Closure of Ministry of Rev Annette Hawken
Keiraview Uniting Church
Call to Worship
God alone is our refuge and strength.
God alone defends and protects us.
Come, see the glorious things that our God can do!
Be still in God’s presence.
Know that God alone is the one true God.
God will be honoured throughout the earth;
(based on Psalm 46: 7-8, 10-11)
Let us worship God!
Song: Across the Lands
by Keith & Kristyn Getty
Acknowledgement of Country
We acknowledge the Wadi Wadi people of Dharawal Nation, the first inhabitants of this place.
We acknowledge their Elders past, present and emerging and communities who have told the sacred stories and nurtured faithfulness to the Creator.
We ask God’s blessing on those who continue to work for the healing and restoration of this Land and Communities.
Prayer of Adoration
God of Creation, Risen Eternal Saviour, Living Spirit of life,
We adore and worship you this day for you are our Saviour, Redeemer, and Friend.
We offer you our praises for you walk with us in the moments of life.
We therefore lift up our eyes to the hills,
for there you are reigning glorious, Sovereign of all that is.
We adore you, exalting your name above all other names,
Jesus our resurrected Lord. Amen
Prayer of Confession
God of compassion,
We confess as we remember the many words of the Psalmists,
words that remain timeless for all who have
and continue to live in a relationship with you.
For out of the depths we cry to you Lord,
we ask for mercy and compassion,
For we are a people who have strayed from your voice
and lived according to our own rules,
forging futures to benefit ourselves only.
We repent and ask your forgiveness.
Psalm 130 says these words:
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord;
2 Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy.
3 If you, Lord, kept a record of sins,
Lord, who could stand?
4 But with you there is forgiveness,
so that we can, with reverence, serve you.
I confess to you Holy God, and to my brothers and sisters in Christ,
That I have sinned against you, in thought, word and deed.
I ask that you forgive the times when I have failed to love, care, support,
or encourage you during my time as minister in this place.
For the moments when my words have been flippant, dismissive or hurtful,
For the times my actions have been too little or too few,
when you have needed strong leadership and I have paled into existence,
when I have become frustrated or upset or uninspired,
I ask that God and you who I was called to serve will forgive me.
May the merciful Lord grant you forgiveness of all your sins,
and the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Let us confess our sins.
We confess to you,
Holy God, giver of light and grace,
and to you our sister Annette,
that we have sinned
through ignorance, through weakness
and through our own fault.
We pray for God’s mercy and forgiveness.
May the merciful God forgive you,
and grant you joy and peace,
in God’s pardoning grace. Amen.
God calls us to peace.
In God’s justice is our peace.
Christ calls us to be God’s people:
in Christ is our peace.
The peace of the Lord be always with you.
And also with you.
Bible Reading: Ecclesiastes 3 (NIV)
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Bible Reading: Ephesians 1:15-23 (NIV)
Thanksgiving and Prayer
15 For this reason, ever since I heard about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all God’s people, 16 I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers. 17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
The time has arrived and I am certain we all look forward to witnessing what God has in store for the future of this church and its ministry in this community. My prayers are for you all as you go forward.
Today I have selected two passages of scripture that would be familiar to you and if not, I invite you to take some time today if you are able, to reflect on the words and the context in which they were written.
Ecclesiastes, a beautifully constructed book that falls into the category of wisdom literature. People have written songs about it, and many have used it to embrace the notion of ‘carpe diem – to seize the day’. These words have inspired people throughout the world, yet what are the authors seeking to remind us of? The God of all creation is to be feared/loved and we are to follow God’s commands in whose image we made. Ultimately, we are to worship and serve our sovereign God who bestows grace on all of us.
Time begins for all of us at birth and concludes upon our death and we do not know how much time any of us has on this earth. The key to time, is using it wisely for the glory of God, in whose image you have been made. Time is not designed to waste drinking and being merry as many like to believe, but instead it is a time to eat- sharing with others what we have, and to drink – providing others life sustaining water that promotes life, and a time to be merry, happy, full of joy, sharing life’s experiences so that all can experience and know the goodness of God.
It is time for us to put our trust in the Lord, for in God there are the positives and the negatives that occur in life. In my life, I have been blessed because the positives have outweighed the negatives. I admit the negatives were and are not pleasant to live through but I, similar to many of you have grown and learnt from these trials. These life experiences have developed a stronger relationship and dependence on God and a greater empathy for my fellow brothers and sisters in our world. It has revealed the unfathomable peace and joy of the Lord that comes with each and every new day.
For each of you listening today, this time is your time to shine for His glory. Use your time wisely for God, trusting in God’s love and you will live all your days knowing the wonderful gifts and promises of God.
The second scripture passage I have chosen today is a thanksgiving prayer found in the letter to the Ephesians.
