Welcome to the Gateway
G’day, this is Wayne (and Alice) recently back from Scotland and now in quarantine welcoming you to our new emailed newsletter.
Email or Printed?
This is designed as a replacement for the pew sheet during the present distress. It is possible to email it to you.
Given the cost difference between a stamp and an email this is the parish’s preference. Otherwise a copy will be delivered/posted.
Please let us (Alf, Elizabeth, or Wayne) know how you would like this delivered.
So what have we got this week?
I think we’ve gone a little bit overboard, we’re so excited by the possibilities!
We’ve got a letter from Elizabeth regarding the changes, a reflection from Jim, one from Elizabeth, and a sermon from me (although I’m cheating it’s from the same readings three years ago).
As a special treat this week we have links to a couple of you tube videos of the gospel reading.
We’ve created a survey to get some feedback on the newsletter. If you would like to share your thoughts, please click here.
|Rev’d Elizabeth Breakey||0404 165 email@example.com||Vicar|
|Mr Alf Eagle||03 5250 2082||Parish Secretary,|
Pew Sheet Editor
|Dr Wayne Stewart||0414 503 firstname.lastname@example.org||Web Administrator,|
Child Safety Officer
|Parish Office||03 5250 1401||https://www.bgap.church/|
|Parish Offerings||BSB: 703 122||Account: 0500 4734||Optional: Identify cause|
A Letter From Our Vicar
28 March 2020
My goodness what a week it has been!
Last week, knowing that everything was about to change, we held a service of transition, in which we committed to being a dispersed and faithful parish. We also committed in word and song to meeting again, and Vera Lynn added her beautiful voice to ours as we sang that famous song.
We had hoped that we would be able to still have some form of service for a few weeks more, but that was not to be. After a week of rushing around, moving my church office to my home study, have meetings (oh, so many meetings!), and connecting with people, we are ready for this weekend, but we will get better at this, I am sure! I am certain that you will have many questions, so I have provided a copy of the letter from Bishop Kate that she sent out this week. I hope it answers many of your concerns, but please give me a call if you are concerned about something.
One thing which I need to make very clear is that we are not able to use the church for prayer or worship. The only exception to this is holding funerals – and only for immediate family members – after which the building will require to be fully disinfected again.
As a dispersed community, we need to find a way to worship together and to connect with each other. For those who have access to the internet, we will be sending out a weekly email newsletter – the Gateway – and inviting you to take part in the various forms of community prayer and worship during the week by Zoom , which is a method of hosting video and phone meetings.
For those that do not have that luxury and you, my friends, are slightly in the majority of parishioners – we will send out a paper copy of the Gateway, and I really encourage you to join in worship by telephone.
I have listed the ways that we can connect on this letter.
I am grateful for the efforts and wisdom of our Wardens, Alf, Barbara and Michael, and our Treasurer, Wayne. At this stage, Wayne is still in isolation, having managed to catch the last flight from Dubai to Melbourne earlier this week. Luckily for us, he didn’t need to be isolated from his computer! He has been setting up an email newsletter, updating the parish website, and doing a whole load of behind the scenes things that have very little to do with money, but a whole load to do with helping us “do” church at home. Alf has been helping create content for the newsletter, and this will develop as we catch our breath this next week or so. Jim put his fingers to the keyboard and has shared his reflections of the Lenten readings.
I have been getting us organised with how to do worship by phone and video link, and we are just about good to go. This week might be a little disorganised, but I pray you will be generous in your participation! – I am sure you will!
Finally, Easter. It will not be anything like our ‘usual’ Easter, but we will work on how to worship together and remember our Lord’s death and resurrection in this most important and meaningful festival.
God bless you and keep you.
Zoom Worship Services
|Service||When||Zoom link||Meeting ID||Zoom phone number|
|Morning Prayer||9am Monday to Saturday||https://us04web.zoom.us/j/672927534||672 927 534||0370182005|
|Wednesday Eucharist||10am Wednesday||https://us04web.zoom.us/j/475678986||475 678 986||03 7018 2005|
|Sunday Eucharist||10am Sunday||https://us04web.zoom.us/j/586548371||586 548 371||03 7018 2005|
We had prepared the pew reflections for this year well in advance and so below, please find this week’s reflection from Sarah Are looking at how wilderness can be a place of new life.
Again it has a beautiful resonance with us sitting, looking out of our windows, trying to make sense of how the world came to this point. That all will be well, that Jesus does offer us hope, that we can find that place in our heart where daisies grow!
The reading from the Old Testament from Ezekiel has the same message – even from a rag tag collection of old bones, God can breath his spirit into them, forming them again as new life. What an amazing power, death has nothing against God!
