Reflection: The Family of God

Pictured are some of my hens. Two are New Hampshire Reds and the rest are various cross breeds. The hens sometimes graze together and sometimes apart. At night I lock them in the safety of their houses. Some go in by themselves while others wait outside for me to pick them up and put them in. If I am late and it is dark, all will be inside on their perches, but a few, when they see me, immediately come out into their yard and wait for me to pick them up and return them to where they were.  At night, some hens sit together while others prefer to sit by themselves. They are all unique and important, at least to me!

At the end of May, a video of George Floyd, a black African-American, being killed by a policeman in Minneapolis, USA, was shown on television. It raised an international awareness of the unjust treatment of people because of their race and colour. Since then “Black Lives Matter” protest rallies, peaceful and destructive, have taken place in many countries in spite of COVID-19 restrictions. In Australia, these protests were extended to include the high number of Indigenous people in jails and their deaths in custody.

Many years ago, I was walking along a footpath in Sydney with an Aboriginal teenage boy who was the cousin of a friend. Some policemen passed by on the other side of the street. My companion immediately told me that if I had not been with him he would have been stopped and questioned by those policemen. I could hardly believe it, but accepted it as how things were, and did nothing.

We can agree that racist actions are wrong, but how can we actually change what is done and the attitudes of people who accept them as part of life? In particular, how can we change our own perspectives so that we accept people of other races, cultures and colour as our brothers and sisters, children of God who created us all?

As Christians we are commanded to love one another, not just our friends but all people, even our enemies. In Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37, we are not told whether the man attacked was a Jew, Gentile, black or white. He was probably in a state that made it difficult to tell. But it was immaterial to the man who saw him and ministered to him. That man, whose compassionate behaviour was praised by Jesus, was a Samaritan – someone usually despised by Jews. In the parable he crossed fear and social boundaries in order to help a human being in need, and became an example of loving a ‘neighbour’.

When we study Jesus’ behaviour towards the Samaritan woman at a well in Samaria in John 4:7-42, we find him crossing gender and ethnic barriers which could have controlled his actions. Jesus, a Jew, asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. He then proceeded to treat her as an equal by having a long theological discussion with her. This ended by Jesus offering her “living water” and admitting that he was the Messiah she and others were looking for.

On another occasion, in Matthew 8:5-13, a centurion, an officer in the Roman Army, stopped Jesus to ask for healing for his servant. As a non-Jew and a member of the controlling foreign power in the country, what was the centurion doing? Jesus offered to go with him to the sick man, but the centurion said he was not worthy for that, but if Jesus wished he could cure the servant from a distance. Jesus was amazed at such faith shown by a foreigner. More boundaries were crossed and people accepted and respected as equals.

All people are created by God in the image of God regardless of the colour of their skin, beliefs they hold, culture in which they have grown up or particular disability they may have. Further, we believe that God loves and cares for all of creation, human and non-human, and we are called to do the same. This may require some costly action on our part.

To begin to change from accepting racist behaviour, we could try to imagine what it is like to look at situations through the eyes of another. Such activity involves listening carefully to life experiences told by individual people of a race or culture different from our own, and/or reading their stories.

The other day one of my hens was on the veranda of our house. I called to her as I was about to feed the hens with their evening meal. She began to come to me, stopped, and turned back. She did this several times. Then I learnt that a large sponge had fallen down near her a little while before, and I began to understand the problem from her perspective. I went to her, picked her up and carried her trembling body past the place that frightened her.

When we actually witness public acts of racism, can we say or do something to show they are neither ‘normal’ nor acceptable? For example, if someone with dark skin or of Asian appearance is the last to be served in a shop, do we step forward and question what is happening?

In our daily conversations, we might hear opinions and assumptions expressed that are racist and unjust. These are opportunities for us to speak up, and perhaps contribute to the healing of relationships between people, instead of remaining in silent acquiescence.

