Dear members and friends of St Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Jesus is a straight shooter and holds the future. That is why he can say in John 16:33 ‘I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have troubles. But take heart! I have overcome the world’. If we only look at the world we would experience a lot of apprehensions. By looking to Jesus we look to the One who can find a way through the impossible, and so are directed to have peace from the One who imparts peace. His Father and our Father has done so again and again and again. That is why the continual hearing, reading and meditating upon Scripture (God’s Word) is so important. It builds us up and redirects our focus. We can never hear some of these texts too often because the devil never stops sowing, through our old natures, the seeds of doubt, disillusionment and even despair. But take heart! Jesus has overcome him and this fallen world!
If you have already registered for last week you do not have to register again to attend this Sunday. You will be sent an email in the next day or so confirming the invitation for you to attend. If you can not attend please email this address firstname.lastname@example.org indicating your non-attendance this Sunday. If you have not registered please go to our website and do so as soon as possible.
The Congregation's leadership team has listened to feedback and are undertaking a review. We will be tweaking things slightly to make the running is smoother. We have been aided by the further relaxation of distancing from four meters to two as announced by the Tasmanian Premier yesterday. It will particularly be in relation to Holy Communion that we will tweak. This should ensure that this will be much quicker and simpler this Sunday.
From Kim – Let it rain!
It was lovely to see so many of you again on Sunday after such a long absence. I know that church still doesn’t look the same as what we are used to and at the moment the restrictions upon us are still limiting the way we worship. But this week can I encourage our members to think about what we do have rather than what we used to have.
It’s very easy to concentrate on what we are missing out on, but doing that closes our minds to the many blessings that we have had over this time.
God's word hasn’t changed, we as a church haven’t changed, even though we have had to change how we do things. We continue to refine what we are doing and work within the guidelines we have to adhere to and will continue to do so. I ask that members continue to be patient with leadership we are trying out best in what have been difficult times.
This week Philippa has concentrated on the rain we have had and provided the Bible verses below.
Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”
- Acts 14:17
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater
- Isaiah 55:10
In this time of change and unrest, it is good to reflect on verses such as these. We are not in this alone we have a Christ to guide us through and we really need to focus on this. We haven’t been abandoned we are provided for and we will be guided through this time.
I wish everyone a safe week and look forward to seeing more of you over the coming weeks.
Chairperson of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Warm regards and blessings to you all,
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Funerals, sympathies, transcending self-righteousness and Philippa and Kim’s contribution (not Kath and Kim)!
Dear members and friends of St Peter's, Hobart.
Thanks to so many of you for your very kind expressions of sympathies and assurances of prayer following the death of my mother last week and her funeral yesterday. My mother, like us all, had her shortcomings, but God was faithful and blessed her faith, devotion and answered so many prayers. We are reminded that we are always justified by grace through faith and that we are called to seek the Lord with all of our hearts. This is something that needs to be urgently rediscovered by our increasingly irrational and emotive judgemental and self-righteous society. I am not advocating avoiding or denying real issues that need dealing with, but let us be wary of jumping on bandwagons and do proper analysis as Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge and the Taliban come to mind when it comes to destroying historical icons and attempting to erase history.
Great news! We resume worship this Sunday with Holy Communion. We hope to keep the service to under an hour. If you haven't yet, please register using the user-friendly form on the Home Page of our website here splchobart.org. It's good to see quite a number have already done this. Following registration, you will be sent a confirmation email. The services will continue to be live-streamed who cannot attend worship. Let us know if you need help registering.
I will lead a funeral service for Erna Starosta this Friday at 3.30pm. Erika visited Erna and brought her to church number of occasions. Some of our other people remember meeting her. If you would like to attend the service and have not spoken to family members please let me know.
With this week being extra busy for all sorts of reasons it is great that Kim and her work colleague Philippa have come up with a lengthier contribution. Enjoy:
This week Philippa has gone all out and put together a small piece that I have copied entirely into the mail out for you to read below:
I have recently been trying to practice gratitude more often for the simple things in life such a family, being warm and dry, and the gifts of living in our beautiful, safe and now Covid-19 free State.
