Dear friends,

A small group from our 7pm congregation spent the long weekend in Grenfell. It wasn’t just to enjoy the Henry Lawson festival. It was to work alongside our mission partners, Tim and Jess Smith, and the faithful saints at Grenfell and Glenelg Anglican. Some of the team reflected that it was valuable, simply to show that their small, ageing regional parish is not alone in proclaiming the gospel. There’s power in lifting our eyes to see God’s bigger work in the Harvest. It’s why our Apostle Paul peppered his greetings with reminders of specific gospel workers. We have to wait for eternity to meet Rufus and his mother (Romans 16:13), but their mention is still an encouragement to us.

As we’ve been focussing recently on our vision as a parish, we do it under God and in fellowship with others in the Sydney diocese. It’s important we keep this broader fellowship in our prayers and encouraging to know that we share the same gospel passion. We need to lift our eyes to God’s broader work.

Our Archbishop Kanishka prepared a document of our purpose and plans as a diocesan fellowship. He spoke to it at our Regional Ministry Conference last week – getting us to pray through it in pairs and trios. I share it, so we’ll pray the same. ‘Our continuing purpose as Sydney Anglicans is given to us by God in the Scriptures. This purpose is to make disciples by:
– proclaiming and commending Christ
– establishing them in the life of the church
– equipping them for compassionate service in the world
– sending some to serve beyond our Diocese
– prayerfully seeking God’s work in all things
Our highest priorities are:
1) the ministry of the word
2) prayer
3) mobilising and motivating all Sydney Anglicans to be disciple-making disciples

We might use slightly different language, but it’s a powerful reminder that we are working with the same goals and methods as other Anglican churches. This common purpose means we’re engaged in similar work.

Our diocesan plans and purposes include:

  • ‘encouragement of deeper collaboration between churches, schools, and organisations- including a more collaborative approach to the use of our property assets.’ 

    So we’re deepening ties with TIGS. They graciously allow us to hold our combined Unity service and Day Conference there. We also send our people to preach at chapel and support the lunch-time groups at TIGS.
  • recruitment and training of new ministry leaders, including but not limited to: a. leaders for particular kinds of churches (church plants; larger (or “hub and spoke”) parishes; b. leaders (both women and men) of ministry in particular communities (indigenous; cross-cultural; blue collar; marginalised areas)’

    So we’re learning more via ‘the well training‘ to build on great ministries with Anglicare (eg. English For Life and The Mobile Community Pantry), and to make the most of bringing the gospel to communities like Bellambi.
  • ‘church planting: establishing new fellowships in Greenfields areas (with accompanying investment in land and buildings) and other areas (with creative approaches to beginning new ministries/communities)’.  

    So we gladly give a levy with every parish in the diocese, to purchase land together for new churches in growing areas.

What we’re doing, is what every other parish is doing. It’s important to lift our eyes to God’s greater harvest, and keep praying for our sisters and brothers beyond our church. Keep asking God that we’d live out 2 Corinthians 4:5:

 “For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake”.

In Him,

Mark Smith
Senior Minister | Congregational Pastor 8am & 7pm