news

What’s on this week

NEWS: See what’s happening at SSUC this week ...
July 24, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Touch and other double sensations’

HOMILY: Philosopher Richard Kearney describes the sense of touch as double sensation – touching and being touched – a figure for much else, including tact, vibrant relation, interpretation …
July 21, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Bearing noble witness’

HOMILY: Standing up for what’s right and compassionate is to risk/live your life. Paranoid powers – gluttons and abusers like Herod – deeply resent social and political criticism, and prophets like John the Baptiser are undermined, ridiculed, imprisoned.
July 14, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Belonging’

REFLECTION: This is an exciting and challenging time for the SSUC congregation-community-garden.
July 13, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Kin and clay … stories and spirit’

HOMILY: The Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) says that a person is both spirit and matter, eternal and temporal, and that despair (Kierkegaard’s word for sin) consists in clinging to one or the other.
July 7, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Lasting fidelity and mutual affection’

HOMILY: My heart is like a singing bird ...
July 7, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Death and Bleeding: Gaza and Israel in Mark’s gospel’

HOMILY: You will all be aware of the conflict that is happening in the middle west (middle east) at present. How could you not? 
June 30, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘This much at least … much more’

HOMILY: A poetic utterance by Jesus (in the context of friends troubled, bewildered) evokes all manner of settings. Rooms, mansions …
June 24, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘The beautiful shore’

HOMILY: A voyage to the other side may evoke curiosity, connection, communication; reaching out for help, overcoming confusion, affirming differences; transition, translation. 
June 23, 2024/by Andrew Collis

A treasury of prayers

PRAYERS: The following prayers, in response to “treasure” as a mark of Christ’s mission, were written by mission workshop participants on May 12, 2024 (Easter 7B).
June 18, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Bread broken and given’

HOMILY: “[W]e must not seek Christ’s presence in the dense reality of unbroken bread”, writes theologian G.P. Ambrose (The Theology of Louis-Marie Chauvet, 2012). 
June 16, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘In praise of the Holy Spirit’

HOMILY: What Jesus says today about the Holy Spirit and about inclusivity/family can help us with our table talk about church repairs and future directions.
June 9, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Stretch out your hand’

HOMILY: Our icon for today is a Byzantine mosaic which depicts Jesus healing a person with a withered hand. “Stretch out your hand,” says Jesus.
June 2, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Love shared in the power of love’

HOMILY: “Perichoresis”, from the Greek peri, “around” and chorein, “to make room for” or “to dance” (as in choreography), is one of the oldest and most important words in the history of trinitarian theology …
May 26, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘The Unknown, the Not Yet, the Possible’

HOMILY: Today is Pentecost! The icon for this festival is known as the Descent of the Holy Spirit.
May 19, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘To safeguard the integrity of creation …’

WORKSHOP: This week each table group will read, engage and respond to one of the Gospel readings from Mark, or another reading that points us to what is truly of value. Each group will in turn, read, engage then offer the treasures found within.
May 12, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘All the while withdrawing from our grasp …’

HOMILY: Today is Ascension Day, the 40th day after Easter, which commemorates Jesus’ ascension into heaven and the promise of the Holy Spirit. One mode of revelation concluding, something new happening. We might reflect on letting go, starting again, seeing and feeling again.
May 9, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘An exchange of stories that just might change lives’

HOMILY: Our Easter liturgy has included the song, “You are the vine”, which draws from John 15. John’s Jesus is very much a di-vine figure, inviting all who see and hear him to join him in humility as One who goes to the cross, united with Abba God in redemptive suffering for the world.

“You are my friends”, Jesus says in today’s reading from the same chapter, “if you do what I command you”. 
May 5, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Dancing Triangles: giving shape to faith, hope and love’

PRESENTATION: Thinking in threes is usually a good idea, not least as a means of overcoming binary thinking. In trinitarian mode, thinking in threes is ever dynamic, inter-related, more like dancing in threes. Thinking and dancing in threes means creating space, giving shape to faith, hope and love.
April 18, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Mission in Mark: marks of mission’

HOMILY: I don’t know if you are anything like me but talk of the mission of the church makes me profoundly uneasy. I feel this uneasiness in my body. It feels unsafe. It feels like I might be walking into a trap ...
April 7, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Whose hands?’

HOMILY: There are two types of resurrection icon. The Latin or Western tradition favours depiction of Christ’s exit from the tomb – images of Christ the Victor, soaring into the air, often carrying a banner or flag symbolising victory over the grave; soldiers and others cowering in fear and defeat below. Think El Greco or Rubens. Resurrection as rising away from others …
March 31, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Failure redressed’

HOMILY: Back in chapter 14 of Mark’s gospel, an account of the arrest of Jesus in Gethsemane, we read: “Following Jesus was a youth wearing nothing but a linen cloth, whom [the authorities] also tried to arrest but who fled naked, leaving the cloth behind.” 
March 30, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘The Word of the Cross’

HOMILY: The Cross is ugly, terrible – an instrument of torture. It symbolises the frightening might of empire – as threat, weight, trauma. 
March 29, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘The story of Jesus and friends’

HOMILY: Our mosaic image 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 [1 Thessalonians 2:9-20]). It’s about bare feet and holy ground, hard traveling and “walking the walk”.
March 28, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Growing into resistance’

HOMILY: Our Orthodox icon for today is called Entry into Jerusalem. Jesus is depicted at the centre, sitting upon a donkey. His invisible glory is represented by a halo and the scroll in his hand means Holy Wisdom.
March 24, 2024/by Andrew Collis

Holy Week and Easter 2024

NEWS: All welcome for services in Holy Week and throughout the Easter season.
March 22, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Action and reflection’

HOMILY: In chapter 1 of John’s gospel we read about two of John the Baptiser’s disciples choosing to follow Jesus. “When Jesus turned around and noticed them following, he asked them, ‘What are you looking for?’ They replied, ‘Rabbi’ – which means ‘Teacher’ – ‘where are you staying?’ ‘Come and see,’ Jesus answered” … 
March 17, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Love’s great themes’

HOMILY: “Even if I can speak in all the tongues of earth – and those of the angels too – but do not have love, I am just a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal …” (1 Corinthians 13:1ff.).
March 16, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘An icon of snake and seraph’

HOMILY: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so the Chosen One must be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in the Chosen One might have eternal life” (John 3:14-15).
March 10, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Let’s overturn these tables’

HOMILY: What does Jesus discern?

That the temple has been made a market, a place to buy and sell (consume) religion at the expense of those in real need of support, help and healing.

That collusion among the wealthy and entitled – and frequently frightened – leads to corruption – of institutions, individuals and values.
March 3, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘The unsettling journey of Lent’

HOMILY: As we embark on the Lenten journey, we are invited into a season designed not just to alter but to fundamentally disturb our comfortable lives. Lent disorients us from the norms, pushing us to the uncomfortable edges of our existence.
February 25, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘What do we see?’

