Every week we are issuing a news sheet for the parish.

Pentecost 3: 21 June, 2020

Every week things are slowly getting back to normal, or what passes for normal at St George’s. After having only ten per mass, we were allowed twenty, and this week we are up to seventy-five. We are also allowed this week to resume singing our hymns together. Now, we are more the shy Anglicans rather than the full-throated Welsh, but it will be lovely to get back to singing our hymns together.

As a result, this Sunday will be the last Sunday to have three masses, and the 11.30 am mass on Sunday will cease after this week. This will allow us to resume our other meetings on Sunday mornings and our study group next month. Our weekdays masses will only have one change, with the Friday mass staying at 8 am, not 5.15 pm. For the time being we are still only permitted to give the sacrament without the chalice.

The time has also come to start to wind down this newssheet as well. I have enjoyed using this format, but it has taken considerable time each week to prepare. I am proposing that a parish newssheet will now come out monthly. We will revert to using the title “The Messenger”, the title of the parish magazine we have been using since Fr Wise’s time. This will therefore be the last Plague Rag to be sent out, unless there are further health restrictions. However, I intend to keep this format for the revamped Messenger, and it will now be mainly an email newssheet, rather than a printed magazine.

Furthermore, we will cease to have a regular angelus every day outdoors at 12 noon. This was designed to be a space where we could gather safely and at a distance to say our corporate prayers and particularly for those who were infected by the pandemic, medical staff and the safety of our friends and family overseas. We also made a special mention of nursing staff changing shifts at our hospitals, and the Royal Adelaide chaplain Fr Nicholas Rundle. My thanks to so many of you who turned up regularly over these months to support me.

It has been an interesting few months here. I have enjoyed our daily angelus, in fine weather and wet. The daily masses have continued behind closed doors. Then we worked our way through the complex rites of the triduum, the great three holy days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Eve, bereft of a congregation. Normally the Easter vigil is one of the longest masses of the year, with the blessing of the new fire, the singing of the great Exsultet, that special blessing over the new paschal candle lit from the fire, the myriad of vigil readings (my favourite always being the valley of dry bones from Ezekiel) , the blessing of the new water with its own lengthy prayer, and then the first mass of Easter in the wonderful gold vestments given in memory of Fr Willoughby, one of my predecessors as Rector here. Well, this year was the shortest one on record, as with only a few souls we zoomed through it in under an hour.

We started this lockdown just before the feast of the Annunciation, 25 March, and this week we keep the feast of the birth of John the Baptist, 24 June. Both of these are what we call quarter days, marking the four divisions of the solar year. They mark the equinox of the season, when the night and day are of equal length, and for us the winter solstice, the shortest day of winter. As such they have a history that goes well back into ancient origins to mark the turning of the seasons. Quarter days were also in England the traditional times of paying tithes or rents, hence the British budget is still kept on 5 April, which is the old 25 March in the older Julian Calendar, before the insertion of 11 days to bring it in line with the Gregorian calendar we now keep. The feast of John the Baptist is exactly six months before Christmas, another quarter day. The reason it is on the 24th and not the 25th is that the days are counted in the older Roman way of days before the calends (the name of the first day of the month when the festivals of the month ahead were anciently shouted out and debts paid). As both John and Christmas are six days before the 1st of the next month, and as June has 30 days and December 31 days, there is hence the one day difference. (We still count our minutes like this when we say something is say five minutes, or a quarter, before the hour: once we counted days in the same fashion). So, we have followed this lockdown for a whole quarter of the year. It’s been a long time.

Throughout this time our main priority here has been to keep saying mass. This is because the gift of the sacrament is the most important thing we have as Christians. In the mass we bring all our needs, all our prayers, and join them with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. As soon as we could we re-opened our church to allow you, the holy people of God, to join in this and receive the sacramental presence of Christ.

But we should also step back and consider what we have learnt and what has happened. Our Archbishop has put it in these words:

I do wonder though whether some of the reactions we have seen are also connected to the general anxiety in societies which are used to good health and relative security, but which have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions. People are edgy and anxious, tired and frustrated.

This is partly because of the change that we’ve had to adjust to; partly because people have lost jobs and businesses; partly because our political leaders who were so united on the journey to shut down are now not nearly so united. A major factor also in my view is grief. Grief because there has been much loss. Not just jobs and businesses though that has been substantial. There has also been loss because we haven’t been able to do what we had planned to do and what we like to do. There has also been a loss in that we, who thought we were very much in control, have been shown to be not in control of our destiny at all. A virus has surfaced which has turned the world upside down. What the virus has done is shown us the truth which was there all the time but which we could ignore and were encouraged to ignore by the powerful narrative of secularism. Humans think we are in control, but COVID-19 has reminded us that we are not in control, and that realisation, that loss brings grief, and anger is very much part of grief. Sadly, I suspect we might be in for more anger yet.

This seems to be an opportunity for an alternative narrative to be offered. A narrative which clearly admits we are not in control – not as an admission of defeat or weakness, but an acknowledgement of reality. A narrative which acknowledges another reality, the existence of God. Not some far away god, but God who loves the world so much that he entered into it in the person of Jesus, and continues to be present in the person of the Holy Spirit who comforts hearts and illuminates the church, the body of Christ, and also works in the world to bring life. As followers of Jesus we have this alternative way to offer. A way of living which gives us meaning and hope. This way does not take pain away but enables us to live with uncertainty because we know God loves us and all creation.

Our people need to be reminded and strengthened in this hope because we are all enmeshed with what is going on and affected by it, if not personally, then vicariously through others. Christians can be edgy and anxious, tired and frustrated.

Please keep talking, preaching and teaching the love of God in Jesus and the opportunity for faith/trust that we have, and which is available to everyone. Jesus blessed his followers with peace in a very turbulent time immediately after his resurrection. May we be blessed with God’s peace and may we bless people with God’s peace in this very turbulent time too.

I hope that this newssheet has helped you to reflect on your lives, your relationship with God and the state of your soul over this quarter. We have been blessed by the protection we have enjoyed. We should give thanks and continue to pray for that protection.

My thanks for the help in doing this newssheet, Emily Harding for proofing it and Tim Hender for the links every week. It’s been fun doing it, and putting together the photos – I hope you like this week’s them of past Rectors. My thanks as well to so many of you who have engaged with the topics I have raised, and found this useful.

God bless

Fr Scott

Online Resources

Fittingly for the ‘last’ Plague Rag, let’s take a look at how people are memorialising the departed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Of course, many of these arrangements are still temporary, especially in our sister churches in the UK and North America – nevertheless, people are talking and installations are happening.

We must give thanks that for us in South Australia, we remain protected from the need to recognise the direct victims of the pandemic – yet we must also remember, as the Archbishop has called us to do, those other victims who are living in anxiety, fear and uncertainty.

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

21 Sunday                                                                                                                      PENTECOST 3

8.00 am      Mass

10.00 am      Mass

11.30 am      Mass

22 Monday                                                                                                                     Fr Scott’s day off

23 Tuesday                                                  ALBAN, FIRST MARTYR OF BRITAIN, c209 (from 22)

10.00 am      Mass

24 Wednesday                                                                         THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

8.00 am      Mass

25 Thursday

12.00 noon   Angelus and Mass

7.30 pm      Gregorian Chant Group

26 Friday

8.00 am      Mass

27 Saturday                                                              Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher of the Faith, 444

8.00 am      Mass

28 Sunday                                                                                                                      PENTECOST 4

8.00 am      Mass

10.00 am      Mass

Corpus Christi: 14 June, 2020

This Sunday we come to the next of the great theological feasts after Eastertide, Corpus Christi. Many of the names we have for Sundays and even hymns come from the Latin directly, and Corpus Christi is the Latin for Body of Christ. This Sunday we reflect on the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar. In a way it is an echo of Maundy Thursday (another name coming via Latin, in this case mandatum, the Latin for commandment, from the first words on the introit of this feast, A New Commandment I Give to You.) On Maundy Thursday Our Lord instituted the sacrament of the altar, by taking bread and wine and declaring them to be his body and blood. However, on Maundy Thursday the theme is part of the great drama leading to Easter, so Holy Mother Church placed this feast of Corpus Christi after this period, to allow us to contemplate more fully this mystery.

The last week we have seen the Black Life Matters demonstrations in the US and here. In NSW there was a court case over the legality of the march. In part it plays out a fascinating balance – how much are our civic rights to protest peaceably constrained by the health emergency. We have relinquished our civic right for freedom of worship at the moment because of the needs of health, as we have many other rights. Here we have been fortunate, as the restrictions are already being lifted, so the clash between different rights have not yet been extreme. In the US, part of the unrest, I suspect, is based in the frustration of the long lockdown with only minimal result.

Which leads me to the fascinating historical balance of rights issue. Last week we celebrated the memorial of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, non-juror and hymn writer, who died in 1711. I was asked by someone what a non-juror was. This goes back to the conflict at the end of the Stuart era in England, around 1680-1700. The then king, James II, was a Roman Catholic, and wanted an easing of the religious laws to allow freedom of worship. However, these laws were passed by parliament and could only be changed with the consent of Parliament. James attempted to get around this by dismissing parliament and then issuing what he called a Declaration of Indulgence in 1687 and 1688, using his claim of Royal prerogative to set aside the laws of the land. Now, in those days kings did not have the advantages of a twitter account, so to publicise this he ordered this proclamation to be read in all the churches of the land. By having it read out in the churches he also was trying to get the moral authority of the church to support his proclamation.

