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.

Monday 24 November 2014

The day I died.

"Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee" Deuteronomy 31:6  (KJV)
"And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed." Deuteronomy 31:8 (KJV)
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Colossians 3:1-3(KJV)

Forsake me not Lord, for without you I am but an emtpy shell.
Embrace me in my time of need, letting the peace of God settle in my heart.
Let the word of Christ dwell in me, teaching me wisdom.
For whatsoever I now do, I do in the name of the Lord Jesus,
so that I can sing with grace in my heart to praise my God.


Saturday 15 November 2014

Shod with the preparation

Sermon Summary for Trinity XXI 2014 presented by Fr Matthew
My brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
"your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace" +
What does St Paul mean by this? How is a soldier's shoe a "preparation"? What have the feet got to do with the Gospel, the good news?

He is referring to Isaiah 52:7. "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Therefore, the feet are the feet of a messenger in the prophecy. In the original context, the messenger is to God's people, and his message is the good news that God is returning [52:8] "Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." his exiled and scattered people to their homeland, out of the oppression of the Babylonians [52:4-5]. "For thus saith the Lord God, My people went down aforetime into Egypt to sojourn there; and the Assyrian oppressed them without cause. Now therefore, what have I here, saith the Lord, that my people is taken away for nought? they that rule over them make them to howl, saith the Lord; and my name continually every day is blasphemed." But the same chapter [vv.13-15]  foreshadows the overflowing nature of the prophecy, pointing to a servant "exalted ... very high", yet "marred more than any man" who shall "sprinkle [with his blood] many nations". In other words, this prophecy is directed finally at the Church gathered out of all lands and peoples, and at the crucified Christ.

So, we are to gladly proclaim our faith in Christ both to our fellow believers, for their encouragement, and to those yet to become so, to draw them in. Does this mean that we cannot be spiritual warriors unless we are evangelists, preachers? No, St Paul calls specific people evangelists, and notes that this is a gift for "some" [Ephesians 4:11], "And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;" not all, like every gift of the Spirit [1 Corinthians 12]. "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

But we must all be prepared to witness to our faith when the opportunity arises. That is why St Paul speaks of the "preparation" of the gospel of peace. The Greek word here is hetoimasia, meaning preparedness, readiness. It is based on the same root word as St Peter uses in his first letter, here: "Always be ready (hetoimoi) to give a defence to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with gentleness and reverence" [1 Peter 3:15] "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:". That translates to three obligations in this area.

One, outsiders should know that we are people of hope, because of what we do and say. Hence, our faith should not be a secret, even if we are not preachers, and our behaviour and attitude should speak hopefulness. They should sense something of another, better world.

Two, we should reflect upon our personal faith intelligently, and defend it with reasons. Christianity is not, contrary to common misconceptions, about believing things for no reason. Both our Lord and the Apostles and Evangelists often appeal to evidence, such as miracles and Creation itself [e.g., John 14:11, "Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake." Acts 1:3, "To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:" Romans 1:19-20 "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" ]. Interestingly, the Greek word St Peter uses that we translate defence is the same word that is the basis for the term "apologetics", the branch of Christian thought that is devoted to explaining the rational basis for our beliefs. Think about what led you to or strengthened you in our faith, and form your own "testimony". Read Christian apologetics and learn to utilise it. Know where to point people for answers when you're own limitations are reached, but pray that God will transcend those limitations as he works through you anyway.

Three, our defence should be with gentleness and reverence, which means it is a defence of truth without being a personal attack. We must strike the balance between being forthright and being sensitive, as both are necessary.

Let us then, as the Scouts say, "be prepared". We can't all be evangelists like Billy Graham or Bp Patterson (an Anglican missionary martyr) or St Francis of Assisi.
But we can all manifest and defend the Faith, and support one another in it.

Thursday 13 November 2014

Redeeming Time, Heartfelt Melody & A Sinners Hospital.

Trinity XX 2014, Sermon Summary from Fr Matthew.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Ephesians 5:15-21(KJV)
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. Matthew 22:2-14
"See then that ye walk circumspectly" +
There are 3 practical lessons for Christian living in today's Epistle and Gospel that I would like to draw out.
1. Redeeming the time:
To redeem time, as St Paul makes clear, demands wisdom and will. We must really think about what we do with our time. That does not mean there is no time for rest and recreation, but it does mean that we must ensure time is given to good works, and no time is wasted on foolishness or sin.

