Southern Cross DECEMBER 2021

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Summer is here: how do we take the gospel to the beach? Rich Wenden

O

n one level, the challenges for churches in a

suburban coastal context aren’t that different from other parts of Sydney. We are in an increasingly post-Christian secular age, described by Melbourne pastor Mark Sayers as people searching for meaning, building their own versions of a kingdom without a king – which means they generally look for purpose, fulfillment and meaning in what captures their attention: the things they love. I have served in ministry for nearly 12 years as rector of two coastal, suburban Anglican churches in Sydney, and during my decade at Cronulla I pursued a Doctor of Ministry, exploring the 24

challenges for churches seeking to minister to those in suburban coastal areas. As summer arrives and people increasingly head to our beaches and coastal cafes, I want to suggest two particular challenges and areas on which our parishes can focus as we think about reconnecting with our culture in a post-lockdown, or postpandemic, context. First, as we reconnect with our communities, it is worth taking a moment to consider what was driving people before COVID-19 struck. Author James K.A. Smith has written a couple of books that outline how we as humans “are what we love”. As we seek to point people to Jesus and show them what the good life really is SouthernCross

December 2021