Bishop David Robinson Letters

“ Peace with God came through the death of Jesus. God's grace does not come cheaply, reconciliation and forgiveness come at a price. The difficulty is that, for many people today, many Christians today, we want peace with God and peace on earth but we aren't prepared to pay the price ”

Bishop David Robinson

November 2018

“… a time for us, to reflect on the areas we fail as Christians, repent these failures and to look forward to the new life found in Christ.”


“Bishop’s musings”

Dear Friends,

Once again we are at that time of the year when our focus shifts to Christmas, to times of celebration, of hope and, we pray, peace.

For me this is also a time of looking forward to plan for the year ahead.

Lament – a pathway to God

At a recent Bishop‐in‐council meeting it was decided to make 2019 a year of lament. This will be a time for us, as a diocese, to reflect on some of the areas we fail as Christians, to repent these failures and to look forward to the new life found in Christ.

We will be developing a number of resources to use in parishes over the course of 2019. It is envisaged that will be a number of Sundays spread throughout the year when we will focus as a diocese on a number of specific areas including Australia’s first peoples, the environment, homelessness, domestic violence, and the victims of abuse.

In each area we will lament how we, as Christians, and our society have moved far from the ideals we find in the life and teaching of Jesus. We will have the opportunity to apologise, to repent our failings, and to refocus on the good news of salvation made possible through Christ. The year ahead will be an opportunity for us to rededicate our lives and energies to serving God, to being Christ in the world.

As we prepare for Christmas 2018 let us not forget the reason Jesus came into our world – to forgive, to renew, to restore all things (Rev 21:5) and commit ourselves to the transforming power of God in Jesus Christ.

With every blessing       + David

Vicar General

August 2018

“… we installed Rev Robert Stanley as the Priest in Charge of the Parish of Keppel and we welcome Rev Matt Taylor to assist in the North Rockhampton parish.”


“Vicar General’s musings”

Dear Friends,

The last few months we have seen the response of people to the presence of the diocese at Beef Week; we held a synod which was very positive and confident; we installed Rev Robert Stanley as the Priest in Charge of the Parish of Keppel; and we welcome Rev Matt Taylor to assist in the North Rockhampton parish. We discovered in many of these experiences that there really is faith alive and active in the diocese.

Indeed, it seems that across much of the diocese there seems to be a renewed sense of purpose to live out our Christian mission of loving God and loving others and a confidence that we can make a difference by proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ by word, sacrament and example.

Our vocation as Christians (actually as people), our calling, is found when we abide in God, when we praise God where we live and move and have our being. The way then that we think, pray and behave makes a difference to the others in every parish and in each worshipping community.

Throughout Christian history, there have been two tendencies that present different pitfalls for Christian maturity. The first is legalism. We might define this tendency as attempting to keep all the rules without the power of the Holy Spirit. The second tendency could be labeled permissiveness. This is the tendency to focus on freedom to follow the Holy Spirit without disciplined discipleship. When Paul advocates that we imitate God (Eph 5:1), he invites us into a healthy discipleship that avoids these two tendencies. Earlier in Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians (3:16-17), we read, “I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love.”

Growing in Christian discipleship requires that we put away tendencies, habits, and attitudes that are contrary to the gospel as well as take on new postures that open us to the power of God’s grace (holy habits, prayer, Scripture reading, etc.). It is through these new postures and habits that we become—what is seemingly impossible— imitators of God for others, thus fulfilling the greatest commandment to love God and love others.

Christ’s blessings       + John

Bishop David Robinson

May 2018

“… On behalf of the Diocese, I invite you to join us, to take the opportunity to connect or reconnect with your church”


“Bishop’s Welcome”

Welcome to this special edition of the [ May, 2018 ] Gazette, the newspaper of the Anglican Church in Central Queensland.

Our Diocese stretches from the coast to the Northern Territory border, taking in rural cities like Rockhampton to smaller outback communities like Boulia and Bedourie. Ministry across such a large geographical area is a challenge, yet it is a challenge we face with great hope.

