In just on a month, on Sunday 23 November 2014 at 12.30pm in the body of the main church, our parish will conduct its ‘Annual Meeting of Parishioners.’ This is a very important meeting to attend as we review the past year and look forward to what God is calling us to do for the next period of time! We will celebrate the ministry of those who are stepping down from roles in the parish and celebrate the offer of those stepping-up to new roles and responsibilities. We will pass a budget setting out the financial parameters of our work for the coming twelve months. The parish council has been hard at work in the background praying and dreaming; discerning and planning what we believe the goals and strategies for the next period of time should be and our meeting is an opportunity to discuss and affirm the direction of the parish and also pledge our support and commit ourselves to the vision and direction of the parish. Two highlights will be a presentation on the narthex redevelopment and a presentation on the 150th celebrations to occur in October 2015. I urge ALL parishioners to attend. A thank you to the small team who helped at the working bee last Saturday; we plan to hold these regularly in 2015 so watch this space!
At the 10.30am service this morning there will be a time of celebration to mark Lois Truett’s retirement from the position of Parish Administration Officer. Lois has held this position for over ten years but due to recent bad health has decided to step-down from this role. When I began as your Vicar over four years’ ago, among other things told me about the parish by the Locum Vicar, the Reverend Murray Harris, was the truth that I would not find a better key person than Lois! Lois has with grace and dignity managed her difficult role.
Being the central person at the end of the phone for this parish is a challenge at the best of times, and Lois coped with all and sundry questions and requests with her cherry countenance. But her skill and dedication didn’t end with her handling of the phone! It was the behind-the-scenes work of filing; organising; maintaining records; being a sounding board to wild and woolly suggestions from Vicars; keeping cool when others were highly anxious and worried; and keeping confidences when needed; and providing wise counsel when asked , where Lois came to the fore!!
Lois will truly be missed in the front office and we as a parish are grateful for her dedicated and loyal service. However, all is not lost as Lois will remain a parishioner, singing in the 10.30am choir and being a leading proponent of the Cursillo movement in the parish. Thank you Lois.
Our parish motto is: ‘knowing Christ and making Christ.’ All that we do in the parish can fall into those two simple yet profound statements! Our Parish Council is working very hard to ensure that we have all that we need as a parish community to do as our motto claims.
One of the ways we can continue to deepen our understanding of Christ (apart from attending regular worship) is to be part of a small group in the parish. There are many that operate here and there are lots of options to choose for time and place – THERE IS A GROUP for you!! If you not already a member of a small group I encourage you to speak to me soon about joining one. The benefits are fantastic.
One of the ways we endeavour to proclaim Christ to the wider community is by running a simple ‘Christianity Explored’ program. There is one starting in November. To make it easy for our friends to consider being a part of such a course you may want to offer to attend the course with your friend. See inside the bulletin for the details. Don’t know how to invite friends to get to know Jesus? Well – we have the solution – attend the ‘Six steps to talking about Jesus’ program, also starting in November this year. The details for this are also in the bulletin. I am aware that around this time of year life begins to get hectic for many but I also know that investing in our faith and developing skills to share our faith are investments worth the time.
Yesterday, the church universal celebrated the feast day of St Francis of Assisi – the patron saint of animals – and this afternoon we will be having a Pets’ blessing service with free sausage sizzle for the humans and treats for the animals. All are welcome to join us at 2pm behind the Pioneer Hall. There have been more books written about St Francis then there have been about Jesus!
St Francis’ attraction lies in his complete and utter reliance upon the grace and mercy of God. Therein lies also the frightening aspect about saints. It is one thing to be in awe of following in the footsteps of Jesus who was the Son of God but it is something completely else when a fellow flawed human being does show us the way like St Francis! He certainly had, as I mentioned last week in my sermon, the “mind of Christ” and he certainly did as St Paul urges us today, “forgetting what lies behind, I press towards the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” May we be inspired to, as the saints before us did, forget about the past, and continue to open our hearts to the transforming Spirit of God so as to be all that God calls us to be!
Reverend Jennie Savage