Bishop Blackwell appeals for parish stories
Plea to parishioners to say what they're doing in their local communities
August 3 2016Bishop Genieve Blackwell has appealed to Anglicans to share their stories online about ministry — in a Melbourne expected to swell to a population of eight million by 2050 — to encourage and inspire others and for mutual learning.
She says population density and cultural and demographic changes were the top two issues identified across deaneries at the recent Marmingatha episcopate ministry conference of clergy and authorised ministers. This incorporates Camberwell, Coburg, Glen Eira, Melbourne, Port Philip and Stonnington and Whitehorse deaneries.
“The challenge and opportunity for the Marmingatha episcopate is: How do we ‘make the word of God fully known’ in the context of urban redevelopment?” Bishop Blackwell said, quoting the diocesan vision.
She said the issues included more people living in apartments, units, housing developments or tower blocks; cultural/demographic changes seen in socio-economic and ethnic trends; transient populations; and “a post-Christian mindset and the changing nature of Sunday and family”. Other issues included connecting with state schools now that the Church was not able to teach Scripture there; loneliness and lack of community; and money and related family issues.
Bishop Blackwell asked Anglicans to send her their stories — in 500 words or less, as well as pictures — of how their parish, authorised congregation or chaplaincy was already connecting; “of the journey you are on as the people of God”; of the conversations; of what they were trying together; and of what they were learning.
These are to be published online in the “From the Parishes” section of the TMA website, http://tma.melbourneanglican.org.au/.
“I want to hear your stories!” she said. “God is at work today in our diocese and this is where we will begin to find answers to the challenges and the questions. So what are the stories of grace? What are your stories of God at work? This website will be a space for sharing these stories. It will be a space for encouragement, a space for inspiration and a space for learning.”
In March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Melbourne had both the largest and fastest population increase of all Australian capital cities in 2014-15, increasing by 91,600, an average of 1760 people per week, to more than 4.5 million people.