Holy Cross Anglican Church Hackett

Following Jesus and building community in Canberra’s Inner North

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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


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

NAIDOC Conversations with Brooke Prentis

Sun 7 July,
9am and 10:30am Canberra Baptist Church,
5:30pm Holy Covenant Anglican Church.

Brooke Prentis is an Aboriginal Christian Leader from the Wakka Wakka
people, Aboriginal spokesperson for Common Grace and
Coordinator of the Grasstree Gathering.

Understanding the situation in Palestine/Israel

At the June meeting, our Social Justice and Environment group discussed the ongoing conflict in Palestine/Israel, and the urgency for us all to do whatever we can to bring about peace and safety to the suffering Palestinians and Israelis who need support to bring a lasting peace.

‘From Under the Rubble’ is an Australian award winning documentary focusing on the Samouni family in Gaza. It is a civilian perspective on the impact of Israeli armed  forces in Gaza. Directed by Anne Tsoulis it can be watched on line on vimeo on demand at:  www.roninfilms.com.au/feature/15257.

Holy Cross are hoping to host a speaker later in the year about Ecumenical Accompaniers in Palestine.

Diocesan MU Overseas & Northern Day

Join members of MU from Holy Cross and across the diocese for a morning of fellowship and discussion, with guest preacher and speaker Christine Brain, Anglican Mothers Union Australia Overseas and Northern Outreach Convenor.

Talk topic: “What in the world is happening? Worldwide and in Northern Australia”

Wed 26th June
10am – Eucharist
11am – Talk
12pm- Lunch

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