Dear members and friends of St Peters, Hobart.
Good to hear that many of you tuned in to last nights ‘To the Point’ stream with our Pastoral Assistants and myself. Thankfully we were able to rectify the early glitch with the delay causing feedback relatively quickly and that the stream has been well received. Both I and many others thought that the Pastoral Assistants did really well.
Following some conversations in order to hear various perspectives, I am thinking that we might hold 'To The Point' fortnightly for the time being and vary the type of content and guests. I have tentatively lined up a classmate of mine who has suffered with and managed depression for much of his life. He lost both his parents before full adulthood, did his doctorate in the area, focusing also on the spiritual side to depression, and lectures at Australian Lutheran College. I hope to have him joined by someone from the medical profession and so focus in the mental health area, but with a holistic approach which incorporates faith.
For those who missed last nights episode, I highly recommend viewing it. It can be watched here.
During the stream, reference was frequently made to an interview Pauline had previously recommended by emeritus Oxford Professor John Lennox. This was also mentioned in my last email, but for those who missed it or whose interested was prompted by last night’s ‘To the Point’ stream, it can be found here. Another excellent interview with him on the same subject can be accessed here.
Here is a copy of a large Page of resources put out by the Gospel Coalition Australia, a cross-denominational, mainstream, Evangelical or Christ cantered, Scripture centred, Protestant coalition. It also includes devotional resources, recourses for families and for children.
I cannot highly recommend the following highly enough for those who want an aid to study the Scriptures in depth. Simply put in the chapter of the bible you want to study followed by ‘Thy strong word’ and it will take you to a podcast on that chapter on kfuo.org This is a faithful confessional Lutheran radio station in the US and the podcasts are excellent. I know some of you have been wanting to study the book of Revelation but are rightly concerned about some of the misleading ways it is interpreted. I could not think of a better way for you to study it with the aid of these podcasts. Feel free to speak to me further about this.
I also include a copy of Irma Baumeler’s much-appreciated poem 1.5 meters apart which was also read last night: 1.5 Meters Apart
1.5 Meters apart we are told to be,
The rule is good to stop the spread,
Of Covid 19 which the world beset,
No one must slip through the net.
The world has changed so we are told
I look through my window and I behold,
The grandeur of Mountains are the same
The flowers in the garden still remain.
The birds are singing still in the trees,
The rainbow follows the rain that’s still so
The air’s filled with scent and buzzing bees
So what has changed I ask do you know?
Nothing has change for those who believe
That Jesus died this world to reprieve
1.5 Meters will never keep us apart
He is the the bond that joins our hearts.
Pestilence come and Pestilence go
Our Lord is still in charge you should know
At times like this there is always a cost
But if you have Faith nothin is lost.
Kim has provided us with a message as Parish chair.
Dear Members of St Peters,
This week Philippa has outdone herself and given us 3 verses of encouragement.
"Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him." - James 1:12
"Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong." - 1 Corinthians 16:13
"Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." - Romans 12:11-12
All wonderful verses of encouragement and a timely reminder to be patient and to stand firm in the faith. Patience, if you are anything like me is not something that comes easily. Many of us are used to busy lives that go at 100 miles an hour and waiting for things to pass is for many of us unnatural. The feeling of not being in control is also difficult, but then we don’t need to be in control we just need to live our lives trusting in God and knowing that he has us in the palm of his hand no matter what happens.
I hope these verses bring you the encouragement that they brought me this week.
We also have much to be thankful for. For those who watched the services over Easter, you would be aware of how well presented they were. Thank you to all involved. They truly conveyed the Easter message in such a meaningful way. It was also good that we were able to have more involved.
We also had a live streaming event Thursday night. It is hoped that we will be able to do these regularly and have more people involved. It was good to watch and to see some faces that we haven’t seen for some time and to hear the messages that were shared. It was a good start and something we can build upon and continue to develop.
One question that was raised last night was whether there are plans in place for services to recommence with the congregation present. Sadly it is too early to be having those kinds of discussions. We are restricted by what measures are in place to protect our members and we need to comply with those strictly. I've spoken to several people involved in the management of COVID - 19 in the past week, and in Tasmania we seem to have in the main managed to limit the outbreak, especially here in the south of the state. It is vital that we continue to practice social distancing so that this can remain the case.
However as I said in my first email to you all, social isolation doesn’t need to mean we are isolated. We are a community and there are many ways now that allow us to remain in touch with each other and I encourage you all to utilise them. Last night as I listened to the live stream I reflected on the fact that through this virus God really has been let out of the box. Prior to COVID - 19 it was very easy to marginalise religion and have it as a part of our lives that came out mainly on Sunday in worship, but now we have so many more opportunities. We are communicating more with each other, we are able to watch services again and again if we choose to and we also have other means of staying connected. All of these allow us to be closer to God and to each other.
We continue to work on ways for us to stay connected. As was said last night many are making calls and sending emails, please continue to do this.
On a pleasing note, offerings appear to not be decreasing substantially. Can I again encourage people who have not moved to electronic giving to consider doing so. I also thank all those that have. Though we are unable to worship together the work of the church and expenses continue. It is really heartening that offerings are not diminishing substantially and I encourage you all to continue to prayerfully give to the workings of the church.
I thanks those who have contacted me saying they are enjoying my weekly updates, and I hope that members are encouraged by them.
Stay strong and stay healthy.
Chairperson of Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
Finally, keep close to our Lord and cry out if you need anything. Remember to tune in once again to the streaming of our service this Sunday at 10.00am.
Warmest regards and blessings,
Saint Peter's Lutheran Church, Hobart.
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