Bishop’s Banter 25/05/2018

With our already beloved parish assistant on a short trip to the UK it falls to me to write a few lines…

What a good day Pentecost Sunday was! I noticed the gentle mirth when I mentioned in my sermon as I grabbed a balloon that I am not one for visual aids in worship. How misunderstood is your poor vicar! I wasn’t of course referring to those sacred actions and accoutrements I write about in my LLL’s at end of these epistles which though not properly essential, assist us in ‘entering the mystery’ which is our hopeful invitation at every act of worship. Rather, I was referring to fripperies and fun, which is just what the balloons were, though a lovely addition for the day. By the way, for those who were there at the 10 last Sunday, the balloon trapped in the rafters did exactly what I predicted – it came down, having gone nowhere and yes, it shrivelled up. (No wonder I have an honorary doctorate) Who knows where the ones that went soaring into the atmosphere, but you can be sure they had more of an adventure, and so it is for those who allow the Holy Spirit to send them out into the world with the divine love in their hearts! And if you want to hear the Creed in 12 languages, go to the front page of our website​ 
​ Balloons and worshippers prepare to go out to the world         Shared lunch..incl spicy delicacies from exotic places                       Our Archdeacon, Len Firth, preaching on Sunday @ 10

Bring and share lunches are always good and it was a joy to have the vicarage filled with folk afterwards, and as an added bonus we vicarage residents enjoyed the leftovers throughout the week! I had to hotfoot it to St Paul’s Cathedral to preach at a school service in the afternoon so thanks to those who assisted with the clearing up.


If balloons are a frippery, that can certainly not be said of Archdeacons! And on Sunday we will welcome our Archdeacon, Len Firth, to the 10 a.m. Mass when he will preach. I hope we will be able to give him a warm welcome. I don’t think he has been to a Sunday celebration at Christ Church before, and certainly not in recent years even though until recently he was vicar of the next door parish of St Augustine’s, Moreland. He has retired from there but continues as Archdeacon and he also does some teaching at Ridley College. I have found him a wise and good friend since my from England, and he has certainly been a great supporter and advocate for Christ Church in our various projects. Please come along if you can. And if you don’t know what an Archdeacon is for, google It, though I will be gently interviewing Len about his role during refreshments. A godly Archdeacon is worth his or her weight in gold! Andan Archdeacon who wants to preach on the deepest mystery of them all, the Hol Trinity, is worth more than his weight in gold….

This week I shall be attending two events. On Tuesday, I shall spend a day at the regional clergy conference led by Bishop Genieve, and then on Thursday, the Building Committee of the diocese to talk with them about our plans for Sydney Road and the implications for our whole site. Parishes are quite rightly not free to do what they like and consultation and wisdom from beyond ourselves is important. There is very much to think about, and not least careful discernment about financial implications.  I’d be glad of your prayers. Robyn White, chair of our finance committee will be with me. I’m  by temperament a person who wants to do things quickly, but often more haste less speed! But neither should there be inappropriate prevarication or fear of appropriate risk taking. I often check myself with some words of wisdom from the Jesuit and geologist/palantologist Teilhard de Chardin – ‘God works slowly…trust to the slow work of God’. Certainly in the midst of building and development projects which are always time consuming and complicated, it’s important not to lose sight of the great blessings that come our way through the daily rhythm of prayer and worship. God is with us, and he is adding to our number! 

Meanwhile you will soon receive a copy of what is known as our ‘Mission Action Plan’ which sets out our hopes and actions for the next couple of years. Though it’s always dangerous to tell God your plans, it is important for us to set goals and aims that reflect what we believe it means to be faithful disciples in the place where we are set. I’ve been kicking around long enough to know that there are parish offices all over the Anglican world with plan and strategy documents that never led to action. We must not let this be so here!

Where’s the pastoral assistant when I need him to turn things around!  The MAP          Ladies from St Andrew’s, Brighton after admiring St John’s handlebar moustache in the organ transept…..

Its been a bit of a habit to invite a few folk for lunch at the vicarage on Sundays. The conversation around the kitchen table is always lively and interesting. I have had that table for almost 25 years and it has hosted a huge variety of people and ‘heard’ much. I’m been glad on many occasions that it has no capacity to repeat what it’s heard! In its own way, like the altar it is a focal point for parish life. This is well put in some words that I discovered via Facebook from C.S.Lewis of Narnia fame: “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal….Next to the Blessed Sacrament itself, your neighbour is the holiest object presented to your senses.”

Well, a parish priest’s day is varied if nothing else. I am just off to the church to meet a group of ladies from the parish of St Andrew’s Brighton who are doing a walking tour of Brunswick. I hear they are having morning coffee and delicacies at the French cafe just up Sydney Road next to Savers, so they won’t want me to talk for long…

Job done, and what a nice lot they were

It’s been good to have occasional news from Cecelia Fairlie, one of our wardens who is travelling around Europe. She has recently been in Walsingham on pilgrimage and then to Germany where she caught up with Daniel and Charlotte Lion who worshipped with us in 2016 before returning to Germany. Wandering wardens! Adrian and Kate Nye are off to Tassie for a little break – not quite so exotic – but we hope they have a good few days away. Adrian has worked so hard on so many levels as warden with particular responsibility for property matters.

Well, that’s about all. But  just had some advice from someone who comes to sit in the church occasionally with her carer. ‘Father’, she said, ‘if you’ve got itchy hair, put vinegar on it!’. A homespun remedy followed up by what to do about nits! God is good…

Hope to see you Sunday.


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