Hospital Chaplaincy Services

During a briefing visit with the Chaplaincy Service at the Royal Hobart Hospital and Repatriation Campus, I learnt the following information about the work of the chaplains and the various reasons for which people request their ministry. I have their permission to share this helpful information with you. Please hold their ministry in prayer.

Chaplains work both denominationally and are also allocated to inpatient  and are part of the multidisciplinary team working together for the wellbeing of the patient.

Admission to hospital for treatment can cause a major crisis for patients and their families and carers. It can be a period of uncertainty and insecurity and often a time of separation from the people and community of which they are part.

It has the potential to start people questioning significant life issues and to question personal and spiritual relationships.

Pastoral care in its broadest sense is any form of sincere concern extended by one person toward another who is in need, and is performed with some degree of consciousness of God’s presence and love.

10 Reasons Why you Might Ask a Chaplain to Visit You

  1. You would like someone to pray with you for extra strength.
  2. You would like your community clergy person to come and visit, but you don’t know how to contact him/her.
  3. You would like to have Holy Communion.
  4. You have spiritual questions you would like to talk to someone about.
  5. You or a loved one is going to have surgery or an important procedure and you would like to have someone say a prayer with you / your family beforehand.
  6. You would like to talk to someone who is not a doctor, nurse, or somehow involved in caring for your medical needs.
  7. There is an ethical question that is bothering you and you would like a safe person to talk to.
  8. You are wondering about where God is because you feel like God is not listening to your prayers.
  9. You are scared and just want someone to talk to.
  10. You are thinking about having your baby baptized, blessed or dedicated.

Chaplaincy services operate at many hospitals in Tasmania. Please contact your local hospital for chaplaincy services. At the Royal Hobart Hospital the Chapel and Chaplaincy Department operates Monday – Friday 9.00 am to 5:00 pm and is located on:1st Floor C Block, Ext  8487. A Duty Chaplain is on call after hours.

Sparklit Book of the Year 2014

The winner of the 2014 Australian Christian Book of the Year is:

The Great Bible Swindle….and what can be done about it (by Greg Clarke, Bible Society Australia).

This introductory book is written especially for those who feel that they should know something about the world’s most influential text, but may have been afraid to ask, put off by the Church, found the black leather cover and cigarette paper pages ominous, or just never got around to it.

In the first half of the book, Clarke explores the question: “Why would I bother with the Bible?”. He then tackles questions like “What is the Bible, and what do I do with it?”

“What I want to do in this book is explain how and to what extent the Bible is behind so much of Western life. I want to look at where the Bible has influenced different aspects of life, in order to give you some sense of just what a scandal it is that many people have had this knowledge concealed from them.”

Listen to Greg Clarke on ABC 612 Brisbane morning show on whether you can consider yourself an educated person if you haven’t read the Bible.

For more information about the book see the following links:
The Great Bible Swindle
An interview with the author Greg Clarke

Tasmanian Anglican Articles – August 2014

I would like to encourage you to read the interesting articles about the life and ministry of the Anglican family in Tasmania and beyond, in the online edition of our magazine. Enjoy!

Included in this issue:


Review: Charlie’s Country

Engaging, thought provoking, feeling sad, comic, angry, frustrated!  - Yes, these are all components of my response to this excellent film: Charlie’s Country.

And did I mention that it is sooo sloooow! Ah! I hear, “You, white fella!” Yes, the pace of the film is itself a cross cultural experience for this fella (me!). This aspect of the film reminded me that the challenge to learn is heightened when the way we speak and listen is so very different. Note, ‘different’. Not wrong, just different! This latter sentence became a key learning for me during my cross cultural missionary training at St Andrew’s Hall in the 1970s.

Film Director, Rolf de Heer was interviewed following the film at the State Cinema North Hobart where it was shown as part of NAIDOC week. One of the many ‘takeaways’ from the interview and film was the emphasis on persistence in respect and the forming of a new way, a new third culture/way was thought provoking, where traditional indigenous culture and the new culture can be founded in respect and care. A genuine shared life together of the original custodians of Australia and the ‘white fellas’  has been and continues to be a long term project for all Australians. We must continue seeking and building this life together: to gather around the camp fires and learn each other’s hearts. This is a very great challenge given our mutual fragility; as ‘Charlie’s Country’ so vividly demonstrates.

At the Tasmanian  film showing, I along with community leaders, politicians, Municipal Councillors and Church leaders, were informed by Tasmanian Indigenous Elders of RECOGNISE which is the people’s movement to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. See, RECOGNISE. Although broadly supportive, my concern is that this project may take energy from the deeper issue of growing respect and understanding, working practically, so that we can build healthy and life giving ways to live together in this land, Australia.

