Dear members and friends of St Peter’s Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Greetings in the name of Christ our crucified, risen and ascended King, who will soon return in glory to judge the living and dead and to take his own into his eternal kingdom.
Our readings are currently focusing on the end of all things as the Church year draws to a close, and as we then enter the season of advent. The end will also be a glorious new beginning for Christ’s chosen, repentant, forgiven and faithful followers.
Last Sunday's second reading from Hebrews 10 contained the following exhortation:
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Where possible meeting together should be our aim. We are embodied people and our Lord became flesh and comes to us through the sacrament of his body and blood. We will be raised with spiritual bodies like Christ’s risen body. Where this is not possible due to health, work, lockdowns or for a whole host of reasons, the videos and stream is on offer, which we are so blessed to be able to offer and access. God comes to us through his word and sacrament with his grace in order to renew and strengthen us in faith.
Through his teaching on the end and eternity, our Lord is lovingly warning and calling us to be prepared for the great reversal to come, where the humble and those trusting in a childlike manner listen to his voice and will reign with him forever and ever, while those currently proud, arrogant, unbelieving and rebellious will experience ‘shame and everlasting contempt’ (Daniel 12:2). Let us, therefore, in loving obedience respond to our Lord's voice, seek his grace and life-giving presence, and patiently persevere. It is astounding how accurate the Scripture’s description of human nature in ‘the last times’ is. See, for example, the following from 2 Timothy 3 below which could describe many today. Do we see something of ourselves here? Yes, we desperately need our saviour and thank God for Him:
"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God-- having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people."
I was recently invited to write something on the Reformation for the College newsletter. I prepared something I titled ‘Monk married nun to make point’.The full article can be read on the Pastor’s Page of our website which is found here.
Our online Bible study resumes this Thursday evening and will focus on a crucial yet quite simple distinction that helps Christians better understand and communicate the faith. This distinction and the link to join the study are found in the notice immediately below. Please join us for this study if you are able. Below that is a notice about our last prayer breakfast for the year on Saturday week and below that is a notice confirming we will have one last daytime bible study and luncheon for the year on the first Tuesday in December.
Online Evening Bible study: Thursday 18th of November, 7.30pm. We will look at the value and importance, yet limit of general revelation (the revelation of God in creation) and the absolute necessity of God’s revelation of Himself in the Word (special revelation), with a special focus on Psalm 19:1-6 and Romans 1:20 (along with surrounding verses). Please join via the link here or on the St Peter’s website.
Prayer breakfast: Saturday 27th of November, 7.30am at the St Peters Centre. Topical faith and Scripture informed discussion followed by prayer for the congregation, College, Church, world, the festive season services and celebrations as well as much, much more.
Daytime Bible study and lunch: Our concluding study and luncheon for 2021 will be held Tuesday, 7th of December at Erika Plaschke’s home (address available by contacting email@example.com). Coffee from 10.30am, study 11.00am and lunch from midday. We will be looking at John 13. All are welcome to attend these encouraging, uplifting gatherings.
On Sunday the 5th of December Kim will be installed onto the General Church Board during our regular Sunday 10.00am service. Pastor Stuart Kleinig from the north will be present to conduct that rite as the Church-wide Bishop’s representative. All are invited to stay and join a luncheon that will follow the service (meat supplied, pooled salad or sweet welcome).
May the love, peace and joy of the Lord be with you all.
In joys and sorrows,
Warmest regards and blessings,
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church Hobart.
Dear members and friends of St Peters, Hobart.
May the presence, peace and joy of the risen Lord be with you.
We have much to be thankful here in Australia and Tasmania. We seem to have been spared, at this stage at least, from the very broad health impacts of COVID-19 that many parts of Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere have and are experiencing. However, as we know this is coming at a very significant economic cost. I have sat in on discussions with a very wide group of Pastors and laity discussing the subject of whether the economic costs we and the worlds poor are likely to pay are worse than the short term safety and health benefits many are experiencing. As is evident from protests in various places and political pressure this is a very hot subject. I have been a very slow and reluctant participant in this discussion, but finally penned a fairly comprehensive response for those groups and have also added it to our Pastor's Page for the interest and benefit of others. It is titled Some personal reflections on the politics surrounding COVID-19, the sanctity of life and the economy and it can be read by clicking here.
Continuing with the theme of we have much to be thankful for, we have and continue to experience so many answers to prayer here at St Peter's. We have a small prayer group that Lorraine Semmler coordinates that prays when notified for people with special needs. These are often health-related. If you have a special need please forward it to her and she will email the group. Privacy is ensured. Again and again, we see prayers answered. You can also request, through me, to be prayed for publicly in our Sunday services, and being prayed for in both forums is not mutually exclusive. Praise God for the gift and privilege of prayer and his many blessings.
Next Thursday, the 30th of April at 7.30pm we will have another webinar like the one with our Pastoral Assistants. You can watch the stream here or simply go onto our website at that time and click on the button to access the live stream. The theme is depression and related mental health issues. We have already received some very good questions. You can ask a question by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org well in advance. The panel will consist of ALC lecturer the Rev Dr Stephen Pietsch who has suffered from depression and who did his doctorate in this area focusing on a holistic approach including the spiritual as well as Lutheran Parish Pastor and part-time practising GP the Rev Dr Christian Fandrich. This promises to be another excellent night that you will not want to miss, so please mark your calendars.
Thanks to Kim for providing us with the following weekly update as Chairperson of St Peters.
This weeks Bible verse suggestion from Philippa is as follows:
"Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 ESV
Philippa when suggesting it said she felt it spoke to her of the optimism we should be feeling at this time.
Yes, things are difficult at the moment, but we are not alone we have each other and we can build each other up and be there for each other during this time.
Throughout the weeks I have seen this verse played out time and time again. People are reaching out to each other we are building each other up and I thank all those who are doing so and encourage you to continue to do so. I am certain that your actions are helping our members get through this time. It doesn’t take much to make a call or to send an email and yet for the person on the receiving end they are so meaningful, and can be a great encouragement. We are part of a community and we should never forget that.
Over this last week, I have heard of many who have moved to online giving and I thank those who have done so and encourage others to consider this option. It has meant that we are not seeing a significant drop in our giving which is very encouraging.
I want to thank those who provided the Church flowers over the Easter celebration. I’ve had various discussions over the last week as to how we can ensure that we now have flowers on the altar in the coming weeks and we have come up with a plan which will be unveiled on Sunday. I won't let the cat out of the bag just yet, but any feedback on what people think of the flowers on Sunday would be gratefully received.
Thank you again to everyone who continues to support the Congregation throughout this time. Continue to pray for each other and those involved in leading. I wish you all a safe and healthy week to come.
Chairperson of St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Great to hear of people contacting and conversing with one another. As always cry out if you need help or simply a listening ear. Join us again this Sunday, 10.00am for the live-streaming of our service. The feedback continues to be very positive with around 200 again having viewed last Sunday’s service.
Take care and God bless.
Safe in the hands of our Lord.
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
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