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From the Bishop

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

  • Rotunda of Witnesses #1
  • Upcoming Friday Forum: Euthanasia
  • Prayer of a Church Organist
  • Allan Carmichael: A True Friend
  • Book Review: Out of the Depths

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: 2012 January

On Blasphemy, Racism and Asylum Seekers

[sat 28.jan.2012 rob] A lot has been happening over this Australia Day period. Bishop John has posted articles on his blog about articles on the following topics:

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
  • Click here to read Bishop’s article on the Australia Day tweet that insulted Allah;
  • Click here to read Bishop John’s article titled, "'Race-hate' article confuses";
  • Click here to read Bishop John’s article titled, "3 cheers for Abp Adrian" which looks at limiting detention for asylum seekers.

Direct to you... From The Bishop’s Desk

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[sat 28.jan.2012 rob] The latest news From The Bishop’s Desk (FTBD 2.12).

Click here to read From The Bishop’s Desk.

A compromise deal over poker-machine reform

Internet Web World Wide Web (small)
[sat 21.jan.2012 rob] The Age newspaper has revealed today that the Prime Minister has acted on Poker-Machine reform. However, not introducing mandatory pre-commitment technology on gaming machines as she agreed to with MP Andrew Wilkie.

The article says,

"Prime Minister Julia Gillard has backed down on her deal with independent MP Andrew Wilkie to introduce mandatory pre-commitment technology on gaming machines, instead opting for a trial of the gambling restrictions.

"The year-long trial will only take part in the ACT and will start on January 1 next year but, in the meantime, all new gaming machines will have to be fitted with technology that requires people to set their own betting limits."

To read more, click here to view The Age newspaper article.

Other links:
Click here to visit the new 'Stop The Loss' website which supports poker-machine reform.
Click here to read Bishop John’s blog post about the 'Stop The Loss' website.
Click here to read the Anglican Media Release on Poker Machine Reform.

"Stop The Loss" Coalition

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[fri 20.jan.2012 rob]

Bishop John writes about the new 'Stop The Loss' website:

"Today, good news in what has become a darkening cloud over the reform of poker machine gambling in recent days:

The Pro-pokie-reform Stop the Loss coalition went live today."

Tim Costello is quoted on the front page of the 'Stop The Loss' website saying:

"It’s not just the loss of money.
But life savings, jobs, homes, marriages and lives."

  • Click here to visit the new 'Stop The Loss' website which supports poker-machine reform.
  • Click here to read Bishop John’s blog post about the 'Stop The Loss' website.
  • Click here to read the Anglican Media Release on Poker Machine Reform.

(Editor’s note: I have just had a look at the fact sheet on the 'Stop The Loss' website and it is very well done.)

The first From The Bishop’s Desk for 2012

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[wed 18.jan.2012 rob] Bishop John has released his first From The Bishop’s Desk (FTBD 1.12) for 2012.

FTBD is one way Bishop John communicates with the whole Tasmanian Anglican Diocese: what is happening, what will happen and what has happened in our Diocese.

In this FTBD Bishop John includes some of his upcoming speaking engagements:

  • On Saturday 4 February I will be speaking on Christians facing current issues such as Asylum Seekers, Euthanasia & Pokies at St George’s Burnie from 1-4pm.
  • On Saturday 11 February I will be speaking on Understanding our Muslim Neighbours at St Mary’s Church Triabunna (Parish of Buckland) from 1-4pm.

Also, news of clergy movements:

  • THE REVD ROSS ELLWOOD is finishing his ministry in the Parish of Buckland at the end of January and following leave will commence as Priest in Charge of the Parishes of Moonah and Glenorchy.
  • THE VENERABLE NOEL BOWDITCH has accepted appointment as the Rector of Burnie commencing in April... as they are farewelled from the Parish of Sandy Bay & Taroona.

Click here to read From The Bishop’s Desk.

MEDIA RELEASE: Poker Machine Reform

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[tue 17.jan.2012 rob]

The Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, John Harrower, is today making the following comment with regards to Poker Machine reform.

“I am very concerned that the health of Australian Society, and the safety and livelihood of many Australian families, is being overtaken by parliamentary opportunism.

“The cost of poker machines as they are currently operated far outweighs any perceived benefit. The government should not give in to pressure from vested interests who are concerned with protecting profits ahead of caring for people and building our nation.

“The Anglican Church in Tasmania has consistently called for increased regulation, including $1 bet limits, and we have encouraged Andrew Wilkie on this issue. The members of our churches and the workers in our agencies see every day the real effect on families and children of this exploitative industry.

“I call upon Prime Minister Gillard to maintain her commitment to the proposed reforms.

“I call upon the Opposition to shape Coalition policy around Australian values by giving clear support to poker machine reform.

“If the Coalition values individual responsibility they will support a system that ensures patrons can make an informed, free decision about how much they will lose. If the Coalition values rewarding hard work they will back reforms so that paypackets are not at risk to the false promise of vain chance.

“This issue requires the good politics of action, not politicking and plays for power.”

Due to prior commitments Bishop Harrower is unavailable for interview but will consider specific questions sent to

Click here to read the full media release.

