Sermon: Without Blemish (Responding to Domestic Violence)

Download sermon: here

Preached by Richard Humphrey on Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

The Dean spoke at the launch in Tasmania of Promoting Equality and Respect an interfaith collaboration on preventing family violence on International Women’s Day.

The text of his speech is here.

The audio is from a sermon given on this topic from 2015 from which much of the material was taken.


Family Violence/ Domestic

Domestic-violence-007This important motion on Family Violence/ Domestic Abuse was passed at the Synod of the Diocese of Tasmania in June 2015.

We pray that it will encourage ongoing discussion and debate as well as enabling out church communities and leaders to be better resourced.

That this Synod,

  • deplores the horrific levels of family violence in the Tasmanian Community,
  • grieves with those who have suffered the pain and trauma of any form of domestic abuse,
  • recognises that such abuse occurs within the Christian community and the congregations of the Diocese of Tasmania,
  • maintains that family violence is absolutely unacceptable in any circumstance, and
  • 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

  • further use the office of the Bishop to raise awareness of family violence and all forms of domestic abuse,
  • 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
  1. ensuring that clergy and pastoral workers are adequately equipped and resourced to respond to family violence and all forms of domestic abuse,
  2. implementing protocols and standards for pastoral, parochial and organisational responses to family violence and all forms of domestic abuse.

Sermon: Hear Our Cry (Family Violence Service)

Download sermon: here

Preached by Bp John Harrower on Thursday, July 16th, 2015

Domestic-violence-007A service responding to family violence.

Grieving with victims.

Confessing where the Church has failed.

Committing to better pastoral practice.

The full service is available on audio file.

The text of the sermon is available here.

The text of the service is available here.

Service: Hear Our Cry: A service responding

Thursday, July 16th, 2015 from 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm

Domestic-violence-007In this service we recognize the abhorrent reality of domestic violence in our society.

As Christians we grieve with and support those who are victims.

But we also recognize and confess our failures in responding to the victims of family violence and all the reality of all forms of domestic abuse.

We also need to commit ourselves to pastoral practices which prioritises the safety and care of victims, challenges all abusive behaviours especially those occurring in our midst, and works for the healing of all: women, children and men.


From the Dean’s Desk: General Synod Report

From the Cathedral Pewsheet 6/7/2014

Immediately after the 10am Service last Sunday I made my way to the airport trusting that Qantas would get me as promised to Adelaide by 4.30pm so that I could be at St. Peter’s Cathedral by 5.15pm and be in my robes to be part of the Procession at the Opening Service of General Synod. All was well and it was a privilege to be with 6 others, Bishop John, Bishops Chris and Ross, Audrey Mills, Michael Walsh and Paul Cavanough, along with Robert Wallace (Registrar) who was an observer, to represent Tasmania at this gathering of the National Church
Much of the matters before the Synod were legal in nature. An important clarification was made ensuring that a minister is only obliged to keep such an offence secret if he or she is reasonably satisfied that the penitent has already reported the offence to police. This is important in cases of child abuse and domestic violence. Motions were passed on religious freedom, the environment and refugees, and there was agreement to provide funds nationally for work in relation to the Royal Commission.
The big issue before Synod however was the Viabilities and Structures Report which gave a overview of the health of the Anglican Church in Australia which was pretty grim reading with dwindling congregations with resources stretched and 6 of the 23 Dioceses in Australia being described as unviable. Such problems are further complicated by the fact that we are not a national church, despite how we may seem but a loose federation of 23 separate dioceses with our own laws and traditions. It is all really very messy hence this.

[cml_media_alt id='3512']Organised Religion[/cml_media_alt]

The Synod met in small groups to discuss these reports which I found a wonderful opportunity to meet people from different theological positions and churchmanship, experiencing both fellowship as well as challenging conversation.
The report states that “dioceses across Australia must all engage in a process of review that genuinely looks at their capacity for mission and be open to both cultural and structural change.” This remains an issue not just for the National Church, and for our Diocese but for each congregation. What are we here for and how should we change to achieve the mission? The Primate in his sermon in the opening service said this may be like what was said of Peter, being led where we do not want to go. To fulfil our calling to proclaim Christ and make disciples we may have to go where we do not want to go, to be uncomfortable, but this is to follow the way of Christ. We need to pray for our National Church, our Diocese and our local Church and our capacity for mission.
(I urge everyone to read the Viability and Structures Report which can be found here)