Dear Members of the Diocesan Family,

“Our World Today..! Christians can make a difference”:
I was invited to write the 2018 Lenten Study for Grassroots Resources. The six studies focus on the Eucharist readings for each week of Lent, Year B.

The basic focus is that as Christians, it is essential that we make a difference in the world in which we live.

There will be available by the end of the month, on the web, a section titled “Going Further” for each of the six studies. This section allows us to explore at a deeper level and hopefully will extend our thinking. I will be using “Going Further” for the retreat talks and discussions.

Also I was asked to produce a short leaflet in regard to group dynamics. While it does not say anything new, it certainly reminds us of what makes a group work and work well. Sometimes there is the thought that if we meet all will be right. There must be solid preparation and an understanding of group dynamics.

Please see further information attached, or visit: www.grassroots.com.au

Orders can be made on line. The cost is $9.95 plus postage.

Our World Today Christians can make a difference.pdf

Baptism:
Last Sunday I was at the Cathedral and I gave a short homily based on the Gospel reading. Then I decided to address some questions people have asked me in the last few weeks. The main focus has been the forthcoming Royal Wedding. There were reports that Meghan Markle was to be baptised into the Church of England. The question was asked: “Why is Meghan being re-baptised? After consulting Dr Google and other sources I think the answer is this:

Meghan was brought up in the Christian faith within the Protestant tradition. Her mother is a Protestant and her father is an Episcopalian.

I suspect Meghan has not been baptised, thus she will be baptised and confirmed before she is married according to the rites of the Church of England, by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

A question others have asked is: “To what am I, or anyone else for that matter, baptised into, the Anglican Church or what?”

For adults being baptised, it is a public profession of the person’s faith in Jesus Christ. In the Anglican tradition we baptise infants on the understanding that they will be brought up in the faith of Christ and the Church. Also the expectation is that when these children grow up and become adults they will make the promises for themselves and publicly declare their faith in Christ.

All the mainline Christian traditions accept and recognise the baptism of other traditions. The baptism must be in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Another question is, “Are there any guidelines for Baptism? The answer is very definitely yes.
I will quote from pages 70 and 71 of our current Prayer Book:

Place and occasion of Baptism:
“Baptism is a community event, welcoming new members of Christ’s flock, and providing an opportunity for all the baptised to renew their vows. It should therefore take place within the regular pattern of congregational worship.
When adults are baptised, their confirmation and first communion should take place at the same service as their baptism, making one unified rite of Christian initiation.

When both baptism and confirmation are administered, the service should be so arranged that the sacrament of baptism is seen as central.”

I do believe that baptism should be a community event. As Bishop though, I have granted permission for some Ministry Units to hold separate baptism services to meet the pastoral needs of seekers as well as regular worshippers.

What is baptism in extremist situations or sometimes known as Emergency Baptisms:

“Baptism may be ministered in an emergency by any Christian person (please note) in a home, hospital or other similar place. The following procedures should be followed:

Name of person, I baptise you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Name of person, I sign you with the sign of the cross to show that you are marked as Christ’s own for ever.

God has brought you out of darkness
into his marvelous light.
Shine as a light in the world
to the glory of God the Father”.

When the person is well enough they are to be brought to Church and received into the family of God.

It is important that the baptism is registered and a baptismal card is filled out and signed.

Conditional Baptism:
There are situations where people are not sure if a person has been baptised. If there is uncertainty a priest may perform a conditional baptism:

“Name of person, if you have not been baptised, I baptise you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen”.

Recently I was asked is conditional baptism really re-baptism. The answer is no.
I would encourage everyone to read pages 70 & 71, especially the clergy.

Dates:
 The Reverend Annette Woods will be inducted as Missioner and Priest in Charge at St Alban’s Yarrabah on Saturday 27th January, (probably mid-afternoon, time to be confirmed). Please pray for Annette and the Ministry Unit of Yarrabah. All are welcome.

 The Clergy and Lay Retreat will be held at the Seville Mercy Conference Centre, 35 Bauhinia Avenue, Earlville, Cairns. The Retreat will commence at 5pm on Tuesday 30 January and conclude at 9am on Friday 2 February. Registration forms will be forwarded soon. Please note your diary and make plans to attend.

Prayers:
For those who have undergone surgery, Digby Hoyal and Scott Hedley. We pray for them in their recovery.

We pray for the people of Santa Barbara as they mourn the loss of loved ones, for those searching for the missing, those who are being treated for injuries and caring for people. There are those who were affected by fire as well as mudslides.

Give thanks that there is some conversation between North and South Korea.

We pray for those who mourn the loss of loved ones not only in our Ministry Units but in our entities as well.

May they be upheld by the love, mercy and grace of God.

For those starting school and tertiary studies. We pray for all teachers and school chaplains as they return to school as well as those who are starting teaching for the first time.

We pray for the Ministry Units seeking clergy and schools seeking a chaplain at this time.

Dolly’s Dream:
As a church and community we must address the issues around cyber bullying and the need to facilitate positive change. We pray for the Everett family with the passing of Dolly (Amy) and all other families who are afflicted with the loss of loved ones in these tragic circumstances. We pray for comfort and strength for the families and support for the mental health services and counsellors.

Wishing you every blessing and be assured of my prayers.
Yours in Christ

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

 

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