St. John's Uniting Church Wahroonga

Everything in Common

As Christmas approaches, you are no doubt trying to find the perfect gift for someone…. So why not consider giving a gift through Uniting World’s Everything in Common catalogue, and make a meaningful difference to those most in need?

You can check out the catalogue online, or look for the stall at St. John’s from this Sunday.

Family Christmas Celebration

What a morning… I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many children gathered together in St. John’s – and didn’t they do an amazing job in the Christmas Pageant. A huge thank you to everyone who helped make the morning so special, and special thanks to the WPS choir for joining us. I had a fantastic time telling the Christmas story with and for the kids, and I just hope everyone else enjoyed the service as much as I did.

And thanks, too, to everyone who made the after-service celebrations so great – the sausage-sizzlers, morning tea crowd, and, of course, Santa… The kids were still playing outside an hour after the service finished, I don’t think anyone wanted to go home.

The Big Story

Colossians 1:11-20 | Luke 1:68-79

This Sunday is a day of beginnings and of endings.

For Alicia and Gareth, today is a celebration of a new arrival in their family; for Joshua, we’ve marked the beginning of a new role, of being a big brother, no longer the family baby, now the big boy.

And for Charlie, today marks a new beginning in his relationship with God, and with God’s people, for whom we stand as representatives.

Not that today has made any of things happen: Charlie has been part of Alicia, Gareth and Joshua’s family for four months already, and has been known and loved, by them and by God, for months more than that. But today we have recognized and celebrated this new beginning, and in doing so we have made promises that give form to the story of Charlie’s life with God.

But alongside our celebration today, we have a sadness as well, as we recognize that this is the last Sunday that Patricia and Ray will be worshipping with us regularly. We trust – no, we insist – that they’ll be back to visit us from time to time, but today we mark an ending of their time with us.

The start of a new chapter in the story of Charles Watkins, the end of a chapter in the story of the Daly’s and St. John’s.

Beginnings and endings. Life’s full of them. Sometimes fuller than we would like. Because if there is one certainty in life, it is change. Continue reading

Gregor at Bring and Share

This Sunday, at Bring and Share, will be a (almost your last) chance to hear from Gregor… Gregor spent a few weeks travelling around the UK on the ‘Fresh Expressions’ tour earlier this year, and he’ll be sharing some of his observations about new ways of being Church that are being tried out over there.

Wahroonga Village Fair

The first Sunday of December (5th this year) marks the annual Wahroonga Village Fair. This year St. John’s offered to run a stall doing free face-painting for kids (and, I suppose, adults who are game!), and despite the fact that all the spots seemed booked up long before we got our acts together, the chamber of commerce have found a spot for us!

So… if you are able to lend an hour or two to be on a face-painting roster, or if you can help us to set up in the morning or knock down in the afternoon, please let Chris know!

Two Futures

Isaiah 65:17-25 | Luke 21:5-11

I wonder what sort of world you imagine, when you look into the future. When you look around at the world of today, and at the pace of change; at the advances we seem to make every year in technology and science; at the damage we seem unable to prevent ourselves from doing to our environment. When you look at the people of the world, and see in one place remarkable forbearance and tolerance, and in another the most unspeakable acts of brutality and evil.

What sort of world do you imagine for the future? There can’t be a better day than the day of baptism to ask this question. What sort of world will Ella and Georgina, and all the other children here today, grow up in?

Our Bible readings today give us two visions of the future – and they could hardly be more different. Isaiah foresees a time of peace and prosperity, of stability, of long life and fruitful labour.

And Jesus points to a future in which buildings will be thrown down, a time of war and conflict, of nation rising against nation, of earthquakes, famines and plagues.

Two visions of the future. I wonder which you expect. Which you believe? Is the future a place of peace and prosperity, a world without war, poverty, disease and disaster? Or is it a scary place, a place of conflict and instability and violence? Continue reading

Greater Splendour

Haggai 2:1-9 | Luke 6:20-31

You know, sometimes you look at the Bible readings, and it brings a smile to your face just to think that you’re not the one who is going to have to read them aloud. “the word of the Lord came by the prophet Haggai, saying: Speak now to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua son of Jehozadak”. What a mouthful. I think back to Gregor’s alt. worship the other week, where he got us to look at whether our language made the story of God accessible, or hid it in religious phraseology, and it seems to me that passages such as this shout ‘archaic, alien, irrelevant’ just by the way they sound.

Which is a bit of a shame, really. Because at the heart of the Haggai reading is a complaint that is entirely modern – or rather, timeless. The complaint Haggai voices and answers is essentially this: “things ain’t what they used to be”. Continue reading

Puffy paint

Seems like puffy paint was a big hit with both kids and parents at Playjays today. As promised, here’s the very simple recipe…

Mix equal volumes of salt and self raising flour.
Add about the same volume of water (enough to make it the consistency of thick paint), and a drop of food colouring.
Paint onto card (paper isn’t heavy enough) and cook in the microwave for 20 seconds.

Berowra to Berowra Waters, Sat 30th October

Shirley & Sue overlooking Berowra Creek

On a beautiful sunny day four Cartophiles (Sue, Ken, Don & Kit) met at Berowra Station.  We were to be joined by our newest member, Desh, for his first EVER bushwalk.  Unfortunately he was delayed by railway track work, so the rest of us had to have coffee in Cafe Boccelli until his bus arrived (ah, the tribulations of bushwalking!). While Kit was collecting Desh we were joined by Shirley, a walker from St James, Thornleigh, who had lost her group and asked if she could join ours.  So, eventually, six of us struck off towards Berowra Waters.

The outbound 5½km leg follows the high ground above Berwora Creek, with some spectacular views back towards the Crosslands Reserve.  As we got closer to the steep descent to the water we were also treated to forest-backed panoramas of the boats and houses of Berowra Waters.

Crossing Berowra Creek to lunch, L-R Don, Desh, Sue

We planned to stop for lunch at the Berowra Waters Garden House café, but it was shut.  We blame Kit.  Instead we hopped on the ferry and crossed to the marina for an al fresco bistro (and a couple of beers for certain unnamed walkers).

The beer-laden postprandial uphill walk back to Berowra, in the much warmer weather, subdued the happy conversation only slightly.  Don’s mouth organ accompaniment helped.  Kit’s singing didn’t.

Our next day walk, the last for 2010,  is the Manly Scenic Walkway, often called the Spit to Manly walk, on Saturday 27th November.  This 9.1km Sydney classic provides beautiful views over Middle Harbour and the heads, Aboriginal rock carvings and, if we’re lucky, dolphins.  Sadly, Kit won’t be able to do it so he’ll meet the team at Manly Wharf to celebrate.