Dear Friends

Coronavirus
Social Distancing Restrictions have further eased and a separate e-mail has been sent out with a Coronavirus Update. Other restrictions (such as contact registration and sanitation requirements) remain in place. I anticipate that the new relaxed restrictions will stay in place until the vaccine has been fully rolled out, unless there is a re-emergency of community transmission in Queensland.

Emergency Management and Recover Plan
At the Diocesan Council meeting on 19th February the following policy “Policy 17: Emergency Management and Recovery Plan” was finalised.  A copy of this new policy will be emailed out to all Ministry Units and can also be found on our website at the following Emergency Management and Recovery Plan. I encourage you to read it and for all Ministry Unit Councils to take appropriate actions in accordance with the plan.

Prayer Cycle
The new Cycle of Prayer for 2021 has been updated and is available on the website at 2021 Cycle of Prayer. We are called upon to people of prayer and I encourage you to pray for each other using the Diocesan Cycle of Prayer.

Diocesan Synod
Synod is being held on Friday 9th April 2021 at the Cathedral, and then on Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April at The Cathedral School in Townsville. All those attending should by now have received their summonses or invitations. If you believe that you should be attending and have not received a summons or invitation, then please contact Ms Shelley Thomas by return e-mail as soon as possible.

Please note that the agenda is quite full, and plenty of time is being allocated to discuss important issues. Accordingly we will work into Saturday evening, and recommence on Sunday with Morning Prayer at 8.30 am. That means that you should plan on other ministers looking after your services on Sunday morning. For those who wish to attend a Eucharist on Sunday morning, there will be a 7 am service at St Matthews, Mundingburra. It is planned that we should complete Synod by 2 pm on Sunday afternoon.

For those who are not attending Synod, your prayers would be much appreciated.

Holy Week and Easter
There will need to be some minor modifications because of COVID-19 Restrictions, but all Ministry Units should plan on holding their usual suite of Holy Week and Easter services as we remember with fear the sufferings of Holy Week, lament the depth of our sin on Good Friday, and celebrate with joy the resurrection of Easter.

Mothering Sunday and Simnel Cake
Finally, this coming Sunday (the fourth Sunday of Lent) we have the mid-Lent break from fasting for Mothering Sunday, which is the original Mothers’ Day and which predates the newer one celebrated in May by many centuries. On Mothering Sunday there is also an old tradition of baking and distributing Simnel Cake which dates back to at least the 17th Century. Before Easter many workers would visit their parents and families, and Simnel Cake was an tasty and nutritious food gift to take and share. I encourage you to observe the traditions of Mothering Sunday, including the blessing and distribution of Simnel Cake. In these days of COVID-19, it is recommended that Simnel Cake be pre-cut and wrapped in cling wrap, placed on the Lord’s Table and blessed, and then distributed after the service. A recipe from the BBC can be found at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/simnelcake_792

May your observance of Lent and Holy Week and your celebration of Easter bring you closer to God and each other, and bring others to know our Lord.

Yours in Christ,

The Right Reverend Dr Keith Joseph
Bishop of North Queensland

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