The Plague Rag: Pentecost 3, 21 June, 2020

Every week things are slowly getting back to normal, or what passes for normal at St George’s. After having only ten per mass, we were allowed twenty, and this week we are up to seventy-five. We are also allowed this week to resume singing our hymns together. Now, we are more the shy Anglicans rather than the full-throated Welsh, but it will be lovely to get back to singing our hymns together.

As a result, this Sunday will be the last Sunday to have three masses, and the 11.30 am mass on Sunday will cease after this week. This will allow us to resume our other meetings on Sunday mornings and our study group next month. Our weekdays masses will only have one change, with the Friday mass staying at 8 am, not 5.15 pm. For the time being we are still only permitted to give the sacrament without the chalice.

The time has also come to start to wind down this newssheet as well. I have enjoyed using this format, but it has taken considerable time each week to prepare. I am proposing that a parish newssheet will now come out monthly. We will revert to using the title “The Messenger”, the title of the parish magazine we have been using since Fr Wise’s time. This will therefore be the last Plague Rag to be sent out, unless there are further health restrictions. However, I intend to keep this format for the revamped Messenger, and it will now be mainly an email newssheet, rather than a printed magazine.

Furthermore, we will cease to have a regular angelus every day outdoors at 12 noon. This was designed to be a space where we could gather safely and at a distance to say our corporate prayers and particularly for those who were infected by the pandemic, medical staff and the safety of our friends and family overseas. We also made a special mention of nursing staff changing shifts at our hospitals, and the Royal Adelaide chaplain Fr Nicholas Rundle. My thanks to so many of you who turned up regularly over these months to support me.

It has been an interesting few months here. I have enjoyed our daily angelus, in fine weather and wet. The daily masses have continued behind closed doors. Then we worked our way through the complex rites of the triduum, the great three holy days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Eve, bereft of a congregation. Normally the Easter vigil is one of the longest masses of the year, with the blessing of the new fire, the singing of the great Exsultet, that special blessing over the new paschal candle lit from the fire, the myriad of vigil readings (my favourite always being the valley of dry bones from Ezekiel) , the blessing of the new water with its own lengthy prayer, and then the first mass of Easter in the wonderful gold vestments given in memory of Fr Willoughby, one of my predecessors as Rector here. Well, this year was the shortest one on record, as with only a few souls we zoomed through it in under an hour.

We started this lockdown just before the feast of the Annunciation, 25 March, and this week we keep the feast of the birth of John the Baptist, 24 June. Both of these are what we call quarter days, marking the four divisions of the solar year. They mark the equinox of the season, when the night and day are of equal length, and for us the winter solstice, the shortest day of winter. As such they have a history that goes well back into ancient origins to mark the turning of the seasons. Quarter days were also in England the traditional times of paying tithes or rents, hence the British budget is still kept on 5 April, which is the old 25 March in the older Julian Calendar, before the insertion of 11 days to bring it in line with the Gregorian calendar we now keep. The feast of John the Baptist is exactly six months before Christmas, another quarter day. The reason it is on the 24th and not the 25th is that the days are counted in the older Roman way of days before the calends (the name of the first day of the month when the festivals of the month ahead were anciently shouted out and debts paid). As both John and Christmas are six days before the 1st of the next month, and as June has 30 days and December 31 days, there is hence the one day difference. (We still count our minutes like this when we say something is say five minutes, or a quarter, before the hour: once we counted days in the same fashion). So, we have followed this lockdown for a whole quarter of the year. It’s been a long time.

Throughout this time our main priority here has been to keep saying mass. This is because the gift of the sacrament is the most important thing we have as Christians. In the mass we bring all our needs, all our prayers, and join them with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. As soon as we could we re-opened our church to allow you, the holy people of God, to join in this and receive the sacramental presence of Christ.

But we should also step back and consider what we have learnt and what has happened. Our Archbishop has put it in these words:

I do wonder though whether some of the reactions we have seen are also connected to the general anxiety in societies which are used to good health and relative security, but which have been turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions. People are edgy and anxious, tired and frustrated.

This is partly because of the change that we’ve had to adjust to; partly because people have lost jobs and businesses; partly because our political leaders who were so united on the journey to shut down are now not nearly so united. A major factor also in my view is grief. Grief because there has been much loss. Not just jobs and businesses though that has been substantial. There has also been loss because we haven’t been able to do what we had planned to do and what we like to do. There has also been a loss in that we, who thought we were very much in control, have been shown to be not in control of our destiny at all. A virus has surfaced which has turned the world upside down. What the virus has done is shown us the truth which was there all the time but which we could ignore and were encouraged to ignore by the powerful narrative of secularism. Humans think we are in control, but COVID-19 has reminded us that we are not in control, and that realisation, that loss brings grief, and anger is very much part of grief. Sadly, I suspect we might be in for more anger yet.

This seems to be an opportunity for an alternative narrative to be offered. A narrative which clearly admits we are not in control – not as an admission of defeat or weakness, but an acknowledgement of reality. A narrative which acknowledges another reality, the existence of God. Not some far away god, but God who loves the world so much that he entered into it in the person of Jesus, and continues to be present in the person of the Holy Spirit who comforts hearts and illuminates the church, the body of Christ, and also works in the world to bring life. As followers of Jesus we have this alternative way to offer. A way of living which gives us meaning and hope. This way does not take pain away but enables us to live with uncertainty because we know God loves us and all creation.

