Community Outreach Mission Network
August Newsletter 2018
Food for Thought
BEACH SHACK REFLECTION by Val Hall
We set off on a recent Saturday morning with our much loved four legged companion Coco. The destination was Boatswain Point 12 kilometres from Robe.
Our first stop was Tailem Bend where we indulged in a finger bun and coffee. Finally, after walking Coco in wind and rain we set off again this time for Meningie.
Here we headed for Coorong Wild Seafood. The two owners were having a late start to their day but Glen was more than happy to take us to his work area where he expertly filleted a kilo of Coorong mullet for us. Glen is a passionate South Australian, one who fully appreciates the fact that life has put him in a place where he has the wonderful Coorong to provide the source for his business. His entrepreneurial skills and his ability to have an outstanding product have seen him on such shows as Master Chef, Landline and South Aussie with Cosi. He kept us entertained with stories of people he had met and half an hour later we left with fresh Coorong mullet, smoked Coorong mullet and Coorong carp.
Our next stop was Kingston. Here we met up with friends we have known for many years and who we have shared both the highs and lows of our lives. Geoff has been like a brother to me and has mentored me on many occasions. We have spent many hours in conversation over spirituality or the Church. Even when at times we have not been of the same opinion we have been able to show God’s grace to one another.
After lunch at Kingston we headed off to our destination, grateful for the fact we had access to GPS we finally made it to our destination. The magnificent Southern Ocean could be seen from our lounge window. We had access to kilometres of sandy beaches and the property itself is on an acreage, part of which is an old orchard.
This wonderful property had a page of ‘Canine Life Rules’. On reading the list it appeared to me that many of them we could apply to ourselves.
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
- Be loyal.
- Never pretend to be something you are not.
- Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently
God has provided us with the ability to restore and replenish our souls through nature. We witnessed the beauty of the Coorong, a squadron of pelicans in full flight, rainbows, and the magnificent ocean, beautiful green and rich countryside. We were blessed with the companionship of wonderful friends.
Psalm 23 2-3 He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Genesis 1.1 In the beginning God created heavens and the earth.
“There are a lot of issues surrounding the recent Assembly decision and a lot of comments and views being expressed.
As a result of this, one of our ministers, Rev Douglas Monaghan has written a pastoral letter to the Noarlunga Uniting Church congregation setting out his views on the matter.
While it is written for one congregation, there may be elements within in it that others find helpful in their own contexts and he is happy for the letter to be circulated among our network”
Minister’s Blog 5 August 2018
My brothers and sisters in Christ
As you are aware, at the recent Assembly, the Uniting Church in Australia has decided to hold two equal and distinct views on marriage to honour the diversity of Christian belief among her members. In terms of the constitution of the Uniting Church, Assembly has the authority to determine matters such as this, relating to doctrine. During the run up to the Assembly, and since making this decision, there has been a lot of discussion and comments made from supporters of both sides of the argument. Sadly not all of these comments, and in particular the ones on social media, have been loving or gracious. In view of the situation we now find ourselves in, I wanted to remind us of who we are called to be and how we are called to behave.
In writing to the Ephesians, Paul urges the church to strive to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He reminds us that there is one God, one Lord who calls us, and one Spirit that is gifted to us. As Christians we share the same experience of Jesus, share the same baptism, and share in the same hope. So God, who exists as a unity, wishes the church, as a symbol of God’s presence in the world, to be united. Paul is clear that this does not mean we are all the same. On the contrary, he highlights that we are different, we are given different gifts, in order that we can accomplish different tasks. But all this diversity is a strength to allow us to meet the mission of Jesus in the world. We are to have unity in diversity.
The first disciples were a pretty diverse group. They comprised fishermen, tax collectors, political activists and women. Yet their love of Jesus was greater than anything that divided them; it brought them together in a common mission. They showed unity in this diversity. From this beginning, the church has had to deal with diverse opinions. From whether or not to minister to non-Jews, whether or not to insist on circumcision, what books to include in the bible, what happens at communion and how to baptise people correctly (and do those people include infants)? Although I was not present for these discussions, I’m pretty sure those on each side were equally convinced of the correctness of their position. Yet ultimately the church trusted that Jesus would lead them as He saw fit and they placed their faith in Him and allowed the church to be shaped by what they discerned as His will for them.
