Janet Woodlock, Ian Smith and Natalie Oakes were Churches of Christ members participating in the recent National Council of Churches triennial forum. Some news about the forum can be accessed here. Some might be interested in the now-approved new NCCA Constitution. This will be administratively helpful for Act for Peace in particular, which is the aid and peace-making arm of the National Council of Churches.
Do you want to play a simple but very significant role in a larger vision? Well, it all starts with Selfie Sunday this October.
It’s not about THAT kind of selfie! It’s more like this:
We begin this adventure with a self-portrait of our churches: capturing unique moments that will last forever. But it is also about so much more.
On Selfie Sunday you can take a picture of your church family. I’d love you to capture a taste of moments in the life of your church during the week also: the small things that we sometimes take for granted, and the things which really excite us.
It just wouldn’t be a true snap-shot of us if we didn’t receive from you a great selection of photos and stories reflecting the amazing diversity of the Churches of Christ family: from the simplest, poignant image through to the craziest of antics.
It would also be wonderful if you could share with us all a little about your church. I hope it will help you to explore these three famous questions:
- Who are you?
- How did you get here?
- And where are you going?
The leadership of Churches of Christ feel that now God is calling us to discern the Spirit’s work in our movement. We would love you to play a role in the larger vision. Your photos and stories will become part of a giant snap-shot of our church family at this point of time.
My hope is this will strengthen the unity and solidarity among us, as we build new connections in friendship and ministry. I believe that we’ll learn from one another’s stories, as we celebrate the liberty which drives the great variety of ministries happening in our churches. And I think in this kaleidoscope of life we will see in all things love. The love of Christ expressed in word and deed.
Perhaps this will be a witness to our God at work across the nation. We might even be inspired as we hear about great things being done in Jesus’ name. Who knows what the Holy Spirit might do through Selfie Sunday?
Where are you going as a church? Where are we going together as Churches of Christ? I hope you’ll join us in this journey and play your role in Selfie Sunday.
To find out more, look out for further updates in state newsletters and on the National Website.
Churches of Christ in Australia
My eyes fell upon the page of the book, and something stirred within me. Do you know that feeling when a ripple of excitement washes over you? When a picture forms in your mind, and a dream begins to form? When new questions suddenly captivate your attention?
My feeling that day led to a flurry of ideas, and a number of conversations. The conversations led to a proposal. The proposal was endorsed by Churches of Christ in Australia and the State bodies it represents.
As a result, I’d like to invite your church to take a self-portrait of your church community. This initiative is called Selfie Sunday.
This will involve taking a photo of your congregation on one Sunday in October. It will also involve taking some photos of your church’s ministries during the week, and writing a little about the life of your church. Your church will have its own dedicated webpage, and become part of a giant collection of church self-portraits from around the country.
A suggested date is Churches of Christ Sunday (2nd October 2016). However, this date does clash with school or public holidays in some states. Therefore you should pick a suitable date around this time for your own ‘Selfie Sunday’ celebration.
So what was the book that triggered this rather audacious idea?
It was the Jubilee Pictorial History of Churches of Christ in Australasia (AB Maston, 1903). The author made a photographic record of Church of Christ in Australia and New Zealand, and wrote up the story of each congregation.
I later learned the Jubilee Pictorial History is an unusual book. Other Christian traditions documenting their histories in this era told the stories of key leaders. This was a book of the people; of ordinary congregations. It captured images of men, women, children, and even the occasional dog. It was wildly popular. The Jubilee Pictorial History was a unifying force for Churches of Christ in Australia. It was a major stimulus for the first Federal Conference of Churches of Christ in Australia in 1906. This Conference led to the formation of the College of the Bible (now Stirling College) in the following year. Establishing a bible college was highly significant in providing trained ministers for Churches of Christ. Aside from some short-term local efforts, before this time aspiring ministers travelled to the United States for a theological education. Very few of these Australian trainees ever returned to our shores. The formation of the college paved the way for significant growth and consolidation of Churches of Christ in the decades that followed.
Maston noted in his book’s introduction:
“It occurred to me… that a splendid opportunity presented itself of gathering together the great leading facts of our movement and placing them in this permanent form, first of all as a matter of record; secondly, for the encouragement of those who at the present are engaged in the stupendous effort of calling the world’s attention to the simple plea of New Testament Christianity; and lastly, because of the unifying power of such a book among those who are engaged in this great work. I have frequently indulged in the fond hope that this book might serve the useful purpose of bringing closer together all the loose ends of our influence in this new land of ours” –
Some questions stirred in me as I read Maston’s words, and then flicked through the images in his book:
- What would happen if we did a 21st century version of such a project?
