Weddings back on!

“After weeks of lobbying, the NSW Government has announced that restrictions on weddings have been eased.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel and the chairman of the Diocese COVID Taskforce, Bishop Gary Koo, have been making the case to the government for a relaxation of restrictions. …”

– Some good news via SydneyAnglicans.net.

COVID Comfort from the Bishop of Bathurst

Bishop of Bathurst Mark Calder recorded this brief message of exhortation today.

Present Distresses and Wedding Dresses

“The seventh chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is full of all sorts of brain-stretching moments. Sitting right up near the top of its ‘vexing verses list’ surely has to be vv.26-27 –

I think that in view of the present distress, it is good for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife.

A copious amount of ink (and pixels) have been spilt over these verses, not the least about what this so-called ‘present distress’ could possibly be and how on earth it relates to marriage. And yes, here I come to spill more of the same! But before I do, let me give you some important context. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Dani Treweek begins a two-part series on what 1 Corinthians 7 teaches us in light of the current Covid restrictions on weddings.

Lockdown brings us to our knees

“Prayer is everywhere, and not just for the pandemic. Extended periods of isolation at home have meant that people, stripped of a busy life of commuting, events and travel, are putting prayer at the forefront of their day. …

Last week the Archbishop and bishops organised regional meetings of leaders of churches across the Diocese to pray for our locked-down communities.

Archbishop Raffel is also joining other church and community leaders in a special prayer event in Wednesday, 18 Aug (click here to register on zoom). The group, organised by Family Voice, includes former Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, and former Wallabies captain Nick Farr-Jones. …

On twitter, the Archbishop also called for urgent prayer for the nation of Afghanistan, especially for vulnerable people, after the takeover by the Taliban.”

– Russell Powell writes at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Can you help The Wandering Bookseller?

Many of our readers will be familiar with The Wandering Bookseller run by Karl Grice and his team at Katoomba.

Many of us have benefitted from their expertise and their wonderful range of books over the years, and here’s an opportunity for you to help them.

They write:

It’s been a hard couple of years…

We’ve had staff sickness, bushfires and floods—

And that was all before the pandemic!

We’re now at a point where we’ve had 18 months of uncertainty: event cancellations, border closures, import restrictions and lockdowns.

We know that Covid won’t last forever, and we want to continue partnering with you in ministry for years to come.

Can you help?

Please be encouraged to see their website and consider how you could help.

Pet carers can leave lockdown to do their job, but not a priest to tend his flock

“I’m not the only person struggling through this pandemic. I’m also not the only person feeling anxious. But as a devout Maronite Catholic, I can’t help but notice that people of faith aren’t getting the spiritual support they need to get through this. And no, I’m not talking about packing churches with large congregations. …”

– Ann-Marie Boumerhe, lawyer and director of Maronites on Mission, writes this opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Should Christians accept the COVID-19 vaccine?

In an updated piece at SydneyAnglicans.net, Dr. Megan Best addresses the question “Should Christians accept the COVID-19 vaccine?”.

Read and share.

Image: Dr Best with Chase Kuhn and Dominic Steele on The Pastor’s Heart in August 2020.

God’s heart for all humanity

“Tensions are very high in our community at the moment. Take the illegal anti-lockdown protest on 23 July 2021 in Sydney. The protesters were expressing a fear and anger that’s clearly present amongst many. They were wrong to express it in this way. But you can feel it, can’t you? I know right now many of us are feeling the frustration. Some of us are in almost impossible situations: climbing the walls! And it’s hard. …”

– Lionel Windsor preached from 1 Timothy 2:1-7 at Moore College Men’s Chapel yesterday, 4th August, 2021.

A much-needed refocussing in these difficult days.

What should we say about vaccines + vaccination passports for church?

At The Pastor’s Heart, Dominic Steele speaks with Phillip Jensen, Ray Galea and John McLean on what pastors should say about vaccination. An helpful discussion with plenty of food for thought.

Five Tips to help you through an extended Lockdown

“Greater Sydney is enduring an extended two-month lockdown (which could be extended even longer).

In this video, TGCA interviews Psychologist and Chaplain Sarah Balogh as she gives five tips to help you through an extended lockdown…”

– Very timely, from The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel’s message for churches for Sunday 1st August 2021.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has recorded this message for churches for their online gatherings on Sunday, 01 August, 2021.

We’re sure you’ll find it an encouragement.

Russell Powell has more at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Should Christians be opposed to vaccination?

“‘The blood of Jesus is my vaccine’, read one protestor’s sign during the recent Sydney anti-lockdown demonstration. It’s such a pious statement, but it’s a misguided one too, propagating a position that is neither well-founded nor widely embraced by Christians. In my view, Christians protesting vaccination campaigns need to be challenged, because they are contending for a position that is both scientifically and theologically misinformed. …”

– Chase Kuhn, Chair of the Social Issues Committee of the Diocese of Sydney, and Lecturer at Moore College, writes for ABC Religion and Ethics.

Related:

Distorting the Christian message doesn’t help anyone – Murray Campbell.

Sunday Morning Encouragement

With thanks to CityAlight and Colin Buchanan.

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