We are also a Diocese of great diversity, offering many different opportunities to explore spirituality and the Christian faith and a range of pastoral care and worship experiences.

We are pleased to be able to take this opportunity to share with you some of the many stories about the Anglican Church in Central Queensland. Stories of ordinary people, just like you, people who, through faith in Jesus have made an impact in so many good and positive ways.

On behalf of the Diocese, I invite you to join us, to take the opportunity to connect or reconnect with your church. You will find contact details in the package you have been given and we would love to have you join us.

Finally, I pray that your time at Beef Week is a time of great enjoyment. I also hope it will be a time to reflect on the wonders of God’s creation and to give thanks to God for the blessings we have in this region.

As you return to your homes remember you are always welcome in our Anglican community.

With every good wish       + David

Bishop David Robinson

January to March 2018

“… it is precisely for times like this that the Easter story is relevant.”


“The Bishop’s Musings”

Dear Friends,

By now you will have all heard the news about St Paul’s Cathedral and the extensive renovations needed before it can be reopened for public worship.

Indeed, it would seem that this is just the latest in a string of bad news - of churches struggling to remain open, of claims being made of historic abuse and of the decline in standing of the Christian Church in the community.

It is a difficult time for the wider community too. The drought lingers on bringing its own devastations to families and communities; floods and damaging weather; unemployment - this list could go on and it is easy to give in to despair.

Yet, it is precisely for times like this that the Easter story is relevant. Imagine the depths of despair among the followers of Jesus as he was arrested, tortured and killed. The grief and mourning; wondering how will they ever go on, as he lay in the grave. Then the joy, the hope that bursts forth, the light that shines in the darkness, the light that no darkness can contain, as Jesus rose from the dead and revealed himself to those who were witnesses, for us, of the good news.

Yes, there are many challenges, but when I hear the stories of what is happening around the Diocese - the 30 people in one Parish involved in Bible Studies, the 20 people doing Alpha in another parish, the ‘Messy Churches’ and ‘Mainly Music’ groups, the people studying for the Ridley Certificate in Theology, and Jesus, the Game Changer studies - I am filled with hope and confident that God is in control.

There are signs of new life all over the diocese. God’s will is being done and God’s kingdom continues to grow. As we journey towards the cross, let us hold fast to the hope we have in Jesus – death and decay are not the end – new life in Jesus is!

With my love and prayers for a happy and holy Easter, filled with resurrection joy and hope.       + David

Bishop David Robinson

October to December 2017


“The Bishop’s Musings”

Dear Friends,

Christmas – ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased’. I can’t help but wonder, as I look at the world around us, is God displeased?

There are wars and rumours of wars as international relations grow increasingly tense. The refugee crisis worsens by the day as more and more people are caught up in situations over which they have no control and are forced to flee their homes. Making matters worse, is the increasingly self- protective and hardline approach toward those who have no place to call home.

In Australia we appear to be lurching from one political crisis to the next, with many people expressing disappointment and frustration with their elected representatives.
In a few weeks, there will be a significant change to the Marriage Act, allowing for the marriage of same sex couples. At times, this debate has revealed a disturbing side of Australian society with people from both extremes showing a complete lack of respect for others. One Facebook comment I read, spoke of how we “now know 5 million people hate LGBTI people”. Well yes, roughly this number voted no, but to suggest that these people hate the LGBTI community is a gross exaggeration and inflammatory. Just another symptom of the disintegration of respect for others that is infecting our society.

This leads me to question what is happening in our society? What is it about our society that is creating increased levels of conflict and a stubborn refusal to listen to the other point of view? Why can’t we accept difference?

