Rector’s Weekly News Article
This afternoon the Upper Mountains Combined Churches will hold a Pentecost service at Mountains Christian College for everyone in the Upper Mountains who calls Jesus their Lord (and everyone else is welcome too!). There are several purposes to this once a year Church service (gathering of Christians).
Firstly, in Hebrews 10 we are told very clearly that whatever we do, we must not stop meeting together. Church is not optional. What it should and can look like for Christians to continue gathering is a bit more complicated. The first gatherings of ‘the Church’ occurred during the amazing events of Pentecost, where God sent His Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ followers that He might continue Jesus’ work. As the Holy Spirit arrived, all the believers were in one place, a gathering of all of the Church! Before too long, people returned to their home towns and countries and continued meeting regularly. They met in houses or wherever they could. These smaller meetings of Christians was the best way people could continue meeting together.
Today, there are innumerable small church gathers, and quite a few big ones. But it is practically impossible for us all to meet together in one place (though the Lord does have big plans in this area...). Despite the impossibility of all meeting in one place, it’s good for us to get out of our small gatherings from time to time and be reminded of the larger whole, which is Jesus’ one true church. This Upper Mountains gathering is meant to be a reminder to each of us that we are part of something much bigger.
Secondly, we want the wider communities to see that all the churches are truly on the same team. We love each other and want to see Jesus glorified in all of our churches. We are unified because we are one. We don’t need to work towards unity; we just need to make sure we lovingly express a unity that comes from our God.
Finally, on a practical level. It’s just good for us to meet Christians from other churches and celebrate the gospel with them. We all have different styles of church service and ways of worshipping God, but we’ve all been forgiven in the same way, welcomed into the family of God in the same way and we will enjoy eternity together. Our Pentecost service might not quite live up to heavenly standards, but I hope it will be a great joy and an encouragement to all of you.
Yours in Christ, Tim
Although it seemed as though it was Summer a couple of weeks ago, suddenly it seems a lot like winter. Snow has been trying to fall in Blackheath and going outside had become less than appealing. This week I won’t write about one subject but will address a few significant things going on around the Parish.
You may by now have heard the very sad news that Libby Raines died on Thursday. She had been undergoing treatment for cancer for some time but the end did come much more suddenly than any of us had expected. Libby has been a much valued member of the St Georges congregation for many years. She has also been its greatest servant. In recent times she has been my rector’s warden, as well as the treasurer, as well as the graveyard manager, the egg sandwich maker, gardener, florist, not to mention anything else that needed doing. Libby will be greatly missed by the St Georges congregation as well as the rest of the parish and all who met her. In our sadness it is important to remember that as we enter Winter, she is being warmly welcomed into the presence of her God. (A God who knows a thing or two about gardens and hospitality!)
The arrival of winter is also a reminder of how generous God has been in His provision to us, and is a good opportunity to remember those who do not have a warm place to lay their heads. The problem of homelessness is one that does not discriminate. We know that there are many people living rough in our own local area as well the millions around the world who have been displaced through war and conflict. There are many positive initiatives to help people in both of these groups. Some started by Christians and others by concerned community groups.
The Catholic Parish of Blackheath is hosting a ‘Community Conversation with Refugees’ next Sunday. Their goal is to bring people together to discuss and engage with the refugee issue. They have invited a refugee and an asylum seeker as well as an expert in the field to answer questions and be a catalyst for discussion. I would encourage anyone from our churches who is interested to attend. Whilst there is good reason for there being different churches with different views on important issues, there is also good reason for us to work together on issues that we agree on. Caring for those in need should not be controversial within the church.
Yours in Christ, Tim
Care & Share Support – if you or someone you know needs this service at any time please contact Judy Dyer, Judith Finney or Carol in the church office.
A community Conversation with Refugees and people seeking protection will be held on Sunday 20th May, 2-4.30pm in Blackheath Community Hall – see pamphlet
The Combined Upper Mountains Churches invite you to Pentecost 2018, a service to celebrate Pentecost – 14 churches – 1 Lord, to be held at Mountains Christian College in Blackheath on Sunday 20th May at 3pm. Primary age kids program available on the day.