Friday, December 18, 2009

Prayer to bring together the Advent Studies

I have written this prayer for the last of  week of the Advent Study series.  As we look at the New Covenant, we remember the promises contained in  the Covenants we have looked at in this series.

Loving God,

You brought Noah and his family through the flood to find safety and make celebration on Mount Ararat, you put a rainbow in the sky to remind them of your promise; help us when we find ourselves in the storms of life to look for your promise and wait patiently for its fulfilment.

 Your covenant with Abraham begins salvation history as you act to reconcile a fallen world. With Moses, you lead your people from bondage and slavery into freedom and establish a covenant which seeks to bring peace.

 Your covenant with David looks forward to a time when a descendant of David would bring peace and justice to all of God’s people. As we seek to live under this new covenant, help us to remember that your promises are from of old and that in Jesus all things find their fulfilment.

When we doubt, reveal to us your rainbow.
When we fall, reach out to us in reconciliation.
When we are in bondage, lead us into liberation.
When we are hurt, come to us as the Prince of Peace.

This we ask through Him whose birth we celebrate
And whose name we honour, Jesus the Lord. Amen.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Baptism at Morrisons

The sudden and then sustained down pour didn't dampen the spirits as the Cole and Gaussen families gathered at St James' Church Morrisions yesterday for Isabella's baptism. Following in the family tradition of many of her ancestors before her, she was baptized during the main public service of the day and welcomed into Christ's Church.

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Men's High Fashion in Ballarat

A link to an article on my main website regarding the Summer Fashion on offer for men in Ballarat this year.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The pictures shows the group of final year Medical Students from Scotland on a placement in Victoria pictured with the parish organist Dr Robert Ried. They are having a real taste of the variety of lifestyles available in the State of Victoria. This is one of the smallest churches in the Diocese of Ballarat and was moved to Wallinduc from the Goldfields. It is the only church that I know that still uses the harmonium for every service. Dr Ried likes to give the congregation their monies-worth so they have 5 hymns per service, each with a minimum of 6 verses!

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bishop's Registry Training Day

Today the staff, lay and clerical, of the Bishop's Registry had a half-day training session. The facilitator focused on the various dynamics operating within the group and the inter-dependencies that help the group function effectively.

The picture is of an "expression" that was made by the group that I was a member of. I must confess that for me this was the best part of the morning.

Here's the explanation of the "expression" as best as I can remember it.

  • The Cross - Constructed from an assortment of coloured pipe-cleaners - represents the many different crosses than people bring to and prop-up around the Registry. The umbrella in the centre of the cross is a symbol of God's umbrella of love over all of these crosses.
  • The Figures around the Cross - each with a different colour feather to speak of the variety of personalities that are present in the group and that how together these harmonise in juxtaposition like a rainbow. Some of the sub-gifts of the individuals are represented by the objects in their arms or at their feet.
  • Around the Cross - are presents, flowers and produce; each speaks for a member of the group.
  • Band-Aids - talk about the healing process that helps to keep the group together. The Secure Cable-tie, replacing a Band-Aid in one relationship, speaks of the stronger tie that sometimes is required.
  • The Outer Perimeter and the Carnival Masks - speak of the need for a celebration of life both within and beyond the Registry.

We had ten minuets to discuss our approach and the same to construct it with a wide choice of materials to choose from.

I think our team had fun and at the same time reflected deeply about
our group dynamic.

You can tell from the colour of the feather which one represents me.

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British households pour away £470 million of wine every year - Times Online

British households pour away £470 million of wine every year - Times Online

This is an amazing article from The Times (London) today.
Most of what it says would seem to me a matter of common sense but the volume of waste is astounding.
I can confirm that no wine is wasted in this household, there is a use for each and every drop.

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Saturday, October 03, 2009

Saint Francis of Assisi

The 4th of October is date for the Commemoration of Saint Francis of Assisi.

This year it falls on a Sunday, as it is only a 'commemoration' it is not celebrated or transferred. (I dont know what strings the BBC had to pull to have Dibley's Blessing of the Animals on a Sunday.)

