‘Inspirational Words': Launceston Church Grammar School

Tristan Jamson, a student from Launceston Church Grammar School shared the following ‘Inspirational Words’ at my final Bishop’s Day School Assembly:

History is a wonderful thing. From history we learn of our most significant achievements and our biggest mistakes. We hear of the voices, ideas, actions and contributions of the great heroes of humanity. We see the atrocities that have been brought upon society by war, hatred and ignorance.

History is very special, because it gives us the opportunity to reflect upon the events that have shaped our world into what it is today. It gives us an ability to confidently make judgements as to whether certain past events were good or bad, whether we want to see more like them or why they never should have happened in the first place. But the thing about history is that it is forever being written, by us.

I’m sure for some of you, history means just another less-than-stimulating class time experience. But realise this.
Every day you live you are given the chance to contribute to history, to engage with the world around you, to make your mark and to be more than just another face in the crowd. Being part of history isn’t all about revolutionary events with a global audience. History is made from the day-to-day and what you choose that day to be. Whether it be achieving something of importance to you, or just helping out a friend. Whether it be playing your part in your team’s win or volunteering your time for a worthy cause. Whether it be making someone view an idea in a way that they’ve never viewed it before or standing up for something you believe in and not taking ‘no’ for an answer, no matter how insignificant the details may be. You are constantly changing the course of history by getting up everyday and doing what matters to you.

This year Australia lost a true statesman. Malcolm Fraser, Australia’s 22nd Prime Minister, who was in office from 1975 to 1983, passed away on the 20th of March 2015 at the age of 84. Fraser was a man who believed and advocated very strongly in universal equality, and he never let politics get in the way of showing this. He endorsed most vocally the value of multiculturalism in Australian society and his legacy of this still exists today in the form of the SBS and the Australian Ethnic Affairs Council. In one of Malcolm Fraser’s last ever interviews, when asked if he wanted to be thought well of in history, he answered, “I suppose at my age whatever historians right about me has all pretty well been written. If history thinks well of you that’s fine, but history has thought well of some pretty disreputable characters at times. Maybe what’s more important is to try and do your best and to know for yourself that you’ve tried to do your best, and have stuck by ideas or principles that you think are important.” So consider this.

We will not all be the Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi of a civil rights movement. We will not all be the Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs of the development of modern technology. We will not all be the Albert Einstein or Stephen Hawking of physical sciences. We will not all be the Leonardo da Vinci or Pablo Picasso of the arts. You may not even have the honour of being captain of the Grammar surfing team. But what is important is that you contribute to the world what you would have yourself contribute, so that you may be satisfied when you have to leave it. We are all given a life on the known condition that it must one day be taken away from us. We are all born with the knowledge that our existence cannot and will not last forever. Such a thought is of course sad to think about, but it can be a very liberating feeling to accept that your time is limited. So do not wait to make history in your own right. Do the things that matter to you. Be the change that you wish to see in the world, so that you may have the ability to say that the one you left was better than the one you came into.

Live your life so that you may have no regrets. As the timeless Latin expression goes, Carpe Diem; seize the day.

You can’t afford not to, because you simply have no time to waste.

(permission to publish granted)

Sparklit 2015 Book of the Year: Shortlist

Sparklit encourages life-changing Christian writing so that lives, communities and cultures are transformed as people discover Jesus in a way that is authentic and culturally meaningful.

The Australian Christian Book of the Year, Young Australian Christian Writer and Teen Writer awards are given annually for original writing by Australian citizens. These awards recognise and encourage excellence in Australian Christian writing.