Yes, there is a terrible disease raging in the world that has caused us to shelter at home, but there is always hope. I pray that we can use this time to discover what a dispersed community looks, feels and acts like. What lessons will we learn? What strengths will we discover?
In this package, we have included some prayer booklets. One for praying the offices of the day, that’s daily prayer to the rest of us, and another that gives us a way to receive spiritual communion when we can’t be physically present to hold out our hands to receive the bread and the cup of salvation. There are chances to pray together too, you never need be completely alone.
Dear friends, things are a bit chaotic today, but tomorrow, it will all work a little better, and the day after that, perhaps a routine will emerge. Who knows? God knows! For in all this, in this situation where part of creation has become a danger to us, God will see us through. It is easy to forget that in creation God makes the daisies and us, but also snakes, jelly fish, sharks and viruses. We humans have learnt how to exist, how to thrive, despite these other dangers, and so in time will we as a species work this virus out too. We just need to be patient, wash our hands and stay safe.
My number is 0404 165 096, email@example.com
Pew Reflection for 29 March, Lent 5A
THE WILDERNESS IS A PLACE OF NEW LIFE
By Sarah Are, A Sanctified Art
I used to think the wilderness would never end.
I called my mum and asked— “Does time really heal all wounds?
Do the pieces ever fall back into place?
Does the wilderness go on forever?”
So she told me about the horizon.
She said, “There is an edge, where the earth meets the sky.
And when you’re there, you will see daisies in the pavement
And the sun after the rain.”
I asked her to draw me a map
And she cried, because she knew this road was mine to walk,
But she promised to wait for me, day in and day out,
For as long as the wilderness raged.
So I walked.
And it felt like forty days and it hurt like forty nights.
And I waved to the people I passed there in the wilderness.
We tipped our hats to one another,
Silently recognizing the weight we each carried,
Until one day, I realized—
The earth always kisses the sky.
And this wilderness has turned into a garden,
And I have made it out alive.
And my mother hugged me, there at the earth’s edge.
And she whispered in my ear, That God was that gardener,
And that I had nothing to fear.
So if you ever ask for a map,
Know that God and I will be planting seeds,
Hoping to turn your wilderness into a garden.
For as long as the wilderness rages on,
I will never stop looking for you
Where the earth kisses the sky.
The Lord be with you and those for whom you pray
A Lent Reflection from Father Jim Minchin
What a friend we have in Jesus! Not your ordinary friend, as the Gospel of the Beloved Disciple has taught us this Lent. Think about it: life-and-death friend, inspiring friend, liberating friend, freely doing whatever is necessary to guarantee his word trustworthy and to offer his friends a fellowship where faith could mature and deepen beyond our fondest imagining.
Item: Nicodemus, member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish Council of Elders, visiting Jesus by night, checking out this out-of-the-box teacher who, he is sure, comes from God; then led into the enigma of being born again/from above: how, like Jesus, he can learn to move freely with the wind that blows where it wills, beyond the deadening impact of religious or any other institutional diktats. The result? A friendship that Nicodemus cherishes, to go beyond secrecy and conniving at Jesus’ crucifixion or assisting Jesus’ burial into the glorious grip of Jesus’ resurrection.
Item: the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well in a zany dialogues where the two people seem to talk over each other: a Jewish ‘I AM’ male patronising a feisty ‘heretic’ female, both at cheeky cross-purposes about who can provide a thirst-quenching drink. The end result? spring water is offered, living water promised, and a non-Jewish community of faith, Spirit and truth is sparked well beyond the woman’s eloquent testimony and lifespan.
Item: a man born blind, not through his or parents’ fault, is healed by Jesus with curious mud techniques. Being on a sabbath – shock! horror! – pious scrutiny must follow; which gets tangled in futile and laughably legalistic questioning of the man and his parents: where and who is this Jesus? a prophet? a sinner? In the wash-up, those who think they see but don’t see the point are the real blind ones, but now a blind person sees his new world in true colour!
Today’s item: Jesus’ raising (NB resuscitation back to mortal life, not resurrection) of Lazarus, who was, with sisters Martha and Mary in Bethany, among Jesus’ most beloved friends. This amazing incident triggered an emergency meeting of the Sanhedrin which – illegally – tried and sentenced Jesus to death and brewed plans to enact the sentence. Jesus himself delayed and played things for maximum effect: in John 11:38 we read that he was ‘embrimenos’ in front of the tomb where he was about to perform the last and greatest of his mighty signs – it’s the Greek word for snorting like a horse before a race or obstacle, in his adrenalin rush of grief and of certainty that this would give his detractors scope for terminal action… But “I must drink the cup that the Father has given me!”
