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EFAC Australia

After 13 years at St Jude’s Carlton, as well as Ridley College and leadership in the Diocese of Melbourne, Rev Richard Condie will succeed John Harrower as Bishop of Tasmania. Peter Greenwood shares his perspective on this significant appointment.

Peter Greenwood pastors Inner West Church in Kensington, Vic, which is a plant from St Jude’s Carlton

Over many decades the Diocese of Melbourne has produced many gifted Christian leaders. These men and women have moved through our churches planting gospel seeds, watering them diligently and enjoying the fruit of their labours.

However, there is a cost to having such a wealth of competent leadership. It tends to draw the attention of other parts of the Australian and global church! And not only that, they sometimes our leaders follow the call to help build God’s kingdom in places other than our fair city. And so we rejoice, albeit without a little sadness, to send out one of our own–Rev. Richard Condie.

 

Richard has been the vicar of St Jude’s Carlton for 13 years, taking the role after a stint as a lecturer at Ridley College. Since the days of the previous incumbent, Peter Adam, St Jude’s has become a vital and strategic parish in our diocese, and one of the leading evangelical churches in the city. Richard’s heart for the gospel, his passionate preaching and desire to train people for ministry have contributed much to St. Jude’s becoming a breeding ground for gospel workers. Dozens of Anglican ministers throughout our diocese and further afield spent at least some time being trained at St. Judes under Richard’s leadership.

Richard’s love for the church of Melbourne has also been evidenced by his participation in the running of the Melbourne diocese. For the last nine years he has served as Archdeacon of Melbourne, participated in various diocesan committees and has always held a strong presence in Synod debate. He has also been a key player in the growth of Anglican church planting in Melbourne. He had a personal hand in legislating the Authorised Anglican Congregation Act, and through St. Judes supported the ‘repotting’ of a number of struggling parishes, along with the planting of City on a Hill, and, more recently, the launch of Inner West Anglican Church in Kensington.

So in light of Richard’s vast experience it was perhaps not surprising to hear that the Synod of Tasmania last November elected him to be the twelfth Bishop of Tasmania, succeeding Bishop John Harrower. Under Bishop Harrower’s wise shepherding the Tasmanian Anglican Church has been through a season of healing and reparations from a dark past of clergy abuse, and is today an exciting context for evangelical ministry and mission. Richard’s skills and experience seem perfectly matched to see the church not only survive, but thrive in the coming years.

Of course, the role of a bishop is not an easy one, least of all overseeing a complex diocese spread across an entire state (the vast majority of Tasmania’s 51 parishes are in large rural areas). However Richard himself is enthusiastic and confident that God is paving the way for his church in Tasmania to grow and flourish. "I am really excited about what God has in store for Tasmania. John Harrower has left such a wonderful legacy, and the team of clergy and lay leaders seem keen for growth and to embrace what is next.  I am confident (with the apostle Paul) that 'the one who began a good work among [the Tasmanians] will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ.' It is very exciting to be part of that!"

While Richard and his wife Helen will certainly be missed both at St. Judes and further afield, we should be excited at what’s ahead for him and the Tasmanian church. It is a great privilege that our diocese, which has been so abundantly blessed by God with a host of excellent leaders, can send one of our own to serve in new fields. To paraphrase the first part of Richard’s reference to Philippians 1, our prayers for Richard are full of joy because of his partnership in the gospel from his first day with us until now.

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