Anglican Church Newcastle, NSW


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Advent -  The liturgical (or church) year begins with the four Sundays before Christmas Day. The season is called Advent, which is a Latin word meaning "coming". It is a season of preparation in two senses: A season of preparation for the celebration of Christmas (the first coming of the Lord) A season of preparation for the return of Christ at the end of the age. In the Church during advent you are likely to see the Advent Wreath. Each Sunday we light another candle and finally the white candle in the centre is lit on Christmas Eve. The four outer candles are Faith, Hope, Love and Light. Faith, Hope and Love are purple for the season and love is a rose candle.

Anglican -  The word Anglican comes from the old latin phrase "ecclesia anglicana" meaning "The English Church" which historically, due to geography, was fairly independent. The word today refers to Churches in Communion with the See of Canterbury. In Australia we changed our name from "The Church of England in Australia" to "The Anglican Church of Australia" in 1981. The Anglican Church is those tens of millions of people who worship in churches that are part of the Anglican Communion. Some churches whose name contains the word "Anglican" are part of the Anglican Communion and some are not. Whilst some Churches do not have the word Anglican in their name and they are part of the Communion.

Bible -  The Bible comprises the books of the Old and New Testament. Early Church Councils decided which books were accepted as part of the Scriptures. The major factors that influenced decisions were the authenticity that the Church associated with the documents, consistency with other documents that were accepted, and of course the acceptance by Christians generally. The word Bible comes from the Greek word biblios which means ‘the books’ and is translated as library. We accept scripture, however the ancient idea of interpretation is important. It needs to be the weight of scripture, not simply a single verse that makes the argument. We accept the Bible as the record of the revelation of God. God continues to reveal, and our experience of the revelation can be measured against the accepted record of revelation, as our guide.

Catholic -  The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase (kath'holou), meaning "according to the whole". The word in English can mean either "including a wide variety of things; all-embracing" or as "relating to the historic doctrine and practice of the Western Church." It was first used to describe the Christian Church in the early 2nd century to emphasize its universal scope. In the context of Christian ecclesiology, it has a rich history and several usages. In non-ecclesiastical use, it derives its English meaning directly from its root, and is currently used to mean: universal or of general interest; or liberal, having broad interests, or wide sympathies; inclusive, inviting and containing strong evangelism. From a Christian perspective the words use implies or means directly, a Church whose ordained ministry includes Bishops, Priests and Deacons; a Church faithful to the the Canon of Scripture, the ancient creeds, prayer and the sacramental life. It is importantly a Church for all People, at All Times, and in All Places. You cannot be exclusive and catholic, for to hold the catholic faith is to be inclusive.

Christ -  Christ is the English term for the Greek (Khristós) meaning "the anointed one". It is a translation of the Hebrew (Mašîa?), in English, Messiah. The term is used so often to refer to Jesus of Nazareth, that it is ofter assumed to be his name. The word is a title, hence its common use Christ Jesus, meaning "Jesus The Messiah (or annointed one)". Followers of Jesus became known as Christians because they believe that Jesus is the Christ, or Messiah, prophesied in the Old Testament. Most Christians now wait for the Second Coming of Christ when they believe he will fulfill the rest of the Messianic prophecy. The area of Christian theology focusing on the identity, life, teachings and works of Jesus, is known as Christology.

Church -  The word Church is used to translate the Greek word "ecclesia". The meaning of this is 'assembly' or 'called out/together'. The Church therefore is properly the body of believers - the people of God. It is a little confusing as the word is used in several contexts. so here goes. 1. Church - The community of the faithful 2. Church - as in going to Church - is to join the community of the faithful in worship 3. Church - as in building - perhaps most holistically represented in classic Gothic Architecture where the Church Building depicted a. The Church Triumphant - Angels Archangels and the Saints in Heaven in the stained glass, b. The Church Expectant - buried in the crypt waiting for the return of Jesus, and c. The Church Militant - seated in the pews 'Militant here on earth' as the old prayer book put it. The context will normally give you the meaning. - "painting the church" assume the reference is to a building. - "praying for the church" assume the reference is to the community of faith - "invitation to come to church" assume the reference is to a church service Church is a key word in the Christian Community

