Easter message from the Bishop of Bathurst

Bishop of Bathurst, Mark Calder, has released this message for Easter 2020:

Anglican Bishop of Bathurst says the Easter message is exactly what we need

This Easter – we’ve all had enough!

Enough of staying home, enough washing our hands, enough of keeping our distance…

Enough of the financial pressure because of loss of work.

Enough of not being able to get away for Easter like we’ve always done.

We grieve what we’ve lost in the space of a few short weeks.

We crave normality – wondering whether we’ll ever see it again.

And of course for some of us – COVID-19 has come all too close – we know someone who is sick… or someone who has tragically died.

The rapid spread of this virus across the globe, shows us how fragile life is and the sheer number of lives lost, confronts with our own mortality.

What hope is there for us?
The Easter message is exactly what we need to hear.
The Bible says that our greatest need is to be forgiven for pushing God out of our lives.

Easter brings the best news ever – that because Jesus died for our rebellion, and rose again in power, we can be forgiven and therefore be confident of living for ever in the new world he’s promised – a world without sickness and death.

And if our most profound need has already been met by God, we can trust him, to be there for us in all our other needs – including all that we’re going through now!

Easter 2020 is a good time reach out to God and find the help you need.

And Easter 2020 is a great opportunity to check out our church services from the comfort of your own home – at https://www.bathurstanglican.org.au . Happy Easter!

Do share widely.

Archbishop of Adelaide elected as Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

Here’s a letter from Anne Hywood, General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia, 7th April 2020:

“The Most Reverend Geoffrey Smith, Archbishop of Adelaide, has been elected Primate by the Board of Electors.

He received the requisite majorities in each order of bishops, clergy and lay and has accepted this office in writing.

Archbishop Smith commences in the role immediately, given that Archbishop Philip Freier’s term as Primate concluded on 31 March 2020.

The Board of Electors commenced the voting process at a face to face meeting on 14 March 2020 and concluded the election process by electronic ballot concluding on 7 April 2020.”

(Photo of Archbishop Geoffrey Smith: Diocese of Adelaide.)

Super fund transfer delayed amid COVID-19

“AMP has delayed the successor fund transfer of one of its superannuation clients, who previously decided to switch to another fund, citing current market volatility.

Anglican National Super in October 2018 decided it would end its 14-year long relationship with AMP and move to Mercer. …”

Financial Standard.

For more:

AMP makes Anglican Super unhappy by stalling successor fund transfer – moneymanagement.com.au

“The situation has been confirmed by Anglican Super chairman, James Flavin who has told Money Management and Super Review that the fund has found dealing with AMP Limited on the successor fund transfer issue exasperating.”

Dr Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania, preaches on Psalm 91

Here’s the service of Morning Prayer from St. David’s Cathedral in Hobart, 22nd March 2019.

Bishop Richard Condie spoke on Psalm 91.

All Saints Cathedral Bathurst Morning Prayer for 29th March

Bishop Mark Calder, and the team at All Saints Cathedral in Bathurst, have produced this recording of Morning Prayer for Sunday 29 March 2020. Mark preaches on John 11. Share widely.

Special message from the Bishop of Armidale Rick Lewers

Bishop Rick Lewers in Armidale has recorded this message about the COVID-19 challenge.

He says it is not a time for Christians to suspend their fellowship, even if they cannot meet in person.

He reminds everyone that the diocesan vision is to introduce people to Jesus, and to help them home to heaven. That saving message can speak into people’s anxiety and insecurity.

Also, Bishop Lewers has begun a series of sermons on The Lord’s Prayer. Pray that they will be widely viewed, and will be a great blessing and encouragement.

See also the Diocese of Armidale website.

Pastoral video from Bishop Mark Calder

Bishop of Bathurst, Mark Calder, has released this short video as an encouragement to trust in Jesus in these uncertain days.

Diocese of Bathurst to suspend church gatherings

Bishop Mark Calder has written to all church members in the Diocese of Bathurst:

19 March 2020

Dear brother and sisters across the diocese, God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea. Psalm 46:1-2 My prayer for us all, is that in such challenging circumstances, we will run to God as our refuge and feel safe; draw strength from God in our weakness, and find him to be a very constant and palpable help in our trouble. And I pray that the result of all that, will be that we do not fear – though the whole world is changing around us day by day.