HOMILY: What do we see? Jesus descending into the water … the River Jordan, remembered scene of safe passage – from a life of slavery to a life of freedom and responsibility.
February 18, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Be my Va-lent-ine’

HOMILY: We enter Lent with humility … toward a death, toward the cross … in a community Spirit. 
February 14, 2024/by Andrew Collis

Ash Wednesday services – February 14

NEWS: Services for Ash Wednesday will be held in the church on February 14, at 8.30am and 5pm. All welcome.
February 12, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Divine Voice, Body, Cloud’

HOMILY: Transfiguration is about seeing differently, seeing the Christ again/anew, and there are various ways to see the gospel for today.
February 11, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Prayers for healing’

HOMILY: In the early centuries, the church developed a liturgy of exorcism as part of baptism. Candidates for baptism were questioned by the bishop, and the key question was: “Are you living your life under the fear of Rome/Empire, or are you turning toward the joy of Jesus?” A sign of the cross was then made upon the ears and eyes of a candidate, against the reinvasion of fearful forces.
February 4, 2024/by Andrew Collis

Learning about our leadership 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. We invite all leaders at South Sydney, and people newer to the congregation who might be interested in a leadership role, to take part.
January 27, 2024/by Miriam Pepper

‘Journeys’

HOMILY: Today is the first Sunday of our new year, 2024. We are also at the beginning of the season of Epiphany. For many of us this is the weekend to put away our mangers and take down our Christmas trees (if we remember).
January 7, 2024/by Andrew Collis

‘Steeped in tradition’

HOMILY: The figure of Anna (Hannah [see 1 Samuel]) is striking. Scholars surmise she is from a family of exiles (the northern tribe of Asher), scattered yet steeped in the traditions of Israel; steeped in the hopes of her people and culture. She expresses her love for Jerusalem, the Torah and the Temple in her continual worship at the Temple complex.
December 31, 2023/by Andrew Collis

What’s on this month

NEWS: See what’s happening at SSUC in January ...
December 28, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Let your peace be peace’

HOMILY: Our traditional reading for Christmas Day is taken from the first chapter of John’s gospel: “The Word became flesh …” We might think on it this way. A word becomes flesh when we really mean it and put it into practice. A word or value becomes flesh when it aligns with the life of a person or community.
December 25, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Reflections on love’

HOMILY: Today we are reflecting on love. It is the fourth Sunday and the last Sunday in the season of Advent.
December 24, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Reflections on joy’

HOMILY: Today we are reflecting on joy. It is Gaudete Sunday in the season of Advent. Joy. An ancient word with a deep tradition. We’ve remembered the shepherds who receive the announcement of joy from angels, we’ve lit a pink candle. Our bible readings point us towards joy and speak of it as a discipline ...
December 17, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Pointing a way’

HOMILY: In the course of his preaching, John said, “One more powerful than I is to come after me …”
December 10, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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.
December 3, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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 …
November 26, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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 …
November 12, 2023/by Andrew Collis

No new coal or gas – care for creation

NEWS: Please Tanya Plibersek, stop approving new coal and gas projects.
November 8, 2023/by Miriam Pepper

‘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.
November 5, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Act2 discussion

NEWS: Act2 discussion – Sunday 26 November after church service, 11:30am-1pm.
October 31, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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.
October 29, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘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.
October 22, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Weeping and gnashing of teeth’

HOMILY: In the presence of this parable, we may well freeze, speechless …

The central character of the parable is one who dares attend a royal function (in response, we note, to a tyrant’s invitation) without the requisite garment – thus challenging the tyrant’s authority. We might think of Jesus defying the powers, withdrawing from unjust systems, refusing to play along; bound hand and foot, cast out. We might ponder this “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (these cries of distress, pain, anger/protest). We might think of many silent or silenced protesters.
October 15, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘The words of my mouth’

HOMILY: “May the words of my mouth/ and the thoughts of my heart/ be pleasing in your sight, Adonai,/ my rock and my redeemer!”

So concludes our psalm for today, a three-fold prayer-poem. The sum of the first part of the psalm can be stated simply: the world witnesses to God. The second part is a precisely constructed passage exalting the virtues, benefits and desirability of the torah (God’s “law”, or “instruction”). The third part is a prayer for God’s help/grace ...
 
October 8, 2023/by Andrew Collis

We touch the signs …

PRAYER: We touch the signs, we read the textures ...
September 28, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Just as rivers flow’

HOMILY: The final chapter of the book/letter of Revelation depicts a heavenly city on Earth – the descent of a New Jerusalem – where the Lamb of God (nonviolence) rules, and God’s name (love/liberation …) is reflected in human faces. We are shown a street, a life-giving river and fruitful/medicinal trees. The vision is one of harmony, sustainability; illumination, salvation (wellness and wholeness).

This movement from above to below is significant. The vision counters conventional (otherworldly) notions of transcendence and calls us to lower our sights – to look around us for signs of truth, goodness and beauty – just as rivers flow from high to lowlands and to the sea ...
September 24, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Dancing in the desert sand’

HOMILY: Coloured Stone is a band from the Koonibba mission, west of Ceduna, South Australia. Their distinctive sound is described as “desert reggae”. Mirning singer-songwriter Bunna Lawrie and band perform using electric guitar, bass, drums, yidaki or didjeridu, bundawuthada (gong stone) and clap sticks.

I’m listening to “Wild Desert Rose”, Bunna’s tribute to the desert flowers, one of the stunning sights that make his home country such a special place. The sparkling lead guitar and joyful backing vocals conjure a stunning image of the outback ...
September 17, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Two iconic songs’

HOMILY: When have you been moved by an encounter in and on the land? Working the soil, feeling the coolness or warmth of the earth ... on your own, with others (companions, strangers), seen or unseen? Walking or running through rugged terrain ... viewing or painting a landscape of some kind – with a sense of participation, anticipation ...
September 10, 2023/by Andrew Collis

We ponder the parables – good soil

PRAYERS: We ponder the parables. Old stones, rocks, dust … deposits ...
September 6, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Life, breath – everything’

HOMILY: Last Sunday morning, amidst regenerating forest on Gumbaynggirr Country (Mid North Coast), I awoke to a cacophony of bird calls, growing light, the condensation gathering on my tent.

I was on a forest protection pilgrimage, together with others from the Uniting Church’s Forest Advocacy Ministry.
September 3, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘How many keys?’

HOMILY: To see in a poor Galilean the fulfilment of Israel’s deepest yearnings is no simple feat. To see in a wandering teacher of torah and critic of smug religion with whom the anawim seek hope and healing the fulfilment of Israel’s deepest yearnings is no simple feat.
August 27, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Silent meditation

MEDITATION: The roots of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM) lie in the desert tradition of early Christianity.
August 13, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘To walk on water …’

HOMILY: To walk on water is to dare admit our doubts and vulnerabilities, and to trust in love. “With Christ, we dare to be honest in our lives and to explore difficult questions together.”

