We had an unexpectedly al fresco service for Palm Sunday at St Andrew’s Markdale after part of the ceiling fell into the church during heavy rain the previous week (we think, it was discovered when the warden went in to clean for the service). Miraculously, although the two panels were directly above the sanctuary, the altar, brass, glassware, ceramic font and lectern were completely untouched, even the artificial flowers in the vases on the altar were still standing! God is very gracious.
St Andrew’s Markdale is set in a paddock with shady trees and a lovely rural view. A slight drawback was the noise of traffic going to and from Wyangla Dam, and gusts of wind. However, we are nothing if not adaptable and set up our folding chairs, cut branches from one of the trees in true historical re-enactment style and began our first communion service since lockdown.
During lockdown we started meeting weekly on Zoom with printed service sheets delivered in person, to local village shops, by post or emailed around the parish (a four-hour-round-trip drive if you stop at all seven locations).
In 2021, we are using a hybrid model with regular weekly Zoom Church plus each of our seven centres having three in-person services, where we are intentionally seeking to invite members of the community, people who have attended before but stopped for whatever reason and those who receive our weekly service sheet to join us. Some centres have chosen a mid-day service followed by lunch, some their patronal festival or another significant date, some dates at regular intervals. In December, each centre will have a Christmas service which will hopefully build on the intentional community-building during the year.
If you would like to join us in person or on Zoom, email Rural Chaplain Sally Cullen ruralchaplain@yahoo. com. You can also join us for our annual community event Binda Community Carols 5pm-8pm Saturday 11th December 2021.