WITH the question “well, where’s the coffee?”, Anglican Bishop Ian Palmer and his wife Elizabeth made their first stop at St Barnabas Anglican Church on day three of their trek through the central west.
Twenty Orange East parishioners on the corner of McLachlan and Dora Streets gave a cheer and a clap as they spotted their leader make his way up Summer Street East at 10.15am on Tuesday.
They greeted him with morning tea and sent him on his way with a prayer.
Bishop Palmer is moving to Dubbo to take on the duties of parish priest while continuing his work as bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst.
He said the 217-kilometre pilgrimage he and his wife were undertaking from their old home in Bathurst to their new one in Dubbo was a chance for him to reflect on the state of the diocese.
The diocese is in financial trouble, owing close to $40 million to the Commonwealth Bank.
“It’s good to be able to walk through the diocese, to think, talk and pray. It allows time to stop and see things. It’s deliberately a pilgrimage of prayer for the diocese,” Bishop Palmer said.
His move will mark the end of an era, as Bathurst has been the seat of the Anglican bishop since the diocese was established 150 years ago.
Mrs Palmer agreed the pilgrimage was symbolic of a new chapter for the Bathurst diocese.
“It feels like it’s going to be the start of something new, it’s something that has not been done before, so we’ll see how it goes,” she said.
“I have mixed feelings on the move; moving is not high on my list of things I want to do. I feel like I only just settled in Bathurst after two years, but Dubbo is a lovely place. The people are warm and very welcoming.”
After covering 10 kilometres from Emu Swamp to St Barnabas, the couple and their support crew had lunch at Holy Trinity Anglican Church, before walking to St Phillip’s Church in March for evening prayers, with an overnight stop in Mullion Creek.
Taking back roads to their destination, they are expected to arrive in Dubbo at noon on Saturday.