A Message from Peter Morris – Focus on Frontier Services

The Parable of the Sower, one of the best known of Jesus’ stories, uses the unpredictability and hardships of farming life to ask its hearers to reflect on life in general, but for Christians it reminds them of their mission to spread the Gospel through service and witness. The story seems to be dominated by the ways in which the spreading of the Word can be frustrated and it is easy to overlook the message of encouragement that ends the story.  ….they bear fruit, thirtyfold, sixtyfold, even a hundredfold. Mark 4:20

In recent weeks it has been almost impossible to be unaware and unmoved by the plight of the many farmers across Australia suffering the effects of prolonged drought and others the results of hundreds of bush fires. It has been heartening to see and hear the massive response to their hardship. Frontier Services of the UCA is supporting outback communities and isolated families in good times as well as difficult ones. The Outback Padres mission is constant and in continuation of the long and honoured heritage of Rev John Flynn. They are respected and welcomed throughout the outback because they listen, care and understand. They endure the rocky patches, push through the weeds and scare away the predatory birds as they touch the lives of the lonely and isolated.

We can support this work in many ways. The article in the current edition of CHATS mentions the hosting of a fund-raising Outback BBQ and the support of the Red Dove Café at the Show. (Funds from the Café have helped re-establish a part time Padre based in Ceduna). Please keep Frontier Services, the padres and their families, and the other agencies working in the outback to support families who even in the good times do it tough.

 

An Introduction to Rev Trevor Klar

As a minister for around 35 years I have had a rich and varied ministry. I have ministered in rural Port Lincoln) and remote (Kangaroo Island) settings; I have been involved in suburban ministry (Semaphore, Woodville, Seacombe); I have ministered in Urban fringe communities (Meadows and Mount Barker) and I have been involved in both workplace chaplaincy and school chaplaincy (PAC).

This has given me a rich and broad experience of ministry and has honed my skills. My areas of passion include working with people beyond the fringe of the church, particularly through chaplaincy, but I love the opportunity to speak of faith with those who either have no faith or are searching and exploring faith. I am also passionate about worship being “of the people”. We are all called to worship, not just watch it being done for us. This can include the arts, but also intensive prayer with those in need, and opportunities for individual response.

I also am passionate about small groups in the life of the church and will seek to encourage this area of ministry during my time at BCUC, particularly working alongside small group leaders to encourage them. I believe some programs are planned already so I look forward to supporting those.

One of my other passions is Disaster and Recovery Ministries. I have served in a variety of ways in this ministry, and in my last congregation we agreed that I would be released to be one of the early responders. I expect to continue this involvement in years to come.

I enjoy leading and participating in worship as it is a communal opportunity for us to hear and respond to the voice of God through Jesus and the Spirit, and I enjoy sharing about faith and helping people to deeply consider how they might grow in faith.

On a personal level – I am married (since Aug 1981 to Sue) have two grown daughters (Amy and Jessica) and two grandsons. I delight in Patrick (3 1?2) and Owen (12 months). I play golf (badly) and have kept Finches – although at the moment I am refurbishing my aviary so have none.

Of course, any bio sheet like this will barely tell any of the important “stuff” so please talk to me so we can discover each other.

A Message from Gary – 26 August 2018

Living Life to the Full  

One of the major themes of John’s Gospel is life. John introduces this theme in the first few verses of his Gospel: “All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life.” And it comes near the end when John tells us why he wrote his Gospel: “…These are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.”

All through the Gospel the theme of life emerges. Perhaps the best known reference is John 10:10: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” The word used there for abundant means,  ‘over and above’… ‘more than necessary’ … ‘superadded’ … ‘supreme’.

Yet many people do not experience life in this way. Perhaps they experience life more like it seems Philip Adams does: “To me the universe is meaningless. There is no destiny, no author of creation. To me life is just a brief flash in infinite darkness.”

Perhaps part of the problem is with the word life itself. What is one word in English is at least three words in the Greek (the language of the New Testament). The first word is bios from which we derive our word biology. It is to do with the mechanics of life: eating, resting , reproducing. The second word is psyche from which we get psychology. It refers to the life of the mind and the emotions. Both of these are seen in the Christian tradition as good and necessary. But they are not enough for the fullness of life. So we have a third word zoe. It doesn’t translate into any common English word. But it is the word used when Jesus talks about life abundant or the fullness of life. It is a word which suggests the very life of God lived in and through us. To ignore this dimension is to live a diminished life.