Seven bishops, including the then archbishop of Canterbury and Thomas Ken, petitioned to be excused from reading it, claiming that it relied on an interpretation of Royal authority declared illegal by Parliament. James reacted with his customary fury to being opposed; calling it “a standard of rebellion.” After the petition was printed and publicly distributed, the bishops were charged with seditious libel and in a further fit of rage James had them imprisoned in the Tower of London. James was confident of a guilty verdict; he had appointed numerous sympathetic judges. They were tried but found not guilty, to scenes of wild rejoicing in London: bishops were and are rarely considered objects of public joy. It was the beginning of the end for James, and he abandoned England for exile soon after.

Two new monarchs were then invited to take the throne, William III of Orange and his wife, the daughter of James, Mary II. The dignitaries of the land, including the clergy, were then required to swear allegiance to the new monarchs. Nine bishops, including five of the seven previously imprisoned refused, as well as many clergy. Reasons varied; some, like Bishop Ken, considered themselves bound by their oath to James, but continued to attend church services. Others argued the new regime was illegitimate, since divine right and inheritance meant kings could not be removed, the so-called “state point.” A more fundamental issue was the “church point,” or belief Parliament had no right to intervene in ecclesiastical affairs, whether appointing or removing bishops and clergy, or changes to church policies. Eventually in May 1691, six new bishops were appointed to replace these bishops, including one for Bishop Ken, three of the original nine having since died. These were called the non-jurors, from the Latin verb juro meaning to swear an oath.

This group was never large, and had largely disappeared by the 1770s. But they had an important influence as they developed a more catholic Book of Common Prayer, similar to the first Book of 1549. It was significant in Scotland as the Anglican church was disestablished and became an independent Episcopal Church of Scotland, which would ordain the first bishops in the US.

The crisis in 1688 and the actions of the bishops and then the judges were immensely influential in developing the concept of the rule of law as a principle separate from the will of a leader. The assertion of Bishop Ken and the other bishops that they had to obey the law and not the King became a foundation of impartial government. The controversy about the right to petition the monarch or parliament free from coercion led to the insertion of this right in the 1689 English Bill of Rights and appears in the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Monarchs, and later presidents, are subject to the laws duly passed, and temper tantrums are not enough grounds to imprison those who disagree with you. Another of the rights contained in the first amendment in the US Constitution was the right of peaceable assembly, which is the source of present legal actions in the US over the forcible clearing of protesters near the White House to allow the President to have his photo shot outside the nearby church.

A right that is still being balanced here between the right to protest about Black Lives Matter and the needs of public health.

Anyway, back to the parish. Greetings and thanks from the Sua family in the Solomons, part of our dispersed parish. Their thanks for the money donated to help pay the school fess of Charlyn and Reece. This Sunday they are keeping the patronal feast of St Barnabas in the Cathedral there. It’s a wonderful experience to go to that Cathedral. The service is very high church, the servers very well trained, and come out in height order. The singing, well, that is spectacular, as any of you may have heard in PNG or the other countries of the Pacific.

At the moment we have to remain with a maximum of 20 per mass. The only mass that is full completely is the 10 am on Sunday morning – please do not come to this without a booking. I apologise for the need to record names, but I cannot avoid that. The list of names will be destroyed after one month.

But back to Bishop Ken. He is not just remembered for his principled stand, but also for his saintly life. He was offered his old diocese back, but on principle he refused, and led the rest of his life as a tutor, writing books of prayers and hymns. One is particularly famous, Awake, My soul, also known for its famous ending, Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. This was the period when hymns were just becoming accepted in churches, which had looked dubiously on any wording not found directly in Scripture. When Thomas Ken died in 1711, he was buried at sunrise with this beautiful hymn being sung. Here it is sung by Norwich Cathedral choir and here a modern rendition by Jacob Tilton. Here are the full words, although only four verses are commonly sung these days.

1 Awake, my soul, and with the sun

Thy daily stage of duty run;

Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,

To pay thy morning sacrifice.

2 Thy precious time misspent, redeem,

Each present day thy last esteem,

Improve thy talent with due care;

For the great day thyself prepare.

3 By influence of the Light divine

Let thy own light to others shine.

Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways

In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

4 In conversation be sincere;

Keep conscience as the noontide clear;

Think how all seeing God thy ways

And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

5 Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,

And with the angels bear thy part,

Who all night long unwearied sing

High praise to the eternal King.

6 All praise to Thee, Who safe has kept

And hast refreshed me while I slept

Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake

I may of endless light partake.

7 Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,

O never then from me depart;

For to my soul ’tis hell to be

But for one moment void of Thee.

8 Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;

Disperse my sins as morning dew.

Guard my first springs of thought and will,

And with Thyself my spirit fill.

9 Direct, control, suggest, this day,

All I design, or do, or say,

That all my powers, with all their might,

In Thy sole glory may unite.

10 I would not wake nor rise again

And Heaven itself I would disdain,

Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,

And I in hymns to be employed.

11 Heaven is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art;

O never then from me depart;

For to my soul ’tis hell to be

But for one moment without Thee.

12 Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

God bless 

Fr Scott

Online Resources

Today, let’s continue Father Scott’s look at St Barnabas’ Cathedral in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

St Barnabas is the seat of the Right Reverend George Takeli, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia.  The Church has 200,000 thousand members out of 800,000 citizens in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – quite possibly the highest proportion of active members in the Anglican communion – and a mission in Nouméa, New Caledonia.  Founded in 1849, ACOM has its own legends and martyrs (I’ll save them for another week!) and a deep and abiding collection of religious communities, including the Melanesian Brotherhood which is the largest in Anglicanism and is now sending missionaries to Australia.  Please take a look at the ACOM website – you will be surprised at how comprehensive it is: https://www.acom.org.sb.

Liturgy at the Cathedral itself, as Father Scott pointed out, is immaculately organised and is one of the many locations across Melanesia that successfully blends the indigenous style with the Christian faith, a sort of Pacific Gospel. I’m not good at describing music, so here’s some examples!

Unfortunately all the videos I can find for St Barnabas Cathedral are on their Facebook page; for those that can access Facebook they’re at:

But here are some visually and acoustically more sophisticated offerings from the Melanesian Brothers and the Sisters of the Church – please watch these, they are wonderfully heartening to the jaded Western Christian:

Pax et Bonum, Tim Hender

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

14 Sunday                                                                                                               CORPUS CHRISTI

8.00 am      Mass

10.00 am      Mass

11.30 am      Mass

12.00 noon   Angelus

15 Monday                                                                                 Evelyn Underhill, Spiritual Writer, 1941

                                                                                                                                       Fr Scott’s day off

16 Tuesday                                                                                         Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253

10.00 am      Mass

12.00 noon   Angelus

17 Wednesday

8.00 am      Mass

12.00 noon   Angelus

18 Thursday                                                          Bernard Mizeki, Apostle to the MaShona, Martyr, 1896

12.00 noon   Angelus and Mass

7.30 pm      Gregorian Chant Group

19 Friday                                                                                                                   SACRED HEART

8.00 am      Mass

12.00 noon   Angelus

20 Saturday

8.00 am      Mass

12.00 noon   Angelus

21 Sunday                                                                                                                      PENTECOST 3

8.00 am      Mass

10.00 am      Mass

11.30 am      Mass

12.00 noon   Angelus

The Midday Prayers (including the Angelus) are said in the gardens at the outdoor shrine every day from Tuesday to Sunday at 12 noon.

Trinity: 7 June, 2020

As we finish the Easter season, Holy Mother Church has a series of catch-up Sundays, where we take themes for the faithful to ponder. Easter finished last week with Pentecost, when we pondered the gift of the Holy Spirit, and this Sunday we step back and contemplate the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the revelation by which we know God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We still have to come the feasts of Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart, the last of the two catch up feasts.

The Holy Trinity is simplicity and complexity in one. One of the first things we learn is making the sign of the cross to the name of the Holy Trinity, touching the head to signify our intellectual consent, our heart to signify our emotional consent, and then across our chest to signify the body’s worship. It is simplicity in that it is three persons, but complex in how this can be. But what we need to know is that by existing in three persons, God shows a plurality and an independence that is held together in love. We often say that God is love, and we know this from the Trinity, the ability to hold three persons together in love, the Father our creator, the Son our redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our sanctifier.

In the parish we are now allowed twenty persons per mass, so we are now down to three masses on Sunday morning: 8, 10 and 11.30. Please remember to book for a mass on Sunday; the 10 am mass particularly is full. You need to tick your name off the list on Sunday, so we have a record of who is here for tracing purposes. Weekday masses are also available, at the moment there is no need to book for these but do write down your name on the attendance sheet. The list will only be kept for one month and then destroyed.

