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When I first started at Oak Flats Anglican back in October last year, I was quick to try and find out if my new church had its own mission statement.

A mission statement is simply a short and pithy sentence that describes just what it is that any particular organisation is on about. In other words, it’s kind of like a mini ‘job description’ for the whole organisation, something that tells us what we should and shouldn’t be doing.

When I had a look around, I couldn’t find one.

But that’s fine. It’s not essential. It’s useful, but it’s not the end of the world if we don’t have one.

So, my assumption is that the mission statement of my new church is actually the same mission statement as the whole Anglican Diocese of Sydney… which goes like this:

“To glorify God by proclaiming our saviour the Lord Jesus Christ in prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, so that everyone will hear his call to repent, trust and serve Christ in love, and be established in the fellowship of his disciples while they await his return.”

I’ve got to tell you… I really love this mission statement. It’s a bit of a mouthful, but it really sums up just what we should be doing as Oak Flats Anglican Church.

But how do we personalise it? How do we at my new church make it our own?

Well, this week I put down my thoughts in an article I wrote for a new online ‘Christian thought leadership’ website called Communitas.

It’s called ‘Recycling a Mission Statement’, and I’d be interested for you to read it and give me your thoughts.

And as you finish reading it, you’ll see why my church will need to get working on our ‘values’ as a church… sometime soon in the future!

Tonight I successfully moved this amendment in Sydney Synod:

“Add the following words at the end of the motion–

and requests that before the book is published, the Archbishop’s Liturgical Panel further develop the four services of the Lord’s Supper to accommodate the contemporary practice of using multiple cups and common words of distribution by the minister.”

Here was my speech:

Mr President,

Jodie McNeill, Oak Flats Parish.

I rise for my maiden speech in the house, seconded by John Woodhouse.

I propose an amendment to the motion concerning the new ‘Common Prayer’ liturgical resource.

My amendment simply asks the Archbishop’s Liturgical Panel to develop the four services of the Lord’s Supper in our new prayer book to accommodate the contemporary practice of using more than just one ‘cup’ during the Lord’s Supper.

My amendment does not prescribe the exact details of those changes, but grants the Liturgical Panel the opportunity to simply include an explanatory comment in the introduction, or perhaps even better, to make changes in the rubrics, the red words of instruction to the minister.

For some parishes, this motion will simply mean that the new prayer book will reflect the fact that multiple chalices are currently used during the distribution, for the sake of efficiency.

For other churches, this proposed amendment will mean that our new prayer book accommodates the current, accepted practice of using multiple, personal cups during the service.

This practice currently occurs for several reasons.

Firstly, we provide multiple, personal cups for reasons of health and safety; many people choke at the idea of a hundred people drinking from the same cup.

Secondly, we provide multiple, personal cups for the care of those for whom alcohol is inappropriate or harmful, such as those with an addiction, or for children.

Thirdly, we provide multiple, personal cups to enable every participant to drink their cup at a common time, a powerful way for a congregation to express their unity in Christ, despite having separate, individual cups, or multiple chalices.

In relation to this third reason, I propose we ask the Liturgical Panel to have the new prayer book accommodate the preference of a minister to say one, common, word of distribution for the whole congregation.

Friends, the purpose of this new prayer book is to help keep our liturgy fresh by reflecting the appropriate development and the continuing reformation of our church practices.

I believe my amendment will update an anachronism in the service of the Lord’s Supper as it stands in the current version of this document, so that we might instead have a fresh, new prayer book that reflects the widespread practice in our churches of using more than one cup at the Lord’s Supper, and the preference of some ministers to lead the whole congregation to drink at the same time.

I commend this motion to the house.

As you may have read in previous posts, we’re moving church, house, school, and that’s because I’m leaving Youthworks and heading off to be the Senior Minister at Oak Flats Anglican.

To try and lead the family through this time of change, we’ve worked hard to keep communicating well with our kids, and praying regularly with and for them all.

With this in mind, I wrote an article for the Growing Faith website called Leading your kids through change, to help share our strategies with others.

By now, some of you may be aware that I have written two chapters in the new book, ‘Youth Ministry on the Front Foot’, edited by Zac Veron.

In the book I’ve written on two areas of youth ministry that have been key points of my teaching and training over the years.

Firstly, I wrote the chapter, ‘How to make your youth group fun and fulfilling’.

The main principle is that our ministry should be structured, participatory, applicable, dynamic and engaging, and that we should avoid using entertainment to make the Bible seem less boring.

Secondly, I wrote a chapter called ‘Think Dual-Action.’

The main principle here is that we should aim the whole youth program at both believers and unbelievers, and avoid the error of running separate youth activities aimed at either believers or unbelievers.

These chapters are only two of the 35 within the book, written by Mike Everett, Eugene Hor, Cameron Hyslop, Ron Irving, Sarah Macken, Dave Miers, Ken D Noakes, Murray Norman, Scott Petty, Graham Stanton, Zac Veron and Kylie Williams.

Overall, I reckon the book is worth reading if you’re involved in youth ministry and would like to develop your skills and hone your strategy.

Now, the good news is that if you haven’t yet got yourself a copy, I’ve been able to organise a mate’s rate… for my online mates.

You can take 20% off the purchase price (not the shipping cost) of the book for any purchases made through the CEP online store from 01 to 30 June 2012.

Simply click on this link, and enter the code JODIEMATE when you checkout your purchase.

I’ve written an article for Growing Faith about the controversial issue of whether or not it is good to bring kids along to funerals.

For a long time, this practice seemed to be either discouraged or even taboo.

But in my opinion, having children at the funerals of people they love can actually help them learn and grieve.

For more, read my full article, ‘Should you take children to funerals.’

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