What I am Thankful for this Christmas

Working with the youth at this church is a blessing. It is a blessing because I am privileged to walk with them, share in their joys and sorrows, and help them in their faith journeys to walk with and be like the Lord Jesus. Unfortunately churches lose youth very easily, with
Australian statistics showing seven out of ten 11 year old children no longer attend church by the age of 18. Our youth can easily get lost, and Berwick Anglican Church is no exception to this unfortunate statistic.

So as we move into the Christmas season I want to share with you the encouragement that our youth are to this church, and how thankful I am to God that Jesus is clearly working in their lives, creating in them a desire to pursue him, and to be a part of the church through
acts of service.

We have seen God at work in a personal way through one baptism and two confirmations this year. Our youth are also desiring to be a part of this church through using their gifts of service in our Sunday gatherings through public bible readings, music, Sunday School, and sound desk and data. God has been stirring their hearts to mission with the initiative of a trivia night given with the hope of raising money for the gospel to be shared overseas. We had a very successful and fun night in September, raising almost $500 for Bush Church Aid.

So friends I encourage you to praise God for the youth in this church! I also challenge you to take time to know them. Really get to know them, get alongside them, teach them to love Jesus, and help them be a part of the body of Christ.

For His glory,
Reece Kelly – Assistant Minister

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Berwick Anglican Christmas







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Preparing for Christmas

This week I found on the internet a ‘Ultimate Christmas Countdown Checklist’ giving advice on how to prepare for Christmas to ‘ensure you’ll have more holiday cheer and less holiday stress’. The checklist starts with activities to do six months before December 25… maybe it will be of use next year! But to be frank this checklist is full of terrible advice that will make you more, and not less, stressed.

Indeed it is cultural junk like this that makes many people loath Christmas. Christmas has become all about busyness, empty consumerism, family expectations, meaningless winter themed guff and above all stress; stress at work, stress at home and even stress at church, which together crowds out time and energy for anything worthwhile. What a terrible mess our society has made of the season we celebrate the peace that is now available to us because of the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ!

Next Sunday Advent begins, the traditional Christian season which leads up to Christmas. If you truly want to ‘ensure you’ll have more holiday cheer and less holiday stress’, then I suggest that you prepare for Christmas in a very simple way – over Advent, every day, pray that God would lead you and Berwick Anglican Church into the peace and rest that is given to every Christian believer by God’s coming to us on that first Christmas day.

Rev. Ben Soderlund

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Respecting and Encouraging

Respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:12)

Have you ever noticed that often when a new pastor takes up his responsibilities, almost without fail people first begin looking for his faults? How sad!

No pastor is perfect, of course; even the apostle Paul admitted to the Christians in Corinth, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:1). His young pastor friend Timothy was apparently somewhat shy (1Timothy 4:12).

If you are a pastor or church worker or you teach a class in your church [or a Sunday School, or a Growth Group, or help lead a Ministry, or sit on Parish Council], be honest about your weaknesses and ask God to help you overcome them so you can serve Christ more effectively.

Instead of criticising your pastor and others who have leadership in your church, show respect for them. God gave them their gifts and their responsibilities. Pray for them regularly and sincerely. Encourage them as well, thanking them for what they’re doing and expressing appreciation for their service. And encourage and pray for their families; they too are part of your church’s ministry.

Christian Evangelist Billy Graham

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“Out of the Depths”

“Out of the Depths” by John Newton

Anglican Minister and author of the Hymn ‘Amazing Grace’.

It makes the wounded spirit whole,
And calms the troubled breast;
‘Tis manna to the hungry soul,
And to the weary rest.

Dear Name! the Rock on which I build
My Shield and Hiding-place;
My never-failing Treasury fill’d
With boundless stores of grace.

By Thee my prayers acceptance gain,
Although with sin defiled;
Satan accuses me in vain,
And I am own’d a child.

Jesus! my Shepherd, Husband, Friend,
My Prophet, Priest, and King;
My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End,
Accept the praise I bring.

Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.

Till then I would Thy love proclaim
With every fleeting breath;
And may the music of Thy Name
Refresh my soul in death!

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