Category Archives: Announcements

Easter Services

Sisters and Brothers,

A lot of people are away over the Easter weekend and so I’ve decided to keep the service schedule fairly minimal.

On Easter Sunday early in the morning, a group of us will travel out to a pretty spot near Wallacia where we will have an outdoor Eucharist and I will baptise a young man in the Nepean river.

We’d love to have you join us, if you’d like. Here’s the rough order of events:

Easter Baptismal Eucharist and picnic – Sun morning
meet at Marrickville (8:15am)
drive to the site
Eucharist and the baptism of Jonas (9:30am)
Picnic, optional swimming (11am)
drive back to Sydney (1-2pm)

If you want to make time to come to any of that, please shoot me an email back as soon as possible.

I would really welcome a few people coming along to that to witness the joyous event and share some fellowship with Jonas. If you’re prepared to drive a couple of people out to Wallacia, that’s also a bonus 🙂

If I don’t see you over the blessed season, please take a moment in whatever else you’re doing to feel into the energies of each of the following four days. Take some quiet time and notice how the Easter story shows up for you.

And don’t overdo the chocolate 😉

With love,

Father Tim+

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Palm Sunday service and Holy Week

Palm Sunday

This coming Sunday is the fourth Sunday in the month, and so it’s the time for our regular chapel service. The idea with the chapel service is to draw together people involved in different ways with Saint Uriel’s for a monthly Eucharist service to share communion, have some social time and continue the crafting of our parish community. The monthly chapel services are also the place for new folks to come and meet people and get a sense of what our small community feels like. This particular Sunday is Palm Sunday, the Sunday before Easter, the final Sunday in Lent and the gate into Holy Week.

Palm Sunday recalls the Gospel story of Jesus entering Jerusalem in triumph on the back of a donkey, while the people cast palm leaves at his feet in welcome – five days before he is arrested, charged and executed. The irony of the apparent triumph followed so quickly by downfall helps create the drama of Holy Week as well as providing some great, fruitful teaching material. In an outward sense, the story cautions us against trusting worldly success and the acclaim of others, in an inward and mystical sense, I feel it cautions us about taking apparent triumphs in spiritual practice too smugly. If you’ve followed a prayer or meditation practice for a few years, you’ve undoubtedly had the experience of wonderful, luminous experiences followed by period of dryness and sometimes dark despair.

Palm Sunday draws our attention to reversals of fortune, warns us about hubris, cautions us about focusing on the opinions of others. It also leads us into the Holy Week – more about that in a moment.

Music

I’ll be using the Johannite Gnostic Divine Liturgy and I’ll introduce everyone to a couple of easy chants to add some music to the service. Don’t worry, you won’t have to chant if you don’t want to – but these should be fun and easy to do. I think chant is a lovely way to help bring mind and body together into the space for worship.

Donations

Another thing I’m going to introduce this month is space for regular donations of non-perishable food, canned food and dried goods to go to local charities who provide food for people who need it. Please bring any donations you can make (and even one bag of lentils is great!) along and I’ll get people to bring them up to the altar during the service for a blessing.

Holy Week and Easter

The week before Easter is traditionally called “Holy Week”, it’s the final few days of Lent and a time when it’s traditional to recall the events of the Passion Story – leading from Jesus’s arrest up to his Crucifixion and beyond to the Resurrection on Easter Sunday. For most church communities, this is a time to come together more often than usual; this week is the most dramatic of the year. There are a great series of unusual services that only happen in this week, which I’m very fond of, so I try to celebrate at least a few of them.

Maundy Thursday – Tenebrae
Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, is the day we recall the arrest of Jesus and the beginning of his trial. There is an ancient service called “Tenebrae”, which means shadows. It’s an evening service which shows light give way to darkness.

As the priest chants the verses of the story, the candles on the altar are extinguished one-by-one to symbolise His disciples and friends falling away from him until he stands alone. The end of the service symbolically retells the spiritual story of the Crucifixion and the death of Christ.

This service will be at the house of a parish member. Details to be announced.

Holy Saturday – Lighting of the Paschal Candle

Late on Easter Saturday, the people gather outside in the darkness. A new fire is struck into a brazier as the priest chants and a large candle is lit and the people follow the priest and the servers into the church. The Paschal (or Easter) candle is held aloft as the priest cries “Christ our Light!” and the people respond “Thanks be to God!”

Once inside, each person lights a small candle from the great Paschal candle and the priest or a cantor sings the ancient hymn “Exsultet” by the candlelight and a vigil service continues.

This service celebrates Christ’s triumph over death. I’ll hold it at the Unitarian Church in Darlinghurst, but I’ll announce the exact time and details next week.

