Our congregation enjoyed a picnic day at Ken and Gillian Turner’sbeautiful ruralproperty.
ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS
The month of December brought the Advent season to St Paul’s as well as the excitement of our Christmas plans and celebrations. Some of our younger parishioners assisted Fr Constantine to light the Advent candles on each of the four Sundays leading up to our Christmas Celebrations.
The Christmas Carols at Christ Church Cathedral was a wonderful musical celebration during the countdown to Christmas. Many parishioners from St Paul’s attended this night with Val Groves being included to deliver one of the nine lessons. Local dignitaries read a number of the lessons as well.
The joyous Christmas Eve family Eucharist saw our big living Christmas tree decorated by many helpers. The church was dressed with some Christmas decorations but we hope that next year an enthusiastic group can undertake early planning to make it even better. Volunteers will be sought in early December.
The 2016 theme of Salt and Light
The launch of the Ballarat Diocese year of Salt and Light for 2016 was held at the Cathedral. The theme comes from the Gospel according to St Matthew.
Matthew 5:13-16English Standard Version (ESV)
Salt and Light
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
The Salt and Light references are powerful metaphors. Salt is a preservative that works only when it penetrates into food, and becomes useless when contaminated by other chemical substances. It must remain pure to do its job. Jesus says that Christians, likewise, must penetrate society while keeping themselves from being influenced by sin in the world.
Similarly, light penetrates darkness. To know the truth and fail to stand for it, Jesus says, is as senseless as lighting a lamp and putting it under a basket.
In other words, we don’t just live out our faith inside the walls of our churches and our homes. We’re not to be of the world, but we’re to be in the world. We’re citizens of an earthly kingdom as well as a heavenly one. Citizens participate in building the culture of the society.
The light takes away the darkness and the salt preserves, it takes away the decay. St Matthew asks us to actively influence everyone we meet with our Christian light. This year gives us a chance to remember how we can influence others and participate in being both salt and light to our part of the world.
OUR COMBINED CELEBRATIONS DURING JANUARY
During January the one service at 9am has been wonderful with both groups getting together for a cuppa and a chat after the service. We have had several visitors to the Church during this period and I would encourage everyone to make any visitors welcome to our St Paul’s family.
On Wednesday January 6th Fr Constantine hosted another Epiphany Dinner at the rectory. Everyone contributed to the feast by bringing delicious food which ranged from fresh salads to sweet dishes. The highlight of the main course was the sliced roast lamb and the spicy Nigerian rice. There was a wonderful Malaysian curry and vegetarian dishes as well.
We lined up to taste the amazing Roulade with its fresh strawberries but perhaps the treat of the night was the Epiphany Cake or Galette des rois made by Denise Lay. The cake is also called the Three Kings Cake and comes with a long history from the many countries in Europe that celebrate Epiphany. An almond was buried in the cake as a hidden symbol for the baby Jesus. Traditionally a bean or coin was placed into the cake and who ever found it in their slice was the King or Queen for the night. Denise had supplied crowns for whoever found the almond for our lucky “King or Queen”. In times gone by January 6th was the day gifts were exchanged to emphasise the three wise men giving gifts to the baby Jesus. The cake also showed us how our faith can touch the everyday things of life and a reminder that Christmas itself is much bigger than just December 25th. It was a delicious addition to our feast and hopefully we can enjoy the same treat next year.
Fr Constantine’s birthday
On January 17th we celebrated Fr Constantine’s birthday. We had a celebratory mass and then a number of people went to the Barkly to enjoy lunch. Eileen and Ivor kindly surprised everyone with a birthday cake which was shared. If anyone wants to know how old Father is a sweet young lady who has started Grade 3 this year might remember and happily share this secret with you. Fr Constantine was surprised by some old friends from one of his previous parishes who made the trip to Ballarat to help him celebrate.
