Weekly Letter – 27th July, 2020

Dear friends,

Greetings in Jesus’ name!

To my shame I was behaving like an over-eager puppy. Jack Gibson, the legendary ARL coach had been invited – and was coming – to a men’s dinner run by our church. He was to be part of a group gathered at a bowling club to eat and then to hear a great gospel talk. We knew he was coming and it would be best to leave him alone. But I couldn’t. “Hello Mr Gibson, how are you? Is everything alright? Are you comfortable? Do you know where the toilets are? Will the Roosters win on Sunday again?”

I know I should have shut up. But I couldn’t. Jack Gibson!

With four words he firmly put me in my place. Jack: “Do I know you?”   Me: “Uhmm…”

I don’t know most of you at St Peter’s and St Andrew’s, though I hope in a very short time that I’ll be able to write these letters and have faces flash before me as I begin with “Dear friends”. And I’m really looking forward to that as together we continue to serve the Lord and bring the glorious gospel to the community and the world beyond.

My wife Glenda and I were delighted to serve in the Rosemeadow parish for 6 years before moving to Fairy Meadow where I’ve been part-time senior assistant in that growing ministry. I’m very grateful to Roger Fitzhardinge, my senior minister, for releasing me for a few days a week to help you prepare for the next stage in what God is doing through this community of God’s people.

But, imagine God were to ask you, “Do I know you?”

We so often put the question the other way round and ask others, “do you know God?”

But it’s much more important to know what the answer is to the first question.

So, may I respectfully ask you how you would answer when God asks “Do I know you?”

On July 17 Rev Dr J I Packer, at the age of 94, went to be with the Lord he was known by and served for over 70. His most significant book, a classic, is “Knowing God.” Packer knew that knowing God was based on God knowing him. Every day of his life he expressed it like this:

“I am a child of God. God is my Father; heaven in my home; every day is one day nearer. My Saviour is my brother; every Christian is my brother or sister, too.”

Do you know, like Packer, that God knows you?

Your brother in Christ,

Deryck Howell
Acting Senior Minister

Campbelltown Anglican News

As promised, here is the outline of the initial steps we are taking to address the consequences of having to shut down most of our normal Parish activities.
These are unchartered waters and I don’t doubt that many of these arrangements will need to be modified and some new ones will have to be created.  What is needed most of all is your prayers, followed closely by an eagerness to face the challenges and “Bear each other’s burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ”.

Glorifying God and continuing our maturity in Christ:  New Sunday arrangements
Church is for building one another up in the faith, encouraging each other to remain centred and anchored and trusting in Jesus. He is our refuge and our strength. Christians know and worship the true God together. Therefore, in this time of self-isolation and the closure of public worship, we are keen to take our joy of meeting together and do it differently.
We are working to deliver two types of services for Sunday at three times. A traditional form will be made available from 8am and a contemporary service will be available from 10am. We aim to create a live viewing party again at 6pm.
The way we deliver these services will be tweaked as we experiment and work on doing things well for the glory of God.
The links will be made available on the homepage of our website, campbelltown.church (or campbelltownanglican.org), so check that out close to the time for directions.
We recommend making a moment of watching the service. Sit with your family, close friends or Growth Group and engage with the word, pray and enjoy the eternal message that Jesus Christ is King (he’s going to look after everything)! Have yourself settled in time with your bible ready to go.
Growth Groups are encouraged to continue to meet as normal. Keep vigilant with the social space advice, hand washing and staying home if unwell. Your Growth Group leaders will get information as time proceeds and they will be your greatest contacts while we manoeuvre these times together.
More resources for individual growth will be passed out over the coming weeks. This may include daily bible readings sent to your inbox or timely posts sent to our Facebook page or group.
We understand that not everyone is comfortable with technology and we will do our best not to leave you behind.

Pastoral Care in the coming weeks:  How we will be keeping in touch
The vision of our Church is to be a growing Christian community devoted to maturing in Jesus for the glory of God. It is a challenge to express community in the current circumstances. We are so thankful for the community of Campbelltown Anglican Churches and the way members care for one another in many different ways. To support members in their care for one another and to ensure people don’t slip through the cracks this is what we would like to implement, with your valued help, in the weeks and months ahead.
The Growth Group Leaders will ask a few members of their group to be responsible for making contact with others in the group and the GG Leader will keep in contact to support and care for the people they have asked to contact others.

Those who are not in Growth Groups will be either attached to existing Growth Groups or placed in a group with a member of the MET (Membership Encouragement Team) overseeing their group.
The Ministry Team will be in regular weekly contact with the Growth Group leaders to care for them. Leanne will look after 8am GG leaders and MET leaders, Mick will look after 10am GG leaders, Simon will look after 6pm GG leaders and Jason will look after St Andrews GG leaders.
To care for our elderly, we will be recruiting volunteers to ring them every few days at a set time to check in how they are going.
We are thinking through other ways we can express community maybe gathering in open spaces like Camden Bike track on a sunny afternoon.

