On this Mothers’ Day we give thanks to God for the mothers he has given each of us, and for the nurture, in body, mind and spirit, which we received from them. We also recognise and honour all of the mothers and mother figures in our congregation. We give thanks to God for them and ask him to empower them for their God-given calling and responsibility. I am pleased that in today’s sermon we meet Dorcas, a godly woman whose good deeds were honoured by the miracle of her being restored to life through Peter.
As you will know, last week was the Archbishop election synod. I am grateful to have been a part of it. As I sat listening to the speeches, I realised that this synod’s importance lay in more than just the task of choosing the next leader of our Diocese (even though that was extremely important). It was inspiring and energising to witness the godly zeal which animated the synod.
The synod understood the challenge God has set for us in the coming decades. Although we are the largest Protestant denomination, Sydney Anglicans have only 2% of Sydney’s population in our churches each Sunday. While we are not the only faithful Christians, clearly there are vast numbers in our city who do not know Christ and who are facing an eternity without him. Meanwhile, in the next 30 years, Sydney’s population will grow by perhaps 3 million, most of them drawn from cultures which do not know the gospel.
Our task is to be salt and light to a city which grows numerically even while sliding further away from its loving Creator.
As a synod, we recognised that we needed a shepherd of Christlike compassion and prophetic voice, someone who will be gently uncompromising in his insistence on the truth of the gospel, while prayerfully depending on the God who “calls into being things that were not” (Romans 4:17). No-one but Jesus himself can be all these things. But it was inspiring to me, to be reminded of these qualities and to strive under God to put them into practice here in our parish.
The need for land to be acquired for new churches in Western Sydney is acute. God has enabled our Diocese to do some wonderful things, but we actually need dozens of new parish churches. The task is so great that it is certainly beyond any Archbishop. You may think this is a hare-brained idea, but what if St Jude’s aimed to birth a daughter church in Western Sydney – a whole new parish! It would take much prayer and sacrifice – and millions of dollars. But what an amazing gift to a new community. I’m excited about this idea, so watch out if you get caught talking with me at morning tea!!!
The election result was that the Very Rev. Kanishka Raffel, currently Dean of Sydney, is to be invited to be our new Archbishop. We are praying for him in today’s service, and I certainly encourage you to keep him in your private prayers as well.
In brief: Fireworks, Saturday 5th June!