And it also means that we should plan ahead as best we can, and consciously allocate time, at least in a general way. How many of us say "I meant to do that, but never got around to it"? Well, in the same way that jobs often don't get done in communities unless a particular person is responsible for each particular task -- everybody's responsibility is nobody's responsibility -- our own tasks can remain like the end of the rainbow, never reached, unless we choose a specific time. Being organised, insofar as one can, is part of living a disciplined Christian life.

Of course, it would be just as silly in the other direction to make an idol out of a schedule, and refuse to be flexible in the face of life's surprises and others' unexpected needs. We do our best to redeem the time, but God is still the Lord of time.

2. Making melody in your heart to the Lord:
St Augustine it was, I think, who said that to sing hymns is to pray twice. Music makes it easier to remember the words, and brings a greater intensity to them. Find the Christian music you like the most, and listen to it. Then, as far as you can, sing it, even if only internally.

Note the St Paul says it needs to be in the heart. It may or may not also be on your lips, depending on circumstances and your confidence in your voice. But the beauty of the words of Christian hymns and songs can be utilised even without the music. So, use Hymn Books in your prayers! In addition to the Book of Common Praise, I have found the Book of Common Praise, for example, a wonderful and inspiring resource for prayer. It can also be a tool for meditiation. E.g., Litanies 677-682, Eucharistic devotions (and catechism!) 234, 241, biblical paraphrases such as 547. Get a good hymnal, and use it, with or without music.
3. Both bad and good:
People often complain about hypocrites in the Church, and there's no doubt they exist. They will then see this as a reason to dismiss the Faith. Even some Christians will use unworthy Church members as an excuse to push for a "purer" church, to limit membership as much as possible and declare that the unworthy are not really part of the church at all. They may even claim that a Church that acknowledges such "bad apples" as part of the fruit basket proves itself no church at all. But Jesus tells us in today's parable that even those who make it into the banquet, can end up being rejected, though it may take till the king arrives in judgement. Similarly, even lifelong communicant members of the Church can be outside the kingdom in their hearts and behaviour. There is no point using such people, or apparent examples of them, as an excuse to reject the Church. Jesus gave us fair warning. And, the fact is that the Church is obliged to give its flawed members the benefit of the doubt, and only overtly exclude those who manifestly and seriously act against its teaching in word or deed. Even then it is to reach out in the hope of reconciliation.

The Church is bigger than any merely human individual, good or bad. The Church, in its transcendental and fundamental identity, is the Body of Christ. But it's also a hospital for sinners, some of whom don't co-operate with their doctors or take their advice. Just like a normal hospital!

Accept the full reality. +

Sunday 2 November 2014

Prayers for All Souls Day

By Thy resurrection from the dead, O Christ, death no longer hath dominion over those who die in holiness. So, we beseech Thee, give rest to Thy servants in Thy sanctuary and in Abraham's bosom. Grant it to those, who from Adam until now have adored Thee with purity, to our fathers and brothers, to our kinsmen and friends, to all men who have lived by faith and passed on their road to Thee, by a thousand ways, and in all conditions, and make them worthy of the heavenly kingdom.
(prayer drawn from the Byzantine Divine Liturgy)
O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligence's, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfil their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: "Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, and rise in glory. Amen.
Join St Hilda's Parish
for Anglican Catholic Mass / Communion / Prayer / Worship for All Souls,
Monday evening 3rd Nov 2014 at 6pm.
St Marys Campus Chapel of the All Saints College,
Victoria Street Maitland NSW.

