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The Whole World is our Parish

Missions, View from the pew

 

Photo by CMS.

 

Last week, the Church Missionary Society (CMS) – January’s Mission of the Month – launched a new logo and website at their annual conference or ‘Summer School’.

Over 3,000 Christian, including members of St Michael’s, were at Katoomba to meet, sing together and hear some brilliant teaching from Richard Chin on Colossians. It truly is a small taste of what heaven must be like, all the voices combined singing “Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great redeemers praise, the glories of my God and king, the triumphs of His grace!”

We were reminded that CMS is a fellowship that is Christ-centred, whose vision is “for a world that knows Jesus”.

Richard taught us that all things are made in, through and for Jesus, both the visible and the invisible (Colossians 1:16). He also challenged us, as he had been, to ask ourselves, “Is Jesus number one of your life?“

Everyone mature in Christ is the essence of mission, and Jesus is for all nations. Amazingly, Christ brings about his purposes through weak and struggling vessels like us. Richard challenged us that the whole world is our parish.

Not only were we fed on God’s word but we were also privileged to hear about the struggles and joys of some of the CMS missionaries and to hear what God has been doing around the world. Two of the missionary families, S and K, and D and L, whom we support at St Michael’s, were there. Last year CMS sent out 18 new missionaries, and this year they will be sending 20.

At one missionary session we heard from missionaries who had been in France, Chile, Nepal and Japan about the challenges and opportunities of language learning. As teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) is part of my ministry here at St Michael’s I was particularly interested.

The missionaries talked about when they are learning a language they have a dual personality: there is an English-speaking “me” and a French-speaking “me”. You are a different person when you are learning a new language.

There is frustration and loneliness, you feel useless, not understanding what’s going on. As one missionary said, “It’s awful to always be stupid.” Plus it’s often not just the words but also seeing the world through another culture’s eyes.

Through the 11am service at St Michael’s, our ESL classes, playgroup and planned new homework group we have the unique opportunity to be able to help our fellow citizens from other nations. Not only with their language but also to tell them the gospel.

One of the songs we sang at Summer School had a line in it that said, “Across the streets we will go to the people who call this place their home”. In 2018, will you go to the people who have come to Australia and St Michael’s?

Sue Radkovic
11am Congregation

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Corner of Church St and Market St Wollongong

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