THIS SUNDAY @ CHRIST CHURCH
The 21st Sunday of the Year – August 25th
8 a.m. Holy Communion (Book of Common Prayer)
10 a.m. SUNG MASS
Celebrant and Preacher: Bishop Lindsay Urwin OGS
5 p.m. Informal evening worship (in the Vicarage chapel)
Bishop Lindsay writes…
It is with profound sadness that the parish heard the news that Bishop James had died suddenly late in the evening of Wednesday 10th July. As was his custom, he had celebrated the 10 a.m. mass here, and later in the day attended a dinner at the University. In a way the makeup of the day reflects two things that mattered so much to him: the worship of God, and the discovery of Truth. As a Christian, for him, the two cannot be separated.
His influence for good in the diocese of Melbourne has been over many years. He was ordained a priest in 1960 serving always in the tougher areas of the diocese. After a time as chaplain to Archbishop Frank Woods, he was made bishop in 1970. He served his entire ministry in the diocese, and surely knew more of it than anyone else. His influence on generations of ordinands and clergy was remarkable, and his association with Trinity College, which began in 1950, of deep significance. His years as Dean of the Cathedral bore much fruit, not least in the development of the music foundation. All of this was a labour of love, born of his love for Lord and for his Church.
But here at Christ Church, he was as much a fellow worshipper and member of the community as he was a bishop in the Church of God, though his advice was always available when wanted. He seemed as comfortable presiding at the altar as praying in the pews. He cared for the parish during vacancies, but them settled back into those pews when the job was done. As I said in my homily at the regular Thursday evening eucharist the day after his death, which became a requiem for +James if in Melbourne and the wider community he was, as bishops inevitably are, a ‘personage’, here he was simply a ‘person’, and his willingness to be so made him much loved. During refreshments after Sunday mass he was as likely to be found talking to a new young person as he was to an ‘old timer’.
Of course here the name, Bishop James (or Jim) is inextricably linked with the name Rowena. Together they have attended the daily eucharist here for many years, and played a tremendous part as individuals and as a couple in the life of the parish. We know she will feel his loss very keenly, but we also know that Rowena herself has a deep faith and will be consoled by the knowledge that the lives of all Christians are ‘hid with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3) and that assured protection continues to be so for James and for her. Though he, we pray, is now in a greater light, and the distance between the living and the dead can feel acute, yet in reality we remain together in the Church with the baptised whose life on earth has ended.
And so we commend James Alexander Grant to the Lord to whom he has now gone. We can have a good hope, that the mercy of our God is great and sure, and that he will indeed hear the most blessed of all voices, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou the joy of thy Lord….”
The funeral of Bishop James Grant took place in St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday, July 19th.
For more updates from the Parish’s events, head over to the News and Events page. We also have an archive of updates about our events, so give that a look, too.
Sacred and Open
Christ Church and the fountain garden are generally open throughout the day to allow any passing by to ‘come and see’, explore the building, to make use of it to sit and reflect and to pray, or just for a bit of peace!
The church garden with its attractive fountain provides a restful space in the midst of busy Brunswick.
Bishop Lindsay Urwin, parish priest at Christ Church, writes:
We so much want to welcome you to the Christ Church website! Our website, like our life together is a work in progress, and it will just give you a little taster of what our life is like and about who is at the centre of all that we are and seek to be and do. That ‘who’ is Jesus.
The question ‘Who is Jesus?’ has tantalised the world for two thousand years, and still does!
I think it’s just true that the more a person seeks to know Jesus, the more he or she realises that there is still more to know. A relationship with Jesus is more like an adventure than a settled thing, and yet, once you begin to take the idea of it seriously, the more you are drawn to him, or at least that has been my experience. And then you start to plan you life and change your views under his influence and guidance. What he wants becomes the measure of what you think is right or wrong, and doing what he wants becomes central to your actions.
Of course working out what Our Lord (for that is what we call Jesus) wants is not always easy in the specifics, but what you can know is that he wants your life to be surrounded with, and motivated by love. Actually, three loves: love of God, love of your neighbour (and your neighbour also includes the stranger) and love of yourself.
People who are not yet Christians, or who are starting out on the exploration of what it might mean to be Christian, might easily accept that Jesus of Nazareth was a wonderful teacher in his day, but find it confusing, even a bit weird to imagine it’s possible to have a contemporary relationship now with someone who lived 2,000 years ago.
That possibility rests on his identity. If he was simply a human being like all of us, then it is indeed impossible. But what if in the midst of being one of us, he is also divine? What if he is heaven sent? What if his coming, and the purpose of his coming was to reveal what God wants for his world, what he wants for you? What if what he says is the nearest thing to Truth that there is? What if the story of his rising from the dead is true? What if the promise that he would fill his followers with his Spirit is as true and possible now as it was for the first followers? What if his promise of mercy for our mess ups is a promise from God himself?
How does a person discover the answer to these questions; discover whether Jesus is who he and the Church claim him to be? It is certainly important to apply our minds to these teachings, but it is more than that. These are truths that are known and discovered to be true in the heart. Think of how you ‘know’ that a person loves you or that you love someone. That knowledge can change your life, but it’s a knowledge that in the old days we used to say, can ‘blow your mind’. That is not to to say that its mindless ,or irrational, but rather that it’s more than the mind can know.
Discovering the truth about Jesus can only come if a person opens both their heart and their mind to the possibility; be willing to enter the Mystery. The Church, our Church, is a community of people opening their mind and heart to the possibility of these things, and getting on with living as if they are true.
Well whatever you make of Jesus at this stage in your life, it’s amazing to think one life could have had such an influence on history, on art, on literature, on education and legal systems, on social understanding and the landscape of just about every village, town and city in this land. Buildings made for worship of this man were among the first to go up in Melbourne!
For us at Christ Church this all matters very much. For us, it’s not just the story of an historical figure, but of someone we love, whom we try to worship, follow and serve.
Good disciples of Jesus are learning the three ways of loving I have already mentioned. Notice I said learning! We are a community unafraid to admit our need for ‘L’ plates! These can never be removed from the back or front of a disciple of Jesus. There is always more to discover about the Lord and about the demands and joys of love.
So the Church is a community of love helping to create a civilisation of love. If you make a decision to ‘come and see’ at Christ Church it is our hope and our intention that you will indeed experience some of that love.
Lindsay Urwin OGS