St. John's Uniting Church Wahroonga


Isaiah 43:8-13 | Acts 1:1-8
Cast your mind back, if you will, and if you were here, past the family service last week, and over the two weeks before that. You may recall that I preached two sermons which seemed to say totally different – even contradictory – things.

Three weeks ago, I spoke on Paul’s passionate appeal for the followers of Jesus to share the good news: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved – but how will they be able to call on the name of the Lord if no-one tells them”. The fundamental difference between the Church and a voluntary community organisation is not what we do, but that we do it in the name of Jesus Christ.

But then the week before last I spoke of sharing the good news of the Kingdom of God by living lives that make a difference; by loving radically; standing against prejudice even when it is deeply embedded in our own culture; refusing to close our eyes to suffering or to deny our part in perpetuating injustice. Sharing the Kingdom of God by making that Kingdom more real in the day to day life of those around us. Continue reading


The first glorious sunny Friday of spring saw most of the kids outside for Playjays this week – riding the wheeled toys and making an almighty mess of the painting table. Most of the parents were happy to be able to be out in the sunshine as well. If this weather keeps us, we’ll have the water table out before long…

Congregational meeting (update)

Update – the meeting has been moved back a week to Sunday 4th September. The papers (account for last year and budget for this) are available in the narthex. If you picked up a copy last week please note that there have been some corrections made since then!

On Sunday 28th we’ll be having a short congregational meeting after the morning service to receive the accounts for the year ending 30th June 2011 and approve the budget for the 2011/12 year. Copies of all the paperwork will be at Church this Sunday. Please try to stay for this short but important meeting!

Love Wins @ Nooma

Starting on September 6th, Nooma will be starting a series of studies based on Rob Bell’s controversial “Love Wins”. Come along to explore perspectives on heaven, hell, and life before and after death… 7:45pm, Tuesday nights at the Manse.

Sharing the Kingdom

Matthew 5:13-16 | Acts 17:16-23
After last week’s sermon I had a number of people come up to me and say things along the lines of “I know we ought to be telling people about Jesus, but I’m just no good at proselytising”. To which my instinctive response was “good. So don’t do that.” But it’s a question – or a concern – that deserves rather more than a flippant answer. So today I’d like to explore different approaches to sharing the Kingdom of God, none of which consist primarily in going up to someone and saying “hey, you need to know about Jesus”.

For I’m sure that the vast majority of Christians could say something like this: I want other people to know the good news of the Kingdom of God, I want my friends and family to experience the love of God as I have, but I’m just awful at talking about God. I don’t know what to say, I can’t put the things that really matter into words, I can’t explain that magical, amazing, indefinable something that is at the heart of my faith in Jesus. Continue reading

Sent ahead

Romans 10:12-15 | Matthew 14:22-33

The crowds have been fed, the baskets of food have been collected, and now it is time for everyone to go home. And Jesus sends the disciples on ahead, and he dismisses the crowd, and goes up the mountain, by himself, to pray.

If you were to look back at the start of the story of the feeding of the 5000, you’d see that that was what Jesus had been trying to do all along; that story begins with the words “he withdraw in a boat to a deserted place by himself”. And read back further still and you’ll see why; for Matthew chapter 14 starts with the execution of John the Baptist: it is when Jesus heard of this, that he retreated to find a quiet spot.

Confronted by the unjust execution of his cousin John, whose crime had been to offend the powerful wife of Herod by speaking the truth of her adulterous climb to power: confronted by the reality of what happened to the man who had been his forerunner, surely the reality of what he himself faced was greatly on his mind. And so he sought, and finally found, a little space for himself.

But I don’t think that in the story we heard today Jesus desire for a little peace and quiet was on the forefront of the disciples’ minds. This story must have stayed with them for entirely another reason.

But hold that thought for a few moments, and fast forward twenty years. Continue reading

Pipe Dreams III

The third in our series of Pipe Dreams concerts is almost upon us! Sarah Kim will be performing this coming Saturday night (August 13th) at 8pm. Tickets are $20 on the door ($15 concessions). Should be an amazing evening of organ music.

