Today we return to 'in place' Sunday worship together, albeit with significant restrictions. With what spirit do we come?
There is a mixture of great joy at reconnecting with one another in person and with much of what is familiar. There are also continuing and fresh anxieties, not least learning to manage within COVID-19 restrictions - notably only having 17 places available in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit (due to the current Queensland 4 square metres indoor space requirement for each person), so that we have another 'pod' of people worshiping together in Old Bishopsbourne with others in the Chapel itself (see our COVID-19 Safe Plan here). We also bring griefs and gifts of the greater 'lockdown' period and a renewed awareness of our human fragility and need for solidarity. Above all, we come together more closely today with a deeper sense of our need to travel onward with the God who creates, redeems and gives renewed life. Penny's reflection today - see here - is a fitting one: drawing us into the mission of Jesus, which is a love for all, particularly for and with the oppressed, and a vision of fresh joy and strength. May the God who is in the midst of all trials and sufferings, bring healing, justice, and new life to all.
Are you longing for more space in your life, just to be, just to listen to your deepest self and the call of the mysterious depths of life? If so, then our new monthly gathering Sanctus may be just what you are looking for. You do not need to hold any particular belief and you certainly do not have to fit into any human-made 'box' ! (all are welcome just as we are, whatever our age, background, sexual or gender identity, or giftedness)
The name 'Sanctus' just means 'holy' and the idea is to set aside some 'holy ground' to sit with God and listen. Initially we are planning a gathering that will happen once a month on the last Saturday of the month. The first one will be on
Saturday April 29 at 5pm
at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, St Francis College,
233, Milton Road, Milton.
So what will happen and what could you expect?
At the heart of this gathering will be reflection and silence. That interval of silence will be supported by gentle music and chant, words from Scripture and from the world's great spiritual teachers, and a brief, thoughtful reflection. We aim to create a space of hospitality for all, in which we can be real with one another and with the reality many call 'God'. The contemplative gathering will be for about forty-five minutes, after which you are welcome to sit longer in the peaceful atmosphere, or join us in an adjoining space for some light refreshments and a chance to enjoy the company of others.
Sanctus is for those seeking simplicity, depth, and stillness.
We look forward to welcoming you as our community grows.
If you would like to know more
please call the Revd. Penny Jones on 0477444095 firstname.lastname@example.org
The St Francis College site is such an ideal one for contemplative prayer of all kinds and It has been lovely in the last couple of days to have a simple temporary labyrinth in the grounds of Old Bishopbourne, close to the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. This one was created by the School of Philosophy who also use the site and will be an encouragement to us as we explore this valuable contemplative tool in the days ahead. For labyrinths seem typically to emerge as spiritual aids at times of much societal and cultural change. Like the great labyrinths of European cathedrals in the middle ages they are a sign and means of personal and community renewal for us all. Why not pop by and try it out?
We live in such exciting and demanding times, in which we are connected in so many unprecedented ways. Yet these very connections can add such speed and complexity to our lives that we can feel overwhelmed. Meister Eckhart rightly indeed commented in his own age that 'God is here. It is we who have gone out for a walk.' Today we are typically not just walking but traveling at hyper-speed, and multi-tasking at the same time! It is into this context that the revival of contemplative prayer speaks as a vital gift.
This week we begin a new opportunity for contemplative prayer by starting a Christian Meditation group (as part of the Australian Christian Meditation Community on the St Francis College Milton site. This will be at 5.45 pm on Wednesdays, in the Annexe of Old Bishopbourne - just across from the Chapel of the Holy Spirit and in the first building on the right hand side of the through road from the Baroona Road entrance (ring 0477 444 095 or 0488 333 169 if you would like to come along and would like more information or a friendly face to meet you!).
The day before my commissioning the light bulbs were changed in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit - a risky process with tall ladders reaching into every nook and cranny. As the power was switched on fresh light illuminated the beautiful stone work and brought brilliance to the central picture behind the altar, the scene of Christ's birth. Today is a kind of new birth for me and for our community, so this is an important picture to contemplate. Christ is born anew in each of us in every moment, enabling us to connect in fresh and creative ways with all that surrounds us. So as the fresh light of the Spirit brightens this day, may we trust ourselves to this new beginning.
(photo: Brisbane Sunrise by Sam Petherbridge, on Flickr)
Jo Inkpin, Penny Jones, Jeni Nix, Peter Jeffery, Ann Edwards, Elizabeth McConnell