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Corner of Church St and Market St Wollongong 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 5pm & 7pm each Sunday
I think it is fair to say that many people worldwide found 2016 to be a year of pain, sorrow and division. Nations around the world faced momentous conflicts. Events such as the attempted coup in Turkey, the tragic situation in Aleppo, Britain voting to leave the EU, and the US election all took centre stage worldwide. Even in peaceful and protected Australia, there seems to be a sense that past cultural optimism is making way for bleak concern about the future.
St Michael’s also faced challenges in 2016. However, whilst catching up with a former St Michael’s member recently, I had the chance to reflect on the last 12 months. I was struck by how constant and united our church has been in pursuing a gospel-centred vision of the future. In innumerable ways, our church has continued to strive towards our goal of seeing the message of Christ Jesus heard in Wollongong and throughout the world. As we heard from Philippians recently, we are united in like-mindedness by being united with Christ (Phil 2:1-2).
I was privileged to serve on Parish Council this year, and through that see each month how the staff members of St Michael’s were united in encouraging and edifying our church. Faced with financial difficulties, it was as one body that each of congregations responded. The recent Ministry Expo and Ministry Boot Camp saw people finding new ways to serve or equip themselves for the ministries they are already doing. I have been especially encouraged to see the youth attending St Michael’s continue to grow, and moreover, see many transition from youth programs into assisting to run these programs.
So, as we start a new year and the world around us starts making New Year’s resolutions, here are a number of “resolutions” we as a church can make to further the work of the gospel:
Lastly, as we continue to grow together this year and into the future, take the time (regularly!) to chat to and encourage your Christian brothers and sisters. Encourage them with the challenges God has preserved you through, and encourage them with the ministries you see flourishing.