The film is very well reviewed by Gemma Blackwood, Charlie’s Country: David Gulpilil confounds our romantic fantasies. A snippet:

Poster for Charlie’s Country. One films

In Charlie’s Country, Eurocentric fantasies about Indigenous men are deconstructed. For example, the main character works as a tracker – but for the police. Rather than being able to live off the land, his inability for long-term survival in the swamps of Arnhem Land is revealed.

Gulpilil and de Heer’s decision for the film to be a character study allows the banal daily problems and ongoing prejudices in Ramingining and Darwin to convey a much bigger social commentary about disadvantage and cultural misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Charlie lives in a self-made humpy because he feels the government provisions are inadequate. The film progresses through a register of emotional states, charting Charlie’s struggle to do things in his way. He tries to go bush in the traditional sense, but he’s all on his own and an unfortunate early wet season means he contracts bronchial disease.

Then, released after extensive rehabilitation from Darwin Hospital, he falls in with itinerant drinkers in the city and is eventually incarcerated, and for a while, silenced.

I urge you to please take the opportunity to view and discuss this important film.

Following my heartfelt ‘Sorry’ to the indigenous peoples at my first media conference as Bishop of Tasmania, I asked that the history of the relationship between the Aboriginal Community and the Anglican Church in Tasmania be told. Anglicare(Tas) generously funded the project resulting in James Boyce’s ‘God’s Own Country?‘. The book launch address at St John’s New Town, Wednesday 27 June 2001, is here.

Participation in events such as The Water Ceremony and Ecumenical Reconciliation Services continue to grow my understanding, as does reading and consideration of indigenous biography such as Yulki: Arnhem Land Priest  and Michael Gumbuli of Ngukurr. Also, listening to indigenous concerns such as the NT Emergency Intervention Response: An Indigenous Christian View.

Book: In GOD They Trust?

With a not insignificant number of professing Christians in our Federal and Tasmanian Parliaments my thoughts have been drawn to an important book, “In GOD They Trust?”. 

The book highlights the religious beliefs of Australia’s Prime Ministers over the last century and addresses the way in which their religious beliefs influence their approach to public life and national leadership .

The book is well written and researched. I found it very challenging and thought provoking, not just to the consideration of our former Prime Ministers’ leadership but also to my own leadership practise. In what way has the Good News of Jesus Christ truly influenced my leadership?

The book groups our Prime Ministers into eight broad categories.  To some extent they serve to highlight the various religious ‘types’ who have directed the nation’s affairs since Federation:

  1. The Good and Faithful Servant (Andrew Fisher, James Scullin, Joseph Lyons).
  2. The Ardent Seekers (Alfred Deakin, Billy McMahon, Kevin Rudd).
  3. The Righteous Straighteners (Joseph Cook, Billy Hughes, John Howard).
  4. The More-Than-Tribal Catholics (Ben Chifley, Paul Keating).
  5. The Enigmatic Presbyterians (George Reid, Robert Menzies, Malcolm Fraser).
  6. Labor’s Lapsed? (John Curtin, Bob Hawke, Julia Gillard).
  7. The Fellow-Travellers (Chris Watson, Stanley Melbourne Bruce, John Gorton, Gough Whitlam).
  8. The Gentlemanly Agnostics (Edmund Barton, Harold Holt).

The book was written prior to the election of our current Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, who is a professed Christian. As to deciding on which of the religious ‘types’ Prime Minister Tony Abbott seems to most embody, I leave to a few more years of grace. Certainly, our current Prime Minister’s leadership and its relationship to his religion is already drawing keyboard time from commentators.

See an interesting interview of the author, Roy Williams, by Simon Smart of the Centre for Public Christianity, here.

See also, Gillard’s atheism an issue? and Is Rudd’s Religion political opportunism? and Leadership: Kevin Rudd by Tim Costello.

Australian Christian Book of the Year: Shortlist 2014

The following titles have been shortlisted for the 2014 Australian Christian Book of the Year Award:

C.S. Lewis and the Body in the Basement by Kel Richards/Strand Publishing

Eating Heaven – Simon Carey Holt/Acorn Press

In God they Trust? – Roy Williams/Bible Society

Love is the New Black – Cameron Semmens/Crooked Nose Wisdom Publishing

On the Way to Faith – Ken Manley/Morling Press

Sorry, We have No Space – Joseph Wakim/Connor Court Publishing

Tactics for Teen Ministry – Scott Petty/Youthworks/Christian Education Publications

The Great Bible Swindle – Greg Clarke/Bible Society

The 2014 Australian Christian Book of the Year, Young Australian Christian Writer and Teen Writer awards will be announced and prizes presented during supper at 7:30 pm for an 8:00 pm start on Thursday 14 August 2014Join the finalists at St Alfred’s Anglican Church, Blackburn North, Victoria, corner of Springfield Road and Koonung Road.
$20 per guest. $60 per family. Buy tickets online,  by credit card – ph 1300 13 7725 or write to:

You can follow the Australian Christian Literature Awards on Facebook.

