Many of you, I know, are deeply concerned about the views expressed recently by the Administrator of the Diocese as reported in the media.
The situation as it has arisen is unusual to say the least in that an undertaking given by the Administrator has now been seemingly set aside. On two occasions, one at a meeting with the Rectors of Hamilton and Kotara South and myself, and the other with the members of our own Parish Council, he gave the assurance, that while he was the Administrator, nothing would happen under the “Draft Strategic Plan” that would adversely affect Parishes such as ours. It needs to be remembered that the proposed review of inner city ministry has stemmed from this “Draft Strategic Plan” and the consequent decisions of the Diocesan Council. This has been carried out without proper consultation with the Parishes in question, as has the amalgamation of the Deaneries of Newcastle and Newcastle West.
Attached is a document issued by the Administrator upon which the media have based their reports. You will note that the Administrator, with the support of the Diocesan Council, has decided to establish a Deanery resource group to “work alongside the Parishes in a collaborative manner to assist the redevelopment of the Deanery”. What that means in reality is unclear, although he has outlined eight points for consideration by the Deanery Resource Group. You will note the Administrator has asked the Property Approvals Board to undertake and immediate review of the building identified as being in need of urgent investigation and report. What is not included is the specified date by which this must be done which is no later than the end of October.
The specific items listed by him as identified by the review are:
We in this Parish have always considered the matter of the proclamation of the faith to be of the first importance. As Anglicans in the Catholic tradition our faith is incarnational, that is: that our mission (indeed the Church’s mission) is an extension of our Lord’s earthly ministry. With that in mind we have always made the effort to cooperate with the other Parishes, not to mention the Diocesan authorities, and it is sad that this has not always been favourably viewed in some quarters.
Yes, we are a small Parish, but the apostolic band wasn’t exactly large! We are vibrant and contribute to the wider Church and the wider community in numerous and varied ways. We have never failed to meet our Diocesan obligations either financially or otherwise. Indeed, small though we are, we are one of the largest Mission givers in the Diocese.
We know that not all our buildings are what we would wish them to be. We would dearly love to come up with a suitable proposal to replace the old rectory and have considered a number of proposals over the years including education, equity housing, aged accommodation and child care. This has been a running minute with the Parish Council for a number of years. Repair and maintenance, as you all know, is a constant matter and our principal buildings are in good order.
We as a faith community have no wish to be forced into taking any action that will adversely affect the work and witness of the Church in this Parish. We are not averse to change, nor do I believe are we complacent. We have embraced numerous changes over the years, yet have remained faithful to the Catholic ethos as we have received it.
I am deeply grateful for all the hard work that you do and the support that you give.
I am deeply troubled that much of the proposed review is taking place while we are without a Diocesan Bishop, given that any future Bishop may have a different opinion and vision for the future. I am determined that nothing detrimental to the life of this Parish should take place while ever I am the incumbent, and assure you of my continuing efforts for the betterment of this Parish and each of you as part of it.
Despite what you might read or hear in the media I want you to be calm and positive; the future is in our hands. Nothing, I repeat NOTHING, is set in place to close us down or dispose of our property. It is my fervent prayer and hope the Administrator will remain true to his original undertaking.
“Caritas Christi Urgit Nos”, that is, the love of Christ urges us on, so we go forward in faith trusting in God’s love and providence for us all. Please keep this whole matter at the forefront of your prayers.
Yours in Christ,
Your Parish Priest
14TH June 2013AD
There is a report in the Newcastle Herald today under the Headline ‘Confidential Plan to Sell Off Anglican Churches’
To confirm for parishioners and concerned people the report that is referred to is in fact only in draft. At this stage it is being discussed confidentially amongst a wider than usual number of people. We share the Administrator of the Diocese’s (Bishop Peter) concern that a confidential document such as this has been leaked. The report whilst specific in some areas, can only be the first part of a long term plan which itself talks of fifteen years.
Currently the relevant people are prayerfully considering the matters raised in the report and and how best to respond to the report in a manner that serves the Kingdom of God, the People of Adamstown, keeps faith with those who have invested prayer, love, work, and money to ensure that S Stephens stands as a beacon of faith in our community, whilst seriously considering haw we continue to deliver appropriate ministry in this generation and for generations as yet unborn.
Please pray for our Parish and for Fr Chris and those involved in this project, and as ever please pray for Bishop Peter as he watches over your people in this place.
If you have particular concerns, or wish to express you support properly you are welcome to use the form on the contact page.