If you like me are entranced by knowing Jesus as our Friend – the assurance, the forgiveness, the challenge to rise above our own and the world’s limitations and foolishness for the sake of our Friend and his witness to the new creation he has opened, please beware: this Friend is extra loving and extra demanding! Thank God he always stands ready to keep us on the Way!
Jim Minchin 29 March 2020
From the Bishops
To all Clergy and Parishes, Tuesday 24 March
The following statement comes from Archbishop Philip, Bishops Brad, Genieve, John, Kate and Paul:
Numerous questions have been asked of the bishops and Archbishop. Not every detail is yet clear from the government, and we recognise the situation remains fluid and pressured. As you will have noticed, much of the information about restrictions has been announced at a high level by the Prime Minister or the Premier. It has taken time for the detail of these announcements to be released by government authorities. The FAQs listed below are written on the basis of the best information we have been able to access
As you read the FAQs below, you will notice some differences between what the government regards as “essential services” and what our Church believes. For instance, the government regards weddings and funerals to be essential services, but not Easter services. We acknowledge much grief felt around this, but are obliged to comply with current government regulations.
In answer to questions received, we offer the following. Please recognise the situations might change, or further clarification will be given, and we will do our best to convey that as accurately and quickly as we can.
1. CHURCH SERVICES
Church Services Indoors
All indoor church services are suspended, effective Monday, March 23, of any nature, though see below on weddings and funerals.
Churches Open for Prayer
Churches cannot be open to the public or parishioners for general prayer. Unless you hear otherwise this will include for Good Friday and Easter.
The doors have been locked, and to avoid any ‘accidental’ entry, the door codes have also been changed. Sorry.- EB
Church Services Outdoors
No outdoor services are permitted on church property or at any other venue. This is the decision of the Diocese and consistent with the urging of the government not to gather.
This includes Easter Day, Anzac Day or any other occasion, whether at a beach or in a park. For weddings and funerals, see further below.
We expect significant further restrictions on gathering and workplaces soon to the point where people may not be able to gather with anyone else at all. So we urge you even now to plan for that eventuality. You may be able to produce something yourself by email or social media. We encourage collaboration with other clergy and parishes and sharing resources.
We are working on providing information and opportunities to worship as the dispersed parish of Bellarine gateway. Please check this package for more information. – EB
Weddings and Funerals
The Victorian Government has made it clear that weddings and funerals indoors are excluded from the prohibition on non-essential gatherings but must conform to the current social distancing requirements of 4sqm per person. This will limit attendance. Open invitations to weddings and funerals cannot be allowed.
If a wedding or funeral is not on our property or is outdoors, government regulations for social distancing and hygiene must apply.
2. CHURCH MINISTRY ACTIVITIES
Small Groups, Meetings, Gatherings
All church meetings, groups and gatherings for any purpose are suspended whether on church property or off church property. This includes Bible study groups, prayer meetings, Parish Council meetings, women’s or men’s groups, concerts, youth or children’s events.
We encourage the use of social media platforms for meetings or small groups.
3. PASTORAL CARE MATTERS
Pastoral Care by the Clergy
Personal pastoral ministry will be challenging in a lockdown and restricted access situation. It is certain that this ministry will be requested and clergy need to work through the hygiene and personal spatial separation issues that a pastoral visit or a home communion raise. Social isolation will increase the risk to mental health and general wellbeing. If there is a large increase in rates of infection we need to expect that we will be confronted by circumstances that we have not encountered before in our pastoral ministries.
We expect clergy will maintain regular contact with parishioners by phone, Skype or other digital means at the least.
Baptism, Confirmation or Other Pastoral Services
If a baptism or one of the pastoral services is deemed necessary, which may include ministry to the near dying, please provide that ministry to take place privately with minimal attendance and complying with any regulations of a hospital or aged care institution and of course be very aware of hygiene, social distancing and so on.
Home Communion and visitation
Clergy may still need to visit people, including offering home communion, in one kind. In such cases, the recipient cannot be in compulsory isolation and the recipient must be agreeable to the visit. This should only be for the people living in that home and not for a gathered group. The utmost hygiene of clean hands and distance must be maintained, not only for the safety of the person at home but for the clergy also. We advise not sharing food or drink.
We are concerned for the financial well-being of clergy and church staff. We have no doubt this pandemic will significantly affect most of our parishes financially. These are serious matters. We are working on this with senior management and Archbishop in Council and will communicate more when possible.
Please do not simply assume that diocesan assessment will be waived.
5. OTHER ACTIVITIES
All Op Shops must close immediately if not already closed. This includes any outdoor trading.
Outdoor fetes and Markets
We have no clear governmental direction on this but consider that markets providing food and drink only can continue with appropriate hygiene, handling cash and social distancing. No sit down eating can be allowed; only take-away. The government has said that the provision of food and drink is regarded as essential. Markets selling books, clothes, gifts or other goods ought to be closed. If we hear further advice on this we will inform you.
