Over the past few days the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle has again come under the spotlight of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Case Study #42 has detailed a network of abusive individuals enabled and protected by empowered persons within the Anglican diocese over many years. It has also revealed more of the personal trials of Bishop Greg Thompson and his determined leadership and support of those working to reform the culture of the diocese.
I offer Bishop Greg my ongoing support and most sincere best wishes for him and his family.
I trust that good people of any faith, or none, will do all they can themselves to support those affected by abuse, and will also get behind Bishop Greg as he works to bring healing to individuals and communities broken by abuse.
Listening to Bishop Greg's evidence, I reflected on my own experience, with gratitude that my predecessor, Bishop Michael Malone, had borne the majority of the struggle and effort needed to begin the necessary changes in culture and conduct within our own diocese. As one of the first senior church leaders in Australia to make such a strong, uncompromising and public stand against historic child abuse, not without mistakes that he has acknowledged, Bishop Malone gave a courageous lead to us all. I recognise that same courage and determination in Bishop Greg.
I look to the Anglican Church to play a vital role in the religious and civic life of our community. For that to happen again, it must be renewed as a truly 'good' church. I value and support Bishop Thompson's contributions to that renewal.