Holy Cross Anglican Church Hackett

Following Jesus and building community in Canberra’s Inner North

The Blessing of a Home – DRAFT

A liturgy adapted from the New Zealand Prayer Book (1989) for use over the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic.

PREFACE

During the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when many of us will be spending an unaccustomed amount of time at home and are unable to gather for public worship, it is important for Christians to remind ourselves that our homes are sacred places, consecrated to God, where the life of the Church continues as young and old pray, worship, study, and share fellowship together.

It is timely to remember that for the first few centuries of the Church’s existence, local Christian communities (including all those communities to whom the New Testament epistles written by Paul, Peter and John are addressed) gathered almost exclusively in homes. Jesus himself grew up at the heart of a human home and family, sanctifying it by his presence, and the Gospels tell us that Jesus’s public ministry also took place in many different homes. 

To bless the home, and formally dedicate it as an environment for Christian life, is a deeply felt need by many Christian households. Home blessings are especially appropriate at times of crisis and renewal: they give us the opportunity to dedicate (or re-dedicate) our homes to God, and ask for God’s special protection on our households and families.

Since the minister cannot be physically present during this blessing liturgy, the use of water by the householders as part of the service is especially helpful as an effective and tangible sign of the work of the Holy Spirit and the presence of Christ at the heart of their home.

BLESSING OF THE WATER

The family or householder(s) gather outside the front door. The minister is present on a mobile device carried by a householder.

A member of the household holds up a bowl of water.

The minister says
Praise God who made heaven and earth
Whose promise endures for ever.

We thank you God for your love in all creation,
especially for your gift of water
to sustain, refresh and cleanse all life.

We thank you that through the waters of baptism
you cleanse us,
renew us by your Spirit
and raise us to new life.

+ Through your Holy Spirit,
fulfil once more your promises
and may this water,
set apart in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
be to us an effective sign of your blessing and protection
for this home and all who dwell here.
Amen.

At each subsequent stage of the liturgy, a member of the household sprinkles water around the home, while making the sign of the Cross.

OUTSIDE THE DOOR

The minister says
Dear friends in Christ
we enter this home in the name of God,
+ Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Lord is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.

Except the Lord build the house,
their labour is but lost that build it.

Encircle this dwelling place with your protection, O God;
may your holy angels encompass these walls,
and peace be within them.

ENTRY

The minister says
In the name of God,
peace to this home.
God make it a haven for all who live here.

The youngest person present knocks at the door.

A householder reads the following

‘Behold I stand at the door and knock,’ says the Lord. ‘If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with you and you with me.’

Revelation 3:20

The householder(s) then say
Welcome to this home.
Blessed be God who dwells in love.
Blessed be God who gives peace and shelter.
Amen.

God of hearth and home, maker of love and laughter,
make this a place for reflection and restoration,
rest and renewal,
a place where the life of N (and N) may find its strength.

The Lord watch over your going out and your coming in
from this time forward for evermore.

AT THE LIVING ROOM

The minister says
Indwelling God, you are ever welcome in this house.
May we hear and share your Word.

A householder reads the following

Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge and you will not be judged yourselves: do not condemn, and you will not be condemned yourselves; grant pardon, and you will be pardoned. Give, and there will be gifts for you: a full measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap, because the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given back.

Luke 6:36-38

The minister says
O how good and pleasant it is, when God’s people live together in unity.

Above everything, love one another fervently,
for love covers many sins.

God in Trinity,
you have made us to need each other
and to grow best with companions;
bless those who shall sit or talk or work together here.
May they share your care and understanding.

If there are dependants, the minister may speak to the parent(s) or carer(s)
N (and N), will you be true to this family?
Will you support and care for each other
so that together you may care
for those whom God has given you?
The parent(s) or carer(s) respond
Yes, we will.
May God give us joy in what we do
and patience when our work seems hard.

The minister may then address the dependent(s)
N (and N), will you, their children / family / friends,
give them your support?
The dependents respond
Yes we will. May God be with you.

The minister then says to all
May you grow on and grow old in the love of God.
May this place be for you a place where
relationships mature,
quarrels are made up,
failures forgiven and strength renewed.
Blessed be Christ the prince of peace
who breaks down the walls that divide.

The peace of God be always with you.
Praise to Christ who unites us in peace.

All greet each other and share a sign of peace.

AT A BEDROOM

The group moves to each bedroom in turn.

