A message from Matthew September 17

“Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18a KJV) These are dramatic words. They are words that get my attention. They are ancient words of wisdom from the scriptures. On Saturday September 23rd the people of Burnside City Uniting Church are invited to gather for a Vision and Mission Retreat Workshop. This will begin at 10am and will include lunch. Please provide an ‘expression of interest’ to the Church Council Secretary, Gill Cibich by Thursday 21st of September for catering and preparation purposes. We will conclude the day at 4pm. Over recent months we have all participated in the “Gifts of the Spirit” series and have learned that we all have Spiritual Gifts that are to be used in the service of God through our church. Last year we filled in the National Church Life Survey and these results are now available for us to better understand our church and the situation for all churches in Australia. We have valuable ideas from the Vision and Mission afternoon held here on the 20th of August. Many people have been praying regularly and seeking to hear from God about what God has planned for our church in the future. From this information we will be asked on September 23 as Gary Stuckey leads us in this retreat workshop to discern where God is leading us as a church community. We have gathered a lot of information and we will respect the privacy of the people who have shared from their hearts. This is another step along the way as we faithfully seek to be the church that God has called us to be. Please make every effort to be here on the 23rd of September. God bless, Matthew.   … Continue reading

Vision and Mission Retreat Workshop

Saturday September 23rd 10 am to 4pm with lunch included. The purpose of the gathering is to discern God’s Mission for BCUC by working through the : National Church Life Survey data, the information from the Gifts of the Spirit responses, the offerings from the Vision and Mission planning day and the input from the Sunday prayer group. All are invited to join with the Elders to explore the information to discern God’s Mission for BCUC. Contact Gill Cibich to reserve your space gcibich@internode.on.net   … Continue reading

A message from Gary September 10

Resolving our differences   The theme for services at BCUC during September is “Relationships.” That is hardly surprising. The pages of the Bible often address the relationships amongst the people of God and exhort us to engage in supportive, encouraging and loving relationships. The way we relate to and with one another is a part of our witness to those around us.   However, we know that even in the best relationships differences and conflict will arise. And so it sometimes is in the life of the church. There will be times when those alongside whom we work and worship in Christian community will see things differently from the way we do. Sometimes these will be small differences, easily resolved. On other occasions the differences will be over more substantial matters.   I’ve heard it said on occasions, as I’m sure you have, that as a Christian community we shouldn’t experience differences, let alone conflict. A common criticism of churches is, “Look, they can’t even get on together.” But this misses the point.   The text from Matthew’s Gospel this morning is about resolving conflicts that arose within the church. That Matthew even wrote about this at least shows us that this is nothing new! There have always been differences when people get together, even as the church. When you look around at those with whom we are in Christian community and consider how different we are, sometimes it is surprising that we can agree on anything at all.   As Jesus addresses the matter of handling differences, he starts by assuming that they will arise. What makes the difference is not whether or not we fight or disagree or wound one another, but how we go about addressing these issues. We are not to yell, slander, gossip about or humiliate those with whom we disagree, but neither are we to pretend that conflict does not exist. The invitation is to seek reconciliation, and Jesus provides a way to move in that direction. Firstly, we go to the one with whom we disagree privately. If that fails, involve one or two wise, trusted people to help towards reconciliation. If the matter is still not resolved, it is then given a public airing in the church. But always the aim and desire is for reconciliation.   Could we do any less when we worship a God who is reconciling all things to himself?   Gary   … Continue reading

