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About St George's

Meet the Vicar

Since coming to St George's in July 2007 I have found myself the vicar of a lively and interesting parish. The worship we offer is classic contemporary Anglican, blending the 1995 Prayer Book for Australia with the hymnody of the centuries and the best of more recent music. There is a mix of formality with a pacing that allows for personal prayer and reflection as the service moves along and occasional moments of spontaneity, mostly when I speak with the children in church. Sunday mornings are time for people to engage with God and with one another in a way that you would find in most of the English speaking Anglican world. I have taken part in worship similar to ours in England, Scotland, South Africa, Canada and the United States.

Sunday evenings provide a different style with a simpler form of the Holy Eucharist and time for meditation, an ancient Christian practice which Jesus himself drew upon in quiet moments of withdrawal from public ministry.

For those who want to learn more about the Christian faith there are regular groups and special opportunities for spiritual nurture as in Lent.

Despite my Irish name, I am a life long Anglican, having been baptised at six weeks on Easter Day. I have never known a time in my life when I did not take part in my local parish, though my involvement grew much deeper in my younger adult years. At that time, the ordination of women was contentious though I realised early in the debates that the church was slowly moving towards a fuller acceptance of women. As a young woman I hoped to see women become deacons, the first step in the three fold ordained ministry of deacons, priests and bishops. I did not know then that God was calling me to be a priest and that I would, in 2008, see two Australian women consecrated as bishops. I was ordained deacon and priest in 1995, on coming to Melbourne from Sydney where I was born. I have lived in the UK and the USA, been on two international church bodies and so my experience of the church is broad and wonderfully enriching.

I am a mother and grandmother, a sister and aunt. My family lives in Sydney, London and Scotland. I am married to The Revd Walter McEntee who was Chaplain to Melbourne Girls' Grammar School. I give thanks daily that God has called me to live and work as a priest at St George's and in other parishes, and before that in theological education. The vicar in a parish is the chief pastor and teacher, trusted by people to accompany them through joyous and difficult times in life, listen to their hopes and doubts, and pray with them and for them in every circumstance of daily living. A key task is to open the Hebrew/Christian scriptures to people so that in those ancient words we might all find truth and wisdom as fresh as today. Another is to mediate the treasures of past Christian spirituality so that each one who desires a living relationship with God might find that in ways that accord with their personality and personal story.

Above all else at St George's, I seek to foster an ethos in which everything we do, including the preaching, speaks of the extraordinary love of God for us no matter what we might have done or know ourselves to be. 'God is love', St John, wrote to the Church, and love in all its robust and most gentle forms is the only remedy for the hurt we do to ourselves and one another. Where there is love and kindness, there is God. It is demanding and fulfilling work and I embrace it willingly with God's help.

You may be reading this because you are looking for a parish or simply curious about the rumour of God. Whatever your purpose or need, I welcome you to experience St George's in any of its many expressions as we seek to be a community of faith worthy of our calling to make God's inclusive, compassionate love real.

The Reverend Canon Dr Colleen O'Reilly

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