The minister says
Guide us waking, O God,
and guard us sleeping,
that awake we may watch with Christ,
and asleep we may rest in your peace.

I lie down in peace and take my rest
for it is in God alone that I dwell unafraid.

God of the night,
may this be a holy and blessèd place
for N (and N) and all who may sleep here.
Here may they know your loving presence,
find rest for their fatigue,
and peace for their anxiety.
May your holy angels guard them,
and your continual blessing strengthen them.

AT THE BATHROOM

The minister says
‘I will sprinkle you with clean water, and you will be cleansed.’

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
having our bodies washed with pure water.

Blessed are you, our Saviour Jesus Christ,
fountain of living water springing up to eternal life;
in you is our baptism, in you is our faith.

Blessed are you God of the rain, the rivers, and the lakes,
you give water for life and health
to refresh and cleanse all creatures.

FOR A STUDY OR HOMESCHOOLING SPACE

The minister says
Teach us, O God, where wisdom is to be found, and
show us the place of understanding.

Seek your God and you will be found.
Search for God with all your heart
and with all your mind.

O God, the source of all wisdom,
may this be a place of reflection and awareness,
of knowledge and understanding.
Show yourself for us,
lest we go about in ignorance;
reveal yourself to us,
for in you we know the incarnate word.

FOR A WORKSHOP OR SHED

The minister says
Many there are who rely upon their hands
and are skilful in their own creativity and work.

Prosper, O God, the work of our hands.
Prosper our handiwork.

O God,
your blessed son worked with his hands
in the carpenter’s shop at Nazareth:
be present we pray with those who work in this place.
Give them work till their life ends,
and life till their work is done,
that labouring together with you
they may share the joy of your creation.

FOR A TERRACE OR GARDEN

The minister says
As the earth brings forth its blossom,
or bushes in a garden burst into flower,
so shall the Lord God make righteousness and praise
blossom before all the people.

The earth brought forth vegetation,
plants yielding seed,
and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed,
each according to its kind.
And God saw that it was good.

Jesus, our good companion,
often you withdrew with your friends
for quiet and refreshment;
be present with your servants in this place.
Make it a place of serenity and peace.

FOR A PRAYER CORNER

The minister says
blah blah blah (verse from scripture)
Blah blah blah.

Jesus, bless all these blah blah blah.
So that we might blah blah blah.

FOR A DEVICE THAT CONNECTS TO THE INTERNET

The minister says
blah blah blah (verse from scripture)
Blah blah blah.

Jesus, bless all these blah blah blah.
So that we might blah blah blah.

AT THE KITCHEN

The minister says
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has dealt so wondrously with you.

The eyes of all wait upon you O God
and you give them their food in due season.

God of garden, farm and factory
may what is prepared here bring strength and health.
Bless the hands that work in this place,
nourish us with all goodness
and give us grateful hearts for daily bread.
May Christ our constant guest
make our humblest meal a welcome offering.

AT THE DINING AREA

The minister says
The living God gave you from heaven
rain and fruitful seasons
satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.
God brings forth food from the earth
and wine to gladden the heart.

Blessed are you, Sovereign of the universe,
for gifts from your bounty which we receive.
May our hearts be thankful;
may we always have room for a guest.
Make us grateful for all your mercies,,
and mindful of the needs of others.

A BLESSING OF PEACE

The minister blesses each member of the household, inviting all to lay hands on each in turn, and saying
N, God bless you and keep you secure in this place.
May your family/companion(s) find
in you Christ’s love and understanding.

The minister says to all present
Hear God’s word of benediction:
the fruit of righteousness will be peace
and the result of righteousness,
tranquillity and trust for ever,
my people will abide
in secure dwellings
and in quiet resting places.

And now may the eternal Spirit
enfold this home with love,
indwell this home with joy,
build this home in peace,
and the blessing of God Almighty
+ Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
be upon you and all those whom you love
now and for ever.
Amen.

Sunday Worship, 29 March

Click here to join us in worship this morning! The Zoom meeting is open from 9am and we’ll begin our service at 9.30am.

Kids Church material is available below:

Update after an extraordinary week

It’s been an extraordinary week. For my part, I feel a tremendous sense of joy and gratitude for our Holy Cross community at this time, as we seek to be faithful to God’s calling in these changing circumstances.