So for those who want to remember Saint Francis on the 4th of October, I have included a collect and a prayer blessing below:

Collect for St Francis of Assisi:

Father, You helped Saint Francis to reflect the image of Christ through a life of poverty and humility. May we follow your Son by walking in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, and by imitating his joyful love. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

A Saint Francis Day Prayer: 

Loving Father, Saint  Francis taught us to love all of your creatures and to care for those we have charge of, we thank you for N. ( & N.), for the companionship we share and the support we offer each other. Help  us to understand and promote that bond of affection we have with our animals and to share our love with each other. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday, September 07, 2009

A note to my Father on the anniversary of his death

I wore your waistcoat today; the plain black one with the silk back. Morning Dress trousers (to me you always seemed to be wearing them), a shirt form the Jermyn Street shirt makers that can be seen from the upper bay window of your old club in St James. I also wore the tie that we wore in solidarity at your funeral: the one I put on when the liturgies were over and I had taken off my robes and was allowed to mourn.
You had made it so clear that at your funeral we were to give thanks and celebrate your life - your friends were so numerous and from so many walks of life that it was like organising a State Funeral - Your choice of the final hymn “Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices; who wondrous things hath done.” All this helped to lift us beyond our grief and to see the great things you had achieve in your life and the greater things you expected from those in whom you had invested your time, your energy and your love.
The photograph we used for the cover of the Order of Service for your Thanksgiving and Farewell liturgies still sits on the top shelf of the low bookcase in my office. It shares a place with my favourite Madonna & Child picture and my Licence from the Bishop. I think it is now time to replace it and I will find a picture of us together to put in its place.
I can’t explain this feeling - one that should speak of separation but that brings us closer together. The sense that doesn’t say ‘I whished Dad could have been here for this’ but says ‘Son I am here with you, I am still praying for you and rejoicing with you’.
It’s strange. I find myself crying with those who still cry as we talk of you. I cry sometimes when I go to the piano and play your favourites songs. But I cry only for the loss of the physical nearness of you, for you are still near every day. I proudly wear your clothes along with your ring and I remember you daily about the altar.
Today, across the world, you have been remembered. The finest wine has been drunk, flowers have been gathered, the mass has been offered and tears have been shed.
In the morning we will remember you, in our joys and sorrows we will ask for your prayers. In our lives, our homes and in each tomorrow you will play your part.
Rest in Christ; pray for us.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Today's Sermon at the Cathedral Church of Christ the King - Ballarat

You will have have noticed that we are still in this very action-packed 6th chapter of St Mark’s gospel; its week 3 and we will be there again next week. It is a pivotal chapter in Mark's presentation of Jesus, both as the embodiment  of the expected Davidic Messiah  and as the Divine Son of God.
Those who have compiled our lectionary readings have grouped today’s so that we have as a more definable theme than we sometimes get. This  theme - one which weaves its way through both Old and New testaments – is  that of God’s loving concern for His people expressed as that of the quintessential Good Shepherd.
The bad shepherds that Jeremiah speaks of in the first reading, are, in his time, personified in the person of the King Zedekiah; a weakling who like his immediate predecessors has been devouring the flock and causing them to scatter. Jeremiah proclaims that when God brings about the new order ‘the deliverance will be far more wonderful than the deliverance from Pharaoh and the land of  Egypt’.
Over the past few weeks the Old Testament readings have tempted some people to see them as a commentary on our own time. This is a dangerous path to take – the readings tell us firstly and primarily about God and his loving care; only secondly do  we read of the activities of the prophets (good and bad) and then we hear of the effect of these events on God’s people.
The stories are recorded for us so that we may see that the unfolding of salvation is all in God’s plan – they are not there so that we may indulgently see ourselves as either the ignored prophets or the scattered and forgotten flock.
Yes, we may note that ‘history repeats itself’,  but more importantly we are to note the work and intention of God to care for and shepherd His people.
The appointed psalm for today, psalm 23, is a wonderful recapitulation of this message. Its almost universal inclusion at Christian weddings and funerals is testament to the truth that in all life, in our joys and sorrows, God is there, beside us as the shepherd who protects -  and going before us as the shepherd who provides.
When we re-enter Mark's gospel today, the disciples have just returned from their missionary duties, they are tired yet enthusiastic about what has happened. Jesus recognises their need for some time alone, some space and a debrief. The crowd still press in, such was the ‘success’ of their mission. They take off in the boat, only to have their progress observed by the crowd who follow on foot around the shores of the lake. When Jesus and the disciples finally make land the crowd is there ahead of them and the dire need of the people takes precedence.
Mark tells us that Jesus had compassion for the crowd for they were like  sheep without a shepherd’. It is this 'compassion' for the crowd that identifies Jesus as the true shepherd, the one who has come to restore Israel. It is God’s compassion for His people enacted through Jesus. This compassion extends to feeding them both through his teaching and then through the miracle of  providing enough food to feed the multitude through the multiplication of five loaves and two fish.  
From the time of the European Enlightenment onwards,  men have tried to explain away this miracle. The explanation with the most currency is that the offering from one encouraged others to share what they had,  but Mark is not saying this. We loose sight of the shepherd image when we turn this into something again of our doing, our sharing -  rather than God’s  providing.
Mark is saying that it is spiritual leadership that the people lack and it is the spiritual hunger that Jesus initially feeds with his teaching. The teaching and the miracles belong together  - in his teaching Jesus instructs the crowd about the Kingdom of God and in his miracles Jesus provides instances of its coming. 
For the Kingdom of God is a place where miracles of healing and feeding happen. The one who presides over the Kingdom is the Shepherd who serves, protects and provides for those within it. The Shepherd who is constantly inviting people into the fold,  that he might provide for them and nurture them  in the way in which God intends. The Kingdom is a place where healing takes place, where people are released from  troubling spirits and where peoples spiritual hunger is fed.
Timothy Radcliffe in his book “What is the point of being a Christian?” asks:

