Pilgrim Uniting Church

12 Flinders St, Adelaide, SA

SUN 17-JUN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 20:45)
Pentecost 4 - Planting Seeds of Hope, Kindness, Hospitality, Forgiveness, Persistence, Patience . . . . The Kingdom or Reign of God is not dependent on us. It is God's work in and among us. We need to hear these stories as words of encouragement to us. We are not responsible for the outcome only planting the seeds. What seeds will we plant this week?
Mark 4: 26-34

SUN 17-JUN-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Ian Giles   (Timing 21:46)
Pentecost 4 - Passion for Justice and the Things of God and Burnout - We want to get things done but we can forget to take the trouble to care for ourselves. Jesus' story helps us understand that there are times when we can do nothing but rest and wait while God continues to build the Kingdom.
Mark 4: 26-34

SUN 10-JUN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Christy Capper   (Timing 22:01)
Pentecost 3 - Differences - Christy reflects on her experience of differences. It's amazing what we learn when we sit and listen to people who do things differently. When we make differences divide us in and between our denominations we end up with problems. Jesus prayed that we might be one. May we continue our pilgrimage following Jesus, praying for unity and despite our differences focus on that which we have in common.
Mark 3: 20-35

SUN 10-JUN-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Peter Russell   (Timing 23:10)
Pentecost 3 - What is Family? - Jesus proclaims a new kind of family. Those that align themselves with him and seek to follow God's agenda, bringing his reign and reality into the present are his family. This means engaging in liberation, our own as much as others, setting people free from oppression, whether from themselves or within their communities, from oppressive political regimes or self indulgent politics which only seeks to serve the rich. This is what God's life within us, through the Spirit, calls, inspires and enables us to become, a new kind of family, day by day.
Mark 3: 20-35

SUN 03-JUN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 17:23)
Pentecost 2 - Sunday observed as Sabbath? What was the purpose of the Sabbath? What should our attitude be towards the Sabbath? What about the Lord's Day? Does our faith and practice serve to enhance life or stifle the enthusiasm of those around us?
Mark 2:23-3:6

SUN 03-JUN-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Dean Eland   (Timing 24:43)
Pentecost 2 - 'The Social Ethic of Jesus and the Church of the Open Door' - Faith communities don't just live for themselves; for duty; for keeping the show on the road. Faith communities are there to help and serve; they aim to bring out the best in themselves and others; to enhance and build community life; to be communities of the open door.
Mark 2:23-3:6

SUN 27-MAY-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Mark Kickett   (Timing 24:38)
Trinity Sunday - also Reconciliation Sunday in the Uniting Church - Mark unpacks the word, "Reconciliation" and through scripture and story shows what a paradigm shift the understanding of that word causes from a Christian context. All our relationships have to be re-evaluated in that light, in the message of the cross and the transformation that brings.
2 Corinthians 5: 11-21

SUN 20-MAY-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 15:50)
Pentecost - 'Looking for Signs of the Reign of God: reflecting on the nature and priorities of the church' - The Spirit gives us, the gathered community, the courage and gifts to be the scattered community. The Spirit is that special 'nudge in the back' to serve those that everyone talks about but do nothing to help. The 'signs' of the reign of God are already present here, where God's Spirit is already active and the signs are everywhere if we only look for them.
Acts 2: 1-21

SUN 20-MAY-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 22:02)
Pentecost - 'The Breath of God' - Today we are celebrating the mystery of the loving presence of God in the whole of life. This Spirit energy inspired and energised Israel's prophets and affirmed and commissioned Jesus' ministry and continued to be present with him. Can we put aside preconceived and inherited notions of God and allow our lives and communities to be reformed, refurbished and rebuilt around the presence of a God of grace, compassion and justice? May we have the courage and grace to respond, receive and share this life affirming, life transforming 'Breath of God'.
Ezekiel 37: 1-14, Romans 8: 22-27

SUN 13-MAY-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 23:38)
Easter 7 - Where do I belong? To whom do I belong? Where do I find meaning in this life that can be so buffeted by storms? The composer of Psalm 1 sets out two divergent ways of living. But this cannot reflect the complexity of life in the world. Are these ways mutually exclusive? We can be wandering across both. Human lives flourish when they grow towards the grace and love that God intends for us. Where are we grounding ourselves?
Psalm 1 (sung), John 17: 6-19

SUN 06-MAY-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Liellie McLaughlin   (Timing 26:03)
Easter 6 - "Bridging the Chasm" - How very intentional is God to bridge the gap between us and the forcefield we know as God. Are we yearning to come closer to God - a deeper sense of God? In Acts the Holy Spirit cascaded over those present. Who is the Spirit cascading over today - inside the church and outside the church? Who can you picture today receiving the Spirit - when you allow God to bridge the chasm?
Acts 10: 44-48, John 15: 9-17

SUN 06-MAY-2018 - 9.30 AM Witness
Ben Clarke - TEAR Australia   (Timing 22:17)
Easter 6 - Ben talks about 'conciliation'. He reminds us that Aboriginal people make up 3% of Australians and that the rest of us, the 97%, are therefore responsible for 97% of the work of Conciliation! Using, with permission, a traditional story from the Ngarrindjeri people, Ben challenges us to share in the work of unity that Jesus calls us to do.
Micah 6: 6-8, John 15: 9-17

SUN 29-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 19:32)
Easter 5 – One of the fundamental strategies in a consumer economy is to encourage a culture of "What's In It For Me?", with more emphasis on individualism, personal satisfaction and self-absorption, than on living with others in community. But Jesus taught that it can be otherwise. In a parable he described himself in terms of a vine planted by God, with us, his followers as the vine's branches – a messy, crowded, tangled, wildly fertile, gorgeous richness of coexistence. In this picture, everyone is a part of the same vine, a large, diverse community, continuing the work of Jesus to bring God's kin-dom to the world. The "What's In It For Me" culture needs to be acknowledged, and rejected.
John 15: 1-8

Rev Dr Greg Elson   (Timing 19:42)
Lest we forget is a call, among other things, to mourn and lament the horrors of war and to pay respect and to commit ourselves to reject the violence and romanticism of all war. What will we do with our remembering? Jesus calls us to follow the ways of peace and justice.
Micah 4: 1-4, John 15: 9-17

