Pastoral Letter 29 January


Happy Australia Day!

Welcome to Multi-Cultural Song Service!

We are fortunate to live in a “lucky” country and let us thank God for that. As we celebrate the “Reconciliation Sunday,” let us continue to live in peace and harmony, as the “Ambassadors of Reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19)  I hope that you will find the message from Mt. Theresa useful:

What is life, blessed Mother Theresa?

 Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.

Life is a beauty, admire it.

Life is a dream, realize it.

Life is a challenge, meet it.

Life is a duty, complete it.

Life is a game, play it.

Life is a promise, fulfil it.

Life is sorrow, overcome it.

Life is a song, sing it.

Life is a struggle, accept it.

Life is a tragedy, confront it.

Life is an adventure, dare it.

Life is too precious, do not destroy it.

Life is life, fight for it.


Pastoral Letter 22 January


Greetings and welcome to our Worship Service!

Special word of welcome to Mr. Bai Boilapa, who is received officially today, as the confirmed member of our Church. I am sure Bai will enrich the life and witness of our Church with his gifts and commitment.

One of our members asked me after the service, “You mentioned about the 5- fold functions of the Church; but you mentioned only three and what are the other two?” I give below the 5 fold functions or objectives of the Church, based on the Scriptures and Church History:

  1. Worship (John 4 :23, 24:Colossians 3:15-17)
  2. Fellowship(( 1 Corinthians 12;270
  3. Evangelism(( Matthew 28:18-20)
  4. Witness( Acts 1:8)
  5. Service(James 2: 1-17)

You may add to that like “Charismata”, the gift of the Holy Spirit. They are interrelated and emphasized in our Basis of Union.

Worship plays the central part; we promote fellowship; we proclaim the Good News of Jesus and his salvation; we bear witness; and serve God and humanity. To fulfill these functions we need the gifts of the Holy Spirit. What is needed on our prat is to carry out these functions effectively and efficiently.

Let me remind you about next week (29 January 17) Multicultural Song Service. It is a joy to worship the Lord in the beauty of many cultures and languages. In this service we will pray for “Reconciliation,” and for our Nation, celebrating Australia Day. Come and enjoy the service and bring your family and friends.



Pastoral Letter 15 January

Dr.G.D. James tells a humorous story about witnessing Christ.

A butcher who was converted in a great revival meeting, decided to share Christ, especially with his customers. He planned to talk to them about death and dying, because many people are afraid of death. Then, he would talk about the hope in Jesus and heaven.

One morning, his first customer was a little girl. At that time, the butcher happened to be sharpening his knife. With great enthusiasm, waving his knife in the air and asked: “Little girl, are you afraid to die? “The girl was so terrified and took to her heals. The butcher not knowing the reason, pursued her saying “stop, stop,” and still waving his knife. You can picture the scene.

He had the right attitude, but used the wrong approach.

There is lesson for us: we need to use the right method to communicate the gospel to others: without condemning nor compromising, but with the spirit of dialogue.

In the Scripture readings today, (John 1:29-42) John the Baptist shares his faith with two of his disciples, and one of them was Andrew. John directs them to Jesus saying “Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world;” and “Jesus is the Son of God.”

In return, Andrew shares his faith with his brother Peter and brings him to Jesus. On the day of Pentecost, Peter proclaims Jesus to thousands of people. Thus the Good news explodes like the dynamite.

But why are we reluctant to share our treasure with others?

Remember that there is great longing in the hearts of people. We have a gospel to proclaim. We are the body of Christ to proclaim Christ by word and deeds.

We need to share Christ to the broken world, without condemning other faiths nor compromising but with the spirit of dialogue. May the Holy Spirit help us to share Christ.


Pastoral Letter 8 January


Greetings! “You who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28)

May the Lord bless and guide you in this New Year!

 Today we officially welcome and receive Mafileo’s family into the fellowship of the Church. Please pray and support William, Louise, Bless, Ellen, Gemma and Kllio in your prayers.

Please note the following important happenings and events:

The Year of Matthew:  In the New Year, we will read mostly Matthew Gospel, along with other readings. Sometimes it is called “The Year of Matthew.” This Gospel brings good news for us and we need to grow as we look at it through new lens. I suggest that you may even read the whole Gospel to receive the benefits.

Bible Study: I also plan to start a Bible Study on Romans in our Church, starting at 9 am on Wednesday 25 January 2017.  It will be 7 Bible studies, held on each Wednesday All are welcome and bring others too.