How are we to heal the wounds of Christ’s body? How are we to learn to breathe again with the rhythm of the Eucharist, gathering people into community to share the bread, and reaching for the fullness of the Kingdom?

Quoting Archbishop Rowan Williams he goes on to say of the Kingdom that it is:

A place where those who need a home and have none may find it… not some closed holy space… but…  a temple  whose doors are open, where God is to be found and where God’s peace makes a difference.

With all of the instructions to “go, heal and cast out” that our readings have imparted to us over the last few weeks, what a comfort it is for us to hear today’s readings, with their assurance of God’s shepherding care and love for us for us to hear that is right and proper for us to take regular rest with, and to be fed by God.
But may we never forget that the care that God shows to us,  we are expected to show to others as imitators of Christ and co-builders of the Kingdom.

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Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Gospel In Action

Today I posted the following on the Archdeacon's blog, as a response to his recent blog about the GS in York and today's Gospel:

Someone in the congregation this morning had asked for public prayer as later this week she approaches an operation to remove a cancerous tumour.

Before the Dismissal I invited her to come forward for prayer and invited members of the congregation, if they felt moved to, to come and pray with me for her.

About a dozen of her closest friends came forward and they put their hands on her shoulders as we prayed together. That sort of prayer is something new to that parish, those co-praying were as uplifted by the prayers and the sharing in the ministry of healing as the one seeking prayer was.

The end of today's gospel reading reminds us that the disciples were successful in healing the sick in Jesus' name.

Today I saw a glimpse of the type of church we can be when we 'go as sent' and put our faith into action.

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Saturday, May 02, 2009

ST. BRIGID’S CHURCH, BALLAN - Update on re-Building

The first report from a Special Meeting of the Parish Pastoral Council and the Parish Finance Committee was held on Tuesday, April 28, 2009 in regard to procedures for the rebuilding of St. Brigid’s Church, Ballan.

This is the congregation that we are currently hosting at Saint John's.
The full report of the meeting, which will be of interest to all in Ballan, is HERE

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Church Times Leader (1 May 09) - World specialises in diseases of the rich

A MUTANT VIRUS is unpredictable, and for this reason the first reaction to the prospect of a swine-flu epidemic was naturally fearful. Virologists, who were expected to acquire instant expertise concerning the new strain of influenza, have been cautiously reassuring, however. The virus appears to be treatable, and a combination of early treatment and natural immunity may well help to contain it. Political pressure helps. Since government officials approve, regulate, and stockpile medicines, they have to assume a degree of responsibility for public health. The two most recent health scares, SARS in 2003 and avian flu in 2005-06, exposed a lack of preparedness. Now the Government reports that it has more than 30 million doses of a drug that combats the effects of flu, and political squabbling is confined to delays in setting up a helpline.