Our people need to be reminded and strengthened in this hope because we are all enmeshed with what is going on and affected by it, if not personally, then vicariously through others. Christians can be edgy and anxious, tired and frustrated.

Please keep talking, preaching and teaching the love of God in Jesus and the opportunity for faith/trust that we have, and which is available to everyone. Jesus blessed his followers with peace in a very turbulent time immediately after his resurrection. May we be blessed with God’s peace and may we bless people with God’s peace in this very turbulent time too.

I hope that this newssheet has helped you to reflect on your lives, your relationship with God and the state of your soul over this quarter. We have been blessed by the protection we have enjoyed. We should give thanks and continue to pray for that protection. 

My thanks for the help in doing this newssheet, Emily Harding for proofing it and Tim Hender for the links every week. It’s been fun doing it, and putting together the photos – I hope you like this week’s them of past Rectors. My thanks as well to so many of you who have engaged with the topics I have raised, and found this useful.

God bless

Fr Scott 

Online Resources

Fittingly for the ‘last’ Plague Rag, let’s take a look at how people are memorialising the departed during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Of course, many of these arrangements are still temporary, especially in our sister churches in the UK and North America – nevertheless, people are talking and installations are happening.

We must give thanks that for us in South Australia, we remain protected from the need to recognise the direct victims of the pandemic – yet we must also remember, as the Archbishop has called us to do, those other victims who are living in anxiety, fear and uncertainty.

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

21 Sunday                                                                                                                      PENTECOST 3

                           8.00 am      Mass

                         10.00 am      Mass

                         11.30 am      Mass

22 Monday                                                                                                                     Fr Scott’s day off

23 Tuesday                                                  ALBAN, FIRST MARTYR OF BRITAIN, c209 (from 22)

                         10.00 am      Mass

24 Wednesday                                                                         THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

                           8.00 am      Mass

25 Thursday

                         12.00 noon   Angelus and Mass

                           7.30 pm      Gregorian Chant Group

26 Friday

                           8.00 am      Mass

27 Saturday                                                              Cyril, Bishop of Alexandria, Teacher of the Faith, 444

                           8.00 am      Mass

28 Sunday                                                                                                                      PENTECOST 4

                           8.00 am      Mass

                         10.00 am      Mass

The Plague Rag: Corpus Christi, 14 June, 2020

This Sunday we come to the next of the great theological feasts after Eastertide, Corpus Christi. Many of the names we have for Sundays and even hymns come from the Latin directly, and Corpus Christi is the Latin for Body of Christ. This Sunday we reflect on the real presence of Christ in the sacrament of the altar. In a way it is an echo of Maundy Thursday (another name coming via Latin, in this case mandatum, the Latin for commandment, from the first words on the introit of this feast, A New Commandment I Give to You.) On Maundy Thursday Our Lord instituted the sacrament of the altar, by taking bread and wine and declaring them to be his body and blood. However, on Maundy Thursday the theme is part of the great drama leading to Easter, so Holy Mother Church placed this feast of Corpus Christi after this period, to allow us to contemplate more fully this mystery.

The last week we have seen the Black Life Matters demonstrations in the US and here. In NSW there was a court case over the legality of the march. In part it plays out a fascinating balance – how much are our civic rights to protest peaceably constrained by the health emergency. We have relinquished our civic right for freedom of worship at the moment because of the needs of health, as we have many other rights. Here we have been fortunate, as the restrictions are already being lifted, so the clash between different rights have not yet been extreme. In the US, part of the unrest, I suspect, is based in the frustration of the long lockdown with only minimal result.

Which leads me to the fascinating historical balance of rights issue. Last week we celebrated the memorial of Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, non-juror and hymn writer, who died in 1711. I was asked by someone what a non-juror was. This goes back to the conflict at the end of the Stuart era in England, around 1680-1700. The then king, James II, was a Roman Catholic, and wanted an easing of the religious laws to allow freedom of worship. However, these laws were passed by parliament and could only be changed with the consent of Parliament. James attempted to get around this by dismissing parliament and then issuing what he called a Declaration of Indulgence in 1687 and 1688, using his claim of Royal prerogative to set aside the laws of the land. Now, in those days kings did not have the advantages of a twitter account, so to publicise this he ordered this proclamation to be read in all the churches of the land. By having it read out in the churches he also was trying to get the moral authority of the church to support his proclamation.

Seven bishops, including the then archbishop of Canterbury and Thomas Ken, petitioned to be excused from reading it, claiming that it relied on an interpretation of Royal authority declared illegal by Parliament. James reacted with his customary fury to being opposed; calling it “a standard of rebellion.” After the petition was printed and publicly distributed, the bishops were charged with seditious libel and in a further fit of rage James had them imprisoned in the Tower of London. James was confident of a guilty verdict; he had appointed numerous sympathetic judges. They were tried but found not guilty, to scenes of wild rejoicing in London: bishops were and are rarely considered objects of public joy. It was the beginning of the end for James, and he abandoned England for exile soon after.

Two new monarchs were then invited to take the throne, William III of Orange and his wife, the daughter of James, Mary II. The dignitaries of the land, including the clergy, were then required to swear allegiance to the new monarchs. Nine bishops, including five of the seven previously imprisoned refused, as well as many clergy. Reasons varied; some, like Bishop Ken, considered themselves bound by their oath to James, but continued to attend church services. Others argued the new regime was illegitimate, since divine right and inheritance meant kings could not be removed, the so-called “state point.” A more fundamental issue was the “church point,” or belief Parliament had no right to intervene in ecclesiastical affairs, whether appointing or removing bishops and clergy, or changes to church policies. Eventually in May 1691, six new bishops were appointed to replace these bishops, including one for Bishop Ken, three of the original nine having since died. These were called the non-jurors, from the Latin verb juro meaning to swear an oath.

