As news broke this week about the conviction of Cardinal Pell for child sexual abuse, I was deeply saddened.
It reminded me again of how the church has failed so many people.
Sexual abuse has occurred in churches of all denominations, and it is an overwhelming tragedy.
There have been many cases of abuse in the Anglican Church of Australia, and we remain truly sorry for the betrayal of trust and the harm experienced by so many people.
Whilst new systems now provide greater protection from abuse, it comes too late for those who have already been hurt by the leaders they trusted.
Indeed, the impact of sexual abuse in the church goes wider than the immediate victims: it affects everyone who has had faith in the church.
For those who see the church as the place to meet God and receive his grace, this news can create serious disillusionment.
After all, if the church is polluted, then it seems impossible to really know God and receive his blessings.
Yet, from the ashes of this tragedy rises a new hope.
The Bible says that every one of us can relate directly to God, without priest or sacrament.
God speaks directly to all of us in the Bible, and you can hear him for yourself.
Which means that when the church fails, God doesn’t.
Even if you feel like giving up on the church, don’t give up on Jesus.
You can meet Jesus directly by reading God’s word, the Bible for yourself.
And you can pray directly to Jesus, because his death on the cross brings the ultimate forgiveness.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).
This weekend we’re having a special South American feel, as we welcome our special friends, Adrian and Anita Lovell (along with Matias, the newest member of their family).
The Lovells serve in Cochabamba, Bolivia, which is a country in South America. They are missionaries with CMS (The Church Missionary Society) and their job is to help Christian leaders grow in their understanding of the Bible, so they can teach and influence others with the great news of Jesus.
To celebrate, we’re going to have a special Bolivia night this weekend, with special Bolivian food and trivia during our after-church dinner. So, be sure to turn up at 5pm Saturday 2nd March, and hang around for dinner, which will finish around 8pm.
During our 5pm Saturday and 9am Sunday services, Adrian Lovell will be our guest preacher, and we’ll also have a special opportunity to learn more about what these Aussies do in faraway Cochabamba!
As always, we’re also having a bunch of questions answered during our services and here they are:
If you’ve not come before, then this is an awesome weekend to join us. Sunday’s service is a little more classic in style, and Saturday night is a little more relaxed and has a bunch of kids and youth programs happening as well. We’d really, really love to see you!
Grace and peace, Jodie.