Prayers for All Saints Day

Almighty God,
who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of Your Son, Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow Your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen
Book of Common Prayer, 1979
God,  source of all holiness, you have given us all the saints, our brothers and sisters, as models of Christian life. Known and unknown, named and unnamed, they are gathered now around Your table in heaven, where they enjoy the company of Your Mother Mary; your angels and one another. As pilgrims on the journey of faith on Earth, they showed their love, friendship, and care for us' still assisting us on our journey may their prayers lead us at last to the joy of the Eternal Jerusalem. We ask this through Christ the Lord.
(Carlo Saraceni 1590-1620)

Friday 31 October 2014

This Weekend at St Hilda's

What's happening At St Hilda's Parish in Maitland?
All Saints Mass will be at 10:30am on Saturday 1st November.
Our usual Mass will be at 11:00am Sunday 2nd November.
All Souls Mass will be held at 6:00pm Monday 3rd November.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

An Invitation To Dine with Jesus

Sermon Summary for Trinity XVII 2014
(Gospel from Luke 14) as presented by Father Matthew Kirby

And it came to pass, as he went into the house of one of the chief Pharisees to eat bread on the sabbath day, that they watched him. And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go; And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day? And they could not answer him again to these things. And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them. When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the chief seat; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest seat. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest seat; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

"Sit not down in the chief seat" 

This is not new teaching, even in it's wording.
Compare it to: "Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen." Proverbs 25:6-7.

Yet Jesus does not refer
to the passage in the Old Testament here, unlike He has in other situations. It seems strange, especially when the point seems, at first glance, to be that you should pretend to be less, expecting to be treated as more. Is Jesus suggesting we practice false humility? What are we missing by interpreting it this way?

It's a wedding feast in the parable!
Unlike the feast he was at, unlike the context of Proverbs. Symbol of God's Kingdom in other parables. Christ is the true host. The chief seats may stand for those in authority (compare 24 elders in Revelation) or those of greater sanctity (the humble exalted are the virtuous exalted).
Thus, for the church, this means that men don't choose a vocation to Orders, they are called and chosen. Since none of them are actually worthy to be clergy, they must all first see themselves as faithful laity, accepting the gracious invitation to the wedding feast, the Eucharist. (Note that in the traditional Mass the priest says three times "Lord, I am not worthy ..." by himself before the people do it. Very appropriate that he should be singled out like this first, as a reminder!) And then, if it is God's will they are invited to take up pastoral duties. The Church has learnt: beware the man desperate to be a priest or bishop.

Regarding the other application of this parable, we should not see our progressive sanctification as the search to be special.
We seek God for His own sake, and let God be the judge of how far we have come.
A reminder that Anglican Catholic Mass / Holy Communion will be held in Taree
on Sunday 26th October 2014. Please contact Fr Matthew to confirm time and venue .

Sunday 19 October 2014

Sermon Summary For Trinity XVI 2014

O Lord, by these things men live, and in all these things is the life of my spirit: so wilt thou recover me, and make me to live. Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back. For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day: the father to the children shall make known thy truth. The Lord was ready to save me: therefore we will sing my songs to the stringed instruments all the days of our life in the house of the Lord.  Isaiah 38:16-20 (KJV)

"you have cast all my sins behind your back"
This, looked at in context, shows an ignorance of resurrection. There was a belief of a shadowy existence in Sheol after death only.

Some form of continuation after death was acknowledged:
So Saul disguised himself, putting on other clothes, and at night he and two men went to the woman. “Consult a spirit for me,” he said, “and bring up for me the one I name.” But the woman said to him, “Surely you know what Saul has done. He has cut off the mediums and spiritists from the land. Why have you set a trap for my life to bring about my death?” Saul swore to her by the Lord, “As surely as the Lord lives, you will not be punished for this.” Then the woman asked, “Whom shall I bring up for you?” “Bring up Samuel,” he said. When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out at the top of her voice and said to Saul, “Why have you deceived me? You are Saul!” The king said to her, “Don’t be afraid. What do you see?” The woman said, “I see a ghostly figure coming up out of the earth.” “What does he look like?” he asked. “An old man wearing a robe is coming up,” she said. Then Saul knew it was Samuel, and he bowed down and prostrated himself with his face to the ground. Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” “I am in great distress,” Saul said. “The Philistines are fighting against me, and God has departed from me. He no longer answers me, either by prophets or by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what to do.” 1 Samuel 28:8-15.