SUN 22-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Dr Liz Boase   (Timing 19:29)
Easter 4 – When asked to think of an image of "Jesus the Good Shepherd", many of us will remember classical paintings and stained glass windows that show Jesus in an immaculate, freshly laundered white robe, cuddling a freshly shampooed white lamb. It depicts safety and comfort, but it hardly represents a shepherd at work in the world. Think, rather, of a countryman accompanying his flock out into the dirty, dangerous, unruly real world, intimately acquainted with the flock, living among them, and prepared to protect them to the bitter end. We are the flock. We cannot spend all our time at home, resting in our shepherd's arms – we need to be following him out into the world, helping make the world the place that God meant it to be.
Psalm 23; John 10: 11-18

SUN 15-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 20:21)
Easter 3 – Merely accepting the resurrection as historical fact is not the same as allowing the risen Jesus to shape our lives. The life that Jesus had led was life as God had meant it to be, and when God raised Jesus from the dead he was saying "Yes! This is my beloved son, and I am very, very pleased with him!". After his resurrection, Jesus instructed the disciples to continue the work of proclaiming the message of God's unrelenting mercy, compassion and justice – and when they did so their lives were transformed. We too, as followers of Jesus, are called to be bearers of the good news, in the ways we live and the choices we make. We are called to be a continuing Easter community.
Luke 24: 36b-48

SUN 08-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 14:55)
Easter 2 – The resurrection of Jesus had changed everything, and the Spirit of Jesus had given the disciples a fresh insight into what it was all about. Those early Christians were a community enlivened by God's spirit. How do we look at this story? We are not being told to sell everything we own to support the poor, just because it was where God's spirit had led that particular community. Christianity is not a single ethical system with rules that tell you what to do in any circumstance. We are God's beloved, and his Spirit will lead us to which mandate from Scripture it would be best to follow for a particular circumstance. There are plenty to choose from. And, are we trying to do the "right thing" for those we serve, which can be a sign of self-centredness; or are we serving selflessly, with self-forgetfulness, in order to fully serve others and cooperate with God to change this old world into a new world?
Acts 4: 32-35

SUN 08-APR-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:53)
Easter 2 – "Living as an Easter Community" – Two days after Jesus had been betrayed by a friend, dragged before a rigged trial and brutally executed, his corpse went missing and his followers were running all over the place, confused, frightened, disillusioned and jumpy. That evening they were in a room where they had locked themselves in for security, when they were joined by Jesus, a flesh and blood human carrying the scars from the brutality to which he had recently been subjected, and he was greeted with rejoicing. A week later Jesus again appeared to them in a locked room, and Thomas, who had been absent for the first appearance, was now fully convinced that Jesus was indeed God embodied in flesh. Jesus then commissioned his disciples (who then became "apostles") to go out in the power of the Spirit, who would walk alongside them while they continued his work of proclaiming the Easter message, of God's kingdom with its fulness and abundance of life, the way God meant it to be. At the heart of the message are love, forgiveness and reconciliation.
John 20: 19-31

SUN 01-APR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 17:44)
Easter Day – When you tell a story, its beginning and ending are critical; and Mark's story of Jesus finishes suddenly, with three distraught women running away from an empty tomb, taking with them a story so overwhelming that they couldn't share it yet. In Mark's gospel, Jesus told his disciples three times over that his death would not be the end of the story but a beginning, that he would rise from death on the third day – and they kept misunderstanding him. He didn't want to be served, but to give his life in service to others. Mark's story finished the way it did so that its readers and listeners might experience the resurrection themselves, to write the story of Jesus' resurrection with their own lives, and to share their lives with others as Jesus did.
Mark 16: 1-8

SUN 01-APR-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 14:40)
Easter Day – The beginning of Mark's version of the good news tells of Jesus being baptised in the River Jordan, and it continues at a rattling pace to describe event after event in the life and ministry of Jesus. The earliest versions of the manuscript end abruptly at Chapter 16 verse 8, with three women running away from an empty tomb, too frightened to pass on the message that Jesus had risen from the dead and would be seen again in Galilee. Why did he stop right there? It is the writer's invitation to us, to take up the story where he left off and share the good news announced by the messenger at the empty tomb. We are redirected back to thinking about the beginning of Jesus' ministry in Galilee, and the new social reality called the reign of God.
Mark 16: 1-8

FRI 30-MAR-2018 - Good Friday Homily
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 16:31)
Good Friday – What sort of God is it, that would allow, or demand, that the man Jesus should be treated so badly? Crucifixion was a horrifyingly cruel way to end a person's life. So how is God involved in Jesus' death? Many "atonement theories" have been devised to explain how crucifixion expressed God's love, and they are full of contradictions. For example, they can tell of an angry God arranging for his son to be punished for what everyone else has done, and they can tell of a God who demands satisfaction for attacks on his honour. But what if God is not like that, but is just as Jesus taught – a gracious God, desiring intimacy with human beings and seeking relationship with us? What if God simply loves us, without having to punish someone else for what we ourselves have done? God wants to love, accept, restore, and love to the end - as Jesus himself demonstrated.

SUN 18-MAR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 18:12)
Lent 5 – When Jesus was told that, for some reason or other, some Greeks would like to see him, he went into a discussion about a seed of wheat dying in the ground, in order that many more seeds might be produced in an expression of new life. He was predicting his own death; and he was also teaching about learning to die to the false life of a selfish, idolised self, and finding instead a true, eternal life of connection, love, intimacy, family and community – a life of compassion, justice, forgiveness and reconciliation. Many people have expressed an interest in Jesus himself, despite a lack of interest in "church".
Jeremiah 31: 31-34; John 12: 20-33

SUN 18-MAR-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dean Eland   (Timing 23:39)
Lent 5 – The sermon addresses the way churches and their congregations can view themselves, and react, when conditions change. Formerly prosperous neighbourhoods can become disadvantaged and marginalised for a variety of reasons; and it is important for a church to face reality, not keep harking back to a glorious, successful past. It takes effort to adapt to a changing landscape – to discern what can be done and what cannot be done, and find the wisdom to know the difference. In John's gospel we are taught that a grain of wheat, in dying, can produce much more; and the seed in the ground is our self-giving, in the place to which we've been called.
Jeremiah 31: 31-34; John 12: 20-33

SUN 11-MAR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 15:56)
Lent 4 – The brokeness in our world is not a part of God's vision for us, and in his expansive love for humanity, God sent his son Jesus to show us the way to healing and wholeness. John has assured us that whoever believes in Jesus will have eternal life, 'belief' being an intellectual assent to various propositions and creeds. But which particular creed should we follow? Different churches have different rules; but for Jesus, people were more important than rules, and following Jesus is a journey full of questions. We live in a vibrant, multicultural, multifaith world, and we must be open to learning, with integrity, from people with expressions other than our own. After all, God does love the whole world.
John 3: 14-21

