It was so refreshing to have Janette, Joanne and “Emma” from Blueprint Ministries join us in worship last week at our Palm Sunday service. As a result I sensed a desire from some to find new ways to reach our children and youth to enhance their faith-life in meaningful ways. How challenging it is for us to find the ways in which God would direct us to make this happen.
Pastor Greg’s sermon last week also highlighted the ultimate commitment of Jesus to serve both His Father and humanity – even death on the cross. It had been a while since I had heard the “Kenosis” referred to – the self emptying of Jesus, from Philippians 2:7. I always reflect on this when we sing the hymn And Can It Be and come to the line where we sing, “Emptied Himself of ALL – BUT LOVE!” This also reminds me of the LCA theme “Where Love Comes To Life!” May St Peter’s Lutheran Elizabeth be the place where the self-emptying Love of Jesus does indeed come to life – especially over Easter.
And how different Easter is from this time last year. Despite certain restrictions still in place, we can at least physically meet to worship and celebrate the Life, Suffering, Death and Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you once again to all who last Easter worked to keep contact with everyone and have on line and printed services provided to remain in touch.
I was recently touched by the lyrics of the beautiful song “I’ve Just Seen Jesus” written by Gloria Gaither that speaks of the encounter Mary Magdalene and Peter had with Jesus on that resurrection morning and I share them with you:
“We knew He was dead, it is finished, He said. We watched as his life ebbed away. Then we all stood around till the guards took Him down. Joseph begged for His body that day.
It was late afternoon when we got to the tomb. Wrapped His body and sealed up the grave. So I know how you feel, His death was so real. But please listen and hear what I say...
I’ve just seen Jesus, I tell you He’s alive. I’ve just seen Jesus, our precious Lord alive. And I knew He really saw me too as if till now I’d never lived. All that I’d done before won’t matter anymore. I’ve just seen Jesus and I’ll never be the same again...”
At our last couple of Church Council meetings I have opened with the collect of the day from The Book of Common Prayer, so I close this “Chatter” on this Easter Resurrection Day with this prayer, also from The Book of Common Prayer:
“Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; We humbly beseech thee, that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds good desires, so by thy continual help bring the same to good effect; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen”
Have a happy and blessed Easter, as you experience and share the life giving Grace and Peace of our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ.
Yes as we approach Holy Week leading up to Good Friday, we can join the thousands of angels, living creatures and the elders and every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea who sing, “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and glory and praise!...for ever and ever!” AMEN!
(Revelation 5:12-13 - NIV)
What a privilege we have to worship our crucified and risen saviour, Jesus Christ again this Easter and proclaim the saving Grace of our Lord to all the world. The service times for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday have been in the weekly bulletin over the past few weeks of Lent. Thank you to Janine for the fine job you are doing in keeping us up with everything.
Church Council met a couple of weeks ago. We welcomed our assigned 4th year Seminary student Joel Grieger as he attended for the first time with our council. Our treasurer Eric Turnwald continues to report that our finances are holding up better than expected, for which we praise God.
A few dates to remember are our Spring Plant Sale in September and the 65th Church Anniversary/Reunion planned for Sunday November 21st, with one 10 am service. Details will follow.
Also coming up, is the church Annual General Meeting on May 30th at 1:30pm. What we have known as our Half Yearly Meeting and Election of Officers is now referred to in the constitution (11.2) as the Budget and Elections General Meeting. This must take place prior to the end of the financial year (December 31), which will probably be in November.
I announced to the Church Council that (primarily on medical advice), I will not be standing for re-election as Church Chairperson. Now is a good time to begin praying and exploring who would be a suitable candidate to be elected to the position.
You may have heard that we recently had to say farewell to our beautiful collie dog Sidney. It was very upsetting to lose my best buddy and I miss him very much. However, during his last days I would drive him to Fremont Park for walks (staggers). On Saturday mornings I discovered a group called “Cos We Care.” This group of volunteers turn up from 7:30 to 9am every Saturday in the first car park, distributing food and other items to the homeless and needy in the area. They are not church based in any way, but we can show the love of Christ by referring anyone that we know in need to them. I commend them to you and to make any donations. They often set up a barbeque outside of ALDI at Munno Para on Fridays and they simply ask customers to pick up something extra in their grocery shopping to contribute to the cause.
May the love, grace and blessings of our Lord be with you all during this coming Easter season.
In Sunday’s Gospel reading (John 1:43-51) we had the question of Nathanael, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” to which Philip answered, “Come and see.” (v.46).
