Parish Council 2019/20 – Volunteer Needed
We are looking for a volunteer to take minutes at our Parish Council meetings this year. This involves taking notes during the meeting, typing up the minutes and emailing them to the church office. The meetings are held on the third Monday of the month, from 7:30pm to 9:30pm, in the church office. The first meeting will be held on Monday 18th March. If you have any questions, or are interested in serving in this way, please speak to a warden or contact the office.
Support SRE in our local schools – join us for the Ryde Area SRE Commissioning service 2:30pm Sunday 31st March – at St Anne’s.
Please let Greg know if you are coming, and if you can bring a plate of food to share for afternoon tea.
A Special Service of Remembering, Healing and Moving Forward to express our support and care for all members of our Mandarin-speaking congregation. This will be a bi-lingual service, and your presence will help in the healing process and be greatly appreciated.
Sunday 7th April 2:30 in the Auditorium. Please let Greg or Alfreda T know if you can help with a plate of food for afternoon tea.
BCA Box Opening
March is BCA Box opening month. Please bring your box to church or the office till March 31st. If you would like a box, they are available at the office.
The Uncommon Power of Grace – Part 2 of 3
By Peter Wehner (Contributing Opinion Writer NY Times 23/12/18)
Of course, grace can easily be exploited by people who don’t want to be held accountable for their misdeeds; the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to this as “cheap grace.” Nor is it easy to balance grace with the requirements of justice. We obviously can’t organize society entirely around the concept of grace. Yet the problem today is more the absence of grace than its presence.
It’s easy to understand why. Living a grace-filled life is hard. Most of us, when we feel wronged, want payback. Our first impulse, when hurt or offended, is to strike out, justifying our anger in the name of fairness. We forget the words of Edward Herbert (the poet George’s brother), “He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself,” and we forget that only grace can break the cycle of ancient hatreds among peoples. (It is notable that while I have regretted not granting grace to others, I’ve never once regretted extending it.)
When Mr. Yancey was young, he rejected the church for a time because he found so little grace there. There is a tendency among many people of faith to come across as holier than thou, more eager to judge than to forgive. Jesus encountered this throughout his ministry, which helps explain why he was more comfortable in the company of the unclean and reviled, the lowly and the outcast, than religious authorities. The odds are that you know people who have had scars of ungrace inflicted upon them by the Christian church. Yet when we see grace in action — whether in acts of extravagant, indiscriminate love, in radical self-giving, or in showing equanimity in the face of death — it can move us unlike anything else.
The Uncommon Power of Grace – Part 1
A revolutionary idea lies at its core: radical equality.
By Peter Wehner (Contributing Opinion Writer, NY Times 23/12/18)
In his book “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” Philip Yancey describes a conference on comparative religions where experts from around the world debated which belief, if any, was unique to the Christian faith. C.S. Lewis happened to enter the room during the discussion. When he was told the topic was Christianity’s unique contribution among world religions, Lewis responded: “Oh, that’s easy. It’s grace.”
Lewis was right. No other religion places grace at its theological centre. It was a revolutionary idea; as Mr. Yancey puts it, grace “seems to go against every instinct of humanity.” We are naturally drawn to covenants and karma, to cause and effect, to earning what we receive.
Grace is different. It is the unmerited favour of God, unconditional love given to the undeserving. It’s a difficult concept to understand because it isn’t entirely rational. “Grace defies reason and logic,” as Bono, the lead singer of U2, put it. “Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions.” There’s a radical equality at the core of grace. None of us are deserving of God’s grace, so it’s not dependent on social status, wealth or intelligence. There is equality between kings and peasants, the prominent and the unheralded, rule followers and rule breakers.
If you find yourself in the company of people whose hearts have been captured by grace, count yourself lucky. They love us despite our messy lives, stay connected to us through our struggles, always holding out the hope of redemption. When relationships are broken, my wife Cindy told me, it’s grace that causes people not to give up, to extend the invitation to reconnect, to work through misunderstandings with sensitivity and transparency.
You don’t sense hard edges, dogmatism or self-righteous judgment from gracious people. There’s a tenderness about them that opens doors that had previously been bolted shut. People who have been transformed by grace have a special place in their hearts for those living in the shadows of society. They’re easily moved by stories of suffering and step into the breach to heal. And grace properly understood always produces gratitude.
NSW Government Election Pre-polling at St Anne’s
The State Electoral Commission will be using our double classroom as a pre-polling venue from 11th – 22nd March. Access will be from the double doors at the end of the corridor with clear signposting for voters. This will mean some slight changes to our regular property users and activities. We have tried to minimise any disruption and would appreciate your patience.
- Please Pray for Bruce and Jodie (BCA Darwin) as they respond to the news that Bruce’s tumours have spread and that palliative care is the only medical option available. Pray that God will comfort them and their children, and supply the grace they need in this difficult time. Ask for God’s help as Bruce works out how to serve and care for his family, and others, in the time he has available. Pray for Jodie as she supports their children and deals with her own grief.
- Please pray for the challenges presented by the opening of a new school at Small’s Road next year. Pray that we will be able to negotiate the provision of SRE classes to students from the opening of the school and for “staffing” as we potentially combine with neighbouring Anglican Churches to cover classes.
- Pray that State and Federal political candidates and parties will speak and act with integrity in the period leading up to our elections. Pray that they will resist the temptation to stir up fear, uncertainty and division for political gain.
Prayer for those in need
Ask God to comfort, strengthen and deepen the trust of those who are sick, grieving, or in special need at this time, especially Ivy and Bruce & Jodie.
Following the horrific events in New Zealand last week, all Services on Sunday spent time in reflection and prayer for the very many people involved and affected by such a tragedy. Our prayers and love go out to brothers and sisters, as we ask for God’s continued comfort for them.
Which of the four Gospels is the shortest?
A. Matthew B. Mark
C. Luke D. John
SOAP Bible Readings
Read Scripture daily, write a few thoughts, an application and then pray.
Week beginning 18th March
*2 Corinthians 3:7-18
Week beginning 24th March
*2 Corinthians 4:1-6
* Sermon Reading
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. (Psalm 119:15)