OUR COMMUNITY NEWS FOR TODAY AND THE COMING WEEK
Today’s Worship Leader
The Rev. Angela Tampiyappa is a member of our congregation. Angela served the Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India as a lay and ordained minister for 10 years. She was also involved with the International Women’s Peace Mission and the Uniting Nations. She and her husband, Kingsley, migrated to Australia in 1996.
During 1997–2004 Angela worked as a prison and hospital chaplain for the Uniting Church, and then from 2004 to her retirement in 2018 she was at St George’s UC in East St Kilda, in a team ministry with the Rev. John Bottomley.
Jesus’ first miracle
In Cana, a town of Galilee, lived some friends of Jesus and his mother. Friends invited Jesus, his mother, and his followers to a wedding in their home. They had not prepared enough wine for all the people. Before the close of the feast the wine was all gone.
Mary saw that the wine had all been used, and she called Jesus aside to tell him about it. She believed he could help, she told the servants to do whatever Jesus might command them.
In every Jewish home there were large vessels, called water-pots, which the people kept filled with water to use in washing their hands and feet. In this home, six large water-pots of stone were kept for the purpose.
Jesus told the servants to fill the water-pots with water. The servants filled the vessels to the brim. When they obeyed they saw that wine flowed from the vessels.
At these Jewish feasts one man was chosen to be the governor of the feast. He tasted the wine before it was placed on the tables to serve the people. Jesus told the servants the servants take this wine to the governor.
The governor did not know what Jesus had done. Calling the young man who had just been married, the governor said, “A other wedding-feasts the best wine is served first, but you have kept the best until the last of the feast.”
This was the first miracle Jesus performed, and his willingness to help people in need. (A. Tampiyappa)
Jesus was baptised when he was about 30 years old. He had lived a normal life, presumably as a carpenter, with his mother, sisters and brothers around him, up to then. To be baptised was a sign, mostly to himself, that he had a new direction in life, and one that was greatly challenging.
It was an enormous step to take, even greater than that of Abraham. What turmoil did he go through to make that decision? (RR)
EVENTS AND NOTICES
We would welcome donations of tip tickets to help defray costs for the clean-ups around the church and at the manse in Filippin Crt. If you can help, please see Geoff Gook.
UCA Day of Mourning
The UCA is now annually observing the Sunday before Australia Day as a Day of Mourning. This observance is in the spirit of our Covenant relationship with our sisters and brothers of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, endorsed by the Fifteenth Assembly of the UCA.
Dr Deidre Palmer, President, says: “Our declaration of a Day of Mourning allows us to stand together remembering the truth of our history, and honouring the culture of Australia’s First Peoples. I pray that our Church and our nation will continue on this journey of confession, forgiveness and working toward justice and healing”.
“As the Uniting Church we affirm our destiny together, acknowledging the wrongs of the past and the present and committing ourselves to take action to bring about a more just Australia.”
Much has happened for all Australians since the first Day of Mourning in 1938. The formerly “whitewashed” history, denying frontier violence, conflict and dispossession of the indigenous people is now being uncovered.
Leaders of the Aboriginal people; William Cooper, Charles Perkins, Professor Marcia Langton, Lowitja O’Donohue, Eddie Mabo, Noel Pearson, Pat and Mick Dodson and others have awakened this country’s conscience to these moral crises: the lie of Terra Nullius, the struggle to legitimize Native Title, the shame of the Stolen Generations, and exposure of many Aboriginal deaths in custody.
Thousands of Australians walked for reconciliation on the bridges of Australia in May 2000, expressing support for constitutional recognition of the First Peoples, still to be achieved.
The Uniting Church in Australia since the formation of the UAICC in 1985 is walking in solidarity with our aboriginal partners. Narana Creations tourism and cultural centre in Torquay Road, Grovedale formed by the work of Vince Ross, is a practical expression of our church’s support for the Congress.
Narana is open Mondays to Fridays 9am-5 pm. Let’s go visit!
We pray in the name of Christ, for the work of the UCA and UAICC, our people and leaders. (NT)
Pastoral Care and Contacts in January
Please contact Robyn Tomkins (0428 760 668) for any general pastoral care matters after December 30. Contact the Church Council Chairperson, Robert Renton, for other matters as required (0427 812 606)
Worship Plan for this week
9.30 am Family Service (Rev. Angela Tampiyappa)
Activities this week
Most activities will resume at the beginning of February.
Next Sunday – 27 January: Epiphany 3
9.30 am Family Worship (Rev. Bill Lidgett)
Bible Readings 27 January 2019
Nehemiah 8:1–3, 5–6, 8–10; Psalm 19; I Corinthians 12:12–31a; Luke 4:14–21.
Rosters for Next Week
Duty Elder: Rose Geilen
Greeting: Carmel Woodward
Morning Tea: Margaret Gook & Elaine Belcher
Flowers: Elaine Belcher
Reader: Sandra Savory
AV Desk: Rob Bradley
Piano: Jeremy Withers
UC PRESIDENTS LETTER
15th Assembly decision on Uniting Church statements on marriage stands
Dr Deirdre Palmer, the UCA President, has written to all congregations to inform us that the decision taken by the 15th Assembly in 2018 to recognise two equal statements about marriage remains in force. The following is a summary of the letter, a copy of which can be obtained from Robert Renton.
The 15th Assembly affirmed two statements equally: “the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of a man and a woman to live together for life and “the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of two people to live together for life”. This allows for the conduct of same sex marriages (as now allowed for by Commonwealth law).
There were a number of different responses to the decision of the Assembly, and some presbyteries sought to have the decision suspended until a future Assembly could reconsider the matter. For this to occur, there needed to be eight presbyteries that notified the President that the decision was “a matter vital to the life of the Church and there was inadequate consultation prior to the decision” before 13 January—six months after the decision had been taken.
Seven presbyteries did so and this meant that the threshold for the suspension of the Assembly decision had not been reached before the expiry of the time allowed.
As a result, the Assembly decision on marriage stands, and will continue to be lived out in our Church, in various faithful expressions.
Dr Palmer concludes: “I know that there are Uniting Church members who have been hurt and have felt distress—either by the decision on marriage, or the possibility of the suspension of the decision. Let us remain conscious in the weeks and months ahead that this is a time for us as a Church to pastorally support one another, to act compassionately toward one another, and to hear Christ’s invitation to love each other, as Christ loves us, with grace, healing and hope. This call for us to love as Christ loves is at the heart of God’s mission”.
Housekeeping & Help
If you or someone you know is in need of pastoral care, please don’t hesitate to contact either Robyn Tomkins or Robert Renton. We’re keen to make sure that when people know that someone has gone into hospital or is otherwise ‘out of sorts’, that they are not forgotten. If we don’t know that someone has suffered some misfortune we are not likely to be able to visit or offer support in some way; so please let us know in such a circumstance.