WEEKLY UPDATE 29 March 2020

Here we are, this is our new reality. Some of us are alone, many of us are scared, all of us are in this together. Remember that we belong to one another. We move together in spirit so we will remember none of us goes alone. We belong to one another and we will care for one another.

Here is a message from the BUV God is bigger than the virus – balancing fear and anxiety with faith and trust in God 

As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds around us, there are natural and understandable reasons to feel fearful and anxious. Our world has changed dramatically in a very short space of time and we find ourselves in circumstances we have never experienced before in our lifetime. The constant stream of grim news, job losses, strain on the health system, the physical isolation and restrictions create stress and uncertainty.  And yet, as people of faith, in these challenging days, it is vital we remind ourselves of God’s character, his goodness, faithfulness and power. In the words of Psalm 46: 1 God is our Refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear… As we encourage ourselves and one another with the many promises and truths of God in scripture, as we worship God and lean into his kindness and love, may we experience the essence of Phil 4:7: And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Even though our Sunday morning worship services have closed until further notice we hope that you have been able to watch the online service we prepared last week. If you have trouble accessing this please let us know and we will try to help you through the issues. We want to assure you that lots of thought has already been offered to creative ways to keep our community connected, supported and cared for. These include:

  • Each week we will make available a short, pre-recorded service you can participate in on your computer or mobile phone. You may like to watch it at 10am on Sunday morning – or any time during the week. Stephen has done a lot of creative work to facilitate this. This Sunday’s service includes Sally, Alan Marr, Bill and Stephen. You can watch the service at:

 https://stkildabaptist.org.au/sermons/ use the following password StKi!d@B@ptist1954

  • On Wednesday the Community Kitchen management committee met and we made the very difficult decision to close CK. We explored a range of possible alternatives and different ways of logistics but each still carries risk and while the food is an essential part of CK it was also pointed out that our sense of deep community and the care of each other is also paramount. Ross and all involved with CK will continue to reach out to those we have contact details for and if any concerns come to you and you think Ross might be able to assist then please don’t hesitate to contact him. 
  • A recommendation from the Pastoral Search Committee to appoint a new co-pastor on 5th April, has been postponed. We are still hoping to find an innovative and safe way to meet to consider and at this time have set the date for 19th April, although we may need a little more time to explore options and put logistics in place. We’ll keep you posted.
  • In the next week or so, we will be sharing plans to ensure that pastoral care networks are enhanced, and any needs can be heard and addressed. We will be especially proactive about regular connection with members of the community who may be especially vulnerable at this time. Please feel free to phone Stephen (0400 827 410), Sally (0402 402 348) or Ross (0412 383 162). Andrew (0409 217 750)
  • All groups using our building have cancelled their meetings for the foreseeable future. We are mindful of the stress this brings for the Anon groups who use our space and pray that they can maintain contact online with those who offer them support.
  • For those who experience significant financial stress during this time due to loss of income we assure you that while “most of us enjoy considerable comfort and security, we believe that no-one in our Christian community should have to live below the poverty line”. (FairShare Scheme) Please talk to one of our Pastors, Andrew, Ross or Stephen if you are struggling financially or emotionally during this difficult time.

With the loss of daily routines, life can feel very unsettled. Here is a very simple resource to bring some rhythm and peace to the days that you may be spending with your normal routine disrupted City Liturgy,

What if you thought of it
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—
the most sacred of times?
Cease from travel.
Cease from buying and selling.
Give up, just for now,
on trying to make the world
different than it is.
Sing. Pray. Touch only those
to whom you commit your life.
Center down.
And when your body has become still,
reach out with your heart.
Know that we are connected
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.
(You could hardly deny it now.)
Know that our lives
are in one another’s hands.
(Surely, that has come clear.)
Do not reach out your hands.
Reach out your heart.
Reach out your words.
Reach out all the tendrils
of compassion that move, invisibly,
where we cannot touch.
Promise this world your love–
for better or for worse,
in sickness and in health,
so long as we all shall live.