Q & A with the Bishop @ Launceston Church Grammar

I visited Launceston Church Grammar School in July for Bishop’s Day.  It was a joy!  We celebrated an excellent “Christmas in Winter’ in the Chapel as well as a very moving Baptism and Confirmation service. I relearnt some TCE chemistry at the Secondary Campus: thermodynamic reactions – exothermic and endothermic and I even calculated the lab prac to get the graph going in the correct direction! Life’s small victories!

The Junior School questions from Grade 6 ’Q & A with the Bishop’ or colloquially ‘Bishop in the Lions’ Den!’ led to profound conversation with respect and gentleness. The students’ questions follow – they may be helpful to those involved in Youth activities and are sure to stimulate some interesting conversations:

On being a Bishop…

  • How did you become a Bishop? Why did you want to be a bishop? How old were you when you became a Bishop?
  • What’s the difference between a priest and a Bishop?
  • What does your job involve? Do you come under much conflict in your job?
  • What denomination do you come from? What’s the difference between a Christian and a Catholic?
  • What does Anglican mean? What are the “rules” of Anglicanism?
  • Why are there denominations?
  • What did you do before you became a Bishop?

Personal Questions…

  • How long have you believed in God?
  • Have you always believed in God?
  • Why do you believe in God?
  • How old were you when you accepted Jesus?
  • Did you believe in God since you were a child.., is your family a Christian? When did you become a Christian?
  • Do you have a wife?
  • Has God changed your life and why? Has believing in God changed your life?
  • What is your favourite passage in the Bible?
  • Would you change your life in anyway if God gave you the power to?
  • Do you have a motor bike?
  • Why do you have donkeys?

Theological questions…

  • How did God come to be… was he born?
  • How do you know Jesus is real? How do we know that God is real?
  • What do you think God looks like? Does he have a moustache? Is God fat? How tall is God?
  • How do we know the Bible is true?
  • Is heaven and Hell real?
  • Why are we suffering from Adam and Eve’s choices?
  • How do you REALLY think the world was created?
  • Do you believe in the OLD earth theory or the NEW earth theory?
  • Why does God let bad things happen to good people?
  • Why do you think we have wars.., and how do you think we can solve them?
  • Why do we die? What happens when you die?
  • Who is the oldest person in the Bible.., how old were they?
  • Name 5 reasons people should believe in God?
  • How many types of sin is there… are they different? Has God ever talked to you?
  • What do you think would happen if Jesus came back to earth?
  • How much does God love a prisoner?
  • How do you become an angel?
  • Is there anything that proves the Bible is real apart from faith?
  • How many religions are there in the world?
  • A very specific one… bring your Bible!! (the background is 2 Kings 2: 23):
  • Why did God send down two bears to maul 42 children when some kids said “go on up you baldy”?

My thanks to the Headmaster Stephen Norris, Jane King Head of Junior Campus, Nick Foster Head of Senior Campus, Mark Cox Pastoral Dean and chemistry educator, the School Chaplains Paul Grayston and Elizabeth Poland, staff and students. I thoroughly enjoyed the day!

See from previous years: Grades 6 + Year 10 Q&A with the Bishop  and Grade 6 and Year 12 Religion and Philosophy questions How would you have gone? 

Suspended Sentences Postion Statement

The Anglican Church in Tasmania envisions a Tasmanian Society in which individuals and communities have every opportunity for renewal and transformation.

The Anglican Church in Tasmania affirms the need for justice to be done, and to be seen to be done, with respect to criminal activity, but affirms that restoration for both victim and perpetrator is a greater good than simple punishment.

The Anglican Church in Tasmania does not support the general abolition of suspended sentences.

The Anglican Church in Tasmania recognises that there are inadequacies in the current use of suspended sentences that can be resolved by establishing and resourcing mandated programs as a meaningful sentencing option.

The Anglican Church in Tasmania will be seeking to make a submission to the Sentencing Advisory Council as it advises the Attorney-General on intermediate sanctions.

The full statement can be found here.

Anniversary of my 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

Tasmanian Anglican Articles – June 2014

The June Edition of the Tasmanian Anglican magazine is now in circulation.  Below are links to some of the articles.  The full June issue is available here