The first point I want to make is that there is a confusion between tolerance and acceptance. We speak of religious tolerance, of tolerating different opinions. In essence, what we are saying is that we will put up with difference. We don’t accept another person’s right to hold a different point of view, we put up with it. This allows us to feel pleased with ourselves without ever dealing with the real issue of accepting another human being. We tolerate different opinions, we tolerate refugees in our midst, we tolerate different beliefs, and I should note here, there are limits around how much we will tolerate. The difficulty with tolerance is that we don’t come to the point of truly accepting the other person, we only put up with them.

It is important to note that acceptance of the other person, does not mean we have to agree with them, or even approve of what they do. It is about recognising the inherent value of the other.

Which leads to my second point, every human being is of great and infinite value to the God who creates them, every human being displays some aspect of the divine image. A Christian understanding of humanity recognises that every human being bears some aspect of the image and likeness of God. We teach that Jesus died on the cross so that every human being across all space and time can enter into a relationship with God. We may not agree with other people, about many things, but we cannot say that we will not love and respect them as people made in the image of God.

The incarnation serves as a concrete reminder to us all of God’s presence in our midst calling us to live Christ-like lives. It provides the model and the encouragement to change our world, We can do it, one person at a time, in the power of prayer and the Holy Spirit. God is not displeased; disappointed perhaps that 2000 years after the resurrection of his Son we still haven’t learned to love the way he desires.

As we celebrate this Christmas can we open our hearts and minds to hear again the message of love and peace? Can (Continued from page 2) we proclaim, by word and deed, the message of peace and joy, asking God to fill the hearts of all people with joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:15).

Jan and I wish you all a wonderful peace filled and joyous Christmas.

Christ's blessings       + David

Vicar General

June to August 2017

“The Anglican Church of Australia will enter General Synod on 3 September.”


“Vicar General’s musings”

Dear Friends,

As I write this there are about 130 days to Christmas. This is a reminder that we have moved through over half of this year. If you were to reflect on the hopes, dreams and resolution that you had as 2017 began, how have you done? Like many of you, I think I have allowed the busyness of life to overwhelm the many good intentions and hopes that I had.

The Anglican Church of Australia will enter General Synod on 3 September. This synod is held usually every three years. Representatives from every diocese will gather as houses of bishop, clergy and laity to consider legislation and motions that can/will impact on the life of the church.

When I started reading over the motions from the last general synod I had a fear that maybe there are parts of the church that have been so overwhelmed by business of life and survival that the wonderful hopes have been forgotten.

There were, amongst many others at the last synod, great motions about the environmental issues and refugees. There was general support for advancement of issues surrounding the viability of diocese and there were statements regarding the Royal Commission and the church’s response to child abuse. I know some of the issues have been progressed but I fear for some of the others

Reading the material for this year’s synod, it is apparent that an issue not forgotten is the one of child abuse. There has been enormous work undertaken by the Professional Standards Commission and Royal Commission Working Group. Under the leadership of Mr Garth Blake SC these two groups have tried to bring together the varying practices of the Australian dioceses into a nationally consistent approach to child protection in this church.

The Royal Commission has unveiled some terrible events that have taken place by members of the church or employees of the church over many decades. These acts can only be described as abhorrent and some of the responses by the churches to these incidents have been found to be equally as harmful to the victims. A line in the sand has to be drawn and we, as a church, must not let the issue of the safety of the vulnerable in our community be a hope that we let fade. General Synod needs to take this call seriously and work as a united church to promote this and to resolve to take hard and sometime painful decisions for the good of the victims and the protection of others.

So too does each diocese and parish. Yes it can seem tiresome to have to ‘do’ training; yes it can seem a nuisance to sign those forms. But all these are little steps that remind us that abuse has happened and can easily happen in the most unsuspecting places. Unless all of the members of the church take it seriously, it will happen again.

I pray that many of the other great hopes from last General Synod will have been advanced as well.

But on a completely different topic. I have only recently come across the writings of Symeon the New Theologian who was the abbot of an orthodox monastery in Constantinople. He was born around 949 AD. His burning conviction was that the Christian life must be more than just a routine or habit, but rather it should be a personal experience of the living Christ.