The last few weeks I have been employing the low altar at the chancel steps and bringing communion to you in the pews. This echoes what was sometimes called the Jacobean church arrangement. This was the period in England of Elizabeth and James I, hence Jacobean from the Latin version of James. In those days in many churches the altar was no longer against the east wall, but instead placed lengthwise in the chancels. Most Sundays the normal service was Matins, Litany and the first part of the communion service, finishing before the consecration, and therefore called the ante-communion. The priest led these services from the nave, in front of the screen that separated the chancel from the nave. When it came to communion, which was often just monthly or even every three months, those who were communicating went into the chancel and sat in the choir stalls there, with the altar in between. The priest stood then at the narrow end of the altar, facing the east wall. Anciently, Christians always celebrated facing East, to await the return of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who will return in the East. Then at communion the priest would bring the sacrament to where the people were kneeling, in the chancel pews. In the reign of Charles I the altars were restored to the East walls and communion rails were erected to stop the altars being profaned – when the altar was between the choir stalls the puritans used the altar as a convenient “table” upon which to place their tall hats. However, many clergy still continued to say mass at the short end of the altar, now the north end, as they had in Jacobean times. This custom still continues in some low churches to this day.

We are now having pew sheets at church again, so I am starting to change the format of this Plague Rag. I will no longer include the weekly readings after this issue. I would also like feedback as to whether we should change the Messenger magazine. At the moment we post it out every three months. Would people prefer to receive it monthly in the same format as this Plague Rag?

I hope you have enjoyed the photos that I am putting in each week. Today I have specially included different photos of the interior of the church, looking towards the high altar. As you can see, there have been many changes over the years. The original idea was for a carved wooden screen, but that was too expensive. So we had curtains, and then for many years the lovely painting of the flight into Egypt, showing the Holy Family, now situated over the door leading into the vestries. Then the Crown complete with the “traffic lights” before their removal.

Gradually our churches are re-opening. It’s been frustrating to limit large buildings to small numbers. Full marks to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney who organised an email campaign to the NSW government to allow more than ten in the cathedral there. As he pointed out, 40 people could cram into a bus to come here and then only ten would be allowed in the massive nave.

In England the churches are also slowly preparing to re-open. When the churches were closed the Anglican Archbishops went further than the government guidelines and even banned clergy from entering the churches for private prayer or mass. Once more it was found out to be rule by personal decree and the Archbishop of Canterbury was put on the spot and had to admit that the law did allow clergy to use the churches. There has been much discussion about this within the English church. The Archbishops, in their micro-management of buildings and structure, had become more managers ruling over the church and less the shepherds whose calling is to offer hope and leadership. They are meant to be our Fathers in God, not health and safety officers.

This week’s hymn is the great hymn for Trinity Sunday, Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! It was written by the Anglican bishop Reginald Heber (1783–1826). Heber served as Bishop of Calcutta for only three years until his death at the age of 42. As Bishop of Calcutta, he and his successor also had responsibility for Australia until we appointed our first bishop in 1836. He died after plunging into cold water on a day of intense heat. A contemporary engraving shows his body “being carried from the bath by his servant and chaplain, the latter immaculately attired in a frock coat and top hat.”

The tune for this hymn, Nicaea, was composed by John Bacchus Dykes in 1861. The tune name is a tribute to the First Council of Nicaea – held by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 – which formalized the doctrine of the Trinity. It has been noted as one of the composer’s finest. Here is a video of Evan Brickner playing the hymn on the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Organ, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, complete with shots of the feet playing the foot pedals.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,

Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, Holy, Holy! though the darkness hide Thee,

Though the eye of sinful man, thy glory may not see:

Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee,

Perfect in power in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name in earth, and sky, and sea;

Holy, Holy, Holy! merciful and mighty,

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

God bless

Fr Scott

Online Resources

This Saturday morning several of our local Benedictine Oblates met for the Eucharist and fellowship at St George’s; this is the first time since the Corona lockdown started and a return to their monthly cycle. Of the dozen or so in South Australia, three are members of our Parish and Father Scott is their Chaplain, having previously been Chaplain to the Sisters at the Community of Christ the King in Wangaratta Diocese.  Our oblates are members of either the CCK community, or the St Mark’s Community at Camperdown in Ballarat Diocese, with both groups meeting together and usually at Goodwood.

So, what is a Benedictine Oblate?  An Oblate professes the traditional Benedictine vows of stability, obedience and conversatio (conversion of life) outside of a monastery and in the place in the world to which God has called them.  They will seek to live in harmony with God and their neighbours amongst the distractions, disturbances and diversions of daily life – perhaps as parents, workers, Church members – by finding the classic Benedictine balance between prayer, work and study.

To guide them, Oblates will study and seek to apply the Rule of St Benedict to their spiritual and worldly lives – for example, most will include a portion of the Rule alongside their daily scriptural reading, and today we had a reading from the Rule during the Eucharist, and then that portion was discussed over the lunch.  Despite arising in the chaotic world of sixth century Italy, the Rule is remarkably easy to read and, due to its moderation and flexibility, adaptable to the 21st century.  Everybody should read it!  We’ve ordered in copies for the Tract Case, and Fr Scott recommends that you also subscribe to Fr Jerome Leo’s daily commentary, which helps put it into context: https://www.stmarysmonastery.org/holy_rule_reflections.html.

Ah, I hear you say!  Fr Jerome is a Roman Catholic, and isn’t that who all this is for?  Not at all!  While there is a surprising ecumenical quality amongst Lutheran, RC and Anglican Benedictines, our own history shows that the Benedictine ethos has a unique place in the Church of England and her descendants.  Many of her great Cathedrals –  including Canterbury – were Benedictine foundations and Benedictine spiritually is found throughout our Prayer Books, particularly in our monastic pattern of daily prayer.

Some of these links will show just how broad the world of Anglican monastics and oblates is!

To finish, two contrasting RC communities in Australia:

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

This Week

7 Sunday                                                                                                                                    TRINITY

8.00 am       Mass

10.00 am       Mass

11.30 am       Mass

12.00 noon    Angelus

8 Monday                                                 Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Non-Juror, Hymn Writer, 1711

                                                                                                                                         Fr Scott’s day off

9 Tuesday                                                                                          Columba, Abbot of Iona, Missionary, 597

                                                                        Ephrem of Syria, Deacon, Hymn Writer, Teacher of the Faith, 373

10.00 am       Mass

12.00 noon    Angelus

10 Wednesday

8.00 am       Mass

12.00 noon    Angelus

7.30 pm       Gregorian Chant Group

11 Thursday                                                                                BARNABAS, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

12.00 noon    Angelus and Mass

12 Friday

8.00 am       Mass

12.00 noon    Angelus

13 Saturday                                                                          Antony of Padua, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1231

8.00 am       Mass

12.00 noon    Angelus

14 Sunday                                                                                                                    CORPUS CHRISTI

8.00 am       Mass

10.00 am       Mass

11.30 am       Mass

12.00 noon    Angelus

Collect

ALMIGHTY AND EVERLASTING GOD, you have given to us your servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, for you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

First reading                                                                                                              Exodus 34:4b-6.8-9

A reading from the Book of Exodus.

Moses rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, “The Lord.” The Lord passed before Moses, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. He said, “If now I have found favour in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

Hear the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Responsorial Canticle                                                                                          Daniel 3:52-56. R v22

Blessed are you, the | God · of our | forebears: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed is your holy and | glorious | name: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you, glorious in your | holy | temple: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you who be|holds the | depths: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you on the | throne · of your | kingdom: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you in the | heights of | heaven: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Second reading                                                                                                    2 Corinthians 13:11-13

A reading from the second letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters, put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

Hear the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Gospel                                                                                                                        Matthew 28:16-20

A reading from the holy gospel according to St Matthew.

Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

This is the gospel of the Lord.  Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

The Midday Prayers (including the Angelus) are said in the gardens at the outdoor shrine every day from Tuesday to Sunday at 12 noon.

Pentecost: 31 May, 2020

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, or Whitsunday. This looks back to the birth of the church, when the disciples were gathered in the locked room for fear of the authorities, and the gift of the Holy Spirit came down upon them, and they went forth in courage and preached the gospel. It changed a group of frightened people into the greatest missionary endeavour the world has seen. That’s why we call it the birthday of the church – it was then that the church started, with its mission to go and proclaim the good news to all people.

It’s also the anniversary of another date – the introduction of the first Book of Common Prayer into the English Church in 1549 in the reign of Henry VIII’s son, Edward VI. From Pentecost of that year the old Latin Mass was put aside and a new English rite was set as a standard for all of England. It was a radical move by a central government to standardise church usage. It was initially not particularly popular, especially in the countryside. Three years later another more Protestant version was put out, and yet another series of changes were enforced, leading to further discontent, before the death of Edward led to the restoration of the Latin Mass under Mary I. Five years later she died, and another English Book of Common Prayer was issued by Elizabeth I. It was an expensive time for parishes, with continual changes in books and liturgy.

However, the use of English was eventually accepted, partly because of the beauty of the prose used by its main author, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer. He was a brilliant wordsmith, and his translations of the Latin prayers capture the metre of the Latin in the English. Every time we say prayers such as “We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies” or “Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden”, we are saying the measured beat of his prose, with its balance of phrases and rhythm. The Anglican Church, in the Book of Common Prayer and its structure, retained its catholic heritage with its ordained ministry and solemn liturgy, yet reformed at the same time. Parishes throughout England used a common liturgy, hence the name “A Book of Common Prayer”, showing their joint common membership of one church. It was also all in one book, and generations of Anglicans became used to having one prayer book that was the source of their devotions. Many of you will probably have received a copy of the book for your confirmation, often in small print that now defies reading. Sadly, one of the effects of the last few decades has been the abandonment of a common liturgy throughout our Anglican church – I dread some of the services that pass as Sunday worship when I travel.

