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Leaders in Training

Hope you are enjoying some January downtime and refreshment, but also that you’re taking the time to set up for and look forward to the year ahead.
Right now I’m spending the week at Port Hacking, leading on a youth Leaders in Training camp with 440 people in attendance.  I felt a little bit frustrated and annoyed on Wednesday when we arrived, because there is a lot to do before the school year gets underway, and because I wasn’t looking forward to 5 days away from family and home.  But after just one day here, I’m completely convinced that its the right place to be.  There are 400 teenagers here (including two of our own) eager to serve our Lord and be trained to lead God’s people.  We are studying the book of Deuteronomy and thinking about how to read, understand and teach God’s Word to others, being trained in how to lead people to Christ and into maturity in Christ.
Please pray that many many leaders of the future will be raised up to serve Christ’s Church and that in Wilton we will invest in the next generation of our Church.
Another aspect of this is the arrival of Stuart McConnell.  Starting this Sunday, Stuart is our new student minister, studying at SMBC and being trained as a leader among God’s people.  We will give Stuart opportunities to serve and provide training, feedback and encouragement to him.  Please take the opportunity to introduce yourself, set a date in your diary to have him round for Sunday lunch and pray for him to settle in quickly and grow and mature in his relationship with God in Christ and his ability to lead and to teach God’s Word.
Yours in Christ, Ben

PRESS RELEASE (13/7/2017): St Mark’s Anglican Church Re-opening 413 days after Picton Storm

St Mark’s Anglican Church in Picton will re-open on 23rd July 2017, 413 days after the Picton Storm.  This marks the completion of Stage One of repairs to the Church.

All are welcome to our Re-opening service at 9:30am, to be followed by a BBQ lunch, history tour and festivities within the grounds.  The collection taken up during the service will be divided 50/50 between Church and cemetery repair projects.  The service will include musical accompaniment by the Wollondilly Anglican College Strings musical group and choir.  The Church will be open for a few hours following the service for anyone who wants to come and take a look.

Congregation member, Brad Kitchen recalls that fateful day on 5th June 2016, ‘I was leading prayers when the power suddenly cut out and microphone went dead’.  The service concluded amidst heavy rain, but no-one anticipated that 2 metres of water would surge through the building that evening.

Rev Ben Boardman commented, ‘It has been a long 413 days, but we’re thankful for the support of Wollondilly Shire Council, our Insurers, and our builder, Pagewood Constructions.  We’re also particularly thankful to God for the resilience he’s given to his people in the inconveniences and difficulties of the past year.

This is not the ‘grand opening’ and there is still plenty of work to be done on the building, including storage, a bathroom and the reinstallation of a pipe organ.  We will be sure to invite everyone along to celebrate with us when the refurbishments are finally complete.  After the re-opening on the 23rd July, weekly services will again be held at St Mark’s at 9:30am and everyone is welcome to join us any Sunday.  The facility will also be open for special celebrations like baptisms, weddings and funerals.

One particular item that we’d love to get help with is the repair of the damaged grave sites in the Pioneer Cemetery, which has been estimated at $70,000-250,000.  The cemetery has enormous historical significance and is not covered by any insurance policy.  We’re preparing to launch an appeal to crowdfund some of this work, and details are available on our website:

Further information including photos and video can be found on our website ( or Facebook Page (


Yours sincerely,

Rev Ben Boardman

Picton & Wilton Anglican Churches

Pharaoh vs God

A friend of mine, who doesn’t really care much for Rugby League, once played in a tipping competition by deciding each week which team mascot would beat the other in a fight. He often tipped the Cronulla Sharks and West Tigers to win, but the Eels and Roosters and Rabbitoh’s normally didn’t stand a chance.

