Bishop’s Banter 16/02/2018

Spot the difference….which goes which?

It’s not rocket science but it took a little time to work it out…

We are very lucky that Estate Agents Nelson Alexander have a charitable arm that provides notice boards free of charge. It’s great and generally once you get your art work to them, the board’s up in a few days. Well now we have two sites we need boards that require slightly different wording, and it seems it can be a bit confusing. Those with observant eyes during the week will have noticed some argy bargy as they went up and down, round and about before finally settling in their right places! But it was not as bad as a little Christmas confusion when the board advertising our events made for our Sydney Road frontage advertising was initially put up right in front of the Uniting Church! Red faces all round, but a cause of great merriment for the ministers concerned!

Of course we don’t have these boards with an unrealistic expectation that hordes will see them and flock in. But they show that something is going on, and may stir a thought, or sow a seed for later…

So Lent has begun, and I hope the really good number who took the ‘Forty Days with St John’ leaflets with the first week’s readings and reflections by former Archbishop of Canterbury will find them helpful. It’s not too late to take a copy on Sunday. They are only short daily offerings and you could easily catch up. What a good thought that so many from the parish family will be pondering the same versus of Scripture during the week.

Don’t forget the ‘Forty Days…a parish reflects’ project. Details are in the Lent leaflet. Make a contribution of your reflections and thoughts about Lent. They’ll be put together in a booklet published in Eastertide. Why not have a word with Cecilia Fairlie about it as she’s coordinating the project. Her mobile number is 0401 859941, or catch her after mass.

We try to have a little presence at the party which takes place on SUNDAY MARCH 4th. So after refreshments after mass we set up a couple of bar b q’s for a sausage sizzle outside the church with the trusty shaved ice machine that produces crushed ice drinks for the kids. We give all this away (folk can make a donation if they wish) for a couple of hours to add to the joy. We also open the op shop for a couple of hours.

WE ARE REALLY SHORT OF VOLUNTEERS! It’s good fun, and many hands make for light work…sign up list at the back of the church.

Sammy Wilkinson (whose mug shot appears below wielding a cross) will wield the irons adding to the mix cooking vegan sausages which he assures me will go down well with the ‘vegan crowd’ of Brunswick! Great idea!

You never know who’s going to turn up at Christ Church! I was delighted to reconnect with a couple, Anthony and Judith Slaney from Worthing in Sussex who were with us on Sunday and then again on Ash Wednesday after which there was time for a coffee together. Anthony reminded me that I confirmed him back in 1999 in a most memorable Confirmation service in the magnificent Lancing College chapel (worth googling by the way) with 90 other candidates. He testifies that it was a real turning point in his life, and almost twenty years on he is very involved in his parish church. They are here visiting family. It turns out that as a teenager, their daughter in law Louise came with me on a fairly hair raising trip to visit the Anglicans in Cameroon! How wonderful the worldwide Church can be!

5Talking of newish faces, this week student at Trinity, Sammy Wilkinson and Neicia Shaw, newly arrived in Brunswick from the ‘East side’ were put through their paces before they begin to share in the serving ministry. It’s great to have them on the team. There’s always room for more who feel called to the privilege of assisting at mass in this way.

And some great news just in. Longer term folk will remember Matthew Mashhoutpour, who lives in the catholic presbytery across the road but is seen about at Christ Church. Matthew (who spoke memorably about his conversion  in a sermon last year) is an asylum seeker. This week he heard that he has at last been granted a five year protection visa! This is a real answer to prayer, and a testimony to his perseverance. We wish him every blessing as he discovers what the future holds. Meanwhile he’s working in the gym at the Brunswick baths. No doubt many of you will have seen him there……

This Sunday, the celebrant and preacher will be Fr Grant Morrow as he gives thanks for 40 years service as a priest. We join in that thanksgiving. It’s quite a milestone! He wants no fuss, but there will be cake….

lTHEN at 5 p.m. there is the first in the new series of MEET UP @ 5.  The clue is in the artwork! 

Discovering what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. You may think you know, but there is always more to learn.

It all takes place in the vicarage. Worship, a talk, some discussion, then some food together…

Why not come along?   This week I will be talking about learning to ‘behold’…