Former President of Assembly, Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney, pointed out that the Uniting Church, from her inception, embodies Paul’s attitude. The three congregations that came together all had differences in theology, doctrine and practice. Yet they came together to show unity, not because their differences were insignificant, but because they wanted to give effect to Christ’s will for unity. It was to be a “visible unity of divided people as a foretaste, sign and instrument of the reconciliation of the world to God in Christ”.
We are to continue with this attitude of unity. The decision by Assembly means that if you agree with same sex marriage or if you disagree with same sex marriage, you are welcome within the Uniting Church. But there is no compromise between these positions; there’s no half way point. How can we move forward from here; how do we show the world God’s love when we are so divided on this one issue? Well as Paul highlights in his letter, we need to have humility, gentleness and patience with one another so we can “put up” with each other in love. Humility to recognise that we don’t know the mind of God better than anyone else. Gentleness not to condemn or judge those with a different position and patience with one another. It is God who makes the offer of salvation to us, it is God who determines who is saved, not the church, not the members of the congregation. Jesus told us to love one another; this is what we must do.
I believe it is a sign of a healthy church that we wrestle with scripture, theology and our understanding of God. It was diversity of theological opinion that led to the reformation, church opposition to slavery, feminist theology, and liberation theology among other developments. It shows we are complying with the basis of union that requires us to daily seek Christ’s will rather than simply accept things they way they are and will be forevermore. The Lord has yet more light and truth to spring forth from His word apparently. As a reformed church we are always reforming! We are also always open to correction.
And remember this, everyone in the church loves Jesus. Those on both sides of the argument genuinely believe they are following Jesus as well as they can. Surely our love of Jesus and our desire to serve Him are the most important things?
There is so much more we can do together than if we are apart. The mission of God is the most important thing. Our love for Jesus and His world together with our desire to see the kingdom spread should unite us together despite our differences. A house divided cannot stand. What message are we sending to the world about the nature of God if we are fighting among ourselves? How much of a witness to the reconciliation of all things to God will we bear if we show unity among this diversity? May we strive in all things to maintain the unity in the Spirit that is both Christ’s will and gift to the church. May we show humility, gentleness and patience with one another. May we show unity in diversity is a strength. And may we recognise that the force that unites us is far greater than anything that would drive us apart.
In reality, we minister in an area where children are going to bed hungry, where families are sleeping in cars. We have higher than average poverty, unemployment and deprivation around us. People in our community have to make a choice as to whether or not to spend money on utilities or food. We are seeing people travel long distances to access our food ministry. Jesus has placed an absolute demand upon us to feed the hungry, welcome the stranger, care for those in need and to show God’s love. If we destroy ourselves then we cannot do these things. We need to ask ourselves what matters more, our understanding of marriage or our desire to show God’s love to our neighbours. For the sake of our mission, I’m asking all of us to strive for unity in our diversity.
We also need to accept that people are genuinely hurting, either by the decision that has been made or by the behaviour of others subsequent to this decision. We need to minister to one another with compassion and love. Jesus instructs us to comfort those who suffer. May we be the comfort of Jesus to one another, regardless of where we stand on this issue. May we only speak words that build up the body of Christ, not bring it down.
Let us never forget that Jesus loves the church and has promised never to leave us or forsake us. As we wrestle with our own theological beliefs, our understanding of Jesus and scripture, and the repercussions of this Assembly decision, we know Jesus is with us and will bring us through this time. We have been promised that His church will prevail. We remember that it is Jesus who is Lord of our church. May we uphold one another in love and prayer at this time.
Our COMN Gathering at Ascot
On Tue 31st July, 38 members from 17 congregations gathered together for our COMN Ascot Gathering at which we heard from our Gen-Sec Rev. Rob Brown who shared with us about the 2018 Assembly meeting.
The Gathering has been downloaded onto the COMN webpage for you to watch at your leisure.
Our 4th and last COMN Gathering for 2018
will be at
Broadview Uniting Church
Corner Galway Ave and, Collingrove Ave, Broadview SA 5083
on Tuesday 30th October
starting at 6.15pm with a shared meal.
