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That we may have peace…

It’s been a whole school term since I last sat here and put fingers to keys. And much has happened in our world during this time. We have seen the rise of the COVID-19 virus and the foregrounding of the Black Lives Matter movement. Astonishing and distressing images have been broadcast through our screens from all corners of the earth, with no sense that any of the problems will be resolved in the foreseeable future. We have felt anger, despair, confusion and frustration all while scrabbling at the bottom of our emotional tanks in the hope of finding just the smallest fragment of hope.

And yet as I walked this morning I cast my eyes to the sky and, for what feels like the hundredth time this year, admired the sunrise. A sense of fortitude washed over me while I watched the clouds morph from flamingo pink to mango orange as the winter sun chased away the last of the darkness. And behind me? A full-arc rainbow reminding me that after rain comes a promise, a covenant that says ‘never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth’.

There is no end in sight for the virus that has effectively shut-down our world. And the injustices plaguing so many of our fellow image-bearers who are on the margins are far from being just a memory. And even if these things do reach a conclusion there will be other problems. There always are. In John’s gospel Jesus states clearly that in this world we will have trouble.

But take heart. 

Jesus says: I have over come the world. And he says it in the past tense – the work has been done, salvation has been secured, freedom in him has been attained. And now, in him, in the present time, we may have peace.

So take heart—be still and be strong. And hold close to your heart the traces of heaven that God shows us each morning. The promise of the peace we can have in him now, and the promise of the joy we will find when this earth is made new in the future. 

– Kirrily

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Additional Note
What We Believe

We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God and inerrant in the original writings. We believe that there is one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.

We believe that the lost and sinful man must be saved, and that man’s only hope of redemption is through the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. We believe in and practice the holy ordinance of water baptism, which signifies the believer’s death, burial, and resurrection into new life with Christ Jesus, and the regular celebration of Holy Communion as commanded by our Lord.

We believe in the present ministry and baptism of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a Godly life. We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the unsaved; those that are saved into the resurrection of life and those that are unsaved into the resurrection of damnation.

We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our History

In recognition of the tremendous growth forecast for the Plenty Valley, Bishop Stephen Hale set up a Taskforce in 2007 to investigate the possibility of establishing a new Anglican community in the area. With representation from local churches and Ivanhoe Grammar School, this Taskforce developed a plan that included the need for a point person to further the work. In response to this, two years ago St John’s Diamond Creek took a great step of faith by employing a staff member to not only serve its own congregation but to focus on establishing a new parish for Mernda. Craig spent his first year getting to know the area, building relationships and discerning what God was already up to in His mission of reaching residents and retailers with His love. Throughout the following year a core team began to form around a vision that arose again and again through prayer, of a red gum taking root in the heart of Mernda and growing while the roots reached out to every corner of the community. This vision of being organic church integrally connected to local community found a means of expression through the “Sheffield Model”, which was first developed by St Thomas’s in Sheffield (UK) nearly 15 years ago.

With a focus on “missional communities” the Sheffield model emphasises the need for Christians to meet with people in their own world rather than expecting them to enter ours. After spending time with the staff of St Thomas’s, Craig and the team began work on adapting the model for our own local context and subsequently launched two playgroups in the second half of 2010. A missional community has also begun forming around crafts and the creative arts which runs a stall at the Laurimar market to raise money for various causes. Three preview services were also held as God continued to draw people into the Plentylife community.

We now launch with a much clearer vision of who God wants us to be, a five-strong leadership team with responsibilities for missional communities, youth, families, and administration, and leadership for three missional communities focused on families, crafts and the creative arts and the outdoor life. And it’s true that we wouldn’t be at this point today if it wasn’t for the generous support of the Diocese, St Johns and other supporting churches! So now together we look forward to what else God might have in store for us according to His grace.