This is the text of my Pastoral Message to the people of Lakes Entrance Uniting Church in the newsletter for July 2017.
With the arrival of July and the deeper onset of winter has come the Season of Creation in the church. Our drapes and candles have turned from red to green, (as has my Sunday attire); now we look away from the seasons and festivals of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost, to a long series of “Ordinary” Sundays. We know that no Sunday is ever ordinary, but we are mindful that the great festivals of this year’s Christian calendar are behind us.
But the lowering of the red drapes does not mean that the work of God in our place has stopped. I asked that the red drapes be left up over June because I wanted to remind you that the Spirit is always active in our gathering. As I now enter the third trimester of my time with you I am indeed keen to see something birthed in you (and me) in the next thirteen weeks. I am keen, and very hopeful, that the gifts of the people (which are the Gifts of the Spirit in you) will be made evident.
Through June many of you spoke with me privately about your desire to be involved in the work of the church. Some of you want to be involved as welcomers, others are keen to be readers of scripture or written prayers, and others are not sure about what they can do but would like to be encouraged and equipped to be ready when I leave and the work of the church falls squarely on the shoulders of the whole congregation. I believe that every one of you has gifts, and more than one gift for each person. I believe that together you have every gift that the Spirit gives to a congregation. Lakes Entrance Uniting Church I say to you, even without me present in your meetings you have all that you need to do the work of God in this place.
While I am here I intend to help you to be ready for when I am not here. I have offered the Elders my time and talents as a pastor and teacher (Ephesians 4:11c) to support and encourage all who wish to be “moving forward with jobs and growth” as they say in Canberra. I shall employ my gifts to prepare you to deploy yours, and I hope to see as many of you as wish to serve serving from now. So, if you are ready to be involved today, come and tell me. If you want to be encouraged now for service later, come and tell me. Meantime we can all be praying for, smiling at, and tea-and-biscuiting with sisters and brothers in Christ both local and visitor.