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Stewardship is the spiritual discipline of looking at the gifts that God has bestowed upon you, prayerfully considering His bountiful mercy, and returning to God a portion of these gifts in thanksgiving. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ commands us to “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal” (Matt:6:20).
This personal sacrifice of material things toward the spiritual has been a fundamental part of the life of the People of God for millenia, as recorded in Genesis and continues to be so today in the New Testament Church. By donating towards the upkeep of the Temple, we give honour to our Creator and we remind ourselves that in truth, nothing in this world belongs to us, but that we are merely custodians of it for a short time until we leave this world.
The gifts that are given are generally in three types:
- Treasure (financial or material donations),
- Time, and
- Talents (and abilities)
Each of these are able to be returned to conduct God’s work and to minister in His Name.
We ask that each parishioner (along with any person who wishes to support our work) considers the gifts that God has given them, and to respond appropriately. Below are some suggestions on how this can occur:
If you are in the financial position to give money to St John the Baptist Orthodox Mission, Toowoomba, there are three easy ways of doing so.
Electronic Funds Transfer
You are able to set up an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) with your bank account on a regular basis (e.g. weekly or monthly). We find that this is a convenient way for people to ensure that they have cared for the Mission without needing to consciously remember – and without needing to carry cash.
- BSB: 114-879
- Account: 440626189
- Name: St John the Baptist Orthodox Mission
- Reference: we suggest Donation [surname].
You can donate to our Mission via cash or via cheque, either at our services or through our Treasurer. Please speak to Peter after services.
Sometimes, there are purchases that our parish needs to undertake, and people are sometimes wish to purchase these as part of their donation. Please speak to Fr Andrew if you wish to donate in this way.
Some examples of purchases we need to make are:
- Finances to purchase property for a permanent Orthodox church in Toowoomba (Estimate: $20k for deposit)
Time and Talent
At St John’s, we have areas where we are in need of assistance from people who can contribute either their spare time or their expertise, including:
- Making prosphora
- Singing in the choir
- Organising our Morning Teas
- Sewing vestments
- Cleaning after services
- Graphic Design
- Letterbox drops
- And more – please ask how you can help!
In May 2017, we implemented a Child-safe Child-friendly Policy (CSCF).
Below are some of the documents that comprise St John’s policy:
- Logo and Short Policy Description
- CSCF Policy Document
- Code of Conduct
- Role Description for a Child Safety Contact Person
- Documents released by our Diocese, which supplement, inform and contribute to our policy
At St John’s, Peggy is our Child Safety Contact Persons. She, or Fr Andrew, can be contacted for more information.
Our community began in September 2014, when the then-Rector of Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church in Brisbane, Fr Alexander Borodin, visited a small group of Orthodox Christians who live in Toowoomba and served a Vigil service at the University of Southern Queensland. From that point, this group committed to serving Vespers services twice a month, as an outreach from Holy Annunciation Orthodox Church.
In July 2015, we celebrated a milestone, with the first Divine Liturgy being celebrated by Fr Andrew Smith, and a schedule was established to celebrate Liturgy once a month, in addition to regular Vespers services led by laypeople in the community at USQ. In November, the Vespers services were replaced by regular Typika services at All Saints’.
This schedule continued through the first half of 2016 when, due to clerical changes in Brisbane, we transitioned to monthly services led by laypeople in the community, with additional visits from Fr Andrew to celebrate the Divine Liturgy.
In March 2017, we received the joyful news from Bishop George that we were made a Mission of the Diocese, being placed under the patronage of St John the Baptist, with Fr Andrew assigned as our inaugural Rector (parish priest). Later in the year came another milestone in August, when one of our faithful parishioners was ordained by Bp George to be a Reader for our Mission. Rdr Erich has been leading Readers services since our community began, and we were overjoyed to receive his assignment to our Mission.
Between 2017-2019, we held near-monthly services at All Saints’, welcoming people into our community – both Orthodox Christians from interstate and those from Toowoomba who wished to become Orthodox Christians.
Just as it was for most of the world, 2020 was a challenging year for our Mission, and we were not able to celebrate the Divine Liturgy for most of this year. Great joy came at its end, however, when our Reader was ordained through to the priesthood. Fr Erich’s assignment to our Mission means that, for the first time in history, an Orthodox priest is living on the Darling Downs.
God willing, 2021 will mark the beginning of increased services in Toowoomba, local pastoral care, and other features of parish life.
We are grateful for all that God has given us.
In a community of our size and age, our history is still being written.
We invite you to become a part of this history.