We had a great picnic on Saturday at Thorndon Park. It was our third attempt, previously stifled by bad weather and a competing event. But it was great to get people together and continue to build on relationships – many of which were the result of the weekend away last October.
One of the key aims for us is to be a welcoming community of people that encourage one another to maturity in Christ. This involves stepping out of our comfort zones and catching up with people who are different to us in age and stage of life. It was great to see this happening on Saturday.
The only problem was that there wasn’t lashings of ginger beer … which I remember from my childhood books by Enid Blyton… is a critical element of a good picnic!
Today we marked Australia Day by having a lunch with the International Students connected with Holy Trinity. Many of them live in the North East or have friends out this way, so it was a great time to chat to them about the new church starting soon and introduce them to some of the pioneer members of Trinity North East.
Unfortunately I wasn’t just there for promotional purposes! At the last minute, I also got the role of ‘Australia Day Man’, so had to explain what Australia Day meant. I was thankful that I had taught Year 9 history some time ago! After lunch we finished the afternoon with a cricket coaching session down at the park – something I also wasn’t prepared for, but always happy to do!
It was a great time to spend with people who are relatively new to this country. Many of them are lonely with husbands, wives children and extended families back in their home country. It was great to hear my colleague Geoff remind them of the great news of dual citizenship that comes with faith in Jesus. As great as Australian citizenship is – to have citizenship in heaven is so much better!
On Sunday afternoon we had a ‘Nuts ‘n Bolts’ session from 2pm-4pm in the Education Centre. It was a preliminary run-in to our soft launch this Sunday at 10am. The sound team got busy unpacking all the fancy new sound gear, the musicians plugged all the new cables into their gear, the Kids ministry teams and Youth ministry teams checked out the rooms they would be using and organised their materials for the term, the ushers and welcoming teams roamed the property looking for the best ways to welcome people, and the hospitality team organised afternoon tea!
It was a real buzz to have so many people around the place getting excited about the opportunities that are now only a few days away! It was also great for us all to see how many people it takes to just get a Sunday gathering to happen – it explains why we were keen to start with a starter group of more than 50 people, rather than exhausting 20 or 30 people in the first month!
One of the other exciting things was that there was a Youth group rebellion, before the church even started to meet! Some of the youth were there and between them and their leaders, they decided that the room we had allocated to them for youth group wasn’t good enough, so they found a better space. It was a great result and showed some great ownership! I was thinking we would have to wait until October until there was a mass mutiny… no, it came in January! They even found a pot plant and named it ‘Alf!’ Apparently this stuff is important for youth groups!
The hospital where Trinity North East is meeting has suffered some pretty bad press over the last decade or so. It was changed from being a good solid public teaching hospital to being a private hospital, back to being a public hospital but with decreasing services – no maternity, not enough/no ED consultants etc etc.
So… I thought Trinity North East would be a great opportunity for some positive press! I rang the SA Health Media Department and was very helpfully given contact details for a reporter in the local rag. Half an hour later, I was at the hospital for a photo shoot! It all happened very quickly!
I look forward to see what they come up with in this Wednesday’s local paper (27.01.10)… if nothing better takes up the space!