This group was never large, and had largely disappeared by the 1770s. But they had an important influence as they developed a more catholic Book of Common Prayer, similar to the first Book of 1549. It was significant in Scotland as the Anglican church was disestablished and became an independent Episcopal Church of Scotland, which would ordain the first bishops in the US.

The crisis in 1688 and the actions of the bishops and then the judges were immensely influential in developing the concept of the rule of law as a principle separate from the will of a leader. The assertion of Bishop Ken and the other bishops that they had to obey the law and not the King became a foundation of impartial government. The controversy about the right to petition the monarch or parliament free from coercion led to the insertion of this right in the 1689 English Bill of Rights and appears in the First Amendment to the US Constitution. Monarchs, and later presidents, are subject to the laws duly passed, and temper tantrums are not enough grounds to imprison those who disagree with you. Another of the rights contained in the first amendment in the US Constitution was the right of peaceable assembly, which is the source of present legal actions in the US over the forcible clearing of protesters near the White House to allow the President to have his photo shot outside the nearby church. 

A right that is still being balanced here between the right to protest about Black Lives Matter and the needs of public health.

Anyway, back to the parish. Greetings and thanks from the Sua family in the Solomons, part of our dispersed parish. Their thanks for the money donated to help pay the school fess of Charlyn and Reece. This Sunday they are keeping the patronal feast of St Barnabas in the Cathedral there. It’s a wonderful experience to go to that Cathedral. The service is very high church, the servers very well trained, and come out in height order. The singing, well, that is spectacular, as any of you may have heard in PNG or the other countries of the Pacific.

At the moment we have to remain with a maximum of 20 per mass. The only mass that is full completely is the 10 am on Sunday morning – please do not come to this without a booking. I apologise for the need to record names, but I cannot avoid that. The list of names will be destroyed after one month.

But back to Bishop Ken. He is not just remembered for his principled stand, but also for his saintly life. He was offered his old diocese back, but on principle he refused, and led the rest of his life as a tutor, writing books of prayers and hymns. One is particularly famous, Awake, My soul, also known for its famous ending, Praise God, from whom all blessings flow. This was the period when hymns were just becoming accepted in churches, which had looked dubiously on any wording not found directly in Scripture. When Thomas Ken died in 1711, he was buried at sunrise with this beautiful hymn being sung. Here it is sung by Norwich Cathedral choir and here a modern rendition by Jacob Tilton. Here are the full words, although only four verses are commonly sung these days.

1 Awake, my soul, and with the sun

Thy daily stage of duty run;

Shake off dull sloth, and joyful rise,

To pay thy morning sacrifice.

2 Thy precious time misspent, redeem,

Each present day thy last esteem,

Improve thy talent with due care;

For the great day thyself prepare.

3 By influence of the Light divine

Let thy own light to others shine.

Reflect all Heaven’s propitious ways

In ardent love, and cheerful praise.

4 In conversation be sincere;

Keep conscience as the noontide clear;

Think how all seeing God thy ways

And all thy secret thoughts surveys.

5 Wake, and lift up thyself, my heart,

And with the angels bear thy part,

Who all night long unwearied sing

High praise to the eternal King.

6 All praise to Thee, Who safe has kept

And hast refreshed me while I slept

Grant, Lord, when I from death shall wake

I may of endless light partake.

7 Heav’n is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art,

O never then from me depart;

For to my soul ’tis hell to be

But for one moment void of Thee.

8 Lord, I my vows to Thee renew;

Disperse my sins as morning dew.

Guard my first springs of thought and will,

And with Thyself my spirit fill.

9 Direct, control, suggest, this day,

All I design, or do, or say,

That all my powers, with all their might,

In Thy sole glory may unite.

10 I would not wake nor rise again

And Heaven itself I would disdain,

Wert Thou not there to be enjoyed,

And I in hymns to be employed.

11 Heaven is, dear Lord, where’er Thou art;

O never then from me depart;

For to my soul ’tis hell to be

But for one moment without Thee.

12 Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

God bless

Fr Scott 

Online Resources

Today, let’s continue Father Scott’s look at St Barnabas’ Cathedral in Honiara, Solomon Islands.

St Barnabas is the seat of the Right Reverend George Takeli, Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Melanesia.  The Church has 200,000 thousand members out of 800,000 citizens in the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu – quite possibly the highest proportion of active members in the Anglican communion – and a mission in Nouméa, New Caledonia.  Founded in 1849, ACOM has its own legends and martyrs (I’ll save them for another week!) and a deep and abiding collection of religious communities, including the Melanesian Brotherhood which is the largest in Anglicanism and is now sending missionaries to Australia.  Please take a look at the ACOM website – you will be surprised at how comprehensive it is:

Liturgy at the Cathedral itself, as Father Scott pointed out, is immaculately organised and is one of the many locations across Melanesia that successfully blends the indigenous style with the Christian faith, a sort of Pacific Gospel. I’m not good at describing music, so here’s some examples!

