Today my sister and I worshipped at St Luke's Concord. It was the 150th Anniversary of the laying of the Church Foundation stone and our first visit back since the memorial service for our mother on July 12, 2006.
Mum worshipped there, firstly in her young married life, and my sister was baptised in the church. Mum returned there not long after Dad died and attended for another 30 years although in her last 5 years she could only go, mainly to the Wednesday Senior Fellowship, if my sister drove her. The memorial service for Mum was held as part of the regular Senior fellowship.
The church today was packed, the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, a delightful lady was present. Our State Governors are not politicians but appointed to represent the Queen.
My sister knew a lot of the older people who had been friends of Mum and were delighted to see us there. I only went there for Christmas services with Mum.
The lady sitting next to me was there in memory of her Grandfather, baptised at St Luke's in the 1880's and she had the signed prayer book with her. He went on to become an Anglican Priest.
Some of the past rectors were present. One, Rev Feldham, officiated at my sister's wedding in a neighbouring church way back in 1961 while still an assistant. We had not seen him since and I remember him as a young handsome priest (I was only 17), oh how life has passed for us.
When the previous rector retired a year ago, I was concerned that the Archbishop might appoint an evango-fundie. I need not have worried. The new rector processed in wearing a biretta. I only know one other church in Sydney where these are worn and it is the other city church which is more Anglo-catholic than St James, King Street.
However neither ++Jensen nor the regional Bishop Forsythe attended, thankfully.
In the altar party was deacon Rev Sue Emeleus who was serving at St Luke's in my mother's time and greatly beloved by Mum. Sue anointed Mum with holy oil from Jerusalem a few days before Mum died and officiated at Mum's cremation and memorial services. I have come to know Sue much better since that time and was so pleased that Sue gave me the cup using my name. That meant that my sister received it from another person which disappointed her. Sue will always be special to us both.
Like many Anglican churches in the middle suburbs of Sydney, numbers are declining as the population is largely immigrant but the church building is also used by the Korean Presbyterians and a group of them took part in national costume, playing national instruments. They played 'How great thou art' which I love as well as 'Amazing grace' which I loathe. Some verses were sung in Korean.
A moving service for an old (by Australian standards) church which has such memories for my family.
A retired teacher librarian who loves travelling especially by train and wastes a lot of time on the Internet.
An Anglican who knows God loves me as a gay man.
Moved at the beginning of 2010 from the Blue Mountains near Sydney, Australia to Dunedin, NZ.
One of the best things I ever did.
I became a New Zealand citizen on 2nd March 2016
I will always be an Aussie by birth but am proud to be a Kiwi by choice.