When I arrived at Keiraview, I was commencing my second placement as a minister. I realised as I lead my first service that there was a congregation of people that I was keen to know, serve and grow with. Each day I discovered the faith of the congregation as a whole and the faith lived out by individuals. I was very aware that I was on a steep learning curve once again, but from past experience, I knew that no matter what would arise, that I would and should be thankful to God for this congregation, and I have been blessed by you all because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians writes of his thankfulness to the members of the church at Ephesus. Paul knew and had heard about their love for all God’s people and affirmed the church for their wonderful actions.
Paul prayed for this church that God would continue to bless it, for it was a church forged in a time of continued Roman rule and it was located within a city that had every known god idolised under the sun. Even a statue tributed to the unknown god. A city that was full of commercial wealth and multiple religious affinities would not be an easy place to maintain a church professing to worship the One true God, creator and sovereign of all that is.
We as a church have prayed for the congregation ministry in this place as well as the churches presences in proclamation and acts of justice in this community that we live. We are moving into new grounds and seeking to engage with our community and live out Christ’s commands in this place.
Pauls affirmation of the church is inspiring and we too can feel inspired by these affirmations, for we are a church that loves and seeks justice for those in our community.
For you all I am thankful, for each individual and your expressed love for one another. I am thankful and will continue to pray for your future ministry together.
Yet if we move from the letter from Paul to the words of the Apostle John in the book of Revelation Jesus has a message for the church at Ephesus, once again affirming their commitment to the laws and justice of God and their love for the community. Affirming their efforts to live in the truth of the Gospel message and sharing this message. But this message comes with a rebuke, a warning – Jesus declares the church in Ephesus have forgotten their first love. We are a church because we love Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the name of Jesus as Saviour.
As a church we need to be careful that we do not forget who it is that we love. We love God first and because of this nurtured love, we continue to strengthen the ability to love the people around us. It is too often that we whinge and complain about the members of our church, we belittle and undermine leaders when we should be encouraging and supporting one another. When we do have another view, it is better to talk with those we disagree with until we come to some agreement that reminds us that we are indeed baptised believers in the name of Jesus Christ. We must remember to be in conversation with one another, discipling believers, praying for each other, demonstrating love and never forgetting to verbally proclaim the love of God. People don’t necessarily understand faith in Jesus through osmosis, we need to speak the truth.
Paul’s prayer to the church at Ephesus is a beautiful prayer asking the following for the church and it is a prayer that I would love for all of you to pray with me now for what better use of our time than to be in prayer for our world, our community, our church and the people who still need to hear the message of the great love of God that is revealed in the Son.
From the words of Paul the Apostle of Christ.
17 I pray that the great God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may give you the wisdom of His Spirit. Then you will be able to understand the secrets about Him as you know Him better.
8 I pray that your hearts will be able to understand.
I pray that you will know about the hope given by God’s call.
I pray that you will see how great the things are that He has promised to those who belong to Him.
19 I pray that you will know how great His power is for those who have put their trust in Him.
I pray that the church, the Uniting Church, the holy Catholic church will never lose its first love, that love for Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead for all. Amen.
Church it is time to stand firm and proclaim the love of God, the gift given to us through the Son, and to move in the power of the Spirit of God for the salvation of this world.
It is time to learn new things, to do ministry in new ways, to uphold the traditions of sacrament in sharing in the meal of Holy Communion and baptising one another.
It is time to shout from the mountain tops your love for Jesus Christ, for the world will continue on and there will be positive and negative world, local and personal events, but one thing will always remain the same. Jesus Christ will be Lord of all and remain Lord of all.
My prayer and thankfulness are for you all. Amen.
Prayers of People
You are always faithful in your love for us.
Through your son you lived our life,
Felt our pains and struggles and hopes and joys.
Through his death and resurrection
we know the grace and life that you give us
and the joy of living with your forever.
You have bound Annette and the Keiraview Congregation
together for a time as minister and people
to work for the advancement of your kingdom in this place:
we give you humble and hearty thanks
for the ministry which they have shared.
and for the deeper knowledge of you
and of each other which we have received.
Today we acknowledge that this time for Annette
and the Keiraview Congregation in ministry together, draws to an end.
We pray for the Keiraview congregation.
We thank you for those
who have been made members of Christ’s family
through baptism here.
We thank you for opening of hearts and minds
again and again to your Word,
and for feeding abundantly with the sacrament
of the body and blood of your Son.
Be with the family of this congregation.
In the sadness of parting bring them comfort,
In the shock of changed circumstance and diagnosis
For their minister that they love, bring them peace.
In the time ahead, keep the congregation faithful,
Continue to build them in love and hope,
Walk with them as they discern the future you have for them in ministry.
We pray for Annette.
We thank you for the ministry that she has shared,
Her faithfulness to your Gospel,
Her faith in you in the midst of adversity,
Her leadership, her pastoral presence
and the creativity of ministry
that has grown out of the congregation
during her time of ministry.
Knowing what looms into the future,
be with Annette, Nigel and her family.
May the peace and comfort of your presence be with her and them always.
Bring them the wholeness that only you can give.
May they be patient, brave, and trusting.
