Australia’s former governor-general, Bill Hayden, was recently baptized after denying God for most of his life. According to Hayden, witnessing the “selfless acts of compassion by Christians” over his lifetime ultimately led him to give his life to Christ.
His baptism was held on Sept. 9, 2018, at St. Mary’s Church in Ipswich, near Brisbane.
As he looks back, Hayden recognizes that he has always been searching for the purpose of life. “There’s been a gnawing pain in my heart and soul about what is the meaning of life. What’s my role in it?”
Hayden grew up in an abusive home and feels “indebted” to the Ursuline Sisters that taught him in primary school and strongly influenced his social-policy opinions.
But after several health issues over the past four years and the undeniable love given by prominent people in his life, he realized that he had been wrong about the church all along.
Father Peter Dillon along with Father Stephen Bliss performed the ceremony that outwardly expressed Hayden newfound devotion to Christ and his church.
“It was a big thing for him… an act of submission to the fact that there was no denying for him that God is real and he had come to discover that,” Father Dillon said of Hayden’s decision to get baptized.
Hayden said that he learned that Christianity was not a religion of rule, but of love. “It is about love for your fellow humans, forgiveness, compassion and helpful support,” he further explained.
“These characteristics are founded on the teachings of Christ and driven by faith in an external power – the Christian God whose limitations are beyond what humans could attain. I can no longer accept that human existence is self-sufficient and isolated.”
“I’m delighted for Bill and think it is a gift for not only him and his family but for the entire Church in some sense. This is just another extraordinary moment late in life for a man who has already had an extraordinary journey,” he said.
Hayden further expressed his dedication to his newfound faith. He plans on doing so by playing an active role in his local church community and by reading his Bible, “to understand (his) theology better.”
“This took too long, and now I am going to be devoted,” he said. “From this day forward I’m going to vouch for God.”