I picked a book off a shelf in the church office: Bruce Ballantine-Jones’ history of Sydney Diocese. It starts: “Winston Churchill described Russia as a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. I sometimes think this describes the Diocese of Sydney.”

I hope that I am not that unfathomable! But I will admit that I have been ‘around the traps’ and that this can lead to confusion about me. Therefore, I’ve been asked to shed some light on the subject. Yet I think what Bruce Wilson said at my Commissioning Service is a good starting point, so here it is:

Karl was born in England to an English mother and Polish father, hence the surname. He grew up in Birmingham and gained an honours degree in politics from Durham University in 1985. He worked in a variety of marketing roles in England before moving to Australia in 1996, where he had research positions in Sydney with News Limited and Anglicare. He was active as a lay worker in churches in England and at St Philip’s in Sydney.

Karl did his theological training at St Mark’s in Canberra. He was ordained as a deacon by the Bishop of Bathurst in 2004 and as a priest in Durham Diocese in 2005. He held clerical positions in England, including as Vicar of the Cranmer Group of parishes.

In 2014, Karl became Rector of Holy Trinity, Vancouver, a parish with many similarities to St Andrew’s.

Karl has travelled widely and has preached and attended conferences at many places across the UK, Europe and the USA. In the years since Karl was last in Australia he has maintained a very close knowledge of our country and of the Anglican Church here.

Looking at such a pen sketch, I can fill in the gaps in such a way that speaks of God’s guiding hand in my life. On my first Sunday, the day after the Commissioning, I received this by email: “It seems a long time since K54, doesn’t it? Who could have predicted our multi-coloured and faceted lives?” This is a reference to the room I shared in my first year at Durham University, 1982-3. And yes, 40 years on, it’s been a remarkable journey; but God has been a constant throughout it all.

Moving to Brisbane has meant an opportunity to meet up with a cleric who was my contemporary at theological college (20 years ago). He remarked that while we might have been regarded as ‘partners in crime’ at the time, we are the ones who have ‘stayed the course’ (whereas others haven’t). I think from the get-go I’ve been a man of conviction; but the experience of the years (and an awareness of the gradual approach of life’s goal) has solidified my belief in the truth and importance of Christianity.

There are many songs that I could quote to end with, but just now this is what comes to mind as a unifying theme that stretches back in my consciousness even prior to 1982 (imagine that):

Oh, the mercy of God, the glory of grace,
That You chose to redeem us, to forgive and restore,
And You call us Your children, chosen in Him
To be holy and blameless to the glory of God.

To the praise of His glorious grace,
To the praise of His glory and power;
To Him be all glory, honour and praise
Forever and ever and ever, Amen.

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