Sunday, November 23, 2008

News: We are moving from über-urban Manhattan to urban Sydney

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.

45 comments:

Mark said...

Wow! That must be both exciting AND sad.

... Does that mean you have to change your blogspot address?

Justin said...

Can you do that?

Justin said...

moffattsyd.blogspot?

Mark said...

I'm pretty sure you can Justin:

dashboard > [site] > settings > publishing

... as long as it's still available.

How much would you be willing to pay for moffattsyd.blogspot? ;)

Eb said...

Wow that is news. I am currently sitting a stone's throw away from St Phillips' on the corner of George and Grosvenor St.

i.e. throw hard and hope optimistically that since you're throwing from the 26th floor the stone is bound to reach it, but with any luck not land on anyone, or damage any property, or hit any dogs that are walking a.... I appear to have digressed..

thatgreatcity said...

Justin
NYC loss is our gain
look forward to having you in the city again brother
Michael

RodeoClown said...

Don't change the address - people reading your site will lose you, and it's better to keep your stuff where people think it is.

Also - I work on Barrack St, right next to York St, so I may actually be able to see you in person :)

It might be worth talking to the e-com people, and see if they have any ideas about reaching people in the middle of the city.

Louisa said...

WOW! There will be a lot of happy and sad people reading this post!

CraigS said...

Great news mate - well done!

Giraffe Pen (기린 만년필) said...

New York is losing an incredible asset as Sydney did when you moved to NY! :D It's great to have you back, brother.

Dave Miers said...

moff dogs - that is seriously exciting news! good stuff.

praying you'd keep boasting in the cross (Gal 6:14).

Gordon Cheng said...

Like people said—wow!

Welcome back, looking forward to your presence with us in Syd.

Brandon said...

I am heartbroken. I am thrilled. I am bitter. Sweet.

SeaPea said...

i see that lots of aussies are excited. i really really can't say that i'm EXCITED but i really really am HAPPY for you guys and feel god's love in answering your prayer.

....

WAH!!!!!!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Eun said...

very excited for the new chapter in your family's life; will miss you coming out to IV - and will be praying for you and your family and your new church!

Dré said...

Hi Justin,
Great news! I look forward to welcoming you back to Oz.

Christians in the Media have been doing a lot of thinking about how to reach 'upstream' in Australian culture: Country NSW takes its lead from Sydney; outer Sydney looks to inner city. As a result a city church can influence a nation. I trust what you've learnt in NY can be applied in York Street and have a great impact to lead people to following Jesus.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Hey Justin, commiserations and congratulations.

Now I can bombard you with mail from CMS.

Matthew said...

Good morning, Justin. Both Susan and I are sad to lose your presence in NYC but I am sure that God called you back to Australia for His purpose. Let us know when you are planning to leave and perhaps we can stop by before your move.

Peter said...

Hey Justin,
Sad to hear you'll be leaving. When are you leaving the US? I'll be returning from the UK on the 20th and will be at church on the 21st. I hope I'll be able to say goodbye to you in person.

Peter

The Heald Family said...

Oh My!
I know I have only ventured to NYC once since you have been there, but Sidney is even further and hard for a small town girl:)
I hope to see you before you all take off.
give love to Laurel & the kids.
cathy

Anthony Douglas said...

Ha! Must be time for us to get out of Sydney then...I think we might try Shoalhaven Heads, there's a nice little church there.

Seriously - an exciting move, and I wish you all well. No doubt this will increase the chance of seeing you round the traps!

Mandy said...

Wow! Looking forward to having you down the road as we work together to reach the city of Sydney - you at the north end, us at the south. We should talk when you get back!

David Ould said...

hey JM, exciting news! Lookng forward to having you just over the harbour from us. I have a bunch of guys working near where you'll be.
We will need to talk ;-)

Jim said...

Great!

Michael Canaris said...

Congrats!

Wo said...

