Hope in Sydney in History

The Rev. J. D. Langley preached a sermon at St. Philip’s York Street Anglican Church in (what is now) Sydney’s CBD in 1891. The topic was ‘The Needy and Unemployed: The Churches’ Duty Regarding Them.’ The text was Luke 10:36-37, the end of Jesus’ Good Samaritan story: “Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?” “The one who showed mercy to him,” he said. Then Jesus told him, “Go and do the same.”

Here’s an excerpt from his sermon.

“The cry of men and women living an earthly hell, and passing away in darkness and shame, goes forth ‘Help us! Help us!’—the wail of the guilty, the fallen, the suffering—comes up to God tonight throughout this great city. … The waves are closing round them, living in misery and shame, dying without hope. Men and women, with the name of Christian on your lips, with the mark of Christ upon your arms, I ask you: shall their cry to us be in vain?”

One hundred and twenty years on, Sydney is a very different city. But the cry of those on the margins remains. St. Philip’s is still in the heart of the city, seeking to meet their needs.

My prayer is that the Hope For Sydney project I’m working on will help the church of Jesus Christ to better serve the marginalised in his name in this city.


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