Mission Areas expand
The Georges River Region has created two new mission areas to help parishes minister and plan with other churches experiencing similar mission issues.
The change raises the total number of Mission Areas in the Diocese to 24.
In Georges River the Liverpool Mission Area remains the same, while Canterbury-Bankstown has been split into Bankstown and Marrickville, and St George has been divided to become St George and St George West.
The acting bishop of the region, the Rt Rev Peter Tasker, says this decision was made in consultation with the parishes for practical and missional reasons.
I think the constraints [of an area] ought to be effective mission rather than geography,” he says.
“If a group of parishes are going to work together in mission, which is the aim, it works better if you’ve got a number of things in common with each other”.
For example, Bankstown is an area rich in newer migrants, which means the churches in it are “working really hard to reach non-Commonwealth country people”. St George, on the other hand, “has a real consciousness of itself as an area with a specific identity” and works well on that basis.
Each of the Mission Areas also has a serious focus on multiethnic issues, whether these relate to “new” or “old” migrants, a range of faiths or a changeover in the nationalities that call the area home.
“In the Georges River region you’re dealing with multiethnic in every parish,” Bishop Tasker says. “We’re not a bit ‘mono’ like other parts of Sydney can be – and where lots of parishes might have things in common. Here, you move one suburb and you’ve got a completely different issue.”
The Rev Gary Bennetts (Bankstown), the Rev Mat Yeo (St George West) and the Rev Stuart Milne (Liverpool) remain leaders of their Mission Areas, and are joined by Blakehurst rector the Rev Paul Lucas (St George).
Bishop Tasker will be, for the moment, the acting Mission Area leader in Marrickville, and says that amid these changes the prayer of those in the region “is that we remain true to ‘the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints’ and that the Lord of the harvest will continue to raise up the needed labourers for the work here”.
Photo: Newer migrant area (Credit: Peter Hindmarsh)