A Prayer for Fathers

A prayer for Fathers

Holy and living God, we pray today for fathers.

We pray for fathers who like plovers are sometimes too aggressive in protecting their young.

We pray for fathers who, too soon, experience the loss of their young.

We pray for the fathers who like emus find themselves raising a brood of offspring alone.

We pray for fathers who like geese commit to life-long partnerships raising young together as the seasons come and go.

We pray for fathers who like cuckoos see their young raised by others.

We pray for fathers who like mutton birds must go away for long periods in order to provide for their family.

We pray for fathers who like pee wees have to re-build nests destroyed by catastrophe.

…and Lord we pray for children

for those who have not experienced the love, comfort and security of a healthy family.

for those who have grown up with violence, fear and abuse

for those who carry the pain, anger and confusion of relationship with a father that was spoiled by alcohol, drug and misplaced priorities of time and money.

… and we pray for foster families and grandparents

seeking to provide love and care into lives that have not had a scaffold of loving support.

Lord God, we pray for fathers, families and generations as they seek to find their place in the world and in relationship with one another.

Help us to live with the joy of love, the courage of commitment, and the grace of forgiveness through Christ our Lord. Amen

© Kaye Ronalds 2015

Investing our gifts

This past few weeks we have been reading the letter to the Ephesians. The first three chapters are about what God has done for us and the next three chapters are about how we should live and act in response to God’s work of creating a beautiful world and establishing the Kingdom of God and the Body of Christ to carry on the work which Jesus began.

Several young people have been meeting on Monday afternoons to learn about the church and their place in it. Each of them has read through Mark’s Gospel to discover “Who Jesus is” and “What he has done.” We have discussed Church history, prayer, worship and the distinctive features of the Uniting Church. Together we explored how the Uniting Church was formed and we looked at the importance of the Bible and the Basis of Union for the founding members.

In the Uniting Church, leadership and decision making are shared between male and female, lay and clergy, young and old, Indigenous Australians and people from multi-cultural congregations. People just like us serve on the committees and councils of the wider church. In taking up their confirmation these young people will confirm the promises that their parents made for them in their baptism and promise to live as faithful disciples of Jesus. They choose to invest the gifts that God has given them in building up the life of their local Uniting Church and being part of God’s mission wherever it takes them in life.

Rev Kaye

Are you ready to experience a deeper relationship with Jesus?

Are you ready to experience a deeper relationship with Jesus?

Many parents bring their children for Baptism when they are infants and seek to teach them the way of Jesus. So they are already a Baptised members of the church. But I am wondering if you are ready to affirm for yourself the choice that your parents made for you? One way to do that is to participate in the preparation and ceremony of Confirmation.

As we prepare for the big day you will have a chance to discover how much God loves you and to explore what God’s plan is for your life.

I invite you to come along for a conversation at the Stanthorpe Uniting Church to talk about what would be involved. It is a busy year for you but I am sure that we can find a suitable Sunday in your busy diary and make a plan for the preparations.

Leave a message on (07) 4681 2173 and I will get back to you.

Grace and peace

Kaye Ronalds

Breastfeeding welcome here


Rev. Kaye Ronalds accepts a Breastfeeding Welcome Here sticker pack from local ABA trainee breastfeeding counsellor Erin Wilkinson and her daughter Hayley.

 Mothers have identified that feeling comfortable about breastfeeding in public is one of the barriers to continuing to breastfeed. To work towards supporting acceptance of breastfeeding in public the Australian Breastfeeding Association has developed the ‘Breastfeeding Welcome Here’ sticker and kit to improve the community acceptability of breastfeeding in public.

 The Granite Belt Uniting Churches council were keen to have the accreditation and Rev Kaye Ronalds accepted the sticker on behalf of the churches. The venue has the requirements of a welcoming attitude, a smoke-free environment and room to move a pram. 

Any venue, eg a restaurant, indoor play centre, chemist, local government service, shop, etc can be accredited with the Breastfeeding Welcome Here sticker providing the requirements above are met.

Easter message

There has been a remarkable public reaction to the ball tampering affair by some of Australia’s test cricket team. A few weeks ago they were signing caps for young fans and now they are being shamed for their choices. Crowds are fickle and celebrity status can quickly turn sour depending on public opinion.  The crowds who chanted “Hosanna” to Jesus were soon chanting, “Crucify him.” I am amazed that people cry out about cheating in a cricket game, yet they are accepting of elected leaders who engage in immoral behaviour and silent about the treatment of refugee and asylum seekers.
During this week I listened to an interview with Dr Nick Martin who has written an essay about his work as the senior medical officer providing health services to people in the detention centre on Nauru. The policies of our government and the bureaucratic delays have resulted in unnecessary deaths, severe mental health disorders and profound despair. Public opinion considers that some sins weigh more heavily on the scales than other sins.
The apostle Paul reminds us that “sin abounds” and that we have all fallen short. The crucifixion of Jesus demonstrates that God extends mercy to all humans even if we do not deserve it. Jesus came into the world, not to condemn, but to save. Whoever we are and whatever we have done we can be forgiven. The hope of the resurrection is more than comfort beyond the grave. Embracing Jesus means connecting with the power to rise to new life, to be forgiven and transformed by God’s grace.
So take heart, rising with Jesus means we have the gift of new life, a new beginning and a second chance.

Happy Easter!


Lent a time to slow down and focus.

