eNews – November 2015

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wandering but not lost

Executive Director Rev Dr Jenny Byrnes takes a wander and discovers the benefits of gently traversing the landscape. 

I’ve stayed many times in this rural setting and looked across paddocks of changing colours with hills in the far, far distance.

On enquiring of the destination of a trekker who walked past the front gate I was told to ‘just wander’ down the road through the paddock and follow the fence line for a kilometre or so.
That afternoon I did so. A 20-minute wander with little planned purpose and lo and behold I came across a flowing river in a gorge with rocky escarpment down to the river and boulders and fallen trees creating a modest waterfall.

I couldn’t believe it. All this beauty hidden from the untrained and lazy eye.

Tolkien in his poem All That Is Gold Does Not Glitter has as his second line “Not all those who wander are lost”. Wandering is often under-rated. A wander through the paddocks on a warm, dry day and surprise and beauty were revealed.

We all know Advent and Christmas can be high stress and as far as commercial and community patterns a certain predictability being one of the key features of this season.

This recent experience has me wondering about wandering through Advent and Christmas – not lost – rather gently traversing the landscape and being open to the unpredictable surprise that may lie in wait for me – perhaps a gentle and compassionate word from a surprising source, perhaps an insight that carries me through a day, perhaps the goodwill of a stranger, or the story that lifts our spirits. [I am writing this the day after the Melbourne Cup!]. Perhaps you may like to wander through Advent using the CTM Advent Resource and discover blessings through the days.

I am going to try and wander through this season – not lost – rather open to being blessed by wonder. Perhaps you might join me?


Advent resources available Monday, 9 November

We’re pleased to announce that our ever-popular Advent resources for 2015 will be available from the resources section of our website early next week, so please bookmark the page. Chris Barnett and the team have worked hard to compile a terrific seasonal resource and we’re sure you’ll enjoy using it with your congregation.


A moment captured

Whitley College lecturer Anne Mallaby opened the Caught in the Moment exhibition last month. She provided a wonderfully eloquent opening for the VicTas Art and Spirituality Network group exhibition:

Thank you to all you artists who have caught us in your moments. Indeed, within moments of walking into the gallery space on Wednesday, I was caught. I found myself wondering about this intriguing interaction between art which is held within a frame, contained within a space, seeking to capture a moment, and the other end of the spectrum, where art itself extends the moment, both for the artist and for the viewer. This is art which demands a process to come to be, as well as reaches toward a viewer which to extend its reach. So both process and moment co-exist in the space, and that is intriguing.

Congratulations to all of you for challenging me further.

Engaging with art as an intentional process is critical in extending beyond a glance to seeing. James Elkins wonders about the use of terms to describe these ways of seeing. He considers the term glance almost as akin to blindness, claiming “intense interest and intense disinterest both result in quick looks that see relatively little.” He contrasts this with the word glimpse, “because in a glance we see only for a second, and in a glimpse the object shows itself only for a second.” The notion is that when we glance at something, our eyes may fix only for a moment before we are distracted, but in a glimpse something is revealed that catches us and extends us, and elevates our seeing and insight.

You can read the rest of Anne’s thoughtful and engaging opening words here as she discusses and responds to the work of many of the individual artists.

The exhibition runs 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday until 10 December at the Centre for Theology & Ministry, Parkville. In January/February the exhibition moves to Warrnambool Uniting Church. Check the events page for details.

Image at top of newsletter: Liz Johnson, Mickey’s Beach, Tasmania, watercolour, pen and ink on paper
Image on newsletter ‘landing page’: Sheena Jones, Shadow, digital image

Upcoming Events


6-7 Lay Preacher Formation weekend
7 2015 Victorian Messy Church Conference
13 Thesis Bootcamp
25 Cafe praxis


23 Cafe Praxis

January 2016

22-17 Feb Caught in the Moment Exhibition – Warrnambool

Missional Discipleship

By Drew Hanna

I participated in the National Youth Ministry Convention, held in Queensland from 7-10 October. Over 470 youth ministers, pastors, chaplains, leaders and volunteers gathered to explore and reflect about ministry with young people in today’s world. One of the sessions I went to was titled Missional Discipleship and was led by Jo Saxton, Director of 3DM. 3DM, is an organisation that trains churches and Christian leaders to do discipleship and mission in an increasingly post-Christian world. Find out more about Jo here.

Jo shared the need for communities of faith to be intentional about discipleship because that is what was asked in the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20). She was very clear that a disciple was an apprentice, a learner, someone who was always on the journey of learning and finding out what it means to be a disciple of Christ. It is helpful for us as a church to be reminded of this; we are apprentices! We learn not only through listening or watching but also by doing. Apprentices do not need to know it all before having a go at their trade.

Jo continued sharing that a disciple is an apprentice of the WAY of Jesus, the WORDS of Jesus and the WORKS of Jesus.

Now stop and take time for self-reflection.

Take a quick minute to think about which of these areas your personal discipleship has strength in? Is it the way? Is it the words? Is it the works? Or is it a mix of these components? Go on have a think. I’ll wait…

Done? Great!

I think this act of self-reflection is one way for us to name our exploration of being a disciple of Jesus. Being on a journey of discipleship requires intentionality. Naming our exploration is an act of awareness raising. Awareness and self awareness are key attributes of being an intentional disciple of Jesus. Perhaps this reflection and naming can serve as a reminder for you to take more time learning and focusing on a particular aspect of your discipleship of Jesus. Perhaps you could have a season focusing on the words of Jesus then the ways of Jesus. Perhaps you could start a discussion with someone about how they understand the works of Jesus?

Jo went on to explore how we might go about putting on our apprenticeship clothing and continue learning as a disciple of Jesus. She introduced us to these concepts:

• INFORMATION We need to discover and rediscover the words, ways and the works of Jesus. This requires finding and exploring the information we have. This means reading the bible, reading commentaries, watching videos and discussing it with others.
• IMITATION We need to be able to have opportunities to imitate Jesus. How do we do that in today’s world? Ask yourself who is it around you that is most like Jesus. How do they act? When confronted with injustice, what is their response? What does it look like when they are offer forgiveness? How do they speak truth when it is hard to do so? What does their home life look like? How do they learn about being a disciple of Jesus? Observe them and then have a go at imitating their behavior and beliefs yourself. You will not get it right all the time, but making mistakes, trying again and learning are some of the great gifts of being an apprentice.
• INNOVATION We need to be innovative in creating opportunities for learning as well as innovative in our reflection and response. Perhaps we could aim to ignite innovation in others through our own willingness to consider a different way of responding to the call of Jesus in our lives.

Missional Discipleship was a great reminder that discipleship is not rocket science. Discipleship is a journey that has no destination. It is a journey – a pilgrimage of sorts – that we need to take. As we do so we also need to help others learn about the way, the words and the works of Jesus, and one way of doing that is through information, imitation and innovation.

What’s your discipleship plan? How will you be an apprentice this week? How will you help others to be a disciple?



Truly, We Will Remember Them

Pilgrim Theological College’s Katharine Massam invites you to make a note in your diary of the time and date of a special 2016 Anzac Day Service. All Christian people interested in praying and working for peace in the world are invited to St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne on Monday, 25 April 2016 for the 11am service.

The Cathedral, together with Pax Christi and the Anzac Centenary Peace Coalition, invite you to a service of lament:

– Rev Canon Dr Stephen Ames, St Paul’s Cathedral
– Rev Harry Kerr, Pax Christi Australia

Enquiries to: revdrjohsmith@ozemail.com.au