We might call this deeper dimension of life the life of the soul or the spirit. So says John in his Gospel, open yourself to the deeper dimensions of life, allow the very life of God to come alive in you, for therein is the fullness of life. Or as the saint of old, Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself and our souls are restless until they rest in You.”

A Message from Rob – 19 August 2018

In Ephesians 5:15-20, St. Paul succinctly outlines behaviour for right living – Be wise, be sober, and be thankful. It’s a short list to help us transform our relationship with God, with positives for our relationships with our family, friends, those with whom we worship, and neighbours.

St. Paul ends this section of his letter by writing

Give thanks to God the Father at all times and for
everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Eph.5:20

Some of us find this really hard to do – giving thanks to God at all times. Things like affluence, pride, circumstances and habits get in the way of acknowledging the source of the many blessings we receive daily from God.  It’s also hard to rejoice and be thankful when life has the better of you. It’s hard to be thankful when your doctor tells you ‘it’s serious’. Or when a family member calls and says “I’m in real trouble. I’m with the police.” It’s hard to be grateful when the bills are mounting up and the boss is considering layoffs. Often the culprit behind our inability to give thanks to God is harsh circumstances. Our thankfulness for the good things we have received from God is often soured by the sins and violence and horrors of our day to day existence.

Gratitude to God entails that we live not by evading the real nature of our existence, not by denying its character and history, but by facing the realities in our life with God’s help as the Holy Spirit strengthens us for daily living.

A Message from Gary – 12 August 2018

Gary Stuckey

Dealing with Anger — All of us from time to time will feel angry and we certainly see signs of anger around us in such things as road rage. But of all the human emotions anger is perhaps one of the most difficult to deal with. Responses to anger range from trying to bury it within ourselves to free venting of our anger in a rage.  There is an opinion in some church circles that it is wrong to be angry and texts like Colossians 3:8are brought out to support that point of view: “But now you must get rid of all such things…” and the first thing mentioned is anger.

But when we read the Gospels we find that Jesus was on occasion angry. I think, for example, of when he turfed the money changers out of the Temple. Or in Marks Gospel (3;5) when he responded to the way people were using a man with a withered hand for their own ends. And Ephesians tells us (4:26): “Be angry but do not sin.”

How can we be angry without sinning?

Well, it’s not by trying to repress our anger, that is, try and bury it within ourselves and hope it won’t escape. It isn’t by releasing it, giving free expression to the anger within us.  There is another way, and this is to redeem it. That is, turn the energy of our anger into a good purpose. People like Wilberforce were angry at the slave trade and they allowed the energy of that anger to overturn the trafficking of human beings. An early desert monk by the name of Evagrius said we should not waste a good anger on being angry with a person. Rather, he said, we should be angry at a wrong and allow that to motivate you to right the wrong.

Often when we feel angry it is a knee jerk reaction to something that we perceive to have threatened us in some way. Something happens and we react. Action leads to reaction. To redeem our anger we need to place a step in between the action and reaction and that step is to question. Something happens and we feel angry. We then ask, Why am I feeling like this and what can I do about it?

That is, I think, how we can be angry and not sin.

A Message from Rob – 5th August 2018

Rob WilliamsThere are a number of ‘Specified Ministries’ within the Uniting Church including the ministry of Lay Preacher. Today across the Synod we celebrate and give thanks to God for those who have been called by God to exercise this ministry. Without their commitment to proclaim the Word of God, it has been estimated that half the services of worship conducted in Uniting Church congregations each Sunday in SA would have no preacher!

We are blessed at BCUC with 7 accredited Lay Preachers, 5 retired accredited Lay Preachers and 7 more people not accredited but who preach within our congregation from time to time. Thank you for the faithful exercise of your ministry among us.

Those who have been gifted by God to preach are examples of those who the Spirit is using to equip us as a congregation for Christian living. The purpose of such gifting is that we may be unified in faith and grow to maturity in Christ. Ephesians chapter 4 on which my sermon for today is based, indicates clearly that the ascended Christ gave various gifts to the infant Church for its growth in faith, service and unity. Using the ‘body’ analogy, Christ is the Church’s head, and as each one of us joined together in him plays our part, the body grows and builds itself up in love (Eph. 4:16).

Thank you to all who preach in our various services of worship. Your faithfulness and commitment to proclaim the Word of God inspires us for our daily living and brings us fresh insight from God for our personal lives and our life together as a congregation.

 

A Message from Gary – 29 July 2018

Gary StuckeyBeing the Beloved  

Holy Communion is one of the central moments of a church’s worshipping life. Participating in Holy Communion is, according to the National Church Life Survey, one of the most significant elements in a person’s spiritual life. 

