Around The Diocese

Bishop Murray Visits Coffs Harbour 

Bishop’s visit to Coffs Harbour Anglicans in October.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle fun with Alstonville Messy Church

Alstonville Anglicans Messy Church families created animals out of recycled waste. Out of concern for climate change they chose to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Creativity and fun was had by all.  The creatures are now on display outside St Bart’s. Beware!

Senior Clergy Team Come Together for Retreat
Lunch at the Clarence Kitchen Collective in South Grafton for members of the Senior Clergy Team. Our senior leaders are participating in two retreat days at St Matthews South Grafton, looking at how they can, as a team, help to facilitate diocesan vision and values.
Bishop Murray Visits Ballina
Ballina Parish welcomed Bishop Murray and Mrs Leanne Harvey today for All Saints Sunday. Ballina and Lennox Head Anglicans
Christmas Craft at Kingscliff
The Parish of Kingscliff started making Christmas cards, gifts etc at Making Marks in the Garden on Wednesdays. After all, it’s only Christmas is only weeks away!
“I’m Going To Big School!”

Curious Creatures and Wild Minds at Book Week 2020

Our Diocesan Schools spent one glorious week celebrating books and Australian children’s authors and illustrators during Book Week 2020. Students and staff participated in a Book Week parade dressed as their favourite book character. The theme for this year’s book week was “Curious Creatures, Wild Minds”.
Emmanuel Anglican College

Clarence Valley Anglican School

Nine-Year-Old St Columba Anglican School Student Taj Lakin Steps Up as a Steward of the Sea

Nine-year-old Taj Cruz Lakin takes the responsibility of stewardship of God’s creations seriously. The Year 3 St Columba Anglican School student loves his local coastal environment and is passionate about keeping the beaches of Port Macquarie clean. Fuelled by his passion for marine conservation, Taj recently entered a video in the Reef RADicals competition run by Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef and James Cook University.

His proposed campaign titled ‘One Step at a Time’ which would involve creating artworks with environmental messages on beach steps in Port Macquarie saw him place runner up in the nationwide competition. The prize for Taj’s efforts was a virtual reef dive experience where he and his year group were able to explore the Great Barrier Reef virtually and ask the diver questions live while they were underwater.

The success of Taj’s campaign was acknowledged by Member for Port Macquarie, Mrs Leslie Williams. Mrs William congratulated Taj during a speech in Parliament House, saying he was a fantastic role model and advocate for his community.

While the competition may have wrapped up, Taj’s motivation has not. Taj hopes that he can take his campaign further and is determined to get the attention of his local council in order to educate residents and visitors about keeping our local beaches clean. Taj’s goal is to receive a grant and the support of Council to paint the beach steps. His vision is to have Indigenous artists, schools and local artists to collaborate on the project in order to empower the entire community.

Taj sees the beauty in God’s creation every day, especially when he heads to the beach to bodyboard. He understands that it is our responsibility to work within creation and to hand it back to God unspoilt. “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” Psalm 24:1

Reflection: Called to be Saints

A mass of attractive red bottlebrush (Callistemon) blooms can symbolise a large number of people, children of God, saints, developing and expressing God’s love in beauty and radiant holiness to all they meet. Such an ideal concept may be hard to imagine, but it is what we Christians, followers of Jesus, are called to be. In Romans 1:7, Paul addressed the Christians in Rome as, “God’s beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints.”

‘Saints’ was the name often used to describe Christians in the early Church. The Greek word translated as ‘saints’ is also the word for ‘holy’, so Christians were identified as the holy people of God, set apart by God as members of the Church, the body of Christ, for a specific task. Can such a calling really apply to us today, and if so, how are we to respond to it?

We sometimes tend to forget that at our baptism we were set apart as people who promised, with God’s help, to live as disciples of Christ, to love God with our whole heart and our neighbour as our self.

Being called to be saints or holy people, does not mean we are better or holier than others. Many non-Christians also love and care for others and, in a sense, are children of God. The difference is that, as baptised Christians, we believe we have a particular vocation to share God’s love with others.

Our baptism was not an action done once and finished with, like registering the name of a newborn child at the local registry office. Instead, it was something that changed us, and with the help of the Holy Spirit should be continually shaping and guiding us.  At baptism we started a life that goes on, as the Prayer Book says, until our “life’s end”.

