• image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image
  • image

Message from the General Secretary

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

Dear friends

During this past week, I attended the funeral of Jenny Johnston, a woman who lived and breathed ecumenism. I first met her twenty years ago when I attended meetings of the New South Wales Ecumenical Council. Ove more recent years, my contacts with her were few and infrequent. Nevertheless, at the Thanksgiving Service to celebrate her life, as I heard people speak of her life, I knew that my brief experience of Jenny was similar to what many experienced over her thirty years’ involvement in ecumenism. In the worship service at St Anne’s Anglican Church in Strathfield we prayed, ‘Her life was created in the generosity and love of God to whom we now give thanks, and into whose keeping we confidently commend her.’ May our God welcome Jenny into his presence and comfort her family and all whose lives have been touched by her faith-filled life.

Recurring as it does on a monthly basis, writing a message for the NCCA Newsletter is a continuing reminder of the passing of time. With this comes a reminder of the hopes and intentions that we have committed to, and yet not brought to fruition.

At the first meeting of the Directors of the National Council of Churches in Australia, the President, Bishop Philip Huggins, proposed that we might have a year of prayer for our troubled world.

I would suggest that knowing that others are praying with us and in union with us, even for us, is most powerful, enabling us to be very conscious of our unity in Christ. While many prayer intentions may come to mind, may I invite readers to name prayer intentions. An artist provided a logo that we will use; on our website . We would like to add prayer intentions under the Prayer tab.

Early this year, I had hoped that the circulation of the NCCA newsletter might reach 1000 by the end of this year. Was this a reasonable hope? Well, we have twenty member churches. If each church encouraged 50 of its members (within parishes, dioceses, ecumenical groups, interfaith groups) to subscribe to the Newsletter, we would reach 1000. Perhaps it is not too late. Once we reach 1,000 we might aim for 5,000 in 2017! Please encourage your contacts to subscribe to the newsletter by going to our website

Of course, this assumes that there is something in the newsletter that is worth reading. My hope is that we can tell the stories of the reality of ecumenism in Australia. Much is happening in our churches. The Serbian Orthodox will install Archimandrite Siluan (Mrakić) as the Bishop of Metropolitanate of Australia and New Zealand on 22 October. The Lutheran Church is recognizing 500 years since the Reformation. On 31 October Pope Francis will travel to Sweden on the occasion of the Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation. For Catholics and Lutherans this is an opportunity “to celebrate throughout the world a common ecumenical commemoration, to grapple at the world level with fundamental issues” and to do this not “in the form of a triumphant celebration, but as a common profession of faith in the One Triune God, in common obedience to Our Lord and to his Word” (Pope Benedict XVI).

The National Council of Churches in Australia marks some ‘firsts’. The first Assembly will be held on 27 October. One could say that the Assembly replaces the Executive. We are looking forward to this day, when two people from each member church will come together. We will come in a spirit of receptive ecumenism, that is, recognizing the gifts that each of our churches have, and aware of each churches need to grow and learn from others. So we will come together in Assembly with open hearts and open minds to celebrate and honour God’s gifts, and to receive God’s gifts from others. Members of the Assembly have been asked to consider, prior to coming together, three questions:

What are the issues that concern your church?

What can we learn from each other?

How might we collaborate?

How wonderful it will be when we come together, pray together and as we continue to listen to one another, receive from one another and act together in Christ’s name.

Also in October we will hold the first Annual General Meeting of National Council of Churches in Australia. Each member Church has nominated one person (a member nominee) who will represent the Church at general meetings .Put simply, perhaps too simply, these people come as the ‘owners’. It is more significant for being a first than for the matters to be considered. While some will participate by Skype or by telephone, those who are present will have the opportunity to meet the directors who will come together for their third meeting since the forum.

Sr Elizabeth Delaney sgs

General Secretary

 

Joomla SEF URLs by Artio