Last week I wrote an opinion piece that was an inflammatory and passionate call for significant change.
The piece called for a radical internal reform of the Anglican Church in Newcastle.
I made the plea to readers that our local community should stand up and demand to reclaim the precious site of the Newcastle Cathedral from the Anglican Church. The location holds the best view of the city, but instead of giving pride to the community, the cathedral now stands as the symbol of a church with an entrenched culture of secrecy and conspiracy.
Many were incensed by my call – a sign that our community is passionate, with strong voices that will be heard. Some of those vilifying me for daring to speak may be the ones who are part of the entrenched problem in the Cathedral community
My opinion piece was intended to be a plea for individuals to think about our consent to allow an institution responsible for the sexual abuse of over 1000 individuals to own such a treasured position in the city of Newcastle.
Members of the congregation are supporting the secrecy of the abuses suffered at the hands of Anglican clergy and lay persons – this needs to change.
The child abuse problem in Newcastle has been so bad that the Anglican Church needs intrusive surgery to cut off the dead wood. We can’t just pick off the bad apples that are still hanging on. The tree is rotten to the core.
The systematic culture of abuse and reticence uncovered by the Royal Commission proves the Newcastle Anglican Church needs to cut the branches right back to the stump and start over.
Giving the priceless site of the Newcastle Anglican Cathedral back to the local community would be the perfect first gesture to demonstrate a commitment to meaningful change.
Even Jesus called for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem which he promised to rebuild in three days, a prophetic reference to his death and resurrection.
The Diocese needs a special person to lead this reformation process; to bring the love of Jesus back to our community and place the Bible squarely on the table.
Bishop Greg Thompson made several courageous attempts to improve the culture of silence and secrecy within the Anglican community – he was subject to harassment and bullying from members of his own congregation as a result.
That’s how deep this sickening society of secrecy runs. Members of the Anglican Church, supposed representatives of God, will harass and attack their own leader for opening the closet and bringing the skeletons to light.
The Royal Commission has shown that we need significant change, and we need it now.
It’s my hope that with time and unrelenting perseverance the Anglican Church will regain its trusted position within the community. Novocastrians are strong, loyal and compassionate people. We will help the church disown and discard the congregation perpetuating this sickening culture of abuse and denial, and we will help create a bright future for their church.
But we won’t stand for empty promises.
My call for the Anglican Church to give the site of the Anglican Cathedral back to the people of Newcastle is a plea for the church to prove the organisation is sorry and serious about genuine reform.
The victims and their loved ones deserve nothing less.
If you have been affected by institutional abuse and want to hold those institutions responsible, download our guide to compensation right now to move one step closer to justice.
Image Source The Herald