Yoga and Christian meditation course starts on Wednesday 25 January 2017, at 10 am in our Church.

See the details in the pamphlet.

Baptism of Jesus: Today’s Bible reading (Matthew 3:13-17) call us to reflect on Christ’s Baptism, which is his identification with the humanity. We are also called to reflect on our own baptism.  “Baptism is the outward sign of God’s inward grace.” We thank God that we are baptised and let us grow in Christ and witness for his kingdom with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Shalom


Pastoral Letter 16 October

While Amos has been away, you have read summaries of the work which has been done by the various leaders in your church – Church Councillors, Elders and Presbytery Representative. As a final contribution I would like to share my idea of the role as Chair of the Church Council and Chair of the Congregation along with ways we can communicate.

Much of my work as Chair is administrative and includes liaising with the Moreton Rivers Presbytery and chairing meetings. Although your Church Council has formal responsibilities listed in the Constitution and Regulations of the Uniting Church, our foremost priority is “to building up the Congregation in faith and love, sustaining members in hope, and leading the Congregation to a fuller participation in Christ’s mission in the world”. My role is to help make this happen by assisting any and all members of our church in their Christian endeavours.

We have been blessed with the passion and skill of Amos in leading us along a path of transformation to a multicultural church. I endeavour to coordinate our efforts in supporting this vision. Part of that effort is trying to match our aim with the minister who will follow Amos. Your Joint Nominating Committee will hold conversations with ministers shortly and, God willing, will recommend someone for the Congregation’s approval.

Please pray for God’s guidance in our work.

Another job I have is preparing the Cross Chat. If there is a message which you would like to share, please phone or email it to me at the address on the bottom of the back page of the Cross Chat.

Also, I look after the church’s website and Facebook page. Forgotten when you are next on roster or want to read Amos’ last Pastoral Letter? Check out the website. These are important ways in which we can communicate to the wider community so please post your message on our Facebook page (see the front of the Cross Chat). Embrace the electronic age :)


Pastoral Letter 9 October

While Amos is away, each of the officeholders on Church Council will write a “Pastoral Letter” which will include a short summary of their portfolio and any other roles they have in our church. This week’s contribution is from Kath Sternberg.

Kath Sternberg (Presbytery Representative)

I am not a member of Church Council but have been asked to provide some information about a couple of the tasks I undertake.

Having decided to write about some less visible activities, the first that comes to mind is hall rental, which I have done for quite some years (since the Lord Family left us). The requirements of this job are:

.   Take phone enquiries;

.   Arrange to show prospective hirers over the premises;

.   Make sure that Licence Agreements are correctly completed and sent to Property and Finance for approval;

.   Involve Church Council and /or the minister in any contentious hirings;

.   Ensure new hirers have appropriate Public Liability insurance and continuing hirers provide new insurance details when the old one has expired;

.   Obtain a new Licence Agreement every 12 months from continuing hirers;

.   Ensure all hirers are familiar with, and abide by the rules of use set by Church Council;

.   Ensure payment from hirers is up to date and correctly receipted.

It would be good if someone other than me knew how to do this job. Please ask.

Another, much more agreeable,  responsibility I undertake, is to assist Amos and Valma to provide a meaningful and accessible worship service for the residents of the Acquired Brain Injury unit (Jacana) every three weeks. It has been my privilege and pleasure to do this for some years now with a few of our past ministers. The service is well received, with participation from those attending dependent upon individual ability. We sing favourite hymns and choruses, have a bible reading with a complementary story, and prayers (always including the Lord’s prayer) all within a fairly short time frame.  This can be quite a challenging activity but is extremely rewarding. Since Valma has been providing music for the service the tone and interest have lifted remarkably. The good thing about a team to do this is that if one or the other of us cannot come the others just pick up the slack (apart from piano playing!).

At the last service before Christmas a few people from the BR congregation come and Carols are sung with great joy and much gusto.

If you would like to involve yourself have a chat to one of us.

Pastoral Letter 2 October

While Amos is away, each of the officeholders on Church Council will write a “Pastoral Letter” which will include a short summary of their portfolio and any other roles they have in our church. This week’s contribution is from Keith Ensor.

Keith Ensor (Property)

There are numerous “things” that have to be attended to with all properties and Buildings.  Everything from cutting grass to ensuring the electric lights come on when switched on.

