Plague Rag 10 May

Glass half empty; glass half full: how we see things, as good or bad. I have been chatting with a few lately as the restrictions have ever so slowly been easing. For those interstate, they have been much greater. My sister had her 60th birthday last week, and owing to restrictions of gatherings, had for her birthday dinner a course in each of her two children’s homes, as she could not gather the family together. There are a lot of glass empty reflections. There are also good reflections. Neighbourhoods seem to have worked together, people have tended to shop more locally, and people have asked after their neighbours and helped out. That’s been the plus.

This week, on Tuesday, we celebrate in our calendar the monk Dom Gregory Dix, who died in 1952. Admittedly, we celebrate a lot of people in our Calendar at St George’s. The national Anglican calendar is rather bare, and tends to ignore most of Asia, but ours is based mainly on the current calendar from the Church of England, with a few extras thrown in.  A monk and priest of Nashdom Abbey, an Anglican Benedictine community, Dom Gregory Dix is one of the modern additions as a holy person from England. If you ever read through some of the devotional material included in our high mass booklet, I include a wonderful passage of his about the command of Our Lord, to do this sacrament in memory of him:

Was ever another command so obeyed? For century after century, spreading slowly to every continent and country and among every race on earth, this action has been done, in every conceivable human circumstance, for every conceivable human need from infancy and before it to extreme old age and after it, from the pinnacle of earthly greatness to the refuge of fugitives in the caves and dens of the earth. Men have found no better thing than this to do for kings at their crowning and for criminals going to the scaffold; for armies in triumph or for a bride and bridegroom in a little country church; for the proclamation of a dogma or for a good crop of wheat; for the wisdom of the Parliament of a mighty nation or for a sick old woman afraid to die; for a schoolboy sitting an examination or for Columbus setting out to discover America; for the famine of whole provinces or for the soul of a dead lover; in thankfulness because my father did not die of pneumonia; for a village headman much tempted to return to fetich because the yams had failed; because the Turk was at the gates of Vienna; for the repentance of Margaret; for the settlement of a strike; for a son for a barren woman; for Captain so-and-so wounded and prisoner of war; while the lions roared in the nearby amphitheatre; on the beach at Dunkirk; while the hiss of scythes in the thick June grass came faintly through the windows of the church; tremulously, by an old monk on the fiftieth anniversary of his vows; furtively, by an exiled bishop who had hewn timber all day in a prison camp near Murmansk; gorgeously, for the canonisation of S. Joan of Arc – one could fill many pages with the reasons why men have done this, and not tell a hundredth part of them. And best of all, week by week and month by month, on a hundred thousand successive Sundays, faithfully, unfailingly, across all the parishes of Christendom, the pastors have done this just to make the plebs sancta Dei – the holy common people of God.

Dom Gregory Dix from The Shape of the Liturgy

It’s a wonderful piece of prose. Here is a longer version of it.

Dom Gregory is famous for his book, The Shape of the Liturgy. One of the puzzles of 19th and 20th C scholars was the way in which the mass was celebrated varied so much between the different early Christian communities and their inheritors. Was there a basic underlying order that came from the Apostles? If there was, could that be a basis to make a common order of the mass for the different Christian denominations.

Dom Gregory’s great insight was not to look at the words but to look at the actions. He believed that there was a common structure that was inherited in each rite, that (1) the offertory, bread and wine are taken and placed on the altar together, (2) the eucharistic prayer, the priest gives thanks to God over the bread and wine together, (3) the fraction, the bread is broken, (4) the communion, the bread and wine are distributed. The form of words was different, especially at how they were blessed, but the structure was the same.

This underlying understanding of the structure influenced the myriad of new rites that we have lived through from the second half of the twentieth century. Fr Willoughby was an enthusiastic embracer of the new rites when they came out, and many of you will have memories of the many different versions we have celebrated here, including a series that I had a few years ago when we worked our way through the different versions of the Book of Common Prayer.

There has been a lot of coverage this week about the outbreak in the nursing home in Sydney, Newmarch House. This is run by Sydney Anglicare. Anglicare is the welfare arm of the Anglican Church. In the 1990s, there was a move to bring all the different welfare organisations under one name. It was argued that although our church was responsible for a great amount of welfare work, it lacked public recognition owing to the variety of names under which we operated. With one name, Anglicare, we could raise our profile nationally. It was also part of the growing corporate movement that modelled the church on business corporate bodies. So, we all adopted the Anglicare branding in different dioceses. So Newmarch House became part of Sydney Anglicare, which was a separately run body from that in other dioceses.