Children’s and Youth arrangements
Friday Night Youth, Afternoon Kid’s club, Junior Jivers and all of our children’s and youth programs will receive similar treatment in delivering things differently. Pray for all of our excellent leaders as they continue to teach, engage and grow our younger ones up in the Lord. There are Facebook groups for most of these ministries so seek out the ones that fit your family. We are also thinking about alternatives for Facebook as well.
So, there it is; our first steps to face this unprecedented situation.  Please be sure to view this Sunday’s services online and remember, if you have questions, email or ring any of the Ministry Team.
Yours in Christ,
Bruce Ballantine-Jones
Acting Rector

Weekly Letter

Dear Friends.

I am beginning to get a handle on all the things that go on in the parish and I think that by the time I leave I will know almost as much as you do.

For a start, next Sunday March 15 after the 10am service the Annual General Meeting will take place in the Church. This is not necessarily the most exciting event of the year but it is certainly one of the most important. We will receive reports on how the parish went last year and we will be electing people to serve on the parish council and other important roles. Can I encourage you to come and play your part in the good management of the two churches that make up the parish?

Just as important but in a different way is the Big Day In on Saturday 21 March. Our guest speaker is Kanishka Raffel who is the Dean of Sydney and a leading voice for the Christian faith in our community. I have known Kanishka for many years and appreciated his leadership for the gospel in the national church and more recently in our Diocese. You will be inspired and encouraged by his addresses and his warm and friendly personality. Beside that part of the program there are fantastic activities for the children and in the afternoon some games for everybody and plenty of fresh hot pizzas to feast on.

Of course the whole event, as you know better than I, is to sit under the Word and to enjoy real fellowship.  Those two words sum up what ‘church’ is for.

Don’t forget the location: New Life Anglican Church, corner of Central Avenue and Marcus Loane Way, Oran Park. The time is 9am to 7pm. To register go to campbelltownanglican.org/bdi2020.

Heather and I are looking forward to be the opportunity to meet more and more of you in a much less rushed setting than we experience on Sundays.

Your friend,

Bruce Ballantine-Jones

Someone’s in my seat!

I received a text message during church last week from a church member who had been forced to sit in a different spot in church. Somebody had sat in their seat! They were laughing at the irony because, like many of us going through the ‘6 Steps to Loving Your Church’ course, they knew that the assignment was to pray about where you will sit this week rather than simply going straight to your space of habit.

The course that we are moving through together is not rocket science but it does give us pause to consider what habits we get into at church and why we do them? What motivates us to be at church and what do we believe we are going to church to do? Hebrews 10:19-22 reminds us that we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus and he is our Great High Priest, therefore we do not require church to get any closer to God. Then, Hebrews 10:23-25 proceeds to remind us what the real benefit of church is – to encourage one another to hold firmly to this faith especially as the day of Christ’s return gets closer and closer. We gather together to build up one another in the faith.

It is good to cultivate good habits. Attending church regularly and consistently is a great habit. It helps us to fix our eyes upon Jesus. It gives us opportunity to encourage and serve one another. Our church services feed our hope in the resurrection. They remind us that all other ground is sinking sand.

It is a good Sunday when we find somebody sitting in our seat. That can be the first person you prayerfully encourage in our gathering that day. It is better that they are in your seat than not gathering with the Lord’s people that day.

See you in church,

Simon Twist
Acting Rector

Our God Reigns

I am sorry about the pun but I wish to begin by thanking God for the rain. As the rain started coming down last week, I heard radio presenters joke about who had decided to wash their car – perhaps we can thank them  for the rain. I believe in both the natural cycle of the weather in all its complexity as well as the sovereignty of God who is the God of tomorrow. We have been praying for rain and relief for many weeks and months. We may well begin to pray about flood situations! I would like to thank God for His powerful hand over all situations.

In Matthew Chapter 6, Jesus told us not to worry about tomorrow because God has got it. He told us that when it comes to our needs, be like Christians who know and trust God, rather than be like those who do not know God nor actively trust Him. When we need something, we take that request to God who knows what we need even before we ask Him for it. We have needed rain and it has come. We will continue to need things which we will need to trust God with. Jesus also told us, in Matthew Chapter 6, to seek first the Kingdom of God and allow God to worry about everything else. The one thing that we need to pursue is the Kingdom of God because I am not the King – God is. Our God reigns.

SRE year 5 teacher opportunity.