Compass Rose -  The Compass Rose is a symbol identifying those who belong to the worldwide Anglican Communion. This emblem was originally designed by the late Canon Edward West of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York. The Compass Rose is set in the nave of the Cathedral Church of Christ in Canterbury, England, and it was dedicated by Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie at the final Eucharist of the Lambeth Conference in 1988. He also dedicated a similar Compass Rose in the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (National Cathedral) in Washington, D.C. in 1990. The center of the Compass Rose contains the cross of St. George and is surrounded by the inscription in Greek, “The truth shall set you free.” The points of a compass reflect the spread of Anglican Christianity throughout the world. The mitre at the top indicates the role of Episcopacy and Anglican Order that is at the heart of the traditions of the Churches of the Communion.

Doctrine -  A doctrine is a statement about some significant subject in theology (we talk about political ‘doctrines’, too) with the support for the statement being drawn from the scriptures. So, for example, the doctrine of salvation draws from the Old Testament God’s dealings with Israel and from the New Testament, his covenant with the ‘New Israel’, the Church. There are many doctrines, e.g. of God, of the atonement, of the Church, of the sacraments, of the ministry … Most require lengthy definition (particularly after 2000 years of discussion and debate) but can be usefully summarized in a catechism.

Easter -  Easter is the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus. Easter is not just a day. Easter is a season of 50 Days which ends the the celebration of Pentecost. Easter is also a lifestyle, and we choose to live in celebration of the hope that is within us. The events of Easter are central to the Christian Faith, and central in the life of Christians as well.

Ecology -  The modern trend in Environmental Studies has a preeminent precursor in Ecology. Ecology (from Greek: "oikos", "house"; -"logia", "study of") is the study of the relation of living organisms with each other and their surroundings. Ecosystems provide goods and services that sustain human societies and general well-being. Ecosystems are sustained by biodiversity within them. Biodiversity is the full-scale of life and its processes, including genes, species and ecosystems forming lineages that integrate into a complex and regenerative spatial arrangement of types, forms, and interactions. There are several perspectives which make this an important area for Christians. Whilst the Genesis tradition asserts dominion of the created order, the dominion is in no sense unfettered, and indeed has been compromised by sin. We understand that life, the planet, and everything in it, is part of the giftedness of everything, our response to it represents something of our response to the giver. We believe we live with mutual responsibility and interdependence, we musts sustain this thing that sustains us. And we believe that we share this gift, not as private property, but as common wealth, to be shared not simply with those with whom we share the planet now, but also with those who will come after.

Eucharist -  Eucharist is from the Greek word for 'thanksgiving'. The word is used for the central liturgical prayer and also for the whole service. The liturgy is a commitment in faith to the words of Jesus, at the passover meal he shared with his disciples the night before he was betrayed. "Do this in remembrance of me" The Church understands much of its identity in this liturgy in which we take the bread, - give thanks for it, - break the bread and - share it. Very much these actions display the Christian approach to life. The liturgy is referred to by various names in different traditions and in different parts of our tradition. Some of the words and their meanings are: Holy Communion: Communion reminding us of our unity with Jesus in this service. Mass: which refers to the end of the liturgy where the people are dismissed and sent into the world. Eucharist: As discussed here referring to Thanksgiving Liturgy: Another Greek word referring to 'the peoples work'.

Faith -  Possibly one of the great Bible verses here is "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 For us faith implies a following of the teaching of Jesus, and implicit in that is a hope in things to come. Faith for us represents an act of trust or reliance, not simply to believe something, but to be prepared to trust that belief. There is an implicable tension between faih as a decision made in free will and faith as a gift from God. Faith is not a requirement that we should abandon intellect and reason which we also see as gifts of God, but rather an extension to those things, that gets to places not against reason - but beyond reason. We also use the word Faith as a proper noun and talk about the Faith, which refers to the inherited tradition and body of belief and practice. For us to be adhere to the Faith results in belief, behaviour and belonging.

