St Hilda's Anglican Catholic Church Service Times

You are invited to join us for Anglican Catholic Holy Communion / Mass on:
Every Sunday, Maitland NSW Australia. Venue: St Marys School Chapel in Victoria St. Mass at 11am.
Fr Matthew Kirby for further details.
Check here for any additions or cancelations of services.

Sunday 25 June 2023

New content on Youtube

First, we apologise that this site has not been updated for some time. For a while it was thought Facebook was the more important contact point, but technical difficulties made that unworkable and so it is time this weblog was given some more attention!

There is now a series of Apologetics and Evangelism presentations created by the Rector, including an introduction to this Parish, on Youtube. Also, each Sunday's sermon is still being uploaded to the same channel

God bless you all.

Fr M. Kirby, the Rector

Sunday 16 May 2021

Eastertide Sermons 2021

Note: Due to the Rector's travel to and from Diocesan Synod, there was no Mass or Homily for the Fourth Sunday after Easter.

Go to the Rector's channel for the five homilies for the period after Easter and before Pentecost.

Tuesday 29 December 2020

St John the Evangelist Sermon audio


Audio link: First sentence missing,"God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."

Sermon notes from Christmas Day


  • “Unto us a child is born” [Is. 9.6, in anthem].

  • +

  • Christmas is a time of wonder, awe and thankful worship. For we go back to Bethlehem in our hearts and minds to see God for the first time, not only in human vesture/nature, but as a helpless baby! The beauty of the vulnerable infant united mysteriously to the divine majesty.

  • Now, all babies are lovely and bring out affection in all but the worst people. And Jesus would have been the same in that regard. Yet, babies are also demanding: they are hard work, as they can do nothing for themselves. Baby Jesus was the same in this regard: utterly dependent on his parents, especially Mary. We have to take the less “romantic” aspects of newborns seriously in order to remind ourselves that he was truly human. “No crying he makes” is a nice line, and certainly Jesus would have been a “good baby”, as his human nature was faultless, but Jesus had to let his parents know when he was hungry or in pain somehow. And we can be sure he didn’t say “Mother, I need to be breastfed” as an infant! And, yes, nappies would have to have been changed. Jesus was a real baby. [Burped, carried. Not superman in diapers.]

  • Christmas then is a reminder that our faith is not merely a philosophy that teaches us wise sayings and tells us what to do to be good. Christianity is Christ himself. God has not just talked to us, he has acted in human history, even to the point of becoming one of us. The Word has become flesh, because we needed more than the light of truth spoken or written, for our hearing was dull and our sight dim due to sin. We needed the Truth to come and live among us and the light to overcome the darkness by shining in the midst of it. 

  • But even this would not have been enough, if the whole life of Jesus had just been one great long “object lesson”: a “fine example” for us all to follow. Yes, Jesus is an example to imitate, but he’s also much more. Indeed, we cannot imitate him until we have his life, his human (not just his divine) life, flowing through us. [We can become like him, because he became like us.]

  • So, Christians “get in and get dirty” and do many good deeds in the world, and don’t just sit back and think clever or holy thoughts. Why? Because God did! Yes, “it’s the right thing to do”, but we need more than ordinary, weak old conscience to explain the charitable works of Christians like Mother Theresa and St Francis of Assisi in the past and the millions of Christian volunteer-workers in the present. They are drawing on the strength of Jesus, the Incarnate God: the God who came down into our muck and mess, shared in our sufferings and gave himself completely for us.

  • And one major way we share in the wisdom, strength, life and love of the man Jesus (so we can be the sort of people who do these things) through the Sacraments. Physical, touchable things to create our bond with the physical Jesus. We connect to God through the humanity of Jesus.

  • And so we see that Jesus is our everything. He is the path and the bridge, as well as the goal we walk towards. He is our best friend, our brother, the human being closest to us; and our God. He is the teacher and the lesson. He is the priest and the sacrifice. He is the humble, sweet little infant of the First Coming and the all-conquering king of the Second Coming; our gentle Advocate and our fearfully holy Judge. O come let us adore him.

