The Pastors’ Pen

Welcome to the Pastors’ Pen – a written update for life at Southern Cross.

This Sunday is my last before I begin Long Service Leave. It has felt like a flustered time to get to this point. They say you need to work ‘double time’ before a period of leave like this! Yet, it is with deep joy and satisfaction that our mission continues with enthusiasm in my absence.

Our staff team has done a sterling job in preparing for this moment. A number of staff members have requested meetings with me to ensure they execute tasks required during my leave. Although these meetings take a good deal of time, they are always remarkably profitable. Meetings this week with some of the staff team began laying plans for our Christmas season at Southern Cross in 2022. You may be surprised to hear that! (Yes, even earlier than the shops’ Christmas decorations!!). This, however, is the fruit of a wonderfully gifted and proactive staff team. What a team! What a relief to leave with these competent leaders holding the fort!!

If you wish to pray for our family, pray that in the excitement of our leave, we will retain strong and vital communion with our Father God. We expect some of our travelling days across the country and back again to be filled with tension, irritability, and even exhaustion. However, in this tense state, pray that we would rest comfortability in our Father’s deep and tender care. Lots of wilderness images have filled my mind as we prepare to cross the ‘red centre’ of Australia with its dry, barren textures. We anticipate we will need to, at many moments, entrust ourselves to God’s daily provision. May this period grow our reflex to turn to our Father in prayer rather than blame each other or turn to flimsy human strategies and efforts. May God sustain us by his word. May we mirror Christ in his wanderings when he was pushed to grapple and cling to the deep and nourishing word of God.

SP

4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:1-4

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The Pastors’ Pen

Welcome to the Pastors’ Pen – a written update for life at Southern Cross.

We are thankful for Matt Oates’ willingness to join us on ZOOM on Wednesday night for an information briefing. Matt is the Superintendent of Ministry and Mission, assisting Presbyterian Churches across NSW to live out their mandate ‘to proclaim Christ as supreme and the way for cities, towns and the people that inhabit them, to be reconnected to God, the place of ultimate contentment and satisfaction’.

Wednesday night with Matt was a briefing on the pathway we outlined in a congregational meeting in November 2021. Our time with him on ZOOM was for around 30 minutes, as he outlined the path that we need to head along towards filling the vacancy at SCPC.

The timing of the briefing in Term 2 was due to my absence in Term 3, rather than a procedure that needs to occur to move things along.

Our next step is for LT and CoM to prepare the ‘Terms of Call’, a document that gathers statistical data from a church family to prove they have the conditions suitable to maintain a pastor for up to three years. This document then needs to be approved by the Northern Rivers Presbytery and Ministry and Mission (of which Matt Oates is the chairperson). From there we would hope to have a preliminary information session in Term 4 before a congregational meeting.  

It was great to hear from Matt, for we realise we are not the only church like this in NSW. There are many and varied tasks that he is sought out for to gain his insight and wisdom. Generously he has volunteered more support for LT and CoM across Term 3 if they wish to have further assistance as they negotiate this process.

Personally, I have been working my way through Proverbs this week and many verses have come to mind as I have been thinking about these opportunities ahead for us. I have been particularly thankful for Christian leaders like Matt Oates, who serve with Ministry and Mission and provide great counsel to churches across our state so we can keep going in our core business of growing followers of Jesus.

I love this verse from Colossians when thinking about the heart of our mission and our core business in Lovemore:

6 So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col 2:6-7

SP

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The Pastors’ Pen

Welcome to The Pastors’ Pen – an update for life at Southern Cross.

We are nearly half-way through the year!

It is painfully clear that the natural disaster in February and March took its toll on us after an already long and difficult season with the covid pandemic.

But as we emerge from this tiring period as a church family, we begin to lift our head to the second half of the year and its knock-on effect for the year to come!

As you may know, I will be taking Long Service Leave in Term 3. So, before my departure I was keen for us to begin to re-engage the question around James Ritchie’s call. As we discussed late last year, we would leave any questions about James until Term 4 this year. That time is quickly approaching, particularly given my absence in Term 3.

Therefore, we will run an informal information night as part of our Leadership Team meeting next Wednesday the 15th of June from 7:30pm-8pm. Matt Oates, the Superintendent of Ministry and Mission, will be on ZOOM to explain the vacancy that exists at SCPC and the pathway to calling a minister to that role.

Oh, what a demanding period we have all undergone! And yet, as we saw in Exodus last weekend, we await our Father God’s daily provision, and so entrust ourselves to his determined and precious care, for He is able to satisfy our deepest needs each day. Remember Jesus’ bold promise to us in John 6:

Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. John 6:35

SP

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