Greener Grass - A Pastoral Note from Jenny
I can do what you can’t do; and you can do what I can’t do. Together we can do great things.
During the last week I heard from a colleague that they were feeling unsure of what they had to offer the Church in the current environment. It reminded me of me! Many years ago (in a galaxy (or at least a state) far far away) a group of colleagues with whom I met monthly identified “Imposter’s Syndrome” as a real thing that threatened our sense of value for our own ministries. We would look with awe and wonder at what the others in the group were doing, and recognise that we could not do those things. What we were less able to recognise was that we were all looking at each other and thinking exactly the same thing.Read more
What Can We Learn from Bamboo? A Pastoral Note from Jenny
The story of the Chinese Bamboo Tree: a little seed is taken, planted, and then watered and fertilised for a whole year. Nothing happens. A second year of watering and fertilising, and still nothing happens. The third year of watering and fertilising, and then a fourth year - still nothing happens.
In the fifth year, the seed is still being watered and fertilised. And then sometime during the fifth year, the Chinese Bamboo Tree sprouts and grows eighty to ninety feet (that’s 24-28 metres) in up to six weeks (which is about the height of a six or seven storey building). In the first four years, when nothing seems to happen, the bamboo is busy developing roots underground so that will be strong enough to support it when it grows so rapidly in the fifth season.Read more
#WATCH Intro to Live & Laid Back w/ Liu & Andrew
Live & Laid Back is all about unearthing the powerful and uplifting stories of the Church in order to extol, edify and encourage its members. There is a lot of talk of the church in decline, that it's "dying". But the work of our Church, its members, its young people, its congregations & Presbyteries would say otherwise! This series is here to support you and perhaps teach you something new in your walk with Christ and your journey of discipleship.Read more
Pastoral Note from Jenny
Who is it that can make muddy water clear?
But if allowed to remain still, it will gradually become clear of itself.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
I have been intrigued and inspired over the past week or so as I have listened to people share how they are looking after themselves through this season of physical isolation and multiple restrictions. While each person’s way of participating in self-care is unique, there are many similarities that have been emerging.Read more
We Will Not Go Back to Normal - A Pastoral Note from Jenny
“We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment. One that fits all of humanity and nature.” - Sonya Renee Taylor
No Us and Them
Panic buying, self-isolation, hand sanitiser – even working from home are all privileges vast numbers of people around the world and certainly in Australia, do not have access to.
The COVID-19 pandemic will impact people that live in poverty, be it in Kings Cross, Sydney or Alexandra, Johannesburg far more than those with economic stability and access to health care.
The impact this crisis is having around the world, where self-isolation is a myth, where there is no choice to work from home and where health systems are struggling is heartbreaking. The level of human devastation that will be caused is not yet properly understood.Read more
The Other Side of Easter - A Pastoral Note from Jenny
“Leadership therefore is not called Christian because it is permeated with optimism against all the odds of life, but because it is grounded in the historic Christ-event which is … a dramatic affirmation that there is light on the other side of darkness.”
Henri Nouwen: The Wounded Healer (76)
Well, here we are on the “other side” of Easter! I know there are many who were feeling very stressed in the lead up to the Easter services, with big questions around how it would all go. I also know that there are many people feeling stressed now that Easter is over, raising questions of “What now?” and generally, genuinely feeling anxious about how to engage in post-Easter life in and with our Congregations or other settings. I’d like to take the opportunity to share with you all an observation and a brief reflection arising from what I have been noticing.Read more
Easter Note from Jenny
“I remember a story about a Rabbi during a natural disaster.
He was asked how he could explain such a tragic act of God.
The Rabbi answered that the disaster was an act of nature.
The act of God occurred when people stepped up to help each other.”
(Meme wisdom from Facebook)
Well, we are in the midst of Holy Week. A week of high stress and anxiety for Jesus’ followers as they rode the foreboding rollercoaster from the entry into Jerusalem with crowds singing Hosanna! through the upheaval in the temple and a final meal together. Of course, as we know, the week ended with Jesus on a cross then in a grave. It was the end.Read more
Value of The Home
I spent several Sundays ago walking through the lanes of Ultimo, flipping my gaze from house numbers to the blue dot on Google Maps, on my phone. I had been invited to lunch by a resident of Ultimo and a friend to MustardSeed Uniting and Harris St Centre. We’d met several times over coffee before, sometimes with another staff person, sometimes with a Uniting or UCA person, always chewing over community organising, church and climate change. This time I was invited over to lunch, at her place.
Standing in her house wasn’t geographically unique to the situation – we were perhaps only around the corner from any establishment we could have been to. But it was unique to be standing in her house; I felt the joy of it, leaning against the door jam of her kitchen, listening to her as she stirred the pot of pasta she was making us for lunch.Read more
Pastoral Note from Jenny
A friendly reminder: “doing your best” does not mean
working yourself to the point of a mental breakdown. (Source unknown)
Perhaps the “new normal” is starting to settle in for some of us now? Maybe the frenetic activity is slowing down? Or maybe we don’t notice that happening for us yet? I think something that I am learning – again – is that it’s ok to feel confused and overwhelmed. It’s ok for my feet to be paddling furiously underwater whilst on top of the water it looks like I’m gliding gracefully. And I am aware that you might be feeling pretty much the same.Read more