–Lynn Ungar

PRAYER POINTS

  • Those who are especially vulnerable and those who are very frightened
  • For our friends from CK who relied on the company as much as the meal
  • Some of our members are having medical tests at present and we seek wisdom and peace.
  • Those who have lost their jobs or had their hours cut and the financial stress this brings
  • For our leaders we ask for wisdom in managing these unprecedented times

Let’s not despair. God hasn’t forgotten us. And God, giver of life and love, continues to beckon us to celebrate the hope and peace of God’s presence. 

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

Weekly update 22nd March2020

UPDATES 

You will all be aware of the growing concern about the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the community. The medical experts advise us that one of the best things we can do is to slow the rate of infection by practicing good hygiene and minimising social contact. This is important for everyone and particularly our older members who may be more severely impacted.

On Thursday night our deacons met and agreed that the best contribution we can make to our community’s wellbeing is to discontinue Sunday morning worship services until further notice. We share the grief many will feel about this. But we want to assure you that lots of thought has already been offered to creative ways to keep our community connected, supported and cared for. These include:

·         Each week we will make available a short, pre-recorded service you can participate in on your computer or mobile phone. You may like to watch it at 10am on Sunday morning – or any time during the week. Stephen has done a lot of creative work to facilitate this. This Sunday’s service includes Andrew, Bill, Stephen and Sally. You can watch the service at:

 https://stkildabaptist.org.au/sermons/ use the following password StKi!d@B@ptist1954

                (It may not be available until later tonight)

·         We will cancel our Lenten reflective services on Thursday nights and our April MOTH is also cancelled.

·         We have cancelled our quarterly church meeting for this Sunday, 22nd March. We are still hoping to find an innovative and safe way to meet to consider a recommendation from the Pastoral Search Committee to appoint a new co-pastor on 5th April, although we may need a little more time to explore options and put logistics in place. We’ll keep you posted.

·         We suggest that smaller groups – home groups and planning meetings – can make their own decisions about proceeding. They are encouraged to follow government medical advice when deciding whether to continue meeting in homes. Members are reminded to be particularly diligent about hand washing, food handling and social distancing. If you are not feeling well then stay home. Where possible Skype, Zoom or WhatsApp meetings may be considered.

·         In the next week or so, we will be sharing plans to ensure that pastoral care networks are enhanced, and any needs can be heard and addressed. We will be especially proactive about regular connection with members of the community who may be especially vulnerable at this time. Please feel free to phone Stephen (0400 827 410), Sally (0402 402 348) or Ross (0412 383 162). Andrew is taking a week’s leave this week.

·         Community Kitchen is still operating but we are only providing take away meals and fresh food parcels. There is no tea or coffee provided and people are not allowed inside the building. We are aware of the stress this may cause for many who come to CK for the social interaction but we are also very aware of the vulnerability of many of those who come to CK. 

·         Sally is in touch with our various hall users about implications for their groups. 

·         About 20% of our weekly offering is given on Sunday mornings. Please consider making your offering electronically so that we can continue to pay our staff! Our bank details are A/C Name: St Kilda Baptist Church BSB: 633 000 Account: 150 286 532

·         For those who experience significant financial stress during this time due to loss of income we assure you that while “most of us enjoy considerable comfort and security, we believe that no-one in our Christian community should have to live below the poverty line”. (FairShare Scheme) Please talk to one of our Pastors, Andrew, Ross or Stephen if you are struggling financially or emotionally during this difficult time.

It would be fair to say that few of us have experienced anything like this in our lives. So many places where we find nurture, recreation and growth seem to be closing their doors. We are not immune from the fear in our community. If you are finding it all disorientating and frightening, you are not alone.

But there is hope. We’ve heard a lot about social distancing this week, a concept that feels so out of step with the mission of the Gospel. But what if we thought of it as “spatial distancing” with enhanced “spiritual connection”? What if we saw this as an opportunity to enhance ways that community life can be sustained through increased interaction by phone and over our electronic devices and through acts of thoughtfulness and care? What if the cancellations in our calendars became time to read, reflect and pray?

