Affirming lives, reflecting the hope we have in Jesus

thIS WEEK - MOVIE NIGHT

The Man Who Invented Christmas

Friday 24 January – 7.00pm at St Thomas, Howrah

The journey that led to Charles Dickens' creation of "A Christmas Carol," a timeless tale that would redefine Christmas. Please bring Supper to share.

Our heavenly Father, creator of all things and especially the creator of this land and its original peoples, we call out to you in these desperate times as fires have swept across several parts of our country.

IN YOUR PRAYERS 

Please include the following in your talk with God this week:

Our hearts cry out to you for those who have lost loved ones, and those who have lost properties in the wake of these ravaging fires.

Father we pray, in your mercy, restrain the forces of nature from creating catastrophic damage; in your mercy protect human life.

Guard those volunteers, rural fire service personnel and emergency services who selflessly step into the breach to fight these fires. Guide police and authorities who help evacuate and shelter those who are displaced. Bring comfort and healing to all who suffer loss.

Remembering your promises of old that seed time and harvest will never cease, we pray that you would open the heavens to send refreshing rain upon our parched land.  

In your miraculous power bring forth rain to quench these fires and to bring life back into the earth, so that crops may grow, and farmers may bring forth the harvest of the land again.

We bring these requests to you, in the name of your Son, who died and rose again for our deliverance. Amen.

Our Mission

We exist to be a Christian Church of influence and significance in our community, making Jesus known and bringing abundant life and hope to the people of our communities and beyond as we:

  • Love God and his people through our thoughts, words and actions, sharing in worship and praise which is worthy of the God we adore, who has showered us with his unfathomable grace, and by demonstrating the teachings of Jesus every day in our own behavior;
  • Grow to be more like Jesus praying that the Holy Spirit will guide and empower our lives; and
  • Share the message of Jesus’ love from God’s Word, with people in our communities and beyond.

Welcome to the Home Page of St Thomas Anglican Church, Howrah and St Barnabas Anglican Church, South Arm, Tasmania. 

To navigate these pages choose from the menu across the top of each page or simply choose:

To get in idea about our church, there is brief information About Us here.

We are looking for A New Minister.  Click here to learn more.

This page lists the range of Services we hold throughout the year.

Select this page to learn more about our Teaching.

We have a range of Activities and Events.

Select Contact Us if you have any questions or would like additional information.

 

So who was St Barnabas?

According to Luke, in his Book of the Acts of the Apostles, Barnabas (born Joseph) was a Cypriot Jew - a Levite. Paul also mentions Barnabas in some of his epistles.

Barnabas sold some land that he owned and gave the proceeds to the community (Acts 4:36-37).  When (the future) Paul the Apostle returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas introduced him to the apostles (9:27).

Barnabas and Paul undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentiles against persecution by other Jews. They traveled together making converts (c. 45–47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c. 50). Paul and Barnabas paid their own way on their missions.

Acts 11:24 describes Barnabas as "a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith".  Some theologians identify Barnabas as the cousin or uncle of Mark the Evangelist (John Mark). His Hellenic Jewish parents called Barnabas ‘Joseph’ but when recounting the story of how he sold all his goods and gave the money to the apostles in Jerusalem, the Book of Acts says the apostles called him Barnabas (meaning "son of encouragement" or "son of consolation").

The successful preaching of Christianity at Antioch to non-Jews led the church at Jerusalem to send Barnabas there to oversee the movement (Acts 11:20–22). He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Paul (still referred to as Saul), "an admirable colleague", to assist him. Paul returned with him to Antioch and labored with him for a year (Acts 11:25–26). At the end of this period, the two were sent up to Jerusalem (44 AD) with contributions from the church at Antioch for the relief of the poorer Christians in Judea.

They returned to Antioch, taking John Mark with them. Later, they went to Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia (Acts 13:14).  After recounting what the governor of Cyprus  believed, Acts 13:9 speaks of Barnabas' companion no longer as Saul, but as Paul, his Roman name, and generally refers to the two no longer as "Barnabas and Saul" but as "Paul and Barnabas".

According to Galatians 2:9-10, Paul and Barnabas reached an agreement with James, Peter, and John that Barnabas and Paul should preach to the pagans.  This meant that Gentiles were admitted into the church without having to adopt Jewish practices.  After a disagreement with Paul, Barnabas went with John Mark to Cyprus (Acts 15:36-41).

Although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable, Christian tradition holds that Barnabas was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus, in 61 AD. He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church.

The feast day of Barnabas is celebrated on 11 June.

ABOVE: An international ceremony - the wedding at St Thomas and reception in Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong for Nick and Rebecca.

BELOW, FROM LEFT:  St Barnabas, Orchids, ANZAC Day at South Arm

So who was St Thomas?

To the best of our knowledge, Thomas (also referred to by his Greek name Didymus) was born in Galilee.  Galilee is the area around the Sea of Galilee, about 120 kms north-east of Jerusalem.  In English, his name means ‘twin’ and derives from the Aramaic Te’oma.

He is mentioned several times in the gospels.  He is one of the twelve main disciples.  References to Thomas create the impression of a dedicated loyal follower. 

For example, in John's gospel, chapter 11, when Jesus proposes they return to Judea, his disciples warn him that only recently the Judean Jews had tried to stone him.  But Jesus is not dissuaded, so Thomas says to the other disciples, “Let us also go that we might die with him.”  Now that is loyalty!

And another example, in chapter 14, when the disciples are around the table at their final supper.  Jesus tells them what is ahead of him and them.  Jesus talks about the place that God has prepared for them. Thomas says, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”  Jesus replies (verse 6 and 7) with one of his best known quotes, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well.  From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

The most notable mention of Thomas is probably the one in John 20:19-29 where, after he has been crucified and risen from the dead, Jesus appeared to many of his disciples.  It was behind locked doors (they were afraid they might face a similar fate to Jesus).  They saw the pierced hands and his side and were overjoyed.  But Thomas was absent on that occasion, so when they said, “We have seen the Lord” Thomas said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”

A week later they were in the house again with the doors locked.  This time Thomas was with them.  Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”  Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands.  Reach out your hand and put it into my side.  Stop doubting and believe.”  Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God.”  This statement of the truth made Thomas the first recorded person to explicitly acknowledge that Jesus is divine.

Thomas, seemingly unfairly, has subsequently been nicknamed ‘Doubting Thomas' - a phrase that is often used pejoratively in our culture.  Perhaps he would be better nicknamed ‘The Twin’, Loyal Thomas’, or ‘Truth Seeking Thomas’.

What happened to Thomas after this incredible reunion with Jesus is uncertain but he is attributed with having brought the good news of Jesus to Spain and India. 

He is said to have died in Chennai (Madras), India in 53 CE. 

Different cultures recognize several different dates to celebrate the life of St Thomas.  If you are planning a feast, perhaps the easiest and best recognized date to remember himis the summer solstice, 21 December.   

 

 

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