I want to begin by expressing my thanks to each of the members of the Board of the New Church in Australia. I am pleased to be working with this dedicated group with their tireless energy. There are many things I might say about them: their efficiency, their expertise in a variety of fields. But I particularly want to mention their concern for the circumstances and needs of member societies and isolated members, and the lengths they go to in preparing the church for its future, whatever that may hold.
It is easy for any organisation to lose sight of the fact that these are real people, who give freely of their time to keep things moving along and ticking over. “The Board” can so easily become faceless, nameless, a whipping boy for our dissatisfactions even. Being on the Board can be difficult work, frustrating at times, but it should never be thankless. So, I would encourage you to make yourself known to any member of the board (some of them will be at camp). Ask them what they do! Express your thoughts and feelings, hopes and joys, concerns and fears, but most of all, your thanks.
November saw a joint meeting of the Board and the Council of Ministers. These were two days of discussions regarding a wide range of topics – for example, our various web sites, new youtube ministries, same sex marriage, the ordination of women, the strategic plan – and included a General Meeting approving changes to the constitution which allow and provide for individual membership of the New Church in Australia.
Aside from focusing upon the Advent and Christmas season, this edition also includes some articles about the Church’s practice of Natural Charity. This arose from discussions at the Assembly. I would encourage all of our societies to do something, however small. It can be difficult to find something we can do as smaller organisations, something that I’ve certainly noticed in Canberra. But a little imagination goes a long way. Talking to one of our local politicians, I heard of a youth group who invented a service painting out graffiti on private property (with the owner’s permission, of course) in their local neighbourhood.
We can support the larger organisations who engage in valuable work in our communities, by joining in or fundraising.
Engaging in activities has a number of benefits:
- It involves and inspires young people.
- It gets church members working together.
- It provides a common cause beyond merely intellectual theology.
- It is of tangible benefit to the wider community.
- It’s an expression of our faith.
- It’s also a better selling point to newcomers.
- It’s a non-threatening way to engage new contacts in activities, something to invite local community members to join in with.
Wishing you all an enjoyable and fulfilling Christmas and New Year.