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The Ministry of Turning Up

You should come to Church every week.
Church is not a movie theatre, where you attend a ‘session’ in order to be entertained.  Church is not even a classroom lecture, where you come to learn and grow yourself.  Church is the community of God’s people who gather to worship God, to encourage each other, to hear from God’s Word and bring to him our prayers and requests.  This means that you don’t just come to Church for your own benefit, but in order to encourage and bless others.  Your simple commitment to gather with your Church family every week is a huge encouragement to others in their faith in Christ. 
Thankyou so much to you who come every week!
When you stay home from Church, it has an impact on everybody.  We have recently spoken to Church newcomers who have been confused because each week there is a new group of people there.  ‘Who are the regulars?’ they ask. How can these new people get to know others and start to feel settled in their new Church if they never see the same person two weeks in a row?
There are good reasons to stay home, of course – but please weigh the impact.  The impact on your fellow Church members, and the impact on your own family.  When your children see that Church is an optional extra ‘if you can fit it in’, I can almost guarantee that they will not make Church or Christ a priority in their lives as they grow up.
Let’s make a commitment to each other to ‘show up’ – I need you and you need me.  We are sisters and brothers in Christ serving and building each other up as we each have been gifted!
Yours in Christ,
Ben

     Hebrews 10:24-15:
     Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Introducing Scott and Britt

Hi Church,

I’m Scott Williams, PWAC’s new assistant minister. My wife, Brittany, and I would like to firstly thank you all for your extravagant generosity in offering us the position of assistant minister at Picton and Wilton Anglican Churches and we hope your excitement matches ours! You’ll likely remember that Britt and I were with you in 2019-2020 to head-up the Wilton Anglican Youth team. In 2021 I took on a student ministry position at Riverwood and Punchbowl Anglican Churches, where I worked with newcomers and young adults in a multi-ethnic and socially diverse ministry setting. At the end of last year, with the wind in our hair, we embarked on a 2-month long campervan trip around Australia and tried to soak up as much sun and as little water as possible.

Now we’re here and raring to go!

And this is what’s on my mind in my first week as the Assistant Minister of PWAC:

In 2011 the population of Wilton was 1890. The NSW Government’s plan dubbed “Wilton 2040” anticipates fifteen thousand new houses in the Wilton area over the next 20 years. Fifteen thousand. That’s something like seven hundred and fifty new houses per year and upwards of one thousand, five hundrednew residentsper year to make those houses their homes. By 2040, the population of Wilton will likely exceed forty thousand.

“This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim 2:3-4)

Who doesn’t want all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth!? If you too feel the weight of gospel and love for your neighbours, then join me in our biggest challenge and in the adventure of our lives. Join me in God’s work to make the meaning of Christ’s death and resurrection known to all 15000 homes; to all 40000 people.

I’ve got my place in God’s saving work. I’m here to continue to develop our youth and young adults ministry and to gather a team to plant a new congregation in the mornings at Wilton.

And you’ve got your place in God’s saving work too. And so, I’ll be doing my best to equip and inspire you all to minister the Word of God to each other, to serve your community in love and to proclaim the good news of Christ to a community in desperate need of hearing it.

See you Sunday!
– Scott (and Britt)

Routine Maintenance

When crisis comes, your preparation shows.
I really wish I had cleaned our gutters more regularly.  The storms of the last week have shown me just how important that routine maintenance is.  During the storms is not the time to clean the gutters, they have to be done beforehand, they have to be part of a routine pattern of home maintenance.
I often see people wanting to turn to God in a crisis, pledge him their faithfulness if only he’ll rescue them from the mess they’re in.  Sometimes that works, but many times that rash commitment proves false once the crisis is over and normal life resumes.  Just like my gutters, the best time to establish a healthy relationship with God is by spending routine time with him in his word.
Then when a crisis comes to test our faith we will be ready to weather the storms that might come, trusting in our Saviour and sure of his faithfulness and love towards us.
Regularly reading my Bible and praying is sometimes boring.  Making Church a priority is hard to do when it means turning down shifts at work, saying no to kids sport or birthday parties, and sometimes when I’m just lazy.  But these routine maintenance tasks of our Christian lives are the building blocks of a healthy Christian life and will enable us to stand firm in our faith through whatever comes our way!
Yours in Him,
Ben

Call to Prayer for Prison Ministry

On Sunday 27th Feb 2022, we have been called to urgently unite in a day of prayer for prisoners, prison ministries, the justice system, the refugee and detention system and the law enforcement authorities in our nation, state and city.

In Matthew 25:36 Jesus’ words “I was in prison, and you visited me” urge us to care for those in prison but Covid lockdowns along with law enforcement staff shortages have led to extended periods of no visitors and lockdowns inside the jails and detention centres. The impact of Covid has also caused many doors to close on prison ministries such as Kairos Inside and Prison Fellowship. Please pray that these programs will be given permission to resume their ministries; pray for invigorated, committed volunteers to step forward and for revival in the work of Christ amongst both the prisoners and the law enforcement authorities. Pray that justice and safety will prevail for all.

It is often said by those in prison “We do the crime, but the family does the time”. Often the families, especially the women, are the forgotten victims of someone else’s crime. Kairos Outside ministry reaches out to the family and friends of inmates, saying “You are not alone.” Thus, I particularly ask for your prayers for the upcoming Kairos Outside program in May in Sydney. This specific weekend program ministry, (designed for women on the outside over 18 years & impacted by someone inside) has also been severely disrupted by Covid. Many regional ministries remain in extended hiatus so regional guests are impacted by needing to be willing and able to travel to this Sydney event to take part in a weekend.

Pray that God will open doors and open hearts to reach those He wills for their Kairos (“God’s special time”) experience. Pray that eligible women will hear the invitation to be a guest and then have the courage to come along to join with other women who often have similar experiences. Pray that their confidential time at Kairos will have a transformational impact on their lives through the hope and love of Jesus.

Further information here: https://kairos.org.au/what-we-do/kairos-outside/

Other relevant resources: https://prisonfellowship.org.au/

https://correctiveservices.dcj.nsw.gov.au/

What do you really need?

Kate and I have just committed ourselves to walking the Overland Track in Tasmania in April. It’s a famous 6 day hike through rugged yet beautiful terrain. Everything we need for 6 days will need to be carried on our backs. It really forces you to think about what you really need when you know you’ll have to carry it for 6 days and 65 or so kms.

As we walk the trek of life, we carry a lot of unnecessary baggage. We often hold tightly to things that don’t matter, lust and long for things we don’t really need, and sometimes miss the important things we should really be focussing on.

In the introduction to 1 Corinthians (the Bible book we’re looking at in Church this term) Paul assures the Corinthians (and us) that in Christ we already have all we need. We have been enriched in every way – we do not lack any spiritual gift as we eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. (1 Cor 1:7).This is a great comfort and cause for thanksgiving. We don’t need to be anxious about not being a ‘good’ enough Christian, we simply need to trust in Christ and all he has done for us.

It’s also sometimes a challenge and rebuke, as we lust after more of the wrong things, and don’t appreciate or rely on Jesus Christ who has given us all we need. Let’s pray as we read 1 Corinthians that we as God’s Church will focus our eyes and our thanksgiving on Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us!

Yours in Christ,

Ben

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Wilton Carols 2022

Sundays 9:30am @ Picton and 5pm @ Wilton (with Kids Program). Also livestreamed on YouTube.