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.
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