Dear Members of the Diocesan Family,

Australia Day Honours:
Mr Garth Blake SC was awarded an AM for his work with the Anglican Church in regard to Child Safety and Child Sexual Abuse. Garth has put in many hours over the last decade or more addressing this topic and helping the Church to understand this important issue. It is a most fitting honour. I have written to Garth, not only to congratulate him on behalf of the Diocese, but to thank him for the great support Garth has given us here in North Queensland over the last few years.

The Reverend Paul Bland was awarded an OAM for his contribution to education and the Anglican Church. Paul was Principal at Mount Isa and at Trinity Anglican School in Cairns. North Queensland has been blessed because of Paul’s ministry.

Australia Day Community Awards:
Here in Townsville Dr Jack Maguire was named as the Citizen of the Year. Jack has served at The Good Shepherd Home for quite some time and made a wonderful contribution.

We also congratulate Churchwarden and Lay Minister at Home Hill, Mr Alf Shand who was named the Citizen of the Year in the Burdekin Shire for his many years of voluntary leadership within several organisations in the Burdekin including at St. Helen’s Home Hill.

I am also aware that each of the recipients have loving and caring spouses, so we acknowledge their support as well.
If there are other active Anglicans who were awarded the honour of the Citizen of the Year please let my office know.

The Reverend Canon Ian McAlister:
Ian is in hospital with a form of pneumonia. He is not brilliant but, Ian is ready to be with his Lord. Ian is not up to visitors or telephone calls and the family have asked that we pray for Ian and those who are caring for him, rather than trying to make contact.

We also pray for Jill and the family as well. I will keep the Diocesan family updated.

The Commissioning of The Reverend Annette Woods as Missioner and Priest at Yarrabah:
It was a wonderful turn up of clergy and lay people across the Northern Region on Saturday. I thank everyone who made the effort to be present. Annette has made an excellent start to her ministry and we assure her and the people of Yarrabah of our prayers.

The Retreat commences at 5pm on Tuesday evening at the Seville Centre in Cairns. I thank my PA Julie Keys and the staff of the Centre for all their work and effort to make sure everyone has been accommodated as required. I look forward to catching up with many of you in the next few days.

It is good to a have the retreat in another Region of the Diocese.

Diocesan Council (DC):
DC meets this Friday at St. Margaret’s West Cairns. I ask for your prayers as we meet.

Lenten Booklet:
This booklet is available from Grassroots Publications at: Orders can be made on line. The cost is $9.95 plus postage.

I have also written an addition to each session titled, “Going Further”. This is available on the web.

I have been asked can people photocopy the short article I wrote on small groups. The answer is yes. It is basic, but the key points are there. I repeat, if we are to grow as a Church it is vital that we provide small groups to teach, provide pastoral support, and support people in their faith journey.

Saturday 3rd February and other February dates:
240 years ago on the 3rd February, the first Christian worship was held in the Church of England tradition as it was then known, on Australian soil, under some trees at Sydney Cove. The service was conducted from the Book of Common Prayer by the then 35 year old Richard Johnson. The text for his sermon was Psalm 116:12, “What shall I return to the Lord for all his bounty to me?”

His congregation was not sympathetic. The soldiers mocked Johnson and the convicts ignored him.

The Prayer for this Commemoration is:

Everlasting God,
Your messengers have carried the good news of Christ
To the ends of the earth.
Grant that we who commemorate
The builders of your Church in this land,
May know the truth of the Gospel in our hearts
And build well on the foundation they have laid;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The first Holy Communion Service was held on the 18th February, 1788. This year the 18th February is the first Sunday of Lent, so it takes precedence.

On 20th February, the Church gives thanks for the earthly life and ministry of the first and only Bishop of Australia, William Grant Broughton. Broughton died of yellow fever and I think I am right, was the last person to be buried at Christ Church Cathedral Canterbury. I recall at “Bishop Puppy School” singing the National Anthem, with five other Australians by his grave at the Cathedral on Australia Day 2008!

Lady Day 2018 - 9th April:
Lady Day or the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is kept on the 25th March each year. However, this year the 25th March is the Sixth Sunday of Lent or Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday takes precedence. The Church keeps Holy Week and the days of Easter Week. So the next available day to celebrate Lady Day is the 9th April.

Wishing you every blessing as you prepare for Lent.
Yours in Christ

The Right Reverend William (Bill) Ray
Bishop of North Queensland


Sexual Abuse contact line: 1800 242 544 or 07 3835 2266

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