As disciples of Christ, we know that to love God and our neighbour involves not just joy and peace, but struggle and suffering. Responding to God’s call to be ‘Christ’ in the world does not result in a life of quiet loving reflection, surplus money given to the needy, and receiving the admiration of others. Rather it is a life when we are not always sure we know how to love others, or even if we want to love them, especially if we are feeling tired, irritable or fearful.

Revealing God’s love sometimes requires us to courageously step forward and publicly say or do things to help others, but more often we are asked to show small acts of love and care for all those whom we meet each day.

During his life on earth, Jesus spent most of his time developing and embodying God’s love in his ordinary everyday experiences with family and neighbours in the town of Nazareth. Daily life was where he first showed something of the kingdom of God.

We are reminded of the ordinary events of life in Luke 13:18-19, when Jesus turned to gardening and cooking for images to explain God’s kingdom to the people. The same images can speak to us today, encouraging and guiding us. A small mustard seed planted in a garden becomes a tree where birds can nest and produce their young. Next, some yeast is hidden in flour to raise the dough before it is cooked and becomes bread to eat. In time, both the seed and the yeast change to enable a tree and bread to come into being and benefit others.

Our words and actions offered in love may be small or hidden, but in time they will often, unknown to us, produce fruit in the lives of others. Producing fruit does not depend on us remembering what we said, or the quality of our continued prayer for a person, particularly when our thoughts occasionally wandered to other things.

On reflection, we may recognise how in the past the Holy Spirit sometimes changed our intended plan to care for someone. Perhaps we had to die to our own ideas, so we could engage in fulfilling God’s much better plan for the well-being of that person.

In our lives, we all experience pain and suffering, as did Jesus in his relationships and his dying. Being a member of the body of Christ in the world may take us, at times, into a place where our suffering assists us to better understand and perhaps share in the pain of others, as we offer to them our compassion and love.

Although we Christians are called to be saints, we are not to focus on becoming saints.  Rather, as followers of Jesus, we are called to work towards serving others by desiring and helping all human beings to flourish and become the beautiful people God created them to be. Like the bottlebrush blooms, we are all to be holy and set apart for God. But let us remember that the bottlebrush blooms pictured in this article are red, the colour of blood – the blood of life. Our calling is to a costly life in which we also need God’s love and the help of others to flourish.

As saints and followers of Christ, the goal for all of us is to work with Christ to make the world in which we live to become like heaven, a place where God’s love reigns.

BybSister Helen CSC
November 2020



The First Session of the Thirty-Seventh Synod of the Diocese of Grafton

The Synod of the Diocese of Grafton came together over the weekend of Saturday 26 September and Sunday 27 September at Twin Towns Conference & Function Centre, Tweed Heads.

A full recap of the motions and summary of the order of business will be published in the Summer edition of the North Coast Anglican Magazine. Hear from The Venerable Tiffany Sparks and Archdeacon Gail Hagon here as they reflect on an order of the day, Restructuring for Mission and Ministry.

View a full gallery of photos below.

Daring to Live Into God’s Future For Us

By The Venerable Tiffany Sparks

On Sunday 27 September, the Synod of the Diocese of Grafton voted to restructure the Diocese. One of the significant aspects of the restructure was to group parishes into teams and networks in order to free up clergy and laity to encourage and inspire each other for creative ministry for the future of the Diocese.

Model One is grouping together parishes into one parish and calling it a ‘Ministry Area’. This model is all about team ministry made up of Community Ministers, LLM’s and a Ministry Leader and is open to Pioneer Ministry. This approach is supposed to centralise administration, finances and costs and to liberate the clergy and laity to engage in other ministry areas. These Ministry Areas will consider what their mutual vision is in their newly formed parishes and where new mission and ministry might grow.

In May, Byron Bay, Bangalow and Mullumbimby voted to go ahead and form a new ministry area called ‘The Anglican Parish of Byron’ that is active across all major centres. At this stage, it is made up of a Community Minister whose role description is deliberately blended with Pioneer Ministry with the desire to free them up from administration to find where God is working across that specific region. We are delighted to announce that we have a new ministry leader who will be commencing in January 2021. Have a look at the video the Byron Ministry Area created for the Synod.


