Dear Sisters and Brothers,
As we journey through Advent towards Christmas, I hope you continue to be sustained by God’s Spirit as you care for and teach the people in your care, and prepare for a marathon of worship on the weekend in which the fourth Sunday of Advent is also Christmas Eve!
At some stage on Christmas Day, I hope there will be time for you to rest and renew with people you love. Boxing Day is traditionally a much-loved slow day at our house!
Two days after Boxing Day the lectionary invites us to remember the children killed by Herod in an effort to eradicate a perceived threat to his rule (28th December – Holy Innocents). The set reading from Matthew’s Gospel on that day tells us that Joseph was directed by God in a dream to urgently leave Bethlehem and take Mary and Jesus to Egypt. Faithfully, he followed that direction and avoided the tragedy. Then Joseph and his family lived as refugees in Egypt until Herod died.
Sadly, such tragedies — on a much greater scale — continue to happen in our time. In our current news-cycle we are aware of children being killed and families fleeing their homes in Gaza and the Palestinian Territories; in some parts of Israel; in the Ukraine; in Afghanistan; and, in Sudan.
Aware of this we can rightly pray for the miracle of a lasting peace in each of these countries… ‘though we may feel powerless to do much more.
I have worked collaboratively with others to assist refugees settle in Australia since 2003 and have found it to be a significant way to honour the Gospel call to both “love neighbour” and “welcome stranger”…and, I wonder if you have ever considered this?
I am currently on the board of Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia (CRSA), which works to empower groups of like-minded people in Australia settle refugees. They are a skilled and highly motivated team who would love to work with you, your school or parish, and your local community.
To find out more, please go to the Community Refugee Sponsorship Australia website.
Yours in Christ,
The Right Reverend Cam Venables
Bishop Administrator &
Bishop for the Western Region