If you are looking for some good news to encourage you, be sure to pick up a copy of the latest update from Uniting world. You are invited to donate to the annual appeal which demonstrates how one action from you can ripple out to the Partner churches and organisations of Uniting World and help them to build up communities who are struggling in oppressive circumstances.
If you are wondering how to help and would like to work through trusted church agencies, here are some links:
Act for Peace Ukraine Emergency Appeal
Our ACT Alliance partners in neighbouring Hungary have already sent truckloads of relief to support families forced to flee their homes due to the war. The shipments include 28 tons of canned food, flour, sugar, oil, rice, pasta, biscuits, long-life milk, tea and hygiene products which will be distributed at the Beregszász and Uzhhorod reception centres in Western Ukraine.
Uniting Church East Coast Flooding Emergency Appeal :
The Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN), a ministry of the Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT, at present has deployed 35 chaplains across 19 evacuation centres that are accessible by road, with many more centres inaccessible due to flood waters.
Some Uniting Church communities opened their doors to people left stranded or needing to evacuate.
Rev Hollis is inviting to the wider Uniting Church community to make a donation to support those affected by contributing to the Assembly’s National Disaster Relief Fund.
On Saturday 15 January, a tsunami was triggered by the eruption of underwater volcano Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai, just 65km from the capital city Nuku’alofa on Tonga’s most populated island.
Communications have now been restored and we have been in touch with our partners, the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga (FWCT). They have been assisting evacuations from low-lying islands that were hit hard. In Nuku’alofa, FWCT personnel have been assisting affected communities with relief supplies and trauma counselling. They have appointed a disaster response Coordinator and are scalling up their response with help from international partners including UnitingWorld and the Pacific Conference of Churches.
Beginning April 18th, Seven Days of Solidarity is inspired by the work of our partner churches, celebrating where the risen Christ is at work changing lives.
Celebrating the good things God is doing seems important after a year of strain and struggle to adapt to a pandemic that is still the source of pain for millions of people.
COVID-19 continues to make life so incredibly difficult for our partners, but through it all, God is faithful. Their incredible lives remind us that we’re surrounded by a cloud of witnesses who keep the faith, and giving up is not an option.
UnitingWorld holds these partnerships on behalf of the people of the Uniting Church, and we wanted to take the opportunity to share some of their stories and inspire you in faith and action.
In the weeks immediately after Easter, when we celebrate resurrection life and the birth of the Church, this is an opportunity to bear witness to where the risen Christ is at work. Join us to celebrate our partners, give thanks, and share resources to keep this mission alive.
Booklets containing the stories and devotions are now available to pick up from the church foyer, along with donation envelopes. You can also find them online here:
Friends, this year we took our fundraising online for Lent Event. We set up a St Luke’s Team Page, which raised $255 of our $3000 goal from 3 donors and 1 team member. This is less than St Luke’s has raised for Uniting World than in past years. If you missed the chance to donate, please consider donation through the Seven Days of Solidarity campaign instead. Our Partners in the Pacific very much need our support.
In all of the change that happens around us, one of the constant aspects of our faith journey at St Luke’s is the annual cycle of the liturgical calendar, marking the seasons of Jesus’ journey on earth.
Tomorrow we commence the period of Lent – 40 days of reflection and sacrifice as we imagine the time spent by Jesus in the desert, grappling with fears and temptations.
If you are looking for some resources to use as part of your devotional time during Lent, here are some suggestions:
Every year at Easter, Common Grace brings a Lent series based on the central teachings of Jesus. In 2021 they’ve put together a compilation series from Christian teachers, who show us what it looks like when justice overflows from following Jesus.
To sign up to their weekly Lenten emails, click here.
Uniting World’s Lent Event
UnitingWorld is the part of the Uniting Church with the privilege of nurturing relationships with our global church family, and we love the season of Lent! Through Lent Event, we provide a Bible Study series to help you think through what it means to be a global neighbour, and encourage you to take action with a 40-day challenge to give or take up something that helps make the world a better place. With stories that show how your prayers and gifts are building hope and ending poverty around the world, we aim to cultivate generosity, compassion and awareness of others.
