The 50th Anniversary of the Congregation of the Uniting Church of St James, Curtin ACT took place on St James Day.
Over the weekend of 26th-27th July, many of the former ministers, members and friends of St James made the special trip to Canberra to join in the 50th Anniversary celebrations.
The weekend started with a special lunch on the Saturday, which included time for ‘old friends’ to catch up and socialize over drinks. Helen Sahhar, Chair of the St James Church Council extended the welcome to those in attendance and MC, Kate McLoughlin read out messages and apologies received including a message from St James Parish, Pollok, Scotland who provided the foundation stone for our current church.
Over the buffet lunch, some of the stories were shared by Revd Don Erickson, Mr John Campbell, Revd Ian MacPherson, Revd Robert Faser, Revd Rex Hunt, Revd Ken Jarvis, and Revd Les Hartshorn, including choosing of the name, St James.
On Sunday, the 50th Anniversary Service was held. Rev Ian MacPherson and Ms Amelia Peisley were the Celebration Leaders, with Revd Rex Hunt delivering his contemporary exploration; “It’s a lifestyle, not a set of beliefs or economic value.”
Rex challenged us to look beyond the reverence of Jesus of the Trinity but to look at the historical Jesus and how we can carry out his journey on earth, rather than worshiping it from afar:
“Being on the edge of time, we are always going into the future.
It is an unknown future. Yet it is a future upon which our thinking
and actions will make a difference… (Peters 2008:3).
What kinds of new possibilities for existence are we being called to enable?
What kind of story are we being called to live as we help create our future?
What a responsibility!
A progressive Congregation can discern a way forward for itself.
It has the history and the critical scholarship necessary to the task.
It needs to carefully manage this inheritance,
its strongest asset (Vosper 2008:306).
This doesn’t mean it will be a Congregation where everything is tidy,
and all the questions have been neatly answered and stuck in a box, labeled ‘Faith’.
But it will be one where the challenge, the hope, and the vision
of creating a new sense of community from the momentum
of the ‘historical’ Jesus, is taken with radical seriousness.
May it be so during the next 50 years!”
Special candles were lit remembering and honouring past members and clergy and in particular, Revd John Cox. A book of Pioneers was presented recognizing the Dreams, Love and Destiny of St James.
The congregation shared in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
In acknowledgement of St James being nestled in the nation’s capital, the celebrations concluded with the words of blessing by Revd Rex Hunt;
May the blessing in the strength of the Brindabellas,
the calm of Lake Burley Griffin,
the freshness of gum tree and wild flower
remain with you…
And may God’s strength, peace and creativity
go with you always.
[This report was written by Amelia Peisley.]