What are our hopes and dreams for St Aidans?
That it continues as a lively presence in the community
That young people continue to be attracted and become a part of St Aidans
That we continue to have a ministry and congregation that responds to the changing needs of our community
That we retain what is good about the current community of faith and family orientation and change and grow in response to wider society needs
That we become a growing church, able to maintain our building, continue to be a spiritual sanctuary, keep our traditional roots, and remember the members who preceded us
That we survive under our present minister’s guidance
That no natural disaster puts paid to our hopes and dreams
That our community continues despite changes in the wider society
That there be growth in new families joining our community
That the success with family fun nights and floral affairs continue
That people continue to be accepted and feel safe in St Aidans
These were the responses we received when we celebrated the 125th anniversary of St Aidans. They express both a relationship with the past and orientation towards the future.
I relate this to a recent experience when Rosemarie and I attended a service in the Presbyterian Church of St Andrew in Canberra. This impressive church, built in the gothic style, is barely eighty years old, but classified as a significant building and as such entitled to restoration at public expense, which was in progress while we attended there.
While liberal progressive in attitude, I admit to being a traditionalist when it comes to the form of service. From my experiences in Australia so far our denomination there still follows the Church of Scotland tradition. Like on previous occasions in Melbourne worshippers observe a more formal dress code than what we are used to, the minister is robed, uses the pulpitand there are no candles. There was also no overhead projection with the Church of Scotland hymnbook in use. St Andrews has a roll of 600 with 200 members in attendance. With the support of a pipe organ the singing was an enriching experience. Needless to say, we received a warm welcome and enjoyed the social interaction over a cuppa after the service. To me this was an emotional experience, akin to a homecoming to the churches I belonged to earlier in my life. I appreciate that this may sound sentimental, but it left me with a hankering for the past. It goes to show as our members’ suggestions seem to indicate that the past and future are not irreconcilable. It is a matter of drawing on the legacy of our predecessors and achievements of those who after long and faithful service are still among us to guide us into the future.
I wish you all the best for Christmas and New Year.
Editorial – December 2013
An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand