Sep 222019

It’s a big weekend at St Philips!

This afternoon at 3pm, Dr Simon Towler will be joining us to explain the proposed Voluntary Assisted Dying legislation currently under discussion in the Western Australian Upper House of Parliament.  This is a very emotive issue.  I have been reading and studying it at some length this week and I am feeling emotional about it.

The purpose of this time is to glean information and facts.  It is not to champion a position, shoot the messenger or ‘wedge’ the Vicar. (though all those things might be quite entertaining).

Simon will give us information in as dispassionate way as possible.  He will explain how the issue came to be introduced, how the legislation was developed, what the particular consultative bodies are, how the process would operate if passed, any review processes, how very ill people die now, its adequacy and any possible improvements.  He will take as many questions as there are from the floor.

In the weeks following Simon’s presentation I will present information on the traditional Christian understanding of the human person and some of the issues that any new legislation will struggle to address, that may cause concern and are worthy of discussion before the genie gets out of the bottle.

The fact is that we live in a secular society.  No one, apart from a few religious people, seems overly interested in religious positions on the nature and behaviour of the human person.  Why? Because people no longer live under the authority and lordship of God.

I just say this as we come to a topic that will require much charity and grace. 

On another very significant note . . .
The annual carols programme that St Philips has supported under the guiding hand of the MacPhersons and Gary Davidson will not be run by us in 2019.  Whether they will be on at all is up to the Town of Cottesloe.

This is largely due to some very exciting news for John and Ellie.  Their eldest daughter Aimee is having a baby in Melbourne and is very keen to have her parents nearby.  We celebrate this exciting event with the Macs.

As we have looked at our music resources, and all that is involved with carols followed by the Christmas services, it is all way beyond us.

Having prayerfully pondered this as a staff and Parish Council, and consulted widely, we believe the time has come to honour the
25-year commitment of those who have toiled so hard to make Jesus known at Christmas [thanks be to God] and declare this to be the laying down of St Philips involvement in the event permanently.

Twenty five years is an unprecedented act of loving commitment.  It is my view that it is time to bury the seed and give it some time to perhaps let a new thing emerge.

The carols team, staff, Parish Council and Town of Cottesloe have discussed this and are  agreed that now is the time.

On a personal note, I would have loved just one more carols event by way of celebration, but there is no celebration to trump a new grandchild.  Perhaps it might be fitting to get ‘Carol’ in the name somewhere – if it is a girl, that is.

We are planning an event to honour the journey before John and Ellie head east. We will keep you informed.


Sep 152019

It was a remarkable bible study last week with Kieran.  We have been working our way through Roman chapter 8 and Kieran recited the whole chapter to a captive audience.  Wow!  The Word of God was so alive and meaningful.

This also made me think of how passionate our leadership team feels about our youth group and bringing young people at many local schools into a relationship with Jesus.

When I was at school (more than 50 years ago), we learned the scriptures soberly and Shakespeare with passion.  Now, wouldn’t it be memorable for students to have a visit from Kieran where he uses his gift of oration and passionately recites God’s Word? 

In prayerful anticipation,
Pammy Goff

I was chatting with Peter Goff about Romans 8 the other day.  Peter said Kieran had taught them to ask of a text interpretive questions that help to open up its meaning.  He said one question was to read the passage and ask, “Is it Jesus doing it, God doing it or the Holy Spirit doing it?”  Peter was amazed at what was happening in Romans 8.  Jesus’ one job was to intercede.  God was doing a few things.  But the Holy Spirit was flat out.  In the Spirit’s revealing the wonders of God in Christ we are strengthened, loved and filled with hope.

Pete has also been very impressed with what Kieran has been bringing; that’s exciting too.  We are very fortunate to have him. 

Finally, I hear people say, “The bible can be interpreted any way you like and we can’t know for sure what it means.”  Actually, no!  There are keys to understanding texts – medical texts, legal texts and biblical texts.  If people are getting crazy interpretations, it means they don’t know what they are doing.  Kieran is teaching how to get the truth from the word of truth.  That’s such good news.