GaSP -  This is our acronym for Gwandalan and Summerland Point

ICXC NIKA -  The IC XC NIKA is another Christogram. The meaning is as follows. IC is a short form IESUS or Jesus XC is a short form XRISTOS or Christ NIKA is a greek word for Conquers or Victor. So it means Jesus Christ Conquers. The monogram is sometimes called Christus Victor. It seems these things gain a little respectability over time, for if you were to translate it for the modern indium it would be "JC Rules"

Incarnation -  Incarnation is a Greek word, from the same word we get carnivore from, and it means literally 'to become meat'. The Incarnation of Christ is a central Christian teaching that God became flesh, assumed our human nature, and became a person - Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the second person of the Trinity. This foundational Christian position holds that the divine nature of the Son of God was perfectly united with human nature in one divine/human Person, Jesus, making him both truly God and truly human. The Second Person of the Holy Trinity, God the Son, became flesh when he was born as the child of Mary. The incarnation affirms the dignity of women, and the essential role of Mary Mother of the Lord deciding to accept what God proposed, "behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be to me, according to you word". It is generally agreed among theologians that any realistic understanding of the crucifixion and resurrection needs finds it's genesis in an understanding of the incarnation.

Justification -  Justification is a complex and important theological construct, and features as one of the core themes of Paul's writing in the New Testament. In short, all people have sinned and are falling short of the glory of God. The attributes of God involve both Justice and Love. God is able to declare the sinner righteous only if the debt has been paid. The debt is paid in the death of Jesus (who did not sin) and through faith is available to all who believe in him. This gives rise to what is generally termed 'Justification by Faith'. This has enabled God to act in accordance with Justice and Love. Some of the arguments following the discussion of Justification have been less than helpful. Anglicans believe both humans and God are involved in justification. "Justification has an objective and a subjective aspect. The objective is the act of God in Christ restoring the covenant and opening it to all people. The subjective aspect is faith, trust in the divine factor, acceptance of divine mercy. Apart from the presence of the subjective aspect there is no justification. People are not justified apart from their knowledge or against their will...God forgives and accepts sinners as they are into the divine fellowship, and that these sinners are in fact changed by their trust in the divine mercy." Justification, the establishment of a relationship with God through Christ, and sanctification go hand in hand. In historic Anglicanism, the eleventh article of the Thirty-Nine Articles made it clear that justification cannot be earned, "We are accounted righteous before God... not for our own works or deservings". Faith is characterized by faithfulness, where good works and the Sacraments play an important role in the life of the Christian believer. It is important to understand that Justification is an important metaphor for salvation, and other metaphors are present in scripture including redemption, and sanctification. Salvation by Grace can sometimes be a more helpful term.

Kingdom of God -  There is no doubt that the Kingdom of God was an important part of the message of Jesus. The theme is however so profound, and it is unlikely to be explained simply. There is a sense of place about the Kingdom and yet that is a very incomplete understanding of what was meant. The sense of place implies the place where God is King. There is a sense of presence and event, and sayings like "the Kingdom of God has come near to you" imply something of the experience of the rule of God. There is also a sense of process. The parable of the mustard seed (Luke 13:18-19), which starts as somethng we can hardly see and results in habitat and shelter is intriguing and dynamic. Perhaps it is in part about understanding the Kingship of God. In the culture in which this was spoken Kingship was not so remote and regal and the European concept taht we understand, but much more tribal and focussed and local, and one may well expect that the King would know your name. It is easy for us to make the Kingdom of God something that give distance to God, whereas it is much more about the closeness of God.

Omnipotent -  God is understood to be Omnipotent. The means that God is all powerful. This understanding of God is within the context of the Love of God, and yet also the freedom that he has given us.

