From the Administrator re Diocese of Newcastle

Dear Sisters and Brothers

You may have seen, or been made aware of, the ABC 7.30 Report regarding allegations of clergy sexual abuse and predatory behaviour in the Anglican Church, particularly in the Diocese of Newcastle.  The story deals with complex matters which continue to be formally examined by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

As a Diocese we have welcomed the Royal Commission and we will do everything in our power to co-operate with the Commission and its relevant findings, as you will see from the Archbishop’s and Diocesan websites.  We continue to implement every change possible to prevent such abuse from happening again.  This expresses our mandate as God’s people to protect the vulnerable and support the rights of survivors. 

This evening Archbishop Roger was mentioned by name in the programme aired on the ABC.  As Bishop of Newcastle from May 1993 to April 2005 he has been summoned to appear before the Royal Commission on 2-12 August 2016.  The Archbishop has been advised by his legal counsel not to make public statements before giving evidence at the Commission.

Our ongoing concern as a Diocesan faith community remains the pastoral care of all who work and worship with us.  These disturbing reports may trigger complex responses from some members of our own community, and from some of those with whom we come into contact.  The shattering stories will no doubt have shocked many of us and left us feeling betrayed, helpless and confused.  At this time we will be asked to justify the existence of the Church and our faith.  Yet our compassion and support for survivors must fuel our best responses as we struggle to comprehend this situation.  We must hear the dreadful truth so that we can work together to make sure future generations never experience the suffering of so many among us. 

If any of you have suffered abuse, or know of anyone who has suffered, I encourage you to make contact with the Director of Professional Standards, Ms Tracie Chambers-Clark, or the police.     

The Archbishop is currently recovering from surgery, but remains vigilant in his prayers for survivors and for all for whom he has pastoral responsibility.

Bishop Jeremy, Bishop Kate, Ms Tracie Chambers-Clark, Archdeacons Lionel Snell, Kathy Barrett-Lennard and Onesimo Yugusuk, or myself, are available should you need to discuss any concerns you may have as a consequence of these reports (Tel:  9325 7455).

Please continue to pray for those whom we have let down, the abused and their families, and all affected by this dark stain on the Church.

We pray for all who suffer that God’s peace and hope will shine through the darkness.  May we be conduits of that Light.  In the words of a Taize chant “Within our darkest night, You kindle the fire that never dies away”. 

Your brother in Christ


Braden Short

The Anglican Diocese of Perth