Here’s what you missed – if you weren’t at last Sunday’s church meeting!
- Megan Williams and I provided a comprehensive overview of the issues facing the Association now that it has redefined Baptist identity around a position on marriage.
- Steve Coster, Cecelia Aull, and I gave reports on the mission activity of the church, youth, families, and young adults and overall worship and pastoral care.
- And we decided to postpone the toilet redevelopment as we continue thinking about the bigger picture of the ongoing and future ministry of the church.
And here’s what’s happening this week that you do not want to miss!
- Tomorrow, Thursday, 25 May, from 10:30am the Biggest Morning Tea is on in the hall to help the Cancer Council raise funds for people impacted by cancer. Please donate online at https://www.biggestmorningtea.com.au/fundraisers/Thursdaystudygroup and come along to chat and eat!
- Our Thank Offering – ‘Improving the Lives of Persons with Disabilities and Vulnerable without Disabilities’ – closes this Sunday, 28 May. The donation form is attached. Please fill this in, scan it and send to Ian ASAP – or by Sunday! For highlights of this project shared with us by Alana Palau from Baptist World Aid on Sunday, read on!
- The Thank Offering High Tea is on this Sunday, 28 May, in the manse garden. The weather is still looking lovely – so rug up and bring a plate! (If the weather deteriorates, we’ll be gathering in the hall.)
- This Saturday, 27 May, National Reconciliation Week commences – the very same date a referendum was held in 1967 to remove two references that discriminated against Aboriginal peoples from our nation’s constitution. On Tuesday, 30 May, 7-9pm, we are hosting a ‘Voice and Justice’ Training Event, run by Common Grace. You need to RSVP for this event on the Common Grace site. To RSVP, go to: https://www.listentotheheart.org.au/canberra_training_event
Last Sunday’s church meeting was a good meeting – and a significant one – as we reflected on who we are as followers of Jesus and what we are called to do.
And – in meeting together to work through these issues – to seek the mind of Christ together – we were sticking to our Baptist values.
As I’ve mentioned before, Baptists do not have a hierarchy or chain of command as other denominations do. We hold this radical idea (which perhaps shouldn’t be that radical for Christians!) that Christ is the head of the Church, and we, as members of the church, are all a ‘priesthood of all believers.’ This means that all of us have a part to play; that all of us have a ministry here; and that all of us are needed to make this church work!
On Sunday 4 June and Sunday 18 June there will be a lunch at the manse for anyone interested in finding out more about being baptised or becoming a member of a Baptist church. Anyone is welcome to come along. Just RSVP to me – firstname.lastname@example.org or 0400 010 144.
It was also great last Sunday to hear from Andy McCullough, the National Church Partnerships Manager for Baptist World Aid, and his colleague, Alana Palau, about the work of Baptist World Aid and the project we support in Bangladesh – ‘Improving the Lives of Persons with Disabilities and Vulnerable without Disabilities’.
Alana was able to tell us that through this project – after the first year that it has been running – 300 people have received education in disability rights and inclusion and an estimated 6,750 people have been positively impacted. The project has achieved the following:
- Educated people with disability, caregivers, and community members (such as shopkeepers and teachers) about the Persons with Disabilities’ Rights and the Protection Act (2013) in Bangladesh.
- Trained 75 mothers and caregivers in childcare so they can create a healthy environment for their children, and enabled 65 caregivers to provide rehabilitation support for people with disability, and linked 104 caregivers with advocacy and support services.
- Trained 67 local health providers in healthcare activities, supporting people with different types of disabilities, the need for specialised services, and social issues.
- Trained staff who run Child Cubs about early marriage, so they can be agents of change and advocate for children’s rights.
- Provided inclusion training for 15 primary school teachers and awareness sessions for 119 school students, to create a more inclusive learning environment and increase enrolment of children with disability in schools.
- Trained 40 people with disability and their caregivers on disaster preparedness and risk reduction.
Please give generously to our Thank Offering this year so we can help support this ongoing work.
Finally, as we remember Sorry Day this Friday, 26 May, and as National Reconciliation Week begins, can I urge you to think and to pray about the call for a Voice to Parliament that has come from the Uluru Statement from the Heart – and to RSVP for our ‘Voice and Justice’ training event here at the church on Tuesday, 30 May, 7-9pm.
I know that there are a range of views about the Voice, but as I sat listening, with tears in my eyes, to Stan Grant on Monday night (you can watch it here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=db3XKj5DFVc) speak about “overcoming with love”, and as I have been reflecting, since Sunday’s meeting, on the incredible generosity of the Statement from the Heart, and the months and months of careful conversations among grass-roots indigenous groups that led to the call for the Voice to Parliament, I would urge you to come and listen on Tuesday night; and to come and ask the questions that you have – with the same generosity and care that have been modelled for us.
Please join us on Tuesday as we think about the watershed moment in the life of our country and our relationships with indigenous people. Again, to RSVP you need to go to – : https://www.listentotheheart.org.au/canberra_training_event .