Anglican Dean of Perth Very Rev. Richard Pengelley apologises for Church hurt
By Liam Croy And Claire Tyrrell
December 26, 2017
|The Very Rev. Richard Pengelley talks to children at a Christmas Day service.|
Photo by Sharon Smith
|Archbishop Tim Costelloe.|
The Anglican Dean of Perth apologised for the hurt the Church has caused in a moving Christmas Day sermon.
Speaking after the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Very Rev. Richard Pengelley said the Church deserved much of the bad press it had endured.
“I am deeply sorry for the ways in which we have hurt people,” he said.
Mr Pengelley told worshippers at St George’s Cathedral the Church was inclusive of all cultures, sexualities and walks of life.
He pointed to the good work it did in the community, from helping with food relief to providing music and arts programs.
“We support charities ... we are home to memorials and burials,” he said. “We support refugees, lobby for justice and we lobby to be inclusive.”
He described the Christmas story as the “engine room of the universe” and said Jesus had invited all of humanity to embrace his expansive compassion and absorption of violence.
“Love each other — hug or Skype someone tonight and tell them you love them,” Mr Pengelley said. “There is no justification for excluding or being unkind to anyone.”
Catholic Archbishop of Perth Timothy Costelloe used his Christmas Day sermon to encourage people to look beyond superficial celebrations.
He drew on the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The people who walked in darkness had seen a great light. On those who dwell in the land of the shadow of death a light has shone.”
Archbishop Costelloe said the darkness was evident on our screens and in our newspapers.
It could be closer than we thought, in the hidden experiences of our neighbours, our relatives or ourselves.
The Christmas story revealed that God loved everyone regardless of their struggles, limitations, frailties or brokenness.
“Christmas offers us the gift of this tiny child, born in Bethlehem, who through his short life will unveil for us the beauty and power and compassion which shine on the face of our heavenly father,” Archbishop Costelloe said.
He likened the Church to wrapping paper around the gift of Jesus.
“The wrapping paper might be looking a little creased, or even a bit grubby and it might even be torn in places, but we can still receive the gift gratefully and take the wrapping paper off to see what lies beneath,” he said.
An earlier service at St Mary’s Cathedral included a call for Catholic leaders to continue to build a Church of integrity where children and adults were protected.