The Epiphany of Our Lord – 6 January, The Baptism Of Our Lord – 13 January 2019

G’Day folks,

What a joyous time of year to birth a new ministry! As you’ve no doubt heard around the traps, following the Commissioning Service at 7pm on Wednesday 9th January, I take up the post as Priest-in-Charge of St Paul’s, Manly.

My family and I look forward to settling in and getting to know you all! As we’ll only be moving from down the road at East Redland Anglican (formerly Cleveland Anglican), we may have crossed paths at some point in the last few years, possibly through ministries like SAILS at Bayside. But for those who I haven’t met yet, I’ve been invited to introduce myself and my family.

There are four of us in the Hobbs clan – Me, wife Kylie, daughter Chloe (18) and son Jack (7). Kylie is a senior psychologist working with children and young adults at Bayside Child and Youth Mental Health Service, Redlands Hospital (Queensland Health). It’s a demanding but very rewarding career. Chloe has recently completed Year 12 at Loreto College, Coorparoo, and been accepted into the Bachelor of Social Science at Griffith University. She has a couple of casual jobs as well, so she’s always flitting about. Jack will start Year 3 in 2019 at St John Vianney’s Catholic Primary School. Jack loves Pokèmon, Yugio, Bey Blades, rugby union and his trampoline. Following some maintenance work on the property, my family will take up residence in the Rectory at Manly. Until then, we will remain in our current home at Victoria Point.

As for me, well I come to you having completed my Curacy at East Redland Anglican ministering alongside Rector and Moreton Archdeacon, The Venerable Denise Ferguson. My ordained journey to this point has been a decade of much discernment, prayer, theological education and seminary formation through St Francis Theological College. Prior to full time studies in theology and formation for ordination, I studied a Diploma and Masters degree in Journalism and worked as a political advisor, media advisor and campaign strategist. I’ve undertaken extensive work in policy development, government and community services, particularly in disability services, mental health, homelessness, seniors and ageing and social enterprise.

I’m currently midway through the Noviciate for the Third Order of the Society of St Francis of Assisi. St Francis has played a major role in my spiritual life, shaping and inspiring much of my ministry, prayer and contemplative practice. I’m a firm believer in the transformative power of prayer and silence and very much look forward to sharing a prayerful journey with you as we together discern God’s call to us at St Paul’s.

I pray this period of transition will be for us all a life-giving, nourishing time in our shared journey with God.

Yours in Christ,


Advent 4 – 23 December, Christmas 1 – 30 December 2018

G’day. With a Pew Sheet only every other week, I feel that I need to say: blessings for the last Sunday of Advent, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Right, now where? Let’s start with Advent.
As we sit with the expectancy and excitement of what is coming; not just Christmas, but about the expectancy of new life, new goals, new tones and new thought patterns, where are you? As
we prepare to welcome the Christ child again into our midst, our homes and our lives, can you remember that we are a people of the ‘now’ and ‘not yet’? That even when Christmas gets here,
Advent is still a part of our being, our worship and our lives. We constantly live in the hope of God as not yet, whilst realising the reality of God already here. I continue to pray this Advent for peace and unity among humanity and indeed within our families and communities.

Now, Christmas. Christmas provides a unique opportunity each year for us all to re-focus. Not only are we reminded of the awe-inspiring, world-changing, life-altering gift that is Jesus; but we are also reminded of our need for this Jesus to heal us in our brokenness. That is indeed why he came, isn’t it? To bring peace between God and humanity. To be the bridge, when we just can’t make it on our own. This is why the angels declared triumphantly “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14). So, this Christmas, I wish you all the blessings and gifts of not only the season, but also of the new born king, who brings with him, the expectancy of the whole of creation. We sit expectantly on the cusp of breathing, as we again live in the hope of peace supreme. As we celebrate our lives, and the complexity of our existence, let us remember the gift of our saviour, who has given us unfettered access to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, not just for Christmas Day, but for every day since that first Christmas and every day after. Perhaps this Christmas you might like to try and envision the world that Christ imagined. What would that world look like with good will to all humanity, and true and everlasting peace among us all.