Unfortunately all the videos I can find for St Barnabas Cathedral are on their Facebook page; for those that can access Facebook they’re at: 

But here are some visually and acoustically more sophisticated offerings from the Melanesian Brothers and the Sisters of the Church – please watch these, they are wonderfully heartening to the jaded Western Christian:

Pax et Bonum, Tim Hender

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

14 Sunday                                                                                                               CORPUS CHRISTI

                           8.00 am      Mass

                         10.00 am      Mass

                         11.30 am      Mass

                         12.00 noon   Angelus

15 Monday                                                                                 Evelyn Underhill, Spiritual Writer, 1941

                                                                                                                                       Fr Scott’s day off

16 Tuesday                                                                                         Richard, Bishop of Chichester, 1253

                         10.00 am      Mass

                         12.00 noon   Angelus

17 Wednesday

                           8.00 am      Mass

                         12.00 noon   Angelus

18 Thursday                                                          Bernard Mizeki, Apostle to the MaShona, Martyr, 1896

                         12.00 noon   Angelus and Mass

                           7.30 pm      Gregorian Chant Group

19 Friday                                                                                                                   SACRED HEART

                           8.00 am      Mass

                         12.00 noon   Angelus

20 Saturday                                                                                                                                             

                           8.00 am      Mass

                         12.00 noon   Angelus

21 Sunday                                                                                                                      PENTECOST 3

                           8.00 am      Mass

                         10.00 am      Mass

                         11.30 am      Mass

                         12.00 noon   Angelus

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

Plague Rag: Trinity, 7 June

St George the Martyr, Goodwood

Trinity: 7 June, 2020

The Plague Rag

As we finish the Easter season, Holy Mother Church has a series of catch-up Sundays, where we take themes for the faithful to ponder. Easter finished last week with Pentecost, when we pondered the gift of the Holy Spirit, and this Sunday we step back and contemplate the mystery of the Holy Trinity, the revelation by which we know God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We still have to come the feasts of Corpus Christi and Sacred Heart, the last of the two catch up feasts.

The Holy Trinity is simplicity and complexity in one. One of the first things we learn is making the sign of the cross to the name of the Holy Trinity, touching the head to signify our intellectual consent, our heart to signify our emotional consent, and then across our chest to signify the body’s worship. It is simplicity in that it is three persons, but complex in how this can be. But what we need to know is that by existing in three persons, God shows a plurality and an independence that is held together in love. We often say that God is love, and we know this from the Trinity, the ability to hold three persons together in love, the Father our creator, the Son our redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our sanctifier.

In the parish we are now allowed twenty persons per mass, so we are now down to three masses on Sunday morning: 8, 10 and 11.30. Please remember to book for a mass on Sunday; the 10 am mass particularly is full. You need to tick your name off the list on Sunday, so we have a record of who is here for tracing purposes. Weekday masses are also available, at the moment there is no need to book for these but do write down your name on the attendance sheet. The list will only be kept for one month and then destroyed.

The last few weeks I have been employing the low altar at the chancel steps and bringing communion to you in the pews. This echoes what was sometimes called the Jacobean church arrangement. This was the period in England of Elizabeth and James I, hence Jacobean from the Latin version of James. In those days in many churches the altar was no longer against the east wall, but instead placed lengthwise in the chancels. Most Sundays the normal service was Matins, Litany and the first part of the communion service, finishing before the consecration, and therefore called the ante-communion. The priest led these services from the nave, in front of the screen that separated the chancel from the nave. When it came to communion, which was often just monthly or even every three months, those who were communicating went into the chancel and sat in the choir stalls there, with the altar in between. The priest stood then at the narrow end of the altar, facing the east wall. Anciently, Christians always celebrated facing East, to await the return of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, who will return in the East. Then at communion the priest would bring the sacrament to where the people were kneeling, in the chancel pews. In the reign of Charles I the altars were restored to the East walls and communion rails were erected to stop the altars being profaned – when the altar was between the choir stalls the puritans used the altar as a convenient “table” upon which to place their tall hats. However, many clergy still continued to say mass at the short end of the altar, now the north end, as they had in Jacobean times. This custom still continues in some low churches to this day.

We are now having pew sheets at church again, so I am starting to change the format of this Plague Rag. I will no longer include the weekly readings after this issue. I would also like feedback as to whether we should change the Messenger magazine. At the moment we post it out every three months. Would people prefer to receive it monthly in the same format as this Plague Rag?

I hope you have enjoyed the photos that I am putting in each week. Today I have specially included different photos of the interior of the church, looking towards the high altar. As you can see, there have been many changes over the years. The original idea was for a carved wooden screen, but that was too expensive. So we had curtains, and then for many years the lovely painting of the flight into Egypt, showing the Holy Family, now situated over the door leading into the vestries. Then the Crown complete with the “traffic lights” before their removal.

Gradually our churches are re-opening. It’s been frustrating to limit large buildings to small numbers. Full marks to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Sydney who organised an email campaign to the NSW government to allow more than ten in the cathedral there. As he pointed out, 40 people could cram into a bus to come here and then only ten would be allowed in the massive nave.

In England the churches are also slowly preparing to re-open. When the churches were closed the Anglican Archbishops went further than the government guidelines and even banned clergy from entering the churches for private prayer or mass. Once more it was found out to be rule by personal decree and the Archbishop of Canterbury was put on the spot and had to admit that the law did allow clergy to use the churches. There has been much discussion about this within the English church. The Archbishops, in their micro-management of buildings and structure, had become more managers ruling over the church and less the shepherds whose calling is to offer hope and leadership. They are meant to be our Fathers in God, not health and safety officers.