Keep them faithful and strong,
as they face the future together, surrounded by your love.
In Jesus name we pray.
Closure of Ministry
A Service to Mark the Conclusion of a Placement – Rev Annette Hawken
Since the Church lives by the power of the Word,
it is assured that God has never failed
to provide a witness to that Word.
On 16th February, 2014 the Presbytery of the Illawarra
inducted Annette Joy Hawken as a minister of the Word among you.
We witnessed your promises to take part
in the public worship of God,
to contribute to the work of God,
and to make a Christian witness in the community
by word and action.
While it is not yet clear in what form Annette’s future ministry may take,
the time has come to mark the end
of her particular responsibilities
in this congregation,
and to assure her of God’s blessing
and the continuing care of this Presbytery.
Brothers and sisters in Christ,
you called me to minister with you,
and charged me to preach the Word,
preside at the sacraments
and to oversee the pastoral life of the congregation.
You have will call another minister in my place
and I must lay down the tasks you committed to me.
I therefore hand this pastoral list to you
with the of names of the people for whom I have cared,
and ask you to continue to care for these people,
and in due time, to share it with my successor.
The Chairperson of the Church Council receives the list and bible.
And now, on behalf of the Illawarra Presbytery,
we thank you for your ministry of God’s grace
in this congregation.
We release you from this ministry,
and will continue to give you pastoral care
in this presbytery.
We will continue to pray for God’s blessing
Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid:
for it is the Lord who goes with you.
Your God will not fail you or forsake you.
It is with great sadness that we farewell you Annette from your placement with us at Keiraview Uniting Church. Over the last 6 years Annette you have been a much-loved leader of our church family. We have been through so much together with you and you have always been an inspiration, demonstrating your unfailing love for your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, throughout everything.
We sincerely thank you Annette for your strong leadership and wonderful pastoral care throughout your time with us and for your tireless work in supporting Keiraview to be in the position we are in today. We are a welcoming, strong, Christian community and are looking forward to what God has planned for us.
We pray for the best possible outcome for you Annette as you face new treatment. We know that God will give you strength and provide comfort to you at all times. We pray that you will continue to have opportunities to share your faith and do God’s work in new and exciting ways for some time to come.
We will always remember your time with us at Keiraview with great fondness and we thank you.
“These are a few of my favourite things.”
One of my favourite movies is the Sound of Music. I love the story, I love the songs, I even enjoy the hint of romance that was depicted in the story. One of the songs has inspired my response today and I hope that you will connect with some of my favourite things.
These are a few of my favourite things about Keiraview.
1. Rising early before sunrise to review the morning worship service, from my vantage points, I often see the sun touching the tops of house, trees, paddocks and mountain ridges. Heading home with the sun setting or the moon shining in the evening.
2. Reading and agonising over scripture seeking God to lead and guide my thoughts.
3. The opportunity to sing old and new songs in worship, the variety of expressions of faith, love and mission expressed in the writers words and the musicians musical compositions.
4. Watching people become inspired by ideas to help one another grow in faith.
5. Involvement in MATs and the privilege of experiencing the out-workings of these teams. Seeing my family being accepted and involved.
6. The fellowship with one another; joy and laughter, sadness and tears, frustrations and achievements, failures and accomplishments, times of celebrations and goodbyes.
7. Gatherings that raised funds for our community projects, lunches, talent shows, dinners, BBQ’s, face painting and jumping castles, games and guessing competitions, outings and meals, I could go on for ever.
8. Smiling faces, hugs, sharing news and phone calls.
9. Times of prayer and deep reflection, times of learning and growing together in knowledge and wisdom, sharing in worship, sharing faith stories, sharing silence together, meeting new people.
10. Most of all, serving God and serving you, this is the ultimate thing that I enjoyed.
I could talk about my least favourite things, but there is no reason to dwell on those things for they are no longer a concern to anyone.
God has blessed me and because of you, I and my family have been able to face some challenging times because of you and your ministry to us and me in particular. This is a very different goodbye, but please know that I love and appreciate you all. I know some of you better than others, but I love you all the same and pray God’s riches blessings over your lives.
For this church and the combined ministries, at West Wollongong, the Illawarra Presbytery, the Synod of NSWACT, the National Assembly thank you for the journey, it has been an exciting ride together, we have achieved so much together and I know that your future will shine forth the glory of God because you are indeed Christ’s church and it is your time to shine for him in this community and your respective places. From the depths of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you, for all your support to me as a minister for Jesus Christ. It has been a privilege to serve Jesus in this way.
Thankyou and goodbye to you all.
Song: “You Say”
by Lauren Daigle
Let us pray.
be with those who leave, and with those who stay;
and grant that all of us, by drawing nearer to you,
may always be close to each other
in the communion of saints;
through Jesus Christ your Son, our Lord.
Go boldly into the future which God has claimed.
Know that the God who holds all things will be there,
that Christ who calls us friend will walk beside us,
and that the Spirit who makes all things new
will mark our way with light and hope.