To walk on water is to respond to love’s summons, not with a naïve bravery that inflates our egos, but with faith, however “little”. The gospel describes a faith that is coming to be, a faith that is risk – adventure, improvisation – incorporation into a faith/faithfulness that precedes and exceeds our own.
August 13, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Wounded healers’

HOMILY: American philosopher Judith Butler, whose interests include literature and feminism, and whose recent work focuses on Jewish philosophy, exploring pre- and post-Zionist criticisms of state violence, writes: “Let’s face it, we’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something.”
August 6, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Sing and dance in search of God’

HOMILY: Jesus is talking about his experience of God, the divine presence he feels in his heart and all around him. And Jesus wants to share this experience – feelings and thoughts, values and hopes – that’s why he tells stories about it. So that disciples (students) might understand and enjoy – and share – their faith too ...
July 30, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Holy surprise’

HOMILY: First, some thoughts on Genesis 28. Jacob dreams a ladder, a stairway to heaven with angelic beings descending and ascending. When he wakes, he is amazed. Here in this fearful/shameful place (Jacob has deceived his blind father Isaac and stolen a blessing from his brother Esau), the presence of the Holy One overwhelms him, and he is reassured of love. “Truly, YHWH is in this place, and I never knew it!” ...
July 23, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Then you will see God’

HOMILY: Over the last few generations there has been, as you all know, a revolution in farming practice. Agri-culture has become agri-business. In the past, large numbers of people worked on the land, but now things have changed. Our stomachs are still deeply connected to the land and its produce. But the distance is widening all the time between tilling the soil and consuming the food. Our interaction with the land now tends to take place in supermarkets; a place where food has already been processed into a package for us ...
July 16, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Soulful rest’

HOMILY: Today’s gospel – good news for the anawim or “have-nots” (11:5) – invites a number of responses. We might respond to the image of the yoke, a farming implement for working cattle, a symbol of Wisdom/torah/teaching. We might respond to the image of Messiah as co-worker. We might respond to the theme of rest or sabbath ...
July 9, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Storerooms’

HOMILY: Jesus said: “Every religious scholar who has become a student of the kindom of heaven is like the head of a household who can bring from the storeroom both the new and the old” (Matthew 13:52).
July 4, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘The bonds of Sisterhood’

HOMILY: Jesus the Teacher, we might imagine, sometimes surprised his disciples with a pop quiz. He probably tried to make it helpful and enjoyable. So, let’s imagine a multiple-choice quiz for conscientious disciples.
July 2, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘I’m really glad you made it!’

HOMILY: Matthew’s Jesus speaks of division and even accepts a certain responsibility for division: “I came not to bring peace, but a sword.” Before commending a Spirit on the side of human frailty and faith: “You who lose your life [as personal project/possession] for my sake [in the Spirit of love] will find it [as renewed promise/communal gift].”
June 25, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Intercessory prayers

PRAYERS: Intercessory prayers.
June 20, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Mission – cosmic and domestic’

HOMILY: It’s common for me to find, as I prepare to lead worship or preach, that a particular image will strike me and add grist to the mill of my thinking.

These two images are from Facebook this week. I follow a group called Unique Trees, and I’m often delighted by what people notice and post.
June 18, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Each theme a window’

HOMILY: Our readings present major themes: faith and trust, universal blessing, creative community, desire and promise of healing. Each theme, a window on a world in crisis, reveals figures of frailty and fidelity, religious observance, prophetic hope. 
June 11, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘New faith, hope and love’

HOMILY: Andre Rublev’s 15th-century Icon of the Holy Trinity is a treasure of Russian art, a treasure of Russian Orthodoxy, and a treasure of Christian faith. Already we are thinking in threes.
June 4, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Pentecostal prayers

PRAYERS: Pentecostal prayers.
May 29, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘She will guide you into all truth’

HOMILY: The Jewish Pentecost (or Shavuot) is a celebration of the fruitfulness of the land, blessed by the sun, rain and “wind/breath” of God. It is also a celebration of God’s giving Torah (good teaching) to a newly liberated people – 50 days after the Passover, 50 days after the Exodus.

In the church, we celebrate how the Spirit or “wind/breath” of God has “in-spirited” human beings – Jews and Gentiles – to live “highly” of themselves. The work of the Spirit is that all creation, including human beings, radiate Christ.
May 28, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Dove and fire’

HOMILY: There’s something about our text from John 14 that calls up ancient commentary. Perhaps it’s the promise of the Spirit, a wellspring of experience and testimony. The past recalled in present troubles – deep calling to deep (Psalm 42) – a call for help, a deeply hopeful calling ...
May 14, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Abba, Hokmah, Sophia, Messiah …’

HOMILY: Jesus says, “Whoever has seen me has seen Abba God.” Abba/Amma is Aramaic for divine source of life, God as loving father and mother of all. “Whoever has seen me – walked with me, talked with me, shared with me – has encountered God.”
May 7, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Wisdom blessings

PRAYERS: The blessing of Holy Wisdom be upon you to inspire ...
May 6, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘With sighs too deep for words’ 

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: May 2023.
May 2, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘A way in and a way out’

HOMILY: Jesus, John invites us to imagine, is a gate. The metaphor allows many meanings – its expression looms large (just the right size) at the entrance to SSUC, the handiwork of unknown miners and metalsmiths, as well as Cathie, Bernie and André … and soon to be spray-painted heritage green!
April 30, 2023/by Andrew Collis

A toast to Pamela

NEWS: A toast to Pamela Briggs on the occasion of her 95th birthday.
April 24, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Becoming believers’

HOMILY: Luke 24 (the “Road to Emmaus” and other stories) is structured like a traditional liturgy: gathering, journey, meeting Christ who interprets the scriptures in relation to Wisdom, then breaks the bread, then sends disciples out into the world ...
April 23, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Wax resist and watercolour

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Our workshop on April 22 will be led by Yvonne Hocothee. The workshop will invite exploration of wax resist and watercolour techniques.
April 20, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Litany of contradictory things

PRAYERS: Disciples prone to boasts and betrayals: let them grow together ...
April 19, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘So many stories to tell’

HOMILY: There is an oft-viewed Ted Talk by the Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie called “The Danger of a Single Story”. In it she talks about her heritage and how her reading habits shaped her view of the world growing up ...
April 16, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Prayer for SSUC

PRAYERS: Thanks to Dorothy for leading this prayer at our congregational meeting on April 16.
April 16, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘In (and out of) touch with flesh’ 

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: April 2023.
April 12, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Love with determination’

HOMILY: Mary of Magdala sees that the stone has been rolled away from the tomb’s entrance. Mary sees … Mary weeps and misunderstands.
April 9, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Holy Week and Easter services

NEWS: All welcome for services in Holy Week and throughout the Easter season.
April 4, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘One palm branch, one cloak …’

HOMILY: Jesus enters Jerusalem, slowly. Slow enough that people walk alongside the donkey he rides. People follow behind him. Some even walk ahead. There is something about the pace of this story that just might help us right now. A slower pace encourages reflection. A slower pace promotes gratitude, kindness ...
April 2, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Fully alive’

HOMILY: One point from which to begin reading/thinking today is verse 25. The Greek word, zoe, connotes quality of life – abundant – more than mere bios or physical life, zoe connotes confidence, moral strength, freedom. St Irenaeus wrote that the glory of God is the human person fully alive (see also verse 4). Zoe means “fully alive”.
March 26, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘The one who showed compassion’

HOMILY: Ashley Anne-Maree Montabello was a kind person. Whenever we met – for lunch or coffee at Barn Doors Café on Redfern Street, with carers from St Vincent de Paul, at the Uniting Church in Raglan Street, in Phillip Street – she would greet me as a friend, with affection, humour, respect. And I will never forget it.
March 23, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Saint Photina, the Luminous One’

