Dear members and friends of St Peter's, Hobart.
‘Did God really say’? These were the words spoken by the evil one to the first humans in their paradise garden. They listened to the voices around them rather than to God’s. The result? A history littered with conflict, misery, suffering and death.
Today the voices around us clutter and flood us through media, social media and many of the cultural elite who often abdicate from their responsibility to influence in healthy ways. Data is frequently manipulated and tweaked so that the agenda of those who are their own god’s is advanced and justified. Our industrial, scientific and technological age can entertain us to death, but ultimately provides no answers. Emptiness and meaningless remain without God, his presence and peace.
‘Did God really say?’ Yes, He has said a lot that has come true. Hundreds of direct Old Testament prophecies not to mention pretty well all of the Old Testament written hundreds and hundreds of years beforehand already perfectly fulfilled in Christ’s first coming. Prophecies continuing to be fulfilled throughout history and today as this tired old world groans and moans its way towards its end under the burden of human sin and God’s judgement. That Christ the liberator and restorer will suddenly return to judge the living and the dead can certainly be trusted.
God is faithful. God is good. We gather Sunday by Sunday to receive his life-giving word, his forgiveness and renewed presence through his holy body and blood. We gather to encourage and build each other up with our presence and commitment. We gather to pray and give thanks, to receive fresh courage and new hope. ‘Did God really say?’ Yes, God says gather in community, receive, forgive as you have been forgiven. Live in the power of my Spirit. Come as beggars and receive much-needed mercy and aid. ‘Come, for all things are now ready’!
Baptisms this Sunday: Daibing has been with us for a few years now. He was baptised a couple of years ago. He is an IT administrator at the College and his son Xinyu is in grade 4. Xinyu will be baptised along with his mother (Daibing’s wife) Jin Liu (Jean) this Sunday the 6th of December, 10.00am at the St Peter’s Lutheran Church on the Eastside Lutheran College Campus. All are encouraged to join the service to witness this life bestowing washing and rebirth, as well as to be encouraged through the worship service. We will also have Year 3 teacher, Emily McCormack, with us this Sunday who will express appreciation for the bibles we donated to the students and share briefly why this gift of God’s Word is so meaningful and important. What a special day it promises to be.
Bible study on Revelation: Remember Thursday 3rd December at 7.30pm is the time for us to gather online for our Bible study on Revelation. Join through the link on the Home Page of our website or by clicking here.
Christmas cheer: The College will be gifting a number of vouchers to needy families in lieu of Christmas hampers this year. To donate, give to Garry this Sunday.
National Breast Cancer Foundation: Georgia-Alice Bunge had her hair shaved as part of a fundraiser for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. If you would like to support this cause, here is the link to her fundraising page.
Festive Season Service Times: Christmas Eve 6.30pm: Family service with carols and children involvement. Christmas Day 9.30am. New Years Eve 6.00pm.
Karaoke: We are planning to hold a Karaoke night on New Years Eve following the 6.00pm service. Come and join in the fun and feel free to bring friends. There will be an award for the biggest exhibitionist! BYO drinks and nibbles. (Drink responsibly and either have a designated driver or Uber/taxi home).
Kim has provided us with an update: It includes news from Church Council and a contribution by Jodi about the College and a link to some letters and photos. *****************
Dear Members and Friends of St Peter's,
Church Council met on the 12th of November at the cottage. It is good to again be able to meet as a group and in-person after such a strange year. The devotion of the evening, selected once again by Philippa focused on forgiving debts and as it turned outfitted in quite well with Bishop Lester's sermon the following Sunday. I've included the whole devotion below.
Scripture Reading -- Deuteronomy 15:1-11
Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. — Matthew 6:12
In this day of credit cards, it’s easy to get deep into debt, and the interest rate can make our debt snowball. If we get into that kind of trouble, we may need to visit a credit counsellor to help us plan a way out.
