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Advent - a season of expectant waiting

On Sunday, we begin the Season of Advent. Advent is from the Latin word meaning 'coming'. During the Season of Advent we look forward in expectant waiting for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas. So, how well are you waiting? And what sort of preparation is happening in your life during the Season of Advent? A good way to focus on the meaning of the Season is to use the following prayer. This prayer is a 'time-honoured' Collect from the Book of Common Prayer. It made its first appearance in 1549. It then became the standard Collect in 1662 to be used day by day during the Season of Advent. It has also been used since then in Prayer Books in Anglican churches across the world:

Confronting the troubles and anxieties of our age

On All Saints’ Day, the day that the church celebrates all the saints of history, Pope Francis, on a visit to Sweden, said that holiness is not shown so much in extraordinary deeds but rather in "daily fidelity to the demands of our baptism." Speaking in a homily he proposed a series of six new items to add to the eight blessings, known as the beatitudes – Matthew 5:1-12 – that Jesus said would come upon those who, among other things, were poor in spirit or acted as peacemakers. "We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus," he continued, adding, "Thus we ought to be able to recognise and respond t

Remembering those who have gone before us

A couple of years ago, it was a sobering experience to visit some of the historic World War I battlefields across the Somme in Northern France, including the Belgium town of Ypres. Probably the most striking feature about the landscape was the sheer number of cemeteries and the number graves that exist. I visited the grave of Private P. E. Sandercombe who was engaged to my grandmother’s sister. Percy left Australia to fight in the Great War and died on 27 February 1917. I laid a poppy to remember his sacrifice and the sacrifice of so many young Australians who never returned. My great-grandparents are buried in Clermont, Central Queensland. Visiting their graves and reading their headstones

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