Model Two we have called a ‘Network’ where parishes are working together collaboratively, sharing ideas and supporting each other. It is important to note that Parish Networks is in no means a merger of the parishes. They will not pool resources unless the Networks agree to a joint project, for example, a joint Pioneer Minister or Youth Minister. There has been quite a bit of confusion and concern around this. Networks are for parishes to work together as friends in a joint mission of building the Church of God.

The Coffs Coast Network has already started thinking about how they might network together including the joys and the prospective pitfalls they will need to navigate. Please follow the link to see what the Coffs Coast Network are reflecting about in their Synod presentation.


Key Principles of The Diocesan Restructure

By Archdeacon Gail Hagon

My role is to share with you the “Key Principles” on page 16 of the proposed restructure document, “Daring to live into God’s future for us.” To begin, I’d like to share with you some responses to the question: “What is a Key Principle?”

A Year 6 student from CVAS; said: “Key principles are things that give shape to your goals.”

A 15-year-old from EAC and said: “Key principles are the values you believe in. They help to determine your decisions and guide you as to where you want to go.”

My mentor, who always taught me to go to the dictionary for definitions of words, wouldn’t be impressed to know that I skipped that instruction and went straight to the Bishop for a definition. And the Bishop said, “A key principle really relates to the values that underlies something. Not so much what was done but what we’re trying to honour and live out in doing it.”

Each of these responses captures something of the meaning of what a key principle is. Having said that it also appears that key principles are the values that guide in the shaping of policies and objectives.

I believe that the key principles listed here are:

  • Grounded in scripture;
  • Respect the Five Marks of Mission;
  • Honours the work that we as a Diocese have committed to in the Mission and Ministry Overview; (outlined on page 3)
  • And are consistent with Key Principles behind the restructuring process used across the National and International Church, and as such draw us into a much bigger picture.

So here is an outline of the Key Principles that have given shape to the proposed restructure:

1. Co-operation and Collaboration.
For a number of years now there has been much talk about team ministry and collaboration across the diocese, so much so that some of us are ¬so over it! And yet it remains on our agenda. Why? Because it is important to us.
The traditional model of one priest in a parish exercising the majority of ministry and of course having all the gifts that are needed to do so, is no longer a sustainable model of ministry, nor is it in my opinion a scriptural one. E.g. The Gospel(s) give us examples of Jesus gathering a team, nurturing them and equipping them so that together they could be co-workers in God’s mission in the world. Then there are the images that St. Paul uses: of one body with many parts; and of one Spirit with many gifts which affirm the call and giftedness of us all. But whilst this concept may have always been the theory of the church, it has not always been its practise. So by recognising this as a key principle, we are affirming the calling and the giftedness of the whole people of God to be involved in mission and ministry.

2. Good Stewards and Good Governance.
There is a growing number of parishes across the diocese that are struggling to meet their financial, administrative and governance requirements; not to mention the quorums needed for meetings or the maintenance required to upkeep buildings. The work needed to maintain what is – is falling on fewer and fewer folk, and many of these faithful folk are becoming tired, stressed and overwhelmed by what is needed. Failure to respond to this situation would be remiss of us as a Christian Community.

This Key Principle is a response to that need, as it offers parishes ways to streamline and simplify matters by “networking” across regions and old parish boundaries, sharing human and financial resources, freeing people up to be where God wants them to be, rather than to be where the church needs them to be. It also recognises that some of our church buildings are in fact draining parish leaders from exploring new models of mission and ministry that are necessary if we are to remain a vibrant presence in the community.

3. Being relevant in our Time and Place (Don’t speak it)
The third key principle is inviting us to be visionaries, dreamers and explorers, as together with God, we discern how we are being called to be Church in 2020 and beyond. It’s about recognising that we, as Church, are in a missionary context and as such need to re-image how we interpret our story and experience of God in a changing world. In their journey of exploration, both in the National and International Church, there is a growing awareness that there are many ways in which we can be church. For some this is a scary journey, for others it’s exhilarating. Whichever way you look at it, it’s really part of what daring to live into God’s future for us is about.