The 2015 Australian Book of the Year Shortlist details are:

The Suburban Captivity of the Church: Contextualising the Gospel for Post-Christian Australia by Tim Foster (Acorn Press)
Captains of the Soul: A History of Australian Army Chaplains by Michael Gladwin (Big Sky Publishing)
Jonathan Edwards and the Church by Rhys Bezzant (Oxford University Press)
Time Poor Soul Rich by Anne Winckel (Ark House Press)
A Doubter’s Guide to the Bible by John Dickson (Zondervan)
The Wisdom of Islam and the Foolishness of Christianity by Richard Shumack (Island View Publishing)
What if? by Kristen Young (Fervr)
Giving Generously by Rod Irvine (Barton Books)
The Gospel of the Lord by Michael Bird (Eerdmans)

The Australian Christian Book of the Year will be announced during the 2015 SparkLit Celebration Supper on Thursday 13 August, commencing at 7:30pm (St Alfred’s Anglican Church, Blackburn North, Victoria)

Buy tickets online or use your credit card and call 1300 13 77 25 or write to admin@sparklit.org

15th Anniversary Ordination as Bishop

Today is the Anniversary of my Ordination as Bishop of Tasmania on St James’ Day, 25 July 2000.

As I reflect on that humbling, joyful, overwhelming occasion I am reminded of the St James The Apostle Day prayer (APBA page 616) and the prayer’s ongoing seeking of God’s strength for ‘self-denying service’. May the Holy Spirit empower this spirit of Christ within and through me. Amen.

O gracious God,
whose apostle James left his father and all that he had,
and without delay obeyed the call of your Son Jesus Christ:
pour out upon the leaders of your Church
the same spirit of self-denying service
by which alone they may have true authority
among your people;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.

See explanation of St James the Apostle, 11th Anniversary of Bishoping

Prayer for our Churches

Paul Cavanough shared the following prayer points at our Wednesday staff devotions:

These are my eight prayer requests for churches in 2015:

For greater emphasis on prayer. Many, if not most, churches have a woeful emphasis on corporate prayer. Churches who do not give prayer a high priority are churches without God’s power.

For standing firm on biblical truth. Culture is trying to push our congregations away from the truths of Scripture. We cannot yield to that pressure. If we do, our congregations cease to be true, biblical churches.

For greater unity in our churches. There is too much infighting in many of our congregations. And there is too much disunity from church to church. The world is watching our fights. “Now this is His command: that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another as He commanded us” (1 John 3:23).

For greater intentionality in evangelism. The typical church in Tasmania is doing very little to share the gospel of Christ boldly and intentionally. May we be so grateful for what Christ has done for us that “we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20).

For greater emphasis on groups. Churches should grow larger by growing smaller. A church member not in a small group is not fully committed to the body.

For membership to be more meaningful. For many churches, membership has become nearly meaningless. For others, membership is a perceived entitlement, much like club membership. I pray that membership in our congregations will become truly biblical as the Apostle Paul demonstrated in 1 Corinthians 12.

For clear plans of discipleship. Too many congregations cannot clearly articulate how members can become more obedient followers of Christ.

For more ministry involvement and impact in our communities. I pray that our churches will become known by the positive impact they have in their respective communities. As we obey Acts 1:8, we must first be obedient to our own Jerusalem.

These are my eight prayers for our churches.

  • What do you think of them?
  • What are your prayers for your congregations?

(Paul acknowledges his reading in this area from ‘Lifeway Christian Resources’, ‘The Christian Leadership Journal’, and many others who have written on the topic of prayer and work life.’)

NAIDOC Week 2015

Aunty Idas table_NADOC week 09072015I spent time Thursday afternoon of NAIDOC Week 2015 at Wybalenna on Flinders Island, Tasmania, and reflected on the terrible tragedy of the indigenous suffering, dispossession and death.

The challenging words of my beautiful sister and Elder Aunty Ida West continue to inspire my commitment to peace making and reconciliation.
“It’s pretty important you know, the land, it doesn’t matter how small, it’s something … just a little sacred site … that’s Wybalenna.  

There was a massacre there, sad things there but we try not to go over that.

Where the bad was, we can always make it good”.

1995 – Aunty Ida West.

[Words from the inscription on the table in the ‘Aunty Ida West Healing Garden’ at the Wybalenna Chapel. See following photograph.]

Chapel and Auntie Ida West's Healing Garden in Chapel grounds

See also, Liturgy of Reconciliation  and  Reconciliation Week; ‘See the person, not the stereotype’  and  Celebration of Reconciliation   and  The Water Ceremony  and  Ecumenical Reconciliation Service.