In the Law of Moses, God commanded the Israelites to cancel debts at the end of every seven years. The cancellation of debts was a merciful feature of the Law of Moses, and it called for an openhanded, generous attitude toward the poor. Stinginess and lack of concern was inconsistent with the heart of the Law, which, as Jesus said, was based on loving God and caring about your neighbour as much as you care about yourself (see Matthew 22:37-40).
Cancelling debts on a society-wide level was to be echoed by a forgiving attitude. The apostle Paul expresses this beautifully when he says in Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
The concept of wiping the slate clean and starting again is something that has been exercising my mind of late. If we could start again and be given a second chance what would we do? Would we take the opportunity and learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, or would we fall into the same traps and end up in the same mess regardless of the chances? Thankfully, as Christians, we have Jesus who does wipe the slate clean for us time and time again regardless of how many times we stumble. I am reminded of the following verse in the well-known hymn.
Lord, ’tis not that I did choose Thee;
That, I know, could never be;
For this heart would still refuse Thee
Had Thy grace not chosen me.
Thou hast from the sin that stained me
Washed and cleansed and set me free
And unto this end ordained me,
That I ever live to Thee.
It’s so comforting to reflect on the words in this hymn and to know that we do have our debts cancelled time and time again.
The past month has been quite busy. We met twice as Church Council. Once to discuss the School and whether we are to remain a school that is governed by the Congregation. Church Council was unanimous in its view that we are committed to the School remaining a congregation school, and to foster growth of the 2 bodies as we grow together. We recognise that this is going to have challenges associated with it but we are committed as a body to ensuring that the school continues to grow and prosper in a way that remains true to the Lutheran Principles that saw its foundation.
We then also met for the usual monthly meeting. Where various matters were discussed. The last month also saw the congregation assist in organising and hosting the funeral of Elizabeth Kossmann. I want to thank all those who gave up their time on the day of the funeral to assist.
The School Board has also been very busy in the last month along with Church Council in developing the strategic plan for the School. Below is Jodi’s contribution to this newsletter. The SWOT analysis day has occurred and we will now move to developing the strategic plan in light of the material that has been gathered both on that day and through the various other methods that have been used to assist in informing us on what direction the school should take.
Greetings St Peter’s members,
As the ELC school year draws closer to an end the Board and senior College Leadership team continue our strategic planning cycle. We have already undertaken a series of surveys, team discussions, and open staff forums. The next and final step in the scoping processes is for a SWOT analysis day. A SWOT analysis is where small teams made up of different stakeholders consider the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of the organisation. For ELC this process will consider the educational, physical footprint, and Christian connectedness of the College. The Board is particularly looking forward to identifying processes to bring our growing school and our church community closer.
Our SWOT day information will be added to the other data collected to help draft a strategic plan to be submitted to the Board for ratification. Then the real work will begin as we strive to reach the goals set out for us allowing for adjustments to take into account our ever-changing world around us. This is an exciting and challenging time as we try to consider the direction over the next 5 years however we do this with the knowledge that God is watching over our ELC community.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
I wanted to again mention a very large thank you from Mrs Veith for all those who supported the Card ministry by purchasing Christmas cards. Your contributions this year have been really appreciated and have allowed for this ministry to continue. Thank you also to Mrs Veith for all the work that she does in keeping our more isolated members connected by the cards and bulletins that she sends out. This work is really valued and appreciated by many.
Finally, as I have been promising for the last 3 weeks I want to share the letters that the Grade 3 students wrote to the Congregation after they were presented with Bibles from the Congregation. Please take the time to read the letters they are lovely and heartfelt and to see the appreciation for our gift is really inspiring.
(Click here to read the letters from the year three recipients of the gifted Bibles).
As we have started the Advent season and start to plan for Christmas, I hope that everyone is able to reflect on the joy of the season and is filled with the wonder and excitement of the true meaning of Christmas.
Chairperson, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Thank you, Kim and Jodi, for your contributions and to all for your support and service of God’s work, people and mission here.
Warm regards and Advent blessings to all,
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart
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