SUN 11-MAR-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 24:06)
Lent 4 – John 3:16 – "For God so loved the world ..." etc., has been a memory verse for many a Sunday School lesson, and the subject of many a sermon. Messages based on this text have often referred to a powerful, judgemental and punishing God, and the "good news" of the Gospel has been presented as a means of escaping from God's punishment – a belief that can bring not comfort, but a toxic mixture of fear, guilt, anger and deep regret. Have you, or have you not, satisfied God's demands? But the overwhelming message in the Christian scriptures is of a God whose love for the world is unconditional; it is a message of love, grace and life; it is a message of God's overwhelming, self-giving love, even to the point of suffering and death.
John 3: 14-21

SUN 04-MAR-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 15:21)
Lent 3 – When Jesus cleared livelstock and currency traders out of the Jeruselem temple precinct, he was not only protesting about corruption and exploitation – he was also actively questioning the legitimacy of believing that God could only be found, experienced and contained in formal religious practices. Jesus is the communication of the very essence of God, in the whole of life, secular as well as sacred. As well as meeting God in beautiful buildings and liturgies, we can also find God in rivers, trees, mountain tops, factories, offices and coffee shops. God is present among us, everywhere.
John 2: 13-22

SUN 25-FEB-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 20:58)
Lent 2 – Abraham had received a promise from God that he would become the father of a nation; but Abraham and Sarah just couldn't make it happen, despite some of their questionable strategies. The biblical narrative presents Abraham warts and all. But they had faith in God's promise, and the impossible happened – Sarah was 90 years old and Abraham 100, when they had a baby; and Abraham's faith was reckoned as rightesousness. God makes a way, where we see no way forward; and real, lasting life can rise even when death seems to have the upper hand. Jesus has shown that new life will rise from the dead; what has been torn down will be raised up.
Genesis 17: 1-7, 15-16; Romans 4: 13-25; Mark 8: 31-38

SUN 25-FEB-2018 - 9.30 AM Witness
Members of the congregation   (Timing 30:02)
Lent 2 – Life's liminal experiences are "between-times" experiences, where one finds oneself betwixt and between stages of life as though having crossed the door-sill from one room to the next, but without reaching the second room. It must have been like that for Jesus' disciples when he told them about his coming arrest and crucifixion; and Peter was roundly scolded for trying to convince Jesus that it could be otherwise. During this church service, some of our number spoke of their own liminal experiences, with stories that were different, inspiring and moving. With permission from the speakers, three of their accounts have been included in this recording.
Mark 8: 31-38

SUN 18-FEB-2018 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 18:25)
Lent 1 – Lent ought to be more than a morbid and miserable time of fasting, and voluntary abstinence from almost anything associated with pleasure or comfort. It is a time to take stock of our lives, to consider how hectic and cluttered our lives have become, and to think about clearing away some of that rubbish cluttering our lives. Immediately after being affirmed as God's beloved son, Jesus was driven by God's spirit into a desert to experience doubt, isolation and temptation; and he emerged from the experience proclaiming the good news of a new reign of God. May it be so for us.
Mark 1: 9-15

SUN 11-FEB-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Dr Tanya Wittwer   (Timing 16:45)
Transfiguration – The passage from Mark's gospel is an account of mystery, as three of Jesus' disciples see a marvellous vision, and hear the voice of God telling them to listen to Jesus, his beloved son, who appears before them in dazzling robes, in the company of three of the great prophets from Israel's past. The message of Jesus was and is for us to repent, to change the course of our lives, and be bearers of the good news of God's justice, compassion, healing and hope in our world. The transfiguration on a mountain was a glimpse of what is to be through hard times, and we are invited to enter into its mystery.
Mark 9: 2-9

SUN 11-FEB-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Dr Tanya Wittwer   (Timing 13:39)
Transfiguration – The scripture reading involves a mountain, and an encounter with the human and the divine. Some suggest that such a place is a "thin place", where the veil between this world and the eternal world is thin. The disciples had panicked when Jesus told them of his approaching death; and six days later he led three of them to a "thin" place, a mountain, where they received a revelation of who he really was. Out of the mystery of Christ, our imaginations are inspired to imagine a different world where God reigns – we see God's grace fully expressed in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We can come out of that dark cloud and see it's Jesus standing there.
Mark 9: 2-9

SUN 04-FEB-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 15:04)
Epiphany 5 – In his gospel, Mark has many stories of Jesus healing sick people and ridding them of demons. What Mark described back then as "demon possession" would more likely be described today as "addiction". The people whom Jesus cured of their controlling demons were able to step out and minister to others, and spread the good news of the coming of God's kingdom. We are all affected by the illnesses of our society; but when listened to and written on the heart, the teachings of Jesus bring about healing. If demons, or addictions, have a hold on you, turn to Christ that he might drive them away.
Mark 1: 29-39

SUN 04-FEB-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Peter Russell   (Timing 19:52)
Epiphany 5 – Focussed on the Mission –
It is reported in Mark's gospel that Jesus was a very successful healer, with many sick people cured and many released from demon possession. In the scientific and rationalist society to which we belong, it can be hard to come to terms with the idea of demons. However, in today's Western society there are plenty of demons around us and among us – they are likely to involve drug addiction, gambling, sex, food, slavery, racism, corruption, and more. People possessed by such demons are in immense need, as are their victims. As followers of Jesus, we need to follow his example by quietly spending some time with God, to seek out what needs to be done as we go about God's business of loving and healing.
Mark 1: 29-39; 1 Corinthians 9: 16-23

SUN 21-JAN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 26:16)
Epiphany 3 – The book of Jonah is not an historical narrative, and it is more than a children's story. It is a work of religious folklore, a fable, a legend, describing deep mysteries and meanings that cannot be expressed analytically. In the legend of Jonah we are taught that nobody can claim privileged access to God's grace. It is available to everybody, however unpalatable it might seem, and however much it might make us want to escape in the opposite direction to avoid the fact that God loves "them" as much as he loves "us".
Jonah 3: 1-5, 10; Mark 1: 14-20

