I love Tasmania too much to leave it the way I found it
John Harrower reflects on ten years as Bishop of Tasmania.
It is a decade since I became the eleventh Bishop of Tasmania.
It is wonderful, yet challenging to reflect on what God has done in my life: where He has taken us and where we are going.
From my background in engineering, economics and political science and involvement as a Director researching the impact of technological and demographic change on Australia’s industrial structure, God took me, my wife and our two sons to Argentina as missionaries with the Church Missionary Society (CMS).
In Argentina during the years 1979–88 we worked with university students, helped grow a church, and published and distributed Christian literature. I was ordained deacon in 1984 and priest in 1986 in the Diocese of Argentina. God brought us back to Australia and in 1989 I became the Vicar of St Paul’s Glen Waverly and later of St Barnabas’ Glen Waverly (GWAC). We focused on community building, discipleship, evangelism, youth, ministry formation and relating the Gospel of Jesus Christ to different cultures.
In 2000 God called Gayelene and me to Tasmania. I love Tasmanians deeply and throughout the past ten years have worked to model healthy ministry. I have endeavoured to lead by example through the righting of past wrongs and challenging Anglicans to be people who are prayerful activists, enlivened by Biblical faith and the power of the Holy Spirit.
I want Tasmanian Anglicans to be risk takers in mission, to be focused on reaching the communities to which they belong with the Good News of Jesus Christ. I have aimed to create a permission giving culture in which it is alright to try new ministries, new ways of being church, to engage creatively and relevantly with Tasmanians of all shapes and sizes. Essentially I yearn for us to be a healthy church taking initiatives in missions, so that God may transform the life of our Christian communities and all Tasmanians.
As I look forward to the coming years as Bishop of Tasmania neither my desire to see all Tasmanians committed to Jesus Christ, nor my desire for a healthy Anglican church transforming the life of Tasmania, have changed.
In Tasmania we continue to build the kingdom of God and his people, the Church. We continue to look for new ways to reach out to people of all ages, stages and interests. We obviously face challenges in all of this. Not everyone is willing or wants to change, yet for others change cannot happen fast enough! While overall we are a Church in decline, God is gracious and we are seeing churches growing. I would love to see more church plants, new ministries, old ministries strengthened and all generations healthily represented.
So if you love the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, if you love God’s people, have a heart for the lost, are a prayerful activist enlivened by Biblical faith and the power of the Holy Spirit, are willing to take risks in mission and be an example to all, then I would love you to pray for us and for us to talk with you! :-)
Bishop John Harrower is Bishop of Tasmania.
GPO Box 748, Hobart Tasmania 7001
(03) 6220 2020