Welcome to the website of the Anglican Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia
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Take a look at the “What’s On” tab for upcoming events
The Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia is located on the Broken Creek, North Central plains in the State of Victoria, Australia. The Parish has congregations in the townships of Numurkah, Nathalia, and district of Wakiti Creek. Established 120 years ago we offer worship in the Anglo-Catholic tradition based on a liberal-progressive understanding of the Christian faith.
Our Vision: To be a joyous, worshipping, accepting, loving community of caring people.
Our Mission: To joyously proclaim God’s love for all, with compassionate outreach to those in need.
Inside this site you can look around at the four centres which make up the Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia, find a service you might like to attend and be assured of a warm welcome. We hope you will find this site useful – leave a comment if you feel inclined.
Our “What’s on” button takes you to forthcoming events and opportunities for participate in the life of the parish. Here you will find dates and times and places of events that are planned.
“Events” reviews some of the activities that have already happened.
“Strategic Plan” provides an overview of our strategic directions for ministry.
“Education” will lead to the Faith Enhancement program that is being offered including seasonal studies and ongoing themes.
“Parish Groups” lists the opportunities for involvement in ongoing parish life.
Click on the “Contact” for addresses, phones & email.
THE TENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
THE NINTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
THE EIGHTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
THE SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
7th Sunday after Pentecost – Sermon by Revd. Victor Adams
Old Testament- Gen. 28:10-19a
Psalm 139:1-11 &23-23
New Testament – Rom. 8:12-25
Gospel – Matt. 13:24-30 & 36-43
To take on the theme of the seeds planted by the Sower from last week`s gospel reading, we will reflect today even further on what had happened to the seed that was planted. Last week we discovered that the seed that fell into good soil was only one quarter of the total seed the Sower had sown. Three quarters fell on areas where it was practically impossible for that seed to take shape and grow. We emphasized that God was generous in His mission to sow seed everywhere, even on those strange places, hoping that it might capture the seed and its surface became fertile and receptive for the efforts of the Sower. We concluded that the seed once laid in our lives and hearts, ought to be protected and nurtured as it came from God. Just to be specific; that seed is God`s Word planted in our hearts.
Today`s gospel text tells us that an enemy came soon after to plant evil seeds amongst the seeds that the Sower had planted. The enemy is the devil whose intention only is to demolish, plunder, disrupt, causing havoc and confusion. Where once was innocence, purity, beauty and perfection, the evil seeds polluted and contaminated that outlook. Here we have a direct connection with what happened in the Garden of Eden. The Creator`s work was all good (it still is, if we look beyond the decay and destruction) but the devil in the form of a snake came to mislead Adam and Eve and planted his evil seed in their minds (Gen.2). There are people in the world planting those evil seeds in the hearts of many innocent people, especially young people. This comes through social media, new-age trends, alternative beliefs of what is true, moral and good, and occult behaviour. The Bible, as the Word of God in this instance, has been removed from the equation. The illuminate, devil worshippers and atheists spread these evil seeds deep and wide, so that our society had changed dramatically as we mentioned last week. If we have enclosed a phrase from the gospel of two weeks ago, “to what will this generation be compared with?” it may just also be that the gospel message spread over weeks has some deeper truth and significance too. This generation is set up for harvest time, yet it carries so many evil works and evil ways.
Another way of looking at the evil seed planted by the enemy is looking at our current situation regarding the covid19 pandemic. At the start of this year we had not seen this catastrophe coming, nor did we expect our peace to be disrupted in the way that it has. The evil spirit of the corona virus with its origin in Wuhan had now moved over all the nations of the world. Its scary impact, alarming threat to our existence, and its tentacle appearance can indeed be compared to an evil seed planted by the enemy. The corona virus that enters the body and cripples households and economies has a devastating effect, similar to the picture we have today of the weed choking the wheat. Chances of survival are slim, unless the threat (virus) is removed. Many efforts are made to find a vaccine against the corona virus. Our collective prayer to our God is for that day to soon be. However, arising from this parable that Jesus talks about, the servants that came to their Master complaining about this predicament of the weed amongst the wheat, the solution was to wait until harvest time. The servants’ dichotomy of wanting to pluck out the wheat, yet on their Master`s command, rather had to wait until harvest time, sheds much light on our current situation. At harvest time, the eradication of the weed between the wheat and harvesting the wheat will simultaneously be done.
For now, they would co-exist. What does this mean? Does it mean that the good and the bad will live alongside each other until the end? Does it mean that the chocking circumstances of people`s personal lives will remain until the end? Does it mean that the untenable pressing issues of this world will be with us until the end? Does it mean that the danger of corona virus and other deadly diseases will be with us for some time? The notion of harvest time brings some understanding and answers some of these and other questions.
Harvest time is probably the most exciting and much anticipated moment in the lives of those who stand ready to reap what they have sown. What`s interesting to note is that even the writer of the Ecclesiastes (chapter 3) picks up on this theme”…that there is time to plant and a time to harvest.” His introduction though, is that there`s a season for everything. Harvest time is a season. as was planting. Many will agree with me that harvest time is at the end of the age. According to the explanation Jesus gave on this parable, the weed which the enemy had planted will then be burnt out, while the wheat which the Sower had planted will be carried into the store houses. This scenario sums up our understanding and theology about what will happen at the end, at harvest time, with the Lord`s coming. Let us talk about the wheat that was planted so graciously and generously by the Sower. The wheat that will be taken into the store houses of the Lord is the Church, more particularly, it`s Christians all around the world, who believed and grew in their faith and knowledge of the Lord. From inside out, it`s the seed of His Word that had matured to the point of being ripe for the harvest. Whereas this is a time of waiting and growing alongside the weed, (evil in the world) we soon shall see the harvest season of all things – good and bad.
As a teenager, many years ago I used to sing along with Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder’s hit song “Ebony and Ivory.” They sang that there’s good and bad in every one and we learn to love, we learn to give each other what we need to survive, together alive..” Metaphorically with their keyboard, they explain to us that we are all different, yet we co-exist as those black and white keys making one melody. Perhaps the urgency and desperation of the Sower sowing good seed on rocky grounds, thorn bushes and the path way, say to us that, even with the weed all around us, we can take heed of “Ebony and Ivory” by impacting on the world around us. Instead of us being choked, let (no, don`t choke back) let us embrace, pronounce God`s love, encourage some more, try our best to make other’s destiny God’s store houses and not the fiery furnace of hell. When Harvest time comes, it`s all over. Today while there`s still grace for us all, Paul and Stevie remind us in their song “…Oh Lord, why don`t we?” Much as we have to live in harmony and co-existence, (until the end) we can also try effect the soil in which we stand to bring love and an awareness of God. Our work is not done yet, we have to be there at harvest time. Not alone though. We have to bring (win) a friend or two, the whole family, the whole congregation, the community. We have to continue planting good seeds by our words and actions. Before it all, join me in praying to the Lord, where and how He wants to use us and send us to reach the weed amongst the wheat. Amen
A prayer to our God, the Sower
Dear Father of all creation,
You have sown the seeds of love, happiness and joy in my heart.
Protect and nurture it as it stands in midst of weed.
May the good and holy in me continue to thrive and shine to Your glory. You are the Sower of all that is good, to strive to see, believe and embrace all that is good
in my life.
Continue to show me the way to plant good seeds along the way,
by the fruit of my words and actions.
At Your harvest time may my fruit of love, happiness and joy be pleasing and acceptable
unto You, O Sower of good seed in my heart. Amen
A prayer for the corona virus
Loving Father, Your creation has been disturbed by the bad seed of the corona virus that had come on earth. Its effects are disastrous everywhere on this planet, which You so wonderfully created. We cry out this morning to the heavens, just as Jacob’s leader in the Old Testament reading today, help us to look up to You O God. Mercifully pour upon all the earth Your healing power. Shield Your wheat O Lord by Your great power against the attack of this evil virus that`s been planted amongst us. At Your harvest time, may rejoice at Your deliverance and salvation. Amen
THE SIXTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
6th Sunday after Pentecost – Sermon by Revd. Victor Adams
Readings: Old Testament: Gen.25:19-34
New Testament: Rom.8:1-11
Gospel: Matt.13:1-9 & 18-23
The parable of the Sower is one of the most familiar bible stories we know as it has been introduced to us since Sunday school days. Its significance and impact remains very relevant in our following of Christ Jesus. This is a story both of God and ourselves. The Sower is God, the seed is His Word and we are the good soil into which the seed fell. The other elements in the parable will be explained as we go along. If the Word is indeed the seed planted in our hearts, can we personally attest to that? In other words, do we have that grounding and stability that the Word of God brings? Over years, have we seen that seed growing that was once planted? What is its current state, is it ready for harvest, having fruit on its branches? Or is there more growing still that has to take place?