HOMILY: Two theologians discuss the meaning of living water, sacred sites, spiritual food/harvest; worship, mission, reconciled humanity – a redeemer and messiah in whose Spirit there is life. Their conversation touches on Genesis 33 (the betrothal of Jacob and Rachel), Exodus 17 and Numbers 20 (Moses and the miracle of water from the rock at Meribah), perhaps psalms 42, 63 and 143 (thirst for living water and the divine).
March 12, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘The wind blows where it will …’ 

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: March 2023.
March 5, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Busy being born’

HOMILY: The answer to all manner of questions – issues of social justice, human rights, ecological and existential crises – depends on the movement and guidance of Spirit, on stopping to listen for the Word the Spirit brings, on connection to the Spirit-filled world (slight breezes and mighty storms), relationship in the Spirit, and so on. “The answer, my friend,” says Jesus, “is blowin’ in the wind” (Bob Dylan).
March 5, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Stones are stones’

HOMILY: On Wednesday we received the sign of ashes – invitation to prayer (attentiveness), fasting (simplicity) and almsgiving (generosity). Lent is a chance to choose wisdom, to begin again – in faith before belief.
February 26, 2023/by Andrew Collis

Ash Wednesday services – February 22

NEWS: Services for Ash Wednesday will be held in the church on February 22, at 8am and 5pm. All welcome.
February 19, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘The transfiguration of the given’

HOMILY: “You’ve heard the commandment ... But I tell you ... You have heard it said ... But I tell you ... [B]e perfect, as Abba God in heaven is perfect.” There is a movement in today’s gospel, a movement toward the perfection of godly love. In the context of the Sermon on the Mount, which begins in blessing and ends in astonishment, we can hear these words as words of commission.
February 19, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Come away with me’

HOMILY: We can think of forgiving as fore-giving – giving first. We love because we are already loved – because our God fore-gives, gives first.
February 18, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘Authenticity’

HOMILY: The Sermon on the Mount is both inspiring and disturbing. With a gesture toward Moses at Mount Sinai, Jesus interprets Torah for a Galilean people fragmented and hurting. In the Spirit, Jesus addresses us.
February 12, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘On salt and light’

HOMILY: “You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus tells his disciples, seated with him on the mountain, surrounded by crowds of people. “You are the light of the world.”
February 5, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘The salt of the earth and the light of the world’ 

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: February 2023.
February 3, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘What does God want?’

HOMILY: It is human nature to want guidance, to want a path to follow and to know the future. What does God want? And how do we know?
January 29, 2023/by Andrew Collis

‘A prayerful return’

HOMILY: Andrei Rublev’s 15th-century icon of the Nativity depicts five halos, five haloed/hallowed figures ...
January 1, 2023/by Andrew Collis

What’s happening in January?

NEWS: Worship services in January at the regular time of 10am Sunday. Other activities will resume in February.
December 28, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘The interplay of divinity and humanity’

HOMILY: Christ comes … to shine a light on hostilities (toward the poor, the stranger, the most vulnerable) and to light the way of wisdom – hospitality, peace with justice … Christ comes to the anawim, the “have-nots” … as subversive and creative event. A peasant family is made holy. A young woman at risk of abandonment or worse is blessed … she bears the Promised One and will become the queen of heaven.
December 25, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Christmas Day – readings and carols

NEWS: All welcome, in the church and online, for a service of readings and carols on Christmas morning. Please note special time: 9.30am.
December 22, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘A Josephite commitment to anyone at risk of shame or harm’

HOMILY: Saint Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) was a Spanish reformer and founder of the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits).

The spirituality he developed places great emphasis on the affective life: the use of imagination in prayer, cultivation of godly desires and generous service.
December 18, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘To re-orient our lives’

HOMILY: The word peace, eirene in Greek, means to bind or bring together, to unite or set at one. Peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace implies health and wellbeing. We might also add: right relationship, harmony, community. It is one of the apostle Paul’s favourite words, used as a greeting or farewell and corresponding to the Hebrew, shalom.
December 4, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Prayer flags and cards

PRAYERS: Thanks to Anne for leading this activity at our most recent congregational meeting. 
November 29, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Weekly working bees

GARDEN TIPS: November – good to get a little done each week.
November 29, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Sharing our stories of hope

NEWS: Norrie, Miriam and Lyn gave a presentation at the Sydney Presbytery AGM in Glebe on Saturday November 26. The presentation included testimonies from members and supporters, as well as photos and a sung Lord’s Prayer.
November 29, 2022/by Andrew Collis
Cleftomaniacs

Cleffies Christmas Concert December 15

NEWS: The Cleftomaniacs (“Cleffies”) is an all-female community-based a cappella group. Their repertoire spans from the ’60s to the present. The concert will also include a carols sing-along.
November 28, 2022/by Miriam Pepper

‘An invitation to participate’

HOMILY: It seems a little easy to feel a little hopeless at the moment as we face yet another Covid wave; as floods affect homes, lives and water systems; as people continue to be persecuted in Iran for protesting the inhumane treatment of girls and women; as we hear of the ongoing issues in Ukraine ...
November 27, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Poetics of the kindom’

HOMILY: There are some things we can know regarding Jesus. At least three things ...
November 20, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Minister’s Report to Church Council (November 2022)

REPORT: Our recent pastoral care meetings made use of a case study on teamwork (short meditation and a reading from Luke 5:17-26). The case study inspired the following guidelines: (1) set focussed goals and timeframe for work together; (2) appoint and support the facilitator/convenor; (3) gather ideas from wide variety of options, select a workable number of ideas; (4) reflect on best practice, ask for assistance when needed; (5) assign roles and tasks clearly, with timelines; (6) review progress and process, offer positive feedback, acknowledgement and thanks.
November 19, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘What can we do?’

HOMILY: For Luke, the new world will mean a new temple of some kind. Disoriented believers throw up their hands and cry, “What can we do?!” The gospel offers assurance – reach out your hands, join hands and ask, “What can we do?”
November 13, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Watercolour techniques – workshops

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Our workshops on November 12 and 26 will be led by Carolyne Miller. The workshops will invite exploration of watercolour techniques.
November 11, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Covenant – promise, action, interaction’ 

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: November 2022.
November 9, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Life and how to live it’

HOMILY: On the altar-table (and on screen) we have an Icon of the Transfiguration. The icon shows Moses and Elijah “alive” with Jesus, just as Moses, in the Exodus passage about the burning bush, encounters the God of Sarah and Abraham, Rebecca and Isaac, Leah and Rachel and Jacob …
November 6, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘A force greater than self-importance’

HOMILY: “You love everything that exists / And you don’t hate anything you have created … / You save all things because they are yours …”

Words from the book of Wisdom, a book, as protestants, we don’t often open and read – a book we call apocryphal, or hidden away, amid texts of uncertain authenticity in the eyes of 16th-century reformers.
October 30, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Hymns to grace’

HOMILY: The tax collector’s prayer invites our humble prayers and heartfelt hymns to grace.
October 23, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Benedictions – Liturgy Resource

