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Consecration of Bishop Saibo Mabo, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of North Queensland

Posted on: March 8, 2002 3:11 PM
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Diocese of North Queensland Consecration of Bishop Saibo Mabo, Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of North Queensland and National Bishop to the Torres Strait Islands people from the Rt Rev Clyde Wood, Bishop of North Queensland

A large congregation of 600 people filled the Church and grounds of All Souls and St Bartholomew's Church, Thursday Island, for the consecration of Fr Saibo Mabo as a Bishop in the Church of God on Sunday 24th February, the Feast of St Matthias. Bishop Saibo will be an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of North Queensland, and will have the special responsibility of being Bishop to the people of the Torres Strait. The Most Rev Peter Carnley, Primate of Australia and Archbishop of Perth, and 15 other Bishops from the Anglican Church of Australia were present. Dr Phillip Aspinall, who is Archbishop of Brisbane and Metropolitan of Queensland lead the service and Archbishop Ian George had travelled from Adelaide to be present. The Most Rev Sir Ellison Pogo, Archbishop of Melanesia, Bishop Jabez Bryce, Primate of Polynesia, and Bishop Ben Te Haara, Maori bishop from New Zealand represented Anglican Churches in the Pacific region. Following Murray Island custom, the Bishop-elect was brought from his home, 200 metres from the Church, by Murray Island Elders and escorted to the steps of the Church.

There he was met by the presenting Bishops to be led into the Church. Half of the participants were unable to find a place inside the Church and therefore lined the path down which Fr Saibo was led before taking their seats under marquees erected along both sides of the Church. Double doors right along each side were opened so that those seated outside were able to see much of what was taking place inside. At a significant point in the service many crowded around the doorways to get a better look. The Metropolitan, Archbishop Aspinall escorted Mrs Sanya Mabo and the widow of the late Bishop Mosby, Mrs Marie Mosby into the Church. This was a symbolic expression especially for Mrs Mosby, that the time of waiting for a new Bishop had concluded and she could lay aside her responsibilities.

Bishop Richard Appleby, a former Bishop of the Northern Territory and now an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Brisbane preached the sermon. He reminded the congregation that Christian people are called to live as a foretaste of the Kingdom of God and he exhorted those present, especially the Torres Strait Island people to strive for that unity which would enable people to see that the Kingdom of God has come. Bishop Appleby's remarks were a reminder of the relational difficulties that has taken place in the Torres Strait, and the imperative for the new Bishop to work through his ministry and leadership overcome the divisions in the Torres Strait.

Many present at the service were excited by the magnificent singing which is always a feature of worship in the Torres Strait Some parts of the service were sung in the Meriam language, and visitors from elsewhere found that especially moving. After the service and a light luncheon everyone prepared for the evening festivities. People gathered again from 4.30pm, and by 6.30pm most of the 600 present in the morning gathered for a splendid feast. Visitors discussed eating dugong and turtle for the first time and once again the women of the Torres Strait excelled themselves, as only they can, in a wonderful feast.

After the feast everyone gathered outside and at about 7.45pm the dancing began. For visitors to the Torres Strait for the first this is always an overwhelming experience. Many of the Torres Strait communities were represented in the presentation of traditional dancing and most were impressed by a rousing display of men from Murray Island. After what had been a long and wonderful day, people began to drift off to bed from 10.30pm onwards. A climax of the evening was the presentation to Bishop Mabo of pectoral crosses from the South Pacific Anglican Council by Archbishop Sir Ellison Pogo, and by Bishop Jabez Bryce on behalf of the Diocese of Polynesia. Bishop Ben Te Haara brought to Bishop Mabo the gift of a stole from the Maori people.

Article from: Anglican Media Sydney