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Vicar's Musings for the Fourth Sunday in Lent

26 March, 2017

Today we celebrate the approaching halfway mark on our forty-day journey of Lenten fasting and prayer, in preparation for the great feast of Easter. Our church tradition encourages us to take a modest break in the austerities of Lent, and as a symbol of this rest from our Lenten disciplines we distribute Simnel Cake to parishioners. For those observing Lent in the traditional way, fasting sugar, this may be the first taste of cake or sweets since the pancakes of Shrove Tuesday. The fourth Sunday of Lent has been given many names, with the oldest derived from the first word of the Latin incipit of the Introit at Mass, drawn from Isaiah 66.10: Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam (Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her). Laetare Sunday is also known as Mothering Sunday, not to be confused with the more recent "Mother's Day" which is American in origin. Rose Sunday, is another name for the fourth Sunday in Lent, when rose-coloured vestments may be worn in place of the Lenten purple. Since 1096 the Pope has blessed the Golden Rose on this day, a jewel in the shape of a rose, which is then given to a worthy recipient as an award. We have two very special events today, to mark Refreshment Sunday this year:

  1. 1pm Launch of the St Choral Scholarship Appeal after High Mass
  2. 6pm Evensong & Benediction, with the Hon. Alex Chernov, former Governor of Victoria, and a visiting choir quite literally of 100 voices: the Melbourne University Choral Society, directed by Andrew Wailes.

I do hope you can join us for both these important occasions.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster


An important topic discussed at Parish Council this week was staffing. The Vicar announced the sad news that Fr Graeme will be leaving the parish later in the year, at a date yet to be set. With Bp Graeme's retirement at Pentecost, this means that some major staffing decisions need to be made in the coming months. Currently the Parish is running a deficit of about $30,000 each year, roughly a third of a clergy stipend. In the absence of an additional funding source, Parish Council is considering, reluctantly, the possibility of reducing the number of stipended priests. This led to a discussion of what talents we should be looking for in a new part-time priest. The decision is ultimately up to Fr Hugh to recommend to the Archbishop, but Fr Hugh welcomed the opportunity to have a preliminary discussion about attributes. Fr Graeme has been supporting Fr Hugh in leading the pastoral work of the parish, with Bp Graeme leading the faith development work, and Fr Philip bringing a strong social justice orientation to the stipended clergy team (funded by the Charitable Foundation). The question is what talent mix should be given priority in any new appointment(s)? Given our decision a couple of years ago about women priests presiding at St Peter's, the Parish Council affirmed that "the best person be appointed, regardless of gender." Parish Council will discuss this issue again next month so if you have any thoughts please discuss them with any member of Parish Council.

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