Armidale Anglican Bishop and politicians Adam Marshall and Barnaby Joyce say Merry Christmas

Armidale Anglican bishop Rick Lewers.
Armidale Anglican bishop Rick Lewers.

Anglican bishop Rick Lewers has urged families to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas today.

Telling a story about Sinbad the sailor, who landed on a whale, believing it was an island, the bishop used it as a metaphor to explain why people needed to remember the birth of Jesus on Christmas Day.

While reflecting on everything else that can get our attention on Christmas Day, including presents and food, Bishop Lewers said people could miss the true meaning.

“Christmas is always about Him,” he said.

You can see the bishop’s message in the video below.

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Meanwhile, Armidale Regional Council mayor Simon Murray has said he hopes everyone has a safe and happy Christmas.

“I hope everyone gets together with family – that’s very important,” he said.

And as for his typical Christmas lunch – Cr Murray likes cold chicken, ham and maybe a beer or two.

We can get so caught up with what we think is an island, but it’s actually a whale.

Bishop Rick Lewers

Christmas message from Anglican Bishop Rick Lewers:

Christmas messages from our members of parliament

Adam Marshall, State Member for Northern Tablelands:

Another year has almost passed and these next weeks provide us all with the perfect opportunity to slow down, reflect on the year’s achievements and celebrate this wonderful Christmas season with family and friends.

Christmas is a time to be thankful for the all the good things we enjoy in life, appreciate our family, friends and work colleagues who support and nurture us during the year and remember the true Christmas message of humility and generosity towards each other. And as we join together with our loved ones, let us also spare a thought for those less fortunate than ourselves.

It has been another busy and productive year throughout the Northern Tablelands and I’ve again enjoyed working with our local communities on many projects and issues and had the pleasure of meeting so many volunteers who are making such a strong contribution to our wonderful region.

Some of the landmark anniversaries and records of service are quite remarkable. The quiet achievers in our area who have given decades of service to the Rural Fire Service or their local CWA branch, our hidden treasures who achieve so much with very little reward. They all show great generosity of spirit and are major contributors to our quality of life here in the country.

This year has seen incredible investment by government in our region, with local communities seeing the dividends of their unceasing hard work and passion. I am continually reminded of why I’m so proud to represent this region. There is a palpable sense of optimism and drive in communities right across the Northern Tablelands, big and small and from shopfronts to primary producers.

Looking ahead, there is much to be excited about with many more opportunities to enrich our region – but it won’t always be easy.  Next year is set to be bigger, busier and more challenging.  I’m really looking forward to it!

My staff join with me in wishing all Northern Tablelands residents a joyous and peaceful Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2018.

Barnaby Joyce, Federal Member for New England:

I would like to once again extend a sincere thank you to the people of New England for your support in what has been an incredibly busy end to the year in 2017.

It feels great to be back in the driver’s seat, pushing for rural and regional issues important to you here in the New England.

Issues such as roads and the Australian Government’s $65 million contribution for the Scone bypass which was signed off in May or our $55 million commitment to upgrade the notorious stretch of New England Highway at Bolivia Hill.

This Christmas, many of you will have greater access to contact friends and family with more than 75 per cent of New England now NBN-ready as well as improved mobile phone coverage with new base stations activated this year at Kings Plains, South Tamworth, West Tamworth, Taminda and Armidale East among others.

We’re attracting more local jobs to the region with our decentralisation policy, starting with the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority’s (APVMA) relocation from Canberra to Armidale, which will also benefit from a joint-funded $10.5 million airport upgrade, as well as more support for small business including tax cuts to the lowest rate in decades.

We will have fairer electricity prices with the latest National Energy Guarantee modelling indicating wholesale electricity prices will fall on average by 23 per cent to 2030. When it comes to emissions, the Guarantee will ensure Australia meets its international commitment with a 26 per cent reduction in the National Electricity Market emissions.

We’re also powering ahead in regional development with facilities like the Northern Inland Centre of Sporting Excellence taking shape near Tamworth’s AELEC thanks to the $8.5 million commitment from the Coalition Government.

These projects only scratch the surface of the many achievements and milestones in the New England which I’ve been passionately advocating for in 2017, and there is plenty more to come next year.

I wish you a safe, happy and enjoyable Christmas and New Year and look forward to getting on with the job in 2018 of representing you in parliament.

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