|Reflection: on past, present and future||
This quarterly newsletter has a heady mix of artistic appreciation – and sorrow at endings. I am reminded of John Keats’ Ode to Autumn with its beauty and yearning. Certainly we have a rich harvest of copy, much of it about artistic pursuits or scholarship in the community of Mark the Evangelist.
John Hudson is one of those we are farewelling so I have chosen to introduce this edition in a way I know he would approve. John and Rosalie would sometimes contact me during my Wednesday evening radio program when they were at their Wye River beach house, just a stone’s throw from my family’s old shack.
John told me he liked the way I gave hints of what was coming up in the program rather than announcing everything at length. So in his honour here’s the slightly cryptic list of contents for this issue of Mark the Word, with thanks to producer Rod Mummery who makes the online version possible.
Reflection: on past, present and future
Enjoy this “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” reflected in your newsletter.
REFLECTION Autumn 2013 by Rev Dr John Smith
Dear Friends, this is my last Reflection. On Sunday 24 February the Revd Robert Elkhuizen, Presbytery Minister Administration, removed the liturgical stole from me and I no longer Christ’s servant among you. In due course a permanent appointment will be made, but in the meantime the Revd Dr Gwen Ince will be pastorally responsible for you, and I am very pleased to be leaving you in her capable hands.
Thank you all for your kindness to me over the 13 years of being your Minister. Thank you for all who came to share my last Sunday. It was a terrific occasion, and it was just the type of send off I wanted: a normal service, a simple farewell, and some speeches.
Thank you too for your generous gift to me. I am planning to have a special rest area created in the yard at Castlemaine where it will be possible to grow herbs and flowers, and in the summer, sit in the shade of a Japanese lantern tree. It will be a very special spot, and thank you very much indeed.
And thank you for your good wishes to Katharine. We are looking forward to developing the next stage of our life together of which the 13 years spent among you have been a very significant period in our life.
The vision I had for the future of this church was for worshipping congregation that was the beating heart a place of worship, hospitality and service. The vision was that this campus and its pretentious church, which is a bold public statement of Christian presence, would be an obvious, vibrant, faithful and welcoming site in this neighbourhood with the capacity to practice models of Liturgy and Mission that could mentor individuals and congregations who might seek to do the same.
It has been much harder to achieve than expected but I hope that some of the seeds sown may germinate. As you know the progress of the vision was disrupted by three great upheavals: the cracking of the building in 2008, and the discovery and consequences of the fraud in 2011 and the push from ASP to become independent.
What I am most sad about is that the combination of troubles hijacked two things: your time and effort, and the ministry I had to offer here. Gifts and time that should have been applied to your pastoral needs, and to building up the congregation were directed to other things. It was a case of “I could do my job if it weren’t for the distractions – but the distractions became my job”.
We survived. We came together as a team – and out of the troubles good things have come. And I am most grateful for the support given to the Parish, and to me from the Yarra Yarra Presbytery. It functions as the church is meant to be and that is in no small way due to the quality of its Presbytery Ministers Robert, Paul and our own Morag.
I will miss the liturgical life of the congregation, the seasons and rhythms, the Easter Triduum which is the mandate for the church’s faith and life. I will miss weekly Eucharist and serving the bread to all who come. I will miss the Cantors and the singing of the Psalms, the good music that comes from Donald who provides it, as I enjoyed a long association with Ken in previous years. I will miss singing the Creed (Mark the Evangelist is probably the only Uniting Church congregation in Australia that does this)! I will miss the feasts we have had together on Mark the Evangelist Day and All Saints day. There is a direct link between convivial hospitality and the weekly celebration of the Eucharist. I will miss Senior Citizens, and the various ways I have been able to be part of the community. I will miss the creativity of the Children’s Ministry team led by Mary Sutherland, especially the preparation of the Paschal Candle each Easter. I will miss the way the flowers were done, and the Wow! Norah and others gave us at Christmas and Easter. And I will miss the way people quietly and unobtrusively prepare the church for Sunday morning.
What this congregation may not realise is that this is a unique place because it practices the traditions of the Church. This gives congregational life a high degree of stability. The liturgical tradition keeps the Gospel at the centre, and makes it possible for the people to engage in what St Benedict calls “the work of God”: authentic and sustained worship and service of the Living God. What Mark the Evangelist offers to the church is significant and it is my belief that the church sacrifices its tradition to its peril.
