Newsletter 6 December

6 Dec 2020 by Penny Archer in: Latest News

Good evening members of Mid North Coast Presbytery congregations,

 Standing Committee recognised how much John Thornton’s newsletters were valued and enjoyed.  Many people have told us that they had given them hope; that they had been a light in sometimes dark places; that they had put a smile on their faces; and that they had nourished their faith.  Standing Committee has decided that in the new year, a team will be formed to ensure there is a fortnightly newsletter written and distributed.  As your new Chairperson, I decided that I would send two newsletters in December – this first one will be full of information.  The second will have a focus on Christmas.   

Our Annual General meeting was held in mid November at the Port Macquarie Church.  In the week               following this meeting, I shared a beautiful photo of our Moderator, the Rev Simon Hansford, with our Chairperson John, and the three Ministers we inducted – the Rev Cherie Strudwick, the Rev Stephen Larkin, and the Rev Claire Wright. 

Tonight I want to introduce the new team that was elected to lead the Presbytery for 2021. Stephen Nicholson was elected as Deputy Chairperson, and will continue his work as Property Contact person and the person who looks after our website.  Marie Battle was elected as our Treasurer, to continue the wonderful servant role she does caring for congregation Treasurers and our Presbytery finances.  Madeline Parish was elected as Assistant Treasurer.  We are delighted to welcome Lyn Dun as Secretary, along with Carolyn Sharp who was elected as Assistant Secretary.  The Rev Tau’alofa Anga’aelangi was elected as the Social Justice Contact person – welcome to the team Lofa!

We elected the following people to the Pastoral Relations Committee (PRC) – Pastor Geoff Battle, Lyn Dun, Anne Burnett, Pat Faggotter, Jessi Mervyn Jones, Ross Chambers, Rev Claire Wright and John Archer.  On the 14th December the new Standing Committee will hold their first meeting.  Midway through this meeting they will be joined by PRC members to set meeting dates for 2021, and to finalise nominations for the 2021 Synod.  Following this meeting you will be informed of both of these decisions by our new secretarial team.  I ask that you please mark the dates for 2021 in your diary/calendar.

The NSW/ACT Synod for 2021 will be different. The meeting is being adapted to suit the challenging times we are living in - with a theme to match “where the wild God is”.  Synod 2021 will explore a God that is active in the turbulent world in which we live right now, and will take place in an online environment over a six month period.  Dates and times have been chosen to increase the opportunity for younger members, and for those who work outside the Church, to be able to nominate as Members of Synod.  If you are interested in being nominated for Synod 2021, please let me know no later than Wednesday 9th December, to enable the Standing Committee to discern which members will best determine the church’s direction in 2021 and beyond.  The Mid North Coast Presbytery has a proposed membership of 12 - hopefully with some members under 25 years, some between 26-50 years, and some with a Multicultural background. The dates for Synod 2021 are :-

  • Saturday 13th February - Induction of Synod members (9am to 1pm)
  • Wednesday 7th April - Opening of 39th Synod Meeting of NSW & ACT and  Session 1A (6pm to 9.30m)
  • Saturday 10th April - Session 1B (9am to 1pm)
  • Wednesday 2nd June - Session 2A (6pm to 9.30pm)
  • Saturday 5th June - Session 2 B (9am to 1pm)
  • Wednesday 4th August - Session 3A (6pm to 9.30pm)
  • Saturday 7th August - Session 3B and the Closing of Synod 2021 (9am to 1pm)

Please tell Standing Committee in two sentences why you discern you should be nominated for Synod 2021.

We continue to thank Stephen Nicholson and the Rev Cherie Strudwick for their participation in the regular Synod/Presbytery meetings which attempt to keep everyone informed about the latest COVID 19 requirements, about resources available, and about emerging planning for a time post COVID 19.  We appreciate their detailed summaries of these meetings, which are shared widely across our presbytery.

Our Presbytery Directory has been updated with current information.  Before I hand over to our new secretarial team, and to Stephen Nicholson (who will distribute the completed directory to all Ministry agents, all Presbytery Representatives and all Secretaries in congregations), please send any recent changes to my email address :-   Stephen asks that if you do not want your details published please make this known, and they will be held confidentially.  He would like to include the name, phone number/s, and email address of the Church Council Chairperson, the Church Council Secretary, the Church Council Treasurer and the elected Presbytery Representative and alternate.

A reminder to put your planned Christmas Services, together with any COVID Safe requirements, on your congregational website.  I recognise that for some congregations this means sending these details to Stephen Nicholson at

A reminder that in the newsletter dated 6th November, there was information provided about a Theology Intensive entitled “Who is Jesus Christ for us today?”.  Our United Theological College and Charles Sturt University are offering this Intensive in Port Macquarie from19th to 22nd January 2021.  This will be led by the Principal of the Theological College, the Rev Dr Peter Walker, and you can take this as part of a Bachelor of Theology, a Graduate Diploma, a single subject, or simply because the subject is of interest to you  Class times are 9.30am to 4.30pm, and for enrolment please contact Joanne Stokes on or phone (02) 8838 8967.

In the Isaiah reading for today (Chapter 40, verses 1-11) we hear that John the Baptist said “Prepare the way”!  When I venture to our local Shopping Centre I see people very busy preparing for Christmas and the holiday season – they have trolleys full of presents for the grandchildren; trolleys full of festive food, for not only Christmas Day, but for the many days that family will stay to enjoy the delights of the beautiful area we live in.  I see people patiently waiting to post parcels at the local Post Office, waiting with appropriate social distancing, for considerable time as the line winds it way outside the shop doors and around half a block.  I see people spending hours/even days decorating their houses etc etc etc.  All of these people believe they are being prepared!

For those of us who hear John the Baptist’s call to “Prepare the Way”, we recognise he is calling us to cleanse our hearts from sin and open ourselves to be servants of our wonderful GOD.  I enjoy Sunday evenings on ABC radio when Jon Owens, the CEO and Pastor of the Wayside Chapel, often joins a discussion panel.  During the 2019 Synod, Jon was one of the guest presenters, and we learnt about how he has dedicated his life to closing the gap on inequality.  Jon has lived and worked amongst some of the most disadvantaged communities in both Melbourne and Sydney and he is passionate about the Wayside’s mission of creating a community of “no us and them”.  The work they undertake with the hungry, the lonely, the homeless, and the outcast parallels he way Jesus interacted with the society of his time.  Are we preparing the way?  Those who know me, recognise that I often refer to the section in the Basis of Union that talks about us being pilgrims on a journey.  May we focus this Advent on the coming of God’s Kingdom.


Yours in His Service,

Penny Archer

Chair Mid North Coast Presbytery