And lastly, New Year. What does the new look like for you? Are you one of those people who are glad to see the back of 2018 and live in the hope that 2019 will bring you more happiness or at least some peace. Perhaps you are one who can’t wait for the possibilities of 2019. I might suggest to you, that wherever you sit from these two poles of thought, the world you envision, whatever that may be, cannot become a reality without your help. God calls us to remember every year, the perfection of a gift with no expectation or need for reciprocation, so that we can catch a glimpse of God’s vision for humanity. Can you help? Instead of New Year resolutions which are bust by the end of January. February if you’re lucky, can you think about the lasting and enduring call of Christ to be his people in the world. To give anyway, to love in the face of hate, to forgive 77+ times the annoying person who is driving you mad. Can you let Christs love and vision, cloud your own need to own, conquer, take, ignore or just not care and be for humanity what God envisioned in us, even from when we were created?

I’d like to leave you with this thought. In God, humanity is an absolute delight and joy, all humanity, all people, everywhere. Can you put your bias and bigotry aside in 2019 and let the
hope of Christ in instead? Can you put aside the conflict, and angst of conflict and let the peace of Christ reign and let those awful negative feelings go? Can you turn your sadness into Joy in Christ? And lastly, can you love without judgement? Can you give without exception? Can you take what Christ offers on his birthday every year and give it away, not once, but over and over again?

My prayer for you this end, beginning and not quite yet, is that you realise all these things are already yours, are already God’s greatest gift to you, at no cost and no price, to you all. Just reach out and grab them, then give them away whilst living them yourselves.

Blessings, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year, but more appropriately, Shalom Cheverim (pronounced Haverim); God’s everlasting and enduring peace be with you all.

Donna – Vicar, St Peter’s Wynnum.

Advent 2 – 9 December, Advent 3 – 16 December 2018

We are now in the midst of the advent hype and Christmas trees are popping up all over the place. I invite you to take an opportunity to wonder with me about the Christmas tree, one of the beloved symbols which has grown to universally represent Christmas. For people of different cultures and religious backgrounds it marks the celebration of the “festive holiday season”. But perhaps it, like so many other things which seem inoffensive to the majority, has lost the meaning of its roots. Let’s see if we can dig through history to find out just how this innocent tree made its way into our homes, churches and shopping centers and what it may offer us today.

The decorative and symbolic use of evergreen wreaths, trees and garlands predated the modern Christmas tree. The ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews along with the Vikings and Saxons used these as a symbol of everlasting life, encouraging hope in the dark depths of winter. European pagan converts to Christianity continued to decorate homes and barns with evergreens to scare away the devil in the dark season. It is no surprise then that the modern Christmas tree was received so well, echoing a beloved ancient practice for so many cultures.

We can see it developing popularity in folk law where the tree inspired saints and sinners alike to reflect on the nature of God. One such 8th Century folk story sees Saint Boniface using an evergreen tree, after miraculously having grown in place of an oak tree he cut down as a demonstration against pagan worship of trees, as an example of the trinity with its triangular shape which he claimed was pointing the pagans towards heaven and belief in the one true God.

A fir tree was used in medieval mystery plays given on the 24th December (commemoration/ name day of Adam and Eve) when the “tree of life” was decorated with apples (forbidden fruit) and wafers (Body of Christ in Eucharist). Eventually over time the apples were replaced by red balls (baubles) and the wafers with other sweet treats – which I’m sure we can recognize in the popular decorations for trees today.

The domestication of the Christmas tree was born out of Germany in the 16th century Lutheran reformists’ tradition. There is a fanciful tale that Martin Luther himself, began the tradition of putting candles on the tree, to represent the light of Christ. Often topped with a star – to represent the star of Bethlehem, or an Angel – to represent one of the many angels who are part of the Christmas story, the tree made its way into Church as early as 1539 at the Cathedral in Strasburg.

