Holy Cross Anglican Church Hackett

Following Jesus and building community in Canberra’s Inner North

Creation Sunday and climate change

A post from a young parishioner:

On Sunday at church we talked about how God is behind creation and all living things. Rachel did an amazing talk on how our beautiful planet is heating up, increasing the number of species of animals that are extinct, and how we can learn from Aboriginal people to care for the earth. It got us all thinking. Will we have a planet to live on in a decade or two? 

Will my children be able to survive in such an environment? How can we save what God has given us before it’s too late?

I myself have been thinking about these things already but this got me thinking deeper, because if governments are not going to do anything then it’s up to us too.

Global warming is a BIG problem! We need to start acting. There are little things to do to make a difference to stop our planet heating up more:

We can eat less meat.  Even though meat is good for you (in most cases) it is adding to the pollution of our environment. I am a flexitarian which means I eat meat only sometimes. When I am older I want to be a full vegetarian, but for now, as I am growing, I need protein. Livestock farming is crashing our environment because cows and other non-native animals are  contributing to severe drought which at this rate we’ll see a lot more of across the world!

We can walk places. I walk home from school about three day a week. I’m not perfect because I do get dropped off places quite a lot, but I’m trying to improve every day. Walking or bike riding  helps the environment because when you use a car that uses fossil fuel petrol it adds to pollution in the air and global warming. It adds to the invisible bubble surrounding the earth. This bubble lets heat in but DOESN’T easily let it back out again. Electric cars are better. 

When I’m older I’m 110% going to own an electric car. My family has a hybrid car which is pretty good. If we want to get out of this climate mess than we should have an electric (or solar) car (if we are going to have a car at all) or take public transport!

On that morning of Creation Sunday, we made craft using natural materials to celebrate nature and we wrote a letter to Prime Minister Scott Morrison letting him know that he is not doing enough about climate change and that it’s NOT ok. Whether he listens or not is up to him but honestly I think that deep down everyone, including him, is scared. We all just have different ways of showing it. But if are going to get out of this mess we all need to decide to stand up, fight back for the planet and not let climate change ruin something that was never ours alone to ruin.

Creation Sunday at Holy Cross and St Margaret’s
Rev Tim Watson plays guitar with people singing

The Language of Worship

Group of people singing from a song sheet

Today I’m beginning an occasional series: “The Language of Worship”. At Holy Cross, we come from diverse backgrounds – and often have strong views about words and music! So the hymns and songs we use in worship reflect not just our diversity, but the diversity of the Kingdom of Heaven with its “treasures old and new” (Matthew 13.52). By finding out more about who actually wrote the songs we sing, and why, we learn more about the wonderful variety of the body of Christ – and more about the God we worship. “I will sing with the Spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.” (1 Cor 14.15)

All my hope on God is founded” was written by the great German Calvinist hymnwriter Joachim Leander in 1680, and translated into English in 1899 by Robert Bridges, an Anglican choirmaster and future Poet Laureate. Today we’re using the modernised version from the Australian hymn book Together in Song. The tune Michael was written (over breakfast!) by Herbert Howells in 1930, and named for his son who died tragically young.

People singing in worship

I heard the voice of Jesus say” is a 19th century hymn by Scottish Free Church minister Horatius Bonar, set to an old English folk song, Dives and Lazarus, which Ralph Vaughan Williams heard in a pub in the village of Kingsfold in Sussex, and published as a hymn tune in the 1906 English Hymnal.

Give thanks” is the only published song by Henry Smith, written for a church in Williamsburg, Virginia in 1978 as a response to having become blind: “let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich …”.

Karen Lafferty was a nightclub entertainer who wrote “Seek ye first” in 1971 after attending a church bible study on Matthew 6.33, and now runs Musicians for Mission, an international ministry of Youth With A Mission based in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

The meaning of our Trinity Labyrinth

Congregations from St Margaret's and Holy Cross gather for the blessing of the Trinity Labyrinth

Labyrinths are an ancient spiritual practice: for many thousands of years, people of all faiths and none have used them for prayer and meditation. In the Middle Ages Christians embraced them as a form of pilgrimage: the most famous one is in Chartres Cathedral, France. A labyrinth is not a maze: you can’t get lost! There’s just one route to follow which always leads to the centre.

