As news broke this week about the conviction of Cardinal Pell for child sexual abuse, I was deeply saddened.
It reminded me again of how the church has failed so many people.
Sexual abuse has occurred in churches of all denominations, and it is an overwhelming tragedy.
There have been many cases of abuse in the Anglican Church of Australia, and we remain truly sorry for the betrayal of trust and the harm experienced by so many people.
Whilst new systems now provide greater protection from abuse, it comes too late for those who have already been hurt by the leaders they trusted.
Indeed, the impact of sexual abuse in the church goes wider than the immediate victims: it affects everyone who has had faith in the church.
For those who see the church as the place to meet God and receive his grace, this news can create serious disillusionment.
After all, if the church is polluted, then it seems impossible to really know God and receive his blessings.
Yet, from the ashes of this tragedy rises a new hope.
The Bible says that every one of us can relate directly to God, without priest or sacrament.
God speaks directly to all of us in the Bible, and you can hear him for yourself.
Which means that when the church fails, God doesn’t.
Even if you feel like giving up on the church, don’t give up on Jesus.
You can meet Jesus directly by reading God’s word, the Bible for yourself.
And you can pray directly to Jesus, because his death on the cross brings the ultimate forgiveness.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
This weekend we’re having a special South American feel, as we welcome our special friends, Adrian and Anita Lovell (along with Matias, the newest member of their family).
The Lovells serve in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which is a country in South America. They are missionaries with CMS (The Church Missionary Society) and their job is to help Christian leaders grow in their understanding of the Bible, so they can teach and influence others with the great news of Jesus.
To celebrate, we’re going to have a special Bolivia night this weekend, with special Bolivian food and trivia during our after-church dinner. So, be sure to turn up at 5pm Saturday 2nd March, and hang around for dinner, which will finish around 8pm.
During our 5pm Saturday and 9am Sunday services, Adrian Lovell will be our guest preacher, and we’ll also have a special opportunity to learn more about what these Aussies do in faraway Cochabamba!
As always, we’re also having a bunch of questions answered during our services and here they are:
If you’ve not come before, then this is an awesome weekend to join us. Sunday’s service is a little more classic in style, and Saturday night is a little more relaxed and has a bunch of kids and youth programs happening as well. We’d really, really love to see you!
Grace and peace, Jodie.
This weekend Jodie finishes our six-week series, ‘How to build the church’ as he speaks on the topic,’How is God Building a Bigger Church?’ from 1 Corinthians 14:10-25.
School Scripture is our mission of the month. Support this ministry through the ‘Mission Table’ in the Hall.
Next weekend on 2nd and 3rd March we’ll be hosting Adrian and Anita Lovell, our missionaries from Bolivia. Adrian will preach at our services, and we’ll have a special Bolivia-themed dinner, with trivia and activities.
Next meeting is this Monday night 25th February at 7pm.
Join us on Sunday 17th March for a pot-luck lunch at midday, then a 1pm AGM.
Billy Graham’s son, Franklin, is preaching in Sydney this weekend on 24th February. Details at grahamtour.com.au
Ben Pfahlert is guest speaker at the next quarterly Men’s Dinner Tuesday 5th March 6.30pm at the new venue of Oak Flats Bowling Club. Tickets at www.oakflatsanglican.com/mensdinner
Each week we need to receive $2650.00 in order to meet our commitments. In the last calendar month, our average weekly giving was $2223.00, leaving a gap of $427.00. Up to the end of the last calendar month we needed to have received $21,200. Compared to that total we received $16,940, leaving a gap of $4,260.
Electronic giving is a great way to give! It helps us prayerfully plan our giving, and then the bank will help us keep that commitment, even when we may be unable to attend. To give by direct transfer then these are the details. Account name: Church of England Jamberoo. Account number: 10081274. BSB: 062562.
There are people everywhere who feel as though they cannot be part of our world any longer.
Sadly, some of those people have tried to take their own lives.
In 2015, over 3,000 people died by suicide, and it is presumed that for every death there were as many as 25 attempts.
Whilst this seems like a new phenomenon, we read in the Bible about people who have struggled with great fear, sadness and hopelessness.
The Psalmist even declares that God was the only thing that, “kept my eyes from closing [for he] was too troubled to speak.” (Psalm 77:4).
Yet even though these feelings of hopelessness and suicide are common, Christians believe that suicide is a great tragedy.
After all, God has knit each person together in their mother’s womb (Psalm 139) and made each of us in his image (Genesis 1).
It grieves God to see his children feeling so hopeless, especially when Jesus offers such hope.
If you think someone may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, then it important that you ask them how they’re going.
This is the message that Tim and I were taught in a recent seminar by Lifeline on this topic of suicide intervention.
We were encouraged to speak to people who seem troubled, and to say something like, “hey, you’ve seemed really down lately: have you been thinking about suicide?”
It’s a bold question to ask, but it will let that person know you care and give them an opportunity to talk about what’s going on in their lives.
For, in the same way that you’d run to help someone who was clutching their chest in pain, we need to assist people who are suffering emotionally.
We must care well for others and try to offer hope.
If you need to speak to someone now, contact www.lifeline.org.au on 13 11 14.
We had a cracker of a time last weekend as we gathered together to encourage each other as we look forward to Jesus’ return, real soon. That was the main message of the Bible talk, and this weekend we’re considering just how it is that God is gathering more and more people into his church. In other words, it’s the topic of ‘evangelism’.
If you’re a person who already knows Jesus but is looking for a church to visit or join, then come along this weekend at 5pm on Saturday (with dinner and programs for kids and youth), or 9am on Sunday (with Lord’s Supper, espresso coffee and a more ‘classic’ Anglican styled church).
If you’re not yet a follower of Jesus, then you should definitely drop in this weekend. We’d love you to tyre-kick church and check out what makes Christians tick. Come along, feel at home, ask lots of questions, and join our family. It’s really special.
Part of church each week is our Q&A segment, where I answer the tough questions you asked me via the response slip at church or via SMS. Here are the questions lined up for this weekend:
So, come along and come alive! See you Saturday or Sunday!