Sunday 1st March, 2015
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
This morning it will have been announced that I have accepted Bishop Curnow’s invitation to become the new Priest-in-Charge at Christ Church. I know the next seven weeks will pass very quickly and before too long I, along with my wife Sarah and our three boys, Micah, Joshua and Jacob, will be among you. (And not too long after we arrive we’ll be welcoming a fourth boy into our family and into the church!)
Having grown up in rural Queensland, outside of a town quite similar to Echuca, I have long had a heart for the country and for ministry in regional Australia. Although Sarah has only ever lived in Melbourne, she shares my passion and desire for rural ministry and life. We are very excited to be making Echuca our home and look forward to welcoming you into our family and being welcomed into yours.
I have been very encouraged by the conversations I have had with the Bishop, the nominators and others who have ministered among you, along with reading and praying through the Parish profile and consultation papers. I share with you a genuine feeling that God’s Spirit is stirring and that He is preparing for a new season of great gospel ministry at Christ Church. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to take up my part in this and to lead and be lead, to work and worship with and alongside of you.
I have already begun praying for you daily. I would appreciate your prayers for me and for my family as we prepare to move. Please pray for our packing and preparations and for our farewells. I would also appreciate your prayers for the parish of St. Thomas’ Burwood as we leave. Not only will they be coping with our departure but also soon after the retirement of our vicar, Chris Appleby who concludes 20 years of ministry and leadership in the parish. Please pray for them as they seek a new leader and senior minister.
As we look forward to the 17th of April and beyond that to our life and ministry together, let me conclude with this prayer for us from Colossians 1:9-10:
May God continue to fill us with the knowledge of His will, in all spiritual wisdom and understanding so that we may lead lives worthy of Him, fully pleasing the Lord as we bear fruit in every good work and as we grow in the knowledge of God.
With every blessing in Christ,
Rev. George J. Hemmings