Tasmanian Anglican Articles – June 2015

Over the last few months both Gayelene and myself have seen how God has been involved in our future plans.  My article which is titled “Do we see God’s hand”? is not just about us ending this part of our season here in Tasmania but to remind you of how God wants to be involved in your lives.  May you be encouraged as you read my article.

……God’s tender hand in the life of all his followers is affirmed again and again in the Bible: See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands. (Isaiah 49:16)
God values each and every one with the value of his own self-giving; God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:10) and Christ promises his ongoing presence with his disciples: Look. I am with you until the end of the age. (Matthew 28:20)…….
My full article is available here: From the Bishop

Other articles include:
Palm Sunday in Huonville
St James Hall, New Town


Parents as pastors  

Holy Trinity, Launceston 

Give up vain and fruitless cares 


St Johns, Launceston

Forget Your Age!

Anglicare News – Research

Anglicare – Volunteers

Launceston South Combined Parish

KLT Summer program

KLT – More activities


Family Violence & Domestic Abuse Synod Motion

Domestic Abuse/ Family Violence
That this Synod,

  1. deplores the horrific levels of family violence in the Tasmanian Community,
  2. grieves with those who have suffered the pain and trauma of any form of domestic abuse,
  3. recognises that such abuse occurs within the Christian community and the congregations of the Diocese of Tasmania,
  4. maintains that family violence is absolutely unacceptable in any circumstance, and
  5. commits the Diocese of Tasmania to work to changing community values from those which allow this abuse to occur to those which foster respectful and safe relationships.

Further this Synod urges the Bishop to

  1. further use the Office of the Bishop to raise awareness of family violence and all forms of domestic abuse,
  2. ensure that copies of “Responding to domestic abuse: Guidelines for those with pastoral responsibilities”, (Church of England, 2006*) and other suitable materials are made available to Anglican organisations and parishes (clergy, pastoral workers and members of Parish Council) within the Diocese of Tasmania to facilitate a culture of awareness in organisations, parishes and parish leadership, and seek responses from Anglican organisations and parishes on this material so that within 12 months a resource for the Tasmanian Church can be prepared thereby a) ensuring that clergy and pastoral workers are adequately equipped and resourced to respond to family violence and all forms of domestic abuse, b) implementing protocols and standards for pastoral, parochial and organisational responses to family violence and all forms of domestic abuse.

The Very Revd Richard Humphrey’s speech for the first part of the Motion & The Venerable Helen Phillips sermon to conclude the motion can be found here: RCH Speech to the First part of the motion_Synod 2015

Responding to domestic abuse: Guidelines for those with pastoral responsibilities (Church of England, 2006) can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/media/1163604/domesticabuse.pdf

A recent speech by the Governor of Tasmania entitled Towards Ethical Relationships: addressing sexual and family violence is valuable in thinking through these issues and can be viewed here: http://www.govhouse.tas.gov.au/sites/default/files/speeches/webber_lecture_-_20_may_15.pdf

Media report on the Synod’s work on Domestic / Family Violence is here.

Synod: Doing more to stop Domestic Violence

Tasmania’s Anglican Church vows to do more to stop domestic violence

Tasmania’s Anglican Church is the latest organisation to ramp up its focus on domestic violence.

Members of the church will be trained to recognise the signs of domestic violence and how to respond.

Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, John Harrower, said the Church wanted to deal with the issue head on.

“What we would like to do is better equip our people, both our ministers and our lay people, so that when they are in contact with people who are suffering domestic or family violence, and also with the people who are committing the violence, [they are] wise and trained,” he said.

“It’s a fairly broad brush approach that we are taking, to basically equip ourselves better so that we can understand how to help people who are both suffering and also the perpetrators of the abuse.”

Family violence is the leading cause of death or disability in women under the age of 45 in Australia.

Tasmanian Police said 1,900 cases have been reported this financial year until March – that amounted to about 50 calls a day.

But Mr Harrower said it was still a topic many people were uncomfortable with.

“I think often it’s so overwhelming when you come across one of these terrible situations and you just don’t know where to turn,” he said.

