Journeying with God as we love and serve the community

Worshipping together apart

We are very glad to be sharing worship with the congregation at Springwood, and hearing from old friends, Leigh and Graeme.

Worshipping Together Apart

Sue has enjoyed connecting into other worship services each week, hearing different messages and meeting new people.

Daytime Bible Study meeting on-line

Getting together each week helps us to connect and share our responses to the week's bible passages.

Bible Study on line

Each week we connect to share our responses to the readings. Getting used to being together, apart.


  Worship during COVID 


Now that we have started to see the lifting of many restrictions the big question is 'when can we return to worshipping together on Sundays?

As part of the Uniting Church ACT-NSW Synod, we will follow their direction.

Currently, acknowledging our many vulnerable members and the requirements to ensure safety through extra cleaning and new practices, Mudgee and Rylstone Uniting Churches will remain closed for worship. We pray that over the next few weeks as we watch the impact of increased freedom from isolation, we will be able to return to worship in the next 2 months. Watch our FB page, and this site for more information.

We invite you to join other churches on SUnday mornings for worship here: 

https://nswact.uca.org.au/covid-19-information-for-presbyteries-and-congregations/livestream-options-for-worship-during-covid-19/


We continue to hold weekly Bible study sessions on Zoom 

Tuesday afternoons from 3:00 - 4:00 pm.

Tuesday evenings from 7:00 - 8:00 pm. 

Contact Rev. Greg Smith  (revgregsmith@hotmail.com)

for the link. 

As we meet together, it is a joy to connect, to reflect on the readings for the week and to share our experiences. Everyone is welcome. 

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Mudgee Uniting Church advises that our regular weekly worship services, and all other activities in the church hall have been suspended until further notice.

We  continue to offer pastoral and spiritual care through a variety of approaches in this unprecedented time.

You can contact us through our Facebook pages or Rev. Greg Smith (0429916191).


Image result for praying hands


Prayer for others. 

We have a prayer chain - together strengthening our individual prayer - for those who we hear of. If you want to know more, or have a prayer request, please email us here.


May all God's blessings be with you as we continue to discover new ways to worship and connect. 

Jesus is risen.

God is with us. 

 

 




Community Garden 

  


For now, the Garden will be cared for by individual carers, who will water, weed and harvest.

We will let you know when the garden is again open for the usual activity. 

FInd Mudgee Uniting Community Garden on Facebook to see what is happening. 



14 Bible verses about Abundant Life


The Grapevine 

Our Term 2 issue of The Grapevine can be found in the Information tab. 

It features stories, information and some reflections, showing who we are as a congregatoin and offering you come great reading with a cuppa. 
Enjoy!

Clipart cup cuppa tea, Clipart cup cuppa tea Transparent FREE for ...

Reflection for Now   

 


 The time of isolation has prompted many to write, reflect and share their feelings in creative ways. It is a joy to be reminded of the faith of others as we learn about ourselves, living together apart. 


Lord, I have never travelled this way before. I don't recognise this track at all. Road signs are twisted and unreadable. I have no idea where it is leading. Please shine some light on my path and if that is not possible just now, please hold my hand in the dark.

 

Lord, my friends have never travelled this way before. They are stumbling along just as I am. They ask a neighbour for directions, but 'Sorry, I am a stranger here myself', they say. Please hold my friends and this community in your safe embrace, even when I cannot offer a hug.


Lord, our church leaders have never travelled this way before. There is no simple roadmap, no precedent to follow. They long to give reassurance and a word from you But the familiar ways of connecting are being taken away each day. Please give our church leaders hearts of love, spirits of grace and minds of deep wisdom.

 

Lord, our national leaders and decision makers have never travelled this way before. Crushing responsibilities have suddenly landed on them without warning. Everywhere they turn they are faced with another crisis, another catastrophe. They are isolated from international support as every nation is struggling. Please give all those in authority the wisdom to listen to the very best advice and to act responsibly for the wellbeing of this whole besieged nation.  


Lord, as we all blunder along in uncertainty and anxiety, We give thanks for beautiful autumn weather, for clean air, for water in our taps, a roof over our head, the benefits of electricity, telephones and the internet, for food on our table. We give thanks for time to read, and listen to music, and create craft and quilts and books and photography, and to make art.

Speak to our hearts more and more.  Amen

Source unknown but we are grateful for the spiritual reflection of the author. 

Our Weekly activities are currently suspended due to COVID-19. 
We encourage you to continue to connect with others
by phone
by email
by letter 
through prayer 



  






About our Community



Post Easter Reflection from Val Webb. 

