The Bible and Conservation


In our journey on Earth, following in Christ’s path, we need to also remind ourselves of our responsibility to all living things, not just our fellow brothers, sisters and neighbours.

Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Laudato Si, is worth reading. It is a comprehensive overview of the extent to which humanity has failed in its stewardship of this Earth. He described the Earth, our home, as “beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” He has been criticized by some as exceeding his authority. But the Bible does give him authority just as it instructs us to protect God’s Creation. Let us look at what the Bible says. In Genesis 1:21 we are told that:

God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

And in Genesis 1:28 He instructs us to “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

We are reminded in Leviticus 25:23 “for the land is Mine; for you are but aliens and sojourners with Me.”

This is repeated in Psalm 115:16 “The highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to man.”

And again in Psalm 24:1,2 “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.”

Clearly the Earth belongs to God which He has entrusted to us for our benefit. We are only its stewards. We will be judged by how we manage it.

This point is made in Luke 16:2 in the parable about the good steward where Jesus instructs us in what it means to be a good steward. While he was referring to managing a master’s business, he did say “if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” This could also be seen as a warning that if we are not wise in caring for what God has given us (His Creation) then we will not be trusted with what God has promised us.

Failing to be good stewards and respecting God’s Creation will result in consequences as described in Revelation 11:18. It is a clear command and will be one matter for which we will be judged.

The time has come for judging the dead and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great, and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

Let us therefore see what God has given us for our enjoyment and not misuse it. Psalm 119:18, 19 “Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth; do not hide your commands from me.” The law referred to here includes the truth of God’s Creation in Genesis 1:21 and the commands in Genesis 1:28.

Gerald Thompson

Wednesday Worship

Members of the congregation sharing morning tea following the Wednesday morning Eucharist.
Members of the congregation sharing morning tea following the Wednesday morning Eucharist.

On Wednesday 8 July the usual mid-week Eucharist at Christ Church was held at the later time of 10.00 am to allow some members of the congregation to attend who find it difficult to get to other services. They were then able to share a time of fellowship together over a cup of tea or coffee accompanied by a scone or piece of cake.


Welcome Kyra May

Kyra May's Baptism at St John's, Langhorne Creek, Sunday 5th July 2015
Kyra May’s Baptism at St John’s, Langhorne Creek, Sunday 5th July 2015

It was a very happy morning at the early service on Sunday 5th July at St John’s when Kyra May’s family and friends brought her to be baptized and made a member of Christ, a child of God and an inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven. We pray that as she grows up she will come to know for herself the Good News of the Kingdom.


St Francis of Assisi– madman or hippy or something else?

St Francis of Assisi

St Francis of Assisi

Years before I became a Third Order Franciscan I was studying fulltime for a Bible and Ministry Diploma. I expressed one day that St Francis of Assisi was one of my heroes and one of the lecturers exclaimed: “what! Assisi? That madman?!” His contempt was rather obvious in the way he spat out the word ‘Assisi’ rather than use Francis’ name. He made it quite clear that for him Francis was just a crazy person, abusing his body in misguided penance who didn’t know the scriptures or preach the gospel in truth, and as for the stigmata… ( I do get the uncomfortable feeling sometimes that there are people who believe that there were no real Christians between 300 AD and the Reformation…)

"Brother Sun, Sister Moon" Poster

Brother Sun Sister Moon Poster

Then I recorded the Zefferelli movie recently, ‘Brother Sun, Sister Moon’ which had some very beautiful moments but made me think again how, like the lecturer, they have missed the very essence of who Br Francis was and why he took the path he did. There are some lovely scenes in this movie of Francis and his ‘poor little brothers’ laughing together, even in their hunger and cold and deprivation, and it captured well their love for each other that bound them together. It seemed, uncomfortably to me however, to avoid any focus on the one person who was the very centre and the very reason for that love – Jesus Christ, whom Francis loved with a total abandonment and passion. This was also obvious in the changing of the words of the canticle Brother Sun, Sister Moon which is the theme song. While one can understand the commercial reasons for this I again thought how this image of Francis gives people the impression that Francis was a tree-hugging, dancing/singing nature lover who had a vague religious attachment along the way!

As I have read more and more about Br Francis I have been struck by his total Christ-centeredness and, although passionate, eccentric and determined in his individual following of the gospel, he was always ‘orthodox’ in his Christian faith and in his respect and support for the Church.

Francis did realise in later years that the abuse of his body in actual fact was counter-productive in his work for the Lord and yes, Francis was suspicious of books and too much learning but this was because he wanted to get out there and live the Gospel not spend his life reading and studying it. Francis longed for the contemplative life acheter viagra 10 pilules. He ultimately brought this to God and was told by our Lord that he must continue to actively preach the Gospel. He wandered the towns preaching Jesus and his passion was so great that both rich and poor encountered the living Christ and desired to follow Jesus in the example of Francis. One of the things that touched me deeply in my journey to becoming a Franciscan (while on retreat in a Syrian Monastery) was the encounter between Francis and the Sultan during one of the Crusades. In fearlessly preaching the gospel of Christ, with a love and respect that greatly impressed the Sultan, Francis witnessed to the love, grace and beauty of Christ amidst an atmosphere of war, desecration and hatred.

"Francis and the Sultan" by Fra Angelico

“Francis and the Sultan” by Fra Angelico

Francis was totally Christ centred, passionately in love with Jesus, living humbly and in poverty, without greed or desire for power or status. In this, of course, he imitated our Lord Jesus who, possessing the heart of God himself, was the ultimate example to us of walking the path of humility, love and joy.

