Category Archives: Notices

Mid-week encouragement for you

Dear Friends,

I know from experience that maintaining a worshipful/prayerful life over the long hall can be difficult, especially in isolation – like any discipline. Some of us may feel like we’re flailing in our Sabbath observance and personal prayer. Or maybe we are wading through feelings of dryness, boredom or pointlessness. 

Take heart! Such experiences are natural and part of the journey towards deepening faith. In fact, spiritual teachers through the ages suggest that the closer we get to God and the real in our lives, the greater the resistance and challenge. As I’ve discovered, such seasons can provide a wealth of wisdom and insight if we are prepared to delve into them, especially with a spiritual companion. 

Whether your current journey of prayer has been difficult or joyful and freeing, I thought you might appreciate a mid-week word of encouragement. So, this from John O’Donohue (Irish priest, poet and author):

Prayer has to do with breathing. The way we were taught to pray was almost exclusively cerebral. We confined our prayers to inside the shell of the cranium. It is conceivable that one can have thousands of holy thoughts and holy words about God within one’s mind and yet be totally away from God.

…To pray is to come into presence. It is about leaving the heavy emotional, cognitive and ideological baggage outside the door. When you sit down and come into the presence it is then that you are most your self. This presence is the nearest thing to us. Simply by being still and silent, by coming into the stillness of your own heart, you will find the God that is waiting there within you for your arrival home.

And to help us get out of our heads as we open ourselves to Presence, this beautiful choral piece by a young, talented pianist composer Ola Gjeilo accompanied with photographs. Best heard with headphones on and in stillness: 

In peace,

Christine

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church

92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:   (08) 8295 1771
E:   [email protected]

Home Worship 31 May 2020

Dear Friends,

This Sunday the Uniting Church observes both Pentecost Day and Reconciliation Sunday. I have woven both themes into this week’s worship resources. Often in the church’s experience, Pentecost is a day filled with the noise and rush of wind, fire, and voices speaking in a variety of languages. Of course, that won’t be the experience for most of us this year. But rather than sensing a lacking, I wonder what the Spirit might be saying to us through the quietness and stillness this time affords us?

It occurs to me, in fact, that Reconciliation requires silence and deep listening more than anything.

A few weeks ago, I was introduced to an Irish artist who wrote and sings a song entitled “Dadirri.” Some of you may be familiar with this word from the First Peoples in Nauiyu (Daly River, Norther Territory). Dadirri can be translated deep listening, but it is so much more. Elder Miriam-Rose is a well-known educator around this word and way of being. 

You may be interested in hearing this beautiful song: 

© 2017 Luka Bloom (IMRO/MCPS Ireland)

and/or learning more about Miriam-Rose and Dadirri: 

as part of your worship and nurture this week. 

The Home Worship Guide for this Sunday is available here and the Reflection in Solitude is available here.

Peace be with you,

Christine

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church

92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:   (08) 8295 1771
E:   [email protected]

A Gardener’s Wisdom

Dear Friends,

Awake in the wee hours of the morning – either from too much caffeine or the stressful sense that life is starting to shift again – I spent time with Sr Mechtilde from the Benedictine Abby in Jamberoo where I am an oblate. The Abbey has created a few videos in which in leu of being able to offer retreats, some of the sisters share a message for this time. The most recent one is from Mechtilde, the gardener at the Abbey who grew up on a farm in Northern NSW. I think they are all worth viewing, but today I would like to share Mechtilde’s and offer a couple of questions for consideration – an impromptu mid-week reflection.

As she shyly offers her insights, Mechtilde makes potting mix using stuff gleaned from around the beautiful Abbey – dry matter, green matter and fertiliser. If we listen deeply, we can hear in her gestures and instructions principles for life. 

You can watch the YouTube video below:

Some questions that come to my mind and on which I’ve been reflecting:

  • What has become “dry matter” in my life in these months? In other words, stuff that once had purpose of which I wish to let go?
  • Even as we are beginning to emerge from our solitude, what might it look like for me to enter the dark season of winter? (shedding, moulting, resting from the “supply and demand”)
  • What seeds are being planted by God in the potting soil composted from the stuff within and around me?

I wish you well in your continued journey.

Peace,

Christine

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church

92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:   (08) 8295 1771
E:   [email protected]

Home Worship 24 May 2020

Dear Friends,

I pray this email finds you well. Though the weather has turned autumnal and rainy, the lifting restrictions in South Australia mean some are getting out more and perhaps welcoming others into our homes.

One thing [my husband] Sean and I have added to our Sabbath worship beyond the written guide is recorded music. Before we begin, I choose a couple of songs to play as we gather and between the meditation and prayer. For us, music is a profound way to pray and I have valued its inclusion. 

I’ve heard from some others the ways you are making these resources your own. Some include candle lighting, conversation with your partner, journaling, or scattering the elements over the days. I’m pleased to hear how you are following the promptings of the Spirit.

The Home Worship Guide for this Sunday is available here and the Reflection in Solitude is available here.

Peace to you,

Christine

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church

92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:   (08) 8295 1771
E:   [email protected]

Home Worship: Ascension Day Thursday 21 May 2020

Dear Friends,

Coming mid-week, Ascension Day (Thursday 21 May) is something that often goes largely unnoticed by us––save for a possible mention of it on the Sunday following. But this year is different, obviously, and the emailed worship resources gives me the opportunity to provide a simple reading and prayer for this day. You might wish to engage this liturgy sometime on Thursday. Click here for a copy.

In many ways, Ascension Day has special relevance for us this year I think. As we move through stages of reopening in Australia, some activities will be introduced while others will remain closed. For example, we may be able to eat in restaurants and play in parks, but not be able to gather for worship. It is an in-between time of continuing transition much like the time between resurrection, ascension and Pentecost Day for the first disciples.