If we can get to know a person of a different race and culture from our own, and learn what is important for them in their lives, our attitude towards them is likely to change. We shall move to a different place, experience a new friendship and see life from a view-point that expands our vision and understanding. In this position it will be easier for us to accept, appreciate and love another as an equal human being and member with us of God’s family. In other words, we shall begin to act in a way that reveals the truth that all lives matter and are important in God’s amazing world. Such behaviour challenges and changes society’s acceptance of racism as ‘normal’, preventing it from forming and controlling us and others.

By Sister Helen CSC
July 2020

Iona Rossely: From sporting glory to the Glory of God

New autobiography, Racing on Empty, portrays ski sporting champion’s fall into grace

Racing on Empty is a fascinating new autobiography capturing the remarkable story of top sporting champion Iona Rossely.  As a woman literally living in the fast lane of speed skiing and equestrian endurance racing, Iona shares her story of a near-fatal accident and the years she spent chasing dreams of fame and glory on the sporting stage in her search for purpose, hope and meaning.

Growing up in a strict Catholic family and attending convent school instilled a belief in Iona from a very young age that God was both distant and impersonal, so turning her back on anything remotely religious she leapt into the high-octane world of competitive skiing. Iona excelled first as a ski instructor and then as a representative for Great Britain in speed skiing, securing the titles of 1986 Ladies British Overseas Champion and New Zealand Ladies Champion.

However, a life-threatening fall at 160kmp while speed skiing led Iona into a brief encounter with Jesus, but it was only when she hit rock bottom years later as a member of the Irish equestrian team that she truly surrendered her life to God.

Reflecting on her life story, Iona says, “My story is a story that takes people from all walks of life on a journey, allowing them to step back and consider where they are going. I came to the realisation that worldly possessions and fame bring fleeting happiness, but the emptiness I felt would remain until I filled it with the truth of who Jesus is and what he did for me. It matters because it’s a no-holds barred, real-life story of someone who was lost, broken and desperate to find meaning in the world we live in. Having tried every path from fame and fortune to Buddhism, tarot cards and more and I hope this book will relate to many who may be asking the same questions.”

Iona Rosselly in action on the ski slopes


Rev’d Nicky Gumbel, Vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton says, “I am so glad that Iona Rossely has written this book about how God has been at her side through her extraordinary life.”

Cathy Madavan, speaker, writer and author of Irrepressible – 12 principles for a courageous, resilient and fulfilling life says,” If the saying ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is true at all, then Iona Rossely is an extraordinary example of this truth. Iona’s powerful life-story will not only move you; it will cause you to consider your own obstacles in a new way, and more than anything else, it will give you hope.”

Racing on Empty will be available as an eBook from 6 May and a paperback from 10 June 2020 at AmazonBooktopiaFishpond and Koorong. All royalties will be given to the Sozo Foundation, an NGO serving disadvantaged young people based in a township community in Cape Town, South Africa. To find out more about Racing on Empty go to


About Iona Rossely 

Iona is now a lay minister for the Anglican Parish of Murwillumbah, an artist, speaker and avid animal lover and her passion is sharing her testimony on how God gave her a new life – one of freedom, peace and joy.

Prior to writing her book published by Malcolm Down & Sarah Grace Publishing, Iona was the Coordinator of the Global Sustainability Network (GSN), an interfaith led organisation relating to anti-slavery and the United Nations Sustainability Development Goal 8. She has organised high profile events at Lambeth Palace, the Vatican, Westminster Abbey and most recently the United Nations New York.  Iona has previously worked in public relations and communications, which led her into photojournalism where she worked for Dubai’s Central Military Command and other international organisations/publications.

About the Sozo Foundation

All royalties from Racing on Empty will be given to the Sozo Foundation. The Sozo Foundation is an NGO serving disadvantaged young people based in the township community of Vrygrond, Cape Town, South Africa. Through interventions in education, skills development and social enterprise, the Sozo Foundation exists to support the 68 per cent of young people who are not in education, employment or training.

