Our banner heading says it all. Trinity Uniting Church in Brighton is celebrating one hundred and sixty years of Christian presence. Formerly a Congregational church, it was the venue for the signing of the Basis of Union (the founding document of The Uniting Church in Australia) by the Congregational Union of Australia. They are about to have bits of the property sold off, nevertheless the congregation will go on proclaiming the presence of Christ in the community.
Just so you don’t get lost in the maze you need to look to the inspirational leadership of the Minister of the Word at Brighleigh, Christine MacDowall. Her vision saw the construction of a Labyrinth of stones on their disused tennis courts. The Labyrinth is open at all times for prayer and reflection. Their whole church complex is earmarked for divestment. So Christine has a powerful pastoral role which the presbytery should support.
Just as we see decline in some areas of the Uniting Church, it isn’t all gloom and doom. A lot of congregations are beginning to explore new ways of being church. Others such as Koornang in our third picture in the banner are finding new ways to offer ministry by developing their family and children’s ministry. All these signs of hope and joy are a wonderful pointer to the season of Advent.
It is only four Sundays long but Advent does give a chance to prepare or the celebration of the anniversary of the birth of Jesus. It leads us through hope,peace,joy and love to that Christmas Day when we light the Christ candle. As Paul the Apostle rites that the greatest of these is Love. We Christians understand that the motive of God in Creation was love and that love was once again clearly expressed in and through the person of Jesus.
The loving commitment of Jesus to inaugurate the coming reign of God and to be the reconciliation of all things to God, started the renewal of creation. As disciples of Jesus we want to bring to the world the message of peace and hope that Christmas proclaims.
Wherever you are in Port Phillip East Presbytery you will receive a warm welcome as we all prepare for Christmas join us and pray with us for a world infused with the love of God in Christ whose birthday we look forward to celebrating. But, should you decide not to join with us or other parts of the Christian family then have joy filled and hay Christmas.