People today sometimes ask a similar question, “Can anything good come out of Elizabeth?” to which we probably should reply, “Come and see!”
Jan and I recently watched a recording of the ducu-movie “Working Class Boy,” which is the story of the life of Jimmy Barnes as told by Jimmy Barnes himself. I am not a fan of his music and certainly don’t condone his past “Drugs, sex and Rock ’n Roll” lifestyle. However it was interesting and enlightening to hear the story of how he struggled to grow up in Elizabeth, living initially in Heytesbury Road, not far from our church building. If I knew nothing about Elizabeth (or indeed Adelaide) I could easily form a very negative view of Elizabeth and Adelaide from watching the movie. My analysis was that it was not so much where Jimmy Barnes grew up that impacted him in such a negative way, but that his former dysfunctional Swan family had poverty, violence and alcoholism woven through it long before leaving Scotland to immigrate to Australia.
But even so, people still ask the question in various ways, “Can anything good come out of Elizabeth?” Like Nazareth, it is often viewed as a bit of a backwater where no one succeeds much in life. But when Nathanael met Jesus, his view of things changed radically. And we have Jesus. No matter where anyone lives, Jesus makes the difference.
There are many broken people around us who we may be unaware of. Jimmy Barnes was a very broken person in his youth. His story reminded me of a fellow named Greg who attended high school with me in my youth. I didn’t realize then just how broken he was until just at the end of last year. Greg was always in trouble at school and did a lot of crazy things. On a Facebook school forum I enquired about him from a man who had the same last name and who turned out to be Greg’s half brother. The half brother’s answer to my enquiry was that Greg had a very sad life, always on the wrong side of the law and died way too early from a drug overdose at Mobilong Prison. I don’t know how long ago it was, but I got the impression it was quite a long time ago. The half brother went on to say that at the age of 4 things began a downward spiral for Greg when he witnessed his uncle blow his head off with a shotgun. Broken, damaged and out of control. I was able to join the dots now. High school was the darkest time of my life and I was naive then and couldn’t see things then the way I can now. Could I have changed things if I knew then what I know now? Probably not. But it just goes to show that we just never know what it is going on the lives of others or why they behave the way they do.
So can any good thing come out of Elizabeth? Come and see! Jesus is here with us and He can change lives. Evie Tornquist used to sing, “There are so many things that money can buy, but it won’t buy peace of mind no matter how hard you try. Broken up people need brand new lives.” (Broken Up People – Daniels)
We may not be able to fix the lives of broken up people ourselves. They need brand new and eternal lives that only Jesus can give. Whatever negative perceptions some may have about Elizabeth, may St Peter’s Elizabeth be a place where people can be introduced to Jesus and put their faith in Him. Some good things can come out of Elizabeth because of Jesus and so the message from our church to our community should be, “Come and see!”
I have recently been reflecting on the first three words of Luke 2 : “IN THOSE DAYS...” Yes the context is following the birth of John the Baptist. But what were those days actually like? Someone has quite simply observed that they were days of chaos, violence, political unrest and - I would add - disease (ie leprosy). Does this sound at all familiar? We could quite easily apply Luke 2:1 to our present age – this Christmas of 2020. Caesar may not be taking a census today, but many people today are trying to get home (or find a home), if not for Christmas, then certainly to escape the trouble and disease that confronts them wherever they find themselves.
The good news is that there is still “A thrill of hope” - as the beautiful Christmas carol “O Holy Night” tells us – that this weary world can rejoice in. Jesus came to save a sinful world and sinful lives, not just In Those Days, but In THESE Days.
This year has brought a lot of weariness throughout the world with the “chaos, violence and political unrest” and of course COVID-19. We as a church have not been spared any of the weariness of it all (or is that just me?). However I am thankful for the way God has continued to work amongst us in new and different ways. Of course we still have a mission – or as Pastor Greg said in his report to the AGM, “God’s mission has a church.” And God’s Church has Jesus! So many in this “weary world” need to be introduced to Jesus – The Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of Lords - the one who can bring rest to the weary. May we all find a time of rest this Christmas – In These Days – to find the rest that only God can give and then find new ways to introduce Jesus to others burdened by sin and sickness in our weary world.
Jesus said: “Come to me all you who are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” - Matthew 11:28 (NRSV)
A Merry and blessed Christmas to you all, in Jesus’ name.
