Real Treasure – Sunday 30th June 2013

Here is the audio recording of the full service from Sunday morning’s service, 30th June 2013.

It was a family service with kids involved, and was the first Sunday after our School Holiday Fun Day.

Jill and Marty Gray lead the service while Pastor Brad Foote was on holidays.

Listen from the internet

Or download the mp3 file for your own device: Real Treasure-Marty_Jill

Please leave feedback to let us know what you thought of it 🙂

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The Mission of the Church

The Mission of the Church – 23 June 2013

Guess what???  Yesterday was the 36th Anniversary of The Uniting Church in Australia.  On the 22nd June 1977, in The Sydney Town Hall there was an inauguration service to begin this new journey of life, faith and mission.  We began as the union of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches in Australia 36 years ago.  The document upon which this union was established is a visionary and inspiring statement called the Basis of Union of the Uniting Church in Australia.  If you’d like to read it, you can find it http://assembly.uca.org.au/basis-of-union-1971-1992

Our church was formed because people from these three traditions were inspired by the vision of a new and uniquely Australian Church.  They believed that they could better serve God by joining together rather than remaining separate.  So we are both part of the old churches with our ‘European roots’, as well as a new and uniquely Australian church.

I’d like to quote from the Introduction to The Basis of Union 1992 edition where Gregor Henderson comments on the Basis of Union by saying, “Its grounding in Jesus Christ ‘the risen crucified One’, its commitment to the mission and unity of the whole church, its portrayal of church order and of the ministry of every church member, and its conviction that the living Lord Jesus Christ leads the church in its pilgrim way, make it a rich document which will nourish and guide the Uniting Church for the duration of its life”.  (The Basis of Union 1992 Edition, p.3)

So today on this Birthday Sunday, I’d like to remind our congregation of some Biblical and Theological reflections about “What is the Mission of The Church?”  This will certainly not be an exhaustive or complete understanding of this topic.  It is merely a starting point and an opportunity to be able to reflect on this important part of the ‘nature of the church’.

In February 2010 a national dialogue group between the Roman Catholic and Uniting Church in Australia presented a series of reflections that drew deeply from the Scriptures and the Basis of Union.  They presented the following 7 aspects of the Mission of the Church for dialogue, discussion and worship:-

  1. The Mission of God in Jesus Christ  (2 Corinthians 5:16-21)
  2. Worship as Mission (Hebrews 4:14-16)
  3. Witness as Mission (John 5:31-38)
  4. Service as Mission (Matthew 25:31-40)
  5. Communion as Mission  (John 17:20-26)
  6. Proclamation as Mission  (Luke 4:16-21)
  7. Teaching as Mission  (Matthew 5)

As I expand on these themes in worship today, I must say that this dialogue is merely an entry point for us to reflect on what it means for the Church to be in/on mission.

As a Uniting Church in Australia, our calling under God is to be a people journeying together on the way to God’s promised end by preaching Christ the crucified and risen one and confess him as Lord; and to hear his commission to make disciples of all nations.  We do this by bearing witness to the unity of faith and life in Christ, which transcends cultural, economic, national and racial boundaries.  We need to be a fellowship of reconciliation within which diverse gifts of its members are used for the building up of the whole and being an instrument through which Christ may work.  By doing this we will recognize that our response to the Christian gospel will involve us in social, national and international affairs.  We are a church that is active and on the move.  Lets pause today and rest awhile as we Celebrate another anniversary.

Well my friends in Christ, may you have a very HAPPY 36th BIRTHDAY today and reflect on our calling and commission this week to be Reaching out, changing lives…..Rev. Brad Foote

Restoring Hope

Restoring Hope – 16 June, 2013

As you can see from the front of our Bulletin and the accompanying insert today that this week is Refugee Week, from 16th June to 22nd June.  I know that the issue of ‘refugees’ and ‘asylum seekers’ is a hot topic for many Australians at the moment.  The Bible certainly has much to say about the treatment of strangers and foreigners and we’ll discuss some of that today in our worship service..   As Christians and followers of Jesus Christ, it is incumbent on us to apply the teachings of Jesus to our lives.  One of Jesus greatest sermons from the Gospel of Matthew is found in chapters 5,6 and 7.  Matthew 5:6 say, “blessed are those who are hungry and thirst for justice”.  As a church, the Uniting Church in Australia has tried to speak into this complicated and contentious issue.  The Journey newspaper often has articles and reports about how congregations are ministering to people is these situations.  The Uniting Church Assembly website has many updates and resources to assist us in dealing with these issues of social justice. (www.assemblyuca.org.au)