Walks in August, 2011

Waratahs, Muogamarra, September 2010

The Cartophiles will run two half-day walks in August, both of which are a fantastic opportunity for novice bushwalkers and casual members to :

  • Saturday 13th August
    9km, 3hr, Thornleigh Station to Hornsby Station along the Great North Walk, rated moderate.   Finish with lunch at the Hornsby Inn
  • Saturday 27th Aug
    6km, 4hrs including lunch break, walk through the wildflowers of the Muogamarra Nature Reserve, rated easy to moderate.  Muogamarra is only open to the public for six weekends a year.

For more information read the August 2011 walks flyer, or contact Kit Craig at or on 0411 507 422.

Spit Bridge to Manly, 18th June 2011

Crossing Reef Beach

We had an almost perfect day for a dozen Cartophiles to take on the iconic Spit Bridge to Manly walk (officially known as the Manly Scenic Walkway).  This beautiful 9km walk was opened as a bicentennial joint project between Manly Council and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.  Lonely Planet travellers ranked it number 26 of 950 things to do in Sydney.   It’s a truly lovely walk, mostly through the Sydney Harbour National Park, and it’s often easy to forget you’re right in the middle of Australia’s largest city!

Regular walkers Mary, James, Doug, Don, Aida, Michael, Gabriel, Sue S, Sue C and Kit welcomed new Cartophiles Margaret and  John.  James mistimed his arrival, but ran to catch us up at Contarf Beach Reserve.

Beauty on beauty: Aida, Sue C & Sue S with South Head in the background

Up the rock steps near Grotto Point

The first part of the walk is past quiet bush, rock shelves, waterfalls, aboriginal shell middens and lovely views over Spit Bridge to Middle Harbour.  The walk then crosses Sandy Bay to Contarf Beach Reserve, and climbs from Clontarf Beach to Castle Rock.  It tracks alongside Middle Harbour to climb to Dobroyd Head, with stunning views of both North and South Heads.  It then drops to Reef Beach, follows the shoreline to Forty Baskets Beach and tracks around North Harbour, past Fairlight Beach and Manly Oceanworld into the Manly Wharf end of the Corso.

We met Chris, Sureka, Jeyanth and Maya at Fairlight Beach.  When we finished the walk most of us gathered at The Steyne Hotel for a counter lunch and celebratory drinks.   This was a thoroughly delightful day that we’ll repeat in the future.

Our next walk is also our first two day hike for the year: along the Great North Walk from the Old Watagan HQ to Barraba Trig and return.

Mt Wilga Circuit Bushwalk, 21st May 2010

On a beautiful late autumn day 10 Cartophiles explored one of the most surprising and accessible walks in our area.  The regulars were there: Mary, James, Doug Sue and Kit.  We welcomed back Sureka, Chris & Deshdeep and we greeted three first time Cartophiles: Tim, Jane & Jennifer.  Jennifer is an especially pleasing new member.  She’s an experienced trekker who only moved to Sydney five weeks earlier from West Texas, and found us via this web site!

Emerging from the bush

Any last words? Sue watches Chris take to the ladder.
The walk started from Doug & Aida’s house with a pleasant stroll along Manor Road, accompanied by a barking dog determined to see us off.  We left the road and climbed 3-4m down a rockface on a metal ladder, then descended the steep stone steps into Old Man’s Valley. Here the walk joins the Blue Gum circuit and continues down the valley to the Fishpond Waterhole on Berowra Creek, where we joind the Great North Walk.
There was lots of chat as we negotiated the concrete ‘stepping stones’ across Berowra Creek.  Jane, walking in Crocs, was especially careful of her foot placement.
The walk follows Berowra Creek through some wonderful scenery.  It was often hard to remember that in a straight line we were only minutes from houses and the Pacific Highway.  After about 4½km the track drops to the banks of the creek and a track junction at the Steele Bridge.  This structure was conceived and designed in 1942 by Major General Sir Clive Steele when Bailey Bridging supplies were unavailable, and the Cartophiles stood enthralled as Kit expounded on the history of it.  Fortunately he has a loud voice which drowned out most of the snoring.
From the bridge the walk climbs the fire trail that runs past the rifle range.  There was an obvious increase in pace after the sign “Danger – ammunition projectiles may land in this area”.

A pause by the waterfall

We left the fire trail and passed a sweet little waterfall before starting the steep climb back to Manor Road.  Back at Doug and Aida’s we had a very pleasant barbecue, with a few Ruth Keir memorial reds, and looked forward to our next adventure, the Spit to Manly walk.