Download the whole news sheet here: 11th March News Sheet
Last week Elizabeth and I were able to visit the Hutt River Province where we met H.R.H. Prince Leonard. We have a passport entry to prove it!
I’m sure you all know how on the 21st April 1970 the Hutt River Province seceded from Australia and became an Independent Sovereign State.
We really enjoyed our visit and the gracious way Prince Leonard showed us his treasures of independence. I couldn’t help feeling that I had met someone who had done what many of us have felt like doing at different times in our lives. Who hasn’t, at some time or other, wished to ‘buck the system’: reject the rules, toss the beaurocracy and assert INDEPENDENCE?
Actually the strong desire for independence is intrinsic to human nature. However, when it asserts itself against God himself we are in deep water. It is of the utmost importance that we acknowledge our predicament and renounce our declaration of independence. Then we can accept God’s offer of free pardon which we can claim through faith in Jesus.
Through God’s ‘loving kindness’, his everlasting love towards us, we can be confident that:
All the rules are fair, and
There will be wonderful surprises!
Love and blessings,
Full news sheet here: Sunday 4th March
The 1st of March marks the end of 7 years that the Spackman family have been part of the Cathedral Church family. In that time, we have lived in three houses; our kids have more than doubled in age (and height!!); we’ve got a dog; we’ve travelled North, South and East, and lately have been heading west in a sailing boat!.
The best thing has been being part of the cathedral family here. It has been a privilege seeing you grow in love and the knowledge of God; seeing people come to trust in God; seeing people make the hard decisions of following Jesus.
As I think of ministry here, I am reminded of Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 3:5-9.
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. 6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.
Many people are involved in ministry here at present and in the past, and as I continue on the work of others, I must always remember that it is God who makes it grow. We are God’s building, God’s field, trusting and depending on God. The danger is to become proud of what I have done, forgetting God, not trusting him, not depending on him, not serving him.
As we look to the future may all that we do be for God’s glory and honour.
Over the last couple of years I’ve watched a friend of one of my sons fight the battle with leukaemia. Following on from a request last year to take part in ‘The World’s Greatest Shave’, I’ve decided to take the plunge. I’ll lose my locks at the Geraldton Police Station – along with local police ‘Team Alex’ members – on the 16th of March at 10am. It’s well worth doing. To help fight this disease or help those who have it. All funds raised will help research into leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood disorders. Please consider a contribution to what is a very worthy cause by donating at http://my.leukaemiafoundation.org.au/ianblayney and helping me reach my target.
Ian Blayney MLA, Member for Geraldton
Download the whole news sheet here: 26th Feb News Sheet
I am reading Randolph Stow’s story, The Merry-go-round in the Sea because a friend sent it to me when he heard we were headed for Geraldton. I have been struck by the author’s word-pictures which I can see around me in town and country. I’m loving it!
The story is told through the eyes of a young boy and his life growing up in this area during the war years.
‘The boy’s life had no progression, his days led nowhere. He woke in the morning in his room, and at night he slept: the wheel turning full circle, the merry-go-round of his life revolving. There had been a jolt, with Rick’s going, but the grief faded,…. and the merry-go-round had bumped, jolting a little on its iron stays, and then grown steady again and gone on turning.’
The boy would not have been the first one to feel life can be like a merry-go-round. It need not be so, and it is not inevitable. How happy are those who are caught up in God’s loving purposes for us and who can step forward in hope.
‘For me to live is Christ’, writes St Paul in his letter to the Philippians and even though he writes from the frustration of a prison cell, rejoices that even his own adverse circumstances can be used for good in the over-arching purposes of God.
We step off the spinning merry-go-round when we embrace the loving purposes of God through faith in his Son.
Full Newssheet: February 19
This week Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent. Lent is regarded as 40 days long from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday. Count the days and you will find its more than forty because Sundays are left out.
It is a time when many Christians will prepare for Easter by observing a period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline. There is nothing in the bible, as such, about Lent. The idea of forty days comes from Jesus’ time in the wilderness before he begins his public ministry (Mark 1.13).
It is difficult to exactly date when the period of Lent first started to be observed. Irenaeus (d 203ad) mentions it in some of his writings when he comments on the celebration of Easter. The writings from the Council of Nicea in 325AD (a gathering of church leaders to work through a whole range of issues) clearly see the 40 day period of Lent as a regular event on the church calendar, and that prayer and fasting constituted its primary spiritual exercises.
Lent is a great tradition of the church as it focuses on Christ and his death and resurrection.
As with any tradition we must be careful. Jesus and his disciples were hounded by the Pharisees for not carrying out a ceremonial washing of hands (Matt 15.1-10). Jesus critically replies to them (Matt 15.8-9) quoting from Isaiah:
8“‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’”
At the heart of Jesus’ criticism of the Pharisees is that in following the “traditions taught by men” they lost sight of God and following him.
With any of our traditions, as good as they might be, we too must heed this warning!
Your brother in Christ
Dr Peter, one of our church members is in Niger at present with his daughter Hannah (a student Doctor), follow their trip (and pray for them).
For More info see Diocesan Website.
Full News Sheet: Feb 12
All over the western world, and beyond, on Tuesday, people will be giving and receiving cards, chocolates and flowers for Valentines’ Day.
In some places it is a big celebration of love and romance. Even in Syria many shops were decorated and cakes (which are a speciality) were all bright red for the occasion!
Exchanging valentines is a very ancient custom. It can be traced back through the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer who noticed that birds began choosing their mates on 14th February.
In 496AD, Pope Galasius tried to give Christian meaning to the Festival, without much success.
Of course the day belongs to St Valentine—one of two Christian martyrs of that name who was put to death for his faith on 14th February. The Roman Valentine was a priest who was killed under Claudius II in 269. A gate to Rome called ‘The Porto Valentini is named after him.
These days Valentines’ Day is all about romantic love, but this is only one kind of love.
Everyone knows that when we talk about Christian love we mean more than romance.
Love is the plain duty of every Christian because:
1. It is commanded “A new commandment I give to you”, said Jesus, “that you love one another.”
2. It is evidence that we live in the light and possess eternal life. (1 John 3).
3. God is love. He has loved us in Christ and he continues to love in and through us. “If we love one another, God dwells in us and his love is perfected in us.”
Not just for St Valentine’s Day, but every day our love for one another is evidence of God’s presence within and among us.
Happy Valentine’s Day!