Have you experienced the loss of a loved one?

Bereavement Support

A free Grief and Loss Program will run for eight weeks at the Blue Care Centre in Day Street, Stanthorpe. The sessions run from 2:30-4:30pm and afternoon tea is provided. The trained facilitators for this group are Rev Kaye Ronalds and Mrs Irene Scott. The program is open to anyone, not just Blue Care clients.

This program is designed for people who are coming to terms with the death of a loved one. Several of the previous participants were grieving for the loss of a partner in the previous twelve months, while others are grieving for other relatives and friends.

Judy Flitcroft, attended the program last year and said, “At times when grieving for my husband, Peter, I felt like I was losing touch with reality, but the care of other group members and sharing our experiences really helped.” Lindsay Saunders, a resident from Glen Aplin said, “The aim of the grief and loss program is to help you remember your loved one without the heart-ache.” He adds that there is no need to do it alone.

The two hour sessions include some education about grief and refreshments.
Registration forms are now available from the Blue Care Centre at 10 Day Street, Stanthorpe or telephone Kaye Ronalds (07) 4681 2173 or  0418 907540 or Irene Scott 0402 202464. You can also get the information from the ministers, priest and pastors in the district.
Places in the course are limited to eight, but if you miss out this time your name will be added to the waiting list for courses later in the year. The next course begins on 9th May.

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.

Which seeds will thrive?

The parables of Jesus often relate to the work of the people. Farming was familiar, and the listeners could relate to the situation that not all seed would sprout and some, after sprouting, dies for lack of water or good soil in which to grow. The interpretation provided later in the chapter helps us understand that not everyone who hears the good news about God’s kingdom will embrace it, believe it and live by it. As followers of Jesus we can become discouraged that not everyone chooses to follow him.

This parable puts it in perspective that faithful witness leads to fruitfulness for the kingdom. Even though when we are planting seeds we cannot imagine which seeds will thrive and which ones will not. That is up to the choices that individuals make in response to what they have seen and heard of the gospel. So let us recklessly and prayerfully scatter the seeds and leave the results to God.

Grace and peace, Kaye

A trail of kindness

In Matthew chapter ten we eavesdrop on the discipleship training school. Before Jesus sends out his twelve apprentices, he outlines what they can expect and how to respond. He gives them authority to act in God’s power to restore the broken and heal the sick. Jesus warns that there may be trouble, even within families, but he encourages them to pursue the mission and to begin with the ‘lost sheep of Israel’. Then he says some interesting things about hospitality. The custom of the time was to offer hospitality to travellers and to keep them safe from those who might want to harm them. Jesus them to be humble and gracious guests and not to keep changing households looking for better lodgings.

Travellers from our society usually plan an itinerary and book ahead, and the journey becomes a series of commercial transactions. Even ‘grey nomads’ who dream of being on the road in their retirement can find themselves ‘keeping the schedule’ rather than being free to explore the landscape and engage with the locals. Hospitality offered and received provides a space where conversations about life and faith naturally happen. Exercising a gift of hospitality enables the mission of God!

Grace and peace, Kaye.

The ones who are sent.

Today at Severnlea the congregation will be using the worship service prepared by Frontier Services. In Queensland now there is the Cunnamulla-Burke and Wills Patrol (based in Cunnamulla and Charleville) and on Cape York the  Kennedy Patrol is being re-developed. Patrol Padres have a well-equipped 4WD vehicle and supplies for the journey. The Gospel reading from Matthew 9 recounts the adventure of the disciples who were sent on mission to minister boldly while depending entirely on God for their needs. They did not arrive with a car load of possessions and supplies, nor with a contract or stipend arrangements in place. It was an era where people had few personal possessions, but Jesus even instructed the people to leave everything at home and just set off in their sandals and the clothes on their back. Maybe their physical dependence on God enabled them to practice the same trust which allowed them to ask God to bring wholeness to the ones whom they met on the way. The instructions given by Jesus emphasised the urgent nature of the mission. When we allow ourselves to be moved with compassion for the people who do not yet know Jesus, the importance of the mission becomes clear. The disciples, the ones who learn, become the apostles, the ones who are sent. In what ways might your “stuff” be holding you back from getting out and being Christ to others?

Grace and peace,

Kaye Ronalds

Easter – a gift to a hurting and broken world.

Across the Easter weekend we consider the stories about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus as they have been handed down to us in the Bible.
On the night when Jesus celebrated the Passover Feast with his friends he held up a piece of bread and after giving thanks said, “This is my body.” The next day Jesus was tormented and tortured until he offered up his last breath and the body of Christ hung lifeless on the cross. His friends lovingly carried that body to a borrowed tomb and laid the body in the burial place. By the Sunday morning, the body of Christ had been transformed by the mystery of the resurrection. It must have been somewhat changed because Mary didn’t recognise him at first. The body was the same and yet different, recognisable yet veiled. Many of the friends of Jesus saw him, although they did not always recognise him right away.
After he had appeared to many of them Jesus went away from view and entrusted to his followers the task of being the Body of Christ. I like the words of St Augustine which are sometimes quoted when the bread and wine are served for Holy Communion.
“Let us receive the Body of Christ, let us become what we receive, the Body of Christ.”
The work of Jesus continues as the Church carries on the business of being The Body of Christ, a gift to a hurting and broken world, new life where despair and decay have taken hold, a story to nourish and inspire us for our life together.
Happy Easter!

Click here for an Easter message from the Queensland Synod moderator Rev David Baker. 

Love is more than a feeling…

Love is the theme for the fourth Sunday in Advent. Love is more than a feeling. Love is something you do. Much has been written about the role of Mary as the mother of Jesus, but what about Joseph’s situation? A few verses in the first chapter of Matthew explore what was happening for Joseph.

He is described as a righteous Jewish man who was to marry young Mary. All the arrangements were in place, and then there was a ‘spanner in the works’. Mary was pregnant. The law gave Joseph two options, either to publicly divorce her on the grounds of adultery or to quietly call off the engagement. Either decision could be justified for he was certain that he had not fathered that child. A messenger of God helped him see another option. Mary may have been blessed among women but Joseph was embarrassed among men. Joseph made a loving choice and that gave a measure of protection to Mary and the child.

God’s plan to take on human flesh was full of vulnerability and risk. As Charles Wesley put it, ‘Our God contracted to a span, incomprehensibly made man.’

Grace and peace, Kaye.

Lydia: A dealer in purple cloth and hospitality

In the early church the good news was spreading… towards the west…and today’s story from Acts 16 comes from the east coast region of modern day Greece. The apostle Paul is travelling west and at Philippi they went out of the town to the riverside where they hoped to find the Jews gathering. Amongst the women listening to them that day was Lydia. Lydia, a business woman, was a dealer in purple cloth, who worshipped God. Paul’s words about Jesus helped her to a deeper relationship with God and then Lydia and her whole household were baptised. She put herself, her home and her business at God’s disposal. Lydia, the first convert in Macedonia, offers hospitality to Paul and his fellow travellers. What aspects of your life have you offered to God out of thankfulness for the new life in Christ?