2010 Seems a Long Time Ago

 Dear friends,

It was Boxing Day 2009 when we decided that we would accept the invitation of the Nominators to come and join the ministry at Campbelltown Anglican Church. A month or so earlier, Stephen Bomford, David Busutel, Chris Main, Sarah Manning and Jan Tripodi had brought a cake from Willis Bakery to our house in Naremburn and Nicky and I shared an excellent evening with them. We never imagined leaving Naremburn Cammeray Anglican Church but God led us on a journey that has been enormously joyful.

As I begin a series of reflections on our time in Campbelltown I want to begin by thanking those Nominators for entrusting us with the responsibility to grow the Gospel here. They took a risk on a young couple with a young family who were passionate and excitable but had never lived in western Sydney and needed to learn the culture of both the church and community. They took a risk on someone who did not even own a clerical shirt! Despite these things and more, we are so thankful they took that risk and I want to express our whole family’s thankfulness for the privilege of being involved in your ministry here for almost a decade.

We left a thriving growing ministry to come to Campbelltown because this was a growing area and the church was faithfully seeking to reach people of all ages with the good news of Christ. We came because there was a great relationship with the Parish Schools and there was an opportunity to continue to grow the Gospel through those connections. We came because people were keen to continue to grow in their knowledge of God’s Word and to be enthused for mission. We came because God laid it on our hearts to come and lead the ministry here for his Glory. And it has been a delight.

A lot has changed in 10 years and a lot has stayed the same. Jan Tripodi showed me around the site in my first week and issued my keys – it will be a sad moment to hand those back and remember the faithful work Jan did (including as Warden and mentor of women). Trevor Richardson showed me how communion was done and talked me through the 8am service – his encouragement and support has been invaluable. James Locke and John Davis introduced me to our brilliant Wednesday service and I loved served alongside them. Stella Vernon helped me understand cemeteries, archives and everything historical. I’ll mention all the staff in a future article but Leanne was patiently willing to help me understand everything and everyone in those early days! There are many many more people to thank!

With our last day of ministry in Campbelltown being in mid-December, the current Nominators will begin their work of selecting a new minister for our church soon. They will be very thankful for your prayers and encouragement and patience. The task of discerning who might be best to lead our church is a difficult one but you can be assured that God remains sovereign over the whole process and the time in between our leaving and a new person’s coming. Please do uphold the Nominators in your regular prayers.

In Christ
Nigel

Changes for the Fortescues and Campbelltown Anglican Church

Dear friends,

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news with you that the Fortescue Family will be finishing our time of ministry in Campbelltown at the end of 2019. After much thought and prayer, we have accepted the invitation of the Archbishop to take up the leadership of Christ Church St Ives in early 2020.

The last decade at Campbelltown has been an absolute delight. We have rejoiced in seeing many of you come to know Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. We have given thanks to God as we have together sought to be devoted to maturing in Jesus for the glory of God. We have an incredibly gifted staff team who we love and are very sad to be leaving. But you are in very safe hands and they will continue to teach, encourage and care for our growing Christian community.

We have been so very thankful for the support and encouragement you have been to us as we have been through the most difficult times of our lives as a family. 

Change is never simple and often comes with the complexity of grief and heartache. We want to encourage all of us to pray for each other over the months ahead that God would strengthen and encourage us to continue serving him. Pray for the ongoing good work of the gospel here in Campbelltown. Praise God for all that He has done and will continue to do. Please pray for us as we experience a mix of emotions amidst enormous thankfulness for our time in Campbelltown.  

There is much more to say and no doubt you will have many questions. The Wardens and Parish Nominators (the group of 5 elected to choose a new minister) will be in communication with you about the process of selecting a new minister soon but do feel free to ask them or the staff about any questions you have.

In Christ,
Nigel, Nicky, Michelle, Megan, Brianna and Brodie

Children or Youth Minister? or both?

Dear Friends,

We want to be a Growing Christian Community Devoted to Maturing in Jesus for the Glory of God. This vision guides our decision making as we continually shape our ministry. We have expanded our Growth Group program to provide more opportunities for spiritual growth and more effective pastoral care. We have started new ministries to reach parts of our community we have neglected. We are being creative in the area of mission with the Mark Drama coming up. But as I said on Vision Sunday, we need to provide some fresh focus in the area of children. Or should it be youth? Or should it be children and youth?

Mark Schroder became the Broughton Anglican College Chaplain at the end of 2015 and we have an exceptional team of people who lead our Youth and Children’s ministries – many of whom are home grown and have done or are doing some theological study! It is great to see. But even the best of volunteers need oversight and support to ensure that the ministry they are involved in continues to be effective and grow.

