29th June 2014 – The Feast of St Peter and St Paul

Over the last few weeks, in fact very regularly throughout my time here at St Paul’s, and in many contexts, I have spoken about prayer. By prayer I don’t mean Christian wish lists written and spoken to God, but the conversation as of a child to a loved parent. Such prayers offer thanks, ask advice, pour out the deepest concerns of the soul for the self, for others and for the world.

Prayer, reading and pondering God’s Word nurture us, strengthen our relationship with God and form a firm foundation for our lives. Perhaps these two poems sent to me recently might help you in your own prayer life.

PRAYING 

It doesn’t have to be

the blue iris, it could be

weeds in a vacant lot, or a few

small stones; just

pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try

to make them elaborate, this isn’t

a contest but the doorway 

into thanks, and a silence in which

another voice may speak.

Mary Oliver

Doubt swells and surges.

My soul in storm is but a tattered sail,

Streaming its ribbons on the gale.

In calm, ’tis but a limp and flapping thing:

Oh, swell it with Thy breath; make it a wing.

Author George MacDonald

Blessings

Reverend Shan

22nd June 2014 – Confirmation and 40th Anniversary of Consecration of St Pauls

Today, in our worship and our celebrations, we remember those who laid the foundations of this Church and this faith community. We give thanks for the faith and hope, which kept them focused on Gods purpose in building a church and faith community here in Manly. That purpose was encapsulated in our gospel reading for last week in which Jesus sent His disciples to 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.

It is particularly fitting that we also remember Fr. Fred Wilson, who’s anniversary coincides with the anniversary of the consecration of St Paul’s. Along with Gloria (and the faith community of the time) he worked tirelessly for this parish and community. We give thanks for his faithfulness in carrying out God’s mission in this place.

However, today is not siply a remembrance of the past – it is also a celebration of the Faithfulness of God who, in Christ said,  “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” 

The mission continues! Today Bishop Alison will preside as Rebecca Jayne confirms her faith in God and her desire to follow Jesus.

We give thanks for Rebecca who exemplifies, by her unconditional love, the two great commandments. We pray for Rebecca that she might always know herself to be abundantly loved!

May you al be richly blessed in our clebrations,

Reverend Shan

15th June 2014 – Trinity Sunday

Dear friends,

Today I bring before you some information for your prayer and reflection.

Recently we conducted a Survey regarding service times, the number of Sunday services and styles of worship.

The results of the survey can be seen in graphs in the foyer of the church.

There were two trends which seemed to stand out.

1. An 8AM service seems to be desirable. (especially in winter months as many struggle to wake and leave their beds.)

2. People seemed to be happy having two different services —traditional and family

So how do we proceed?

1. We can continue as we are at present, with an 8:00am service in January  and on special parish occasions.

2. Have two services—8AM Traditional on Sunday and family style service 5PM Saturday

3. Have one service only, at 8AM and cater for children.

For many reasons we are reluctant to go down the path of one service only. This would involve a great deal of compromise.

Please note that not all parishioners responded and, of course, we did not survey prospective members of our congregations from the wider community. This last point is important especially given the gospel imperative 19 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, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’

Please pray that the Spirit of God will open our eyes and hearts to know the Creator’s guidance. Over the next few weeks the wardens, parish councillors, and I will be canvasing those who would be most affected by any change in service times – the 9am congregation. In all this we are seeking to be “the Body of Christ”, bearing the gospel to the world. Please pray for us all as we discern the will of God for our mission. 

Blessings

Reverend Shan

8th June 2014 – Pentecost A

Today is the feast of Pentecost, which is recognized as the day of the coming of the promised gift of the Holy Spirit. The story of Pentecost is foundational to the Christian faith with the strong theme of the uniting and life-giving work of the Spirit of God in the diversity and variety of creation.  Pentecost, originally an ancient Jewish harvest festival which came 50 days after Passover, is sometimes called “the birthday of the church.”

The coming of the Holy Spirit is described, in the second chapter of The Acts of the Apostles, in rather dramatic terms. It is accompanied by the sound of a mighty rushing wind, tongues of fire hovering over the disciples heads and the (seemingly) drunken disorderliness of the spirit touched disciples as they spill onto the local streets “babbling” the Gospel in a cacophony of languages. People of the many nations, gathered for the feast, heard the ‘Good News” in their own tongues.

What does the Pentecost story say to us about living with diversity and difference?

Think on what I have been saying about living out the gospel and being a disciple in our everyday lives. Helen Collins shared this little verse remembered from her childhood –

You are writing a Gospel a chapter a day, by the deeds that you do and the words that you say. People read what you write – If it’s false or it’s true! Now what is the Gospel, According to you?

The way we love and reach out to our neighbours (regardless of creed or culture) says more about our Christian faith then the words we speak. Being 100% Christian, 100% of the time is not easy – in fact it seems humanly impossible – but the coming of the Holy Spirit is the fulfilment of the promise that we are not alone.

May God’s presence be manifest in your lives this week.

Love and Blessings

Rev Shan