Category: Theology

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.

If you’ve been going to a Sydney Anglican church, or maybe been influenced by someone who studied at Moore College, then it’s likely you’ve been impacted by a view of church known as ‘Knox Robinson’, after two key figures at Moore.

My training and lecturing in youth ministry has been strongly influenced by this understanding of the church, especially in terms of what we ‘do’ when we gather.

The latest edition of ‘The Briefing’ has an excellent summary of this doctrine, and I think it’s an important read for anyone who is responsible for shaping the content and context of a Christian gathering.

Read the article in full here at The Briefing online.

It’s probably not a smart idea to talk about the sometimes sensitive relationship between churches and ‘parachurch’ organisations.

In fact, to do so might lead me to shoot myself in the foot, given that I work for such an organisation.

However, in a ‘courageous’ move (potentially in the tradition of ‘Yes Minister’), I boldly step where wise angels wouldn’t dare tread.

In my latest column at read about why I think it’s better to call our ‘parachurches’ by the name ‘hupochurch’.

I just hope I got my Greek right, or I’ll look like a real idiot.

Follow the link, have a read, and leave your thoughts in the comments section.

Visiting three McNeill Sacred Spaces reminded me of the significance of buildings to the Christian life.

Read my thoughts and reflections in my weekly blog at

In Patrick Lencioni’s book ‘The Three Signs of a Miserable Job’ he states that the inability to measure results is one of the three key causes of job dissatisfaction. The problem for ministers is that most of the important results of our ministry are immeasurable.

Read my thoughts and readers’ comments in my weekly blog at