Our Cathedral community seeks to be a welcoming community of faith. We come from many different parts of the world and many different backgrounds but we journey together.
Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement's. See the bells from the nursery rhyme at our cathedral
St Boniface is available for wedding ceremonies
St Boniface is available for baptism ceremonies
Fresh flowers, beautifully arranged, are a continual blessing at St Boniface.
Revd Stewart and Revd Sarah still maintain their passion for their olive plantation. In 2012 the oil, St. Boniface Olio Verde Novella won a gold medal at the Royal Perth Show and the trophy for the Best Boutique Olive Oil in Western Australia. Proceeds from the sale of this premium quality first pressing olive oil goes to St Boniface.
God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Corinthians 1: 9
Almighty God, whose Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, is the light of the world: may your people, illumined by your word and sacraments, shine with the radiance of his glory, that he may be known, worshipped and obeyed to the ends of the earth; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen
Jeremiah 23:23-29; Psalm 82;
Pent 13C Hebrews 11:29-12:2; Luke 12:49-59
This is a week that many priests wish they were away somewhere – anywhere rather than have to preach on this passage from Luke. This text consists of some of the toughest verses in Luke’s gospel.
The language of division rather than peace; the strident tone of judgement and Jesus’ accusation that those in the crowd are “hypocrites” can be off-putting to those who are dipping their toes into the life of church as well as to those who have been comfortably sitting in the pews for ever.
But there is so much to gain if we can wrestle with this passage. I invite you to share the journey with me.
Let’s look at division.
Jesus is reported as saying, ‘Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division.’
Historically in the Roman Senate, and still today, members of Parliament are literally divided into physically separate groups to vote on an issue. Those who want to vote ‘Yes’ on an issue go to one side of the floor; those who want to vote ‘No’ go to the other side.
Sadly, it doesn’t take much these days to get into a situation of conflict, especially on the subjects of politics or religion. Many nations in the world today are divided on political and/or religious issues and we see daily the tragic, devastating results of the ensuing conflict.
Many of us have experienced divided households through divorce, generational conflict, conflict of beliefs or values. Families cut off from each other.
I prepare couples for marriage and part of that is preparing them to deal with conflict. In a conflict resolution process we confront issues and misunderstandings. We take our position on one side or the other but we listen to each other, respect one another’s points of view and come up with ways in which we might live together in real harmony, not in superficial peace. This is a process that needs continual revisiting.
The author of the letter to the Hebrews is saying something similar: let go of the ‘stuff’ that isn’t of God and stay with what you believe to be God’s will.
How are we to know the difference between what is God’s will and what isn’t? Well, we need to test our perception of God’s will – in other words, discernment. We human beings have a habit of making what we want into God’s will and not vice versa. This is what the prophet Jeremiah was talking about in our first reading; the need to discern between true and false prophecy.
There are always extreme views and this happens from a faith perspective too. Each group believes they are right; they have the answer; they know the will of God. Such faith can make people blind to alternatives and inflexible in the complex realities of life.
On the other hand, a faith that stems from compassion which will not compromise love, or discount some people as of lesser worth, that faith is absolutely crucial for a better world. And yes, that kind of faith will bring about division. That kind of faith will bring about conflict.
The world in which Jesus lived was deeply marred and scarred. The systems of state and religion were exploitative and non-sustainable.
Redemption can come only when those systems are shattered.
Life cannot emerge or re-emerge without confrontation.
This is at the heart of division. Division, at its centre, confronts our need for superiority; our desire for one-upmanship. Our determination that being on top is what justifies our value.
We are a culture of winners and losers – but life is not a competition, faith is not a contest, where one person or one group comes out on top. I know that’s really difficult in the middle of the Olympics and at the end of the AFL season. But seriously, life is about being faithful to your truth and then committing yourself to learn the truth of the other. Faith is knowing what matters to you when it comes to God and being willing to hear what matters to the other.
Were life, religion, politics, etc., to be less about who wins and more about what matters and why it matters -- to ourselves, to others -- I suspect things might be different.
What then is our challenge in all this? Let me suggest a few things:
1. We need to see through the superficial, and constantly search for the truth. We might not be able to resolve the issues of the world but that does not mean that we ignore them, shut them out in order to keep things looking smooth on the surface.
2. What we can and must do is live our lives in truth, constantly searching for God’s will in all we do and say.
3. We need to be open to others, and that means allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, and enter into creative conflict. This is the journey to wholeness. It can be lonely and painful and that’s where the unconditional love of God and support of others comes in. Seek that love and support. Accept it when it is offered.
