A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden and there it divided and became four rivers. [Genesis 2.10]

New Dean Installed

New Dean hopes to bring Cathedral closer to life of the Griffith community.

The Very Reverend Canon Thomas Leslie was installed as the fifth Dean of St Alban’s Cathedral in Griffith on 5th February 2021. Speaking at the Installation service, Bishop Donald praised Fr Thomas for his pastoral care skills and his experience in liturgy and music.

Fr Thomas has moved to the Diocese of Riverina from the Diocese of Wangaratta where he was previously Priest-in-Charge ofChrist Church Parish, Beechworth. During his four years at Beechworth Fr Thomas’s interest in art, music and culture meant that he was involved in teaming with professional musicians and artists to organise art exhibitions and chamber music concerts hosted in parish venues such as ‘French Fantasies’ – an afternoon of Music from Pre-Revolutionary France, featuring former concertmaster of the Australian Brandenberg Orchestra, Lucinda Moon, on baroque violin, accompanied by internationally trained Harpsichordist, Peter Hagen.

The Very Reverend Thomas Leslie
Dean of St Alban’s Cathedral

Dean Thomas Leslie with the Deans
of (R to L) Newcastle, Goulburn,
Wangaratta & Bendigo, & Canon
Anne Wentzel who was Transitional

Under Fr Thomas’s guidance, Beechworth Parish developed its ongoing relationship with Opera Scholars Australia, becoming a rehearsal and performance venue for Australia’s rising young Opera stars. Opera Scholars Australia is a leading professional development program for young classical singers based in Melbourne. The Parish also oversees the monthly Beechworth Farmers’ Market which is hosted in the churchyard at Christ Church on the Hill.

While in Beechworth, Fr Thomas served as honorary chaplain to several local organisations including the Beechworth RSL and The Bushrangers Football and Netball Club, named after Ned Kelly who was more than once held at the old Beechworth Gaol.

Fr Thomas also served as Chaplain at the new prison now known as the Beechworth Correctional Centre. “I will miss varied responsibilities of these chaplaincy roles and the opportunities they provided to a broader perspective on life,” Fr Thomas said.

In particular he is saddened to be leaving his role journeying alongside the residents at Beechworth Prison. “This is a place where Resurrection hope i.e. the promise of new life after the death of an old one, takes on a new meaning.”

Originally from Sydney, The Very Rev’d Thomas Leslie grew up in a Uniting Church family, becoming an Anglican in his early twenties while at university. During his undergraduate years studying Medieval Studies and Early English Literature at Sydney University, Fr Thomas was involved as a Sunday School teacher in the Uniting Church and then as a Parish Chorister and Server at St Alban’s Anglican Parish, Epping.

He combined his interest in music and theatre by volunteering with a local amateur musical theatre company as a director, performer, set decorator and committee member. After completing his Honours year, Fr Thomas worked as an assistant undertaker with a large Sydney funeral firm and commenced theological studies.

Fr Thomas moved to Melbourne to study Theology full time in 2007, gaining a Masters of Divinity with Honours. He kept body and soul together by working as a Verger at St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne.

Ordained in 2010, Fr Thomas served his Curacy at Wangaratta Cathedral, while also holding the post of College Chaplain and Religious Education Teacher at Cathedral College, Wangaratta. He was involved in assisting the Friends of the Cathedral with a number of exhibitions during the biannual Wangaratta textile festivals, and was a voluntary judge for the local amateur theatre awards (the ‘ZAPAs’) for North East Victoria.

Fr Thomas moves to Griffith with his cat, Jael (see Judges 4.17-24 to find out the origin of her name). He is looking forward to being part of the ‘Garden City’ and enjoys gardening although he says ‘the weeds often win!’.

He is also hoping to be brave enough to return to the gym: after a year in which COVID continually locked him out of his regular fitness routines.

Speaking at his Installation as Dean, Fr Thomas spoke of his hope for the Cathedral to be a spiritual heart for the broader Griffith community: in which the prayers of the Cathedral team will continue to support the work of all in the region.

Fr Thomas has been excited to discover that a collection of local music ensembles have already been planning a celebration of local music, to be held in St Alban’s Cathedral in mid 2021. Hopefully, this will be the first of many artistic events helping bring the Cathedral deeper into the life of the Griffith community.

