Advent was celebrated with joy and fun when the Macedon Ranges Uniting Church partnership of 12 churches joined for a combined outdoor service in Stanley Park at Mount Macedon. The large reserve, set in a natural bush setting full of walking trails, provided the perfect backdrop for the fellowship and worship. The 70 church members who attended represented every church in the partnership.
“It so truly represented the new hope and new life that has come from this joining in worship,” Rev Deacon Wendy Elson said.
“People were so engaged and inspired, and we continued the day by sharing lunch together.”
Wendy has been in her role since August this year and, with her partner ministers, created a service that congregation member Wendy Hebbard, from Gisborne Uniting Church, described as “a lovely service full of imagination”.
The Advent service commenced with the reading of a letter from author Michael Leunig’s The Curly Pyjama Letters. These are the letters from “correspondence known to have taken place between lone voyager Vasco Pyjama and his friend and mentor Mr Curly of Curly Flat”. The reading set the tone for a day of smiles and laughter.
An Advent calendar made of fabric with large square holes cut into it was hung between trees. Members of the congregation put their heads through the holes and read out relevant passages of scripture and thoughtful writings. Then gift bags were hung on the calendar and people who chose a bag read out a bible passage.
One of the most moving parts of the service was the combined lighting of the Advent candle. Each congregation then took their candle back to their own church for use through the season of Advent.
Wendy Hebbard observed that the service even appealed to local winged residents.
“The nearby birds joined in too; magpies and little twittering birds. It was a delightful setting,” she said.