Symeon focused his reflection on the Holy Spirit's presence in the baptised and on the awareness they must have of this spiritual reality. "Christian life", he emphasised, "is intimate, personal communion with God, divine grace illumines the believer's heart and leads him to a mystical vision of the Lord". Along these lines, Symeon the New Theologian, insisted that true knowledge of God does not come from books but rather from spiritual experience, from spiritual life. Knowledge of God is born from a process of inner purification that begins with conversion of heart through the power of faith and love. It passes through profound repentance and sincere sorrow for one's sins to attain union with Christ, the source of joy and peace, suffused with the light of his presence within us. For Symeon this experience of divine grace did not constitute an exceptional gift for a few mystics but rather was the fruit of Baptism in the life of every seriously committed believer.

I share one of, what I think, is one of his beautiful poems which speaks of the intimate union with Christ to which God is calling us.

Christ's blessings       + John

Bishop David Robinson

March to May 2017

“Christianity is a religion of sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice being found in the cross.”


“Christianity is a religion of sacrifice”

Dear Friends,

In our last issue, I noted how our society has changed and spoke of how it is now suggested that Western society, perhaps with the demise of the Christian faith which created and reinforced the guilt-innocence culture, is shifting into a pleasure-pain culture. A culture that no longer accepts the old concepts of sin and guilt or the need for salvation. *

This shift is having a significant impact on the way we do church. Perhaps the best way to test this impact is to ask why do you come to church? Is it because of the great teaching? Is it because the music is uplifting? Is it because your friends are there? Or perhaps you would put it more spiritually and say, you come to receive communion and be reassured that you are part of the community of the faithful. Note that in each these cases the reason for attendance is personal. Put bluntly we often attend church for what we get out it, for some personal gain.

The pleasure/pain culture helps to create a fulfilment/sacrifice response. We attend church seeking personal fulfilment and when we don’t receive this fulfilment we move on to another church, another activity, perhaps giving up worship completely, because we find our spiritual fulfilment, our god in the garden, the bush, the seaside.

The impact of this change can also be seen in the number of churches that now advertise church attendance in terms of personal fulfilment ‘Live your best life’, ‘Become all you were meant to be,’ ‘Life change happens here’ are just three of the ones I have come across recently. There is an element of truth in each of these, after all faith in Jesus does enable us to become the kind people God wants us to be. Here is the key issue – the kind of people God wants us to be not who we or the world thinks we should be.

Christianity is a religion of sacrifice. The ultimate sacrifice being found in the cross. Each believer is called to take up their cross and follow Jesus, called to put others ahead of themselves, to serve God and not their own personal ends. It is not a popular message but it's a message we need to hear if we are to be faithful in proclaiming the good news of Jesus. Good news that turns upside down so much of what passes for worldly wisdom, good news that reminds us that it is in giving we receive, that following Jesus is the path to fulfilment. It is in sacrifice that we find true fulfilment.

With every blessing       + David

Bishop David Robinson

December 2016 to February 2017


‘Pain and Pleasure’

Dear Friends,

One of the challenges facing the Anglican Church today is how to do mission in a changed and constantly evolving society.

The world is constantly changing and yet, the ways in which we view the world, our worldview, can remain remarkably inflexible. A worldview provides security, helping us to make sense of our world; it provides a way for us to describe the nature of things. It tells us why things are the way they are and how to act. Worldviews are extremely resistant to change, ‘Our worldview buttresses our fundamental beliefs with emotional reinforcements so that they are not easily destroyed’. *

When we consider this information in relation to how we think and feel about church, about worship and mission, I hope we can begin to understand how difficult it is to change the way we do church and the ways we think about mission. This creates significant difficulties. Our culture has changed and is changing quite rapidly. But our worldview remains static. Put simply this means the old ways of doing things don’t work anymore. I’m reasonably confident that all of us at some stage or another have had to take a step back and rethink our understanding of the way things work, perhaps wondering why did that happen.

