Sts Francis and Clare, Melbourne: 3rd Sunday in the month – February 20, at the home of Mother Gilchrist. 11am.
St Raphael the Healer, Brisbane: 9.30am Queensland time, on Facebook.
The Upper Room, Adelaide: As advised.
Other Communities: As advised.
January was a demanding month for our small church. One priest passed to higher glory. A new bishop was consecrated and two new priests were ordained.
The Revd Dr Joan Wilkinson
The Rev Dr Joan Wilkinson passed beyond this world on 9 January 2022. Her funeral was held at St John the Beloved LCC on Tuesday 25 January and we are grateful to the Vicar, the Very Rev Fred Shade, for his complete support throughout the whole ceremony – during, before and after. Many spoke fondly of Joan’s qualities and their affection for her.
Joan was ordained a deacon in the Liberal Catholic Church International on 19 July 2018 and a priest on 30 May 2019. She maintained a solitary ministry in the Oratory of St Julian of Norwich, Berwick, praying for the world. Julian has written in her Cloud of Unknowing: “And therefore, you who set out to be as contemplative as Mary was, choose to be small under the wonderful height and worthiness of God, these are perfect, your own humble status is not, it is imperfect. Which is to say: look more to the greatness of God than your own smallness. For nothing can defile the humble, nothing physical or nothing spiritual. For those who have God have all they need, those who have Him need nothing else in this life” (Chapter 23).
A New Bishop and Two New Priests
The Right Rev David H Jones was consecrated as a bishop “in the church of God” on the 29 January 2022. The Rev. Vicki Jones and Rev. Marion Gilchrist were ordained as priests on the following day, 30 January 2022.
The earliest church leaders consisted of apostles, prophets and teachers. By the end of the first century AD, this structure had begun to change into a hierarchy of bishops, priests and deacons. At the end of the second century Saint Ignatius of Antioch wrote various letters making a strong plea for a committed ministry in this form, further arguing that such an order safeguarded the teaching of the apostles, and thus of Christ himself.
Assuming the ministry of bishops and deacons (only), St Paul advised Timothy that: “If any man aspires to the office of bishop, he desires a noble task. A bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher, no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and no lover of money. He must manage his household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way, for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God’s own church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may be puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the slanderer. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, or he may fall into reproach and the snare of the slanderer.” (1 Tim 3: 1-7.)
The Liberal Catholic Liturgy states that: “It appertains to a bishop to consecrate, to ordain, to offer sacrifice, to anoint, to loose and to bind, to baptize and to confirm, to preside, to interpret and to judge.”
In the Liberal Catholic Liturgy service for the Ordination of Priests, the bishop still describes the priest as “consecrated to this office as our helper”. But he is then more explicit, suggesting that the specific role of the priest is “to offer sacrifice, to bless, to preside, to loose and to bind, to anoint, to preach and to baptise”. When the Holy Spirit is imposed, the bishop says: “Receive the Holy Spirit for the office and work of a Priest in the Church of God; whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained.”
The consecration was held at the Chapel of St Peter’s Lutheran College, Brisbane. The setting, and the school itself, were rich and privileged, as was obvious when one drove past the local state high school. St Peter’s was Bishop David’s old school and he felt extremely blessed to be consecrated in this large and beautiful chapel by myself and the Rt Rev George Cuffe of the Orthodox Catholic Church of Australia. (Anyone who is interested in the OCC is encouraged to read Geoffrey Ginn’s book Archangels and Archaeology and, more especially, to visit the Abby at Caboolture, Queensland.) The day was extremely hot. Because the consecration service is long and complicated, it was my aim to keep it simple. In line with my commitment to Franciscan simplicity, I did not wear a cope, I wore the mitre as little as possible, and I wore sandals on my feet. Despite this apparent informality, Bishop David was properly consecrated and is now enthusiastically seeking to build up the ISCC locally and more widely. He is a man of deep piety, excellent administrative skills, and possessed of a wonderful friendly nature.
The service for new priests was held in a little wooden church at Hemmant. This was a much smaller venue, far more intimate. Bishop David assisted in the service, proud of his Vicki. For Mother Marion, it was the end of 41 years of waiting for her call to the priesthood to be finally answered. The Liturgy speaks of the “sweet but heavy burden of the priesthood”. It concludes: “Since it has pleased our Lord to call you closer to himself, forget not the service of your brothers and sisters, which is the golden pathway to His most glorious presence. Freely you have received, freely give.”
