|Anglicans in Torres Strait celebrate the ordination of Daniel Stephen as a Deacon in the Church of God. © Ven Chris Wright, Diocese of North Queensland, 2019.|
The Diocese of North Queensland consists of the State of Queensland north of Latitude 22 degrees. It is a unique diocese. Not only does it have urban and rural parishes along the coast from Sarina to Cooktown, it also has sparsely settled areas west of the Great Divide; substantial Aboriginal populations in the Cape York Peninsula; and the Torres Strait Islands.
The vision of the Diocese is to encourage non-stipendiary ministers in smaller communities supported by Ministry Development Officers; and to encourage the development of indigenous leadership so that the Cape York Peninsula, and the Torres Strait Islands become autonomous parts of the Diocese and the broader Australian Anglican Church, able to carry out mission to the broader church and strengthen it.
Funds given to this project are used by the Diocese of North Queensland for high priority Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mission activities, including the projects listed below:
Ministry Development Officer for the Cape York Peninsula:
The Aboriginal communities on the Cape York Peninsula by and large cannot support stipendiary ministry. The exception to this are Kowanyama and Pormpuraaw where the Diocese runs (with the support of the community a community store enabling a stipended priest to be appointed. Other communities – such as Lockhart River, Palm Island and Aurukun cannot afford a stipended minister. Therefore a half-time Ministry Development Officer has been appointed, combined with a half-time appointment at Yarrabah. The role is to support and mentor ministers in Aboriginal Communities, especially non-stipended and lay ministers . There is also a training role for those seeking ordination or appointment as a lay minister. At present the Diocese has very few Aboriginal priests and a key part of this role is to raise up Aboriginal leadership.
Developing the Church in the Torres Strait:
In order to strengthen the Church in the Torres Straits the Diocese plans to hold an annual Regional Council with election and appointment of Torres Strait Clergy to senior positions. The Torres Strait Islands leadership will need to travel. In addition, it is intended to place a household of Melanesian Brothers on Thursday Island who will have a role in running the parish on Thursday Island and in providing mission through the Torres Strait Islands.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministry Formation:
For both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander church there is a lack of leadership under the age of 50 years – but there are suitable candidates in the younger age range coming forward. Whilst there are no fees for attending Wontulp-Bi- Buya College, support is needed for studies: including a suitable laptop for each student, financial support when on residential courses, provision of mentoring, and Anglican formation in conjunction with the Ministry Development Officer.
In 2020 the Diocese of North Queensland needs $50,000
Gifts to ABM will be applied to the support of project(s) selected. In the unlikely event of the project being oversubscribed or not proceeding to completion, donations will be applied to a similar project to the one(s) selected.
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