Bishop’s message of courage

Bishop of Tasmania Richard Condie led a communion service at Smithton’s St Stephen’s Anglican Church on Sunday evening alongside the Rector of the Parish of Burnie and Enabler of the Parish of Circular Head, Noel Bowditch. Pictures: Ashleigh Force. (Below) Bishop Condie was ordained last month and visited Circular Head as part of a tour of rural Tasmanian parishes in his first 100 days of service.

Religion. St Stephen’s Anglican Church in Smithton welcomed a prestigious visitor on Sunday as Tasmania’s new bishop commenced his tour of the state.

Bishop Richard Condie was ordained and installed last month, becoming the 12th Bishop of Tasmania.

Following his consecration, he pledged to visit as many rural parishes throughout the state as possible in his first 100 days of service.

He spent Sunday in Circular Head to lead an evening communion service alongside the Rector of the Parish of Burnie and Enabler of the Parish of Circular Head Noel Bowditch, before joining the church’s congregation for a meal.

“It’s lovely to be back in this part of the world,” Bishop Condie said during the service.

“I’ve had a lovely time, the community has been so welcoming and friendly. I hope for many more visits.”

Originally from Brisbane, Bishop Condie holidayed in Tasmania 16 years ago however while juggling roles as assistant minister in northern New South Wales, followed by lecturing at Ridley Theological College in Melbourne, and most recently appointed Vicar of St Jude’s Church in Carlton, he has found it difficult to return.

“I don’t miss the traffic of Victoria,” he laughed.

As a parting gift from St Jude’s, Bishop Condie received a shepherd’s crook which he held throughout the local service.

Fashioned from wood from the church of St Jude’s itself – which was badly burnt in a fire in 2014 – Bishop Condie said the object held a special place in his heart as a symbol of past trials and journeys and those still to come.

“As the bishop, I am the shepherd of the people,” he said.

To craft the crook, the timber saved from the burnt church was combined with Tasmanian Huon pine and a handcrafted, stainless steel ‘hook’ from Tasmanian artist Roberto Di Martino.

“It is a symbol of my life, a symbol of my work in the ministry and a symbol of new life,” Bishop Condie said.

In leading the service at the Emmett Street church, Bishop Condie spoke of the trials which Jesus Christ endured to save our sins and the importance of honouring Him.

“We must remember His death, His resurrection and His glory.”

When asked what his vision for the Anglican Church of Tasmania is, Bishop Condie assured his faith in God would lead him in the right direction.

“Jesus transformed my life,” he said.

“One of the things you need [to succeed] is resilience and courage. Be confident, we have a great message to spread and we must do this confidently and courageously.

“I hope that the church grows,” he said honestly, “but we must trust God.”

Bishop Condie received gifts of fresh produce from the local community and congregation following the service before continuing his tour to Zeehan and Strahan on Monday and Tuesday.

The Anglican Church of Tasmania’s Director of Ministry Services, Paul Cavanough, will visit St Stephen’s Anglican Church on Sunday April 17 and lead the 11am service.