God bless you all as you journey on through the next phase of your life together. You carry with you our continuing prayers that the peace of God will go with you in all that you seek to do.
Let the little children come
Children in first Term
We have begun this year with some lovely 3 year olds as well as the few older children. This is challenging our ingenuity to offer programs that are both suitable and stimulating for both age groups. So far we have begun cheerfully thanks to the efforts of our versatile team!
Watch out for the new Paschal Candle which the children will be painting ready for the Easter Vigil. This year, in consultation with John, we are proposing an Ethiopian Cross which will actually be an aerial view of the 13th century church of Saint George Beta Giyorgis at Lalibela, Ethiopia, carved out of the very rock.
A Sunday School teacher began her lesson with a question, “Boys and girls, what do we know about God?”
Booking an exhibition
Lessons from History 2 – Democracy
I have recently been involved in this exhibition of Artist’s Books in Brisbane exploring this poor, tired, fragile subject.
What was particularly exciting was the scope and imagination in tackling this subject from many angles, and the high standard of the entries from across Australia and overseas.
For instance a visually beautiful book Democracy Counts by Jan Davis with numbered watercolour dots in blue, red and green reflected on the electoral system and the hung parliament. Makers’ Mark by Heather Mueller is made up of 344 individually printed linocut fingerprints – the way so many people vote. Miraculously the fingerprint appears right down the side of the easily toppled stack of pages, a metaphor for the fragility of democracy. And Peter Lyssiotis in This is War confronts us with the question: Democracy at what price?
Here is a photo of my 3 metre long concertina book Democracy – Semantic Shift exploring the way words change their meaning and the difficulty of making sense of what is being said by politicians, media and manipulators.
Vale Don Lugg, Margot Sussex, Colin Duckworth, John Hudson
Donald Stanley Lugg was born into a happy, hard working family environment and grew up in Coburg. A fascinating account of his early years was given in the very fine eulogy delivered by his daughter Alison at the celebration of his life held on 24/10/2012 at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in North Melbourne.
Don was a keen learner with a sharp intellect. Following matriculation at Melbourne High School, he pursued his goal of becoming a science teacher through a teaching scholarship at the University of Melbourne where he completed Bachelor of Science, Graduate Diploma of Education and Bachelor of Education degrees.
Don was, by all accounts, an excellent science teacher and visionary principal. He also became a dedicated and highly respected educator whose advice and input was sought both at the State ministerial level and by UNESCO. Don saw that education could change people’s lives as it had his. He considered that all children, regardless of their socio-economic circumstances, have a right to a high quality education and worked vigorously in pursuit of this end.
It was while teaching at his first school at St Arnaud that he met Shirley, his partner for 54 years. This partnership with “Pearl” as he called her, has in Alison’s words been “an inspiration” to his family.
When Don took up his final position as Principal of the Correspondence School in Melbourne, he and Shirley came to live in Parkville and they joined the College Church Congregation. Don became an Elder in the Congregation, and played a key role in effecting a harmonious merger of that small congregation with the equally small congregation at North Melbourne to form a viable Congregation based at the North Melbourne church in Curzon Street.
Don was keen to reflect on issues that were raised by sermons, and on plans for the life of the Congregation. In discussion he was able to hold his position on an issue, and yet be open to other views. His lively sense of humour was used to harmonize difficult situations. Don is remembered as one who would always seek out a visitor, a stranger, and engage that person with his keen interest in the visitor’ background and welfare. He continued to the end to be a lively, active member of the congregation.
To Don’s beloved Shirley, his children and grandchildren and extended family, we offer our deepest sympathy and support in the loss of an extraordinary and much loved man. As Congregation, we give thanks for the gifts that God has given to the world in Don Lugg.
(by Heather Mathew with acknowledgements to Alison Lugg & John Smith)
Margot Sussex was a great soul: a highly gifted and intelligent leader, with a compassionate heart; a person of great dignity and humility. Whenever anyone reminded her of how remarkable she was, Margot would always push away anything like this being said of her. Nonetheless, it was true. Just by being herself Margot made an enormous contribution to the world.
