They came from all parts of Australia to St Andrew’s Cathedral to see Bishop Darrell Parker consecrated as a bishop to serve the Diocese of North West Australia. But it was his former boss, the Bishop of Armidale, Rod Chiswell, who summed up his task.
After a sermon from Titus 1, where the Apostle Paul exhorts Titus to appoint elders to the churches on Crete, Bishop Chiswell estimated that there might be a similar number of churches in the North West. He reminded the new bishop of the sign over the doorway of the Armidale Diocese office, which reads, “Jesus is Lord”.
Jesus is Lord - we must keep speaking this truth in love ...
“For people to have the certain hope of eternal life, we must keep speaking this truth in love,” Bishop Chiswell said.
“It was the task at hand for Paul, it was the task at hand for Titus and it remains the task at hand for us as those entrusted with the preaching of the gospel today.” But it was his final words which drew a smile from the new bishop: “Pray for wisdom and have a go”.
Bishop Parker and his wife Elizabeth have spent 25 years serving God in the Armidale Diocese, most recently at St Paul’s, Tamworth. He was chosen as Bishop of North West Australia last August and there will be an installation service at Geraldton Cathedral on February 15.
After Bishop Parker was consecrated by Archbishop Kanishka Raffel on February 3 – and a laying on of hands by the more than 20 bishops present – he spoke for the first time as a bishop.
Above: Bishop Parker and his wife Elizabeth
“To all those of you who have been deeply and sacrificially committed to ministry in the Diocese of North West Australia, thank you,” he said. “To all those saints who serve in that amazing part of our country and of our world, that work is really what tonight is all about.”
As the packed congregation and large procession of clergy left the Cathedral, Archbishop Raffel reminded them of the significance of the occasion.
“I didn't want to let it pass without letting you know that today is – to the day – the 235th anniversary of the first Christian service held in Australia by Richard Johnson, not too far away from here," he said. "This is a very good day to have commended our brother to the service of God as a bishop in God's church.”