Brenton Chomel - Chairman
Church Chairman’s Chatter
Christian/Gospel singer Sandi Patty recently wrote in reference to 2020: “Nothing this year has been what we expected. Nothing!”
How true that is. Do you remember how in January I had planned out the year with dot pointing events right through to New Year’s Eve? Well those plans got pretty much dismantled, piece-by-piece. So I asked God: “Is this how you are doing a ‘new thing’ amongst us?”
This doesn’t mean that I no longer believe in planning of course. On the contrary: I still believe that if we fail to plan, then we plan to fail! I also believe that God will bless our plans along the way, but sometimes He alters them for us. This year He has altered them – A LOT!!!
But this past week has tested everyone with all the Covid-19 outbreaks in Adelaide and the subsequent lock-down that was supposed to be 6 days, but ended up being 3 days! Whew!!!
So our AGM/Half Yearly meeting that was scheduled for November 22nd was postponed.
We are now planning for the meeting to be on Sunday December 6th at 1:30pm.(2020_nominations.pdf)
The Agenda and Nominations are printed separately.
Please also note the dates of our PLANNED Christmas programme, subject to any COVID-19 restrictions, are : Carols in The Car Park on Sunday December 20th at 7:30pm; Christmas Eve Service, Thursday December 24th at 7:30pm and Christmas Day Service, Friday December 24th at 9am.
Blessings to you all in Jesus’ name, BC - Brenton Chomel - Chairman
Church Chairman’s Chatter
“For I am about to do something new.” Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)
At last week’s Church Council Meeting I shared these words from a book by Leighton Ford that I am currently reading:
Our highly organized religious lives don’t always help. The typical midsized to large North American church is densely programmed. One potential member said to a minister friend of mine, “Pastor, after looking at all the scheduled activities for this week I don’t think I’m physically fit to join your church!” He was only half-joking.
For some years the trend among growing “seeker-friendly” churches has been to offer “full-service” religious programming, one-stop opportunities for every age group and every family member (or every single), with lots of parking. Yet while these programs undoubtedly help many people, I wonder if there may be a deep and quiet counter-movement, a search for places that offer a space for silence, where people can say, “I can come and be quiet here.”
A teacher friend, who is busy lecturing at seminary all week and preaches most Sundays at growing evangelical churches, tells me that early each Sunday morning he has begun going to an Anglican church down the road. There he can quiet his soul in silence before venturing into the busyness of the “day of rest!”
Pastor Greg’s report was also along the same lines, with regards to fatigue in the church. He has observed that since the Pandemic there are some who are experiencing tiredness or fatigue. This is why it was suggested last month that it might be necessary to move to one service. That suggestion had nothing to do with worship style or age. It was to do with preventing burnout (or brownout) of people working (often behind the scenes) in the running of our services and other ministries of the church. Whilst we do have printed hymn books and worship books to fall back on if needed, it is necessary for the services to be done in good order in a manner that allows Pastor to simply lead the service and these days (and for some years now) they have been prepared and followed by electronic means. What would help, is for at least two extra people per service to be available to operate the power-point and/or audio. We will be seeking volunteers for this at our combined AGM/Half Yearly Meeting on November 22nd, but if you feel led to volunteer in this capacity in the meantime, please do not hesitate to speak to one of the Church Council members or Geoff Burls.
Nominations will be sought for church officers and should be presented in writing (forms will be provided) to any of the Nominations Committee (Chairperson, Pastor, David Lorke and Joyleen Tonissen). Besides election of officers, there will be other items for discussion, which will include another Plant Sale next year, the possibility of Sunday School and looking again at our Mission! We do have a “Mission Statement,” but what specifically is our mission here in Elizabeth? The last few words of our mission statement say,“...so that all may know and worship Jesus.”
I am reminded of the words of Daniel T. Niles who defined the work of the church being beggars telling other beggars where to find bread.
The great message of the Gospel is not one that we should just keep to ourselves. It is not a case of, “I have it, but who else needs it?” So please be praying and thinking about what our mission is here at St Peter’s Elizabeth and who the people are that we need to share “the bread” of the Gospel with. Who are the people we want to come to “Know and worship Jesus” with us? And how will we do that?
Last Sunday’s Old Testament reading gave us a great promise in Exodus 33: 14: “My Presence shall go with you and I will give you rest.” God is working and fighting for us and in the words of a contemporary gospel song, “Oh Jesus! Your presence is Heaven to me!” What rest and reassurance to know that Jesus is with us.