Its popularity spread in the 18th and 19th Century through Europe, to Britain and the Americas through German influence, picking up cultural adaptions as it became part of both the public and private celebrations of Christmas wherever it was introduced. It has been used as a tool for reconciliation in the practice of gifting a tree to mark armistice and the breaking of hostilities between nations previously at war. In 2004 Pope John Paul called the tree a symbol of Christ.

There are many more historical details and representative symbolisms that could recommend the Christmas tree to us. You may like to learn more yourself. It certainly seems to me that if more people had an opportunity to learn the meaning behind the Christmas tree it will continue to be a tool for reconciliation, peace and celebration. The greatest gift we can give this year may be sharing the Christmas tree and all its meaning with those around us… Who will you invite to TREErific? Who will find Jesus through the Christmas tree you share with them this year?

Wishing you all every blessing and many decorated Christmas trees

The Rev’d Jamee

Feast of Christ the King – 25 November, Advent 1 – 2 December 2018

Now we all know that Christ is our king, our Saviour, our Redeemer, our Healer, Messiah. Scripture is very clear about who Christ is and how he has already saved us. But what I would
like to know is, how is Christ your King? Think about it! Now that you’ve thought about it, have a think about how you can help Jesus become someone else’s king. We now have the whole month of Advent to show Christ to the world, maybe not the whole world, but perhaps, to a few in our world.

This all leads into Advent:
Advent is a time of preparing to receive the Good News of Christ born among us. But as well as receiving, we are commissioned by Christ to give the Good News too. Unlike Easter which is often undergirded by repentance, repercussion and redemption, Advent is a time of almost unbridled expectation. In fact, when we do ‘Advent’ correctly, expectation can be palpable. The building of the story, of the waiting, of the ‘an-tic-i-pation’ can be almost unbearable. Why? What is it about the truth of the Good News being born anew at Christmas that compels us to participate? What is it about the Hope of God with us, the Peace of God which passes all understanding, the Joy of knowing that God is now always with us and the Love of God and others in our life, that compels us to join in? I wonder, have you even asked yourselves these questions? Have you ever wanted to experience this more fully? Have you ever yearned for a true connection to God and your fellow humans, but have sort of let it slip and not? These are tough questions to ask and answer. Advent is upon us, and the Good News of Christ is for you and yours, especially at Christmas and there is always time.

This year, St Peter’s is trying to generate some of this expectation, by initiating and participating in a Messy Nativity. This has a couple of different parts.
1. Messy Knitted Nativity. Our knitted Nativity scene is going on a trip around Wynnum and surrounding suburbs. It will roam from house to house for the whole of Advent. Then come home to St Peter’s on Christmas Eve, for our very first Messy Nativity Service at 6 pm Christmas Eve.
2. Messy Sheep Trail. Our wonderful family of St Peter’s have been madly knitting for these events. Our knitted sheep have been scattered along Bay Terrace in a variety of shops and businesses. We can’t find them and, we’ve forgotten their names. The Messy Sheep Trail encourages us to go find these lost sheep, discover their names and possibly win a great prize in the process. Ask St Peter’s Wardens for details!

In short St Peter’s Messy Nativity journey and Messy Sheep Trail are well underway. We have people on the roster, but there is always room for more. The shops and businesses are on board and the sheep are being named as we speak. All we need do now, is participate and anticipate.

Would you like to be a part of the Messy Nativity House hop? Perhaps you would like to try and find those silly lost sheep in the businesses along Bay Terrace in the Messy Sheep Trail? Maybe you just want to see how it all pans out and come to see, hear, and experience the culmination of all this prayer and forward planning, at our family service at 6pm on Christmas Eve.

Whether or not you choose to be a part of this Messy Expectation, or not, I pray and hope in your Advent preparations for the coming of the Good News. As we prepare to welcome the Christ Child anew among us, my prayer is for our Hope, Peace, Love and Joy in our Advent journey.

Christ is Coming….
Lord, we welcome you…..