This week’s hymn is the great hymn for Trinity Sunday, Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty! It was written by the Anglican bishop Reginald Heber (1783–1826). Heber served as Bishop of Calcutta for only three years until his death at the age of 42. As Bishop of Calcutta, he and his successor also had responsibility for Australia until we appointed our first bishop in 1836. He died after plunging into cold water on a day of intense heat. A contemporary engraving shows his body “being carried from the bath by his servant and chaplain, the latter immaculately attired in a frock coat and top hat.” 

The tune for this hymn, Nicaea, was composed by John Bacchus Dykes in 1861. The tune name is a tribute to the First Council of Nicaea – held by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 – which formalized the doctrine of the Trinity. It has been noted as one of the composer’s finest. Here is a video of Evan Brickner playing the hymn on the St. Patrick’s Cathedral Organ, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA, complete with shots of the feet playing the foot pedals.

Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our song shall rise to Thee;

Holy, Holy, Holy! Merciful and Mighty!

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

Holy, Holy, Holy! All the saints adore Thee,

Casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee,

Which wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.

Holy, Holy, Holy! though the darkness hide Thee,

Though the eye of sinful man, thy glory may not see:

Only Thou art holy, there is none beside Thee,

Perfect in power in love, and purity.

Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!

All thy works shall praise thy name in earth, and sky, and sea;

Holy, Holy, Holy! merciful and mighty,

God in Three Persons, blessed Trinity!

God bless

Fr Scott 

Online Resources

This Saturday morning several of our local Benedictine Oblates met for the Eucharist and fellowship at St George’s; this is the first time since the Corona lockdown started and a return to their monthly cycle. Of the dozen or so in South Australia, three are members of our Parish and Father Scott is their Chaplain, having previously been Chaplain to the Sisters at the Community of Christ the King in Wangaratta Diocese.  Our oblates are members of either the CCK community, or the St Mark’s Community at Camperdown in Ballarat Diocese, with both groups meeting together and usually at Goodwood.

So, what is a Benedictine Oblate?  An Oblate professes the traditional Benedictine vows of stability, obedience and conversatio (conversion of life) outside of a monastery and in the place in the world to which God has called them.  They will seek to live in harmony with God and their neighbours amongst the distractions, disturbances and diversions of daily life – perhaps as parents, workers, Church members – by finding the classic Benedictine balance between prayer, work and study.

To guide them, Oblates will study and seek to apply the Rule of St Benedict to their spiritual and worldly lives – for example, most will include a portion of the Rule alongside their daily scriptural reading, and today we had a reading from the Rule during the Eucharist, and then that portion was discussed over the lunch.  Despite arising in the chaotic world of sixth century Italy, the Rule is remarkably easy to read and, due to its moderation and flexibility, adaptable to the 21st century.  Everybody should read it!  We’ve ordered in copies for the Tract Case, and Fr Scott recommends that you also subscribe to Fr Jerome Leo’s daily commentary, which helps put it into context:

Ah, I hear you say!  Fr Jerome is a Roman Catholic, and isn’t that who all this is for?  Not at all!  While there is a surprising ecumenical quality amongst Lutheran, RC and Anglican Benedictines, our own history shows that the Benedictine ethos has a unique place in the Church of England and her descendants.  Many of her great Cathedrals –  including Canterbury – were Benedictine foundations and Benedictine spiritually is found throughout our Prayer Books, particularly in our monastic pattern of daily prayer.

Some of these links will show just how broad the world of Anglican monastics and oblates is!

To finish, two contrasting RC communities in Australia:

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

This Week

7 Sunday                                                                                                                                    TRINITY

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         10.00 am       Mass

                         11.30 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

8 Monday                                                 Thomas Ken, Bishop of Bath and Wells, Non-Juror, Hymn Writer, 1711

                                                                                                                                         Fr Scott’s day off

9 Tuesday                                                                                          Columba, Abbot of Iona, Missionary, 597

                                                                        Ephrem of Syria, Deacon, Hymn Writer, Teacher of the Faith, 373

                         10.00 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

10 Wednesday

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

                           7.30 pm       Gregorian Chant Group

11 Thursday                                                                                BARNABAS, APOSTLE AND MARTYR

                         12.00 noon    Angelus and Mass

12 Friday

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

13 Saturday                                                                          Antony of Padua, Priest, Teacher of the Faith, 1231

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus

14 Sunday                                                                                                                    CORPUS CHRISTI

                           8.00 am       Mass

                         10.00 am       Mass

                         11.30 am       Mass

                         12.00 noon    Angelus


ALMIGHTY AND EVERLASTING GOD, you have given to us your servants grace by the confession of a true faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the divine majesty to worship the unity: keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, for you live and reign, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First reading                                                                                                              Exodus 34:4b-6.8-9

A reading from the Book of Exodus.

Moses rose early in the morning and went up on Mount Sinai, as the Lord had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tablets of stone. The Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name, “The Lord.” The Lord passed before Moses, and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” And Moses quickly bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped. He said, “If now I have found favour in your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go with us. Although this is a stiff-necked people, pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.”

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

Responsorial Canticle                                                                                          Daniel 3:52-56. R v22

Blessed are you, the | God · of our | forebears: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed is your holy and | glorious | name: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you, glorious in your | holy | temple: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you who be|holds the | depths: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you on the | throne · of your | kingdom: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Blessed are you in the | heights of | heaven: worthy to be | praised and ex|alted for | ever.

