From the Rector
As we approach the end of the year we not only look back at what has happened, but also, as Christians, look forward to celebrating Christ coming to us at the end of time during the church season of Advent, and of his presence amongst us in the incarnation, the great feast of Christmas.
We have just finished the plebiscite on extending our civil recognition of marriage. I have enjoyed hearing from many parishioners why they were voting yes or no. One of the great Anglican formularies is that we develop listening to the voices of Scripture, tradition and reason. At St George’s I found some good articles written from both sides of the debate that I made available for study. The Archbishop requested that clergy not preach against the established Australian Anglican doctrine that marriage is only between a man and woman and I complied with that request. It has been a good challenge for us all to think about what we consider marriage to be. Personally, I think the church should not be doing marriages on behalf of the state at all but instead we should, as in many European countries, have everyone register their marriage with the state. Church weddings then have no legal status, but be only sacramental and only a personal expression of faith and seeking God’s blessing. In some parts of the Anglican communion marriage has been extended to include same sex couples but there is unlikely to be any change here owing to conservative opposition from dioceses like Sydney.
The debate also saw the recognition that the Christian churches no longer have an authoritative voice in the debate. Different lobbies promoted the causes, but, overall, the churches were missing in action. Our own church has authorised the doctrine commission to start a conversation about these issues, but this is all far too late for any meaningful contribution to the debate. There was no diocesan material put out to encourage or explore the questions raised.
One factor for this has been our collective failure in child protection and our dealing with sexuality. The Royal Commission will soon deliver its verdict on how we, as an institution, have responded. Too many times we have acted in self-preservation of our assets and reputation than allowing an honest exploration of the issues. Too many times the churches have scapegoated leaders or individuals without looking at the underlying issues. I know how many of you have spoken to me over the years at how Archbishop George was forced out, as an example of institutional scapegoating. We are still on this journey of learning how to be a more open and humble church. But we have lost the respect of our culture to speak on questions of sexuality.
This issue of the Messenger is unusual because it not only covers Christmas but also the start of Lent. I encourage you to come to our masses over Christmas to give thanks for the Christchild in our lives. Thankfulness is such an underplayed virtue, and we so often forget to give thanks to not only our family and friends, but also to God. So try and make your Christmas communion and thanks this year.
We will also have our short service on New Year’s Eve, this year on a Sunday at 4pm, to give thanks for the year past and pray for the year ahead.
Twelve days after Christmas is the feast of the Epiphany when we remember the wise men coming to acknowledge the baby Jesus as God. We will be keeping it this year on Sunday 7 January – remember to bring your gold coin (or more) donation to help pay for the incense of the church that day. We use a lot of incense and all donations gratefully received.
Lent starts early this year with Ash Wednesday on 14 February. A good keeping of Lent means a Lenten rule: what can we do more, or what can we do less (as making space is also a good discipline) to follow our Lord on the way of the Cross to Easter. We will have pancakes here for Shrove Tuesday on 13 February at 6 pm. As usual there will be Stations of the Cross every Friday during Lent.
This month Mother Joan Claring-Bould celebrates her 25th anniversary of being made priest. Joan worked in our parish before ordination and has been a distinctive voice in our diocese with her ministry at the hospital and with the oddest people. I always feel that ministry is not blessed until the odd turn up, as it is those who are on the fringes who are often where Christ is most needed and present. I congratulate her on her anniversary.
A Statement from the Rector
Dear parishioners and friends
In the last issue of the Messenger I disclosed the long running investigations the Diocese has been making regarding allegations against me.
As you know I was presumptive in presuming that the process was over because the Archbishop had agreed there were flaws in the process of Professionals Standards. The Archbishop carried out an investigation into allegations of bullying which included interviewing members of parish council, and concluded that the allegations of bullying were not substantiated.
The Diocese has also reimbursed my legal costs.
I apologise for my lack of judgment in disclosing these matters before the conclusion of the matter and if I have overstated my case in any way I also apologise.
I would like to thank you all for the many calls and letters of support I have received since the last magazine. It is heartening to receive so much support.
I remain profoundly disappointed by the length and conduct of the whole process of these complaints. This must also have been extremely frustrating to the complainants.
It is interesting that the conduct of professional standards is an ongoing discussion in the church, and Muriel Porter, an eminent Melbourne Anglican and a member of our General Synod, has even written a book on the subject called “The New Scapegoats” about some of the problems. My thanks to those parishioners and clergy who have also shared with me some of their encounters with this body.
The Archbishop is now finalising his investigation into concerns raised by the complainants regarding the administration of the parish and is in conversation with the parish council to clarify the situation.
My particular thanks to Bishop John Ford and Archdeacon Peter Carlsson of the Murray who have provided support during these long months. A priest’s job is often stressful and lonely, and I acutely felt the lack of diocesan support. My thanks also to Fr John Devenport, for his wise words in helping me to move on from this distressful time.