This remarkable parable always gets me thinking and hooked as I read the start of it “A Sower went out to sow.” This is God at the dawn of creation Who stood up with His bag of seed for everything that He created and then generously threw seed over all the earth. “And it was good.” The seed fell on good and bad places…and all of those localities (the path-way, the rocky grounds, the thorn bushes and the good soil) had equal opportunity and chance to swallow the seed and to make it grow. A further direct approach about the Sower Who went out, we find in Jesus` words to the disciples and the crowds of people following Him. The Be-attitudes, the Sermon on the mount, the Kingdom principles conveyed at Galilea, the New commandment, the Going-away to the Father discourse, the Words on the cross, the Resurrection greetings and the Great Commission (all in St. Matthew`s gospel) are different segments of Jesus going out to sow the seed of His Word. Those Holy Words are recorded in the Bible for our growth and edification. The Word of God contained in the Bible is meant to be read, understood, to live by (in other words “to do”) and to show results (the fruit of His Kingdom within us.)
I am mindful always of those whom the Lord appointed, who went out to sow that seed into our lives, e.g. Preachers, Priests, Sunday school teachers, Youth leaders, Missionaries, Chaplains, even God-parents, Parents and Grandparents, etc. My grandmother Ouma Sophie taught me to pray and personally I will always be grateful for that seed that she planted. If a child can be taught to pray and read the Bible, that child is equipped for facing the world. In a manner of stock-taking and review, we have to assess where things had gone wrong in our society and where the seed of God`s Word that was planted just a generation ago (in the mid 1980`s for instance) in the lives of so many young families, we certainly have to pause and retrace our steps. If you are like me who doesn`t want to dwell on the past, which in any case won`t change or undo anything, especially with our dilemma as to where things went wrong, we rather focus on going forward and to make things work. In his book “Shaping Australia`s Spirituality” Revd. Dr. Philip Hughes. after an in-depth research. said the Church as the Body of Christ has a duty to (plant those seeds again in) society, the family and the wider community, to win them back to the Church. (How, we may ask.) Christian identity, Christian values, etc. have to be brought back, he emphasized. A survey in 1998 by Australian Community Survey states that 20% of those interviewed said they attend Church on a monthly basis. Some of the reasons mentioned why others who don`t want to attend Church services are “unfulfilling Church services, the belief system of a particular Church, particular moral views of a particular Church, don`t feel the need to go to Church, prefer to do other things which the person see as more important, bad experience in Church, too busy, uncomfortable with Church people, etc.” (Why people don`t go to Church by John Bellamy and co-writers). From another book by Edward Lee Tucker (44 ways to increase Church attendance) I am encouraged to note a few tips as how we can plant the seeds of our faith again, by simply doing a few things right and maintaining a welcome attitude and spirit to the community all the time, amongst other things. To regain the lost ground, retrace our steps and seek for places/people where the seed that was once planted, can become a daunting task.
A new era, a new way of missioning (going out to plant seed) into the vast ocean of our society, has to recommence. The seed on rocky ground, the path-way and in the thorn bushes has to be redirected to good soil. Else, as it may also represent the conditions of people`s lives, the rocky ground, path-way and thorn bushes should be ploughed, nurtured, softened, flattened and even gently dismantled in order to get to heart of the people. To this end, this mission and as part of God`s mission to the world, we as members of God`s should, 1. Go out; 2. Go out to plant those seeds of hope, welcome, faith in God, etc; 3. Help with the growing path of the next person; and 4. Rejoice in their harvesting (spiritually.) Our collective approach and focus, away from the administrative activity of the Church, is needed to embark upon this mission to win back society. To this end our Church language, our Church rules, our Church structural procedures and even our Church inward looking approach of reaching the world should be reviewed. As opposed to the other areas where the seed fell, in the parable of the Sower, the seed that fell in good soil is only one quarter of total of the seed that was sown. Three quarters didn’t make it. As a rescue mission in the twenty first century, the Church has to actively reach out in a desperate attempt to find the lost ones. They are not far, indeed, right here in our communities and neighbourhoods.
In the Titanic movie, a pivotal moment happens when the rescue boats came at last, in search for survivors. That`s how Rose was saved. There maybe so many Rose`s waiting to be found in our world and our rescue mission and boats have not been that deep and so far into the ocean of where the people are. Just as the Sower probably dirtied his hands in planting those seeds (and the rescue team found their way through corpses and all kinds of things on the water) so our mission is not an easy job. Jesus indeed reminds us that “The harvest is plenty and the workers are few. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers” (Matt. 9:37) More workers are needed as we engage in such a momentous task. “Pray to the Lord” Jesus said. Perhaps let us start there this week, to pray to the Lord of the harvest to lead us in this mission He had called us to. During the next two weeks we will continue to explore the growth of the seed from other parts of Matthew 13.
May we continue to treasure the seed once planted in the soil of our hearts and, as a sower, sow the seed of God`s Word in the hearts of those around us. Amen
The prayers of the Church and for the world
Our responses to the prayers will be:
I will give thanks to You, O Lord, with my whole heart.
I will glorify Your Name forever.
God of wisdom and understanding, be with Your Church as we seek to understand Your purpose and will for us all. Lead us in our decision making and make us mindful of where You would want us go. Give us the power of Your Holy Spirit that we may walk in Your Name and be courageous to shine Your light in a confusing, secular and legalistic world. Nurture and tend the seed of Your Spirit and love that`s embedded in Your Church and all of its members. By Your Holy Spirit, bring to fruition the seed of Your Word in Your Church and in all of us, Your children.
God of endurance and reliability, be with Your world obsessed by many cares and short-term gains, material successes and rewards. As You are speaking hard and intently to us all in this year 2020 with the onslaught of the corona-virus, open the eyes of the world to see You and turn to You for mercy, salvation and healing. Help us all to become quiet in our hearts, as this virus is beyond our human capacity of dealing and managing its effects. We pray for Your world, caught up in the tentacles of this virus. We pray earnestly for a vaccine to be found and for those gifted people who work ceaselessly to find this cure. We pray for the nations of the world and its leaders as we combat the scourge of this global covid19 pandemic. We pray for Scott Morrison our Prime Minister and here in the state of Victoria we pray for the Premier Daniel Andrews and the government as they show leadership on this front. Renew the face of the earth by the outpouring of Your healing on all the nations, gracious Father.
God of seedtime and harvest, be with all who tend and manage the land. We pray for farmers and producers at this difficult time, including the many seasonal workers and fruit pickers in region. We give thanks and pray for the work of nature conservationists and those who protect forests, wetlands and animal habitations. We pray for a good harvest during this season, that the seeds that were once planted may yield a great produce for those who will making a living from it. Open our hearts by Your Holy Spirit to share the fruits of the field in their seasons, so that Your people may receive bountifully and equally of the earth`s produce.
God of hope and consolation, deal tenderly with all for whom life is full of struggle and pain. As the growing from seed to fruit is never an easy process, be with Your children who experiencing set-back, disappointment, hardship, abuse, neglect, rejection, depression, sadness, addiction, bad influence and been looked down upon. Give them hope, strength and patience in their sufferings that the beauty of harvest time bring them great joy and deliverance. By Your Holy Spirit bring us to rejoice in Your presence.
God of life and peace, You set Your creation in motion. Bring to fulfilment the purpose You set for each of us, that every living soul in whom You have planted Your breath as a seed of life, may turn to You our Creator God before the day of the Lord, when the fruit of the harvest will be gathered into Your treasury stores. By Your Holy Spirit bring us to live with You forever and be gracious to us all. Amen
Diocesan activities: 1.Victorian Council of Churches will conduct an Emergency Ministry workshop for clergy at Wangaratta on Saturday 24 July.
- Safe Church workshop for officers on Saturday 13 August at Wangaratta.
Bible study on zoom every Wednesday evening at 7pm. Everyone is welcome to connect to the link which can be obtained from Victor.
