Sunday 24th January –the Sunday before Australia Day
Next Sunday 31st January is traditionally known as “Heritage Sunday” to commemorate the very first church service held in Australia on 3rd Feb 1788 by Rev Richard Johnson. It also marks just over 94 years since the first service was held in Gymea Bay. And on Tuesday Australia Day will be celebrated by and mourned by many Australians. It was no co-incidence that Johnson was a Bible believing, gospel hearted pastor who loved both the convicts and indigenous people alike. His appointment was due, in large part, to the influence of the Eclectic Society and two notable men, John Newton and William Wilberforce, who were keen for a committed Evangelical Christian to take the role of chaplain in the colony.
Whether you’re a history buff or not, I think such occasions are important “pause points” in our culture. There are many successes and failures in our nation and precolonial history. I’m proud of being part of a country that has the oldest continuous living culture in the world with all the insights, art and culture that goes with that. Though the first Australian “Crew” was cruelly transported in 1832, I’m also grateful for the benefits European and immigrant culture has brought us.
Ultimately I’m grateful that God has given us this land and history with so many benefits compared to so many nations. I didn’t choose this country which is so rich in so many ways – but I’m thankful to God and to those who have shaped it positively. There are also failures, some cruel & racist that should rightly be repented of and that have left terrible, lasting scars.
I’m thankful to God too for the faithfulness to God and his Word that Gymea Anglican represents over these past 94 years! We should be rightly proud of this history of “serving Jesus and the Shire since 1927”. I hope we might get around to celebrating this with some significant signage this year. It’s a heritage and legacy that I believe is also worth celebrating.
Your brother in Christ, Graham Crew
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