The feeling of reassurance that this prompts is tempered, though, by the knowledge that such a response is possible only in the wealthier nations. The inference drawn from the lack of fatalities in developed nations so far is that this variety of swine flu is relatively mild, and responds well to treatment. This must be contrasted with the number of deaths attributed to the disease in Mexico. Were the epidemic to spread to other countries with smaller public-health budgets even than Mexico’s, the world would be facing a much greater challenge.

Or perhaps not. The relative lack of investment in public health in the developing world is an indication of the limited scope of globalisation. The lowest-income countries, which account for 2.6 billion people — 38 per cent of the world’s population — also account for just five per cent of the world’s health expenditure. In 2006, government expenditure on health in the UK was £1668 per capita; in Zambia, for example, it was just under £20.

The thinking that informs investment in anti-flu drugs is very straightforward. It has been estimated that a serious pandemic could cost the world economy $3 trillion. SARS is thought to have cost China £25.3 billion in 2003. Even an outbreak of an animal infection, foot-and-mouth disease, cost the UK £7 billion in 2001. Potential losses such as these can easily justify expenditure on disease prevention. Why, then, are the same arguments not applied globally?

Last Saturday was World Malaria Day. Half the world’s population remains at risk from the disease. Nearly a million people die every year. The World Health Organisation estimates that malaria alone reduces economic growth in the worst-affected countries by 1.3 per cent each year. And yet the case for investing in prevention to produce a direct economic benefit is not heard. It is hard to know why, but nationalism, global competition, ignorance, and indifference all play a part. Christ’s definition of “neighbour” has still to be adopted by the world at large.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

London and Australia

I have had a few people asking what is happening to my .mac website (Kevin Harper - London & Australia): It will be back when I pay the fee for the Annual hosting & upgrade.  Early next month I hope: after the other more demanding accounts have been attended to.

Mean while, I will be posting on here for free!!

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History Quiz

By a very circumlocuitous route - I had been researching Kenneth Horne of Round the Horn fame and from there I had gone to look at Kenneth Williams and somehow had found a link to Bamber Gascoigne - I came across this HistoryWorld webpage that Gascoigne is authoring and thereby came upon his little History Quiz.

I have loaded the quiz at the very bottom of this blog page (sorry, there is a lot of scrolling-down) for your enjoyment: ( I want Chris B and Kate H on my team) - next parish fund-raiser perhaps?

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Saturday, April 25, 2009

New "Sharing" Button

With this new button below, you should be able to share any post or re-posts directly from each article.

Will give this a test - please let me know what you think .

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

Susan Boyle - A modern-day parable

The story of Susan Boyle has made headlines around the world; thanks to You Tube and other agencies of the WWW.
Susan's story and the amount of self-reflection it  has engendered delivers to us a modern-day parable worthy of a Dominical origin. It has nothing to do with  a rags-to-riches modern day fairy-tale or   a feel good story that warms our hearts, the reaction has little to do with what sort of life Susan might have in the future, it is about what it has done to us. Yes, Us!

I have heard the comments: "her voice isn't that good"; "it's just the contrast between her ugly face and her OK voice"; "there are hundreds like her - she just got lucky", but I have also seen grown men cry on seeing the Youtube video of her performance (men who have seen first-hand the horrors of the recent Bush Fires) and I have read some fine articles in the 'quality' newspapers. What the writers of these articles seem to  want to tell us is  that if we bother to look at this global reaction to the Susan Boyle episode and analyze why it has happened, it causes us to re-think the way we judge others.