Consideration of a Book-end
Why “Book-end”? Well, the Christmas Crib and the Stations of the Cross can be thought of as forming “book-ends” to Jesus’ earthly life, with the Crib standing at one end and the Stations at the other. We have the Franciscans to thank for giving us both the Christmas Crib and the Stations of the Cross. But while the story of how the Franciscans came to create the “book-end” of the Christmas Crib is relatively well-known, perhaps not so familiar is the story of the “book-end” of the Stations of the Cross.
Fourteen Stations of the Cross adorn the pillars and walls of St George’s. These replace a set of Stations acquired in 1918. In February of that year Fr Wise reported: “I have a set of Pictures which have been framed and will be hung in the Church in Lent. They are to be put there chiefly for the children that I may be able to teach them therewith the Story of the Passion”. And later he wrote: “I am glad that so many of you are using the Stations of the Cross”. These Stations, which can be glimpsed in old photos of the church, were only ever intended to be temporary. The present Stations were purchased in 1929 by Fr Wise as a memorial to Mrs Priscilla Bickford, a good friend and benefactor of St George’s. Of Italian origin, they are a focus for devotion on Fridays during Lent and on Good Friday.
The Stations of the Cross originated in pilgrimages to Jerusalem. Pilgrims to that city wished to enter into the Passion of Christ by following in his footsteps along the Via Dolorosa (the Way of Sorrow) on what was thought to be the actual path walked by Jesus on his way to Calvary. The first reports of such a pilgrimage route date from the Byzantine era when a Holy Thursday procession is described as starting from the Mount of Olives and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. At first there were no actual stops along the way, but it eventually became customary to halt at places and to offer prayers where events associated with Christ’s final journey were believed to have occurred. In the 14th century these halting places came to be referred to as Stations.
Not everyone who wished to do so was able to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem to walk the Way of the Cross, so during the 15th and 16th centuries the Franciscans began to build a series of outdoor shrines in Europe to duplicate their counterparts in the Holy Land. People now could go on “pilgrimage” and follow in Christ’s footsteps without leaving home. In the following centuries Stations of the Cross came to be placed inside churches as well, including even some Methodist places of worship.
As the period of time between Christ’s condemnation by Pilate to just before his crucifixion receives no more than a few verses in all four Gospels, attempts were made to fill the gap with various additions to Biblical events. Up until the 19th century there was little consistency in the number of Stations and the events attached to them. The first stations to appear in pilgrimage accounts were the encounters with Simon of Cyrene and the Daughters of Jerusalem and not, as now, Christ before Pilate. And in Jerusalem there were, among others, a Station at The House of Herod and at The House of the Evil Rich Man who would not give Alms to the Poor! On the whole there is now general agreement today as to the number of Stations and their content although there are local variations.
Our Stations, with their customary number of fourteen, follow what is now an accepted pattern, beginning with Christ before Pilate and ending with Christ being laid in the Tomb.
Next year at St George’s we will begin walking the Way of the Cross on the first Friday in Lent, February 16th , and continue on the following Fridays. You are invited to share with us in this “pilgrimage without leaving home”.
A morning prayer
Lord, take me where you want me to go
Let me meet whom you want me to meet
Tell me what you want me to say and
Keep me out of your way.
6 pm Sunday 24th December
Starting 11 pm 24th December
Solemn Sung Mass
9 am Monday 25 December
New Year’s Eve
4 pm Sunday 31 December
A short service of evening prayer to give thanks to the year and to pray for the year ahead.
From the Register
We had the baptism of Rhys Jayden Hancock, son of Jade and Tyson on 17 September.
We had the funeral of Dot Masson of 12 October. Our sympathies to her daughter Elizabeth and Jann.
We had the confirmation of Pratibha Marqus on 25 November. Pictures will be in the next issue!
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
We are approaching the end of the main wiring, completing the lights for the nave and chancel roof. It has been wonderful to see the progress of the purple lights in this area, bringing the beautiful wooden ceiling into focus. We hope to have this completed for Christmas. After this we intend to dismantle the scaffolding after over a year’s work, and re-access any fine tuning later next year.
The Unley Council is still working on the street outside the church and we are yet to see our new bollards and lighting on the War Shrine. But the I love the removal of the poles and the new look of the street.
Stations of the Cross
Every Friday in Lent
Follow our Lord
on the Way to the Cross
Here’s a Christmas Quiz with 20 questions for you to try!
- What’s the name of the period leading up to Christmas?
- How many Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus?
- How does Good King Wenceslas like his pizzas?
- What was the name of John the Baptist’s Mother?
- Who brings presents to children in Holland on the 5th/6th December?
- How many letters are in the angelic alphabet?
- In what town was Jesus born?
- How many presents were given in total in the 12 Days of Christmas?
- In what decade was the first Christmas Card sent in the UK?
- What country did the holy family escape to?
- How many of Rudolph’s eight companions names start with ‘D’?
- What country did Christmas Trees originate from?
- Who was the ‘King of the Jews’ who ordered the babies to be killed?
- What’s the second line of “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas”?
- What was Joseph’s job?