Today I am basing my Theme on the passages from our lectionary readings (Luke 7:36-8:3; 1 Kings 21:1-21a; Psalm 5:1-8; Galatians 2:15-21) as they lead us into Refugee Week.  “Jesus comes among hungry, hurting humanity.  Some of our hungers are self-evident and undeniable; some of our hungers are concealed from ourselves and from the world by various means.  Jesus ministers to all of humanity.  He ministers to some in our need, to others in denial of our need, but to all, each according to our need.  To some he offers gracious affirmation; to others he offers truthful rebuke, to all, each according to our need.” (William H Willimon – Blessed are the Hungry, 2013.p43)

In the story that Luke tells in Luke 7:36-8:3 we find Jess visiting the home of Simon the Pharisee.  During the meal Jesus is confronted by a repentant woman of the city.  Jesus looks upon the woman in a way that is remarkably different from the way that Simon sees her.   Today I’d like to suggest that we need to let Jesus “confront” those attitudes and behaviours that we have, that are both evident, and those that are hidden.  As we welcome Jesus into ‘our home’, into ‘our heart’, we will find ourselves fulfilling the greatest commandment that Jesus demonstrated in his own life:- “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as you live yourself. (Matt22:34-40, Mark 12:28-30; Luke 10:25-28 and basically the whole of John’s gospel)

So as we apply the Gospel to our lives today, may we find our living this week to be a little different or even radically different from the way we lived last week.  You will find some practical ways to respond to some of the issues related to refugees and asylum seekers on the back page of today’s insert.  You may want to write a letter to a politician or an asylum seeker in a detention centre, or you may want to walk next Saturday in the “Walk together rally” at the Kurrawa Surf Club to show your concern for this issue, or you may want to get to know some recent refugees who are trying to begin a new life here on the Gold Coast.  Whatever it is that you do, may it be as a result of Jesus feeding your hunger for justice….so that you are “Blessed”.

Get informed and get involved in the kinds of things that bring God’s Kingdom to earth.

May God Restore Hope in your spirit….this week….Rev. Brad Foote

Living Our Baptism

Living Our Baptism – 9 June 2013

Welcome to worship today.  We’d especially like to welcome the families of Jett and Emma Ingram who are to be baptised today into the faith and fellowship of the Christian Church.  Jett and Emma’s other brother James was baptised here on 21st December 2008.  James has been part of this congregation for most of his life and it’s a great joy for him to return today to celebrate his brother and sister’s baptism.

As Linda and Andrew bring their son and daughter for baptism we will take the opportunity for the whole church to be reminded about what our baptism means.  Baptism is joining the church, the family of God.  It is entering into the covenant relationship with God and other Christians.  It is being part of the Sunday-by-Sunday life of the church.  The Baptism of our children is a gateway through which our children are offered life as God means it to be.  It confronts us as parents and as a church about our growing children and the fact that God claims our lives and expects us to live lives of joyful commitment to him within his family.  As I reflect on these thoughts I’m very challenged by this responsibility and I’m glad that this congregation has started to seriously look at the deficiencies of our ministry to children and young people in this regard.  This area of ministry is one of the 4 pillars that is being developed now and in the coming years.  JAM Club and the Fun day’s are only a small part of the developing broader vision.

Because the church is all about mission, the Uniting Church is convinced that all of its members do have the obligation and must have the opportunity to be personally involved in that mission according to their gifts and calling – children as well as adult, women as well as men, regardless of ethnicity or culture or place in society.  This is what it means to be a member of the Uniting Church in Australia.  Paragraph 4 of the Basis of union affirms:

Through human witness in word and action, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, Christ reaches out to command people’s attention and awaken faith; he calls people into the fellowship and sufferings, to be disciples of a crucified Lord; in his own strange way Christ constitutes, rules and renews his Church.

