After the deluge

“The world looks very different, just at the moment, from the way it looked even a year ago. What is more, we know that we are yet to feel the full weight of the consequences of what has happened and our response to it.

The level of government intervention to enable us to survive from moment to moment has been huge, and there is already considerable anxiety about what will be left when that support is removed. What will the world look like in 2021 or 2022 when the pandemic is behind us? How will we survive the crippling debt we have incurred? What jobs will have gone forever? What will our churches look like? Will this new awareness of our vulnerability open a wide door for ministry or provide another reason for hardness of heart?

One thing seems sure, we won’t just be carrying on from where we were before.…”

Moore College Principal Mark Thompson writes in the Spring 2020 issue of Moore Matters, which has the overall theme of “Building for the future”.

Knowing our Limitations

If anyone is looking for suitable reading in lockdown – or in wild freedom, for that matter – Blaise Pascal’s Penséesis indeed food for the soul and for the intellect.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a distinguished French scientist who sought to write an apologetic for the Christian faith, but death took him before the work could be completed. No matter, for Pascal’s work in its unfinished state outdoes other writers whose works are finished and neatly revised. Pascal was especially incisive when it comes to exposing the human condition. …”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General, Dr. Peter Barnes, on the understanding we need at this time.

Plagues and Protestants

“It was unprecedented. Indeed, it was only a matter of time before the outbreak of plague in China, spread over the seas to wreak havoc in Italy, and from there, spread like wildfire throughout the whole of Europe.

No, this is not COVID-19. Rather it was the infamous wave of Bubonic plague that hounded humanity in the fourteenth century. Known as the “Black Death,” probably due to the black spots it produced on skin, this pestilence killed around a third of the population between India and Iceland during the years 1345 to 1352 alone. …”

– Church Society has published online this article by Mark Earngey in the Summer 2020 edition of Churchman.

Church and the Emergency Online Provision

“Many of us are very grateful that during the COVID-19 pandemic the technology has been available for the broadcasting of church services and the connection of members in Bible studies and other programs online. It has enabled us to continue to sit under the word of God and, albeit in an attenuated way, to enjoy fellowship with one another. …”

– Moore College Principal Dr. Mark Thompson reminds us that there is something better than ‘online church’. Long for that!

Update on COVID-19 rules for churches, weddings and services

“Following my previous comments on COVID-19 rules applying to churches in NSW, the NSW Minister for Health issued an ‘exemption’ which eases some of the restrictions on Thursday 27 August. The exemption relates to weddings and ‘places of public worship’ where there are more than one building on the premises. …”

– Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia has the latest on COVID-19 rules and churches.

Stem Cells, COVID-19 and the Archbishops – with Chase Kuhn & Megan Best

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“In a special edition today, we address a key issue :- Should you personally choose to use a COVID-19 vaccine candidate that makes use of a cell line cultured from an electively aborted human fetus?

To put it super bluntly: If I get vaccinated for covid-19 am I complicit in an abortion?”

Watch or listen here.

Related: The ‘Must Read’ book in its field.

When nothing will stand still #5: Reflections on Hebrews 12

“Over the last months, Emma shared how she was feeling when life suddenly changed with Covid-19, and her plan to go back to a familiar passage.

Here is the next episode…”

– Emma Newling continues her encouraging reflections on Hebrews 12 at The Australian Church Record.

Call for ‘ethically uncontroversial’ COVID vaccine

“Archbishop Glenn Davies has released the text of a letter, signed by the Archbishops of the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox Churches, calling for ethical research on COVID-19 vaccines. …”

– Story from SydneyAnglicans.net.

Archbishop Glenn Davies shares his personal response to COVID-19

In this weekend’s online service for the Diocese of Bathurst, Bishop Mark Calder asks Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies about how COVID-19 has impacted him.

And Glenn shares a familiar, but wonderful, verse for your encouragement.

It’s also available here as a standalone video.

Praying for our leaders

Some have remarked how tired many of our state and national leaders seem to be – and this is not surprising, given their heavy burdens in this time of crisis.

It’s a reminder to pray for them, in line with 1 Timothy 2:1-7, and also to pray for those who don’t know the Lord, that they may find life and hope in him.

Pray also for Christian leaders:

Today would have been the start of the Diocese of Sydney Election Synod. Archbishop Davies would have been enjoying retirement. Please pray for him as he continues in the role of Archbishop until March 2021. Pray also for the Election Synod now planned for April 2021, and for all those who may be nominated.

Pray for local church leaders, coping with the many strains of the current environment. Many are tired.

Also please pray for the ACL’s Annual General Meeting this week.

And there’s the Archbishop’s call “for fervent, daily prayer for the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the spiritual health of Australia” at 1900 local time each day.

Related:

How We’re Praying for VictoriaGospel Coalition Australia.

Ministering from a distance: Paul’s ministry from prison

“Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon from prison. He would doubtless have preferred to be with them in person (Phil 1:8), but as he was kept apart from them he ministered from where God had placed him as best as he could.

We don’t get any sense that Paul felt his life was on hold: he continues to make the most of his daily circumstances (Col 4:3ff), preaching to the palace guards and all those around him (Eph 6:19; Phil 1:13), and sending out messengers with hand-written letters to the churches to encourage them and receive news for his own prayers and encouragement (Eph 6:22; Phil 2:18; Col 4:7-9). And we see clearly that although his relationships with these churches were different, his priorities – for clear gospel teaching and for the church to be built up in maturity in his absence – remained the same. …”

– A very relevant article by Caroline Clark at The Australian Church Record.

CMD Media Training for churches

“We at CMD are very conscious of the enormous challenge it has been for many churches to conduct their services online since late March and now the challenge continues in another form.

Many church leaders need to consider how to continue providing church online whilst beginning to conduct live services on site with reduced numbers.

For many this will mean that pre-recording services is not realistic and therefore they are considering running a ‘hybrid model’ or church services whereby the live service is streamed live to those at home. …”

The Centre for Ministry Development at Moore College is looking at how they might support churches with all these changes.

A chat with Bishop Gary Koo

Recently, Tom Harricks (Rector of Penrith Anglican Church, and also Secretary of the ACL) chatted with Gary Koo, Bishop of Western Sydney.

Gary shares something of his background, how he became a Christian, and what it’s like to be a new bishop in the era of COVID.

An interesting and very encouraging video.

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