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Vicar's Musings for Lent 3

3 March, 2013

Today's musings are taken from the Vicar's report to this week's Vestry meeting.

It is now 3 months since the St Peter's Mission Action Plan 2012-15 was adopted at the parish AGM. How do you think we are we going? What is your sense of the state of the parish at the present time? Are we "Growing in God's Love?" If so, how so? As your Vicar I have a distinct sense of God at work among us. One of the primary signs of God at work, as I see it, is a flourishing and deepening of love in our relationships with each other, and our concern for and outreach to the world around us. Our staffing and parish leadership are of course foundational to this growth. We have a great leadership team of people, lay and ordained, who love God and love St Peter's. That love is contagious.

Peter Bryce is probably the longest serving of our lay leaders in the parish. The week after Easter is his 65th Anniversary of serving in the St Peter's sanctuary; first as a Boat Boy, then an M.C. at 18 and now as Head Server. Two weeks ago Peter took Fr Samuel and I through the Holy Week and Easter Services. The tears in Peter's eyes when he came to describing the ritual around the Good Friday Veneration of the Cross said it all. We are truly blessed as a community by Peter's dedicated, faithful and firm leadership in the sanctuary.

Newest on the team is Fr Samuel, who appears to be taking to the parish like the proverbial duck to water. He and his wife Jazz are living a rather nomadic existence at present, however, as we wait for the lease to expire on the downstairs Keble House flat, but they are displaying remarkable resilience. Do keep them both (and their dog Gypsy) in your prayers.

Other staff news: Fr Philip's six month inaugural contract as Lazarus Chaplain is coming to an end next month, and we are currently looking at ways we can extend the contract, as we move from the research stage of this new ministry into the implementation of a new Lazarus Centre project. A comprehensive report is currently being finalised by Fr Philip, Dr Ree Boddé, and the Lazarus Chaplain Steering Committee. The report will identify potential future ministry directions for the Lazarus Centre. We plan to launch the report soon after Easter. Di Clarke recently received her license from the Archbishop to serve as a Lay Minister in the parish, so she now joins Sr Avrill on the Pastoral Team in administering Home Communion. I have appointed Douglas Savige to work with Stuart Hibberd and myself on reviewing the position descriptions of all parish employees. Churches sadly often have a bad reputation as employers. Our goal is for St Peter's to be well known for our positive staff relations and practices.

Most of you will have heard of the latest vandalism in the church: a broken window in the Lady Chapel and some graffiti. Both have been addressed, but it does raise again the question of better lighting and security cameras. Also on the property front, there seems to be a fear amongst some parishioners that the caterers Hot Dish are "taking over the hall". Vicar and Vestry have tried on numerous occasions to address this misconception, but the message doesn't seem to be getting through. We may need a parish forum on this issue after Mass one Sunday, so that concerns can be raised and the facts presented clearly.

On the wider Diocesan front, I hosted the Melbourne Deanery for the first time this week in my new role as Area Dean, and was inaugurated a few weeks ago onto the Board of Directors of the Brotherhood of St Laurence. Last week I met with the Speaker and President of State Parliament to discuss my role as Parliamentary Chaplain. We talked about the issue of car parking for parishioners at Parliament on Sundays, and I received a promise that this will happen in due course but cannot at the present time due to building works.

Finally, Lent at St Peter's is off to a great start. We have three Lenten Study Groups running on Wednesday lunchtimes, Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons. Something for everyone! If you have not yet joined a group, please consider doing so, it's not too late. My thanks to Bp Graeme for the incredible energy he has put into our Educational and Spiritual programme at St Peter's, from the Institute of Spiritual Studies, to the Trinity Certificate of Theology and the Parish Retreats. Numerous opportunities to grow in God's love and the catholic faith!

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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