We are moving again. As of today, we are planning another Trans-Pacific schlep from über-urban to urban. From the city of Manhattan, to the city of Sydney. That is, we are swapping the Lower East Side for Downtown Sydney. From New York to York St.
And, as you can imagine, it is bittersweet.
The Bitter part of this is that we are leaving New York City. We have loved living in this city. Christ Church NYC has been a great church in which to serve. We have seen the church grow and change its shape and culture over three years, and we will miss Christ Church. We love how this church loves Jesus. We will miss our friends. We tried to imagine how to stay in New York City, but I have been thinking for some time that I need and would like to be a Senior Minister (Rector).
The Sweet part of that we have accepted the Archbishop of Sydney's invitation to be Rector of St Philip's Church Hill on York Street in Sydney. We have prayed diligently. And we believe that this is of God in the power of his Spirit.
The Parish of St Philip is the original parish of the Anglican Church in Australia. The first Christian services were held nearby in 1788. The present building has been in use since 1856. In other words, the parish is the birthplace of Christianity on the continent. It is, you could argue, Ground Zero for the spread of Christian faith in Australia. It is a short walk to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay and the Opera House. You can see a Google Map HERE, and zoom in and out to see where we will serve Jesus.
The people at St Philips are keen for the next stage in their ministry. They are a small church, with an eye on the city. I'll need to check the histories here, but I'm fairly sure that I will be one of the youngest rectors of St Philip's, and the first with a family of toddlers in the last 50+ years.
Why the city?
Leaving Manhattan has not dampened our enthusiasm for the city. Sydney and New York are different, but the city is still where extraordinary things happen. It is where people live and come to work and play, day and night. The city is where the homeless find anonymity and perhaps shelter. The city is where government sits and art is displayed. There are 38,000 people who live near St Philips. There are more men living there than women, and the average age is 29. From this central place, there could be a central faith.
This will be neither church planting, nor missionary service, but at times it may feel like both.
I will be producing some literature soon with some early thoughts about the way forward, with some things that God has placed on my heart, and that I hope will be worth discussing with those in the parish, and those interested in serving there.
We'll need your help. No one is telling us that this will be easy. If you live or work nearby, or if you want to talk about ways we can partner, then email me by clicking HERE.
Pic 1 is inside the Sanctuary (to use a US term)
Pic 2 is of St Philips and the rectory from York St.
Pic 3 is a picture a plate glass negative (1884-1917) from the Powerhouse Museum.
Pic 4 St Philips from above by Adam and Tennille.
Pic 5 of Bridge on Flickr by Wellingtonwidebrow.