Diagram showing the Holy Cross Trinity Labyrinth

The Trinity Labyrinth is unusual in having three centres: the heart, representing the Father; the cross, representing the incarnate Son, Jesus Christ; and the dove, representing the life-giving Holy Spirit. The path that links the centres represents the “divine dance” of love between Father, Son and Spirit, in which we are invited to join. The theological word for this is perichoresis, from the Greek peri-khorein (which also gives us “chorus” & “choreography”).

Unlike some labyrinths which take you on a long journey before reaching the centre, when you enter the Trinity Labyrinth you are welcomed at once to the Father’s heart, and then invited on a pilgrimage into the heart of the love of God.

  • Before you enter the labyrinth, you might want to reflect on a line of Scripture, hold a memory of a loved on you wish to pray for, or consider an experience from your life where you are seeking healing or forgiveness.
  • As you walk the path, moving slowly at your own pace and pausing at the centres, you are invited to experience the love of God who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who creates, redeems and sustains you at every moment.
  • When you return to the heart, you can either leave the labyrinth, or – if you have time – choose to continue on your pilgrimage (you might like to walk it three times). There is no right or wrong way to walk a labyrinth.
  • When you leave, take a moment to thank God for what you have received.

Download the labyrinth card with this information here (pdf – 295kb).

Parish Retreat 2019 at Silver Wattle

My family attended the Holy Cross annual retreat from Saturday to Sunday this year.  It was the first time any of us four had attended the retreat or traveled out to Silver Wattle.  As soon as we arrived we felt welcomed, both by the other parishioners and by the tranquility of the setting.  

The bright sunshine and blue skies overhead kept the children out of doors playing into the evening, blithely unconcerned as the air got colder and the hour darker.

That they were able to play freely over the terrain without us parents having to wander or wonder after them – what are they up to?  Are they safe? – is probably the closest my kids have come to having a childhood like mine – one of clambering over rocks and climbing up trees without a parent in sight.  I felt grateful for the setting and the people around me providing that sense of security.

I myself got to explore the surrounds – child-free! – with a walk Sunday morning up to the cross on the nearby hill and another brief stroll down to the meditative labyrinth. During both walks, seeing the vast expanse of the Australian bush and the Lake George basin I reflected a bit on God’s timeless and loving presence on this majestic planet.

White cross at the top of a hillside overlooking Lake George plains

On Saturday evening we had a talent show, where all the extroverts and showmen and women had a shot at entertaining the rest of us.  We were an obliging lot, happy to laugh along with every skit and party trick, and to sing along with every song and dance.  There were some skeptics lurking among us, though, determined to dismantle the magic behind Geoff and Jasper’s mind-reading feat – fortunately they were unsuccessful, and the mystery lives on for another year!

During the weekend Tim led several sessions where we talked about the different facets of our faith community in light of the First Corinthians passage about the church – like the body – being made of different but equally vital parts. Broadly, we discussed our church as a place of praise and worship, as a place for fellowship and outreach, and as a place to strengthen our faith through discipleship.  We brainstormed as a group on ways to expand and/or integrate these various activities.

Most striking to me from these talks was the notion that Holy Cross in essence holds two services each weekend: one on a Saturday when volunteers set up Tuckerbox and open the church for the local community to access affordable food and a place to relax and recharge; and the other on a Sunday when the usual parishioners come to celebrate the Eucharist and worship together. Ideally, we would like these two groups to interact and get to know one another better…and the first opportunity for that will be grand opening of our new Tuckerbox building, on 19 October, a Saturday.  I am looking forward to attending.

I can’t leave off describing the weekend without mentioning the food.  Each meal was – to put it as simply as my kids would – YUMMO!  We had pasta options, salad options, and a delicious trio of soups, among other choices. And the berries galore after dinner!  Vegetarian and gluten-free diets were accommodated.  I can imagine that  A LOT of work and love went into planning these meals, preparing them at home and on site, and cleaning up afterward.  A big thank you to Kirsty and her team!

And a big thanks as well to Christine for organising our weekend and to Tim for leading us in prayer, study, and worship.

Large group gathered outside Silver Wattle Centre for group photograph

Synod “together on the way”

I have been away in Goulburn this weekend, along with our parish representatives Caity Cameron, Kirsty Baker, and Richard Stoddart, for the annual Synod of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. Synods (from the Greek sun-hodos: “together on the way”) are a really important time in the life of an Anglican Diocese, providing an opportunity for representatives of all the different ministry units – parishes, chaplaincies, schools, and diocesan services – to gather for three days of prayer and fellowship.

