On Wednesday March 12th clergy and laity from across the Diocese of Newcastle came together at Christ Church Cathedral to renew their commitment to Christian ministry.
The service, led by Bishop Peter Stuart, reflected on the year that has been. He said, “One of the people I have got to know well through the Royal Commission work has expressed to me the hope that the Church will not be wilfully blind to what it needs to see. They were inviting us to embrace the reflections from those who were not part of the Diocese but who have grown to understand us and want us to see, learn, change and mature.”
Speaking after the service, Bishop Stuart said, “We will not turn back on our commitment and obligation to ensure that all people participating in our churches are safe, especially children. We are redressing the wrongs of the past and we will continue to do so.”
Father Stephen Williams, Dean of the Cathedral, felt that it was a significant turning point for the diocese to come together at the Cathedral.
“For many reasons the Cathedral has been focal point for people during the hearings of the Royal Commission and so it was good for the Diocesan community to gather as we come to terms with all that we have heard,” Dean Williams said.
During the service a blue candle was lit and placed on the high altar where it will be lit each day until the end of the liturgical year.
“The candle will be a simple reminder to all who see it that we are committed to joining with survivors in praying and working for justice,” Dean Williams said.
“We chose the colour blue because many clergy and laity have been involved in training by the Blueknot Foundation into the traumatic effects of domestic violence and sexual abuse.”
The Blueknot Foundation says, “Blue is the colour of the sky and a clear blue sky provides the space for new possibilities.”
“I hope that when people see the candle burning week in and week out that they will know that the Cathedral leadership and congregation along with the whole Diocesan community is committed to learning, changing and healing,” Dean Williams concluded.