Our community was founded as “Saint Uriel’s Gnostic Community” on St Uriel’s day (21 June) in 2007. The initial community – Luke Fullagar, Trish Nowland, Stephen Leppard and Tim Mansfield – met weekly on a Sunday at Tim’s house for a lay service and discussion, which usually wound up around the kitchen table for a couple of hours talking about life and spirituality over tea and snacks.
In 2008, the community began meeting at the Unitarian Centre in Darlinghurst (our current home) and in May 2008, Tim was ordained a priest and became the rector of the Sydney parish. St Uriel’s took the more formal title of The Parish of Saint Uriel the Archangel.
Trish Nowland took a strong role in the community, joining the Order of Saint Esclarmonde, she organised a weekend retreat at a monastery at Stroud in 2009. Eventually entering Minor Orders, she began serving at the altar during the eucharist, as well as organising several learning groups and discussion circles, both in-person and online. In 2013, she served on a project about the Divine Feminine for the AJC’s seminary program.
Saint Uriel’s has hosted a weekly Centering Prayer group and a monthly “Wisdom Jesus” meetup as well as occasional workshops on Centering Prayer. Tomek Wyczesany was a key contributor to this contemplative ministry over the years. Orion Mitchell, Alicia Boyd, Emma Thembani and Ben Burke have also been regular attendees and co-hosts of various events.
In 2010, Emma, Ben, Lynette Watters-Idehen and Angus Fotheringham stepped forward as members of the parish council to help guide the future of the parish. Lynette has been a steady presence at St Uriel’s since our earliest days, providing welcome and hospitality to every visitor, along with some really excellent contributions to the shared dinner table! Angus has mentored us on aspects of incorporation and other legal and financial matters.
Many other warm-hearted, open-minded people have contributed to dinners and conversation, participated in workshops and community life and shared in communion at Saint Uriel’s since 2007. We are a diverse, inclusive community which has always stayed focused on intimacy, hospitality and open inquiry of our human life’s greatest mysteries.