Our Br. Francis desired above all in his life to make Christ known, loved and adored. In this he inspired all those around him.

He has inspired me and this is why I am a Franciscan…

Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

Sunday after Ascension to Pentecost (17th to 24th May 2015)

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was first observed in Australia in the early 1950s by the students of St Michael’s House at Crafers, S.A. and Ormond College in Melbourne, Vic. achat viagra naturel.

This was the result of the enthusiasm of Fr Gabriel Hebert, S.S.M. and Professor Davis McCaughey who had shared in such prayer in Europe.

The observance of a Week of Prayer for Unity was originally proposed in 1908 and held in January each year. However its intention was the reunion of Christendom with the Roman Catholic Church.

A French Catholic priest, the Abbé Paul Couturier who had worked with large numbers of Russian refugees in the 1920s realized that they, as members of the Orthodox Church, could not share in prayers for that particular scheme of unity.

As a result he suggested that we should pray for the unity of all Christians according to the will of Christ and by the means which he chooses. This is a prayer in which all Christians are able to share.

He worked tirelessly to promote better understanding between Christians of different traditions and for the week of prayer for Christian Unity up till the time of his death in 1953.

This was the Week of Prayer which was brought to Australia, but since January was not a good month in which  to promote such an observance it was decided to hold it in the period between Ascension and Whitsunday.

This is a most appropriate time, especially as the Gospel for the Sunday after the Ascension includes Jesus’ prayer to the Father for his Church: “…that they may be one, as we are one.”

WallsofSeparation‘The walls of separation do not rise as far as heaven.’
—Metropolitan Platon Gorodetsky (1803-1891) of Kiev.

Daily Prayer of the Chemin Neuf (New Way) Community, based on Couturier:

Lord Jesus, who prayed that we might all be one,
we pray to You for the unity of Christians,
according to Your will, according to Your means.
May Your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division,
to see our sin,and to hope beyond all hope. Amen.

Mothers’ Union Birthday

The following news item appeared in the pages of The Mount Barker Courier and Onkaparinga and Gumeracha Advertiser on the 17th December 1897.

“The Governor and Lady Victoria Buxton being on a visit to Strathalbyn, the opportunity was taken of asking her ladyship to attend a meeting in the institute on Monday afternoon for the purpose of establishing a branch of the Mothers’ Union. Although only a few hours’ notice had been given a fair number of ladies attended the meeting, and the Rev. A. Wheeler, the incumbent of Christ Church, presided. Lady Victoria Buxton gave a touching address on the objects and work of the society, remarking that although the society was worked on church lines that was not a barrier to any mother joining the union.”

Mothers' Union 117th Birthday.
Mothers’ Union 117th Birthday.

The Strathalbyn branch of the Mothers’ Union continues to meet regularly and the members celebrated their 117th birthday on Tuesday 12th May with a service of Holy Communion in Christ Church when new members Barbara Wilson and Patricia Mold were welcomed. They then enjoyed afternoon tea in Jocelyn Williamson’s garden at Meadows.


Bishop’s Visit to Strathalbyn

Bishop John was the celebrant at the Eucharist on Sunday 19 April at Christ Church, Strathalbyn at which we gave thanks for the successful renovation of the Church building. During the service the Bishop also licensed the Rev’d Adrian Stephens for ministry within the Diocese of The Murray. Adrian was previously Rector of Mount Barker and Rural Dean of Strathalbyn before spending twelve years in Sydney as Rector of Christ Church Saint Laurence.

Fr Adrian Stephens receiving his Licence from the Bishop.


Easter Day Dawn Service at Strathalbyn

This year, for the first time for many years, a combined Service for all the Christian Churches in Strathalbyn was organized by the Inter Church Council and held in the Memorial Gardens. The start time for the Easter Day Dawn Service appropriately was set at 6.15 am and was attended by a large crowd of around 100.

Pastor Wayne Kerber of the Lutheran Church started proceedings and led the singing with his Guitar. Pastor Daryll Telfer of the Church of Christ spoke of the message of the day, and the Easter Gospel Story of the Resurrection of our Lord was read by Rev. David Smith. ICC Chairperson Sue Eckert. RC.,  led the Intercessions. The whole Service was very much enjoyed, and was considered to be most meaningful in reminding us all of this wonderful day when death was finally defeated.

A fish breakfast followed, cooked by members of the Lutheran Church, and all appreciated this coming together again of all Christians in our Town.


Easter Morning at Strathalbyn.
Easter Morning at Strathalbyn.

Rural Theology Day

On Saturday 21 March 2015 members of Strathalbyn Parish, together with folk from as far away as Renmark and Christies Beach met with Bishop Michael Langrish at Mount Barker to consider a biblical model for the mission of the Church in rural areas.

Bishop Michael who is a former Bishop of Exeter, an English diocese which includes many rural communities in Devon, described the kind of situation which is faced by the Church in many country villages there as more and more people move away from the cities to live in the country. Surprisingly the situation there is not dissimilar to that which we experience in our country towns.

In order to meet the challenge which this new situation brings he presented us with a biblical model based on the history of the people of Israel and the story of the development of the Church as it spread from Jerusalem into all the world. This was then illustrated by reference to the way in which the Church was brought to England in past centuries and then to Australia in more recent times.

We came away with a great deal to think about and to share with our fellow parishioners in the weeks ahead.


Beverley Stone and Sarah Driden with Bishop Michael Langrish.
Beverley Stone and Sarah Dridan with Bishop Michael Langrish.