Hopes for 2022: More thriving churches and mission-conscious Christians in the Top End

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With responsibility for 15 parishes in nearly a fifth of Australia, Anglican Bishop of the Northern Territory, Greg Anderson, aspires to see churches grow that celebrate, speak, and demonstrate the saving work of Jesus Christ in their ways. communities.

“The main thing is that more people understand the news of Jesus and I think a key to that is to have healthy churches, where people can celebrate the good news of Jesus and remember and encourage each other. each other to live in the light of it, ”he said.

Despite the size of the diocese (region), the total population of the Northern Territory is only around 230,000 people, of which 30% are Indigenous Australians.

The largest church in the whole diocese is St Peter’s Nightcliff in the northern suburbs of Darwin. Since the Covid closures, it has offered three intergenerational services, all with a children’s church, a vibrant youth group, and runs an annual kids’ club during the October school holidays, which attracts children from other Darwin churches as well. as children of the Scriptures at a local elementary school. It also has three pastoral workers, Joshua Kuswadi, Laura Wolfenden and Jesse Morrison (as of January 2022).

The other churches are smaller, but many have grown a bit numerically in recent years, Bishop Greg says.

“My hope for 2022 is that our churches will be able to effectively connect with the communities around them. “- Greg Anderson

Christ Church Cathedral in Darwin’s CBD added a youth group this year to its 9 a.m. service and intends to start a night church in 2022 with a mission focus. The Good Shepherd Church at Fred’s Pass, south of Darwin, will have a new pastor, Steve Walker, starting in January. Meanwhile, the bishop is still looking to fill the vacant ministerial position in Katherine, created when Kristan Slack moved to minister at Ascension Church in Alice Springs.

“But if you compare the number of people who are not in churches with the number of people who are in churches, there are vast unspoiled areas of the Northern Territory that do not know the love of God and the saving work of God, ”he said. Eternity.

“So my hope for 2022 is that our churches will be able to effectively connect with the communities around them. “

Some examples include the Mega Kids Club in St Peter’s, the Robert Czako mural restoration project at St Mary’s Chapel in Alice Springs, Food for Life in Batchelor and Palmerston, the Sunday morning breakfast program at Christ Cathedral Church, the annual carol service at Leanyer Water Park and Christmas carols at the Pub in Batchelor.

“I hope we can continue to do more through a range of different things to place our churches in their communities and serve their communities, so we just want to accelerate that in the communities around us. It is not only a question of speaking, but of living, of demonstrating the love of God.

“It is the diocese that most effectively hears the voice of the aspirations, dreams, challenges and needs of the indigenous members of the diocese. “- Greg Anderson

Another of Bishop Greg’s aspirations for 2022 is for the creation of an indigenous consultation group called WALK, which was started at the recent synod (church parliament).

“WALK means” word “or” story “in the four main indigenous languages ​​used in the diocese: Wed in Kriol, ayakwa in Anindilyakwa, lhaawu in Wubuy and kunwok in Kunwinjku.

“It is therefore the diocese that more effectively hears the voice of the aspirations, dreams, challenges and needs of the indigenous members of the diocese. “

He says most church forums such as synod and diocesan council do not translate easily into an indigenous setting.

“The idea is that this group will meet physically a few times a year and maybe electronically once or twice a year, just to provide a space for native Anglicans to talk together and encourage each other and let us know what’s going on. important to them and what they would like us to do to work with and share with them.

“I would like more people of all kinds to settle in the territory with the motivation of the ministry. “- Greg Anderson

Bishop Greg’s third hope is one he has continually claimed for since he was installed as bishop in late 2014.

“We have been really fortunate to have people come to the Territory with a motivation for ministry over the past few years, but we could still do with more of these people. They do not need to be official missionaries such as Church Missionary Society intentional ministry agents or ordained ministers. These are just a small number of possibilities. But I would like our church to grow, not just by people settling here who are already Christians – I wish there was more of an impact in our community. But I would like more people of all kinds to still settle in the territory with the motivation of the ministry.

Finally, with the arrival of a talented new diocese-wide children’s ministry worker, Naomi Ireland, he hopes to see children’s ministry on a growth curve.

“It’s great that we have children’s and children’s programs in all of our traditional churches and some native churches, but we have to feel that people are excited about this ministry and want it to grow beyond our own. families of churches. It would be another good thing.

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