Dear members and friends of St. Peter's,
You are invited!
Pauline wants to entertain us! She is very kindly opening her house for lunch on Sunday, 17th of July, starting at 12 noon. Soups, bread and some pies will be provided (including pea soup for a pie floater – do your searches if not familiar - for those who will dare!). You are invited to bring either a bought or made dish to share for the main course, but don’t stress over this. We always have plenty! Parents, feel free to bring a bike for the kids to ride as a driveway and large secluded area has recently been cemented. Also a fold-out chair. There will also be an opportunity for those interested to go for a short, pleasant afternoon nature walk to a nearby beach or playground (weather permitting). Numbers are needed for catering and compliance purposes. If you wish to attend please reply to this email, or see Sunday’s bulletin for further details regarding how to accept the invitation. Thank you Pauline for this initiative in helping to get people reconnected as COVID restrictions lift. We hope to have more of such gatherings in the future.
Russia - Ukraine war
I have been asked to provide some resources on the current Russia - Ukraine war. On June the 14th of this year Pope Francis, who has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, was reported in Politico (and widely in the media) as stating that in some ways the war was ‘either provoked or not prevented’. He went on to state “Someone may say to me at this point: but you are pro-Putin! No, I am not,” Francis said. “It would be simplistic and wrong to say such a thing. I am simply against reducing complexity to the distinction between good guys and bad guys, without reasoning about roots and interests, which are very complex.”
Regardless of one's view of Francis, I believe that he has here accurately articulated that there are complex roots and interests that have led to the current situation which is proving especially disastrous for the Ukrainian people, with major wider global implications. For those wishing to transcend the ubiquitous propaganda and explore this, I offer the following recent presentation by the highly credentialed political scientist and international relations scholar Dr John J Mearscheimer. If you wish to skip the opening introduction and formalities and get straight to the presentation, forward to the 10-minute mark. The presentation itself goes for a bit over 50 minutes and then there are questions. Towards the end of the presentation, Mearsheimer evaluates the risks of a protracted war and why he is not optimistic of a very quick end to the conflict. (Note: If you wish to increase the speed of the presentation click on 'Settings' at the bottom of the YouTube presentation, then click on playback speed, then select the speed. However, increasing the speed significantly can reduce one's ability to fully absorb and reflect upon the material presented, which may not be advisable for those not overly familiar with the content).
In sharing the above, I wish to emphasise that there are many aspects to the Biblical teaching on war and peace, with the political being just one. We as Christians are called by our Lord to be peacemakers. Some traditional prayers of the Church have not only included prayers for peace but also for ‘those things that make for peace’. War, like so many disasters, can show us, individually and collectively, the urgent need for repentance and to be right with God through the saving mercies of our Lord Jesus Christ and prepared to meet Him. See for example Luke 13:1-5, or the invading foreign superpower kings in the Old testament such as Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus who God calls ‘My servant’ to, at various times, bring both judgement and liberation. This would make an excellent topic for a study at some stage.
Last Sunday's sermon was based on Luke 8:26-39 which is about an out-of-control man riddled with the demonic who is freed and transformed by Jesus. This naturally raises questions, which were addressed in the sermon, about the demonic today. In addition to going into and drawing on our very rich Lutheran heritage, I also mentioned the psychiatrist and author Dr Richard Gallagher. I apologise as I said that the name of his book was ‘Unexplained World’. In fact, that was a show that he was interviewed on. However, that may be a blessing in disguise as that enables me to now share the interview with him on that show. Note the very calm, non-sensationalist but thorough and 'well-thought-out' way that he responds to the questions. This is a man who knows his subject and who also knows the various boundaries that need to be kept in place. I encourage that you not be too put off by what may appear initially to be his dry demeanour but to listen carefully to what he actually says.
We are seeking nominations or expressions of interest regarding a delegate to represent our St Peter’s Lutheran Parish at the 2022 District Synod at Croydon, Melbourne, from the evening of the 30th of Sept until around noon on Sunday 2nd of October. For further information, please speak to Parish Chair Kim.
While I made an apology above for an error regarding a book title, I make no apologies for sharing the material of substance via these mailouts. I have been pleasantly surprised and heartened by numerous people who inform me that they both appreciate the substance of the material shared and that they do access it. Praise God for the beneficial aspects of modern communication!
God’s richest blessings to you all, dearly loved and treasured by Him.
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Reconciliation is all about God's Heart
A message by Bishop Paul Smith
If we know that famous Bible verse, John 3:18, then we know what motivates a Christian’s contribution to Australia’s Reconciliation Week. ’For God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’
The diverse peoples of Australia make up part of the world that God loves. God shows no regard for our DNA or skin colour, and Christ Jesus came among us as Saviour of all the peoples of the world: the Saviour of the World!
Antagonism between people of different nations and racial divisions are all the product of the human heart, not of God’s heart.
The theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week in Australia is ‘Be brave. Make a change!’
I am writing this encouragement for you from Alice Springs in the centre of Australia. I have joined with the people of our church who serve on the Finke River Mission Board. Each year, the board members travel to Central Australia to hold their cycles of meetings among the people they serve, and it is a joy and privilege for me to be part of this work.