  • +

Sunday 29 November 2020

Sermon Notes from Advent Sunday

 "The day is at hand" +

In the Epistles of St Paul "the Day" often has reference to the return of Christ and final Judgement. Judgement is one of the main themes of Advent . And when St Paul first preached the Gospel, this theme was clearly present (Acts 17:31, 24:25). 

Does Judgement, from God's perspective, apply to what the world calls victimless crimes? Sexual impurity, drunkeness, envy/jealousy? Yes, as we see in today's Epistle. It's easier for people to see validity of judgement of sins against loving neighbour, but they inwardly rebel against the idea that God punishes the other sins, that they should even be considered sins at all. "No harm, no foul." However, their conscience can still prick them when they do these things, despite this attitude. Why? Where is the sin?

For a start, they are often not victimless, even in the conventional sense. And they are usually strongly associated with sins more obviously harmful to others. 

Drunkenness in one person often claims the life of another, or seriously injures them, as the alcoholically-enhanced road toll reminds us, and as do the scenes of drunken brawls, whether at schoolies venues, as we have seen recently, or elsewhere. 

Jealousy can seldom help but break out in gossip and back-biting. It is unusual for it to remain a purely hidden vice of the mind. 

The scandal of the abuse of children and minors by RC clergy is due to the same domino effect of sin. The abuses noticeably peaked between the late 60s to the 80s, but were below general community averages before and after this time. Why? They were partly the result of a dangerous change in the choosing and education of seminarians (trainee priests) that occured in the 60s. What was this change? The Church institutions relied on the advice of so-called experts on human sexuality. These experts didn't explicitly teach potential priests to abuse the young, nor did they instruct seminaries to choose paedophiles or ephebophiles. What they did do was teach seminarians and others that traditional sexual morality was foolishly restrictive and that pornography and seeking pleasure for its own sake were ok. And they counselled against allowing through men into the priesthood who they found believed in the classical teaching on these issues, labelling them as too rigid. And, too make things even worse, they told bishops they could cure the abusive clergy, while telling each other that the age of consent should be abolished. These experts based their beliefs on the work of a man called Kinsey. Kinsey, who deliberately set out to overturn concepts of sexual perversion, has been shown to have used scientific fraud to make such perversions appear much more common and therefore normal than was truly the case. And, worse still, he has been shown to have used at least one paedophile rapist, working even on infants, to get his data. He couldn't bring himself to stop at so-called victimless crimes. In each case, we find that the philosophy of the only bad sex is non-consensual sex (rape) leads to rape anyway. 

So, victimless crimes do in fact lead quite naturally to victims, offending against love of neighbour.

The second point to make about these sins is that love of neighbour not the only love. Love of God, love of self, are part of the great commandment. Human dignity is the missing ingredient in so many people's ethical thinking: the good life is not just about maximising feelings of happiness or pleasure and minimising feelings of unhappiness or pain. "You owe it to yourself" is an old saying. How can one sin against oneself? "You are not your own, you were bought with a price" (1 Corinthians 6:20). Twice-purchased, by creation and redemption. We belong to God. Self-destruction, self-dehumanisation is an insult to Him, a defacing and defilement of his work of art. Fulfillment of our humanity requires that the reason rules the passions, that the will governs instincts. It also requires that sexual faculties which are designed for creating new life, forming loving unions and sealing the mutual gift of the whole self in a marriage, are not squandered on mere pleasure for self. When we degrade ourselves, we defile God's image, God's gift of spiritual life.

The morality which denies all of this, and judges actions only on how they maximise pleasure or feelings of happiness in the greatest number, is utilitarianism or consequentialism. Why does utilitarianism-consequentialism fail? It cannot make any sense of purely internal sin, despite the essence of morality, of human goodness, obviously being dependent on motive. It cannot even explain why a bedridden man who has secret murder fantasies impossible to fulfill is being a bad man. Or why a hypocrital woman who is outwardly polite and "nice" to a colleague at work but inwardly despises her for her less fashionable dress sense, is being a bad person. Or why a child who chooses not to steal something only because they know they would get caught and punished, is not virtuous.

