Archbishop of Perth to retire early amid controversy

Roger Herft, Anglican Archbishop of Perth, has decided to retire early after coming under fire at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse for how he dealt with complaints during his time as the Anglican Bishop of Newcastle.

The Archbishop will retire a year early, on 7 July 2017, and will take accrued leave until then. This follows his decision to step aside two months ago.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier, has thanked Archbishop Herft for his decades of dedicated service and his significant contribution in the many dioceses and ministries in which he served.

“Just as I respected his decision in October this year to step aside as Archbishop of Perth so he could focus fully on the Royal Commission into Child Sex Abuse inquiry into the Newcastle diocese and his time as Bishop of Newcastle, so now I respect his decision to retire early,” Dr Freier said.

When stepping aside in October, Herft wrote this letter to his fellow Anglicans:

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

I have returned from long service leave. In God’s providence it was good to have this time away.

I was grateful to have the opportunity to meet with members of the Diocese in recent weeks. I am grateful to each of you for your presence, participation and contributions to these conversations. I am particularly grateful to Bishop Kate, Bishop Jeremy and Archdeacon Braden for co-ordinating these consultations.

I have decided to voluntarily stand aside from my role, function and duties as Archbishop of Perth and Metropolitan of Western Australia with immediate effect. This will include all duties including ordinations, pastoral visits, public functions, Synod, Diocesan Council, correspondence and other related engagements.

I have taken this decision after much prayer, thought and consultation with my advisors to allow for the mission and ministry of the Diocese of Perth to flourish. I believe this is the appropriate decision while I focus my attention on the Royal Commission’s ongoing inquiry into the Diocese of Newcastle.

I am humbled by the courage and fortitude of survivors and victims of child sexual abuse as they continue to bear witness to their stories of suffering.

Bishop Kate has been appointed Administrator of the Diocese with full authority, with Bishop Jeremy and Archdeacons Braden Short, Lionel Snell, Kathy Barrett-Lennard, Onesimo Yugusuk and Mandy Herriman assisting in the task. I know that you will support Bishop Kate and the leadership team.

Cheryl and I remain grateful to you for your prayers for us and the family in this challenging time for us all.

You remain in our constant prayers and thoughts as we seek to be faithful to the Christ who is our strength and hope.

Sincerely in Christ

+Roger Herft


This letter originally appeared on the website of the Anglican Church in Perth.

The Royal Commission continues with public hearings into the response to children with problematic or harmful sexual behaviours in schools.

If you or someone you know wants to report abuse, please call the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse on 1800 099 340.