What’s on this week

NEWS: See what’s happening at SSUC this week …

Learning about our strengths: An invitation to participate

South Sydney Uniting Church is going through a time of change. Andrew is finishing his placement with us, there will be major repairs at the church in 2024, and we are starting to explore possible partnerships with other congregations. Understanding the gifts and skills of our leaders will be helpful at this time, to help us in our discernment for the future.

The Rev. Ben Gilmour, Director of the Vital Leadership Team with the Uniting Church Synod of NSW/ACT, will work with us in February to assess and understand our individual and collective leadership strengths. We will use a tool called the Clifton Strengths Inventory.

What are the Clifton Strengths?

The Clifton Strengths Inventory is an assessment of leadership strengths that help people work together to accomplish goals.

Who should take part?

  • Church councillors,
  • Members of working groups,
  • Other people in a leadership role in our congregation, and
  • People who are newer to the congregation and might be interested in a leadership role in future.

There is value in doing the leadership assessment not only for SSUC collectively, but also for us individually, to learn more about our gifts.

To take part, please see Miriam or Greg.

How can I take part?

1. Please let Miriam or Greg know by February 7 that you would like to participate.
They will need to give your name and email address to a Vital Leadership Team member so that you can be sent the link to do the Clifton Strengths assessment. You can let them know in person, by phone or email, or via the church contact form.

2. Do the Clifton Strengths assessment.
The assessment takes about 1 hour. We do it online, in our own time, at our own convenience, ahead of the introduction session (3). You will be emailed a link to do it.

3. Online introduction session on Zoom, led by Ben, Thursday 15 February 7pm-8:30pm.
Ben will introduce us to strengths-based approaches and the Clifton Strengths. Includes a theological introduction. The session will be recorded on Zoom for those who can’t make it.

4. Face-to-face workshop at the church, led by Ben, Sunday 25 February 11:30am-1:30pm.
Ben will workshop our “leadership team’s strengths culture” with us. We will look at a map of our strengths taken together – not just our individual strengths – and how we can harness them. This session will not be recorded – please attend in person. Ben will also preach at our service that day.

‘The Promised One is near’

HOMILY: Today is the first Sunday in the season of Advent. The Latin word means “arrival” or “coming”. On one level, we know that we will celebrate Christmas in a little under four weeks’ time. On another level, this can be a surprising event – for adventurous hands, hearts and minds. Faith is adventure.

‘A thorny crown’

HOMILY: The icon by Kelly Latimore (see below) shows Christ framed/enthroned by the four evangelists. Some theologians suggest that the scriptures, the gospels in particular, re-present, or stand in for, Christ.

Today’s gospel presents Christ in the six-fold works of mercy: Christ who feeds (there is enough food and drink, of course, we just need for it to be blessed, broken and given freely and fairly); Christ who welcomes, clothes, comforts and visits …

‘Oil of gladness, togetherness’

HOMILY: Our parable invites thinking about oil, light and joy. Poet-priest Ernesto Cardenal suggests we think of this oil in terms of community spirit … the oil of gladness, togetherness …

No new coal or gas – care for creation

NEWS: Please Tanya Plibersek, stop approving new coal and gas projects.

‘Leadership qualities’

HOMILY: Our Orthodox icon shows Jesus washing the feet of disciples (a scene from John’s gospel). It’s about being kind (even amid difficulty and under stress). It’s about mutual service. It’s about equality – “encouraging, comforting and urging … lives worthy of God” (as the Apostle Paul says). It’s about bare feet and holy ground, hard traveling and “walking the walk”. And it’s about overturning expectations of honour and status.

Act2 discussion

NEWS: Act2 discussion – Sunday 26 November after church service, 11:30am-1pm.

‘A musical Way’

HOMILY: We can think about mission in terms of our mission statement (key words: open, creation, dare, share, seek) … in terms of a mission structure to our life and work (and website) – an underlying mission theme: congregation-community-garden (crossing back and forth, translating) … in terms of a mission motto: we pray, we serve, we grow … or mission stories bearing witness to God’s presence and promise in South Sydney.

We can think about mission, the missio dei, God’s love for the world, in a musical way.

‘An image to bear’

HOMILY: A trick question elicits a trick answer. Jesus asks for the coin used to pay the Roman tax (it’s interesting that he himself does not possess the coin), then asks whose image it bears.

Most likely the coin in question bore the image of the emperor Tiberius who ruled Rome during the years 14-37 CE. One side of the coin would have deified Tiberius as a “son of the divine Augustus”. The other side would have honoured him as the “Pontifex Maximus” or “chief priest” of Roman polytheism – which is to say that the two sides of the coin celebrated absolute religious and civil authority for Tiberius.