Writing in The Observer Professor Patricia Williams recalls her own upbringing and the prejudice she encountered for being Black, intelligent and a Woman. On Boyle she says:
Boyle's lesson is not that she is a book whose "cover" deceived people. That's as crass as the supposedly well-meaning comments I sometimes heard growing up: that I might look black on the outside, but I was nice and white inside. Rather, the problem was the audience's self-deception. Dismissing her - or anyone - based on careless expectations about what age or lack of employment supposedly signify is the habit of mind common to all forms of prejudice.
Those who lead us to that understanding open our hearts to the most sublime sense of connection. It's why many of us didn't just cheer when Barack Obama was elected, but wept like babies. And when Boyle sang, we didn't just root for her, we wept for all the slights that ever were.
So Boyle should be able to wear what she wants, whether a canvas feedbag or an evening gown. 
The true measure of her success must be our gratitude for the mirror she held up to us.
Lisa Schwarzbaum,  a writer in the USA  for the magazine Entertainment Weekly which specializes in Celebrities, suggested in an article this week that Boyle's  performance was a powerful reality check. She said that of Boyle:
"She pierced my defences. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective."
Let's allow  Susan Boyle to  have the last word in this Post -  This is what she said in an interview with The Times last Tuesday:
 “Modern society is too quick to judge people on their appearances. There is not much you can do about it; it is the way they think; it is the way they are. But maybe this could teach them a lesson, or set an example.”
Her voice has not been wasted all these years, or unheard: She has been singing for God and his Angels.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Susan Boyle - Cry Me A River - 1999 Recording (From The Scottish Daily Record Newspaper)

If you had this voice in your parish choir would you keep it quiet? How often do we like to keep talent local for the fear of loosing it. I think it may be too late now for that wee Kirk. - What was that Jesus said about Lights and Bus-shelters and lamp-stands.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Susan Boyle - Singer - Britains Got Talent 2009 (With Lyrics)

I first saw this last night and have just spoken to my mother in London who watched it live-to-air on Saturday. A most entertaining performance with quite a lot of moist eyes around the globe. 5M views in just a few days.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"It is Accomplished" - Jesus dies on the Cross

Jesus said "it is accomplished"; and bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.

Loving God;
The comfort of the sad, the strength of those who suffer:
Hear the prayers of your children who cry out to you in their trouble.
To the distressed souls grant mercy, relief and refreshment.

To the dying grant comfort and hope.
May none of your children be let alone.

Good Friday Morning

We adore you o Christ and we bless you; by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the World.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

The Fire at Saint Bridget's Ballan

Here are some pictures  Taken  just before 8 this morning as Ballan awoke to the news that Saint Bridget's  church had been burnt out by fire during the night.  The CFA and Police had closed the roads around St Bridget's and a group was gathering along Inglis Street opposite the church. The wet, low-cloud morning had taken away the smell of the smoke and the building resembled the community it had exited for; its heart burnt out and the fragile shell a symbol of what had been.

A lady approached the road-block in her car and seeing the group assembling on the roundabout asked what was happening. As the group pointed to the gutted shell  the driver began to cry, "we have lost our priest and now we have lost our church".  The crowd included many for the nearby Anglican church who had come to lend support and provide  offers of hospitality. The Business Manager from the Catholic Archdiocese was there as was  the Anglican Bishop's Chaplain  who offered the help and support of the Anglican Bishop of Ballarat, the Rt Rev'd Michael Hough. The two bishops had a conversation later in the day where support was again pledged along with the offer of the congregation of St Bridget's using the Ballan  Anglican Church and buildings for as long as needed.

Retired Anglican Bishop John Stewart who leads worship at Ballan once a month and will be leading  the Easter services, also visited Ballan. Bishop Stewart met with the Principle of St Bridget's primary School offering his help and support. 

A meeting is being held at 5 PM in Ballan today with Bishop Peter to look at the way forward. Ballarat Anglican churches have been asked to offer special prayers today and through the week for the people of St Bridget's.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

What's that in the bread, it's gone to my head?

Reflections for Tuesday in Holy Week

Just some random thoughts on today's gospel reading; more for my own reflection but it is a good discipline to write for others. I find it helps me to be more honest in  my own reflections.

John 13.21-38

Jesus is troubled: it is party time - Passover - he has his close friends gathered around him,the stress of the past week and the enormity of what lies ahead of him weighs on his mind. His disciples, all perhaps but Judas, are relaxed reclining around him, eating and drinking, not sure of what has just happened, confused by what the Master is saying, unaware of what is about to occur.

Even bold and brash Simon Peter ask 'the disciple whom Jesus loves' to find out what Jesus is really saying (V.24).

What a picture we have here: a loving  disciple reclining against Jesus; Judas waiting for the moment to leave the gathering and go to betray Jesus - did he take the purse with him? It is implied that he had it on him (V.29); Simon Peter, perhaps in party mode, pledging loyalty  to death - Jesus knowing that Peter is big on words and weak on action.

