August 2022 Newsletter

17 Aug 2022 by Stephen Nicholson in: Latest News

Our Chairperson, Penny Archer, continues to be laid low with severe long COVID.  She appreciates our continuing love and prayers.

Speaking of COVID, for the 2 years to 31 January 2022, in NSW there were 893,000 confirmed cases and 1,400 deaths.  In the following 6 months to 31 July there have been a further 2,294,000 cases and 2,800 deaths, with in just July 381,000 cases and 600 deaths.  Though we have pandemic fatigue, and don’t receive daily updates, we can’t drop our vigilance with physical separation and/or masks, even during worship and singing.

[Source: derived from data on COVID-19 in Australia10/08/2022.]

Presbytery meeting Saturday 20 August

Presbytery meets on Zoom on this occasion – no masks required for that!  Part of the meeting will be hearing from the friendly Bel Ritchie, about the Synod’s Governance Toolkit, which was mentioned in the last Newsletter.

The toolkit is designed to simplify compliance tasks for congregations through how-to-guides and calendar-based reminders.  The aim is to make it easier to satisfy legal requirements for conduct and reporting, so we are more available for the relational ministry we are called to.  More on Congregation Governance Toolkit.

You can also watch Bel's presentation on Worship Well - Bel Ritchie.

Order of the Day will be hearing from Rev Glen Spencer, Director of Mission in Uniting Mission and Education.  Glen will lead us in reflections on congregational life and witness, having regard to our communities and congregations.  I expect his perspectives will encourage and challenge us!

You can also watch a video of Glen's presentation on Worship Well - Glen Spencer.  And the included videos relating to Dr Miriam-Rose Ungunmerr Baumann can be viewed directly on

Forest proposal, 9-12 September

Congregations will have received information about the Forest Proposal, which seeks to resource a prophetic, relational and pastoral Christian ministry of caring for God’s creation, with particular reference to protecting forests and ending logging of native forests.  More information is available on Forest Advocate proposal.

There is the opportunity for individuals and congregations to offer prayer and financial support – funds will be held in trust by Presbytery.

As well, a Forest Advocacy Ministry Field Visit is planned for Friday 9 to Monday 12 September in the forests of the Gumbaynggirr Nation – specifically within the Kalang and Bellinger River valleys.

While currently all places are taken, if you are interested, in case a vacancy arises, contact Jeff Kite on (02) 6558 7436 or

NCLS Census

Every 5 years there is the opportunity for congregations to participate in anonymous written surveys of their congregational members, as part of the 5 yearly National Church Life Survey. This took place nearly a year ago, with the results being released to congregations earlier this year.

Not all congregations took part, and the NCLS team would like to fill in some of the gaps to obtain a clear picture of the church in Australia during this time of great change and disruption – its strengths and weakness, challenges and opportunities, so the team may continue to serve us and all denominations in helping discern where to place future priorities as we evaluate ministry and mission in our congregations and denominations.  It is:

  • for all churches that did not take part in the National Church Life Survey
  • involves a short Census survey and a short Leader Survey (paper or online are available).

If your congregation didn’t participate last year, I encourage you to participate in this shortened version.  For more the information, contact Ph (02) 9139 2525 or, or visit 2021 National Church Life Survey

Disaster chaplaincy in the Manning

Rev Claire Wright has prepared a powerful retrospective.

Rev Jo Smalbil – induction, 2pm 3 September

Jo will be inducted at Nambucca Heads Uniting Church to a shared role with the congregation and Uniting’s Pacifica aged care.

Anniversaries, 23 October – Rev Eric Drury and Gladstone

The 50th anniversary of Eric’s ordination will be celebrated in the 9am worship at Port Macquarie.

Gladstone Church will celebrate the 101st anniversary of their church in the 10am worship, followed by morning tea, launch of history book, plus more.

Pastoral Relations Committee

The email address for this Committee is

Rev John Thornton

In case you haven’t already heard, our former Presbytery Chairperson has left the building, or more specifically, the Mid North Coast.  Veronica and John have moved to Ballarat – well, kind of.  John is currently Acting Associate General Secretary in the NSW/ACT Synod while Rev Bronwyn Murphy has long leave.

John left A fond farewell letter, which many may have already seen.  Some extracts:

The past month has been consumed by packing and my deepest apologies that we have not been able to say the personal goodbyes that we would have wished.

We are going to miss dear friends, not to mention the glorious weather and coastal scenery.

I wish you all many blessings and remain very grateful that we have been able to share this part of our journey together.

All the best for the future.

With Love to the World

With Love to the World is a daily devotional booklet resource originating from within the Synod for over 46 years.  It provides short commentaries on biblical passages offered in the Revised Common Lectionary.  Usually the focus in September is on the Season of Creation, but the latest issue (15 August to 13 November) is fully devoted to ecotheological commentaries on the scripture passages.

It is available in a quarterly 64 page booklet or as a smart phone app, priced at $24 per year. For more information or to order: phone (02) 9747 1369 or visit With Love to the World.  That page has links to download the Google or Apple Apps.

As we remember God’s love to the people of his world, let us honour him in our hearts and hands of love to the people of his world, and to all creation.


Stephen Nicholson

Presbytery Deputy Chairperson