Sunday 12th July 2020

12 Jul 2020 by O'Connor Uniting Church in: Reflections

Bible Readings

First reading: Genesis 25:19-34
Psalm: Psalm 119:105-112
Second reading: Romans 8:1-11
Gospel: Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23


The Parable of the Sower
Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23

It is noteworthy that Jesus does not use the parable to exhort hearers to "be good soil," as though we could make that happen. If there is any hope for the unproductive soil, it is that the sower keeps sowing generously, extravagantly, even in the least promising places. Jesus' investment in his disciples shows that he simply will not give up on them, in spite of their many failings. We trust that he will not give up on us either, but will keep working on whatever is hardened, rocky, or thorny within and among us.
We trust in his promise to be with us to the end of the age.

Painting “The Sower” by Vincent Van Gogh

Please pray for

  • the re-opening of our church for worship and for our 3rd party hirers. May all be kept safe, and commit to the requirements of the Covid safe plans
  • our church family, as they consider our Covid safe plan for re-gathering, and the wisdom of returning if they have health concerns
  • the community and faith groups using our facilities before the Covid-19 shutdown
  • wisdom for the Victorian Government and national leaders to contain the Covid-19 outbreak in Victoria and its threat to other states & territories
  • vigilance and commitment to observe Covid-19 restrictions by all in our locality and across Australia

We give thanks for

  • the completion of our Covid safe plan for resuming worship services
  • the relative safety from Covid-19 we currently enjoy in Canberra


Pastoral Letter from Rev Andrew Smith - Presbytery Minister - Congregation Futures

The Godsend App – helps us with Fresh Expressions

Recently I was introduced to the Godsend App, and I want to recommend it to you. The blurb for the App goes like this:

“Godsend is for anyone helping to start and grow a new Christian community. These communities are sometimes called fresh expressions of church, missional communities, church plants, organic church, simple church, new worshipping communities, praxis communities, and more. Godsend contains ‘thought starters’ for forming new Christian communities. It is not a set of rules. So consult the app, adapt what you find, and improvise! To get the most out of godsend, spend time on each unit. The Guides especially contain lots to think about.”

The App is part of the suite of resources offered by Fresh Expressions who also offer the “Mission Shaped Ministry” course that our Presbytery is running. If you are already part of the course you will find the App to be a very useful addition that helps you connect with the main ideas of the course and see their practical application. It can also function a bit like a buddy that you can call upon for resources to help you with questions and challenges you face as you explore the possibilities of being involved in a fresh expression.

If you are not part of the course yet, then the App is an easily accessible way to be introduced to the main ideas of the course, and to get started toward experimenting with a fresh expression of church. It will be a very useful buddy as you explore what fresh expressions are about and begin to imagine getting involved.

The first video in the overview section of the App sets out the simple approach to getting started in fresh expressions of church: “first, find a friend or two and together find simple ways to love people around you – in your neighbourhood, work place or as you are doing things you love to do. Make friends with people around you, share your faith and a new Christian community emerges where you are. The new community doesn’t stand alone. It may be connected in some way with your existing congregation. The rest of the App explores the detail.”

The approach of the App and the approach Frost takes in “Surprise the World – The Five Habits of Highly Missional People” share some important similarities. Take for example the App’s approach of finding a friend or two who will support each other in getting started. Frost encourages us into similar groups of three that he calls DNA groups.

As another example, in the App the friends encourage each other to love the people around them and make friends. Frost’s DNA groups nurture and hold each other to account for the habits of blessing and eating with people who are not part of your church.

The App and Frost’s book are great companions, with Frost’s approach offering a supportive framework for putting the App into practice. I highly recommend the two of them to you, and I am keen to support you as you give these a go.

The App is free, and you can download it by searching for 'fx godsend' in the App Store or Google Play. If you are not familiar with downloading Apps, I’m sure one of your children or grandchildren or another friendly young person will be able to help you.