Autumn

We recently played host to a colleague who returned to Australia after a five year absence.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t by choice. When COVID struck our borders closed and Anthony was stuck in Fiji until the crisis passed.

“This country has changed,” is all he could say.

I am not qualified to comment. After all, I lived through the pandemic and was part of the change.

“I left an Australia where people looked out for each other,” my colleague stated. “When I returned it was to a very different country.”

People are angry. We have experienced floods, fire and two years of lockdown. Our last election is being studied, analysed and dissected. Most experts agree. This was our first opportunity to punish someone. And both parties copped a blast as voters turned to the independents.

But where to from here?

Recently, I spent a day brainstorming ideas with a hundred other pastors. We were asked a simple question. Name three things your church can do to recover. After debating various ideas 20 sheets were blue tacked to the wall and we were given three labels to vote with.

Here are the winners.

1. Rebuild connections.

People are built for relationships. So invite friends over for a board game. Host a dinner party. Go for a walk with somebody.

2. Celebrate small victories.

Hold a working bee. Hold a fundraiser for a worthy cause.

3. Draw a line under it.

Put the past in the past. Design a new logo. Create a new mission statement.

The last few years have taken a toll.

There is a chapel in Carlisle, England. When Oliver Cromwell destroyed part of their cathedral the locals set about rebuilding a place to worship. Today it is a boutique cafe where you can order overpriced sandwiches and excellent coffee. A close inspection reveals that the stone walls were constructed from the rubble of the cathedral.

We can do the same. We have each other. We have our skills and training. All we need is good will.

The apostle Paul wrote to the Ephesians Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.

This is still good advice.