Things are slowly returning to a steady pattern in our lives, with the reopening of shops and services. We will be allowed twenty people per mass from next Sunday. At the moment I am having four masses on Sunday morning as well as the weekday masses to try and provide opportunity for everyone. It is perhaps a good time to look at mass times as well. I propose from next week to change to three masses. I request your feedback as to what suits most people: masses at 8, 9.30 and 11 am or instead 8, 10 and 11.30am. The second mass would be the sung mass of the day. I know many of you who usually go to the second mass have already said they prefer a later time in winter, so that’s my first preference, but do let me know. We are back to having mass on Tuesday at 10 am and Thursday at 12 noon as well, but unless there is a particular reason, I would like to keep the Friday mass at 8 am. Remember, you need to book a time for the Sunday mass. I will have an attendance sheet at the back of the church as well as a booking sheet for the next Sunday. At the moment there is no problem with overcrowding at the weekday masses.

As things snap back to life, it’s also interesting to consider to what we are snapping back. Many governments have enforced their decrees by public announcements, and let the law catch up later. This has led to some interesting confusion in England, for example, where in some places the police were enforcing Welsh lockdown restrictions instead of the English by mistake. There have been similar questions about some of the enforcements of fines in some states in Australia for breaches of legally dubious announcements. Here we are seeing a questioning of some rules like border shutdowns – by what authority does the government restrict border movement and trade. Even for us Anglicans there is an interesting question: we are restricted in offering the chalice at the moment in clear violation of Article 30 of the Articles of Religion, which are part of the foundation documents of our church. Now all these restrictions may be a good thing, but the questioning of the means is an important part of our democratic system. Are we going to snap back to a way of life with higher restrictions and control in the future?

Regarding parish finances we are fortunate in that I am on the government job keeper scheme at the moment. We will be facing a significant reduction in our investment income this year. However, people have been wonderful in donations and in setting up bank transfers for regular offerings. We do ask that you use the word ‘offering’ preferably in your transfer, and your name, as it helps our treasurer work out the reason for the money.

As our churches slowly re-open it is good to note this week the resumption of one of our small groups. This Saturday the Benedictine Oblates will meet again. Oblates are lay people who affiliate with a Benedictine community, to follow the Rule of that order, insofar as their lives allow. Before coming to Adelaide, I was chaplain to a Benedictine Community, the Community of Christ the King, in Wangaratta, and after moving here I took on the responsibility of being a chaplain to the oblates in South Australia. Another of our small groups, our Gregorian Chant Group, resumes next month as well. Owing to the dispersed nature of our parish it has always been hard to nourish small groups in our parish, as distance makes a commitment harder.

We are blessed in that despite our financial problems over many years we have preserved our large grounds and the gardens are a credit to the many gardeners over the years. I have included a few photos of the gardens for your enjoyment in this issue. The gardens have been a bonus for many a parish lunch, when the weather allowed it. I have always hoped we could develop a garden group to take on the vegetable garden for the parish.

This week’s hymn is the great Veni Creator Spiritus, translated by John Cosin. The original hymn, which we have sung in our chant group, was by Rabanus Maurus (c. 776-856), a German monk, then abbot, at the Benedictine Abbey at Fulda, and later archbishop of Mainz. One of his predecessors, an Englishman Boniface, or Wynfrith of Crediton, we commemorate this week. England supplied many of the missionaries to Germany and Holland, owing to their common language at that time (and the Germans did not like the Franks then either). The hymn was translated by John Cosin, a high clergyman in the time of the English Civil War, who suffered much and returned with the King in 1660, eventually becoming Bishop of Durham. His “Collection of Private Devotions for the Hours of Prayer,” much offended the Puritans, who styled it “a book of Cozening Devotions.” The hymn is significant in that it is traditionally said by the priest on the way to the altar, a custom that I adhere to. It was one of the few insertions into the Book of Common Prayer when it was restored in 1662 as the standard worship in England.

 

 

1 Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire

and lighten with celestial fire;

thou the anointing Spirit art,

who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

 

2 Thy blessed unction from above

is comfort, life, and fire of love;

enable with perpetual light

the dullness of our mortal sight.

3 Teach us to know the Father, Son,

and thee, of both, to be but one;

that through the ages all along

this may be our endless song:

 

4 Praise to thine eternal merit,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Amen.

John Cosin 1594-1672

 

God bless

Fr Scott

Online Resources

Father Scott has reminded us of the importance of gardens in reminding us of God’s creation.  Here are some links; next week, we’ll continue another of his themes – Benedict and his contemporary followers:

  1. Medieval Cloisters and their role in the day-to-day life of monks and nuns:
  2. A short introduction to the cloister with links to beautiful contemporary examples.
  3. Gardens and belonging for refugees in Davoren Park.
  4. Simple and contemporary landscaping ideas.
  5. 800 year old gardens at Lambeth Place, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

Easter VII, Sunday after Ascension: 24 May, 2020

In the Lady Chapel at St George’s there are two large pictures. One is of Our Lady of the Rosary, the other is of St Joan of Arc. Both of these date from the time of World War I and its aftermath, a time of great worry and concern, as so many went off to war, putting their lives at risk. They were saints chosen for their time. The war against Germany and the Axis powers was portrayed as a war for civilisation against barbarians. Part of France was occupied, so Joan of Arc was seen as a symbol of France struggling for its freedom (the inconvenience of her original struggles being against the English were politely ignored). Our Lady of the Rosary was seen as the patron of the victory of the great defeat against the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, a victory that saved the Christian nations of Western Europe. This Saturday we will commemorate the feast of St Joan. St Joan was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1471, aged only 19, after leading a spectacular military campaign against the English forces. Her visions, gender and determination to wear male armour to fight made her highly suspect, and led to her death. These pictures both reflect a time of great worry at our Parish during the war, a period of four long years that makes our present troubles much smaller.

But small as they may be, they have been hard. It has been wonderful to see a gradual easing, people out on the streets again, and even sitting down for a coffee with friends.

The last months have taken their toll on many people, short though it is compared to the wars of last century. We have had friends die and been unable to go to their funerals. The need of human contact, even a hug from a grandchild, has been impossible. Gyms and the companionship of sport has been forbidden. A bus trip has become a thing of worry from contagion and not a pleasant and easy trip into the city. Living in close confines without our support circles is stressful. Many of you I know have struggled with depression at this time. Finding hope is an important part of dealing with depression, and the hope that we obtain from a life of faith has been shut off with the shuttered doors of our church. We may have saved our physical health, but there is a price we are paying with our mental health still.

Like you, I was frustrated by the prohibition to have our church open for mass. But this is what we signed up for by being a Christian. We must not lose our peace over it. Our Lord often expects us to fight, and fight hard, for victory when this is possible. At other times Our Lord simply wishes us to endure. In this case we endure, for the time being, thankful that we at least have been spared the ravages we have seen overseas. St Theresa of Avila (a place where I had planned to be at this time for my holidays) puts it this way:

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

All things are passing;

God only is changeless.

Patience gains all things.

Who has God wants nothing.

God alone suffices.

So, it is with great joy that I will see so many of you again as our church slowly re-opens this Sunday. Alas, at this time it can only be for ten at a time, so please email me to book a time. Remember that we must practise the dreaded social distancing, which should not be a problem in a building our size.

Last Thursday we celebrated the feast of the Ascension, when we celebrate Our Lord’s ascension bodily into heaven. This is the complement of Christmas. At Christmas, God became human, accepting our human condition, at Ascension, he takes our human condition into heaven, showing us that humanity is understood and accepted by God, and loved. All our worries, our concerns are known by the God who lived as one of us, and takes them all into heaven.

Back on parish news, if anyone can help pay the school fees for the Sua family in the Solomons, our former parishioners and now part of our extended family, please get in contact with me. Charlyn has AU$300 and Reece is about AU$540 (outstanding).

For a hymn this week I have chosen a modern hymn, Lord of the Dance by Sydney Carter. He wrote this hymn in 1963. This is his story about it:

I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality. By Christ I mean not only Jesus; in other times and places, other planets, there may be other Lords of the Dance. But Jesus is the one I know of first and best. I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus.

Whether Jesus ever leaped in Galilee to the rhythm of a pipe or drum I do not know. We are told that David danced (and as an act of worship too), so it is not impossible. The fact that many Christians have regarded dancing as a bit ungodly (in a church, at any rate) does not mean that Jesus did.

The Shakers didn’t. This sect flourished in the United States in the nineteenth century, but the first Shakers came from Manchester in England, where they were sometimes called the “Shaking Quakers”. They hived off to America in 1774, under the leadership of Mother Anne. They established celibate communities – men at one end, women at the other; though they met for work and worship. Dancing, for them, was a spiritual activity. They also made furniture of a functional, lyrical simplicity. Even the cloaks and bonnets that the women wore were distinctly stylish, in a sober and forbidding way.

