Weekly Electronic Notices
Week beginning 20 Dec 2020-No 95
CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM THE VICAR
Christmas Message 2020
This Christmas is like no other in our lives. Of course, some of us lived through the Second World War and those Christmases were disrupted and disturbed. Some, like me, have lived through a number of Christmases when bushfires threatened, just as they did for so many last year, or floods, or cyclones. But this is the first year, I think, for any of us in which we experience a global pandemic, with every country in the world affected and every life disturbed in some way or another. Some people are grieving the loss of loved ones, some are locked down, some have had their travel plans disrupted and will be unable to see those that they love, and in other countries some are unable to obtain food, or any kind of health care. And of course, for those in so many countries as well as our own, experiencing a second wave there is the fear of contracting the virus hanging over the whole populace. It is a time of grief and fear and darkness.
‘The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness- on them a light has shined.’ This is Isaiah’s prophecy written a very long time before the coming of the Saviour Christ. And if ever our world is in need of light and healing and joy, the things that Isaiah talks about, it is this year.
Isaiah says that it is the advent of a child, a son who will bring the change into the world.
We know that child as Jesus, the Christ. At Christmas we tend to think of him as a little baby, naturally enough, but it is important to remember the man that he became and the things that he called us to, in the gospels. Jesus gave us two great commands: to love God with all our hearts, minds, souls and strength and to love our neighbours as ourselves. During this pandemic we have all understood the importance of relationship and the power of love in a new way. God took on flesh, in the incarnation, or embodiment of God in the child that was Jesus of Nazareth. That incarnation displayed love in a new way, and enabled a new love both for that God who was prepared to take frail flesh, and die, and for our neighbours.
This Christmas the light will shine in the darkness through the power of our love, and like the moon reflecting the sun’s light so will we reflect God’s love, so that others might see it.
We can be the bringers of joy for others.
My prayer is that we might be a shining light this COVID Christmas.
COVID 19 UPDATES
- For those of you who are attending church in person please remember the Covid safe regulations.
- Sanitise hands on entry and exit.
- Scan the QR code at the welcoming desk OR manually sign in. The Covid steward for the morning will be able to help you with this. To use the QR code, please
first download the Service Victoria app from the App store or Google Play.
- After the service, please exit the church directly. Feel free to chat outside, appropriately distanced.
- Services for the next week
We will be having our Thursday Communion Service on 24 December at 11am which will also be ‘Zoomed’ to Camberwell Gardens.
The Crib Service will be at 5pm on 24 December.
Christmas Morning Service will be at 9.30am on 25 December.
There is space available so please join us for any or all of these services. But we ask that you let Roberta know if you intend on attending so we ensure numbers are adequately managed in line with Covid regulations. Please register by contacting Roberta at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- It was so lovely to see many of you at Roberta’s farewell. We picnicked under blue skies in the kinder grounds and presented Roberta with our love offerings. Following are some pics of the afternoon:
- Please continue to pray for our Incumbency Committee as they undertake this important work of finding a new vicar for our parish. Please also remember Vicar Roberta in your prayers as she starts a new chapter.
- Bishop Alison will be taking Sunday services on 27 December, 3 January and 10 January. The Rev. Ray McInnes will then be with us from 17 January onwardsuntil our new vicar commences.
- If anyone would like to volunteer for readings and/or intercessions for the month of January, please contact John McKenzie at email@example.com
- There will be no Thursday services in January.
- Zoom Morning Prayer will be in abeyance till 3 February 2021.
- Zoom morning tea will recommence in February 2021.
- Don’t forget our prayer wall in the church porch. You can use it to post prayer requests or pray for those already on there. Many people in our neighbourhood visit our church grounds and stop to read your prayers. So please feel free to add your prayer the next time you walk or drive past our church. Alternatively, email your prayers to Vicar Roberta and she will put them up on the wall.
- Christmas food and gifts can be placed in the Camcare donation basket. Please continue to support this cause any way you can. Please visit https://camcare.org.au. Thank you to Peter Wright for his help with transporting donations.
- Please continue to pray for each other from our updated Parish Prayer List.
A message from our Child Safe Officer:
Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the Child Safety seminar.
Holders of working with children checks and police checks will be receiving a letter (please collect from the welcome table at church) with instructions about how to apply for the clearance for ministry certificate, now required by the diocese for all volunteers and lay employees. There are steps as individuals we must take to update our records for the diocese and Kooyoora.
I will be running some sessions in early February for parishioners who need any help. The letter is quite lengthy and there is a bit of a process to follow.
Please do not be alarmed by the letter. I’m very happy to assist anyone who needs help. Please let me know if you need assistance.
We are aiming to have all this done by the end of February 21.
Thank you all for your support to help keep our environment safe for children and vulnerable people.