Weekend of 21-22 March will be the last with public gatherings until further notice

On Wednesday 18 March, following our Prime Minister’s press conference announcing a whole new range of restrictions, the bishop’s leadership team met by teleconference and decided that following the spirit of the announcement and in support of the purpose of restricting public gatherings, we should suspend Sunday services after this weekend. We realise that not many of our churches have over 100 people at any one time, however, we also know that the age and frailty of many who do attend, means that there is a heightened risk to our members, should someone inadvertently attend carrying COVID-19. So the loving, wise action to take, to reduce any risk of spreading this disease, and to protect each other, is to suspend our church services. Each of the five dioceses in NSW are also suspending church services, as is the Diocese of Tasmania. I’m certain others will follow.

Church this weekend will be different

  1. All services this weekend, will be Morning or Evening Prayer; or Praise, Prayer and Proclamation. Even with the precautions we took last week, there are just too many risk factors with Holy Communion in terms of handling bread and wine, and our proximity to one another as we line up and return to our seats.

  2. There will be no refreshments after our services – again – the risks are too great to mitigate at this time.

  3. The offering will be received on entry or exit – not by passing the plate or bags.

  4. There will be no greeting of peace or shaking hands with our ministers at the end of the service.

  5. No one should attend who has returned from any country overseas in the last two weeks, or who is feeling in any way unwell.

  6. People need to use hand sanitizer upon arrival and leaving and keep their distance from one another (1.5 metres).

  7. We will not be handing out prayer books, hymns books or Bibles as they can retain/pass on the virus. I will be making available a printed order of service for those who wish to use it, or your parish will produce its own.

  8. These measures are so counter-intuitive but are the very means of loving and serving one another and our communities in this unique circumstance.

Church will be VERY different from the following weekend

  1. For the weekend of 28-29 March, and into the foreseeable future, I will make available via YouTube, a service you can watch at home on your computer, iPad or similar, or on your television should you have a “Smart TV” with internet connection.

  2. Some parishes may have the ability to livestream a service. I’m sure they will advise you if this is being planned.

  3. This will not be the same as gathering in person with our brothers and sisters, but I trust and pray that it will be a rich encouragement and help to us as we take up the opportunities that today’s technology gives us.

  4. You could gather with a very small group of friends to watch together and have fellowship following the service – so long as you kept your distance from one another. Such a gathering may assist those who are not able to access or use internet resources.

  5. We are all very conscious that Easter is not far away. It may be possible to hold outdoor services without communion. Your local church will advise. However, there will be extensive online resources made available.

Offering

It will be VERY important that each person work out how they might continue to contribute financially to the life of their church, while we can’t meet. The best way would be to switch your giving to internet transfer or direct debit. I’ve asked each parish to make their bank account details clearly and easily available. If you do not use internet banking, you can take your church’s account details to your local branch when you’re next in town, and arrange for them to set up a regular transfer of funds.

Your giving at church pays for the entire ministry of the church and your minister’s stipend. Costs for your parish will continue unchanged while services are suspended. Unless you act to switch your giving as soon as possible, your parish will be put under severe financial stress, and clergy may not be able to continue.

How do we care for another?

Each local parish or church will make arrangements for pastoral care and work to ensure people don’t become lonely or isolated. It may be that key leaders in your parish, volunteer to look out for 6-8 people and be in regular contact by phone or calling in. What about weddings, funerals and baptisms? Weddings in churches and chapels are included in the ban of more than 100 people. While highly disruptive and understandably distressing for all involved, weddings may only proceed with the bridal party and their families and the minister officiating. Unfortunately, funerals held in crematoriums, chapels or church buildings can only include immediate family members. This is the most practical way to ensure that funerals do not exceed the limit of 100 people in enclosed gatherings. You may want to suggest to the family to hold a more public thanksgiving at a later time, when it is possible to gather. If funerals are conducted at a graveside it is possible to include more people, as long as they maintain appropriate social distancing. Baptisms similarly may be conducted with ONLY the immediate family present.