Second reading                                                                                                    2 Corinthians 13:11-13

A reading from the second letter of St Paul to the Corinthians.

Brothers and sisters, put things in order, listen to my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the saints greet you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with all of you.

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

Gospel                                                                                                                        Matthew 28:16-20

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

Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ.

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

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

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

Plague Rag: Pentecost, 31 May, 2020

This Sunday we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, or Whitsunday. This looks back to the birth of the church, when the disciples were gathered in the locked room for fear of the authorities, and the gift of the Holy Spirit came down upon them, and they went forth in courage and preached the gospel. It changed a group of frightened people into the greatest missionary endeavour the world has seen. That’s why we call it the birthday of the church – it was then that the church started, with its mission to go and proclaim the good news to all people.

It’s also the anniversary of another date – the introduction of the first Book of Common Prayer into the English Church in 1549 in the reign of Henry VIII’s son, Edward VI. From Pentecost of that year the old Latin Mass was put aside and a new English rite was set as a standard for all of England. It was a radical move by a central government to standardise church usage. It was initially not particularly popular, especially in the countryside. Three years later another more Protestant version was put out, and yet another series of changes were enforced, leading to further discontent, before the death of Edward led to the restoration of the Latin Mass under Mary I. Five years later she died, and another English Book of Common Prayer was issued by Elizabeth I. It was an expensive time for parishes, with continual changes in books and liturgy.

However, the use of English was eventually accepted, partly because of the beauty of the prose used by its main author, the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer. He was a brilliant wordsmith, and his translations of the Latin prayers capture the metre of the Latin in the English. Every time we say prayers such as “We do not presume to come to your table, merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in your manifold and great mercies” or “Almighty God, to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden”, we are saying the measured beat of his prose, with its balance of phrases and rhythm. The Anglican Church, in the Book of Common Prayer and its structure, retained its catholic heritage with its ordained ministry and solemn liturgy, yet reformed at the same time. Parishes throughout England used a common liturgy, hence the name “A Book of Common Prayer”, showing their joint common membership of one church. It was also all in one book, and generations of Anglicans became used to having one prayer book that was the source of their devotions. Many of you will probably have received a copy of the book for your confirmation, often in small print that now defies reading. Sadly, one of the effects of the last few decades has been the abandonment of a common liturgy throughout our Anglican church – I dread some of the services that pass as Sunday worship when I travel.

Things are slowly returning to a steady pattern in our lives, with the reopening of shops and services. We will be allowed twenty people per mass from next Sunday. At the moment I am having four masses on Sunday morning as well as the weekday masses to try and provide opportunity for everyone. It is perhaps a good time to look at mass times as well. I propose from next week to change to three masses. I request your feedback as to what suits most people: masses at 89.30 and 11 am or instead 810 and 11.30am. The second mass would be the sung mass of the day. I know many of you who usually go to the second mass have already said they prefer a later time in winter, so that’s my first preference, but do let me know. We are back to having mass on Tuesday at 10 am and Thursday at 12 noon as well, but unless there is a particular reason, I would like to keep the Friday mass at 8 am. Remember, you need to book a time for the Sunday mass. I will have an attendance sheet at the back of the church as well as a booking sheet for the next Sunday. At the moment there is no problem with overcrowding at the weekday masses.

As things snap back to life, it’s also interesting to consider to what we are snapping back. Many governments have enforced their decrees by public announcements, and let the law catch up later. This has led to some interesting confusion in England, for example, where in some places the police were enforcing Welsh lockdown restrictions instead of the English by mistake. There have been similar questions about some of the enforcements of fines in some states in Australia for breaches of legally dubious announcements. Here we are seeing a questioning of some rules like border shutdowns – by what authority does the government restrict border movement and trade. Even for us Anglicans there is an interesting question: we are restricted in offering the chalice at the moment in clear violation of Article 30 of the Articles of Religion, which are part of the foundation documents of our church. Now all these restrictions may be a good thing, but the questioning of the means is an important part of our democratic system. Are we going to snap back to a way of life with higher restrictions and control in the future?

Regarding parish finances we are fortunate in that I am on the government job keeper scheme at the moment. We will be facing a significant reduction in our investment income this year. However, people have been wonderful in donations and in setting up bank transfers for regular offerings. We do ask that you use the word ‘offering’ preferably in your transfer, and your name, as it helps our treasurer work out the reason for the money. 

As our churches slowly re-open it is good to note this week the resumption of one of our small groups. This Saturday the Benedictine Oblates will meet again. Oblates are lay people who affiliate with a Benedictine community, to follow the Rule of that order, insofar as their lives allow. Before coming to Adelaide, I was chaplain to a Benedictine Community, the Community of Christ the King, in Wangaratta, and after moving here I took on the responsibility of being a chaplain to the oblates in South Australia. Another of our small groups, our Gregorian Chant Group, resumes next month as well. Owing to the dispersed nature of our parish it has always been hard to nourish small groups in our parish, as distance makes a commitment harder.

We are blessed in that despite our financial problems over many years we have preserved our large grounds and the gardens are a credit to the many gardeners over the years. I have included a few photos of the gardens for your enjoyment in this issue. The gardens have been a bonus for many a parish lunch, when the weather allowed it. I have always hoped we could develop a garden group to take on the vegetable garden for the parish.