It is not enough to avoid inflicting pain on others, as essential as that is to goodness. It never has been.

The last point to make is that in itself, such holy Judgement would be Bad News for us. But it does not exist by itself! It exists in the context of the Gospel of Justification. Justification is the declaration of innocence based on forgiveness, the act of judgement that is actually mercy. A blessed paradox. The "good news" about Judgement? Grace, forgiveness, renewal, are freely available. Evil deeds are forgotten, it's as if they never occurred. Good deeds are enabled, prepared, given by God in Christ, but credited to us as if our own.

Thanks be to God. +

Links to Livestreamed Services in the year of COVID!

 Here is the link to the playlist of recordings and livestreams from 2020 at St Hilda's.

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Christmas Services 2019

Location: Chapel at St Mary's Campus, All Saints College, Maitland
Entry off Victoria St

Morning Prayer: 10.40 am
Mass: 11 am

  O come, let us adore Him.

Thursday 18 April 2019

Holy Week and Easter Services 2019

Maundy Thursday, 7 pm
Mass of the Last Supper, followed by Foot-washing, Stripping of the Altar and Prayer Vigil before the Reserved Sacrament

Good Friday, 10 am
Liturgy of the Presanctified with Veneration of the Cross, followed by a break for a Hot Cross Bun, then Stations of the Cross at 12 noon.

Easter Day, 11 am
Lighting of the Paschal Candle, Litany of the Saints, followed by Mass. Easter eggs blessed and distributed at the end.

Sunday 23 December 2018


Location: Chapel at St Mary's Campus, All Saints College, Maitland
Entry off Victoria St

Morning Prayer: 10.40 am
Mass: 11 am

  O come, let us adore Him.

The Catholic Faith and reverent Worship in the Anglican tradition.

Monday 22 May 2017


As a follow up to Dia's Baptism,
Last Tuesday saw a confirmation taking place at St Hildas.
Thank you to all those within our parish who attended,
as well as those who couldn't be there but still held Dia in their prayers, 
and a special thank you to our American guests

This image was taken during the ceremony.

Archbishop Mark Haverland, Dia Vikland and Father Matthew Kirby
pose for photo in front of the main altar at St Marys Chapel.

back row: Bill Kirby, Archbishop Haverland, Father Matthew, Father Jonathon
front row: Dia Vikland, Amy Corp, Clayton Foggin.

our American Guests:
Archbishop Mark Haverland, Father Jonathon and Clayton Foggin.

Monday 8 May 2017

from within

It is not fancy hair, gold jewelry, or fine clothes that should make you beautiful. No, your beauty should come from within you - the beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit that will never be destroyed and is very precious to God.
- (1Peter 3:3-4)

Thursday 20 April 2017

new Baptism

Easter Sunday 2017 was Dia's special day of Baptism.

Through all of life's ups and downs may
she always hold tight to God
and may the love of Christ shine through her.

As a newly adopted daughter of God
please welcome her into the Body of Christ.

Easter Sunday 2017 Photos

Palm Sunday 2017 Photos

Monday 27 March 2017

Don't Make Faith Harder

A thought for today:

"God gives faith; we don't. But we can do things that make faith harder for other people, and we must try to minimize those things."
(Quoted from Archbishop Mark Haverland)

Monday 20 March 2017

Dance before the Lord

I once heard the  physical gestures during the liturgy referred to as a dance of joy before the Lord. Each time I see the congregation cross themselves or bow at the knee or lower their heads at the name of Jesus I think of this saying and smile inwardly.

 If you didn't grow up in the traditional Catholic faith you probably won't be sure what the gesture of crossing yourself during the service is all about, or when you should or shouldn't do it. When I first became part of the church, I certainly didn't. Recently I was asked about this gesture and so decided to do a small write-up here that might be of assistance.

Firstly, there is a modern symbolic interpretation of the cross which I like. The vertical section (the up and down line) represents the transcendent, spiritual realm (the Father) and a horizontal section represents the immanent, physical earthly existence (the Son). When you cross yourself these lines are intersecting slightly above center at the point of the heart, creating wholeness (Holy Spirit) as God was made man. Pretty cool aye?

