Dear Members of the Diocesan Family

Lent commenced yesterday and I pray you have a holy and blessed Lent. One of my past Rectors who served in this Diocese at one stage, used to say, "May you have a holy and miserable Lent". He is right that we need to make sure we have a holy Lent, that is, use the forty days set aside to draw nearer to our Lord. However, I disagree with him about the "miserable" aspect. In the Gospel for AshWednesday (Matthew 6:1-6 & 16-18) we are told, when we give alms do not sound a trumpet (v.2); when you pray do not stand to be noticed (v. 5) and when you fast do not look dismal (v.16).

It is important as Christians that we show a cheerful countenance, that we show the joy of the Lord in our lives.

Historically, Lent was a time where candidates for baptism and those who had been ex-communicated underwent a period of intense preparation, before their baptism or re-admission to the Church.

It is important that we use Lent as a period of preparation to renew our baptismal vows and commitment to our Lord.

It is also important that by Ash Wednesday we know what our Lenten discipline will be and that we seek God's help to stay on track.

The Right Reverend Jeremy Greaves:
Last Friday evening, St. Matthias Day, Jeremy was consecrated Bishop in the Church of God. It was a great act of worship and it was great that several from this Diocese were able to be present.

We assure Jeremy of our prayers and wish him well as he commences his ministry as Bishop of the Northern Region of the Diocese of Brisbane.

The Daily Office during Lent:
Last year when the Primate was with us, he asked me what was the practice in the Diocese concerning the Daily Office in relation to the seasons of the Church Year. I was aware of where he was coming from so I shared with him my practice and said I was not sure about the rest of the Diocese. I asked him about his practice.

What the Primate was getting at is, and I quote from page 432/3 of A Prayer Book for Australia:

• Sunday celebrates the resurrection and may be used daily in the Easter season.
• Monday focuses on the ministry of the Holy Spirit and may be used daily in
   the week after Pentecost and for Saints’ days.
• Thursday’s office is based around the theme of incarnation and may be used
  daily through Christmas and Epiphany.
• Friday carries the theme of the cross and may be used daily in the season of
  Lent and Holy Week.
• Saturday touches on the theme of creation and may be found a useful beginning to what for many is the Day of recreation.

Robin and I during Lent tend to use the Daily office for the day, but during Holy Week we will be taking up the Friday Office for each day.

On page 481, the Prayer for Ash Wednesday can also be used through the season of Lent. You will note it is a “Prayer for the season".

What this highlights is that with our Prayer Book there is choice and it is important to take up that choice.

National Anglican Bishops' Conference:
Next week the National Anglican Bishops' Conference will be held at Tweed Heads. Please pray for the bishops as they meet. There are a number of items on the agenda. Some of the agenda items are:

* Meeting for a day with the Primates from the Oceania Region
* Discussing the Bishops' Protocols
* Episcopal Standards
* The Royal Commission
* Canon Concerning Confession
* Viability and Structure of our Australian Church
* Looking towards the General Synod

We welcome ABM to the Diocese:
This Friday and Saturday the ABM Regional Conference is being held in Cairns. The Reverend Rod Gooden is assisting with the preparation for the Conference and on behalf of the Diocese I thank Rod. Please pray for their meeting.
The week beginning the 13th March, the Heads of Development Agencies along with ABM will be meeting in Cairns as well. We welcome our international visitors to the Diocese and pray their time will be productive.

While certain areas of the Diocese have had good rain, there are some areas that are still waiting for rain. Please continue to pray for rain as many properties in the Diocese are in need. Time is marching on but we pray there will be a wet season.

Wishing you a holy and blessed Lent.
Yours in Christ

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

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