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From the Bishop

Click here to catch up on
Bishop John’s blog. Here are some recent posts...

  • Eastern Church History Conference – Hobart
  • Anglican Media Release: Poker Machine Reform
  • Bishop’s message of peace
  • A Beautiful Letter
  • E100 Challenge: My Bible reading

From the Bishop’s Desk is the bishop’s regular email newsletter. Click here to see his recent newsletters or to join the mail list.

Bishop John’s recent publications, Addresses, letters, reflections, messages: click here.

Bible Study & Preaching Material

Stressed out with no time to write bible studies? Try our Lectionary-based study outlines for home and church-based study groups and personal study; will also help preachers. To have a look, click here.

The Bible

Preaching Resources

This resource is provided to help guide, encourage and resource the preachers in our diocese, be they new or experienced. It’s new and evolving, so we recommend that you drop in from time to time.

A PRAYER FOR transformingLIFE

Transforming God,
as we meet together
fill us with your wisdom.
Give us the capacity
to work boldly
and with humility,
embracing the challenge of mission.

Use us to bring transforming life
to our Christian communities and
all Tasmanians

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Download the transformingLIFE document

Will the Imagine Project change your life?

CMS: This study is a gift

CMS Australia logo

While Andrew & Pam Lake visited over 24 parishes in the Diocese before heading to the posting in Damascus, Andrew had been busy on another project. He has released this short book called Christian Mission for Tasmanians. This is a very personal approach from Andrew on this important topic of Mission written for the Missionary Diocese of Tasmania. Andrew says of the book,

"My hope and prayer is that this study will help put mission front and centre of the church’s agenda. I make no claim to infallibility and will have achieved my aim if this has helped start some fruitful conversations about mission."

We offer our thanks to Andrew, having served in the Diocese as an Archdeacon and Mission Support Officer. But now we offer our thanks for this impressive gift to the church in Tasmania.

Of particular interest to you, dear reader, is the freely available nature of this book. In fact, you can click here to read it right now. So is it free? Andrew explains in his Forward:

"This study is a gift to the Tasmanian church. It is freely available on the diocesan website but I invite you when you use it for personal or group study to make a donation of $10 per person to the Church Missionary Society of Tasmania."

Archive of Home Page: 2011 December

Bible Reading Plans for 2012...

The Bible
[sat 31.dec.2011 rob] Tomorrow is the New Year. You may have thought about giving up smoking, doing more exercise, reading that book you always wanted to read, even going to the theatre more.

But what about regularly reading your bible with an aim to reading all of it? For some of us, we are doing quite OK, thank you! For others of us, we may find our current model is getting a little 'old' and needs a refresh.

Here is an article by Justine Taylor at The Gospel Coalition which looks at various ways we can read through the bible. He begins:

The Gospel Coalition
There are lots of ways to read the Bible in a year, and I won’t try to capture all of them. But here are numerous options, in no particular order. You may want to look through it and see what you think would work best for you.

Click here to read the article.

Do you use a plan for reading through the whole bible? What method do you use? Please take a moment to encourage others by leaving your comments on our Facebook page... (or click here)

Bible Reading Plans for 2012... Encouragement

The Bible
[sat 31.dec.2011 rob] Do you need encouragement to read through the bible?

The ESV website has automated bible reading plans using RSS, iCal, Mobile Phone, Email and even a printable version. More than that, it offers many ways of reading through the bible:

You can select any of these to be sent to you with the RSS, iCal, Mobile Phone, Email or print options:

Chronological (Through the Bible chronologically (from Back to the Bible)
Daily Light on the Daily Path (the ESV version of Samuel Bagster’s classic)
Daily Office Lectionary (Daily Psalms, Old Testament, New Testament, and Gospels)
Daily Reading Bible (Daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms)
ESV Study Bible (Daily Psalms or Wisdom Literature; Pentateuch or the History of Israel; Chronicles or Prophets; and Gospels or Epistles)
Every Day in the Word (Daily Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs)
Literary Study Bible (Daily Psalms or Wisdom Literature; Pentateuch or the History of Israel; Chronicles or Prophets; and Gospels or Epistles)
M’Cheyne One-Year Reading Plan (Daily Old Testament, New Testament, and Psalms or Gospels)
Outreach (Daily Old Testament, Psalms, and New Testament)
Outreach New Testament (Daily New Testament. Read through the New Testament in 6 months)
Through the Bible in a Year (Daily Old and New Testament)
Truth Bible Memory Plan (Memorize a new verse from the ESV Bible every week, with daily reminders)

Click here to visit the ESV website.

What do I use? I use the old method of M'Cheyne (a Scottish minister from 1835 to 1843). This was more recently taken up by D.A.Carson who published 'For the Love of God' as a daily devotional book. He now has a blog called 'For the Love of God', which is a great blessing for those who use the internet: you can find it by clicking here - for free every day!

Do you use a plan for reading through the whole bible? What method do you use? Please take a moment to encourage others by leaving your comments on our Facebook page... (or click here)

Some recommendations for Christian Books from 2011

The Gospel Coalition
[sat 31.dec.2011 rob] Here are some recommendations for Christian Books released in 2011, by staff writers at The Gospel Coalition website.

Click here to read the article.


Inspirational People website - Jesus All ABout Life (JAAL)
[fri 30.dec.2011 rob]

Salvation is God’s way of making us real people.
Augustine of Hippo

Old Stuff #1: "He Saved Us"

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[fri 30.dec.2011 rob] As we close in on the New Year’s Eve, an old post to share with you.

This is from 2009, and was posted on the Pyromaniacs website. A great reflection on our walk with Jesus, and the power of God

Let’s face it: everyone is not an apologist, and not everyone ought to be an apologist. It takes an interesting and spiritually-mature mix of mental acuity and personal charisma to be an effective and winning apologist. It is not just an exercise in dogmatics or legal or philosophical wrangling.

For the rest of us, the job is to proclaim the Gospel and live like it is true, not to protect the Gospel as if it was in danger of extinction. You know: God saved us -- and for most of us, we should see that God saved us not because of works done by us in righteousness. We got saved when our plight was hopeless -- by the Gospel. By this God according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, we were saved.

He doesn't need saving; he’s not in trouble. We're the ones in trouble -- us, and all men like us. And that would be "all men ever born" for those of you who aren't clear about that.

He saved us, and he doesn't need us to return the favor. What he requires is that we behave like people who know what we have, and how we got it, and to treat it like it’s the solution to the problem and not like it has problems that we need to provide solutions for. We are the ones who get saved. We are not the ones who ought to be coming to the rescue of the Gospel.

Click here to read Frank Turk’s whole post on the Pyromaniacs website.

The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast 2011

[tue 27.dec.2011 rob] The Queen’s Christmas message speaks of the value of Christian faith.

God sent "a saviour with the power to forgive", the Queen said. She continued saying, "it is in forgiveness that we find God’s love".

The Queen’s speech is a great encouragement to our world.

  • Click here to watch Bishop John’s 2011 Christmas video.
  • Click here to read Bishop John’s 2011 Christmas message.
  • Click here to read Bishop John’s 2011 Christmas sermon.
  • Click here to read Bishop John’s 2010 Christmas sermon.

The Bishop’s Christmas Sermon

[mon 26.dec.2011 rob] Bishop John has posted his Christmas sermon, 'My Grandmother’s Centenary Heritage', on his blog. It begins:

Bishop John - church 1 (small)
My Christmas Eve sermon this year began with a story about my grandmother’s heritage. Just two weeks ago something happened that helped me to see my grandmother more clearly. I found an old book that I did not recall seeing before. It was this book, Come Ye Apart, a daily devotional reading with Bible verse and reflection. I opened the cover and found these words: "1st PRIZE FOR MEMORIZING THE 6th Chapter of John’s gospel"!

Click here to read Bishop John’s Christmas sermon.

Christmas is here!

Easter Cross: South Arm, Tasmania
[sun 25.dec.2011 rob] Happy Christmas! And may all Tasmanian’s come to know the reson for the season: Jesus Christ!

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,

and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25 (ESV 2001, Wheaton: Standard Bible Society)

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
Luke 2:8-18 (ESV 2001, Wheaton: Standard Bible Society)

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him."

John 3:16-17 (ESV 2001, Wheaton: Standard Bible Society)

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8 (ESV 2001, Wheaton: Standard Bible Society)

Easter Cross: South Arm, Tasmania

Happy Christmas Tasmania!

[sun 25.dec.2011 rob] Click here for a Christmas message from the Bishop of Tasmania, John Harrower.

Christmas is here!

[sun 25.dec.2011 rob] Here is the last post in our 'Christmas is coming' series:

Song: Do You Hear What I Hear?
Artist: Third Day

Song: Angels We Have Heard On High
Artist: Leigh Nash and Sixpence None The Richer

(Happy Christmas Greg ;)

The Bishop’s Christmas Message

[sat 24.dec.2011 rob] Bishop John’s Christmas Message for 2011.

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
Hope for a desperate world

How has 2011 been for you? It has brought its challenges, has it not? I guess it will be remembered for such ‘natural’ phenomena as the tsunami striking Japan, extraordinary floods in Thailand and, closer to home, floods and fires in our country.

But it will also be remembered for developments rooted in human behaviour – the Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, the European financial crisis, the Fukoshima nuclear disaster, the death of Osama bin Laden. And don’t get me started on Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan…

There was a Broadway musical in the 1960s titled Stop the World; I Want to Get Off but, hey, that’s not an option. Instead, I find myself frantically trying to get my head around what’s going on, to get a glimpse into the issues, to respond rather than react. Is the new ‘government’ better than the disgraced tyrant? Can the global financial crisis be solved? What role does greed play? And gloating? And unbelief?

Where does hope lie? For millions, the Bible continues to speak into our human condition with hope and sure guidance. A columnist in Melbourne’s The Age in early December, writes, “We do not see the Bible…as having any weight in serious matters, moral, historical...”, but offers instead only the ‘rational’ guidance of a liberal, secular society. In contrast, Greg Sheridan in The Australian observes that whilst it is possible to tell right from wrong without religion, “there is little to suggest we are making a success of it”.

Much controversy and chaos, but personally I’m glad Christmas is upon us once again. Christmas means hope; Christmas brings again a much-needed reminder of unchangeable truth.

God weeps for our world and the mess we are making of it and God has taken responsibility for our world by sending his Son.

Hope may be in desperately short supply for so many, but the Babe of Bethlehem brings just that, the sure hope that God loves us.

May you have a blessed Christmas as again we celebrate the Saviour’s birth.

John Harrower

Anglican Bishop of Tasmania

Click here to read this message on Bishop John’s blog.
Click here to watch Bishop John’s 2011 Christmas video.
Click here to read Bishop John’s Christmas sermon from 2010.

Christmas is coming #12

[sat 24.dec.2011 rob] As we arrive at the night before Christmas, something appropriate for Christmas Eve!
How will you welcome in this day of remembrance in 2011?

Song: Silent Night (a live recording)
Artist: Third Day

Some Christmas Reading for Christmas Eve

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[sat 24.dec.2011 rob]

Some reading for Christmas Eve:

1. Stanley Hauerwas on Christmas:

Christian humanism is not based on the presumption that our humanity is self-justifying. Rather Christians are humanists because God showed up in Mary’s belly. We are not an evolutionary accident. We are not bubbles on the foam that coats a stormy sea. We are God’s chosen people. We have been given good work to do in a time when many no longer think there is good work. What an extraordinary claim. What extraordinary good news. Praise God, and with gratitude enjoy the glory of his creation. Together, at this time called Advent let us wait in joyful expectation for the surprising coming of the Lord.

Click here to read the article on Christmas at ABC Religion and Ethics. With thanks to Michael F. Bird for the link.

2. Michael F. Bird: "December 25 means the Triumph of Christianity over Paganism"
This article is very victorious (to say the least). But that’s the point, isn't it: Christmas is a celebration over a victory. Victory over sin, freedom to the captives! In this article,
Michael F. Bird says,

"Christmas means that the unconquerable god of the Romans just got conquered. A pagan Roman holiday just got stuffed with more Christianity than a December Turkey stuffed with spiced bread crumbs. Dawkins can issue a secular intifada against Christianity all he likes, but we got the best holiday, the best music, and the best message – joy to the world and peace on earth. So Christmas ain’t going away any time soon."

Click here to read his article.
Dr. Michael Bird is Lecturer in Theology and New Testament at Crossway College in Brisbane, Australia.

Another Nativity video: The BeatBox Nativity v2.0

[sat 24.dec.2011 rob]

mUmBRELLA gives us a little more marketing...

