Brad’s Foote-Notes 18th November 2012
I’d like to begin by thanking all those who attended our final Vision and Values Workshop last Sunday. We had 36 people who participated in the session and 11 people made an apology for their inability to attend. That is a heartening representation of our regular Sunday worshippers – almost 50%. Andrew Rowland (Church Council Chair) and I met with Jill Gray (our facilitator) this week to discuss the next steps for our 5 year plan, our Future Hope. Jill will meet with the Church Council to present her assessment of the workshops over these past three months and then a task group will be formed to produce a summary and presentation to a congregational meeting for discussion, ratification and approval. We hope that this doesn’t take too long and our intention is to begin implementing the Future Hope in the early stages of 2013.
One of the insights or breakthroughs that we made last Sunday was to identify the 3 Big Rocks (3 focus areas) that will guide and direct the focus of the congregation in the next 5 years. Those three (3) areas in broad terms were identified as:-
- Families and Children
- Community Care
The Vision and the Values of the Congregation have not altered to any real degree, but the Faith Goals will probably need to be honed around the ministry focus areas/big rocks. One important aspect of ministry that will change in the next few years is the need for teams to be developed. Spirit Led Serving is one of our values. The Teams that will be formed need to emerge from a seed bed of prayer, immersed in God’s heart of Kingdom values, lived out and shared with/in the world.
The Vision of Ashmore Uniting Church hasn’t changed. We are committed to being a loving church, focused on the Gospel of Christ:
- Reaching out
- Meeting needs
- Equipping people for service
Our motto is still: “reaching out, changing lives”
What a great expression of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. The hallmarks of our Church’s vision and values are all throughout the Gospel of Mark. Today is the last of our readings from that book because we are coming to the end of the Liturgical year (next Sunday). Advent is just around the corner (2nd December).
Mark 13 is a chapter that many contemporary Christians ignore, as it is one of those tricky apocalyptic passages, which emerge in a few different places throughout the Bible. In some instances there have been “religious” people and churches who use passages such as this to strike ‘the fear of God’ into the lives of people in an attempt to convince them to join the church and get ‘right with God’. Let’s look at a broader picture of the Gospel as we examine this passage set down for today from Mark 13:1-8.
I hope to buoy you with trust in God rather than battering you with fear. The reality of earth-quakes, terror, economic crisis are around us, but the readings today remind us of the need for perseverance in the face of our experiences, our times. (See 1 Samuel 1:4-20, 1 Samuel 2:1-10, Hebrews 10:11-25)
May you find your Future Hope in the present reality of Jesus Christ in your life…this week
Rev Brad Foote