Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

The Advent Hope

28 Nov 2018 - by Stephen Pickard

It is hard to believe that Christmas 2018 is almost knocking at the door.

The year seems to have flown by. It has been rich and rewarding for the Centre with over 4000 people visiting us in the past 11 months; many for the first time. The diverse range of activities and events have not only provided a stimulating and engaging experience for visitors they also offer a snapshot of the reach of the Centre to individuals, groups and networks.

I think of the following:

  • the ecumenical service in the Chapel to mark the opening of Parliament for 2018;
  • the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the visit of the Asian General Secretary of the WCC;
  • pre-Easter Stations of the Cross art exhibition and the ecumenical Good Friday Way of the Cross;
  • Indigenous gathering in reconciliation week;
  • forum for combating slavery;
  • wisdom conversations that matter;
  • The Peoples Passion performed by the Chorus of Women to mark remembrance day;
  • interfaith film evenings;
  • book launches on many topics including faith, politics and the post secular;
  • the wonderful religious short film prize for 2018;
  • Sudanese Church leaders consultation with the National Council of Churches of Australia;
  • public addresses organised by Christians for an Ethical Society;
  • seminars on religious fundamentalism;
  • Christian/Muslim joint events;
  • local schools retreats;
  • religious freedom evening;
  • group visits to the Bible Garden;
  • spiritual direction days;
  • visits from the bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia;
  • and forums for safe churches for the LGBTQI community.

The activities listed are just a taster of what has been an exciting and full year. The Centre works hard to host conversations that draw people from diverse backgrounds with respect to culture and ethnicity; politics, religions and gender. We do this in order to fulfil our desire to foster a wisdom for the common good. If you have recently become a subscriber to our e bulletin welcome. I hope you feel encouraged to share the vision of the Centre with your friends. The website tells our story. If you have been a regular e bulletin subscriber thank you for the encouragement you have given to the Centre, it’s wonderful staff, Board and volunteers. Your enthusiasm, prayer, and support in time and donations is greatly appreciated. The Centre is a creature of an innovative agreement between Charles Sturt University and the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Centre. We feel we have a great deal to celebrate and give thanks for.

I am mindful as I write this final note for 2018 that next Sunday is Advent Sunday; the first Sunday of the Christian liturgical year. While others might rush towards the festive season the Christian pilgrimage goes by a different route. It begins with the Advent hope that the Lord will come in mercy and justice to right the wrongs, heal the broken, find the lost, call the powerful to account and shower the people of the world with a love this is just, gracious and persistent.

As we approach Advent tide we do so with a heavy heart for all those who do not have a home as we do; who have lost the hope that springs eternal; who despair of a new future. This is the plight of so many in our world; some very close to home. In particular I think of the children, families, men and women on Nauru and Manus. They, like Christ are not it seems welcome at the Inn; they, like Christ, are refugees in need of care and compassion. May the good God give to us all the grace to live hopefully and practice generous hospitality.

Advent blessings from the ACC&C