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Corner of Church St and Market St Wollongong 8am, 9:30am, 11am, 5pm & 7pm each Sunday

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Asking and Inviting

Ministers' letters

160th anniversary of St Michael's Anglican Cathedral

Thank you for so many kind expressions of encouragement on my 15th anniversary of coming here to serve last weekend. If you missed my gift to you, ask me for a copy of How to Walk into Church today. That book reminds me of the great advice to pray about where you sit as you arrive. That’s especially relevant over the next weeks with guests at special events and services at different times from usual. Be ready to be hospitable.

Now the Bible says to make the most of every opportunity with outsiders (Colossians 4:5). How can you do that with our 160th anniversary celebrations and Christmas events?

With the Classic Hymn Sing (10am Saturday 14th December, with cathedral heritage tours and Devonshire tea before and after) we aim to re-connect with those who used to go to church and love the old hymns. We also want to expose new generations to the songs that sustained the faith of our old saints. So whatever your age, come along. And can you invite an older relative or neighbour? Maybe offer to pick them up.

Many older folk will also love that we are using the Book of Common Prayer (1662) service of Morning Prayer at 8am on the actual 160th anniversary of St Michael’s (Dec 15th). Is there a traditional Anglican or heritage lover you could invite along? And again for the younger, it’s a great chance to experience the rich worship theology of our spiritual heritage that still informs church gatherings today, even if we don’t open a prayer book.

Then there’s the easiest invite of the year… asking someone to a Carols Service:

  • Carols on the Lawn, 6pm Sunday 15th December, with Christmas markets and food trucks from 4:30pm.
  • Carols in the Cathedral, 5pm (families) or 7pm, 24th
  • Christmas Day: 7:30am (Communion) or 9:30am (families).

Invite neighbours, friends, work colleagues, club-mates, migrants, international students. A demographer recently noted that 39% of us had moved in the last 5 years, and that’s not counting new migrants arriving. His article included a heading “Love Thy Neighbour”. Wonder where he got that from!? He wrote:

“Who is going to do the groundwork of inviting all neighbours individually to a social gathering? Who is organising the street-wide (or apartment building-wide) barbie in the park? Who is not tiring of introducing themselves to the new neighbours across the street? Who is starting friendly small talk in the lift?”

Organising the Christmas street or apartment block party, or even just some neighbours in for nibbles and drinks, is a great chance to take the initiative. And here are a few potential conversation starters to consider slipping in there or at the office party.

  • Tell me one of your Christmas traditions.
  • What does Christmas look like for you?
  • What’s the best thing that’s happened to you since last Christmas?
  • Does it matter whether we ‘keep Christ in Christmas’?…(if you are slightly braver)

Just listen, and be ready with your own “God bit” embedded in your reply if you can!

Sandy Grant
Senior Minister

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