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Vicar's Musings for Advent 2

8 December, 2013

There was a wealth of information in the Annual Report to the 2013 AGM, but there were three omissions in the Vicar's report: his work as Area Dean, as Director on the Board of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and as Chaplain to State Parliament. The Vicar's musings over the next three weeks will touch on each of these three elements of parish outreach and service.

It is an honour to serve my fellow clergy as Area Dean of Melbourne. The Deanery is an expansive and unique one, encompassing large, medium and small-sized parishes; Evangelical, Anglo-Catholic and "broad-church" congregations; church plants and fresh expressions; both Trinity and Ridley theological colleges; social service agencies; hospitals; prison ministries; our Cathedral; Universities and the list goes on. The role of Area Dean is a primarily a pastoral one, assisting the Regional Bishop in caring for the wellbeing of the clergy. Each month I invite to lunch fifty-eight of my colleagues who serve as Incumbents, Assistant Curates, Associate Priests, Chaplains, Professors, Lecturers, some juggling multiple ministry roles. It is a moveable feast, as we travel around the various churches and ministry units of inner Melbourne. Sometimes this is quite a challenge! "City on a Hill" for example, is a new Anglican congregation about seven years old. It is a church plant that grew out of St James Old Cathedral, and started life in a Docklands pub. The congregation grew so much that after a few years the Rev'd Guy Mason and his team had to look for a new place to meet; they ended up in Hoyts Cinema at Melbourne Central Shopping Centre and now have a congregation of 1,000. Meeting on their turf was a major challenge as the cinema is only theirs on Sundays, and during the week they only have a small office space that is unable to accommodate twenty-five clergy. So we met over the road at the Welsh Church where a friend of mine, the Rev'd Jim Barr, kindly hosted us. As well as sharing a meal, we also worship together in the style of our host. So, we have experienced everything from a Bible Study at St Jude's to Mass at St Peter's and a Powerpoint reflection at Ridley College. There is usually a speaker or a topic we consider over lunch. This week at our end-of year function we had two visitors from the Bishop Perry Institute for Ministry and Mission, Archdeacon Brad Billings and Mr Ken Morgan, both Executive Officers for this new organisation in our Diocese.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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St Peter's Eastern Hill, Melbourne Australia.

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