Shalom, Donna (Vicar – St Peter’s Wynnum)

Thanksgiving Sunday – 11 November, Pentecost 26 – 18 November 2018

As Remembrance day approaches, and in the wake of Halloween, All Saints and all Souls days, the inherent tradition of the Church is Anamnesis; ‘Do this is Remembrance of me’. The ability to remember is a quality of our humanity which draws us closer to God our creator, in whose image we are made.

As individuals we remember things that are significant to us, the stories, experiences and shared events which help to make us who we are. The things we remember as a community are the same, in that we draw our identity as a group, from the shared stories and experiences of our past.

The beauty of a community that remembers is that it can reach back far beyond the lifetime experiences of the current members of that community, and keep stories alive through the ages. The traditions, sacramental rituals, stories, art, artifacts, liturgies, documents, monuments and buildings that the Church draws together and preserves are all a testament to the call of God that we all remember.

An example of how God likes us to remember is Jesus use of parables. These stories were and still are, a brilliant and effective tool by which Jesus instructed those living in an oral culture, to remember his lessons. That the Gospels were written into the Biblical narratives long after these parables were taught, is a great show of how successful they were in aiding the community to share and collectively remember them until they were recorded.

Jesus’ very clear instructions to us, in establishing the Holy Communion at the last supper, were to ”Do this in remembrance of me”. It is striking that in his last hours before being arrested, Jesus instituted this ritual of remembering which has formed and fed Christians for over 2000 years, as one of the core sacraments of faith. In this God was explicit in asking us to remember, but there are many other calls on us by our creator which are less obvious but still compelling.

The tradition of remembering and honouring the “Hallows” – Saints and Martyrs – of the faith is another of the calls to remember. By remembering them we uphold them as examples of Christian living for us to draw direction from, for the forming of our own Christian identities.

In the vastness of history there are many saints and martyrs who go unnamed and whose stories remain untold. Just as we know from our recent history that there are those who lie in unmarked graves who laid down their lives in times of war. We are human and are not able to retain everything and this can become the cause of pain. But there is one who does retain everything from the beginning of time until the end of days. We can take comfort in that the things that may have been forgotten in our history, the people who may not be remembered by the Church, are all remembered by God, and we can only wonder at that truth.

Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Rev’d Jamee (Manly)

Feast of St Simon & St Jude – 28 October, All Saints & All Souls Day – 4 November 2018

What is a saint? And, what does it matter?
This week we are remembering St Jude and St Simon, apostles of Christ. That is Judas the son of James, sometimes called Thaddeus, as opposed to the other Judas, Judas Iscariot, and Simon
the Zealot rather than Simon Peter. Next week we celebrate and remember not only All Souls’ Day, a time when we fondly or commemoratively, remember the dead, but also All Saints Day,
where we remember and commemorate those saints who have gone before as well as those saints who walk among us.

So, let’s have a look at what, or who a saint is. In traditional Christian thought, a saint is often known as a ‘hallow’. It’s where we get the term ‘All Hallows’ eve, from. The night of the saints, or souls. October 31st, ‘All Hallows Eve’ refers to the night where the veil between life and death is thinner and God’s eternal life and kingdom is more accessible, or even for some, visible or tangible. These days, ‘All Hallows’ eve has been hijacked by Halloween, with negative and scary tones added to the traditional understanding of a ‘holy’, ‘thin’, or sacred place.

As for a person who is recognised as a saint, they are unusually a person who has or has lived a life with an exceptional degree of holiness. They can also be described as one with a particular closeness, or likeness to God. And depending on which Christian denomination you speak to, the term ‘saint’ also generally means, any believer who is ‘in Christ’ and in whom Christ dwells. In other words the term Saint could quite literally refer to any one of us, living or dead.

Largely people decree that saints and souls are not like the Halloween portent of the dead walking among us, or the ‘living dead’, or even the actual dead, but that saints are anyone who
believe in the good news of Christ and lives a godly, Christian life, even though they might fail. In fact human failure is almost a pre-requisite of sainthood; just look at our mate, Simon-Peter. If this disciple who constantly misunderstood Jesus teaching, got it wrong and was still worthy of sainthood, then most of us are too; we are in very good company.