You might be interested to know that our donations that came in three weeks ago were $1310. Thanks to everyone for your kind and generous giving and continued faithfulness to God`s Church.
Given a request from the Sisters of Melanesia (Papua New Guinea) we will donate a few old and unused clergy vestments to them for their ministry.
THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
5TH SUNDAY OF PENTECOST – SERMON BY REVD. VICTOR ADAMS
Old Testament – Gen.24:34-38, 42-49 & 58-67
Psalm – 45:10-17
New Testament – Rom.7:14-25
Gospel – Matt.11:15-19 & 25-30
The marketplace is where the community gathers. It is a meeting-place. Here friendships, acquaintances cultures, lifestyles, information-sharing, latest developments and in-detail news of the day are often shared, opinions are aired, personal stories are talked about and expressions of whatever conviction, is made. It is a place of relaxation and leisure, enjoyment and laughter, music and food; a proper festival on a weekly basis. It is the hub of the town and the only place where there is life on a Saturday morning or whatever time of the week. More people are drawn to this magnetic space than any place of the community. Here no one is under obligation and under stress, everyone is care-free. Everyone is valued and appreciated and is bound to have a place of belonging and to enjoy that space. From fresh produce and baking to antiques and bargains, one will find at this center of attraction. The seller and the buyer are both happy, the visitor and old faithful to the marketplace are both energized and both child and parent got something to go home with. The marketplace is indeed a remarkable place. This experience sounds all too familiar, although just a memory (good memories) of some place we had been too in the distant past. We probably have many stories of over the years how we forged relationships with the town and its people in the marketplace and how that shaped us in our outlook to society and the world. New people came, others vanished from that scene. It`s all visible to see how the celebration of community is renewed, perhaps not so rapidly as somewhere else. The location of the marketplace may also be different for a lot of people, varying from this street corner to some other café or rendezvous. Jesus takes us onto this scene today with Him and the prophets of old, having visited the marketplace. As everyone is about their own business and that of the community, the gospel message burst onto the scene. Right there in a jovial and celebratory (of life) atmosphere, the flute is played and the song is sung of God`s love; the gospel song and the song(s) from the stage at the marketplace at the same time. Do these two songs stand in contrast and opposing sides with their different messages and beats? Do Jesus and the prophets “spoil the party” by them coming to this place where the community gathers and where some hide out, away from the song (message) which the Church proclaims Sunday after Sunday? Missionary and Missiology approaches tell us, that the marketplace is exactly where we should go to and spread the good news. (the Jehovah witness folk and others got themselves in that space, which is Biblically correct.) In this text today Jesus mentioned that both John the Baptist and Himself ate and drank at the marketplace, mixed with sinners and tax collectors…and as everyone else, also had a good time. This place where, among the many messages, news flashes, community events, epic stories of people, ordinary gossip and a tale here and there, the gospel as the message of God`s love for all people is excluded and even banned. It`s here where Jesus, the prophets of old, the apostles in the New Testament and missionaries in our time try to get a platform and audience or just a pair of ears with an open heart. Jesus said ‘we played on the flute, you did not dance, we sang a song of lament, you did not cry.” The redeeming message of our loving God has been ignored for so long. Those at the tables and on the floor or the marketplace are too deep drawn into their stories and time of leisure that they don`t hear and see the hand of God in it all. God`s hand bringing us through the week, a tough day, a crisis, a disappointment, a sad event, even joyful and blessed moments. Ultimately that`s the hidden text and narrative being shared in all the stories and sharing we have at the marketplace. The flip side of our story is His story. The food that we eat, the drink we have, the clothes we have on, the money we spent, the song that we sing, hear and dance on, all comes from God. If anything Jesus (and the prophets) has a legitimate and rightful place at this conspicuous hub. Jesus is not a party spoiler, nor does He intend it that way, certainly it is to raise the subject and awareness that the God Who gives all these things, deserves thanks and honor. Instead of looking at each other, Jesus lifts our heads to look at God. That`s all. If only we can do the things we do to honor God and in thanksgiving for all His mercies, mindful of Him, then the gospel has hit home. The urgency of this message has then been understood. If anyone at all should be a visitor to the marketplace, it should be Jesus Who preached and taught in square of the marketplace, not only that, He was condemned publicly and was crucified in that space. God cannot be detached from the marketplace, from all that He had sacrifice…for God so loved the world (the marketplace and community) that He send Jesus, so that whoever believes in Him (and believes His story) will receive eternal life. Not to condemn anyone but to save everyone (show them the way back to God.) (John3:16&17) Why this desperation and urge we may ask. Well, the message of God`s offered grace and love is for this season. The time comes when we will be judged on our response to His love and grace. In other words, how we have walked with Him and let Him in. God is about relationship, fellowship and communion with His people and wants to be part of their (our) daily lives. Our human dilemma is that we don`t know God well enough…and this is not even something to hide behind or accept as a given. Our human destiny is to know God more fully and let Him in to be part of our lives.
Fr. Trevor Huddleston (Bishop and Priest in Sophiatown, Johannesburg, South Africa) said “without God, we cannot do it, without us He will not do it.” About Fr. Trevor Huddleston, amongst the many courageous things he did in spreading the gospel (at the marketplace in dark apartheid South Africa) in the 1940`s, he gave Hugh Masakela a flute on his nineth birthday, he taught him to play it and ever since Hugh Masakela played freedom songs all over the world until South Africa was liberated. Fr. Trevor Huddleston also visited young Desmond Tutu in hospital for months as he struggled with polio. He became the teacher of Archbishop Desmond`s faith and enabler to go out onto the marketplace with God`s message of love. Hugh Masakela with the flute and Archbishop Tutu with the message, at the same time brought the walls of apartheid down, so that hatred and oppression are no more, only love, peace and harmony.
Just like Fr. Trevor, we have to tell someone “God loves you.” Our part at the marketplace is to do that. It has always been the message of the Church and the gospel. The marketplace now is unsafe, dangerous and a no-go territory, even with a mask and gloves. The music, the baking, the chats, the sharing and get togethers has stopped for now. Yet God`s love for us has not. This generation has seen it all. “To what can this generation be compared” even now as the marketplace is empty (half empty in our context.) The good news is that God`s abiding love has not changed? That`s the gospel and it has always been. All may change but God never change, His love remains the same. That is our hope, our faith, our assurance and our message. Through the flute, the harp, the song and the dance, all that God wanted to communicate to the marketplace is His love, the marketplace goers only had to respond to that. On the cross Jesus manifested and demonstrated that. The cross remains the sign of God`s coming to us to redeem us for His eternal marketplace (heavenly home.) One day soon, we will be re-united with others and with God in His Kingdom of celebration and festivity, singing and dancing on the Heavenly song of His eternal Love. Amen
Gracious and merciful God, You have promised rest to the weary and relief to the heavy laden; hear the prayers we bring for Your people.
We pray for those weighed down by the hardships of daily life; for those who live in poverty, without adequate food or shelter; for those in places of war, innocent civilians, soldiers and refugees. At this time we pray for people of Libya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Syria, Israel, Hong Kong, Burundi, Lebanon and Yemen. Receive their burdens, that all Your people may live in dignity and peace.
Gracious God in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for those wearied by the responsibility in Your Church, especially in this diocese as we pray for Bishop Clarence, The Dean Ken, Archdeacon Neill and all the Area-deans. In our parish we give thanks for our parish leadership, Rev’d Victor and the parish council. We pray for those without the resources to fulfil their tasks; those who are without a shepherd, those are getting small in number, those whose dreams are shattered and still those whose vision and foresight are regarded and shared. Renew their spirits, that they may find their strength in You.
Gracious God in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for those exhausted by overwork or the responsibility of care: for carers in aged care facilities, the disabled, the infirm, hospitals, mental institutions, prison, nurseries and youth centers. We pray for those unable to provide for their families or themselves. Lighten their loads, that they may know Your encouragement and support.
Gracious God, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
We pray for those worn down by pain, grief or by a sense of uselessness; for those whom society does not value or want; for the lonely, the friendless, the sick and the dying. Soothe their hurt and calm their distress, that they may find their peace in You.
Gracious God in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
We remember all who have died in Your love, especially those dear to us and those from this parish. At this time we remember the soul of Les Hall who passed away during last week. We also remember those whose yearly memorial occurs at this time, grant unto them O Lord, peace, and may Your perpetual light shine upon them. In death You bring us into Your presence and give rest to our weary souls.
