I can describe to you the images of every single stained glass window in St John’s Ashfield.
I can quote the bible verses painted around the pulpit, and I can tell you which colour linen is draped around the church at various points of the year. I can point out the four animals representing the evangelists in the big front window. I can show you the corresponding four frescoes painted along the wooden panels above the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles Creed, and the Ten Commandments. And the words of Jesus: I am the bread of life. It is a beautiful and inspiring place to worship the Lord.
And I can tell you about the people who have come and gone – all the different catechists who have spent a year or two serving there, all those people who have turned up to study in Sydney, to work in the city, to move closer to their fiancee, to explore the city on their working holiday visa. People who have come to Christ, people who have fallen away from Christ, people who have stood firm in their faith, people who have proclaimed the Gospel powerfully to others, people who have served with every fibre of their being. The baptisms and the confirmations, the marriages and the babies, the new arrivals and the deportations, the graduations and the new beginnings, the prolonged seasons of unemployment. The tearful farewells when people leave (all the time!), the excitement and joy when God brings new people along to serve with the gifts they have. All the poetry and the music that people have created together!
Matt and I spent our last Sunday at St John’s last week; it was tragic to leave and it’s exciting to go somewhere new. I have started a new job at St Alban’s Five Dock, one of the other sites of the same parish. It’s not really that big a leap, it’s not really somewhere new. And yet it is, it’s new people and a new place.
And it’s a new thing to be working in parish ministry too. I’ve never done that before. I am so thankful that God goes before me in everything, that he is strengthening me for what is coming. I am so thankful for the training and care I received working as a Howie at Sydney Uni and I am so thankful for the support I am already receiving in the team I work with now. I hope that I grow to love St Alban’s as much as I have loved St John’s, and I hope I get to see God do amazing things in that community too!