She brought to all she did that same depth of character, faith, intelligence and personal integrity and dignity that shone through her life. It can be measured in the love and care she gave to her family, the amazing level of care she gave to her extended family, and the way she supported her husband Alan in the days of his decline.
We see it also in her participation in the community, and her steadfast commitment to the faith and life of the church. And not least of all it can be measured in the contribution she made in several ways through her professional life as a Doctor, a choice that in those days would have required the profound inner strength she had, which included a feisty side, and a timely and rapier sharp wit that showed itself when needed. Margot’s family have noted that Margot chose to be a Doctor out of a sense of vocation. In the deepest sense of that word, this helps us to understand what she brought to the world.
Margot belonged to a generation of Presbyterian people who clearly understood that the covenant of faith in which they stood was not meant to be kept inside the church, but was meant to be lived in all aspects of life. And in the choices she made, Margot remained true to this principle.
There were other sides to Margot. Her inner life was enriched by a love of music and theatre. And the photo of her looks away to Mt Feathertop. Margot loved the Hill Country and the words of the Psalm: “I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come?” (Ps 121:1) speak of the faith that informed her life.
The question and the supplication that begins the Psalm may reflect the uncertainties of a pilgrim’s journey. There were hills that literally had to be scaled. And there were other mountains, dilemmas of professional and personal life, challenges to faith and belief that had to be faced and struggled with. Having set the scene with the question, the remaining verses simply and confidently express a deep trust in God’s strength and protection, based on God’s creative power, experienced in creation, salvation and blessing.
In lifting our eyes beyond the highest peaks to the Creator God the Psalmist is introducing us to the constantly creative living God who will keep our life forever, and whose vitality continues to reach out to us as we negotiate the slippery passages of life and struggle with our darkest fears.
Margot was an esteemed member of our church and an Elder who was both gracious and wise. At the Elder’s meetings she did not set out to dominate, but her deep wisdom would come to the fore in discussions. She really did not have to do more than be there, and talk about what she knew. It was wonderful to come to an issue that needed wrestling with and to have Margot share with the meeting her wisdom and insights gleaned from her years of experience as and Elder, a leader, and the deeply faithful and humane woman that she was. And so often what she said, created a path forward for the meeting, and gave to others, younger in the task, the wisdom to see how things might be achieved.
The words from Romans 8 were a particular favourite of Margot’s. Along with the faith of the Psalms they set her life and ours in the broad context of God’s steadfast love for the world and all who are in it. They speak of the God of the Gospel who is for us, God has engaged with us, and in Jesus Christ makes room for us in the wideness of his mercy. As St Paul said: if God is for us, who can be against us? And he also said: I am persuaded there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ. This is the hope of our faith. And with this hope is a possibility even in the most difficult circumstance.
Margot habitually lived within this context of understanding. From it she drew a deep inward stability that proved itself in a life that was authentically humble genuinely human and self-giving. It touched all whom she came in contact with in every walk of life. It gave her the strength and courage to do what she did, and was a profound comfort to her in the days of her decline. We give thanks to God for all that was given to the world through the life of Margot Sussex.
(by John Smith)
COLIN RYDER DUCKWORTH
Colin Duckworth who died on 6 December 2012 aged 86, was a scholar of international renown, in particular for his work on Voltaire and Samuel Beckett. He was also an accomplished actor and an intensely practical and compassionate man with a great sense of both justice and humour. He was a member of this church and before that at College Church in Parkville.
He was born on the outskirts of Birmingham into a family in which no one had finished school let alone gone to university. It was through music that his devotion to French began, in particular when, during the darkest days of World War II, he heard on the Radio the works of Debussy and Ravel. A further early influence was Voltaire, whose commitment to freedom of thought and his willingness to take on established authority were important influences.
In 1944 Colin was called up to the RAF to be trained as a navigator in Bomber Command. After the War he completed his university education in French and Spanish, being awarded a PhD from Cambridge in 1954.
Colin’s love of theatre came to the fore while he was at Cambridge. Once, he played the lead in The Insect Play, a satirical Czech play by the Capek brothers. Colin played the tramp and sported a few days growth of a beard. Mary Adams was one of the moths, with a green face! Colin and Mary were married in 1954.