Prayer

Please pray for your Parish, your minister, and the health care workers in your area. The COVID-19 crisis has placed enormous stress on all of us, particularly the frail and vulnerable people among us. We are still the body of Christ even though we are not gathering in churches. In times such as these people turn to the church for help and guidance, so there will be fresh opportunities to be people of salt and light and to give an answer for the hope we have. We will continue to minister to each other and share in the Word. Although this is a time of uncertainty, and the suspension of services in our churches may take some time to end; God is still on the throne and we can and should trust in this promises – especially from the end of Romans 8 where he assures us that nothing can separate us from his love for us.

“No virus can change the number of days that God has written in his book for us. No virus can make the word of God untrue. No virus can undo the work of Christ on the cross. No virus can change the fact that through Jesus we have a Father in heaven who cares for us. And no virus can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Kevin DeYoung

We will keep you up to date and well resourced. We look forward with hope and anticipation, to that time when we can gather with one another once more.

Mark

Update on NT Anglican Church Services

“Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The coronavirus situation continues to change rapidly, with the federal government announcing on March 18th that indoor gatherings of more than 100 people are suspended. After conversation with other denominational leaders and in the light of news from other parts of the Anglican world, I am announcing that Anglican churches in the Northern Territory will suspend their Sunday services from March 23rd. Individual parishes may suspend their services earlier than this. …”

Bishop Greg Anderson in Darwin announces the Anglican response there.

Jesus the dying saviour

“Jesus Christ understood the most deadly virus known to humanity is sin. He knew the sin virus was a killer. Like all viruses it takes up residence and eats away its host. For the virus to survive its host must die.

Thankfully in a war against such a virus you won’t find Jesus Christ rushing for the toilet paper. You won’t find Him in a toilet paper brawl in Bass Hill or in a Coles or Woolworths near you. But you will find him nailed to a cross, suffering on your behalf, offering a cure for the sin virus that has been destroying us from our beginnings. It’s the same sin virus that has people fighting over toilet paper instead of considering how we might care for one another in a time of crisis.

The Bible makes clear that the most dangerous place we can get in society is anarchy, where everyone does what is right in their own eyes. This is the heart of sin, to act like you are God when you are not. We will reap the carnage of this and the virus of sin will destroy us all. In that moment COVID19 will be irrelevant as the judgement of God has the final word. …”

– Bishop of Armidale Rick Lewers continues his series of thought-provoking articles for the local newspaper, and also published on the diocesan website.

Pastoral Letter on COVID 19 from the Bishop of Tasmania – 17th March 2020

Dr Richard Condie, Bishop of Tasmania, has written to all churches in his diocese –

“Dear Sisters and Brothers,

The Lord Jesus reigns! God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1) He is our shelter and our fortress. (Psalm 91:1-2)

These are realities that do not change in the midst of a changing and unstable world, even in the face of the global pandemic of Coronavirus (COVID19). None of this has taken God by surprise. He will watch over his people, and his salvation and goodness are sure.

The Anglican Church in Tasmania is committed to being a Church for Tasmania. We believe that the best way for us to be for the State in the midst of the COVID19 pandemic is for us to stop meeting in large groups, including our Sunday Services. The best practice in limiting the spread of disease, and to protect our health system, is to adhere to social distancing. This means limiting the number of people with whom you come into contact.

From today, there will be no Anglican Church gatherings over 10 people, other than funerals and weddings, but even these will be limited to immediate family members only.…”

Read it all here. (Bold added.)

See also:

“The Anglican Church of Tasmania will “actively avoid” groups of more than 10 people meeting together and has called off church services for the foreseeable future. …”

– Report from The Examiner.

Australian Primate’s Election Deadlocked — report

David Ould reports that the electors for the new Australian Primate were unable to reach a consensus.

“The electoral panel adjourned and agreed to meet again before 30 June 2020.”

Australian Bishops in ‘Tense’ Meeting as Signs of Division Grow

“The Australian House of Bishops have been gathered over the past few days for their annual meeting. Their time together climaxes with the election of a new Primate tomorrow (where they will be joined by 24 lay and clergy electors).

davidould.net has been in contact with a number of those present and, while we cannot provide any direct quotes, it is now quite clear that there is a real division within the House of Bishops over the question of sexual ethics and, particularly, whether same-sex marriage ought to be blessed in one way or another. …”

David Ould shares his understanding of what’s happening as the Australian Bishops meet. Good to pray about this.

(Graphic adapted from the Anglican Church of Australia website.)

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