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Dean of Bendigo appointed Assistant Bishop for Brisbane Diocese

March 9, 2018

A reflection from the Very Reverend John Roundhill, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in Bendigo and Vicar General of the Diocese, and former ABM Board Member, has been published in the latest edition of The Spirit, monthly news magazine of the Anglican Diocese of Bendigo

Dean appointed Assistant Bishop

[Sarah Crutch, March 2018]

John Roundhill, Vicar General and Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, has been appointed an Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Brisbane.

The appointment, which was made at the end of 2017, will see John return to Brisbane where he was previously ministering prior to moving to Bendigo in 2012. John will be working in episcopal ministry with other assistant bishops and the Archbishop of Brisbane.

One of the great challenges and achievements of John’s time in Bendigo has been nurturing the Cathedral congregation while worshipping without a building, and also his advocacy for social issues and community connections particularly with the Interfaith community and the ‘Believe in Bendigo’ campaign.

John will be consecrated a bishop by Archbishop Philip Aspinall in a service at St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane in mid-April, and will formally finish at St Paul’s Cathedral in Bendigo in mid-March before relocating with his wife Frances to Brisbane.

Prior to his departure, John offered the following reflections on his time in the Diocese of Bendigo:

It was about six years ago that I came to this diocese to be the Dean of the church hall. I could take some pride in being the only Dean in Australia with such a title. From a personal point of view, much has happened over those six years, not least the reopening of the cathedral in 2016 and then at the end of 2017 the laying up of the pastoral staff of Bishop Andrew and the joyful installation of Bishop Matt Brain in early 2018.

Yet my time in the diocese was not just as Dean, I was honoured to be asked to be Vicar General at the end of my first year here and since then I have had the pleasure of working with our bishop in various capacities.

It seems to me Bendigo is a remarkable diocese. To those beyond our diocese, they might have heard about the closure of the cathedral (had it not fallen down) and the financial worries around the closure of Girton (which was in 1992 but in some people’s mind was only last week). These events seem, to many, to define the character of the Diocese of Bendigo, poor old Bendigo!

But dioceses are not just about schools nor about cathedrals, not even about money or the lack of it. What they are about are people and the attitudes we bring forward, about the faith we share.

Here I think Bendigo is remarkable in a whole new way. Perhaps because of some of the challenges we have faced, there has been a renewed spirit here. Some of the politics of larger dioceses are absent here (hurrah!). At diocesan events and at Bishop in Council meetings there is not the division that is a characteristic of some other Anglican dioceses around the world.

Equally significant, there is not the fearful ‘holding onto things’ attitude that again can be seen in other places. We have lost much, survived and even thrived. How this manifests itself for me at least, is that the clergy team in this diocese not only look out for those who come to their churches, but look out for each other. That is good; it is healthy and deeply Christian, and that is remarkable. It is worth talking about.