PRAYERS: The following benedictions were written for SSUC – Liturgy Resource group, 2022.
October 16, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘We meet our match’

HOMILY: Our reading from Genesis is something of a classic. It is part of the Jacob/Israel saga – the story of a trickster (“Heel Grabber”) who steals a blessing, who leaves home, wrestles with his conscience, his God and himself; a deceiver who is deceived, who loves, who returns home, is forgiven, undergoes conversion, walks thereafter with a limp.
October 16, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Benedictions – Ordinary Time

PRAYERS: The following benedictions were written for SSUC – Ordinary Time, Year C, 2022.
October 11, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Stigmata’

HOMILY: The action takes place in a liminal space, in a nameless village somewhere between Galilee and Samaria. Jesus leads disciples to anticipate surprises, healing, new life at the margins, in various border settings ...
October 9, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘In a Spirit of freedom’

HOMILY: There are many references to slavery in the Bible. In one sense, the whole Bible is a reflection on slavery and freedom – what it means to overcome oppression and to become free people ...
October 2, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Flattening our mountains and filling in our hollows’ 

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: October 2022.
September 28, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Children of the cosmos’

HOMILY: Jesus calls the salvation he provides “bread” and calls himself “bread from heaven”. John, arguably the most mystical of the gospels, is artfully constructed, layered. It is sacramental – the material world is a bearer of spiritual meaning, the material participates in the spiritual.
September 25, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Minister’s Report to Church Council (September 2022)

REPORT: Our God keeps us safe and strong in thanksgiving, whatever may happen, as we circle/spiral within and beyond the sanctuary – through the streets and parks, from friend to friend – a congregation in a community in a garden … a congregation for the community with a garden ... This is the promise and vision of “real presence”.
September 24, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Block printing – workshops

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Our workshops in October will be led by Micaela Christie. The workshops will invite exploration of techniques using rubber tiles for printing – on paper, card, fabric.
September 22, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘The place of faith and understanding’

HOMILY: Job asks, “Where is the place of understanding?” And Jesus asks, “Where is your faith?” God knows believers, afraid and amazed, seek Wisdom – a certain power, wellbeing, confidence … relationship, connection, shalom/peace …
September 18, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Walk the line’

HOMILY: Leigh knew hardship … and Leigh loved his neighbour, which, according to Jesus, means he loved God – he loved with the faithfulness of God who says: “I will cover you with my pinions; under my wings you will take refuge; my faithfulness will shield you” (Psalm 91:4). Leigh loved with the faithfulness of God who says: “Because you’re mine, I walk the line.”
September 16, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘More than a tree’

HOMILY: God addresses Job, drawing his attention to a Wisdom inherent in the Mountain Goat and the Deer and their birthing practice, the manner in which their young become able to care for themselves; a Wisdom inherent in the free roaming of the wild Donkey as it forages for green grass; in the flight of the Hawk to the south and the nesting and preying habits of the Eagle.
September 11, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘All things remembered in Christ’

HOMILY: “Now I see you with my own eyes” … “Now I see you with new/ocean/divine eyes” … There’s something mystical here – a Word other than “word of mouth” (mere human talk, opinion, reverie). The sea is other …
September 4, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Benedictions – Season of Creation

PRAYERS: The following benedictions were written for SSUC – Season of Creation 2022.
September 1, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Repeated listening’

HOMILY: To really love a literary work – a poem, story or philosophical text – is to revisit it. We may not understand them fully, but the words vibrate with potential or promise … there is a “not yet” in the “now” …
August 28, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Slow time … start again’

HOMILY: The Christian challenge (and it is a theological and practical challenge) is to hold these two symbols, “slow time” and “start again”, to acknowledge covenants/promises in the Spirit of Torah and Gospel. A certain imaginative space is required.
August 21, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘A fire that divides …’

HOMILY: This week’s gospel presents the paradox of divine fire – both divisive and curative. As poetic device it enables the drawing of fine and far-reaching distinctions. Sooner or later, says Jesus, you’ll have to decide. There’s a fire that divides …
August 14, 2022/by Andrew Collis

August – action time

GARDEN TIPS: August – a rundown of the most important tasks.
August 11, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Blak & Blu 2022 – workshops

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Catherine and Andrew will lead simple drawing exercises on August 13 and 27 – using black and blue biros. See below for details regarding this year’s Blak & Blu prize.
August 7, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Steal our hearts away’

HOMILY: The idiom, “steal one’s heart”, seems apt. Online search results list hundreds of hearts stolen – by beauty, mercy, justice, faithfulness … home cities, strange countries, tribal lands and waters … artistic or spiritual visions … muses, music …
August 7, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘My soul magnifies …’

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: August 2022.
August 4, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Hidden with Christ’

HOMILY: Jesus says, “Avoid greed in all its forms.” Imagine these words whispered, between the lines that follow, in some sense hidden. Subversive, slowly revealed. The gospel heralds radical social change ...
July 31, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Prayers of intercession

PRAYERS: Prayers of intercession by Miriam, Jane and Andrew, Liturgy Resource Group, SSUC.
July 26, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Good eggs’

HOMILY: Orient yourselves to God. Affirm God’s goodness and otherness. Express openness and desire for God’s future. Petition for basic, collective needs – ask to receive and commit to give. Acknowledge human frailty and finitude.
July 24, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Perhaps Lazarus sees the big picture’

HOMILY: And now we see the full measure of wisdom in the house of Martha and Mary, who, with their (mute) brother Lazarus, offer hospitality (safety, nourishment) to Jesus ...
July 17, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘A steep way’

HOMILY: YHWH says, “I am going to measure my people Israel by plumb line. I will no longer excuse their atrocities.” The plumb line, the vertical measure, is social and ecological justice, equity … safety, freedom for one another … true love.
July 10, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Drawing and painting in July

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Catherine and Andrew will lead the workshop on July 23. See post for materials list. Lunch provided. Gold coin donations gratefully received.
July 6, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Two by two’

HOMILY: The word “mission” is fraught with danger (beware ravenous wolves!). Depending on the context, on lived experience, “mission” can mean purpose, good intentions, control, colonialism, fear and trauma … as well as the mission of Christ … vulnerable openness … the mission of God to make and to mend …
July 3, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Minister’s Report to Church Council (July 2022)

REPORT: Marg’s vision of SSUC as a “cultural centre” lives on – we might hear our mission statement a little differently now, recognising her voice in various lines; we might see anew what it means to be a congregation-community-garden.
July 2, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Benedictions – congregation-community-garden

PRAYERS: The following benedictions were written for SSUC – congregation-community-garden.
June 28, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Go and do likewise’

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: July 2022.
June 28, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Hold on, hold on’

HOMILY: “Well, I got my hand on the gospel plough / And I ain’t got nothin’ for my journey now // Keep your hand on that plough, hold on / Hold on, hold on / Keep your hand on that plough, hold on …”
June 26, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Winter concert to warm our hearts

NEWS: Flamenco guitarist Tomas Lorenzo, accompanied by double-bassist Hugh Fraser, played a beautiful set of originals and standards at the church on Friday, June 17.
June 22, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Second workshop in June

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Catherine will lead the workshop on June 25. See post for materials list. Lunch provided. Gold coin donations gratefully received.
June 21, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘What is your name?’