However, this week has also seen the other side of having a national profile – the problems with Anglicare in Sydney has a flow on affect for Anglicare in Adelaide, even though they are separate legal entities. In Adelaide the growing corporate movement has seen many of our institutions lose their old names – All Hallows for example, at Cumberland Park, no longer has that name but just Anglicare. I am sorry for this loss. I think our institutions are better served under the patronage of a saint, like All Saints for All Hallows, or St Lawrence, rather than a corporate identity. We believe that a saintly patronage is part of the prayer life of the church, but a corporate name?

It’s also part of the loosening of parish ties to these bodies. Anglicare, and ABM, for example, are such huge institutions now they have lost many of the old connections with parishes. We don’t know these corporate bodies. We don’t raise money with fetes or money boxes as these institutions depend more and more on government grants than parish fund raisers. But we have also lost the prayer connections and personal touch as a result.

On parish news, many of you have asked me about the funeral for Steve Scovell. There will be a requiem for him with his ashes at a later time after the present restrictions. His funeral was last Thursday. Also, last Friday was the 18th anniversary of me becoming your parish priest – deo gratis.

The kurrajong has now been removed, with only its stump remaining. Unfortunately, it’s a very wet wood, and not suitable for burning, so it’s been turned into mulch for the garden. I’m thinking of replacing it with a gingko, but all suggestions are welcome.

We have now been informed that we can have the building open from Monday for no more than ten people at a time. However, the Archbishop is not certain that the permission for the religious gatherings allows us to have masses yet, and is writing to the government to have further clarification. Presumably we could be Quakers and sit there in sterile silence waiting on the Spirit. His direction at the moment is that “arrangements continue as they are currently” and he asks “that holy communion not be celebrated until we have a greater clarity.” I will let you know when we have been given further directions from the Archbishop. If we are allowed to have mass on Sunday, my intent is to have a short mass on Sunday morning at 8, 9, 10, 11 am and 12 noon. You will need to book in a time with me so we don’t have more than 10 people at any one time. The weekday masses will also then resume at the usual times. I will keep you posted. But at the moment, despite the government permission for having religious gatherings, we do not have the Archbishop’s permission to resume having mass.

Now for a hymn. One of the great Easter hymns is Ye Choirs of New Jerusalem. It was written by Fulbert of Chartres, in France, who was the Bishop there from 1006 to 1028 and a teacher at the Cathedral school there. He rebuilt the cathedral after a fire, it burnt again in the century after his death (cathedrals burning down have always been a problem, and why the mediaeval builders preferred stone, it was more fireproof) but for those of you who have been to that gem of a building, the crypt and part of the towers are his work that survived the later fire. He wrote this hymn that has been adapted and translated into English several times, this is the version we have in our hymn book. Here it is sung by the choir of King’s College Cambridge, the chapel for which is another great building.


1 Ye choirs of new Jerusalem,

Your sweetest notes employ,

The Paschal victory to hymn

In strains of holy joy.

2 For Judah’s Lion bursts His chains,

Crushing the serpent’s head;

And cries aloud through death’s domains

To wake the imprisoned dead.

3 From hell’s devouring jaws the prey

Alone our Leader bore;

His ransomed hosts pursue their way

Where Jesus goes before.

4 Triumphant in His glory now

To Him all power is given;

To Him in one communion bow

All saints in earth and heaven.

5 While we, His soldiers, praise our king,

His mercy we implore,

Within His palace bright to bring

And keep us evermore.

6 All glory to the Father be,

All glory to the Son,

All glory, Holy Ghost, to Thee,

While endless ages run.

God bless

Fr Scott 

Online Resources

We’ll take Father Scott’s themes for our Online Resources this week.