In the last few days I have particularly been thinking about gratitude for the safety and health of my family as I know some people including Pastor are going through some sad times with the loss of loved ones, whose earthly journey has ended. However even here gratitude has a part to play, though we might miss loved ones here on earth we can celebrate and be grateful for all they have done for us in their life, and look forward to being reunited with them again in heaven.
Gratitude is something that is a repeated theme in many of the modern studies on maintaining good mental health and maintaining happiness.
The Bible gives so many examples of gratitude and it is worth finding them as they are really quite lovely to read.
A couple of the verses that resonated with me were as follows:
Romans 1:21 struck me as an example of where we can struggle or suffer when we forget to practice gratitude and over look the importance of thankfulness for simple things.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened
- Romans 1: 21
Colossians gives a really beautiful example of gratitude.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.
- Colossians 3:15
For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
- 1 Timothy 4:4-5
I’m grateful for my family, my friends and colleagues and the richness they bring to my life.
I will try hard to be thankful for all the riches big and small that I have in my life (and not sweat the small stuff).
Thank you again to Philippa for providing this piece for us. I am also very grateful to Philippa for taking the time for each mail out to find verses or to write something that I can build on. It’s no small effort and is really appreciated.
Building on what Philippa has written I have extracted an earlier verse from Colossians 3, that I also wish to share:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
- Colossians 3:12 NIV
This week as we embark upon the recommencement of service attendance I want to particularly focus on the reference to patience in this verse, though this is not to diminish the other qualities that are referred to.
Covid-19 in many ways has been frustrating and tested our patience over and over again, and we are not there yet. Patience is something we still need to exercise. Church itself will not be the same as we once knew it. There are restrictions on worship, we need to set up the St. Peter’s Centre differently and we are limited in what we can do. Many have worked hard in preparing registration forms, a safety plan and facts sheets. Know that all of this work is being done not to frustrate our members but to ensure your safety, and please be patient with each other as we navigate this together. I have said before in other mail outs that we as leaders have considered what needs to be put in place, but that each member needs to also take responsibility for themselves. Know the safety measures that have been implemented, pray about attending worship and if after considering all things make a decision as to what is right for you. There is no right and wrong at this stage and each member needs to feel comfortable in their decision.
Before anyone attends worship it is essential that you have registered and receive a confirmation to attend. Members also need to be familiar with the facts sheets and what is required of you on attending. Consider other members safety and well being and if unwell please do not attend. Only people who are registered to attend on a Sunday will be allowed into the service. If anyone attends exhibiting signs of illness they will not be able to enter the centre. As I said as leaders our primary concern is ensuring all members attending are safe, and not put at risk.
If attending please follow all directions given. Please take the seat you are directed to and keep movement around the hall to necessary movement only. The toilet facilities for the moment will be limited to the disability toilets all other toilets can not be used. Communion will be held but under strict set up and social distancing guidelines. The kitchen and cry room will be locked and unable to be accessed by anyone. Members must leave at the conclusion of the service and will be directed as to how they should leave. As I said we want to ensure everyone’s safety and we ask that people are patient with us. Hopefully if we continue to be Covid-19 free we will be relaxing restrictions soon and can return to services that include a social fellowship component at the end, but we are not there yet.
I thank everyone who has been supportive and assisted in us putting together all the material that the Congregations needs so that we can resume services. A huge thank you to Harrison, we would all be lost without him, he has assisted greatly in making information accessible. I look forward to our return to worship and continued reductions in restrictions.
Before I end I just wanted to publicly pass on my condolences to Pastor and family on the passing of his mother. The death of a loved is always difficult and especially so when due to restrictions Pastor was unable to travel to be with family for the funeral. Pastor please be assured of our prayers and support. The funeral service held on Tuesday was a wonderful celebration of a life lived in faith and service to God, with the sure knowledge that your mum is now part of the chorus in heaven, which by the sounds of it with her love of singing will be a role that will be gladly accepted. We also thank and acknowledge you for your continued service here in Hobart. Last week must have been difficult and we are so grateful, to use Philippa’s word that you have continued to serve us during this time. Thank you for all that you do.
