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Message from the General Secretary

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgsDear friends

We are experimenting with a different approach to our Newsletter. Instead of circulating one each month, we intend to send out a shorter, more timely newsletter twice a month. I think that our goal is to send it on the first and third Friday of each month. We will be happy to hear your views on this approach. May I invite you to encourage friends to subscribe to the Newsletter through the NCCA website: www.ncca.org.au. It’s very easy!

Last Friday and Saturday I found myself enjoying a wonderful ‘ecumenical space’.

I joined the South Australian Council of Churches for their 70th Anniversary celebration. The celebration took the form of a pilgrimage commencing at the Uniting Church’s Pilgrim Church Hall. In the Church we remembered people and events from the past.

I was able to bring greetings on behalf of our nineteen member churches, and so I gave thanks the ‘giants’ of ecumenism the leaders and visionaries who inspired others to travel with them on the ecumenical journey. I also thanked each person and each church present for their ecumenical engagement at the local level for it is at the local level that ecumenism is alive and active, and where the seeds of the future are sown.

We progressed to St Francis Xavier Cathedral Hall where we enjoyed our first course, prayed together and heard several people speak of their own ecumenical journey. We then walked to the Anglican Church’s St Mary Magdalene’s Hall. Again we prayed, enjoyed a second course and heard more stories. Our final stop was St Stephen’s Lutheran Church. Again, we were nourished physically and spiritually!

As we made our pilgrimage from one church to another, we were invited to walk with one other person, receiving the gift that the other offered. I found this a wonderful opportunity to meet people and to hear of their ecumenical journeys.

One of my conversations was with Rev’d Norah Norris, who has been engaged in ecumenism since 1948! Sixty-nine years! – Almost as long as the South Australian Council of Churches has existed! This wonderful lady spoke of the people who had inspired her and of her commitment to the ecumenical movement.

I was left with questions, ‘How am I sharing a vision of ecumenism? How am I inspiring others in my ecumenical journey?’ Perhaps they are questions that challenge all of us.

On Friday evening I attended St Peter’s Anglican Cathedral for the Service of Installation of the Right Reverence Geoffrey Martyn Smith, as the Archbishop of Adelaide. This also was a wonderful celebration. I was privileged to be present. The full-throated singing of the congregation witnessed to their enthusiasm and support for Archbishop Smith.

As I write this, I am conscious that today Bishop Timothy Harris is being ordained Bishop in the Catholic Diocese of Adelaide. It is over three years since the death of Bishop Michael Putney, who served the National Council of Churches in Australia so well and faithfully. So the people of Townsville diocese will surely welcome their new bishop! May the ministry of these two bishops be a blessing to the people of their dioceses, to God’s church and to each bishop.

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

General Secretary