Our involvement in two local schools is almost complete with SRE teachers ready to go and teach young people about Jesus. We have a space, however, for a volunteer to take on a year 5 class between 10:30am and 11am on Wednesdays during school days. I ask everybody to pray to God and ask Him to raise up a person for this ministry. Training and support are provided. Contact the office or James Massey if you are interested – even just curious.

The Big Day In

A one day event for all church members to attend is coming up on the 21st of March. This is like doing a weekend away all in one day! Kanishka Raffel is coming to speak to us on 2 Peter. Primary age people have a program being run for them during those talk times. All food is provided for the day. We are holding it again at Oran Park Anglican (Newlife). Registration is now open now at campbelltownanglican.org/bdi2020

6 Steps to Loving Your Church

Our Growth Groups started a 6 week course on loving our church last week. For those who are not in a Growth Group, Leanne Burns is running sessions on this material at 3:30pm on Sunday afternoons at the church. If you missed her first one (9th Feb), I’m sure she would love to have you start next week.

See you in church,

Simon Twist
Acting Rector

Get into Growth Groups

Our Growth Groups ministry has launched for 2020. Going to a Bible study is not a new idea (although it’s not that old either!) but our Growth Groups ministry is more than just getting into the Bible. Our leaders are directed and supported on how to create a group that is caring for and coaching one another.

We coach one another in the Christian faith. This is also known as discipleship. We meet to encourage one another and pray for one another and to listen and learn. It is a support group which leans on the scriptures for direction and truth. We do learn the skills of good Bible reading. We nurture prayer. We remind each other of the hope that we have in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. We teach, correct, rebuke and train in living out our faith – all in love and Christian relationship.

We care for one another in appropriate ways. Being connected to a Growth Group means you are connected to people in the church. When life gets hard, your group ought to be aware of this. When others are struggling, then you ought to be aware too. We have pastoral care teams in our church but one of the earliest places for support is found in your Growth Group. We are all needy and we are all needed. A Growth Group can be a place where we learn how to care with wisdom and truth. Even those who are unable to attend Growth Group meetings can get connected to an appropriate group as a Satellite Member. Ask for more information on this if this is where you are at.

This ministry in our church is important because we can raise up and equip hubs of people to do the work of disciple making. Those who engage with this ministry soon find themselves engaging with church better. In any growing church, it is important to be ministering to one another and Growth Groups enable us to do this in an ordered and facilitated manner.

The best way to get into a Growth Group is to ask the people close to you at church which Growth Group they are in. Our information tables also provide information on when and where each group is running.

We’ll be starting off this week with a 6 part study on ‘how to love your church.’ This is a very practical study aimed at transforming our thinking at church. Someone once said, we don’t go to church… we are the church. How we approach our Sunday or Wednesday service can have a very real impact on the health of the congregation – positive or negative.

I pray that 2020 will be a year of engaging with God and with one another as an effective body of Christ in Macarthur. I believe that the Growth Groups program is worth getting into.

Acting Rector
Simon Twist
Yours in Christ.

What’s Next in 2020!

This January we have reflected on five things that Christians still believe in 2020. I have enjoyed this sermon series as a reminder that we are not driven by the latest and greatest but on the immovable truth of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. We know who God is and what he is like because we trust his word and he has given us a huge promise of eternal life and a job to do in talking to people about Jesus.

So, what next? Here are a few things on the horizon that I want you to know about and encourage you to get involved in.

The Growth Group Launch Night. This Wednesday night, at our annual Growth Group Launch night, I will be sharing which parts of scripture and doctrine that we will be looking at this year in Growth Groups and in our Sunday services. We have a year planned for “2020 vision”.

Summer Ministry Training Week. That starts this week and is filled with ways to grow in your Christian ministry. Details can be found here.

Mental Health 101. This half day workshop is running next Saturday, the 1st of Feb. Registration for this is through the Summer Ministry Training Week form. The Rev. Dr. Keith Condie will be sharing his knowledge, experience and pastoral heart in the area of mental health.

Big Day In 2020. It’s been two years since Simon Manchester spoke at our last BDI and I’m excited for what we have prepared for this year’s event. Kanishka Raffell, from St Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, will teach and encourage us from 2 Peter. The whole day will be excellent as I’m sure that all who went last year would agree. The date is the 21st of March from 9am until 7pm. You can register for that right now.

Annual General Meeting. Our next AGM is scheduled for the 15th of March. This will be a combined parish AGM and is an important time for management in our church. More details will come down the track.

And that’s just the beginning. See the 2020 “big items” calendar below in this newsletter for dates for the women’s retreat, the men’s Muster and even when the 2020 Carol’s service is planned.

