What is the fruit that our ministry bears? Jesus, the True Vine, teaches what it means to be his hands and feet. Aunty Dr Anne Pattel-Gray wraps up our 2020 Lent series.
Well it is finally here, my first week as CEO of Common Grace. I’m excited and feeling really energised to be stepping into this role to lead this incredible movement of people passionate about Jesus and Justice. I am also humbled by the personal support and prayers for this new season. Thank you!
Common Grace has been busy since the announcement of my appointment back in November with 16 days of prayer against domestic and family violence, the Advent series, churches marking Aboriginal Sunday, and record numbers responding to Aunty Jean Phillips’ call, coming together in prayer to #ChangeTheHeart of Australia. I want to take this moment to personally thank all the contributors for the 16 days of prayer, the Advent series, and all the #ChangeTheHeart host churches and volunteers.
During this past few months and even today, our nation has faced unprecedented times experiencing the impacts of climate change with the bushfires and the ever present reality that we are living in a Climate Emergency. During this time I have found strength in Dr Byron Smith’s prayer and it was an incredible privilege to speak to the International media about the bushfires as I joined the Christianity Today Quick to Listen podcast and Rhema Radio in New Zealand. Little did I know that the bushfires would prevent me travelling to our nation’s capital to lead Canberra’s #ChangeTheHeart service.
And so today, I write to you, feeling the weight of injustice:
- the reality of racism in these lands now called Australia,
- the sense of loss and frustration for those who have lost everything in the bushfires combined with the lack of political action towards a climate emergency,
- my grief at the loss of creation – our precious and unique flora and fauna,
- my heartbreak for a Tamil family detained on Christmas Island and many other Asylum Seekers who continue to go without communication or knowledge of the length of their detention or of where home will finally be,
- my numbness for the Aboriginal families still without answers of why or how their family member died in custody,
- the women and children living with domestic violence - just trying to hold it together - unsure of where to turn.
And so I am reminded of our Advent series, that I am longing – I am longing for justice, I am longing for love, I am longing for Jesus. But it is not just me... I am longing with all of you – we are longing.
Through that longing, I feel hope because I cling to Jesus, and I believe Jesus has raised up this movement called Common Grace. As I step into this new season as the CEO, I continue to pray, plan, and dream. But I don’t do that in isolation, I do it with Jesus by my side, and I do it with all of you.
So what can you expect from me as CEO?
You can expect me to call you to pray.
You can expect me to call you to unite for the common good by taking action and getting involved to challenge injustice.
You can expect me to call you to find common ground by coming together across the breadth and depth of the Australian Church.
You can expect me to call you to share in common grace because there is no left or right in Jesus - there is just Jesus.
And we will do this together, what I call you to do, I call myself to the same, because at the end of the day it is simply sharing what I hear as a fellow follower of Jesus.
Some of the immediate ways that you can come together with Common Grace are by:
- participating and sharing in our Lent series on the “I am” statements of Jesus,
- if you are in Sydney joining me at my CEO commissioning service on 29 February (more info to come),
- if you are in Melbourne joining me at Surrender Conference where Common Grace is a sponsor partner,
- encouraging your church pastor and leadership, your congregation, your friends, your family to sign-up to receive Common Grace emails,
- And continuing to discern whether to walk this new season as a financial donor of Common Grace.
So together, let’s share in the common grace – that grace that God shows to all without distinction – the non-discriminating, all inclusive power of God’s love that is reflected in the goodness of creation and each other.
May we rise, together, as followers of Jesus from right across the Church, empowered by the Spirit and united in the hope that God’s healing justice would roll out like a mighty river across these lands now called Australia.
Yours in friendship,