Easter Sunday – Baptism at Bent’s Basin

Easter Sunday is the great day of the Resurrection. On this day we celebrate Jesus rising from death to new life – standing as the New Adam who shows us the way to becoming fully human and fully Divine.

Easter is the traditional time for baptism and I have a young man who has chosen to walk into the waters of new life this Easter Sunday. So I’m going to celebrate Easter Sunday with a Pashcal Eucharist service on the banks of the Nepean River at Bent’s Basin, out near Wallacia.

In the middle of the service, he and I will wade into the river and I will dip him three times into the water in the Triune Name and he will emerge a new man – following Christ the Great Exemplar.

A few people have already agreed to come along and you are very, very welcome to join us. Let me know if you’d like to join in and I’ll keep you informed of the final arrangements.

A packed week, with lots to do. I’d love to see you and share some of the blessings of Easter with you. If you’re out of town for Easter or busy and unable to join us for Holy Week, please accept my blessings on your continuing journey toward the Divine.

With love, in light,

Rev Father Tim Mansfield

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The congregation at St Uriel’s meets at 6pm on every fourth Sunday of the month at:
The Unitarian Centre
15 Francis St
Darlinghurst, NSW
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Rector: Father Tim Mansfield
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Apostolic Johannite Church

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5a Lilydale St

Marrickville, NSW 2204

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Service Timetable – Feb-Jun 2010

Sisters and Brothers,

This year, I’m focusing more of my energy on workshops and teaching, so I’ll be holding a monthly public service at the Unitarian Chapel on the fourth Sunday of the month. I’d like this to be a time when people involved in the parish in different ways come together for worship. I’ll be working with people in the parish to include some more music, mostly simple, traditional chants that are easy to learn and join in with.

I’ll send out an email a week or so before each monthly service, but so you can plan ahead, here is a schedule of services for the next few months.

Service Dates for Chapel Services

  • 28 Feb
  • 28 Mar
  • 25 Apr
  • 23 May
  • 27 Jun

The venue for each chapel service is:

The Unitarian Centre
15 Francis St, East Sydney

Each service will start as usual at 6pm.

House Church
Most other weeks, I will hold a house church service. This is a smaller, more intimate service held in a living room. Sometimes these will be at my house, sometimes at the houses of parishoners.

If you’d like to share the Eucharist, but it’s hard to get into town, consider volunteering your living room for a service. I’m flexible about when these services are held, they don’t need to be Sunday evenings every time.

If the idea of having a service at your home is interesting, send me an email and we’ll talk about it. On the other hand if the less formal nature of a service like that appeals to you, but you don’t feel comfortable volunteering your own place, let me know and I’ll keep you informed about where services are.

Offerings
Starting with next Sunday’s service, we will start collecting non-perishable goods to donate to a local charity. Please consider bringing along dry or canned goods when you come. I’ll put a box out for you to drop them in and I’ll bless them as part of the service before taking them to the charity for the week.

If you have a favourite, local charity please let me know.

New Events
Last Saturday, a few people gathered for a second Centering Prayer workshop. I hope that out of these workshops a regular contemplative prayer group will form as a continuing part of the parish.

The solemn season of Lent began last week and the Centering Prayer workshop kicked off a program of workshops that will run through the season. My next email will have details of the workshops which will cover a few different styles of contemplative practice.

Until then…

Yours before the Sacred Flame,

Father Tim+

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Centering Prayer one day intensive

Friends,

The Centering Prayer introductory workshop I held in Nov last year attracted around ten people but quite a few people couldn’t make it on that date, so I’m repeating the workshop.

This is a one-day introduction to the Christian meditation technique known as Centering Prayer. Arising from the Trappist monastic tradition as a way to introduce non-monastics to contemplative prayer, Centering Prayer focuses on the ancient Christian spiritual practice called “kenosis” or emptying. The technique is simple to learn, easy to fit into a busy life and practical. It doesn’t require any commitment to traditional Christian doctrine, but it is also very compatible with the heart of the Christian tradition.
This one-day session gives you all you need to get started with Centering Prayer, including:
  • Centering Prayer and the practice of intentional silence, discovering wordless communion
  • theory and method of Centering Prayer
  • handling thoughts during prayer time
  • carrying Centering Prayer into daily life
  • several opportunities to practice Centering Prayer together
The day includes a simple lunch and finishes with an optional contemplative eucharist service.
The fee covers the cost of the venue, materials and catering. If you’d like to come and money is an issue, please get in touch and we’ll work something out.

Please consider joining me and sharing this delightful, simple, profound practice.