HOMILY: “What is your name?” Jesus asks the one in torment. He asks for a name, and in so doing begins to recall the one ostracised by society to a precious identity as a child beloved of God.
June 18, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘As you come and go …’

PRAYERS: The following calls to worship and dismissals were written by Jane, Andrew, Miriam and Chris as part of a Liturgy Resource activity.
June 17, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Vision and faith’

HOMILY: Angels move between heavenly and earthly realms – bringing grace and wisdom; blessing humble earthlings, human and otherkind. This is the vision and faith of Margaret Vazey.
June 15, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Three angels’

HOMILY: “The Christian image of the Trinity as perichoresis is a playful dance around the chora, circling about the core space of hospitality, the generative womb of Sarah and Mary, the eucharistic chalice of bread and wine.”
June 12, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Workshops in June

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Catherine and Andrew will lead the workshops in June. See post for materials list. Lunch provided. Gold coin donations gratefully received.
June 8, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Works of love in action’

HOMILY: The Orthodox icon called Descent of the Holy Spirit shows the inner meaning of Pentecost – revealed to event participants ... This inner or theological meaning is deep and wide.
June 4, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Greater works than these’

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: June 2022.
June 2, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Music for plants

GARDEN TIPS: Just as birds sing and the wind makes its own kind of music, humans enjoy making music – plants enjoy it, too.
May 31, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Almost Pentecost’

HOMILY: Ascension registers departure and letting go, not as abandonment but as blessing. Ascension means we are close to Pentecost as exclamation on the season of Easter, as celebration of Christ re-embodied.
May 28, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Sustained by a vision’

HOMILY: When I was 20 years old, I heard Nelson Mandela speak in Sydney at a prayer service for the people of South Africa. It was one of the most moving occasions that I can recall because it was, for me, the first time I truly realised what it means for someone to be sustained by a vision.
May 22, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Making all things new’

HOMILY: “Look for me where you are going to find me,” Jesus says, “love one another.”
May 14, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Transforming art

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Micaela Christie will lead the workshops in May. All materials and lunch provided. Gold coin donations gratefully received.
May 12, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Prayer for Mother’s Day

PRAYERS: We offer prayers of thanks and love for our mothers ...
May 11, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘We play by ear …’

HOMILY: Today’s homily plays/prays within the fold of belief and belonging … belonging and hearing … hearing and following. When we hear the divine voice, the call, what do we hear? What is happening?
May 8, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Transplant a mature tree

GARDEN TIPS: How to transplant a mature tree.
May 6, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Visio Divina – ‘Into the present’

MEDITATION: We note various connections with the psalm: the green light and green chair (vacant/welcoming), the (reflective) table, the cup, the checkerboard floor-tiles (darkness and light), the quiet/peaceful mood.
May 4, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘The story reverberates’

HOMILY: I cherish this gospel, which offers good news for awkward and confused disciples, good news for impetuous and penitent disciples, good news for the hard-working and hungry, for any who dare go deep into mystery, for all in need of protection, nurture and community. 
May 1, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘To touch and be touched’

HOMILY: “To touch and be touched simultaneously is to be connected with others in a way that prises us open” (Richard Kearney) ...
April 23, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Demolition of old shed makes way for new garden

NEWS: Thanks to all involved, over many, many months, including Cathie, Megan, Miriam, Sarah, Andy – and our wonderfully patient community gardeners and neighbours. The demolition team – thanks to Richard and crew – is cleaning up today.
April 20, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Prayer cards

PRAYERS: Thanks to Sini, James, Netta and Jacquie (and Andy!) for creating diverse and colourful prayer cards.
April 19, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Bugs!

GARDEN TIPS: After all this rain, you might notice you have more bugs in your garden. Mosquitoes and other pests thrive in the water – they breed and increase in number.
April 19, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Service of Word and Sacrament – Easter Day

LITURGY: Service of Word and Sacrament – Easter Day.
April 18, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Return to the world’

HOMILY: Our gospel traces a movement of faith from loving kindness to emptiness, encounter with strangers/angels, then memory, testimony, disbelief, action, wonder/amazement …
April 17, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Prayer Vigil – Holy Saturday

LITURGY: Prayer Vigil – Holy Saturday.
April 16, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Service of Word and Sacrament – Holy Thursday

LITURGY: Service of Word and Sacrament – Holy Thursday.
April 15, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Dying is living more’

HOMILY: Dying is living more. How might we interpret this theme? How might we perform it? Play or pray it?
April 15, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Loving as friends love’

HOMILY: Foot or hand washing, like breaking bread, means loving as friends love.
April 14, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Visio Divina – ‘Dreaming free’

MEDITATION: Alwy Fadhel was an asylum seeker detained for five years in the Villawood Detention Centre. His art consists of paintings made with instant coffee powder diluted in water. He was taught by an Iraqi detainee who had some knowledge of coffee art.
April 10, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘A counter-procession’

HOMILY: Jesus’ triumphal entry into the crowded streets of Jerusalem was a kind of performance art, an enacted parable that dramatised his subversive mission.
April 9, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Making clay sculptures

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Johnny Bell will lead the workshops in April and lessons will invite participants to make clay sculptures. All materials and lunch provided. Gold coin donations gratefully received.
April 7, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Worship services in Holy Week

NEWS: Our services in Holy Week commemorate Jesus’ last days in Jerusalem – from Palm Sunday to Holy Thursday, the crucifixion on Good Friday, the silence of Holy Saturday.
April 5, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Mary the teacher’

HOMILY: Today I’m going to be talking about teaching, learning and wisdom – how Jesus taught, how the people closest to him responded to his teaching, and how we teach and learn now. I have lived my professional life as an English teacher, working mostly in girls’ secondary schools. Some years ago, when I worked at a Catholic school, we began all our faculty meetings by praying together.
April 3, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘How do we show our devotion?’

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: April 2022.
April 1, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Lost in translation’

HOMILY: “I once was lost, but now am found …” sings a former slave trader (John Newton, 1725-1807). Another hymn writer concludes a poetic account of salvation/new creation with the beautiful line: “Lost in wonder, love and praise” (Charles Wesley, 1707-1788). It’s at least as complex as this.
March 26, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Benedictions – inclusivity, care, creativity, justice

PRAYERS: Based on mission themes/strengths identified by the Synod’s Mission Enablement Team.
March 21, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘A measure of love, a matter of depth’

HOMILY: The call to change our thinking with regard to tragedies and blessings is at heart a call to eschew simplistic worldviews (prosperity gospels as well as theodicies) which serve primarily to bolster a sense of control over others, a sense of order wherein the interests of the powerful (the prosperous-blessed) remain central. 
March 19, 2022/by Andrew Collis

The value of worms

GARDEN TIPS: You can’t underestimate the value of worms. They make the best fertiliser, and keep the soil healthy.
March 17, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Horticulture by correspondence

GARDEN TIPS: I’ll be fairly busy this year, studying horticulture by correspondence. The course is run by OTEN (The Open Training and Education Network) through the TAFE system.
March 16, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Morning teas!