This week’s hymn is the great Veni Creator Spiritus, translated by John Cosin. The original hymn, which we have sung in our chant group, was by Rabanus Maurus (c. 776-856), a German monk, then abbot, at the Benedictine Abbey at Fulda, and later archbishop of Mainz. One of his predecessors, an Englishman Boniface, or Wynfrith of Crediton, we commemorate this week. England supplied many of the missionaries to Germany and Holland, owing to their common language at that time (and the Germans did not like the Franks then either). The hymn was translated by John Cosin, a high clergyman in the time of the English Civil War, who suffered much and returned with the King in 1660, eventually becoming Bishop of Durham. His “Collection of Private Devotions for the Hours of Prayer,” much offended the Puritans, who styled it “a book of Cozening Devotions.” The hymn is significant in that it is traditionally said by the priest on the way to the altar, a custom that I adhere to. It was one of the few insertions into the Book of Common Prayer when it was restored in 1662 as the standard worship in England.

1 Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire

and lighten with celestial fire;

thou the anointing Spirit art,

who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

2 Thy blessed unction from above

is comfort, life, and fire of love;

enable with perpetual light

the dullness of our mortal sight.

3 Teach us to know the Father, Son,

and thee, of both, to be but one;

that through the ages all along

this may be our endless song:

4 Praise to thine eternal merit,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit.


John Cosin 1594-1672

God bless

Fr Scott 

Online Resources

Father Scott has reminded us of the importance of gardens in reminding us of God’s creation.  Here are some links; next week, we’ll continue another of his themes – Benedict and his contemporary followers:

  1. Medieval Cloisters and their role in the day-to-day life of monks and nuns:
  2. A short introduction to the cloister with links to beautiful contemporary examples.
  3. Gardens and belonging for refugees in Davoren Park. 
  4. Simple and contemporary landscaping ideas
  5. 800 year old gardens at Lambeth Place, home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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

Plague Rag: Easter VII, Sunday after Ascension; 24 May, 2020

In the Lady Chapel at St George’s there are two large pictures. One is of Our Lady of the Rosary, the other is of St Joan of Arc. Both of these date from the time of World War I and its aftermath, a time of great worry and concern, as so many went off to war, putting their lives at risk. They were saints chosen for their time. The war against Germany and the Axis powers was portrayed as a war for civilisation against barbarians. Part of France was occupied, so Joan of Arc was seen as a symbol of France struggling for its freedom (the inconvenience of her original struggles being against the English were politely ignored). Our Lady of the Rosary was seen as the patron of the victory of the great defeat against the Ottoman navy at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571, a victory that saved the Christian nations of Western Europe. This Saturday we will commemorate the feast of St Joan. St Joan was burnt at the stake for heresy in 1471, aged only 19, after leading a spectacular military campaign against the English forces. Her visions, gender and determination to wear male armour to fight made her highly suspect, and led to her death. These pictures both reflect a time of great worry at our Parish during the war, a period of four long years that makes our present troubles much smaller.

But small as they may be, they have been hard. It has been wonderful to see a gradual easing, people out on the streets again, and even sitting down for a coffee with friends.

The last months have taken their toll on many people, short though it is compared to the wars of last century. We have had friends die and been unable to go to their funerals. The need of human contact, even a hug from a grandchild, has been impossible. Gyms and the companionship of sport has been forbidden. A bus trip has become a thing of worry from contagion and not a pleasant and easy trip into the city. Living in close confines without our support circles is stressful. Many of you I know have struggled with depression at this time. Finding hope is an important part of dealing with depression, and the hope that we obtain from a life of faith has been shut off with the shuttered doors of our church. We may have saved our physical health, but there is a price we are paying with our mental health still.

Like you, I was frustrated by the prohibition to have our church open for mass. But this is what we signed up for by being a Christian. We must not lose our peace over it. Our Lord often expects us to fight, and fight hard, for victory when this is possible. At other times Our Lord simply wishes us to endure. In this case we endure, for the time being, thankful that we at least have been spared the ravages we have seen overseas. St Theresa of Avila (a place where I had planned to be at this time for my holidays) puts it this way:

Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

All things are passing;

God only is changeless.

Patience gains all things.

Who has God wants nothing.

God alone suffices.

So, it is with great joy that I will see so many of you again as our church slowly re-opens this Sunday. Alas, at this time it can only be for ten at a time, so please email me to book a time. Remember that we must practise the dreaded social distancing, which should not be a problem in a building our size.

Last Thursday we celebrated the feast of the Ascension, when we celebrate Our Lord’s ascension bodily into heaven. This is the complement of Christmas. At Christmas, God became human, accepting our human condition, at Ascension, he takes our human condition into heaven, showing us that humanity is understood and accepted by God, and loved. All our worries, our concerns are known by the God who lived as one of us, and takes them all into heaven.

Back on parish news, if anyone can help pay the school fees for the Sua family in the Solomons, our former parishioners and now part of our extended family, please get in contact with me. Charlyn has AU$300 and Reece is about AU$540 (outstanding).

For a hymn this week I have chosen a modern hymn, Lord of the Dance by Sydney Carter. He wrote this hymn in 1963. This is his story about it:

I see Christ as the incarnation of the piper who is calling us. He dances that shape and pattern which is at the heart of our reality. By Christ I mean not only Jesus; in other times and places, other planets, there may be other Lords of the Dance. But Jesus is the one I know of first and best. I sing of the dancing pattern in the life and words of Jesus.

Whether Jesus ever leaped in Galilee to the rhythm of a pipe or drum I do not know. We are told that David danced (and as an act of worship too), so it is not impossible. The fact that many Christians have regarded dancing as a bit ungodly (in a church, at any rate) does not mean that Jesus did.

