Category Archives: Scattered Thoughts

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“Fix It” Festival and the local area

While we still wrestle with what our idea is and which way forward, I’m interested that a number of similar ideas have sprung up. Namely a Repair Cafe in Toronto, Upcycling, Bicycle Maintenance, and the emergence of the quite brilliant “South Lake Marketplace” providing food and other items for those in need. More recently, Eat Street and now “Respect All” monthly markets both at Cooranbong are signs others feel the ‘lack’ in our community. Perhaps we might end up offering something of a ‘Showcase’ for these initiatives alongside what we work out to be our unique contribution!!! Food for much thought and discernment, education and learning…


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Favourite Hymns Worship

9.30am 22nd April 2018 is the time for “Favourite Hymns” worship at Morisset Uniting “Church in the Trees.” A great theme while I’m away for a week… and yet I have been reflecting on this and things like use of the traditional English words of the Lords Prayer at Funerals and the constant tension around music choice on the journey as a worshipping congregation wherever a place has a long history and strong connections to their tradition!! I know the deceased and many family members will know the Lords Prayer well… yet it risks the impression nothing ever changes in the church. Hymns are absolutely ‘classics’… yet for example in the case of the Wesley brothers they were written to assist a less literate population sing familiar beer hall tunes to share the story and the ‘good news’ of the presence and reality of ‘the Kingdom of God.’ What would they make of many congregations still singing those songs, to those tunes? It’ll be a great occasion, but for me it does give impetus to such reflections!! Story, images, tactile activity, flipped learning… more examples of practices that could enhance nurturing of faith in a corporate worship setting!! In the mean time, come along and enjoy the richness when people who know the hymns well, join in and sing with full voice as they recall the many significant ‘faith moments’ in their own lives!!!


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“God is Love”

Join us this day as we connect with ‘Global Love Day’ and reflect on care for the creation and God’s unconditional love!!!!


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Reflecting on ‘Leadership’

Over Easter I was reflecting a lot on the nature of ‘leadership.’ I’d been looking at some resources and remembering back over many many readings, workshops, role models and some rubbish I’d seen and read. I was thinking about the costs and the essential nature of relational leadership. Christian communities of faith are not military endeavours or businesses. There are moments in need of ‘authority’ but by and large authenticity, humility and servanthood are our template. It’s more vulnerable, time consuming and rewarding. It doesn’t rely on power over but the elusive practice of power with.

Much is made of and fostered from the Biblical imagery of the Shepherd and the Sheep. There are many positives in this age old and Jesus shaped metaphor. Especially for relational leaders thinking about the shepherd knowing the sheep well. There’s a richness pondering terrain, lost sheep, danger, foxes etc. It’s also an image with the potential to take too much focus, to crowd out change agent roles or to feed into the tension for Leaders around community development and the common good. I actually prefer a focus on servanthood per se…

Luke 22: 24-30 Friend of the People
24A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25But he said to them, “The Kings of the Gentiles Lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the one who serves. 27For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.
28“You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29and I confer on you, just as may father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

The Queensland UCA Leadership Development Framework holds this starting point definition of leadership: “Taking responsibility for the success of the organisation. This involves by inference a degree of modelling; as people act and take up their responsibilities, it affects others to do the same. Leadership is thus seen as relational and influential more than positional and directive.”

I have a few favourite Mandela quotes and this is just one: “A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.” 

I know my preferred style of  ‘trying to make space for others in leadership’ is not always applicable and over the years I’ve worked hard to develop other attributes and approaches and also not to just have that ideal but to be better at putting it into practice. Just as I wonder how brilliant it must be to go through life without feeling the need to reflect on group dynamics or the nature of community or the impact of your words on others… I also know the freedom of not being in any of this for my own ego or advancement. I’d just love to see others live more abundantly and find my enjoyment and fulfilment in things and people ‘coming together.’ If only I could also beat myself up less for not getting it right. I reckon a good measure is how marginalised or silenced voices are advocated for and heard… The older I get the more I see this as important. It’s where real change comes from…

 


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“Fix It Festival” Gathering 5.30pm Tues 6th February 2108

A range of individuals, organisations and networks have been invited to come and hear about, ask questions and contribute to a conversation about the idea of a “Fix It” Festival based in the Morisset & Peninsula Community. Come and hear about and help shape the possibilities, see if this idea can ‘fly’!!

It’s a discernment this community could use some help, advice, support and skills to “value more, throw away less…” and to gain resilience through access to people and groups set up to serve their needs. Indeed “Fix It” may be the wrong term, it’s a working title. Morisset Uniting Church is seeking to partner and to invite collaborators into this possible venture!!!

Fix a bike, sew a shirt, grow a plant, upcycle furniture, enjoy home cooking, get advice, take away some food, find a ‘listening ear,’ and/or also contribute to your community… stay tuned!!


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Christmas Eve All Age Worship 5.30pm 2017

Nearly 70 folks, including a number of children gathered for Christmas Eve Worship with Carols, prayer, story and ‘stations’ for people to engage in and many people found it meaningful, engaging and helpful!! It was great to see so many families and children we’ve met or re-engaged with during the year and others who heard about the service and decided to check it out alongside many from our 9.30am congregation.


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“Fix It Festival” with a different spin

While we engage with local businesses, community groups and institutions around what might be possible as a “Fix It Festival,” here’s a different take on community development serving the needs of those who could use some help!! Our idea is about “more valuing, less throwaway…” and offering sewing, food, plant and bicycle help. Maybe medical, Services NSW and other ‘fixing’ too…

Photo courtesy Newcastle Star

Check the article about an equipment lending project here


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Who is Our Neighbour?

   The story of Jesus is one of a young man who grew t understand that hope, God’s love and abundant life for all people were all tied up in God’s dream for a world lived by values of inclusion; grace and compassion. Travelling in the manner of his day he travelled with a community of followers who glimpsed something of the hope his story embodied and who sought more from time hearing his stories, being included and in facing the challenges to live out their participation in God’s mission in the world.

   Religious Leaders of his day were threatened by the growing interest in Jesus and his story. One day they asked him a ‘trick question’ about which was the greatest commandment in Hebrew Law. Jesus quoted two well know parts of their Scriptures back to them as essentially the first is “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and the second and equally important idea of “love your neighbour as yourself.” These two laws are oriented towards loving actions in response to God and towards our ‘neighbour’ begging the question, ‘who is our neighbour?’

   We have spent three weeks exploring this idea. Personally I shared that my neighbour includes: young people; our indigenous brothers and sisters; refugees and asylum seekers; and anyone who is struggling. In week two we understood Paul’s letter to the church in Rome inviting us to treat other followers of Jesus as neighbour and to seek unity despite of different perspectives, beliefs, ideas and practices. The goal is unity [not unanimity] around the core task of following Jesus as we come to understand that in our own lives. For each of us the invitation is to explore our own sense of neighbour and to work out what loving action looks like in those relationships.


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