SUN 14-JAN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:41)
Epiphany 2 – While most Australians are familiar with the name "Jesus", only a minority know about him; and it is hard to give an answer to "What would Jesus do?", if you don't know what Jesus actually did. What did he teach? What sort of leadership did he provide? How much do our own lives, actions and attitudes relate to the life, actions and attitudes of Jesus, towards others and towards his Father? What made him tick, and what made him tick people off? – Here is an invitation for you to "come and see".
John 1: 43-51

SUN 07-JAN-2018 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 18:01)
Baptism of Jesus – The Hebrew scriptures assure us that in the beginning God declared the whole of his creation to be good – and that includes mankind. We have been blessed with original goodness, not cursed with original sin. Evil and sin are a rejection by us of the original mission that God had for his creation; and God longs for us to repent, to rethink and question the way we've been going. Christian baptism should not be seen as a way of escapng condemnation, but as an invitation into God's community, to be blessed by God so we can be a blessing to others. How do you live out your baptism as a follower of Jesus?
Mark 1: 4-11

SUN 07-JAN-2018 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 24:32)
Baptism of Jesus – Christian baptism is about a transformation that God initiates in our life – it is a celebration of belonging to a community of inclusive grace. A question concerning one's baptism ought not to be, "Have I been baptised, and was it done correctly?", but rather, "Am I living as a baptised person, in the knowledge of God's embrace?" Baptism does not use magic water to turn you into the person you want to be; but rather, it is a recognition that you are part of a community of flawed and failing people, blessed by God, looking after each other, and seeking to walk the pilgrim way.
Mark 1: 4-11

SUN 31-DEC-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 24:39)
Christmas 1 – The birth of Jesus is seen as an invitation to participate in the intimate relationship with God that is seen in the way that Jesus lived. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, tells us that Jesus was born so that we might become adopted daughters and sons in the family of our Creator, in an intimate relationship that cares for the repairing and healing of woundedness and brokenness. Because Christ reveals the true state of our hearts, for us to be effective members of this family, confession and penitence are vitally important components in our practice of Christian spirituality.
Galatians 4: 4-; Luke 2: 22-40

Christmas Day Celebration, 2017
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 29:16)
This is a recording of Music and Word from our 9.30 am service of "Christmas Day Celebration", for which the Pilgrim Choir was joined by special Guest Organist David Drury.

SUN 24-DEC-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsden   (Timing 17:23)
Advent 4 – Luke's story of the birth of Jesus is told in a way that modern readers are likely to dismiss as coming from an irrelevant mythology, full of magic, superstition and questionable facts. But God's ways are not our ways. This short extract from Luke's gospel tells of a frightened young woman named Mary being told that she was going to give birth to a miraculously conceived baby boy who was to be named Jesus; and that the boy would grow up to be God's anointed agent. The power in our lives that we call God is not an overpowering despot or judge, rather, it is a life-giving presence expressed most profoundly in the birth of Jesus – born vulnerable and helpless, and in very poor circumstances.
Luke 1: 26-38

SUN 24-DEC-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 9:09)
Advent 4 – It is suggested that putting Christ back into Christmas can take five steps – (1) Share with the poor. – (2) Renounce war and seek peace. – (3) Welcome refugees and strangers, love enemies and neighbours. – (4) Live forgiveness. – (5) Live lives of enticing humble beauty. All around the world there are vulnerable people, especially children, who need Christmas presents such as these to enable them to flourish.
Matthew 1: 18-25

SUN 17-DEC-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 19:26)
Advent 3 – The flavour of Christianity is joy – even when one's life is anything but pleasant. The gospel doen't just tell us to be joyful; it gives us hope against everything that gets us down. It is more than emotion – it is the whole of one's being responding to God's free gift of grace. Jesus tells us that he came with good news for the poor; to bind up the broken hearted; to give liberty to captives. We cannot manufacture these blessings, but with the right environment of faith, fellowship and obedience, the blessings can grow and flourish. Joy comes from a commitment to living in the light, enjoying it, revelling in it, and sharing it.
Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11; John 1: 6-8, 19-28

SUN 17-DEC-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:52)
Advent 3 – "Embrace Hope" – There is a harsh side to the story of the birth of Jesus, with a juxtaposition between Herod, the self-proclaimed King with enormous power over life and death, and the vulnerble, defenceless infant Jesus, proclaimed by the wise men as born King of the Jews. The baby's arrival terrified Herod, who did what he could to eliminate what he saw as a threat to his reign; but he was thwarted by wise men and angels. Jesus lived the subversive message that power, as the world knows it, is not the final word; against all apperances, he proclaimed that the people at the centre of God's compassion are the weak, vulnerable, used and discarded – current examples were mentioned. The final report from the Australian "Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse" had just been released, and the sermon concluded with prayers for those who have experienced abuse, for the Royal Commission, and for the Church.
Matthew 2: 16-23

SUN 10-DEC-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 19:30)
Advent 2 – Around the year 700 BCE, the prophet Isaiah was proclaiming a new understanding of the character of God, that we have a God of comfort, nurture and consolation who responds to suffering; but that God's access to his people first needs to be cleared of the spiritual rubbish that is blocking the way. A similar message was preached by John the Baptiser, who urged people to repent and realign their lives to what they knew were God's ways. Advent is a time of waiting, reflection and repentance; and we need to think about God waiting for us, as well as us waiting for God.
Isaiah 40: 1-11; Mark 1: 1-8

SUN 10-DEC-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 15:40)
Advent 2 – "Tend Hope" – Matthew's gospel does not give a sentimental view of the Christmas season, and it does not quarantine us from the harsh and ugly realities of the time. Herod the Great ruled as a murderous tyrant, and it was in character for him to protect himself from a future rival by arranging for the slaughter of babies and toddlers. Joseph was told in a dream to flee to Egypt with the mother and baby, and to stay there until Herod's death. On their return they settled in Nazareth of Galilee; and as a young man Jesus was eventually captured and crucified after preaching against political and religious intrigue, violence, deception and injustice. But he rose again – and we can hold to the belief that the reign of God, of justice and peace, will prevail.
Matthew 2: 1-15

SUN 03-Dec-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 14:46)
Advent 1 – We all live with darkness at different times, with experiences of change and loss. It feels like an ending; familiar things no longer work; the world seems to be falling apart; we lose hope of finding the presence of God. Jesus says to keep awake and have hope even in the darkness; it is an act of faithfulness. Let us choose an Advent that directs our gaze to this present moment, imperfect yet beloved, fragile yet important, flawed yet beautiful – the very time and moment when we find God with us, now, right before our eyes.
Mark 13: 24-37