Gracious God in Your mercy, hear our prayer. Amen
- Parish council meeting on Tuesday 7th July at 2pm. on Zoom.
- Bible study each Wednesday at 7pm. on Zoom.
- Fr Victor will be attending a one day workshop of the Victorian Council of Churches on Emergrncy Ministries on Friday 24th July at Wangaratta.
- A big thank you to those working behind the scenes to clean our churches after our services as per our Covidsafe requirements.
THE FOURTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
Fourth Sunday after Pentecost – 28 June 2020 by Revd. Victor Adams
Readings: Old Testament – Gen. 22:1-14
Psalm – 13
New Testament – Rom. 6:12-23
Gospel – Matt. 10:40-42
I was recently inspired by an article I read about 9-time grand slam winner Monica Seles. She was a very gifted tennis player and already at the age of 16 won the French open and later on many other championships including 4 times the Australian Open. In April 1993 she was sadly stabbed in the back by a fanatic fan. It took her over two years to heal from the physical and emotional wounds of that tragedy. Her helpers Jackie and Bob Kersee with her dad Karolj, from Serbia, miraculously got her out of that dark space, onto the tennis court again. This all-time champion continued to shine on the tennis court until her retirement in February 2008. There`s so much more to say about Monica Seles and any other champion in tennis and other sport disciplines, that I want to keep this short, by simply stating that hard work pays off. Monica was rewarded for her endurance even through difficult times. Encouraging words by another athlete and famous NZ rugby player this week “It is what you do after school. It is what you do before and after the group training session is on, that matters. Hard work rewards” I am not intending to talk about sports today, except to highlight for our understanding as people of faith, how important it is to work hard at our discipleship, which in turn brings some kind of reward.
What kinds of rewards do I experience as a Christian? As a Christian we know that our reward awaits us in heaven. Along the way of life, we acknowledge, recognize and affirm each other when we express appreciation and thanks for various deeds of kindness, great or small. We send each other a thank you card, a SMS text, or a simple telephone call to say: “thank you.” Some people prefer not to be thanked and specifically not publicly. However, it brings satisfaction, joy and fulfilment for both the giver and receiver of that token of appreciation.
The reward system: Our lives and society are built on the foundation of being rewarded for the things we do. Do we not have to finish school and university to be equipped for work, which brings us rewards for all the hard work over the years. Let us go back to sports for a moment; do we not think that the team who will win, is the team that have prepared so well and had spent hours in studying their opponents, confidently to be the winners of the battle? In short, so we teach our children, you have to do good and then you will receive whatever it is that we promise. The degree and value of the reward will sometimes be determined by the sacrifice and the input made, in other words little work equals little reward. No work, no pay. However, when there is impressive and outstanding work done there’s a bonus, an A symbol, a promotion, an award, a handshake and even acknowledgement on the board of achievers. On the contrary poor performance brings about a tongue lash, a demotion, an ostracizing which is sometimes subtly done, harsh treatment, warnings to perform or else…
The reward system against other systems: There is the merit system where one is rewarded for work done on the basis of what was presented. Here everyone gets a star on the forehead. The green or blue star for example will be for those who have tried, the red star for satisfactory and the gold star for those who have done well. Another system is unknowingly designed for those who get the job done first, they are the go-to people in the group, they have an answer for every question and have an impressive track record. I call it the ambition system. There`s a beautiful verse that in Ecclesiastes 9:11 that it is not always the fastest runner who wins the race and strongest army who wins the battle, but it is by the providence of time and chances. We know Who the Giver is of opportunities and chances. Our greatness and awesomeness come from God Who gives us what we need to be great in whatever we do. There’s yet another system of one-winner-takes-it-all. We see it with beauty pageants and other competitions, where only the champion is crowned. The silent message to the rest of the contestants is that they were not that good enough, beautiful, strong, clever, etc. It fully denies them their hard work, strength, dignity and an equal contender for the title. They often hear they “must try again.” Do these models and treatment ring a bell with you? Did you once feel like contestant number thirty-three? For some of us we might not remember because we had forgotten those moments. Fair enough and that is perhaps how it should be.
What does the Bible say about being rewarded? The parables are wonderful illustrations of Jesus’ Kingdom rewards and certainly the whole Bible would have many examples of how God’s people were rewarded for their obedience and trust in Him. I am going to mention only three examples from the gospels. The Be-attitudes state that after various kinds of long-suffering God will turn it into blessing and reward. No work done to earn it, God Who sees it all, changes the tide from hardship to happiness. (Luke 6:20-26) Whereas in Luke 6:35 Jesus said “love your enemies, do good, lend, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High.” Here we are tasked to work for our reward. In Luke 19:11-17 Jesus tells a parable about ten servants getting a pound each. Each one did something different with it and were rewarded accordingly. They received like the laborers in the vineyard, their fair compensation. (Matt.20:1-16)
What does Jesus mean in this gospel reading about being rewarded? Everyone will be rewarded for all their deeds. Good or bad.
What does the Jesus’ Kingdom reward mean to us? All Christians around the world, young and old hold onto the promises of Jesus that one day we will receive the crown of life. (Jam. 1:12 and Rev. 2:10) Those who have persevered through trials and tribulations until the end will cross the winning line as champions of this race. It wasn`t easy for Monica Seles, nor for James the Apostle, nor is it for me and you. Life comes with challenges, curve balls at times and it overcomes us at times. It is when we emerge, gain strength, make a come-back no matter what lies behind, that we gain momentum and find the path of winning. In His strength, by His grace and where He leads us, we will make it until we stand before Him to receive our reward. All our efforts, all our dedication and service unto our Lord Son Jesus Christ will be rewarded. Keep the faith! Amen.
A prayer for recovery from the Covid19 pandemic
Gracious Father we lift our heads to You where our help comes from.
Out of our deep need and crisis we call upon Your Name today for healing and restoration. Our lives have been changed by this pandemic and we find ourselves in restriction mode. Nations around the world stagger against the onslaught of what came upon the earth. We pray today for the recovery of economies of nations, governments, households, companies, communities and the affairs of Your Church. You are the Earth`s Creator and the Potter of our lives and circumstances; only You can lift us out of this atrocity. We pray for a miracle, O Lord. We put out trust in You, dear Jesus, Who is our Healer and Sanctifier. We pray for a cure to be found, and for wisdom and skill for those who unceasingly work on it. We pray for Health Departments in our country and abroad who try to manage the stop of spreading of this virus. We give thanks dear God for the recovery of thousands who contracted the virus; we pray for more to recover and receive their healing. We pray for doctors, nurses and other medical staff in their everyday confrontation and treatment of patients with the corona virus. We continue to pray for Your protection on us all as some of the restrictions are lifted and we are are able to meet in small groups. We give You thanks that we can look at You, our one and only God, for salvation and and recovery. Glory and honor unto Your Name, as we know You hear the prayers of Your faithful people, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
- Today we give God thanks for Fr. Geoff Poliness`s 25th ordination thanksgiving in the Church of God. We gather with him to express gratitude unto the Lord for his journey as a priest and for his faith, service, study, commitment and perseverance. We pray God`s manifold blessings on him as he continues to inspire us all and walk and shine his light amongst us in this community.
- Parish council meeting on Tuesday 7th July at 2pm. on Zoom.
- Bible study each Wednesday at 7pm. on Zoom.
- Victor will be attending a one day workshop of the Victorian Council of Churches on Emergency Ministries on Friday 24th July at Wangaratta.
- A big thank you to those working behind the scenes to clean our churches after our services as per our Covidsafe requirements.
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
THIRD SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – 21 JUNE 2020
SERMON BY REVD VICTOR ADAMS
Old Testament Genesis 21:8-21
Psalm 86:1-10, 16-17
New Testament Romans 6:1-11
Gospel Matthew 10:24-39
In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen
Today I want to start with a question “What is your life worth?” If you are like me, this is not a kind of question that would cross my mind often. However it makes one to think deeply about the value we attach to ourselves. Much of the response to this question we may think, depends on how people see us and perhaps even treat us. On a scale of one to ten, how much would you say is your life worth? The underlying question is, “Am I happy?” “Am I happy being me?” “Am I happy being me, living my life right now on this day?” This might become more interesting as one think of one’s value in the lives of one’s spouse, children, family, colleagues/students and even with friends. To help us on and not to be left in the dark with regards to formulating some thinking and introspection of one’s value, we luckily have the affirmation and appreciation of those around us. That would indicate that one is loved, accepted, cared for and respected. In a nutshell that would ‘’settle the score“.
