Our reconciliation journey, a service for the Head of State, and our opportunity to improve how we do things.
From time to time, we make decisions which have consequences which should have been foreseen but weren’t. I am writing about one now.
On Sunday evening at 6pm, the Cathedral is holding a service which will mark the Coronation of King Charles III. The Cathedral has been the venue for similar services since it was opened for use.
The fact that this service is being held has caused anguish to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This service is drawing to the surface a deep and unresolved tension for us as Diocese and as a community.
The Aboriginal people of our region were dispossessed of their land, oppressed, and murdered in the name of the Crown.
The Diocese of Newcastle was established by Letters Patent of the same Monarch and until 1961 there was a strong nexus between the Church of England and the Church of England in Australia as it was then called.
The Monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England but not of the Anglican Church of Australia. He is crowned by the Archbishop of Canterbury in an Anglican service.
I want to apologise to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people involved with the Diocese. We should have been more thoughtful and careful in establishing it and promoting it. Dean Katherine joins me in this apology.
There is a place for the Cathedral to be holding this service as the King is the Constitutional Head of State of the Commonwealth.
The service will be going ahead. I offer the assurance that the concerns that have been raised will be honoured in the service.
Grace and peace,
Dr Peter Stuart
Anglican Bishop of Newcastle