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[fri 23.dec.2011 rob] Eternity Newspaper points out that media and marketing website mUmBRELLA, got wind of Hobart Cathedral’s Christmas advertising.

Click here to see the little snippet.

Australians and Religion

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[fri 23.dec.2011 rob] Over on Olive Tree Media some fascinating insights into Australian attitudes to Christianity in a short four page summary of a recent survey.

For example, the Christian attitude to homosexuality is a bigger barrier to accepting Christianity than hell and judgement.

One comment that I found particularly helpful:

"They should put a message across that they're not going to

bash people over the head for not coming in ten years."

Click here to see the four page summary with diagrams and clear information.

With thanks to Matthias Media for this snippet and the link.

Christmas is coming #11

[fri 23.dec.2011 rob] From the YouTube webpage:

"Hark The Herald Angels Sing performed by the Liverpool Cathedral Choir from the album, Silent Night. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" is a Christmas hymn or carol written by Charles Wesley, English leader of the Methodist movement along with his brother John Wesley. It first appeared in Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739, under the topic of "Hymn for Christmas-Day". The original opening couplet was "Hark! how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of Kings". The version known today is the result of alterations by various hands, most notably George Whitefield, Wesley’s co-worker, who changed the opening couplet to the familiar one we know today."

Song: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
Artist: Liverpool Cathedral Choir
Album: Silent Night

Christmas is coming #10

[thu 22.dec.2011 rob] I hadn't heard this Christmas song before, but this video does include lyrics. After listening to this song, I did a search on for 'This Is Christmas', and I was amazed how many non-Christian musicians are ready to tell me what Christmas is. This song by Kutless seems to have some real answers.

Song: This Is Christmas
Artist: Kutless
Album: O Come All Ye Faithful (2010, BEC Recordings)

Learn more about Kutless at, and

God in flesh: Incarnation

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[thu 22.dec.2011 rob] Are you planning some theological reading for Christmas? What about Jonathan Edwards' "Of Christ’s Incarnation"?

Who was Jonathan Edwards? Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) was a Puritan theologian and pastor, and the most significant American churchman of the 18th century. He was a leading figure in the first Great Awakening.

This is an excerpt from Jonathan Edwards' sermon series, "A History of the Work of Redemption". From a deep and extensive knowledge of Scripture, Edwards sets out to survey the whole of the redemptive work of God in history, from the Fall of man to the consummation of all things. A thrilling conclusion emerges: Everything in human history from start to finish is subservient to Christ’s work of redemption. The whole of his sermon series is also available at the site.

Click here to read the sermon on the Theology Network website.

Christmas at St.David’s Cathedral

St. David's Cathedral Christmas 2011
[thu 22.dec.2011 rob] St. David’s Christmas services for 2011...

Christmas is coming #9

[tue 20.dec.2011 rob]
Song: O Come, All Ye Faithful
Artist: Jeremy Camp
Album: O Come All Ye Faithful (2010, BEC Recordings)

Learn more about Jeremy Camp at, and

Bishop John’s Christmas Video

[mon 19.dec.2011 rob] On Bishop John’s blog he speaks about his new Christmas Video:

A ‘first’ for me: a video message for Tasmania at this Christmas season.

Will Briggs inspired the session, including the climb to the top of the Cathedral tower! Thanks also to Samuel Green for his technical expertise.

I respond to Will’s questions: - [How would you answer them?]

What joy do you find in Christmas?
What is the key message of Christmas you would like Tasmanians to hear?
What is the challenge of Christmas for you personally?
How does Christmas challenge and confront us as a community?
What are your hopes and expectations for 2012?

Click here to view the video on Bishop John’s blog.

Bethlehemian Rhapsody

[mon 19.dec.2011 rob] A new Nativity video on YouTube. Nothing can prepare you!

With thanks to Jane Banham for this one.

Christmas is coming #8

[fri 16.dec.2011 rob]
Song: O Come, All Ye Faithful
Artist: tobyMac
Album: Christmas In DiverseCity

And if you liked that one, you will love this version of 'Angel’s We Have Heard On High' (also from tobyMac’s Christmas album), but this time sung with the exceptional vocals of Nirva Ready.

Song: Angels We Have Heard On High