He first met Samuel Beckett in a pub in London on a cold January day in 1965. Beckett invited Colin, if he happened to be in Paris, to come to see the original French text of Waiting for Godot, which he did. Colin also started a correspondence with Beckett that lasted until Beckett’s death. Famously, Colin asked Beckett “Is a Christian interpretation of the play justified? To this Beckett replied: “Yes, Christianity is a mythology with which I am perfectly familiar. So naturally I use it”.
Colin wrote quite often on these issues, including an essay on “The Absence and Presence of God in Beckett’s World-view” for a collection edited by his good friend Eric Osborn.
Colin edited three of Voltaire’s plays for the authoritative edition of Voltaire’s complete Works and became closely involved in the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, of which he served as Secretary-General. Fittingly, Colin’s last public lecture (in 2009 at Melbourne University) was on why Voltaire is still important to the modern world. The lecture is still on-line at The Monthly. Like Voltaire, Colin was a Christian, but one who had strong doubts about the wisdom found in Church dogma or institutions.
Colin was a Visiting Professor at the University of California – Davis in 1966-67 and in 1972 became Professor of French at the University of Auckland. In January 1978 Colin took up his appointment as Professor of French at the University of Melbourne. He threw himself into writing, teaching and directing, including of a number of Australian premieres of Beckett plays at La Mama. He also brought French theatre to a wider audience through bilingual adaptations, often with the Melbourne French Theatre. His acting continued including a number of roles on TV and in film, such as Tibor the vet in Blue Heelers and three different roles over a number of seasons in Neighbours.
He was an outstanding teacher who brought to his lectures his acting skills and a sense of drama that made them memorable. Colin loved teaching and writing but hated the ever-increasing bureaucracy forced on Australian universities by the dead hand of Canberra. He took early retirement at the end of 1988, but continued teaching as an Honorary Professor at Melbourne and La Trobe Universities, where he taught on its Drama course. But above all he wrote: three novels and many articles.
Then, in recent years, he wrote a series of dramatic adaptations of novels by Camus, Proust, Duras and Stendhal for performances at the Stork Theatre, to great critical acclaim. Even in August last year, despite failing health, he was struggling to complete a new adaptation, based on Camus The Myth of Sisyphus.
True to his strong ecumenical views, Colin’s funeral was held at St Carthage’s Catholic Church in Parkville, presided over by Colin’s friend Father Michael Elligate and parts of which were led by Colin’s daughter Tessa, an Anglican Priest, and daughter-in-law Lauren, a Uniting Church Minister. During the service a short play, Waiting for the Professor, written by his son-in-law Godfrey Rust was performed, and music by his grandson Joel Rust, a setting of a text from Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy, was played.
(by Mark Duckworth)
On Thursday 21 February, a large congregation assembled at the Auburn Uniting Church to farewell John Hudson and to celebrate his life.
John was born in 1937. His life in the Ministry began with the start of his training in 1960. He was ordained in 1966, after which he served for 35 years in parishes across Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria until his retirement in 2001. He and Rosalie married while he was at training college, and all three children were born during that time.
We remember the family at this time as they learn to live without the bodily presence of John. John’s wife Rosalie, his children Elizabeth, Tim and Peter, and his grandchildren Max, Sam, Luke, and Alex. May we all surround them with our love.
(by Ann Wilkinson, with acknowledgement to Bruce Barber)
The times they are a-changing
Thriving in a Climate of Change
The inauguration of the restructured Hotham Parish took place on 3/2/2013 and this was acknowledged in a special liturgy in which the Revd Paul Stephens (Presbytery Minister Mission & Education) participated. We have embarked on an interim or “settling in” phase, with a review of the restructure in June 2013. Church Council membership under the restructure includes a representative from UnitingCare Hotham Mission Council and a representative from the new Finance & Property Committee (formed largely from the merging of the former Finance Committee with the former Space & Furniture Working Group). Church Council’s first meeting for 2013 was held on 7/2/2013.
The end of the Revd Gavin Blakemore’s term of service as a deacon minister for the Parish was recognised also on 3/2/2013 with a Cutting of the Ties liturgy. Gavin’s contribution to the life and mission of the Parish has been a gift to us all, and we farewelled him with speeches of acknowledgment, a presentation, and our good wishes for his new role at Wesley Mission.
