Dear members and friends of St Peters Lutheran Church, Hobart.
So much to be thankful for! We at times question and ask ‘Why does this or that happen’? Yet given that we live in a fallen world which so often and in so many ways is in rebellion against God we should be asking ‘why does this or that so often NOT happen’? Not why problems, but why so much provision and blessing? Not why death, but why the undeserved offer of free forgiveness and eternal life in Christ Jesus’? Not war, but peace? Not just hell, but heaven?
What has prompted me to communicate this is our prayer group. We have a small number of confidential praying members who respond to prayer requests by members and I have seen so many wonderful answers to prayer as a result of these prayer requests. I have seen such incredible things so often throughout my 30 plus years of ministry! If you have a payer request please contact Lorraine for distribution.
Of course in addition we have our ongoing prayer and care list which includes people we pray for often during worship. I recently recalled another person I need to add to this. Please overlook any oversights as so many tasks to attend to and let Harrison or I know so we can add. Again so many wonderful answers to prayer here also.
However, despite so many incredible answers to prayer, challenges remain and questions are asked. Some of these were addressed in last night very much appreciated ‘To the Point’ episode. We really are getting incredible teaching! If anyone has not tuned into these you just do not know hat you are missing. I wrote this to further promote that episode elsewhere next week:
The Plague: Then and now: Big issues relating to COVID-19, the thinking behind some government actions and infectious diseases or what has so often been called ‘the plague’ throughout Church history are addressed here and your questions responded to. These are wide ranging from why certain things were closed down to why a vaccination is unlikely, is this God’s judgement and how to die well. St Peter's member Dr Jodi Johnson-Glading is a medical doctor with multiple degrees. Her current role is Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Tasmania, which involves her in advising government medical bodies on COVID-19. Joining her was ALC lecturer and Church historian Pastor Thomas Pietsch who gives many excellent insights. Ultimately a hope filled broadcast with broad appreciation expressed from across the generations including from millennial’s and Gen Z. The feedback has been incredibly positive describing the conversation as very natural, informative and insightful. You can watch it here.
Thanks again to Kim and Philippa for their wonderful contribution. It further explains the process as we work towards our variegated resumption of worship and contains much important information. Please do read carefully! Again, thank you to our Chair Kim for such devoted leadership!
Dear members of St Peters Hobart,
This week Philippa has provided us with some very thoughtful Bible verses that were inspired by her thinking of loneliness and how to avoid it. In her own words she wrote “I was thinking of loneliness and trying to avoid it. As restrictions ease I was thinking the time is now to make sure people don’t fall into isolation as a habit. So my verses are below.”
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.
- Psalm 68: 5-6
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
- Proverbs 17:17
The obvious one as well-
Do to others as you would have them do to you.
- Luke 6:31
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- Colossians 3:12-14
I found the verses very interesting to read in combination, when reflecting upon the times we are currently living through. The first reminds us who God is and his continuing presence no matter what. It also reminds us of what happens if we forget about God in our lives. I too look forward to the time when God leads us out of isolation with singing, just as he does the prisoners on release, as in many respects we have been prisoners in our own homes of late.
The second reading I found the most poignant and was also reminded of The Hollies song “He Ain’t Heavy He’s My Brother.” Friends are there but when adversity strikes we really need the selfless love of a brother that the song is talking about. Brothers don’t get a choice in the role they are given, and though friends can come and go a brother is for life. We are all brothers in Christ and especially in times such as these it is so important for us not to forget that we are each other’s brothers and we need to be there for each other.
The last 2 verses as Philippa says are obvious. We do need to think about what we are doing and put ourselves in each other’s footsteps and think how our actions will effect others. We also need to bear with each other and forgive each other. We need to remember to love one another so that we can be bound together as one.
Unity and oneness has been at the forefront of my mind in the last weeks.
