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Wanniassa ACT
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God has chosen to work with us

It may have escaped your notice that 500 years ago on 31 October 1517,
Martin Luther nailed 95 theses on door of Wittenberg castle church in
response to the excesses of the Roman church of the day. His act that was part
of the start of a movement that shook the foundations of the church.

Phyllis Tickle is a writer on emergent Christianity, and she has suggested that
there is a momentous shift in Christianity every 500 years or so that reshapes
the church and activates it with fresh vision and energy.

Luther’s defiant act exactly 500 years ago was such a paradigm shift.
Tickle suggests that we part of a movement of change, a new emergent
Christianity, where we need to approach our tasks of worship, of mission, of
evangelism with fresh vision and new ways of interacting with the world of
which we are a part.

Other 500-year paradigm shifts occurred around the time of the first
millennium when Christendom spilt East and West. 500 years before that
Christianity emerged under Gregory the Great from the Dark Ages.
And 500 years before that takes us right back to the Book of Acts when Peter,
Paul and the other disciples began a movement like no other.


Before going further into what was going on in this dramatic exchange in
Jerusalem, I need to tell what we are up to today.
As you should know, Anne, our minister, has retired due to her ill health, and
we must begin the process of searching for a new minister. As part of this your
church council is asking for the involvement and participation of the
congregation to determine the shape of our priorities and affirm the direction
of the church over the coming years.

In addition to the worshiping and sacramental life of the church, the council
sees three major elements to our mission.
Reaching out to the community. This is something we seem to do quite well,
though whether we can do it with the same energy and use of resources may
need to be questioned. The question for us is how do we bear witness to God
by reaching to help others in need without burning out our people and
resources.

Developing a prophetic voice. There are many people in our congregation who
speak and act prophetically – speaking up for the marginalised, speaking truth
to power. The question for us is: how do we as a community bear witness to
God’s justice and His will for a re-made world.

Growing in faith and discipleship. Our experience of faith should be joy-filled
and should be filled with spiritual richness.
And we need to be challenged to share the story of our faith. The new
moderator of the NSW/ACT synod of the Uniting Church put it well in his
address to the synod a few weeks ago – he said we need to share our
experience of God. “it is not simply serving those in need, but sharing the living
hope and compassion of Jesus Christ in whom we find ourselves made whole”.
The question for us is: how do we bear witness to a God who calls us beyond
our comfort zone, and into the world, taking His message of love and hope.

The account of Peter and the disciples in this story in Acts is a reminder that
God uses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.

Acts 4:13 “When the leaders saw the courage of Peter and John, and realised
that they were ordinary, unschooled men, they were astonished, and noted
that these men had been with Jesus”.
God has chosen to work with us – here where we are – to bring about a
transformed, renewed world in our communities.
Seeing the dimension of the task before us it would understandable to feel
discouraged.

Do we do this in our own strength. No!
We are energised and empowered by the Holy Spirit – just as were the
disciples.

Is it something entirely new? No!
We can harness the gifts we already have (hospitality, generosity and
inclusivity) to be a community of welcome, friendship and neighborliness. But
none of us is fully formed for the work – and that is fine. Our task is to pray
together, learn together, imagine together, and do together.

Later in this service we will have some opportunities to share around some
tables to get some ideas about going forward in these directions.
And we do this in the strength and power of the Spirit.

Amen.

5 November 2017
This reflection was the introduction to some exercises by the congregation to
bring ideas for going forward for our faith community, to prioritise aspects of
our church life and goals, and help in developing our church profile.

Bill Lang

Bill Lang is secretary of the church council and convenor of the communications group. He has been a regular preacher at TUC since he and Jenny joined the congregation in 1975. He is a presbytery representative, and a member of the Karralika outreach team and the Child Care Advisory Group.

Contact Us

P: (02) 6231 0488
F: (02) 6296 3403

Comrie Street
Wanniassa ACT 2903

PO Box 423
Erindale Centre ACT 2903 

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About Our Church

Our faith community began in 1975 as a small ecumenical gathering of people who settled in the new Canberra township of Tuggeranong. We have grown with the Tuggeranong Community, and our parish centre is the hub for our work, as a place of worship, of gathering and ministry.

We aim to help people have life to the full. We welcome people into a our Christian community where they can connect with God, with one another and with opportunities to make a difference in our changing world.

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