The Pastors’ Post

Here is a short video from one of our pastors, Stew, as he talks about life at SCPC this week.

Below is the text from the video:

Welcome to The Pastors’ Post, an update about life at Southern Cross Presbyterian.

We had an excellent mid-week meeting this week with our Vision Coordinators and some of our outstanding sound and audio team, with Scott and Tim joining us for the meeting too, as we continue to chart a course for our church family in the midst of the pandemic.

We were able to begin together by drawing on some of the wisdom of Christian leaders that have been providing a continual refrain of how to cultivate and grow our spiritual lives, because in the midst of chaos, that is where we need to draw our strength from. And I wanted to echo that to you all today! Please do commit to the reading of God’s Word, to speaking with him in prayer. It’s the way we speak and live with God.

As I said on Wednesday night, please reach out for direction and resources. Speak to your vision coordinators. Find ways that might renew or kick start those crucial habits of listening to God through his Word and speaking to him in prayer. Or contact the office, as during lockdown we purchased some resources to help our church family to grow in God’s work so we can be inviting the Bible into our lives.

On Wednesday night, we spent a good amount of time doing a SWOT (Strengths Weaknesses Opportunities and Threats) on our four AM locations: Park Ave, WRPS, Scout & Girl Guides and the Community Centre in Goonellabah, for our Sunday morning Gatherings.

It was beautiful to hear some of the strengths that have emerged during this time, of people serving for the first time at a Sunday gathering. People reading the Bible for the first time or leading people in prayer, people sharing their stories on how they came to know the Lord!

A clear weakness was the rigor and stress and strain that these multiplied locations has put particularly on our sound and tech team! We may need new or more equipment to make this more feasible and functional. But can I just thank David, Scott & Tim, who have now for months and months, often week in and week out given of themselves so sacrificially, so determinedly and so resolutely.

We hope from Wednesday’s meeting that we have created a more sustainable system to aim to ensure we can achieve some of these feats that we’re trying, which more and more people are saying what we need to be prepared for is not a sprint but a marathon. We need systems built for endurance during the midst of this pandemic.

Can I encourage you to please pray for our Vision Coordinators who, with Leadership Team, guide and serve our church family so faithfully and lovingly.

On Tuesday this week, Bronwyn and I met with the Principal of Lismore High School. This was my first meeting with him, so I’m so thankful for Bronwyn’s warmth and rapport with him. It made what could have been a stressful meeting, so heartfelt and genuine and relational. So thank you, Bronwyn.

The news he relayed was not entirely unpredictable. For anyone that has been part of a renovation or building project, predictions for the hall renovations to be completed in Term 3 have shifted in the hope the building will be ready for the HSC in Term 4. If they are successful in that attempt, they have requested no community groups use the hall during the course of the HSC as that will be essentially the senior students’ classroom for the period of the HSC that is due to end in mid-November. We will meet again with the principal on Sept 22, but for now there are a number of implications that have come out of that meeting.

Firstly, we had already made some progress over the course of this week to retain our four current locations for our AM gatherings, until the end of 2020.

Sadly, another demoralizing implication of no access to LHS is the cancellation of what was to be Celebration Saturday, set down for Saturday September the 19th, due to be held at LHS.

What is the new plan??? Well, the new plan is Celebration Someday!!

What does that mean? Our normal celebration Sunday, might happen, who knows when? Someday!

But over the course of the week beginning Sunday 20th September, until Saturday 26th September, we want to do a ‘celebration week’! In that week what we hope to do is rejoice in God’s sovereign care that extends to us: Yesterday, Everyday, All day, Today, Any day and even on that Final day.

Celebration Week will be a time for us to rejoice and delight and celebrate God’s care for us, his children, in whatever way is appropriate in the course of that week. We will be providing each Gospel Community a Celebration Pack that can be dispersed over the course of that week starting from Sunday 20th Sept. We’ll have time for our church family to share in gospel communities reflecting on how God has cared for us in the midst of COVID.

We will have more to say about Sunday 20th September, Celebration Someday, but our normal gatherings will take place at our normal time 9:45am (no 6pm gathering). We’ll aim to have a special 3pm meeting on ZOOM which may include some live baptisms, and some words from some new members at Southern Cross, and also a hundred-tile photo on ZOOM, for our 2020 church family photo that will be used in our 2021 calendar.

I heard during the week, what was the worst present you could’ve received for Christmas 2019? A diary for 2020! As we’ve seen, any plans we’ve had for this year have gone out the window.

2020 will certainly be a year to remember! And yet we live in hope. A prominent Christian thinker, Alistair McGrath said this of hope over 25 years ago:

It is imperative that Christianity rediscovers it’s future
and realises it’s enormous importance to a world,
which is longing for hope,
and seeking that hope outside of Christianity.
Only by rediscovering its own theology of hope
can the church hope to gain a hearing in a secular culture. [1]   

Well this weekend, we’re going to hear ‘the small beginnings’ of hope as we open up to Ezekiel 33-36. But listen to its mature form shout out in Romans 8: 22-25.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Thanks for tuning into The Pastors’ Post

[1] A. McGrath, Christian Theology. (4th ed. Oxford: Blackwell publishing, 2007), 475.

Posted in General, Pastors Post