Much was unknown.
Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth?” Ecclesiastes 3:21.
Therefore, King Hezekiah gives thanks for cured sickness and continuation of earthly life, not knowing of any blessing after death. Is his prayer therefore simply mistaken, based on false premises? Yes and no. It has been included for a reason as a poetic prayer of a good king. One can be right unintentionally in God's Providence, even prophetically so.
He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, (John 11:51).

Sensus plenior (fuller meaning):
God does not abandon his people to death and Sheol, but redeems them from these, though they must walk the way of the Cross and pass through the gateway of death first. And what is the foundation of this redemption? The forgiveness of sins. Note the imagery for this forgiveness: our sins cast behind God's back by Him. In other places, Scripture says God remembers them no more. Metaphor, but the reality is unfathomable. God really treats sins as irrelevancies fit to be tossed aside upon forgiveness. Invisible to Him, as it were. Not forgotten, wilfully ignored. If we truly repent, He doesn't care anymore.
This is the great deliverance, the most powerful healing, that is connected to the final wholeness and restoration of resurrection. There may still be times of discipline and pain, and the requirement to reconcile with those we have sinned against, even after forgiveness. But none of that changes the enormity of it. If we are in a state of grace, we have freedom from the heavy burden of guilt, the knowledge that God sees us as cleansed and sacred to Him, and so we must see ourselves.
If we would be better Christians, let us first take completely seriously our forgiveness, our justification. This will encourage us, motivate us to thanksgiving in word and deed, and make sin more abhorrent to us. For once we set its evil against God's mercy at the Cross, we will not want to be so heartless as to take deliberate advantage of that gift, and treat it with contempt.
If we do knowingly fall into serious sin, let this thought bring us back to God with sorrow out of offending against his love, a sorrow that returns that love, and returns to that love. That is what theologians call perfect contrition, or just contrition instead of attrition, which is repentance from fear or something similar. Then, let us be willing to resort to sacramental, specific confession for the certifying declaration and sealing of God's glorious forgiveness. 

Wednesday 15 October 2014

St Bartholomew

Sermon Summary from St Bartholomew's Day, some weeks ago.

"Behold an Israelite in whom is no guile" +

The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. (John 1:43-51 KJV)

A saint known by two names.
Bartholomew is a patronymic (a name based on male ancestry), meaning "Son of Tolmal".
The other name he is known by is Nathaniel meaning "Gift of god".
Are you using your gifts to build God's kingdom as the Apostle did?

In the Gospel of according to John, Nathanael is introduced as a friend of Philip. He is described as initially being skeptical about the Messiah coming from Nazareth but nonetheless follows Philip's invitation. Jesus immediately appraises him as  a man in whom there is no deception.

"Can anything good come out of Nazareth?"
People forming Prejudice based on a place of origin is common. And it is true that places and cultures do have identifiable characteristics and tendencies that can be bad. Nazareth had a bad reputation which it may well have deserved, and was not mentioned on prophecy as being a source of the great. But prejudice is pre-judging before the facts are known. Judging an individual negatively based solely on where they come from is unjust and unreasonable. If Nathaniel had been content to rest in his prejudice, imagine what he would have missed! But he did not.

"Come and see."
The expression "come and see" is used more than once in this chapter. If we shine the light of Christ, we will be able to make the same kind of invitation into our friendships, homes and
churches, and thus bring people to faith. Similarly, people can be invited to meet Christ in the Gospels by reading them, to see for themselves who He is. But living contact at the personal level is very important.

"Behold, an Israelite in whom is no guile!"
The Apostle may have spoken unjustly, but our Lord respects his honesty. He's a "straightshooter". And, when he realises his mistake, as Jesus shows his miraculous knowledge, he immediately turns completely around and makes a great statement of faith. Would that all human beings were so quick to change opinions based on evidence, to move from unbelief to belief based on the evident truth of God's power and wisdom.

" ... the angels of God ascending and descending on the son of Man ..."
This is a reference to Jacob's ladder, a vision of the patriarch in Genesis. When the vision is over he calls the place he is in the gate of Heaven. Jesus is revealing that he is the gate of Heaven, the doorway to Divinity, the Way or path. Interestingly, Christians were first called those of "the Way".