We are working towards the commencement of services. This has involved looking at many things to ensure that safety measures are in place. Facts Sheets have been drafted and the register is up and running. Church Council is in the process of finalising the Fact Sheets, and as I indicated last week once they are settled they will be on the website for everyone to familiarise themselves with them. It is vital that anyone who is planning to attend a service has read the Facts Sheets and is aware of what they are required to do on attendance and what restrictions are in place. I need to thank Wendy and ELC, who have agreed that they will take care of the cleaning as part of their cleaning regime. This is a huge saving for us and removes the burden from us of needing to organise and clean the St Peters Centre before and after services, and I am truly grateful to the school for agreeing to do this. We have complied with all obligations that exist in creating the Fact Sheets. Though we have ensured that we are meeting all requirements that currently exist, we will need to constantly revisit matters as restrictions ease. The Facts Sheets explain what we require, this does not mean that as an individual you can’t or shouldn’t take your own precautions. For instance we are not requiring the wearing of masks but if you feel you need to wear one that does not mean that you can’t. Please also be aware that we can only do so much and that what is in place might not be sufficient for our most vulnerable. In those circumstances please consider whether you are able to attend, or whether it would be better to avail yourselves of home communion or watching the live stream services and not obtaining communion for the moment. Each individual needs to think about their own circumstances and make a decision on where they sit in terms of risk and then decide what they will do after considering all the matters I have talked about. These are unprecedented times and essentially there is no right or wrong in how any one person responds to them. This message has been made very clear by the National Office and also the District. In all of this please remember that Church Council is trying to do its best for all members, and going back to Philippa’s selection I am taking great comfort in Colossians 3:13.
We will continue to update the congregation as the 21st of June draws closer. In the mean time please pray for no new cases or fare ups of the Virus.
Thanks to all involved in To the Point last night. It was again a great episode that was well thought out and put together. All To the Points are available on our website as are all live streaming services. Thank you to Pastor for all the work he is doing putting them together and organising speakers.
Please pray for Pastor and all in leadership. We are all having to deal with issues that we had never envisaged we would have to deal with at the moment and in many ways work load has increased not decreased because of the situation we find ourselves in.
Thank you to all who are assisting in keeping us together and I hope everyone has a good week ahead.
Chairperson of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Warmest regards and blessings,
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Dear members and friends of St Peter's, Hobart.
Great news. We have set Sunday 21st of June, 10.00am as the date that we will start a staged return to worship (with Holy Communion). We will be allowed to have 20 worshippers in attendance. Please register your desire to attend worship by completing the short form here. If unable to attend but wanting home communion please also register here. The process is simple. However, if you require help, consider contacting a family member, another Church member or Harrison at Harrison.Steicke@lca.org.au or myself at Mike.Steicke@lca.org.au We will get back to you and allocate a Sunday to attend worship as the time draws closer. Thank you to those who have already expressed an interest in attending. We will respond to you very soon. Services will continue to be live-streamed as we only have a limited amount of spots available.
Just a reminder of tomorrow night's (Thursday 28th of May) ‘To the Point’ broadcast of ‘The Plague: Then and Now’. Our own Dr Jodi-Johnson-Glading will be joined by ALC lecturer and Church historian Rev Thomas Pietsch to discuss COVID-19 and how Christians have responded to what has commonly been called ‘The plague’ throughout history and what insights they have gained which may also benefit us. It promises to be a stimulating discussion. It begins at 7.30pm and can be accessed here or through our website here. Feel free to share.
This Sunday is Pentecost Sunday, on which we commemorate the gift of the Holy Spirit, another remarkable gift and festival. Make sure you tune in. Perhaps you may even want to wear something red, the colour of Pentecost and symbolising the fire of the Spirit as you view.
It will be great to see so many of you in the flesh as we head into the latter part of June.
In the meantime, I leave you in God’s hands. There are no safer, trustworthy or better hands to be in.
Warmest regards and blessings,
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart
Dear members and friends of St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Hobart.
We live with tensions. The Christian life is to be communal. Hebrews 10:24-25, which has great relevance for life after COVID-19 shutdown, states: 'Let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing. Instead, let us encourage one another all the more, since you see that the Day of the Lord is coming nearer'. There are various other similar biblical passages and passages that reinforce this sentiment or directive.
Having said this, the Christian community is not a right, but a privilege, something Bonheoffer articulates beautifully in his spiritual classic ‘Life together’ that I referred to some weeks ago, but do so again because of its relevance for us at the moment and in case some of you had good intentions of looking at it or even started it but got diverted. You can read it here.