Their hymns were odd, but sometimes of great beauty: from one of these (“Simple Gifts”) I adapted this melody. I could have written another for the words of “Lord of the Dance” (some people have), but this was so appropriate that it seemed a waste of time to do so. Also, I wanted to salute the Shakers.

I remember hearing a beautiful version of this sung when the fourth verse, about Jesus dying, was sung slowly and deeply, before speeding up again at the words “but I am the dance and I still go on.” Here is an organ version by All Saints’ Church, Oystermouth, Swansea for those who love organ music, here is another one from Swansea as well; I liked it just because it came from the wonderfully named Mumbles Methodist Church there, and here is a splendidly sung version by the students of Christ’s Hospital in England, which I know will appeal to one member of our parish who is an alumna of that school.

1 I danced in the morning

when the world was begun,

and I danced in the moon

and the stars and the sun,

and I came down from heaven

and I danced on the earth,

at Bethlehem

I had my birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

2 I danced for the scribe

and the pharisee,

but they would not dance

and they wouldn’t follow me.

I danced for the fishermen,

for James and John –

they came with me

and the dance went on.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

 

3 I danced on the Sabbath

and I cured the lame;

the holy people

said it was a shame.

they whipped and they stripped

and they hung me on high,

and they left me there

on a Cross to die.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

4 I danced on a Friday

when the sky turned black;

it’s hard to dance

with the devil on your back.

They buried my body

and they thought I’d gone,

but I am the Dance,

and I still go on.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

 

5 They cut me down

and I leapt up high;

I am the life

that’ll never, never die;

I’ll live in you

if you’ll live in me –

I am the Lord

of the Dance, said he.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

God bless

Fr Scott

 

Online Resources

This week, we’ll continue to look at Contemporary Christian Art – last week we took a look at DaeWha Kang’s intervention at St Andrew’s Holborn in London – part of a thorough renovation to a Christopher Wren church. https://www.artandchristianity.org/award-daewha-kang.

Here are three more:

  1. Egbert Modderman of the Netherlands. Richly detailed depictions of biblical scenes that tend towards photo-realistic portraiture – yet free of the cloying sentimentality that often accompanies this genre.  https://www.moddermanbiblicalart.com
  2. John Nava and the tapestries at the new Cathedral of our Lady of Angels in, you guessed it, Los Angeles. Remarkable work in a very contemporary building – the Diocese placed great trust in Mr Nava given the importance of the tapestries to the interior. http://www.johnnava.com/COLA/COS.html
  3. The Meszaros Family. The large medallion of Christ Before Pilate in the St George’s oratory is by Andor Mészáros, a prolific Hungarian-born Australian sculptor of the post war period famous for, amongst other things, the 1956 Melbourne Olympics medals.  Our piece is part of a larger series depicting the Stations of the Cross; I had thought that the only complete sets were at Trinity College Melbourne, St George’s Cathedral Perth and Church of the Resurrection in Loxton – however, this article from the Museum of Victoria hints at a Canterbury connection. He also designed a life-sized sculpture, picture below, of Christ Accepting his Cross at our sister shrine church of All Saints Wickham Terrace in Brisbane and a number of other pieces were made for one of our sister churches, St Peter’s Eastern Hill in Melbourne.  Andor’s son, Michael, continues to work in a similar vein and while he doesn’t adopt a particularly Christian perspective, his work his worth a look.  A third generation, Anna Meszaros, designed the 14 Stations of the Cross that are located by churches in the eastern end of the Melbourne CBD.  The grandfather’s heritage is easy to see!  I can’t locate an online guide all 14 stations, but here’s a link to the St Patrick’s cathedral page as a starting point for your google hunt!

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

Easter VI Rogation: 17 May, 2020

The big news, to start off with, is that there is no big news. We are as yet unable to celebrate the mass again even with limited numbers. The Archbishop has told us that we cannot have the mass until he gets further clearance from the Department of Health. The church may be open for ten people at a time but that is the extent of the relaxing of restrictions that the Archbishop thinks is proper.

As we gradually move into reopening our society, there have been more reflections about our time in solitude and, interestingly for me, its impact on the Church. I have had a huge range of comments about how the solitude has impacted different people. Ignoring economic issues for the moment, which are devastating for many, some have loved the solitude, especially for those of a more introvert nature. Others have struggled with depression from lack of contact, especially from family. Others have found it has caused them to question some of their habits, such as impulse shopping, and others have enjoyed the time to cook properly and slowly. There isn’t one response, but for all of us it has made us question the different ways we have done things.

What is missing for us in Adelaide is the impact of death from the pandemic. We have been blessed with a remarkably low death rate. Our population has been spared the ravages seen in some parts of the world. At the start of the shutdown I was talking to some members of our parish who were impacted by the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1919. Some lost family members that caused struggle and grief for generations. I’ve included today a photo of my great aunt Isobel, sitting in this photo in her nurse’s uniform. She was a young Irish girl of only 18, who became a nurse in London and died from contracting the flu, away from family. Her parents had already died, leaving only her older sister, my grandmother, and her brother. She was one of the countless number who died in that pandemic and are now barely remembered. But my grandmother always remembered. This was the only photo she ever had of her – Isobel is seated in the chair.

I read an interesting article this week talking about weird Christians from the New York Times. Here is the link for those interested. This is part of the article:

The coronavirus has led many people to seek solace from and engage more seriously with religion. But these particular expressions of faith, with their anachronistic language and sense of historical pageantry, are part of a wider trend, one that predates the pandemic, and yet which this crisis makes all the clearer.

More and more young Christians, disillusioned by the political binaries, economic uncertainties and spiritual emptiness that have come to define modern America, are finding solace in a decidedly anti-modern vision of faith. As the coronavirus and the subsequent lockdowns throw the failures of the current social order into stark relief, old forms of religiosity offer a glimpse of the transcendent beyond the present.

Many of us call ourselves “Weird Christians,” albeit partly in jest. What we have in common is that we see a return to old-school forms of worship as a way of escaping from the crisis of modernity and the liberal-capitalist faith in individualism.

Weird Christians reject as overly accommodationist those churches, primarily mainline Protestant denominations like Episcopalianism and Lutheranism, that have watered down the stranger and more supernatural elements of the faith (like miracles, say, or the literal resurrection of Jesus Christ). But they reject, too, the fusion of ethnonationalism, unfettered capitalism and Republican Party politics that has come to define the modern white evangelical movement. (Ed. Note – Episcopalians are US Anglicans).

They are finding that ancient theology can better answer contemporary problems than any of the modern secular world’s solutions.

In so doing, these Weird Christians are breaking with the rest of their generation.

It’s a good read, and perhaps when we return, it would be a good discussion for one of our study groups on the last Sunday of the month. We had just started these studies before the shutdown, and I’m keen to get back to them with a range of one-off subjects and also reflections on topics, like this one here. But I do like the term weird Christian. It’s very St George’s, we have always been the odd ball parish in Adelaide Diocese.

News from PNG is that the Archbishop Allan Migi has retired, and our good friend Bishop Nathan Ingen of Aipo Rongo is now acting Archbishop until the election of a replacement. We have been supporting him in his diocese for many years, and he has visited us once, many years ago. We pray daily for his diocese here at St George’s. This week we also had the death of Elsie Manley. I knew Elsie from my Wangaratta days, and she was the last secretary of the famous Bishop Strong of PNG: our own Mabel Trenordan, who appears in the first photo, was also his secretary in the 1950s. Bishop Strong was the famous and controversial bishop in PNG during the WWII, and a great missionary bishop there.

in the garden the kurrajong stump has now been removed. The stumper turned up with a little dog, Matilda, which enjoyed the work. I always like animals here, we have had a long history of them.

This Sunday is Rogation Sunday. Rogation comes from the Latin, rogare, to ask. This is the day when traditionally we ask for the blessing of crops. Originally, the Christian observance of Rogation was taken over from Graeco-Roman religion, where an annual procession invoked divine favour to protect crops against mildew. The tradition grew of using processional litanies, often around the parish boundaries, for the blessing of the land. These processions concluded with a mass. The poet George Herbert interpreted the procession as a means of asking for God’s blessing on the land, of preserving boundaries, of encouraging fellowship between neighbours with the reconciling of differences, and of charitable giving to the poor. The tradition of ‘beating the bounds’ has been preserved in some communities, while others maintain the traditional use of the Litany within worship. Beating the bounds can be a very colourful exercise, and anciently parish boundaries were important in England for legal purposes, so the community’s knowledge of where the boundaries were was important. It was said they used to beat the boys at certain spots to make sure they remembered. We don’t beat the bounds here in this parish (but perhaps next year we could do an afternoon stroll around the boundaries as an exercise – anyone interested?) but we do have a blessing in the gardens, as we pray particularly for farmers planting crops at this time in Australia. We will have this blessing after the prayers at noon on Sunday.

Seeing we are having Rogation Sunday this Sunday I conclude with the great old harvest hymn, We plough the Fields and Scatter. It was originally a German hymn written by the Lutheran pastor Matthias Claudius, who died in 1815. It was translated into English by Jane Campbell in 1861. Here is a version with the words complete with horses ploughing. Enjoy. 