The word Saint, originated within Christianity but over time, has been adopted or adapted by almost all other major religions in some form or another. These include Jewish, Islam, Hindu,
Rishi, Sikh, and at times, Buddhist. Depending on the religion, saints though are important historical figures which not only link us to our God, but to our human past.

But I guess, what I’d like to know is what does all this talk of Saints and souls mean for us in 2018?
Can you identify any living saints, among you?
Or can you recognise Christ’s sainthood within yourselves?

And, as we approach All Hallows’ Eve, can you remember the true meaning of that thin, sacred, holy place, where heaven and earth, touch and God is closer than before.

Have a great week,

Shalom (God’s deep abiding love and peace, be with you)

Donna (Vicar, St Peter’s Wynnum)

Pentecost 21 and 22 – 14 and 21 October 2018

The Anglican tradition serves the Church well. With the three pillars of Anglicanism, Scripture – Tradition – and Reason at the heart of our Church we can enjoy the freedom of being a body of diversity which encourages inclusion and deep thinking. There is, of course, the same danger in our church, as in any other long-standing organisation with tradition, which is that we may become comfortable with what is familiar and be resistant when a challenge arises, to think or change.

In fact there may be many things that we say and do in Church which we might not think about, beyond the capacity to remember the liturgy by rote and the hymns by tune, where God is waiting for us to unlock the potential to take our faith beyond the comfortable and grow into a new way of being which is more life-giving.

A few weeks ago, I was challenged to think about a particular part of our liturgy which I had always just accepted. The part that it had not occurred to me to contemplate  deeply, beyond my obedience in proclaiming it, (until a saint of the parish shared her own thoughts about it) is the mystery of faith.

The mystery of faith is a three-sentence proclamation, which we engage in every Sunday during the thanksgiving prayers of Holy Communion, after the institution of the narrative of the Eucharist. It is also called the memorial acclamation and is commonly said together with the priest and the congregation joining in:

“Christ has died. Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”

Originally this came from the rite of St James, used in the orthodox church for centuries
proclaimed as:
“Your death, our Lord, we commemorate,
Your resurrection we confess and
Your second coming we wait for. May Your mercy be upon us all.”
It was only introduced to the Roman rite for Mass, where we (the Anglican Church) got it from, in 1969. Previously the people had only proclaimed the Sanctus (Holy Holy  Holy…) and said ”Amen” after the final doxology, the rest of the liturgy was celebrated by the priest.

In the English missal the following four options were for use as the memorial acclamation:
1. ”Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.”
2. ”Dying you destroyed our death, rising you restored our life. Lord Jesus, come in glory.”
3. ”When we eat this bread and drink this cup, we proclaim your death, Lord Jesus, until you come in glory.”
4. ”Lord, by your cross and resurrection, you have set us free. You are the Saviour of the world.”

The first of these should be familiar to you as it is the only memorial acclamation used in our prayer book in the Anglican Church of Australia. At the Synod Eucharist service last Friday night, the second mystery of faith was sung, which jolted me out of my Eucharistic rhythm and made me think about this memorial acclamation that I and all those around me are confidently proclaiming again and again. I encourage and challenge you in the coming weeks to ponder what these words which we proclaim, mean to you, as an acclamation or expression of your faith and what they say about who God is for you.

The Rev’d Jamee

Pentecost 17 and Feast of St Francis – 30 September – 7 October 2018

This week we celebrate Saint Francis of Assisi (1181-1226). Francis was but a humble servant of God, trying to listen to what God asked of him and spreading the gospel of Christ in a loving and humble way. St Francis was the founder of a number of Franciscan Orders which later became the orders of Monks and Nuns we have today. Below are some thoughts attributed to Francis of Assisi.

Francis was on a military mission in Puglia, Italy, when it is said he heard the voice of God telling him to return to Assisi and restore the church. Francis misinterpreted this to mean the physical buildings which were in disrepair. Later, through more prayer and prompting by the Holy Spirit, Christ revealed to Francis that he wanted him to restore the Church within, not without.

