For the duration of the COVID-19 shutdown our normal worship services have been paused and replaced by two online services each Sunday. All face to face group activities are paused as well.
The war is over
For 29 years after the World War 2 ended, Hiroo Onoda hid himself in the jungle, refusing to believe his country had surrendered. Japanese Military Leaders had dispatched Onoda to a remote island in Philippines called Lubanga with orders to spy on the Allied forces. Long after the Peace Treaty had been signed and hostilities ceased, Onoda remained in the wilderness. In 1974, Onoda’s Commanding Officer traveled to the Island to find him and convince him that the war was over and a covenant was reached.
For three decades, Onoda lived an isolated existence in exile, because he refused to believe that the conflict was over. We do make similar mistake. Paul proclaims the stunning truth when he wrote to Romans that “all of us who are baptized into Christ Jesus, are baptized into his death. Therefore, we have been buried with him in baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:3-4). This is the Scriptural passage which is often said as the introduction to the Baptism service. What does it mean for us as a Church community? What Paul emphasize is that on the Cross, in a powerful, mysterious way, Jesus put to death Satan’s lies, death’s terror and sin’s tenacious grip. Though we’re ‘dead to sin and alive to God’, we often live as though evil still holds the grip. We surrender to temptation; we submit to sin’s seduction. We listen to the false narratives, failing to trust Jesus and his way of life. Thereby we follow the flow of the unethical voices and end up doing what is harmful to the wider society. We don’t need to surrender to temptation or submit to offences. By God’s grace we can embrace the true story of Christ’s victory on the event of cross.
As we journey through the Covid-19, we do experience the wrestle with the misplaced trust, values and priorities. This is evident in the behavior of a section of the Victorians whose irresponsible way of life has become curse to the entire nation. But our call is to refresh our baptismal vows that of following the way of the Risen Christ and our single-minded obedience to him that affirms us the assurance that we shall rise above from all our earthly sufferings. Therefore, let us be convinced that healing and wholeness; liberation and redemption come through our recognition that Christ Jesus has already won the battle for us. Our response for what Christ Jesus has fulfilled on our behalf, is to live out our Christian faith in the power of the Risen Christ and committing ourselves to be the agents of healing.
Rev Bertram Mather
Pastoral Care Minister
The Traditional Service for Sunday will be available at 9am that day and the Family Service will be available at 11am. Services will then be available for catch up throughout the following week.
Live Zoom meeting before Family Service
Join us again this Sunday on zoom before the 11am Family Service goes live. We will have the kid’s talk and kid’s songs live, any essential announcements, perhaps a story or testimony of God’s work in someone’s life and aim to pray together. (It’s a work in progress that we’ll keep finding a rhythm for as we go!) Join In for a time of connection and encouragement together and a live reminder that we are gathered for church together, even If from our own homes.
The room will be open from 10:40am for anyone who wants to chat with others before we start officially at 10:45am.
The button below will take you to the Zoom meeting. The meeting ID is: 727 285 0168 and the password: church
Online ‘Goodbye Winter’ Trivia Night
- When: Friday 21 August 7:15pm – 8:30pm
- Where: Zoom – details provided upon sign-up.
Four rounds of family-friendly questions, hosted by Al Sharp and Nigel Preston. It’s free to join (but also free of prizes!)
The night will include stories from – and an opportunity to make a donation to support – the Bendigo Winter Night Shelter program.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org and / or via Facebook event
Appointment of Special Projects Coordinator
It is with joy that we can announce that Nigel Preston has joined the ministry team on a part-time basis to work on special projects that Trev Bell delegates to him.
Nigel brings a range of event management, administration and management skills to this role that will be very beneficial to the ministry team and Parish. This role is for a day a week initially until the end of the year and it will be re-evaluated at that time. So, if you receive communication from Nigel, please know that he is operating under the direction and authority of our Parish.
Bendigo Winter Night Shelter update
I have pondered for a couple of days how to best do a BWNS update. I am very keen to share what is happening at the shelter, however there is so much else going on around us…..it becomes hard to see what is important, what is right, what is happening, where is God in all of this.
Then I got to thinking , as humans one of the things we desire and indeed is Ordained by God, is connection, companionship, and opportunity to be together and to feel loved. COVID is making this tricky for many of us. We are needing to be creative with the ways we stay connected, we are needing to work around many challenges to do this. Well this is exactly what the BWNS Board has had to be, creative…bold…but most of all prayerful and believing in God’s desire to bless the shelter. And He has blessed us every step of the way. It is our belief our guests have the same right to companionship, connection and a sense of being loved.
Our numbers started slowly at the shelter, however within weeks moved to nearly being at capacity ( 10 guests) then we faced decisions such as ….talking to guests about the possibility of them having to be at the shelter on a rotation basis. Then Praise be to God 2 guests got private rental, so this helped our numbers allowing all still to be able to stay every night.
At each Board meeting we speak of the positive vibe around the shelter this year, and the openness of most guests to hear volunteers speak of faith and God. Some guests have sort out extra prayer. Without a doubt the majority of our guests have yearned the connection and acceptance that most of us take for granted…..again without doubt most guests are incredibly thankful for the home cooked meal, warm bed, the non judgemental space provided and chats to volunteers.
BWNS has been incredibly blessed with volunteers, donations, cooks and most of all prayerful people.
As winter draws to a close, it would be great if we could pray for our guests who face going back to sleeping in cars, sleeping in tents, or moving from couch to couch in search of some stability in their life’s. They will go back to feeling judged as they walk around our streets aimlessly , or whose mental health will deteriorate due to poor nutrition, poor sleep and poor personal connection. Pray that more permanent accommodation outcomes may be found. Also it would be great to pray that some ( better still all) come to know our loving saviour Jesus.
Robyn Hosking, Venues
Bendigo Winter Night Shelter
As we begin a stage 3 lockdown for the second time, we are aware that it will be tough for many of us. If you are in need of practical help – perhaps someone to do some shopping or other essentials – or if you are able to help someone in need, please connect either through ringing the ministry team or via email email@example.com
If you are in need of pastoral care, conversation or support, again please don’t hesitate to call the ministry team.
At this time it is really important that we are all intentionally and actively looking out for one another, giving and receiving encouragement and praying with one another in these unprecedented times. We don’t want anyone to be feeling outside or overlooked, so if we can help connect you in better during this time, please call the ministry team and we would love to help you connect.
Virtual prayer time
A reminder: Andy and Verity Nicholson are hosting a short online prayer time again this Sunday at 8:20pm. All are invited and welcome.
Follow this link to join in…
Keep connecting, keep praying
We would like to encourage you all to be intentionally calling and keeping in contact with people within our church community and your broader community where possible. These are strange times, but many of us have been gifted extra flexible time than we normally have and calling people to stay connected is a great way to use some of it!
We are aware that many people do not have phone numbers for our members. We will be working on this in coming weeks, but for now If there is someone in particular you’d like to connect with, please feel free to go through the ministry team. We can take your number and pass it along to the other person and connect you that way.
In addition to being intentional about contact, please use this extra time to be intentional in prayer. The prayer of a righteous person (that is, every follower of Jesus) is powerful and effective! The world needs our prayers and we have the time to give them! So pray each and every day for your home, for your street, for your community, for your work colleagues, for your government, for medical workers and other essential services. Pray also for the most vulnerable and in need, whether in Australia or around the world.
Prayer at Home
The prayer guide is updated every week and is available under the Prayer at Home menu tab on the HT website. Please use them as much as possible in your prayer life.
Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.
God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.