The sign of the cross (Latin: signum crucis), or crossing yourself, is a form of prayer and it isn't a ritual restricted only to Catholics. It is a way of marking ourselves as Christians and it is a visible expression of our belief and hope in God. It is a reminder to us of the Triune God and also recalls Christ's passion and death on the Cross for our salvation. The Sign of the Cross is probably the most often used prayer of Christians. Despite its simplicity, the Sign of the Cross is an ancient prayer rich in meaning. References to it appear in writings dating back to 240 AD, and it is believed that it was in use during the earliest days of Christianity.

Are you wondering how to do it? 
Well, there are 2 ways you can position your hand, both are symbolic.
1. Hold your thumb and first two fingers together to represent the Three Persons of the Holy     Trinity, and fold the other two fingers down against the base of your thumb to represent the Two  Natures of Jesus Christ (meaning He is fully human and fully divine).
2. With an open hand, where their five fingers remind them of the five wounds of Christ.

Anglicans, Lutherans, and Roman Catholics cross themselves using a Western Style. The direction they use is from the left to the right, representing Jesus’ descent into Hades (the left side) and His ascension into Heaven (the right side).
1. Touch your forehead
2. Touch the base of your sternum
3. Touch the left side of your chest
4. Touch the right side of your chest
5. As you cross yourself, say, whisper, or think: “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Now you know "how", but what about "when"?
Well, it is a custom to do this gesture when invoking the Trinity, before and after prayers and ceremony. It is also a stand-alone practice of asking God to bless oneself. Many Christians also make the sign of the cross when they hear the name of the Blessed Trinity. By observing other people in your church you can also get a feeling for times when it is appropriate. You can also cross yourself when you need to pray but you are at a loss for words. By tracing the cross on your body you are taking up your cross and following Jesus. Because we are called to pray non-ceasing, and the crossing of oneself is a form of prayer, I don't think there is any time when it would be inappropriate so don't worry about being the only one inspired to do the gesture at any time during a service.

What's that? you saw someone trace little crosses on themselves?
This is done before the Gospel reading at Mass.
To do this you use your thumb. 

1. Place the small cross first on your forehead
   (while saying the words in your mind "Christ be on my mind"),
2. then sign the cross on your lips
   (while saying the words in your mind "Christ be on my lips"),
3. then sign the cross on your chest
   (while saying the words in your mind "Christ be in my heart").
In doing this, we acknowledge our belief in the Word of God, our commitment to spread His Word in our daily lives, and our awareness of His presence in our hearts.

When we make the Sign of the Cross on ourselves, we are also expressing our belief in God and the Trinity, reminding ourselves of God's love for us, of the sacrifice Jesus made to give us eternal life, and of the presence of the Holy Spirit within us.

Hope this was helpful. God Bless.

( by Di Mathews: churchwarden /blog administrator)

Monday 6 March 2017

Love your sense of humour, Lord

We have entered into the season of Lent, a time where we try too deny ourselves of the flesh to make way for the spirit in becoming more of Christ. Today (the 6th day into Lent) I opened a book by David Pullar and the first story I read seemed so appropriate. I will share it with you. (Di Mathews)

"Love your sense of humour, Lord"

I love your sense of humour, Lord. It comes through in so many of your stories.

I can just see you watching that narrow gate in the walls of Jerusalem called "The Eye Of A Needle". Camels had to be unloaded and led through. Even a surcingle, a rope around the camel's girth, would catch and cause problems.

To the side is a prosperous merchant. The size of his girth testifies to his prosperity. I can see you picturing him outside the gates of the Kingdom Of Heaven with all his possessions. One by one they would have to be lain aside. Then off comes his cloak and each of his garments, till he stands as naked as the day he was born, except for his money belt around his middle. It catches as he tries desperately to squeeze through the narrow gate. Finally, he has to remove it and go "starkers" into Heaven !

Even funnier to me is the thought of the look on his face as he emerges in Heaven - not naked as he had left the outside, but clothed with radiant robes as a much loved son of God.

