St. John's Uniting Church Wahroonga


Luke 16:1-9

Don’t you just love it when Jesus praises dishonest behaviour?

I particularly like the way that many Bibles, choose to spin this as the ‘parable of the shrewd manager’. Yeah, ok, the guy acted shrewdly, but I wonder what you would call a man who, afraid he was going to be sacked for squandering resources, used his final day at work to abuse his position, and rip off his boss in order to buy himself friends for the future? Shrewd? Maybe. Dishonest crook, more likely. Continue reading

Galston Gorge-Crosslands, 18th September

The much-diminished Cartophiles

A much-diminished group walked the 6km from Galston Gorge to Crosslands via the Great North Walk: Mary Smith, my wife Sue and me.  Everyone else was overseas or away at the working bee.

This is a wonderfully varied walk.  It starts close to the Berowra Creek in a ferny gully with lush shades of green and clumps of grass trees.  It then climbs to the top of the ridge where the poor soil gives dry sclerophyll forest and abundant wildflowers.  Then it drops back down to a flat easy walk along the edge of the creek, which has now broadened considerably and is tidal.  Dappled sunlight filters through the mangroves and swamp oaks and sand banks poke out of the shallow creek.

The wildlife was wonderful.  We saw lots of small birds along the way, and Sue got a fright when she startled a smallish lace monitor that was sunning itself on the track.  The most exciting thing was the pair of lyrebirds we surprised scratching in the leaf litter beside the track.  We stood for a long time watching them slowly move off into the undergrowth and quietly chatting to each other.

One of our lyrebirds

We had a lovely barbecue lunch in the picnic area at Crosslands, where there were two or three large groups camping.  Mary chose to head off in the pre-positioned car, but Sue and I walked the 6km back to the cars at Galston Gorge.

The Cartophiles next day walk is on 30th  October, when we’ll do the lovely 11.3 km walk from Berowra station to Berowra Waters and return.

Kit Craig
18th September

Playjays music workshop

Next Friday, 24th September is the last Playjays of term – we’ll be taking a two week break, and starting up again on 15th October.

But on Friday 8th we have a special Playjays event: Rox McLeod, a Music Therapist, will be running a workshop for parents and children aged 0-5, to learn how to enjoy musical play with singing, dancing and instruments. Older siblings are also welcome to come along, and we’ll organise games for them in the upper hall.

The session will run from 10am – 11am, at a cost of $5 per family.

Places are limited, so please register by calling 9489 1762 or emailing

Playjays Celebration!

Our next family service will be held on Sunday 26th, at the usual time of 9:30am. It’s going to be a Playjays celebration, so you can expect lots of stuff suitable for small children – singing, stories, creative craft, play – and probably a shorter than usual service! If you’re a Playjays family – come along and meet some more of the St. John’s community – and if you’re a regular St. John’s member, come and meet some of the kids!

Cartophiles @ Muogamarra Nature Reserve

The Cartophiles caught the last weekend that the Muogamarra Nature Reserve was open to the public this year, and delighted in a magnificent wildflower display and outstanding views over the Hawkesbury River.

The group at Tippers Lookout, Brooklyn in the background

Ten Cartophiles, including six year old Gabriel, walked 6 km to the top of Lloyd Trig, with its panoramic views to Barrenjoey, and then to the Deerubbin Lookover on the cliffs above the Hawkesbury Bridge.

The floral show included vivid waratahs, bright pink eriostemons, native orchids, purple boronias and towering Gymea lilies.  This is a must-do walk we’ll repeat in 2011.

Mt Wilga circuit via Fishponds, Sat 28 August

Sue Shavikin descending watched by Mary Smith

The competitive pressure of choir rehearsals, late night shifts and child minding reduced the Cartophiles to six for our exploration of one of the most surprising and accessible walks in our area.  We met at Doug & Aida Jenkins’ and after a short walk along Manor Road climbed the ladder down the rock face to descend to the Benowie Walking Track in Old Mans Valley.

Mary Smith demonstrated a dive off the ladder (degree of difficulty 7.5) but, unharmed, continued on the walk with all but her dignity intact.

We joined the Great North Walk at Fishponds and followed it to the Steele Bridge.  Doug Jenkins showed us the alternative path which passes a beautiful waterfall before climbing the hill back to Manor Road.

Another lovely day, followed by a barbecue lunch at the Jenkins’.

Moses changed God’s mind

Exodus 32:7-14

You’ll probably have noticed that I don’t often choose to speak on the Old Testament reading. It’s not that I don’t find the Old Testament inspiring and challenging, it’s just that I’m so taken by the gospels, by the story of Jesus Christ, by the way that every time I read a gospel passage there seems to be something in it that I’ve never seen before.

But today I’m going to make an exception. Because today the lectionary gives us the most extraordinary story. Indeed, it gives us, for my money, the most remarkable verse in the whole of the Old Testament: “And the Lord changed his mind about the disaster he planned to bring on his people”. Continue reading

Overnight Hike Somersby to Mooney Mooney Creek 21-22 Aug

Only two Cartophiles braved our first two day walk: me and James Loxton.  For James it was his first overnight hike since he was in the Scouts over 40 years ago.  Together we walked through a garden of spring flowers in delightful sunny weather.

By about 4.00 pm we’d completed the 12 km to our campsite and set up camp so, at James’ suggestion, we knocked over the extra 4 km to the Mooney Mooney bridge and back.  The highest road bridge in Australia is a spectacular sight from below, especially with an early full moon low over northern hills.

Our pleasant evening around the campfire included, of course, salami on crackers to accompany the red wine.  The founder of the Boy Scouts, Sir Robert Baden-Powell, once commented that any fool can be uncomfortable in the bush.

On Sunday we returned through dappled sunlight and a gentle breeze, enjoying God’s artistry as we went.  On two occasions lyrebirds ran ahead of us down the track before slipping off into the undergrowth, but even they were no more lovely that the brown snake we saw by a track junction.  It watched us briefly before silently turning and vanishing gently into the scrub.

We made such excellent time on the way out that we were back at the car before lunch.  The consensus decision was that morning tea in the bush was wonderful, and following it with lunch at the Anglers Rest in Brooklyn would be sublime.

Fish and chips in the beer garden proved us correct.

The next overnight walk will be on the weekend 25/26 September, when we take the 12 km trail from the Mountain Lagoon to the beautiful isolated Colo Meroo campsite on the banks of the Colo River.  For more information follow this link Mountain Lagoon to Colo Meroo Bushwalk.

Kit Craig
September 2010

Working Bee

18th September 9.30am – 12.30pm

A good turnout of volunteers is needed to do some painting, some preparation work in the car park area, and some work on the rose garden and front lawn. Contact Gordon Fuller for more information.


Mark 1:9-15

And Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the Good News of God.

I wonder, if you were asked to put into one sentence the ‘good news’, the ‘gospel’ of Jesus Christ, what you would say? Perhaps ‘your sins are forgiven’. Perhaps ‘God loves you’. Perhaps ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’ or ‘whoever believes in him shall have eternal life’. Perhaps ‘they may have life in all its fulness’. Perhaps simply ‘there is another way’.

All of these are truths of the gospel, all are parts of the Good News of Jesus. But Jesus’ opening words in Mark’s Gospel, the words he uses to name the good news are these: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the good news”. Continue reading