New bishop's faith in diocese

THE financial difficulties facing the Bathurst Anglican diocese have come as no surprise to the region’s new bishop.

Ian Palmer was installed as the new Anglican Bishop of Bathurst during a traditional consecration service at All Saints’ Cathedral on Saturday.

He is taking over a diocese that stretches from Cowra to the Queensland border and Cobar to Kandos and is facing significant financial difficulties.

The diocese started a program of asset sales in 2011 and Bishop Palmer yesterday said he would continue working through those issues.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that the diocese does face financial challenges,” he said.

“I have known about the financial challenges of this diocese for some time because the diocese of Canberra and Goulburn, where I was a senior priest, was working on ways for the two diocese to support and help each other.”

Bishop Palmer said the church needed to focus on its core roles during difficult times.

“I think we can meet the challenges we face by concentrating on our core business which is drawing people into the worship of God and living in a way that expresses our love for God in and through our love for our neighbours,” he said.

A packed cathedral welcomed Bishop Palmer as the 10th Bishop of Bathurst on Saturday.

Among the well-wishers was Catholic Bishop Michael McKenna and Bishop Palmer said he looked forward to working with other faiths across the diocese.

“We have a very close working relationship with Bishop Michael and also the Uniting Church, and that’s something to each part of the diocese,” he said.

“Bishop Michael was at the consecration and it was a delight to meet him and welcome him to that.”

Bishop Palmer said he had been humbled by the warm welcome he received since arriving in the diocese.

“I have been really grateful for the welcome people have given me and my wife Elizabeth as we’ve moved into Bathurst,” he said.

“A bishop does have a significant role in the church, obviously, but also as somebody who is a guide, a coach, a leader and a pastoral carer in the wider community.

“But the bishop also has a special responsibility for the life of the Anglican Church in this wonderfully large diocese and I think that a bishop should model for the Christian community and the wider community what it is to be someone who is deeply aware of both the spiritual things in life and the practical things in life.”

Bishop Palmer led his first Sunday service at All Saints’ Cathedral yesterday, followed by a morning tea with parishioners in the church hall.

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