Use your gifts for the good of the people of God. Be open to people as individuals, wherever they hail from. Be a straightshooter, but also honest enough to change when the truth demands it. And let us all walk-the-walk as well as talk-the-talk so that the invitation "Come and see" will mean something, so that those around us will encounter Christ, and through Him know the Father.

Christian tradition has three stories about Bartholomew's death: "One speaks of his being kidnapped, beaten unconscious, and cast into the sea to drown. Another account states that he was crucified upside down, and another says that he was skinned alive and beheaded in Albac or Albanopolis", near Ba┼čkale, Turkey.

The account of Bartholomew being skinned alive is the most represented in works of art, and consequently Bartholomew is often shown with a large knife, holding his own skin, or both.

The image at the beginning of this blog entry is a 14 feet high sculpture of St Bartholomew by Pierre Legros, from 1712.

This painting of St Bartholomew (on the left) is part of the "Last Judgment", from the fresco by the Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo done between 1536 and 1541.  Created on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, it depicts the Second Coming of Christ and the final and eternal judgment by God of all humanity, where the souls of humans rise and descend to their fates, as judged by Christ surrounded by prominent saints including Bartholomew.

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Link - reminder of the sacred signs

This weekend coming (first weekend of October) is a long weekend so stay safe on the roads if you are travelling...

Remember that this Sunday, 5th October, will also see "daylight savings" start and the clocks will be turned FORWARD one hour as of 2am.

Anglican Catholic Mass / Holy Communion will be held at 11am, at St Marys Chapel of the All Saints College in Victoria Street Maitland. Join us for prayer and worship.

LINK: Sacred signs and active participation at Mass.
The link above is an informative article by Rev, Cassian Folsom.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

After that ye have suffered

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Jesus Christ, 
after that ye have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you.

Join us at an Anglican Catholic Mass on Sunday for Christian prayer and worship. 
You will find us in the chapel of St Marys Campus of the All Saints College 
in Victoria Street Maitland NSW Australia.

Friday 15 August 2014

Bless Us Good Lord

God bless us.

Open out hearts and mind
to see the beauty and wonder of our Fathers creation.

Guide our choices and path through life
so that we may follow Christ's example.

Comfort us with your Holy Spirit 
when we are vulnerable and weak.

Protect us from evil, 
strengthening us in mind, body and spirit 
so that we may best serve our Lord.

Help us to find peace, hope and joy.

Sunday 20 July 2014

Fifth Sunday After Trinity

Above is a link to Father Ed Bakkers sermon,
were he reflects on Christian discipleship. 
What does it mean and what are we looking for?

Thursday 3 July 2014

Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory

Father Matthew Kirby during the funeral of Robert Mathews (Bob).
The Mathews family wish to thank all who attended or otherwise showed their support. Especially Neil who played the organ, and Mrs Sullivan for supplying refreshments, and Fr Matthew for giving Bob the perfect send-off.

Saturday 28 June 2014

How much do you love me?

I asked Jesus "How much do you love me?" He said "This much". Then stretched out his arms and died.

Wednesday 25 June 2014

"... As we endure pain and hardship of life..."

A reminder to everyone that Sunday 29th June Communion will be held at Taree
Contact Fr Matthew if you require details on time and venue.
God Bless.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Funeral service for Robert "Bob" Mathews

St Hilda's Anglican Catholic Parish will be holding a public funeral service for Robert Bruce Mathews (husband of Di, father of Zach and Athena) who passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack on Saturday 7th June 2014.

Everyone's welcome.

The funeral will be held Tuesday 1st July 11am
in the chapel of St Mary's Campus, Victoria St Maitland.

Saturday 24 May 2014

Sunday 25th May

Sunday 25th May, there will be no services held at Maitland, 
Father Matthew will be holding Communion at Taree.  
If you wish to attend and need information.
Email Fr Matthew Kirby for address and time.

Next week services will resume in Maitland. 
Join us at St Mary Campus of the All Saints College 
in Victoria Street Maitland NSW at 11am 
for an Anglican Catholic Church Service 
of prayer, worship and Holy Communion / Mass. 

