68 Jurist 114 (2008)
The Practice of Ecumenism in a Rural Australian Diocese

handle is hein.journals/juristcu68 and id is 119 raw text is: THE JURIST 68 (2008) 114-135

THE PRACTICE OF ECUMENISM IN A RURAL
AUSTRALIAN DIOCESE
BRIAN SPARKSMAN*
The structures for ecumenism at first glance seem to be thoroughly
covered by canonical literature. However, with a deeper reflection on
that same literature, a complementary framework for rural diocesan ac-
tivity may well emerge from an analysis of ecclesial, ecumenical, and ex-
periential factors. That reflection has been applied to the rural Diocese of
Toowoomba, situated in the southwest region of Queensland, Australia.
This paper advances ecumenism as a natural, logical, and strategically
important activity to support Christian life in Western Queensland. The
history of Catholic Church outreach, coupled with the collaborative ef-
forts of other Christian churches, correlate highly with experiential re-
search as to what informs the practice of the Christian faith in rural areas.
The necessity of ongoing ecumenical dialogue and the rationalization of
practices, structures, and personnel are seen as foundational to nurturing
Christian living which for generations has nurtured and been nurtured
through worship, the teaching of the faith, and an array of services and
community life.
Ecclesial Context
In area, the Diocese of Toowoomba is the second largest diocese in the
ecclesiastical Province of Queensland. I The province coincides with the
State of Queensland and has as its metropolitan see, Brisbane, the State
capital. Toowoomba is the only landlocked diocese in the province. Bris-
bane and the other suffragan dioceses; Cairns, Townsville and Rock-
hampton, all have access to the Pacific seaboard. The city of Toowoomba
sits scenically on the crest of the Great Dividing Range with only one
small rural parish between the eastern edge of the city and the boundary
with the Archdiocese of Brisbane. This eastern boundary is defined in
part by that same range and by some local watercourses. The other
boundaries are related to lines of latitude and longitude. The diocese cov-
ers 188,280 square miles (488,000 sq km), an area larger than the state of
* Chancellor, Diocese of Toowoomba, Australia
James Joseph Wiemers, West of the Range: Fifty Years of the Diocese of Toowoom-
ba (Diocese of Toowoomba Queensland, 1979.)

What Is HeinOnline?

With comprehensive coverage of government documents and more than 2,400 journals from inception on hundreds of subjects such as political science, criminal justice, and human rights, HeinOnline is an affordable option for colleges and universities. Documents have the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database.



Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?