SUN 03-DEC-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 26:39)
Advent 1 – "Choose Hope" – Matthew's genealogy of Jesus is not a clinically accurate representation of a family tree – it is very selective and intentional, describing connections in a lineage. Most unusual for a Jewish genealogy is the inclusion of the names of five women, of whom four are non-Jewish and tainted with impropriety and scandal. This is a deliberate critique of the place of women in history, in the face of a patriarchal society. God in Jesus works in unpredictable and scandalous ways – we are called to invest in love, not hate; generosity, not meanness; forgiveness, not vindictiveness; and peace, not violence.
Matthew 1: 1-17

SUN 26-NOV-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 22:23)
Christ the King – The reign of Christ does not involve unbridled power enforced by compulsion and fear; on the contrary, it involves compassion, deep empathy, justice, forgiveness and recociliation. Christ is to be found among the despised, forgotten, victimised and suffering, those who are desperate for recognition and worth. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords is also the Jesus who walked the streets of Nazareth. His reign is not identified with the power elite or the moral majority forcing their will on the nation – it is more likely to be found in hospitals and prisons than in palaces. True religion is religion that transforms lives.
Matthew 25: 31-46

SUN 26-NOV-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Geoff Boyce   (Timing 16:15)
Reign of Christ Sunday – After escaping from Egypt and forcefully seizing Palestine from its indigenous inhabitants, the Hebrews found themselves in constant strife with their neighbours with violence begetting violence. After a few hundred years they demanded to be led by kings, against the advice of the prophet Samuel who had told them that God was their king. Many of their kings became despotic tyrants. The title of "Christ the King" can be traced back to a hope among early Jewish Christians that Jesus would follow in the line of Joshua and David and lead the people in an uprising against the Romans; but Jesus was not that sort of king; he rejected domination and violence as tools of power, and his mission was a transforming love that included everybody.
Matthew 25: 31-46

SUN 19-NOV-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:57)
Pentecost 24 – "The Parable of the Talents" – The parables of Jesus are intentionally disturbing. In this one, a master gives three of his slaves, or servants, some money before he goes away on a journey; and on his return he commends them of chastises them according to what they had done with the money, given to them to be used, celebrated and multiplied. But the master in this story is very different from the God revealed in the life of Jesus. The third servant's downfall came from his complete misunderstanding of his master – the servant was terrified of the man. How do we see God? God is revealed in the life of Jesus, and our perception of God has a significant impact on the way we see ourselves.
Matther 25: 14-30

SUN 12-NOV-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 25:29)
Pentecost 23 – This week's 9.30am and 11am sermons were both based on the "Parable of the Ten Young Women", in which the women had to wait a long time, well into the night, for a bridegroom to turn up; and when the bridegroom finally arrived, five of the women were excluded because their lamp oil had run out. In our 9.30am sermon, the parable was interpreted in terms of the lamp oil; whereas in this 11.00am sermon, the emphasis was on the period of waiting. We need to pay attention to the presence of God; to make space to recognise his presence in our complex and confusing world. God is not elsewhere. Are you being watchful and attentive, or are you just driftng?
Matthew 25: 1-13

SUN 12-NOV-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 11:01)
Pentecost 23 – "Generosity of Spirit" – In the Hebrew scriptures, the term "oil" is often used as a metaphor for "good deeds". From the group of ten bridesmaids waiting for the delayed arrival of the bridegroom, five were well prepared with faith and good deeds, while the other five discovered too late that good deeds cannot be purchased. We need to develop a faith that endures during inevitable periods of darkness; faith cannot be topped up at the last minute.
Matthew 25: 1-13

SUN 05-NOV-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 15:15)
Pentecost 22 – Jesus was very critical of some Pharisees who taught the written law with great care but failed to practise what they preached. Outwardly they were clothed in garments of piety and correctness; but inwardly they were clothed in self righteousness, conceit, complacency and arrogance. Followers of Christ Jesus, on the other hand, strive to be clothed inwardly in garments of righteousness, humility, meekness and modesty. These are garments of salvation.
Matthew 23: 1-12

SUN 05-NOV-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 28:06)
Pentecost 22 – "Gospel, power and authenticity" – Jesus was highly critical of those in authority who imposed burdens on others with no intention of sharing in the burdens, whose decrees incarcerated rather than liberated, and who indulged in ostentatious displays of their high position and standing. We must use power not to coerce, but to liberate and bring healing to others. It shows our hypocrisy and lack of authenticity, if we preach the words of the gospel without practising what we preach.
1 Thessalonians 2: 9-13; Matthew 23: 1-12

SUN 29-OCT-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 23:35)
Pentecost 19 – At the core of the gospel is the three-fold love of God, neighbour and self, loves against which all Christians must meaaure their lives. God is known and encountered in our following of Christ into different values and interactions with others, and different ways of being in the world with our neighbours. In this sermon our preacher describes the ways in which members of the UCCP, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, in the Central Luzon region, are responding to the call to be companions to the poor and oppressed. The desperately poor and oppresed include indigenous hunters and gatherers driven off their lands by the wealthy and powerful, and now living in poverty and hopelessness with little chance of employment.
Deuteronomy 34: 1-12; Matthew 22: 34-46

SUN 22-OCT-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 21:35)
Pentecost 20 – "Show me the money!" – A deputation of religious and political rivals from the Pharisee and Herodian parties joined forces, to confront Jesus with a trick question – was it lawful to pay taxes to the Roman occupiers? A Yes would have Jesus in trouble with the ultra-religious Pharisees, who hated anything Roman; and a No would have him in trouble with the Romans and their Herodian collaborators. His response was neither Yes nor No; he pointed to the image of Caesar on the Roman coinage with which taxes were paid, and told them to honour God, in whose image all are created, just as they should pay taxes to Caesar in the currency that bore the image of Caesar. Everybody is created in the image of God, even the ones we find difficult or obnoxious – perhaps tarnished and distorted, but still to be treated with dignity and respect.
Matthew 22: 15-22

SUN 15-OCT-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Greg Elsdon   (Timing 18:46)
Pentecost 19 – The gospel reading for the day, taken from Matthew's gospel, is a retelling of a parable of Jesus in which the kingdom of heaven is likened to a royal wedding banquet to which everyone was invited with generous impartiality. The same parable is recorded in Mark's gospel, in a slightly different form. Mark's banquet host was annoyed when people declined his invitation, but Matthew's banquet host, a king, was furious. It seems that Matthew's aim was to urge his readers to follow the example of Jesus, to do his Father's will and not ignore God's graceful invitation. More is required than simply hearing about God's grace; we need to respond with gratitude, and to live with one another graciously, generously and inclusively.
Matthew 22: 1-14

