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Vicar's Musings for Ordinary Sunday 30

26 October, 2014

This week's Musings are adapted from the Vicar's October report to Parish Council.

I often say to people: there is never a dull moment at "The Hill." My Parish Council reports usually focus on topical issues of business at St Peter's, but this month I would like to give an overview of my day-to-day activities this month.
1) Worship. This lies at the heart of who we are as an Anglo-Catholic parish. We celebrate the Mass each day at 7.15am, on Wednesdays at 1.15pm and four times on a Sunday. I attend most of these, and celebrate at many of them. The Mass is our heart-beat at St Peter's. I also say the Daily Office when ever I can, and we host special services such as Taizé (1st Sunday) the Cell of Our Lady of Walsingham (4th Sunday) and last month also a St Michael and All Angels Mass for SSM with Bp Garry Wetherill.
2) Pastoral Care. We are a community that cares. I coordinate the pastoral care teams, and personally visit the dying, the sick, newcomers to the parish, those unable to come to Mass any more, baptism families, wedding couples, and families of those who have died. Pastoral Care is a high priority for my time, and each week I can have six or seven such visits or appointments, either at church, in hospital or in people's homes across the city.
3) Administration & Staff Management. Our parish income for the 2013/14 period was $704,041. Most of our heritage buildings require a high level of maintenance. Careful stewardship of these valuable resources is the primary responsibility of the Wardens and Treasurer, but part of my role is to support them in this crucial task. I am chair of the Parish Council, and attend most of the Finance & Investment, Property & Maintenance, Strategic Development and OHS sub-committee meetings. We are blessed with 23 staff and parish office-holders (see back of pew sheet) and I meet with most of these people on a monthly basis for supervision, either individually or in small groups.
4) Social Service. From the early days of the Oxford Movement, social service has been a cornerstone of Anglo-Catholicism. For the past 23 years St Peter's has exercised this gospel imperative through the Lazarus Centre breakfast program. Another focus of my energies each month is the Social Enterprise Steering Committee that is developing an employment pathways program to sit alongside the welfare service we already run through the Lazarus Centre. Such initiatives require money, and I am also a trustee of the St Peter's Foundation that raises funds to support this and other ventures caring for "those in necessitous circumstances."
5) Spirituality, Christian Education and Children's Ministry. Contemplative prayer is close to the heart of most Anglo-Catholics. For the last two years, each Wednesday at 2.30pm in the Vicarage, "Mystics Anonymous" has met to study such classics as The Cloud of Unknowing and St Theresa's Interior Castle, and to pray in silence together for 20 minutes. This past month, in spite of his Diocesan commitments, Bp Graeme has continued in his role as chair of the Institute of Spiritual Studies, hosting Br Bernard and the Rev'd Michael Raiter. Children's ministry is another priority in the parish, and in my calendar. The Wednesday playgroup is an important outreach into the local community, and we have an excellent pathway into Christian worship through the Children's Church.
6) Diocesan and other Extra-Parochial Commitments. In addition to my parish duties, I serve as Area Dean of Melbourne. This involves organising a monthly gathering of the clergy, attending to pastoral needs as they occur, and officiating at occasional services, such as Fr Grant Edgcumbe's recent induction at Holy Trinity East Melbourne. This month I also attended Synod. Once a month I sit on the Board of Directors of the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and chair the Parish Partnerships Committee. When Parliament is sitting I host a prayer group on Wednesdays, and then call in for a cup of coffee with the members. I am the St Peter's Lecturer at Trinity College Theological School, which involves giving three or four lectures a year, and which helps to keep my academic interests alive. At the end of last month I attended the "Flourishing in Faith" positive psychology and theology conference, about which I will write at a later date.

My life as Vicar of St Peter's is full, but immensely rewarding. I think I probably have one of the best jobs in the world. And when my clergy collar comes off at the end of the day, or on my day off, I enjoy watching my daughter play netball, taking long walks and bike rides with Ree, or chatting on the phone to my three-year-old granddaughter in New Zealand.

The Rev'd Dr Hugh Kempster



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