We plough the fields and scatter

The good seed on the land,

But it is fed and watered

By God’s almighty hand:

He sends the snow in winter,

The warmth to swell the grain,

The breezes and the sunshine,

And soft, refreshing rain.

All good gifts around us

Are sent from heaven above;

Then thank the Lord,

O thank the Lord,

For all his love.

He only is the maker

Of all things near and far;

He paints the wayside flower,

He lights the evening star;

The winds and waves obey him,

By him the birds are fed;

Much more to us, his children,

He gives our daily bread.

All good gifts around us

Are sent from heaven above;

Then thank the Lord,

O thank the Lord,

For all his love.

We thank thee then, O Father,

For all things bright and good,

The seed time and the harvest,

Our life, our health, our food.

Accept the gifts we offer

For all thy love imparts,

And what thou most desirest,

Our humble, thankful hearts.

All good gifts around us

Are sent from heaven above;

Then thank the Lord,

O thank the Lord,

For all his love.

God bless

Fr Scott

 

 

Online Resources

 

Firstly, some quick links:

Moving forward (eventually!): Father Scott speaks above about our planned studies.  In addition, we’re revamping how we make our reading material at the back of the church available and other ways and means of keeping us all engaged in our spiritual development.  In particular, could you please provide feedback to Father Scott or Tim Hender if you would find short videos like Fr Steve’s helpful, in addition to meeting formally? There are several options we can look at regarding this type of thing.

Our third and, for the moment, last aid agency – Anglican Aid Abroad (or the Missionaries of St Andrew).  AAA can be found at http://www.anglicanaidabroad.com.au and is remarkable for its complete reliance on volunteer staff, mostly from parishes like ours in Brisbane diocese, ensuring that every dollar donated reaches the recipients.  They work through a surprisingly large number of Anglican religious communities – groups similar to those we discussed last week, but located in places like Zambia and the Solomon Islands.  This means that we rely on trust to ensure that the funds are properly spent, as we do with our donations to Fr Nathan in Aipo Rongo.  AAA has recently completed a much needed upgrade of its communications – if you’ve drifted away because they went a little quiet, please revisit – and their latest newsletter is always at the back of the Church. 

Contemporary Christian Art – I am researching sites with engaging contemporary art, as promised a few weeks back!  In the meantime, I’ve often found this work by DaeWha Kang at St Andrew’s Holborn in London – part of a thorough renovation to a Christopher Wren church – quite intriguing.  https://www.artandchristianity.org/award-daewha-kang.

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

Easter V: 10 May, 2020

Glass half empty; glass half full: how we see things, as good or bad. I have been chatting with a few lately as the restrictions have ever so slowly been easing. For those interstate, they have been much greater. My sister had her 60th birthday last week, and owing to restrictions of gatherings, had for her birthday dinner a course in each of her two children’s homes, as she could not gather the family together. There are a lot of glass empty reflections. There are also good reflections. Neighbourhoods seem to have worked together, people have tended to shop more locally, and people have asked after their neighbours and helped out. That’s been the plus.

This week, on Tuesday, we celebrate in our calendar the monk Dom Gregory Dix, who died in 1952. Admittedly, we celebrate a lot of people in our Calendar at St George’s. The national Anglican calendar is rather bare, and tends to ignore most of Asia, but ours is based mainly on the current calendar from the Church of England, with a few extras thrown in.  A monk and priest of Nashdom Abbey, an Anglican Benedictine community, Dom Gregory Dix is one of the modern additions as a holy person from England. If you ever read through some of the devotional material included in our high mass booklet, I include a wonderful passage of his about the command of Our Lord, to do this sacrament in memory of him:

Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacle of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because my father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetich because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna; for the repentance of Margaret; for the settlement of a strike; for a son for a barren woman; for Captain so-and-so wounded and prisoner of war; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of S. Joan of Arc – one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei – the holy common people of God.

Dom Gregory Dix from The Shape of the Liturgy

It’s a wonderful piece of prose. Here is a longer version of it.

Dom Gregory is famous for his book, The Shape of the Liturgy. One of the puzzles of 19th and 20th C scholars was the way in which the mass was celebrated varied so much between the different early Christian communities and their inheritors. Was there a basic underlying order that came from the Apostles? If there was, could that be a basis to make a common order of the mass for the different Christian denominations.

Dom Gregory’s great insight was not to look at the words but to look at the actions. He believed that there was a common structure that was inherited in each rite, that (1) the offertory, bread and wine are taken and placed on the altar together, (2) the eucharistic prayer, the priest gives thanks to God over the bread and wine together, (3) the fraction, the bread is broken, (4) the communion, the bread and wine are distributed. The form of words was different, especially at how they were blessed, but the structure was the same.

This underlying understanding of the structure influenced the myriad of new rites that we have lived through from the second half of the twentieth century. Fr Willoughby was an enthusiastic embracer of the new rites when they came out, and many of you will have memories of the many different versions we have celebrated here, including a series that I had a few years ago when we worked our way through the different versions of the Book of Common Prayer.

There has been a lot of coverage this week about the outbreak in the nursing home in Sydney, Newmarch House. This is run by Sydney Anglicare. Anglicare is the welfare arm of the Anglican Church. In the 1990s, there was a move to bring all the different welfare organisations under one name. It was argued that although our church was responsible for a great amount of welfare work, it lacked public recognition owing to the variety of names under which we operated. With one name, Anglicare, we could raise our profile nationally. It was also part of the growing corporate movement that modelled the church on business corporate bodies. So, we all adopted the Anglicare branding in different dioceses. So Newmarch House became part of Sydney Anglicare, which was a separately run body from that in other dioceses.

However, this week has also seen the other side of having a national profile – the problems with Anglicare in Sydney has a flow on affect for Anglicare in Adelaide, even though they are separate legal entities. In Adelaide the growing corporate movement has seen many of our institutions lose their old names – All Hallows for example, at Cumberland Park, no longer has that name but just Anglicare. I am sorry for this loss. I think our institutions are better served under the patronage of a saint, like All Saints for All Hallows, or St Lawrence, rather than a corporate identity. We believe that a saintly patronage is part of the prayer life of the church, but a corporate name?

It’s also part of the loosening of parish ties to these bodies. Anglicare, and ABM, for example, are such huge institutions now they have lost many of the old connections with parishes. We don’t know these corporate bodies. We don’t raise money with fetes or money boxes as these institutions depend more and more on government grants than parish fund raisers. But we have also lost the prayer connections and personal touch as a result.

On parish news, many of you have asked me about the funeral for Steve Scovell. There will be a requiem for him with his ashes at a later time after the present restrictions. His funeral was last Thursday. Also, last Friday was the 18th anniversary of me becoming your parish priest – deo gratis.

The kurrajong has now been removed, with only its stump remaining. Unfortunately, it’s a very wet wood, and not suitable for burning, so it’s been turned into mulch for the garden. I’m thinking of replacing it with a gingko, but all suggestions are welcome.

We have now been informed that we can have the building open from Monday for no more than ten people at a time. However, the Archbishop is not certain that the permission for the religious gatherings allows us to have masses yet, and is writing to the government to have further clarification. Presumably we could be Quakers and sit there in sterile silence waiting on the Spirit. His direction at the moment is that “arrangements continue as they are currently” and he asks “that holy communion not be celebrated until we have a greater clarity.” I will let you know when we have been given further directions from the Archbishop. If we are allowed to have mass on Sunday, my intent is to have a short mass on Sunday morning at 8, 9, 10, 11 am and 12 noon. You will need to book in a time with me so we don’t have more than 10 people at any one time. The weekday masses will also then resume at the usual times. I will keep you posted. But at the moment, despite the government permission for having religious gatherings, we do not have the Archbishop’s permission to resume having mass.

Now for a hymn. One of the great Easter hymns is Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem. It was written by Fulbert of Chartres, in France, who was the Bishop there from 1006 to 1028 and a teacher at the Cathedral school there. He rebuilt the cathedral after a fire, it burnt again in the century after his death (cathedrals burning down have always been a problem, and why the mediaeval builders preferred stone, it was more fireproof) but for those of you who have been to that gem of a building, the crypt and part of the towers are his work that survived the later fire. He wrote this hymn that has been adapted and translated into English several times, this is the version we have in our hymn book. Here it is sung by the choir of King’s College Cambridge, the chapel for which is another great building.

1 Ye choirs of new Jerusalem,

Your sweetest notes employ,

The Paschal victory to hymn

In strains of holy joy.

2 For Judah’s Lion bursts His chains,

Crushing the serpent’s head;

And cries aloud through death’s domains

To wake the imprisoned dead.

3 From hell’s devouring jaws the prey

Alone our Leader bore;

His ransomed hosts pursue their way

Where Jesus goes before.

4 Triumphant in His glory now

To Him all power is given;

To Him in one communion bow

All saints in earth and heaven.

5 While we, His soldiers, praise our king,

His mercy we implore,

Within His palace bright to bring

And keep us evermore.

6 All glory to the Father be,

All glory to the Son,

All glory, Holy Ghost, to Thee,

While endless ages run.

God bless

Fr Scott

Online Resources

We’ll take Father Scott’s themes for our Online Resources this week.

Firstly, seeing light in the darkness, and the gradual re-emergence of hope:

Secondly, Dom Gregory Dix was an Anglican priest and monk of Nashdom Abbey in England.  The monastic spirit is alive and well in the Anglican Communion – at St George’s we actively support our local Benedictine oblates through worship, spiritual direction and general organisation. We also had a religious community living on site in the 1940s, running the school, and our statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was a gift from them. You will recall that several weeks ago we linked to a simple prayer book produced by the Church Union and The Society in the UK. This week they have released ‘Wisdom from the Cloister: Reflections from Anglican Religious to Help Us During These Times’.  It is both calming and thought provoking, and thoroughly recommended!  It can also be found at https://www.sswsh.com/RooT/uploads/WisdomformtheCloister.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1D3Zpgk9bMF8ViBuH7KgkwYxEjU20-MPki8dTuk6dYBwJjZ1t6HsLdsoA.

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

 Easter IV: 3 May, 2020

Faith, and its practice, is an ongoing struggle for Christians. To live in the world and to live as a Christian has been an ongoing struggle since the start of the Church.

At the time of Jesus’s death, the Jewish faith was quite broad, and centred on the Temple worship. But some forty years after Our Lord’s death the Temple was destroyed by the Romans during the revolt of Judea, and it lost its centre as the heart of Jewish worship. Henceforth synagogues would become increasingly the place of what defined a Jew, and as a result, the broadness of Jewish belief narrowed as the Jewish religious leaders struggled to preserve their faith.

Consider the problem for a Christian who was also a practising Jew. You have been regular in going to the synagogue, kept the commandments, and yet also believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the fulfilment of the Jewish hope. The belief in Christ is not a conflict, but a joyful fulfilment of the Jewish hope. But now you have to make choices: you cannot be a practising Jew and a practising Christian – what do you choose?

Then you are expelled from the synagogue, and also from your community, the people with whom you have shared a lifetime in faith. Your old ways of worship are now impossible, you can no longer worship in the temple or in the community of the synagogue. Instead you have to struggle to adapt the life of the synagogue into new ways and a new community, following the call of the Messiah, Jesus, who gave his life in the service of all.

Well, the Church evolved in the pagan world and developed a richness of life that has fulfilled Christians for centuries. Around Judea we think many Jewish Christians continued in a synagogue life and followed the Jewish Law while at the same time holding to their Christian beliefs, but as time passed, they increasingly became a minority.

It was this background that caused so many of the problems that St Paul deals with in his letters. These letters have remained useful to Christians, as there is always a struggle between the way faith has been expressed in the world, with competing demands.

We are now also living with one of those struggles. For the past months the churches have been closed, a situation unique in our Western history. We have lived through many plagues and pandemics, in the past we have had to resort to outside services, but never have we closed our churches for such a prolonged period. In the times of plagues in centuries past the Church would be there giving the last rites and comforting the sick, or leading processions pleading for God’s mercy on the sick. Not anymore. Our churches are closed. Some bishops have even forbidden the clergy to use their churches for private prayer. We struggle with these restrictions.

This raises the question: what are we here for? Does the Church have a role in this world?

I have watched a few streaming services over the last few weeks. Some have been excellently done with good resources – many of you have mentioned the ones done by Christ Church St Lawrence in Sydney in particular. I have also seen some awful ones done by a priest with a handheld camera: I commend the intent but deplore the result. It also strikes me as odd to see people preaching to an empty space, as if it does not matter that no one is there, that the hidden viewers from online streaming are the equivalent of a living congregation. Have our congregations become so passive it does not matter if they are physically or electronically present? Is this our role now, electronic streaming to a passive market?

So why come to Church?

If we come to church just for the social event, then we lack the spiritual depth the Church offers. But our tradition holds that we come to take part in the eternal sacrifice of Christ on the cross, and receive from this inclusion in his very body and blood.

That is why we have mass at St George’s not just on Sunday, but every day we can. That is why the mass has continued throughout this crisis. Our church here at Goodwood is not shuttered and silent. Every morning the mass is said, and we intercede for the needs of the world and the parish: for healing, comfort and the salvation of each and every soul.

The Church is there to touch and tend the wounds of the world. For the first time in our history this has not been possible, physically. We cannot sit and pray by the side of the dying. We cannot even leave our churches open for prayer. But we can know that our church, here at Goodwood, continues Our Lord’s command to take and eat this in memory of he who died and rose again for us.

I have been touched by the attendance at our daily witness at our outside shrine of Our Lady every day at noon. It is a service designed to allow minimal contact and minimal time to allow our public witness to continue. I know that for many of you it has not been possible because of distance or health issues. But others have been able, and thank you for your witness.

Here at St George’s we lost an old friend on Friday morning – the kurrajong tree at the front of the church blew over in the rain and wind. One of the former students of the school here remembered it being planted in the 1930s, so it’s given 90 years of pleasure to us.

Now for a good and rousing hymn, to finish in true Anglican style. On our last Sunday that we had a public mass we used St Patrick’s breastplate. It derives from a prayer that St Patrick is meant to have used to ask for protection against his enemies, hence the invocations in it. The great Mrs Alexander, a wife of an Irish Anglican bishop, set it to the prose we know now in 1889. She also wrote All Things bright and Beautiful and Once in Royal David’s City. The music to the hymn was originally set in 1902 by the noted composer Charles Villiers Stanford for chorus and organ, using two traditional Irish tunes. It is unusual in that the tunes change during the hymn. Here is a version by Keble College, Oxford, that great College founded in memory of John Keble, one of the leaders of the Catholic Renewal whom we commemorate every year on Catholic Renewal Sunday, the anniversary of his great sermon. There are different versions of the hymn, here is one. The English Hymnal has a longer version, which I am rather fond of as well.

1 I bind unto myself today

the strong name of the Trinity

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One and One in Three.

2 I bind this day to me forever,

by power of faith, Christ’s incarnation,

his baptism in the Jordan river,

his death on cross for my salvation,

his bursting from the spiced tomb,

his riding up the heavenly way,

his coming at the day of doom,

I bind unto myself today.

3 I bind unto myself today

the virtues of the starlit heaven,

the glorious sun’s life-giving ray,

the whiteness of the moon at even,

the flashing of the lightning free,

the whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,

the stable earth, the deep salt sea

around the old eternal rocks.

4 I bind unto myself today

the power of God to hold and lead,

God’s eye to watch, God’s might to stay,

God’s ear to hearken to my need,

the wisdom of my God to teach,

God’s hand to guide, God’s shield to ward,

the word of God to give me speech,

God’s heavenly host to be my guard.

5 Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,

Christ in hearts of all that love me,

Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

6 I bind unto myself the name,

the strong name of the Trinity

by invocation of the same,

the Three in One and One in Three,

of whom all nature has creation,

eternal Father, Spirit, Word.

Praise to the Lord of my salvation;

salvation is of Christ the Lord!

God bless

Fr Scott

Online Resources 

Hello!  Here are two quick links to start the day with:

  • Bishop Philip North offers a short but valuable meditation on the ‘new normal’ and life after Covid 19 – it is full of hope: https://youtu.be/xY6_fCoYJFQ.
  • Following our recent links on the liturgical arts, here is another site – this time for the Orthodox. It includes articles on structural engineering, acoustics and the like for the technically minded.  https://orthodoxartsjournal.org

Several years ago, three of us were stranded in Mt Hagen, awaiting a scheduled flight to either Simbai or Madang.  After several days Bishop Nathan Ingan, an old friend of St George’s, found seats for us on plane ferrying aid personnel down to the coast.  As the other passengers clambered into the back of the five-seat aircraft, I took the seat next to the pilot.  Showing considerably ingenuity, he unfolded his Australian Army ordnance maps from the early seventies, cut through the first pass into the adjoining valley, then checked the weather and the map before choosing the next pass and so on until we made it down to Madang.  The total descent was over 1,600M and the peaks in the Hagen Range – which we flew between, not over – reach 3,000M.

Since that day I’ve been an avid fan of Mission Aviation Fellowshiphttps://maf.org.au.  MAF Australia’s fleet of small aircraft and highly capable aircrew can take-off and land on rough, crude airstrips that commercial aviation can’t even contemplate, and to access parts of the world that can’t be reached by road due to either geographic isolation or natural disaster.   Please take a look at their introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=joGNDqr8COA&feature=youtu.be.

In Northern Australia, PNG and East Africa MAF support over two thousand organisations such as World Vision, Habitat for Humanity and UNICEF by providing reliable and timely delivery of emergency supplies and personnel. Food arrives in time to alleviate hunger, medicines and emergency medical evacuations save lives, and goods and supplies improve living conditions.

As this short list of agencies illustrates, MAF does support secular aid organisations. Its specifically Christian mission is through supporting missionaries, local evangelists, indigenous church workers and church capacity building.

In case you miss it, MAF has a great story on women and flying – a problem right up to the present day.  https://maf.org.au/miles-for-mothers-day/.

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

Easter III: 26 April, 2020

The Gospel readings in the season of Easter concentrate on the resurrection stories. Last week we had the story of doubting Thomas, this week the Road to Emmaus.