If you’re ready to take a new look at Lent, go for a deep dive online to find resources, and check out www.lentevent.com.au for simple ways to get involved.
Not wanting to emulate the shops, however given the slower delivery rates of letters through Australia Post these days, those of you who still like to send Christmas cards may be interested in the charity cards we have available.
Val Grills, our Leprosy Mission “champion”, is ordering cards through the mission to sell to our regular church supporters this year. If you would like to place an order through the church, please send an email to the office and we will let you know what is available once Val’s order has arrived. You can also support the Leprosy Mission through their online shop here:
They have some beautiful and useful items available which would make great gifts for the people you’re missing. Our friends at the Leprosy Mission have called to let us know that they are praying for us and to offer their support – some of you may remember the visit of Tim and Amar last year to share the good news of the work they are doing to help people with Leprosy overcome discrimination and have a good quality of life.
Uniting Christmas cards are available in packs of 10 for $10 from the office on Tuesdays and Fridays. Cards can be dropped off to you in the 3216 postcode.
Uniting World is working with our church partners in other countries to try to limit the impacts of COVID-19 as well as other work of poverty mitigation and peace building. You can support their work through purchasing gift cards which represent things like health care or school packs, or goats and chickens!
If you’d like to place an order, you can check the online “Everything in Common” gift catalogue here:
Friends, the office is receiving quite a few end of financial year appeals for support from local community organisations as well as our Uniting Church agencies. I thought I would post them here in case these are causes you would like to support.
Anam Cara House: https://www.givenow.com.au/anamcarahouse19
Barwon Health Foundation: https://barwonhealthfoundation.org.au/
You might like to try dyeing your own eggs with Costa and friends:
Please keep in your prayers our partners in the Pacific, particularly Vanuatu, as they deal with the aftermath of Cyclone Harold. Here is an update from UnitingWorld about the impact of COVID19 on our partners from poorer nations:
Above all, we urge you to continue to uphold one another in prayer, and we pray that you and your loved ones stay safe and well, and know the transforming presence of Jesus through these challenging and uncertain times.
You can find our Palm Sunday worship on Youtube here:
In our second episode of Worship online, Paul shares a reflection on what Jesus’ entry to Jerusalem says about the kind of leader he is – a servant leader. In the turmoil of the COVID19 pandemic, what kind of service are you called to?
Linda leads us in prayers of the people and gives thanks for the people serving our community now, despite the risk to themselves and their families.
We meet Shaghek Qassabyan, our new Community Ministry Worker for St Luke’s.
For some music listening, please enjoy “From a Still Small Voice” performed by Leigh Newton, with thanks to Craig Mitchell for sharing!
As the COVID19 pandemic ripples through our UnitingWorld’s partner countries, we are more conscious than ever of the need to support our neighbours who have much less than we do.
The future of our world depends on people of all faiths and backgrounds being able to work together for good. In Maluku, Ambon, Rev Jeny is working with high school students to train up leaders for our region who embrace difference, respect each other and have a passion for peace.
Today we’ll meet the students and hear about Rev Jeny’s inspiring work.
Please visit www.lentevent.com to help it continue. UnitingWorld continues to stand alongside people in Ambon and far beyond, and they need our help.
Please keep praying for Rev Jeny and her team, Mary, Attika, Petrus and Nyoman.
Resources for home
Linda Salamy has gathered some multi-sensory activities you can download and do from home in your devotional time.
Karen from Western Heights Uniting Church shows us how to fold our own paper palm crosses:
We hope you have a peaceful and reflective Holy Week – may God give you the wisdom and insight to discern how you might continue to bring light and hope in troubled times, and may you be well, may you be happy, may you be safe in Christ’s love.
Stay tuned later today for a special Kid’s Church edition of online worship!