Dear Friends

A. Today we will hear again from Vlad and Anna Kostyorny (with sons Ivan and Avdey) who have ben precious members of our church for about five years – wonderfully converted in the Ukraine, brought to Sydney for Cornhill (and now Morling College) and getting ready to serve the European church from headquarters in America.

Given the needs in Europe and given the leadership gifts the Lord has given to them it is a huge privilege to know and support them. Remember that next Saturday at 8am is the Mission Breakfast with Vlad and Anna which will tell us more. Please join us.

B. This past week (and for two days this coming week) we have had the Anglican Synod meeting at which 280 ministers and 500 lay representatives gather for gospel decisions. It was a great thing to hear the Archbishop Glenn Davies

– commend the new (evangelical) bishop of Bathurst Mark Calder (who was an assistant here at St Thomas’ in 1990-1991) and begins next month.
– support the new bishop of New Zealand Jay Behan who will head the pastors and people standing for scripture as so many turn away
– thank the Synod and his co-workers as he gets ready to retire in July 2020 so a new Archbishop can be chosen in August 2020

C. It was very moving at a dinner on Monday night to hear the (soon to be) Bishop Jay Behan speak of the difficulties once his own diocese voted to try and change marriage. Should a pastor leave a diocese that puts opinion over scripture on same sex marriages? Should a pastor stay in the denomination to work from within? To what extent does leaving look divisive? To what extent does staying look compromised? Even in his own faithful family Jay said there were different views of what to do but all being of one mind on scripture’s authority.

D. We rejoice with Mark and Thalia Freeman (student minister at 5pm) in the birth of William (Billy). We will farewell Peter and Jodie Blair and Sam and Tania Darmo soon as they move to ministry elsewhere after Moore College. We rejoice with Mel Barrett (formerly on staff at St Thomas’) as she is now home in Chile and engaged to Diego.

E. On Monday night we collected all the disciple group leaders and I gave a final charge – collecting all the thoughts I could fit into 45 minutes. We were able to think through the wonderful but difficult work of leading a group – how thankful we are for those who do this “love and truth” work and see people become clear and grow. I noticed in the public prayer afterwards that someone prayed that members would be more regular? I hope you will not be in a group and attend so fitfully that your leader is discouraged. Remember your role is to encourage your leaders (Hebrews 13:17). If you do lead a group and feel the pain of members who don’t turn up just remember how we pastors felt when leaders didn’t come on Monday or send apologies – we worked hard to collect and help everyone – but some leaders were missing!?

F. Men’s Ministry at St Thomas’ – The Lord has blessed us with great Christian men but Men’s Ministry is always the hardest to organise and do well. In the past we had the huge Katoomba (annual) weekend, two big dinners in the hall, weekly or fortnightly men’s groups (like Reliable Men) and a fair few triplets and 1:1 going on. This may be one way to do the work but St Thomas needs someone to co-ordinate this work and I’m very grateful that David Robertson is considering this by gathering interested men on Monday Oct 28 at 7.30pm (see notices for his address). Someone needs to do more than plan a “cog” within St Thomas – someone needs to organise the whole St Thomas’ “watch” . Do join him to plan together if you can.

G. It was very humbling to have the flyers distributed last week about the new work (part time) that I hope to begin in 2020. For the person who thought I was going to be paid $150k per year it is actually one fifth of that – the hope is to provide an MTS type wage of $30k and to do it for five years. This week I preached at Moore Chapel and received a fine welcome in advance.

H. You’ve probably seen this before but you can test your I.Q. with these 4 questions

Q1. How do you put a giraffe in a refrigerator?
A: Open the refrigerator, put in the giraffe and close the door.

Q2. How do you put an elephant in a refrigerator?
A: It’s not ‘open the refrigerator, put in the elephant and close the door’, but ‘open the refrigerator, take out the giraffe, put in the elephant and close the door’

Q3. The lion is hosting an animal conference. Everyone attends but one – which one?
A: The elephant – you put him in the refrigerator.

Q4. There is a river you must cross but crocodiles have infested it for years. How do you get across?
A: You swim across because all the crocodiles are at the Lion’s Annual Conference.

I was sent this to see if I was ready for retirement and I passed – because I got none of the four