The transition in ministry will have occurred by the time this issue of Mark the Word is released, with a special farewell for John Smith being held on 24/2/2013. A reflection on John’s ministry at North Melbourne will be included in the next issue of Mark the Word.
Following its search for a new Minister, the Joint Nominating Committee has submitted its report and recommendation to Presbytery for consideration at Presbytery’s Pastoral Relations Committee meeting on 28/2/2013. The report and recommendation on a new Minister in Placement will then be brought to a Special Congregational Meeting on 3/3/2013, as earlier advertised in the pew sheet notices.
In the meantime, Church Council is very pleased indeed that the Revd Dr Gwen Ince has accepted the invitation to serve as interim Minister for a three month period. Gwen is already well known to numerous members of the Congregation, and an introductory autobiographical note appears in this issue of Mark the Word.
We report sadly on the recent passing of John Hudson, a faithful and much loved member of the Congregation, who gave exemplary service also as Minister-in-Association for a significant number of years. John’s quiet and insightful wisdom was always appreciated at Church Council meetings. He also faithfully served this Congregation on numerous occasions as presider and preacher in the Minister’s absence on leave. We give thanks for his Ministry in the wider church, and most particularly during his time at North Melbourne.
Church Council is very pleased to report that the Synod Property Board has approved the NMUCC (North Melbourne Uniting Church Centre) Concept Application, another milestone in progress towards restoring our church. Another significant step is the Master Planning discernment process that is currently in train. Both these projects are supported by hard-working committees and groups, and Church Council wishes to acknowledge with deep appreciation this service, on behalf of the Congregation.
Due to circumstances described previously, the AGM reporting process was finally completed on 25/2/2012 with presentation and approval of the financial reports.
Negotiations for the transfer of UnitingCare Hotham Mission Council’s Asylum Seeker Project to another Uniting Church welfare agency are almost complete.
Our Parish has just had a review, and we are implementing major changes as a result of this. New committees are being set up. A review of our new structure will take place in mid-year.
On 13 February, the Ash Wednesday service marked the commencement of our journey through Lent which will culminate in the Triduum and Easter Day’s celebration. Our Lenten Study Series commenced a week later.
On 24 February we farewelled John Smith who had been our Minister for 13 years and on 3 March we welcomed our interim Minister, Gwen Ince.
We are progressing:
Church Council while undergoing changes within its membership and responsibilities must lead these changes, and is keen to ensure that the congregational membership is involved to the maximum in identifying the way forward, and kept informed as changes or plans are progressed. It is encouraged by the energy and expertise given to the numerous tasks by the various committees and groups.
At the same time, Church Council seeks to promote a stability that supports our worship together, promotes good fellowship, and continues to promote a culture of pastoral care.
* Church Council members: Sue Blackwood, Gaye Champion, Wendy Langmore, Gus MacAulay, Heather Mathew, Rod Mummery, David Sutherland, Alan Wilkinson, Ann Wilkinson.
Legacy of learning
Did you know that Hotham Mission has had a long relationship with North Melbourne Language & Learning (NMLL). I thought it time I spell out and remind others of who and what NMLL are and of our long partnership with them.
North Melbourne Language and Learning was created in 1989 and for over 23 years has now contributed significantly to the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) community within the City of Melbourne. The focus has always been on teaching English, not just as a pathway to employment but as a foundation skill that changes lives. NMLL has been an advocate, leader and supporter of the CALD community and the community organisations within North Melbourne and surrounds.
NMLL has consistently used its position to advocate for the needs of the migrant and refugee community in the public housing estates that NMLL serves, and for CALD communities in wider Melbourne.
Joanne Goodman and Adam Bandt MP talk with students at NMLL.
Members of the NMLL Committee of management have included:
“I feel more comfortable to speak to my neighbour and my friends and I have learnt to use the computer. When I came to Australia I couldn’t say what I needed to but now my English doesn’t even compare. Even with my kids I feel I can understand them more.”