4. Mixed Team Approach
This key principle acknowledges that one size (or one way) of exercising mission and ministry doesn’t fit all contexts or situations. It places before us a guideline that says, as we explore a new future we will need to create and provide opportunities in which we can use a greater mix of expertise that is available to us through a mixed team approach.

5. Principle Five is about valuing the reality that we are called to be God’s people in the world, finding God there and celebrating God’s presence with others beyond the church’s wall. Connecting with the community was the way of Jesus, and in proposed restructure we are saying that this is something that we too will need to be more attentive to as we discern where and how God is calling us to be in the future.

6. Principle Six Anglican Presence.
Following the current downturn in many parishes trajectories, it is clear that we will need to undertake some form of restructure so as to ensure that there is a vibrant Anglican presence in years to come. Sadly, the implication of COVID-19 has highlighted this reality for me.

7. Principle Seven. Affirms Faithful and Effective Leadership
Some of us in Synod today will remember The Strategic Planning of yesteryear in which we named two over-riding goals, that of: Developing and resourcing innovative models of mission and ministry (2) Growing and resourcing our leadership capabilities. These two goals were incorporated into our 1st MMO and again were endorsed by our Synod in 2018 when the MMO was reviewed. By bringing into this document as a key principle we are recognising the need for strong, effective leadership as we minister in this present time and beyond.

In commending these Key Principles to you, I would like to end with a quote from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams:

“The church of the future will not be the same in every detail as the church of the past. We have to explore new ways of ministry, new ways of worship, new methods of evangelism. The tree as it grows will change its shape and appearance, but the growth depends upon the roots standing firm in the fundamentals of our faith.

Farewell and Congratulations Class of 2020

Year 12 students from our schools across the Diocese came together to celebrate their final days at school this month. Some schools came up with special solutions to the COVID-19 landscape.

St Columba Anglican School Farewell Assembly

SCAS welcomed their Class of 2020 to the SCAS Old Scholars Association at the Farewell Assembly. On their final day, they were treated to a breakfast in their common room and received their Alumni badges. Congratulations to the Class of 2020. You have made it!

“This year group has left an indelible mark on our School community. Challenged by perhaps one of the strangest HSC years in history, Year 12 have shown resilience, tenacity and an effervescent School spirit that we are going to miss dearly. What stands out about the graduating Class of 2020 is their palpable care and love that they show for one another. We have no doubt their futures will be bright and we are excited to see where life leads them. Remember Year 12, don’t be a stranger. You will always be welcome at SCAS.”

Clarence Valley Anglican School Year 12 2020 Valedictory Service

The final day for CVAS Year 12 students included a luncheon of KFC and cheesecake, followed by a montage of memories played along with some special letters given to each student. Following was the Valedictory Service, the announcement of 2021 school leaders and the farewell Guard of Honour.

Celebrating Year 12 at Emmanuel Anglican College

The Year 12 Class of 2020 concluded their formal schooling recently. It has been an eventful and challenging year for Year 12 but despite the difficulty and disruption, the Year 12 students have been remarkable in the way they have adapted, pulled together and taken all of the challenges in their stride. “Their commitment to their studies has not waivered and we hold great hopes for them as they complete their examinations and await their HSC results.”

A COVID Farewell Celebration at Bishop Druitt College

How good is the Coffs Coast community? “Thank you for making our Year 12 graduation special. So many people helping.
And a big shout out to Snr Constable Mark and Snowy for making it extra special.”

Around The Diocese

Celebrating Our Father’s at Port Anglican

How amazing was Fathers Day at Port Anglican. Happy Father’s Day to all our fathers, we pray you have all had a wonderful day.


Four Year 11 Business Studies students from Clarence Valley Anglican School have made the top five of the 2020 Plan Your Own Enterprise Competition. Bailey Bathgate, Seth Turnbull, Aiden Langford and Jacob Butcher formulated a business plan based on a fictitious business called Spuds Galore. The small business plan, was a maximum of 3000 words, however the research behind the scenes involved many hours of dedicated effort. Business Studies teacher, Michael Parry, was excited to see his students as finalists at the NSW level. Team member, Bailey Bathgate said “I am hoping our group submission takes out the top award with the next round being the National Titles.” The NSW winner of this national competition run by the Business Educators Australasia (BEA) group will be announced at a Zoom presentation at the Clarenza Campus on Tuesday, 29 September.