Lord, help me not to treat myself too seriously, but to "hang loose" for an easy entrance to your home.

(uploaded with permission from David Pullar, Illustration by Andrew Pullar)

Monday 27 February 2017

Ash Wednesday

will be at midday this Wednesday (1st March 2017)... 
Hope to see you there.

What is Ash Wednesday About ??
This holy day will mark the beginning of Lent, a 40-day season of fasting and prayer that is considered preparation for Holy Week and the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ on Easter Sunday.

Ash Wednesday comes from the ancient Jewish tradition of penance and fasting. The practice includes the wearing of ashes on the forehead. The ashes which are made from blessed palm branches taken from the previous year's palm Sunday Mass, symbolize the dust from which God made us. The ash is placed on their foreheads in the shape of the cross as the words from Genesis 3:19 are spoken: “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Although there is no Biblical reference to Ash Wednesday or Lent, scholars of Christianity date the tradition of a 40-day fasting period back to 325 A.D. Writings from the Second-century Church refer to the wearing of ashes as a visible sign of penance. They symbolize grief, in this case, grief that we have sinned and caused division from God.

Lent mirrors Jesus’ own 40-day period of fasting, described in the book of Matthew.

Thursday 16 February 2017

sacrificial payment and infinite forgiveness

The following is a transcript from an oral serman 
presented by Father Matthew Kirby to his parish.

Peter said unto Jesus, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Till seven times?" Jesus said unto him "I say not until seven times, but until seventy times seven”. (Matthew 18:21-22)

To see the full significance of both Peter's and Jesus' statements we need to know two things:

The first is that Peter would have considered his maximum allowance to be seven forgiveness's per person as fairly generous, it was after all more than twice as many the number given by respected Jewish religious authority. It says to forgive 3 times so peter had clearly noted Jesus' teachings that were previously given about forgiving others. 

The second thing we need to know is that the number Jesus has given implies unlimited forgiveness. If we were to keep a written tally of how many times we had forgiven somebody (how else could we keep track of it) and then  consign them to an allowed-to-hate-forever-more list-number-491 we would be missing the point. You can imagine it can't you? someone keeping a list, "okay that is the 244th time, you are almost half way to the limit you know". To keep such a tally in anticipation of the day we may give up forgiving would show that we had never forgiven them at all. The kind of love that forgives is the kind of love that keeps no record of wrongs (to quote Paul in 1corinthians 13). So what Jesus is saying is that it is a countless number of times. 

The other important thing to note about the number Jesus uses, is that it counters (or stands against) the same number used by Lemech in the book of Genesis. Lamech used this number as a measure of revenge. (Genesis 4:23-24) " Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, hearken to what I say, I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.”" (or 70x7 as it can be translated) And so this is a statement of revenge and he has revenged himself on somebody and he claims for himself without waiting for God something similar that has happened to Caine who had murdered his brother, God had punished him and said that no one can kill him or they will be revenged seven fold. So this fellow takes it upon himself to say "well if anyone has a go at me, they are going to be avenged seventy-sevenfold (70x7)". So Jesus is taking this particular verse (and what he says can be taken as either 70-times-7 or 77-times) from the Old Testament and turning it around (turning it on its head). That was about vengeance, this is about forgiveness. Jesus is deliberately contrasting unlimited revenge with unlimited forgiveness. 

In one commentary I read it talked about the unlimited revenge of primitive man, referring to that Old Testament example. I think it is safe to say that mankind as a whole is never outgrown its desire to go further than justice demands in seeking retribution. This is because love of justice is seldom if ever our primary motivation, fear and hatred tend to move us more than love of justice. There is many examples of this in our long and bloodied human history.   