Some puzzling questions
Fr Constantine has started the New Year by challenging parishioners to deeply consider aspects of their faith. His first question asking “Why do you attend St Paul’s” made for a lively discussion at morning tea on Sunday January 17th. His second question to reflect on “If we closed St Paul’s Church doors today forever would the wider Ballarat Community miss us?” These questions should offer us the chance to regularly reflect on our Anglican Communion.
As is the custom of our St Paul’s community we had a Shrove Tuesday feast. Shrove Tuesday of course is Pancake Tuesday which goes back to the days when eating eggs, milk and sugar which was discouraged during lent. Of course in other countries particularly South America it is Mardi Gras time which is the chance to party before the austerity of lent. Lent of course is a time when people are encouraged to eat plainer food and avoid food that gives us pleasure.
Sincere thanks to all those parishioners who worked so hard from early afternoon to set up the dining space and to make the many, many pancakes that we all enjoyed. Thanks as well to those who made the wonderful fillings both savoury and sweet to eat with the pancakes.
The thirty plus parishioners who enjoyed the feast sat in comfortable camaraderie to enjoy their meal.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent and the two services were well attended. The use of ashes as a sign of penance which is the theme of lent reminds us that we can from dust and to dust we shall return.
As we move into Lent we are reminded about the three pillars of Lent. These are PRAYER, FASTING AND ALMSGIVING.
Brigid also gave us this to contemplate
The voice of God is never silent.
In every circumstance and situation, God is speaking.
But are we able to hear and to receive what he is offering? We have to learn to comprehend the many languages of the Spirit...
God speaks and faith learns to listen
Rowland Croucher: Rivers in the Desert
ST Paul's Times | Issue 17 - November 2015
Thank you for showing me the love of Jesus Christ
Click here to read full news
L-R Aboriginal Elder Ted Lovett, Constantine Osuchukwu and Hedley Thomason, Convernor of ‘Advocacy @ St Paul’s’L-
NAIDOC (National Aboriginal & Islander Day of Celebration) Week 2015 was held from 5 to 12 July. On Sunday 5 July at St Paul’s, Bakery Hill, Ballarat, the special guest at the 10am Eucharist was well known Aboriginal elder and former football legend, Ted Lovett.
Ted is a Gundjit-Mara man from south-west Victoria - down closer to the Victorian-South Australia border. Ted said he hadn't been in an Anglican church in a very long time. He was raised on Lake Condah mission - a mission run by the Anglican church. He grew up in the very harsh conditions that modern Anglicans remember in shame. This land was regained and taken back by the Gundjit-Mara under native title.
The BudjBim landscape in southwest Victoria is a traditional homeland of the Gunditjmara people, and is on Australia’s National Heritage List as well as in the process of being nominated for the World Heritage List.
The area in and around Mount Eccles National Park has great cultural and historical significance for the Gunditjmara people, with evidence existing that their people once had a settled aquaculture society and engineered the stony wetlands around Lake Condah and Darlots Creek. To read of the restoration of the wetlands around Lake Condah please go here – The Gunditjmara Land Justice Story by Jessica K Weir – which can be found at http://goo.gl/HzQLfs
Continuing traditional land ownership strategies practiced by Gunditjmara society, as well as their contemporary techniques, is part of a broader view that Indigenous communities have the potential to provide new and unique viewpoints on land management
Uncle Ted spoke of the regeneration of the water and the lake. Uncle Ted had us in the palms of his hands as he spoke of these things. At Cuppa Time after the service, he was warmly greeted ... and a few of us are thinking that we would like to see his country too. Stories of the eels got our attention as well. If readers would like to join us, should we finish up with a plan to go to Lake Condah, please be in touch with Advocacy at our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Membership of Advocacy is not restricted to people at St Paul’s. If you would like to join us, please email us.
To read the Advocacy post on its blogs with links to relevant material, please go to: http://goo.gl/6JK5yb Find Advocacy @ St Pauls on Facebook and on Google+ . The Twitter handle is @StPaulsVoice.
Brigid Walsh is the Secretary of Advocay @ St Paul’s