Marcus Loane’s book about the origins and traditions of the church in Sydney is entitled “Hewn from the Rock” and he quotes Isaiah 51:1 at the start.
“Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” (Is 51:1 KJV)
He has a terrific quote of Bishop Barker’s ideal for the Christian ministry which he gave at his charge in 1858 and later renewed the vision in 1877. Our church today is the ‘Anglican Church in Australia’ – back then it was the ‘Church of England in Australia’. Here’s a part of Bishop Barker’s charge –
“the great want is of men, men of God, educated men divinely taught, mighty in the scriptures, and men of much prayer, men who love the saviour and the souls of men, men who are true, wholehearted members of the Church of England … and faithful to the order and discipline of their church, men of a missionary spirit, not seeking their own things of earth, but the highest things of God and Christ for themselves and others. Pray for these men, train up these men, encourage and these men by sympathy and support, and the Church of England in Australia will be the glory of all lands. Otherwise you may have duly organised church, a church in which learning and respectability have their place, and piety being wanting, the whole system will be dry, sapless, withered and unfruitful. What we want is not so much fresh organisation, (we have enough of this scaffolding for our building), but new life, the life which the spirit of God imparts, the life by which a church becomes a light and Power in the world.” (Page 89).
Amen…to such a prayer. Here in 2022, I pray that God would stir us afresh as the Anglican Church of Australia. I pray for this leadership – not merely for a ‘duly organised church’, but for a church led by men of God who love the Saviour and the souls of men. And, I pray that in our Church here in Sydney, both men and women of God will be endowed with ‘the life which the Spirit of God imparts’. Come, Lord Jesus, Come!
I picked up this photo from a short article by Rev Mark Barker, the Vicar of St Stephen’s Tonbridge, Kent, UK. He wrote: “Have also been reading a book about my great great great uncle, Frederik Barker, who was the second Bishop of Sydney. Before he became Bishop he was a vicar in Liverpool in the 1840-50’s when Liverpool was growing rapidly as a city.”