Anglican churches in Western Australia proved they are not small and struggling when over 4000 Anglicans from all over the Diocese of Perth gathered for a ‘Celebration Eucharist’ at Challenge Stadium in the Perth suburb of Mt Claremont.
The service held on Sunday 29 July was a highlight of two weeks of special events marking the 150th anniversary of the Perth Diocese.
Organizers reported long traffic delays around Challenge Stadium as cars and bus loads of people arrived from all over the metropolitan and country areas including Esperance, Three Springs, Wongan Hills, Moora, and Kalgoorlie. Anglicans from the Dioceses of Bunbury, and North West Australia, also joined in the celebration.
The celebration Eucharist was described as Anglican liturgy at its best – splendid, colourful, dignified and joyous.
According to the Reverend Dr David Wood, the Master of Ceremonies for the event, the celebration of the 150th of the Church of Perth was simply doing what Anglicans do every Sunday: making Eucharist and feasting together, and making new Christians in water and the Spirit.
“Usually we are scattered far and wide, from St George’s Cathedral in the heart of the city to tiny country churches, to well established suburban parishes and makeshift worship spaces on new housing estates.
“Wherever we are, wherever two or three are gathered together, wherever there is water, book and table, the crucified and raised Christ pitches his tent among us.”
Prior to the start of the service a special DVD called ‘A Moment in Time‘ - made to recognize 150 years’ of history - was screened. This morning’s service was recorded, and as soon as the service ended it was uploaded onto the internet for a world-wide audience, thanks to Highway 1 internet Solutions.
More than ten bishops and over 100 clergy took part in the service, and so thick was the crowd that about 50 sidespeople were needed to take up the collection which is to be used for the training of clerical and lay ministry in new mission areas.
A massed choir of students from Anglican schools was joined by the One for All Big Band, and liturgical dancing was performed by students from John Septimus Roe and Peter Moyes Anglican Community Schools.
The Anglican Primate of Australia, The Most Reverend Dr Phillip Aspinall, passed on greetings and congratulations from the rest of the Australian Anglican community on Perth’s reaching this important milestone.
The sermon was given by The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, Primate of England and Metropolitan. Archbishop Sentamu and his wife Margaret are special guests for the 150th celebrations.
In the foreword to the Festival Eucharist order of service, Dr Sentamu said worship and praise lie at the centre of the human response to God.
“For thousands of years people have sought to draw closer to God in this way. The revelation of God’s all embracing love in Christ has brought people into a new dimension of worship of intimacy and transcendence.
“As we gather in this community of Faith and give thanks to God for the 150 years of the Diocese of Perth we are reminded of our place within a community of worship which is wider than can be imagined and held in the timelessness of God.”
The diversity of the Perth Diocese was reflected throughout the service with readings in Arabic and Mandarin, and singing from the Sudanese choir.
Following the service lunch was served to 4000 people thanks to the sponsorship of Amana Living.
To view a copy of Archbishop Sentamu's sermon, please click here