With love,
Father Tim Mansfield

Centering Prayer One-Day Intensive
Date: Saturday 20 Feb 2009
Venue: The Unitarian Centre, 15 Francis St, Darlinghurst

Bookings essential – RSVP here

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Nearly there

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Here at the rectory, we have our heads down planning workshops and courses for 2010, rethinking the way we run services and scheming new ideas to connect with the community and be of service.

The core of the community is you, and we want to make sure that we’ve done our best to include your wisdom in our thinking.

I mentioned the annual survey in last week’s newsletter and a huge thank you to the people who have spent a few minutes completing it. This second letter is to encourage you, if you had planned to send us some feedback, to take a moment and fill out the survey now. We’re in the final stages of planning the year and we really want to include your thoughts in the plan.

Click here to complete the survey

I’m excited about our plans so far. I hope that when we have a chance to share them with you that you will be too.

Please continue your prayers and gifts in support of the people of Haiti this week and throughout the coming weeks. We have all, I suspect, wept watching the news more than once, but weeping doesn’t bring clean water or antibiotics.

My blessings, as always, on your journey wherever this email finds you.

Father Tim+

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Haiti

I’m not telling you anything you haven’t already heard. I’m writing to you because I’m conscious of my own tendency to get a kind of fatigue about humanitarian disasters in other countries and because I want to shake myself, I’m also going to try to shake you.

The news programs tell us of the scale of the earthquake in Haiti. They talk about how much suffering there is. One important part of that is how rickety civil society in Haiti was prior to the disaster. Haiti was the target of a lot of international relief in any case so they’re in an awful situation to cope with what’s just happened.

The results of a desperately exploitative colonial past, economic boycotts and successive dictatorships have left the island barely able to sustain itself in the best of times. And now this. So there’s a desperate, practical, humanitarian need for immediate, large-scale help.

The spiritual context for taking action is, to me, founded in the understanding that we are one human people, not separate. My devotion must be to my neighbour, as dear to me as my own soul. This isn’t a logical argument about why you should act, it is simply the spiritual fact of the matter – one we work hard to remain blind to because it is so terribly inconvenient, unwelcome and expensive.

I believe that choosing to act on behalf of another, especially another I do not know and will never meet, is a way of asserting to myself, to my logical mind, this eternal truth of non-separateness. A decision to give in a situation like this, or even to give to someone on the street who asks, made consciously, resonates through my being beyond my rational capacities and tells all of Me the truth. I am not helping "them" I am helping "us".

So, with that as context, please consider doing something to help those who are already on the ground in Haiti. If you already support a charity who has a Haiti appeal, consider giving a little more. If you don’t here’s some suggestions.

Save The Children
UNICEF
Red Crescent/Red Cross

But don’t just send money, pray too. Pray for those of us in Haiti. Pray for us who have lost our parents. Pray for us who have lost our children, our sisters and brothers, husbands and wives. Pray for us in our need. Pray for our comfort and care and health and courage and will.

May the Unknown Father rain down loving-kindness and strength upon the people of Haiti and may the souls of all the faithful departed forever rest in peace.

Father Tim+

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Parish of St Uriel the Archangel

5a Lilydale St

Marrickville, NSW 2204

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Happy New Year

So a hello and best wishes in the afterfeast of Epiphany. I trust everyone made it through the trials of Christmas and the ordeal of New Year’s Eve unscathed.

I’m writing for a few reasons. The first is to wish you and yours many blessings for 2010. Lots of people seem to have had a challenging year last year, so there are some reasons to hope for a lighter load in 2010. May all your wishes be granted, just as they are.

The second is to let you know that there aren’t any public services through January. People are on holidays and busy and I wanted some time to rest and rethink the way Saint Uriel’s fits together and works together to foster the growth of gnosis and fellowship in Sydney. A small group of us are working on a strategy for the year with a few new ideas which we hope you’ll like. I’ll send an email with details of all that as soon as we’re done – it will include a service schedule for at least the next six months.

This leads me to the third thing – we’d like your help with the strategy we’re putting together. We’ve put together a short survey (4 questions) which I’d like to ask you to fill in. We’re interested in your opinion especially if you’re not a regular at the weekly services and super-especially if you’ve never attended an event.

If you can spare us 10 minutes to fill this out, it would really help us in planning to better meet the needs of the Sydney community this year. It’s anonymous (unless you want to fill in your name).

View Survey
(or cut and paste this URL http://surveys.polldaddy.com/s/32A96ABA2DEB6258/ into your browser)

So, please watch this space! Some new ideas, different plans and interesting events are coming in 2010 and we can’t wait to tell you about them.

With love,

Father Tim+