For more information on the work of The Sozo Foundation please

Around The Diocese

Back To “Normal” At St Columba Anglican School

Now that we have settled back in to face to face learning, things are starting to feel ‘normal’ again. SCAS Primary staff are especially thankful to the wonderful parents and caregivers who were so committed to the continuation of the teaching programs while students undertook online learning. “You were the driving force behind us and the reason we have slipped seamlessly back into classroom learning. Thank you.” 💓


LAGS Celebrate 20 Years of National Simultaneous Storytime

National Simultaneous Storytime is back for its 20th year with more than 1 million participants across the world. This year, Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School Principal Stuart Marquardt is joined by Fifi the chicken to read Lucinda Gifford’s “Whitney and Britney Chicken Divas”. Enjoy storytime with Principal Marquardt below.


Parish of Murwillumbah Successfully Receive Funding for Playground

Last year, the Parish of Murwillumbah, with the assistance of It Takes a Town, applied for a substantial government grant to build an indoor playground and cafe in the undercroft of All Saints Anglican in Murwillumbah. According to the Hon Ben Franklin, the application was very strong and won amongst a large field of contenders. The playground cafe has been named Mini Beans and will commence construction in July. The church and community are so excited for this new initiative. Thank you Malinda, Jack and Isabel for coming for the photo!


High Performance Pays Off For Bishop Druitt College Student Felix

It is hard to believe that Felix Hughes Chivers is only in Year 9 at Bishop Druitt College when you hear him playing his viola. His incredible talent has seen him recently selected in the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO) Academy for 2020.

This year it will be an interactive online experience from Monday 6 – Thursday 9 July. Participants just like Felix will be online from 10am-1pm each day where they will participate in technique tutorials, private lessons, Q&A and discussion sessions as well as sectionals.

“I’m incredibly excited to be accepted into such a high-level ensemble program with the Australian Chamber Orchestra (ACO). ACO are such an inspiring professional ensemble with incredible chamber skills. I’m looking forward to playing with some amazing musicians and playing some really fun and awesome music,” said Felix Hughes Chivers.

The week will culminate in a virtual performance which will be shared online for public performance. There will also be a second program in Sydney from Friday 11th to Sunday 13 December which will be face to face.

The Head of Performing Arts at BDC, Rebecca Day said, “The ACO usually only take 4-5 violists nationally, so having Felix selected is a huge honour. He has worked so hard and is such a talented violist and we are all very proud of his achievement”.

To watch Felix play click below.


Parish of Kyogle Op Shop Reopens

 The parish Op Shop is an important part of the Kyogle Parish. “It was wonderful to be able to open for the community again. We are taking care to obey the current regulations… and having a spot of fun too.”


Emmanuel Anglican College Returns To Campus

Kindergarten students are super excited to be back at EAC! Amber the therapy dog is loving being back at school too.


Gathering at Woodenbong

It was lovely to gather together for worship at St Margaret’s Woodenbong in May, despite being limited to 10 people and not able to enter the building!


“Clean Fun” at Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School 

A bit of “clean” fun from our Year 5 and 6 students as they dance along to Justine Clarke’s ‘Everything’s Contagious’ (as seen on ABC Kids).


Clarence Valley Anglican School Welcome New Principal

On June 1 CVAS extended a warm welcome to their new Principal, Mrs Karin Lisle. A small commissioning ceremony was held with Bishop Murray, Chair of School Council, School executive, and senior and primary leaders in attendance.

Mrs Lisle brought a surprise gift by baking biscuits for all staff and students. They were very much appreciated!

The appointment of Mrs Lisle follows the retirement of Mr Martin Oates, who concluded his leadership of the school at the end of Term 2.

During more than 20 years at Bishop Druitt College, Mrs Lisle has many years of experience as Head of Primary at BDC, which has a Primary enrolment of 415 students, and has been responsible for 29 staff in this role.

She has also served for two years as a Director of Pastoral Care from Kindergarten to Year 12 and for six years as a Middle Years Coordinator (Years 6 to 8). Mrs Lisle completed a Masters of Education from Charles Sturt University and has lectured in Educational Pedagogy at the University of New England.