Cultural anthropologists claim there are a number of different cultures across the world. Very briefly, there is the shame-honour culture found in many Eastern, Middle Eastern and Asian countries. There is the fear-power culture that is found in tribal societies in Africa, and places where animism is the major religious belief, and there is the guilt-innocence culture found in Western societies.

At least this is the way it was. It is now being suggested that Western society, perhaps with the demise of the Christian faith which created and reinforced the guilt-innocence culture, is shifting into a pleasure-pain culture. People no longer accept the old concepts of sin and guilt and the subsequent need for salvation and a declaration of innocence. Pleasure and fulfilment, instant gratification and the hedonistic pursuit of all that makes the individual feel good is now the major driver of Western culture. Christian concepts like sin, sacrifice and suffering sound far too painful to many people in today’s world. Little wonder we struggle to connect with people in our streets and towns.

I don’t want to suggest, even for a moment, that we abandon the concepts of sin and the need for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Indeed these things set us apart, as does the Christian doctrine of sacrifice and suffering. We recognise life is not all about pleasure, there is sacrifice and pain. Even those who constantly chase pleasure eventually must come to a point of pain. Pain, like death, is part of life and it cannot be avoided. So we are left to consider how can we connect with them.

To connect with pleasure we can speak of the joy of being a child of God, an inheritor of the heavenly kingdom. Can I ask you to reflect on whether our gatherings reflect joy? Are we a joyful people or have we lost sight of the truth of God and the power of the Holy Spirit? The apostle Paul could speak of being joyful in suffering because he was convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)

In pain we can connect by helping people to see what Paul illustrates so well in the passage above – God knows pain and while God may not take the pain away he provides the strength to go on. It is easy to forget the simple truth, to let go of the joy of knowing Christ that should be ours and to seek pleasure and fulfilment in the things of this world and not in the knowledge and love of Christ, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the assurance that we are God’s people.

Let us dedicate ourselves anew to being counter-cultural to finding joy, deep joy, in God. May His Spirit fill our hearts and minds and may we, filled with God’s Spirit, bring new life to all we meet.

*Transforming Culture, Hiebert, P.G., Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2008, p29.

With every blessing       + David

Bishop David Robinson

October - December 2016


‘For a child has been born for us, …’

“We need changed hearts and minds and to be challenged about our attitudes to one another”

Dear Friends,

For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Dear Friends,

I wonder how many people over the Christmas period, will stop and reflect on these words and their significance for all creation.

It is easy to get caught up in the busyness of doing Christmas - family gatherings, gifts being bought, given and received, etc. - such things, nice as they are, often draw our attention away from the birth of Jesus, the birth of God’s chosen king. One of the most fundamental beliefs of the Christian faith is that in Jesus, God entered into human existence. This belief has shaped and transformed the lives of millions of people for two millennia; it has brought hope when all seemed lost; healing when the doctors had given up and it has restored relationships thought broken beyond repair. Such is the power of faith in Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.

Our world is in desperate need of a King and Saviour. A king who challenges our ideas, a king who will call us to account both for the things we do and the things we don’t. Of course such an idea is not very popular in today’s world – it wasn’t popular when Jesus’ walked the streets of Israel either – but popularity is not the point. The recent election in the USA revealed the ugliness of human nature and a lack of respect for others that left many people shocked. Yet, such ugliness is all around us -on the large scale in Syria and the terror of ISIS; in our response to the plight of refugees, and, closer to home, in the acts of violence against complete strangers and against family members; in the rudeness often shown towards others and a selfishness that seeks only to care for number one. We need changed hearts and minds and to be challenged about our attitudes to one another, to learn to truly love not only our friends but our enemies too.

Jesus is Christ the King, a King born in poverty, a King born without any of the usual trappings of greatness, but a King none the less. A King who demands a response.

People may well say they don’t want a king who will judge and hold them to account but the issue is not what we want but what we need. As I look around, as I look at the news each day, I become ever more convinced of our inability to save ourselves, and of the need for forgiveness and salvation that comes through Jesus Christ. People need hope - hope based on faith in Jesus Christ, hope that comes through a relationship with Jesus and the Holy Spirit living within. As we celebrate the birth of God’s King, may we be filled with the Holy Spirit of God and bold in our proclamation of Jesus as Lord and Saviour. May we be bold in announcing that the prophecy of Isaiah has been fulfilled - a child has been born, a son given to us who is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace God.

May you, and all those for whom you pray, be filled with the hope and joy of Jesus’ birth.

With every blessing       + David

Bishop David Robinson

July - September 2016


‘Arriving within the Diocese of Rockhampton.’

Dear Friends,

It’s now been a little over two years since Jan and I arrived in the Diocese of Rockhampton. In this time, we have managed to travel to almost every part of the Diocese and met many wonderful, caring people. We have been encouraged by the dedication, prayerfulness and the welcoming nature of the church communities that meet across the Diocese.

I have also been very mindful of the difficulties we face, as the Anglican Church, in providing a Christian witness in the more isolated communities that are spread across the region and I am most grateful for the support of the Bush Church Aid Society without whose help we would not be able to provide the kind of ministry we do in towns like Moranbah, Winton, Longreach and Barcaldine.

This year Bishop in Council has begun to look more carefully at our strategy for ministry in the years ahead, identifying some shifts in emphasis that will need to occur, as we seek to grow God’s Kingdom across Central Queensland.

One area of focus for the Diocese will be the introduction of a new training initiative. The Ridley Certificate in Theology. This course is available online and is an ideal course for those involved, or seeking to be involved, in Lay Ministry. It is hoped that we will be able to run some workshops across the Diocese for those wanting to take part in this programme. In which we will talk about the course units being studied and offer some further training for ministry. In a little while I hope to announce the creation of a Bishop’s Certificate of Ministry for those providing leadership in parishes. Of course each of these courses will be open to anyone who wishes to participate. If you would like to get involved please register your interest through the Diocesan office.

A second area of focus, next year, will be on the development of ministry hubs. While still in the development phase, it is clear that we need to do something differently as we seek to lead the church into the future. Ministry hubs will allow us to create centres for training and encouragement, places to meet and pray together, as we carry on the work of mission and ministry.

These changes along with a number of other strategies for the future are spelled out in the Diocese’s draft Mission Action Plan, which has now gone out to all parishes for comment. If you would like to see a copy please ask your wardens.

Can I ask you to offer prayerful support for these changes? There will be challenges, I am sure, but with prayer and in the power of God, all things are possible.

Let’s work together to be a people who love God and love others both in word and deed.

With every blessing       + David

Bishop David Robinson

April to June 2016


‘Sharing God’s Blessing – How to renew the local church’

Dear Friends,

In a few weeks the clergy of the Diocese will gather for their annual conference. The theme for this year’s conference is ‘Sharing God’s Blessing – How to renew the local church’. (The book of this title by Robin Greenwood can be ordered from the Diocesan office.)

As a consequence of reading the book and preparing for our time away, I have been reflecting on what it might mean, for us, to be a blessing in a community that is increasingly divisive and destructive.

The rise of individualism, where my rights, my opinions, my desires, are more important than others raises some interesting challenges. I note that following the recent Federal Election it has been commented that the likelihood of a hung parliament and the increase in independent and non-aligned groups is due to the rise in individualism and a reduced sense of communal good. Each person acts on what they perceive is best for themselves and not necessarily the greater good.

The Church has not been immune to this rise in individualism. Questions of faith are seen in personal and individualistic ways with little concern for the well being of the whole community. My faith, my way could well be the mantra for many Christians today. Such thinking, however, is far removed from scripture and perhaps one of the key reasons that in many places the Church is seen as largely irrelevant in people’s lives.

