God’s grace in all contexts

claire dawe

I spent an encouraging weekend at the Australasian Messy Church Conference in Parkville last month.What a fantastic time with 170 delegates engaged in fresh expressions of church under the ‘Messy’ banner. So many people in ministry working out how to encourage discipleship within different contexts; how to be intentionally missional with our faith stories, and how to sustain specifically this different way of being church. 

Some people assume there is antagonism between our different forms of church, but most are just getting on with the job of sharing the Good News founded upon robust theology and inspired by the Spirit.

Delegates left the conference with a renewed energy to continue in their Messy Church planting. The conference was an encouraging reminder of why people are engaged in these fresh expressions of faith – the sharing of the Good News is our aim, Messy Church is one vehicle.

You can read more about the conference in Crosslight’s feature this month. 

Intergenerational communities of faith are alive and developing around Vic/Tas. This month Crosslight also highlights the intergenerational ministry at Ocean Grove-Barwon Heads UC and speaks with Pilgrim’s Beth Barnett. Beth teaches a unit of the Graduate Certificate in Children and Families Ministry. This certificate is taught through Stirling and Pilgrim and explores what family and children’s ministry means in 2018. Read more about Beth’s inventive teaching here

Life is complex for today’s families, and our faith communities continue to struggle with the seductive world of cyberspace in which some of our young people find themselves trapped and overwhelmed. Thanks to Julie Perrin for helping us to navigate through the very real issue of cyberbullying. It is only when we understand the issues that we can offer support to our young people.

Feeling safe is a fundamental human right but Australia continues to struggle with how to respond to those seeking asylum on our shores. Para Paheer is from Sri Lanka and has written a book The Power of Good People about those who helped him when he arrived by boat, fleeing from the war in his home nation. And on the tenth anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations in Parliament, UCA President Stuart McMillan reminds us that we are nowhere near the goals of Closing the Gap. Who is safe on our shores?

Our motivation in ministry is to witness to God’s love for all peoples, regardless of the human labels we apply. Whatever expression of church is your context, my prayer is that you will truly reflect the grace of God and be encouraged by the Spirit to share the Good News.

Rev Claire Dawe
Chelsea Parish (Edithvale, Chelsea and Carrum)

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