Jeff’s Reflections his year at SHAP

  • 7 December 2022
  • Jeff Ware

Reflection by Jeff Ware

As the end of the year draws near it is not a bad time to reflect briefly on what has transpired in the last twelve months in which South Head Anglican Parish became a spiritual home for Annette and myself.

Two things stand out.

Firstly, we have found it to be an incredibly warm, inclusive and caring community. That is what SHAP seeks to be, and what I have experienced it as being. Wherever people are in their spiritual journey, whatever their background, whether a newcomer or a returnee-after-Covid, people have been made to feel welcome. When things have gone ‘pear-shaped’ in people’s lives there are those whose kind words, support and actions have proved a blessing. I was on the receiving end of such consideration when my dear mum passed away in July. I love belonging to an open and welcoming community in which we are able to draw upon and be strengthened by the rich resources of the Christian faith.

Secondly, it is a community that looks beyond itself. It sees itself as part of the world-wide Church in all its breadth and diversity. It also sees itself as wanting to serve the local community as best it can. I think it was the former Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, who said that the Church is a society which exists for the benefit of those who are not its members. Many at SHAP have taken that mission on board in all sorts of different ways and are seeking to be the hands and feet of Jesus here, there and everywhere.

It has been a very full year.

It is a year where we have welcomed many guest visitors and speakers: Rough Edges’ Gabriel Lacoba, Nungalinya College’s Principal Ben van Gelderenelt, CMS missionaries – Morgan and Olivia, Bishop Gary Nelson and Dr Teresa Parish among them.

It is a year in which there have been many new initiatives, including: the Compass youth group, the Sunday afternoon concerts at St Peter’s, the Prayer for Healing services, the Zoom studies on Monday nights, a Pastoral Care Workshop, the Blessing of the Pets, and Carols on the Lawn at St Peter’s.

It is a year in which Annette and I have experienced and enjoyed for the first time many of the regular and much valued events and ministries: the Vintage Fair, the monthly Community Lunches, the Taize services, the Tuesday prayer meetings, the ministry to local schools, and this Sunday – the Christmas Pageant.

It has been a year where I have been thrilled by all that takes place at Little Sheep.

It is a year in which I have enjoyed working alongside Meg Matthews and the team amongst the good people of Moran and Beresford Hall.

It is a year in which Sunday by Sunday I have been nourished by the character of our liturgical services, by our observing of the Church year, by the quality of our musical offerings, by our reflections on Scripture, by those who lead us so thoughtfully in prayer, by those who join us from around the country (and world) on Zoom, and by our regular practice of breaking bread and drinking the cup of the Lord. 

There is much more I could say, and so many people I could mention by name. 

There are those who have discovered for the first time that the Christian faith and community are life-giving. There are many who have experienced God’s goodness and grace in such a way that leads them to be invested in the lives of others. There are many stalwarts who give generously of their time, talents and resources. There are those who exercise kind, energetic and capable leadership. So, most of all, it has been a year in which I look back and am grateful for the people that I did not know twelve months ago, whose living out their faith is such a refreshment for my soul and whose stories of life and faith I have been privileged to hear. Thank you one and all for the opportunity to get to know you and to be encouraged by you as we seek to celebrate all that it means to be human with God as our Creator and Redeemer.

Thanks be to God for all that was good and worthwhile in 2022. 

May the good Lord guide us and direct us all in the year ahead.