Dear Members of the Diocesan Family,

Same Sex Marriage (SSM):
Several people have contacted me in regard to SSM. I realise that there is some anxiety out there in Ministry Unit Land.

Yes, the new legislation states that a marriage is a “union of two people”. The term “spouse” will be used instead of husband and wife.

However, the Anglican Church still holds that a marriage is a union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.

Simply put, Anglican clergy cannot conduct same sex marriages. The Prayer Book clearly states that marriage is between a man and woman. Only General Synod can change the doctrine of the Church.

Some clergy have asked what they should do if asked to conduct a same sex marriage. My advice is that you simply say, “I acknowledge that the legislation in regard to marriage changed in early December 2017 but the Anglican Church still holds to marriage being between a man and woman. The new legislation allows for certain people to conduct same sex marriage and I encourage you to search the web”.

A fact sheet is attached and further information for registered Ministers of Religion authorized to conduct marriages is available at:
https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Marriage/Pages/marriage-equality.aspx

Fact sheet Protections for ministers of religion and marriage celebrants with religious beliefs.pdf

Assessment Relief for Stipended Clergy:
As I travel the Diocese I am aware that there is some confusion regarding the 10% allowance of the situation where a Ministry Unit pays a full or part stipend. The allowance is set on the Diocesan Minimum Stipend paid.

Next year the minimum stipend is $65,747. So when a Ministry Unit arrives at its estimate of the assessable income for 2018 figure, 10% of the minimum stipend will be deducted. Thus $6,575 will be subtracted from the assessment. If the assessment figure is $20,000, $6,575 will be deducted, making the assessment amount payable of $13,425.

We have two or three Ministry Units paying 60% of the minimum stipend. So the amount deducted off the assessment figure will be $3,945.

Likewise, if a clergy person is on half stipend the amount allowed is $3,287.50.

I have been asked about Ministry Units that do not have stipended clergy. There is no deduction on assessment.

If you require any further clarification Maya at the Registry is happy to answer any queries.

Policy and Regulation Updates:
I mentioned recently that a number of motions were passed by Diocesan Council regarding policy and regulation updates with reference to the change from ‘Parish’ to ‘Ministry Unit’. The updated policies and regulations are now available on the website at https://anglicannq.org/governance/diocesan-policies-and-regulations

As mentioned in my last Bulletin, printed updates will no longer be distributed to Ministry Units unless requested.

Prayers:
Please keep praying for the Middle East in the light of the current tensions. As I have said before it is vital that we keep praying for world peace.

Registry Closure over the Christmas New Year Period:
The Registry closes at 4 pm Thursday 21 December
The Registry reopens at 8 am Wednesday 3 January

In case of emergency and if you need to contact the Registry over this period please contact the Bishop on 0429 489 935.

Lady Day 2018:
Lady Day or the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary falls on 25 March each year. However, next year the 25th March is Palm Sunday. In the life of the Church, Holy Week and Easter Week take precedence over any other day. So Lady Day falls on the next available day, thus in 2018, Lady Day will be celebrated on Monday 9th April 2018. (See page 28 of the Lectionary). Please note your calendars.

Tending the Holy - The Ministry of Contemplative Spiritual Direction:
Please find attached information in regard to the above two year part time course in personal formation and ministry.
Spiritual Direction Formation Brochure.pdf


Next Bulletin:
The last Bulletin for the year will be next Wednesday 20th December 2017.

Be assured of my prayers as we continue to journey through Advent.

Wishing you every blessing.
Yours in Christ

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

 

 

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