Debt squeezes Australian diocese

Bathurst bishop to move to half time status

The Bishop of the Anglican Church of Australia’s Diocese of Bathurst has written to his clergy announcing that in light of claims of $39 million from creditors against the diocese, the diocesan staff will be reduced to one full time employee, and he will take on the position of priest in charge of Holy Trinity Parish in Dubbo. The Rt. Rev. Ian Palmer said he would be a half time bishop / half time parish rector. “My move comes about partly because of the financial circumstances and also partly because as a Bishop I feel a great commitment to model what a parish priest should be,” the bishop wrote in a letter to his diocese. “I’m not giving up being Bishop of Bathurst and my cathedral, the seat of Bishop is still in Bathurst.” Creditors of a diocesan trust that managed the church’s schools are seeking to recoup their losses by suing the diocese and Bishop Palmer. The case is currently pending before the courts and the diocese has raised $1.5 million to defend itself. But the suit has already taken its toll. “It’s not a question of weeks or months but a matter of years to re-establish the foundation of the diocese and set us on a footing for the future,” he stated. “But I’m confident with God’s grace and the support of an enormous number of people we can do this.”

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