At another time, Francis had a vision of a little black hen, whose feathers and feet were those of a dove. She had so many chicks that she couldn’t gather them all under her wings, and they ran all around her beyond her reach. Francis interpreted this to mean, the he himself, was like that hen, for he was short in stature and dark of colouring and he had so many followers, that he was unable to care for them. Francis believed that the Lord had given him too many children to be able to care for himself, therefore he said, he was to surrender them to the Mother Church who would protect them in the form of monastic orders, which is just what he did.”

Francis named his religious order the Friars Minor (Little Brothers) to express his desire that the brothers would always remain humble and never seek positions above others. He encountered many difficulties along the way as he tried to remain faithful to the inspiration that God had given him. Once St. Francis had a vivid dream in which Jesus appeared to him and said, “Poor little man, why are you so sad? Is not your order, my order? Is it not I who am its chief shepherd? Cease to be afflicted then, and take care rather of your own salvation.” The dream was a great consolation to Francis. Francis also believed that possessions were unnecessary, that possessions in turn would need weapons to defend them and that they would eventually become an obstacle to one’s search for the divine. Francis believed this and lived his belief.

Francis is also the patron saint of animals and is celebrated most often with liturgy and service to the animals who share our lives. He is considered the one who had and has, a direct connection through the created order, to the divine. We honour St Francis each year on October 4 or thereabouts, with a service of blessing for our own pets and animals who share our lives.

Have a great couple of weeks

Shalom (God’s deep abiding, indwelling love be with you)

Donna (Vicar of Wynnum)

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost – 16th September 2018

Jesus asks: “Who am I?” And I’m asking, So what?

In 2018, who is Jesus for you? Maybe you’re thinking this is a bit of a nonsense question. But, humour me. Who is Jesus for you and what difference does that knowledge, relationship, experience make in your life today and beyond? For some of us, it is not blatantly obvious who Jesus is, or our concept can change, just like Peter’s did. Of course, we say, Jesus is our Lord and Saviour, the Son of God, an equal person in the Trinity, the one whom we pledge our faith through, in the Nicene creed every Sunday, but who and what else is he to us?

Scholars might argue, that Mark’s gospel answers the question of who Jesus is, by taking us back to the very heart of the gospel, to that critical moment when the truth of what God was doing in and through Jesus, comes into its sharpest focus. It clarifies once and for all, the answer to the question “Who is Jesus?”

Or does it?

My second question: So, What? is more evocative. What does this question actually ask of you, in your everyday life? Do you think perhaps, that its already all been worked out for you? Do you simply believe what you’ve been told? If we could personalise the question, as though someone was asking these questions of us, then what would the answer be? Who are you? And how is your life informed by who you believe Jesus is right now in your life?

One of the most satisfying areas of ministry for me is bereavement ministry; funerals. During the funeral service there is that reminder and reflection on the deceased life; the eulogy. This is usually offered by a family member, or someone so close as to be considered family. This reflection on a person’s life, often brings clarity, insight and knowledge to those listening. What’s really wonderful about this reflection time for me, is to hear about the loved one, from another’s perspective and experience. It is often a gift, to hear stories about someone whom we have known intimately, from another’s life focus. Even when we have known a person our whole life, we still don’t actually know them, the way another does; each relationship is unique to the people within that relationship. This is the gift and beauty of our relationship with God; its unique to us. Our story and God’s story are inextricable linked and connected, whether we see it or not.

So, I’ll pose my questions again; who is Jesus to you? and so what?

How does your knowledge or concept of who Jesus is for you in 2018 inform or enliven you? How has your story and Jesus’ story, intersected and so what? How has your life been influenced or guided by this relationship? How have you taken up your cross and followed the one, you would call Saviour, Lord? Or, how have you, like Peter, perhaps failed to understand? Is your heart set on human things rather than the divine? And what difference does it make? Big questions I know. But perhaps you might like to ponder these and others as you move from Sunday worship into the rest of the week.

So, Who is Jesus for you? and, what difference does he make?

Have a great week
Shalom (God’s deep abiding peace)