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Sunday 16 May 2021

Seventh Sunday of Easter

Next Sunday is Pentecost:  You are invited to wear something red to church, as the colour red is the seasonal colour for the Feast of Pentecost.

A worshipper made a comment to me today saying that Psalm One, which we prayed together this morning, is not very nice, as it talks about God judging us.  Not for the first time, I was then asked if we could leave out psalms and other bible stories that are not nice.  Please be aware that we use the Authorised Lectionary at worship; the idea being that we do not leave out biblical readings that challenge or disturb us.

Here is Psalm One exactly as we prayed it today from the Prayer Book for Australia: 

Blessed are they who have not walked in the counsel of the ungodly: nor followed the way of sinners, nor taken their seat amongst the scornful. 

But their delight is in the law of the Lord: and on that law will they ponder day and night. 

They are like trees planted beside streams of water: that yield their fruit in due season. 

Their leaves also shall not wither: and look, whatever they do, it shall prosper. 

As for the ungodly, it is not so with them: they are like chaff which the wind scatters. 

Therefore, the ungodly shall not stand up at the judgement: nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 

For the Lord cares for the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. 

St Andrew Rye Bread Café: A massive thank you to the team for cooking 160 brekkies on Thursday. We were also encouraged by the arrival of three new volunteers.

Sunday 30th May:  We will be holding our joint parish service at St Andrew Rye at 10:30. No service at St John Sorrento.

Sunday 6th June at 4pm: For those wanting Choral Evensong, supported by a choir of about 25 singers, such a service will happen on Sunday 6 June at St John Sorrento (4pm). The guest preacher is the Revd. Peter Adam. There is no need to book in for any further acts-of-worship. But, QR entry is mandatory

Feedback: 

Here is some feedback from today’s service based on the diocesan clergy conference theme: ‘Reimagining the Future (Church)’.

The feedback is a collection of viewpoints written on pieces of paper and placed in various labelled-up buckets by worshippers.

As my grandfather used to say: if you don’t like the answer, best not to ask in the first place! 

I have done my best to galvanise the many responses as accurately as possible into single lines. There were lots of duplications of ideas, especially with regards what music we sing at church, and how.  Doing an exercise, such as what we did today, comes at a risk.  I ask that we are patient and calm about the varied responses below. There is no need to see ourselves as failing; or being split as the body of Christ. Some of the ideas I am sure will filter through into action. More will probably not during my time left with you.   What matters is that we dream, hope, and pray to God for His will to be done.

Tin hats on! 

Goodbye (What worshippers would like to dispense of):  

    • To Hymn Books.
    • To the Choir (not relevant).
    • To the Bread Café (waste of money and effort).
    • To our churches being closed during the week.
    • To our worship being too Anglican, and therefore restrictive.
    • To having to follow the rules and regulations of the institutional church.
    • To Fixed liturgy.
    • To Bible readings and sermons on the theme of ‘Judgment’.
    • To Sermons that mention ‘War’.
    • To two services on a Sunday (some respondents preferring just one).
    • To having to answer to the diocese financially.
    • To fair-weather Christians.
    • To the green prayer book (ABPA).
    • To Church kneelers.
    • To crusty and boring hymns.
    • To the Priest reading the Gospel in the naïve among the people with the cross.
    • To the common chalice, once restrictions are lifted.
    • To pews that are not big enough for large people to sit in.

Newcomers (What worshippers would like to see new happen): 

    •  A ladies training centre for self-development. 
    • A single parent support group.
    • More modern songs to sing at worship.
    • Instruments, not organ.
    • Abolishment of old and ancient hymns.
    • Churches on the Peninsula joining together instead of there being so many.
    • Installation of a digital projector and a big screen at St John Sorrento.
    • More use of the projector and the screen at St Andrew Rye.
    • More contact with the local schools, offering stories of Jesus.
    • More personal testimonies of faith given at church.
    • Larger effort reaching out to children and families.
    • Change the service times on Sundays.
    • Start a Kid’s Hope Program.
    • Develop a Drop-in-Centre at Rye.
    • Continue supporting Newton College (P.N.G)
    • Encourage more people to become servers and readers.
  • Place more bibles in the pews at church and encourage people to read them.
    • More expository preaching, using pew bibles.
    • Introduction of evening services.
    • Get on the local radio.
    • Increased publicity for the Bread Cafe.
    • Get more people to study the bible by joining a bible study group.
    • Employ a Christian Family Worker as soon as possible.
    • Print a Welcome Brochure to give out at the Op-Shops.
    • Go deeper within our community so that we spread the message of Jesus more.
    • Clergy should stop preaching from behind the lectern and walk about more in front of the congregation when they preach.
    • Stop infant baptisms and dedicate babies instead.
    • Have coffee before church instead of, or in addition to, afterwards.
    • Have a proper welcome team at the doors.
    • Ask helpers and welcomers to arrive earlier to church, rather than last minute.
    • Have a children’s (sponsored) art competition that is judged by an artist, with prizes awarded.
    • Have a church social meal night at Rye (with a film?).
    • Hold a once per month community market at St Andrew Rye in the church car park.
    • Have Sunday lunches after the first Sunday in the month joint service at Rye.
    • Make sure we follow up new worshippers/visitors.
    • Have a greater emphasis on pastoral care for the wider community.
    • Concentrate more on modern music played on modern instruments, and not the organ/s.
    • Open up the atrium at St Andrew’s through the week for friendship.

Welcome Back (What worshippers would like to see return to church life): 

 People who have left and now watch the services online instead of attending church. 

    • Sunday School.
    • A Youth Group.
    • A group for young children with Mums/Dads, Carers.
    • A Full-time Curate/paid evangelist/team member.
    • Worship from the Book of Common Prayer (B.C.P)
    • Anniversary celebrations of the Op-Shops.
    • Blessing of pets’ services.
    • Even more combined services.
    • Having the common chalice back so we all share the one cup.
    • Get more children to come to church, as in the old days.
    • An Op-Shop fashion show.
    • A church fete.
    • Go back to printed pew sheets.
    • Outdoor services in the summer on the church lawns.
    • Someone wrote – “I am very happy as things are!” 
    • Welcome back ‘Lazy Christians’ who sit at home.
    • Reinstate the parish evening dinners.
    • Messy Church.
    • Morning Payer, instead of Holy Communion.
    • No Sunday morning service once a month and an Evensong instead.
    • Go back to everyone wearing a nametag.

Once you’ve had your cup of tea (or whiskey) after reading the above, you might want to watch the service on YouTube and hear my sermon containing my vision, and my teaching about the early church. It will follow in a separate newsletter due to slow upload issues.   Alternatively, you can email me at sorrento-rye-churches@outlook.com  and I will send it to you directly. 

A prayer for Easter 7 (I think it explains what being a Christian is): 

Eternal God, giver of love and power, your Son Jesus Christ has sent us into all the world to preach the gospel of the Kingdom: confirm us in this mission, and help us to live the good news we proclaim; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Fr Nick [Wallace]

Vicar

0408 239 678