Dear members and friends of St Peter's,
Just before handing over to Kim who will include important relevant congregation news including some from Church Council and a note regarding the College from College Board Chairperson Jodi, remember tonight (Thursday 15th October) is Bible study night (7.30pm). Simply go to our St Peter's website Home Page, scroll down a little until you come to the grey colour. Click on ‘Join Bible Study’. It is that simple. If first time users have any trouble getting on phone Pastor on 0417 811 706 and Harrison will talk you on. We are now getting right into the nitty and gritty of the Book of Revelation. Newcomers most welcome.
Worship God this Sunday 10.00am and receive good news, the divine presence and direction that you cannot receive from any other source. Our theme will be love. We really need to love and be loved. Love is so much talked about and so little understood, practiced and experienced as it should today. So many are crippled due to lack of love. Come, receive God’s love and the strength to love!
Here’s Kim’s message:
“It’s been great over the past months while Covid was at its height to share with you a regular message. Ive had many positive comments about the items I’ve included in the Newsletter, and many questions when they stopped as well as requests for their return. Philippa too has missed not preparing something. So we are back. The Newsletter was discussed at Church Council last week and what we intend to do is each month after Church Council has met I will prepare a piece for the Newsletter to share with the congregation the devotion we had at Church Council, and to also update the congregation on matters that were discussed. We hope that this will allow for our members to be better informed about what is happening here in Hobart and to feel more involved in the what we do.
So here it goes. Last Thursday Church Council met for the first time since March. We had over the months kept in touch and had many email exchanges about various matters, but to be in the same room and to meet as a group was a real joy. I certainly have missed being with people and being able to talk to people face to face. Emails, Zoom and Teams and even phone calls are wonderful tools but they can not replace face to face interaction. Philippa also did not disappoint the devotion that was chosen was well received and is set out below. Thanks again to Philippa for being so willing to be involved in this way.
We’ve all read the story of Humpty Dumpty. I’m not sure why he was up on that wall or what caused him to fall. What we do know is that when an egg has a sudden stop against the ground, it creates quite a mess. Shell gets sent in every direction and in every size. It’s an impossible task for anyone to pick up all the pieces and put them together again so we don’t try. Something that’s just as impossible is to try to fix the brokenness in our own life, but we try to do it all the time. We think that if people see the cracks in our shell or that our life is in pieces, they’ll reject us, so we try to fix our brokenness.
The truth is that we are all broken. Some of us are more broken than others. Some of us are better at hiding it. Some of us look at the mess and give up, but every one of us find some type of coping mechanism to appease either guilt we feel or the hurt left over from our brokenness. We all have that inner desire to be made whole. We’re afraid that our brokenness or way of coping with it will be exposed, so we cover it up and try to make everything look like it’s perfect. It’s impossible for you and I to heal our own brokenness and to make ourselves whole.
The good news is that God is able to pick up the pieces of your life and put them back together into a beautiful mosaic work of art. You see, your brokenness is what makes you human and in need of God. It’s what makes you approachable by others in their brokenness. In Psalm 25:21 David cried out to God regarding his own brokenness, “Use all your skill to put me together; I wait to see your finished product” (MSG). When God puts us back together, he leaves the cracks and the lines to do away with the facade that we’re perfect. Don’t try to cover them up, for through your brokenness others will find their wholeness.
Brokenness and how we fit together as a congregation has been a question that has been exercising my mind a lot lately. I am reminded of the sermon given at Convention in 2018 by Bishop Altus, the South Australian Bishop. He told the story of a couple who were elderly, setting off on a journey. As they set off the husband looked to his wife and said: ‘I promise to remember where we are going, if you promise to remember who we are!’
So, where are we going today ‘Elsie’(LCA), and who are we along the way?
It was a very timely sermon at the time it was delivered and it remains so. Who are we as a congregation? Where are we going? These are questions we should regularly ask ourselves. What is our mission? Why do we exist as a congregation? What do we take on as projects? Are we equiped for the tasks ahead? Can we read the map to get us to where we need to go? Have we lost sight of why we do things? Do we need to reassess who we are and where we are going?
Of course we are not alone in the journey. God is with us and he will give us direction. When cars were first invented a person walked ahead of the vehicle with a lantern at night to light the way. We too have a light, or to put it in the modern context a GPS. God provides the map, the trick is of course to follow it and not get caught up in side issues. It’s doesn’t mean that there wont be bumps along the road, but it does mean that when we break down, we can be assured we will be put back together again.