Before coming to Bishop Druitt College, Mrs Lisle had been Head of Junior School at New England Girls’ School in Armidale.

We keep Karin in our prayers as she commences this important responsibility in the life of the school and of the diocese.


 Farewell Mr Oates – 29 May 2020

Coffs BDC students settle back into normal classes with a visit from the Mayor

Coffs Harbour Mayor, Denise Knight, welcomed Bishop Druitt College students back to school and joined in on morning temperature checking on Wednesday 27 May. 

BDC Stage 1 teacher Ms Brooke Gillon took Mayor Knight on a tour of her classroom where she learned all about the BDC Walker Learning approach and saw how much students enjoy investigations through student-driven learning.

Mayor Knight was involved in a primary music class led by Ms Ruth Stuart learning rhythms using bouncy balls. The bouncy balls add a fun element and help students to engage fully leading to improved learning.

Year 5 teacher Mr Joel Davis walked Mayor Knight through his exciting class which was buzzing with electronics while students were fully immersed in Kaizen learning, a learning approach based on opportunities for challenge, innovation and real-world learning.

“It was inspirational to see the kids back at school and great to be in a place where they were being so imaginative and creative,” said Mayor Denise Knight.

“We value our connections with local Government and inviting our students to spend some time with our local Mayor is a great way to broaden their learning and foster a connection to the community,” said Mr Nick Johnstone, Principal at Bishop Druitt College.

Anglican clergy and local church leaders contribute to ground-breaking family violence study

Anglican clergy and local church leaders have been invited to take part in research that explores their responses to intimate partner violence.

Intimate partner violence is recognised as being a widespread problem in our nation, and the Anglican Church of Australia is seeking to play its part in preventing and addressing violence and responding with care and compassion towards those affected by it. The Church is seeking to do this by better understanding the nature of such violence amongst those who identify as Anglican in broader society and those who attend our Churches, and by developing policies and measures to prevent it and to assist victims and survivors.

This study of clergy and local church leaders is part of a wider research project, titled the National Anglican Family Violence Project – set up by the Anglican Family Violence Working Group established by the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia. The Research is being conducted by NCLS Research.

The Reverend Tracy Lauersen is Chair of the Anglican Church of Australia’s Family Violence Working Group. She said, “For the Church to be part of the broader cultural response to prevent violence and to minister to those who experience it, we need to better understand what happens in our own church communities. This includes hearing from our clergy and other leaders about their pastoral experiences and their perceptions around family violence.”

The current survey of leaders includes Anglican clergy in active ministry in randomly selected parishes, and lay people in leadership positions within these parishes who have a particular interest in issues concerning family violence.

Dr Ruth Powell explained, “For this study we have randomly selected Anglican parishes across the country to complete a confidential and anonymous online survey.” Ruth is Director of NCLS Research and Associate Professor at Charles Sturt University.

Dr Powell added “In the coming months, the next phase of the research will be to invite anyone with a connection with the Anglican church and experiences of family violence to share their experience through a separate online anonymous survey. This will be followed by some in-depth interviews”.

Rev’d Tracy Lauersen advised that the results will be reported to the Anglican Church’s meeting of General Synod in May 2021 and will help to guide Church policy and practice to respond to these difficult issues.

Archbishop Geoffrey Smith elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Archbishop Geoffrey Smith, has been elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. Archbishop Geoffrey assumes his new responsibilities with immediate effect as his predecessor, the Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier, retired from the primacy on 31 March.

In a first round of elections, held on 14 March, Archbishop Geoffrey won majorities in the Houses of Bishops and Laity; and the Bishop of Tasmania, Bishop Richard Condie, won a majority in the House of Clergy. A majority was required in all three houses.

A second round of electronic voting opened yesterday and concluded today. The Board of Electors cast their votes electronically, with the polls open for 24 hours. The General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia, Anne Hywood, announced the news shortly afterwards.

