The inheritance of faith

Roger Herft introduces the Diocese of Perth.

The vibrant faith in God’s steadfast love, grace and goodness forms the essential DNA of the people called to be part of the body of Christ in Perth. The inheritance of faith that refuses to cloister itself in a fortress-like defence system was forged by the pioneer missionary, John Ramsden Wollaston.

This faith, believing that God is sovereign and present before us is evident in the history of the church in this place. There is a sense of awe and gratitude which acknowledges that we in our generation stand on the shoulders of giants.

Wollaston faced utter indifference to the Gospel on his first Good Friday and Easter. But, undaunted he continued to faithfully minister; loving the people God had entrusted to him with Christlikeness.

The Anglican Diocese of Perth is a diocese within The Anglican Church of Australia. It is the Metropolitical See in the State of Western Australia. It holds strongly to the bonds of affection with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Consultative Council and the Instruments of Unity in our Communion.
The diocese seeks to hold together the Ministry of Word and Sacrament, evangelical zeal embedded in the beauty of liturgical prayer, profound scholarship, pastoral care and social justice.

There are 112 parishes with several ministry units attached to many. The City of Perth has a wide variety of Anglican worshipping communities with diverse styles of expression. Parishes spread from the Christmas and Cocos Islands to the West, to the eastern boundary of the State of Western Australia, including the areas of the Wheat belt and the Goldfields, and includes Esperance and the Eyre Highway to the south.

A collaborative style of ministry is encouraged: Lay and clergy, women and men, old and young—a variety of people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds seek to work in partnership, holding on to the dignity of each. Laity are encouraged to take on important roles in diocesan and parish life. The Diocese of Perth is at the forefront of providing opportunities for women, ordained and lay, to be fully involved at every level of leadership in the Church.

Since the 1990s, the number of new parishes in the Diocese has increased. These new area parishes are located within the growth corridors, both north and south of Perth. There are some large parishes in Perth with congregations of about 300. The majority are pastoral sized churches of about 100 or less. There are a significant number of small churches that either have part-time stipendiary appointments, non-stipended appointments or who have begun to explore other creative forms of ministry.

In addition, there are a range of chaplaincy services, within hospitals, schools and prisons. There are Chaplains that also service the Anglican aged care and welfare agencies.
Anglican schools in Perth cover a wide range of fee structures. There is a developing model of placing parishes within the low fee school system. We currently have 14 Anglican schools within the Diocese of Perth with others being planned.

In addition to the urban area of Perth, the Eastern Rural region has a small number of stipendiary clergy and a larger number of locally ordained clergy.
After prayerful engagement with Holy Scripture and an attentive listening to the Holy Sprit the Diocesan Mission Plan ‘Daring to live God’s promises’ was birthed with a call to a new engagement in Gospel witness.

The Mission Plan contains three key mission areas:
1. Creatively Listening and Telling the Good News of Jesus (Proclaim)
2. Building Vital Worshipping Community (Worship)
3. Reaching Out in Loving Service (Serve)

Enabled by:
1. Inspirational Leadership
2. Life Giving Structures and Systems

We pray for a deeply committed leadership, ordained and lay, catholic, evangelical, liberal and all the in-betweens, to be humble, to be known by Christ and to become instruments through which Christ can be made known.

Please pray for the Mission Plan, parishes urban, semi-rural and rural, pray for the schools and agencies and pray that we may be given wisdom and strength to dare to live God’s promises.

The Diocese of Perth continue to allow for a rich diversity of faith that celebrates the ‘dignity of difference’. When we say ‘All are welcome’ we pray in God’s saving grace and in the power of the Holy Spirit to be this truth that we proclaim.

The Most Reverend Roger Herft is Archbishop of Perth
Metropolitan of the Province of Western Australia
diocese(at)perth.anglican.org
GPO Box W2067, Perth WA 6846
www.perth.anglican.org
March 2010