Last weekend, Cameron, James, Rod and Judy travelled to Townsville as TGS representatives for the annual synod (meeting) of the Anglican Diocese (district) of North Queensland, along with members from about 50 other churches, schools and other groups. We were relieved that unlike many years, there were no contentious issues. A ‘motion’ regarding The Voice referendum, simply called for respectful debate and engagement; a climate motion called for us all to take ‘reasonable action’ to minimise our climate impact.

However, the impact of historic sexual abuse cases from 25-50 years ago continues to have a drastic effect on Diocesan finances. The Diocese has needed to sell property to meet resultant debts, most notably with the Bishop ‘leading from the front’ with the sale of both the Bishop’s Lodge, and the Diocesan office buildings (which the Diocese will then rent back from the new owner). To prevent the financial woes impacting on the funding of Christian ministry, it was resolved to establish three new companies, with the formation of the North Queensland Anglican Ministry Corporation, as well as separate NQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Corporations, over coming months. We will provide TGS members with further information on all this shortly, but our view is that these plans are robust and sensible.

In the midst of these practical matters, it was pleasing to hear of positive stories of gospel ministry from around the Diocese, such as from Rev Simon Owen of Bush Church Aid in Cloncurry, and the ministry to the hundreds of Melanesian fruit pickers who have seasonal work in North Queensland. Amid our human concerns, we were reminded that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, and his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9), they are higher, and they are better!