From the Bishop
Spurring one another on
God has given us a wonderful vision to be: A Church for Tasmania, making disciples of Jesus. And even during this challenging period of our history, so much is happening to see that vision become a reality.
In the Letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul encourages us to ‘consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another’.
It’s my hope that by sharing some of our stories, you too are encouraged and spurred on to seek ways in which to engage with the community in which you live.
In September, St Helens hosted the One Night Stand festival, providing a golden opportunity for the local church to engage with the community.
Hearing reports of misbehaviour at other similar events on the ‘mainland’, the Revd Alexander Withers and his wife Carole mobilised people to pray for the event. Amongst other things, they prayed that this festival would be different and would be a blessing to the district.
The church ran a stall at the Saturday market handing out invitations to: ‘Blues, Coffee and Cake’ between 6pm and 11pm in the parish hall; and to a ‘Gospel Blues Jazz service’ on the Sunday afternoon.
Although no one came from outside of the local churches, Alexander said, ‘We feel the main thing was, we went – Jesus said Go. And we did’. What great faithfulness in having an idea, and giving it a try.
23,000 people attended the main event. The event was a success and seemingly went without incident. The prayers of the faithful were answered, praise God!
The Revd Chris Thiele and his wife Wendy, parishioners and a prayer support network, have all been praying that the contacts they make within their community on King Island become relational and lead to meaningful conversations. They’ve been praying for the spirit of God to move in the hearts of people and give them a desire to want to come to know Him.
Five weeks ago, two young women came to their Sunday service. Assuming they were tourists, Chris was delighted when he later found out that one was a local lady who had never been to church before.
Chris was thinking his sermon may not have been appropriate for a new person, but the lady shared, ‘It was as though Chris was speaking only to me’.
The church embraced the two newcomers and immediately started an Alpha course. The friend has since returned to Launceston, but having so enjoyed her interaction with the church, their fellowship and the Alpha course, she is now applying for a job on King Island! She is also continuing to participate in the Alpha course by distance watching the video and texting through her questions to those on Island.
St James’ Church, Ranelagh has just undergone a refurbishment of its main centre with repainting, new carpet, and the installation of new screens and a hearing aid loop.
The Revd John McQuillan said, ‘research indicated the fourth biggest reason for families with children not returning to church was that the spaces were unsafe and unclean. So, we wanted to provide a safer, cleaner worship environment that is relevant to 21st century worship and mission’.
The church also plans to upgrade the carpark and outside surrounds to make it safer for children.
The last few months have been tough for Anglicans across the State as we have progressed the Redress Ordinance. Even though we are in difficult times it has been so encouraging to see the church at work engaging in disciple-making activities and being a people of blessing to our communities. Keep up the good work!
I encourage you to have a look at our Diocesan website where you can read more of these stories.
With warm wishes