Ultimately this is about the vision of justice and peace for all which we celebrate in the feast of the Eucharist. The radical inclusiveness of that meal and that vision is a fellowship of sacrifice. We nourish ourselves from a broken and poured out life. This is a meal which strengthens us to stand up for truth and justice in our own lives and in the world.
To love people as Jesus did is to stand for something.
To stand for justice is to stand against injustice.
To stand for truth is to oppose hypocrisy and falsehood.
Jesus’ message this week is not fuel for conflict but asks us to enter into the roots of conflict itself and confront it for what it is.
Jesus’ naming of our human tendency toward disagreement is to remind us that the creating of the community of Christ relies on our commitment to listening.
Jesus’ naming of our instinct toward self-preservation over mutuality and reciprocity is not to shame us but to call us toward a different vision of what the world can be -- a world that is truly committed to bringing about the Kingdom of God here and now.
Let me put all this together in a story.
Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in their 40 years of working together. It began with a small misunderstanding, and grew into a major difference, and finally exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
One morning, there was a knock on the elder brother’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox.
"I'm looking for a few days' work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there that I could help with?
“Yes,” said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my younger brother! Last week, there was a meadow between us, but he took his bulldozer and dug a small river between us. Well I'm going to do him one better. See that pile of old timber? I want you to build a 3 metre high fence between us. Then I won't need to see his place or his face anymore."
The carpenter said, "Show me the nails and the tools, and I'll do a good job for you. The older brother had to go to town, so he left for the day. At sunset, when he returned, his eyes opened wide, and his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all.
The carpenter had built a bridge that stretched from one side of the river to the other, with handrails as well!
And his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched. "You're amazing," he said, "after all I've said and done." The two brothers met in the middle, and shook each other's hand.
They turned to see the carpenter leaving. "No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.
"I'd love to," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."
When you and I come to the end of our days, just remember this: God won't care what kind of car we drove, but will care how many people we helped get where they needed to go.
God won't care how big our house was, but will care how many people we welcomed into our home.
God won't care what neighborhood we lived in, but will care how we treated our neighbors.
And God won't care how many fences we made, but will care how many bridges we built.
The Lord be with you.
Gospel Reading: Luke 7: 36-8: 3
Pewsheet 12 June 2016 St Boniface Cathedral
Some questions to ask as we read today’s Gospel and reflect on the characters in the story
How does the Pharisee see?
1. Himself as superior. Did he realise what he was doing when he refrained from offering Jesus those customary courtesies? Of course he did. The little put-downs flattered his pride.
2. Jesus as inferior. When he saw Jesus he saw someone who didn’t assert himself in the face of those put-downs, who didn’t seem to notice or react to that hysterical display by that crazy immoral woman. He questioned the type of religious figure Jesus was and saw him as certainly fit to be ridiculed.
3. The woman as even more inferior. You could never ridicule or condemn a woman like that too much.
How does the woman see?
That her life has been messed up, seriously, and that she is a sinner. She also knows she had a deep aching need to love and to be loved. At some stage in Jesus’ visit to this town, he gave her the love she needed. And the dam wall in her heart broke and she saw that she has to express this love to Jesus, abundantly, extravagantly. Did she see the looks of ridicule going round the table? Not at all. She was too focussed on Jesus.
How does Jesus see?
With love, both the crazy woman and the self-satisfied Pharisee. And to both he reaches out in love.
Now, how do I see?
29th May 2016 Pentecost 2B, 1 Kings 8:22-23, 41-43;
Psalm 9:1-9; Galatians 1:1-12; Luke 7:1-10
The story of the healing of the centurion’s slave is a story found in Matthew and Luke and, with a slightly different flavour, in John. In John’s version it is a man described as an official who came to Jesus begging him to come and heal his son. In Matthew it is a centurion who asks Jesus to heal a servant. In Luke’s version the servant is described as a slave and it is not the centurion who asks Jesus to heal the slave but some elders of the Jews. In Matthew and Luke the same words are spoken by the official or centurion, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof.” In all versions the key message is of faith. “Not even in Israel have I found such faith” are the words spoken by Jesus in both Matthew and Luke.
What really caught my attention when I compared the different gospel accounts of this story is the Lukan emphasis on the intercession of others. Intercession not once, but twice:
First the elders of the Jews came to Jesus, asking him to come and heal the centurion’s slave;
second, other friends of the centurion came when Jesus was not far from the house with the message from the centurion of his perceived unworthiness, and asking Jesus to “only speak the word and my servant will be healed”
Let me get back to intercessions in a moment. I just want to sidetrack on worthiness or unworthiness.
