Visit to Saint Teresa’s in Brisbane

Last month, I visited Brisbane for the first time in a couple of years to celebrate the Eucharist with the Parish of St Teresa of Avila.

The particular occasion of this visit was to celebrate Father Brenden Humberdross completing his studies and receiving a licence to function as a priest in the Apostolic Johannite Church. Father Brenden was already validly ordained in another jurisdiction when he joined the AJC, but we insist that all clergy complete a minimum course of study to ensure that all our priests meet the same standards of theological and pastoral education.

Father Brenden received his licence late in 2021 and we appointed him as rector of Saint Teresa’s then, but one step remained…

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The congregation included the regular folks of Saint Teresa’s who have been gathering faithfully for over a decade for study and prayer, as well as a few new folks who took the opportunity to visit to see what an AJC service was like. We were also blessed to receive a visit from the Right Reverend David Jones from the The Inclusive Sacramental Church of Christ and his wife, Vicki. Bishop David took the photos you’re seeing in this post.

Before we started the service proper, I consecrated Father Brenden’s chalice and paten – the vessels we use for the Eucharist – with chrism oil. This short ritual anoints the vessels for sacred use and they must not be used for mundane purposes or handled casually once this is done.

During the service, Father Brenden assisted me as my deacon and read the gospel. We consecrated the bread the wine together.

Once everyone had shared in communion, we had one last task. All clergy in the AJC are bound by vows into a hierarchical system of support and supervision, regulated by our system of canon law. Had Father Brenden been ordained in the AJC, the final step in his ordination would have been the moment when he vows to obey his bishop “in matters canonical”. That means – in matters relating to the governance and functioning of the church. It doesn’t mean the bishop gets to advise you on investments or tell you who to marry or what to think!

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So, right at the end of the service, Father Brenden knelt before me and, with his hands between mine, made his vow. That done, I gave him my blessing on his ministry as a priest.

With the service concluded, our whole crew wandered down the street to The Burrow in West End for a long, beer-enriched lunch and (from what I could overhear) many conversations about spirituality, meditation, life and a lot of jokes.

It was a fun, warm day – as every visit I make to St Teresa’s is. People drove from up to three or four hours away to come together for this service and I think that helped it feel like a deeply special event.

I pray upon the people of Saint Teresa of Avila and their visitors every blessing and all good fortune and upon Father Brenden especially my deepest wish for a rich and long ministry as a priest.

✠ Tim

Eucharist Service – Sun 12 June

UPDATE: Due to unforeseen circumstances, this will now be an online, contemplative Eucharist.

The parish will meet for an in-person Eucharist service next Sunday evening, 12 June at our usual venue, The Unitarian Chapel at 15 Francis St, Darlinghurst.

The Eucharist or Holy Communion or Divine Liturgy is a ritual in which we both remember and also invoke the presence of the Divine by gathering in prayer. Eucharist is an ancient practice of the Christian tradition, shared by Gnostic, Esoteric, Mystical and conventional Christians since the time of Jesus.

Arrive at 5:30pm for a 6pm start. We’ll all stay afterwards for a meal, either at the chapel or at a nearby restaurant, depending on numbers.

Resources and Zoom details are available here.

If you’re planning on coming, please RSVP by email to [email protected]

Activities for the rest of the year

Our little community here in Sydney has been pretty quiet the last few months. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve tried to keep up a schedule of activities – if only so that we all have some more opportunities to connect while we might be feeling isolated.

Most of those activities have not been public. I’ve kept attention focused on our existing community members. It’s seemed to me that supporting this community had to be the primary focus if options were limited and energy was low.

Like a lot of us, I’ve got a pretty serious case of lockdown fatigue. I have to admit it’s been easier to just close in on myself and focus on the next minute, the next hour, then next day. Since this current lockdown started in late June, I’ve struggled to organise much beyond keeping my personal life more or less running.

But, last month, we had our first online service in a while and – of course – it was amazing to see each other and to share in silence and prayer together. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the liturgy is food as well as work.

From this month, we’re going to return to public activities – online to start with and, with luck, eventually in-person. You can check out our events calendar, but also make sure you subscribe to the newsletter for updates.

Next Sunday, 26 Sept starting at 5:30pm, I’ll host an online Contemplative Eucharist – it’s public and you’re welcome to come – if it’s your first time or it’s been a while, please let me know you’re planning to come. Some details below.

My plan is to maintain a monthly service from here on, no matter what. We might also add other events – let’s see how our collective levels of energy go.

My blessings and prayers to you, no matter where you are. I hope to see you next Sunday!

Contemplative Eucharist Service

Eucharist (in some churches called The Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, the Mass, or the Divine Liturgy) enacts the weaving together of the Divine and the human, and of each of us into a sacred community.

The service is contemplative, so expect a lot of silence (and make sure you are somewhere you can remain in quiet) and be prepared to meditate for 10 minutes.

Resources and Zoom details here:

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash


Today is Ash Wednesday.

In Western churches, today is the formal start of Lent, the solemn season of preparation for Easter. Orthodox Lent, by contrast, doesn’t start until 15 March.

Calendars 🤯

Traditionally, Lent focuses on two things – fasting and prayer. Fasting in the sense of restricting what you eat, rather than simply eating nothing. Sticking to simpler food: reducing meat, dairy products, avoiding alcohol, spices.

Lots of modern folks have turned this into “giving something up for Lent”, but the point of fasting is twofold – a voluntary simplicity that refines the heart and shifting the attention from the senses to the interior

… which brings us to prayer. Fasting is really a preparation and foundation for more stable prayer (or meditation). Lent is a time to turn focus inward to spend more time, each day, sending “longing darts of love” (as the Cloud of Unknowing puts it) towards your inner sense of God.

These seasons, if we use them, help us find time in a life of busyness to emphasise spiritual practice. Our tradition assures us that our human life finds its fruition in Union with God, however it’s easy to keep putting off the work we might need to do to reach that state.

If you were in church today to receive the eponymous ashen cross for which Ash Wednesday is named, you’d hear the priest say, “Remember that dust you are, and to dust you shall return” – you don’t have forever. Time is short and we know neither the day nor the hour.

So… I want to encourage you to take some time during Lent (whichever calendar you use) to turn toward the Divine source, to open your heart, softly, with love and allow the process of metanoia to continue and deepen in you.

A blessed Ash Wednesday to you!

Online Services

As the pandemic drags on, we’ve decided we need to find ways to maintain the connection that liturgy allows, even though it’s often difficult to meet in-person. Until recently, it has been AJC practice not to broadcast the Eucharist service. As a part of adapting to the difficulties of the pandemic, this has been relaxed.

From now on, St Uriel’s parish will be sharing an online Eucharist service every month on the fourth Sunday.

The first online Eucharist is next Sunday. We would love to warmly welcome you to join us.

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