Over the last ten years there has been a lot of research around how churches keep growing. The four key strategy areas identified have been:

  1. Recapture focus on growing transformed disciple making disciples
  2. Strategic integration of newcomers into the church community
  3. Addressing the transition, retention and relocation of Christians
  4. Building effective children and youth ministries

As we analyse our church, we see that we have an effective integrated ministry for children and youth focussed on reaching and growing them in their faith and transitioning them to adult life. But we could be doing more to grow disciples.

For further insight into the way we think about Children’s and Youth Ministry you may wish to have a read of this paper that captures much of my thinking helpfully.

The youth minister who had the greatest influence on my ministry thinking often said, if you get your Creche and Kids Ministry right, you will have an awesome youth group and if you get youth group right you will have a growing church. The research and evidence indicate that he was right.

But what do you think?

We would love to hear feedback from church members about where you perceive our focus should be for our next staff member. Children? Youth? Children and youth? Something else. I’d love to hear your thoughts; please pass them on by clicking here.

Thanks for your partnership in Christ

Nigel

How to Vote

Dear friends,

The first election I ever voted in was for a Parish Council in an Anglican Church about a month after I turned 18 and it was super exciting. A friend who had just turned 22 was elected. Since then I have voted in all sorts of elections and I believe it is an important part of having my say on the use of our common resources and the direction of our organisations and country. I know some people take a contrary view and yet the beauty of Christian fellowship is that we can hold and discuss opposing views without assuming we hate each other. This is not often the case in the world! We need to model something different and knowing when to open your mouth and when to keep it closed is often the biggest challenge.

More than anything, the Scriptures urge us to pray regularly for those in power over us (1 Timothy 2:1-4). They need our prayers but we should also pray for ourselves and our responsibility for electing them. No one should ever tell you how you must vote, but I want to urge you to think carefully about how to vote.

We must recognise that each party has various standpoints on different issues and some proposed policies may make it more difficult to be Christian in the future or to hold to and teach a Christian worldview. Some policies may also adversely affect the vulnerable among us. So think carefully. Don’t assume that voting for a Christian party is best and don’t assume that voting for the party or person who will most advantage you is best. Don’t assume that voting for the party you voted for last time is best!

With this in mind, here are some issues to consider from a Christian perspective as you go to vote.

  1. Freedom of Religion – what are the party’s policies on what we can say, do, teach and uphold as Christians? This is particularly important when it comes to SRE in schools and choosing teachers in Christian schools. It’s worth asking your local members what they think.
  2. Life, Death and Medicine – what are the party’s policies on euthanasia and abortion? Will medical professionals be able to conscientiously object to the state policy or will they be compelled to toe the line? What philosophy does each party uphold when thinking about freedom and life? It’s worth asking your local members what they think.
  3. Environmental Theology – what are the party’s policies on the environment and what impact will their decisions have on us? It’s worth asking your local members what they think.
  4. Vulnerable People – what are the party’s policies on caring for the weak and vulnerable in our community? Are they concerned about indigenous welfare and people with disabilities? It’s worth asking your local members what they think.

These are just four of the issues worth considering both in March and May this year. No doubt there will be others close to your heart. I encourage you to think, ask, pray and decide – not voting the way you feel you should or the way you’ve been told to, but in order to pursue what is good for our society.

In Christ
Nigel

GAFCON 2018 – Part 1

Dear Friends,

It is no secret that the Anglican Church is in crisis. As a Global Church we are shrinking, we have abandoned our historical and theological moorings and we have little vision for what we should be doing in the world. In many ways, everyone appears to be doing what is right in their own eyes. This is an enormous problem. It is almost like the reality and authority of God has been methodologically excluded from many Anglican churches and leaders’ theology, thought and life. Churches have left God and his Word out in the cold.

It is for this reason that in the second half of June, I will be heading to Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON). GAFCON is an opportunity for like-minded Anglicans from across the world who believe in the authority of Scripture, the evangelistic mission of the church and the resurrection of and uniqueness of Jesus to gather, to pray, and to strategise. The GAFCON movement is a global family of authentic Anglicans standing together to retain and restore the Bible to the heart of the Anglican Communion.

Our mission is to guard the unchanging, transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ and to proclaim Him to the world. We are founded on the Bible, bound together by the Jerusalem Statement and Declaration of 2008, and led by a Primates Council, which represents the majority of the world’s Anglicans.

GAFCON works to guard and proclaim the unchanging, transforming Gospel through biblically faithful preaching and teaching which frees our churches to make disciples by clear and certain witness to Jesus Christ in all the world.

