My dear friends,
About this time 50 years ago the Episcopal, clerical and lay leadership of the entire Anglican Communion was gathered in Toronto for the second post-war Anglican Congress. The Diocese of St Arnaud in Victoria (since sadly disappeared) was unable to afford to send a lay representative. At the time I was a student at the General Theological Seminary in New York. Somehow I was invited to be the lay representative for St Arnaud. It was an astonishing opportunity for someone so “junior”. As it happened this was my very first meeting with a delightful Australian priest, Father David Warner.
The pre-reading for the Congress was prodigious but very stimulating – key speakers from all over the Communion presented memorable papers on an enormous range of subjects- from the radical theological views of Bishop (“Honest to God”) John Robinson to Roland Allen’s revolutionary understanding of the Church as a body of missionary laymen and laywomen.
These addresses were mostly in the mornings and we met in discussion groups in the afternoon. Our disparate group was chaired by Bishop Ian Shevill (then Bishop of North Queensland) and I sat between Dean Tom Thomas of Melbourne and the Bishop of Lahore.
Into this ferment was suddenly thrust a document entitled “Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence in the Body of Christ” (MRI) emanating from a pre-congress meeting of missionary agency executives and some Primates. It was a bombshell which took over the Congress (and sadly sidelined some of the key questions raised in discussions).
MRI changed the Anglican Communion in ways no one could have anticipated. It recognised that the Communion was no longer the British Empire at prayer. It recognised how far the Communion had outgrown that original spread. (it now includes some 165 different countries).
Most importantly, MRI challenged the dioceses of the Communion to care about each other, pray for each other and support each other in ministry. As a result many dioceses set up partnership relationships, some of which have been of wonderful long-term benefit to both partners.
MRI challenged Anglicans to see mission as something God does and in which God calls us to share, not a matter of “something we do for someone else”. In this sense contemporary theological thought had some impact.
We still pray daily for the diocese of the Anglican Communion but MRI has never become a deeply entrenched concept guiding our total decision making. Sadly, Anglicans are too buried in their local concerns – and dioceses reflect the same insularity.
MRI became too focused on finance and the culture of “giving” and “receiving” dioceses understood in terms of financial support. Too little attention was given, for example, to what dioceses in “Third World” countries had to teach “First World” dioceses buried in the affluence of their own communities. And since the 1960’s the Anglican Communion has been riven by one “domestic” issue after another.
Perhaps it is time we made the effort to look beyond our current disputes and ask again what God is calling us to join in doing in God’s name at this time. MRI may still have something to teach us.
The Bishop is lecturing at the Johnston Collection on Thursday 10th October on “Blake, Constable & Turner: 3 great outsiders. Starting at 10.15am. Bookings required on 9416 2515 or firstname.lastname@example.org
HOLY TRINITY ARTS FESTIVAL
Well our first Arts Festival is almost with us. Thanks to all those who have agreed to help as welcomers, food helpers or security personnel. But we need quite a few more! Please ask yourself whether you can give a little time.
We need the following urgently:
Saturday 12th: One more welcomer (10am – 2pm)
Two welcomers (4.30 – 8.30pm)
One more food helper (noon – 1.30pm)
Sunday 13th: Two more food helpers (noon – 1.30pm)
Three food helpers (6 – 7pm)
Saturday 19th: One security person in church (9am – 1.00pm)
Sunday 20th: One security person in church (1-5pm)
A briefing meeting is being held at 3.00pm on Wednesday 9th October in the Macbean Room. We hope all our volunteers may be able to attend that.
P.S. If you have not yet booked, but intend to be at the opening, then for catering purposes would you please let the Bishop know as soon as possible.
SAUSAGE SIZZLES: Thank you to all who assisted at the sizzles this year. We made a total of $10,460 (which included the Fiesta Sizzle).
Bishopscourt Open Garden Scheme: 9th 10th November. Parish will be doing sausage sizzle both days 9am -5pm approximately. Any volunteers please speak to Peter Arnott advising times you may be available to assist.
Catering Co-ordinator required: We need a person to be the point of contact for any member of the Holy Trinity Family or Community wishing to have a function catered for. For example: Funerals, Special birthdays, Book Launches etc. Once approval is sought and obtained through the Vicar and Vestry, this person would then call on people from a “Volunteers List” and delegate whatever requirements are needed. This person would be responsible for co-ordinating the parish lunches (Trinity Sunday and following the Annual General Meeting) and providing pew sheet details for the events if and when required. Are you being called?
Playgroup resumes next Wednesday 9th October 9.30am.
Wednesday 9th: 11am Eucharist is at Mercy Place Aged Care.
Praying for the Community: For all members of our community; for all who live in Agnes Street; and for staff, patients and chaplains at Epworth Freemasons Hospital.
Praying for those in need: Isabel, Nick, Karin, Ron, Geoff; Katie, Raphael, Eve, Elizabeth, Johanne, Jill, Sean, Peter J, Ellen, Jennifer, John, Nick Auden and his family, Margaret, John, Piers.
Anniversaries: Archbishop David Penman (1989) Constance Mary Tonkin (1982) Florence Anderson (1937) Samuel James Shearer (1966) John Thomas Ferguson (1966) Dorothy May Bickerdike (2011) Benjamin Gibbons (1949) Matilda I Gibson (1968)
Church of the Holy Trinity
193 Hotham Street
EAST MELBOURNE VIC 3002