We also live with the tensions of our responsibilities as citizens and to the State but also of our primary allegiance to God and his will as citizens of the eternal kingdom. Bonheoffer and many of his peers such as Martin Niemoller, Helmut Thielicke and Hermann Sasse, to name but a few, knew all about this and paid a costly price in various ways, although God used all of them mightily (even if in Bonheoffer's case it was through his example and writings) after the flood of the judgement of the war on all of the nations of the earth to powerfully rebuild and revive the Church and reinvigorate Western culture for many decades to come following World War Two. Alas, successive generations are so prone to forget the hard learnt lesson of the past.
We were hoping, with restrictions gradually starting to ease this week, to begin having people join us and offering Holy Communion on a very limited basis from this Sunday. Unfortunately, we seem to need to still work through a few more things to ensure we are fully compliant and can assure you that nothing has been left undone to ensure all are safe. I am proud of the way that our leadership has handled this. There are very strong views in society, in Christendom, in the LCA and even among us on these and related matters. I believe we have handled things in a most Christlike manner, something which we model to you and which collectively we can model to a society urgently needing it. The following article, which I cannot recommend highly enough, is proving to be very helpful. It is titled ‘Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You’. Please do read it. Those who are interested in understanding further where we are coming from can read the correspondence from Bishop John Henderson here.
Different Lutheran bodies internationally are in different positions. Here is a response from President Matthew Harrison, President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), a Church quite similar to ours as far as their Confession goes. It makes for interesting reading. A publication from a Roman Catholic medical lay person’s perspective in the highly respected publication ‘First things’ also offers an interesting, alternative perspective, which you can read here.
We hope to be able to offer limited attendance at worship in accordance with government regulations and attendance at communion soon, but we just want to work through a few things more thoroughly first. Kim also addresses this in her report below. Please be patient. A number of people have already visited our website to register their interest. Please do so also by filling in the simple form on splchobart.org. You will be placed in the queue and notified of a Sunday on which you may attend once we do get going.
We are blessed to have Dr Jodi Johnson-Gladings among us to consult. For those who don’t know, Jodi is a medical doctor (among other things) and her current role is Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Tasmania, which involves her advising government and medical bodies. Jodi will be a guest on our next ‘To the Point’ which will be live-streamed on Thursday week, 28th of May at 7.30pm (AEST). Make sure you mark your diaries and email all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org regarding COVID-19. She will be joined by ALC lecturer and Church historian Tom Pietsch (to be distinguished from Dr Stephen Pietsch who appeared recently). Tom will share some of the great wisdom and insights from Christians throughout history who have battled with far greater plagues and challenges than what we are currently experiencing.
‘To the Point’ continues to greatly appreciated and widely accessed. If you missed our last edition with our Parish Chair Kim Baumeler and Dr John Kleinig, you really have missed something quite spiritually profound. You can be watched here. Some are watching these in two parts, so keep at it as it continues to deliver right through to the end!
Dear friends, Patiently endure. Use this quieter time (for some) to develop good habits and disciplines and turn away from those that are destructive. Our reward will be great and eternal, won in and by Christ crucified for us, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring us to God. St Paul writes:
‘However, as it is written:
“What no eye has seen,
what no ear has heard,
and what no human mind has conceived”--
the things God has prepared for those who love him--
These are the things that God has revealed to us by the Spirit’.
Here is Kim's report to us. Thank you, Kim, for this.
Dear Members of St Peter's,
I hope that you have all had a good week, and that you can slowly feel some normality returning to your lives.
This week Philippa has chosen 2 verses for us that are again a great reminder of Gods promises to us. They speak of renewal and restoration and the hope we have in God.
'As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.'
- Genesis 8:22
'Lord, by such things people live; and my spirit finds life in them too. You restored me to health and let me live. Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.'
- Isaiah 38:16-17 (NIV)
The verse from Genesis appears in The Bible just after we are told of Noah and the flood. It is Gods promise that while the earth remains, seasonal cycles will continue uninterrupted. We see this now played out every day, though our lives may have been turned upside down and we see disruption everywhere we do still see the changing seasons, we continue to plant and harvest, some of us more so as people try and become more self sufficient and day and night goes on. Then the verse in Isaiah reminds us of the work God does within us. He is watching over us and he is keeping us safe and will continue to do so no matter what challenges life might throw up at us. Yet again they are wonderful verses to reflect upon and to remind us to persevere as Corona Virus will pass as will the current chaos. Once again thanks to Philippa for her choice. Her choices always give me plenty to think about and I hope they do the same for others.