Malcolm Potts
St Philips Cottesloe

Sep 082019

As I write this, we are in the midst of a week of Growing Young focus groups. One of the things that struck me in the first focus group was their impact of mentors on the lives of some of our current parents when they were teenagers. Many of these were informal relationships, not necessarily even things that the teenagers at the time would have been able to identify as particularly significant.  However, looking back, they recognized that  these people had a significant impact on them personally and in their faith. This lines up with the release this week of a video by a movement called Here2Stay (which reflects on the factors that often lead to people remaining connected to church and faith) about the importance of mentoring. It includes a powerful story of the importance of someone coming alongside a young girl who later went on to do that for others. Then, this morning, as I began reading Titus in my Bible reading, I was reflecting on the mentoring relationship of Paul with Titus (and many others).

My own story has a whole range of people who have invested in me deeply, including, and especially, in my teenage years. Many of these people are still present in my life to this day: youth group leaders, camp leaders, Christian parents of my friends, older siblings of friends, school teachers, ‘grandparent’ figures in my church community, SU staff workers, ministers and plenty more – people who made themselves available and who God has used in powerful ways to point me to Him and to shape me into the person that He has for me to be. As I was going through stuff in my recent move, I came across a pile of prayer letters that one youth group leader, an older sibling of one of my friends, had included me in. As her first teaching job out of uni, she had moved to country NSW to teach in a boarding school. She had a group of people around her supporting her in prayer as she did that and included a couple of us teenagers in the group. God was teaching her lots about prayer and she wrote about that, as well as what God was doing in those she was ministering to  there. Those letters, together with lots of other aspects of her presence and shaping, formed me deeply and still impact me to this day.

How about you? What are your stories of how God has used other people to point you to Him and to shape you in being the person He has for you to be? Who are you looking to be present for and invest in? How are you ensuring that you are pointing them to Jesus (not just yourself or encouraging them in the tendency of us all to put ourselves in the centre), and that you are working with God for them to become the people God has for them to be?


Sep 012019

(This musing was written by Sally about two months ago.  Mal thought it was fitting to share as a word in season today) What do you love about the Holy Spirit? Our kids were asked this one Sunday in Kids Church – to either think specifically about the Holy Spirit or about God in general. Most of them answered referring to the Holy Spirit: He’s always willing to help; He sticks with you; He somehow manages to fit three beings [continue reading…]

Aug 252019

Last weekend 30 women from St Philips had a great time away together. So many precious things, so many precious moments. As is so often the case, it was a weekend of encounter with each other and with God . . . a weekend where relationships were further developed and where the Holy Spirit worked in our lives; . . . a weekend where God met us deeply as we made the effort to be present; . . . a [continue reading…]

Aug 182019

“Cancel everything but prayer.” One of the most uplifting experiences I’ve had at St Philips was the last 5pm prayer meeting (held every 4th Sunday).  It was so good to be in the Lord’s presence together. The following article from Eternity magazine highlights the importance of prayer. “Recently retired church planting veteran David Jones has a drop-everything-and-pray approach to congregational prayer. When the Welsh-born Presbyterian minister is asked about the role of prayer in his 40 years of church ministry, [continue reading…]

Aug 112019

Moving house! That’s what my week has been. By the time most of you are reading this, most of my things will have been moved to my new place in Cottesloe. I’ve been pondering and praying about the move for some time and a couple of months ago felt it was time to act. I had invited some close people into the discernment journey and felt that it was quite important to actually be very local to the church in [continue reading…]

Aug 042019

By their fruit you will recognise them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:16 NIV) Words are powerful (I remember so vividly a scornful comment from my Year 7 class teacher delivered 40 years ago.)  Daily we communicate words of life (blessings) or words that kill (curses) to others and ourselves. AND, words are cheap. They can’t stand alone – they scream hypocrisy when inconsistent with our actions. When they match, we see integrity.  At [continue reading…]

Jul 282019

Last night I had the privilege of meeting with our Growing Young team. We were discussing conversations that we have each had with some of our St Philips young people over the last month. There were numerous reasons I felt privileged. Here are some of them: Firstly, I was sitting with a group of people who are invested in seeing our church Grow Young and in seeing many young people come to know Jesus and continue on in their relationship [continue reading…]

Jul 212019

The Bible has a number of clear expectations for pastors and leaders in the church. One of them is in 1 Timothy 4:16: Watch your life and doctrine closely.Persevere in them, because if you do,you will save both yourself and your hearers. The Bible says that our attention (or inattention) to our life and doctrine will have a direct impact on the salvation of souls. Wow! That’s why Malcolm and I were asked some very serious questions upon our ordination [continue reading…]