1. Sunday worship online
Following a successful trial service on 22 March, we will now be running a weekly online Sunday service using Zoom. To join us in worship, simply go to the website on Sunday morning any time after 9am, and click on the Zoom link to join the meeting – the service will start officially at 9.30am.

A few things you might want to bear in mind:

  • BE AWARE that you are attending a public service, so please give some thought to how others will see and hear you (for example, is your camera pointing up your nose, or at the ceiling?!?)
  • If you don’t want to be seen, then please turn off your own video. You may also wish to set a photograph as a “virtual background” in Zoom Preferences.
  • If your home environment is noisy, or if you are going to make some noise yourself (for example: take a phone call, boil a kettle, talk to a family member), then please turn off your own microphone.

2. Church building & grounds
Following the most recent government advice, Holy Cross and St Margaret’s church buildings have been closed to the public as of 23 March. All official church business (worship, small groups, meetings) will be moving online. Following advice from the ACT Government and the Diocese, Tuckerbox will be continuing at present, as it is to be regarded as an “essential service”. Tuckerbox operations will be reviewed on a weekly basis as the situation evolves.

3. Pastoral care
Parish Council has set up a new Pastoral Care Group (currently comprising the Rector, Justin Combs, Trish Stoddart, and Michelle Shepherdson), which met for the first time on Tuesday 24 March. Please feel free to contact any of us with your needs, ideas or suggestions.

4. Gatherings at home
On Tuesday 24 March the Prime Minister gave the following detailed advice about home visits:

“Visits to your premises, to your house, to your residence, should be kept to a minimum and with very small numbers of guests. We don’t want to be overly specific about that. We want Australians to exercise their common sense.” (Full transcript at https://www.pm.gov.au/media/press-conference-australian-parliament-house-5)

Members of the Holy Cross family should follow the most up-to-date Government advice when deciding if it is appropriate to meet in very small numbers, for example to take part in a Zoom service if you have no home internet connection. If you’d like to discuss this, please call the Rector.

5. Prayer at home
At our online service on Sunday, I proposed that Holy Cross adopt the icon of “The Proclamation of the Kingdom” by Kaspars and Ruta Poikans as a focus for our prayers during the COVID-19 epidemic. This icon is a meditation on three Bible stories: Jesus preaching from the boat, Jesus calming the storm, and the miraculous catch of fish. It also evokes the image of the Church as a boat, with Christ in our midst, the Holy Spirit as the wind, and the Cross as the mast.

I also want to encourage you all to set up a permanent prayer corner in your home. You might want to include:

  • a comfortable chair
  • candles
  • Bible
  • icon
  • prayer diary
  • bible notes
  • finger labyrinth
  • prayer beads
  • music player
  • anything else that helps you to pray

Finally, don’t forget there is a free Epray app (available for Android and iOS), which allows you to pray Morning and Evening Prayer at home. The Holy Cross parish code is 6806, and you can download the app here.

Please be assured of my prayers and blessings for you all, as we move together into a new season of “doing church differently”.

God bless, Tim

Doing offerings differently

During last Sunday’s first video service, Tim spoke about ways in which we might share our ‘Time, Talents and Treasure’ as we do church differently. Some of you have been asking how you might make your financial contributions while we are currently unable to congregate in person.

There are two options currently available: making offerings using bank transfer, or having someone collect your offering using the envelope system. More information can be found here.

Tim and the parish council are working hard on ways for us to worship God, serve others and care for our Christ-centred community in these challenging times. We will keep in touch with you all as best we can and we welcome your ideas.

Graphic showing 3-way pie chart with "Time, Treasure and Talents" in equal measure. Title text reads 2020 Parish Offering: "On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh." (Matthew 2:11)

Sunday Worship Online

Holy Cross is worshipping online on Sunday 22 March at 9.30am, using Zoom video conferencing. This is our first attempt at using Zoom for worship, so you will be able to connect from 9.00am, which gives you 30 minutes to sort out any connection problems before the service begins.

Even if you have never used Zoom before, it is simple for you to attend:

  • click on the web link (after 9.00am on Sunday) – https://zoom.us/j/5675297261
  • if you do not already have the Zoom app, you will be prompted to download and install it (this is normally quick and easy)
  • join the meeting

There is no separate Kids Church provision today, though we hope to have something in place by next week – for today, you’ll find a colouring page and a word search below which you can download and print at home.

We will be in touch with members of the Holy Cross church family in the next few days, to see how you are and keep you informed. Please stay in touch, look for updates, and be assured of our prayers for you!