“I feel comfortable because when I came to NMLL I was very shy. Now I feel comfortable because every day I talk with students from different countries. Outside of school I meet many people and now I can communicate with them. Now I’m happy when I meet with my children’s teachers as I can help solve any problems. Even at the doctor I can now understand the information. I would like to say ‘thank you’ to all my teachers and classmates”
One of NMLL key goals is to ensure the voice of the CALD community is heard, and in doing so never lose sight of the urgent need to help individuals develop the skills and confidence to express their own needs, concerns and ideas. It has a belief in and commitment to a collaborative approach has directly led to the remarkable growth in NMLL’s community reach and network of partnerships.
Active collaboration with partners has grown from 3 in 2004 to 30 in 2011, and NMLL has networking and communication links with many other groups and organisations.
NMLL has championed collaborative partnerships within the City of Melbourne, including ‘The NAC’ (North Melbourne Agency Collective), by sharing knowledge, experience and expertise so the partnerships can be modelled by others. The NAC has a very clear purpose: to improve the quality of lives of people living in North Melbourne. It provides a forum for agencies and groups to share information, collaborate and engage all levels of government so as to achieve outcomes for the community.
The stability of NMLL has always been a major focus for management, regardless of changes and uncertainty within the sector. At times this has required great resilience, and an ability to look on the bright side! NMLL has had to move buildings 9 times in its 23 year history, the last move involved managing a major renovation.
With the support of the Committee of Management, a culture of professionalism exists at NMLL, and the centre operates within a Strategic Plan that is formally reviewed annually, and re-written every three years. First and foremost, the focus is on ensuring NMLL’s strategic goals and objectives are achieved.
The Hotham Mission and NMLL partnership enables delivery of service and attention to need that would otherwise not be possible. The NMLL facility is located at 33 Alfred St (underneath the high rise public housing) for which the Annual Open Day is a great opportunity to explore the modern facilities. NMLL run a growing volunteer program and are always seeking for passionate people to work with the local CALD community. If you are interested please contact the Community Development Worker – Loretta Asquini on 9326 7447.
For more information you can visit their website at www.nmll.org.au
The informal and loosely organized film group was started by Margaret Hall more than five years ago. The Kino Cinema in Collins Street (City) was chosen as the venue mainly because of its proximity to public transport and its central location. It was also decided that the activity would be held monthly, in the morning on the first Friday of each month.
Depending on the time, the group can have coffee/light lunch after the movie (usually at the food court outside Kino) and chat about almost anything. Notice about the film going arrangements is sent out by the co-coordinator via e-mail (on the first Thursday of each month), to those who have agreed to be included in the e-mail list. RSVP is not required and those interested can just turn up on the day at the time specified. Those not included in the e-mail list can telephone the co-coordinator on Thursday for information.
The film chosen is open to suggestions, but very often it has to be decided by the co-coordinator due to the time constraint, as the film schedules are changed on Thursdays. Over the years, we have seen some bad films, quite a number of French films and also many good ones. The one we went in October this year (before the submission of this article) is an Australian film called “The Mental”. Those going agreed it is a good film. We had a group of eight people including friends of congregation members. We were delighted to be able to catch up with Jennie John, who was able to make it to the movie this time during the school holidays.
Those who have participated in the film group are of the view that it is an enjoyable and worthwhile activity. However at many times when there were only 2-3 people participating, I have raised doubts over the future of the film group. I was however assured by many participants that we should “keep going”, as the film group still serves a purpose, in providing an extra opportunity for congregation members and their friends to get together on a shared interest.
By Lorraine Yick
From hard knocks to hope and inspiration
Norma Gallacher has been a practical supporter of a very special choir. Here she writes about some of her experiences …
The theme of Social Inclusion Week “Get Involved! Get Connected!” Struck the right note for the Choir of Hope and Inspiration.
To get connected we set up a small stage in the foyer of Saint Vincent`s Hospital and sang to the passing parade .The music connected with the medicos, hospital staff, patients and visitors .The foyer area became crowded and noisy with our melodious singing. The thank-you speech indicated that the choir had lifted the spirits of the people and expressed gratitude. A huge Social Inclusion Week cake lifted the spirits of the choir members.
“Thank-you” said a stranger to me, ”You bought tears to my eyes.”
V.A.T.M.I. in Kew provides employment for people with a disability. Here the choir were singing to people who had difficulties rather like their own. The connection was immediate even before the singing started. Performers and listeners were uninhibited as choir and audience shared a barbeque together.