In the book of Exodus we find the powerful Pharaoh exerting his power over the Israelites by oppressing them and making them his slaves – but Pharaoh is like a rabbit, or even an ant compared to the almighty God of the universe! Sometimes it can feel like a Pharaoh, or a boss or a relative rules and oppresses and controls our lives – sometimes we feel powerless and helpless and lost and at sea. It’s important in those moments to step back and remember who’s really in control. We can trust that God’s sovereign power is at work in us by his Holy Spirit – that same power that rose the Lord Jesus from the dead (Eph 1:18-21)! Therefore, we never need to fear the powers of this world oppressing or threatening us – even though they might dominate for a time – because we know God’s power, and we know the future he has promised to us who trust in him.

St Marks Cemetery Restoration Plans

We have been struggling to work out how to identify which grave stones have been damaged in our cemetery, in order to attempt to contact surviving families. The best I think we can do at this stage is to present the following documents. One is a list of people buried at the cemetery compiled by the picton and district historical and family history society, the other is a hand-drawn map attempting to identify by red circles which graves have been damaged and what sort of damage. L = leaning, C = Cracked, PD = Previous Damage, F = Fence Damage, S = Sunk, and HSd = Head Stone Down. Names on this hand-drawn map are family names on the headstones. Many of the headstones have fallen ‘face-down’ so cannot be read, and many are so old as to be difficult to read anyway. We will be working to restore all the graves in time (some by volunteer effort, others by professional restorer), but wish to give notice to families about this work if possible to allow them to be involved if they wish.

Document 1a – Introduction to ‘Burial Records of St Mark’s Anglican Churchyard’:  2016_06_12_21_43_04

Document 1b – Plan and Burial listings of St Mark’s Anglican Churchyard:  2016_06_12_21_46_07

Document 2 – Hand Drawn Map of Cemetery noting damaged sites:  2016_06_13_11_58_35

Below are photos of the damaged sites, with hand-held labels corresponding to the hand-drawn map.  If you want to get in touch regarding the restoration of the cemetery or any particular grave site, please do so via our website ‘contact form’…




Service of Reflection, Prayer and Hope following the Picton Storm

Along with many businesses and residents of Picton, St Mark’s Anglican Church went underwater last Sunday night.  The pews, and other furnishings floated up 2 metres in the air and then came down again as the water subsided, creating a muddy horrible mess and an unusable building.  The historic 123-year-old pipe organ has swallowed a lot of mud and debris, and many of the headstones in the cemetery have been badly damaged in the storm.  It will be a long recovery and restoration process before the beautiful Church will reopen.

However, St Marks has stood for more than 160 years, and it will stand for many more centuries to come.  This Sunday we’ll be holding a service of Reflection, Prayer and Hope, following on from this terrible storm.  This will be an opportunity for anyone and everyone to join us to reflect on what has happened, come together in prayer, and be reminded of the hope and security we can have in God through Christ in the midst of the ups and downs of life.  The service will be held at 9:30am in the Wollondilly Shire Hall, Menangle St, Picton.  100% of the money collection taken during the service will go to the Mayoral Relief Fund.

Rev Ben Boardman says ‘We are very aware that other Picton businesses and residents find themselves in a far worse situation than us.  I have been urging Congregation members to help others in town with greater needs than our own.  In the midst of this tragedy it’s wonderful to see the resilience and community spirit of Picton as I’ve worked alongside many volunteers in the clean-up effort.  The declaration of disaster and offer of concessional loans from the government is wonderful.  However, the reality is that even once the clean-up is complete and life has moved on, there will be residents who have completely lost their homes and business owners who have lost their livelihood.   I can’t measure or completely comprehend what that must be like.  Be assured, you are in my prayers, and I am always available if you need a listening ear.  Jesus offers forgiveness, love, hope and security in a world of uncertainty.’

While the Church is being restored, it is hoped that Church meetings will be held most Sundays in the Shire Hall (depending on availability).  Please check the Church website or call 4630 8888 for any updates.

Everyone is welcome this Sunday for a service of Reflection, Prayer and Hope following the Storm: 9:30am at Wollondilly Shire Hall, in Menangle St, Picton.  For further info, please check the Church website ( or contact us on 4630 8888. 


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Sunday Service Times: 9:30am @ St Mark's, Picton and 5pm @ Wilton