Administrator, The Revd John Coleman
The 16th General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia sees representatives from the 23 Dioceses of Australia gather to consider issues significant for the National Church.
Still high on the agenda is the need to ensure that the church is a safe place for children and vulnerable people. We have an obligation to provide a safe environment in all our church activities. It is important that we continue to train all who are working with children in what our expectations are and what levels of behaviour we expect. The Royal Commission is showing how churches have failed in the past. We must learn and respond. Please take seriously the need to roll out the Diocesan training to those in your parish who work with children, make sure the records are kept well and keep eyes and ears open.
General Synod has been reminded that there are many Dioceses in Australia who are struggling financially to remain viable. Due to the declines in rural living and church attendance finances are stretched to breaking point. We give thanks that at this stage we are not one of these dioceses. Diocesan Council has been charged to consider all our assets including properties, to investigate the best use of these and consider whether some need to be sold. Most properties that the Diocese holds will have some emotional attachment for some people. Some decisions will be hard to both take and accept. However, we need to make sure that we are viable and that we can hand down a secure church as those before us have handed down to us.
At the end of General Synod, Archbishop Aspinall hands over, after nine years, the responsibilities of being Primate to Archbishop Freier of Melbourne. We pray that the new Primate will continue to call the Australian Church to unity in Christ.
Administrator, The Revd John Coleman
We are in a strange time in the Diocese. We have said good bye to Bishop Godfrey and then Archdeacon Cameron Venables and we await the arrival of Bishop-elect David Robinson.
As a diocese we give thanks for the presence and ministry of Cameron in so many aspects of the Diocese for over ten years. Cameron, you are loved and respected by so many people across Central Queensland. You have touched many lives. We offer all the best for you, Kate and family as you move to the next stage of life and ministry as Assistant Bishop with responsibility for the Western Region of the Brisbane Diocese. Be assured of our thoughts and prayers.
Liturgically (as I write this) we are in the period after the Ascension when, as we remember, Christ left the disciples but told them that he would send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit. They looked forward trusting that the promises Jesus made would be fulfilled. For me there is a sense of expectation in our looking forward to new beginnings as we welcome our new chief shepherd.
But that does not mean that we simply tread water as we wait. We have recently held Synod and, in this Gazette, a number of Synod representatives will share their reflections on this weekend. Following motions at Synod a number of working parties will be established to enhance ministry within the Diocese. One of these will be looking at how ministry in hospitals across the Diocese can be enhanced. Another will look at whether the National Church Development Program could be of benefit in improving our congregational health. A third will work to formalise the relationship between this diocese and the Diocese of Popondota. There are also many great activities occurring across the parishes that will continue to bring people into contact with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
Christ promised that the Spirit would be with us always. Sometimes the Spirit may call us to areas and ways with which we are not initially comfortable. I pray that we will be open to the movement of the Spirit; that we will have the courage to respond and follow to where we are being called.
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