The centurion is described by the elders as a worthy person and although gentile, loves the Jewish nation and has built their synagogue. However the centurion sees himself as unworthy. Does Jesus see this man as unworthy because he is not of the same faith, the same culture? Of course not! He sees someone he loves, is willing to die for, and someone he is very willing to listen to.
We also have the opening verses of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. The Galatians have heard from other preachers who have come through their area, and who were convincing the Galatians that if they were circumcised they would be worthy of salvation. A little surgery. A few weeks of pain. Then they’d be worthy. Then, who could question them standing before God?
But, God’s favour and love doesn’t work like that. Our worthiness cannot be bought, and our unworthiness cannot be shed by our own efforts, no matter how costly and painful.
The thing is I’m profoundly aware of my unworthiness; I am human I recognise my shortcomings and my failures.
There is nothing wrong with a balanced sense of humility. But if I let my sense of unworthiness get on top of me I can get overcome with my own disappointments with myself and end up in a spiral of depression.
You may have heard this week the statistics that show the suicide rate is twice that of the road toll nationally. There are many reasons for suicide but in my experience of working with suicidal people the bottom line is a sense of worthlessness, of unworthiness.
This is when prayer and the intercession of friends are so important.
In most parishes I have been involved with, there is an active prayer group. I know that is so for the cathedral and I find it very reassuring to know that people are praying for me – interceding on my behalf.
In the Diocese we have a prayer diary, and every month every parish or community is prayed for, using the prayers that the particular parish or community has asked us to pray. Through our faith we know that God hears our prayers and will answer them, maybe not in the way we want, but certainly in the way we need.
Jesus and the centurion are usually identified as the key figures of this story, but maybe the people who speak of the centurion’s character and his faith are equally the heroes of this story.
They prompt me to think about all the many ways that the threads that connect me to Jesus are often woven by friends. It is not just me and Jesus. It is me and Jesus and this community that helps me stay connected to Him.
Specifically, Luke’s tale puts me in mind of the season in my life when my needs and my story were being carried to Jesus by my friends.
Ironically, it was not my great faith that made this possible; it occurred during a season of very shaky faith, a season when my friendship with Jesus, not to mention anything that might be called my “prayer life,” withered.
I was at a really low point in my life. My daughter had just left home and I was very busy with my job - too busy!
I became ill with a bad bout of bronchitis and had to have a month off work. The doctor wanted to put me in hospital because I was supposed to stay in bed and there was no one at home to look after me. Thank God I had some wonderful friends who came around at breakfast time, lunch time and dinner time with a tray of food, beautifully presented, with a flower and a bible verse.
During that time of enforced bed rest and the love and care of my friends I had time to reflect on my life. In hindsight I know that my faith did not totally evaporate because like the Centurion I had friends faithfully connecting me to Jesus, over and over. My prayer life would later blossom again precisely because of these friends’ prayers for me, when I could not, or would not pray.
My faith was sustained in large measure because I had circles of friends who could see my need and respond in faith and with practical help.
When I had recovered I went back to church, with my friends and was so welcomed by this new community at St Andrew’s Church in Subiaco that I felt immediately at home. It was at St Andrew’s that I met my wonderful husband Don and 15 years later, in 2005, I was ordained priest here in the Bunbury Diocese.
Yes, this story in Luke is a story of great faith, but it is also a story of great faith that takes its shape when the believer’s community connects the believer to the Lord. Even a man of such deep, surprising faith as the Centurion relied on his community to help enact that faith. Something similar probably goes for the rest of us too.
I am currently preparing someone for confirmation and this week the topic was Living as a Christian. The prayer at the beginning of the text is “God, the giver of life, whose Holy Spirit wells up within your Church: by the Spirit’s gifts equip us to live the gospel of Christ and make us eager to do your will.”
This reminded me of the Mission Statement for the Diocese, “We are a Diocesan Family growing into the likeness of Jesus all owning the ministry of Christ.” Do we own the ministry of Christ? How are we living as Christians in our everyday lives? Are we using our gifts to do God’s will and live the gospel of Christ?
During our Cursillo 4th day gathering last Tuesday we talked about the ways we lived as Christians in our everyday lives. There was some wonderful feedback of the way people walked beside others, showing the face of Christ, helping them in practical ways, praying for other people. There are so many ways we can be involved in everyday evangelism. Everyday evangelism is one of the strategies in the Bishop’s vision for the diocese
The need for community is most profound when we try to bring about God’s kingdom a little more in our own backyard.
I can list countless ways in which I am like the Centurion who is being connected to Jesus through communities of friends: through those who pray for me.
But there is another list I want to make: the stories in which I am like the friends, the elders. I want to be able to tell you stories in which I have carried the faith and doubts and needs of others to the Lord.
