer, Paul Creek – pcreek7 “at” outlook “dot” com

Safe Church Contact Persons.

Safe Church person willing to offer advice for the Northern Region is Jenny Rose, jlrose “at” gmail “dot” com or 0434 773 307, and for Southern Region is Marilyn Walter, mgwalter “at” tpg “dot” or 0447 262 802.

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. All Congregations are expected to have two or more people who have done the “Safe Church” Course.

Pastor Emma Parr from the NSW ACT Synod will be facilitating two more Courses: Saturday 27 April at Griffith 10am to 3.30pm and Sunday 28 April at Pilgrim, Wagga Wagga 12.30 to 5.30pm.

Working with Children Checks

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

Synod Stamp Committee.

Please remember to bring your used Stamps to Presbytery and they will be processed by the Wagga folks and forwarded to the Synod Stamp Committee. John Rumens is the contact person.

Latest news: Eleven boxes of stamps were delivered to Sydney. The Secretary (Ruth Mitchell) has sent the thanks of the Stamp Committee. So far in 2019, the sum of $5,620 has been raised through the sale of stamps.

Regional Courses and Events

All are open for anyone to attend. These are dates for your diaries.

Date Seminar Region Place
30 May Lay Preacher Day Northern Griffith 10.00-2.30
13 April Pastoral Care Training Western Deniliquin 9.30-2.30
13 April Lay Preacher “Soar” Southern Lockhart 10.00-12.00
27 April Safe Church All Griffith 10.00-3.30
28 April Safe Church All Pilgrim, Wagga Wagga 12.30-5.30pm
18 May Messy Church, Godly Play & Intergen. Worship Central Narrandera 10.00-3.00
19 May Messy Church, Godly Play & Intergen. Worship Northern Griffith 9.30-3.00
20 May Messy Church, Godly Play & Intergen. Worship Eastern Cootamundra 9.30-3.00
1&2 June Old Testament All Leeton 9.30-4.00
15&16 June Old Testament All Leeton 9.30-4.00
14&15 September Theology All Narrandera 9.30-4.00
12&13 October Theology All Narrandera 9.30-4.00
TBA The Sacraments All TBA

SRE and Lay Preacher Training on-line

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.

NSW ACT Synod publish a weekly ‘Insights’.

Write to or – contactus “at” to receive a copy.

With Love to the World. To subscribe, visit website at, or phone (02) 9747 1369

MediaCom in South Australia, , provides resources for

worship, study groups, messy church, etc. The outlet also holds all Uniting Church resources.

Finance Matters: 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 110 407

(Carolyn) and 0455 537 036 (Andrew) and 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.

Our Service of Closure will be at Narrandera Uniting Church Saturday 25 May at 11.45am midday followed by lunch. All are invited. Please bring a plate to share.

Below is a prayer from ‘Prayers for Pilgrims’ compiled by Margaret Pawley.

In our wanderings be our guide

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be;
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.

Not for ever by still waters
Would we idly rest and stay;
But would smite the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wanderings be our guide;
Through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.

Love Maria Willis

Grace and peace,

Rev. Carolyn and Pastor Andrew Thornley