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Vicar's Musings for Trinity Sunday

3 June, 2012

This week's musings are taken from the Vicar's report to vestry.

Last Saturday I joined the Institute of Spiritual Studies (ISS) visit to Tarrawarra Abbey, a community of Cistercian monks situated in the beautiful countryside of the Yarra Valley. Bishop Graeme and I were joined by some 25 others ranging in ages from an infant and a toddler to a number of retirees. The party was made up of St Peter's parishioners, a Buddhist lay person and a number of people from other Melbourne parishes. The gathering was symbolic, for me, of the role of our parish: to nurture our own spirituality, to be of service to others, and to engage with God incarnate in the world around us. This three-fold calling is depicted beautifully in a painting by Penny Long that was commissioned for the monks' chapel: "Our Lady of Tarrawarra". In one hand are the scriptures that Mary has been pondering, the other hand is open as a symbol of readiness to serve, and her eyes are looking deeply into ours, engaging with the world around her.

This three-fold action is also a good summary of your Vicar's work this past month. I have been pondering the scriptures in my sermon preparation and more generally as I reflect on where God may be leading us as a parish. I am also continuing to read in the area of positive psychology and in the next few months will launch a course in the parish entitled "Positive Faith". My open hand of service at present is focused in the area of pastoral care. At the risk of a burgeoning in-box and falling behind on administrative tasks, I am visiting as many parishioners as I can. Clearly there is a limit to the number of people I can see in a week, so I am most grateful to Sue Skillington, Helen Drummond, Eric Meadows, Trent Losson-Wilkins and Rachel Ellyard who have kindly offered to host "Meet the Vicar on your Patch" gatherings around Melbourne.

Finally, engaging with the world around me. I have made preliminary contact with Parliament and look forward to deepening relationships with our neighbours there. Baptisms and Weddings are also important ways our church can engage with those who are not yet members, and I have taken one of each this month. I talk to members of the Lazarus Centre breakfast club most mornings and these relationships are a constant reminder of the needs of the city around us. Donations in response to this year's Foundation Appeal have started to come in. Thanks to the generosity of our parishioners and friends it looks like we will soon be able to advertise for a Chaplain to the Lazarus Centre, to build on this important ministry and outreach of the parish. At this stage it looks like it will be a part-time position, but donations are still most welcome for this important ministry initiative.

Another mission we are seeking to support as a parish is the work of Fr Philip Bewley at St Peter's Fawkner. Bishop Huggins has now formally placed Fr Philip in this struggling parish, and as he is a member of our staff here I think it is important that we find ways to support him and his new parish. Last week we said farewell to Warren Collins as Parish Administrator and during a small gathering of staff at the Vicarage had the chance to say thanks for nearly eight years of faithful service in that role. This crucial position, the public face of the parish in many ways, will be advertised soon. In the meantime Fr Philip Bewley and Anne Wuttke have kindly agreed to job share until an appointment is made.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster


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