The Service was led by Bishop David Walker, Bishop Peter Stuart and Bishop William Wright. The theme chosen was One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism which celebrated the common baptism we share. The service followed the structure of the rite of baptism itself, drawing alternately from the texts of the Anglican and Catholic rituals, and celebrating baptism as our shared call to discipleship, gift of God's grace and challenge to mission. There was a clear recognition that we are one in Christ which is grounded in our common baptism and shared faith.
Reverend Greg Woolnough, Minister of the Gosford Uniting Church, gave the homily which reflected on what an invitation to join us might look like for someone who had no idea about Christianity. As he spoke I realised that our faith is not easily explained in our present materialistic age. How does one explain the inner joy and peace which come from following Jesus?
The beautiful church at Woy Woy lent itself to the celebration of our common baptism because as you enter the space, you encounter a large water feature which is the beautiful baptismal font. This font was the key symbol of the service and our gathering as people around the water of life. The words at our affirmation of baptism were most powerful: "Through our common baptism Christ has claimed us for his own. Peace be with you."
And the following words sent us out, past the waters of baptism and into the world:
Go forth into the world in peace;
be of good courage;
hold fast to that which is good;
render to no-one evil for evil;
strengthen the faint hearted; support the weak;
help the afflicted;
give honour to all; love and serve the Lord,
rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit;
And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
be upon you and remain with you always.
After being sent on mission we gathered around food with fellowship and friendship, three dioceses realising they have more in common that which separates us.
Article by Teresa Brierley, Vice Chancellor Pastoral Ministries.
To view more photos from the liturgy please click here.