Induction of Rev Dr Greg Elsdon
  (Timing 1:14:49)
Service of Induction of Reverend Dr Greg Elsdon as Minister of the Word

Sunday 8th October 2017, at 7.00 PM
Presbytery leader: Rev Diane Bury
Preacher: Dr Deidre Palmer

SUN 08-OCT-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Pastor Cyrus Kung   (Timing 9:05)
Pentecost 18 – When we come across beggars in public places, we often look away and hurry by. When Peter and John came across a lame beggar at the entrance to the Jerusalem temple, they stopped, engaged with him, and looked him in the eyes. There was a miracle - the man was healed of his lameness. Peter, after Pentecost, had become articulate and compassionate – his posture had become that of Jesus. May we, too, be able to look into the eyes of those whom we are trying to include in our life.
Acts 3: 1-10

SUN 01-OCT-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 18:51)
Pentecost 17 – The most powerful of people, including Moses, Shakespeare, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, cannot use their power to satisfy the deepest needs of our souls – needs such as peace, meaning and love. The power of God is revealed most profoundly in love, and it cannot be manipulated by coercive force. Love is made perfect in weakness. The apostle Paul encourages the Christians at Philippi, and us, to be united, and to be like Christ in humility, service and self-sacrifice.
Exodus 17: 1-7; Philippians 2: 1-13; Matthew 21: 23-32

SUN 01-OCT-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Geoff Boyce   (Timing 14:05)
Pentecost 17 – Turning Point of Time - A Service for Daylight Saving – Churches are not keeping up with rapid technological and social shifts but have lost their way; and at the same time a host of humanistic corrective bandaids have sprung up to help people cope with massive amounts of anxiety and depression. We need more than the pressure of having to keep working; we need to re-engage with being human, to return periodically and cyclically back home to where we came from. Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath." A periodical Sabbath will help us to enjoy the abundant gifts and blessings that God wills for us.
Psalm 78: 1-4, 12-16; Philippians 2: 1-13

SUN 24-SEP-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dean Eland   (Timing 16:14)
Pentecost 16 – Jesus tells a story about an employer who hires workers throughout the day, but pays them all the same at the end. When those who started at the beginning of the day complain, he challenges them, asking whether they resent his generosity to others. In God's new social order, all are included, not just the privileged. All are to be treated as equals, and everyone has a part to play.
Matthew 20: 1-16

SUN 24-SEP-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Dr Elizabeth Boase   (Timing 23:11)
Pentecost 16 – Season of Creation – To follow God's law is to gain the wisdom to live a full and abundant life, at one with self, creation and God. The whole of creation is in harmony – including the skies, the sun, the moon and the stars. By following God's law we can live out a life of justice and compassion. But humans have failed to live at one with God's good creation, and as a result the whole of our world is suffering in this time of climate crisis..
Deutoronomy 5:31 - 6:8; Psalm 19

SUN 17-SEP-2017 - 11 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 15:16)
Pentecost 15 – Today in Australia we are faced with the contentious issue of whether our Parliament should be asked to legalise Same Sex Marriage; and in the first century the Christian community in Rome was being torn apart by the contentious issue of whether it was safe to eat meat that had been ritually slaughtered in pagan temples. When he wrote to the Roman church, Paul included some advice for dealing with contentious issues. – We need to deal humbly with one another, to listen and work to understand the other's perspective. We must not be arrogant, disrepectful and unyielding. Diverse practices can flourish side by side; and conflicts need to be resolved, in the process of forgiveness. Such is the way of Christ.
Romans 14: 1-12

SUN 17-SEP-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Lee Levett-Olson   (Timing 26:24)
Pentecost 15 – "Stories around the camp fire" – The teaching is based on the parable in Matthew's gospel, of the unforgiving servant, the man whose enormous debt was cancelled out of mercy, but who refused to cancel a small debt and had his debtor thrown into prison. Much the same is happening in Australia, especially in the Northern Territory, where Aborigines have forgiven the enormous debts owed to them for the taking away of their country, resources, languages and culture; but far too many who cannot repay small debts brought on by social disadvantage are thrown into prison. This is not God's way; in the letter to the Romans, we are urged to seek peace and mutual edification – to learn from one another.
Romans 14: 7-19; Matthew 18: 21-35

SUN 10-SEP-2017 - 11.00 AM Witness
Rev Sandy Boyce, Andrew Babirat & Georgina Evans   (Timing 16:52)
Pentecost 14 – In his letter to the Romans, Paul exhorted the believers to owe no debt to anyone except the ongoing debt of love, and to love their neighbours as themselves. And our two guest speakers talked of their particular expressions of this type of love, when they described their work as schoolc chaplains among the students at Adelaide High School.
Romans 13: 8-14

SUN 10-SEP-2017 - 9.30 AM Witness
Jeff Telfer and Ben Heyward   (Timing 37:15)
Pentecost 14 – "Responding to Climate Change – an Issue for All Faiths" –
The Bible and the Qur'an have very similar messages about caring for the God-given creation of which we are all a part. Jeff Telfer spoke on "What do Christians and Muslims think about Climate Change?", drawing on passages from the Bible and the Qur'an; and Ben Heyward spoke on "An Application of Climate Change Theology", describing a God-centred approach to solving some climate-related problems in Papua New Guinea.
Genesis 2: 7-9, 15-22;  Job 38: 4-7, 34-35; 39: 26-27;  Luke 9:16;
Qur'an 1:1;  44:38-39;  25:61-63;  5:48

SUN 03-SEP-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 18:56)
Pentecost 13 – God's call can come when we least expect it, at any time, at any stage of our lives. The Bible has many stories of God's calling, but not everyone responded. God's call is for us to be doing things for others, not just for ourselves; to bring about forgiveness, reconciliation and peace; to heal the broken, feed the hungry, stand up for the oppressed. What we set out to do might well cause offence and scandal; but we can trust God to hold us, if we cannot hold ourselves.
Exodus 3: 1-15; Matthew 16: 21-28

