Last weekend we were privileged to hear first hand from the charismatic Asit Samuel, currently visiting the Diocese of Bendigo. Asit has for 32 years worked for, and is currently National Director, of East India Bible Literature. He served in Kolkata for 14 years through Compassion India, catering for nearly 70,000 children in need.
The money from “Elijah’s Jar “ through the Diocese of Bendigo supports the Sarah Children’s Home in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, of which Asit is Administrator. However the purpose of his visit was to speak about the plight of Christians in Northern India which in the 10 years since the beginning of the persecution in 2008 has been decimating the small farming villages . The Santals are the largest tribal group, over 10 million being the lowest in the caste system, and already 40,000 have been displaced with unknown numbers of families massacred. India, holding within its 26 states one third of the world’s population, is the seventh most dangerous country now for Christians. With elections in 2019 we are entreated to pray for India’s incoming Government to halt the genocide of all non- Hindu people.
On a happier note, the Café Church team is ready for Sunday night at 5.00 pm with a welcome cuppa and nibbles. A special treat will be a talk by Charlotte Baker, whose award winning essay on the significance of Anzac Day resulted in an experience she will share prior to the meal at 6.00 pm. First time visitors will be warmly welcomed by the regulars, so come and grab a table.
Last Sunday Bishop Jeremy Ashton was our celebrant and preacher, capturing everyone’s attention by referring to the ‘sandwich’ miracles of Jesus. The gospel reading from Mark 5 : 21-43 tells of the faith of two very different people.
Firstly, a leader of the synagogue begged Jesus to save his daughter, who was twelve years old and at the point of death. At the same time, a woman who had suffered bleeding for twelve years was among the crowd following Jesus to the man’s home. In Jesus ’ time, women were ritually unclean and isolated from society until purified, so this sad woman had been shunned for twelve years, despite spending all she had on physicians. She believed if she could just touch Jesus’ cloak she would be healed.
Despite the crowd pressing around him, Jesus felt power going forth from him and asked “ Who touched me ?” The woman, falling down before him knew immediately she had been healed. Jesus said “ Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your disease.”
Finally another crowd of ritual mourners came to meet the official , telling him his daughter was dead, so not to trouble the “ Teacher.” Jesus was not put off by the commotion of loud wailing and weeping, instead took three disciples, Peter, James and John, and the girl’s parents, into the child’s room, took her hand and said “ Little girl, get up.” She immediately did so and began to walk about. He told the parents to give her something to eat.
We were reminded that Jesus ate fish with those same disciples after his own death and resurrection.
Six months of an intensive prayer request from the parish family of Swan Hill and District has been blessed with a letter from Bishop Matt in Bendigo, announcing his appointment of a new priest to be our ‘Shepherd into the future.’ Matt writes:
“ Dear Friends, I am very pleased to announce that the Rev’d Peter Blundell has accepted my offer to become the Rector of the Parish of Swan Hill. Peter and his wife Jeanette will be moving into Swan Hill early in August and I look forward to inducting Peter into this ministry on Friday 10th August.”
The full text of the Bishop’s letter will be printed in the pew bulletin this week.
Last Sunday Café Church presented a great fun exercise crafted around the concept of how our eyes can deceive us. In the first book of Samuel, 15: 34 – 16:13, we read that a son of Jesse had been chosen by the Lord to be the next King of Israel. The eldest looked the part, but was not the chosen. All seven sons of Jesse were brought before Samuel, and all were rejected. Finally the youngest was brought in from tending his father’s sheep, and the Lord told Samuel to anoint this boy, David, as king. What is perceived as least likely to human eyes can always be recognised by God through the truth within the heart.
On Sunday night nine photos were passed around for everyone to examine in turn. The hidden ‘message’ or image was not always apparent even after long scrutiny, and there were several surprise revelations. People who profess to be Christian need to take note of this, appearances can be deceptive.
I am very pleased to announce that the Rev’d Peter Blundell has accepted my offer to become the Rector of the Parish of Swan Hill. Peter and his wife Jeanette will be moving into Swan Hill early in August and I look forward to inducting Peter into this ministry on Friday 10th August.
Originally from Melbourne, Peter and Jeanette have ministered in a variety of settings and come to Swan Hill with a wealth of experience. I have known them both for almost a decade and love their focus on Jesus, their desire to see all the people of God take part in ministry and their willingness to serve rural, regional and remote Australia. They will both be a great addition to our Diocesan family.
I want to thank the Rev’d Denis Gell for his selfless and dedicated ministry as locum during the interregnum. I have been impressed at Denis’ care for you and his wise work. I know that Peter and Denis look forward to working together.
Your servant in Christ,
All hands on deck for the July boot Sale and Cottage Crafts tomorrow, set up at 2.00 pm today, pack up at 12.00 pm tomorrow. Sausage sizzle and morning tea available, “Scones for Missions” on sale also.
Last Sunday Fr Gary Fordham returned for his monthly ‘supply ministry’ service, and as usual introduced some variety into the regular prayers with the singing of the Creed to the tune of “Ode to Joy” and the Lord’s prayer to “ Auld Lang Syne.”
Several members of the congregation were presented with Certificates from their day of training for Safe Churches which took place last Saturday, and was well attended with representatives from various churches and hosted by the Church of Christ at the Grain Shed.
This Sunday at 5.00 pm there will be the monthly ‘Happy Hour” from 5.00 pm at Café Church in the Function Centre. Families are encouraged to come along for a meal together and share activities planned by the Youth Ministry leaders.
Parish Council has asked for ideas for forward planning in the parish program, and several recommendations came from the planning meeting chaired by Bishop Andrew. A list will be drawn up for further ‘fine tuning’ to be considered.