Fr Thomas with Helena Hicks (Four
Rivers Bookshop) in the Hall

Cathedral Parishioners in the Hall
after Fr Thomas’ Installation

(L to R) Bishop David Farrar, Dean
Thomas Leslie, Bishop Clarence
Bester (of Wangaratta) and Bishop
Donald Kirk

Our Cathedral Deacons

The Reverends Gemma
and Frederik Le Mesurier

A love story which began at the ecumenical Taize community in France has taken Gemma and Frederik Le Mesurier on a journey halfway around the world to their new home in Griffith.

Gemma and Frederik moved to Griffith from Tasmania in late November last year following an invitation to work in Riverina Diocese from the Bishop of Riverina, The Right Reverend Donald Kirk.

Gemma and Frederik were installed as the newest Deacons for Griffith parish at St Alban’s Cathedral on December 3, 2020. They are now both working as part-time Deacons assisting The Very Reverend Thomas Leslie who was installed as the new Rector of Griffith and Dean of St Alban’s on February 5.

Gemma, who is 33 and Frederik, 27 are training for ordination to the priesthood. As well as their part-time parish work, Gemma and Frederik are also studying theology through Trinity College Theological School in Melbourne. Gemma is doing a Masters of Divinity degree and Frederik is undertaking a Bachelor of Theology degree.

The couple met in 2012 while both were volunteering at the Christian monastic community of Taize in the Burgundy region of France.

The Brothers of Taize community was founded in 1940 by Brother Roger Schutz, a Reformed Protestant who wished to follow Christ living a life of simplicity, celibacy and community. The 100 -strong community of Roman Catholic and Protestant monks has a strong devotion to peace, justice and reconciliation through prayer, meditation and their renowned Taize community music.

During their time as volunteers in Taize, Gemma and Frederik helped the Brothers welcome visitors, doing work such as cleaning rooms, cooking, serving food, washing up, leading groups and preparing and caring for the church building.

Gemma described this time at Taize as a valuable formative experience. “It also involved living in community with the other volunteers, weekly Bible studies, attending prayer three times a day as well as spiritual direction for the girls from one of the St Andrew’s Sisters who live nearby.”

However it was during a trip to Rome with the Taize community that Gemma and Frederik really got to know each other. The Taize Brothers travelled to Rome to hold a series of prayer meetings and workshops which were attended by up to 7,000 people at a time.

As fate would have it Frederik and Gemma were assigned to assist at the same Basilica, San Paulo Fuori le Mura. Working closely to ensure the prayers ran smoothly, Frederik and Gemma decided they rather liked working together!

Gemma grew up in Lake Macquarie near Newcastle and later studied French and English at the University of Newcastle. Her first full-time job after university was working as a Crossword Compiler for Lovatts Crosswords and Puzzles in Gosford.

Raised in the Anglican Church, Gemma felt drawn to volunteering in the Taize community which each year attracts thousands of young people from all over the world. “After two and half years working in this job I felt I had lost purpose in life so I returned to Taize which I had first visited in 2009 to find purpose again,” Gemma said. Gemma did find her life purpose as well as finding Frederik.

Frederik grew up in the town of Losser in the eastern Netherlands where his family were active in the Dutch Reformed Church. After a brief period studying at a Dutch maritime college he realised it was not his calling. While on a parish trip to Taize, Frederik felt a strong vocation to monastic life and explored becoming a Taize Brother.

Meeting Gemma changed the course and direction of Frederik’s life. He accompanied Gemma back to Australia in 2013 and the couple moved to Tasmania to be closer to some of Gemma’s family. “I always thought a part of me was an Anglophile and I always had a dream of not spending my whole life in the Netherlands so moving to Australia and becoming an Anglican I actually felt at home,” Frederik said.

In Hobart, Gemma took up fulltime work at All Saints Anglican Church, South Hobart as a Licensed Lay Minister/Parish Assistant and Youth Minister. At the same time, Frederik took up a full-time volunteer position in return for paid theological studies at All Saints, serving as the Sacristan, Verger and Head Server which involved him serving at all services as well as visiting nursing homes and serving on Parish Council and Synod.

As Gemma and Frederik settle into their new life in Griffith they are hoping to build up the St Alban’s parish community and support the new Dean, Fr Thomas. “I think we need to offer a variety of worship styles such as Choral Evensong which help to build a sense of community in a secular world,” Gemma said.

