What’s St Petri doing?
I have discovered that the Barossa Valley can be a very windy place! I heard that this September/October have been the windiest months we have experienced for quite some time. While out walking these last couple of months, I have often found myself walking at a 20 degree tilt in the attempt to stay on course as the wind blows all around.
It occurred to me that Jesus had quite a bit to do with wind. He calmed the fears of his friends as he calmed the roaring wind with his own word (Matthew 8). He spoke a parable about a strong wind blowing against a house (Matthew 7). He spoke about the work of the Holy Spirit as being “wind”. Indeed the Hebrew and Greek words for wind, breath and spirit are interchangeable. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, blew or hovered across the water at the beginning of all things. Jesus says his Spirit wind is still at work in the world. He says, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8).
As I have been watching the trees thrashing around, and been battling the wind while going about my daily life I have known this word of Jesus. I can see the effects of the wind but I cannot see the wind itself. I can hear the wind and that is what tells me it is blowing.
We at St Petri are people among whom the wind of the Spirit is surely blowing… we can see the Spirit’s effects. We can hear it even if we can’t actually see the Spirit himself. People are being called to seek God, challenged to re-think their life and re-commit their lives to the Lord’s work. People are being shaped together, grown, challenged, enlightened, and this is the wind and word of the Spirit at work. As we continue our journey of discerning the Lord’s will for us in these next 3-5 years, the Lord will continue to move among us for the purpose of proclaiming his Son Jesus to our community – through us.
So, we trust the Word and the Wind of God, even if he moves us or even shakes us up a little, because it is God breathed and profitable for all teaching, shaping, challenging us so we are “thoroughly equipped for every good work”, as Paul says (2 Tim 3:16).
I pray that we be aware of the Word of the Lord moving among us, and that even though we may, at times, feel its effects of personal challenge to re-evaluate our lives and let some things happen that are different to the past. I am praying that we trust that God is moving among us in this next year, and that we will hear him and see his good effects on each other, and thank the Lord that we are of this grand endeavour to share the love and hope of Jesus in our places.
The Church Council have been on a journey of learning and trying things in the effort to lead responsibly and faithfully and I thank them for all they have done and said. We have tried different ways of meeting, taking a more public role with the leading of welcome and announcement times in Sunday worship, and tried to develop an “executive” within Church Council who meet more regularly to clear the large agenda, so as to make regular meetings more manageable. We will continue to be free to try things and learn as we go.
We have benefitted from the “coaching” of Pastor Graham Harms in the whole area of what it is to be a larger church community, and what being this larger shape means for leadership. I thank Pastor Graham for his supporting assistance and willingness to coach us when we requested it.
I have moved along the path of learning to be a pastor in this very different (larger) context. I am enjoying that learning. I would like to learn a lot more about pastoral leadership in this larger church context, and so will continue to meet with other Lutheran pastors of similar larger churches both locally and at a national gathering in 2014. I also sense the need to seek out more learning and up-skilling in this area, by possibly participating in a summer school in Minneapolis in 2014 and spending some time with one or two local Lutheran pastors in larger congregations in the US.
We are well into the process of seeking the Lord and his directions for us in the medium term. We have been listening to as many people as possible on their perspectives on St Petri’s strengths and challenges. It has been an excellent process and several re-occurring themes are arising. Our plan is to capture these hours of listening by well over 150 people in a document for the congregation to further reflect on, and then begin 2014 with the goal of developing a more detailed plan for mission undergirded by a financial plan.
We believe that with more clarity on what our main foci are to be and a financial plan to back it up, the Church Council will be able to make decisions on the many issues that confront us as we seek to participate with the Lord in his mission to proclaim his gospel of grace in our community.
The Church Council engaged in the process of reviewing our staff and this has really paid off. In a review, each staff member gets to speak of how they are going and what they see as the important issues facing them in their work in our congregation. When you put all that together, you get an excellent snapshot of how all of our staff members are going, and how they are all complementing each other in the overall direction of our congregation.