“It can be difficult when these things are happening, especially if they’re happening with a family in a church community and so we need to be trained in how to deal with these people.

“Because we’re Christians, we can too quickly run to forgiveness and think, ‘Oh well, you must forgive the person without actually dealing with the fact that the person is actually doing this terrible thing and they need to change their behaviours’.”

Whole community must be involved: Dean

About 200 church representatives are meeting in Launceston over the next two days for the Tasmanian Anglican Synod.

The Dean of St David’s Cathedral in Hobart, Richard Humphrey, will put a motion to the congregation in an effort to bring the issue of domestic violence into the spotlight.

He said the Church had an important role to play in stamping out the problem.

“Legal frameworks cannot change society values,” he said.

“It must be the society itself which makes the changes, to say violence is unacceptable.

“The whole community needs to be involved in this issue.

“Every community organisation, all levels of society, need to be involved in this.”

Mr Humphrey said the Church needed to look at how it could work the issue into its teachings.

“In marriage preparation courses, which many of us do, to build in material about responding to domestic violence into that pre-marriage education,” he said.

“It might mean, for example, having a poster in your churches so that people know what numbers there are to contact.”

Anglicare Tasmania chief executive Chris Jones said he believed the Church was a good place to start a conversation within the local community.

“We want to be able to air the issue, we want to be able to point to some ways forward, some positive things that people can do to prevent it occurring,” he said.

“We want small, local communities where these issues occur to respond, to resource local people to be able to come up with local solutions.”

See, Tasmania’s Anglican Church vows to do more to stop domestic violence

Synod: Media release 11 June 2015

The following Media Release was issued on the 11th June: Church to Speak Out on Domestic Violence

The annual Tasmanian Anglican Synod will discuss a number of current political and social issues when it meets over the next 2 days.

The Synod will be asked to support a motion from The Dean of St David’s Cathedral, The Very Rev’d Richard Humphrey, raising awareness on domestic/family violence and making resources available for the church in its pastoral role.

The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, The Right Reverend John Harrower, will speak in his address to Synod of the new ideas and new ways of being church that are already being put into place, and showing healthy growth.

Bishop Chris Jones, CEO of Anglicare Tasmania, will be putting forward a motion expressing concern at the findings of Anglicare’s latest Rental Affordability Snapshot, and raising this issue with the State Government Minister for Human Services.

The Synod includes around 180 representatives from each Anglican parish and agency in Tasmania and makes decisions on behalf of the Church. The Synod is being held at the Tailrace Centre, 1 Waterfront Drive, Riverside (Launceston), on Friday 12thand Saturday 13th June.

Please see the following link to the story on ABC News: Tasmania’s Anglican Church vows to do more to stop domestic violence

Also, Presidential Address to Synod 2015

Presidential Address to Synod 2015

This is the Presidential Address I delivered to Synod in Launceston today – 12 June 2015:

The Significance of Belief

We are here today because we are believers.

We believe certain things and we act on them.

We believe in one God, the Father, the almighty, maker of heaven and earth.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life ….

We believe and we act on this belief.

We act in word and deed to honour and serve God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

We are here today because we believe these things and we act on them.

Christian belief is not well understood today.

Dr Augusto Zimmermann in his Address at the Opening of the Legal Year in Tasmania, 2015, stated,

Since our modern (Australian) society is viewed largely as “secular” and “multicultural,” Christianity is almost never mentioned, much less promoted, in political and intellectual discourse. When it is mentioned among the nation’s public figures, Christian values and traditions are sometimes critiqued, even brushed aside with contempt.

And Christians are not the only ones who are not well understood.

in today’s western societies the concept of an entirely secular public square has achieved significant political support. Broadly speaking, the idea implies that everyone ought to support their positions about law, politics, and public policy on solely non- religious grounds.

This failure to recognise the significance of religious belief often leads to grave misunderstanding.

My full address can be found here. The audio of my address can be found here

(Dr Augusto Zimmermann, The Myth of “Secular Neutrality” and the Privatisation of Religion, Address at the Opening of the Legal Year in Tasmania, St David’s Cathedral, Hobart TAS, January 30th 2015, available here)