Category Archives: Church

It’s Sunday

So I’ll share something I enjoyed from “Stuff Christians Like”.

This one is by a guest blogger, Aaron Summers. It’s Could Star Wars actually be about the early church?

For example:

Han Solo – The brazen one who often acts and speaks before thinking. This is the Apostle Peter. He is conflicted at times between the Jews and Gentiles but settles in to a leader position.

Hmmm. That’s a start.

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Posted by on March 3, 2013 in Blogs, Church, Uncategorized


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What promises? Baptism, then silence.

A hard thing. The promises you make at a baptism, whether it be for yourself or the child you are presenting, are solemn promises. They’re not some glib fibs to be tossed away at the slightest inconvenience. The good thing is that the church, whichever denomination you join, is there to support you and uphold you, to give you help in trying times when your baptism promises seem too heavy or hard to keep. That’s one of the reasons we think of the members of our congregation as brothers and sisters in Christ. Your brother and sister should never betray you or leave you in difficult times – and your brother and sister in Christ should be the same, giving you a shoulder to lean on, or directing you to the best place for assistance.

I would rather see this as an opportunity for the church, and I think that many churches now try to do so. Education of the parents, some of whom may not have attended church since they were married. Encouragement, inviting them to come for a one-year anniversary service afterwards, inviting the whole family to family occasions at the church, just for starters.

St Peter’s Lutheran Church Elizabeth pastor Chris Mann said he urged parents to think seriously about the spiritual promises they made in baptism – and to first enrol in a course that explores Christianity.

“I now actively discourage parents from making those promises if they don’t intend to keep them, to the point where I’ve had a family not get their child baptised because I’ve told them about the promises they’re making to God and themselves,” Mr Mann said. […]

Mr Mann said many parents saw a christening as “a social celebration rather than a religious event”.

“We’ll still baptise but we tell the parents that for us, it’s like having someone become part of your family and then say to you they don’t ever want to see you again,” he said.

This is something that many churches won’t dare to say for fear of frightening off potential baptism candidates, I suspect.

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Posted by on January 12, 2012 in Church


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A little girl writes to God

And why not? Though I bet she and her father didn’t think that the Archbishop of Canterbury would send her a letter.

Lulu Renton was asked to write the following letter: “To God, How did you get invented?”

Here is the link to +Rowan’s reply.

A thoughtful reply, one that gives us insight into +Rowan’s thoughts and theology briefly, and one with grace and love.

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Posted by on May 3, 2011 in Blogs, children, Church


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There’s a strange feel about the Christmas season for me. I get all excited looking toward the birth of Jesus, and then by 26th December, I really don’t want to sing Christmas carols in a church service. That’s it, turning from 25th to 26th December. This year felt a bit odd since there was a Sunday service after the Saturday Christmas service. We had things to do so I didn’t get to church on the Sunday and strangely, I didn’t mind one bit.

I went to St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne for the first Sunday of the new year, and the Christmas carols had abated somewhat. The visit of the magi was the focus of the sermon. Quite a change over the years from “Yay! Kings visited!” to “Hey, these were magi and don’t get fooled by that carol about we three kings”.

This post by Nadia Bolz-Weber made me think more about this season, including how we may have read a story but we do not necessarily *know* it.

We are familiar with the big star shining above the top of the manger scene. But know that this light, this star which led these magi to the Christ, is a light that shines for you too. This light which points to God shines for all of humanity: Samaritans, magi, tax collectors, high priests, Herod, and the people who put Santa and swine in creche scenes.

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Posted by on January 14, 2011 in Church


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On the “oh cute!” side

DD was in the mood for Christmas carols tonight. She listened to the tinny, high-pitched electronica coming from her little Christmas tree, then I suggested that I could play some on the piano and she could have a bit of a practice before we sing on Christmas Day at church. She agreed (a miracle in itself considering that she has wailed mightily for years every time I try to play the piano) and she dragged a chair beside me.

While we went through The First Nowell and other well-known carols, she was particularly taken with Love Came Down at Christmas, the Christina Rossetti poem set to the tune of “Hermitage”. She la-la-la’ed along to the music, tinkled away on the highest notes of the piano, and demanded 3 encores. Here’s hoping that someone puts this on the list at one of the church services we attend.


Posted by on December 10, 2010 in Church, Music


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The music of God

Read here the op-ed piece from Jack Marx about The Terrible Music of God. Terrible as in bloomin’ awful, and maybe also evoking the ability of music to elicit thoughts of the awe-someness of God.

I freely admit to LOVING traditional church music. I attend an Anglican church – have done so for many years. At some point I was going to a Presbyterian church which had solid music, a much-loved and used church organ (two manuals, 2.5 octaves for the pedals, a decent selection of stops and pretty good acoustics). Now I happily attend a church that calls the communion service a mass, that celebrates the beauty of music and gives it up as an offering of worship to God, and my daughter and I really enjoy it. We sing (well, I sing more than she does – she can’t read so there’s a problem with hymn words), DD doesn’t cry during the music and she has a feeling of ritual as well.

Why would I mention this? After all, didn’t I spend time in Baptist churches, and didn’t I teach at a pentecostal school? Well, Baptist music has changed a huge amount over the past 25 years. What’s sung in what was my grandmother’s local church bears absolutely no resemblance to what I knew when I attended it, and when my nanna would go there. The organ is in mothballs. The choir stalls are never used. I’m surprised they’ve kept the baptistry. After all, wouldn’t that be a way cool place to put the drum kit? As for the pentecostal school, the less said about their music the better. I will keep to one comment: if the chorus wasn’t good the first time you sang it, it definitely won’t improve after you sing it for 6 or 7 times.

DD and I attended a church that had a lovely congregation. Welcoming, interested in the Word of God probably more so than the sacrament of communion, keen on outreach through their much-appreciated and -supported charity shop and lunches. But the music made DD cry. I’m not being facetious here like “Your music makes baby Jesus cry”. I really mean that DD would start to sob, tears would run down her cheeks, she’d bury her face in my jacket and say “I wanna go!”

I tried so hard to work out what was going on there. She didn’t seem to do that with old hymns which was a relief. Graham Kendricks’ music made her bawl. Anything with the ‘twisting of the heart-strings’ chord progressions a la much Hillsong made her sob. Things that were out of tune made her cry. The list was getting longer.

That’s when we moved church. The sobbing child has been replaced by one that is happy, cheeky, and sometimes wriggly. i.e. a normal four year old child. She cheerfully goes to Sunday School. And maybe, just maybe, her angst about singing will reduce enough to allow her mum to be in the church choir next year.

And to show that I’m not a total curmudgeon about modern music, here is a link to The Gaelic Blessing by John Rutter. If you go here you’ll find more MP3s of Australian choirs conducted by Michael Griffin, including modern compositions.


Posted by on December 9, 2010 in Child Development, Church, family, Music


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