This idea that the church is made up of people called by Christ to participate in his mission and ministry is a key theme in the Church’s Basis of Union:

  • “Baptism into Christ’s body initiates people into Christ’s life and mission in the world” (paragraph 7)
  • By celebrating Holy Communion the people of God “are strengthened for their participation in the mission of Christ in the world” (paragraph 8)
  • Ministers are set apart to “preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments and exercise pastoral care so that all may be equipped for their particular ministries” (paragraph 14[a]).
  • The local church council is “responsible for building up the congregation in faith and love, sustaining its members in hope, and leading them to a fuller participation in Christ’s mission in the world” (paragraph 14[b]).

Well I think that this introduction and reminder of our calling as Christians and disciples of Jesus as members of the Uniting Church in Australia should give you plenty to think and pray about this week.  Jett and Emma have become part of this family and responsibility today.  What an awesome thing that is.  Glory to God!!

Remember that you are baptized…..this week….                                      Rev. Brad Foote

A Surprising Way

A Surprising Way – 2 June 2013

Last week I was able to join around 400 other members of the Uniting Church in Queensland at our 30th Synod meeting, which was held at Alexandra Headland on The Sunshine Coast (24th -28th May).  Ministers and lay people from right across the congregations and Agencies of the Church gathered to report and discuss, worship and pray for the ministry and responsibility that we have to God and to the people in Queensland.  It was great for me to catch up with many colleagues and people that are part of this wonderful Uniting Church family.

So this time last week I was worshipping in a large sporting stadium at Unity College in Caloundra.  Unity College is an Ecumenical School embracing the Catholic and Uniting Church’s traditions and has been operating since 2006.  The service was a colourful mix of liturgy including traditional and contemporary hymns and songs led by an extremely talented group of musicians and worship leaders.  The service incorporated an acknowledgement of the traditional owners and an inspirational message from the moderator and a lengthy period of recognizing a number of significant volunteers within the ministry of the Uniting Care network as well as all the recent retired ministers in the past 18months and a time of memorial minutes for ministers who have died since the last Synod.  It was a very meaningful service and one new Uniting Church minister who has come from a different denomination thought that we honoured the service and ministry of our clergy and lay people in a very dignified and appropriate manner.

I would like to continue to place before our Congregation the Together on the Way, enriching communities (TOTWEC) journey that the Uniting Church in Queensland is on.  For the past three years our Uniting Churches in Queensland have been moving toward a vision of what the church should be like in 2020.  It is a deliberate call to mission involving a process that is engaging all of our churches and agenmcies across Queensland.  This is the Vision 2020 that arose directly from the Call and Gospel statement adopted by the 28th Synod in May 2010.  It is a 10yr plan and we are still in the first third of the journey.

In response to the call of Christ, in light of Holy Scripture and the Basis of Union, the Uniting Church in Queensland is committed to:

Uniting in Christ

                        acting with love, living with hope, witnessing in faith, working for justice

Our Gospel Values as the Uniting Church in Queensland as we share in God’s mission in the world, will be guided by the following values that derive from and give expression to God’s reconciling action in Jesus Christ.  We are called to live out these values:

Faithfulness, Compassion, Humility, Truthfulness, Justice

These gospel values will inform our lives as individuals and as a community of the Uniting Church in Queensland.

As a whole, the Uniting Church in Queensland wants to develop 9 key focus areas and each Congregation are to keep these in mind as we develop our particular focus for mission and ministry.  The nine key focus areas are identified on the Vision 2020 colour wheel in the Atruim.  They are 1) to be a prayerful listening church. 2) to have God-centred and life-related worship. 3) Forming active and accountable disciples of Jesus.  4) be confident in sharing faith.  5) to be Theologically informed, creative and visionary in leadership.  6) to be working for Christian unity.  7) to be engaged in authentic community relationships.  8) to be reaching out and speaking for justice and peace for all creation.  9) to be organized for mission.

As we move into a growing phase of ministry over the next six months may I commend to prayer your participation in the life and witness of the work of God in this place?

May Jesus surprise you on the way….this week.                                        Rev Brad Foote