This last week has been a busy one. Thank you for those who participated and assisted Pastor in the last 2 services. Uma and Diva made the Mothers Day service very special, and Daibing and Xinyu on Sunday did no less. I had been told that Xinyu would be reading a short verse, clearly my definition of short and Pastors differs somewhat. It was quite a lengthy verse and with a number of difficult words to pronounce in it, and yet Xinyu read it so beautifully. Well done to you all and thank you for taking part and making these services more personal by your contributions. It is lovely to see various members appearing from week to week and greatly assists in taking part from afar.
The next matter I wanted to raise is a meeting I had with Wendy. It was drawn to my attention that there were some inappropriate posts on Wendy’s personal Facebook Page. When I raised these with Wendy she indicated that she was unaware of these posts and when we searched they were no longer present on her page. Wendy denies posting them and is mortified and very concerned that such posts appeared on her personal page. The matter has been reported to Facebook and is being looked into. Wendy’s security has also been upgraded to minimise the risk of future hacking. Should any members see any posts on Wendy’s personal page or on the School Facebook page that are inappropriate or concerning please feel free to raise it with either Jodi or myself. Wendy wanted me to assure the Congregation that she would never consciously post anything inappropriate and is embarrassed that members might have seen these posts. This is also why we are eager for anyone with concerns to come forward as we want to ensure that what people are viewing are genuine posts and not something as a result of hacking. Wendy and the whole College community are committed to appropriate use of social media and to ensure this occurs please raise any concerns that you might have if matters are posted inappropriately. Social media is a very effective way for us to remain in contact especially at times like this but it also makes us vulnerable to abuse and hacking. I guess this is a timely reminder for everyone please ensure that you have appropriate security settings on any social media sites that you use.
The final matter I wanted to inform the congregation on is how we are working towards a gradual restart of church services. Pastor already mentioned this at the end of service on Sunday. Initially it was hoped that services would commence this Sunday, however on Monday I spent a significant amount of time reading through the protocols put out by Bishop Henderson and also speaking to Bishop Preibbenow and Stephen Mildred the Districts risk assessment officer regarding services. I have also looked at the Direction put out under the Public Health act related to gatherings. It became clear after doing this that at this stage we will need to spend some time putting in protocols before recommencing services. We will continue to work with the district and also the National office to ensure we are complying with all requirements. At this point in time our priority is keeping our members safe, we have done so well so far and we do not want to undo all of our good work by rushing into things too early.
Church Council is committed to ensuring that we comply with all requirements for the protection of members attending and to minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19. To this end we are working on various protocols that need to be put in place, once agreed to I plan to have these available on our website so all can view them. We are also very conscious that anything we do might still not be sufficient to alleviate the concerns of everybody. These are unprecedented time and it is every members responsibility to do their part, as protocols and procedures can only go so far. We are implementing a booking system which is already available on our website to enable people to book to attend services once it is safe to do so. We are also implementing a booking service for home communion once we are able to do so.
A lot of work is going into ensuring all our members can stay well during this time, but we need everyone to cooperate for this to work, and we will continue to update the congregation as time goes on.
I hope that everyone has a good week, and I look forward to writing again in the next mail out.
Chairperson of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Great to hear so many are joining our live stream of Sunday services. Many friends, visitors and others. A few of these have made contact with us which is a blessing.
Warmest regards and blessings to you all,
Pastor Mike Steicke.
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
P.S. St. Peter's has some new social media pages that you can access by clicking the buttons below. Please follow us on these pages so that you don't miss any important updates, events or news in the community.
Dear members and friends of St Peters, Hobart,
I am getting this weeks communication to you a little earlier because The Gospel Coalition Australia is partnering with Colin Buchanan, as he hosts an online concert for adults TONIGHT, this Thursday 7th May, from 7.30 pm AEST.
