Administrator, The Revd John Coleman
I woke this morning to hear that the Malaysian Airlines airplane had been shot down over Ukraine and that hundreds of lives had been tragically lost. What a waste of lives. Our sympathy and prayers go to all those who have been sadden by the loss of people traveling on that plane. I sit waiting for news of the Australians and especially the Queenslanders who have died and just hope that they are not people I know.
I see on the news about the mess that seems to be the Middle East at the present time - conflict between Israel and Palestine, the civil war in Syria, the incursion of ISIS in Iraq, just to name the most obvious. I wonder who the goodies are and who are the baddies. Who is trying to resolve these problems?
We have the drought continuing in many parts of our state (and Diocese) and pray that rains will come and bring relief to our graziers and farmers.
At times there seems to be darkness across the world and in our lives. Yet at the same time there is still light and hope. Couples are getting married trusting that the love they have for each will be life giving. We see babies born reminding us that life begins anew and of the potential that is at the essence of who we are.
It is the Christian story. The scriptures are full of images of light breaking through the darkness, of life coming from death. We trust that in the dark places of our world, God's touch will break in and through the darkness, slowly bringing the brightness of a new future.
Friends, we need to all come together to seriously offer the needs of the world to God in prayer. We need to intercede on behalf of the world. We pray that the Spirit of peace will come to those parts of the world that are at war so that people may be able to live free from the fear that conflict brings. Pray that rain will fall in the drought areas. Pray that all struggling through the burden of grief will be able to share the load with God and others. We need to pray for our world.
On another note all together: it is not long now until we welcome David Robinson as our new Bishop. Remember the consecration and installation will take place on Tuesday 2 September at St Paul's Cathedral. David and Jan will be arriving in Rockhampton in mid August.
At Synod there was discussion around the future of Lis Escop, the Bishop's residence. Some believe it should be sold, some kept and others want it redeveloped. A motion was passed whereby Diocesan Council would examine all Diocesan properties to consider the most appropriate use and try to maximize the financial return on them (including Lis Escop). No decision has yet been made regarding the Athelstane St properties although some alternatives are being considered, such as subdivision potential. Diocesan Council believes that it is important for our in-coming Bishop and his wife to have stability in where they will live. Therefore, Diocesan Council approved the purchase of a house for the Bishop to move into on arrival in Rockhampton. The house is at 1 Cobble Court, Norman Gardens, North Rockhampton. Be assured that it does not imply the sale of Lis Escop. This move means that decisions about the future of Lis Escop do not need to be rushed but rather all options can be fully considered.
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.
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