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Confirmation testimonies | Amy Parker and Chris Parker

Homilies & Addresses

At their recent Parish of Noosa confirmations, daughter Amy and father Chris Parker declared God’s grace and transformative work in their lives, while shining a light on the unwavering faithfulness of their mother and wife, Michelle

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At their recent Parish of Noosa confirmations, daughter Amy and father Chris Parker declared God’s grace and transformative work in their lives, while shining a light on the unwavering faithfulness of their mother and wife, Michelle.

Amy Parker, Bishop Jeremy Greaves and The Rev'd Brad Henley

Amy Parker was confirmed at The Parish of Noosa’s Peregian church by Bishop Jeremy Greaves on Sunday 5 March 2023. Amy is pictured with Bishop Jeremy and her minister, The Rev’d Brad Henley

Amy Parker – parishioner, The Parish of Noosa

I grew up going to Sunday school and being involved in our local church, and remember very well Mum reading the Bible to my brother and me almost every night before we went to bed. I remember life being simple, and steady, and predictable. We were in a small world, but we were comfortable and safe, and growing up I felt no fear or discomfort or worry for the future. That all changed in the year 2000, when – three days after my 12th birthday – we boarded a plane that would take us to Singapore, to follow Dad’s new work posting.

It wasn’t just culture shock, though that did play a huge part of it. The food was different, the city-style living was different, the constant 90 per cent humidity from living on the equator was very different. There was also the fact that I had lost all the friends I had known since Kindy, and had no idea how to start making new ones. My natural shyness only intensified by my fear and confusion. I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t feel safe. I didn’t feel like I had a future. My whole world had been turned upside down, and there was absolutely nothing that my young startled mind could see as familiar enough to hold on to and guide me. Except Mum kept reading us Bible stories, and she searched for and found a church for us to settle into.

Even though we were in a whole new world and culture and climate, Sunday mornings were regular. Going to church was still the same. God was still the same. It took a while for me to acknowledge this; still looking for structure in the same things that I had grown up with – books and schedules, and things I could physically possess, as well as the structure of school and the expectations of people I was getting to know. But I started to realise that God had been with me when I was a child and he was still with me now in this chaotic teenage time in Singapore.

Mum continued to be an example – her faith unshaken despite the chaos and unfamiliarity. She shared with me a vision that God had given her of a sapling transplanted from a small pot to a bigger garden, held safely in the gardener’s hands as it was moved from one place to another. It was in this vision that I came to understand not only that God was present and involved, but that He loved, and loves, and has been an active force in my life. It is His love that has guided me, and strengthened me, and brought me into a greater understanding of not only myself and the world, but how wonderful He is in all His Glory – the all-powerful Creator God that sent His Son, the Son that knows the troubles and suffering, and the Spirit that guides and comforts, and all three in love.

I committed myself in baptism not long after coming to truly know God, in Singapore. But I stand here today to confirm with my new church family – and with my family, whole – that God is my strength, and God’s love is with me always.

Bishop Jeremy Greaves, Chris Parker and The Rev'd Brad Henley

Chris Parker was confirmed at The Parish of Noosa’s Peregian church by Bishop Jeremy Greaves on Sunday 5 March 2023. Chris is pictured with Bishop Jeremy and his minister, The Rev’d Brad Henley

Chris Parker – parishioner, The Parish of Noosa

Good morning, everyone. My name is Chris Parker and thank you for the opportunity to speak to you about my recent decision to commit myself to a relationship with Christ.

Right up front I need to admit I have not come from a strong faith background. I have been at best somewhat skeptical to the notion of a loving God, whose only son died on the cross to take our collective sin.

At the same time, I humbly acknowledge my wonderful wife, Michelle, who is very strong in her faith, and who has been patiently working on me over the years to bring me around.

While we have enjoyed a strong partnership over the last nearly 40 years of marriage, and despite her support for me and my work commitments over those years, I had not made any real effort to share in Michelle’s faith.

Despite this, Michelle continued to work diligently behind the scenes, and I was introduced to many of her wonderful church friends in Singapore, Canada and the UK, who also become my friends. So after arriving back in Australia, I decided to try to make a conscious effort to accompany Michelle to church on a more regular basis.

I have to say, I was a miserable failure at this promise…until…I met with Brad Henley at his first men’s breakfast held at Sunshine Beach Anglican Church just over a year ago. I sat next to Brad and as we talked, I was so impressed with Brad’s authenticity, quiet confidence and his engaging communication style as he addressed the room about taking up his new role as paster to the congregation at Peregian Springs Anglican Church. My curiosity was piqued, so Michelle and I visited Peregian Springs to see Brad in action and meet the congregation.

Well, what an experience! We were welcomed so warmly by a wonderful group of people who made every effort to connect with us, were curious to get to know us and just made us feel at home.

So that was the next step, Michelle and I immediately became members of the Peregian congregation, part of the Anglican Church of Noosa, and it was here I decided to participate in a recent Alpha course.

The final step in my decision came during an Alpha session.

Just prior to an evening Alpha session where the topic was “How God guides us”, I had received a letter from a good friend in the UK…one of those good “church friends” I mentioned earlier…and he quoted some scripture from Revelation 3.20:

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in…”

He also referred to the William Holman Hunt painting “The Light of the World” as an example. Well, that night at Alpha, the exact same example was used and discussed.

I was amazed and felt I had been given the strongest of signs to tell me that God was indeed standing outside my “door” and all I needed to do was acknowledge that fact and decide for Christ.

It was a breakthrough that had started with my wife’s patience and good friends, from around the world and now in Australia, providing “quiet witness” whenever they had an opportunity. They were the ones who “put that light on a stand” (as Jesus mentions in his parable described in Luke 8.16) and it has made a real difference in my life.

This same ministry and “light” continued from Chris, Lynda and Brad and helped lead me to follow Christ in the waters of Baptism just two weeks ago and make the commitment to stand before you today.

So I want to finish by saying that I am eternally grateful for all that counsel over the years, and I thank all of those here today (as well as congregation members I count as dear friends who couldn’t make it) for adding their witness and shepherding me on my journey so far in the service of the Lord.

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