In all of this we give thanks to God who has given us the message of Christ to dwell richly among us so that in all that we do, whether in word or in deed, we do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Yours in Christ,
Simon Twist
Acting Rector


SMTW2020 information

Life can be like shooting a Super Soaker. This is a water gun that uses manually pressurised air to squirt water at greater distances than the conventional water pistol. Before pulling the trigger, the backyard soldier pumps the barrel several times to get the maximum energy behind their spray. When that powerful shot runs out of steam then you prepare the gun again for the next.

That feels the same to me about life. The energy that we spend in the middle of the year has got to come from somewhere. For many, the first month of the year is the time to adjust your stance, refill the tank, pump up the pressure and aim the barrel where you want to shoot.

Do you get the analogy? Before we begin this year in full throttle, it would pay to work out what you aim to do this year and whether you are ready to do it.

When it comes to church ministry, it is a good idea to stop and think about what we do and how we do it. The Summer Ministry Training Week (SMTW) is aimed at preparing us for the year ahead. Check out the list of workshops that we are offering this year and ask yourself, why would I not do that? The week begins on the 28th of January, concludes on the 1st of February, there is no cost for any of the workshops and you opt in to as many sessions as you are able.

In Christ,
Simon Twist
Acting Rector

“His Kingdom will never end”.

The angel Gabriel said this to Mary in Luke 1:33. Our world history is flavoured with the stories of many different kingdoms. From the Babylonians to the British Empire. Every generation and every culture has its stories of leaders who have risen to power only to fall or hand their throne over to somebody else.

But Jesus is different.

His kingdom will never end.

He qualifies as our king because he was there from all eternity and is in control of everything (Colossians 1:17). He qualifies as the king we need because he came into this world to save sinners. And he qualifies as our king yesterday, today and forever because he is risen from the dead and he is Lord. There will be no other kingdom that supersedes his.

Christmas day is going to come and go soon. Like the power and importance of every world leader that tries to fix this world for us, Christmas 2019 will travel into history. But the forever king who we celebrate each year will never be disqualified from his kingdom. He did not come to us in order to prove himself worthy to be king. He came to make us worthy to be part of his kingdom.

What we always needed was our sins forgiven. What we need is a true king who can make a difference for us. We are told in Luke 1:77 that we have a Christmas message for all people which is “knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of sins”.

Jesus is King. 

His kingdom will never end.

The church has this message of salvation that will not pass away with the passing of Christmas. We can know salvation. We can share that salvation message with others. We can know peace with God because of the king who will always reign.

In Christ,
Simon Twist
Acting Rector

Tomorrow is Another Day to Serve the Lord

Dear friends,

Our Church is a body of people who are committed to
– Proclaiming the good news;
– Remembering the good news together;
– Humbly responding to the good news; and
– Caring for others with good news shaped love.

These are of course the things our church has been on about for generations – since 1823 no less -and I am confident that these will be the things that our church is on about until the Lord returns. I am confident to say this because of the work of the Lord in your lives and in the leaders among you.

It has been an enormous privilege to serve with our staff team. One of the greatest sadnesses in leaving is leaving behind a team that is gospel-centered, cohesive, like-minded, creative, thoughtful, compassionate, and downright fun.

As I said on Saturday night, I have learned so much from each one of them and they have taught me to follow Christ, trust Christ, listen to the Word of Christ and pray. We have laughed and laughed, cried and struggled together under God and in God’s strength to build Christ’s ministry on the solid rock of the Word of God. I am so thankful for it all.

Leanne has been a tower of strength. She has taught me how to love and pastor people. She has demonstrated endurance and grace. She has modelled the Gospel and preached the Gospel with energy and perseverance. She has taught me that a cheeky smile gets anyone a long way and that ministry should be fun. Her prayer life is a constant reminder that Jesus is more reliable than anyone or anything. And her long ministry here that we have drawn alongside shows that Campbelltown is definitely an excellent place to serve, and do life and ministry.

Mick, Kylie, Michael, Sarah, Jason, and Simon have been wonderful servants of the Lord and I urge you to encourage them and everyone who joins in the work and labours at it in Campbelltown. They are carrying on the work of the Lord.

What happens now?
Our church will continue proclaiming, remembering, responding to and showing the love of the Gospel. In many ways, it is just business as usual. The work of the Lord goes on!

I am officially on annual leave from December 19 until February 23 and during that time Simon will take over responsibility for managing the Parish. In early February the Bishop, in consultation with the Wardens and staff will officially appoint a person to be Acting Senior Minister from February 24. The Nominators remain hard at work and your prayers for them and our future Senior Minister are important! They will report on progress when they are able.

Friends, it has been a joy and a delight to serve Jesus in your midst. May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love to all of you in Christ Jesus.

With great thanks,