The V.A.M.I. staff facilitated the whole event brilliantly. After the choir sang some of their songs many people joined in the singing and dancing. It was a fun time with an intimate connection. The high spirits continued in the bus with singing all the way home.
“Joy to the World” was the theme of the Christmas celebration in St Michael`s church, Collins street. This was an active connection that involved many other singers and the Footscray and Yarraville City Band. The highlight was the Hallelujah Chorus in which everyone in the crowed church joined in singing. The rendition was enthusiastic and pleasurable even Handel would have been pleased, if occasionally surprised.
Hope and Inspiration is not only the title but also the experience of the choir. The stories of many choir members are inspiring as they find new hope. Connecting with people who have turned their lives around is uplifting. People with diverse backgrounds respond to this common experience. It is the power of the vulnerable.
A Call to a New Minister
On Sunday 3 March the Joint Nominating Committee (JNC) presented its report and recommendation to a special congregational meeting.
The report outlined the process and steps taken by the JNC in deciding to bring the recommendation to extend to Rev. Dr Craig Thompson a call to the Placement of Minister of the Congregation of Mark the Evangelist, commencing 1st July 2013.
The congregation was unanimous in its approval of the recommendation. Craig has formally accepted the call, saying:
Look for a biography of Craig in the next (Winter) edition of Mark the Word.
Ministering to us
The congregation welcomes Rev Gwen Ince who will be our minister for the next few months. We invited her to “tell all” to Mark the Word …
“Originating from the leafy bible belt Eastern suburbs, my working life began as a Physics, General Science, Maths teacher in Victorian High Schools. My many years in Sunday School soon got the better of me, however, such that I abandoned the teaching of science and began, in 1976, to study theology as a candidate for ordination, despite near chronic shyness. My training in scientific method enabled me to excel in Biblical Studies, and before I knew it I was embarked on a long, slow postgraduate programme in Edinburgh that eventually culminated in a PhD in New Testament Studies.
Return to Australia brought placements in Pyramid Hill, Methodist Ladies’ College, and then the Theological College teaching New Testament and, in the role of Dean, overseeing the formation of candidates. After ten years, and with the proposal that the lecturing component of my position be removed, I followed my passion for teaching, and my need for fulltime work, and took up a Resource Minister position, teaching and supporting lay worship leaders in South West Victoria. With the Presbytery restructuring, I returned to the now Centre for Theology and Ministry as Lay Education Advisor for a brief time before accepting a call to an experimental ministry opportunity at Sydenham, Hillside Taylor’s Lakes. This placement concluded at the end of February, so I am now awaiting placement with a mixture of anxiety and patience, depending on how strong my faith is at any one moment.
I live in a household of four, two adults and two small dogs. I happily undertake most domestic tasks whilst avoiding dusting and cooking like the plague. I enjoy fiddling in the garden, especially if I can get a snippet from someone else’s garden to grow. I am in the midst of a bit of a salvia fetish. I like taking photographs of small things in nature; birds, flowers, weeds, bits of seaweed, boring rocks. I love going to the zoo. I love doing nothing. I enjoy eating out. I enjoy watching sport. I have a very silly sense of humour. In fact, if I had said that first, I could probably have left the rest out. Ask Peter Blackwood.
I look forward to getting to know you.”
Take this on notice
HOLY WEEK AND EASTER
Sunday 24 March 10.00 am
TRIDUUM (The Three Days)
MARK THE EVANGELIST DAY
News just in
Our organist is sharing his musicianship with a wider audience than the Sunday congregation. Latitude 37 and the Melbourne Recital Centre, with guest artist Simon Martyn-Ellis theorbo present a concert in the Salon at 6pm on Monday 18 March.
In the 17th Century, the Holy Roman Empire spanned almost the entire breadth of Europe, from Spain through to the Hungarian territories. In this program you can hear the most beautiful repertoire for violin, viola da gamba, harpsichord and theorbo from the heart of the empire, music that was as diverse, expressive and original as its homeland was rich in cultures and spiritual belief.
Finally, dear readers, you might like to refresh your memory of that beautiful poem (perhaps first encountered at school?): John Keats’ Ode to Autumn