From the calling of God’s people in Exodus (Exodus 6), to Jesus’ calling of disciples in the gospels (see for example John 8), and to Paul’s description of the Church (1Cor 12), Christianity has been about community, groups of people bonded together for worship, for support and encouragement, and as a witness to another way. It is as witness to another way that we are most able to share God’s blessing in our communities. We are called to model love and care for others, a lifestyle that values community, that seeks to serve others and not ourselves. Only then will people be able to look at us, to look at the church and say ‘see how they love one another’, to see ‘loving God and loving others’ in action.

With every blessing       + David

Bishop David Robinson

January - March 2016


Easter, a celebration of hope

Dear Friends,

Christ is Risen! Alleluia!!
  Easter, a celebration of hope, of the power of God to bring life out of death.
  We were very fortunate, this year, to be able to celebrate Easter services in the far west of the Diocese. Easter Eve we shared in the Lighting of the New Fire at Winton and then on Easter Day we took part in Easter services at Boulia and Bedourie. It was a joy to be with the people of God in each of these communities and to worship with them, recalling the power and grace of God revealed in the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Anglican Diocese

  The journey out west was one of contrasts. The drought persists in large parts of the Diocese with many families suffering great hardship. How frustrating and demoralising it must be when your property is in drought while others, just a few kilometres away, are lush and green. The images below help show this contrast. Still, there is no doubt seeing green grass lifts the spirit and brings a hope to others that the rain will come and the drought will end.

     As I reflect on the journey of faith, I am conscious that we can all go through periods of drought – spiritual drought, times when God seems distant and uncaring and then times of drenching refreshing and renewing rain – a fresh out pouring of God’s Holy Spirit.   During the times of spiritual drought we need hope. Hope can be provided by our sisters and brothers in Christ – those who are the green fields reminding us that our drought is not unending, that the water of life continues to flow and refresh those who put their faith in Jesus.   Jesus speaks of himself as living water (John 4), a referral to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on all who believe. It was an outpouring that came about only after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Many Biblical images of water – rivers flowing out of God’s kingdom – are images of the consummation of God’s kingdom. Images of renewal following times of hardship, times of drought.   As we begin our journey towards Pentecost and the celebration of God’s spirit poured out on all creation, we pray that God would fill us anew with the Holy Spirit. May we become like fields of green grass, filled with hope and living witnesses to the truth of our Easter proclamation: Christ is risen. Alleluia!

With every blessing       + David

Bishop David Robinson

December 2015


Peace on Earth

Dear Friends,

The message of Christmas is 'Peace on Earth'. The images of a baby in a manger, of angels and shepherds rejoicing at the birth of Jesus create a warm and marketable picture. It's also a message we long to hear in this broken world, but are we being realistic about how peace is achieved?

Simeon in Luke's gospel, speaking to Mary, comments, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed - and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” (Luke 2:34f) These words sound, to me, like a warning. Yes, the salvation of the world has arrived, yes, there will be peace, but that peace comes at a price.

Peace with God came through the death of Jesus. God's grace does not come cheaply; reconciliation and forgiveness come at a price. The difficulty is that, for many people today, many Christians today, we want peace with God and peace on earth but we aren't prepared to pay the price.

As we reflect on the world around us, there are many conflicts and acts of terror that are changing the way we think and act. While we struggle to find solutions to these issues (there are histories and complexities we do not understand) we can and should pray. Pray for peacemakers, for governments and leaders who are trying to seek solutions to these difficult issues, remembering that with God all things are possible.

This Christmas, I want us to think closer to home. Consider what it would take to bring peace to our homes, our communities, our church. What would it take to bring peace to families torn apart by domestic violence; peace to communities that are split because of race or faith; peace to those suffering mental illnesses? Are we, as followers of Jesus, prepared to pay the price of peace?