NEWS: It’s back! Morning teas will be served starting Sunday – thanks to Dalcy, Melinda, Abner, Andy and David. We have delicious Nature’s Cuppa tea brewed in pots plus plunger coffee – organic and fair trade from Oxfam.
March 15, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Orchard-inspired artworks in March

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Yvonne Hocothee will lead the second of two workshops this month on March 26. Participants are invited to create orchard-themed images for application to fabric.
March 14, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Visio Divina – ‘Scorpion’

MEDITATION: Some of us experienced revulsion toward this creature – but Jesus’ reaction is one of possible kindness, some thought even sadness. We noticed that his hand is swollen – is that from the scorpion sting – a reference to the crucifixion?
March 13, 2022/by Andrew Collis

All the money in gardening

GARDEN TIPS: All the money in gardening is in propagation, nurseries and landscaping.
March 13, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘O people of religious zeal!’

HOMILY: I love the gospel image of Jesus as a devoted hen gathering her chicks; protection by way of courage and commitment.
March 13, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Minister’s Report to Church Council (March 2022)

REPORT: Lent is a traditional season of discernment, and we will again make time and space for discernment re spiritual gifts of all members, as well as nominations for the ministries of Elder, Congregational Chairperson and Secretary, and Presbytery Representative. Invitations, also, to consider baptism and reaffirmation of baptism during the Easter season.
March 12, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Art workshops in March

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Yvonne Hocothee will lead the workshops in March and lessons will invite participants to create orchard-themed images for application to fabric.
March 9, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Visio Divina – ‘Webs and water’

MEDITATION: Latai Taumoepeau sees her work as “a continuation of what my ancestors did ... I'm continuing on in the way they used art to tell stories, to provoke thoughts, ideas and empathy”.
March 7, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Caring for citrus

GARDEN TIPS: Organic treatments are best when managing pests such as fruit fly. 
March 7, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Consider the lilies’

HOMILY: The season of Lent, which mirrors Jesus’ 40 days of fasting and temptation in the desert/wilderness, is a time of preparation and discipline when we reflect on the life and ministry of Jesus and renew our commitment to follow in Christ’s way.
March 6, 2022/by Andrew Collis

February watercolour workshop

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: February 26 saw the second of two watercolour workshops led by Carolyne May.
March 5, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Day After Day’ (J. Hogan)

SONG: ‘Day after day ...’
March 4, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Grateful for Grace’ (Norrie)

SONG: ‘We didn’t make the spark of life in us, and …’
March 3, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Tempted/tested by greed, power and pride’

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: March 2022.
March 3, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘The Lord’s Prayer’ (A. Jones)

SONG: ‘Father and Mother of us all …’
March 3, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘I Will Not Leave You’ (J. Hogan)

SONG: ‘I will not leave you orphans …’
March 3, 2022/by Andrew Collis

All the rage at the moment

GARDEN TIPS: Indoor plants are very good for the house because they put oxygen in the air and purify the air by absorbing toxins emitted by furniture and carpet.
March 1, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Ukraine crisis – emergency appeal

NEWS: A letter from Pia Reierson, Head of Partnerships and Programs, Act for Peace: I’m sure you’ve seen the devastating reports all over the news. Since last Thursday, the world has been in shock at the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
March 1, 2022/by Andrew Collis

On the Vine – new issue (Autumn 2022)

NEWS: The Autumn 2022 issue of On the Vine, edited by Pamela Briggs, is available for download.
February 28, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Benedictions – inspired by Scriptures

PRAYERS: The following benedictions are inspired by Bible readings.
February 27, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Taizé 2022 Pilgrimage of Trust

NEWS: Taizé 2022 Pilgrimage of Trust comprises a week of events in various locations in NSW. The theme is ‘Becoming Creators of Unity’.
February 27, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘By this light we are dazzled’

HOMILY: We are sometimes dazzled by power and money, by celebrity or aristocracy … by any number of smooth, shiny baubles – alluring, beguiling.
February 27, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Art workshops return to hall (and online)

SATURDAY ART WORKSHOP: Saturday, February 12 saw art workshops return to the church hall for the first time in a long time – since the start of lockdowns in 2020. 
February 22, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Ash Wednesday services – March 2

NEWS: Services for Ash Wednesday will be held on March 2, at 8.30am and 5.30pm, in the church and via Zoom (same logins as for regular worship).
February 22, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Introducing Chris

GARDEN TIPS: This is the first in a series of gardening hints and tips.
February 22, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Sunday colour

CHILDREN'S MINISTRY: The shapes, textures and colours express the joy of life in community.
February 22, 2022/by admin

Remembering Terry (1970-2021)

IN MEMORIAM: Terry James Irving (17/6/1970–10/6/2021) was a valued member of the South Sydney community. Those who knew him best remember a proud Bundjalung man, fiercely loyal, quick-witted – a lover of animals, music and painting.
February 21, 2022/by Andrew Collis

National Church Life Survey – February 27

NEWS: We will complete the National Church Life Survey following our worship on Sunday February 27.
February 21, 2022/by Andrew Collis

New website – for storytelling, sharing the work

NEWS: We are excited to launch our new church website – an inclusive platform for storytelling (the story of our parish and people goes on) as well as a means of sharing resources and inviting participation in diverse ministries.
February 21, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Only love is revolutionary’

HOMILY: The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting occurred on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut. Twenty-six people were killed. Our artworks for today were created on January 28, 2020, by fourth-grade students at Sandy Hook.
February 20, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Communion plates – and baskets

NEWS: Thanks to local artist Britt Johnson for creating our two communion plate baskets.
February 18, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Vespers (Readings and Prayers)

LITURGY: Vespers liturgy based on a template short version of Evening Prayer from the Catholic Diocese of Maitland Newcastle.
February 16, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Three crucial questions’

HOMILY: I realise, again, my love for Sr Corita Kent (1918-1986), whose artworks embody so wonderfully/colourfully an orthodox faith – what we might call, after Catherine Keller, and in recognition of orthodoxy’s depth (diverse gifts and vocations), “polydoxy”.
February 13, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘… for my yoke is easy and my burden is light’

HOMILY: Nehumi lived and laboured for the ones he loved. I’m in awe of the story – the leaps of faith, the open doors, the guiding hands, commitments honoured, elders remembered – the weight of responsibility he regarded a blessing – the grandchildren lifted high.
February 12, 2022/by Andrew Collis

Support for Tonga

NEWS: In the aftermath of the volcanic eruption and tsunami, Act for Peace is working closely with the Tongan National Council of Churches to help respond to people’s immediate needs.
February 2, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Love and release’

HOMILY: As we heard in the liturgy last week, Jesus stands and reads from Isaiah 61, omitting a reference to divine vengeance (Isa. 61:2b) and adding a phrase to do with “release” (from Isa. 58:6; see also Lev. 25:10). Jesus reads deeply/creatively.
January 30, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Going home’



HOMILY: Going back to a formative place can affect how we see ourselves and think about how others see us. Revisiting a place that was familiar to us in childhood allows us to see what has changed and how we have changed ...
January 23, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘And the Word became flesh’



HOMILY: We hear these words so easily ... and hearing them again so soon after Christmas, we drop into the standard association of them with the baby in Bethlehem’s manger – and rightly so. But then, we can dismiss them without being startled ...
January 2, 2022/by Andrew Collis

‘Mature in love and wisdom’

HOMILY: Jesus, Mary and Joseph go to Jerusalem. There is a festival. Afterwards, Jesus, aged 12, stays behind … wants to learn more about the struggles of God’s people. Rebellious or independent, Jesus learns that family is community. He asks and answers questions (the young have something new to say to their elders).
December 26, 2021/by admin

Calls to worship

PRAYERS: The following calls to worship were written by Pamela, Jane, Andrew, Miriam and James as part of a Liturgy Resource activity.
December 22, 2021/by Andrew Collis

‘A low place’

HOMILY: The prophet Micah directs the people to Bethlehem, a low place, the birthplace of David, as the location from which, God says, the nation will be restored.
December 19, 2021/by Andrew Collis

‘And what do we mean by success?’