When Jesus wants to underline limitless forgiveness he uses the parable in today's Gospel reading. In having told Peter to forgive seventy times seven or seventy seven times (uncounted times) he then goes on to tell a parable. In the parable we have a master forgiving his servant, then that servant NOT forgiving his fellow servant a debt of a much smaller amount. Again, it helps to know some of the historical context. The sum that Jesus mentions which this servant owed the Lord was 10,000 talents which is many millions of dollars in today's money. (The word talent, when used as a measure of money, refers to a talent-weight of gold or of silver. The gold talent is reported as weighing roughly the same as a person, and so perhaps 50 kg). This is almost like one man owing to total debt of a country, it was an astonishing amount. So this parable is deliberately using hyperbole because it is very difficult for a servant to owe his master that much, it is a huge amount. Then, what does the fellow servant owe him? a hundred denarius, now that is more than 3 months average wages. It is not a pittance, it is a substantial amount, yet it is so tiny compared to the previous sum. In other words Jesus in not saying "you have to forgive because what it is that you have to forgive is nothing". He is not saying that at all. He is saying "You may have to forgive a lot (the equivalent of Three months wages), but compare that to God and how He is forgiving you, the whole human race constantly and His forgiveness is unlimited". The interesting thing is that when this wicked servant (who was forgiven but would not forgive) tries to deal with the situation before he is forgiven, he says "Lord have patience with me and I will pay you everything." and that was an empty promise because he couldn't, he would simply be incapable of paying back millions and millions of dollars (or the equivalent). He was desperate. The response of his Lord was to have compassion, even though he knows this fellow is really fibbing and can't pay him back. 

But the King or Lord in this particular parable is not a direct analogy for God. It is a story we have to take on its own merits about an extreme example of a human situation. So the King is not necessarily equal to God. God wouldn't sell the mans whole family to pay off his debt as this King does later in this parable. We are meant to take this seriously as what would happen if humans behaved this way and then compare that to the way God would react to our unforgivness. As I have said before parables are not allegories, we can't say every single component in a parable stands in for something else directly, it is not that simple. Parables didn't work that way in the ancient world, they often had one or two points. You weren't meant to take every part of the parable and make it an analogy for something else. Indeed you might say that the parable is deliberately unrealistic in that we have a radical change in the the King's attitude and we have this ridiculous amount of debt, which was (even in those days) impossible for a servant to owe his master. However the massive debt does stand in for something. 

That massive debt is an analogy for how much God forgives us all for the weight of sin. There is a reason why God can not forgive the unforgiving. Because to not forgive when we are sinners is really not to repent from our own sin. The humble heart that seeks forgiveness is the same gentle heart that offers forgiveness. The two go together naturally. We need soft hearts in order to imitate Christ whose physical heart was literally broken, pierced for us on the cross. He who calls His heart meek, lowly, that is gentle and humble. One way to soften our hearts toward God and those who have hurt us is to meditate on the extent of Gods forgiveness of each and every one of us and on what it cost Him. 

So let us do that as we approach the Eucharist which is the memorial of Christ's sacrificial payment of our massive debt. It is the communication of Gods infinite forgiveness. 

In the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Spirit. Amen.

Monday 13 February 2017

True Love.

She had beautiful brown hair with a fringe and the deepest brown eyes. Her name was Pam. She lived next door, and we would walk to school holding hands. I loved her.

Then her parents moved away, and I never saw my beloved Pam again. At the age of six one seems to have very little control over one's parents and the course of life.

I recovered, then years later, I saw her - the girl of my dreams - Renee, blond, blue eyes and even curves where the glamourous movie stars had curves. She was fourteen. I was twelve. I adored her and followed wherever I could.

What hurt most was that she got this big kid to come and tell me to "rack off".

Ive learnt a lot about love since. It certainly never runs smoothly. Ive learnt that love and suffering are very much tied together. Ive also learnt that the moments of bliss and contentment and joy still make it worth the while to love, and be loved.

Thanks Father, for the gift of Love, and people to love. Thanks for the insights it gives into the way you love each of us, however different - but for ever.

(The above text is published with permission - 
from the writtings of David Pullar. Illustration by Andrew Pullar)

As I walk through each day 
you offer so many opertunities to practice love with my fellow man 
so that I may master what Love is, prior to standing before you. 
Help me to see the good in others 
so that I not only love those who are kind to me 
but also those who are not.

