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Dr Condie launches flood appeal, addresses his first synod as Tasmania's bishop

Bishop says appeal will help Anglican churches to bring "support, love and hope" to flood-affected communities.

Bishop Richard Condie

By Mark Brolly

July 3 2016Tasmania’s Bishop Richard Condie has launched an appeal for people most affected by the state’s recent storms and floods, saying it would assist Anglican churches in affected areas to bring “support, love and hope to their communities”.

“These communities are also being supported by our Chaplains who are at work throughout the state,” Bishop Condie said on 8 June.

The appeal will be administered through the Anglican Tasmanian Disaster Fund. All donations are tax deductible and will be distributed directly through Anglican parishes to people in the worst affected areas.

“We are very conscious of all those in the state affected by the floods and wild weather,” Bishop Condie said. “Please pray for those whose loved ones are missing or have died in the floods, for those whose livelihoods have been affected, and those still living in fear.”

The ABC reported on 9 June that record-breaking rain had left eight rivers in flood, taken the life of one woman and left two men missing (the body of one of whom was found more than two weeks after he was swept away), affected 173 buildings, prompted more than 400 requests for help to the State Emergency Service, damaged roads and rail and washed away entire herds of cattle.

Bishop Condie, the former Archdeacon of Melbourne and Vicar of St Jude’s Carlton who was installed as Tasmania’s 12th Bishop in March, also delivered his first Presidential Address to his diocesan synod in Launceston on 3 June, saying he wanted Anglican churches in Tasmania to be inclusive communities, “where sinners of all kinds find the welcoming grace of the Lord Jesus Christ”.

“I hope that idolaters, and the greedy, and the drunk and the gossips along with the sexually loose, both gay and straight, and many other types of broken and sinful people will find a welcome in our churches, because churches are for the rehabilitation of sinners,” he said. “As we gather in the grace and mercy of God, and as people encounter the Holy Spirit, he will convict them of their sin, as the scriptures are taught and applied. When this happens, God will do the work of reforming people’s lives. This is the great miracle of sanctification.”

Bishop Condie said a change in the definition of marriage from “a lifelong exclusive commitment between a man and a woman”, to “a commitment between two people” was not a matter of “if” but “when”.

“While the outcome of a plebiscite is not a foregone conclusion, I suspect the change to the definition of marriage is coming our way regardless; and with it are coming various challenges to religious freedom of expression.

“The scriptures are clear from the creation story, through the law and the prophets, to the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, that marriage is rightly understood to be between a man and woman, and is for life to the exclusion of all others. This is also the teaching of the Anglican Church in our prayer books, and expressed through the Councils of our church in Australia and around the world.

“As we do our ministry we need to gently but courageously point out the truth, while at the same time showing grace and kindness and a welcome to all. We need to be positively and creatively teaching the beauty of Christian marriage to our people. We ought not to shy away from it, especially in the face of the current debate. We ought not to be ashamed of the Bible’s teaching on these topics. Even though it might get tough, and even though we might have some tricky pastoral conversations, God will honour our speaking the truth in love.”

Bishop Condie said the top priority identified by Tasmanian clergy was “making disciples of Jesus” and he had heard this longing from lay leaders and congregations as well. “It is encouraging that some of our parishes have really embraced disciple-making as a culture, but this needs to be in the DNA of every Anglican church in Tasmania.

“A very base reason for this is our own survival. If we don’t attend to it we will continue to see decline. But more importantly the reason we need to be a disciple-making church is that this is the kind of church that Jesus calls us to be. He commissioned us to make disciples of all nations. This is our reason for being, and if we are not being this, then we are not being the Church.”

To donate to the Anglican Tasmanian Flood Appeal, go to www.givenow.com.au/anglicantasfloodappeal 

Read the full text of Bishop Condie's address here.