One Sunday morning we made our way to John Smith’s, St. Martin’s Anglican Church in Collingwood, VIC. Other than having a strong, blue-collar, Aussie rules football following, Collingwood is a pretty average part of town, especially the area where St. Martin’s serves. It’s the rough side of the tracks, so to speak.
Our contact was Shirley. She was straight talking, tender-hearted and streetwise. She showed us the ropes and allowed us to share our story, songs and encouragement freely. It’s always a privilege to serve through song but it was quite liberating to also be entrusted with the “message of the day.” That message was not much different from that of what we might share in the local folk club, which is “be open, be reconciled and enjoy sharing in life and community with one another.” except here in this setting, we were invited to bring in a deeper understanding of this message. We were allowed to teach from the Holy Scriptures on the message of reconciliation and relate those teachings in practical ways to our relationships with one another and with God.
It was a good challenge for us. We tend to be more esoteric in our thinking, with our ideology wafting in and out of our conversation and song. So, to sit down and really have to put our minds in order, to study and create a lesson worth listening to, well, that was something.
Over the next few weeks we had appointments at a few other churches, including a small Baptist church on the coast and a Wesleyan church set in an ethnic suburb, lead by one of Craig’s old youth leaders. We were pleasantly surprised by the openness they all expressed in allowing us to curate the morning and their invitation to join in community over meals in the following days.
These opportunity to share in communion with the Saints made us stronger in our own personal faith, in a greater understanding of our purpose and ignited a deeper love for others. What a delight to be interconnected with such beautifully messy souls, to be accepted and encouraged and to take that encouragement to the ends of the earth.