Allow me to glimpse at their potential 
and see them as you do, 
Remind me of my own shortcomings 
and the fact that you still love me 
even though my journey is yet to be completed.

(prayer by Di Mathews)

What is Valentines Day

This Valentines day I am working in a charity store whose policy is to be accepting of all people regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion or any other aspect of life that may be a topic of predudice. Part of its policy is not to sell items of any religious nature (not limited to Christianity). The interesting thing is that I was asked to create a "Valentines day" display in the store to market some of their products. It was made obvious our cultures ignorances regarding true meanings behind some of the celebrations it now takes for granted. Last year our blog ran an article about who St Valentine was. Once again I will run this legend.

This Saint Valentines Day when you are feeling all romantic and loving, step back from the commercial card rack and give a thought to the purpose of recognising Saints because Valentines Day wasn't invented to romance the opposite sex. Its purpose was to honour a Saint and to learn by his example. In the legends that developed about Saint Valentine he wasn't trying to win the heart of a young maiden, but rather he puts his dedication to his faith and love of God, followed by his love for and serving of others, above everything including his own safety. 

We are a bit lacking in the factual recordings of this particular Saint. 
However a lot of the early Saints do have legends that develop.

There are many legends behind Saint Valentine. Story has it that while under house arrest, because he defied the order of the emperor Claudius and secretly married couples so that the husbands wouldn't have to go to war. Soldiers were sparse at this time so this was a big inconvenience to the emperor. To remind Soldiers and persecuted Christians of their vows and God’s love, Saint Valentine is said to have given them hearts cut from parchment. Saint Valentine (who was a former Bishop) was challenged during a discussion about faith by Judge Asterius while under arrest. The judge insisted that Valentine prove his faith and the validity of Christ by restoring the eye sight of the Judges adopted blind daughter. If successful Asterius would do anything Valentine asked. Valentine laid his hands on her eyes and the child's vision was restored. Immediately humbled, the judge asked Valentine what he should do. Valentine replied that all of the idols around the judge's house should be broken, the judge should fast for three days, and then undergo baptism. The judge obeyed and as a result, freed all the Christian inmates under his authority. The judge, his family and his forty-four member household (family members and servants) were baptized. Valentine was later arrested again and had to face the emperor Claudius. Valentine tried to convert Claudius to Christianity, but Claudius refused and condemned him to death, commanding that Valentine either renounce his faith or he would be beaten with clubs, and beheaded. Valentine refused and Claudius' command was executed February 14, 269. Legend has it that on the day of his execution he left the girl a note that was signed “Your Valentine" as a farewell.

Let Us Pray,

O'Saint Valentine,
The lover of Christ and of the church,
we ask for your intercession
so that we may learn to love God above all things,
and to selflessly love one another.
O'Glorious Saint Valentine pray for us,
that we too may have the steadfast faith of the martyrs.

Almighty God, strengthen my faith.
Give me the courage to always place you first.
Fill my soul with the love of God
so that it may shine forth into the world.
Fill my heart with your love for man
so that I may serve them well according to your will.

Lord Jesus Christ... be my Valentine.

( by Di Mathews: churchwarden /blog administrator)

Thursday 9 February 2017

Big Bin

It's garbage day! The "Big Bin" has to be put out for the collection truck which comes in the morning.

Big bins are beaut! Big, so that they can take all our garbage - garbage from the kitchen and from the study, scraps and saw dust and shavings from the workshop, even weeds from the garden. But sometimes there is also the litter others have left - on the footpath, and thrown over our fence - all placed in the "big bin" and wheeled out on its own wheels to the side of the road.

Later that day - oh the miracles of this modern age - it stands empied, patiently waiting to be taken back to its place - to be filled again.

Lord, it seems to me that's what you meant when you taught us to pray, "Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us".

Only you, Lord, can take ALL the garbage of our lives - not just the wrong we have done - but ALL the wrongs others have done to us. It clutters up our lives till we wheel it out for YOU to take away - and then leave us with more room for your love.

Thank you Lord, for Garbologists - Human and Divine.

