Dear Members of the Diocesan Family,

Holy and Blessed Easter:
Robin and I pray that your Lent has been a time of strengthening your faith and that your journey during Holy Week is progressing well. It is our prayer that your Easter celebrations will be a time of great joy and celebration. I pray that each Ministry Unit will proclaim the true resurrection of our Lord and Saviour so that others will come to know the message of Easter.

The Weather:
North Queensland is a large and diverse area. In the past week, the coast has had some massive rainfall recordings. At the time of writing, Ingham remains cut off from both the north and the south. Also there is the likelihood of more rain from ex cyclone Iris. Because of the current forecasts over the Easter period, and in the interests of safety, I have given the Hinchinbrook Ministry Unit permission to celebrate Easter on 8th April. If other Ministry Units find that because of changed weather situations their worship will be affected, I encourage them to do the same. Just send me an email to let me know.

As an aside, the Orthodox Church this year celebrates Easter on the 8th April. The Orthodox set the date of Easter using the Julian calendar. In the West we use the Gregorian calendar.

Because of the weather situation in the Northern Region, the Chrism Eucharist was postponed last evening and will now take place on Tuesday 10th April at St. Saviours Kuranda commencing at 5.00p.m.

I also ask that you pray for the areas out West that are still waiting for rain or follow up rain. While certain places in the Diocese have had too much rain, there are other areas that are still very dry.

We give thanks to God that there were no injuries as a result of Cyclone Nora last week. Yes, there have been trees blown over and some damage to a couple of buildings, but thankfully no loss of life or serious injuries.

Chrism Eucharists:
This year across the Diocese, there have been three Chrism Eucharists to date; Thursday Island, Mackay and the Cathedral. I know some people have sought clarity as to the purpose of this act of worship. Briefly, there is a three-fold purpose to this liturgy.

1. We come to worship and praise our God.

2. The Holy Oils are blessed. There is the oil for the sick. The oil of the catechumen (historically this oil is used on the first Sunday of Lent when candidates for baptism at Easter commence the period of intense preparation). This is now the Season of Lent. The oil of chrism is used for ordinations, confirmations and consecration of churches.

3. The clergy and lay ministers renew their ordination vows.

With the service on Thursday Island I asked the candidates the actual ordination questions adding the words “continuing to ....” As the Primate was present, I renewed my complete vows and promises. I found the exercise equipping for my ongoing ministry.

I thank each of the Ministry Units for the refreshments that followed each act of worship. I know it takes time but it does allow people to catch up with each other. Our fellowship is important as well. So I thank you.

I know there will be a spread at Kuranda and I thank the folk there in advance.

From the Bishops Conference:
The Bishops meet every year. This year it was in Canberra. Next year will be south of Perth. Every three years the spouses meet. This was a year where both bishops and spouses met. The spouses had their own conference, but we met together for worship and Bible Study. The Bible Studies were based on the theme of lament in the Psalms.

The Bishops had sessions on the follow-up to the Royal Commission; Rural and Remote ministry; Urban ministry and follow-up from the changes in the Marriage Act. During the Conference all the bishops agreed that our Churches cannot be used for same sex marriage, nor can our halls be used for same sex marriage wedding receptions and the like.

The Liturgy Commission has produced a new form of the baptism and the marriage service. They are available on the General Synod website and I do give permission for them to be used. Personally, I would have liked the Exhortation (what we are doing and why) in the baptism service made a little more “down to earth”, but that is a personal opinion. I will still use the service though.

I was asked recently will there be a new Prayer Book. The answer is no. New liturgies will be placed on the web from time to time. I encourage you to visit the webpage and explore the options.

The Triduum Worship at the Cathedral:
The Cathedral hosts some more traditional services over the Three Great Days of Easter, including:-

Thursday 29 March – Maundy Thursday
6pm - Eucharist and meal with Foot Washing followed by Silent Watch.

The Watch (or Vigil) "Can you not watch with me one hour?" were Jesus' words to his disciples on the night before he died. The Cathedral has long held a watch overnight from 8pm Maundy Thursday till 9am Good Friday. This year, the male leaders in the Parish are ensuring that one of them will be present continually from 8pm to 5am to provide company and security. Please park in the well-lit carpark at the back of the Cathedral and enter via the side door (on the 'hill' side) if you would like to join them as part of your commitment to Holy Week.

Friday 30th March – Good Friday
9am - Liturgy and Veneration of the Cross (with full choir). The service involves the reading of the Passion of St Mark, and is about an hour long and quietly meditative.

Noon-3pm - Three Hours Devotions with the Bishop leading. Please come for all or part of the time. At least one hour is customary, but at any time.

Sunday 1st April – Easter Day
6am - Easter Day for the Lighting of the Fire and Renewal of Baptismal Vows with the Bishop. The service involves a short vigil reminding us of the journey till dawn, then celebrates the first service of Easter at a biblical time, 'very early in the morning'.

10am - Eucharist

The Australian Anglican Directory:
I have been asked will there be another Directory. The answer is yes, in 2019. There will be a printed edition as well as a digital edition.

We continue to pray for Scott Hedley but we congratulate him on successfully completing his Masters degree.

We rejoice that Jeff Coop is recovering very well. It was good to see Jeff at the Area Deanery meeting and
the Chrism Eucharist.

The Archdeacon has been suffering with an ear infection and is currently undergoing treatment.

Book Launch:
On Thursday 5th April at 6pm I will be launching ‘Life, Blood and Love. (They Flow together)’ the second book
of sermons authored by The Reverend Clive Brook. The venue for the launch is The Hub Bookshop, Shop 4 /
1 Hammett Street Currajong. All are invited.

St. Matthew’s Day - 21 September 2018:
At 6 pm in St James’ Cathedral, I will celebrate and preach at a simple Eucharist and then lay up my pastoral
staff, concluding eleven and half years as Bishop of North Queensland. Archdeacon Wright will become the
Commissary or Administrator of the Diocese until a new Bishop is appointed.

Once again I pray that you have a blessed Easter.
Yours in the Name of our Risen Lord,

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


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