Some of the “things” done to our church and grounds of late include:- Demolition and removal of our original storage shed and erection of a new shed – Fence repairs – Carpark cleaning and erection of bollards – Mower repairs and maintenance –  Weed and bindi spraying – Yellow safety marking on concrete surfaces where levels change – Safety advisory and directional signs – Replacing broken window glass – Repairing roof leaks – Painting of most external doors – Replacement of corroded down pipes – Toilet repairs – Church cleaning – Furniture repairs and more.

Future activities include – Full church carpet cleaning and a complete check of the total electrical system on the site.

Many of the “jobs” are carried out by contractors employed for specific tasks.  However many are also done by congregation members, relatives and friends of the church.  Without the efforts of members and volunteers many of the “jobs” would go undone and our church environment would be much the poorer.

As works are done, or major works proposed to be done, are identified, a report is presented to the Church Council, advising the state of affairs and requesting approval, if necessary, for proposed major works.

As items (works) requiring attention arise action towards rectifying them commences.

Pastoral Letter 25 September

While Amos is away, each of the officeholders on Church Council will write a “Pastoral Letter” which will include a short summary of their portfolio and any other roles they have in our church. This week’s contribution is from Marilyn Linnett.

What is pastoral care?

We are all pastoral carers in our church.  Being aware of others’ needs and responding to those needs is a Christian responsibility.  We must love others as Christ loves them.

At Bracken Ridge Uniting Church, we have ten designated pastoral carers and each is responsible for members of the congregation.  The pastoral care list is available for all and is distributed when changes are made.

I am the Pastoral Care coordinator and it is my responsibility to conduct pastoral care meetings and to notify pastoral carers of needs. The pastoral carers then contact those for whom they are responsible.  Keeping in touch with congregational members of our church is vital.  A People Book with names, addresses and phone numbers is available.  Please see me if you don’t have one.

Some pastoral carers are also elders and I am one of those.  As an elder, I help in worship and the sacraments.  I also share in the spiritual oversight of the congregation.

Remember, you are never alone at Bracken Ridge Uniting Church. There are always people who care deeply.

“Brother, sister, let me serve you.

 Let me be as Christ to you.”

Pastoral Letter 18 September

While Amos is away, each of the officeholders on Church Council will write a “Pastoral Letter” which will include a short summary of their portfolio and any other roles they have in our church. This week’s contribution is from Diane Ensor.

I became an Elder of our Congregation about 3 years ago and took on Community Support and Outreach.

Our congregation supports Chappy’s Breakfast at Bracken Ridge State High School, Lent programme, Mele’s Stamp Collection, McKay Patrol, Samaritan’s Purse, Food Bank at Christmas, Switch and Therapeutic Yoga and Christian Meditation.  While I report on all these activities to the Church Council and the Annual Congregational Meeting, there are people in our congregation and Rev. Amos who organize and lead a number of these programmes.

The Outreach I am most involved in is Samaritan Purse, Lent and the Food Bank.  While there is plenty of work involved to run the Samaritan Purse activities and collection of items for the Shoe Boxes etc., I enjoy the challenge to make it a successful, happy and meaningful outreach for our Congregation and a real blessing to the children and their families who receive these shoe boxes and also the opportunity to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.

I am also involved in sharing “Word for All” on many Sundays, and hope that the children enjoy the story and gain some insight into the meaning behind the story.  As adults, I know it gives us much pleasure, and often puts a smile on our face to watch the children enjoying this special time together.

God bless you

Pastoral Letter 11 September

While Amos is away, each of the officeholders on Church Council will write a “Pastoral Letter” which will include a short summary of their portfolio and any other roles they have in our church. This week’s contribution is from Rodney Sternberg.

As Treasurer of the Congregation, I have to ensure that the accounting is correct for all income and expenditure for the Congregation. To enable this to happen, I have listed some of the duties I must perform. They are:

  1. Weekly banking of any money received.
  2. Payment of all accounts when they are due for payment. This includes checking of the accounts to ensure they are regular accounts paid by the Congregation and the amounts are in line with previous accounts for this expenditure item.
  3. Seeking Church Council approval for any irregular and unusual payments.
  4. Maintaining a record of all Income and expenditure items.
  5. Preparation of reports for Church Council meetings.
  6. Discussing the reports at a Church Council meeting and answering any queries.
  7. Organizing the annual audit of the accounts.
  8. Preparation and submission of the Annual Financial Reports for Synod and Presbytery.
  9. Completion of Annual Insurance Survey Report.
  10. Preparation of annual budget for approval by Church Council.

This year, we have budgeted for a small deficit of just over $1,000.00.  At the end of August, our accounts show that we are running very close to budget and may even end up making a small surplus for the year.