Tuckerbox update in the context of coronavirus

Saturday 21 March 2020

Holy Cross Tuckerbox is working hard to adapt to the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 epidemic. We want to continue to provide food to those who need it, while also ensuring that everyone is kept safe, and that the risk of infection is kept to a minimum. These are challenging times and we are all in this together, so we ask you to be understanding and patient in the days and weeks ahead.

Regular information updates will be available on:
• Holy Cross web site – www.holycrosshackett.org.au
• Holy Cross Facebook page – @holycrosshackett
• Tuckerbox Facebook page – @HolyCrossTuckerbox

You can also contact us here:
• email – tuckerbox@holycrosshackett.org.au
• phone – 0490 336409 (Rector: Rev Tim Watson)

Please be assured that all the members of the Holy Cross church family will be praying for you and your loved ones in the weeks ahead.

“Doing church differently”

Dear friends of Holy Cross,

The Bishop has announced that all public worship in the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn will cease as of this Sunday. You can read his announcement here: https://anglicancg.org.au/cessation-of-services/

 We are looking at a number of alternative ways in which we can pray and worship together, including:

  • online services (using Zoom)
  • opening the church for private prayer
  • household liturgies (including kid-friendly ones!) for you to use at home

Parish Council is meeting this Saturday to make more plans, and we’ll update you again soon. 

I spoke to Bishop Mark today and he informed me that welfare services such as Tuckerbox should continue at present, as they have a crucial role in meeting the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Tuckerbox will therefore be taking place this Saturday, and we will be putting in place some strict hygiene protocols to ensure that this is done safely.

One final thing: Sunday 22 March is Mothering Sunday, the middle Sunday in Lent, and Iris usually makes us a simnel cake for morning tea. This year, I suggest that those of us who are able to do so take part in a Holy Cross Simnel Cake Competition – if you’d like to have a go, why not bake one this week and email me the photo so we can post the results on the web site? We’ll ask Iris to judge the entries and award an appropriate prize! Recipes can be found here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/simnel_cake

Keep well, keep in touch, and remember: Christ is still risen!

God bless, Tim Watson (Rector)

Sunday services in Lent

Table in front of altar with purple cloth, candles and crown of thorns

Sun 1 Mar Environment Sunday joint service;

9am Sunday worship:

8 Mar 2nd Sunday in Lent;

15 Mar 3rd Sunday in Lent;

22 Mar Mothering Sunday (no in-person worship);

29 Mar 5th Sunday in Lent (no in-person worship);

5 Apr Palm Sunday (no in-person worship)

Launch of Carbon Action Project

West face of Holy Cross Anglican Church in morning light

Holy Cross and St Margaret’s are embarking on a Carbon Action Project, which we are launching on Sunday 1 March:
9.30am Joint Service – 1st Sunday of Lent;
11am Launch of Carbon Action Project

This is a very significant initiative in the life of both our churches, enabling us all to practice what we preach as stewards of God’s good creation.

See our Carbon Action Project page for more information.

Lent Activities at Holy Cross

Lent is fast approaching – it’s a season when all of us are called to set aside time (through prayer, fellowship, and study) to draw closer to Jesus. Here are some of the Lent activities that you are welcome to take part in over the coming weeks.

Lent Groups

– We are joining with friends from other local churches to study the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lent book “Saying Yes to Life”, by eco-theologian Ruth Valerio: https://spckpublishing.co.uk/saying-yes-to-life Groups meet on Monday eve, Tuesday eve, and Wednesday lunchtime. Email the Rector if you want to sign up.

– Chris Lockley from St Margaret’s is leading a Lent course looking at Celtic Spirituality, meeting on Thursdays at 1.30pm.

Events and services

Tue 25 Feb, 5.30-7pm: Shrove Tuesday Pancake Party in the Annex
– All welcome, especially families with children!

Wed 26 Feb, 10am and 6pm: Ash Wednesday Eucharist
– A solemn and beautiful service with imposition of ashes, to mark the entry into Lent

Sun 1 Mar, 9.30am and 11am: Joint Service with St Margaret’s and Launch of Carbon Action Project
– A very significant initiative in the life of both our churches, enabling us all to practice what we preach as stewards of God’s good creation.

Tues 10 Mar, 10am-3pm: Lent Quiet Day in the Annex
– Led by Rev Joan Smith

For more information on any of these, please email the Rector.

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