Tuesday, 25 April 2017

April 25

There have been so many posts from me about Harry and church lately, you could be forgiven if you are getting bored. Fact is, these are the things that are taking most of my attention.

It's a cool and now raining Anzac day here. I have made controversial facebook commentary about Anzac Day and now that I have put the cat among the pigeons I think I will go and try my hand at making fermented ginger carrots. Or maybe fermented garlic carrots.

This is Harry, not lying on the couch.

Monday, 24 April 2017

O Boundless Salvation

A few years back I was in a regular church service, it wasn't immediately apparent but morale was low and people were discouraged. As the service came to an end we were to sing "O Boundless Salvation". Written by the founder of The Salvation Army, it is I suppose, the theme song of the denomination and sometimes it's singing is accompanied by somebody taking the flag and marching around. It is a symbolic underlining of faith and gratitude and it brings an emotional response, just like singing a national anthem.

On this particular day we started to sing and I felt that we needed somebody to take up the flag but nobody was. I wanted to catch somebody's eye to suggest it but nobody was looking and so, despite the fact that I stagger like a drunk sailor at the best of times, I decided that it was up to me and somehow, just like that, I became the flag waver. Not just for that day but for days to come.
With Clyde
Yesterday, as we had our last service in that location we again closed with "O Boundless Salvation" and I was called to service again.

I couldnt make it down the steps with the flag so I called a "volunteer" and tried to get everyone moving. I feel strongly that in some ways it is my job to lead my church community in their attitude to this change, to show optimism and expectation for the future.
As I walked behind the flag, I knew that I had to grab Clyde and include him. Clyde has been a bright, engaged man, deeply committed to his faith but in recent months he has suffered several brain bleeds and is a shadow of what he was. I took his hand and led him around. I hope I gifted him something.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

An Era Ending

At the end of this month, the church I have attended for my whole life will partially amalgamate with some others in the area so this Easter has been the last as the Earlwood community and we will soon become Sydney Inner West.
We have had years of uncertainty as the congregation shrunk, finances inevitably suffered, we had rumours of closure, have been left without a minister for a time and then had a rotation of temporary and part -time ministers.
The current plan is to amalgamate the Sunday services but to continue with existing weekday activities in their existing locations. As a plan to make the current church communities financially viable it makes very little sense but as a plan to soften up four congregations for total and permanent closure, well at least it is being done gently.
The whole process has come with resistance and grief and I am sure there is more of that to come but I have tried hard to approach it all with the attitude that God knows what He is doing and won't allow broken hearts to hurt for too long. Secular life says that when one door closes another opens and a faith community should be good at affirming that but of course, as a group of ordinary human beings there is discomfort with change.
As I read my Easter posts from past years there is one which resonates today, it simply says

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." John 10:10

At this moment my life is abundant; the weather is autumn perfection, my children are all at home and happy and we have canine joy in the house again