The GAFCON journey began in 2008 when moral compromise, doctrinal error and the collapse of biblical witness in parts of the Anglican communion had reached such a level that the leaders of the majority of the world’s Anglicans felt it was necessary to take a united stand for truth. A crowd of more than one thousand witnesses, including Primates, Archbishops, Bishops, clergy and lay leaders gathered in Jerusalem for the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON).

The second conference, GAFCON 2013, was held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2013, at which over 1,300 delegates from 38 nations and 27 Provinces of the Anglican Communion were present. The gathering gave the Primates a mandate, through the Nairobi Communiqué and Commitment, to take forward the work of the GAFCON movement.

This year, almost 2000 will gather to encourage each other and pray for the work of authentic Anglicans around the world.

Over the next few weeks I want to share some stories about the faith and faithlessness of Anglicans from around the globe so you might be able to see the crisis clearly and pray. If you have any questions about GAFCON, please feel free to ask.

In Christ,
Nigel

Is it well with thee?

This article was previously published on sydneyanglicans.net

There is one religious inscription on an Australian headstone in the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in France that I often recall because of it contains both a statement and a question:

REDEEMED WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS

IS IT WELL WITH THEE?

The inscription is on the headstone of Private William Leonard Walker, aged 18, who was killed in action on August 8, 1918. The first line of the inscription is taken from 1 Peter 1:18-19a and it is slightly altered but not significantly: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ”.

I know very little about Private William Walker apart from what can be deduced from his service record. His headstone states that he was 18. He may have been younger. He joined the army in November 1916 when he was 17. Perhaps this is the reason he spent all of 1917 and the first half of 1918 in Australia: he was too young for overseas service. He did eventually go to the Western Front where he joined the 19th Battalion (AIF) in July 1918. He was killed in action 19 days later.

What must it have been like for William’s parents to have learnt of his death: the loss of expectation they would have felt, the pain of having a child predecease them, the immense sadness of not being there with him as he died? And, yet, when they came to choose the personal inscription for his headstone they chose something that spoke of hope and life rather than hopelessness and death.

For that is how Christians respond to death: grief, yes, but hope built on the certainty of Jesus’ death and resurrection that transcends the grief and pain. And so, they chose REDEEMED WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF JESUS. For the grave and headstone was not the end, is never the end, for those who have been redeemed by Jesus.

And note the second part of the inscription: IS IT WELL WITH THEE? This could be a question directed at William himself or a more general question directed at the reader. Most people I spoke to who have read his inscription have opted for the latter reading: Is this how it is for you? That is what it is asking.

William’s epitaph speaks of the assurance of those who have trusted themselves to the Lord Jesus. And yet it does more because it challenges all who read to consider where they stand with regard to the Lord Jesus. A thoughtfully chosen epitaph can certainly engage and challenge the reader. William’s thoroughly Christian inscription certainly does that for me.

The Rev Dr Colin R. Bale is the vice principal and academic dean of Moore College as well as head of the department of Church History.

Senior’s Retreat

It is on again! Our bi-annual Seniors’ Retreat will be taking in the sights and sounds of Jindabyne and the Snowy Mountains in 2018.

From Sunday November 25 to Friday November 30 we will be heading to stay at Lake Jindabyne Hotel and from there your accommodation, meals and day tours are all covered.

We will be visiting a variety of locations and attractions throughout the week that are all detailed belbow – though subject to change!

We have created a waiting list for those who are interested but cannot commit at the moment. Please register below by ‘purchasing’ a ‘Waiting List’ ticket. There is no charge for this.

More information below the form.

 

Our trips to Bright and Merimbula have been brilliant and this one is shaping to be equally good – if not better. We, with Leanne, have loved these special times with our church members!

Now is the time to register your intention to come. Just pay $50 now to secure your spot with full payment due later in the year.

If you have any specific questions at this stage, please speak to Judith Taylor or I at church.

I hope you are able to come and spend the week away with us.
Nigel Fortescue & Judith Taylor

Itinerary (subject to change)

Day One: Travel to Jindabyne with a lunch stop in Canberra. Enjoy a three-course meal at dinner and relax in the evening in preparation for a great time away!

Day Two: We head for the mountains with stops at Thredbo for a chairlift ride to the top of Crackenback, Bullocks Flat and Charlotte’s Pass where you can see Mt Kosciuszko.

Day Three: A visit to the Snowy-Hydro System will begin the day as we take in Adaminiby and Eucumbene Dam.

Day Four: We will take in some of the local attractions such as the Gaden Trout Hatchery and Wildbrumby Distillery before an afternoon to rest or explore Jindabyne at your own pace.

Day Five: A day for the history buffs as we step back to 1890 in Dalgety, Bombala, Burnima Homestead, Nimmitabel and Cooma Gaol.

Day Six: All good things must come to an end as we depart Jindabyne and wind our way back to Campbelltown.