When we embraced the theme “Into the deep” for Lent, we had no idea of the depths to which we would be invited. But deep places are connecting places with God and the things that really matter to us. Our whole faith is based on the story of Jesus who enters a place of deepest fear and destructive power, is overwhelmed… and yet he lives and shares his life with us.

Let’s not despair. God hasn’t forgotten us. And God, giver of life and love, continues to beckon us to celebrate the hope and peace of God’s presence.  

PRAYER POINTS

·         Those who are especially vulnerable and those who are very frightened

·         Some of our members are having medical tests at present and we seek wisdom and peace.

·         We think of Luke, Dani, Simin and Hooman who are all concerned for loved ones in Iran with the Coronavirus threat.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God 

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone. 

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions, 

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE 15 March 2020

This morning we welcome back Sr Miriam for her second Lenten Message in our series “Into the deep”. We welcome her along with Sr Naomi and Sr Narelle from the Holy Transfiguration Community.

This weekend Tim, Mary, Sally, Andrew, Alice, Valentina, Robyn, Miriam and Judith Cook are participating in WellSpring’s Autumn Retreat in Lysterfield. We pray for them all deep places of rest, encounter and renewal.

Community Kitchen resumes this Monday after the break for Labor Day last week.

There is a deacons meeting on Thursday night (19/3) so there will be a one-week break from our rhythm of Thursday night reflective services. Let David Wright, or any of the deacons, know if there is anything you would like to bring to their awareness.

Next Sunday (22/3)  following the service, there will be our quarterly church meeting. Amidst the usual reflections on church life, there will be some recommendations for new members, some follow-up on the semi-commercial kitchen proposal and some thoughts about consolidating our church’s vision, values and processes.

A fortnight later, on Sunday 5th April (Palm Sunday), following our service, we will hold a special church meeting to consider a nomination from the Pastoral Search Group.

Transport home for Les

As mentioned last Sunday, Les Whitehead’s eyesight is such that catching a tram to travel to and from church has become a hazardous undertaking. He’s happy to catch a cab to church, but it would be great if we could form a roster of people who can occasionally offer him a lift home to his Caulfield house. If this is a possibility for you, please see Digby or Andrew.

SKBBS Banking details Last Sunday Barry and Di reminded us of the financial support that SKBBS provides to the running of Community Kitchen. All donations are tax deductible and receipts will be sent out at the end of the financial year.   Don’t forget to include your name as a reference. If you would like  to make a donation here are the banking details.

Bendigo Bank SKBBS General Account

BSB: 633 000

ACC: 164 552 424

We thought it might be helpful to offer a few thoughts about our own church’s response to the Coronavirus threat. We have been watching reports from medical officers and received briefings from the Baptist Union for Victoria. Here are a few thoughts at this stage:

  • At present, the Government’s focus on containment seems to be sufficient. There is minimal evidence of any community spread. If you find yourself with a sore throat, running nose, cough or fever, you only need to be checked if you have recently returned from overseas or have been in contact with someone who has returned from overseas and been unwell.
  • Like any virus, the best thing you can do is to maintain good hygiene: wash your hands thoroughly often and dry them well. Try not to touch your nose, eyes and mouth, the usual points of entry into the body for a droplet infection. If you do cough or sneeze – and we all do – try to use a handkerchief, tissue, or into your sleeve.
  • There is no indication that there is any benefit in a well person wearing a face mask.
  • Continue healthy habits: exercise, drink water, get plenty of sleep.
  • We are not yet needing to eliminate handshakes or hugs, but it’s also OK to give permission for alternate greetings: fist bumps or hand waves and smiles are quite acceptable.
  • As a general principle, if you are unwell, it’s probably wise not to come to church events and risk passing on your illness to other people.

