Cathedral hosts an Evensong of many colours
By Vinod Victor
December 6 2018
Melbourne is a garden of many colours and a cultural celebration at an Evensong at St Paul’s Cathedral on 25 November was an affirmation of its multicultural make-up. People of God from different ethnic, regional and racial backgrounds came together in celebration of a common identity and faith.
The liturgy held together the nuances of cultural diversity. The Revd Garry Worete Deverell, vicar of St Agnes Black Rock, a Turner Fellow at Trinity College Theological School and a member of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, welcomed the congregation on behalf of the original owners of the land. The Cathedral’s Dean, Andreas Loewe, welcomed the people into the Cathedral in his heart language of German. The presence of the Archbishop Philip Freier and the three Episcopate Bishops Genieve Blackwell, Paul Barker and Kate Prowd was a testimony to the significance of the event.
The Scripture readings in Urdu, English and Karen, the liturgical dances by the Chinese and Dinga Youth, music from the Malayalam, Urdu, Maori, Karen and the Indonesian choirs, prayers in Sinhala, Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, Dinka and Bari – all these added beauty to the worship. The blessing of the Children, which saw children of many backgrounds gathered at the Cathedral altar, was a sight to rejoice in. The presence of a significant number of young people at the worship was special.
The Revd Canon Robert Vun preached on the need to celebrate diversities and to be considerate of “the other”, which is central to the gospel. The packed Cathedral, with an array of ethnic clothing and culturally significant symbolism on display, was a beauty to behold. The ethnic cuisines that were spread for evening tea and fellowship at the Barbara Darling Room prior to the worship was also a pointer to the richness of the diversity Melbourne celebrates.
It was indeed a celebration of “how different yet how one” the body of Christ is.
The Revd Vinod Victor is priest-in-charge at St Matthew's Ashburton.