Gathered around Jesus in this cameo is the "A" team; those called to 'train the  trainers', to be the absolvers of the absolvers, to be the witnesses to the Resurrection.  When Jesus needs them they are spent and tired. I am not a great fan of the  Weber/Rice  Jesus Christ, Superstar but it has some great insights, one of them being the song the  'Last Supper'

Always hoped that I'd be an Apostle.
New that I would make if I tried.
Then when we retire we can write the Gospels,
And they'll still talk about us when we die.

You can almost hear them saying: "come on Jesus, dont spoil the party, it a holiday weekend, chill man - let's talk about this in the morning".

Lovers, accusers and friends; drunks and determined; some in vino veritas and some as cold as steel. Such are those Jesus gathers around him when he is most in need, whose dirty feet he washes and for whom he offers his body.

As much as I try to escape it, I am there too. So which one  am I?

Friday, April 03, 2009

For Reflection

A thought for the Friday before Palm Sunday

Maybe those who, while lacking faith, still respond to Christian art and music, at least believe in the works Jesus does. We should foster this lesser faith, as good in itself, and perhaps a pathway to true faith. ”

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Put People First Prayer

Father, we stand before you in prayer as the global economy crisis casts a shadow over the peoples of the earth. In a word as closely connected as ours, each of our actions affects the whole. We are sorry when we have failed to act beyond our narrow interests. Help us to live as a community and care for others, especially the vulnerable and the poor amongst us.

As the G20 meet, we ask for wisdom for the leaders of the world. Where nations have pushed their agendas on others, bring partnership and love. Where people have lived lives disconnected from their brothers and sisters in other countries; bring solidarity and compassion. May we see the dawning of a new world, with your values at its heart; a world of justice, mercy and humility.

May the poor not be forgotten in the midst of crisis.

All: Father, as your people, help us to raise our voices. As your church worldwide, let us rise up in prayer, in speaking out and in demonstrating your way of life, so that out of the ruins of this current crisis might come help for a better world.


This prayer was used at the serive in Westminister Central Hall before the PPF rally last weekend

Sunday, March 29, 2009

G20 - some thoughts before it gets going

This week's summit may just be the start of a worldwide redistribution, however small, from the chastened rich towards the angry poor. And if it is not, the G20 leaders may suffer the consequences.
The task before them is massive in the time allocated - hence the peripatetic travels of many G20 leaders over the last few weeks, including Mr Rudd.

Lord Malloch Brown, the Foreign Office minister agrees with Tony Dolphin when the latter says:

"There are 20 of them and they are in a room for maybe 10 hours. So they've got 30 minutes each, in effect," says Tony Dolphin, chief economist at the IPPR, a think tank. "Even if there were only six issues, that's five minutes per person per issue: what can they say in that time?"
There is a detailed article in today's edition of the London Guardian Click Here to read it

A focus for prayers before we start Holy Week.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Don't knock the old church buildings but look for God in the gutter too.

A post I left on a discussion on another site:

..remember that the the early house-churches of the pre-Constantine era often gathered in the opulent villas of wealthy Roman citizens - I have no problem with the continued use of magnificent and beautiful buildings that speak of man's need to express his understanding and need of a transcendent God. But God must be encountered in the gutter as well as in the Gothic, in the sinner as well as in the Sanctuary, in the broken as well as in the Beautiful.

As Aquinas would say: we should look at every person, not as we find them , but as the person the creator has given them the potential to be.

Steam Traction Engines to Move Churches

This innocent Post from the Provost of Glasgow Cathedral had me wondering about what it really requires to move churches today. But not as in this case the building, but to move the people.

A place for those who need a home - where scum are made welcome

Following on from yesterdays' post - and the worthwhile exchange of posts it generated Click Here - I offer this today:

Timothy Radcliffe OP quotes the often misunderstood Ab of C Rowan Williams in a chapter of a book that he titles 'Breeding Pandas':

" To be built by God into a sanctuary... is to be built into a temple whose doors are open, where God is to be found and God's peace makes a difference. ... But we are called (and here he is referring to the everyone who would call themselves Christian) to be a kingdom or priests, and to be built as a holy temple so that the world may be invited , may see, may be transfigured.

