Our ‘daughter’ church gets her own home!

We are rejoicing with the Reforming Church congregation (South East Bendigo Presbyterian Church) who now have the keys to their new ‘home’ at 17 Victa Road, East Bendigo and begin meeting there from this Sunday August 5th at 10:30am.

Your ‘parent church’ family is thanking God for His wonderful provision for you and praying that all who enter your ‘new digs’ may find a warm welcome and the saving grace of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Want to know more? Follow this link here.

Bibles for South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia

One of the challenges that the 480,000 people who fled from civil war in South Sudan face as they find refuge in Ethiopian refugee camps is that they have no Bibles. They have none because they ran from their homes for their very lives!

In an attempt to redress this, APWM has launched an appeal for Bibles, aiming to reach a target of 33,000 Bibles in the Nuer language at a cost of $330,000 (ie $10 per Bible)! In the last few weeks, we are pleased to have donated 123 Bibles to this appeal…small, we know, but when joined with the gifts of many other Presbyterian congregations, not an insignificant amount. Like to contribute to this appeal? Follow this link here.

Rev Kevin Murray’s visit July 22

We were pleased today to be able to welcome Rev Kevin Murray, the National Director of Australian Presbyterian World Mission (APWM) to our gathering this morning.

Thank you Kevin for coming and sharing God’s Word with us, encouraging us with news of how God is using APWM workers all across the globe and challenging us to be busy with the gospel at home and support those who have been called to distant places.

You can read about the wider ministries of APWM here.

‘Nepali Night’ July 15th, 5:30pm

On Saturday night July 15th we’re getting together in the hall starting with dinner together at 5:30pm.  We’ll enjoy the company of some special friends, maybe even play some fun games together, hear the latest on church planting and growth in Nepal and of course, eat! It’s a bring and share arrangement (like we do for lunch), mains and dessert. Extra points to you if you can cook up something Nepali style. It won’t be a late night so bring the family! And… it will be warm in the hall! (And yes, that is the flag of Nepal on the left!)

Welcome Wednesdays set to begin!

We are grateful to the Bendigo Weekly for their willingness to follow up our story on Welcome Wednesdays in their paper last Friday (if you missed it, you can see it here on their website).

Since then we’ve had this A-frame redone (see left) thanks to a local signwriter, made some changes to the meeting room interior, purchased some new equipment and have sought to get the message out as much as we can.

Thanks for your prayers for this new venture which begins on Wednesday June 13th.


Quarterly Prayer Gathering June 2nd 10am

It’s good to pray! It’s even better to pray together as a Church family! We try to do this on the first Saturday of each quarter and we have been greatly blessed in doing so. Our next gathering is Saturday June 2nd from 10am in the Upper Room. Join us as we pray for God’s people all around the world, for missions and missionaries, and for those known to us in need. If you are reading this and would like us to pray for you or someone else in need, feel free to drop us a line!

Return visit of Motor Isaac Yat, APWM Missionary in Ethiopia

It’s nearly been 5 years since Motor Isaac Yat visited us at St John’s. During that tuime so much has changed in his homeland of South Sudan. Civil war has torn it apart and continues to make it a very unsafe place to live and minsiter God’s Word. Much has changed and Motor’s service has changed too. He now serves with APWM’s newset partner church, the Presbyterian Church of Ethiopia, working among the 500,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled across the border into Ethiopia for safety. Motor will be sharing his story and preaching God’s Word this coming Sunday May 27th at 10:30am. Join us and hear what God is doing among His people in a terrible time of crisis.

Coming soon: ‘Welcome Wednesdays’

The plan for ‘Welcome Wednesdays’ is fairly straightforward. On Wednesdays between 10am and 1pm, the Upper Room will be open for a cuppa, conversation, craft (BYO or learn something new) and friendship.  All will be very welcome. June 13 is our starting date!

Assistant Minister appointed!

We are very pleased to announce that Rev Keith Bell (pictured left) has been appointed as part time Assistant Minister of Bendigo (St John’s) Presbyterian Church for the next 12 months!