Some of us may have already heard of the City of Port Phillip Interfaith Network. This is a group of people who meet every six weeks or so at the St Kilda Town Hall in order to discuss issues about which we all care deeply and to consider ways of working together. Remarkably the meetings are chaired by a City of Port Phillip Councillor, Tim Baxter, and secretarial assistance is also provided by the City of Port Phillip as an indication of their support for the idea of the various religions represented in our region meeting together to learn a bit more about each other and to work together for common causes. This network includes members from the local Anglican, Uniting and Catholic Churches. There are representatives from the Buddhist community, the Jewish community, the Moslem community, Hindu and Harie Krishnas.

Unfortunately it has been a while since we have been able to find a representative from our church. There is much shared passion within the group. The social, economic and environmental issues which concern its members are very similar to those of many or our members at SKEB. Climate change has recently been on their agenda and a letter was recently sent to the prime minister urging a more humane treatment of our off shore refugees. The Interfaith Network assisted with the organisation of the recent Morning of Mourning on Jan 26th. 

It appears that the City of Port Phillip may be hosting next year’s state-wide interfaith conference. This possibility will be the main focus of the next meeting of the Port Phillip Interfaith Network. The main presenter at the following network meeting will be  CEO of The Victorian Pride Centre – home to a range of LGBTIQ focused organisations and businesses. The new Pride Centre in Fitzroy is almost completed and is being eagerly awaited by the LGBTIQ community.  Involvement in the interfaith network is, I believe, really important if we are to be truly engaged with our community. Churches of our tradition do have a long history of operating very separately from the rest of their communities – let’s not become one of those churches in a bubble! If you are interested in participating in this group please let Digby or Andrew know. 

 BIBLE READING for this week

John 4:5-52 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+4%3A5-42&version=NIV

WEEKLY UPDATE 23rd February 2020

 This Sunday Digby will lead a panel discussion on faith and work. Thank you to those on the panel for your time and reflections and thank you to all who make our time together so rich and diverse.

There is a new roster out for March and April, copies available in the foyer.

Ash Wednesday service 26th Feb at 8pm

Our theme for Lent this year is ‘Into the Depths’. Sr Miriam from the Holy transfiguration community has agreed to share our preaching series during Lent and we will share communion each week as well. You may like to download this App to enhance your Lenten journey this year.

DEEP CALLS TO DEEP (EASTER APP) Launch into the Deep with an App from ABM’s Reconciliation Coordinator, Celia Kemp. Deep Calls to Deep is a 46 day journey into the mystery of the cross that begins in Holy Week and ends on Ascension Day. Readings, quotes and reflections for every day make this a feast of theological reflection and fuel for prayer, especially for those who already find themselves in stormy seas.

Download link for iPhone and iPad: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/deep-calls-to-deep-easter/id1212703153

Download link for Android devices: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.abm.easter.deepcallstodeep

During Lent we will have a reflective service at 8pm on Thursday March 5, 12, 26, April 2 & 9th.

A commercial kitchen?

 We’d like to invite you to a Congregational Conversation on 1st March following our service of worship. To prepare for this, there are two things we’d love you to do:

  • Come to Community Kitchen on Monday, especially if you’ve not been for a while, so you have a picture of this ministry of our church
  • Engage in prayerful preparation using the conversation guide that is attached to the Weekly Update and available in the foyer.

This Congregational conversation is not a debate but a chance to talk and share what has come to us during our prayerful preparation.

 BIBLE READING

Jeremiah 29:4-8 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+29%3A4-8&version=NIV

 ROSTERS

DateFeb 23Mar 1  Lent 1 Cong conversationMar 8 Lent 2 Church MeetingMar 15 Lent 3Mar 22 Lent 4Mar 29 Lent 5
WelcomingSamMary & TimSally & RossHelenHilde & PhilDi
Hospitality GrpHilde Grp6Judi Grp1Margie Grp2Felicity Grp3David Grp5Hilde Grp6
Worship LeaderAndrewAndrewFelicityDigbyAndrewSally
SpeakerDigby & PanelSr Miriam & AndrewAndrewSr MiriamChris TurnerSr Miriam
MusicJudithHelenJennyDigbyJudithJenny
AudioMartyRobynPhilAdelieRobynPhil
Young Theos Bri Bri Bri

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE 16th February 2020

A big heartfelt thank you to Ross and all the volunteers who assisted in making Jennifer’s funeral such a special time for friends and family. And then on Wed we had our first MOTH for the year and we were all blessed and enriched hearing the stories of some of the folk who attend.