This meeting will include our AGM
followed by our guest speaker Grant Simpson talking about-
“Theology and Practice of Hospitality”
Practice • Presence • Place
Workshop for Church Councils
Equipping Church Councils as we discern and determine
strategic actions to connect and engage with the social
fabric of our local communities
Saturday 11 August
9.30 am – 12.30 pm
Christ Church, Wayville,
26 King William Road, Wayville
“The most effective mission strategy for any church is to intentionally create space for meaningful dialogue.” EDGE, United Church of Canada
The workshop will create an opportunity to share and gain insights, hear from practitioners, and
receive tools to apply in local situations
Plenary with Rev Dr Ian Price and Sharonne Price
Sharonne and Ian bring significant experience in observing and participating in
local church settings and the wider church.
PechaKucha presentations and elective workshops
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org before August 3
Dealing with Depression
and people contemplating Suicide
Presented by Mark Boyce
Seminar will be held at Grange Uniting Church, 5 Beach St, Grange.
On Tuesday 14th August at 7pm
Topics will include: What is depression. What causes depression, Some ways through depression,
Dealing with the myths of suicide
Mark has worked as a Chaplin in the mental health arena for the last 20 years. This has included working in hospitals, the community and in rehabs. Mark has also developed a 7 week training package for people in being able to care and support people who experience mental illness.
Prior to working as a Chaplin Mark worked for almost 20 years as a Nurse, working in acute hospital settings, the community, mental health and drug and alcohol services.
Mark has continued to study and update his skills and knowledge in the mental health arena.
Willunga Messy Church !
We are giving a new thing ago!
An Alternative All-Age church
Cost- Gold coins donation for materials
4.00 p.m. Welcome –Activities/Craft time.
5.00 p.m. Chapel Celebration Service.
5.30 p.m. Simple Meal together
6.00 pm. Farewells & see you next time!
Dates & Themes- Sundays
-26th August –“New Beginnings”
– 23rd September – “Being a Shiny Light”
I Messy Church Author Lucy Moore”… This journey to faith involves bits of belonging, a little believing, a certain amount of ownership all swilling around together in a life-changing primeval soup while the Spirit works in us to bring us nearer to Jesus in our many different ways.”
For Further information – Rev Cogs Smith
Willunga Uniting Church “Where Spirit & Community meet”
Office: (08) 8556 2650
Postal address: PO Box 307, Willunga 5172
Email – email@example.com
Willunga Christmas Tree Festival August 2018
Each year we invite the community to enter a Christmas tree for our festival. This year we are excited to be sponsored by Onkaparinga council, which will continue to enable enhanced displays, promotion and prizes for the most popular Christmas trees. The 2018 poster will be launched at the beginning of September.
Your past support of this event has been valued greatly. Our theme this year is ‘Going Green’. As with previous years the theme is open to the imagination.
Further details on the 2018 Festival for your diaries:
When: December 1 & 2 – 10am to 4pm. Group bookings December 3 to December 6 and by arrangement.
The community will also be invited to create their own Advent Wreath for inclusion in the festival. The popular advent wreath workshops are on in November. Further workshops will also be announced.
Delivery date for your creation will be Thursday, November 29, 9am to 5pm.
Please complete the entry details on the attached form and forward to: Willunga Christmas Tree Festival, P.O. Box 307, WILLUNGA 5172.
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact for enquiries or bookings-:
Jenny Esots – 85562758 or Rosemary – 8556 2650
Many thanks, Willunga Christmas Tree Festival Team
Willunga Christmas Tree Festival 2018
Now in its 17th year –December 1 & 2
You are invited to enter a Christmas tree for display in the festival. Promote your business, group or community plus in the process create a unique tree for your Christmas celebrations.
Entry is free, and open to all. Your tree will also be included in our popular vote. This year the festival has sponsorship from Onkaparinga Council and prizes will be offered for the most popular trees and most original. The theme this year is ‘Going Green’
To enter a tree please send back this completed invite – by November 24.
Phone: 85562758 OR 85562650 email: email@example.com
I will be submitting a tree for entry into the festival.
Contact details: ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
Title of Tree: …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
If you are looking for our COMN Newsletters on the COMN webpage
click on the Resources button,
select Newsletter on the drop-down list,
then click on the Newsletter you are wanting to read.
Please share this information and the events
with your congregation.
You never know who may be interested in attending something which is happening??
If you have any articles for the September COMN Newsletter,
please have them sent into Brian by Friday 31st August
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org Mobile- 0413 994837