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Toorak Uniting Church

Toorak Uniting Church – Update – Lent 1

22 February 2015

Previous Item Page Top Next Item Still Thinking – Conversion
I was 16 years of age when I first responded to an evangelist’s call to follow Jesus. It took a lot in me to overcome my embarrassment of claiming my private conviction in such a public way. Some would say that that is the whole point, that there are no secret followers of Jesus so overcoming one’s natural religious shyness catapults a person to a new and higher level of religious experience.

After this first time it got easier to come forward in response to the preacher’s call. In fact, I made quite a habit of "walking the sawdust trail" as the Southern Baptists have called it. Partly, as a deeply religious young person, I was seeking a kind of religious perfection. I knew that I was not as faithful as I could be; I knew that I had been sinful and failed to meet God’s standards. As I said in a sermon last week preaching about sin to young people is like shooting fish in a barrel, you know you will always hit a good number of them. But this was the 1960s and a very different religious culture.

As I reflected on those experiences some forty-six years ago, I realize that they probably kept me in the church; but sadly truncated my experience of life. It took some years to experience what St Paul called in Romans 8: 21, "the glorious liberty of the children of God." That experience came with the realization that it was not so much that I need to be "saved," but rather that what I craved was to be liberated, to be set free from that which bound and limited me in my spiritual life. And one of those things I needed liberation from was religion. Now that may sound strange coming from a minister of the Christian religion, but if we recognize that Jesus never established a religion and was in fact critical of binding oneself to rules, codes and creedal forms, then freedom from religion is the goal of the good news that Jesus preached.

Don’t get me wrong I love the church. I love the rich and diverse history that covers the last two thousand years. And I am very aware that we need an institution that can be the vehicle that displays the "Body of Christ." When the church is the living, breathing spirit of Christ, alive in the world, then we are on track. When it is a formal, boundary setting, belief testing institution, we all know it is off track.

The spiritual/religious developmentalist tells us that young people need strong, challenging and decisive institutions that give them both boundaries and yet freedoms within those boundaries. Young people want to be part of a movement but they also want to know what the ground rules are. As they mature they crave a strange paradox of wanting to belong and yet desiring unlimited freedom. We know that young people, particularly young males, are risk-takers and this can cause them and others a lot of heart ache. But it really can’t be any other way and the church needs to provide for both aspects of maturation. While what we call "conversion" may be an important experience in life it should be associated with claiming the good news of life lived fully through Jesus and not the limited moralist, sin based view that some of us passed through in our teenage years.


Previous Item Page Top Next Item Diary Dates

Monday, 23 February at 12 noon: Time for Fellowship Lunch. Faichney Room.
Wednesday, 25 February at 6:30pm: P Brown Handbell Choir. Wettenhall Room.
At 7:30pm: P Brown Handbell Quartet Wettenhall Room.
Thursday, 26 February at 10:00am: Prayers for Christian Unity. St John’s Toorak.
At 7:30pm Church Council meeting Faichney Room.
At 7:00pm: Lenten Studies. St John’s Anglican.
Friday, 6 March at 2:00pm: World Day of Prayer. Swedish Church.
Monday, 9 March: Labour Day – Office closed
Tuesday, 10 March at 7:00pm: Lenten Studies. TUC Church – West Transept.
Wednesday, 4 March at 6:30pm: P Brown Handbell Choir. Wettenhall Room.
At 7:30pm: P Brown Handbell Quartet Wettenhall Room.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item Notice Regarding Tram Track Renewal.
Pedestrian access will not be affected, but there will be some disruption to the #8 tram timetable.
Toorak Rd Will be closed between Grange Rd and Lansell Rd from Saturday 28 February until Monday 2 March.
Toorak Rd will remain closed from west of Orrong Rd to east of Grange Rd until Tuesday 3 March 2015 to allow for some final work to occur.
Some road closures along Toorak Rd will apply and on-street parking will be affected.
Traffic controllers on site will manage local access for residents and business operators.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item The Progressive Christian Network of Victoria inc.

When: Sunday 22 February, 3.00-5.00pm
Topic: "Is it possible to be Christian in the 21st Century?"
Speakers: Rev Dr David Merritt, Rev Dr Christopher Page, Rev Dr Lorraine Parkinson
Where: Glen Iris Road Uniting Church, Glen Iris Rd near the corner of High St Rd.
Further details about the PCNV are available at the back of the church.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item Time for Fellowship Lunch
The first lunch for 2015 will be held on Monday 23rd February in the Faichney Room from 12 noon. The topic for discussion is "A Hot Day". Come and enjoy good food, lively discussion and meet new people. Everyone welcome.

Contact Lenore Newnham 9509 0496 or Jean Allison 9826 9926.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item Prayers of Christian Unity
will be held at St Johns Anglican Church on Thursday, 26 February at 10.00am. This will be followed by morning tea – everyone most welcome.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item Lenten Studies
Led by Bishop Graeme Rutherford retired Assistant Anglican Bishop of Newcastle.