Also remember what Jesus said:
“And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 - NLT)
And all of God’s people said – AMEN! PRAISE GOD!
I wasn’t present at the last Church Council meeting, so I am still catching up with things.
However, one of the items that was presented (and some have contacted me about), is the matter of moving to one Sunday Service due to the lack of resources to run 2 services. Currently we are averaging a combined attendance of 60. As was expected, numbers have dropped since we were in lock down.
I am not pushing any agenda of my own on this, only God’s agenda. Remember that since before the pandemic, God gave me Isaiah 43:19, “For I am about to do a new thing.” God has been doing some new things in our church since the pandemic. We have had to think and act differently in a number of ways, including in our worship patterns. So we are faced with the challenge of not looking so much to our own preferences in music and style and times of worship, but rather what God would want and what would best lift up the name of Jesus in our midst.
Worship has always been a bit of a contentious issue in the church, going as far back as Genesis 4 (verses 3-5), with a squabble about an offering to God. The actual word “worship” was first mentioned in Genesis 22:5. So it is nothing new. Music is a great communicator, but music for music’s sake is not worship. Music is a wonderful means of human expression, but God wants us to engage our hearts. We have some beautiful music and liturgies in the church, both traditional and contemporary, but as marvellous and grand and brilliantly theological they may be (God gave them to us anyway), He wants our hearts. As someone has said, “The heart tips it from music to worship.”
All that I ask at this stage, is that you pray and consider this as a possibility. Change can be scary for all of us. We will listen to you and discuss this in council. I don’t see this as a business decision, but an opportunity to be led by the Holy Spirit as to how He would want us to worship and lift up the name of Jesus in Scripture, song and sacrament into the future. Please be praying:
“Jesus be the centre of my life...From beginning to the end it will always be, it’s always been You Jesus,.. Jesus be the centre of Your Church. Jesus be the centre of your Church And every knee will bow And every tongue shall confess You Jesus... From my heart to the Heavens, Jesus be the centre, It’s all about You, Yes it’s all about You.” (Darlene Zschech)
Brenton Chomel - Chairman
Church Chairman’s Chatter
“For I am about to do something new.” Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)
Church Council met on August 9th for the first time since we resumed services back in the church sanctuary. Again a BIG thank you to all on council (and others) who have kept things going during the lock down and worked to reopen again with all of the Covid-19 compliances. Colleen Hage will be keeping an eye on any changes to Government requirements one way or the other and will advise us accordingly. Anything we do or plan in the future will be subject to those requirements.
You may recall that we had planned to have Assistant Bishop for Mission Stephen Schultz, visit us in July. This of course was not able to occur. We hope to have Stephen meet with us at some time in the future and live stream it on the website. We have the camera and equipment needed for video live streaming, but just need to get it set up. In the meantime, we are looking at planning to reach out into the community with the love of Jesus via our Christmas programmes – particularly the Carols In The Car Park. It’s not too early to be planning now. In fact planning normally starts in June-July. So please be in prayer for Pauline Hill and those working with her for these events. Also be available to serve Jesus in this way.
Our AGM was also supposed to be held during the lock-down time, but will now be combined with our Half Yearly meeting. The date of this congregational meeting is now planned for Sunday November 22nd at 1:30pm, one week before Advent Sunday. We will be calling for nominations for church officers closer to that time in accordance with our Constitution, but please be thinking and praying now.
During our absence from services, the weeds in the garden plot have gotten a little out of hand. George Graff, Peter and Kathy Anderson have tried to keep on top of them, but will need some added assistance from others in the congregation. If you can help, please speak to John Kuhlmann to volunteer.
The recyclable drink containers for Peachy Place can still be collected, but for health and safety purposes Ian Nitschke has urged us to wash them thoroughly and remove the lids. Alternatively, you can cash them in yourself and place the money in an envelope marked appropriately and left in the offering bowl.
We have agreed to allow the Playford College to park one of their buses in our car park behind the Op Shop, whilst they have some work done on their property.
Our next Church Council meeting will be on Sunday September 13th at 12:30pm.
In the midst of so much uncertainty, disappointment and the fear that Pastor mentioned in last week’s sermon, it is good to be reminded to give praise to Jesus and be encouraged and have our spirits lifted from scriptures such as these:
“Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives. Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good.” – Psalm 90:14-15 (NLT)
God never disappoints us. Always trust him and lift up the name of Jesus, as He continues to do a new thing amongst us.