‘’I am valued as a person” “I matter to those around me.” “They respect and embrace me for who I am.” This is not always the case, especially when families go through challenges, etc. During the lockdown stage of the covid19 pandemic, it was sad to see how family members could not get to each other, prevented to demonstrate that affection to their loved ones. What this period also taught me, is that life is precious and the opportunities one can create to show those around you and with you, they are loved and are special, no matter what. Much as we need our loved ones to show us great appreciation in a way that only they know and we understand, it comes over time of building relationship, carving out in one`s heart a special place for them and a sense of belonging with them. That place in someone`s life and heart which cannot be erased or dismissed is worth a lifetime. Each person in our community and the world ought to feel that sense of belonging, having a place in the hearts of those around them and appreciation expressed to them regularly. If that would be the case, there would be no lonely, broken and rejected people around us anymore.
Every person has a story to tell, especially as to how the person got to this point. That could be a story of great happiness and joy or sadness and pain. Ultimately one’s life-story would be about how contend, peaceful and happy one would be. We know that motivational speakers say that believing in oneself, holding onto true principles and looking beyond a shattered past just elevate you to the ideal heights and projected life to live. However, it’s easier said than done. Whether instant or over a period of time, what mends a broken heart and life is the feeling of worth and acceptance.
It is gift given by those around you and by God. Especially from God Who loved us while we were still sinners and while we were still astray like sheep without a Shepherd. He came and rescued us. He had poured His love, His kindness, His grace, His forgiveness, His blessing, His anointing, His Name, His Kingdom and His Spirit upon us all so that we would belong to Him. On the cross as Jesus poured out His blood, at that moment we had been given all that. It is there that we had become God`s children, receiving the gift of eternal life. That is the worth we aspire to always have and believe in. “I am a child of God” and that can never change. The joy of belonging to His kingdom, being forgiven, receiving His love and grace is a feeling of worth that He wants us to have and which is ours. In today`s gospel reading Jesus said “you are of more value than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:31) Let us break it down…”you are of more value..” goes it a bit further than “you have value” thus validating and affirming you. The word “more” suggests you have more value than what you think or imagine. Jesus mentioned sparrows in their care-free life they have, and said we are worth more than they. A study by “wholesome culture” on their blog shows us what makes sparrows such special birds in our environment. Apparently they like socializing, they are true romantics, they evolved to live with humans, they play a caring role in the ecosystem, they arrive in Spring, they build their own nests, they live in community with each other and their sweet singing is communication to each other. Sadly, they say, the sparrow population is declining. These pointers about sparrows sound very much like that of humans too. Notably a sparrow is a happy bird and full of life and excitement. Maybe Jesus wants to point out to us that we are meant to have that spirit the sparrow has…and more.
Comparing ourselves to the sparrow, it’s their sweet song of happiness, coming from their hearts that is the difference between us and them. That, in fact, it’s not the many overseas travels we have made, our material possessions, the knowledge we have of a vast spectrum of facts in life, the experience built up over years of interaction with people from all walks of life and even perhaps the deepening study into various subjects and disciplines, that would explain our worth. There is nothing wrong with any of those accomplishments, except for the self-declared value we attach to them collectively. The sparrow`s worth is simply determined by the things we might take for granted, family, community, fellowship, fresh air, a roof over our heads and the God Who provided it all. With a sweet melody the sparrow answer the question for us, that we started with earlier “My life is worth a billion sunsets and many Springs. My God created me, and He has His arms around me and lovingly His eye is always on me.” Do you know the song “He`s eye is on the sparrow?” There is that beautiful line at end that I like very much “…and I know He watches over me.” Well, you and I are of more value than many sparrows, Jesus said. (Matt. 10:31) You are special, you are wonderful, you are awesome and you are amazing. Jesus implied that, and from today on, we own that affirmation. Before someone tells us we are awesome, wonderful, special and amazing, we will say “I know that already, but thanks anyhow”.
Glory to our Lord Jesus Christ Who took our sins away and instead gave us song of happiness and an unspeakable joy in our hearts, knowing we are His own. Amen
PRAYERS FOR TODAY
Lord Jesus, Your light penetrates the secrets of our hearts, be at the center of Your Church, that we may love You above everything else. Give us the grace not to lose sight of You, amidst the many competing distractions. During these times that Your creation undergoes, lift our heads and hearts unto You so that the decay, destruction, pollution, rebellion, conflict and oppression that we all see around us, may not consume us.
Lord of hosts, we put our trust in You.
Lord Jesus, Your love exposes both deeds of darkness and light, drive away the fear that oppresses and demeans our freedom, happiness and joy. We pray for those who struggle with substance abuse, family violence, broken relationships, abusive relationships and being bullied. Embrace and vindicate, with Your mighty power, these victims at the hand of other people’s evil intend. Give courage to those in authority to defend and uphold the good of all.
Lord of hosts, we put our trust in You.
Lord Jesus, You hold everyone precious in Your sight. Look with compassion and heavenly care on all who are marginalized and rejected. We think of the broken-hearted, the bereaved, the lonely, the destitute, the unjustly condemned, the hopeless and the spiritually bruised. Gently pour on them Your healing balm and gentle Holy Spirit as You mend their broken and fragile lives. Raise up all who suffer reproach and shame for Your sake.
Lord of hosts, we put our trust in You.
Lord Jesus, You show great love towards all who call upon You. Keep watch over them all. Today we humbly ask that You gladden their hearts in the special things they ask in prayer from You and that, as You promised, You will fulfill in all their needs.
Lord of hosts, we put our trust in You. Amen
Worship a poem by Joy Cowley
We are so grateful for the gift of worship,
for the recklessness of it, the unquestioned giving
that makes us to throw our hearts out like hats,
that we name God, for the rightness of it,
as it leads us out of the wasteland and into the blossom way
where we discover love moving in everything
like a fragrance on the breath of a flower,
for the richness of it,
for the manner in which we are lavishly filled,
in spite of ourselves, with wisdom beyond mind,
seeing beyond vision, rejoicing beyond words
and the knowledge that in worship
is the eternity of Love, Whom we have been waiting for.
- Bible study is Wednesday evening at 7pm on zoom.
- Today we thank each one for their kind and generous donations as it will assist our parish income during this time.
- Geoff celebrates his 25th year to the priesthood on the 24th June (the feast of St. John the Baptist.) We come and give thanks with him next Sunday at our 10.30am service.
- We have an extra service on Sundays which is at 12pm on zoom.
A letter from Bishop Clarence published in The Advocate 2 weeks ago
Dear People and Friends of the Diocese
The Season of COVID-19, Autumn & Winter
I often refer to winter as my special season because I simply love the rain, cold and sometimes miserable weather. It is a time when you can add an extra layer of clothing, light a fire or put the heater on and just relax and enjoy the indoors and outdoors at the same time. The splattering of rain against the roof and windows is a sound and a sight that intrigues me and, like some animals that go into hibernation, I find it a better time to snuggle up, to read and to sleep.
This winter will be different for us as, during autumn and with the spread of COVID-19 when we had to temporarily close our Churches, we now have the opportunity to re-open our Churches and restart our worship with up to 20 people with effect 1 June. Some of our Parish Leadership Teams have agreed to do so and are now required to present a COVIDSafe and Seating Plan, as the social distancing rules with quite a few additional restrictions will now be in place for the next few months. Those with larger congregations have decided to wait until stage 3 when more will be able to worship but under the same conditions. Statistically speaking and with the social distancing requirements in place, not many of our churches (except for Holy Trinity Cathedral) will be able to accommodate more than 50 worshippers at any given time. This means that some might have to consider an additional service in order to accommodate all worshippers within a Parish.
Winter is also known as the ‘flu season’ and many of our older congregation members are in a vulnerable stage of their lives. While churches may be open, I would like to express my sincere wish that each person should please take care of themselves and not feel pressured at all to attend services at any time if they feel unsure or unsafe. A COVIDSafe and Seating Plan does not mean a COVID-Free plan, so please look after your own interests first (including getting a ‘flu vaccination!). I am grateful for the kind generosity of our people in supporting their churches financially and encourage them to continue to do so.
