St. John's Uniting Church Wahroonga

Imagining the future: worship for all ages

Next Monday (August 2nd) at 7:45pm at the Manse – our next “imagining the future” discussion will focus on how we might go about building a worship service that will be accessible to all ages – with a special focus on families with pre-school and primary-school aged kids.

Come along and help shape this exciting new direction!

Playjays Play Dough

By popular demand – here’s the recipe we use to make play dough for Playjays!

2 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons Cream of Tartar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup salt
2 cups boiling water
food colouring

Mix everything together in a big bowl, then knead it until the colour and texture are consistent. Keep it in air tight bags in the fridge and it lasts for weeks.

Treason

Teach us to pray.

That’s probably a request every one of us would want to ask of Jesus. For few – if any – of us does prayer come naturally and easily. We sense that it is so important, but struggle to make sense of it, struggle to stick at it, even struggle to get started in the first place. So “teach us to pray” had to be a request worth making.

On the other hand, their tradition was full of prayers. The Jewish people had a rich collection of prayers for public and private worship – not least, those collected in the psalms. Prayers for every situation, prayers for every emotion. Prayers of praise and lament and mourning and celebration, prayers for new birth, for entering adulthood, for marriage, for death. Prayers for morning and for night. There was no shortage of words for those who wanted to pray.

As indeed, there is no shortage of words for us. Walk into a Christian bookshop and browse the section on prayer. Or type ‘prayer’ into Google – it returns over 57 million web pages. Continue reading

Thank you!

A huge thank you to everyone who put in so much hard work to make the antiques’ fair such an amazing time. Whether it was delivering leaflets, moving furnitures, cooking scones, getting donations from local businesses, dealing with dealers or the thousand other jobs that had to be done… it takes the whole of our community to pull off such a big event, and to make it so much fun and such a spectacular weekend.

Tradition!

What have we done here today?

I wonder when you last stopped to wonder what we are doing; we, as a congregation, as the people of God in this place, when we allow someone to be baptized amongst us.

What have we done?

Each time we have a baptism we, as a congregation, make a promise. We promise to so live out our lives as the people of God that those who we baptize will be given every opportunity to grow to maturity in the faith.
And in doing so, we accept the awesome responsibility of passing on the faith to the next generation. In this moment we acknowledge that we are not the beginning and the end of the faith story; that we are a link in the chain, one part of the great cloud of witnesses who surround us – those who have come before us, and who will come after us. For four thousand years the story of the people of God: for two thousand years the story of the people of Jesus Christ: this story that we are part of has been passed on from generation to generation. It has taken on many different forms, and been expressed in many different ways, but the story of Jesus Christ and of his people, the story of the Kingdom of God, has been kept alive – because at every step along the way, people have accepted responsibility to pass it on. Continue reading

Good Samaritan

The story of the Good Samaritan is probably one of the best known and most loved passages in the New Testament. It is part of the Australian tradition to favour the underdog and it warms our hearts to read of the outcast Samaritan being the hero of the tale.

Not the priest or the Levite, the religious official, but the outsider.

In contemporary Australia, Jesus might well have said: on the one hand a much loved Uniting Church moderator and a highly respected Parish Councillor as the ones who passed by;
and as the one who helped, an asylum seeker of dubious background. Continue reading

Winter Journal

  • Who are Playjays?
  • What are cartophiles?
  • What might happen on September 26th?
  • What have mushrooms to do with St John’s?
  • Who in the congregation was born in Parramatta?
  • What are those things in the photo?

All these questions, and many others, are answered in the winter journal. Order a paper copy from Rosemary, or download it here!

BELLS

I’d like this week to continue from where we got to last time. For those who weren’t here, or can’t remember, or weren’t really listening, let me summarize: last week I argued that Jesus made it easy for people to come to him, but hard for them to follow him: that he went out of his way to make it easy for anyone to come and hear the good news, to receive healing, forgiveness, love; but that he made it clear that to be his follower was not easy; that it required commitment and a willingness to sacrifice, that the price to part of the Jesus movement was the whole of your life.

And I suggested that the Church’s response to falling numbers has often been to try to make being a follower of Jesus easier; to water down our gospel until discipleship means almost nothing, until being a Christian asked no more than a few hours on a Sunday. And I argued that this was solving the wrong problem; that at the heart of declining Church membership was not that we had made following Jesus too hard – it’s meant to be hard – but that we failed to make coming to Jesus easy. That we had hidden the good news of the Kingdom of God behind walls of stone, walls of language, walls of culture. Continue reading

Last Playjays of term

Playjays’ first term finished with a bang and a delicious cake, which was both enjoyed and evenly distributed all over the hall floor… 56 different children came along at one time or another this term, with as many as 25 squeezing into the hall any given Friday. A great deal of fun for parents, grandparents and volunteers alike.

We’ll be taking a two week break over the school holidays, and starting again on 23rd July.