A message from Matthew September 3

 This is the latest statement on Marriage from the President of the Uniting Church released on 28 August, 2017. I believe it is helpful for members of Burnside City Uniting Church to hear these words. The Marriage Law Postal Survey and Respectful Conversations The Australian Government has announced the process it will follow for the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. Survey forms will be mailed out to all eligible voters from 12 September with voters asked to return the completed survey by 6pm on 27 October 2017. Full details of the process are available on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website. As explained previously, the Uniting Church is conducting its own longstanding independent discernment on marriage and we will not be recommending any position to UCA members in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey. (The Uniting Church in Australia currently understands marriage as ‘the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of a man and a woman to live together for life’.) I would however take this opportunity to again remind members of the need for respectful conversations on the issue of same-gender marriage. As the public debate intensifies, we must redouble our efforts to choose our words carefully, including when we speak of our sisters and brothers in Christ. For those who feel the need to share their views, pointed criticism of other Christians lacks grace and falls short of our stated ecumenical values. In Paragraph 2 of the Basis of Union we state our belief that Christians in Australia are called to bear witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries. We may disagree with each other on any number of issues as Christians, but as Paul said in Romans 12:5 “We belong to one another”. So please speak with love. The Uniting Church’s official definition of marriage is between a man and a woman. Also we are committed to being an inclusive Church that embraces LGBTIQ people as full members and to culturally appropriate discussion about relationships and marriage across our diversity. Public speculation on how the Uniting Church might respond to a change in the Marriage Act is unhelpful, and distracts focus on our own discernment. Under the Marriage Act, ministers of religion cannot legally solemnise a marriage without an approved liturgy. Whatever the outcome of the postal survey and any subsequent changes to the Act, our Church’s position on marriage will remain the same until such a time as our national Council, the Assembly, decides otherwise and approves an appropriate liturgy. This is not a matter in which individual Uniting Church congregations can act unilaterally. I would like to acknowledge that this national conversation is difficult and painful for many. If in the course of the public debate you experience sadness or distress and you need help, please seek support. Stuart McMillan President, Uniting Church Australia   … Continue reading

A message from Matthew August 27

Who is Jesus Christ?      UNLIKE the question “Does God exist?” very few people question whether Jesus Christ existed. It is generally accepted that Jesus was truly a man who walked on the earth in Israel 2000 years ago. The debate begins when the subject of Jesus’ full identity is discussed. Almost every major religion teaches that Jesus was a prophet or a good teacher or a godly man. The problem is that the Bible tells us that Jesus was infinitely more than a prophet, a good teacher, or a godly man. C.S. Lewis in his book Mere Christianity writes the following: “I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him [Jesus Christ]: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with a man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon; or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that option open to us. He did not intend to.” 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16-17 (NIV)   … Continue reading

A message from Matthew 20 August 2017

I received this delightful email from Sharonne Price on behalf of the Working Group for the Transforming Worship Conference that I wanted to share with you. Dear faithful volunteers, I write to thank you on behalf of the Assembly Worship Working Group for the fabulous contribution you all made to the success of the conference. Many things that are worthwhile are driven by volunteers, and as we know, even those who receive payment of some kind volunteer hour and hours of time, energy and financial resources to the life of the church. I know that not a single person who volunteered is a novice in  the art of giving. Thank you for offering us all your grace and energy, skills and knowledge for the conference. I hope and trust that everyone has recovered from the demanding (and inspiring) few days that have already become a sentinel experience of welcome, community, worship, wonder and learning for  those who joined us. All of you worked very hard whether it was serving food, washing dishes, mastering the coffee urn, solving problems, washing floors, disposing of rubbish, helping with the reception desk, monitoring the state of the bathrooms, setting up, re-organising …and yes, smiling through it all. The feedback has been very positive indeed. Thank you too for the way you were prepared to “muck in” with a new team and with people you did not know well. It certainly proved that our wider Uniting Church family is recognisable as having a distinctive service orientation. We made a happy community together. Special thanks go to the Burnside City folk. You shared your fabulous property and all your resources with willing and open hearts. You allowed others to make their way in your kitchen – not an easy thing to do – and you let people like me make their  own mistakes. Thank you! Christine Secombe is in the USA at the moment, but she joins me in thanking you all from the bottom of our hearts.  May your ongoing ministries of service be richly blessed,   Sharonne Price   … Continue reading

Family Fun @ 5 Saturday September 16

Where is your treasure? Come and join us on Saturday September 16, 5pm to 7pm for craft, games, story and a meal. Family Fun @ 5 is a free event which aims to involve children up to Year 7 and the young at heart. Craft and games are followed by an interactive story and a shared meal. It’s a great opportunity for families to have an enjoyable evening together!   … Continue reading

Vision and Mission Afternoon Sunday August 20

Come and join us for our Vision & Mission Afternoon. We will gather from 2 pm – 6 pm to worship as a community and to pray, listen and discern what it is God is calling BCUC to be and do. There will be a special time for the children, so that they will be able to share their experiences and express their hopes for BCUC as their spiritual home. At 5:00 pm we will have a pizza tea so families can be home early enough to get ready for the school week. If you want to know more there is an article in Chats about our current Vision and Mission and there will be more preparatory information this Sunday for you to take home to read and prepare. The Pastor Mark Schultz has special gifts and experience in supporting communities to discern their vision and Mission and he will be leading us. … Continue reading