A review of each staff member and the Cottage were completed. Both of these very well done reviews proved to be a catalyst for broader thinking about staffing direction and needs, and also personal reflection for each staff member on their own balance and direction in life. I would like to publically acknowledge the highly skilled efforts of Mrs Kirsty Moore in doing our staff reviews and Dave MacArthur for the review of the Cottage. As a result of personal refelction and prayer, Mrs Ruth Murton and Mrs Fay Rothe resigned their respective roles as Cottage Manager (mid-year) and Parish Secretary (early in the year). We thanked both of these faithful and committed women of God for their contribution and blessed them as they went off staff to do other things in life. God has provided people to take up these roles in Mrs Maureen Turner (Parish Secretary – with Rose Edwards) and Mrs Kerry Craig (Cottage manager).
We are a highly motivated staff. We are unified and we are happily working together in the areas the congregation has charged us with. Our facilities are adequate at this stage and congregational support, both financially and personally, is excellent. We are working towards what is called an “empowerment” model of staffing where staff members are not only employed by the congregation to do set tasks or even do areas of ministry, but they are called and authorised to empower and equip volunteers to carry out many and varied tasks of ministry. Our mission and ministry are done by the congregation, not just the staff!
We plan to run a three day Professional Development and Planning event early in January, engaging the help of Pastor Bruce Zagel from Ambassadors of Reconciliation, based in the USA, to coach us in the art of working for peace in relationships at all times as we work together and serve you all.
10. After initially deciding to seek the service of an Administrator earlier in the year, we changed our mind and instead went for a Ministry Assistant. Mrs Carol Voigt has been in that role for 3 days per week and this has been very helpful and effective in increasing our capacity to organise events and engage more people in the leading of parts of Sunday worship.
11. We were also delighted to gain some significant funding through the Zinnbauer Mission Fund enabling us to employ a Children and Family Encourager (CAFÉ), Mrs Sue Vogt. We hope that through Sue and the work of many volunteers, we can serve many children and parents and so go some way to reigniting a vibrant child and family ministry at St Petri.
12. Church Council also decided to slightly change and increase the hours of our Finance Officer, Mr Peter Lange. Peter now works up to 20 hours per week (previously 15) and also takes responsibility for coordinating the maintenance of our buildings.
13. We thank the Lord for the ability to employ staff and for the staff themselves as they work together on all our behalf. The St Petri staff will share a Christmas lunch at the Vine Inn on Friday December 13 as way of affirming and showing our appreciation for each other and our church!
SPECIFIC AREAS OF FOCUS?
14. We will continue our over-arching areas of special focus outlined in 2013. For this year:
MISSION PLAN: We will continue the process of developing a 3-5 year financial plan that supports what we believe God is calling us to do together in this medium term.
STAFFING: We will need to monitor and think creatively about further developing our staffing levels in targeted areas so we can encourage more of our people to engage in various ministry opportunities.
FAMILY CENTRE: We will further develop the Centre in terms of facilities and programs that support, teach and help parents and carers of children in our community and congregation.
COTTAGE MISSION: We will continue to support the Cottage and further develop its “reach” into our community.
FAMILIES OF CHILDREN AND TEENS: We will continue to further develop our ministry among families with children and teens. This may include the development of some kind of part-time paid role.
PASTORAL CARE: We will continue to develop our ministry among seniors in terms of visitation, Holy Communion to the house-bound, services at Barossa Village etc. Part of this will be authorising 2 or 3 suitable people in Sacramental ministry among seniors.
REDEEMER MISSION: We will continue to work with Redeemer to do all we can to support their work and make relationships with families who are part of the school community. There are ongoing discussions about how the seven supporting congregations and school work and worship together, and St Petri will always be keen to be a part of this.
15. It seems that for the most part, St Petri people value the fact that there is choice of worship styles in our congregation. There is a longing to remain to be one congregation, and yet there is a general acceptance of the need to vary our worship service styles to enable more people to find a spiritual home at St Petri.
16. Both worshipping communities have prayed, sung, listened to the Word and shared God’s holy meal faithfully and freely this year, and that is our very core as a community. We thank the Lord for his gifts of grace and for each other!
17. The 8.30 Service musicians have done a great job in faithfully supporting God’s people in song. I thank Marg Schutz and Lorraine Koch for assisting me with hymn/song selection and coordination of our trusty band of organists.
18. It is a good thing to have the choral tradition of singing alive and well at St Petri with our two choirs. John Preusker took on the role of assembling the choir mid way through this year. For that we thank him – and the choir! We also delight in the lovely tones of the Shalom Singers from time to time, and for these women we thank the Lord too.
