Reformation 500

In the lead up to the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, Berwick Anglican Church is running the discussion series Ideas That Changed The World on Tuesday evenings in October. All Welcome!

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BAC Flower Show Celebrate God’s Creation in the Floral Display

Saturday 21 October 2pm – 4.30pm Devonshire Tea

Parishioners, past parishioners are invited to Devonshire Tea and a preview of the floral display on Saturday 21 October.

If you are available to provide transport during the afternoon for those who are housebound, in retirement villages or nursing homes please put your name on the sign up
sheet in the foyer.

Sunday 22 October Flower Show Sunday

Three services will run as usual 8.30am, 10.15am and 5pm.
Guest preachers:

  • Rev Hugh Prentice at 8.30am and 10.15am
  • Bishop Paul Barker – 5pm and he will also conduct the Confirmation Service.

The church will be open all day on Sunday for everyone to have the opportunity to enjoy the floral display.

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“21st Century Bible”

Lately I’ve been thinking that I will try out listening to the bible as part of my daily quite time with God. Overall, I find that the prayerful reading the bible is most helpful for me to learn, study and inwardly digest God’s Word, but on occasion, listening to bible can also be really beneficial. If you would like to be listening to the scriptures, there are some great and free apps that will help you out! Some of the best include –

▪ You-Version bible app;
▪ Bible.Is bible app;
▪ Bible Gateway bible app.

All of these have a number of great text and audio versions of the bible, that you can also download to listen to them off-line. On all three you will find great versions of the NIV, ESV and even the old (and very beautiful to listen to) King James Version. Some versions are dramatised (and to be honest with varying levels of quality!) and other versions are simply read aloud by one person. All of these apps will work on just about any smart phone or tablet, just search for them in your app store of choice. Plus all three have good websites so you can also listen via your browser on your computer or laptop.

If you are a bit more old school, then you might like to buy the bible on CD, either on-line or from a from a Christian book store like Koorong over in Blackburn.

Listening to the scriptures is a great way of making good use of your time when driving or on public transport. If you haven’t listened to bible before, or having listened to it for a while, why not give it go?

Ben Soderlund
Assistant Minister

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Martin Luther on Depression and Melancholy

As we approach the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Reformation, more and more Martin Luther quotes are coming across my desk. In his later years Luther was often depressed, so quite a number of Luther’s sayings have survived that address feelings of melancholy from the perspective of a Christian Pastor. Some of my favourites follow:

‘To be gloomy before God is not pleasing to Him, although He would permit us to be depressed before the world. He does not wish me to have a long face in His presence’.

‘We are saints, that we are saved, and that this will be manifest when it is revealed. Since Christ accepted the thief on the cross just as he was and received Paul after all of his blasphemies and persecutions, we have no reason to despair’.

‘Christ knows that our hearts are troubled, and it is for this reason that He says and commands, “Let not your hearts be troubled”’.

‘Those who are troubled with melancholy… ought to be very careful not to be alone, for God created the fellowship of the church and commanded brotherliness’.

‘When you are assailed by gloom, despair, or a troubled conscience you should eat, drink, and talk with others’.

These are a great reminder that God has given us the hope of the gospel and our Christian fellowship with each other to help us overcome the sorrows of this fallen world. So as we meet together around God’s Word today, be encouraged by the gospel and enjoy each other’s company, and stay for some fellowship over morning / afternoon tea after the service!

Ben Soderlund – Assistant Minister

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The Courage of a Biblically Informed Conscience

One of the things people most admire about Martin Luther was his steadfast courage in the face of great opposition. When the Reformation began to heat up Luther was summoned to appear before the Holy Roman Emperor and the senior authorities of the Church at the imperial Diet of Worms. They would have made for a very intimidating audience!

At the council Luther was shown copies of his writings and instructed to recant of his teachings. Refusing to do so would have very much put his life at risk.

Yet Luther replied: ‘Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me. Amen’.

What was the source of Luther’s courage? It was God ’s encouragement of Luther through Luther’s biblically informed conscience. Luther knew what the bible taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And Luther trusted that God had spoken authoritatively through the bible. Thus for him the bible was the
highest authority on all matters of faith, and so Luther’s conscience was bound to live and obey the scriptures even if the highest authorities of Church or State demanded otherwise.

Like Luther, we too can have a great courage that comes from knowing what the bible teaches and standing firm upon its truths , even in the face of great opposition.

Ben Soderlund
Assistant Minister

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The Precious Gift of an Understandable Bible

One of the most precious gifts of the Reformation was restoring the access of
God’s people to God’s word. In the middle ages the bible was only available in
Latin, which common people could not understand. In England, a man named
William Tyndale took up the challenge of translating a version of the New
Testament from the Greek into the English language. But Tyndale’s great gift to
English speaking people came at a great cost.

Tyndale soon discovered his project would be resist ed by both the religious
and state authorities, who were keen to keep control over the church. So
Tyndale fled to continental Europe, and upon completing his translation in
1525, his New Testament was smuggled back into England where it quickly
became a best-seller.

The authorities were not amused and responded with plans to silence Tyndale.
This came about in Antwerp, where Tyndale was befriended by a man named
Henry Phillips. Phillips was a regular guest of Tyndale’s and gained a
privileged access to his writings. However Tyndale was betrayed by his friend;
Phillips lured him into a trap where he was seized by soldiers and put under
arrest. For his crime of translating the bible, Tyndale was charged with heresy
and burnt at the stake.

However, Tyndale’s translation fueled the fires of reform. For as God’s word
became understandable and available, desire grew in the church to reform
doctrine and practice in line with the bible’s teaching. As we gather to worship
God today, thank him that we have access to his word in a language we can
understand! It came at a great cost, and is a most precious gift.

Ben Soderlund
Assistant Minister

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