Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Greetings to you as we continue our journey through this time. I guess we are all anxiously awaiting what the Premier of Victoria is going to announce in terms of a plan for the easing of restrictions. I think it is important to realise that our emerging from this second wave of COVID 19 and the restrictions imposed with it may take some time to be wound back. We will most likely have to ‘cool our heels’ for a while yet, as the number of cases continue to drop and threat of further outbreaks still lurks behind the scenes. This brings me to providing a brief reflection on the second part of our Gospel reading today which provides teaching and guidance on how best to deal with conflict. It is all too easy for us as people to be ‘hot headed’ about something we believe should be dealt with in a certain way, but being rash has less effect than being reflective and using a process to bring about change. The Gospel writer, along with reflecting on Jesus teaching, could also be superimposing personal experience. The early church, like today, had its fair share of disagreements, from which ‘never the twain shall meet.’ Conflict can lead to ugly and dark consequences, from which reconciliation, wholeness and healing of rifts seems insurmountable, except with out prayer and due process like Matthew ascribes.
Journey safe and well with Christ this week.
Brief Reflection from Fr Ian on his Pastoral Counselling Online residential this past week Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday
I had the privilege of attending this event as part of my course through CSU. The focus on the first two days was Theological Reflection as a tool for reflecting on pastoral/ practical ministry; exploring and trying out various models. The use of this is to link known biblical and theological knowledge to lived out events and help to make sense of the pastoral needs of people & sustaining faith communities. As Nash and Nash in ‘Tools for reflective Ministry’ state: “Theological reflection is a two-way process: the experience influences our understanding of faith and our faith is transformed because of the experience.”
Friday and Saturday were on practical prayer practices as part of the unit on Spiritual Direction in the Christian Tradition. Not a unit to turn participants into Spiritual Directors, but to deepen understanding of spiritual direction and practices of prayer that support and further enable ministries such as pastoral care and/or counselling. It’s been a great opportunity to start this during COVID restrictions.
Rev Cannon Ian Howarth is the Rector of the Anglican Parish of St Paul's Kyneton and St John's Malmsbury and is the team leader of the Central Highlands Cluster.