Monday, February 24, 2014

Church Governance and other exciting and fascinating matters.

A few weeks ago I asked the congregation if they would like me to spend some of the sermon time this week on talking about 'Church governance'.  This is because this Sunday was 'Vestry Sunday' - our annual meeting for receiving reports of all that has happened in the previous year, saying thank you to the Wardens and Parish Council who work so hard for the benefit of the church community, and considering the financial situation of the Parish.  There was an overwhelming 'yes' to that offer.

Each Church has it's own form of Governance, there is a need for some kind of order and accountability in any group.  I think in the Anglican tradition we often make assumptions that people know what is going on without ever explaining these things - as if our structures and regulations might be passed on by some form of osmosis.  This Sermon is a very broad attempt to give a picture of how we run our Churches and why we have the structures we do.

Epiphany 7 (2014) Year A RCL Principal

Foundations, Rules & Temples

God is here!

Remember that? Those three words, our words for the presentation, a reminder that God is a part of our community and found in one another. They aren’t bad words to call to mind as we go into our Annual Vestry meeting and indeed as I share something of my understanding of what our Church order and governance consist of .

I should say that when I put the question out a couple of weeks back ‘would you like me to say something about what our Church structures are’ the response was quite overwhelmingly ‘yes please’  in fact I only had one person say no and that was because, as they said. “People really should come to the vestry meeting to find out”.  I can see the logic in that, but I think that it might be worth saying something of why vestry is important to encourage you all to come and take part in this part of the life of our Church fellowship... [More]

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Struggles with Suffering

Now I am not saying anything I have not said before, in fact I have even used some of the illustrations before - eg the Ray Harryhausen reference - but why this sermon for The Presentation of Christ has felt so difficult to write is a surprise to me.  Perhaps it is the way I've felt the need to put lots of things I have discussed over years into one place.  Also, I seem to be 'outing' myself as an uber liberal - but I am not too concerned about that...

The Presentation of Christ

Presentation (2014) Year A RCL Principal
A Sword Will Pierce your Own Heart also
God is here!
You’ve already heard that phrase a few times this morning.  That bold proclamation which is the foundation of today’s Gospel reading – when Anna and Simeon encounter the baby Jesus and proclaim ‘God is here’ – both in word and in action.  Simeon through the words we have come to know as the Nunc Dimitus, Anna with words of praise and speaking of all that the child would accomplish.
These proclamations, which are – Luke is keen to point out – fully the work of the Holy Spirit (a theme that will crop up again and again in Luke’s Gospel)  burst in on the activity of Joseph and Mary as they seek to fulfil the holy law and offer the sacrifice due.  God is here.  God is here in this child, in this place, in this activity, in the promise of who Jesus is, in the embracing of those outside of the expectations of the day (notably the gentiles), in this act of taking, blessing and sharing.   [more]