The Shakers didn’t. This sect flourished in the United States in the nineteenth century, but the first Shakers came from Manchester in England, where they were sometimes called the “Shaking Quakers”. They hived off to America in 1774, under the leadership of Mother Anne. They established celibate communities – men at one end, women at the other; though they met for work and worship. Dancing, for them, was a spiritual activity. They also made furniture of a functional, lyrical simplicity. Even the cloaks and bonnets that the women wore were distinctly stylish, in a sober and forbidding way.

Their hymns were odd, but sometimes of great beauty: from one of these (“Simple Gifts”) I adapted this melody. I could have written another for the words of “Lord of the Dance” (some people have), but this was so appropriate that it seemed a waste of time to do so. Also, I wanted to salute the Shakers.

I remember hearing a beautiful version of this sung when the fourth verse, about Jesus dying, was sung slowly and deeply, before speeding up again at the words “but I am the dance and I still go on.” Here is an organ version by All Saints’ Church, Oystermouth, Swansea for those who love organ music, here is another one from Swansea as well; I liked it just because it came from the wonderfully named Mumbles Methodist Church there, and here is a splendidly sung version by the students of Christ’s Hospital in England, which I know will appeal to one member of our parish who is an alumna of that school.

1 I danced in the morning

when the world was begun,

and I danced in the moon

and the stars and the sun,

and I came down from heaven

and I danced on the earth,

at Bethlehem

I had my birth.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

2 I danced for the scribe

and the pharisee,

but they would not dance

and they wouldn’t follow me.

I danced for the fishermen,

for James and John –

they came with me

and the dance went on.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

3 I danced on the Sabbath

and I cured the lame;

the holy people

said it was a shame.

they whipped and they stripped

and they hung me on high,

and they left me there

on a Cross to die.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

4 I danced on a Friday

when the sky turned black;

it’s hard to dance

with the devil on your back.

They buried my body

and they thought I’d gone,

but I am the Dance,

and I still go on.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

5 They cut me down

and I leapt up high;

I am the life

that’ll never, never die;

I’ll live in you

if you’ll live in me –

I am the Lord

of the Dance, said he.

Dance, then, wherever you may be,

I am the Lord of the Dance, said he,

and I’ll lead you all, wherever you may be,

and I’ll lead you all in the Dance, said he.

God bless

Fr Scott

Online Resources

This week, we’ll continue to look at Contemporary Christian Art – last week we took a look at DaeWha Kang’s intervention at St Andrew’s Holborn in London – part of a thorough renovation to a Christopher Wren church.

Here are three more:

  1. Egbert Modderman of the Netherlands. Richly detailed depictions of biblical scenes that tend towards photo-realistic portraiture – yet free of the cloying sentimentality that often accompanies this genre.
  2. John Nava and the tapestries at the new Cathedral of our Lady of Angels in, you guessed it, Los Angeles. Remarkable work in a very contemporary building – the Diocese placed great trust in Mr Nava given the importance of the tapestries to the interior.
  3. The Meszaros Family. The large medallion of Christ Before Pilate in the St George’s oratory is by Andor Mészáros, a prolific Hungarian-born Australian sculptor of the post war period famous for, amongst other things, the 1956 Melbourne Olympics medals.  Our piece is part of a larger series depicting the Stations of the Cross; I had thought that the only complete sets were at Trinity College Melbourne, St George’s Cathedral Perth and Church of the Resurrection in Loxton – however, this article from the Museum of Victoria hints at a Canterbury connection. He also designed a life-sized sculpture, picture below, of Christ Accepting his Cross at our sister shrine church of All Saints Wickham Terrace in Brisbane and a number of other pieces were made for one of our sister churches, St Peter’s Eastern Hill in Melbourne.  Andor’s son, Michael, continues to work in a similar vein and while he doesn’t adopt a particularly Christian perspective, his work his worth a look.  A third generation, Anna Meszaros, designed the 14 Stations of the Cross that are located by churches in the eastern end of the Melbourne CBD.  The grandfather’s heritage is easy to see!  I can’t locate an online guide all 14 stations, but here’s a link to the St Patrick’s cathedral page as a starting point for your google hunt!

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


O God, the King of glory, you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven: we pray you, leave us not comfortless, but send your Holy Spirit to strengthen us, and exult us to the same place where our Saviour Christ has gone before; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First reading                                                                                                                          Acts 1:6-14

A reading from the Acts of the Apostles.

So when they had come together, they asked him, ‘Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ When he had said this, as they were watching, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up towards heaven, suddenly two men in white robes stood by them. They said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up towards heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.’

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away. When they had entered the city, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying, Peter, and John, and James, and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James son of Alphaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers.

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

Responsorial Psalm

Ps 26: 1,4,7-8. R.v. 13

Response: I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.

The Lord is my light and my help;

whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the stronghold of my life;

before whom shall I shrink? R.

There is one thing I ask of the Lord,

for this I long,

to live in the house of the Lord,

all the days of my life. R.

O Lord, hear my voice when I call;

have mercy and answer.

Of you my heart has spoken;

‘Seek his face.’ R.

Second reading

1 Peter 4:12-14, 5:6-11

A reading from the first Letter of St Peter.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. Discipline yourselves; keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters throughout the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.

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

Gospel                                                                                                                                 John 17:1-11

 A reading from the holy gospel according to St John.

Glory to you Lord Jesus Christ.

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’

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