­
EFAC Australia

Andrew Curnow introduces the Diocese of Bendigo.

When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’
This very evocative quote from our Lord comes from Luke 5 where Jesus calls the first disciples and lays down before them what was to become the mission of the Church. Two thousand years later it is the mission of the Diocese of Bendigo and just as it was for Jesus disciples, so it is for us who fish in the Diocese of Bendigo. We are called to ‘put out into deep water’.
What this has meant for me as Bishop in my leadership is that I have brought to the Diocese a deep passion for mission. I was deeply inspired some years ago by the work of missionary Bishop, Lesslie Newbigin, and the missiologist, David Bosch. In Transforming Mission (page 10) Bosch writes:

The missionary task is deep and broad.
The whole church bringing the whole gospel
to the whole world.

The Diocese of Bendigo covers about a third of Victoria. In Australian terms it is geographically manageable; being about seven hours long and five hours across. The Diocese begins about half-an-hour north of Melbourne at Mt Macedon. Bendigo is an hour-and-a-half from Melbourne. Eighty per cent of the Diocese is within an hour-and-a-half of Bendigo; the remaining twenty per cent is in the Mallee. Bendigo is a city of 100,000 people and the next biggest city is Mildura, five hours away to the north west.
There are 35 parishes and two affiliated congregations: the View Hill Fellowship and a Chinese Church, the House of True Light. The Parish of South East Bendigo is the largest Anglican parish in rural Victoria. The Diocese is diverse in terms of Anglican culture with every expression of Anglicanism to be found in the Diocese.
Enough of the geography! How is the Diocese being intentional about mission? The most significant strategy has been to get every parish and affiliated congregation to adopt a Mission Action Plan. The MAPS are based on the four Gospel values: Give, Grow, Teach and Serve.
For almost five years I have been encouraging parishes to work on one or two goals under each value and across the Diocese I believe we are beginning to bear fruit. In some parishes we are seeing the numbers of people attending Church grow.
Two other strategies I mention are the work of our Diocesan Board of Ministry. It has endorsed three forms of ordained ministry for deacons and priests:

Stipendiary Ministry (those in charge of parishes)
Ordained Local Ministry (supporting stipendiary ministry)
Ordained Pioneer Ministry (This is a more explicit ‘fishing’ or evangelistic ministry.)

The Ordained Pioneer Ministry focuses on work in the wider community, outside traditional church structures. We currently have five OPMs: three involved in community ministry, one in indigenous ministry, and one to Bendigo’s cycling community. This is a new and exciting initiative, but very early in its development.
The other strategy is Back to Church Sunday. Again this initiative is in its infancy, but based on experience in the UK I am deeply committed to embedding it in the life of the Diocese.
Lastly, as Bishop I see myself as a missionary. I am out there to encourage and equip our ministers, and at the same time, in any way I can, proclaim the Gospel of the Good News of Jesus! 

Right Reverend Andrew Curnow
Bishop of Bendigo
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Anglican Diocese of Bendigo
4 Myers Street, PO Box 2, Bendigo Victoria 3552
www.bendigoanglican.org.au

­