In this morning’s New Testament reading, St Paul exhorts us, as Christians, not to be judgmental of one another, but to love.
Jesus was very clear: ‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven’ [Luke 6.37]. Ironically it is often in a theological setting that judgements are make about who is right and who is wrong when it comes to biblical interpretation, particularly about St Paul’s own writings. More on St Paul’s instructions to the Romans in the video and 11am sermons.
We wait in anticipation that some announcement will be made by the Premier of Victoria concerning the way out of Stage 4 Coronavirus restriction. In the meantime the Parish Council met this week to consider a number of important plans for the future.
The Mission Action Plan 2020-24 which I presented to Parish Council has been adopted. This is based on an assessment of our strengths and abilities, reflects the results of the 2019 parish survey, and the existing commitments to our schools and Chinese ministry. [Download]
Parish Council also agreed on the pattern of services that I proposed St Andrew’s offers once the COVID restrictions are fully removed. The services will initially remain largely as they were, except our first service on a Sunday will be earlier to allow clergy to socialise with that congregation afterwards. Also, the use of the Pioneer Chapel and Lady Chapel will vary on a seasonal basis to ensure the safety and comfort of parishioners.
8am Sung Eucharist
10am Choral Eucharist
11.30am Chinese service (first and third Sundays)
5pm Choral Evensong (second Sunday)
5pm Christian Meditation
10.30am Said Eucharist
7.30am Said Eucharist
6pm Contemporary Eucharist
This is a large number of regular services for a congregation of our size, averaging seven services per week. There are a variety of conditions precedent to retaining some of them, the principal one being our need to fund a replacement for Christine, who left in January.
In planning for a reopening, we are very much in the hands of the State Government, and the Diocese. It is the Parish Council’s hope that once we care permitted have 20 people at a service, we will have the weekend services (Sat@6, 8 & 10am Sunday) and the 10.30am on Wednesday. The Sunday bi-lingual service at 11am will remain on the Zoom platform at that stage, and our weekly video Eucharist service will still appear on YouTube in the expectation that some parishioners may continue their social isolation until a vaccine for Coronavirus is available.
To attend church, on-line pre-registration will again be necessary to comply with the government imposed limit on the number of people who can be present (this may also apply at Christmas). All the services will be in the nave church, as it has been set up for the requisite social distancing, directional signage and commercial cleaning between each service - which has been arranged in anticipation. I will update you once Victoria’s COVID restriction reduction becomes clearer.
In addition to these matters, the Parish Council has also considered how to build community amongst our parishioners through the offering of a more convivial space of fellowship after each service. Sat@6 & Wednesdays do this well, but the use of the narthex as configured is not working at 10am. Most people leave following the service rather than stay for refreshments and interaction. Accordingly, and noting hopefully that its continued use is an interim measure until the new facilities are available, some changes to the seating availability in the narthex will be undertaken when we finally get back to being able to offer refreshments again.
StAndrews@home this week:
10am - : Mattins : (in English) [join here]
11am – Bi-lingual service [join here]
anytime – Video Eucharist [watch]
10am – Morning Prayer (in Chinese) [join here]
10.30am – Chat with the Vicar and friends [join here]
10am – Bible study (in English) ‘The signs in St John’s Gospel’ [join here]
7.30pm – Chinese bible study [join here]
Next week we celebrate:
an ecumenical celebration at which Christians around the world renew their relationship with our Creator and all creation through celebration, conversion, and commitment. We will consider the integral relationship between rest for the Earth and ecological, economic, social, and political ways of living.
This year’s theme: “Jubilee for the Earth: New Rhythms, New Hope.” Amid the crises that have shaken our world, we are awakened to the urgent need to heal our relationships with creation and each other. The need for just and sustainable systems has been revealed by the far-reaching effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Trusting that you enjoy some spring weather this week.