From Bishop Richard - A Church for Tasmania
Our new Diocesan Vision, launched at our Synod on Friday June 2, 2017
We want our church to be a church for Tasmania. At one level this simply means that we are here for the long haul. We have been here since European settlement, and we will be here until the Lord Jesus returns. We are not the state church, but we need to be confident in our place as a significant part of Tasmanian society.
But at another level it means that we are a church FOR Tasmania, in the sense that we want to make a positive contribution to it.
It was William Temple, who was Archbishop of Canterbury in the 1940s, who said,
‘The Church is the only institution that exists primarily for the benefit of those who are not its members.’
We are primarily not a club for our own selves, but a missionary society for the world around us; and we have been sent by Jesus on mission to Tasmania.
If to be ‘A Church for Tasmania’ is our objective, then our strategy to become this church, is ‘making disciples of Jesus’. This was Jesus’ instruction to the disciples after his resurrection just before he ascended into glory; his parting words of commission.
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:10-20)
I take it that these words are our commission too. Our mission is to make disciples, that is, followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
This is not a mission for the clergy alone, nor just for the leaders among us, but the mission of every baptised believer. Jesus assures us of his authority to do this, and his presence with us. There are many good things that the church does, but if it is not doing this, then it is not being the church.
I want to invite you to join me in this great endeavour. Please obtain a copy of ‘Disciple’ the Diocesan Vision, and ask your Rector how you can be involved in this great work, of being A Church for Tasmania, making disciples of Jesus.
With warm wishes,