• Bathurst is one of 23 largely independent diocese in Australia
  • Formed in 1870 from Sydney and Newcastle Diocese
  • 32 parishes – most with multi centres
  • Orange, Bathurst, Dubbo – cities
  • + towns – Mudgee, Cowra, wellington, Parkes, Forbes, Coonabarabran, Bourke, Cobar
  • 10 bishops so far
  • First bishop – Samuel Marsden – grandson of chaplain for first fleet
  • Challenges of past years
    • loan + court case + Deed of Forebearance
    • Sexual abuse + redress scheme
    • Drought
  • History of Bathurst and Sydney relationships
    • “Red Book” case 1942 – against Bishop Wylde
    • New chapter – Sydney – Bathurst
    • $250,000 a year for 6 years
    • Nominees considered for bishop – need to be agreed to by the archbishop of Sydney
  • Bishop’s election board
    • No change – they die
    • Change marked by sharing the good news of Jesus
    • Wanted a bishop who would come and lead them in that
  • Challenges
    • Drought – shrinking towns and churches
    • Redress scheme – still selling church properties
    • Parishes which can only afford part time stipend
    • Parishes led by lay people – no clergy at all
  • Opportunities
    • People keen for gospel-shaped change
    • Churches ready for new leadership
    • Drought – bringing people to their knees
    • No other hope in these cities, towns and villages
  • Where will Mark start?
    • Briefed on history
    • Getting to know the leaders and the clergy and people and parishes – lots of travel
    • Video address to synod – Mark prepared this video which was played at the synod (annual meeting of key leaders) on Saturday 14th September