To be loved is to be fully known and to fully belong!
This thought has been an abiding theme of mine for the last few months. Some of you will recognise this theme in what you have heard me say, particularly in my preaching. In the past couple of weeks, it has also carried me through the death of my father. After being affected by Vascular dementia for some years, my father died on the 13 August. We were blessed to be able to farewell him as family and friends in St John's Cathedral on Wednesday 19 August.
Thank you for your generous expressions of love and support towards my family and me at this time. We have received many expressions of condolence through phone calls, cards and flowers. I was grateful to those who were able to join us at the funeral as well. I am deeply blessed to be a part of a church in which I experience God's love through others. Through this period, I have had a tangible sense of what we sometimes described as "The peace of God that passes all understanding."
Following the funeral, I have been able to take some time off. There was such busyness before and around the funeral that it was clear that I would need some time to stop before returning to work. I told the wardens "I would listen to my body" to see what I needed to support my well being before returning to work. It appears that my body has spoken and I am going to take a little more personal leave before returning to duties. At this stage, this means that I will not be taking services this Sunday. I remain grateful to The Rev'd Sarah Plowman for stepping in once more. I am also blessed by the support of the administrative and ministry team at St David's to keep things moving along at this time.
When I return in the next week, I am keen to listen carefully to the body, which is our church. We have spent much of the last year just doing what was needed in uncertain circumstances. With so much uncertainty choosing what to do is not much more than gut instinct. I think it is time that we listen deeply to God and each other as we wonder how God might be leading us in the months and years ahead; this includes helping each other to be fully known and to belong fully. In this way, we can move closer to God and each other for an abundant life.
The Anglican Church of Austraila are inviting people to take part in an anonymous online survey to help us all build a more supportive Anglican Church for people who have experienced intimate partner violence?
The Anglican Church of Australia is committed to supporting safe and loving homes and safe churches. Recognising that intimate partner violence, which forms part of domestic and family violence, is a serious and widespread problem, with enormous individual and community impacts and social costs - and that the Church is not immune - our Church seeks to improve our policy and practice to respond to these difficult issues.
“Help us to build a safer and more supportive Anglican Church for people who have experienced domestic violence. Join a research project aimed to help improve church practices. If you have had an experience of domestic violence and a current or previous link with the Anglican Church, please share your perspective. The online survey is anonymous, and anyone can take part.
Go to [surveys.ncls.org.au/NAFVP/experience](https://surveys.ncls.org.au/NAFVP/experience/) to find out more.”
2020 - Article by Lauren Martin and Barbara Newton
This year we have faced many changes and disruptions as to how we have been able to come together as a community. Despite this adversity we have seen some wonderful connections develop between many members of our community, through actions as simple as a phone call, and gathering together with friends to watch online services. We have also seen the rise of the parish phone tree, phone services, bible study and gardening group, and more recently, in-person worship!
As we continue to grow as a community, we acknowledge the importance of feeling connected and a sense of belonging, particularly as we grow in fellowship and faith. One particular area of growth is through small group activities. By spending time with friends we are able to share our stories, and we are able to support one another as we grow in understanding, comfort and confidence, both as a community, and equally as important, as an individual.
Small group activities can take many different forms, and do not have to follow a strictly regimented series of meetings. After all a small group is just a bunch of people spending time together - and we must not lose sight of this! This shared moment may simply be a cuppa and a chat, or perhaps be triggered by common interest (such as our gardening group, or the Stitches group, or even our avid board gamers), prayer, meditation or bible studies. Really the list is endless!
A number of people have mentioned the desire to participate in small groups, with the desire to connect more with each other, and to come together in fellowship and faith. As we continue to grow as a community of fellowship and faith, we would like to reach out to each and every person in our community. If there is something you would like to share with others or are interested in please let us know (you probably are not alone in this interest!). If you are interested in leading or helping to lead a small group, or if you just feel like you want to connect with others, again we are here to help explore ideas and help make this happen.