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St Johns Southgate

17 Sep 2013

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St Johns Southgate may not have a 13th century fresco like the one of St Francis preaching to the birds adorning his namesake basilica in Assisi, Italy, but here beside the Yarra in Melbourne we can capture some of that enduring spirit.

With spring well under way, it is time again to celebrate the bonds between all of God’s creatures. On October 13 at St Johns, children have been invited to bring a loved pet to the 11am service for a blessing.

It may be only a once-a-year event but it is a children’s favourite and children are special at St Johns.

“Of course every single person is important at St Johns,” said Pastor Ian Vainikka, “But children are especially so because they are our lifeblood.”

As the population of Southbank and nearby areas expands, St Johns sees a role for itself wider than the confines of its congregation. The people moving in to the area are not just retirees or empty nesters, but young families.

The pressure is on for facilities such as schools and a host of related activities. St Johns sees that it can offer some of the spiritual supports that are also needed. With this in mind, it offers a broad program of activities to cater for the young, from small children to young teens, involving such things as craft, music, singing, short plays and prayer readings.

Sunday School for primary-age children and youth group for teenagers is held every Sunday during school term at 10.30am. A particularly successful offering is the Tuesday playgroup. There are also meeting places for older children and teenagers, where they can get guidance or plan their own things to do.

The mood for all these activities is warm and friendly, well planned but not over-structured.

Of course, underpinning everything is rich worship services heightened by some of the best liturgical music you are likely to hear in Melbourne, such as St Johns’ highly-regarded program of Bach cantatas.

Perhaps you would like to drop in some time soon to see what goes on and perhaps on October 13 you might join a wriggling array of God’s creatures for a St Francis celebration blessing.

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