And, so, it comes to an end.
In July 2009, I was commissioned as Vicar of this vibrant community on S. Mary Magdalene’s Day. Appropriate for me: the protoapostle’s feast as I took the cure of souls of a Church dedicated to the protomartyr, Stephen.
The association with St Stephen for me is very strong. I was baptised, and later led many eucharists at St Stephen’s, Penguin. I had the privilege of leading worship at St Stephen’s, Wynyard and Smithton. We are linked in the Richmond Parish with St Stephen’s, Mae Sot, Thailand; and with the ordination of Moe Win in February, St Stephen’s authorised congregation in Werribee.
Diaconal, incarnational, and on the edge.
I would have it no other way.
Now, after discernment, it is time to begin a new calling at St Paul’s, Gisborne, Church of the Resurrection, Macedon, and St John’s Riddell’s Creek. Last night, we had a Festive Evensong to mark the first evening of Christ of King; today, a festive Eucharist of the Day and the entrusting of the ministry fundamentals back to the Parish. I pray for their search for a new pastor to help with their mission in this diaconal, incarnational, and edgy ministry.
I thank the Parishioners for their kind words: I think I was actually canonised last night! (far from it!) I also thank you for the kind messages, cards and heartfelt reflections. I am deeply moved.
I thank Hedley Potts for his most beautiful Cantoria, inspired by two Cantorias in Florence (more below). This will hang with much love and joy above my music corner in the new Vicarage.
I thank the Parish for their generous gifts. Being piped out escorted by the Wardens whilst we walked around the Church was a thrill, and I thank Ian Arrell for travelling to do this: always a pleasure to work with a true gentleman and Scot at heart.
On the technical/geek side, for the weather station! Woo-hoo! I’ll be able to tell you EVERYTHING about the weather up there, and then some! A boyhood fascination achieved (!!). Don’t be afraid to say, “…interesting, and how about reality?”
Thank you to Fr David for the most moving and beautiful blessing; Bishop Peter Danaher for your wonderful support over the past month; Rev’d Judith Lake for being Judith: don’t ever change (and I’m happy to be that bastard anytime!).
Elaine and Garry Warne, Christopher Trikilis and Rhys Arvidson, the Fairlie family (led beautifully and modestly by Ned[!]) the St Stephen’s singers and of course, the XL Arts singers- Tasmyn, Asher, Naomi and Natalie: thank you for giving my Schoenberg experiments on Anglican Chant a go! And Liane…your encouragement and good self remains inspirational.
Susan Fowler, together with Simon and Maitraya, the entire Warne family and all who made last night’s feast a wonderful night, I thank you. I thank Adrian for being MC, John Wilson for the tribute and toast, and the many people who travelled from all over Melbourne. It meant a lot. And to the many, many others…I thank you.
And then…the people. Oh, the people. I love you. Don’t ever forget you are the Body of Christ. Christ’s Spirit is with you. Be the eyes, ears, hands and minds of Christ in all you do. It is what you do well. Open your hearts and spaces to the wider community. Be bold. Take risks. It is the mission of the Deacon Stephen. It is our joint mission. I thank God for this calling, and your part for in it.
Now, it’s a weary time. A quiet night before finishing the odd details in the Parish and Diocese, and double checking the boxes for the turbo twins (Poly and Terps).
Diaconal, incarnational, and edgy
Hello “Victoria Highlands.” I come with news, good news of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Let’s see where the Lord leads us.
Cantoria, by Hedley Potts.
This beautiful ceramic is inspired by the two Cantorias in Basilica de Santa Maria Novella, Florence. They are on two balconies of Psalm 150 by Luca della Robbia (1431) and Donatello (1434).
“My Cantoria is for the descendants of Korah. The Sons of Korah were a group of sacred musicians who wrote and an such beautiful familiar words:
“As the heart longs for the flowing straps so longs my soul for thee, O God” (Ps 42)
“God is our refuge and strength, aa very present help in trouble” (Ps 46);
“Clap you hands all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy” (Ps 47)
“Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised! (Ps 48).
“In that tradition sometimes the music in our service booklets is signed by Dennis Webster.
“Dennis, in your vicarage, I hope my Cantoria can hand above your keyboards where you compose, acknowledging the Biblical heritage of your music compositions, celebrating those creative believers, who, like you, can claim the Sons of Korah as their artistic ancestors.”
Hedley Potts, 25/111/2017