Why so? I guess there are many reasons, but one, I think, would be that Communion is a microcosm of what the Christian life is about. It reminds us of who we follow and how he lived, and then calls us to the same. It’s about our identity; it’s about our reason for being.

In the Gospels we read the words with which we are no doubt aware: “Taking the five loaves (he) blessed and broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the people…” (Mark 6:41) If those words sound familiar, it is because they are the same words used at the Last Supper (Mark 14:22) and also when the resurrected shared a meal the two travellers on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:30).

Taken, blessed, broken and given. Why the repetition? Henri Nouwen suggests it is because these words summarise Jesus’ life and the life to which we are called.

Our lives are taken, that is we are chosen by God. We are blessed; to be blessed is to have good things said about you. We know that in life we experience brokenness; but through that brokenness we are enabled to nourish others. And our lives are to be given to and for others; we are a unique and valuable gift to this world.

We truly are the beloved children of God.

A message from Donald Sarre – 22 July 2018

In Christ, we have different gifts, making one body  

Over the last few weeks, with anticipation and joy, we have witnessed the rescue of 12 young boys and their soccer coach.  Praise and thanks to God for these 13 lives being saved. And prayers for the family of the volunteer who lost his life in saving others.  The boys were trapped in a cave for 9 days, in total darkness, no food, no contact with anyone and no idea if they would ever be rescued. Imagine you were one of them.  How would you feel? Then came the incredible discovery and rescue. They were rescued by a huge team, each using their different gifts and skills.  There were divers, doctors, engineers, pilots, paramedics, police, army, food providers, … the list goes on.  Over a thousand involved. All members of the ONE TEAM, with ONE MISSION.  Save the boys and their coach.  It has never been done before. A miracle and modern day example of Paul’s statement in Romans 12:5-8.  

“In Christ we, though many, form one body (team), and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us.”

What are your God given gifts and skills?  Yes you have some.  Like the cave rescue team.

We all have GOD GIVEN GIFTS  –  use them with the same enthusiasm.

We are all part of the ONE TEAM,  – the body of Christ  (Some Team!).

with ONE MISSION. “to make disciples of all nations”.  Let’s get on with it.  

 

A message from Gary Stuckey – 15 July 2018

Gary StuckeyInterrobang  

In 1968 Remington-Rand introduced a new key on its typewriters. It was a punctuation mark called the Interrobang.

It was first proposed in 1962 by Martin Speckter in an article he wrote for “TYPEtalks Magazine” and was the first new punctuation mark proposed since 1671. As you can see it is a cross between a question mark (?) and an exclamation mark (!). The name comes from printers jargon where a question is called an interro and the exclamation mark is called a bang.

The reason why Remington-Rand introduced it was because they said it filled a gap in our English language. There are times, they said, where neither the question mark nor the exclamation mark is quite the appropriate symbol. The interrobang would come at the end of sentence where we might find a series of question and exclamation marks: !?!?!?. They would be sentences which express both astonishment and curiosity, wonder and uncertainty.

In this punctuation mark we have been given a new way of looking at faith and life because there are times when neither the ! or the ? is the appropriate symbol for what is happening. These are the times in life where we both want to affirm and question what is going on. It comes at a point where what we know and do not know meet, where faith and doubt converge.

It comes, for example, in the face of terrible tragedy where we want to ask how this could happen? Why? What’s the point? But at the same we are not left in the world of questions and uncertainty. We still can affirm our faith in life, the goodness of creation and a loving God.

In summary then, the Interrobang means:
“We must never allow what we do know
to blind us to what is yet to be known.
We must never allow what we do not know
to rob us of confidence in what we do know.”

 

A message from Rob Williams – 8 July 2018

Rob WilliamsNAIDOC week this year runs from 8th – 15th July. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920’s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

The theme for 2018 is Because of Her, We Can!  It focuses on the role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played – and continue to play – in active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels. Although intended for classroom use, resources found at https://www.naidoc.org.au/resources/teaching-guides provide helpful background to this week of celebration.

Our Uniting Church in Australia is committed to the special relationship of Covenant with God and one another, that first and second peoples are called into together. It is in this God-inspired relationship that healing and sacred kinship may become possible. The Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) is an association of Indigenous peoples within the Uniting Church. The Congress requested and was granted by the Assembly, in 1985, authority to make decisions in all matters relating to ministry with Aboriginal and Islander peoples.

I invite you in NAIDOC week – but not just then – to pray for reconciliation between first and second peoples in our country.

References: http://sa.uca.org.au/covenanting/
https://www.naidoc.org.au/