The Anglican Bishop of the diocese of Newcastle, in Australia, Greg Thompson has announced his resignation.
Bishop Thompson served the Diocese for three years and has been a strong advocate for survivors of child abuse during his tenure.
“Since the end of the Royal Commission’s Case Study 42 on the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle I’ve been reflecting on the important work of the Royal Commission and the change underway in the Diocese of Newcastle and its impact on my health,” Bishop Thompson said.
“It has been widely documented in both the media and the Royal Commission how the culture and conduct from some sections of the church has had an impact on survivors, families, and communities across the Diocese of Newcastle.
“I have witnessed this culture first hand, both as victim of abuse and in my work as Bishop to address the Diocese’s abuse legacy.
“When I started this journey to right the wrongs of child abuse in the Diocese I didn’t expect to be in this position, nor did I expect to uncover systemic practices that have enabled the horrendous crimes against children.
“The decision to resign was not an easy one, it weighed heavily on my heart. However, I must place the wellbeing of my family and my health above my job.” Bishop Thompson said.
With the revelations of the appalling accounts of child abuse performed by clergy and church workers during the Royal Commission, Bishop Thompson established the Parish Recovery Teams to work with church communities to address past abuse histories and assist survivors and communities to find a measure of support and recovery.
“I have confidence in the present church leadership of this Diocese who have stood with me in wanting to face the past and shape a healthy future. I could not have done my work without their professional and dedicated support for change,” Bishop Thompson added.
In response to Bishop Thompson’s resignation, the following statement was issued by Bishop Peter Stuart:
On behalf of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle I express our considerable sadness at the news that Greg Thompson won't be returning to ministry as the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle.
In his short time as our Bishop he has been the catalyst for deep cultural change around the protection of children and the support of victims of abuse. He called us to face our past and in doing so shape a healthy future. This will be his enduring legacy.
As part of shaping a healthy future, we worked together in November to initiate independent external reviews of diocesan governance and the professional standards and redress processes. These reviews are well underway and will continue the crucial work of transforming the Diocese. Bishop Greg has led the Diocese to greater health.
In 2013, the Diocesan family rejoiced that a ‘son of the diocese’ had been elected as the Diocesan Bishop. The clergy and people have delighted in his ministry in parishes, at the diocesan convention and synod. We have felt deep anguish for him and his family as we learnt of the abuse he experienced and the rejection by some in the Diocese.
Throughout his ministry he has been committed to hearing the voices at the grassroots and empowering the vulnerable and people in need. Drawing on the great treasures in the teachings of Jesus, he has been unafraid of speaking strongly to the powerful to ensure transparency and promote justice.
We are deeply thankful for Bishop Greg Thompson’s ministry as Anglican Bishop of Newcastle. Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family in this time of transition.