Anglican Bishop of Newcastle Greg Thompson announced his retirement this morning, citing personal health impacts from the fallout of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse as the catalyst.
The diocese of Newcastle includes Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast.
Bishop Thompson served as bishop 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 under way in the diocese of Newcastle and its impact on my health,” Bishop Thompson said in a statement.
“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 a 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.”
Bishop Thompson said his resignation has been difficult to arrive at.
“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,” he said.
Bishop Thompson has worked in the church for 38 years in several roles.
With the revelations during the Royal Commission of child abuse performed by clergy and church workers, Bishop Thompson established the Parish Recovery Teams to work with church communities to address abuse histories and assist survivors.
“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,” he said.
“I could not have done my work without their professional and dedicated support for change.”
Bishop Thompson’s ministry as the Bishop of Newcastle will formally end on May 31.