Mark does not mince words when he announces that Jesus was Baptised in the Jordan river by his relative, John. Right away, God’s Spirit drove Jesus into the desert where he was tempted by the evil one. Mark sets a galloping pace, in a hurry to write about the ministry of Jesus in Galilee and the journey to Jerusalem and the cross.

On the first Sunday in Lent we need to be reminded to slow down and focus on the way and not just the destination. Take some time during the next six weeks to read the Bible and pray. Read one of the Gospels slowly from beginning to end. Savour the flavour, imagine yourself in the story and enjoy the conversations and the surprises.

Contemplate the words of this poem written by Ruth Burgess a member of the Iona Community in Scotland.
Marked by the Cross
Marked, by a cross, cherished and forgiven we are travelling home.
Called to be holy, called to be happy we are travelling home.
Across deserts, over mountains we are travelling home.
God in our hearts, God in our lives we are travelling home.

Pancakes and ash

Tuesday is Pancake Tuesday!

That means we are almost in the season of Lent. The six weeks leading up to Easter have traditionally been a period of reflection and lament for the church. We think about our wrong attitudes and the ways that we sin in thought, word and deed and we seek a closer walk with God.

Pancake Tuesday came about because in some churches Lent is a period of austerity and all rich foods and extravagances are forbidden. The rich ingredients in the larder are made into pancakes and the syrup and jam and cream is all used up. That is why some people refer to it as fat Tuesday or mardi gras! Then we rise up early the next day to gather for worship on Ash Wednesday. The ash is rubbed on the forehead or the forearm as a sign of repentance.

In the Uniting Church there is a chance to give to projects that help the poorest people in the world. In this way our Lenten sacrifices have a spiritual benefit for us and a practical benefit for people in need.
Grace and peace,

Feeling a bit blue this Christmas?

Feeling a bit blue this Christmas?

For people who have had a bereavement, Christmas can be a difficult time of the year.

At 7pm on Thursday 14 December, the Stanthorpe Uniting Church will host a simple service to help people who may feel that they just cannot get into the mood of Christmas because someone from their circle has died. It is a chance for people who have been dealing with loss and grief to take some time out from the flurry of the Christmas season to attend to the deep feelings of mourning.

Rev Kaye Ronalds will give a short reflection and there will be some gentle music for contemplation and remembering. Some folk may like to light a candle in memory of a loved one. The service will take about half an hour with supper to follow for those who wish to stay.

Christmas is a time when loved ones who are no longer with us are missed even when it has been many years.

This event is open to all members of the community.
For inquiries please call Rev Kaye Ronalds on (07) 4681 2173.

The Summit – End of an Era (pt 2)

The Summit walks in to Stanthorpe.

On Saturday 18 November about 100 people gathered for the Thanksgiving Service and Decommissioning of The Summit Uniting Church. The next day nine people walked ten kilometres to Stanthorpe carrying the symbols of worship while three senior members of the congregation caught a ride with Lincoln McPhee in his Citroen Light 15.

 Two years ago a similar crowd gathered for the Centenary. In the era when the church was built many families lived in the region growing apples, stone fruit and vegetables for market. Having many children to pitch in with planting, pruning, picking and packing meant that even a small holding could support a family. The produce was carried on the Sunday afternoon train to the markets at Rocklea in Brisbane. Then the families would go to church. Only the liveliest preachers could keep weary people from dozing off on a summer afternoon! Bert Abraham was the Sunday school superintendent for 37 years and prepared the students to sit the Sunday School exams. A solid timber hall was built in the 1960s to accommodate 50 students but by the end of the 1990s the Sunday school closed. A Monday afternoon children’s club ran for few years but then that closed. The Ladies organised fetes, markets, luncheons and catered for many events in the community. There were several lay preachers who volunteered across the district.

But times have changed. Farms have been aggregated and the many hands needed to prune, harvest and pack fruit now belong to back packers and seasonal harvest workers from elsewhere. The remaining members of the congregation are seniors and they want to be able to visit their family and friends in other places. Getting into town to worship is an easy car journey. Old buildings take a lot of maintenance and complying with new standards can be expensive.

So the decision was made to amalgamate with the church in town. Other amalgamations happened around the time of Church union so some of the people and furniture are moving again. There is grief and sadness in letting go. Yet there is also a hope that we are pilgrims carrying forward the abundant grace of God into the future. We are custodians of the memories and stewards of the riches of God for each generation.

As people at The Summit Church invested themselves in God’s mission locally in ways that matched the needs and opportunities of their time, so we are called to be God’s people in our own time, listening to the community and responding with fresh words and deeds.

Kaye Ronalds

The Summit – End of an Era

On Saturday 17 November a Service of Thanksgiving will be held at The Summit Uniting Church, in Church Road at 1pm. Former members and people who have had a connection with the Church and the community will gather for a thanksgiving service and “decommissioning” of the building.
The last regular service was held this year in April.
In 2015 the congregation celebrated its Centenary and a history of the Church and the people who have worshiped there was published. Many people who went to Sunday School there or attended worship on a regular basis have taken seriously the call of God to serve and to be involved in the mission of God in other places. Amongst the former members were Ministers, Lay Preachers, missionaries, Bible translators and “ordinary” Christians who have generously supported community activities and volunteered in community organisations. Many of them believe that they have been blessed by God in order to be a blessing to others.

On Sunday morning the symbols of worship will be carried to the Stanthorpe Uniting Church for a Family Service and ceremony of amalgamation.