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Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 16

19 July, 2015

"Reflect, Respond, Renew"

Dear friends in Christ, we welcome you to St Peter's Eastern Hill on this festive occasion of the launch of our 2015 Parish Mission. We are honoured to have the Rt Rev'd Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford in England, as our missioner throughout the week; he will be joined by Mrs Rebecca Cottrell on Thursday evening. It is also a great privilege to have the Primate of Australia, the Most Rev'd Dr Philip Freier, as the presiding bishop at High Mass today, and we welcome too Mrs Joy Freier.

It is almost exactly 20 years since the last Parish Mission at St Peter's. Sadly, missions seem to have largely gone out of fashion in Anglican Catholic parishes such as ours, but hopefully this week will mark something of a revival of this worthy old tradition. From the early days at St Peter's our parish leaders were inspired by one of the great revival movements of the nineteenth century, the Oxford Movement. These Tractarian visonaries were disillusioned with a church that seemed to have lost its sense of mission, when the world they lived in was clearly crying out for encounter with Christ. The answer for them was to go back to basics, to revive the legacy of the Early Church and the Church Fathers, to claim back the mystery of Real Presence in the sacraments, and to see once again the Suffering Servant in the eyes of the poor and destitute.

Over the coming week there will be opportunities for us to reflect deeply together on what the Holy Spirit is saying to us as individuals and as a church. Bp Stephen will give a series of addresses on Thursday at 6.15pm, on Friday at 6.15pm and on Saturday at 4pm, in the Parish Hall. I hope you can all come to these important services of worship, and do feel free to bring family or friends with you. If you need a lift, please ask for one. We have parishioners who live all over Melbourne who I am sure would be more than happy to pick you up. Just phone Kosta in the Parish Office tomake arrangements (ph. 9662 2391).

As we reflect together, and intentionally open our spirits to the Spirit of Christ, we may be gifted with an awareness of God's presence, a stirring within. It is important to respond in some way when we sense this. By God's grace, a pathway will open for us, a concrete way to respond. God's promise to all who truly respond to the call of Christ is renewal. As St Paul writes: “So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16). Life is never easy, sometimes life's challenges become overwhelming, but God's promise to renew our inner nature is a very real thing.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster

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