On 21 October, 80 members of MUC gathered for a combined worship service at Woodhouse Grove. At the same time, 90 fellow members were enjoying activities at the UCA Merricks Lodge campsite.
Visiting members received a warm welcome from Grove regulars including a special welcome from Grove stalwart David Lord. After the service we enjoyed fellowship over a ‘cuppa’ and a table full of delicious cakes and biscuits, provided by Eileen Moran and Barbara Lord..
The service began with the introit ‘Come as you are…’ . There was a noticeable uplift in the congregational singing which set the tone for the whole service.
An extra special highlight of the service was a presentation to Rev Fred Webber of a certificate celebrating his 65 years in ministry. Fred was his usual gracious self in acknowledging his wife Della’s shared role in his ministry, especially her timekeeping during sermons.
Also special was Rev Lucas Taylor’s Reflection ‘Know your Place’, which was based on the Bible readings Job 38: 1-7, 34-41; Mark 10: 35-45. Both these readings involved people questioning and wrestling with their place among things.
Through a video and a photograph from the Hubble space telescope we were updated on the scientific discoveries pointing to the mystery of an ever-expanding universe, a universe that we are but a tiny part. The Hubble photograph, taken in 2004, revealed that what was previously dark space in fact contained galaxies, each made up of hundreds of billions of stars.
Lucas went on to explain that while we might think of ourselves as the sum of billions of cooperating tiny particles we are made in fact more of the ‘space in between’ than we are particles. He then introduced a Jewish practice of holding two scrolls. On one scroll was written ‘Universe was created for you’, and on the other, ‘You are nothing but dust’. If the scrolls are held in each hand the bearer is reminded they exist between these realities. Life is lived in the tension of these truths. ou can read Lucas’ full Reflection on the MUC website www.manninghamuc.org
Special thanks should go to Brian who was responsible for all the AV used on the day, involving a huge amount of work setting up the equipment
In response to the recognition of his lifetime of service to the church Fred replied:-
I would like, all too briefly, to express my profound gratitude first of all to the Methodist and to the Uniting Church for giving me the very great privilege to preach since March 1945 – first as a lay preacher then as a theological student and later as a minister.
Secondly, I would like to thank this parish for allowing me still to take services here and at Melaleuca Lodge. I do not accept opportunities without feeling also grateful to God for giving me the health and strength to continue to share my enthusiasm for the Gospel.
Lastly I wish to thank Della for the extraordinary patience, wisdom, love and support she has given me. Della has listened to my preaching since we first met in April 1947. I don’t know whether you have noticed that I often look in her direction when I’m preaching. I will tell you why. As part of the Methodist Theological College training we had a class devoted to the study of preaching. Our lecturer often quoted a marvellous pun. He used to say “ALL preachers should keep in mind the adaption of the oil riggers’ code which says if you do not strike oil in ten minutes stop boring.”
I have given Della the authority when she feels I inevitably have reached that stage to stand up in the service and clearly claim: “Fred, you are not striking oil!”
In the meantime may God bless us all as we witness to our discipleship.
Again, thank you