Bishop Matt Brain has encouraged the people of the diocese to look to Jesus to find the courage and energy to respond to the many challenges facing the church in today’s world.
In delivering his first Synod Charge to the Diocese of Bendigo, Bishop Matt spoke of the beauty and sufficiency of Jesus’ way, and the attractiveness of a “settled confidence”.
“Friends, the quality of our Christian witness will be directly related to our confidence that Jesus is capable of providing a beautiful, complete, sufficient life,” he said.
Bishop Matt went on to outline the need to work together to organise the structures of the diocese to enable thriving worshipping communities.
“It is my experience that God is present and active in worshipping communities throughout our diocese. You are a good thing and God’s co-workers selected by him to show out his work in the world. But it is also true that sustaining our holding structures – parishes – is not always easy.”
“Over the coming years we will need to work together to use our inherited resources wisely,” he added.
With child protection at the forefront of much of the legislation presented to the Synod, Bishop Matt commended the diocese for its part in the establishment of Kooyoora Ltd, an independent ‘arms-length’ professional standards agency, and for being proactive in making provision to meet claims for redress from survivors of abuse.
He further outlined his intention to present a redress scheme to Bishop in Council to have in place to meet the needs of those who are prepared to engage with the diocese.
“I have had experience working with a similar scheme in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn and have found that the outcomes for those who are prepared to deal with the institution which harmed them have been good,” he said.
Bishop Matt went on to encourage members to stay focused on ‘the main thing’ in a distracting world.
“A Christian is ‘in Christ’,” he continued. “That is, they derive their power, their life, their satisfaction, their blessing, their joy, their cues and their motive force not only from but by being made one in Jesus Christ”
“It is my hope that in the challenging times and the easy, in the bad times and the good, people will look at us and say, “ah, when I look at that mob I see Jesus.”