TASMANIA, its people and their endless hospitality and generosity will always hold fond memories for the retiring 11th Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, John Harrower.
Bishop Harrower will hang up his robes on Saturday after 15 years in the top state job and move to Victoria with wife Gaylene to be closer to family.
His new role will include being the assistant to the Primate for Australia, and he will also continue his work on the board of World Vision.
Never one to shy away from the pertinent social issues, the bishop reminisced about some of the more challenging issues that he has addressed during his time in the state – including child abuse in the church and wider community and domestic violence – and noted the things he has most enjoyed, including reaching out to refugees.
‘‘We have had to address the declining numbers especially the number of young families at the church so we put in place a strategy to reach out to young people,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s a 20-year program and we have been going for seven or eight years and it is starting to show improvements. It has changed our demographic so we have more young people than we did before.’’
He said he was proud of his call for a Royal Commission into child abuse in 2002.
‘‘It was clear to me that this was a horrendous thing, a nightmare happening in the church. We had to face up to the fact that there was a darkness in our own community,’’ he said.
Bishop Harrower said Australia should be accepting all persecuted minorities into its borders, and commended the federal government on its recent decision to allow 12,000 Syrian refugees into the country.