Dear Members of the Diocesan Family

Christmas and New Year:
I pray that you had a blessed Christmas and the New Year has started well for you. It is my prayer that 2017 will be a year of many blessings for each of us.

I am aware that many people, both clergy and laity put a lot of work into the Christmas worship, so that people were uplifted and inspired. A big thank you to you all.

As is my custom I phone the clergy each Christmas and Easter. When I first arrived the calls were short and to the point. Nearly ten years on, most calls are ten or more minutes and I thank the clergy for sharing what is happening in their area. There are many great things happening in the Diocese for the sake of the Kingdom. As a Bishop I seek to share what others are doing in terms of ministry, because there are too many great things happening for them just to remain in individual parish corners!

I will be writing to the clergy whose listed telephone number is now disconnected. It is important that the Diocese has contact with you.

We give thanks for the earthly life and ministry of Mrs Renah Tapim:
Late Friday evening Mrs Tapim entered her eternal rest in the Palliative Care Unit of the Townsville Hospital. She was supported and comforted by family at her side.

A Service of Thanksgiving for Renah's life is still to be finalised. I will let the Diocesan family know as soon as we know. It is my understanding that the mariget will be meeting on Saturday.

St. Stephen's Railway Estate:
Last Saturday 31 December, I de-consecrated St. Stephen's Church at Railway Estate. The congregation will worship at St. John's South Townsville as from the New Year.

The Reverend Beryl Finch:
I am pleased to report that Beryl is making good progress. Yes, there is still some distance to travel to fully restored health but Beryl is on the right path.

Bishop Tung Yep:
Bishop has undergone medical tests in recent days. The Bishop is also the carer for Mrs Marion Tung Yep. Please continue to pray for them individually and as a couple.

Blue Card:
My Blue Card expires on 23 March this year. At 8.06am on Sunday, New Year's Day, I received a text informing me that I need to renew by Blue Card. I know a letter is sent out to Blue Card holders as well. So there is no excuse for people not renewing their Blue Cards.

I was asked recently why do adults who conduct worship require Blue Cards. The answer is simple. As a denomination, we believe in and practice infant baptisms. It is also my prayer that young people are present at worship.

The Reverend Dr Barry Paterson, later this month will be professed as a member of the Order of Preachers, also known as a Dominican. We assure Barry of our prayers.

I remind people of the Retreat. The Retreat is open to all Clergy and licensed Lay Ministers. The
details are:

Dates: Monday 30 January to Thursday 2 February 2017
Venue: St. Mark’s College, JCU, Townsville

Bishop Graeme Rutherford will lead the retreat. Graeme has written a book, "A Little Book about a
Big Story", and he will be using the book as the basis of the retreat. Each person attending the
retreat will receive a free copy.

Bishop Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford, has written the Foreword, and this is the opening

"The Christian faith is a story not a statement. It is not just a list of things to believe in. It is about
God's loving purposes for the whole world and for every person. It is a story that is human and
divine. It is a story that begins with God's overflowing and inventive love poured out in the creation
itself. It is a story about why we get things wrong. It is a story about how God puts things right. It
is a story about how the world is changed. It is a story about what happens when we die. It is the
greatest story ever told. It is the big story in which all our little stories make sense. And this is a little
book about this big story."

I am sure all who attend will be blessed.

I will be forwarding an Ad Clerum the week after next (as I will be on leave next week), which will
address the ministry of a person holding a "Q" number, ie. Clergy licensed to conduct marriages.

Some Dates for 2017:

19 January Cathedral Chapter Meeting
21 January The Diocesan Executive meets with various ministry groups
30 Jan to 2 Feb Retreat
3/4 February Diocesan Council Meeting
4 to 7 July Clergy Conference
7 to 9 July Synod

I am planning a day meeting for the Ministry Council around the second week of February.

Wishing you every blessing for 2017.

Yours in Christ

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

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