Pastor’s Report 2014
How blessed we are! Look at how God has been calling us, shaping us and directing us over the past twelve months! In our worship, our study, the walking, the talking, the eating, the visiting, the praying, in all the doing, and in all the being, God has graced us with His loving presence. Do you feel it? An excitement. An expectancy. I know I have sensed this in our highs and yes, even in our lows. God is weaving us together for His mission, the mission that matters most!
I would like to thank my two counsellors, Bill and Helen, for their deep passion to serve Christ, borne out by their love for each one us in their ministry of presence, wisdom, discernment of the spirit, and devotion to prayer for myself and our congregation. I have felt the blessing of God from these prayers on a number of occasions.
This year we have also been blessed with the new friendships of Ange, Brad, Ann, Matt P, Shelly and Dave and we have welcomed Lauren and Annette who committed their lives to Christ and our church in baptism and confirmation.
This year saw our very first Open Door ordinations. After several months of priesthood study and training, Rob, Matt, Trish, Lesley and Liz were ordained on April 6th. I have been filled with joy to see each of our new ministers begin to serve in their new callings this year. The congregation has been enriched by the presence of God’s spirit and the ministry of angels as each of these five have faithfully stepped up to serve.
Outreach and community events this year have included being a part of ‘Fairday’ for Mardigras, as well as ‘O’ week at the UWS in Kingswood with Open Door stalls. We also held a special IDAHOT event in May with guest speaker Reverend Rob Bowers from Gosford Anglican church.
The Care n Share and Bible study groups have met once a month, capably led by Rob and Trish. These two groups have provided focus on study and prayer as well as sharing time outside of a Sunday evening. The Water and Spirit class has also been held regularly on Sunday afternoons. This class has given opportunity for those attending to discuss a range of topics associated with what it means to be a Christian and to be part of Community of Christ.
Other highlights this year have included our Anniversary Dinner in July with Bambam Woopie and the Get Nuns. And our trivia night in October raised over $1000 for the congregation. Special guests for Family Night in August and Community Night in September have included Cynthia Burdon-Carr and Brad McCarthy. The Music n Munchies Sundays began in August, bringing extra fun to worship. We also enjoyed a visit from Evangelist Helen McIlroy in April and Apostle Susan Oxley in June, visiting in homes and attending our activities. Our road trip to Newcastle in September for worship and lunch with the Wallsend congregation, was another highlight. And The Outdoor Trekkers has been a source of fun and fitness too, especially during the cooler months.
The Open Door Sunday weekly attendance average for the Nov ‘13 – Oct ‘14 is 21. In 2015 one of the aims is to grow this number to 30. The Facebook page has now attracted over 760 likes and the Open Door continues to provide ministry to a large peripheral of the congregation. The sacrament of the ‘Laying on of Hands’ has provided God’s healing blessing to many people this year. And the oblation fund offered by Community of Christ has been utilized to help people in need.
We are on the way to becoming a seven – day – a- week church. The Community Garden and Food Drive, which have recently started, are two projects that are going to help make a difference in our community. Next year, we are also hoping to begin Healthy Lunch Wednesdays and a Drop Inn.
On a personal note, I must say that being freed up this year from full time class room teaching has given me time to focus more fully on the needs and direction of the congregation. It has given me time to be more available to visit and socialise. I have had more time to pray and study, and not fly by the seat of my pants, quite as much. I hope to be able to continue working this way for 2015.
When I make an inventory of all of the tasks I have personally accomplished in 2014, I think many of these tasks are fairly insignificant ones when compared to the grand picture of making a difference in the world. But what gives me hope is the idea of the domino effect. One little action here, one right decision there, little by little, I can, we can, make a difference. We can be the difference! The mission of Jesus Christ is truly what matters most for our journey ahead!
Thank you, each one of you, for the journey so far, and I invite you to see what God has for us on the path ahead for 2015.
Thanks be to God!
Pastor Sue Palmer