Wednesday, March 4th at St John’s Anglican Church.
Tuesday, March 10th at Toorak Uniting Church.
Tuesday, March 17th at St Peters Catholic Church.
From 7pm – 9pm.
The three studies will give a panoramic view of the Bible. Bishop Graeme's aim is to assist people to reflect on the 'unifying structure' of the biblical story in the light of their own life experience. He says, 'Everyone lives by a story. Everyone has a faith. Let's not be intimidated by those who say that only some do! The Old Testament scholar, Walter Brueggemann speaks of Christian conversion as 'the re-storying of one's life in the stories of the Bible'. Seen in this way, conversion is a word with an ongoing and repetitive force - something that does not happen once, but again and again. My prayer is that the Spirit of God will take the Word of God and apply it afresh to the minds, emotions and wills of all who gather for these ecumenical studies.'

Previous Item Page Top Next Item International Women’s Day – ‘Fly into Freedom’
Guest Speaker: Prue Gilbert
Friday, 6 March, 7:15am – 8:30am, Auditorium
Loreto Toorak past pupil. Prue Gilbert is a qualified Executive Coach, gender diversity consultant and expert facilitator with a legal background. In 2014 her company was recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission for their work on pregnancy discrimination in the work place. Prue is committed to her work as a human rights advocate, for women and girls, informed by Ignatian Spirituality and her Loreto Education.

Cost: $20/$10 (Breakfast in a Box provided)
RSVP: Friday, 27 February 2015.
Bookings: www.trybooking.com/GXST
Enquiries: Lucy Grainger phone: 9823 8167

Previous Item Page Top Next Item John Macrae Centre – Afternoon Soirée
A special illustrated presentation will be given by Patricia Begg on her recent intimate perspective on the palaces at St Petersberg. This will be followed by an afternoon high tea and a glass of bubbles. The date is Sunday March 15, from 3-5pm and the cost per person is $25. Please book at JMC on 9829 0320.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item John Macrae Centre – Driver required
JMC urgently needs a volunteer driver for our 8 seater bus to pick up our members at 10am-11am on Fridays and to drop them home at 3pm-4pm. If you can help please ring Katrina on 9829 0320 for more details. No special driving licence required.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item Name Badges
The Office Staff are about to order a new batch of resin name badges with the UCA logo. If you would like to order one, please email Catriona or Kimberly at ToorakUC@bigpond.net.au with the exact spelling you require. Cost is $12.50 each.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item News from Kinross Arts & Spirituality Centre

Kinross House Gallery is normally open Tuesday to Friday 10:00am – 3pm.

5 February
8 March
 'The Bay' - Jane Oehr The Water's Rim – A solo exhibition of paintings by Jane Oehr

The Opening was on Thursday 5th February with Guest Speaker: Dr Vincent O'Donnell – Presenter of the Community Radio Network's national arts and culture current affairs program Arts Alive.

Exhibition Dates:
Thursday, 5 February – Sunday, 8th March 2015;
Open 8.30am - 3.30pm Monday to Friday. Weekends by appointment.

About the Exhibition:
Jane is joining with Kinross for her second solo exhibition at the Kinross Gallery. Jane is a visual artist and film maker. Her new work is inspired by the coasts of New South Wales and Victoria and Australia's famous beaches, rock pools and shoreline. The paintings evoke associations with water, moving currents, turbulence and calm and the mysteries beneath.

12 March
26 April
Moments in a Dream – The world of Ink Art – Seifu Sandaiji
Seifu Sandaiji is a Bokusho artist who studied her art form under the guidance of Kofu Ohashi and Jikihara Gyokusei in Japan.
She has had group and solo exhibitions in Japan, the USA and Australia.
From March 12th - April 26th Kinross will display a solo exhibition by Seifu Sandaiji of new work created for Australia.

The Opening of the Exhibition is on Thursday 12th March; 6pm - 8pm

Enquiries & RSVP to: uat@toorak.unitingchurch.org.au; tel 03 9829 0340

Come and see brilliant contemporary Japanese ink art in a special exhibition.

Open 8:30am - 3:30pm Monday to Friday.

Sunday, 15 March
2pm – 4pm
Visual Art PerformanceSeifu Sandaiji
As part of the Moments in a Dream exhibition, A visual art performance by Seifu Sandaiji on Sunday 15th March 2pm - 4pm.
Accompanied by the bass flutist Peter Sheridan and traditional dancing by Murasaki no kai dance group.
Gold Coin Entry.

Manse Gallery Café
The café is filled with light, warmth, flowers on the table and good food. Please call in for great coffee, hot soup or delicious cake. It has a wonderful atmosphere with outstanding meals and coffee. Why not meet up with friends or conduct your next meeting there? The Café now has EFTPOS – no need to remember to have cash.
For enquiries and (group) bookings contact Raz Psonis on 9829 0341 email: meetatmanse@gmail.com
Raz and her team will make you very welcome. Hours: Mon-Fri 8:30am – 3:30pm.

Gallery Contacts: For all exhibition enquiries and bookings please telephone Lyndel Wischer on: 9829 0340 or email: uat@toorak.unitingchurch.org.au or visit the Kinross House page on the TUC website. You are also welcome to call in to the Kinross House Office which is normally attended 10 am – 3 pm, Tuesday – Friday or by appointment.

Previous Item Page Top Next Item Lectionary Readings for 1 March 2015, Lent 2
Genesis 17: 1 – 7, 15 – 16;     Psalm 22: 23 – 31;     Romans 4: 13 – 25;     Mark 8: 31 – 38.
The liturgical colour for Lent is purple.

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