This month I have pleasure in introducing the Reverend Wayne Walters, who with his family, will take up leadership of the St James Anglican community at Wandin. Graeme: Where did you grow up? Wayne: I grew up in Thomastown, one of six boys and attended the local Methodist church. In teenage years my faith was strengthened by involvement with scripture Union youth camps and a weekly home group at the local Anglican Church. Graeme: They tell me you only 'stuck' at your first job for a year. Wayne: Yes that was at Bostic Australia. After that I did four years at Melbourne University. It was during this time I sensed the call to full-time ministry. Graeme: How did you meet your wife Roslyn? Wayne: Roslyn was a B Mus Ed student and a member of the Christian Union at Uni. It was during my first part-time youth ministry at St Marks, Niddrie, we married and subsequently our first child, Rosanne, was born. Graeme: Where have you ministered? Wayne: I served at St James, Pakenham. Christy was born when I went to be Chaplain at Beacon Hill Christian College, for four years and then on to Holy Trinity, Bacchus Marsh. Graeme: Do you play sport? Wayne: Yes. All my life I've been involved in sport - cricket, baseball, table-tennis, football, and cricket umpiring. Graeme: What sport do you like best? Wayne: Cricket. Did you realise I was one of the spinners that paved the way for Shane Warne. I played in the Fitzroy thirds. Graeme: I believe you have family in the Valley. Wayne: Yes, my brother runs the Home Pub at Launching Place. Graeme: A preacher and a publican from the one family in the one valley. Wayne, I detect in you a caring heart for people. Wayne: Yes, I guess with my call to ministry comes a call to reflect Jesus to people in the community. Graeme: What will be your focus in the early days at St James? Wayne: I will want to encourage my parishioners to come before God in prayer and explore ways in which he wants to touch and direct our lives, then through us affect the wider community. In that sense I do not come with a strong program orientation. Graeme: Who goes to an Anglican Church? Wayne: Well, it's not just Anglicans. We provide a loving and caring environment for anyone with spiritual thirst and we intend to provide guidance for those who want to rediscover the faith of their childhood. Graeme: I note on your calling card a motto. Wayne: Yes, it's 'Building Community for a Better World'. I guess we want to assist the process of the healing of the whole person.
Autumn - why?
I enjoy autumn almost as much as I do spring. Spring opens the door to warmth and growth that lasts for six months at least while Autumn. signals the cold dark and damp of Winter about to descend within weeks. Nothing compares with and surpasses the brilliant colours of autumn. The golden splashes of the ash, the elm and the birch and the flashy red of the maple and amber.
As I reflected on God's magnificently created world - the environment into which he placed us, I see the autumn as an analogy for our lives. Isn't it true that although our autumns sometimes usher in dark winters, these dark winters themselves can be the catalyst for change that brings the new life, insights and attitudes of spring? That's what Easter was all about. The autumn of Jesus' life led him to the cross, the winter was enduring the pain, darkness and loneliness which in turn led to the healing spring of his resurrection and establishing of his kingdom.
Jesus described this process as like a grain of wheat on its journey. He said, "Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies (in the present form) it cannot be transformed into the virile plant that in turn produces many grains of wheat."
As I observe my birch trees I note that unless the old leaves die and drop off (albeit going out in a blaze of glory) the new buds and leaves of sprint cannot come. Of course, where these trees originally come from in the Northern Hemisphere the losing of the leaves is also vital for survival.
I'm glad I trust to the creator God those things that he does best. Just as God created at the beginning, he recreates constantly. Just as he recreates the tree for next year's fruit. He wants to recreate broken lives and reconcile all people back to himself, their creator. The difference between the trees and us is we can choose to have our lives recreated or not.
Let me suggest our lives could not be placed in better hands that the one who made us. After all he knows us better than anyone. Although selflessness is not a popular concept in our modern society, Jesus calls all followers to a radical life. He calls us to follow him by the dying to self in order to let him produce the new life of his spring. Would you like to produce 'new buds' in the spring?
The combined churches would like to help with requests for emergency food, clothing and accommodation. We can help with transport to doctors and hospitals and we can help with personal or pastoral counselling and care.