Radcliffe, Timothy OP, What is the point of being a Christian?, (p 179) London 2005

The church as Sanctuary - a place of refuge, a place of asylum: not for the initiated but for the poor, the scum, for those with nowhere else to go, for those who have stories that others won't want to share.

This was Christ's idea of the 'kingdom' - I didn't see many like this at the cathedral this morning - unless they were hiding under their big hats and covering up their tatts with those long gloves.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

William Stringfellow on Priesthood

William Stringfellow said that our view of priesthood "is so radically misconceived that the clergy have become a substitute laity whose function is to represent publicly – in place of the laity – the presence of the church in the world... a superficial, symbolic, ceremonial laity"
A Public and Private Faith(1999) p 38

I do not agree with him, at least not in total, but I think it is a good discussion question.

Anyone  feeling brave enough t0 comment further?

The rain at lunchtime today

At last a real down pour; water-tanks are filling fast and the cars are having a much-need wash.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Love Life Live Lent

If you are not on Facebook you may like to access the Love Life Live Lent website by following this link:

C of E on Twitter

You may have seen the article I posted recently on the newish  social-networking site "Twitter" .

The ever-so-up-to-date C of E have opened a twitter-stream for Lent. The link is here.

There is also a Love Life Live Lent application on facebook

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Deacon's Blog

Some of you may be interested in the current reflections of our Deacons.

The blog site for the Permanent Deacons of the Diocese is accessed here .

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mark Russell Blog - A new look to the Church Army CEO

There is an interesting article in the Church Times (click here) on the CEO of the Church Army.

Mark Russell is, at 34, the youngest person ever to be appointed to his position. Originally from Northern Ireland, he makes some very timely observations about the CA and its future.

On the need for a name change he says:

“The Church Army needs a new identity for the 21st century, although that’s easier said than done. I don’t think the militaristic image is always helpful. In some respects it is, because it talks about a bunch of people with an objective to defeat something, and, without question, I want to see us defeat poverty, injustice, and homelessness. But we’re not a church, and we’re not an army; we’re not a church in an army, and we’re not an army in a church.”

Mark's bog Mark Russell's Reflections is worth adding to your RSS list.

Both the Church Times article and the Blog are worth reading - especially to any engaged in Fresh Expressions.

Haze and Smog a reminder to the State

The haze and smoke covering most of the State of Victoria is a reminder to us all - as if we needed one - of the fact that the fires are continuing to burn in the East of the State. We are all shrouded in this disaster as we are all enveloped in this smoke haze.

With over 7,000 people homeless and 1800 plus buildings and homes destroyed, this situation will not go away when the smoke lifts. In Britain the snow has brought fun as well as difficulties; the financial cost has been in terms of the interruptions to business, commerce and industry. In Victoria the financial cost is not yet being calculated as the loss of Human life and livelihoods is paramount in the thoughts and concerns of its people.

We have lit our candles and said our prayers; we have made our donations to the various relief and aid funds; we have donated goods and clothes - it is as this next week approaches that we will feel our own helplessness and we will need to find ways to support each other in our collective grief and loss.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Ecumenical Service for those affected by the Bush Fires

At noon on Wednesday the 11th of February, an ecumenical service will be held at the Anglican Cathedral Church of Christ the King, Lydiard Street, Ballarat, to pray for all those affected by the recent bush fires in Victoria.  All major churches in Ballarat have been invited to take a part in this services and everybody is welcome to attend.

Further details are available on the Diocesan Website - Click Here to access the website

Thursday, January 29, 2009


There has been much in the international press over the past week regarding Twitter.

The Guardian had a very good article today (see the link above or click here).

It has been too hot to do much tonight so I have been setting up Twitter and linking it to my various sites - I'll report back next week!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Funeral Arrangements for Aileen Hough - Bishop Michael's mother

Dear Fathers, sisters and brothers,

The funeral arrangements for Aileen Hough are as follows:

Requiem Mass:  Monday the 12th of January, 2 PM,  at the Cathedral Church of Christ the King, Ballarat.
The Officiant and Celebrant will be  Fr Arthur Savage.

Clergy who wish to attend are invited to robe; the Liturgical Colour is White (alb and stole). Robing will take place in the meeting room of the Diocesan Centre.

Refreshments, to which all are invited,  will be served in the Function Hall following the service.