Melbourne regional bishops reorganized

 

Melbourne regional bishops reorganized

Author: 

George Conger

The Diocese of Melbourne has repealed the 1997 Regions of the Diocese Act, changing the territories and names of episcopal oversight of its three assistant bishops. At its October meeting of synod the diocese voted to replace the geographical division of the diocese into Eastern, North-Western and Southern regions under the care of three assistant bishops with regions drawn from the language of the local aboriginal people, the Woi Wurrung. The Rt. Rev. Genieve Blackwell would become Bishop of Marmingatha covering the inner city of Melbourne; the Rt. Rev. Philip Huggins would become Bishop of Oodthenong covering the northern and western growth areas in Greater Melbourne and Geelong; the Rt. Rev. Paul White would become Bishop of Jimbunna covering parishes south of the Yarra and to the east. The Melbourne Anglican reported Marmingatha means “being with the divine or supreme being”; Oodthenong means “gathering”; and Jumbunna means “speaking out” or “proclamation”. Together, they comprise the Woi Wurrung equivalent of the diocesan vision of “Making the Word of God fully known” through “gathering in the divine presence to speak out and proclaim”. On 16 Oct 2015 Archbishop Philip Freier (pictured) said the reorganization was designed to make the diocese and archdeaconries more “mission-shaped”. He told the synod: “In my mind one of the most important aspects of the change that we have initiated is to centre the Archdeaconries as the key building block of mission within the Diocese. Participants in the consultation process supported the idea of linking mission and structure and agreed that parishes and diocesan ministries were the ‘frontline’ of mission. The Archdeaconries as missional building blocks therefore seek to co-ordinate and support mission by creating a permission-giving culture that liberates resources on the ground where they are needed to evangelise and ‘make the Work of God fully known’. I envisage that this will be quite different to the approach to Parish Ministry and Chaplaincy Support that we have had in the past.” He added: “I feel confident that the restructured Areas of Episcopal Care offer a more flexible and thematic approach to mission planning and evangelism and our Bishops have taken to their new responsibilities with enthusiasm.”

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