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At this year’s Sydney Anglican Synod, we were again reminded about the tragic damage in the lives of people affected by domestic abuse.
Back in 2017 we approved a draft policy on responding to domestic abuse, but last night we were able to lock in some important, final details.
One of the important things to note was the reality that the people who commit domestic abuse will sometimes ‘groom’ people in our churches so that their sin is hidden and impact of the abuse is underplayed.
Another problem was the risk of us showing “cheap grace” in misreading the difference between remorse and repentance.
After all, it’s not enough for an abuser to show they feel unhappy about the way they have treated their spouse: they need to genuinely repent of the sin, and show their commitment to making concrete changes to stop the harm.
To help church leaders better care for victims of domestic abuse, the Synod members were reminded to make sure that victims were not only initially helped to be made safe, but that they would continue to stay safe into the future.
Furthermore, the Synod announced that a special fund has been established to help support spouses of ministers who are victims of domestic abuse whose marriages fail, providing assistance in housing and other areas of need.
Archdeacon for Women, Kara Hartley, fought to hold back her emotions as she shared the impact of domestic abuse in our church:
“As I have been preparing for tonight, I’ve been struggling to capture my own feelings at the evil that is done when God’s precious word is twisted and used to excuse violence. I feel sadness and then I get so angry. To act violently is evil in itself but to falsely claim divine sanction is so outrageous.”
This Sunday we begin the next part of our series on ‘Romans: The Heart of Truth’, with Simon speaking on the topic ‘Truly transformed service’ from Romans chapter 12 verses 1 to 8.
We will hear from Jodie a special update about our annual get-together of all the churches in Sydney and the Illawarra (called the ‘Synod’) at both our services.
We will have our popular weekly question and answer time, and Jodie will be answering these questions:
This week also sees the return of our Children and Youth programs. Refuge, our youth group, meets at 4pm in the Neighbourhood Centre, and then head over to join us for church. Kids’ Club and Andy’s Club meets at our 5pm evening service for their program, followed by a great dinner together for the whole family.
As always, we’d love you to join us this Sunday at 10am or 5pm, or check us out online at www.oakflats.tv for live streaming of our two services.
One of the great treasures of the Christian faith is the collection of prayers found in ‘The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions’.
It contains two hundred or so prayers written nearly five hundred years ago, and their timeless words capture some deep reflections on the Bible’s teaching.
I first became aware of these prayers when an album was released by Sovereign Grace called ‘The Valley of Vision’, where several of these prayers were put to song, including ‘Let Your Kingdom Come’ and ‘O Great God’.
Yet it is the first song of the album, which is based on the first prayer of the book, that has been a great blessing to me in my Christian walk.
Here are the first two stanzas:
Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly,
Thou hast brought me to the valley of vision,
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.
Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.
Let us pray that we will find God’s glory in our valley.
This Sunday we welcome our missionary partner, Matthew Meek. Matthew will be speaking on the topic ‘Dying to save’ from Psalm 22, and during our services we will hear an update about his ministry with International students at UOW.
After the morning 10am service, all are invited for a Chinese-style Pot Luck Lunch from 12.30pm. We hope you are able to come.
We will be sharing in the Lord’s Supper this Sunday, so be sure to join us for this important reminder of the death of Jesus.
Our youth group, Refuge, plus Kids’ Club and Andy’s Club have taken a break during the school holidays, and will return next Sunday 21st October.
As always, come along and visit us at 10am or 5pm at 35 Fisher Street Oak Flats, or if you can’t make it in person, jump online at www.oakflats.tv to watch a livestream of our services.
See you at 10am or 5pm this Sunday, God willing!
Being away at the LiT (‘Leaders in Training’ camp) this week, we were talking about being resolute.
Resolute isn’t a word we often use these days and I wonder if it is because people in the world today are not resolute in much?
Though failings are not always due to a lack of resolve, passion, or commitment, it is still the case that when things don’t work out, we often do not like to recognise our part.
If you get a poor grade in school, it’s because the teacher didn’t instruct well enough.
If your marriage is failing, it’s your spouse’s fault, or their job, or the kids.
If you get knocked over really badly in the surf, many will hang up their wetsuits before having the resolve to get back on the board.
We are simply used to giving up at what we are not gifted at rather than being purposeful, determined, and unwavering.
Yet, as Christians Jesus calls us to be resolute in following him towards eternal life just as he “resolutely set out for Jerusalem” in Luke 9:51.
Jesus’ setting out for Jerusalem was not just him going on a trip, but it was him being purposeful, determined, and unwavering in going towards suffering, humiliation, and hardship for the sake of saving us.
Michael Raiter, one of the speakers this week, told us that we all need to go through Jerusalem on our journey following Jesus to heaven.
We are welcoming suffering, and hardship, but for the sake of the gospel.
Though the journey will not be easy, we must be RESOLUTE just as Jesus was.
And along the way, hopefully we will find the strength to do our best in education, our families, surfing, and in all things for the glory of the kingdom.