I think most of your NYC friends are too sad to type a comment... We'll miss you guys... Happy for you, too, though...

:(

Sharon said...

Wow....great news. Will you go back to Sydney via London by any chance??? When will the schlep take place?? Sending lots of love

S xxx

Jeff Hoppa said...

Sad news. I know we took our leave of CCNYC some time back, for various eternally inadequate reasons, but I should pause for a moment on this blustery Manhattan afternoon to say to you, Rev. Moffatt, that we love you, have missed you and will miss you even more, now that you'll be so much more further removed! Thank God for the internet (there's a sermon there, surely) and for sermon podcasts! Have just finished listening to "Searching for a Better Reality" and would love to dissect it with you sometime. Thanks for that, for your service and for your friendship/prayers. God bless you five as you cross the western ocean (again).

Julian said...

Cool. You're almost across the road from my work!

Just in time for all those former CC'ers now city dwellers. Quite fitting.

JG

Mrs. W said...

Congratulations! Clint and I are sad that you won't be back in NYC if we go back, but we wish you so many blessings! We miss CCNYC so much, by the way, though we have been very blessed by St. John's here in Vancouver, its not quite the same. I guess we'll have a great excuse to visit Sydney someday!

Gav Perkins said...

It will be good to have you back in Oz.
I will be preaching Romans next year so you can return the favour from a couple of years ago and heckle me live.

Pete said...

Awesome...

I'm leaving working near Wynyard in a few weeks time to move to a familiar institution just south of the CBD, but I guess I can still be excited as it sounds like a great move.

York St might work quite well, especially since they are planning to build a whole financial district just West of there.

Ali said...

Wow! That's very exciting and a big bonus for us down here. Congratulations! Hope to see you around and meet Dr Laurel and the little people sometime.

David Clarke said...

Welcome to the world of dealing with heritage buildings and historical societies!

Dunc Rintoul said...

Nice one JMoff. Your new flat is sweet - beware of 1,000 people wanting to crash over after work parties? Or maybe it's just me...

Now, this means I have to catch up with Rev Mansfield to find out what he's up to...

John Forsyth said...

Awesome Moffman!!!

Welcome back to the southern Kingdom!

Anonymous said...

We will miss having you so close... and will definitely miss watching Happy Moffatt grow up close-by.
It has been a blessing to see you so much over these past two years. Missing you guys already, and you haven't even gone :)
peace,
Nt.

Scott said...

"Live in NYC once, but leave before it makes you . . .hard."

Finite Rex said...

We are saddened, but rejoice at your opportunity. Australia's gain is definitely our loss. If you back in the South for any reason, our home is always open.

Congratulations on the promotion! And, to what appears to be such a great church for your talents.

Grace and peace,
mjh

Adelaide Gow said...

That's exciting news, Justin! We will be thinking of you and praying for the family as you make the move.

Chelsea Grainger said...

oh wow massive news! man it is always so hard to leave somewhere hey, especially when you see how the church is growing in NYC!
Excited you guys will be back though!
Who is the current ministry at st phillips?
man what an exciting opportunity!
REally looking forward to hearing your thoughts about moving it all forward and your plans for the church/city!
Josh and I will come work with you im sure! ;)

Megs said...

Hi Justin, Laurel, Little Man, Little Lady & Little Baby!
How exciting! GO GO GO!
And guess what? We too are making the round-the-world leap back to Australia in 2009.
I'm glad we got to see you all in NYC!
All the best ... these international moves are really something, aren't they?

Cheers,
Meg

Anna Lee said...

I'll miss you tons, Justin!

shanerogerson said...

glad you are returning Justin - will be praying for you and looking forward to your thoughts on the way forward

Em T said...

You are spot on when you say that you will be neither church planting nor doing missionary work, but at times it will feel like both. As someone at TBT (St Andrew's Cathedral), that is exactly how I sometimes feel.

Exciting that you are coming back to Sydney, though. What a blessing for Sydney and for St Philip's.