Church Rental Groups
All rental groups using church property must comply with governmental gathering rules. That is their responsibility. This has probably already ruled out many groups such as dancing, martial arts or educational groups. You may want to check that the tenant is clear that they must maintain government rules.
Church rentals, especially housing, may be affected by National Cabinet decisions to give protections to tenants and leasees.
6. OTHER MATTERS
Other Matters and ideas
If your church does not have a video or livestream capacity, we encourage you to tag on to another parish’s one or use the Anglican Media YouTube link for a weekly service uploaded there: https://www.youtube.com/AnglicanMediaMelb
You may also choose to light a candle for a period of time and display this in your home window (as has been encouraged by the church in the UK).
Keep in contact. Isolation is going to affect many people’s mental and social health. Please work hard at pastoral systems that keep people connected to each other by phone.
We are so encouraged at the creativity already being seen in providing services, children’s and youth activities and caring for vulnerable people in parishes. Clergy ought to regard this time as a treasure and opportunity. A treasure, because we will have some extra discretionary time with fewer services, to devote to pastoral care, people and our own well-being. Opportunity because in bleak times as this, only the light of the gospel of Jesus is solid hope, and only Christians have that hope to share with others.
We’d love you to share your good stories with your bishop so we can encourage everyone. Please do not be shy and we can keep confidentiality in not naming people or parishes if you prefer. We need good news at this time.
We are also interested in thoughts on how as a diocese we can celebrate the ending of the virus. A BIG celebration?
Be assured of our regular prayers for you in these trying and stressful times.
Archbishop Philip, Bishops Genieve, Brad, Kate and Paul.
There was this Catholic priest driving a devout but simple member of his congregation along a country road in Ireland one day when he accidentally ran over a rabbit. He stopped the car, and the two men got out and walked over to where the poor old bunny was lying. It wasn’t moving, it looked dead.
But then the priest went back to the car and fetched a bottle from a bag he…
Would you like to read more or listen to the sermon?
Click here: I am the resurrection and the life
Lord you are in the midst of us and we are called by your name.
Guide us in our worship and life together: transform us into whatever you would have us be.
Help us to be deeply connected with the world around us and strengthen us to proclaim the good news in word and deed in this community, for the glory and for the growth of your kingdom.
In Jesus’ name we pray.
Prayer in a Time of Epidemic Disease
Lord Jesus Christ, healer and friend,
come and care for all of us through the danger and uncertainty
of the coronavirus epidemic.
To people who are sick,
to people who are displaced, isolated, or cut off from family, friends or work,
bring comfort and companionship.
Work with medical staff as they care for the sick, and protect them from harm.
Give skill and fruitful research to scientists as they search for treatments, prevention and a cure.
To public health authorities,
give wisdom to decide the best ways to manage both this crisis and our anxieties.
When communities are fearful,
give a calm spirit, and kindness to neighbours and strangers.
Through this testing time, and through all the risks we face together,
teach us once again how we can love one another as you have loved us.
This Week’s Readings
The hand of the LORD came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. He said to me, “Mortal, can these bones live?” I answered, “O Lord GOD, you know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the LORD.”
So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord GOD: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.
Then he said to me, “Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.’ Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord GOD: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. And you shall know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the LORD, have spoken and will act,” says the LORD.
Ezekiel 37:1–14 NRSV
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities,
Lord, who could stand?
But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the LORD!
For with the LORD there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
Psalm 130:1–8 NRSV
To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.
Romans 8:6–11 NRSV
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. Mary was the one who anointed the Lord with perfume and wiped his feet with her hair; her brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent a message to Jesus, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” But when Jesus heard it, he said, “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it.” Accordingly, though Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus, after having heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was.
Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now trying to stone you, and are you going there again?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Those who walk during the day do not stumble, because they see the light of this world. But those who walk at night stumble, because the light is not in them.” After saying this, he told them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but I am going there to awaken him.” The disciples said to him, “Lord, if he has fallen asleep, he will be all right.” Jesus, however, had been speaking about his death, but they thought that he was referring merely to sleep. Then Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. For your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.” Thomas, who was called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, some two miles away, and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, while Mary stayed at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask of him.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one coming into the world.”
When she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary, and told her privately, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she got up quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come to the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. The Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary get up quickly and go out. They followed her because they thought that she was going to the tomb to weep there. When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved. He said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus began to weep. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!” But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”
Then Jesus, again greatly disturbed, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, already there is a stench because he has been dead four days.” Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” So they took away the stone. And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Many of the Jews therefore, who had come with Mary and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.
John 11:1–45 NRSV