I Pray You Will Have...

Dear friends,

Sometimes the strength within you is not a big fiery flame for all to see,

it is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly:

“You got this. Keep going.”

Anonymous.

 

Talking with a colleague early this week, I observed that one of the things I feel this pandemic has ‘taken away’ is the ebb and flow of the liturgical year. I have been used to intense seasons, like Lent and Easter, Advent and Christmas, and somewhat quieter seasons like Ordinary Time (which is anything but ordinary). However, since early last year it seems like it has been ‘on the go’ all the time, with the pace gradually ramping up. And sometimes not so gradually! The battle to keep being creative, to keep being present, to keep on ‘doing’ is taking its toll.

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Beyond Our Four Walls

Dear friends,

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going.”

Jesus. John 3:8

This seems to capture the essence of the last two years — an invisible force has ‘blown’ through the world. We cannot tell where it is coming from, nor can we say where it is going. But we hear its sound: fear, anxiety, stress, grief, restriction. And also love, care, hope, community, connection.

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CSU Magazine 2021

Presenting the 2021 edition of CSU Magazine! A collection of creative works by members of Christian Students Uniting 💌


If You Knew You Could Not Fail - A Pastoral Note from Jenny

 

Dear friends,

When something is important enough,

you do it even if the odds are not in your favour.

Elon Musk

A very long time ago it seems, I attended a workshop that engaged a process to help each person discern where God might be calling them to serve. It was called Discover Your Ministry. I was young, with a young family. I just knew that God was calling me to stay at home with my children, to be their full-time caregiver. It is probably one of the biggest understatements to say I was stunned when I discerned God was calling me into ordained ministry. It was nowhere on my radar. In fact, it was one of the two things I had long said to God that I wouldn’t do! 

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On the Way - A Pastoral Note from Jenny

Dear friends,

If you can’t fly, then run.

If you can’t run, then walk.

If you can’t walk, then crawl,

but by all means, keep moving.

Martin Luther King Jr.

 There seems so much excitement around as NSW begins to loosen restrictions and allow some greater freedoms for people. There is also a lot of anxiety and fear, as well as some people wondering what all the fuss is about. As I read the news, I see articles about “Freedom Day,” and “what it will look like when Sydney emerges from lockdown,” and so on. Reading deeper, it doesn’t take much time before it becomes apparent that people view “freedom” very differently. For some, it is all tied up in ‘what I can do,’ and for others, it seems to be more about ‘how do we navigate this new post-pandemic landscape together.’ For many it will be a mixture of both, and probably much more.

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There We Will Find Life Together - A Pastoral Note from Jenny

Dear friends,

“If our view of the Good Life is focused on accumulating consumer goods and experiences for ourselves, instead of looking for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others, we could totally miss what this journey is really all about. We are indeed called to live under God’s rule, practicing economic generosity and justice-making with all that God has entrusted us. We are invited to join so many who have gone before in discovering that the good life of God is to be found not in seeking life but in losing our lives in service to God and to others.”

– Tom Sine

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That’s Where the Power Is - A Pastoral Note from Jenny

Dear friends,

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where the power is.” - Unknown Author

Like so many others I watched media reports this week of angry protests against lockdown, mask-wearing, mandatory immunisations, and closed workplaces. The scenes shown were violent. I was horrified — and I caught myself thinking, “this kind of thing happens in other places, not in Australia!” It has led to a reflection on anger and how do we express our anger safely in ways that respect others.

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Centre of the Village

Dear friends,

I read a story posted on Facebook a few days ago. Whilst I haven’t checked it for validity, I found its message to be helpful and hopeful, so I share it with you (paraphrased for inclusivity).

In this African tribe, when someone does something wrong, they take the person to the centre of the village where the tribe surrounds them and for 2 days say all the good the person has done. The tribe believes each person is good but sometimes people make mistakes, which are really a cry for help. They unite to reconnect the person with their good nature.

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Life & Witness Training Day

The Life and Witness Consultation provides an opportunity for the congregation to:

  • Clarify their sense of identity
  • Renew their understanding of context in which they work
  • Reflect on and evaluate their direction and missional goals
  • Identify their leadership needs, and other resources, that might be needed over the next five years
  • Assist with the deployment of resources, and the implementation of missional goals

To register for this training, please email: [email protected] 


Keep Swimming - A Pastoral Note from Jenny

Dear friends,

“Hey there, Mr Grumpy Gills. When life gets you down do you wanna know what you’ve gotta do? Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.” - Dory, Finding Nemo

In some vulnerable self-disclosure, I confess to feeling overwhelmed at the moment. I go to bed at night feeling worn out, and I get up in the morning somewhat refreshed — until I look at my calendar for the day and exhaustion floods over me again. My calendar is delightfully and frustratingly full. Most things that crowd the hours and minutes are exciting, energising in their own right, and fit within the areas I feel most competent to serve the Church. Even when specific tasks might not be most pleasant, I can recognise my gifts are useful in the particular contexts.

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