I can think of a few stories. I have been known to pray for people, to listen to people. But I am thinking that list of stories is too short. What the tale of the Centurion is prompting in me this year is an impulse to pause and give thanks for those who have been there for me in my own life, and the commitment to be a bit more intentional about taking up the role of the friends who reach beyond themselves to bring their friend to Jesus.
I challenge you to do the same.
I am tremendously humbled to have been appointed Dean of Bunbury. I gratefully thank the Bishop and the Cathedral Chapter for having confidence in me to undertake this ministry of leadership. I am excited for what lays ahead, both for my own minisry in this place and the ministry of the cathedral.
On behalf of my family, I thank the Cathedral Parish and clergy for the warm welcome we have received upon our arrival. The work done on the Deanery is so appreciated. The new kitchen, patio paving and fencing is wonderful.
I want to acknowledge my predecessors Stewart and Sarah and for the wonderful work and ministry they have undertaken over the past few years. I especially thank Stewart for the progressive work he has done in defining the difference in roles between Cathedral Parish Priest and Dean of the Cathedral. The culmination if his vision and work was seen in the revised Cathedral Statute passed by Synod last year. For this foundation which he laid, I thank him.
I thank the Reverend Karon Austin, to be made Canon of the Cathedral today, for the locum work she has done during the interregnum. Karon has been preparing for my arrival over the past few months in so many different ways which has made the transition from one parish to another much easier. Thank you Karon for your kindness and friendship.
As I start my ministry here in the Cathedral I do acknowledge that it will be a period of transition. Periods of transition trigger a wellspring of emotions - from concern and fear to excitment and joy. But we recognise that in the mnidst of this transition, God is in our midst: attentive, caring, present. God tends us with patience and care, leading us in hope through the wilderness to the joys of the promised land. As part of this new beginning, I also recognise that I am not Stewart, and Stewart is not me. So I will naturally do things differently because I have been gifted by God in differnt ways to Stewart. Different is not worse or better. Different is just not the same. I pray that you will be gentle and forgiving with me as I learn what it means to be a Dean of a Cathedral.
God bless us as we begin this journey today together.
Each month St Boniface allocates a Mission to which our mission envelopes and donations are directed. We will be putting notices in the pewsheets and on the web to let you know where the money is going to be directed to and the work of that particular mission.
Our Mission of the month for June 2016 is Nungalinya College. Nungalinya is a Combined Churches Training College for Indigenous Australians. The College is situated in Casuarina, a northern suburb of Darwin, Australia’s gateway city of the North. Nungalinya College is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) under the Australian Quality Training Framework (AQTF2010) delivering Nationally Accredited Qualifications in the Vocational Education and Training (VET) Sector, NTIS number 0168.
Courses at Nungalinya are for Christian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) men and women. All students must be over the age of 18. All people wanting to study at Nungalinya must be sponsored by their church community. The College wants to help ATSI Australians be strong leaders, get good jobs and work well, and serve God in their church and community.
Nungalinya provides courses in the following areas:
Literacy and Numeracy courses aimed at assisting Indigenous people in their life situation and in their understanding of the Bible.
Theology Courses that address the unique nature of Aboriginality and Christianity. They are designed to develop personal faith and equip people for practical Christian ministry.
Music and Media courses that teach practical skills in recording and performance while developing discipleship and creativity for church communities.
Cross-cultural Awareness workshops that are available to non-Indigenous Australians who work with Indigenous people.
Nungalinya College has scope to deliver the following qualifications.
Certificate I in Education and Skills Development
Certificate II in Creative Industries (Media)
Certificate II in Music Industry
Certificate III in Christian Ministry and Theology
Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology
Indigenous people come from all over Australia to study at Nungalinya College. However, because of their location, the majority of students come from communities in the North, the Sea People, or from the Deserts of the Centre, the Desert People.
They have asked that we pray for them as well as support this ministry financially:
Pray for Jude Long as she teaches the first subject of the Certificate III in Christian Ministry and Theology in Alice Springs from 13-17 June.
Pray for wisdom as we experiment with offering the course in the Centre.
Give thanks for the volunteers who come and work at the college.
Pray for safety and productivity for volunteers arriving over the next month.
Pray for the staff as we finish off another very busy term – for good health, energy and enthusiasm for their work.
Pray for the move of AuSIL to the Nungalinya site that the renovations will be completed in time and the move take place smoothly.
Give thanks we have found weekend hosts from Term 3. Continue to pray for a new Development Officer and for Jude Long as she juggles the additional load until one is appointed.
Corner Parkfield St & Cross St Bunbury WA Ph 9721 3970
Cathedral open every day
Office hours 9.30am to 11.30am weekdays (except Wednesdays)