May we know God’s peace as we continue to make our way through what my ministry colleague Jenni Hughes calls the messy middle. May we wait patiently on the Spirit.

Peace,

Christine

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church

92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:   (08) 8295 1771
E:   [email protected]

Home Worship 17 May 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope this email finds you happy and healthy. 

In the Christian calendar, we are slowly making our way through the Season of Easter towards the Day of Pentecost. This Thursday we celebrate the Ascension of Jesus followed by one more Sunday in Easter. How have you experienced new life in these weeks?  

As I continue to email worship resources to you, I encourage you to consider how they might be most helpful to you in your Sabbath practice. Again, this is not meant to be homework! Something to get through. If something moves you, feel free to stay with it. If you want to save something for later, return to something in the week, or add more silence, by all means do so.

May these weeks continue to bring gifts we are able to notice and savour.

The Home Worship Guide for this Sunday is available here and the Reflection in Solitude is available here.

In peace,

Christine  

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church

92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:   (08) 8295 1771
E:   [email protected]

Home Worship 10 May 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you this email finds you well. I have seen more of you around Glenelg the last two weeks which speaks of our growing confidence to be out. 

Following a meeting between Church leaders in South Australia and the Premier, we received word from Moderator Bronte Wilson that the Synod Crisis Management Team will meet on Monday. Church Council will keep you informed as we are given guidance from the Synod and make decisions for the well-being of St. Andrews. 

Attached you will find the resources for this week’s Sabbath worship. I thought I would try to introduce them again with a video. The beautiful gladiola in the background is from Jennifer who cut it from her garden and brought it in for me on Wednesday. Jennifer said it is popping out early as it usually appears for Pentecost which is still a couple of weeks away. Maybe it’s a sign!

You can view the video here if you like: https://vimeo.com/416239695

The Home Worship Guide for this Sunday is available here and the Reflection in Solitude is available here.

Peace be with you,

Christine

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church

92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:   (08) 8295 1771
E:   [email protected]

Home Worship 3 May 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you are staying well even as the weather has taken a wintery turn this week.

Once again I have attached a guide for your worship and my reflections on the Gospel reading. What I seek to provide are suggestions only. This is not homework! If you find yourself entering a fruitful conversation with God as you ponder the scripture reading, by all means, stay there. If you want to save part of this offering for some time in the week, that is your option. 

My hope is that we will allow the Spirit to guide us in our worship and prayer practices. It is one of the gifts of this time when we are unable to worship corporately.

Please feel free to let me know how you are travelling. What is rising for you as you worship? What experiences and encounters are you having? I would love to hear from you. 

The Home Worship Guide for this Sunday is available here and the Reflection in Solitude is available here.

In peace,

Christine

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St. Andrews by the Sea Uniting Church
 
92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:    (08) 8295 1771
E:    [email protected]

Home Worship 26 April 2020

Dear Friends,

As we enter week five of our isolation and distancing, I hear a mixture of emotions and responses––often from the same person! Many appreciate the greater simplicity and slowness, a rest from the busyness of life. But many are beginning to struggle with so much time with oneself (and family members) as well as missing some of the activities that bring meaning and purpose to our lives. 

In my experience, it is in this intersection of life that the Spirit is able to do great work in us. This place of disease and discontent––painfully, so at times––and a heightened awareness of the most important things, the grace, is the stuff which God uses to illuminate the way to abundant and eternal life. 

I’ve been re-reading Thich Nhat Hanh’s classic work Living Buddha, Living Christ. In the chapter “Faith and Practice,” he speaks of the tools that help us cultivate the soul. Like a farmer who has tools to prepare, nurture and harvest a crop, so practitioners of faith use prayer and meditation to cultivate our hearts and consciousness, seeking to grow the fruit of God within ourselves for the world. 

My hope is that what I’ve provided for you in these weeks as well as the other tools for prayer and meditation you’ve been finding will enable you to make good use of the stuff being unearthed for you in this time.

The Home Worship Guide for this Sunday is available here and the Reflection in Solitude is available here.

May peace be with you on the journey,

Christine 

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St Andrew's by the Sea Uniting Church

92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P:   (08) 8295 1771
E:   [email protected]

Home Worship 19 April 2020

Dear Friends,

As the novelty of our self-isolation settles in and, having received news on Thursday that this way of being will continue for at least another month, perhaps we are beginning to experience new thoughts, feelings and reactions. The energy that may have gone into setting things in place and figuring out how to be has passed. Even the sense of crisis has diminished somewhat. 

As with week four of any new habit—such as an exercise routine or change in diet—it can be tempting to loosen our discipline or shy away from too much self-knowledge. Concentrated time with ourselves and family members can be revealing! But as any trainer or doctor would assure us, sticking with the program will bear results and transform our efforts into gifts for life.

For this reason, I hope to encourage us to continue in our worshipful practices—whatever they might be. It may be getting more difficult now to set aside time for Sabbath. So, let us covenant again to a time together-apart in which we rest in God, recall the gifts of our lives, experience gratitude and joy, and hold all that we are in the light of Love.

Finally, here is an introduction to this week’s resources for those who wish to view it: Greetings from Rev. Christine Gilbert 19Apr20. The Home Worship Guide for this Sunday is available here and the Reflection in Solitude is available here.

I’m exploring how best to share a video greeting like this and I can tell I haven’t chosen the best tools. Please forgive me! Hopefully I’ll improve. I found it works best if you allow a few seconds for the video to upload before playing.

May the peace of Christ be with you,

Christine

Rev. Christine Gilbert
Minister of the Word
St. Andrews by the Sea Uniting Church
 
92 Jetty Road, Glenelg SA 5045
P: (08) 8295 1771
M: 0400 151 691
E: [email protected].com