I hope everyone stays safe and has a good week and look forward to seeing people on Sunday.
Chairperson, St. Peter's Lutheran Chruch, Hobart.
Thanks Kim and blessings to you all.
It will be great to see many of you Sunday.
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Dear ‘To The Point’ viewers,
Due to the death of Pastor Mike’s mother Leah Steicke (nee Briese -aged 90) overnight, the episode of ‘To The Point’ tonight, on The Art of Ageing, has been postponed until further notice.
We rejoice in our heavenly Father's faithfulness, the gift of a saviour, the forgiveness of sins and the life everlasting, and the gifting of faith through the Holy Spirit’s working through God’s Word.
Warm regards and blessings,
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Dear members and friends of St. Peter's,
“I begin by sharing with you a couple of contributions on the unfolding protests (and riots) in the US and elsewhere following the death of George Floyd. I do this following various conversations with members that I have been a part of and the obvious interest in this subject. The first is from Rev Matt Harrison, the President of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS) who a reasonable number of we Australian Lutheran Pastors know personally. It is pastoral in nature and I believe seeks to promote healing and humility. Rev Harrison is well qualified to speak on this subject as Lutheranism is the dominant denomination in the twin cities of Minnesota and St Paul and he is situated in St Louis which has also experienced its share of racial tensions and violence both recently and historically. He urges us all to practice personal repentance, oppose racism and to respect authority. Wise advice indeed! You can continue to read on here.
Secondly, I share this from Martyn Iles of the Australian Christian Lobby. I do not agree with Martyn on everything, but I do on many things, and what he writes here is something I believe we all need to be aware of and informed about, as there are cultural forces feeding lawlessness and destabilising society. An ideology that promotes tribalism, division and aggressive self-righteousness has been unleashed on and among us. If this is tribalism, then you may ask why are there many whites protesting and even rioting, looting and engaging in violence? Many such persons describe themselves as ‘woke’, meaning they view themselves as enlightened and alert to injustice. A ‘woke’ person is someone who identifies and empathises with an oppressed minority. In a sense, we should all be ‘woke’, but this is not to be at the expense of God’s ordering of creation, the respect for the life of all, for others property and welfare, for authority, the prohibition against covetousness, theft and whatever else is contrary to the 10 commandments which are summarised by Jesus’ call to wholeheartedly love God and neighbour! I am perplexed that such people, so angered at the killing of an innocent man are often pro-abortion (even to full term – a child in the womb is surely among the most powerless!) and how some are engaging in violence towards others, justifying it by stating they are attacking the oppressors. I encourage a careful reading of this and to keep in mind Rev Harrison’s article and his call for personal repentance while doing so. For those really interested in analysis you might also like to read this rather sanitised overview of Anarchism by an adherent as one can see some of the philosophies and fingerprints of Anarchists coming through on various websites behind the current destabilisation.
There are no doubt many angles to this. In last Sunday’s sermon, it was suggested this is also a ‘reaping of what we have sown’ for collectively largely pushing God and His Word out of the picture and pursing empty materialism and consumerism. We have an economic system's which, with accompanying technology, work far too well. However, we have failed to put the necessary checks, balances and limits in place, and have largely lost our soul and so much of value in the process. We have milked systems to the extreme, repeatedly kicked the proverbial can down the road, hardened our attitudes to others including future generations, while losing ourselves in the reckless ‘party times’. While God’s gifts are good, some of us, the privileged ones, may have also blinded ourselves to exploitation, neglect and oppression here and abroad. Rev Harrison’s call to personal reflection or introspection and repentance is timely indeed and requires us going way beyond many fake news narratives, propaganda and stereotyping of others which even our itching ears are so often eager to hear for our self-justification. Hurtful racial slurs, like smutty innuendo, are to have no place among us, for we are all made in the image of God!