19. It was a pleasure to hear the sounds of brass and woodwind through our Christmas and Easter festivities this church year. We thank our band members for their bright sounds helping us celebrate who we are and whose we are.
20. There are more than 30 people involved in various important duties on any given Sunday at St Petri, and the person who coordinates all their work is Kay Rohrlach. We thank Kay for her excellent assistance in making sure everything works the way it needs to in our worship life.
21. It is not easy managing 20 or 30 people who sing and play various instruments to support the community song with contemporary music, and our 10.30 music team do just this thing all year long. Peter Kroehn and Sharon Green head up this hard working team, and this team has spent many hours working through issues related to the challenge of developing our music ministry at 10.30am Service. The team have decided to go down the path of having a more structured approach to bands and singers with the goal of increasing participation, quality, diversity of music, care for people and confidence in singing/playing. We thank the team for the huge amount of time and effort they have put in, and for all of our singers and musicians!
22. Our first “Christmas on the Green” held on the Senior Citizen’s lawn area in Murray Street the Sunday evening before Christmas last year was a real hit. There were non-church people present, and a goodly number of St Petri and other church people there too. We plan to develop this a little further this year and the team have just begun their work in preparation for Sunday 22nd Dec, same place, same time! We are planning to add more to the event in various ways and promote it more.
23. We have decided (with the Barossa Lutheran Pastor’s Fraternal’s blessing) to not participate in the usual system of Lenten devotions in 2014. This is because we want to develop our St Petri Lenten Services by adding to them some biblical teaching opportunity for our people. During Lent in 2014, there will be the usual Wednesday night Lenten Services followed by in-depth Bible study led by either Pastor Adrian or one of our retired pastors.
24. We may also not participate in the Ecumenical Easter Dawn Service next year to further develop a St Petri based Dawn Service at Redeemer Lutheran School. This is not because we don’t value our brothers and sisters in the faith, but because there are several ecumenical services, and a large number of Lutheran Easter dawn services held in the valley every year. We believe that we would gather quite few people of our own, and possibly from the School community, if we hosted our own dawn service on the School campus. We will keep discussing this at the Ecumenical Ministers Association meetings, Redeemer and among ourselves.
25. One thing that is missing in our Sunday morning is something that specifically engages our children. In 2012 we did about 6 months of lay-led children’s messages at both Services every Sunday. But we discovered that it is quite hard for children to come out the front of our large church building when there is not too many of them in worship. So we ceased these messages and have not gone down that road since – because it does not seem to be helpful or an effective way to engage children at the moment.
26. We then decided to try a different approach. We put feelers out about the possibility of leading the children under 12 out of the church building into the newly refurbished Family Centre (Gersch house) for a 20 minute “Faith 5”, chat, prayer and blessing around the Bible text for the day led by two people during the sermon. Unfortunately we have not been able to establish this practice yet.
27. Our HOot group are going well. They gather fortnightly on Friday mornings for play and chat, and there have been a good number of kids and parents present this year. Thanks to Maxine Grieger and her band of people for continuing this excellent ministry to people beyond our congregational borders.
28. There are at least two children’s gatherings held most weeks in the Family Centre, and there have been great stories of parents finding real help for parenting and a sense of belonging in our Family Centre. We thank the Lord for Anne Roennfeldt and Sue Vogt, and other LCC staff, who make these children’s gathering happen.
29. There have been discussions about introducing some more specific Chikldren and parent focussed gatherings such as “Mainly Music”, “Godly Play” and “Messy Church” during the week or even as a “third sServce” on the weekend. Discussions will continue.
Youth and Family ministry
30. We continue to gather our older children and young people aged 10 -18 in various ways and forms. Parents of our kids put in lots of work to gather our kids and for that we are very grateful. The Junior Youth and Sparkz groups have run consistently throughout the year. We have begun to meet as a Youth and Family Ministry Planning Group at the end of each school term to plan the next term, and, as we have gone along, we have adjusted the way our gatherings work in the attempt to make them more effective for the kids and more sustainable for the parents.
31. There are ongoing discussions about how we work in with others gathering some of our St Petri young people together in Barossa-wide gatherings. We are in touch with Young Life organisation overseeing the Barossa-wide Infusion and Fuse gatherings of young people in Tanunda. The conversation will continue.
32. It may be that we will need to engage the skills of a suitable person to help parents and teenagers further develop biblical taching and support for our young people and their families. A part-time youth and family worker role might be a way of further developing our ministry in this area.
