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

Ordinations 

Parents as pastors  

Holy Trinity, Launceston 

Give up vain and fruitless cares 

Faithprints  

St Johns, Launceston

Forget Your Age!

Anglicare News – Research

Anglicare – Volunteers

Launceston South Combined Parish

KLT Summer program

KLT – More activities

in-da-net

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.

(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)

A Prayer for Synod

A Guiding Prayer for Anglican Church of Tasmania’s Synod 12,13 June 2015

Loving and Gracious God,
you ever call us to new life in Jesus your Son
in whose name we serve.

We acknowledge our need of you.
We confess that we have sinned,
in our thoughts, our words,
and our deeds of commission and omission.

Give us the gift of your Holy Spirit,
to inspire and lead us,
that, together, we may offer you worship and praise.
In the spirit of Christ’s love and grace,
help us to focus on the challenges before us,
to listen with humility and care,
to ask good questions and to listen,
and to encourage one another, even as we may disagree.

So bless our prayerful work
that many men and women, boys and girls
come to know and love Jesus
and grow as his missionary disciples.

To the glory of God the Father
through his Son Jesus Christ our Lord
and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Amen.

Prayer for the abused & abusers

Today the burden of the horror and tragedy of abuse, especially child sexual abuse, and domestic/ family violence have descended upon me. How I yearn for a healthy Australia.

In my despair, I turn to the God of Life who in the words of this morning’s collect is the One who in love yearns for us that we might live in love for one another.

Eternal God and Father,
by whose power we are created
and by whose love we are redeemed:
guide and strengthen us by your Spirit,
that we may give ourselves to your service,
and live this day in love to one another and to you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

 

Words are so inadequate to capture the heart, yet my heart and mind crave to form the turmoil and pain and speak it out in plea and passion to God while straining for even the barest glimmer of hope in this darkness.

I turn to my prayer book and ask, however inarticulately, God to hear the deep sentiments of my heart, sentiments so embedded in this prayer –

A Prayer for those suffering abuse

Loving God,
whose Son was both victim and victor,
we cry to you for those who suffer abuse,
(especially…- and I include people I know)
Be with them in confusion and pain.
Heal the wounds of body and mind;
break open the prisons of fear, self-doubt and despair;
and strengthen them to face the future with faith, hope and courage.
Enable us to listen, to believe and to love.
Reach out to them with your love,
that they may be made whole in body, mind and spirit,
through the healing touch of the suffering Christ. Amen.

and I pray this prayer too –

A Prayer for those who abuse

Judge of all the earth,
God of justice,
we bring before you all who abuse others.
Turn the hearts of the violent from the way of evil.
Fill them with a hatred of the damage they do,
so bringing them to true repentance
and amendment of their lives,
for Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.

(From A Prayer Book for Australia, The Anglican Church of Australia 1995.)

In times of turmoil, I also turn for words to express something of my heart, to Archbishop Oscar Romero’s prayer/ poem, A Future Not Our Own (also known as ‘The Long View’).

Jesus: The Good Shepherd

I recently spoke about the Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd. To illustrate this, I took my Pastoral Staff. Here are some of my speaking notes for the Chapel Service at The Hutchins School:

Jesus  is the Good Shepherd
Jesus said,
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me. “John 10: 11-14 (NIV)

Bishops crook

What does a shepherd do?
Looks after sheep
How?
By being watchful, alert
Caves/responsible for the sheep

(a) Shepherd’s staff
To help rescue sheep when tangled in a bush
Keeps the sheep’s head above water in a drenching dip
To fight off wild dogs

(b) Shepherd’s lantern
So the shepherd can see at night

 

(c) Shepherd leads the sheep to good pasture and water

In many ways and by many means, a shepherd protects and nurtures his sheep

In a similar way, Jesus is like a shepherd to us because He:
Watches over us
Leads us to a way of life that is healthy, purposeful, caring

Jesus is the Good Shepherd
Who wants the very best for your life
Who wants you to live with joy and
Who gives meaning to your life

Jesus is always there for you!

Engaging with Islam

I met with Samuel Green recently and he kindly gave me a copy of a training DVD – Engaging with Islam.  This training course equips Christians to explain their faith to Muslims, and to speak sensibly about Islam.  The course is a mixture of preparation, discussion, and video presentation.  If you would like to run this as a course, Leader notes are provided.  Course notes are also available from the website: www.engagingwithislam.org.

The DVD includes the following topics:

Love Everyone
Life of Muhammad
Qur’an & Hadith
Basic Beliefs
Pillars of Islam
Politics
Talking with Muslims
Bible & Qur’an
Gospel According to Muhammad
Is Jesus God?
Son of God & Trinity
Death of Jesus

For those who would like to know more about Islam and how to connect with and share Christianity to Muslims, I would encourage you to purchase these DVDs (available from Koorong) and have a look at the Engaging with Islam website which has some wonderful resources. Other resources from Samuel Green, http://answering-islam.org/Green/

See also, the excellent book by my episcopal mentor, Bishop John Wilson, Christianity Alongside Islam, Book Review here  and  my Address at the Book’s Launch.

Murder Mystery on Flinders Island

Joy cometh with the Mourning book coverEarlier in the year I visited the enchanting Flinders Island and met some of the Anglican community.  One of these people was Dave Freer who is the author of the book “Joy Cometh with the Mourning“.  I brought a copy of this e book and thoroughly enjoyed the captivating read. The characters are well developed and the lively plot has engaging twists and turns. I am told that the book is pitched to 30 year olds, and I can say that it is also enjoyed by this reader at double that age! Enjoy! :-)

The Bush Church Aid (BCA) recently published an article about this book, so I thought I would share this with you.  I encourage you to buy this book as you will enjoy it and the sale of which helps the ministry of the Furneaux Islands. The BCA (edited) article:

“As a fundraiser for our small Anglican Parish here of the Furneaux Islands, one of our congregation – Dave Freer, who is a professional author of 20 novels – has written a ‘Cosy’ Whodunnit and donated the book’s rights to the church.  The book is about Reverend Joy, who is a rather timid, urban priest, sent out to a little parish far beyond the black stump. Her predecessor was found dead in his own church under mysterious circumstances. Joy finds herself having to heal the rifts this has caused in a tight-knit rural community. The only way to do that is to solve the mystery surrounding Reverend Hallam’s death.

“It is a gentle, comfort-read about the quirky characters, the loves and the warmth of country people and has been described as somewhere between an Agatha Christie and a Miss Read novel. L. Jagi Lamplighter, an American children’s author, has said about the book, “It is the kind of book that one can share with one’s non-Christian friends, and yet the strength of the character’s faith shines through.”

“The cover was painted by Anne Davis, one of the artists in our congregation.

“So we offer you a good read with “Joy Cometh With The Mourning” (available as an e-book for $3.99, on Amazon, or paper copy for $11.99).”

To read the complete Autumn edition of the Real Australian, please select this link.

To find out more about BCA (Bush Church Aid) please see this link.

PS A note from the Parish of the Furneaux Islands:

“Our parish, without a Rector, is waiting, praying and hoping. However on the Furneaux Islands, the church is alive!  Exciting opportunities for engaging with the community have challenged us and lifted our spirits.

“Sadly, our congregations do not often include children and it is difficult to engage meaningfully with young families.  But twice this year we have been able to provide programmes for children when there have been ‘pupil-free’ days at the school.”

Let’s support the Parish through the purchase and gifting of Dave Freer who is the author of the book “Joy Cometh with the Mourning“.