In all the appearances of the Risen Lord there is this strange inability to recognise him. He is seen by Mary Magdalene, and she thinks he is the gardener. In Sunday’s reading from St Luke, Cleopas and companion think he is a fellow traveller. Interestingly, St John has Mary of Cleopas present at the crucifixion, and identifies her as the sister of Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This has led some to speculate that what we have here is Cleopas and his wife, who were his relatives. However, St Luke seems to make it clear that the two were acquainted with Jesus and should have recognised him; yet did not. It was only in the breaking of the bread they finally saw him and recognised him.

This is the human blindness: to fail to see Jesus. He walks with us and teaches us, but we fail to see him as he truly is. St John has Mary recognising him when he calls her name; here St Luke has them recognising him in the breaking of the bread, a sacramental dimension. The Gospels are teaching us to learn to see Our Lord in new and different ways, to hear him call to us and to see Our Lord in the communion we take.

As Christians we are continually challenged to see Jesus in the face of what seems to be the ordinary or even tragedy. By now we have been unable to gather and celebrate in our churches for several weeks: Passion, Palm, Easter and Low Sundays have passed by with our doors shut to the street. This time of enforced solitude helps us to ask the question: where do we see Jesus now? How is Our Lord speaking to us at this time? What do we miss about our gathering around the broken bread, to see the presence of Our Lord there?

Last week I recorded the feast of the Annotine Easter. This is the day one year past the last Easter. At Easter in particular, the early church administered the rite of baptism and confirmation, the giving of new life to candidates who had prepared themselves over the period of Lent. Then, at the Vigil service, they were baptised and received the new robes of white to symbolise their new life in Christ. One week later on the Saturday, they returned the white robes, so the day was known in Latin as in albis depositis or in albis deponendis (of removal of the white garments). Later the description in albis was applied also to the following Sunday, the octave day of Easter, Low Sunday. A year later their baptism was commemorated on the birthday, so to speak, of the last Easter, and that date is the Annotine Easter. So, on that date, we still pray for all those baptised or confirmed during the past year.

Every year there is a special Anglican Church Calendar printed. Next year’s will also feature our beautiful church. It is a recognition of the outstanding beauty of our parish church and the generations of care that have created and maintained it.

Finances are a difficult subject at this time, and my thanks for the support we have received. The diocese has applied for the Jobkeeper payment, and we should know soon if that is successful. The Archbishop believes we should be able to receive these payments. If so, that will help a lot.

One of the traditions we have here at St George’s is a restrained use of the organ over Lent as part of our penitential way. Hence, we never play the organ after the mass at 9.30. It’s always so much fun to hear the great postludes again in Eastertide, one of my favourites is Widor’s Toccata. Here is a lovely version from the Community of Jesus, an ecumenical Benedictine monastic Christian community located near Rock Harbor, in Orleans, Massachusetts, USA. Enjoy the music and the lovely pictures of the community.

God bless

Fr Scott

Online Resources

First things first – there is a St Corona!  A first century martyr, she is venerated in Bavaria and Austria as the patron saint of treasure hunters and is invoked in times of epidemics and contagious diseases. I’m assured by the internet that her name is purely coincidental! https://zenit.org/articles/library-in-alexandria-egypt-offers-online-lessons-on-st-corona/

Last week we suggested that we’ll focus on mission and aid activities in PNG and the Solomon Islands.  We’ll still do that, but today we’ll take a detour and look at the Barnabas Fund.  Barnabas is a global organisation that provides ‘hope and aid for the persecuted church’ and assists Christians in non-Christian majority countries.  Of very real interest is Barnabas’ proactive role regarding the Covid 19 epidemic – this puts them ahead of many other agencies, and is the reason why we’ve chosen them today.

Please note that when we review mission and aid organisations that we’re not recommending donations – instead it’s about exploring the Church in the world, and then allowing the reader to think about their own priorities.  There’s a lot of agencies out there looking for funds!

The Barnabas website is at https://barnabasfund.org.  Barnabas assists the persecuted Church by:

  • directing funds only to Christians, although they may indirectly help others;
  • sending funds, not people;
  • sending funds to existing structures (e.g. local churches or Christian organisations); and
  • using the money to fund projects which have been developed by local Christians in their own communities.

This is same basis on which St George’s donates to the Diocese of Aipo Rongo in PNG or through our parishioners in the Solomon Islands.  It’s very efficient, but the risk is – how do we know the money has been spent properly? For our small offerings it’s about relationships and trust, but for the larger organisations it comes down to their governance structures.  I was surprised to find little about these on the Barnabas webpage, but the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission reports that donations are managed through the Barnabas International Project Committee in the UK and otherwise highlights no issues.

Here are some Covid 19 relevant reports from Barnabas.

In addition, please take a look at the reports on the African locust plague that St George’s has been praying for.

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at timothy.hender@mac.com.

Easter II, Low Sunday: 19 April, 2020

At the end of every high mass on Sunday, we stand and face the Walsingham shrine, to say the angelus, the devotions to Our Lady. At Easter we sing instead the Easter version, called the Regina Caeli, its name in Latin. It goes

Joy to you, O Queen of Heaven. Alleluia!

He whom you were meet to bear. Alleluia!

As He promised has arisen. Alleluia!

Pour for us to God your prayer. Alleluia!

Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

For the Lord is risen indeed, alleluia.

Let us pray:

O GOD, who has given joy to the whole world through the resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ, grant that through the prayers of his Virgin Mother Mary we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Never say the stories of the Church are not relevant. The legend from the 13th C, of this devotion, attributes it to St Gregory the Great from the 6th C – he was the pope who sent St Augustine, our first Archbishop of Canterbury, on his mission to England. In 590 a plague was decimating the population of Rome. In those days the Church, instead of locking the churches and hiding, used to have public penitential processions asking for God’s mercy. Gregory ordered that a newly arrived icon of Mary, said to been painted by St Luke, be carried in the procession. As it was being carried across the river Tiber, angels were heard singing the first three lines of this anthem, calling on Mary to rejoice because her son had risen. Gregory then completed the last line on the spot, and at that moment the Archangel Gabriel appeared above the mausoleum of the Emperor Hadrian nearby and sheathed his sword, a sign that the plague was ended. A chapel was then built on the monument, which was renamed Castel Sant’ Angelo, and that monument still exists.

Well, the famous icon still exists as well, it is called the Salus Populi Romani and the present pope, Francis, had it on display as he gave his blessing to the city and world recently, over the sadly empty space in front of St Peter’s. History has a way of echoing through time.

So, it’s very appropriate indeed that we sing this hymn at this time. We use it at the moment every day at noon at the shrine by the door of the church as we pray for those in need, and ask the protection of Our Lord and the prayers of Our Lady at this difficult time. I am glad we have this public space to do this: our little witness to the world of the continuing place of prayer.

This Sunday is also called Low Sunday. It’s often a bit of a holiday for the church choir and servers, who just want a break after all the hard work over Easter. Sundays are often named after the special pieces of music for the day, usually the first music sung as the clergy entered, the introit, but this name comes from the sequence, the music sung before the gospel. The sequence for this day is in Latin Laudes Salvatatori, “Praise to Our Saviour”, and the Laudes was corrupted in English into Low, giving us the name of the Sunday.

Sad news on the parish front: Steve Scovell died on Thursday 16 April. He had been unwell for a while, and battling with cancer. Steve and Val lived in the present hall, when it was still a house, in Fr Willoughby’s time and have had a lifelong connection with our parish. We pray for the repose of his soul, and his widow Val and family. Pray particularly for Tom, in England, who has been infected.

Some people have asked me if we are going to try streaming any services. It’s not a technology I’m good at, but I will if there is enough interest, perhaps for a compline one night. Let me know.

This Thursday will also be the feast of our patron saint, St George. We usually have a lovely lunch together on the Sunday following this: but not this year. In earlier times people used to wear red roses for this day to our church, a custom that was a little difficult to fulfil as roses are usually a little hard to come by in April. However, the gardens are simply lovely at the moment and the roses are plentiful! I have included at the top of this issue one of the earliest photos we have of our beautiful statue of St George from around 1920. The face is particularly beautiful.

One of the hymns I love singing for St George’s Day, “For All the Saints,” was written by the Bishop of Wakefield, William Walsham How in 1864. How turned down many great Anglo Catholic parishes, such as All Saints Margaret Street, the great London Church, to remain working in poor parishes. The hymn was popularised particularly in the famous English Hymnal, in 1906 with a new setting by Ralph Vaughan Williams. It has been described as one of the finest hymn tunes of the 20th century. Here is a YouTube recording from King’s College, Cambridge for those who want to hear it. Enjoy.

For all the saints, who from their labours rest,

Who Thee by faith before the world confessed,

Thy Name, O Jesus, be forever blessed.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

Thou wast their Rock, their Fortress and their Might;

Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well fought fight;

Thou, in the darkness drear, their one true Light.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

O may Thy soldiers, faithful, true and bold,

Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,

And win with them the victor’s crown of gold.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!

We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;

Yet all are one in Thee, for all are Thine.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,

Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,

And hearts are brave, again, and arms are strong.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

The golden evening brightens in the west;

Soon, soon to faithful warriors comes their rest;

Sweet is the calm of paradise the blessed.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;

The saints triumphant rise in bright array;

The King of glory passes on His way.

Alleluia, Alleluia!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,

Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,

Singing to Father, Son and Holy Ghost:

Alleluia, Alleluia!

God bless

Fr Scott