Tuesdays - Bible Study (Romans) @ the Farmhouse – 7 – 8 p.m. Nov 7-8 Make wreaths and topiaries at the Farmhouse Nov 12 Bob Evans Fund Raiser, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov 14 Church of the Word Vestry retreat – Farmhouse Nov 21 Wine Tasting & Silent Auction – Farmhouse Nov 27 Thanksgiving Service @ 10 a.m. Nov 28-29 and December 5-6 Christmas Sale at Parish Hall
I recently had the privilege of hearing the Revd. Dr. Peter Adam, former rector of St. Jude’s Melbourne, Australia and Principal of Ridley College, University of Melbourne.
1. Because you need the regular support and encouragement of Christian fellowship. The Christian life is not designed to be lived in isolation, and those who try it that way are likely to crash! (see Hebrews 10.25)
2. Because fellowship provided by Christian friends is no substitute for belonging to a church. You choose your friends because their ideas and style are similar to your own, God puts different people together in a congregation so they can learn from each other. (See Titus 2.1-10)
3. Because gifts can only rightly be used by someone who is a member of a congregation. Gifts are primarily for the congregation, not for the individual and are rightly used to build up the church. The picture of a church as a body tells us that our various gifts complement each other. You don’t see a foot or an eye wandering around by itself! (See 1 Corinthians 12)
4. Because God’s basic unit is the church, not the individual. The story of the Bible is that of God making, shaping and refining his people, beginning with Abraham. The lives of individuals like David, Isaiah, the Disciples, and Paul have their meaning because they are part of God’s continuous community. It has lasted c.4,000 years – and there are no signs that God has changed his plan! (See Genesis 12:1-3; 15:1-6; Romans 4)
5. Because, without church membership and regular attendance, you are not paying the price of being a Christian. The solo flight is a very attractive style of Christianity for some, but it evades a basic element, the cost of Discipleship. Jesus called his followers to serve their community of faith…to be ‘salve of all’. (See Mark 10.35-45)
6. Because you cannot understand the New Testament properly unless you belong to a church. Most of the New Testament is addressed to churches. If you only read the Bible privately, then you will not be in the right place to hear God’s word. You will ‘privatize’ its message, and so misunderstand it. (see most of Paul’s letters)
7. Because basic maturity in faith and knowledge is only found in the church. The Bible clearly teaches that immaturity is found in those who cannot cope with the church ‘system’ (Titus 1:5; 3:10), and that maturity and fullness of faith is a corporate experience of the Christian body of Christ. A ‘grab and run’ approach is wrong: sharing in them means belonging to a church. (1 Cor. 10.16; 11:17-34; 12:13).
8. Because sharing in Baptism and the Lord’s Supper is basic to Christian obedience. We share in these sacraments because of the command of Christ. They are not private rites but corporate actions of the body of Christ. A ‘grab and run’ approach is wrong; sharing in them means belonging to a church. (see 1 Corinthians 10:16; 11:17-34; 12:13)
9. Because submitting to Christian leadership is integral to New Testament Christianity. 'Going-it-alone' is okay in the short term, but eventually we err if we imagine that we do not need structures and human authority. God's provision of order and authority in the church is his realistic way of helping us. (see Hebrews 13:17)
10. Because fellowship-groups, evangelism teams, Christian societies are no substitute for churches. Special groups and teams are more exciting than churches, because they attract people of similar aims, Ideas and abilities. They do good work but are not the same as churches, because they are limited in membership and task oriented. Churches have to accept everyone, gifted or not, and so they more accurately reflect God’s free grace.
We have launched our drive to finance the construction of the new church building on October 12. Most of you have received a detailed explanation of what we have already spent, how much we have on hand and how must we anticipate spending. Thanks to the generosity of many of you we have been able to purchase 24 acres of land, which includes 2 houses – a cottage for the Rector and a multi-use Farmhouse. Thanks to an earlier fundraising effort, we have money in the bank, but not enough to pay for the building. We anticipate that we will need an additional $400,000 to complete the building. We are grateful for the sacrificial gifts which we have already received. But, we now need to make one more concerted drive to finish the job.