Blessing St Aidan’s to Rise Sanctuary

28 Nov 2021 by Rev Andrew Smith in: Letters, Thoughts, News

Blessing New Life from St Aidan’s to Rise Sanctuary

 Last Sunday morning saw 25 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. Rest, pray, Selah.
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. These can be events hosted by Rise with options for catering.

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. Lauren shared some beautiful and moving 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.