The photo above shows a section of wall in our chapel

Thursday 22 May 2014

Archbishop Haverland visits St Hilda's

St Hilda's Parish of the Anglican Catholic Church in Maitland was honored with a visit from Archbishop Mark Haverland  on Wednesday 21st May 2013. 

The evening started with a confirmation followed by a parish dinner and then a presentation by His Grace.Thank you to parish member who attended.

 We pray that the remainder of the Archbishop and Morgan's visit to the Hunter Valley will be enjoyable (and that they will see "live" kangaroos before leaving Australia). By the end of the week they will be traveling over to New Zealand, we wish them a safe journey.

Photo was taken in front of the main alter at our chapel in St Mary's School in Victoria Street. (Left to right: Neil, Archbishop Haverland, Dianne, Father Matthew, Narelle and Tony)

Saturday 17 May 2014

Easter Sunday - What it means for us

The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. Then she runneth and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him. Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre. So they ran both together; and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre; and he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie; and the napkin that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the Scripture, that he must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. St John 20:1

"[H]e must rise again"

The Resurrection meant New Life for Christ as Man. He lived again after death, with a body that still bore the scars, but manifested new, glorious properties. He could enter rooms that had the doors shut, for example "And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you." John 20:26, just appearing.

But what about us? 

What does it mean for us? 
The very same. "Christ ... is your life" the Epistle teaches us. While we have to wait for our new bodies till the Day Christ returns, with Judgement and Cosmic Renewal in tow, the new life begins for us here and now spiritually.

However, unlike the divine and sinless Jesus we cannot produce it from within, we cannot manufacture this new life by our own efforts or earn it by our deeds. It must be received freely. It is a gift.

How do we receive it, then? 
Faith in Christ. Accept that He is who he said he was, Lord and Saviour. Acknowledge your sin, and that you need Him to take away your sin and renew you.  Trust the giver of the gift. In that act of trust, you are at the same time receiving the gift.

But then what? 
Life is activity. To be fully alive as a human being, (re-)created in God's image, is to choose and to do. Live the life. Grow the Resurrection Reality within. 
But how?
Living, penitent faith remains the foundation. In other words, faith in Christ is not just a beginning, it is a pathway, the ongoing condition/prerequisite of all progress.

But what else?

What kind and how it is prayed is secondary, just pray. Talk to God. Use the Prayer Books, use your own words.  Whisper, sing hymns, shout if you feel you have to, but pray.

The Word of God. 
It's not just about reading the Bible occasionally. Memorise and meditate. It's better to know small portions of the Bible like the back of your hand than just to have a passing acquaintance with much of it. Memorise some verses. It's better to read them in conversation with God, pausing to let the words sink in and work on us, than to never do anything more than read a chapter for the sake of reading a chapter. Meditate on the word.

The Church

Why do we need the Church? 
It is the Body of Christ, according to Scripture. In other words, we partake of the New Life in Christ's new Body in and through the Church. How does the Church enable this to happen? Sacraments, teaching, fellowship, worship "and they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:42. St John's Gospel teaches us that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us". And there is a sense in which He is still doing that through the Sacraments. Physical signs and means of spiritual grace. But the Church doesn't just celebrate meaningful, grace-filled ceremonies.
She teaches us from the Word of God and keeps us true to the Truth. And, through interaction with each other, we can and should strengthen one another in the Faith, in the New Life. Finally, the Church draws us into that summit of prayer and praise, the Mass, and allows us to participate in other holy services of worship as well.

(Note how Church helps with prayer and Scripture! We need its guidance, we were never meant to live in isolation as Christians.)
Again, as with prayer, don't worry too much about which ones. Give some thought as to how you can help the Church and the world, if you haven't already done so. Make an effort to do good. And give God the glory.  

And give thanks for his wonderful gift, the Resurrection Reality, increasing in it through prayer, the Bible, the Church and good works. 

Join us as St Hilda's Parish for weekly Anglican Catholic Church Service, Mass / Holy Communion / Eucharist, Prayer and Worship. 11am at St Marys School Chapel in Victoria Street Maitland NSW Australia. All Welcome.

Wednesday 14 May 2014

Prayer for the Synod 2014

Most of you would know that this weekends Sunday Service (18th May) is cancelled due to Father Matthew attending the Synod. Leaving for the long drive Thursday we pray that he travels safely.

