Letter from Bishop Mark about supension of public worship services.

From the website of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

Dear sisters and brothers,

I am writing to share some important news concerning our life together in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

Following the Prime Minister's announcement of further measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, including limiting gatherings in buildings to groups of no more than 100 people, the Anglican Bishops of NSW/ACT consulted with each other about the wisest way to reflect the care and compassion of Christ for all people in these challenging times.

As a result, it has been agreed that public gatherings in the following Dioceses with substantial metropolitan areas will cease on March 22, i.e., there will be no public services this Sunday [22 March] in: Sydney, Newcastle, and Canberra and Goulburn. Services in the following predominantly rural Dioceses will cease one week later: Riverina, Bathurst, Grafton, and Armidale.

This means that no public church worship services will be held in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn this weekend and until further notice.

Although these measures may not strictly be required by the Prime Minister's announcement, especially in smaller Parishes, they have been taken in recognition that our congregations contain significant numbers of people who are vulnerable to the virus, particularly the elderly. Moving together will also avoid unhelpful confusion at the local level.

I want to emphasise that the temporary cessation of public worship services does not means the end of ministry by Anglican Christians in our Diocese. This is the beginning of a season to show Christ-like care for our neighbours and develop new ways of connecting with each other. In the days ahead we will be posting ministry resources, including online services, on our Diocesan website at https://anglicancg.org.au/keep-connected/>. Please share this link widely and feel welcome to suggest resources or links which might helpfully be added to it.

In our gospel reading for this Sunday Jesus proclaims "I am the light of the world". Please join with me in praying that the light of Jesus might shine in and through us, for the glory of God and the good of God's world.

Yours in the Risen Jesus,

+Mark Short



Earlier letters from Bishop Mark.

Bishop Mark’s Christmas Message

From the website of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn

At Christmas God shows a fractured world what it takes to be a generous host and a gracious guest.

The recent Australia Talks survey found that almost half of Australians experience loneliness at some time. Contrary to popular expectation, some of the loneliest Australians are not older people living in remote locations but younger people living in inner city suburbs.

Generous hosts and gracious guests have the potential to transform this situation. Generous hosts create comfortable space for people to connect. They take the initiative in welcoming newcomers into neighbourhoods, workplaces and community groups. They help people feel at home and look for ways for them to celebrate together.

Gracious guests enter unfamiliar space for the sake of connecting with others. They love saying ‘yes’ to an invitation, and help neighbours and colleagues feel that their hospitality is noticed and valued.

The amazing news of Christmas is this: God becomes our gracious guest for a time so that He might be our generous host for eternity.

Think of the first Christmas. Here is Jesus, God the Son, becoming a guest in our world. First in His mother's womb, then in a feeding trough, He moves into our neighbourhood. God becomes one of us, receiving food and drink and companionship from His creation.

That is not the end of the story. Jesus also comes into our world so that He might be our host. Entering into a creation gone astray from its maker, He offers hospitality and table fellowship to all as a sign of God’s coming Kingdom. In His life, death and rising again He does all that is needed to welcome us home for eternity, if we say ‘yes’ to His invitation.

On behalf of the ministries and agencies of the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn I wish you and your loved ones a safe and joyful Christmas season. You are very welcome to join us at church so that together we might make space to connect with God.



Communiqué: Meeting of Bishops, 20 November 2019

Bishop Mark Writes:

21 November 2019

Dear sisters and brothers,

Please find attached a communiqué from the National Bishops' Meeting, which I attended yesterday. Thank you to those of you who were praying for the meeting. I believe God graciously answered those prayers in the manner and content of our discussions.

The communique confirms that General Synod will meet in ordinary session in June next year. Business sessions will provide an opportunity for debate and decisions on a variety of matters, including the implementation of recommendations from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. General Synod will also convene in conference mode to consider matters relating to human sexuality, same sex relationships and marriage. I am aware of the importance of listening carefully to the experience and input of Christians who will be most impacted by this particular conversation, and intend to liaise with our General Synod Representatives to discuss how we might best do this at the local level.

Your ongoing prayers for the life our National Church as we seek to discern and display the mind of Christ are greatly appreciated. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the communiqué or this email.

Yours in Jesus,

+Mark

The Right Reverend Dr Mark Short
Bishop of Canberra & Goulburn

A pdf of the attachment is here

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St Philip's Anglican Church, corner Moorhouse and Macpherson Streets, O'Connor, ACT 2602
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