You may not know that from this place in Alice Springs I am surrounded by Lutherans in every direction. That is because of the purpose of Lutheran missionaries who came to this part of God’s world almost 150 years ago. I think the words ‘Be brave. Make a change!’ describes their service to Australia’s First Nations peoples. Those German women and men brought the good news of Jesus Christ with the knowledge of how much God loves us. The message of God’s heart.
On Friday 22 May 2022, after the recent elections, newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke about engaging with Australia’s Aboriginal peoples. In the opening of his speech, he said ‘I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet. I pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging. And on behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I commit to the Uluru Statement from the heart in full’ ulurustatement.org/the-statement
Prime Minister Albanese directed our eyes to a journey that our Aboriginal sisters and brothers have been travelling; seeking a stronger identity in Australia’s Constitution. In 2017, the Uluru Statement was produced in the part of Australia where I am sitting, writing these words to you, surrounded by Lutherans. The Aboriginal Christian communities in the Centre have much to teach the rest of Australia about the heart that motivates the work of reconciliation.
The annual focus on ‘reconciliation’ in Australia began as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation in 1993. It is quite profound to remember that the current focus has been brought prayerfully ‘before God’ from its beginning. The witness of Christians has been influential in the development of the current focus on reconciliation in Australia.
Knowing God’s love for us and for all people; knowing the gift of the Saviour to take away the sin of the world, means we know that this work of reconciliation begins with the humble Christian prayer, ‘Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner’. Together, we confess our common contribution to the divisions between nations and races. We share in many ugly histories of slander, violence and abuse against people, because of these divisions.
At the launching of our LCA Reconciliation Action Plan, Bishop John Henderson reflected on our commitment as church to the journey of reconciliation. ‘We step out together side by side, First Peoples and other Australians, listening to each other, respecting and learning from each other, deepening our relationships and discovering who we are to be and what we are to do’.
Christians are brave because they are sent by God into the world to bear the good news of Jesus Christ to make the change needed for life and salvation for the forgiveness of sin. During this 2022 Reconciliation Week, please pray for the work of those who are striving to find ways for women and men in Australia to live together in a common purpose with ‘common wealth’. I encourage you to go to the LCA Reconciliation Action Plan website to find ways that your local community can be more purposefully engaged in this ongoing focus on reconciliation in Australia.
Please pray for the extraordinary witness of our sisters and brothers of the Lutheran communities in Central Australia, that they would be enabled to help us and the people of Australia in this vital work of reconciliation.
Each of our Lutheran communities across Australia could serve the nation by including a prayer for reconciliation in the coming Sunday prayers.
Your fellow in Christ,
Pastor Paul Smith
Bishop, Lutheran Church of Australia and New Zealand
Our LCANZ Reconciliation Action Plan resource (available online) declares, 'Reconciliation is at the heart of the Christian faith. It is a gift of God in which we are invited and privileged to participate (2 Corinthians 5:16–20).' Visit the LCA RAP site
The National Council of Churches in Australia, of which the LCANZ is a member, also provides a site to help you consider your own Christian contribution to this reconciliation focus in Australia. Visit the NCCA site
For more information on National Reconciliation week visit the Reconciliation Australia site.
The Lutheran Church of Australia acknowledges that our loving Creator God first gave the land on which we are placed, to the peoples of the First Nations who have walked and cared for this land since before recorded time. We thank God for the land’s Traditional Custodians and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and emerging as we travel this journey of reconciliation in Australia (from the LCA RAP document).
Dear members and friends of St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Hobart.
He is Risen! We dare to believe that our Lord reigns; that life wins; that sin, death and all brokenness will be forever banished and that our Lord does care and is working all things for our ultimate good. Risen with Him, let us therefore live as His humble, repentant, unified, loving and faithful children.
This Sunday, the 8th of May, is Good Shepherd Sunday and Mother’s Day. While the Lord as our loving and faithful shepherd will be the primary focus, the theme of Mother's Day will also be acknowledged in various ways including a lovely hymn to a well-known tune specially written for Mother’s Day. Even those who are not mothers can remember our mothers and give thanks to God and pray for those who are mothers and for this special role. Sunday’s service will feature a variety of well-loved, rousing and very meaningful hymns.
During the announcements at the end of the service, a member will share with the congregation about their future plans.
He is risen indeed!
Easter joy, strength, perseverance and hope to you all.
Warm regards and blessings,
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Livestreaming unavailable this Sunday
Dear members of Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Unfortunately, as all our technicians are away, I must advise that St Peter's is unable to livestream our worship this Sunday morning, 24 April. The service, which will be led by Pastor John Heidenreich, will still go ahead at 10am.
If you need to livestream from home, here are some options (all in AEST time):
9am - Toowoomba, QLD (via Lutheran Media)
10am - Hahndorf, SA (via Lutheran Media)
10am - Golden Grove, SA (via YouTube)
10.30am - Box Hill, VIC (via YouTube)
We apologise for not streaming this Sunday. While the congregations listed above are experienced at livestreaming, we understand if you may have difficulty accessing their streams and again apologise for this.
We envisage a resumption of livestreaming the following Sunday, 1 May.
Office Secretary at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
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