Thank you to David Tacey and Digby for sharing some of the moments and stages that have shaped David’s life and faith. If you would like to hear more from David you can hear him at WellSpring’s  Blessing Day Saturday 22 February, 10am to 3pm No cost  Whet your appetite for our 2020 program and bless our plans for the year ahead. Guest Speaker: David Tacey. This will be the first session of the Whitley College ‘Australian Spirituality’ unit, examining the ways in which spiritual yearning manifests itself in contemporary Australian culture. and all are invited (whether enrolled or not).

 Next Sunday 23rd Feb Digby will lead a panel discussion on faith and work.

Thank you to all who make our time together so rich and diverse.

Deacons meet next Thursday 20th Feb at 7.30pm

Community Kitchen Management meets Tuesday 18th Feb at 7.30pm at Ross and Sally’s.

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE 9th February 2020

This Sunday, we welcome David Tacey to our morning service. David will be talking with Digby about his life, faith and books!

Funeral service for Jennifer Anderson, Tuesday 11th Feb at 2pm. Jennifer was a regular attendee at CK and was well known around St Kilda. If you would like to help with catering for afternoon tea please talk to Ross or Sally

MOTH is back again for 2020, this Wednesday 12 Feb at 6pm for BBQ tea and music, 6.30 -7.30 reflective space.   All welcome

WELLSPRING INFO & DATES Blessing Day Saturday 22 February, 10am to 3pm No cost  Whet your appetite for our 2020 program and bless our plans for the year ahead. Guest Speaker: David Tacey. This will be the first session of the Whitley College ‘Australian Spirituality’ unit, examining the ways in which spiritual yearning manifests itself in contemporary Australian culture. and all are invited (whether enrolled or not).

Sunday 9th Feb is the St Kilda Festival. This event has many road closures and may make getting to church a bit tricky for some coming from the west side of St Kilda Rd.

A commercial kitchen?

Some will recall that our church meeting last November discussed the idea of installing a commercial kitchen to assist with the logistics of Community Kitchen. While we have consistently affirmed the ministry of Community Kitchen and MOTH, we have also recognised that a commercial kitchen would require some changes to our building. Pondering this raised for us some important questions about future objectives and what we understand God is saying to us through this ministry. We thought this invited us to spend some time in further reflection and discussion.

We’d like to invite you to a Congregational Conversation on 1st March following our service of worship. To prepare for this, there are two things we’d love you to do:

  • Come to Community Kitchen (any Monday in February) and/or Matters of the Heart (Wednesday 12th February) at 6pm, especially if you’ve not been for a while, so you have a picture of this ministry of our church
  • Engage in prayerful preparation using the conversation guide that is attached to the Weekly Update.

One of the many gifts of our community is the willingness to respectfully discuss and discern these things together. We are very grateful.

 BIBLE READING

Proverbs 8:1-21 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+8%3A1-21&version=NIV

ROSTERS

DateFeb 9Feb 16Feb 23
WelcomingHilde & PhilThelma & BronwenSam
Hospitality GrpFelicity Grp3David Grp4Hilde Grp6
Worship LeaderFelicityDavid W Andrew
SpeakerDavid TaceyStephenDigby & Panel
MusicJennyHelenJudith
AudioRobynAdelieMarty
Young Theos  Bri 

We are a community of people drawn together by the love and grace of God

exemplified for us in the life of Jesus.

We welcome everyone.

This includes people of all cultures, races, religions,

mental and physical capabilities,  sexual orientation and gender identity.

