To celebrate the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn marking its 150th Birthday, Bishop Stuart Robinson will embark on a 6 week long walk with a 2 metre cross starting in Eden and arriving in Canberra on Easter Saturday. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
As you toil without chocolate, coffee or another vice this Lent, spare a thought for the bishop you may witness lugging a large cross through a town near you.
Bishop Stuart Robinson will begin a six-week pilgrimage on Saturday morning, taking a two-metre wooden cross 514 kilometres, spreading the Christian message through the Anglican Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
"Initially, I think, because it's such an unusual idea, people did do a bit of a double take and said 'you're carrying a what, where, how?'" Bishop Robinson said.
"But people now see the value of it, because it will give me an opportunity, as I'm travelling, to speak to people about the Christian message … and to be connecting with people who we might not normally connect with.
"Over the years various Christian leaders have carried crosses at significant moments in history, and given the fact it's Canberra's 100th anniversary, and the 150th anniversary of our diocese, I thought it might be appropriate for the Anglican Bishop to be doing just that."
Following a biblical lead, Bishop Robinson will start in Eden and finish in Canberra on Easter Saturday.
"Eden joins the Victorian border, which is the southern limit of the diocese that I'm responsible for, so it has all kinds of significance," he said.
"We're going from the very southern end of the diocese to the very centre of our nation's capital - via our See city, where the cathedral is, in Goulburn."
But the cross is not one he'll bear alone. Bishop Robinson, 53, will carry the wooden structure - which has a wheel for support - through most of the main centres, with clergy and other volunteers assisting in between, with a little modern technology thrown in.
"Some people are walking it, sometimes it's going by boat … sometimes it'll be in the back of a truck, sometimes it'll be in my car, so planes, trains and automobiles really," Bishop Robinson said.
He has not done any specific training for the pilgrimage, but thinks the seven or eight kilometres he walks a day should serve him well.
"I live at the bottom of Mount Ainslie and I've got a dog that loves to chase rabbits and kangaroos, so I think I'm getting some good resistance training from doing that every day," he joked.
"I actually don't know the weight of [the cross], but it's certainly not onerous. I imagine I'll come back in one piece … unlike Jesus."
For the towns which miss the pilgrimage this year, Bishop Robinson says it won't be his last.
"We'll be doing it this year and the following two years in the Lent period. In doing that I'll come into Canberra from three different angles into the capital city from across the diocese.
"I think we'll learn things as we go in terms of what works and what doesn't and hopefully it will build momentum."