Sts Francis and Clare, Melbourne: 3rd Sunday in the month – March 20, at Notting Hill. 11am. Available on the Web.
Mother Marion Gilchrist, Home Oratory. Melbourne: Weekly at 11am. Not on web.
St Raphael the Healer, Brisbane: 9.30am Queensland time, on Facebook.
The Upper Room, Adelaide: Each Sunday, as advised
Other Communities: As advised.
The Work of Church Renewal
St Francis of Assisi was specifically called to the ministry of renewal in 1205, as Jesus spoke the words to him, “Francis, can’t you see? My Church is in ruins. Rebuild My Church.”
We understand 'Church renewal' to mean the art of rebuilding ancient ruins. These 'ancient' ruins' are the range of gifts given to the Body of Christ which have become forgotten, lost, neglected or wounded. The ruins we see today may include:
The Work of Personal Self-Renewal: Keisha Blair
1. Take a Personal Inventory
“He who knows others is wise; He who knows himself is enlightened.” — Lao-tzu (604–531 BC) Chinese Philosopher.
The very first step in taking a personal inventory is to survey your valley — are you standing with mostly dry bones? That failed relationship, depression, divorce, the business that failed or the career that never took off. These can physically, emotionally and spiritually consume our very existence and block any hope of self-renewal or personal growth.
A personal inventory that explores our deepest thoughts will bring to light:
Negative Thoughts (Harbouring the Valley): How much of our days are spent harbouring negative thoughts that block opportunities and blessings;
2. Little Gratitude: How much of our day is spent pitying our personal situation with little thought or recognition of the small blessings on a daily basis;
3. No Forgiveness: How much have we really forgiven ourselves and others for past hurts and missed opportunities; and,
4. Misplaced Priorities: How much of our attention and effort is placed on actually achieving our personal mission or our goals.
Prayer, meditation and your intuition are also key in setting the direction in your life.
2. Set the Direction of Progress
“Life isn’t a train ride where you choose your destination, pay your fare and settle back for a nap. “It’s a cycle ride over uncertain terrain, with you in the driver’s seat, constantly correcting your balance and determining the direction of progress”. — John.W. Gardner
Many great leaders are considered great because they did something almost no one else believed was possible — they literally set the direction of progress for generations to come. They didn’t focus on just having a career or a job — they had a vision and a mission. For self-renewal, it is critical to refocus and set the direction of progress in your life. A new commitment to new priorities will also help keep hope alive.
Setting the direction of progress is the act of setting your goals and vision for your life. However, this isn’t about attaining position, fame and power — as the be all and end all. These goals should embody service to humanity and making the world a better place.
“Only a life lived in service to others is worth living”. — Albert Einstein
3. Renew your Hope & Motivation
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope”. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hope and optimism drive us forward to achieve our goals. It is that fierce optimism that can withstand all shocks, all mistakes, all barriers — that is needed for self-renewal. It is standing in the face of relentless obstacles and finding a pathway to succeed. Many extraordinary individuals employed fierce optimism, above all.
Winston Churchill almost single handedly kept hope alive for the Western world in the early days of World War Two when Hitler’s rule over Europe seemed unstoppable. He instilled hope with his words when almost everyone else had lost hope. Churchill decided he was going to stand up to Hitler even if no one else stood with him (for that first year of WWII, almost no one stood with him).
Similarly, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jnr, kept hope alive for millions amidst the degradation, and abuse of individual, and institutional racism. He did this by setting the sights of his followers on a better day. He helped them imagine a land where people were not judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.
These great leaders set dreams much broader than themselves — their goals were bigger than generations after them could have even imagined. Their hope and optimism led to some of the greatest movements of our time and transformed humanity to become better, stronger and more resilient.
4. Spiritual Transformation
Transformation is a process, and as life happens there are tons of ups and downs. It’s a journey of discovery — there are moments on mountaintops and moments in deep valleys of despair. — Rick Warren
Spiritual transformation is fueled by a growing awareness of the reality of the soul. There is a conscious commitment to a life of self-discipline and active service in the world. Spiritual disciplines such as meditation, study and service become habits of daily living. It becomes less about personal ego and worldly achievements.
“We can’t all get to the top, and that isn’t the point of life anyway”. — J.W. Gardner
Spiritual qualities such as compassion, wisdom, and inclusive love take center stage. Spiritual self-renewal means relinquishing your old limited identity and becoming something more expanded, powerful, and closer to your true self.
It is not enchained by what others think — or society’s dictates about what encompasses success (e.g. money, job-title etc.). With spiritual transformation, the focus of your life has gone through an evolution- its not focused on the valleys anymore — it’s now focused on turning those valleys into mountaintops — through serving humanity and achieving happiness in the now.
The transformed soul asks — what can I give to humanity? rather than what can humanity give to me?
“I know of no great man except those who have rendered great services to the human race”. — Voltaire
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); Rt Rev 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)