Keith is a Queenslander who was ordained a Minister of the Presbyterian Church of Australia in 1982. He has served in the parishes of Bell (Qld), Naracoorte (SA) and Hamilton (Vic) as well as being a full-time Presbyterian Chaplain at the Royal Children’s Hospital (Melbourne, Vic.). He has also served the Presbyterian Church of Victoria as its Moderator. Since 2013 Keith has served as the Minister of the Alice Springs Mission Church under the direction of the Presbyterian Inland Mission (PIM), but has now settled in Bendigo. He is married to Jenny and they have 1 son,  4 daughters, 5 grandsons and 3 grand-daughters!

Barnabas Fund ‘Religious Freedom Tour’ to visit Bendigo, April 24th @ St John’s

Our Religious Freedom

Barnabas Fund is launching a new campaign to reclaim the heritage of freedom of religion which previous generations of Christians endured hardship, persecution and even death to achieve.

Barnabas Fund is seeking a new Act of Parliament to guarantee seven fundamental aspects of freedom of religion. These freedoms wen developed by various mechanisms over the last five centuries including English common law, the federal constitution and international treaties, but are now under threat. An Australian domestic law to protect and guarantee them is urgently needed.

In Canberra’s Parliament House sits the only copy of Magna Carta in the southern hemisphere. Magna Carta’s ringing call 800 years ago that “the English Church shall be free” is an affirmation that was foundational to the development of freedom in Australia. The gradual development of full freedom of religion in the following centuries eventually led in 1901 to the Australian federal constitution specifically stating that, “The Commonwealth shall not make any law for establishing any religion, or for imposing any religious observance, or for prohibiting the free exercise of any religion, and no religious test shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust under the Commonwealth.” However, this only applies to the Federal government, and the courts have over the years significantly limited the extent to which it protects freedom of religion even then.

Even before we became an independent nation, the Magna Carta’s affirmation that “the English Church shall be free” had over the centuries been worked out into seven specific aspects of religious liberty:
• Freedom to read Scriptures in public (achieved 1537)
• Freedom to interpret Scriptures without government interference (achieved 1559)
• Freedom of worship (achieved 1689)
• Freedom to choose, or change your faith or belief (achieved 1689)
• Freedom to preach and try to convince others of the truth of your beliefs (achieved 1812)
• Freedom to establish churches, synagogues, mosques, etc. (achieved 1812)
• Freedom from being required to affirm a particular worldview or set of beliefs in order to hold a public sector job, stand for election, work in professions such as teaching and law, or study at university (achieved by the repeal of various ‘Test Acts” between 1719 and 1888).

However, most of these freedoms, which we inherited when Australia was born as nation in 1901, have never been specifically incorporated into law. They are therefore vulnerable to being eroded by those who are either intent on imposing a particular ideological agenda, or by politicians who are simply ignorant of the enormous importance previous generations played in developing freedom of religion. That’s why we shall be calling on Christians to claim the freedoms our forefathers endured hardship, persecution and even death to achieve.

Why Barnabas Fund is doing this
For many years Barnabas Fund has worked to support the persecuted Church, particularly in Muslim-majority contexts. However, as we have done so, we have become aware of how much freedom of religion is under threat in the West.

A new ”’Test Act” is being brought in by the backdoor
In the last year we have seen people working in both the public and private sectors fired because of their Christian beliefs.

These include a Melbourne IT specialist engaged to work on the “safe schools programme” sacked after privately expressing concerns during a staff meeting; an 18-year-old children’s party organiser sacked after putting up an ‘It’s OK to vote no’ filter on her Facebook page during the SSM postal survey; and a high profile campaign targeting accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers forcing one of its senior executives to step down from the board of ACL-linked Lachlan Macquarie Institute. Meanwhile, in what looks like a form of reintroduction of the University Test Acts that existed in colonial era Britain, a Christian student was suspended from university for a semester after respectfully answering a question at a party about his views on same sex marriage.
Reprinted from the Mar/Apr 2018 Barnabas Fund magazine

It’s time to act! Come and hear a representative from Barnabas Fund. Their ‘Fair go with Religious Freedom’ Tour is coming to Bendigo on  Tuesday April 24th meeting at Bendigo (St John’s) Presbyterian Church, 35-41 Forest Street, Bendigo.

12:05pm (45 minute session, lunch provided)

7:30pm (90 minute session)

Enquiries: Rev Philip Burns 5443 6189