The above text is uploaded with permission
(from the writings of David Pullar, Illustration by Andrew Pullar).

"Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 
(Matthew11:29-30 RSV)

Help us to make our burden light so that our souls find rest. 
Lighten our hearts and thoughts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit 
and remind us to place the trash from each day where it belongs 
and not to litter our lives nor the lives of others with it. 
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. 

(Di Mathews, Church warden and Blog admin)

The Greatest is LOVE

The three most important things to have 
are faith, hope and love. 
But the greatest of them is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Monday 2 January 2017

Happy New Year

O IMMORTAL Lord God, who inhabitest eternity, 
and hast brought thy servants to the beginning of another year: 
Pardon, we humbly beseech thee, our transgressions in the past, 
bless to us this New Year, 
and graciously abide with us all the days of our life; 
through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Sunday 27 November 2016

Our Advent Wreath

What is Advent?

Most of us know that Advent represents the time before Christmas, and to many children it is a count down of how many sleeps until Santa arrives and presents appear under the Christmas tree. Did you realise though that Advent is actually the beginning of the Christian year, a time of waiting and preparation or the coming (Adventus) of Christ. 

The Advent wreath dates back to ancient celebrations of the winter solstice - that time in the year when the sun reaches its southern-most point in the heavens and the days are the darkest and most gloomy. Because they longed for the return of the suns light and life, the ancients stopped all usual activity, sacrificed the use of their wagon wheels and hung them up, festooned with lights and greens in their celebration halls. There they awaited the return of their sun-god, thinking of the warmth and life he brought. Celebrations culminated in the "nativity" of the sun -  the turning point of the year.

As Christians, we use the same meaningful custom to anticipate the feast of light and life: the nativity of the Savior. We add one light on the wreath for each Sunday in Advent, We think of the darkness after Adam's sin and watch the growing hope and light as the prophets and Virgin help us prepare for His saving birth.

Let us pray.

O Lord Jesus Christ, who art the true light that lightest every man that cometh into the world: Bless we pray thee, our wreath and its candles which we shall light in preparation for thy coming, and so enkindle our hearts with the fire of thy love that we may receive thee with joy and gladness, and evermore stand fast in the faith. For thou livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Each Sunday in Advent marked by lighting of a new candle on the Advent wreath of five candles. The three purple candles are coloured for the season. A pink candle is traditionally lit on the third Sunday in Advent, Gaudete Sunday, reminding us of the joy of the coming of Christ. The white candle, symbolises the presence of Christ and is joyfully lit on Christmas Day.

Symbols of Advent
  • The colour of our Advent altar -  purple, the colour of royalty welcoming the coming of Christ the King. Purple is also the colour of suffering used during Lent and Holy Week suggesting connection between Jesus' birth and death. The nativity and the Incarnation, are linked with His crucifixion. Jesus came into the world as the "Word made flesh" and lived among us to reveal God and His grace. He did this through his life and teaching, but also through his suffering, death, and resurrection.
  • The Circle Of Wreath - represents the eternity and endless mercy, of God, without beginning, nor end.
  • The Green of the Wreath - Our hope of newness, renewal and eternal life.
  • Light of the Candles - The Light of God that came into the world through Christ to bring newness, life and hope
  • Lighting the Candles - The progressive departure of darkness from the world as the more and more light is shed through the candles.
  • Four Outer Candles -  The four weeks of Advent, representing the four centuries between the time of the Prophet Malachi and the birth of Christ.
  • Three Purple Candles -  A period of waiting, expectation and preparation.
  • Advent Sunday - The First Candle: The Candle of Promise. A time of expectation and hope.
  • Advent II - The Second Candle: The candle of Light. The peace that is to come.
  • Advent III - The Pink Candle. The candle of Love. It symbolizes joy for the promise is almost fulfilled.
  • Advent IV - The Fourth Candle:The candle of Hope. The love of God for humanity.
  • Christmas Day - The white center candle: The Candle displaying the light of Christ. It is lit on Christmas Eve or Day to display that the light of Christ has come into the world in fulfillment of the prophecies.