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Parish Day of Reflection, Greenhills Conference Centre, 22 October 2022


Reverend Martin Johnson

On the evening of 18 March 2020, I was at the Chapel at Duntroon. We had gathered to mark the Consecration and Installation of a new Bishop to the ADF. But there was an air of anxiety. A Pandemic was sweeping across the country none of us knew what would happen... what would be expected of us, what would be the outcome. I was told that I couldn't have a seat in the Chapel because of restrictions. I was given the role of vetting those who had come but were not part of the proceedings. I had to turn them away. It was a strange feeling.

During the service I sat in the Narthex and turned on my phone. I read the latest news bulletins and then an email appeared in my inbox from Bishop Mark, all congregational worship was suspended immediately. So began a lengthy period of uncertainty, few of us if any, had experienced anything like it.

We travelled on a roller coaster as we went through various stages of restrictions and when we finally emerged we were cautious, careful in each other’s presence, some didn't want to return to church immediately, we were a smaller congregation.

So the Greenhills Day, as it became known, was an opportunity for us to gather again, enjoy each other’s company, pray and reflect together, express our hopes and dreams for the future and celebrate all that we love and appreciate about our community of faith.

The day was facilitated by Dr Leanne Beagley who at that time was a member of the Parish Council and the CEO of Mental Health Australia. Leanne skilfully guided us, asked questions of us, helped us clarify our thinking. Thank you Leanne. These pages are a summary of what we did on that day. It is not exhaustive and I apologise if you feel something has been missed.

Two things emerged initially. One, a plan developed by the Parish Council which will be presented at the 2023 AGM and two, an initiative whereby we are exploring what it is to be ‘Missional’ in a journey of understanding of ‘Missional Spirituality.’ This project will be undertaken between February and September 2023 and led by The Revd Tracey Matthews. It is my hope that in this project we can begin to see how we can make a reality some of ideas that we prayed and dreamt about at Greenhills. I draw your attention to the words of Dr Colin Dundon in his address to the gathering: 'Mission is first a spirituality and then a strategy. Strategy cannot bear the burden of mission by itself.'

I hope you find these pages encouraging and helpful.

Blessings, Martin