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Vicar's Musings for Holy Family

28 December, 2014

What a blessed Christmas we had at St Peter's this year. Our Children's Ministry coordinator, Katherine Barnett, and her team produced a wonderful Christmas Pageant for the Children's Mass on Christmas Eve, and St Nicholas graced us with his presence (and his gold coins). The choir were in fine form at Midnight Mass, and again on Christmas Day, and along with the serving team ensured that all the liturgies were deeply prayerful and worshipful. Thank you also to everyone who worked so hard behind the scenes, ensuring that the church and grounds looked so beautiful and cared for. More than 500 people in all joined us in celebrating the great Feast of the Incarnation.

One of the people attending Midnight Mass reminded me of the 40th anniversary of Cyclone Tracy, which so devastated the city of Darwin from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day in 1974. The cyclone killed 71 people, causing some $837 million in damage (around $4.45 billion in today's terms). It destroyed more than 70% of Darwin's buildings, including 80% of houses, leaving more than 41,000 of the 47,000 inhabitants homeless. The Age reported that Cyclone Tracy was a "disaster of the first magnitude ... without parallel in Australia's history."

Another terribly sad anniversary this week has been the marking of 10 years since the Boxing Day tsunami, which killed more than 230,000 people in fourteen countries around the Indian Ocean. It was moving to hear on television the Rev'd Tim Costello recall the events of that day, and go on to relate first hand experience of the massive relief efforts that followed.

These anniversaries are a sharp reminder that human life is fragile, but they also highlight the generosity of spirit that comes to the fore in a time of crisis. May our hearts be open to the needs of others in this coming year, and may we together foster a genuinely compassionate and caring faith community at St Peter's Eastern Hill.

"God's dream is that you and I and all of us will realise that we are family, that we are made for togetherness, for goodness, and for compassion" Desmond Tutu.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster


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