23 February 2018
PRAYING FOR THE COMMUNITY
If you wander around the activities in our community centre it is surprising what is happening.
Take the other day. Upstairs, Hanneke , the drawing and painting tutor, had an enthusiastic class painting in watercolours. What were they doing? There were beautifully illustrated "big books" being made for a primary school class where Hanneke goes to teach. Each student has chosen one of the books put forward by the teachers at that school and produced a big version which the teachers can use when reading to a class. They are using their talents to help teach children to read and freeing the teachers from producing resources, to having more time to use them.
The painters benefit by finding they learnt a lot about illustrating children's books and using watercolours and the schools and children benefit by having really good resources and hopefully helped some children to enjoy learning to read and entering the adventure which books and stories can bring.
Downstairs, a group is meeting in the café. They are learning to speak English so that they can be part of this new country they have come to settle in. Some are refugees, fleeing from war, exiled from their own lands, others come from choice looking for a better future. They need to be able to tell their stories and hear those of their neighbours to be part of the community.
The Aged Concern course comes pouring out, chatting excitedly. These ones who know how to spell now need to unlearn as they grasp the art of texting. People who want to communicate with their grandchildren and now each other, and the young people who are buddying them look equally pleased.
The following day a group is meeting for Bible study , not just from our congregation but representing a number of other churches and some who have none. Reflecting on the old stories and sharing the way this impacts on our daily lives and give us hope for the future. Later there is communion in the church and people stay to a shared lunch.
The sounds of children echo through the building as the mothers and children spend time relating and having fun in the music and movement class. Meanwhile the op shop helpers are busy talking to some of the "regulars " and sorting out the clothes that people give for sale and the church office hums along quietly and efficiently administering the parish.
In the evenings, along with the other courses running, you will hear Spanish being spoken, see the AA meeting, and our church monthly leaders' meetings taking place, while there is music from the church as our various singers practice, If you read the annual reports you will see the range of people and organizations we give encouragement and practical help to carry out their tasks.
And none of this could happen without the congregation of this parish. Those who gather in worship and seek to discover how God works through us. We share our resources willingly to enable others in many ways, but we must not forget that our greatest treasure is that of the good news of God's love for humanity in Jesus. It is vitally important that we all keep the people who use our centre, those who are part of the activities and those whom they reach, in our prayers. Ask for them that they be blessed by God and come to know and give thanks for God's love in their lives and trust God to honour our prayers. [You can use the annual reports as a help for praying for ourselves, our parish and for those who we connect with and are sent to]
Timothy 1-3The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Pray especially for rulers and their governments to rule well so we can be quietly about our business of living simply, in humble contemplation. This is the way our Saviour God wants us to live.[from the Message version]
May God bless you as we look toward Christmas
Rev. Margaret Anne Low
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