We thank Fr Robert Moore for his wonderful musicianship, Presbtyr Brenden for reading the epistle for the day, and Deacon Michael Holford for his services as crozier-bearer. Dcns Vicki and Marion were dutiful servers.
The great Saint Bonaventure’s humble manner of living was on display when the Pope elevated him to the role of Cardinal. The papal couriers carrying the official proclamation and “red hat” found Bonaventure at one of the friaries in northern Italy. When the couriers arrived on the scene, Bonaventure, the Minister General of the Order, was occupied washing the dishes after a meal. The courier’s formal announcement was followed by the presentation of the red hat. Bonaventure thanked him, asked him to set the hat on the table (or on a rose bush in another account), and said he would attend to those things as soon as he had finished washing the dishes.
Mullah Nasruddin had been working in the fields all day long. He was tired and sweaty and his clothes and shoes were covered with mud and stains. Because he had been fasting all day long, for Ramadan, he was also quite hungry. But finally, it was almost sundown and Nasruddin knew that he would soon be able to eat.
The wealthiest man in town had invited everyone to come break their fasts in his home that evening with a huge feast. Nasruddin knew that he would be late if he went home to change his clothes before heading into town. He decided it was better to arrive in dirty clothes than to be late. Oh, what a party it would be! What a feast! As he walked to the wealthy man's home, Nasruddin imagined the delicious foods that he would soon be eating: dates, lentils and chickpeas, olives and bread, hummus, falafel, chicken and beef — and best of all — the desserts — halvah, date rolls, figs and baklava!
When Nasruddin arrived, the wealthy man opened the door and looked Nasruddin up and down scornfully, from his worn, ragged clothes down to his muddy shoes. Without a word of welcome, he gestured for Nasruddin to come in and walked abruptly away.
Nasruddin joined the throngs of people, who were all dressed in their finest clothing. The tables were laden with all sorts of delicious foods: dates, lentils and chickpeas, olives and bread, hummus, falafel, chicken and beef — and best of all — the desserts — halvah, date rolls, figs and baklava!
Despite his efforts to hurry, the seats were all taken and nobody tried to move over or make a space for Nasruddin. In fact, nobody offered him food. He had to reach over and around people to get any food for his plate. Nobody spoke to him. It was as if he wasn't even there.
The other guests ignored him so completely that Nasruddin could not enjoy the food on his plate, no matter how finely prepared and how tasty it was. In fact, after only a few bites, Nasruddin was so uncomfortable that he decided to leave.
He hurried home and changed into his finest clothing, including a beautiful coat.
Nasruddin returned to the feast and this time the host welcomed him with a huge smile. "Come in, come in," greeted the host. As Nasruddin entered, people waved and called to him from all corners of the room as they invited him to sit near them and offered him food.
Nasruddin sat down quietly. Picking up a plump fig, he carefully placed it into a coat pocket, saying, "Eat, coat, eat." Next he took a handful of nuts and put them into the pocket, saying, "Eat, coat, eat." Now he began to feed his coat in earnest, grabbing all sorts of foods.
He fed the coat lentils and chickpeas, olives and bread, hummus, falafel, chicken and beef — and best of all — the desserts — halvah, date rolls, figs and baklava!
Nasruddin became silent as they watched this strange behavior. Soon everyone in the room was staring at Nasruddin, wondering what he was doing. The host hurried over. "Nasruddin, whatever are you doing? Why are you feeding your coat in this manner?"
"Well," replied Nasruddin, "when I first came to this feast in my old farming clothes, I was not welcome. No one would speak with me. But when I changed into this coat, suddenly I was greeted warmly. So I realized it was not me that was welcome at this party, but my clothing. And so I am feeding my coat."
The Inclusive Sacramental Church of Christ
Presiding Bishop: Rt Rev Harry Aveling. Vicar General: Bishop David Jones.
St Francis and St Clare, Melbourne: Pastor: Rt Rev Harry Aveling.Priest: Marion Gilchrist.
Deaconess Roberta Howard; Servers: Peter Howard, (Reader); Noel Wyndom.
Singers: Robyn James; Marian Quartly
Community of St Raphael the Healer, Brisbane: Rev Vicki Jones (Priest); Bishop David Jones.
The Upper Room Adelaide: Rev John Coles; Rev Raymee Chau (Subdeacons).
Western Australia: Rev Fr Neil Blay.(Priest)
TISCC, Auckland: Rev Jerry Sullivan (Deacon)
Lumen Ecclesia Christ, Malaysia: Mr Felix Cheah (Graduate Seminarian)