Just in time for Advent: “Something new” republished

Philip Garside (PGPL) has republished “Something new to say: words of spirit, faith and celebration for Advent and Christmas” in an expanded 2nd edition. Available in print and as an e-book, from all the usual booksellers, as well as direct from PGPL.

This collection celebrates a festive season where pohutukawa and rata are in bloom, friends gather around barbecues or picnic at the beach on Christmas Day, and many people travel to catch up with family or enjoy school holidays.

Reviewer’s comment
“Bronwyn’s words are more powerful and real than a thousand theological treatises on incarnation.” Rev Dr Margaret Mayman

The title comes from a Christmas Day reflection which Bronwyn led in 2010:

“Every year, in manses and studies and at the kitchen table, preachers and worship leaders approach Advent with a mixture of joy and trepidation. Joy, because Christmas is the penultimate Christian festival—each week the excitement builds, every week another candle is lit, every year is pregnant with possibilities—but trepidation, because December 25 after December 25, the person leading the service tries to find something new to say!”

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Mothering God New Year Reflection

Read my Reflection given on 3 January 2021 and upload the order service (with all words) if you wish.

EXTRACT: Imagine being in the downstairs garage of a distant relative’s home, amongst the outgrown toys and motorbikes and oily rags and furniture hastily shoved in to make space in the spare rooms for the cousins who arrived earlier. Imagine if your first experience of parenthood is in a lowly garage, amongst the detritus of lawnmowers and shovels and dirt-encrusted gardening gloves and the stink of sheep pellets and blood-and-bone. Imagine birthing God in the most disreputable part of an overcrowded factory town.

Welcome, newborn baby, to the back seat of an unregistered car on a relative’s street, and a diet of the cheapest white bread and bottles of sugary drinks that are cheaper than water, and takeaways cheaper than fresh vegetables even if you owned a stove and pots and pans. Welcome to temporary stays in damp and mouldy state houses; to pain-blotting alcohol misuse and memory-numbing drug dependence. Welcome to the kingdom we’ve prepared for you, with our needs-based assessments and welfare ‘reforms’ and under-funding of health services and community education programmes.

Welcome to a new year of international instability and local prison rioting, of obscene wealth and grinding poverty; welcome to the starry skies and space junk, thousands of human-made objects polluting earth’s air space as plastics pollute our seas; to the river of life, too contaminated to drink from or swim in…

The very names of God in Hebrew Scripture imply or can be read as feminine, motherly, abundant. “Thus says the Lord,” wrote Isaiah, “as a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” From the Greek, Sophia has become an image of the divine feminine—the essence of divine wisdom and a co-partner with God in the work of creation. Shekinah, in Hebrew, means “the act of dwelling”; it’s in the feminine form, and means the female earthly aspect of God that dwelt among people…

Liturgy in a time of isolation

Are you missing your faith community?

Do you wish you could find some progressive, inclusive, contemporary liturgy while you can’t get to your regular church service?

This time of government or self-imposed isolation is ideal for polishing off those projects we’ve had in mind for a while: stash-busting for crafters, jigsaw-making for puzzlers, housework for procrastinators…

As we’re in the season of Lent, coming up to Easter, I’ve recorded myself reading some Easter-themed liturgy resources: prayers, poems, reflections, hymn lyrics. I’m not a professional video maker or worship leader, and they’re not the smoothest audio visuals in the YouTuberverse, but I hope you’ll enjoy and be inspired by them.

Here’s a link to my Easter – Passiontide – Liturgy playlist on YouTube.

You might even decide to buy one of my books, so you can read the resources in your own time. Blessings, and peace be with you in this strange Passiontide, as we face a suddenly ambivalent future.

Here are links to other progressive, inclusive, online resources:

St Andrew’s on The Terrace, Wellington

St Michael’s Uniting Church, Melbourne

Durham Street Methodist Church, Christchurch