As I said these are thoughts that have been occupying my mind of late. This has been especially so as the school embarks on the task of preparing a new strategic plan. The Congregations relationship with the school needs to be looked at. The relationship between the two needs to be reassessed and possibly redefined. It’s a large task and its one that Church Council are very aware of. We will keep the Congregation informed as the strategic plan continues to be developed. Jodi has prepared an update for us from School Board, which I have included below:
Dear St Peter’s members,
2020 has been a challenging year for Eastside Lutheran College. Teachers and staff needed to make multiple adjustments to teaching and educational programs to account for COVID-19 requirements. Students and parents have also have had adapt to the changing environment. Unfortunately this also created a delay with the 2019 ELC audit which was compounded by the College Board previously voting to change auditors for the 2019 school year audit.
Adding to the delays above some irregularities in practice were detected. These irregularities required additional time to investigate and documentation to be sourced. Lutheran Education - Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania (LEVNT) provided the College accountant with extra resources to ensure we could supply the auditors with as much information as possible. The auditors have completed their assessment and while to College is solvent, the overall outcome shows the College will need to use 2020 as a consolidating year in order to rebuild a sound financial platform to start off our 2021 school year. Wendy and the staff have been actively working on this already and the budget for 2020 and 2021 are being adjust to account for this.
What the Board and College management discovered during this audit were some gaps in processes and procedures. These issues have urgently be addressed in order to prevent similar issues in the future. This was not done just to benefit the auditors next year but also to improve governance arrangements within the College. Processes that once suited our very small school no longer were fit for purpose for our growing school. The same holds true for the Strategic Plan, which the Board is currently undertaking to update.
Lutheran Education Australia and LEVNT have recently updated their Strategic Plans and are also tighten their governance processes for Lutheran schools. These changes in overarching governance may have an impact on ELC. If or when they do, the church community will be keep updated and where possible consulted.
We praise the Lord for the growth we are seeing at the ELC and we pray for his guidance as we work to improve our governance. We know that He will be with us as we draft our new Strategic Plan to help establish his future vision for our community. We hope to be able to share in some of the planning with the church in the coming months.
As I said the strategic plan for the School is a large process that is being undertaken and a really important one as we define how we move forward as a congregation and a school.
It is a task that will occupy a significant amount of time in the coming months for both the School and the Congregation, and at times it might well be quite difficult as we look at our structures and how we move forward. It is a process that everyone is committed to and I’m sure with Gods guidance we will come through it stronger and better equiped to continue on the journey.
I will conclude this contribution with the closing words of Bishop Altus’s sermon as I feel they really summarise want we need to continue to remember. In place of Elsie (LCA) please read St Peters Hobart.
So, where are we going today ‘Elsie’ (LCA), and who are we along the way?
• I don’t know where we are going this side of heaven, and
• Who are we anyway that God should have bothered with us, saved us brought us
• Who are we that God has stayed with us and keeps on forgiving us?
• Who are we that God has loved and blessed us along the way like he has ‘Elsie’
• Who are we that he keeps on holding out his promises to us?
We don’t determine who we are and where we are going as much as we like to think. It’s not about who we are and where we are going at all.
It’s about who God is and where God is going.
So we go into the unknown today with the God we do know:
• who has freed us and brought and kept us together in the past
• who is always with us and one step ahead of us at the same time
• who is unstoppable and who calls us to get in behind him and where he is going!
• who leads his people in paths we would never choose for ourselves.
• The God we know in Jesus, whose living body we are and whose crucified and risen body we are about to receive again and take with us into the day. So ‘Elsie’ (LCA), as we set out today,
• let’s remember who, and where God is,
• and let him determine where we are going,
and who we are along the way ...
As long as God remains our GPS the map will always be the right map for us, even if we as individuals might wonder where we are going. God will keep us together and he will heal our brokenness.
I thank all those who are involved in serving our congregation and continue to do so. Though this year has been challenging I am encouraged by people willingness to serve and I look forward to continuing to serve you in the months ahead and to keep you up dated.”
Thank you Kim and all of our leaders for the work and service you so lovingly perform on our behalf.
Warm regards and blessings,
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart
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