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A week in the life of …

Rev Michele Lees, Minister, Echuca Moama Uniting Church


Monday is my official day off, although today began with a brief phone call from our church treasurer. We needed to sort out a financial issue which we spoke about yesterday. Monday is his day in the church office, so I understand that sometimes these calls are needed.

Each day I like to start with quiet time. I use a Celtic Psalter and With Love to the World to guide me through the lectionary readings for the week. This morning the psalter speaks of wisdom and drawing on wisdom in the day’s busyness. The lectionary reading is from Isaiah, my favourite Old Testament book. A well-known verse, chapter 40 verse 31, strikes me, ‘but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.’ I am feeling tired after a busy long weekend, and this verse encourages me that I will regain my energy. It also gives me an idea for a song on Sunday.

My favourite time of my day off is spending time by the Campaspe River only a short walk from the manse. While by the river, it is quite easy to get lost in this other world and not be distracted by vehicle noise on the nearby roads.


The alarm goes off and after listening to the state and then local news it is time to get up. My prayer book refers to Psalm 82 and maintaining the right of the lowly and rescuing the weak and lonely. It is Tuesday, the day our congregation, with the help of community members, puts on a community lunch. The lunch prior to Covid attracted those passing through the town and rough sleepers by the river, but now we mainly attract older members of the wider community who come for a good two-course meal and friendship. All we ask is a gold coin donation, but we are unlikely to refuse anyone.

My Bible reading for this morning is the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. I am reminded of our trip to the Holy Land in 2018 where we viewed what was believed to be relics of Peter’s home underneath a very impressive Catholic Church building where we worshipped with our Catholic travelling companions.

This Sunday we will celebrate Covenant Sunday with Holy Communion. I need to be careful to make sure that the worship service doesn’t go for too long. I check out resources. As it approaches midday I head off to the church. Our office person is having trouble with the printer and at a quick glance I cannot fix it.

At the lunch I sit with two women from STEPS, a group which meets Wednesday to Friday in our church. It is part of the ‘Hands on Help’ group for those on low incomes. One woman has been suffering long Covid for over a year; the other is considering retiring as STEPS treasurer after 10 years.

Back in the office, I solve the printer issue and I can print off the handout for the Covenant Service.
When home it is back to emails and worship preparation. I decide to initially concentrate on the aged care services for Friday, with one including Holy Communion. With help from worship resources, I put together a half-hour service. Then it is back to Sunday’s service.

Crosslight magazine michele lees two

Worship preparation for services, including aged care, is an important part of the week for Michele.


I wake early and start mulling over in my mind a concern about our community outreach program. I need to follow this up and hope to speak to the appropriate people in the next few days. After speaking to my son who works in IT, I may need to purchase a new laptop. Some research will be needed here.

During my quiet time I am encouraged to seek out the beauty of God in creation today, and from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, I ponder the questions, ‘Am I a stumbling block to anyone?’ and ‘How?’

After going through emails and responding to one concerning when to celebrate the arrival of our new grand piano at the church, it is time to take my car to be serviced. Once home I spend more time intentionally with God, listening to music and reading reflections on the necessity of rest to restore ourselves to who God made us to be.

As Convenor of the Discernment and Candidates Committee, I consider a discernment plan submitted by a Church Council-supported member from a congregation in the Presbytery. And then it is onto reading a report from Property Services regarding the heritage restoration of our church building. Church Council needs to decide on how much we can afford.

After lunch I take a walk along the riverbank to the sounds of kookaburras and wind whistling through the trees. Back at my computer I view the latest video of our church activities. We are showing these before worship so that all members are aware of what happens at the church during the week. Then it is back to preparing for Sunday’s worship.


I wake with the alarm after a good night’s sleep. Today my prayer book encourages me to trust in God to give me what I need for the proclamation on Sunday. At present I am torn on which way to go. The Corinthians reading makes me wonder how flexible I am in connecting with others.

More time is spent on emails and working with the latest video of our church activities, then off to spending time with God to consider Sunday’s proclamation and go over the service. As always God is faithful, and helps me bring together new things and old.

There are computer issues again, but I eventually get to work on the PowerPoint for Sunday and communicate with our Period of Discernment committee and candidates. I spend the rest of the afternoon working on the PowerPoint, researching laptops, and going over tomorrow morning’s two services.

Olympus digital camera

Community engagement is an enjoyable part of ministry for Michele.


Up at my regular time and this morning in my quiet time I am reminded that God’s glory can be seen in the ordinary events. I expect to see God’s glory as I lead worship this morning and chat with the residents of the aged care home and the independent living houses.

We have about 25 at the aged care home this morning, down on pre-Covid numbers of near 40, but still, it is a good gathering and a wonderful opportunity to catch up with the many Uniting Church members who live here. I spend time grieving with one woman over the loss of her daughter and the loss of her home and precious garden. Another resident has recently moved in and grieves for the loss of her husband six months ago while still adjusting to leaving her home of many years.
Then it’s across to the community centre where we hold a worship service for the more independent residents. Today 16 gather, but we are missing a few of our regulars. We have worshippers from all denominations attend both services, and I organise to visit one of our members when I am back from leave. Before lunch I ring a member of our outreach team to discuss a concern I have. She is understanding of what I am thinking, and I tell her I will continue to check on my concern.

During the afternoon I consider purchasing a new laptop, ring a member who is feeling down, and spend time writing a Minister’s report for our AGM.


I don’t need to get up so early today, but there are plenty of things I want to do. Following a quiet time and putting on the washing, I have breakfast and pore over yesterday’s local paper. Then it’s time to adjust my sermon with a thought I had originally.

I add our latest congregational video to the PowerPoint, and no matter how many times I check over the service, there always seems something to improve on.


Today is forecast to be 40 degrees and even with cooling in the church I decide that it is too hot to wear an alb for Holy Communion. Instead, I wear a white shirt with a green stole for Epiphany. Following a quiet time and checking over the liturgy and PowerPoint it is off to the church, where I catch up with those who I think need a chat.

Today is our first Sunday with our new grand piano and we are very pleased with the sound. The worship service with the Covenant Service and Holy Communion goes well and does not finish unacceptably late. Following worship, I give a handout to an Elder who will take part in a coming Baptism, and a few of us talk about suitable story books for worship. It is then downstairs for a cuppa, or for me, some cold water.

I speak with one member whose sister has not been well, another who is an apology for our Church Council meeting tomorrow night, and I arrange with our Elders’ leader to hold an afternoon tea at the manse on the first Sunday in March. Then it’s home to unpack all my gear from worship, have lunch and catch up on a written commitment I have.

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