- Might it encourage our churches today?
- Might this foster unity? Inspire collaborative projects?
- What new things might God release as we learn from and about one another?
Many have expressed warmth and interest about Selfie Sunday to date. Some like the idea of celebrating the life of their church, and plan to have a celebratory lunch together on this day. Some hope they’ll gain fresh inspiration from the mission activities of other churches. Some resonate with the idea of expressing unity, and fostering a sense of being part of a big church family. Some value the opportunity to preserve their heritage.
I don’t what the fruit of Selfie Sunday will be. But I do hope your church will take part in this act of collective witness. Who knows what God might do in and through us as a result?
Please take note of further information in your State newsletters, or check out the National Website for updates on this exciting project.
May God bless you and your church community,
Churches of Christ in Australia
The Campaign for Australian Aid released a video of Janet Woodlock speaking on the Campaign for Australian Aid on Wednesday 20/4/16.
On Friday 15/4 I received a request for my support for an open letter to the Federal Treasurer to be advertised in the Australian newspaper on 20/4. This letter calls for the Australian Government to restore the Australian aid budget, noting that support of our poorest neighbours is a moral question that rises about party politics.
I personally support this call, and encourage individuals and churches to become familiar with the Campaign for Australian Aid. This campaign is supported by Global Mission Partners, the arm of Churches of Christ dedicated to mission and development.
Churches of Christ in Australia
Disclaimer: Note that the views expressed in this communication do not necessarily represent the views of all individuals nor the position of all local churches within Churches of Christ.
Your prayers are invited as GMP and COCWA explore new ministry possibilities in Port Hedland
Churches of Christ ‘Global Gathering’, New Delhi January 12-15, 2017
You are invited to join us on a 14 day pre Gathering , cultural experience to India , the new “must visit” travel destination .
The tour which leaves on December 28th, includes the Taj Mahal, Amber Fort, early morning cruise on the Ganges and much much more. Cost is around $5500-$6000 including airfares and gratuities. (Gathering registration and accommodation for the Gathering are extra.)
An 8 day post gathering tour GMP mission areas will leave Delhi on January 16th and include hospital ministry, rural ministry. Schools program and ministries in Mumbai : Cost $1400.
For more detail about the Global Gathering and to view an inspirational ‘Your Invitation’ video, check out www.worldconvention.org
For tour information and to secure your place, contact Bruce Greig at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0412305863 ASAP.
The latest guide for ethically sourced Easter eggs can be downloaded from our friends at Stop the Traffik here
|In the early hours of Wednesday morning, Ross Norling passed away after a long battle with cancer. Ross has, as someone said the other day, “been the Billy Graham of the Aboriginal cause in the north of Western Australia.” What an ambassador of Jesus and the Gospel.
The funeral service is being held at Hedland Baptist Church, 8am on Friday 18 December. Some are flying and others driving to Hedland this week – but many can’t make it there to honour this statesman of God’s .
That being the case there will also be a memorial service held at Dalkeith Road Church of Christ, 10am on Friday 18 December.
This service will include much of what will be shared during the Hedland service. Please come and celebrate the life of Ross Norling, thanking God for this ambassador who spent so many years making disciples in the north.
Because no notices are going in the papers, could you please communicate these details with your congregations as soon as possible.
No Flowers – In lieu of flowers, donations will be passed on to Ross’ favourite overseas mission project.
Blessings and peace,
The following motion was approved at the recent Churches of Christ in Australia meeting in Adelaide:
This meeting of CCCA, recognising the significance of 2015 as the centenary of the ANZAC campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsula and on the Western Front, acknowledging the catastrophic loss of life of combatants from all nations and the unbearable suffering and grief of their families:
1 Records an appreciation of the determination, courage and stoicism displayed by Australian and New Zealand military personnel and their allies in circumstances of hardship, violence, danger and constraint;
2 recognises the essential ministry of military chaplains in these engagements and in every Australian theatre of war since;
3 declares that the Sunday prior to Remembrance Day (11 November) be designated ‘Defence Sunday’ and asks each local congregation to remember the Defence community on that day;
4 encourages each local congregation to invite an ADF Chaplain to visit them on ‘Defence Sunday’ to hear about ministry within Defence, both at home and abroad; and
5 is aware that the senior protestant chaplain in the Navy, Army and Air Force are all ministers within our movement (Navy – Barrie Yesberg, Army – Russell Mutzelburg [currently acting Peter Willis], Air Force – Mark Willis); and
6 commits to praying for peaceful solutions to the conflicts of the world and for the establishment of God’s reign of justice, peace and love on the earth.