HOMILY: Brothers James and John, committed disciples and privileged witnesses, request/demand places of honour in the kindom. The episode stirs up memories and worries. We see what’s wrong with this ambition. It’s dispiriting, frightening. And very much a part of the competitiveness we know so well.
October 17, 2021/by admin

‘Cosmic consciousness’

HOMILY: Thirteenth-century saints Francis and Clare of Assisi impress us still. There are aspects of their lives we might recall with the help of key words: conversion; rebuilding; haircutting; song-writing and letter-writing; peace-making; founding; touching and healing; preaching; stigmata; Nativity; Stations of the Cross.
October 3, 2021/by Andrew Collis

‘More than conquerors’

HOMILY: Mountains have not featured in my day-to-day living. I have lived almost my entire life on flat, coastal land. And yet, through a series of experiences in my early adulthood – tourist experiences that I undertook often with little appreciation of the cultures and ecosystems that I was visiting and without comprehending the environmental impacts of long-distance travel – walking hills, passes and mountains has been key to my grasp of limits.
September 26, 2021/by Andrew Collis

Visio Divina – ‘Silent strength’

MEDITATION: Our meditation elicited various responses. We were drawn to the play of light across the land, and reflections on the lake or pool, and the way it morphed into what looked like flames on banks.
September 12, 2021/by Andrew Collis

‘New stories of Creation (what’s the Word …?)’

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: September 2021.
September 9, 2021/by Andrew Collis

Visio Divina – ‘An inclusive inn’

MEDITATION: When we meet for monthly meditation we follow various practices, including Visio Divina (divine seeing). This is a form of meditation that makes use of an icon, painting, photograph or scene. We usually allow an hour for the meditation.
September 8, 2021/by admin

‘Pure-heartedness means more’

HOMILY: Jesus says to those he calls hypocrites: “You disregard God’s commandments and cling to human traditions.” The examples he gives indicate that divine commandments have to do with showing genuine honour/respect; with cultivating fidelity, kindness, generosity, honesty, humility, wisdom.
August 29, 2021/by Andrew Collis

Benedictions – ‘We pray, we serve, we grow’

PRAYERS: The following benedictions for Ordinary Sundays in August 2021 incorporate the mission motto: “We pray, we serve, we grow.”
August 25, 2021/by Andrew Collis

‘At one with the teaching’

HOMILY: John’s Jesus is a teacher of Wisdom. John’s Jesus is also Wisdom personified, Sophia incarnate. The offence, the “stumbling block”, has to do with this.
August 22, 2021/by admin

‘Let us become what we receive’

HOMILY: Sara Miles used to describe herself as a “left-wing, atheist, American lesbian” who loved to feed people. Sara had never been to a church and didn’t think there was a place for her in the church. In fact, she hadn’t even bothered considering if there was a place for her – she didn’t care. On her morning walk one Sunday morning she decided to walk into her local church where she promptly found herself participating in the Eucharistic meal being offered.
August 15, 2021/by admin

‘Write, sing, dance’

HOMILY: Standing up for what’s right and compassionate is to risk/live your life. Paranoid powers – gluttons and abusers like Herod – deeply resent social and political criticism, and prophets like John the Baptiser are undermined, ridiculed, imprisoned.
August 13, 2021/by admin

‘Faith calls to faith’

HOMILY: Jesus was turned around. Jesus turned. Made aware of multiple needs, possible directions. Ministry on both sides (“all sides”) of the lake. Younger and older people. Life and death issues.
August 13, 2021/by admin

‘Regeneration’

HOMILY: Jesus says: “You shouldn’t be working for perishable food, but for life-giving food that lasts …” (John 6:27). The gospel directs us beyond immediate needs and shallow pleasures, and toward a maturity “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13).
August 13, 2021/by admin

Covenant – placing of sticks from Gadigal land

CHILDREN'S MINISTRY: The shapes, textures and colours express the joy of life in community.
August 9, 2021/by Andrew Collis

‘Ever-present as promise’

HOMILY: Jesus says, “I am the bread of life …” There are seven “I am” sayings of Jesus in John’s gospel. In addition to the bread of life, Jesus compares himself to light in darkness (8:12), a gate to safe pasture (10:9), a good shepherd (10:11), the resurrection and the life (11:25), the way or path (14:6), and the true vine who fulfils Israel’s destiny (15:1; Isaiah 5).
August 8, 2021/by admin

‘We are what we eat’

GOSPEL CONVERSATION: August 2021.
August 3, 2021/by admin

Benedictions – ‘Create, become, together’

PRAYERS: The following benedictions for Ordinary Sundays in June-August 2021, incorporate the mission motto: “Create, become, together.”
August 3, 2021/by admin

Collects for Ascension and Pentecost

PRAYERS: The following Collects were written by participants in our monthly Liturgy Resource group.
August 2, 2021/by Andrew Collis

Prayer Vigil – Ordinary Sunday 17B

LITURGY: Prayer Vigil – Ordinary Sunday 17B
July 25, 2021/by admin

‘Where none may perish’

HOMILY: We give thanks for the witness of John, the poet-evangelist whose gospel invites us to receive a poetic Word, dense and substantial like bread.
July 25, 2021/by admin

‘The fountain and the fig tree’

HOMILY: On Monday morning I met with Dorothy for a walk in Redfern Park. We talked about the gospel, about the apostles with Jesus in a boat (boundary crossings), about the tassels (tzit-tzit), the Torah, touch and healing.
July 18, 2021/by admin

‘Shake it off’

HOMILY: Jesus calls disciples to travel lightly and to live simply – to declutter, we might say, to discard weighty anguish, foolish ambition, gnostic wishes, fears of missing out, even worries over other people’s desiring and accumulating …
July 4, 2021/by Andrew Collis

Intercessions

PRAYERS: Inspired by John 6:1-21, the following intercessory prayers were written for Ordinary Sunday 17B (July 25) by participants in our monthly Liturgy Resource group – Jane, Anne, Abner and Andrew.
June 20, 2021/by admin

‘Connectedness, the highest truth’

HOMILY: Far from being an exclusive “guru” figure dispensing eternal wisdom, John’s Jesus invites all who see and hear him to join him in humility as the One who goes to the cross, united with Abba God in redemptive suffering for the world.
May 2, 2021/by Andrew Collis