- Who started the custom of Wassailing?
- Who were first people to visit the baby Jesus?
- What’s lucky to find in your Christmas Pudding?
- What Angel visited Mary?
- Where did the baby Jesus sleep?
- More than one, the Bible doesn’t say how many!
- Deep pan, crisp and even!
- 25; ‘no el’!!!
- 1840s – 1843 by Sir Henry Cole
- Three – Dasher, Dancer and Donner
- Germany – it was Latvia but it was part of German then!
- King Herod
- Just like the ones I used to know
- The Anglo Saxons – it means ‘good health’
- A six pence
- In a manger
1 Charles de Foucauld, Hermit, Servant of the Poor, 1916
2 Frances Perry, Founder of Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, 1892
3 ADVENT 1
4 John of Damascus, Monk, Teacher of the Faith, c749
4 Nicholas Ferrar, Deacon, Founder of the Little Gidding Community, 1637
6 Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, c326
7 Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, Teacher of the Faith, 397
8 The Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8 Richard Baxter, Pastor and Spiritual Writer, 1691
10 ADVENT 2
13 Lucy, Martyr at Syracuse, 304
13 Samuel Johnson, Moralist, 1784
13 Ember Wednesday
14 John of the Cross, Poet, Teacher of the Faith, 1591
15 Ember Friday
16 Ember Saturday
17 O Sapientia
17 ADVENT 3
21 THOMAS, APOSTLE AND MARTYR
24 ADVENT 4
25 THE BIRTH OF OUR LORD; CHRISTMAS DAY
26 STEPHEN, DEACON AND FIRST MARTYR
27 JOHN, APOSTLE AND EVANGELIST
28 HOLY INNOCENTS
29 Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, Martyr, 1170
30 Josephine Butler, Social Reformer, 1905
31 John Wyclif, Reformer, 1384
1 THE NAMING AND CIRCUMCISION OF JESUS: Solemnity of MARY, MOTHER OF GOD
2 Basil of Caesarea & Gregory of Nazianzus, Bishops, Teachers of the Faith, 379 & 389
2 Eliza Hassall, CMS Missionary in the Middle East, 1917
2 Seraphim, Monk of Sarov, Spiritual Guide, 1833
2 Vedanayagam Samuel Azariah, Bishop in South India, Evangelist, 1945
7 THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD (from 6th)
10 William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1645
12 Aelred of Hexham, Abbot of Rievaulx, 1167
12 Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, Scholar, 689
12 Dedication of 1st Church, 1882
13 Hilary of Poitiers, Teacher of the Faith, 367
13 Kentigern [Mungo], Missionary Bishop in Strathclyde and Cumbria, 603
14 EPIPHANY 2
17 Antony of Egypt, Hermit, Abbot, 356
17 Charles Gore, Bishop, Teacher, Founder of the Community of the Resurrection, 1932
18 CONFESSION OF PETER
19 Wulfstan, Bishop of Worchester, 1095
20 Richard Rolle of Hampole, Spiritual Writer, 1349
21 AGNES, CHILD-MARTYR OF ROME, 304
21 Mt Lamington Memorial Day (1951)
22 Vincent of Saragossa, Deacon, First Martyr of Spain, 304
24 Companions of Paul, including Timothy, Titus and Silas
24 Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva, Teacher of the Faith, 1622
25 CONVERSION OF PAUL
26 Australia Day
27 John Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, Teacher, 407
28 EPIPHANY 4
30 Charles, King and Martyr, 1649
30 Laying of Foundation Stone of Oratory 1915
1 Brigid, Abbess of Kildare, c525
3 First Anglican Service in Australia, 1788
3 Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary in Denmark & Sweden, 865
3 Blaise, martyr, Bishop of Sebastea, Armenia, c316
4 THE PRESENTATION OF CHRIST IN THE TEMPLE (Candlemas) from 2nd
5 Paul Miki and the Martyrs of Japan, 1597
10 Scholastica, sister of Benedict, Abbess of Plombariola, c543
13 SHROVE TUESDAY
14 ASH WEDNESDAY
15 Thomas Bray, Priest, missionary, Founder of SPCK and the SPG, 1730
18 LENT 1
20 William Grant Broughton, first Bishop of Australia, 1853
21 Ember Wednesday
23 Ember Friday
23 Polycarp of Smyrna, Bishop of Smyrna, c155
24 MATTHIAS, APOSTLE AND MARTYR
25 LENT 2
27 George Herbert, Priest, Poet, 1633
1 David, Bishop of Menevia, Patron of Wales, c601
2 Chad, Bishop of Lichfield, Missionary, 672
4 LENT 3
7 Perpetua and her Companions, Martyrs at Carthage, 203
8 Edward King, Bishop of Lincoln, 1910
8 John of God, Worker among the Sick and poor, Spain, 1550
8 Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy, Priest, Poet, 1929
9 Sister Emma SSA, Superior of the Society of the Sacred Advent, Queensland, 1939
11 LENT 4 MOTHERING SUNDAY