SUN 03-SEP-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Denise Griffen   (Timing 17:40)
Pentecost 13 – Season of Creation – The parable from Luke's gospel, of the prodigal son who made a mess of his life with an extravagantly wasteful lifestyle, and who eventually came to his senses, is interpreted in terms of the mess that the human race is making of the world's ecological inheritance as a result of our wasteful consumerism. A second parable, from Matthew's gospel, offers a solution. Consider the lilies of the field; stop worrying; look for the kin-dom of God with its righteousness, and you will find that whatever you need will be provided.
Luke 15: 11-32; Matthew 6: 25-34

SUN 27-AUG-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dean Eland   (Timing 23:04)
Pentecost 12 – The scripture readings for the day are well-known stories telling of changes of outlook, calling and mission. They tell of people of faith being shaped and transformed by their experiences as they learn to trust, hope and work for a new day and the dawning of a better world. We need to keep hearing these stories; they are part of our heritage; they tell us where we've come from and where we are going.
Exodus 1: 8-14, 2:1-10; Psalm 124; Romans 12: 1-8; Matthew 16: 13-20

SUN 20-AUG-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Geoff Boyce   (Timing 18:19)
Pentecost 11 – Karma and Grace – The account in Genesis of the meeting of Joseph, then Prime Minister of Egypt, with his eleven brothers who had sold him into slavery, is examined in terms of "Karma" and "Grace". Karma is the principle of getting payback for your misdeeds – tit for tat, you reap what you sew, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Grace is the principle of free, unwarranted, unmerited gift-giving. After the way they had treated Joseph, the brothers expected karma; instead, what they received from him was grace. Law closes doors to protect us from harm, and punishes the wrong-doer; but grace opens doors to life and love, which is the good news in the heart and mind of God.
Genesis 45: 1-15

SUN 13-AUG-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 17:19)
Pentecost 10 – Jacob had two wives, Rachel and Leah. He loved Rachel and favoured her son Joseph; but with Leah his marriage was loveless, and he paid little attention either to her or to the rest of his chidren. Joseph became self-opinionated and overbearing, and his siblings hated him for it. There resulted a family tragedy, from a father not caring for a mother and her children. We must not destroy people by telling them they are useless when they are valuable; or stupid when they are smart; or failures when they are successful. God loves each of us; we are here for a reason; and God has more faith in us than we have in ourselves. By meditating on this, we might turn intention into deed and become the person God meant us to be.
Genesis 37: 1-4, 12-28

SUN 13-AUG-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Peter Russell   (Timing 21:40)
Pentecost 10 – Walking on water : we are all boat people. – The church is often likened to a boat. As Christians are we the crew or passengers? Where is the boat heading? When do we stay and when do we get out of the boat? And where is Jesus in all of this?
Matthew 14: 22-33

SUN 06-AUG-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 16:34)
Pentecost 9 - After wrestling all night with a stranger who must have been God, Jacob received both a blessing and a dislocated hip. The greatest blessings and the deepest scars can come from the same experience, to reshape us and bring out the fruits of grace from within us. The fingerprint of God is there – not as the cause of the event, but in the way the event is utilised. God hungers for the best for us, for us to have the love and life we were meant to have; and his love is tough enough to wound us, if that's the only way to bring us into his blessings.
Genesis 32: 22-31; Romans 9: 1-5; Matthew 14: 13-21

SUN 06-AUG-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Geoff Boyce   (Timing 23:05)
Pentecost 9 – “I will not let you go until you bless me” – Jacob had good reason to ask for God's blessing, considering his history of cheating and swindling; and after he had wrestled with God until dawn, he was blessed by God. Wrestling with a serious problem and hanging on can bring blessing; and so can letting go, when the cost is too great.

No newcomer comes to church without hope of a blessing or a healing; and if church fails to practise what it claims, God and his blessing will be sought and found somewhere else, perhaps in a Sunday morning coffee shop where friends are accepted for who they are. God is in the world and is not limited to church; if relationships in a church become toxic, God will continue his work in the world and leave the church to its own devices.
Genesis 32: 22-31

SUN 30-JUL-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 16:33)
Pentecost 8 – When Jacob married Leah and Rachel, polygamy was the norm and marriage was an alliance between men to buy and sell women, not a commitment to share life together. In Graeco-Roman times, monogamy became the norm because the dominant culture considered polygamy to be barbaric. There is no single biblical approach to marriage. The Bible can be found in error, where its practices do not stand up to ethical scrutiny.
Genesis 29: 15-26

SUN 30-JUL-2017 - 9.30 AM Reflections
Members of the Congregation   (Timing 30:12)
Pentecost 8 – “God's Commonwealth” – This church service was planned and led by volunteers from the congregation, to give the ordained minister a break on the fifth Sunday of the month. There were some very thoughtful reflections, based on a reading from Romans chapter 8, and a reading from the kingdom parables of Matthew chapter 13.
Romans 8: 26-39; Matthew 13: 31-33, 44-52

SUN 23-JUL-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Christy Cappe   (Timing 21:57)
Pentecost 7 – The Mission of God – God is in all places, at all times; and "godless" describes not a place where God is absent, but a place where God is present but disregarded. Mission is about looking around, seeing where God's presence is working, and joining in with his work. in this imperfect world. Evangelism, the bringing of good news, should not be a practice of imposing God, but rather of revealing that God is already here. And God can, and does, still reveal himself in dreams and visions.
Genesis 28: 10-19; Romans 8: 12-25

SUN 16-JUL-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 16:27)
Pentecost 6 – Something seems to be slipping. Attitudes that separate "us" from "them", absorbed unconsciously, are sweeping us more and more in the direction of ugly intolerance and fear – when as Christians we should be seen as shining lighthouses of God's love. God is love; Jesus is his embodiment on earth; and God's spirit is in all of us. We carry the seeds of love, justice, mercy, compassion, hope and forgiveness – these things will change our lives.
Romans 8: 1-11

SUN 16-JUL-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Bob Hutchinson   (Timing 15:15)
Pentecost 6 – "Time" – When time is mentioned in the scriptures, it can mean chronological time, 'chronos', measured using clocks and calendars; and it can also mean God's time, 'kairos', describing God's activity in history and personal affairs. In human terms, God's time might have little relation to clocks and calendars. God's spirit, like an erratic wind, blows us along in unexpected directions; it might take a long time to reach the destination that God intends, or it might happen all of a sudden. God is with us on our life journey, which can have rough patches as well as smooth; but with a companion like Jesus, who invites us to "come along with me", what could ultimately go wrong?
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8; John 3: 1-17

