Diocese of Rockhampton

The Diocese of Rockhampton covers the vast area of the whole of Central Queensland, with a population of 200,000. There are 22 Parishes spread over this area. Rockhampton is the major city, also known as the Beef Capital of Australia.

There are currently  three Branches, one Fellowship and one Caritas, all centred in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast.  Membership stands at approx 80. Because of the vast distances there are 8 lone members who are kept up to date with all that goes on in MU.

MU functions are well attended and members enjoy a great fellowship. Monthly meetings revolve around our five Objects, and this year (2017) we are, as a diocese, attempting to synchronise our activities around the events of the Church year or society generally.  For example,

  • Marriage activities are to coincide with Marriage Week in September,
  • Domestic Violence in November, families,
  • parenting and mothering in March-April-May which is also Lent and Easter, so there is a deeper emphasis on Worship and Prayer then as well.  Our Wave of Prayer is currently in May also.
  • Children feature in August with a creative afternoon following themes such as Spring, Teddy Bears, Light. Though primarily for the newly baptised, all children are invited, including non-church families.

Members help out in many aspects of Parish and Community life including – 

  • Baptism preparation and follow-up
  • helping and visiting the elderly and those in hospital
  • making palm crosses, and simnel cakes and posies for Mothering Sunday
  • Participating in all rosters and church activities
  • A contribution to the annual Diocesan Lay Retreat
  • pamper packs for Women’s shelter
  • Muffins and water for the annual city Homeless Connect event
  • Advocacy on social issues
  • 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence   

Diocesan events include:

  • a Quiet Day to begin the year,
  • celebration of Lady Day in the Cathedral, 
  • Mary Sumner Day rotates around the branch parishes,
  • and members are rostered for the 3 days of the Wave of Prayer.

Rockhampton Diocese MU commemorated its Centenary in 2011. In the lead up to the celebration a special candle processed through the parishes to be in the Cathedral in time for their Celebration Eucharist. A smaller candle was presented to the Blackall parish where MU began.

A tapestry centenary cushion now graces the sanctuary of the Cathedral as a permanent reminder of this, and the centenary candle is used on Diocesan MU occasions.  

Approximately $2,500 to assist a Literacy Programme in Papua/New Guinea was raised as a Centenary project.

The Australian theme in 2014 was “God gives a Future”. During an Orientation Day to start the year, the Diocesan Council was asked to consider “Is there anything that you would like to see us do, that we could do? Two suggestions came up:

  1. That a Thought for the Week from MU be produced for inclusion in parish pew. This was widely and immediately accepted by Australian Executive, and our Prayer and Spirituality Coordinator took it on board, so that it is now part of what we do.  Many parishes throughout Australia use it, and it is now on the UK website, also.
  2. Our Diocesan Social Responsibilities Coordinator asked us to do something to raise awareness of the terrible scourge of Domestic Violence, of which the Rockhampton region has the highest incidence inEnlisting the support of the Police and Anglicare, and now Relationships Australia, has led to some very worthwhile initiatives including a free Sausage Sizzle in a local playground for White Ribbon Day, and the establishing of a Women’s Shelter on the Capricorn Coast which the local Council has taken on board, with great interest from Anglicare and other local community DV groups. Progress is being made on this, though it will be a Safe House to start with, given the distribution of funds for two new Women’s Shelters in Queensland went to Townsville and the Gold Coast. Cyclone Marcia held up the proceedings for many months.

We are also very keen to work on prevention, promoting the Choose Respect Code of Behaviour where we can in schools etc., and also at the White Ribbon Day event.

In conjunction with the diocese, we have organised a Community Vigil for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence in both 2015 and 2016, with excellent support from many sections of the Community. 

For the 140 year Anniversary of Mothers’ Union in 2016, every member was given a little calico flag to decorate and inscribe with what MU meant to them.  We ended up with a magnificent length of bunting, with 70 flags illustrating the collective achievements of MU in the Diocese.  The bunting was displayed in each parish for a couple of weeks, and was taken to Melbourne for Australia Council in 2016. We also had an “Interview” with Mary Sumner, which was also performed at Australia Council and other Dioceses have requested the script. Parishioners commented that they had no idea of the extent of MU activities both locally and Australia and worldwide.

On Lady Day 2017, as part of the Lady Day Eucharist, we began with the Candle Liturgy from our Worship Book to celebrate 125 years of MU in Australia.  During the Service we admitted three new members, and acknowledged many with Long Service awards and certificates, including Caritas members.

It is important that MU members pray and think positively about what needs action in our community, link with community groups already working in the chosen field, and much good can come of it.

 

 

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"Sharing Christ's love by encouraging, strengthening, and supporting marriage and family life."