Colin is a gifted artist who's able to weave the gospel into his music and performance in a clear and engaging way. Why not invite a non-Christian friend to watch it with you tonight?
It will be via Facebook Live, on his Facebook page. Further details can be found here.
Talking of webinars, I will be hosting another ‘To the Point’ webinar today week, Thursday the 14th of May at 7.30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time.
The preliminary title for the episode is ‘Seeking justice; handling hurt and injustice constructively’.
The Guests are:
Kim Baumeler: Experienced Barrister, Chairperson of LCA ecclesiastical discipline review team and St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Hobart, chairperson.
Dr John Kleinig: Prominent Lutheran Church of Australia theologian, gifted international speaker and author.
Mark your calendars and share the news as this promises to be another interesting, engaging and informative conversation. As always, questions are welcome. See our St Peter’s website for further details.
We have recently launched our new Instagram page and updated our Facebook page with a new look. We will be posting here regularly with news, updates, special stories and other posts regularly. Take a look and give us a like on our Facebook page and/or follow us on our Instagram page here.
Would you like to do a short course with Australian Lutheran College? If yes, you complete online. Dr Adam Hensley has extended this invitation to join his forthcoming course on the Psalms. Yes, this is something that could apply to even you! Click here for more information. It certainly sounds very interesting!
Also, there have been recent emails sent by an imposter posing as 'Pastor Mike Steicke'. Always check the email address these are sent from. Pastor Mike only sends from these addresses email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. If you suspect you have received an email that is an imposter posing as Pastor, you can call him to check.
I’m very pleased to announce that Uma and Diva plan to join us to help lead our worship this Sunday. Always great to have support, share the load and be able to see familiar faces.
I really appreciate Kim, with the assistance of her work colleague Philippa, providing input into these mail outs. Not only does it make the task easier for me, but it helps provide a broader perspective. I am very grateful for the references to Mother Day in the contribution below:
Dear Members of St Peters,
This week I wanted to focus on mothers and Mothers Day and wish all members and friend of the Congregation who are mothers a Happy Mothers Day.
Philippa has again not let me down and has provided a lovely inspirational verse:
My child, obey your father’s godly instruction and follow your mother’s life-giving teaching. Fill your heart with their advice and let your life be shaped by what they’ve taught you. Their wisdom will guide you wherever you go and keep you from bringing harm to yourself. Their instruction will whisper to you at every sunrise and direct you through a brand new day. - Proverbs 6:20-22
What a lovely reminder of the role that parents play in our lives, and how we are guided and shaped by them. I hope this verse helps you to reflect on the role of mothers and to appreciate them and what they do.
I wish all Mothers a Happy Mothers Day and hope that the restrictions are eased so that some at least might be able to have a celebration with family. I also look forward to us being able to join in on the service on Sunday where the acknowledgement of our mothers will be part of the service.
Next week we have scheduled another To the Point with Pastor, planning is underway and advertising for it will come out shortly. I will leave Pastor to fill the congregation in on that as we draw closer to the day and planning progresses. Please keep a lookout for the advertising and let people know about it. We have had many people access the ones that have been held so far and received positive feedback to date, and I encourage you all to either tune in or if you haven’t tuned in before to have a look this time round.
Corona has ensured we have so many resources available to us, not just on Sunday, but our services and To the Point segments are available at any time and can be viewed again and again (see our website).
I also hope the weekly mail outs are benefitting people, and that people are encouraged by them and that they are a means of us keeping together as a community.
As I’ve said previously please keep in contact with one another keep reaching out and making phone calls and sending emails, or even cards to people. Each contact reminds people they are not alone and this can be so important as we all live in these strange and unusual times.
Enjoy Mothers Day, celebrate in ways that are allowed, stay safe and I look forward to emailing you all again next week.
Chairperson of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Take care and blessings to you all.
Another great service and message is in the pipeline for this Sunday, so hope to have you all join us for the live stream Sunday at 10.00am. Click here or on the designated button on the St Peter's website.
As always, send a message if you require pastoral care or simply a listening ear, or contact one of our Pastoral Assistants.
St Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Keeping up to date?
This is the page for all the news and updates from SPLC. Pastor regularly sends messages of encouragement, especially during these uncertain times. Read on to keep informed about the community!