If we have learnt anything from this period it is that the church has never been closed as we continued to worship and do things differently. In fact, this will be a new normal and for me, business ‘unusual’. It will be sad if we just go back to the normal way in how we conducted our ‘business’ before. What has developed over these past three months is a wonderful way of connecting using the different technological methods available to us, but also a church community in which we have re-developed being the ‘carers’ of our brothers and sisters. It was wonderful to hear from many how people stayed in contact with others by phone and how leaflets and service booklets were put into the letterboxes of parishioners.
Moving forward as we shape the future together
I pray that we will continue to build on this ministry of connecting and reaching out as we re-create, re-develop, re-define, re-establish and re-furbish the shape of our ministry together. I hope to start discussions as soon as next month with Bishop-In-Council and soon after with the Clergy and the people of the Diocese, which will lead up to Synod at the end of September. At my enthronement/installation service, I had as my theme the concept of mission and evangelism and our need to move to what we are called to do as a Church. We have not had much time to consider this together because of the restrictions, but soon we will have intentional conversations within parishes as we shape this ministry action plan for the Diocese. We will not rush anything, because we want to do it slowly and steadily, keeping it simple and real.
Please continue to pray for God’s guidance as we navigate this together as a Diocese and for us to remain faithful to God’s call to each one of us as we continue making a difference wherever we find ourselves.
Every blessing and please stay safe, stay at home and save lives!
Clarence E Bester, Bishop of Wangaratta
Fr Victor Adams 58621046 or 0403918927
Lou Hamon 5862 3252
Rob Elliott 5862 1828
Nola Smith 5868 3242
|P.O BOX 223, NUMURKAH, 3636 – TEL. (03) 5862 1046
Facebook: Anglican Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia
Priest in charge: Revd. Victor Adams 0403918927 or 58621046
SECOND SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
TRINITY SUNDAY WORSHIP
Trinity Sunday, first Sunday Service in St Georges since March 22nd.
Observing limitations on numbers, social distancing, recording of attendees and hygiene.
Good to be back!
TRINITY SUNDAY – 07 June 2020 Sermon by Revd. Victor Adams
Readings : First Reading – Exodus 34:1-8 The Song of the Three Young Men – pg. 399 Second Reading – 2 Corinthians 13:11-13 Gospel : Matthew 28:16-20
Today is Holy Trinity Sunday. As God`s Church pause and gaze upon the grandeur and glory of our God, we gather today for the first time after many weeks to behold our God in His Holy place (Habukuk 2:20 “The Lord is in His holy temple, let everyone keep silent before Him.”) We come today before Him Who was and is and is to come. Our God Who revealed Himself to Moses at the burning bush (Exodus 3:14) and said “I AM WHO I AM” is My Name. God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit Who was there before the foundation of the world, yet still is on His throne, alive forevermore. God the Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier Who had since the inception of all creation, been intricately and actively engaged with all of our lives in all of the world. It`s here I want spent time and reflect with you, the nature and likeness of the God that we worship, know and love. The history of the Israelites in the Old Testament written by the prophets of old, is a clear indication of the covenantal relationship God had with His people and in particular of God`s interaction with them. God guided them, God cared for them, God fed them, God gave them the promised land, God gave them His law (the 10 commandments) to live by, God was also angry at them when they were disobedient and had send them into exile a few times. God had forgiven, restored and reconciled with them time and again. God had always been coming to His people and “pressed the restart button.” In Hosea 11:1-4 we find that relationship been explained in a very intimate way. As one of my favorite go-to-places in the Bible, I see God most amazingly been portraited in a Motherly/Fatherly image that can easily be a hanger on which can also hang other attributes of God. At this point you may get my point of referring to God as Abba-Father, our Heavenly Parent with Whom we are in a parent-child relationship. And that cannot be made undone or be changed. As parents ourselves we can identify with much of the above. However, we are all God`s children and He puts up with all of us. The Holy Spirit Who cleanses us, empowers us and show us the way, is our Potter and shape us to His glory everyday of our lives. The IMARGO DEI (the Image of God) is explained in this way, that we are God`s and He is forever in pursuit of being our Father. God is explained in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15, Who waited for His child to return and had a feast when He arrived. No questions asked, no condemnation, no laying down of the law…just love, grace, compassion, embrace and a welcome that we see with the Father taking the lost son (daughter) into His arms. Another beautiful story in the gospel told by Jesus is about the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37 that, in detail explain to us the compassion of our God. In this story the Samaritan 1. Came near the wounded man, 2. Saw him, 3. Was moved with pity, 4. Went to him and bandaged his wounds, 5. Poured oil and wine on his wounds, 6. Had put him on his own animal, 7. Brought him to an inn, 8. Took care of him there, 9. Paid the inn-keeper 2 denarii and 10. Came back after his business to see the wounded man. Jesus told this story as to how we should care for our neighbor and from the premise of how God is with us wounded pilgrims in this life. He takes care of us, carry us, make us whole again and give us whatever is necessary for our well-being and salvation. And how was all of that taken care of at the cross of our Lord? Jesus the Son of God, during His life and ministry, at His Crucifixion and Resurrection and (to go back,) at His birth and coming to us, illustrated to us through the well-known words of John 3:16, that God so loved the world (us) that He had to come and save us (from being/getting lost.) The nature of the One Triune God at work in our lives and in all creation cannot be overlooked, misunderstood or ignored. Out of love, Jesus came as the Great Missionary from heaven to revealed Who God is, He had shown us how God lives and loves, shared the Father`s words with us and above all, in touching the lives of all the crowd by His teachings and miracles, emphasized that, that is Who God is: Emmanuel, God with us. A God of great love, compassion and care Who went to the most extreme, indescribable extend to demonstrate His love to us : by stooping down to wash the dirt and sin from our feet, cleaning up our wounds, take us into His arms, guilty as we are. At the Cross as He laid down His life for the world, He remembered me and you…and did for us too. No one can forget that and more so, look pass the sacrifice He has made. Everyone living in this world, in this town, in this country…everyone is included to receive from God`s most amazing response to our devastated and messed up lives. The gripping story of the wicked tenants in Luke 20:13, where the Son of God came to rescue of the land summarizes it all, that it was by His grace and kindness that He, notwithstanding the risk and danger, came to save us. Something is telling of the vulnerability from His cradle to His grave, at the hand of His persecutors that Jesus came for me and you nonetheless. He came. God risked it nonetheless to have come as Baby and to die amongst criminals, to make the point that His nature is to give it all. We, the world should see and believe(remember) that. What better time to take stock and ponder on this eternal, yet very personal matter as this period of the covid19 pandemic hanging over all the world?
A well-known story is told of a king of a small nation on an island, who was rather concerned about his people who were not really caring to each other and lived apart from each other. He then disguised himself as a beggar and came into the streets of the closest village from his palace. He knocked on a few doors and was dismissed with hostility and disapproval. After a while he went back, put on his royal garments and went to the same addresses in the village where he was. This time he was welcomed with great hospitality and honor. First God came to us as one of us, a Baby born in a manger. Not long from now will come back as King and Judge as we have to stand before, answering this one question “Do you know Me?”
My sister and brother take a deeper interest in your relationship with God, grow in the knowledge of Him, seek His presence, study (not just read) His Word, sing unto Him, pray unto Him (for longer times than usual,) reflect (think back) on His care for you, be conscious as to when He had answered your prayers and fulfilled your heart`s desires. God is real and He is here, right here in your world and in my world. Let us give thanks unto the Lord! Amen
PARISH COUNCIL ZOOM MEETING
Parish Council Zoom meeting Tuesday 2nd June discussed the opening of the churches for Sunday Services 7th June.
It was decided to continue the mail-out weekly contact
Sunday services will be shortened and follow guidelines of social distancing, registering attendees and sanitization with only first reading and psalm and no hymns.
Contact by phone for this Sunday to discover interest as limited to 20.
Zoom Morning Payer will be held 12 noon for those who are unable to attend the church service.