33. Pastor Phil Joppich, Bek Liersch and I have enjoyed working with our group of 8 young people. On most Friday nights we guided the kids through the whole Bible – from Genesis to Jesus and the early Church. We will then turn to our own Lutheran story and teaching and discuss a few hot topics with these kids who are getting older and facing a complex world. Confirmation Day is set down for Pentecost Sunday, June 8, 2014.
Adult Learning Experiences
34. We did initially plan to conduct another congregational-wide learning experience in 2013 but had to put this on hold as we devoted ourselves to the St Petri Directions process. We plan to do this excellent learning opportunity in 2014 with another suitable resource. We suspect that we will do a 6-8 week learning experience in winter next year.
35. We continue to publish all Sunday sermons on stpetripastor.com and manage our Saint Petri Lutheran Church Facebook page. Around 30-40 people per week access our stpetripastor.com blog and sermons are also used by several of our small groups as their study content. The sermons also include some ‘conversation starters’ for individuals or groups to use.
36. For some time we were able to also include an audio version of the sermon and some people valued this. Over the last few months however, this has not been possible. We hope to find a way to include audio sermons on-line in 2014.
37. We have supported and developed our ministry with seniors, those in hospital and/or in need. I try to do some visitation ministry, especially to those who are unwell or struggling with life for whatever reason. My ability to engage in visitation ministry is very limited. I always do my best to be with those very ill and facing dying. I am using telephone contact as much as I can. I also spend quite some time engaged with families in the baptism, marriage and funeral process of pastoral care. We appreciate people letting us know who is in need and we do our best to meet those needs,. Pastor Paul Lohe and Pastor Marnie Renner do home Communions and some Barossa Village and hospital visiting. Leo Lindholm spends much time in the Barossa Village and leads weekly worship there. I take my turn on the roster to conduct Barossa Village Services as needed.
38. Mrs Gayle Gerhardy has been working as a Parish Nurse since mid-year (along with parish Nurse, Jenny Wood and Assistant to Parish Nurses, Maxine Milton) with particular expertise in the area of Advance Care planning.
39. Our Pastoral Care Team, headed up by Val Petering, and ably assisted by a band of willing carers, have continued to do great work in caring for the many people who are over the age of 70 in our congregation. It is a large job and we thank our team for their caring work. Our two birthday singing girls continue to surprise people having a birthday with that well known tune sung at the doorstep! Thankyou Aileen and Sadie!
40. Our monthly Wednesday Morning Holy Communion service team continue to care for our elderly, and for each other, and we thank them for all they do. Gathering in the Hall (instead of the Meeting Room) has proven to be very helpful.
41. We have not yet gone down the path of training and authorising 2-3 appropriately gifted people to extend our Sacramental ministry on Wednesday mornings, at the Barossa Village, in homes and sometimes in hospitals. Nor have we developed what is called “Lay Distribution of the Sacrament”, where suitable trained mature Christians (can be both men and women) take the already consecrated bread and wine from Sunday morning HC to people who are in hospital or house bound. These would be ways of strengthening our sacramental ministry to the elderly.
42. This year we have had 12 Baptisms, 5 First Communions, 17 Admission to Membership, 4 Marriages, 17 Funerals (14 of St Petri Members).
43. There is much fellowship shared on Sunday morning among both worshipping groups. This year I have had the privilege of getting to know more of our many smaller groups who gather all through the year in various homes. Our two larger monthly gatherings of men and women at Shed Happens and Branching Out are full of fellowship for those present.
44. The ALIVE!175 event was an excellent fellowship experience for those who travelled to and from Adelaide by bus. We thank all those who organised this event and all those who made the effort to be a part of this once every 25 year event!
45. The two Redeemer School services were times of extended Fellowship for those present.
46. St Petri will soon have another area for fellowship. With the completion of the fully fenced garden and undercover fellowship area around the Family Centre, there will a place to gather for various reasons, but particularly for the 10.30 worship community.
47. I continue to enjoy a good relationship with the principal and leadership staff at the school. This has been extended with my appointment to the Redeemer School Board in 2013. Our relationship with the school was enhanced greatly with me joining the Redeemer staff (13 staff) who attended the recent Australian Conference of Lutheran Educators in Brisbane for three days. It was great to spend some extended time with Steve Wilksch and others, and get a sense of the context in which we are all operating with Lutheran Schools. I thank the school and St Petri congregation for funding to make my involvement in ACLE possible.
