May 132018
 

There are days and weeks when everything you thought was going to happen goes out the window and your hours and days are consumed in a completely different way. This last week has been one such week for me – precious hours and days but nothing like what I thought I’d be doing or where I thought I’d be.

At this time I’m sitting on a train in Sydney heading over to scan photos of my aunt at one of my best friends parents’ house. Two months ago my aunt was diagnosed with leukaemia. She died on Tuesday. Her funeral is on Monday. It became reasonably clear late last week that she was highly unlikely to get better from the infections that had her in hospital, so I flew over last Saturday night to be with her. She was just conscious enough to recognise me for a brief moment on Sunday. I’m exceptionally thankful for the time we had together just a month ago.

As we’ve journeyed this week, we’ve been very aware of the number of people like her who have no one. But Gwen (a single woman, almost 80 profoundly deaf), was surrounded by people. I’m her closest surviving biological relative, but I have distant cousins who have loved her dearly. She was a nanny for a family on the north shore of Sydney from the time she was 25 and has been part of their family ever since. She embraced them and they embraced her. As the minister who will lead her funeral described it yesterday, she has four ‘nanny kids’ and lots of ‘nanny grandchildren and great grandchildren’. It’s a fun and special story that has touched and confused numerous people over recent days.

In the midst of this story there are many marks of loyalty and selflessness in many directions – and, for me personally, lots of signs of God’s leading and sovereignty. My original plans for the year were for Gwen and me to spend time together on the day she died, but numerous situations led me to come on leave a month earlier and spend some significant time with her. Last weekend, I prayed for wisdom in timing, and feel like I arrived just in time. As well, earlier in the week I had prayed that the people who needed to see her would, and she died within minutes of the last of these leaving the room. Such a reminder of the intimate and listening relationship our Father longs for us to have with Him and of the intricate way our actions and prayers matter in the way He works in the world. So often it’s easier to see this in these times but He longs to walk and work with us in this way always. I’m certainly reminded of this fact by these last days, weeks and months and hope it will continue to shape how I live in my more ‘normal’ daily life.

As we all know, presence and empathy are so precious in these moments and this week I’ve been struck both by the love and care of people who are not Christians, as well as being aware of the uniqueness that we have in the body of Christ at these times. Again it has me pondering how we as Christ’s body – his hands and feet – continue to love well in the places and communities that He has placed us.

Thanks for your love and prayers for me at this time. I wonder who else God might have for you to be present with this week and what He might be leading you to do?

 

Blessings,

 

Barb

 

May 062018
 

It’s the end of the first week of Term 2 in the school year. I wonder what that means for you? Are you even aware of it? I find it fascinating how things like that have so much relevance when we are in particular life stages or in specific jobs or contexts, and then how out of touch you can get with those things at other times in life.  Some of the ministries that I’m currently involved in are strongly impacted by the rhythm of the school terms so I’m really conscious of it.

This week, seven members of our congregation met with the Deputy Principal and the Chaplain of North Cottesloe Primary School to be briefed on our role as volunteers in the school. All together, nine people from our congregation will be involved within this school community, starting in a couple of weeks time – listening to children read, supervising the nature play area at lunchtime, mentoring. Please pray for us in these new roles, that we will be the light of Christ in this school that we would have such a long history with as a church community.

Pray also for the Chaplain at North Cottesloe, Naomi Fulton, also for Jane Duff, the Chaplain at Cottesloe Primary School. Pray, too,  for our young people as they attend and are shaped by their schools, for parents in their participation in their participation and teachers in their roles in this communities. Following our meeting at North Cottesloe Primary School, Malcolm headed off to a Youthcare Board meeting. Do pray for him in his involvement on this board.

This Sunday a new term starts for our Kidschurch and Youth ministries. Kieran and I met with some of our Sunday youth leaders last week. They are people with a passion to see our young people come to know Jesus, to grow in their relationship with Him and to know that they belong in this church community. Our Kidschurch and Crèche leaders are likewise invested. Thanks so much to all of you who are part of these ministries. Please pray for our young people and their leaders.

Beginning this week, we are (re)starting a fortnightly Friday night youth group. As we begin this ministry, we are so aware of the need for prayer. Will you join with us in this? There’s lots you could pray but a few things would be: that Jesus would be at the centre of all that we do;  that this would be a context to grow wholehearted disciples of Jesus and deep authentic relationships; for clarity of purpose and unity for the team; for excitement and anticipation in the youth; for the logistics and planning; for protection.

So many exciting opportunities to join God in what He is doing in the world. We look forward to seeing what He will do in all these situations as we continue to seek God and step out together.

 

Blessings,

 

Barb

 

Apr 292018
 

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180429-Barb-Totterdell.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 20:27 — 7.0MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe? Reading 1         Romans 8:12-17  Reading 2         Matthew 6:1-18   

Apr 082018
 

What conversations have you had recently? Have you had some conversations that leave you deeply encouraged? What about challenged? And what have you offered into those conversations? I’ve had a number of precious conversations over the last couple of weeks. Precious but not necessarily comfortable. One such conversation was initiated by someone who’d had a sense from God regarding me. Gently and carefully initiated and offered. Sensitive stuff handled with love. Definitely a risk. I’m so thankful that the person [continue reading…]

Apr 012018
 

Happy Easter! I think for many of us Easter has snuck up on us this year. It’s early and many of us have been distracted by other things. Others of us have journeyed Lent strongly, some along with the Christian Meditation times that Pam has facilitated. What was your Lent experience and how have you entered into the Easter journey so far? The cross was no surprise for Jesus. It certainly didn’t sneak up on Him. It was the key [continue reading…]

Mar 182018
 

Last Sunday James spoke about the importance of us having a faith that is both existentially satisfying as well as intellectually credible. (If you weren’t there, it’s well worth a listen to the podcast). I wonder where your faith sits on the scale of those two things. Is your faith existentially satisfying? Is it intellectually credible? Of course, there are times when we are struggling in either of those areas; that’s been a normal part of the faith journey for [continue reading…]

Mar 042018
 

What do you ask of Jesus? How do you respond to his questions to you? At our morning prayer time, the staff and others are currently reading through the book of Mark and Thursday morning’s reading had Jesus asking two different lots of people the same question: “What do you want me to do for you?” The first people he put this question to were James and John who asked Jesus to grant them to sit at his left and [continue reading…]

Feb 252018
 

http://media.blubrry.com/stpips/p/stphilips.net.au/main/media/SR-20180225-Barb-Totterdell.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 15:44 — 5.4MB)Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | RSS | Why not subscribe?  Matthew 10:37-39  Matthew 11:25-30   

Feb 182018
 

It’s the first Sunday in Lent, a time that through the years Christians have used as a period of particular devotion as we prepare to remember and celebrate Jesus’ death and resurrection. I wonder what Lent has been for you in the past and what it will be for you this year? As I was preparing for our Ash Wednesday service this week, I saw a statement written by a friend about Lent: “Lent is a time-bound way of ‘stepping [continue reading…]

Feb 112018
 

In KidsChurch and Junior Youth today our young people are considering the importance of remembering and attending to what God says about us. How do you go at remembering – receiving and believing – what God says about you? Is it the basis of how you live? Most of us are pretty forgetful when it comes to remembering the truth of what God says about us. Some of us don’t really know what it is that God thinks about us; [continue reading…]