Easter is a difficult time for many. What really happened? Different people say different things. This Easter, I listened to many church services online - different takes on the same story.  With social distancing and no big crowds, the Vatican services focussed on the splendour of gold candlesticks, painted ceilings, mosaic floors and the billowing gold-embroidered robes of priests re-enacting Jesus%u2019 death at the altar. On another channel, a TV evangelist literally wallowed in the blood flowing from the cross. I say 'literally' and 'wallowing' deliberately, as in this interpretation of Easter, the agony of a dying man who defied both Roman and Jewish rulers becomes simply a story about what the blood did for us and our salvation. Other preachers, who realize a man 'rising from the dead' does not sit well in a twenty-first century scientific world, also told the story as about us - a metaphor for our dying and rising, from old life to new life, defeat to victory, oppression to liberation, despair to hope, avoiding the 'what actually happened' question.

As a scientist in my early life, I struggle with a man coming to life again after three days. In a tradition that read Bible stories literally in my youth, this struggle became almost pathological in my attempts to believe a bodily resurrection. Apart from the science, this denies the full humanity of Jesus argued in our creeds 'fully human/ fully divine'.  I now know, as a theologian, that the stories of a bodily Jesus appearing to the disciples are in the later Gospels, not the earliest one, Mark, which originally ended with the women fleeing the empty tomb in terror, saying nothing to anyone (Mark 16:8).  In Paul's letters, written before the Gospels, the resurrection is not 'bodily' but spiritual.

Many clergy online tried to make sense of Easter this year, in ways comfortable (or uncomfortable) for them. However, as we cannot know exactly what happened, perhaps each of us need to resolve the 'what happened' question for ourselves in the way that makes sense to us; and focus instead on what we can know. If we are not sure about a man coming to life again, whether flesh or spirit; or a God demanding the barbaric death of an innocent son in order to reconcile us to that 'loving' God, we can relate to fellow human beings, the followers of Jesus. This focus does not appropriate the Easter events to be about us, whether our salvation, what we believe, or a metaphor for our dying and rising experiences. Rather, it allows us to hear the story and, as humans, identify with those who also heard it and struggled with it.  Remember Peter's denial, the women's terror and amazement, the disciples hiding in a closed room, Thomas demanding visible proof - they were not at all certain about what happened.

In my early New Testament studies, a professor said of Easter, it is better to start with the post Easter followers. Whatever happened, they changed from defeated to energised followers who went out to spread Jesus' message, even ready to die like their leader.  What was this message?  Love God and neighbour, thus bringing in God's reign. And who is our neighbour? According to Jesus' Good Samaritan story, everyone is a neighbour and loving them includes seeking justice and having mercy. This extraordinary counter-cultural message for that time changed those disciples when they realized the spirit that was in Jesus was also in them - 'I will send a comforter who will lead you into all truth', Jesus said.

This radical message in our capitalistic, individualistic world has transformed followers over and over through history. Loving God and neighbours today encompasses justice for refugees and addressing climate change, poverty, violence against women and racism, to name a few. We may not have the courage of the rebel Jesus - although we do have examples of such courage through history - but we can identify with his followers, many less advantaged who knew poverty, dispossession and oppression, as they resonated with his vision of an incoming just 'reign of God'.  We can also understand some of their feelings as their leader moved closer to a danger that might also endanger them - his determination to go to Jerusalem at Passover; his anti-imperial challenge of riding into town on a donkey, hailed by the crowd, as the Roman army rode in through a different gate; Judas selling out to Jesus' enemies; Peter denying any allegiance when the stakes became high; and the cross, a punishment for the worst offenders. Then it all goes up in flames, leaving them defeated, discouraged and in danger.

Some of you may not be happy with what I write. That's fine. For many, the supernatural elements - a virgin birth, miracles, a bodily resurrection, personal salvation and a place in heaven - make the Jesus story important, not the man who wanted to change his world. Some may call me a 'heretic' or classify me as 'not Christian', but these claims are interesting in themselves.  A 'heretic' originally meant someone from a particular school of thought, but once an 'orthodox' Christian position was declared in the centuries following Jesus, 'heretic' became the label for any other position and led to persecution. Given the thousands of Christian denominations today, there must be both millions of 'heretics' and many 'orthodox' or correct positions! As for 'What is a Christian?', I like the New Testament description of the first Christians - 'followers of Jesus'. I am a follower of the message and vision of Jesus in whom the Divine spirit dwelt, that Comforter also promised to his followers which transformed them into carrying on his vision.    

Val Webb




Words of Wisdom

“Recognize yourself in he and she who are not like you and me. ”

Carlos Fuentes

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ”

Desmond Tutu

“Show hospitality to strangers. ”

Hebrews13:2

“Prayer is where the action is.”

John Wesley