48. I have conducted a couple of Friday Worship messages and done a few Class presentations at teacher’s requests through the year. I also was privileged to be the officiating Pastor at the Opening and Blessing of the new Redeemer Sports Centre on Friday September 6.
Faith Lutheran College
49. I have had minimal involvement with Faith this year. I attended the AGM and a meeting between the Redeemer and Faith staff and the Lutheran Schools Association regarding the coming changes to do with Middle Schooling. I also have attended the Lutheran minister’s breakfast hosted by the college a few times through the year. I have been invited to lead a chapel service this year but could not commit to doing that at the time.
50. I have had minimal contact and discussion with Christian Pastoral Support Worker (Chaplain) at Nuri High, Mrs Donna Fay. I am not sure if I can continue in this role given the high work demand at St Petri. I do think that Nuri High is a place we should be thinking about and praying for, and I would like to see good things develop between St Petri and the school. I am not sure how this may happen at this time.
51. Sue Vogt has begun to attend our regular St Petri staff meetings on Tuesday at 1.00pm and she can now keep us up to date on all that is happening through the Family Centre. There are various help and care programs being run weekly. There are children’s groups and parents groups and some really good news stories of non-church people being helped through Sue and Anne, and others at the Family Centre in Jesus’[m1] name. Sue has indicated that her greatest need now is to gather and set up volunteers in various helping roles.
52. Thanks to Wayne Perry, who is the Project Manager for the redevelopment of Gersch house and surrounds, the underground work is complete and the back patio area is well underway at the time of writing. We thank some of our St Petri “tradies” for their generous support of time and skills to get things to this point. We also thank Wayne for his great work and that of Employment Options for some of the labour on the project.
Nuri Futures Town Team
53. I am a member of the Nuri Futures Town Team established through the Barossa Council. It has been a pleasure to meet with various people in business and community work in our town, with a view to doing what we can to engender community spirit, events and improvements to our town to make it a great place to meet, be it for the locals or for visitors. We meet monthly for about an hour and a half.
54. I am now an officially accredited SAPOL Chaplain. I work with the SAPOL Director of chaplaincy and the local Senior Sergeant to provide support to SAPOL staff here at the Nuri regional police station. I spend about 30 mins every second week in the Station.
St Petri “Campus” Relationships
55. This year (October 3) we gathered representatives from the different offices/agencies who work on our church campus. We had a morning tea for the Children and Youth Family Services office (Henderson House), Lutheran Community Care (Schild house), Carer’s Link, Barossa Accommodation Services (Sunday School building), The Cottage and our own St Petri staff. It was great to get to know the people who work on our campus and hear of the great care that happens every day for all kinds of people in our community. We will do this again in February 2014.
56. I have attended regular Barossa Ecumenical Ministers Association, Northern Barossa Lutheran Ministers and Barossa Ministers Fraternal gatherings through the year. We have been the coordinating office for the Ecumenical Ministers’ Association Christmas Dinner, held on November 11th at the Vine Inn.
Shed Happens and Branching Out
57. These two efforts to reach out to people on the fringe of the church, or way outside the worshipping community, are gems. The people who put their heart and soul into hosting these regular gatherings do so with a deep conviction to bear witness to the gospel among non-church people in ways that the everyday man and woman can receive,. Instead of always trying to attract people to come to worship, we are going out and being with disconnected people through these events.
58. We commend the leaders and helpers of both ministries and pray for God’s energy and patience to continue the ministry that has begun. Thanks to Wayne Rohrlach, Viv Fiebiger, Greg Schubert and all the helpers along with Kaylene Rohrlach, Aileen Auld, Barb Schmidt and the rest of the Branching Out team and helpers.
Lutheran Community Care
59. It is great to have LCC on our church campus, and sometimes staff and volunteers bump into each other and work together in various capacities. I am a part of the LCC reference group that meet every couple of months in the LCC rooms.
Tour Down Under 2014
60. January 21st will be a big Nuri town day and we will right there in the middle of it as a church! For the first time since the TDU began, 16 years ago, Stage 1 will start in Nuri and, because the course for this stage is a loop circuit, the riders will come by Nuri 3 times before finishing the stage in Angaston. The riders and TDU staff will be using our car park and walkway on the day.