THE SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Online Morning Prayer
Sermon by Revd. Victor Adams on the 6th Sunday of Easter–17 May`20
First Reading Acts 17: 22-31
Psalm 66: 7-19
Second Reading 1Peter 3: 8-22
Gospel John 14: 15-21
The gospel text today reminds me of a short story about a little girl who sat at the table having her porridge one morning with her dear Nan. As the winter sun began to shine through the kitchen`s window, one sunbeam came right over her bowl and as she brought her spoon with some sunshine on it, to her mouth she said “Look Nan, I have a spoon full of sunshine!” She was happy that morning that she had some sunshine in her. I feel like that when I encounter Jesus` words in this particular gospel reading. Jesus said about the Holy Spirit in verse 17 “and He will be in you.” Sunshine will come in you. It means that the Holy Spirit will abide in you and me, you and I becoming the abode of God`s Spirit. And we know that God is Spirit (John 4:24) and as His Spirit finds entry into our lives, it is God Himself coming to live within us. This theme of “being in God and God within us” is taken further by Jesus when addressing His disciples in this gospel text, verse 20 ‘on that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me and I in you.” The Creator of the universe willingly coming into my life and your life, residing within us… forever. Can you fathom that? Processing that eternal reality on a Sunday morning like today, in a nutshell is what we refer to as worship, a relationship with God, being Church (and being what Church really is about.) For sure this is about finding one`s true calling and purpose in life, which is to let God in. God within us defines “child of God.” The Missio Dei (God`s mission to the world) finds its fulfilment in that we all (every person in the world) have to let God come in and make us His children. (John 3:16 and Rev. 3:20) God`s work of salvation on the cross brought us redemption and now the work of the Holy Spirit brings us to that awakening and reality. The Holy Spirit within us, facilitates our coming closer to the cross each day, prompting us to grasp the immense love of God and finally move us to conviction to be in Him as He is in us.
Jesus says about the Holy Spirit coming to be in us, that we “know” Him. At the heart of today`s message is knowing God, loving Him and keeping His commandments (His Word.) If we do that we are on the right way.
How well do we know the Holy Spirit Who lives within us? How aware are we of God within us? How mindful are we of His presence each moment of each day? The world that God had come to, to save on the cross, doesn`t “see” Him and doesn`t “know” Him. In other words, the world ignores God. It sounds harsh, but taken from the eternal words of our Lord, it seems that the world (non-believers) is not only reluctant to see God for Who He really is, but rather that they turn their backs on Him. Here in the 21st century by our 4th industrial revolution society, God has been pushed aside. However, the Creator of the universe has not given up on His world, He still wants to save us all. Right now, during these critical and trying times that the corona virus had brought upon us, it had become a time to be quiet before the Lord. This world-wide calamity with its total and devastated impact ought to have brought the whole world on our knees before God. The first reason I am saying this is the fact we need God to save us, only God can fix this. Secondly, as we are brought low already by this pandemic, it`s probably right there, on our knees that God is speaking to us and want to speak to us. What would God communicate to us on our knees? That we have strayed away like sheep from Him and He is calling us back, that we don`t see and recognize Him in our daily lives and don`t know Him (anymore?) Is not this perhaps, the hidden text and message, that God brought all the world to a standstill to ponder on Him? Whilst being in isolation and distancing ourselves from others, on our knees, is it not there where He meets us face to face? No matter what creed or color we are, the God of us all has silenced us. The quiet in the streets that we had seen throughout all the world had silenced the world before God who said “be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 and 2 Chronicles 7:14) The world has been brought to a stand-still and God got our attention and focus at last. God Who desires our attention for so long that we, the world should “see” and come to “know” Him. Sadly, that it took the corona-virus to turn the face of the whole world to God. Hopefully. God breaking through the rhythm of our lives, disturbing our routine and suspending our normality (even if it`s for a while) speaks to us all and say “see” Me, come to “know” Me, “love Me and keep My commandments.” The spoon full of sunshine of the little girl of earlier has indeed some relevancy and truth to it, that we all have to scoop of that bright, golden light into our souls, so that we may shine by the glory of God within us. God within us and we in God. Amen
MORNING PRAYER SERVICE.
MORNING PRAYERS THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Rev. Victor Adams will conduct Morning Prayers online via Zoom on Sunday 10th May at 10.30pm.
You are invited by clicking on the link below.
THE FIFTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
Sermon by Revd, Victor Adams
Readings Today: First Reading – Acts 7:55-60
Psalm: 31: 1-5,17-18
Second Reading: 1 Peter 2: 11-25
Gospel: John 14:1-14
Let us pray: Lord Jesus as we come before You today, we are grateful for the opportunity to read Your Word again. As we come more closely, speak to us. Open our hearts and minds as we seek and desire for You to be present with us. Fill us now dear Lord with Your loving presence. Amen
We find in today`s gospel reading Jesus speaking to His disciples about His impending going away to the Father. 11 Days from now we commemorate the Ascension of our Lord. What a wonderful day of celebration in our Church`s calendar of Jesus going to heaven to prepare a place for all of us. Before that event, Jesus indeed prepare the hearts of the disciples and informing them of what was going to happen. The disciples however had a few questions of “where” Jesus was going to and “how He would get there.” Jesus said to them “I am the way, the truth and the life” (v.6) and “no one comes to the Father except through me.” In other words, Jesus implied to them that He is the “gate-way” and the “high-way” to which we get to Father. The only way. Speaking of the way to go, I am reminded of a short story about a few boys who planned on a Saturday morning to go for a walk in the bush. As they got together before they took off, they checked in with each other to see whether they were all set and ready to go. It appeared that one of the boys, let`s name him Jack for now, had an empty rucksack. Upon closer inspection they found that the only item in there was a small Gideon`s bible, to which Jack then said “well guys, this is my map, my compass, my torch, my water bottle, my snack, my jumper, my stick, hat and sunscreen. I `m ready to go”
It is fascinating to think that the Christian faith with its inception was called “The Way” and the followers of Jesus “people of the Way.” We find evidence of that in Acts 9:2 when Saul (who became Paul with his conversion) persecuted people of the Way. That was what the Church was called then and to some extend still bears that identity even today. Why was it called the Way? Well Jesus said “I am the way…and no one comes to the Father except through me” By implication to all the Lord`s followers it means that He is the way that we should go, the way that we should live, the way that we should understand what`s God`s will for us and the way that brings us to God. During those formative years of the Church it was even harder to establish itself as the Way and to grow amongst the onslaught of persecutions and the opposition of the Jewish leaders. They knew no other way than knowing His love, care, kindness, protection, joy and blessings. That understanding became of a way of life.
Notwithstanding that, the people of the Way, by their vigilance, faith, commitment and conviction had shown all generations to come what the way of being the Way was really about.
Starting with the apostles up to this day, there`s a common phenomena throughout the ages that we all have, and that is perseverance. I think that when we were baptized we received “perseverance for the race” as gift from the Holy Spirit. This is the one element of our Christian DNA that keeps us going, united, hopeful and resolute on the Way. The Way is not an easy “walk in the park.” It comes with challenges and it is sometimes a thorny path as it was for every Christian since the beginning of their faith`s journey. Jesus prayed to the Father in the garden of Gethsemane for “cup of suffering” to pass (Matthew 26:39) and Paul as well asked God three times to remove the “thorn” from his flesh. (2 Corinthians 12:7) With the perseverance of our Lord Jesus, victory was achieved on the cross. Being on the Way as a follower of Jesus is sometimes tough and given Paul`s experience, there`s sometimes hard work on ourselves, internal working and engagement with ourselves to get rid of the “thorns” we are carrying within us. To get rid of those inner challenges that prevent us from making progress on the Way, sometimes become a daunting task. It is at this point however, where some had turned around and given up, others had become less committed and still others had doubts and sought for other ways of getting to God (of which there is none…except through Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life.)
When Paul was lamenting about his “thorn in the flesh” the response from God was “my grace is sufficient for you.” In other words, God was helping Paul through his challenge giving His grace (strength and blessing) that was sufficient (and that was all that Paul needed to have.) “If in My Name you ask me for anything, I will do it” Jesus says in today`s gospel (v.14) It is God`s pleasure to give us everything that we need for our journey in this life and we find it all in Jesus. God wants for us to make it to the end on this Way (Matthew 25:23) God wants to welcome us one day in His house with many mansions, where there is room for everyone and we have arrived at the final destination…God`s eternal home. The Way leads to God`s eternal home.
