Dear Friends,

When Paul wrote to the talented (but puffed up) Corinthians, he reminded them how God’s character shapes our meetings:

‘God is not a God of disorder but of peace… [therefore] everything should be done in a fitting & orderly way’

1 Corinthians 14:33, 40

Put another way: God brings all the complex parts together.  God’s peace creates community that’s not neat, simplistic & uniform.  Our culture wants ‘order’ through exclusion.  God brings the unlikely together: a complex unity – gifting us differently as parts of His body & calling us to use those gifts to bless one another. 

Mindful of this, we hold our Annual General Meeting (AGM or Vestry Meeting) so we can function best for Him.  This year, our AGM will be held from 7:30pm Monday 13th March 2021 in the Wollongong Hall.  Everyone is welcome & invited to join in what is an important aspect of our life together.  There are three things we aim to do at the AGM:

First, Reflect on God’s goodness. Reports from the wardens, treasurer & ministry staff give us the opportunity to look back over the year – recalling God’s gracious hand upon us through changing, challenging & exciting times.  We’ll take time in the meeting to pray with gratitude to our generous God.

Second, Re-commit to Christ’s cause. Our AGM puts flesh on our vision ’to see more disciples of Jesus shining as lights in our city’.  The tabled reports are also an opportunity to look forward – remembering how we, as Christ’s people in Corrimal & Wollongong, will live it out together. The realities of putting our Vision into practise will be touched on, & there is space to bring questions for consideration to the new Parish council.

Third, Recognise church leadership. God has generously gifted His church.  Jesus has gifted His church (Romans 12 & Ephesians 4), it means he has gifted us.  Our task is to recognise those God-given gifts & how they might be used to build His body – we need to order His gifts for peace (1 Cor 14). A significant part of our AGM is electing people to positions of responsibility.  While we are confident God will raise those He wants, we are still to be responsible in our voting.  Any baptised adult who considers this to be their church & is regular in attendance is eligible to vote.  Nomination forms are available now.  To assist in wise appointment, these are the roles we’ll be voting on are:

Wardens: congregation members responsible for the Finance & Property of the church – & in the absence of a rector, make sure a suitable replacement is found for ministry to continue.   Two are elected by congregational vote & 1 selected by the minister. 

Parish Council: an optional group to assist the minister & wardens.  Primarily the role of Parish Council (PC) is administration & governance. They create the conditions for good ministry to happen – & are in position to prevent some unwise or distracting ministries. At the AGM we vote whether or not to have a PC.  If we decide to have one, the minister & wardens are automatically on it.  The congregation then vote to elect 3, 6 or 9 to PC.  For every 3 elected, the rector selects another 1. So the decision to have a small PC is a group of 8; medium is 12 & largest is 16 people.

Synod representatives Synod Representatives: part of the diocese governance.  Despite being in the Illawarra, we are a part of Sydney diocese.  Our ‘roughly 270’ parishes send their rector & 2 elected representatives to form the diocese’s decision-making body.  These are elected for 3 years.

The Wardens determine a Treasurer and, with Parish Council, appoint a Safe Ministry Representative, Risk Management Officer and two 60 Market St Consultative Committee members.

Prior to the meeting consider who you will ‘lay hands on’.  All Christians serve – but not in the same way.  Look at the life, character & skills of the people you vote for.   Vote for those whose godliness & gifts align with the role we elect to.  Before voting, people need a ‘hand on the shoulder’ & encouragement to serve in certain ways.  If you haven’t already, this is the week to prayerfully ask people to stand for positions.  Should someone invite you to consider such a role, prayerfully consider it.

In Him,

Mark Smith | Senior Minister