Frederik said he would love to organise a retreat day in the Cathedral in the Taize tradition. Both agree the Church needs to start looking at an alternative model of what it means to be a Church community in the 21st century.

Thanks to John Eades AM

After twelve years as the Chancellor to the Bishop of Riverina Mr John Eades will conclude his time in this role on 24th March. The Diocesan Council has moved a formal motion of thanks to John for his years of service which was carried with acclamation. It reads:

That Diocesan Council places on record its considerable thanks and appreciation to Diocesan Chancellor John Eades for his generous legal expertise and faithful service to the Diocese over 12 years.

New Chancellor

Bishop Donald has announced Ms Mandy Tibbey as the new Chancellor. Mandy has been a Solicitor since 1987 and a Barrister since 2004. She is experienced in a range of equity, commercial and administrative law matters. She appears in the Supreme Court of NSW, Federal Court of Australia, and other courts and tribunals as required.

In addition to legal and human rights work Mandy is a parishioner of St Luke’s Enmore. We look forward to Mandy bringing her wisdom and experience to the Diocese.

Hay's Coventry Cross

The Anglican Diocese of
Riverina donates a piece of
World War II history to
Australian War Memorial

A significant piece of World War II history from St Paul’s Anglican Church in Hay will be gifted to the Australian War Memorial at a special service in Griffith on Tuesday 20 April at St Alban’s Cathedral.

Following the service, a Coventry Cross of Nails will become the latest artefact in the Australian War Memorial’s permanent collection, contributing to its mission to interpret and understand the Australian experience of war.

Known globally as a symbol of peace and reconciliation, a Coventry Cross of Nails is a small Christian cross made from three iron nails. The original cross was made from nails salvaged from the Coventry Cathedral after it was severely damaged by German bombing as part of Operation Moonlight Sonata in November 1940.

Since World War II, several hundred of these crosses have been gifted to organisations such as churches, prisons and schools forming a worldwide network to look at healing the wounds of history.

According to the Rev’d Canon Robert Murphy, St Peter’s Anglican Church in Leeton: ‘Most likely, this Coventry Cross of Nails came to be at St Pauls through the Rev’d James Hardingham, who served in Gallipoli under the Australian Imperial Forces before he was invalided home in September 1915. Rev’d Hardingham was ordained in 1917 in years later, in 1940, he became Archdeacon of Hay and was appointed army chaplain. During this time he remained in Hay, ministering to prisoners of war in the Hay internment camp.

As the local artefact is an early Coventry Cross of Nails, it’s highly likely it is made out of medieval nails taken from the actual Coventry Cathedral, rather than a modern replica.

‘However, his son Malcolm served with the 8 Division Ammunition Sub Park and was captured at the fall of Singapore, later dying of illness on the Burma railway. While his son was a POW, Hardingham commissioned six candlesticks to be made by Italian POWs at Hay, empathising with the prisoners’ situation.

If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that Rev’d Hardingham was the one who lobbied for the Coventry Cross of Nails to come to St Paul’s.’

According to Emily Gibbs, Assistant Curator Military Heraldry and Technology at the Australian War Memorial, a Coventry Cross of Nails is extremely rare in Australia; the only other known cross in Australia is at St David’s Cathedral Hobart.

‘Given the strong and direct connections to Australia and the war’s enduring impact on our society, we’re delighted that the Coventry Cross of Nails will be preserved for posterity at the Australian War Museum. It will also be available for display loan and research to continue to educate and inform the public.’

The gifting service is open to all members of the public and will take place at 2:30pm on Tuesday 20 April at St Alban’s Anglican Cathedral, Binya Street Griffith, NSW.

Easter Services in the Diocese

Parishes & ChurchesMaunday ThursdayGood FridayHoly SaturdayEaster Day
Ariah Park/ Ardlethan
+ St Augustine’s Ariah Park
+ St Mark’s Ardlethan


Barham and Balranald
+ St John’s Barham
+ St Martin’s Moulamein
+ St Barnabas’ Balranald



Broken Hill and the Far West
+ St Peter’s Broken Hill
+ St James’ Broken Hill South



Coleambally / Darlington Point
+ St Mark’s Coleambally
+ St Paul’s Darlington Point


Coolamon / Ganmain
+ St Andrew’s Coolamon
+ St Peter’s Ganmain



+ St John’s Corowa
+ St Thomas’ Howlong
+ St Mark’s Bungowanah




Culcairn / Henty
+ St Paul’s Culcairn
+ St Barnabas’ Henty
+ St Matthew’s Rand


Deniliquin and Moama
+ St Paul’s Deniliquin
+ St James’ Moama
+ Holy Cross Mathoura
+ St Andrew’s Uniting Mathoura





+ St Alban’s Cathedral Griffith
+ St George’s Yenda
+ St Luke’s Rankins Springs



6.30am, 9.30am
Lake Cargelligo
+ Holy Epiphany Lake Cargelligo
+ St George’s Tullibigeal
+ St Christopher’s Weethalle




+ St Peter’s Leeton
+ St Clement’s Barellan




6.00am, 9.30am
Mulwala / Berrigan w. Oaklands
+ St Andrew’s-by-the-Lake Mulwala
+ St Aidan’s Berrigan
+ Uniting Church Oaklands



+ St Thomas’ Narrandera




The Rock
+ St Peter’s The Rock
+ St Cuthbert’s Uranquinty

Tocumwal / Finley w. Jerilderie
+ St Alban’s Tocumwal
+ Holy Trinity Finley
+ St Stephen’s Jerilderie



+ St John’s Wentworth
+ St Martin’s Dareton





The Diocesan Synod for this year will be held at the Cathedral in Griffith on

Thursday 17th June &
Friday 18th June

This year’s Synod is the first session of the next three year cycle and, as such, elections of members of Diocesan Council, the Cathedral Chapter and other office bearers will take place at Synod.

Each Parish at its AGM is required to elect two Synod Representatives and two Supplementary Representatives from their number to attend Synod.

These people will form the Synod for the next three years and those attending the first session vote in these elections.

Did you know that you do not have to be a Synod Representative to be a member of Diocesan Council? It is one of the curious aspects of our Ordinance. (You do, however, need to be an Anglican worshipping in this Diocese.)

Do consider carefully who will represent your Parish!


St John’s Wentworth celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Laying of the Foundation Stone on Sunday 23rd May. Great celebrations are planned for the day so mark the date now if you want to be part of the day. (More details will come soon.)


Do you have something interesting happening in the life of your Parish? Take photos of the event, write an article and send it in so we can share your joy in Four Rivers


Bishop Donald writes ...

The promise of a vaccine has brought fresh hope that this year will bring something different to all that we experienced last year. I know that for many this has brought a sense of relief after the trying times many experienced last year. Camryn and I know that within our own family it was difficult because of state border closures to visit and keep that personal connection that is so important in being family together.

There are many people we know in our communities who have gone through the same experience with family living interstate or elderly relatives in aged care facilities that we heavily restricting access in order to protect their residents. There has been much frustration for many in all of this.

The Church has gone through a similar experience. Not only did we experience months of being unable to gather to worship and be God’s people together, but when we did finally regain that ability it has left the Church with smaller congregations, partly because of restricted numbers but also because there were those who were understandably fearful of contracting COVID-19 and so chose to stay away.

But it has not all been bad. There are things we have discovered through this experience and things we have learnt; unexpected things which we continue to help us well beyond the fear of a virus.

This whole experience is not unlike the Easter experience we are about to commemorate. We are the disciples of Jesus and just like the disciples in the scriptures we stand by witnessing and experiencing all that happened.

Prior to COVID-19 life was travelling on normally and we like the disciples were listening to the message of Jesus happy and comfortable in our situation. Then COVID-19 which had been grumbling in the background for months finally struck and everything changed. Rather like the Jewish authorities of Jesus’ day grumbling until they found their opportunity and attacked arresting Jesus in the Garden. This brought suffering and death. Then it was the disciples who suffered and Jesus who died. In 2020 it was many peoples of the world who suffered (and still do) and a tragic number (over 2.6 million at last count) who have died.

God’s love has been shown to us in Jesus death and resurrection. God’s action of love and inspiration can been seen through the skill of those who have created the vaccines to heal humanity. God’s gift of hope and new life is being given again and afresh to humanity in the same way that God gives it to each and every generation.

These last 12 months have been like the Easter experience of suffering and death but also of renewed hope and life. As we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus this year let us remember that it is both the great moment of Salvation for all and a sign of God’s continuing active love and inspiration to heal and bring life to all humanity!

+Donald Riverina