Blessing New Life from St Aidan’s to Rise Sanctuary

Blessing New Life from St Aidan’s to Rise Sanctuary

Sunday 21 November saw people gather for the Sanctuary Blessing and Breakfast. Sanctuary is the new home for Rise in the remodelled St Aidan’s church building in Narrabundah.

The managing Director of Rise, Lauren Harkness, shared how each of the spaces in the building are used for Rise Events. The former vestry is now a nest for one to four women to enjoy day retreats that offer an invitation to discover and recover a connected, whole-bodied spirituality. The retreats guide women to help discover and recover the fullness of who they are – as a reflection of our Creator God.

The light filled side room is a studio used by Rise for At The Table. This table is a space of fellowship and hospitality. A place of connection and belonging and a space to slow down. Women gather at this table to ask questions and share stories and join together in community – to experience God’s nearness, God’s kindness, and God’s love at the table.

The main space is used on Sunday mornings for Sunday Selah – for taking some time to be still and connect with the Spirit; to be guided by the Rise team with meditations to settle into stillness and rest.

The Sanctuary is also the space where women in business meet up with other amazing women from the Rise business community for a relaxed conversation in a supportive space. All of the spaces are available to Rise members to hire for holding their business events like yoga classes, art classes, conferences, and meetings.

After this virtual tour of how the spaces are used, Rev. Andrew Smith spoke about how delighted Presbytery is that the St Aidan’s building is now being used for these missional purposes in creating fresh expressions of church. As Rise grows in mission, it is nestling in relationships with the Uniting Church, and the history of the building is an important part of that.

That history means Rise is surrounding by a cloud of witnesses – by the communion of saints who worshipped, witnessed and served through St Aidan’s. Ms Harkness shared some stories of how people have sensed this presence around them in ways that speak to them of God being near.

Following a blessing of Sanctuary by Rev. Dr Sarah Agnew (Chaplain, Rise Events & Sanctuary) we continued celebrating with a breakfast of pastries and tea and coffee in true Rise hospitality. Sarah blessed us with these words:

This Sanctuary rises

from your call, Holy One,

your call to be still,

to rest in your healing heart;

your call to be together,

womenfolk of every kind;

your call to hospitality,

integrity, peace, and love;

we arise, and we will rise,

because you call, our Holy One.

This Sanctuary rises

through faithful answer

of your call, and we

are grateful for our founder,

Lauren, her sacrifice,

her commitment, the way

she brings us all together

in the peaceful Way of Jesus.

This Sanctuary rises

with the many advocates

and benefactors, with its leaders,

its community, rising

to the challenge to be your church

with freshness, for flourishing

in the diverse garden

of communities following Jesus;

and we thank you for the Uniting

Church, for this Presbytery of Canberra Region,

and our neighbours Wesley Forrest;

for the Advisory Committee,

for Ambassadors and Partners

who share their gifts so that together,

we will rise.

Rise Events and Sanctuary

will be home for its

business members,

a community continuing to grow

from your call, Holy One.

As our hope bubbles over

and we embark on something new

we will rise, our Holy One,

together, and we will rise with you.


Rev Andrew Smith


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