Having said this we must always be wary of utopianism. There will never be a perfect system. Revolution is in the air and that does not always end well as the failed totalitarian experiments and regimes of last century remind us. We have a rich heritage in so many ways. Spiritual and social reform and revival could well bring us back to something solid, to ‘roots that refresh’! Regardless, Christ brings us life, now and forever, and we are called ‘to save ourselves from this corrupt generation’ (Acts 2:40) and through Christ to bring others with us! Violence was one aspect of the widespread corruption before the flood and Jesus repeatedly uses the image of the sudden flood as a picture of the end and a call to get ready for the coming judgment by embracing in repentance Christ crucified and risen for us and our forgiveness. You can watch last Sunday’s Sermon here.
TO THE POINT.
‘The Art of Ageing’ is the title for this Tuesday’s (9th of June, 7.30pm AEST) live streaming of ‘To the Point’. It will look at the challenges, opportunities, blessings and realities of ageing and caring for the aged.
The panellists are: Catherine Heidenreich; Registered nurse, aged care manager and worker. Alwin Schirmer; Retired Parish Pastor and Aged Care Pastor with a Graduate Diploma in Health studies specializing in loss and grief. Lorraine Semmler; Retired Registered nurse and aged care manager. Lance Steicke; Retired Pastor, Lutheran Radio and TV presenter and Bishop of the LCA with considerable experience of ageing and its challenges.
Be sure to tune in, promote and share the details of what promises to be another great broadcast! You can ask questions at: email@example.com. The sooner these are received the better!
Returning to worship.
Restriction's continue to be relaxed. We can now have 40 plus attendants at worship. We will keep monitoring the situation and keep you informed but we still plan to resume Sunday fortnight, 21st of June 10.00am as that enables us to get everything properly in place. Please ensure you register your intent to worship here or desire for home communion here. We are not allowed to admit people who have not registered their intent to worship and been allocated a confirmation advise. With community contagion seemingly almost non-existent at the current time and the sanitising, distancing and other protective measures we are putting in place we have every reason to believe that gathering for worship will be a safe experience. We will start to reply to those who have expressed interest next week once Parish leaders have further conversed.
Kim says ‘Smile we are getting there’
Dear Members of St Peters,
I imagine many of you would have greeted our Premiers announcement of the relaxing of restrictions earlier than we first thought with some excitement. Many of you no doubt smiled at the thought of a slightly freer life and things starting to relax.
Philippa’s thoughts this week have also been on smiling. There is a new puppy in their household Buzz an Australian Shepherd and he is turning their life upside down and bringing with it much joy during this time. Her words are below.
The new puppy smiled at me so sweetly as I was just emailing you. So it made me think of the power of a smile. Both to give and receive. It made me think that we are perhaps more equipped to find some joy in the simple things such as a smile because of our recent experience and especially now that our difficult time in isolation is ending and the future is looking brighter.
The comfort of a smile from a stranger when we were all quite frightened was really noticeable.
Philippa then suggested the following Bible verses.
"A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly."
- Proverbs 15:13-14 ESV
"A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."
- Proverbs 17:22 ESV
"Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed."
- Psalm 34:5 ESV
I really don’t think I need to do too much convincing that we all feel better if someone smiles at you. I also recall reading once that it takes more effort to frown than to smile.
A smile costs nothing and can lift our spirits and the spirits of those around us.
So for this week lets smile at the thought we have no new cases, that restrictions are lifting, that we are planning to resume services with communion, that protocols are settled and can be put up on the website and that we have been blessed by Gods protection throughout this time.
Have a safe week.
Chairperson, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Thanks ever so much to all of you for your patience and ongoing support during this trying time and encouragement to be creative and use the opportunity positively with our various streams and other measures.
God bless you all richly and keep you safe in the palm of His hand.
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!