Firstly, seeing light in the darkness, and the gradual re-emergence of hope:

Secondly, Dom Gregory Dix was an Anglican priest and monk of Nashdom Abbey in England.  The monastic spirit is alive and well in the Anglican Communion – at St George’s we actively support our local Benedictine oblates through worship, spiritual direction and general organisation. We also had a religious community living on site in the 1940s, running the school, and our statue of Our Lady of Walsingham was a gift from them. You will recall that several weeks ago we linked to a simple prayer book produced by the Church Union and The Society in the UK. This week they have released ‘Wisdom from the Cloister: Reflections from Anglican Religious to Help Us During These Times’.  It is both calming and thought provoking, and thoroughly recommended!  It can also be found at

If you’re having any difficulty accessing these resources, please contact Tim Hender at

This Week

10 Sunday                                                                                                                                 EASTER 5

                         12.00 noon    Regina Caeli

11 Monday                                                                                                                         Fr Scott’s day off

12 Tuesday                                                                                       Gregory Dix, Priest, Monk, Scholar, 1952

                         12.00 noon    Regina Caeli

13 Wednesday

                         12.00 noon    Regina Caeli

14 Thursday

                         12.00 noon    Regina Caeli

15 Friday

                         12.00 noon    Regina Caeli

16 Saturday                                                                                      Caroline Chisholm, Social Reformer, 1877

                         12.00 noon    Regina Caeli

17 Sunday                                                                                            EASTER 6, ROGATION SUNDAY

                         12.00 noon    Regina Caeli


EVERLIVING GOD, whose Son Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life: give us grace to love one another, to follow in the way of his commandments, and to share his risen life; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

First reading                                                                                                                           Acts 6:1-7

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables.Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.” What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.

Hear the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Psalm 33 vss 1 – 12

1 Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous:

         for it be|fits the just to praise him.

2 Give the Lord thanks up|on the harp:

         and sing his praise to the lute of ten strings.

3 O sing him a new song:

         make sweetest melody • with shouts of praise.

4 For the word of the Lord is true:

         and all his works are faithful.

5 He loves righteousness • and justice:

         the earth is filled with the loving kindness of the Lord.

6 By the word of the Lord were the heavens made:

         and their numberless stars • by the breath of • his mouth.

7 He gathered the waters of the sea as in a water-skin:

         and laid up the deep in his treasuries.

8 Let the whole earth fear the Lord:

and let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.

9 For he spoke, and it was done:

         he commanded, and it stood fast.

10 The Lord frustrates the counsels • of the nations:

         he brings to nothing the de|vices of the peoples.

11 But the counsels of the Lord shall en|dure for ever:

         the purposes of his heart from gener|ation to gener|ation.

12 Blessed is that nation whose God • is the Lord:

         the people he chose to be his own pos|session.

Second reading                                                                                                                    1 Peter 2:4-9

A reading from the first Letter of St Peter. 

Come to the Lord, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight. Like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture: “See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,” and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Hear the word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.

Gospel                                                                                                                                 John 14:1-14

+  A reading from the holy gospel according to St John.

Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, you will know my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and we will be satisfied.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; but if you do not, then believe me because of the works themselves. Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If in my name you ask me for anything, I will do it.”

This is the gospel of the Lord. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.

We Pray Especially For

Fr Peter CARLSSON, Fr John EDWARDS, Pat LIND, Carla McMAHON, Michael OATES, John, Katie, Myia, Durham, Nicole, Rosalind, Rosie, Trish.

Others for Whom We Pray

John BROUGHAM, Ruth CAMPION, Susan JOHN, Geoff HARRINGTON, Dick LEESON, Bp David McCALL, Gwen MONCRIEFF, Joseph PERTL, Sue PUMPHREY, Linda SMITH, Anne SWEETAPPLE, Dorothy WILLIAMS, Charlie ZAMMIT, Abigail, Alan, Alex and Demitri, Anne, Georgia & Jacob, Joseph, Julie, Lolly, Rahul, Rochelle.

RIP Doug Coulter

Year’s Mind

10 Mifanway May Hilton 1929; 11 Arthur Robert Lungley 1935; Dorothy Sheerlock; John Martin Harrington; 12 Jessie Isobel Scrutton 1925; 13 Isobel May Todd; Frances Nelson 2008; 14 Ellen Harry 1941; Victor Rudolph Offe 1979; Wendy Carlsson 2012; 15 Elizabeth Hussey; Lorna James 2003; 16 Aileen Barbara Swan 1975; Rowland Cyril Bruce (Snr) 1974; Leslie Mark Norman Jolley 2003

The Midday Prayers (including the Regina Caeli) are said in the gardens at the outdoor shrine every day from Tuesday to Sunday at 12 noon.

Published by

St George the Martyr Anglican Church Goodwood, Adelaide, South Australia

An Anglican church in the Catholic tradition - the leading shrine church in Adelaide!

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