Jesus therefore is our compass, torch, map, water bottle, stick, snack, sunscreen, hat and jumper (the story of earlier.) It all means that when we are weary and battered by life`s issues, He is the Way. He picks us up when we are down, He gives us new strength when we are tired. He help us to restart our journey when we find ourselves at life`s cul de sac. When we are alone and isolated like now, He is our Companion. When we are stranded and abandoned, He makes a breakthrough. When we are in trouble, He rescues us. When we have nothing, He makes a miracle. When we feel self-hatred and have low self-esteems, He showers His love over us to make us feel worthy and special. When we are in life`s dangers, He is our Savior. Jesus is the Way in this life and He is our Way to go.
The question we are confronted with is: Are we doing it the Frank Sinatra way (I do it my way?) or are we doing it His Way?
Stay strong on this Way as Jesus leads us through it all. He will lead each one of us on this Way and into God`s eternal home. Amen
Online Zoom Parish Council Meeting.
The Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia now has a Facebook page to enable another form ofer communication.
The Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia are producing a weekly newsletter which includes news, reading sheet and sermon from Fr. Victor Adams.
If you are nor on the email list, and would like to receive the newsletter, please contact the parish by email – email@example.com or phone 035862 1046.
Due to the restrictions imposed due to the Coronavirus outbreak, all Sunday and Weekday services are cancelled until further notice.
Lenten Bible Studies and Children’s Kidzone are also cancelled.
The Parish will attempt to maintain contact other than face to face.
PARISH DIARY DATES
1 – Advent Sunday – Fr Victor’s first services
5 – St George’s ladies lunch – 12 noon at the Telegraph Hotel
8 – Advent 2
10 – Parish Council 2pm, Numurkah
15 – Advent 3 – Holy Trinity (UCA to combine)
17 – Blue Christmas Ecumenical service, St George’s 6.00pm
19 – Karinya Holy Communion 3.15pm, Pioneers Lodge Holy Communion 4.00pm
21 – Bp John lays up his Pastoral Staff at Holy Trinity Cathedral, Wangaratta
22 – Advent 4
24 – Christmas Eve – St George’s, Midnight Mass 11.00pm
25 – Christmas Day – Holy Trinity 9.30am, St George’s to join with UCA 9.30am
29 – Christmas 1
5 – Christmas 2
12 – Baptism of our Lord
16 – Karinya Holy Communion 3.15pm, Pioneers Lodge Holy Communion 4.00pm
19 – 2nd after Epiphany – Holy Trinity to UCA 10:30am
26 – 3rd Epiphany
28 – Nathalia Mothers’ Union, Eucharist & Meeting 10.00am
2 – Presentation of Christ
4 – Parish Council 2.00pm, Nathalia
9 – 5th Epiphany
16 – 6th Epiphany – Holy Trinity (UCA to combine)
20 – Karinya Holy Communion 3.15pm, Pioneers Lodge Holy Communion 4.00pm
23 – Transfiguration
25 – Nathalia Mothers’ Union, Eucharist & Meeting 10.00am
Shrove Tuesday pancakes at St George’s
26 – Ash Wednesday
1 – Lent 1
INTRODUCING Fr. Victor Adams and his family, Elizabeth, Ruth and Nathan
REV’D VICTOR ADAMS.
Vicar General Clarence Bester inducted Rev’d Victor Adams as Priest in Charge of the Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia at a service held in St. Georges Numurkah on Thursday 28th November.
Bishop John Farewelled
Bishop John visited the Numurkah-Nathalia Parish to say farewell before retiring after 11 years as Bishop of the Diocese of Wangaratta.
Fr. Gunnar Rippon retires.
On Sunday 26th May Fr Gunnar Rippon celebrated his final Eucharist in the Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia at St George’s Church, Numurkah after nearly 12 months as locum in the parish.
The parish has indeed been blessed by his presence. Parishioners have appreciated his thoughtful sermons and his fine singing voice on Sundays. And during his part-time ministry he made a point to visit many parishioners in their homes and he also took regular services in the four aged care facilities within the parish.
He introduced new services to the parish – a ‘Spring’ Service to give thanks for the promise of new life, a solemn and thought-provoking Service of Reproach on Good Friday and a ‘Blue Christmas’ held in the week before Christmas – a simple service to give people for whom Christmas can be difficult or associated with sad memories an opportunity to pray, reflect on their sorrow, and to find hope and some comfort. It was much appreciated by many in the Numurkah community, with a number of people from other denominations attending.
However, one of Fr Gunnar’s greatest achievements was to ensure that Parish Council meetings did not go beyond 60 minutes duration; quite a feat!
His wife Margaret also encouraged the parish to support ‘A Dollar a Day for Lent’ to raise money for swags for the homeless. As a result of this outward focus, $540 was raised to supplement the funds raised by the Parish of Shepparton.
As a celebration of his time with us, Fr Gunnar was farewelled at a light lunch by the parishioners of St George’s.
After the lunch Warden Lou Hamon presented Fr Gunnar with a painting of the Broken Creek footbridge near St George’s church. The painting was kindly donated by a local artist Geoff Lugg, husband of Parish Councillor Carol Lugg.
The parish has been very fortunate to have had Fr Gunnar as a locum priest and we give thanks for his ministry among us.
REV’D GUNNAR RIPPON
The Anglican Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia welcome the appointment of Rev’d Gunnar Rippon as Locum Priest for the next six months.
Since the retirement of Rev’d Sally Boothey the parish has relied on retired priest Rev’s Geoffrey Poliness to conduct Sunday services and maintain parish life and are grateful for his devoted service.
Rev’s Gunnar Rippon will spend three days each week within the parish not only conducting Sunday services but undertaking pastoral care within the parish.
Gunner Rippon was born in Amble, Northumberland in north east England and in 1965 married Margaret and have three children and 10 grandchildren.
Gunner migrated to Australia in 1968 and worked as a mine surveyor in Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Accepting retrenchment in 1998, Gunner answered the call of our Lord and was ordained as Deacon in 2001 and as Priest in 2002 in Bunbury W.A. serving in two parishes then Dean of Cathedral in 2004.
In 2009 Gunnar retired to South Australia but answering the Bishop’s invitation to become district priest in Claire for three years.
Retiring again 2012 Gunnar and Margaret enjoyed caravanning around the country, doing locums in Port Fairy, Ararat, Ballarat, and Canon in Residence in Goulburn for 18 months.
In 2016 Gunnar and Margaret returned to Shepparton to a part time ministry.
Gunnar & Margaret will continue to live in Shepparton, whist working three days each week in the Parish of Numurkah-Nathalia.
The Parish are planning a Parish Dinner on 10th August, and a Film Night on Wednesday 15th August in Shepparton for the screening of the film “The Book Shop”.
Rev’d Sally Boothey’s last service and retirement.
Rev’d Sally Boothey celebrated her last service in St Georges on 15th April before her retirement.
At a luncheon after the service Sally was presented with a Joan Harding painting and flowers.
Pictures Sally with husband Dennis and Rectors Wardens Lou Hamon and Mary Muntz.
Holy Week & Easter Service Times
8.40am Palm Procession, Nathalia
9.00am Holy Trinity (UCA to Combine)
10.30am Sung Eucharist, St George’s
7.30pm Foot Washing & Sung Eucharist St George’s
9am Nathalia at Uniting Church
10.30am St George’s Numurkah
11.30am Ecumenical Procession of the Cross, Numurkah
9.00am Holy Communion, Holy Trinity
10.30am Sung Eucharist, St George’s
De-consecration of Holy Nativity and All Saints Barmah.
The Rt. Rev’s John Parkes, Bishop of Wangaratta de-consecrated Holy Nativity and All Saints Barmah at a well attended service on Saturday 15th July 2017.
The Barmah church was the town’s first, and now the town’s last, place of worship, after it originally began as a wooden structure that was brought over from Picola in 1913.
The original timber building had to be eventually pulled down in 1966 when it was ravaged by termites.
The existing building designed to be a multi-purpose space was built in 1966.
The new church was fitted out with locally sourced red gum and the fence was made out of the cable from the old Murray River punt.
Services stopped last year and the power cut off, the building is sound and will be put up for sale.
Rev’d Sally Boothey, rector of Numurkah-Nathalia Parish said “It is a time of sadness, to contemplate the closure of this, or any church, and it seems that an era when traditional Christian worship and teaching centered around church buildings is passing”.