Galatians | Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards, culture change and the law

A truly child safe culture is the work of the Holy Spirit. (Listen.)

As many of you know, I’ve spent much of the last two weeks grappling with Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards. These eleven standards will come into effect on 1 July, and replace the seven standards which currently apply to every organization which works with or involves children. The new standards are highly detailed and prescriptive; even the Short Guide runs to over 40 pages, with dozens of dot points of required actions and documentation. Now, I’m not a lawyer or a policy wonk, but nor am I an idiot. Yet working through these new standards and drafting the necessary policies and other documents has very nearly crushed me. Continue reading “Galatians | Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards, culture change and the law”

Proverbs | Wisdom for changing times

Divine wisdom is found in liminal spaces: and is confident, creative and relational. (Listen.)

I have a confession to make. For a pastor, it’s a biggie, and it’s this: I don’t know where the church is headed. When Sanctuary began, we had a pretty clear path: gather up hungry people and establish regular habits of all-age worship and meals so that they could be fed: a program described behind my back as ‘boot camp’. But then the pandemic hit and two years of lockdowns—a third of our life together—blew everything out of the water. Continue reading “Proverbs | Wisdom for changing times”

Revelation | A vision for the church

Imagine a church like the holy city: full of light, open to all peoples, rooted in the gospel, and overflowing with love. (Listen.)

A few years ago, I went to the Southwest Roadshow. There, LGBTIQA+ folk, allies and agencies listened to and learned from one another about the needs, resources and gaps in the region. I was there as an observer, at the invitation of friends. But to my surprise, one of those friends then introduced me to the gathering and told everyone about Sanctuary. Continue reading “Revelation | A vision for the church”

IDAHOBIT | Wenn’s story: The truth shall set you free

In Acts 11, Peter doesn’t argue with the Jerusalem Council about whether or not Gentiles are acceptable to God. Instead, he simply tells the story of his meeting with Cornelius and friends, and how he observed the Holy Spirit at work in their lives. In similar vein this IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia), I’d like to introduce you to one of our beloved Sanctuary folk, Wenn, whose faithfulness shines through in the following testimony. Wenn writes: Continue reading “IDAHOBIT | Wenn’s story: The truth shall set you free”

Revelation | A liturgical reading (My little finches)

A bleak day, a cosmic conversation, a liturgical identity – and consolation. (Listen.)

I was feeling despondent so I went for a walk when I came across a flock of red-browed finches. They were darting back and forth across the path, cheeping merrily at each other. And they said to me, ‘Learn from us! Look how happy we are in our little flock, flitting between sun and shade.’ And I said, ‘But where is my little flock? I don’t know anymore. And I seem to be stuck in the shadows.’ Continue reading “Revelation | A liturgical reading (My little finches)”

Prayer stations

Last week, Donald shared a story about a child who turned up at a service to light a candle (here). Using physical objects such as candles to symbolize prayer is an ancient practice, and one that we at Sanctuary used to do. For the last two years, however, in accordance with government guidelines requiring that we minimize movement and have no shared objects, our prayer stations have been packed away. But now that restrictions are easing, it’s time to reinstate them. Continue reading “Prayer stations”

A child walked in

Alison is on leave until Monday 2 May. In the meantime, here’s a little god-moment which happened to Donald on a recent Tuesday. He writes: 

I was ‘filling in’, presiding at the 5.00pm service at the local Anglican church. It was a Tuesday, with a congregation of three present. The Gospel reading of the day, according to the lectionary the rector uses, was Jesus putting a child in the midst of the disciples. Continue reading “A child walked in”

19 | totally loved #Lent2022

Isaiah proclaims, “God called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb God named me.” (Isaiah 49:1b)

[W]hen I asked Taj if he could remember a time in his life when he felt totally loved and affirmed as his authentic self, he told me about an experience he’d had in his UCCC congregation: The first Sunday I went back to my church after I came out at trans, I just remember standing in front of the table full of name tags, and staring at my name tag and thinking, “I can’t put that on.” Continue reading “19 | totally loved #Lent2022”

A tender shoot of love and justice

Jesus embodies ancient hopes for justice, nonviolence, and peace between all peoples. As people grafted into this righteous branch, we must embody these qualities, too. (Listen.)

So it’s Advent: a paradoxical time-slip in which we look forward to the coming of the one who was born, and lived, and died, and was raised, and lives among us now. It’s a time of anticipating more than ever God’s kingdom come. It’s a time of hopeful expectation of a world turned rightside up, a world where love and justice reign, and vulnerable people are raised up, and the arrogant are cast down. Continue reading “A tender shoot of love and justice”

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