Life Together – John McLean

November 24th, 2017
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 Greetings from the National Office.

 Transitions:

Retirement of Bill Sidney; installation of Bharat Naker

 Bill Sidney has retired from his role as pastor of the Eagleby congregation in Brisbane.

 It was a privilege to conduct a special service last month where Bill and Daphne Sidney were farewelled with much affection and appreciation, and their ministry celebrated and honoured. We also installed Bharat Naker as the new Eagleby pastor.

 Bill and Daphne’s almost 40 years of service were remembered and rejoiced in, with a wonderful slideshow of photos from their various postings. Their ministry took them to many places. While pastoring Grafton, Bill travelled to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Indonesia Tarawara and Naru. Bill and Daphne then moved to India, where Bill served as office manager and pastor. In one of those nice twists, they were followed into India by – Bharat and Urvashi Naker. Bill returned to Australia and pastored our congregation in North Brisbane.

 Then Bill and Daphne relocated to the Philippines, where, after first serving as Director of Ministerial Services, Bill worked as Regional Director of the Philippines from 1994 to 2003. After this, the Sidneys returned to Australia, where their final pastorate was in Eagleby. Bill was the first minister from our denomination to go into Papua New Guinea, where we still have a thriving congregation. While Regional Director in the Philippines, Bill travelled to Japan and other parts of Asia.

 On behalf of our whole church family, I thanked Bill and Daphne for their outstanding contribution to our fellowship, and the communities where they have lived. Their commitment and dedicated service has been a blessing to so many over all these years.

 Both Bill and Daphne have a real heart for mission, and throughout the service Bill and Daphne’s love for people was highlighted – their selfless giving and genuine love for everyone they encountered, and their compassion for the marginalized and the needy.

 BillSidney

Daphne and Bill Sidney

 The Eagleby congregation presented the Sidney’s with a farewell gift, and David Chivers offered prayer on behalf of the church there.

 No celebration, service, slide-show, or summary can come close to adequately doing justice to Bill and Daphne’s near 40 years of ministry. We thank God for them. And we thank them for their labours of love, their patient persistence, their faithful walk, their example, and their endurance inspired by the hope of the gospel.

 Bill continues as an elder of our denomination, and continues with his work in counselling. Daphne serves as Board Chair, and helps with Registrar responsibilities for ACCM. They remain a vibrant part of the rich tapestry of our fellowship, and their vast experience and wisdom will not be lost to the church family.

 The service included the installation of Bharat Naker as the new Eagleby pastor. Bharat and his wife Urvashi will also help with other congregations in the region.

 BharatNaker

Installation of Bharat Naker

 It was a bittersweet morning; Bill and Daphne were so obviously loved by their congregation, but there was a sense of joy as well – joy for Bill and Daphne’s next stage in life, and joy at the arrival of Bharat and Urvashi.

 Bharat was ordained in 1987. Since then Bharat and Urvashi have ministered in Los Angeles, India (following Bill and Daphne’s time there), Sydney, Sri Lanka, and Adelaide, bringing warmth, energy and enthusiasm to every role. After the service, members shared a beautiful farewell/welcome cake and celebrated the new chapter in Eagleby’s story.

 Eagleby

Cutting the cake

 Our prayers and very best wishes go with Bill and Daphne in Bill’s retirement, and with the Bharat and Urvashi in their new roles.

 ACCM:

JG course in Melbourne; SF and PC courses in Orlando

 In late August, ACCM conducted a Jesus and the Gospels Course in Melbourne. I co-taught the course with Matt Gudze and Al Kurzawa. Here is some feedback, from two of the course participants, Phil Van Dijck and Nadia Peters.

 I found the ACCM course to be a high quality resource for the study of scripture, that highlights the importance of being educated in a manner built on a solid foundation.Phil:

 It is not simply a matter of having a strong opinion about something we read, it’s about being willing to learn from those who have gone before us. The Body of Christ is made up of ordinary people who became established, faithful and dedicated followers of Christ. They were excited about what they were learning, they were willing to do the hard work and they understood their efforts would be a blessing to those they rubbed shoulders with and as well as those who would later follow.

 ACCM places an emphasis on the need to read and think contextually – historically, linguistically and in terms of each book for what it was meant to convey. It also showed the connection between what we learn from scripture and how we live our lives each day and how that plays out in ministry.

 I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to have a deeper grasp of scripture and the sheer wonder of what God wants to share with us all.

 Nadia:

The ACCM course ‘Jesus and the Gospels’ is the third intensive weekend I have been blessed to participate in. This has been my favourite ACCM course yet as I particularly enjoyed the focus on the life and ministry of Jesus. The course equipped us with many tools to help us gain a better understanding of scripture.

Particularly I enjoyed learning what an exegesis is and how it can be a valuable way to look at a passage.

 I have already noticed the benefits to my own personal study as well as with what I can bring to discussions and studies and look forward to continuing to apply the tools I’ve learnt in future study.

 Another highlight of an ACCM intensive weekend is always the fellowship and catching up with people who might make the trip from interstate or from other parts of Victoria. This is always a highlight and it was no exception this time as on the Saturday evening many members of MCF joined us for a potluck dinner and a game of bingo.

 I have found the ACCM courses enjoyable and informative and if the opportunity arises I highly encourage everyone to participate in an intensive weekend course.