No doubt at this Synod there were discussions and debates, sometimes even fiery ones. Because one of the glories of the Anglican Church is its polyphonic – sometimes even dissonant! – synodal character. And this is a good thing: God did not make us uniform, but gloriously diverse, and there is plenty of Biblical precedent for passionate conversations between brothers and sisters in Christ (Acts 15, Galatians 2 …). 

But the heart of any Synod is our unity in Christ, whose Body we are. And the really special thing about a Diocesan Synod is that it provides an opportunity to come together across our local parish boundaries, to give thanks for God’s faithfulness to God’s church, and listen together to the Holy Spirit as we discern the future into which God is leading us: “together on the way”.

So please pray for our bishops as they lead us in carrying out the deliberations of Synod, and for all Synod members, that they may be faithful to Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Two hands locked in a handshake during a greeting of the peace in church

Celebrations in Spring

Join us as we enter spring:

15 Sept Holy Cross Day with Bishop Mark;

22 Sept Creation Service & Trinity Labyrinth Blessing with St Margaret’s;

19 Oct Tuckerbox building opening & BBQ

Feedback from “Better Together”

On Sunday 11 August, thirty members of Holy Cross Anglican Church and St Margaret’s Uniting Church met together for a 2-hour workshop, to give thanks for our cooperative partnership over more than 50 years, and discern how the Holy Spirit is calling us into a shared future. Special thanks to Pastor Ken Perrin from Ainslie Church of Christ for facilitating our discussion with grace and wisdom!

Check out the feedback from our discussion, and please do email the Rector with any comments – we’d love to have your input into this ongoing conversation.

Feedback from “Christians Born in the 21st Century”

More than twenty Holy Cross members, aged between 8 and 80, met on Sunday 4 August for two hours of prayer, reflection and vision casting, to explore together how God is calling us to develop our ministry with children, youth and families. We were expertly facilitated by Andrew Edwards and Ben Paton (co-directors of Synergy, the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn’s youth ministry), with help from Karen Baron from ACT Christian Education In Schools, and some excellent input from our very own Kids Church, youth and parents.

Key points from our discussion includes:

  • younger and older Christians often have the same spiritual needs
  • relationships are more important than programmes
  • mentoring is of real value, both for younger and older Christians
  • rather than inventing new activities, it’s often better to re-think and re-purpose existing activities
  • young people need rest at weekends, and 9am on Sunday is not a very attractive time for them, though those who make the effort tell us that they find it really worthwhile
  • young Christians need contact with adult Christians who are not their parents!
  • youth ministry is a “whole church” activity and responsibility, though it can benefit from expert facilitation (of the kind that Synergy can provide)

Check out the photos below to see more details of our discussion – and please do contact the Rector if you have any comments / questions.

Christians Born in the 21st Century

Sunday in Depth @ Holy Cross Anglican Church

11am Sunday 4 August

With Andrew Edwards, Ben Paton and Karen Baron.

Stop the Traffik

Parishioner Toni Hassan, a director with charity Stop the Traffik Australia, traveled to Cambodia and Thailand earlier this year to see, touch, engage, laugh and cry with people impacted by modern slavery and those working to end human trafficking. She shared her high and lows with friends at an open-house event on the weekend.

Modern slavery is the fastest growing trade, the trade of people for exploitation, after illicit drugs. There are an estimated 40 million people in modern slavery, more people than at any time in human history. Poverty, poor governance, internal conflict and corruption are the perfect cocktail for modern slavery to thrive in, with women and children the worst impacted.

People often think modern slavery involves sex trafficking. Sex trafficking represents about a third of modern slavery cases. The majority involve forced labour in the high risk sectors including clothing manufacturing and seafood. Modern slavery exists in the supply chains of many of the goods we use and consume.

Watch this video produced by Stop the Traffik to know more: https://vimeo.com/324750705

There is good news. There are businesses and not-for-profits, secular and faith-based organisations working to prevent modern slavery, as well as a growing awareness among governments in the developed and developing world about the risks and how to mitigate them. Australia has adopted a Modern Slavery Act. 

Toni showcased the life-changing work of these businesses and advocates:

Outland Denim

Bloom Asia

Alongsiders International

Relentless

Thai Union

You as a consumer can ask business about their supply chains and choose to buy ethically-made goods. You can also donate to a charity making a difference


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