- The Diocesan Child Safe Policy is available on our website https://stdunstans.org.au/index.php/child-safe-policy/
- Important Numbers:
Child Safe Officer: Ms Maxine Farrar 0408 311 390
Child Protection: 1300 360 391
Kooyoora: 1800 135 246
- As part of our child safety priorities, we are required to make available the Kooyoora Mission Statement in our newsletter.
Kooyoora Ltd is an independent not for profit company that provides professional standards and other services to charities, including charities that are Anglican dioceses, entities, colleges and schools, to enable them more effectively to fulfil their charitable objectives. Their Vision is as follows:
“Our Vision is to enable and manage–
a fair and independent process for complaint handling and screening for par ticipating organisations tailored to their circumstances that –
respects both complainants and respondents
upholds the standards and integrity of the organization, and
promotes the safety of children and adults with whom the organization en gages.
schemes for participating institutions to provide redress through an
independent survivor focused, trauma informed, pastoral and therapeutic process.”
For more information, please visit https://www.kooyoora.org.au/
- Don’t forget to follow our Facebook page St Dunstans Anglican Church Group .https://www.facebook.com/groups/482613181793174/and bookmark our websitewww.stdunstans.org.au. We will be live streaming Sunday services at 9.30am on Facebook and soon after, the Vicar’s message will also be uploaded onto our website.
ANGLICAN COMMUNITY NEWS
DECEMBER 17 2020
The December issue of TMA has been mailed out to parishes, and is available online here. As is our custom, there will be no January edition, and parishes will receive their next TMA in early February 2021.
Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Philip Freier says this Christmas we should pause and rejoice for the almost unimaginably good news that is the birth of Christ.
Archbishop Glenn Davies and his fellow bishops in the Sydney diocese say they are “deeply distressed” that retired Bishop of Wangaratta John Parkes should take “presumptive action” by blessing a same-sex marriage, warning that this action before the 2021 General Synod creates a serious breach in Australian Church life.
“Most Victorian churches are intensely concerned about legislation the state government is rushing through Parliament without consultation to ban so-called conversion therapy to change sexual orientation,” writes the Centre for Public Christianity’s Barney Zwartz. “It is not that the churches practise or defend any form of coercive conversion therapy; the problem is the massive overreach of the bill and the State arrogating to itself wide control over the religious beliefs and practices of religious believers.”
Cardinal George Pell has praised Donald Trump’s “splendid” supreme court appointments, but questioned his effort to sow doubt in the integrity of the US presidential election during a virtual press conference to launch his book, Prison Journal, about the 404 days he spent in solitary confinement before his sexual abuse conviction was overturned by Australia’s high court.
Advent is the season in which Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, writes former TMA Editor Roland Ashby on his Living Water blog. But it is also about giving birth to Christ in our inmost heart and, like devout elder Simeon recognising the infant Jesus in the Temple as Saviour, becoming enraptured with the light that reveals God “to the nations” and brings salvation to the world.
Expatriate Australian writer Gillian Bouras spent childhood Christmases beside a river in Victoria’s North-East but has lived for many years in Greece. She writes: “During my first winter here, I was struck by memories of the warmth and light of an Antipodean Christmas, but now I think every southerner should experience the starkness of a northern one …”
Christian theologians have yet to engage meaningfully with sharÄ«‘a, reducing it instead to a kind of short-hand for legalism, barbarity, and injustice. And yet sharÄ«‘a remains a central component of most Muslim practice and piety, and a vital counterpoint to Christianity’s own blindspots when it comes to jurisprudence and public policy. For the sake of shared understanding and mutual growth, this lack of engagement needs to change.
The desire to “take back control” — a slogan of the Leave campaign during the EU referendum — dates from the 16th-century reign of King Henry VIII, who believed that one law gave the monarch complete control over the Church and courts, the Archbishop of Canterbury says. Archbishop Justin Welby was preaching at a special Evensong at Southwark Cathedral, to mark 850 years since the final sermon of his predecessor St Thomas Becket was delivered on the same spot, then the Priory of St Mary Overie. St Thomas was murdered shortly afterwards in Canterbury Cathedral by four knights of King Henry II, apparently on orders of the monarch.
The Episcopal Diocese of Texas acknowledges that its first bishop in 1859 was a slaveholder. An Episcopal church erects a plaque noting the building’s creation in New York City in 1810 was made possible by wealth resulting from slavery. These efforts reflect a widespread surge of interest among many US religious groups in the area of reparations, particularly among long-established Protestant churches that were active in the era of slavery. Many are weighing how to make amends through financial investments and long-term programs benefiting African Americans.
Watch as historian Lucy Worsley uncovers the surprising history of our most beloved Christmas carols. Were they invented to lure locals out of the pub? Why did Silent Night spread around the world so quickly?