Shuck and Jive

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Westar Associate: Rex A E Hunt

Today I introduce a Westar Associate and friend, Rex A. E. Hunt. Rev. Hunt, or Rex is from Down Under. This is from his web page:

Rex Hunt is a progressive theologian and liturgist, and social ecologist. Ordained 34 years, he is a minister of the Uniting Church in Australia - presently serving at The Church of St James, Canberra ACT, Australia's national capital....
His vision of ministry includes:
* Awakening others to the best/latest contemporary religious scholarship currently available, as well as allowing that scholarship to shape weekly liturgies, sermons, prayers and hymns;
* Shaping services of celebration, especially the Sunday morning experience, which blend tradition with the contemporary, using inclusive language, story, conversation, Australian images and new metaphors - all from a progressive/liberal theological perspective;
* Inviting parishioners to focus on a theology which advocates: Creativity - 'God' as expressed within religious naturalism, the humanity of Jesus, and an ethical/social stance which values compassion and social justice;
* Encouraging all to push theological boundaries - to reimagine, reconceive and reconstruct, rather than just restate.....

Rex writes: "So here they are. A bit of this. A bit of that. Sermons. Liturgies. Articles. Read on if you are interested in wanting to push some theological boundaries in open and honest ways. Theology has always been an imaginative construction. Seek out those others who have helped me shape my thoughts for they have much more to offer than suggested here. And may we all be blessed and empowered as we re-imagine the world".

He is the pastor at The Uniting Church of St. James in Canberra, Australia. Rex is a pioneer in using progressive liturgies and practices in worship. Here is a description of worship at St. James:

Worship at St James is a blending of the traditional with the modern. Story, colour, image, inclusive language and a music mix help shape this cooperative experience. All services are held in the Church Centre. Preaching is brief, often shaped by narrative and guided by a 'progressive' theology. Three worship styles shape our life. Lay people are encouraged to take an active part in services of worship and share with the minister in leadership of the congregation.

I often "borrow" his liturgies for use in my congregation. I am going to be using the following one this Sunday:

Opening sentences
Planet Earth, spinning silently through space:
All Celebrate your beauty and your grace,
your special place in our solar system.

Planet Earth, gleaming green and blue:
All Rejoice in your ocean currents
as they dance and swirl with hope.

Planet Earth, pulsing with life:
All Join in praise with all your fauna and flora
as they sing their songs with praise.

Planet Earth, enveloped in the breath of God:
All Bless all your creatures this day
with the life-giving breath of God.

Planet Earth, our precious, fragile home:
All Celebrate, with all your children,
God's presence in our planet home.

Spin, Planet Earth, spin!
All Sing, Planet Earth, sing!
G'Day, Rex! And Thanks!

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