We live in a society that has largely turned its back on God. Individualism, freedom to do 'my thing my way', self-satisfaction and the idea that 'I am the most important person in the world' have distorted our frame of reference. We no longer see each individual as a loved and valuable child of the one true God. Rather we have made the individual the centre of all that is. The difficulty is that, once an individual assumes that they are the most important person in the world, all other persons, by definition, are second in importance. In many cultures and countries, this has led to an attitude of superiority of men over women and an attitude of superiority over those of different colour, ethnicity, and culture. In such an environment, peace with God and peace with others is squeezed out in favour of protecting our own interests.

As we draw closer to Christmas and the celebration of the birth of Christ, can we stop and think about the price of peace? The price that Jesus paid in coming to earth, living and dying so that we might have peace with God.

Then can we ask what price we are prepared to pay to bring peace, real peace, into our communities, our churches, our families. Are we able to put others ahead of ourselves, to serve others as Jesus served? Are we able to hold our tongues and not gossip about others? Can we hold back the sarcasm and hurtful words we use? Can we build one another up rather than tear down?

It's time to take the 'me' out of Christmas and make God the centre of our lives; to see others as Jesus sees them; to be willing to die to self and lay down our lives so that Jesus may be seen in and through us.

Peace on Earth is possible when we, in humility and faith, put our trust in God and love the people around us.

With Jan's and my love and blessings for you and your family this Christmas time… may it be a celebration of love and peace.

With every blessing       + David

Bishop David Robinson

June 2015


The Challenge of Transition

Dear Friends,

The Challenge of Transition

The Anglican Church of Australia is in a time of transition. Last year the Viability and Structures Task Force opened its report to General Synod with the words 'The Anglican Church of Australia is at a crossroad. For over 30 years it has been slowly declining and the time has come for a revolution if it is to be a strong and sustainable church for the future.' These are strong words pointing to an urgent need for change.

In this Diocese we too are faced with a number of challenges if we are to remain a strong and sustainable church in Central Queensland. We too are in transition as we seek to discover God's next stage in our journey together.

For Jan and I there are the transitions to being in a new place and of constant travel, most weekends see us on the road visiting different parts of the Diocese. This has been a good experience giving us the opportunity to experience the warmth and hospitality of the many parishes in the Diocese, to hear stories of hardship and of hope, and to worship and pray together. It has helped us to see the diversity that exists across the Diocese and the willingness of so many people to try new things - to enter into transitions that will help bring people to Jesus.

The Bible tells us that faith in God is filled with transitions. Abram leaves his father's home to travel to a new and unknown destination. The Israelites leave Egypt for the land of promise. The story of salvation, of the fall in the Garden of Eden, of the forgiveness made possible in Jesus' death, of new life promised to all who repent and believe, a life empowered by God's Holy Spirit, is the ultimate story of transition.

While all of us are familiar with the idea of transition and a new beginning - starting school, commencing work, meeting that special someone, the birth of a child or grandchild, moving home, retirement, illness, the death of a loved one - we know times like these are difficult. All transitions present their challenges. As Jesus reminds us, in Mark 2:22, 'no one pours new wine into old wineskins, otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined'. Transitions are a bit like putting new wine into old skins, they are tricky, they can burst and make a mess. Transitions need new wineskins - a revolution perhaps - and so they come with a mix of fear and excitement, pain and joy.

As God's people we, like all those who have gone before, are called to transition - to new beginnings - to change. Many people are already experimenting with new ideas - Mainly Music, Messy Church to name but two. Some people will be concerned about the change - some will want to hold on to the old wineskins that are familiar and comfortable, some will embrace the new skins and wonder why they didn't try this years ago. When I think about myself and my role I wonder - am I an old or new wineskin, am I willing to change myself in order to better serve God or would I rather keep things the way they've always been?

As Christians I think we face this challenge in a number of ways - as individuals, as parishes and as a Diocese - will we be old or new wineskins? My prayer is that we will be open to the transitions that God lays before us, open to new ways of being Christ's presence in the world around, open to the Spirit of God who calls, guides, strengthens and sustains us.

With every blessing        + David