Prayer for the Synod: -   Almighty and everlasting God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst preside in the Council of the blessed Apostles, and hast promised, through the Son Jesus Christ, to be with thy Church of the end of the world; We beseech thee to be present  with the 2014 Synod about to be assembled in thy Name, Save its members from all error, ignorance, pride and prejudice: and of thy great mercy vouchsafe so to direct, govern and sanctify then in their deliberations by thy Holy Spirit, that through thy blessing the Gospel of Christ may be faithfully preached and obeyed, the order and discipline of thy Church maintained, and the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour enlarged and extended. Grant this, we beseech thee, through the merits and mediation of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.   Amen

Sunday 11 May 2014

Invitation to meet Archbishop Mark Haverland

St Hilda's Parish wishes to invite you to a public meeting, 
with guest speaker Archbishop Mark Haverland. 
7:30pm Wednesday 21st May 2014.

The Archbishop will be making a presentation and answering questions about the Anglican Catholic Church. The venue will be The Molly Morgan Motor Inn's Function Center in East Maitland on Wednesday 21st May 2014 at 7:30pm.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Good Friday - Sermon Summary

 Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews: and they smote him with their hands. Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; and went again into the judgement-hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgement-seat, in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified: and they took Jesus, and led him away. And he, bearing his cross, went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew, Golgotha: where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross; and the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS.
This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am the King of the Jews. Pilate answered, What I have written, I have written. Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son. Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother. And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a spunge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to his mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath-day, (for that sabbath-day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him. But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water. And he that saw it bare record, and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe. For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken. And again another Scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.

"[H]e, bearing his cross, went forth"

We too called upon to bear our cross, by Jesus himself "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me" Matthew. 10:38. Whoever would follow him, must take up the cross. In the face of the terrifying reality of Christ's Crucifixion, this may seem an inconceivable task, a counsel of despair. Why does God ask so much of us? Has he not told us salvation is a free gift "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:23? How can we do this?

The first step is to accept the reassurance of Christ himself, who said to his Apostles at the Last Supper, the very night before the Crucifixion "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in me. ...If anyone loves me, he will keep my word; and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. ... Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you ... Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:1,27: Or as he put it more succinctly at another time: "Fear not. Only believe."

This trust in Christ's word leads to the ability to do what he wants because he has made his home in us. We are not alone, we do not bear our cross by ourselves. "Come unto me, all that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am gentle and humble in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew. 11:28-30 Of course, the yoke was not easy or the burden light for Him, as we remember today most especially, but precisely because of that, he makes it so for us.

So, that's the second step after letting go of fear: know and believe that "it is God at work in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure." Php. 2:13. He promises to give you sufficient strength for the task, if we follow the obedience of faith, and not to take you beyond your strength "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." 1 Co. 10:13.

The third step is not to try to guess the future, or the precise nature of your cross. We simply don't know enough of tomorrow to do this "Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." James 4:14. Many of the things we fear may happen never do, or God delivers us from the worst. We know the path of the cross will involve suffering, but we cannot know and do not need to know much beyond that. Don't waste mental and emotional energy on phantoms of what might or might not be. Take each day as it comes "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." Matthew. 6:34.

The fourth step is to choose to complete the path, to persist till the end, looking forward to the empty tomb beyond, with the inner vision of the Cross of Christ our companion. Never give up. Remind yourself of his Sacrifice, which is your hope. We see this attitude in St Paul: "And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings:" Philippians. 2:8-14.

"I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse that I may win Christ, And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."

And this passage answers those earlier questions. 
Why does God ask so much of us?
Is not his salvation freely given? 
For we see here that it is in knowing Christ by faith that we receive the free gift of righteousness, but also that this knowledge is in fact unity with Christ, with his Cross and with his New Life. We do not take up our cross to be saved, we take up our cross because have already become one with He who walked the Via Dolorosa, the way of sorrows. 

But his journey did not end there, and neither does ours.

How shall we take up our cross? 
Let go of fears and fearful fantasies about the future, 
trust in the Gentle One who holds us up and bears our burden, 
and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  †