 In Orlando, connected to the big International Conference, we conducted two ACCM classes – Spiritual Formation, and Pastoral Care. I co-taught the former with Matt and Al, and Phil Hopwood taught the Pastoral Care course, with Charles Fleming. The response, as ever, was overwhelmingly appreciative and positive. In a happy milestone, I was able to accredit African MD Kalengule Kaoma and his wife Nsama to teach the ACCM Spiritual Formation course in Africa. This is just the first of some important developments taking place with ACCM in serving the training and development needs of our pastors and ministry leaders around the world. More to follow in subsequent messages.

 Thanks for your prayers; we always pray for you. Let us continue to pray for one another, for our church family, for those suffering and in need, and for the work of the gospel in our troubled, violent and divided world

2017 Victorian Regional Conference Weekend

 The Victorian Regional conference weekend is always a wonderful time of fellowship, celebration, learning and worshipping together. It’s also a time when, during a pot-luck dinner, cakes are auctioned to raise funds for campers going to SEP.

 Here’s an account from Carissa and Matthew Sianidis:

The annual Victorian Regional Conference was a wonderful weekend of community, worship and conversation. On the 27th and 28th of October, GCI churches from around Victoria met together for the weekend hosted by Mooroolbark Christian Fellowship. Together, participants engaged in sessions, enjoyed a worship service together, and shared meals and fun in between.

 This year’s sessions focussed on the theme of “Living Together as the Church.” It was a joyful (and often humorous) exploration into the beauty and reality of the community we are called into together in Christ. The Victorian churches were glad to welcome National Director John McLean again as one of the presenters for the Conference. John gave the main message during the service, and also facilitated a session on practical ministry and service in living together as the church. Other sessions were run by Pastors Al Kurzawa and Matthew Gudze, along with Randall Bourchier, and Carissa and Matthew Sianidis.

 A highlight of the weekend was the annual “Cake Auction” – a successful and very entertaining MCF tradition. Youth and church members baked and decorated fabulous cakes which were then auctioned off to raise funds for the SEP youth summer camp. This year’s young auctioneers – Mitch Eastwood and Georgie Pedersen – made a stunning debut and kept everyone laughing with an exhaustive list of baking-related puns. There was almost as much laughter as bidding, but the community did manage to set a new record for the highest bid on a cake.

 These special church events rarely happen without significant behind-the-scenes efforts, and the participants are grateful to all those who served and volunteered their time over the weekend. In particular, thanks must go to Ruth Castledine and her team who organised the meals (and clean-up) over the weekend. These beautiful acts of service are a living example of the conference’s focus; living together in love, harmony and service to one another.

 David Jordison receives SES award

 SES Week provides an opportunity for volunteers to be thanked by local councils and by the state government for the role they play in assisting communities in times of need. As part of this week last month, our Office Manager and Accountant David Jordison received a leadership award for his work with the Gold Coast Unit of the State Emergency Services (SES). The award was presented by Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, and a councillor.

 The award referenced providing leadership, guidance and inspiration to others, which in turn contributes to the effective and efficient functioning of the Gold Coast SES Unit.

 Congratulations to David for this outstanding volunteer work. And thanks to him for the sterling job and wonderful contribution he makes to our fellowship in his many functions.

 Interviews online

 While in the USA for the International and MD conference, I interviewed Greg Williams (CAD, USA), Kalengule and Nsama Kaoma (Africa), Charles Fleming (Caribbean) and Gary Moore (Canada). You might enjoy getting to know them, and thus be better informed as we support and pray for one another around the world. We truly are an international family, and the fellowship and relationships we share nationally and internationally are a great blessing.

 Greg talks about the upcoming office move to North Carolina, and about the role of ACCM in training our pastors. I asked KK (as he is known) and Nsama about some of the challenges they face in Africa, and their greatest needs. KK and Nsama identified training and developing their pastoral leaders as top of their (very long) list of needs. ACCM is able to play a vital role in helping with this need in Africa. So heartfelt thanks to you all who have supported ACCM, as we are now able to directly assist in training present and future GCI pastors in Africa.

 You can find the interviews at:

http://www.gci.org.au/home/media/video/

 If you need help with your credentials for logging into your account, please email contact@gci.org.au .

 Prayer

 Please continue to pray for us at the office, for our pastors, and for one another. And please pray for our fellowship around the world.

 As Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “A Christian fellowship lives and exists by the intercession of its members for one another”. Our lives are bound together in a divine spiritual realty. It is not a reality which we must create of ourselves; it is a reality created by Jesus Christ in which we may participate. And our participation with one another in prayer is both a privilege and a vital key to our walk together.

 Blessings,

John

News

Flood Relief in Nepal and News from Myanmar

November 24th, 2017
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This report details how our international church has been helping people in Nepal after the devastating floods and how a new motorcycle helps our pastor in Myanmar.

To read the report from Rod Matthews please click News from Southern Asia – Nepal – 19Oct2017.

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Auckland GCI 50th Anniversary

November 24th, 2017
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Fifty excited people attended the fiftieth anniversary of the Auckland Church on Saturday November 4 th , fifty years to the
day after our very first service. The event was held at the Mt Eden hall where we have been meeting regularly for services
for the past 15 years.

For the full report from Rex Morgan click Auckland Golden Anniversary.

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