Ladies Honoured at St Matthew’s

On September 5, at the conclusion of the evening service in St Matthew’s Anglican Church, Dunoon, two very special ladies were honoured. They were presented with letters of appreciation from Bishop Dr Murray Harvey. Marie Everingham and Jess James have both given devoted service to The Anglican Women’s Guild of St Matthew’s, Dunoon for the past forty years. Marie has held the office of President for 30 years and has been responsible for many years of fundraising and working, within the church, helping it to run smoothly. For more than twenty years she held the position of church warden.  Everyone relies heavily on Marie and she contributes her services with the minimum of fuss.

Both ladies joined The Dunoon Guild when the church centre in The Channon closed and the members of the Church there joined with the Church in Dunoon. For thirty years, Jess has held the office of Vice President, supporting Marie and the other ladies of The Guild doing their good works and ensuring that the church is clean and running smoothly and also ensuring that Morning Tea is ready for everyone to enjoy at the end of every service. After the service, we all retired to The Dunoon Sports Club for dinner.  A very special occasion.

The Changing Face of Church
St John’s Lennox Head shared these photos of the changing face of church.
Bishop Murray Visits Sawtell 
The Bishop visited Sawtell Anglicans last month. One service only under COVID-19 conditions followed by a socially distanced morning tea.

Bishop Takes First Visit to Parish of the Upper Clarence

The Bishop’s first visit to the Parish of the Upper Clarence, The Church of Our Lady, Bonalbo. Thanks to Stipendiary Lay Minister Aaron Coates, helping Upper Clarence to work together with Casino Anglican Parish.

Making Marks in Lino

Week 7 of Making Marks in the garden at St James, Kingscliff. A lovely afternoon doing linocuts. Getting ideas for Christmas cards/presents/ wrapping paper in the coming weeks. Another perfect day where they got messy, had fun and learned how mistakes can sometimes produce unexpected delights!

R U OK? Day at EAC

The students and staff came together for R U OK? Day on 10 September. R U OK? Don’t be afraid to ask the question!


New Ministry Leader for The Parish of Byron

We are delighted to announce the appointment of a new Ministry Leader for The Parish of Byron.

Early in September The Right Rev’d Dr Murray Harvey, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Grafton, made the following announcement:

“I am delighted to announce that The Venerable Grahame Yager has accepted my invitation to be the ministry leader (Rector) of Byron. Grahame is currently the Rector of Gilgandra and Regional Archdeacon of Bathurst Diocese.

“He will be commencing in Byron on 16 January and we look forward to his ministry in the Grafton Diocese. Please keep Grahame and his wife, The Reverend Brenda Yager, in your prayers as they make this transition.”

This is exciting new chapter opening for the newly formed Anglican Parish of Byron which includes the communities of Byron Bay, Bangalow and Mullumbimby. We look forward with much anticipation to Grahame and Brenda joining us in early January.

BDC and Hoys Allied Health & Wellness, a partnership supporting students to follow their dreams

Bishop Druitt College and Hoys Allied Health & Wellness are working together to enable students to be the best that they can be with the BDC High Performance Program.

The BDC High Performance Program supports students who are at elite levels in performance, composing, dance and sports to meet their true potential and enables them to follow their dreams. The program is designed to be supportive, flexible and responsive to individual student needs, and helps students to balance wellbeing with competing at the highest level.

‘We are proud to welcome Hoys Allied Health & Wellness into the BDC community. Hoys are a fantastic partner and a great asset for our High Performance and Athlete Development Program. Hoys are providing strength and conditioning, physiotherapy and specific nutritional and dietary support for students.’ Nat Titcume, BDC High Performance and Athlete Development Manager and three-time Olympic medallist from the Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

‘I am extremely excited to be on board with the BDC High Performance Group alongside the rest of our Hoys Allied Health team by providing individualised strength and conditioning programs to each student. I love helping young athletes improve themselves both physically and mentally by providing them with the necessary knowledge to do so from a strength and conditioning aspect.’ Zac O’Brien Hoys Allied Health & Wellness.

To find out more about the High Performance Program visit