We are committed to peace with justice, and the integrity  of all creation.

WEEKLY UPDATE 26th February 2020

New email and website upgrade                                                                                                                                                             

Over January we have been working on updating the website and our domain name. We now have a new email address, admin@stkildabaptist.org.au  Keep an eye on the website for news and you can check the calendar, under ‘About us’ tab, for events as well.

The Mayor and Councillors of the City of Port Phillip would like to invite you to

We-Akon Dilinja (Mourning Reflection)

Sunday 26 January, 6 am to 7 am

Alfred Square, St Kilda

Please note: In extreme weather the event will be held at St Kilda Town Hall

New Beginnings bio As part of our preparation for New Beginnings Sunday (2nd February) we are inviting everyone to fill in a bio (personal profile). There are a couple of examples on display and some spare forms in the foyer.

Dates in Summer

January 29         The deacons meet at 7:30 at the church. If you have something you would like the deacons to consider, please talk to one of them, David, Sally, Lou, Iris or Tim.   

February 2         The Pastoral Search Committee meets at David’s place at 2pm. The PSC is at the point of considering names and values your support and prayers during this process

February 3         Community Kitchen recommences 6pm

February 12       MOTH 6pm

 February 13       St Kilda Baptist Benevolent Society committee meets at 7:30pm

 It is with sadness that we let you know that Jennifer Anderson passed away on the 18th of January 2020. Jen was well known to all at CK and Moth. A memorial/funeral service will be held at St Kilda Baptist. Details provided once a date is confirmed.

ST KILDA FESTIVALS There are 2 festivals coming up in February. Sunday 2nd Feb is the Midsumma Pride March along Fitzroy St. Sunday 9th Feb is the St Kilda Festival. Both these events have road closures and may make getting to church a bit tricky for some.

Welcome back for 2020

We are gathering again at 10am at St Kilda after our summer brunches and look forward to welcoming you to our community.

Worship in the rest of summer

19/1    We welcome Gregg Morris as our preacher this week. Gregg has been a long time friend of Andrew and Stephen. As St Kilda gears up for another year of compassionate service in our community and to one another, we wanted to invite Gregg to help to do two things. The first is to help us remember “why” we do what we do. Many would say that we do what we do because we are called to live lives of love. Gregg will share a practical definition of love he recently came upon. Love defined as “an unconditional determination to understand”.

The second thing Gregg will do is to share a practical framework that will help us as we live out this call to love. The framework is called “The Circle of Courage”,  a model of human development that  integrates child development practices of tribal peoples and the findings of modern youth development research. 

26/1 Australia Day/Invasion Day/Survival Day – Digby and friends will lead our reflection.

2/2 New Beginnings Sunday – we will recognise and commission everyone who is embarking on new adventures in 2020. To give this a visual presence, please talk to Bill about completing a New Beginnings bio.

9/2 We are so blessed to have David Tacey as part of our church community. Digby will interview him on his journey of life and faith.

16/2 David Wright and Stephen Said are looking after this one for us.

23/2 Digby leads a panel on work/life/faith balance – how we negotiate the creative tensions in our lives.

Christmas Services

Tues 24th Dec Christmas Eve reflective service 8pm

Wed 25th Dec Christmas Day Making room for Jesus 9.30am. Our Christmas Day offering will be donated to TEAR.

Summer brunches As is our usual pattern, on the first 3 Sundays after Christmas, our church will not be worshipping at Pakington Street. Instead we will gather for brunch – 10.30am start – in the homes of some of our community. Each brunch will include a time of communal reflection. Hosts provide their home in which to gather and tea and coffee; people are invited to bring some food to share with them.

December 29th we will gather at Janet Costello and Howard Poynton’s,

January 5th we’ve been invited to John and Claire-Anne Willis’s farm

January 12th Ali and Matthew Lloyd will host us

Please contact Andrew Woff 0409 789 984 or Sally Wall 0402 402 348 for more details