Category: Organisations


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.

It is with a sense of great joy and honour that today I announce that I have accepted the invitation of the Archbishop of Sydney to become the new Rector of the Anglican Parish of Oak Flats.

Oak Flats is located around half an hour south of Wollongong, near Shellharbour and Albion Park on the shores of Lake Illawarra.

After ten years with Youthworks serving in youth ministry training, discipleship, outdoor ministry and writing, I am delighted to have the opportunity to return, with my family, to a parish-based ministry in a local church.

We will be leaving Youthworks and our current home, church and school at the end of September, and will begin at Oak Flats at the start of October.

We would be delighted if you could pray for me and Mandy, and for our children as we prepare for many changes, and that God will ready us for our new role in the future.

Please also pray that God would prepare the members of the church at Oak Flats, as they get ready for a new stage of ministry together.

Finally, please pray for everyone who lives in Oak Flats and the wider Shellharbour region, that God would be kind to use the combined ministry of the McNeill family and the Saints of Oak Flats Anglican to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to those who are perishing without him.

Details of our commencement service will be available shortly.

 

The other day, as I trained a bunch of youth and children’s leaders at my church, I was vividly reminded of the impact that youth leaders have on the teens in their group.

For many years I’ve trained youth ministers and leaders about the importance and impact of their ministry.

But now, as a parent of teenagers of my own, the significance of youth ministers on the teenagers has arrived very close to home.

Read my tribute called ‘Thank you, youth leaders’, in today’s sydneyanglicans.net.

When Jesus rose from the dead, it was a time for celebration, not sadness. Yet, Mary stood by the empty tomb in tears.

Jesus’ first words after his resurrection were to her, as he asked “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

His question showed that the resurrection of Jesus was a twist in the plot of his life that she never expected.

And this showed that she misunderstood the death and resurrection of Jesus.

But for us who understand the resurrection of Jesus, the empty tomb is the place of hope.

Listen to my sermon at Engadine Anglican Church on Easter Sunday, 8th April 2012.

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