SUN 09-JUL-2017 - 9.30 AM Setmon
Rev Bob Hutchinson   (Timing 16:54)
Pentecost 5 – “Responding to the music” – "Let us dream, sing and dance into the wisdom, love and mystery we name as God" – such was the theme of this church service. It was based on an interpretation of Matthew 11: 16-19, in which a generation of people were accused of failing to appreciate the beautiful and enjoyable, while condemning anyone who did have such an appreciation. The Early Word address, dealing with this topic, has been included in the recording. The sermon itself was based on the second part of the reading, verses 25-30, in which we are encouraged to share the loads and burdens of others, to be co-workers with Christ, and to join ourselves to God. Which could bring great recognition, but it could also bring rejection.
Matthew 11: 16-19, 25-30

SUN 02-JUL-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Vikki Waller   (Timing 22:03)
Pentecost 4 – In the society from which Abraham set out on his journey towards a promised land, human sacrifice was a normal practice for trying to please God and prevent disasters; but in the case of Abraham, young Isaac was spared when God intervened by providing instead a ram to be sacrificed. Over a thousand years later, the Hebrew prophets were revealing that God does not require ritual sacrifices at all; what he really wants is for us to act justly towards one another, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before our God. And through the grace, or graciousness, of Jesus, we can find the freedom to live and love to the full.
Genesis 22: 1-14; Romans 6: 12-23

SUN 02-JUL-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Bob Hutchinson   (Timing 21:56)
Pentecost 4 – “Life begins at 40” – In the Bible, the number 40 is often used symbolically – 40 days of rain in the story of Noah; 40 years of wandering in the wilderness after the escape from Egypt; Jesus spending 40 days in the wilderness after his baptism. It is now 40 years since the foundation of the Uniting Church in Australia; and Psalm 40 offers some insights into looking back to the past; looking at the present; and considering the future. What happens next? Let us go forward as witnesses to the way of Jesus, bringing justice and kindness here and beyond, with open ear and humble heart.
Psalm 40: 1-17

SUN 25-JUN-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Vicki Balabinski   (Timing 23:47)
Pentecost 3 – 180 Years Anniversary Sunday – The most formative experiences of the Hebrew people were shaped by faith, hope and love during periods of powerlessness, suffering and loss – particular examples being slavery in Egypt, exile in Babylon, and crucifixion under Rome. But we are urged, even in exile, to know our neighbours; to bring blessing and good to all; to invest ourselves in our families; and to keep the rumour of God alive.
Jeremiah 29: 4-7; Hebrews 12: 1-2; John 17: 20-24

SUN 25-JUN-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Dr Brian Phillips   (Timing 22:40)
Pentecost 3 - To understand the nature of God, look around you – resdiscover the ancient wisdom that sees everything in creation as wonderfully connected. God cares for sparrows, human beings, rocks, trees, seas, mountains and galaxies. According to Thomas Aquinas (13th c), the primary Book is the created world that we see, and the secondary Book is the Christian and Hebrew scriptures. But we humans are busily ruining our wonderful world, and everything in it; and unless we are relying on renewable energy resources within the next few decades, instead of burning carbon-based fuels, we will be responsible for a world-wide catastrophe.
Matthew 10: 24-39

SUN 18-JUN-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Dr Deidre Palmer   (Timing 24:01)
Pentecost 2 - Every Member Ministry
- every member participating in God's reconciling mission in the world, embodying a Christianity where no one is left on the sidelines but everyone is invited to participate in the liberating work of God in the world.
Reflections on the history of Stow Memorial Congregational Church and Pirie Street Methodist Church and the forty years together in the Uniting Church.
Ephesians 4: 1-16

SUN 11-JUN-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Stuart McMillan, President of the Uniting Church   (Timing 14:06)
Trinity Sunday - Christ constitutes, rules and renews his church - celebrating 40 years of the Uniting Church in Australia.
It reminds us that we aren't building a church - we are serving a church that Christ is building. It's about people, it's about love shared with neighbour and enemy alike.
John 1:1-5

SUN 04-JUN-2017 - 10.30 AM Sermon
Rev Prof Andrew Dutney   (Timing 23:18)
Day of Pentecost - Receive the Holy Spirit
The Resurrection of Jesus means the whole world has changed and the Power of the Holy Spirit is the telling that the whole world has changed. The mark of understanding of what the true Messiah is was first understood by Thomas. Thomas was the one who spread the message of deep peace and joy across empires and cultures even to India.

SUN 28-MAY-2017 - 11.00AM Sermon
Rev Bob Hutchinson   (Timing 16:06)
Easter 7 - Forgiveness & Confession - gifts of God's Grace
Reflections on Reconciliation Sunday by an unknown author suggesting that 'each of us as individuals and as a society and nation . . . be learning to dance together better'.
John 17: 1-11

SUN 21-MAY-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Bob Hutchinson   (Timing 15:58)
Easter 6 - The Role of the Holy Spirit - is to remind people about everything Jesus has taught and commanded. Ours is to dream the dream and feel His presence, listen to the message of the lyrics of the Gospel whispered to us, to see, hear, feel and discern what God is calling us to do, to be.
John 14: 15-21

SUN 14-MAY-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev. Sandy Boyce   (Timing 18:59)
Easter 5 - Stones - A Call to Community
"The stone imagery invites us to see ourselves as stones. And then to see ourselves as stones belonging to a structure built on Christ. Stones are all different shapes and sizes, old, young, brittle, strong, shiny, fractured, solid, small, large, differently shaped and oriented. There is room for everyone."
1 Peter 2: 2-10

SUN 07-MAY-2017 - 9.30 AM Sermon
Rev Sandy Boyce   (Timing 16:52)
Easter 4 - Beyond the Walls - New Beginnings
"I dream of a church that joins in with God's loving as she bends to embrace the unlovely and lost - a church that can free by its sharing and daring, the imprisoned and poor and then shoulder the cost - a church that is winsome, impassioned, inspiring, lioness of your justice and lamb of your peace." Acts 2: 42-47

SUN 07-MAY-2017 - 11.00 AM Sermon
Rev Bob Hutchinson   (Timing 14:32)
Easter 4 - Jesus as the Door - one of the "I am" sayings of Jesus, unique to John's Gospel. A door is an entry point. Jesus is the entry point to "life in all its fullness". The way to God or maybe how God's love gets to us is through Jesus. Psalm 23 is sung by the Pilgrim Choir and the message is from John 10: 1-10.

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