Bishop Mouneer Anis of Egypt

Tasmanian Anglican Seal
[sat 14.jan.2012 rob] Tasmania is very privileged. Bishop Mouneer is here and will be speaking in Port Sorell. If you know what has been happening in the Anglican Communion throughout the world, you will know that God has used Bishop Mouneer internationally and powerfully, and that this is a considerable and marvellous privilege for Tasmanian Christians of all denominations to meet him and hear him speak.

Click here to read more.

It’s all about muzzle velocity

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[mon 09.jan.2012 rob] Starting the new year has seen many excellent articles appear across my desk from many and various ministry groups. I hope to be able to sort through them and share some of them with you right here over the next couple of weeks.

One which stood out from the crowd was actually written in 2009! Written by Rev. Rowan Kemp, who is the leader of the staff team with the Evangelical Union (EU) at Sydney University, he reflects on the words of one time Archbishop of Sydney Donald Robinson with respect to training and discipleship. He says:

"I once had the privilege of hearing [Donald Robinson], former Anglican Archbishop of Sydney and ex-EU’er from the 1940's, speak about the significance of the EU’s ministry. “It’s all about muzzle velocity” was his assessment, referring to the heavy guns they saw used in WWII. A shell’s final landing place is entirely determined by it’s velocity (i.e. speed and direction) at the point at which it leaves the muzzle. The significance of the EU’s ministry lies in its formative role in setting Christians’ speed and direction as they head into the rest of life."

While this is written regarding University ministry, the significance of training and church discipleship is also of great important to the life of all ministries. Indeed, is it not fundamental? Jesus not only agreed with this, he lived it out with 12 of his own disciples (and others). Our saviour spent 3 years in direct public ministry and during that time he trained up 12 men. Important? I think so.

The reflection by Archbishop Robinson on muzzle velocity (apart revealing his wonderful incite) impresses upon ministers and lay people alike the great value we should place upon the training and discipleship in our local churches. Speed and direction. What are we doing for our new Christians? What are we doing about the ongoing training of every member of our parish church?

Important? Of great importance? We might ask, "What would Jesus do?" Something for all of us to consider in 2012.

Click here to read Rev Rowan Kemp’s article.

More bible reading plans for 2012

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[thu 05.jan.2012 rob] As a follow-up to our recent story on Yearly Bible Reading Plans, you might have seen a number of helpful posts on our Facebook page from Bishop John, The Dean, Rev Will Briggs and Phil Banham. Each referring to what they use and what they will be using for their Yearly Bible Reading Plans in 2012. Certainly worth a read. You find our Facebook page by clicking here.

Over at the 'Paradoxically Speaking' blog, I note that Alistair Bain’s speaks of his choice of a bible reading plan for 2012. He says:

I'll be using one put out by Discipleship Journal.

As much as anything because it looks good.

  • Click here to find the Discipleship Journal Alistair refers to.
  • Click here to locate the Bible Reading Plan Alistair mentions in his post.
  • Click here to read more of Alistair Bain’s blog.

Flattery Can Kill

The Gospel Coalition
[thu 05.jan.2012 rob] It is possible that I will never receive another compliment about my sermons after posting this. However, this article 'Flattery Can Kill', while seemingly written for church ministers and pastors, is helpful for all of us. Sometimes we are able to acknowledge flattery, and let it pass as harmless, but the bible does not allow flattery to be referred to as a righteous virtue.

Psalm 5:9 (ESV) says, "For there is no truth in their mouth; their inmost self is destruction; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue."

In his article, Daniel Darling gives a wonderful reflection of the dangers of allowing flattery and what it means to be a part of it.

Click here to read The Gospel Coalition article, 'Flattery Can Kill'.

What the Arab Spring means for Christians

Bishop John - church 1 (small)
[wed 04.jan.2012 rob] From Bishop John’s blog:

2011 was filled with news of political turmoil and social unrest in places like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria. The effect of this turbulence on minority Christians in these areas has caused increased difficulty.

Bishop Mouneer Anis from Egypt will be speaking at our CMS SummerView conference in a few days time. We are holding a public meeting for those who want to know more about the situation in the Middle East and, in particular, how to pray for fellow Christians.

I am looking forward very much to the privilege of learning from Bishop Mouneer.

Please join us. Details of the meeting:

2-3pm Saturday 14 January 2012
St. Peter’s Church Hall, 17-19 Rice St, Port Sorell, Tasmania.

Click here to read Bshop John’s post.

Having a personal relationship with God

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[wed 04.jan.2012 rob]

"Theology simply means “the study of God,” and doctrine means “teaching.” Since the main message of Scripture is the unfolding mystery of Christ, who reveals his Father and reconciles us to him, theology is a central concern of every believer. It would be odd if we told our spouse or other loved ones that we wanted to spend time with them and experience their fellowship regularly but did not want to know anything about them — their characteristics, accomplishments, personal histories, likes and dislikes, and plans for the future. Yet when it comes to God, people often imagine that it is possible to have a personal relationship with God apart from theology."

From Michael S. Horton’s book, 'The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way'

Click here to see it at

With thanks to Pete Ko for the quote :)

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AnglicanTas frontpage editor: Rob Stanley