Archbishop Geoffrey will serve for an initial term of six years.

“I am very conscious of the enormous privilege we the church have in sharing the mission of Christ, and the importance of unity in that task”, Archbishop Geoffrey told the Anglican Communion News Service today. “My prayer is that our unity might be strengthened to better enable the witness and work of the church in the world.”

Source: ACNS

New principal for Clarence Valley Anglican School

Mrs Karin Lisle is to be the new principal of Clarence Valley Anglican School. She will commence in that role from the beginning of Term 3.

The appointment of Mrs Lisle follows the retirement of the current CVAS principal, Mr Martin Oates, who will conclude his leadership of the school at the end of Term 2.

Dr Greg Jenks, Dean of Grafton Cathedral and Chair of the School Council, said “Mrs Lisle is an outstanding educator and experienced school leader.

“She has demonstrated her commitment to continuous learning throughout her career. We look forward to her leadership of CVAS during the next eighteen months as we develop and implement a multi-school group with our partners at Bishop Druitt College so that, together, we offer families on the Mid-North Coast a world-class independent education opportunity for their children.”

During more than 20 years at Bishop Druitt College, Mrs Lisle has many years of experience as Head of Primary at BDC, which has a Primary enrolment of 415 students, and has been responsible for 29 staff in this role.

She has also served for two years as a Director of Pastoral Care from Kindergarten to Year 12 and for six years as a Middle Years Coordinator (Years 6 to 8). Mrs Lisle completed a Masters of Education from Charles Sturt University and has lectured in Educational Pedagogy at the University of New England.

Before coming to Bishop Druitt College, Mrs Lisle had been Head of Junior School at New England Girls’ School in Armidale.

The selection panel have found Mrs Lisle to be highly intelligent, good humoured, clear thinking, caring and insightful. Her extensive experience, along with her clear commitment to and enthusiasm for building learning and teaching in regional schools impressed the selection panel throughout the process.

ANZAC Day 2020

Anzac Day With A Difference

By Archdeacon Matthew Jones – This year a number of people from the Ballina parish joined millions of others around Australia in honouring the Anzacs by gathering on their driveways with a lit candle at 6am. It was a very humbling experience for me as I waved to my neighbours up and down the street and played a downloaded version of the Last Post and Reveille on my phone. One of our neighbours then surprised us all by appearing on the corner in full kilt, playing the bagpipes. Another local from Lennox Head told me that he stood on his driveway and played his trumpet, and all the neighbours joined him at their letterboxes. Even though we were unable to attend a mass gathering at dawn, as the grandson of an Anzac survivor, this tribute made me feel very proud. Lest we forget!

Clarence Valley Anglican School Students Commemorate ANZAC

Students and families from the CVAS community shared photos from ANZAC Day this year.



Ms Hume set Year 2 an Art (CAPA) task of painting some poppies, so William (Year 2) and his brother Lochlann (Kindergarten) turned it into a fun Saturday afternoon family activity. William and Lochlann both painted their own and then painted a “poppy puzzle” as a family, painting three poppies each. Several other poppy paintings were sent in by Year 2 students as well.

ANZAC Day With Emmanuel Anglican College

Students, staff and families of EAC also commemorated AZNAC Day out the front of their homes. Lest we forget.


Reflecting on Easter

Easter Hat Parade Takes Place at Home

This is just a sample of the gorgeous Easter hats PreKinder students st Clarence Valley Anglican School created. Aren’t they cute? Well done!

Parish of Kingscliff

The Parish of Kingscliff shared Easter with the parish community online this year. These are some of their photos.


Casino Parish

New Life New Hope as we grow in our faith.

Messy Church Easter Packs

Alstonville Anglican Messy Church families had Easter gift packs delivered to them. The packs included a craft activity, Easter treats and an invitation to celebrate the mystery of Easter via our website link.  Our first live streamed Messy Church event was held 4pm Sunday 26th April.  Being together in isolation!