St John's Cathedral is home to a community which seeks to bring the best of Anglican tradition into dialogue with the issues and needs of our day.
We strive for open-minded conversation, seek to practice inclusion, and reflect on how we might see our beliefs put into action. We want this to be a place where people are encouraged to seek God and progress their own spiritual journeys.
The Cathedral itself, a renowned Brisbane landmark, serves as a magnet, where diverse people gather to worship, celebrate, seek solace, converse and learn.
For that one moment, ‘in and out of time’, On that one mountain where all moments meet, The daily veil that covers the sublime In darkling glass fell dazzled at his feet. There were no angels full of eyes and wings Just living glory full of truth and grace. The Love that dances at the heart of things Shone out upon us from a human face And to that light the light in us leaped up, We felt it quicken somewhere deep within, A sudden blaze of long-extinguished hope Trembled and tingled through the tender skin. Nor can this this blackened sky, this darkened scar Eclipse that glimpse of how things really are.
In 2015, we first supported Orange Sky Laundry, which is Australia’s first mobile laundry service for the homeless. A world first, started in Brisbane in July 2014 by two 20 year old friends Lucas Patchett and Nicholas Marchesi, the organisation relies on volunteer labour.
The Orange Sky vision is to raise health standards, restore respect and reduce strain on the resources of the homeless. The song "Orange Sky" by Alexi Murdoch was a major inspiration for the project. The song is about helping our brothers and sisters, as indicated in the lyrics "In your love, my salvation lies" and "I had a dream I stood beneath an orange sky, with my brother standing by". These values are central to the project .
In 2016, Patchett and Marchesi were honoured as Young Australians of the Year for their efforts — which have now spread nationwide — to help Brisbane's homeless. But far from sitting back and enjoying the fame, mid-2016 the duo launched a shower van as their latest charitable venture.
Having built the van from scratch supported by grants from the Shine On Foundation and Queensland Urban Utilities, they turned on the shower tap for the first time in August 2016. This new service means homeless people in Brisbane now have access to a free hot shower every day.
The shower van accompanies Orange Sky's free laundry van, making it possible for people to shower while their clothes, blankets and other linen is washed, and meals are cooked and eaten. Volunteers happily share conversation with their 'friends on the streets'.
As Nic Marchesi explains, "Twenty-two months ago we had a crazy idea to put two washing machines and two dryers in a van and wash and dry clothes for free. So we then had an even crazier idea of putting two showers in the back of a van. We have water tanks on board, [and] we have heating on board." He said that in trying to find a cheap way to keep the water hot, they discovered a way to use the thermal heat from the van's engine. They also collect the grey water.
Marchesi explained that while some charities offer showers at their drop-in centres, those were always busy."We want to complement the amazing work they are doing with a portable service," he said.
On the morning the first shower van was launched, Dave 'Bushie' Brum (aka the Swagman) was keen to try the free shower. Dave, who is 60 and has been living on the streets in Brisbane for more than 20 years, said of the service "It was bloody awesome. It is so great to have a real shower."
In the words of Nic Marchesi, "Our dream is really basic: to treat people how they want to be treated and to connect them in the community. Everyone deserves the basic human right of having clean clothes and being clean themselves."
Orange Sky is run by volunteers, primarily harnessing the energy of 18-30 year olds who are keen to find simple ways to help people in need. As well as needing our help to cover the costs of the project, Orange Sky would like to hear from potential volunteers who wish to help in practical ways.
All our donations over $2 are tax deductible. If you require a receipt, please write your name and address on the back of the Outreach envelope for February.
mystics, theologians & God-botherers
The Venerable Greg March speaking on Jean-Pierre de Caussade @ Evensong, 6pm Sunday 5th March
Down the ages there have been those who enlighten us with a fresh vision of God. These are the voices that stir our imaginations; shake our comfortable perceptions and whose lives witness to the Spirit in their time. Continuing this series from 2016, we seek to revisit the teachings of some of those who have shaped our tradition in radical ways and see how they may speak afresh to us today.
The Rev’d Greg March will be exploring the spiritual teachings of Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751), a Jesuit writer and spiritual director. After the service we will gather in the West End of the cathedral to share a discussion with Greg over refreshments.
the gift of pastoral care
by Rev'd Sue Wilton
To follow Christ is to be called each day to love one another as we are loved. Yet it is so easy for our motivations to become mixed and our attempts to show love become disempowering where we try to fix things for others, give advice, or ‘sort them out.’
The power of skillful pastoral care lies in being aware of ourselves and able to lay aside what we think we know, leave our judgments behind and acknowledge that the other is a mystery to us. When we do this, deep listening can occur. When we truly hear one another, we begin to also truly see one and communicate the immense hope and promise of God that we are not alone.
The poem below by an unknown author captures the essence and healing potential of true pastoral care.
When I ask you to listen to me and you start giving me advice, you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way, you are trampling on my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me and you feel you have to do something to solve my problem, you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
Listen! All I ask is that you listen. Don’t talk or do – just hear me.
Advice is cheap; 20 cents will get you both Dear Abby and Billy Graham in the same newspaper. And I can do for myself; I am not helpless. Maybe discouraged and faltering, but not helpless.
When you do something for me that I can and need to do for myself, you contribute to my fear and inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact that I feel what I feel, no matter how irrational, then I can stop trying to convince you and get about this business of understanding what’s behind this irrational feeling.
And when that’s clear, the answers are obvious and I don’t need advice. Irrational feelings make sense when we understand what’s behind them.
Perhaps that’s why prayer works, sometimes, for some people – because God is mute, and he doesn’t give advice or try to fix things. God just listens and lets you work it out for yourself.
So please listen, and just hear me. And if you want to talk, wait a minute for your turn – and I will listen to you. - Author Unknown
St John's Cathedral
373 Ann Street, Brisbane, Qld, Australia. Open for visitors from 9.30am-4.30pm daily. +617 3835 2222