Report on our 150th Anniversary Celebration Service

Well, today was the day! Despite it being a rather cold September morning, we gathered with thankful hearts to celebrate the Lord God’s faithfulness to us over these 150 years.

Like most churches, the story of the St John’s congregation is one of ups and downs, decline and growth, good times and hard times… and yet through it all, our God has proved again and again that He is faithful.

You can listen to the whole service and/or the message by Rev Peter Phillips on the theme of ‘God’s Word for God’s World’. Also, here’s a snap of the congregation on the day (just for posterity’s sake!).

150th Celebration Service… Sunday 11/9/22

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the formation of the St John’s congregation (you can read about this in our history), we’ll be gathering on Sunday September 11th at 10:30am. The Moderator of the PCV, Rev Peter Phillips will be preaching. Former members and friends are warmly invited to attend! Plus, there’ll be a big morning tea to follow!

Australia’s Federal Religious Discrimination Bill

With the federal election on our doorstep, it is important that God’s people continue to be informed about the significance of the Religious Discrimination Bill (RDB) and its benefits. To answer key questions, the Institute for Civil Society* (ICS) has made a three-part explainer video regarding the RDB.

You can see these videos here.

*ICS is a social policy think tank seeking to promote traditional rights and liberties, including the freedoms of association, expression, conscience and religion.

Pray with us for our nation and the election!

The upcoming federal election in May will, in many ways, shape and define the future of our country. But so too will the prayers of God’s people! Proverbs 21:3 says, “The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.”

Come and join us as we pray together to the Lord for our nation and election. We’ll be meeting on Saturday May 7 and Saturday May 14 from 10am-12noon in our ‘Upper Room’ (meeting room off the church hall, enter through the car park door). Of course, you are welcome to pray at home if you can’t come. (If you intend to do this, why not let us know?)

Good Friday: God’s love for the ‘ugly’

‘Reality’ TV shows about how plastic surgery changes the way people look, are to me, only mildly interesting. They seem to portray a sad reflection on a society that is so obsessed with image. As they say, ‘beauty is only skin deep’. It’s superficiality at its best. Dying on the cross on that first Good Friday, Jesus wasn’t a pretty sight. He was beaten, tortured and naked. But the Bible holds out his death to us as the most amazing thing God has ever done for us! (See Romans 5:8) So why this death on a cross? To make us new on the inside! The Bible says of those who trust in Jesus, that they are ‘a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ (2 Corinthians 5:17) This Easter, forget about image. Seek the One who loved you enough to die and rise for you even when you were His ugly enemy. Join us on Good Friday at 9:30am to hear the message of His transforming grace!

An organist for nearly 70 years!

After two attempts at holding a service to mark the retirement of Mrs Jean Spicer as organist at Bendigo (St John’s) Presbyterian Church (with both of these attempts postponed due to last minute lockdowns), finally it has happened!

On Sunday December 12, 2021 the congregation met to give thanks and praise to our God for almost 70 years of faithful and appreciated service over the years accompanying the praise of God at regular Sunday worship, weddings, funerals, Sunday School anniversaries and other events for both congregation and choir.

The service featured Jean’s three favourite hymns, ‘Immortal invisible’, ‘To God be the glory’ and ‘The day Thou gavest’, speeches of thanks to Jean, the presentation of a special certificate made by Elder Andrew Kerr on behalf of Session, and a gift of flowers presented by Mrs Averil Harris, Secretary of the Board. Rev Philip Burns preached the sermon on Luke 19:11-27, titled, ‘God’s people have got talent! (or, ‘a call to multiply your minas’) and a shared covid-friendly lunch was held in the hall afterward as part of the celebrations.

Jean commenced her long stint as organist for St John’s after the retirement of the previous organist, sometime after June 1953, aged 16 years of age, having been thrust into the job at the suggestion of her father. During the years of her service, Jean has not only seen seven Ministers come and go (the 8th is still there), but also a number of different organs, the St John’s congregation go into Union and then re-form again, buying back its previous building. One of the highlights of Jean’s time was playing for the re-opening service at St John’s in the afternoon of October 15, 1985 with about 450 people attending in the church and by video into the hall. She did have a break from the organ during the time of the birth of each of her four children and ‘retired’ on other occasions, but continued to keep playing as required. But this time, retirement is official, and Jean’s husband Ted, will finally be able to have her sit next to him during services at St John’s where they have been members for these many years.

The Church family at Bendigo gives great thanks to God for the blessings received through Jean’s faithful service and were glad to honour her faithful contribution to the worship of His great Name.

Thank you Jean!