29 Mar 2018
By Rt Rev'd Professor Stephen Pickard
For four days in the middle of March the bishops of the Anglican Church of Australia met in Canberra for their annual meeting. On this occasion they were accompanied by their spouses. Each day began with prayer, Eucharist and bible study. The theme for the daily meditation on scripture was lament. It was a particularly appropriate focus for Lent leading to palm Sunday and Easter. It was also important for church leaders to reflect together on the role of lament in life in the face of the many challenges arising from the Royal Commission into sexual Abuse in the Church. Not surprisingly this matter was discussed at length during the meeting. Responding to victims, development of safe ministry protocols, discussion concerning pastoral responses to the recent changes to the Marriage Act; development of new leadership and ministry for rural and urban Australia were some of the themes addressed by the bishops. There were also significant inputs for spouses on issues of self-care and friendship and the church’s role in ministry with those with disabilities. What gives life to such occasions is the opportunity for common worship, shared meals, opportunities for building friendships and mutual encouragement. One afternoon was spent at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture. Bishops and spouses were introduced to the Centre and invited to spend a quiet afternoon following the Pilgrim Walk followed by a Taize evening prayer in the Chapel. The Centre is ecumenical in ethos and mission and draws Christians and leaders from all the churches. We were blessed to welcome the Anglican bishops on this occasion.
Above: Anglican Bishops outside the Mural Wall at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture