In the face of ongoing drought - prayer!

As the drought continues to ravage regional and farming communities throughout New South Wales with some towns predicted to run out of water as early as November, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies has encouraged Anglicans to pray the following prayer:

Our heavenly Father, we acknowledge our ingratitude when we have taken your goodness for granted; when the heaven has poured forth rain and the earth has produced its fruit.

Yet now we cry to you for help as the drought in New South Wales deepens. Have mercy on our land; have mercy on the people of the land. May your bountiful hand send forth rain upon our parched earth.

Fulfil your promises that while the earth remains, seedtime and harvest shall not cease, so that those in remote and rural areas may find relief from their distress and glorify your name for the provision of their needs. We ask this in the name of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

On Sunday 29 September 2019, the parishes of St Peter’s and St James’ at Broken Hill will have a prayer focus on the drought and the crisis in the Darling River system. The day’s readings, sermon and prayers will be based around the theme of water and its fundamental necessity to sustain all life.

One of the prayers in the leadup to the service is:

Creator God – maker and shaper of all that is, seen and unseen; You are in the expanse and depth of Creation, and in the processes that make life possible.

Yet we are distracted by the gods we make ourselves, and our lives become fractured and fragmented. In our brokenness we disturb the Earth’s capacity to hold us. Instead we find climate uncertainty and global injustice. Call us back from the brink. Help us to choose love – not fear, to change ourselves and not the planet; to act justly for the sake of the vulnerable; and to make a difference today for life tomorrow. Amen.

New Registrar

Welcome to Louise Potter, new Registrar for the Diocese of Riverina Moving to Griffith and starting work as the newly appointed Registrar and Business Manager of the Diocese of Riverina is like coming home for Louise Potter.

Louise, who took up her new appointment on September 2, was born and raised in the Riverina. Her family had a property near Merriwagga where Louise went to primary school and later completed her secondary education at Hillston Central School.

Louise’s family were actively involved in the Anglican parish of Christ the King at Hillston before they retired to Wagga. After graduating with an education degree from Macquarie University, Louise worked in Sydney for a number of years before moving back to the Wagga area in 2006.

Louise and her partner farmed a property near Mangoplah until 2016 while Louise was completing her Bachelor of Theology studies through St Mark’s National Theological Centre in Canberra and CSU. Louise participated in worship at the church in Mangoplah where services were conducted by Rev’d Colin Rush. Louise also worked as a volunteer for the Safe Churches program and conducted training workshops in Riverina Diocese.

In recent years while Louise has been living and working in Sydney, she has been a regular worshipper at Christ Church St Laurence in George Street. Louise is the proud mother of Ashleigh, 20 who has recently graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Visual Culture from Curtin University in Perth.

“I’m looking forward to reconnecting with old friends across the Diocese,” Louise said. If you wish to contact Louise her email address is or phone (02) 6962 3089.

Honour for Chancellor

Dean Rob and Shanti Harris represented the Diocese of Riverina as guests of the Diocesan Chancellor, John Eades at his Investiture as a Member of the Order of Australia at Government House, Canberra on September 12.

The Governor-General, His Excellency the Honourable David Hurley presented John with the Medal of the Order of Australia (AM) in recognition of his significant service to the law, to professional standards and to the community. A special mention was made of Mr Eades’ service to the Anglican Diocese of Riverina which he has served as honorary Chancellor since 2008.

Mr Eades was also recognised for his commitment and service to one of his other passions – sheep dog trialling and judging. He has been judging sheep dogs since 1990 in his capacity as an official judge with the NSW Sheepdog Workers Incorporated.

John Eades started his career as a solicitor at Noyce, Salmon and D’Aquino in Griffith in 1969 where he is still working as a senior partner and consultant. During his career he has held senior roles with the Law Society of NSW including as a councillor, treasurer, senior vice president and president. Mr Eades is also the current president of the Riverina Law Society, a position he has held since 1997.

Mr Eades said he was initially surprised when he received the call notifying him of his Queen’s Birthday honour in June because ‘it came out of the blue’. “I believe the Award reflects not only my service, but the service of others and I believe others are far more deserving than I am.” Mr Eades has been a long-time parishioner at St Alban’s Cathedral Parish in Griffith.

John Eades, right, after receiving his Member of the Order of Australia Award (AM) at the Investiture ceremony at Government House Canberra on 12 September. Also present as John’s guests were Dean Rob and Shanti Harris, and John’s partner, June McPhie OAM, of Canberra. June was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) earlier this year for services to the legal profession and to the community

Synod 2019

Synod is fast approaching. The Second Session of the 63rd Synod of the Diocese of Riverina will be summoned to meet at the Cathedral Hall, Griffith at 3pm on Friday 18 October 2019.

All Synod Representatives should have already received a Summons to Synod. Groups or organisations required to present a Report to the Synod are asked to deliver their Reports to the Diocesan Registry Office by Friday 27 September 2019 so they can be printed, collated and distributed. It would be preferable if Reports could be typed and either posted or emailed to

If you or any of your Synod Representatives wish to move a Motion at Synod could you please have any Motions into the Diocesan Office by the same date so they can be distributed on the Business Paper along with the Reports. Bishop Donald will commence the Synod with a Eucharist in the Cathedral at 3pm invoking the guidance of the Holy Spirit upon the Gathering.

There will be a dinner on Friday evening (at a venue to be decided) to conclude the first day of the Synod. Synod will continue on Saturday until business is concluded.

Safe Ministry Training Saturday

9th November 2019 10am-3pm at the Cathedral Hall, Griffith. All invited. Please contact Registry Office to book. (02) 6962 3089

St James’ Day

With two churches named after St James the Apostle, the parishioners of Broken Hill and the Far West celebrated their patron saint’s Feast Day in July in fine style.

Parishioners of both St James’ and St Peter’s parishes in Broken Hill and St James’ in Wilcannia came together for a combined service which also celebrated the fourth anniversary of Reverend Helen Ferguson’s priesting in 2015.

After the service some friends of St James’ parish in Wilson Street, Broken Hill South donned their specially made hats and ‘aprons of humility’ (1Peter 5:5) and served more than 60 guests who all enjoyed a spectacular morning tea.

The local CWA branch provided the fine china tea sets and serving plates for the delectable home-made delights.

Some of the Friends of St James dressed in their ‘aprons of humility’ from left, back row Di Williams and Sue Spicer and front, Sandra Miller and Jo Hayes

While parishioners and guests enjoyed the ‘high tea’, LLM Cassandra Leighton led a quiz to test the listening skills of the congregation with some facts about the life of St James or James the Great as he was also known.

Rev’d Helen Ferguson celebrated the fourth anniversary of her ordination as a priest surrounded by her family. From left daughter-in-law Sandy; son Todd; grandsons Lucas, Declan and Mason; her husband Gary and daughter-in-law Stacey. Rev’d Helen’s son Corey was at work.

Farewell to Riverina

By Rev’d Stephen Davis So long, farewell, it has been good to know you. As you may know by now, I, Reverend Stephen Davis, along with my wife Leeola, are leaving the Diocese of Riverina to take up the ministry at Holbrook in the Diocese of Canberra and Goulbourn.

Leeola and I started ministry in the Parish of Tocumwal, Finley and Jerilderie on March 16, 2012, at the end of a flood. We were used to a lot of rain as we were previously at Bellingen on the Mid North Coast where we had between 2 and 5 metres of rain most years. And now in a time of drought we are moving from the Central Southern Riverina to the eastern most part of the Southern Riverina. We are both country people as Leeola was a Moree girl and I was a Coonabarabran boy and we love being this side of the big hill (the Great Dividing Ranges) and we love the flat country. I often say that there is no free ride in ministry as like most other vocations, you have to work hard at making them work.

We have found the Riverina a place where you are accepted by all, warts and all. We have had a fruitful time in this parish and have made many friends across the diocese. We ask for your prayers for the Parish of Tocumwal, Finley and Jerilderie that the right priest will be called soon to the ministry here in the Riverina. We also ask for your prayers for Leeola and me as we transition from Finley to Holbrook.

I thought I would eventually retire from ministry while in the Riverina but as the old joke goes: “Do you know how to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans!” So long, goodbye, farewell and God bless the Riverina. Rev’d Stephen will officially leave the Parish of Tocumwal, Finley and Jerilderie on 11 November and start his new ministry as Rector of the Parish of St Paul’s, Holbrook on 17 November. Rev’d Stephen has also resigned as a member of the Diocesan Council of the Diocese of Riverina.

Lockhart PreChristmas Fair

Parishioners of St Aidan’s Church at Lockhart are praying they will be blessed with ‘fair’ weather for their Pre-Christmas Fair to be held in the Church Hall and grounds on Saturday 16 November.

This is the fourth change of date for the annual fair since it started in 2015 “Each year we’ve had to change the date due to competing events in the town or inclement weather. We’re hoping and praying this later date will bless us with fine weather though I feel terrible saying that because we’re also desperately praying for rain,” said Rev’d Nola Cox.

The fair was instigated by former Lockhart resident Cheryl Potter, the daughter of Jenny Potter, a deceased member of St Aidan’s parish. Cheryl wanted to give back to the children of Lockhart where she grew up so began organising the fair four years ago to raise funds for the interdenominational After School Kids’ Club.

“This year as the Kids’ Club is now well equipped and no longer in need of funds, Cheryl has offered to run the fair to benefit the Anglican parish in Lockhart,” Rev’d Nola said. The fair will feature the everpopular ‘Lucky Buckets’ with some fabulous prizes on offer as well as craft and cake stalls; a photo booth; pre-loved treasures; all day ‘cuppa’; lucky dip, hoopla and other children’s games as well as a decorated bike and scooter competition.

“In addition to stallholders, we’re also looking for musicians to entertain during the day. We’re hoping the participation of parishioners and other visitors will make this day a huge success especially as this is the last year that Cheryl will be able to be involved,” Rev’d Nola said.

Bishop Donald will open the Fair at 10.30am. Anyone interested in buying a stall or would like to be involved please contact Rev’d Nola on 0429 028 274 or Jan Pietsch on 0447 296 494.

A century at The Rock

The parish community of St Peter’s Anglican Church at The Rock celebrated its centenary on 17 August 2019, almost 100 years to the day since the church’s foundation stone was laid on 21 August 1919.

Approximately 100 past and present parishioners filled the church for the Eucharist and centenary service. Bishop Donald was the principal celebrant, assisted by the Priest in Charge of The Rock parish, Rev’d Jocelyn Heazlewood and Rev’d Robert Murphy of Leeton.

Former clergy who have serviced The Rock Parish were among the congregation. They included Rev’d Harley Lockley; Rev’d Ken Day; Rev’d Nola Cox and Rev’d Colin Rush. Rev’d Norm Fellowes was unable to attend due to ill health however his wife, Mrs Dorothy Fellowes represented her husband.

Rev’d Ken Dale of Culcairn-Henty Parish and Rev’d Bryn Jones, formerly of Riverina Diocese also took part in the celebrations as did the Member for Wagga Wagga, Dr Joe McGirr MP and Lockhart Shire Councillors. After the service the congregation adjourned to The Rock Memorial Bowling Club for a Chinese lunch and cutting of the Centenary Cake.

New Rector for Corowa

Bishop Donald has announced the appointment of the Reverend Peter Richards as the new Rector of St John’s Parish, Corowa. The parishes of Corowa, Howlong, Burrajaa and Bungowannah have been without a Rector since the retirement of the Rev’d Canon Rex Everett in 2018.

Rev’d Mary Clarke has been acting Rector in the interim. Fr Peter is currently the Rector of the Anglican Parish of Applecross in the Diocese of Perth, Western Australia. He will be inducted at St John’s Corowa on Friday the 17th January, 2020.

Fr Peter was ordained deacon in 2001 and priested in 2002 at St Alban’s Cathedral, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa. 

Fr Peter has a Master of Theology (Distinction) from St Mark’s National Theological College / Charles Sturt University and a Bachelor of Theology from University of Southern Africa, Pretoria as well as a Master of Science (Medical) from University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is currently reading for a PhD at the Department of Philosophy and Theology at Notre Dame, Fremantle with a title of “Transforming Church Governance through the lens of Ubuntu for an Emergent Future: An Anglican perspective”.

Fr Peter was born in 1957 in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He is a widower and has two daughters Guinevere (20yrs) and Abbyghail (17yrs). He has lived in England, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and South Africa prior to moving to Australia. Before he was ordained Peter was a published scientist in several fields including microscopy, histochemistry and education. He served as a Deacon at Christ Church, Arcadia and was Rector of Trinity Anglican Church, Lynnwood, Pretoria from 2003 to 2005.

He was also Chair of the Pretoria Diocese Tumelong Mission and served as an ex officio member of the equivalent to Bishop in Council. The family immigrated in 2005 when Fr Peter was appointed as the Rector of Kempsey Anglican Parish in Grafton Diocese.

He moved to Perth to become the Rector of Applecross in 2015, a position he holds at present. Fr Peter sees himself as being liturgically strong in traditional, contemporary and ecumenical settings. His leisure activities include reading science fiction, cycling, karate and experiencing nature.

Bishop Donald writes ...

What a whirlwind the last thee months have been! Well, it seems like that to me. Not only busy but a delightful experience getting to know the clergy and people of the Diocese.

Currently, I am about half way through making my first visits to each Parish in the Diocese. In every case Camryn and I have been warmly welcomed and given generous hospitality.

Hospitality is a key Christian principle. When we look at Jesus’ ministry we see that he not only received hospitality, he offered hospitality to all regardless of who they were. The only thing that mattered was that they were loved by God.

This is the same thing that matters in our day— we are loved by God, forgiven and freed by the grace of Jesus Christ that is offered as divine hospitality to us. The hospitality we receive is the hospitality we are called to give; to be the welcoming voice and presence of Jesus to the community in which we live. May God’s grace enable us to be a blessing to others!

+Donald Riverina

Mens’ Breakfasts

a huge hit for Barham Parish The parish of St John’s, Barham initiated a series of Men’s Breakfasts earlier this year as a way of reaching out to men from the town of Barham and surrounding districts. The parish used to organise regular Men’s Breakfasts several years ago but the idea was resurrected this year by Priest in Charge, Rev’d Neale Sommersby. “We don’t have many men coming to church on a regular basis so we thought a regular Men’s Breakfast would be a good way of encouraging men to come together and talk about their health issues or just chat to other men,” said Ruth Arthur, secretary of the St John’s Committee and one of the breakfast organisers. The parish has organised three breakfasts so far this year with more than 30 men attending each event.
“They have been hugely successful and have proved to be a great outreach,” Ruth said.
“A guest speaker is enlisted to entertain the attendees and a hearty breakfast is enjoyed by everyone.” The most recent Men’s Breakfast in August was organised jointly with the Barham Baptist Church. Guest speaker Philip Swifte, a member of St John’s Parish, spoke about the process of discovering his three halfbrothers after 73 years not knowing of their existence. Our pharmacy has most of the pills in town, but we also send out patients to to buy drugs which are not available.There is not much accutane is stock usually because it is a highly specialised drug, and this online pharmacy always delivers. Very good service! Seeing the men having all the fun, the women members of the parish also decided to hold a regular brunch to which they have invited women who would not normally attend church. Guest speaker at the most recent women’s brunch was Ruth Arthur who spoke about her visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. “As women we all came away dedicated in our belief to never let that series of events happen ever again,” Ruth said.

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