Omnipresent -  Anglicans understand God to be Omnipresent. This means that God is present in every place at every time. This is a very important part of our understanding of God, For instance when we go to a hospital or a scripture class we do not take God with us, rather we endeavour to reveal God who is already there.

Omniscient -  God is understood by Anglicans to be Omniscient. This means that God knows everything. God has all knowledge.

Prayer for the Departed -  We believe life is a gift from God and our time to make a difference is now. Eternal life begins here and now, not sometime in the future. To suggest that eternal life does not begin until after we die just does not make sense, let alone good theology. Young christians have been known to treat prayer as a shopping list, or perhaps an out of season christmas list. Prayer represents a wide range of aspects, including, supplication and intercession, but also confession, adoration, confession and thanksgiving. Prayer represents the ongoing community and conversation. We claim that the death and resurrection of Jesus defeats the power of death, so any suggestion that we are no longer able to pray for and with the faithful departed seems to suggest something contrary to the faith we proclaim. Prayer however is not an egotistical power trip in trying to conform God’s will to our will, but rather an intention that our will might be aligned with God’s will. The Gospel of John tells us that God sent Jesus into the world that the world might be saved through him.

Sacraments -  Sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace. There are two Dominical (Attributed to Jesus) Sacraments - Baptism and Communion. There are five lesser Sacraments - Confirmation, Ordination, Marriage, Confession and Holy Unction. Each of the sacraments offers an encounter with God. Notes of music are in essence physical vibrations the beat upon the eardrum. At another level they have a capacity to stir us and raise emotions to an experience that is not physical at all. Some people find it helpful to think of sacraments as the music of faith, physical instruments that enable us to encounter things beyond the physical.

Salvation -  The word clearly has the sense of ‘salvation from’ some undesirable situation or condition. In the Bible, it refers to ‘wholeness’ in the deepest and most comprehensive sense, i.e. finding our proper place, our true selves, in Christ, ‘coming down where we ought to be’. It means for us as individuals the freedom of sins forgiven and the real hope of eternal life. But more than that, it means the restoration of the whole created order to the place where ‘it ought to be’.

Theology -  The word Theology derives from the Greek words Theos and Logos meaning God and Word and therefore essentially means "Words about God". In practical and common use it is the study of God and various aspects of God. As a discipline it implies a systematic understanding of all that God has revealed about the deity. Theology is in many senses close to philosophy as a discipline. Theology will take serious account of the scriptures, as the primary record of revelation, however theology may well extend beyond the scriptures, but never in contradiction to the scriptures. Theology has changed through the history of the Church, as much as anything to reflect various changes in thought. In the post reformation era a lot of theology has focussed on the importance of the individuals experience, whereas in the middle ages the received tradition was a priority. It is generally in the mind of Anglicanism to recognise the validity and importance of both. There are numbers of arms of theology such as Christology being the study of the person and work of Christ, Ecclesiology being the study of the nature and purpose of the Church.

XP -  The Symbol of the P with the X over it is common in the Church. It is a Chi Rho, the first two letters of the word Christ in Greek. The X is the Chi and the P is the Rho. It is one of the symbols (also called a monogram/christogram because it is letters not pictures) that has been used since very early days in the Church. The Chi Rho is the central element of the Paschal Candle decoration, and is very popular many settings, including vestments, books, banners, and windows. Sometimes it can be a bit hard to spot as it can get squished around a lot in some applications.

YHWH -  The Tetragrammaton (four letters) YHWH is the reference to God from the Old Testament. In modern use this is often seen in forms such as Yahweh or Jehovah. The difficulty is that the four letters are all consonants and now vowels, which make it exceptionally difficult to pronounce, if not indeed impossible to say, and that may indeed be the point. No human being aware of the holiness of God could dare even utter his name. In Exodus 3:13-15 when Moses asks who he will say has sent him, the answer is YHWH, which in Hebrew is ambiguous in terms of tense and may mean "I am who I am" or "I will be who I will be" or even "I was who I was" or any combination. The divine name was so holy that it could not even be uttered.