Wednesday, February 18, 2015

2015 Theme

At the end of each year I seek God for an overall theme for East Taieri Church for the year ahead.  The Thursday morning prayer breakfast prays with me about it and people share various scriptures and things they believe God is saying to us.  I also consult with elders and leaders.

The theme I have discerned for 2015 is: Streams in the Desert

In July-August we have a 5 week series in all services on this theme.  We will be encouraging life groups and individuals to use an accompanying study guide.  

Streams in the Desert speaks of personal refreshment and renewal in our relationship with God and with others.  Do you feel dry or thirsty? What personal spiritual practices do you find refreshing?  Is there a place you like to walk or sit and pray?  What is your plan or approach to reading and studying the Bible this year?  What might God be speaking to you about this year?  These are some of the questions we will address.

Streams in the Desert also speaks of renewal and refreshment when we meet as Christians.  What has been helpful in the past in worship services or group meetings?  Has it helped you love God and love others?  What might be helpful for you this year?

Streams in the Desert speaks of the refreshingly different life Christ brings.  How can our Christian lifestyle be as inviting and refreshing to other people as a fresh water in a dry and thirsty land?  What new mission steps is the Holy Spirit leading you into and what new spiritual gifts for serving others might he have for you?

May we all experience God’s renewing, refreshing work this year,

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Highlights from 2014

Stepping into 2015 I have felt challenged about my lack of posting on my blog.  I guess 2014 has been a very full year - but no excuses - other things have taken priority.

One of the helpful disciplines I have adopted is to give thanks to God for some highlights from the ministry year at East Taieri Church.  I find it encouraging to list the highlights and at the risk of being unintelligible to those outside of the church I post them below:

Some Highlights from 2014 – 200 Years of Good News
  •          The year began with a large short-term mission team going to Thailand.
  •          Sebastian Murrihy was appointed as our new Associate Pastor, and has given leadership at FUEL this year, and will lead the exploration of new Fresh Expressions in 2015.
  •          Rodger has had a year of growth as an intern and been appointed as our new youth worker – beginning 2015 – replacing Erin as she moved back to teaching.  Carolyn (as well as getting married) has stepped up for us in taking on Outram Oasis as well as Ground Zero/Summit – which of course has gone fantastically well.
  •          The role and significance of the Pastoral Care Team was developed, including ordaining some new pastoral elders. (Seb, Joy, Pam Crosbie)  Pam Grant has carried a significant pastoral load over this year, especially with her wide knowledge of who is who.
  •          Visit of the Kenyan Evangelists to Dunedin and East Taieri hosting Charles & Maggie Ng’ang’a
  •          We developed a partnership with Aurora CafĂ© for community evangelism events, including the Alpha course.
  •          Ed led the computer upgrade project replacing our old Windows XP machines and our old Windows 2000 Network Server.
  •          Strategic Plan 2015-2020 developed. (Ed and Everyone)  In particular our one hour forum/prayer meeting.
  •          Simplicity: we have found some ways to combine or simplify things so we don’t exhaust ourselves and we model a simpler lifestyle.  E.g. the simple One Service at ET, and combining thanking volunteers with the lunch on the day of the Annual Meeting.
  •          With the help of the Synod Mission Advisor we have engaged in a process with Coast Community Church about their mission and their future.  In 2015 we will trial a mutual discovery together, Bible Study Format on Sunday morning at CCC.
  •          Brad Thorn’s visit combined with Brooke Hooper’s baptism was a wonderful occasion.
  •          Joy has facilitated the initial development of a combined referral process for health and social services in Mosgiel.  The fact that we were asked to do this shows the respect Joy and our community ministries has earned in the health and social service sector.  This project is also lifting Joy and ET into conversation with a higher level of decision makers and policy setters in our community.
  •          Alastair held the fort for some months for us with the 2pm congregation, but now under Joy’s leadership this congregation is moving on and linking with wider church and community.
  •          Jeremy and his team have laid the groundwork for our new EPIC youth discipleship focus to launch on Sunday evenings in 2015.
  •          Making Space for the Gospel – Theme series for the year.  We linked in with the 200th Anniversary of Samuel Marsden’s sermon, and our celebration of that this Christmas.
  •          We have stepped up our efforts to collaborate with other churches – meeting with Mosgiel Presbyterian elders, youth leaders, and addressing the dysfunctional TCMA.
  •          As Ed and Louise are particularly aware, our giving is behind budget.  They don’t have control over that, but have ensured we have the information we need to be able to make course corrections.  While this has meant we have delayed appointing a children and families pastor, we were blessed to have Jess step into a leadership role for a time, and we have been able to recruit Philippa Lord into volunteer leadership for Kidzown and are exploring other ways to engage children and families in our community. In fact, the number of children at worship actually grew over the 2013/2014 year.
  •          Leeanne gave great leadership to the big events of the year. Ministry Conference went very well.  Christmas Eve also went very well.  Leeanne has grown in participating in the Ministry Leadership Team.
  •          Good result in resourcing our community ministry including youth – this has been achieved in a difficult environment.  Well done with funding applications Jeremy, Ed and Joy.
  •          We have begun to address some of the tough issues, including: how we run CCC, how we can address the culture of R4M, and what are the leadership challenges at FUEL.
  •          We have talked about Network Course for some time, but this year we have nailed that.
  •          In the midst of all that ET coped just fine with Martin being away for a month of study leave.
  •          In addition there were many other moments: baptisms, Christmas Lunch @ RSA, General Assembly, Sound System Training, Turning Point Parenting programme, Service of Hope, Martin’s Leadership booklet, Taieri Youth Showcase, Excel, OT and social work students projects Community Expo.
   Thanks be to God.