Start up Sunday

Sermon Title:  Start Up Sunday

Date: 1st February 2015

Preacher: Rev’d Susanne Chambers

Church Calendar Date:  The Epiphany of our Lord

Lectionary Reading:  Deuteronomy 18.15-20, Ps 111-1, Corinthians 8.1-13, Mark 1.21-28

I was considering changing the name of this Sunday to ‘Liminal’ Sunday or ‘transition’ Sunday rather than Start up Sunday!

The reason is obvious. We are all, kinder community included, are in liminal time.

If I can quote part of Kate’s sermon from the 1st Sunday of Advent: she said: “A liminal space is a period of time between two different realities, when we have left one reality, but have not yet arrived in the next.  Examples of liminal spaces include getting engaged, when we are no longer single, but we are not yet married: the old rules no longer apply but the new way of living has not been realised; or being pregnant: one is no longer without child (pregnant women are described as being ‘with child’), but we are not yet parents; changing jobs, moving house, going on holiday, being sick, grieving the death of a loved one. These are all liminal spaces. The old reality is gone, and we are in a state of flux.  Such times may be accompanied by feelings of grief for what has been left behind, or anger about the past.  We may experience relief, and even guilt.  But there may also be excitement about the future, as well as uncertainty, anxiety and even fear. Often it feels like we no longer know who we are.  And that is quite normal and quite correct!  We are not the same person we were prior to entering a liminal space.” End of quote (thank you Kate!)

The kinder community is in a liminal space as they say goodbye to Susie Rosback who has been the Director of the kinder for the past 6years. The teaching staff and the committee are working out how to live in this ‘liminal space’ and have some things in plan but are using the first term of school to discern the direction and needs of the kinder.

In this faith community we are in a liminal space as we say goodbye to Kate Lord, our children and family minister. As Kate said in her sermon “I am currently in a liminal space, where I have been accepted as a candidate for ordination, but am not yet ordained.” She goes on to say:  I am adjusting my thinking about who I am. I am no longer just a family and youth minister, free to remain here or change jobs at will.”


Who am I? Who am I when significant life changes occur which affect the way I see the world around me?

Who am I becoming?  I won’t be the same person as I was because these changes will be part of my story, my experiences. I will respond to the changes depending on how I have viewed my ‘self’.

Individually we all ask such questions and they are challenging because we may if we so choose, change the direction of our lives or even our view of the world.

St Paul’s Anglican Church Canterbury.  Who are we?

Who do we think we are and is this still true?  Sometimes we don’t want to face that things have changed because it’s too scary.

The challenges we have to face this year being  in this  liminal space, is about being clear about who we are today…not what we once were.

We are all aware of our big deficit budget.  Not the first time as you know that we have had a deficit budget but never one this big.

Kate is leaving us and the gifts that she brought we have thoroughly enjoyed, but she will be moving on from today.

Who are we when we contemplate our future with or without a replacement for Kate?

What needs to change?  As we all know change happens all the time..some welcome, some not welcome at all.

The change needs to occur within each of us and also as a collective.

We need to listen to each other and that is why we have this time of listening for seeds of hope on the 15th and then to discern a way forward so that we may thrive rather than limp along, thinking all is going to be ok.

Wouldn’t it be great to not to worry about money!

Money is certainly essential. We need it to keep the ministry going, the maintenance up to date, pay the bills. Everything is costing more.

Who will help us in this discernment/liminal/ transition time?


“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

And do not rely on your own insight”

I say amen to that! But how hard is that to do!  How often do we think we know best..we try and figure out the big questions by ourselves.  The first line from today’s reading from Proverbs says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart”…trust…

So often we want quick fixes…it takes away the pain…but quick fixes don’t always work from my experience.

Sitting with the discomfort is hard.  But it is necessary to learn about God who we trust…and to learn more about ourselves.  How do you cope with liminal spaces that are not welcome?

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.  It will be a healing for your flesh and a refreshment for your body. Honour the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.”

Such great images!  Such wise words.

In this liminal time, both the kindergarten and the church community will not be the same again.

It can be scary looking into the future. It looks uncertain…different. I admit to feeling a bit fearful at times without Kate by my side, but I believe that ‘all shall be well’ as Julian of Norwich so wisely once said.

Our future can be a time of opportunity..of exciting new ideas coming to the fore as we listen to each other and finding new  ways of being together.

Can you feel that breath of the Holy Spirit breathing some new life into each of us! In our community?

Trust it will work out…not with just relying on our own insight but trust in God who makes all things new and wants the best for us.


The Lord be with you.