Category : Anglican Church of Australia

(Goulburn Post) Anglican Bishop of Canberra/Goulburn speaks up on Jerrara Power plan

The Reverend Davies was one of 15 members of the community, many of them from Bungonia, to speak during open forum.

He said he wasn’t from Bungonia but “breathed the same air.” In addition, parishioners in the area were “very distressed about the proposal to process up to 330,000 tonnes annually of Sydney’s waste in the rural zone. The Reverend Davies took the matter to Dr Short, who wrote that he had become keenly aware of the importance of environment and air quality, particularly to Goulburn Mulwaree residents.

“This was highlighted in the lead-up to Christmas, 2019 when we were unable to go ahead with an outdoors carols program because of the impact of smoke from the bushfires,” he wrote.

Dr Short noted Jerrara Power’s scoping report had mentioned residents’ concerns about air quality, health and drinking water impacts associated with industry, including quarries in Goulburn Mulwaree.

“Noting the concerns that are acknowledged here and the fact that the vast majority of waste to be processed at the facility would come from outside the local government area, I support any process that would allow the interests and concerns of local residents to be fully heard and evaluated,” the letter stated.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ecology, Energy, Natural Resources, Ethics / Moral Theology, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

A look back to 2008–Mark Thompson on Adiaphora–Discerning the things that matter

It is interesting that nowhere in the New Testament or in the great reformation debates over adiaphora was the concept applied to issues of doctrine or moral behaviour. Paul didn’t consider differences over the doctrine of justification by faith to be matters of indifference. He was willing to confront Peter head-on if necessary. Jesus didn’t treat differences over the appropriate expression of human sexuality to be matters of indifference. Adultery and homosexuality remain behaviours which God himself condemns. God has spoken on these issues and our job is not to make room for difference but to be humble enough to be changed in our thinking and/or behaviour so that our minds and lives conform to God’s word written.

There is a lot of woolly thinking going on at the moment about adiaphora. People are trying to extend the term in ways that will insulate them from challenge about their doctrine or their behaviour. Let’s not let the term be inflated in meaning in this way. As a now standard variation from the old Catholic axiom has it: sacra scriptura locuta est, res decisa est (‘Holy Scripture having spoken, the matter is decided’). We need to talk to each other and study together when it comes to issues on which Scripture has spoken. On very rare occasions this study will reveal that Scripture itself considers the matter secondary or indifferent, as in the case of circumcision or meat offered to idols. But more often than not freedom to differ is reserved for those areas on which Scripture has not spoken.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(SA) Sydney Diocese: No tolerance for abuse

All Anglicans should be deeply grieved by the study released this week by the Anglican Church of Australia on domestic and family violence.

“Like my predecessor, I want to state clearly that all forms of domestic abuse are incompatible with Scripture and Christian faith,” said the new Archbishop of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel. “Nothing justifies violence or coercion. Christian relationships are to be marked by love, gentleness and respect.”

The report, outlined here, indicates the prevalence of family abuse was the same or higher than in the wider Australian community. The report will be studied to determine ways to further strengthen responses to domestic abuse and family violence within church communities and a ten point commitment has been enacted by the General Synod, as well as work already undertaken in the Sydney Diocese. “There is much work to do and our shock and sadness should stir us into further action,” said Archbishop Raff

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Sexuality, Violence

David Ould–Bishop of Gippsland supports Synod motion endorsing extra-marital relationships

The Gippsland Anglican reports in its June edition:

One of the Bishop-in-Council motions was to add a preamble to Section 7 of Faithfulness in Service so that a member of the clergy or church worker in a committed and monogamous relationship is not considered to be breaching two clauses therein “because that relationship does not have the status of a marriage solemnised according to an Anglican marriage rite.” The clauses in question refer to “chastity in singleness and faithfulness in marriage.”

In his presidential address, Bishop Richard said, “… for years, we have been expecting people who are in faithful, committed relationships that either do not constitute marriage, or do not correspond with our church’s doctrine of marriage, either to sign [up to Faithfulness in Service] with their fingers crossed, or to walk away. Why should their conscience bear that burden?”

Read it all and make sure to take the time to read the bishop’s full address.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion)

(ABC Aus.) Michael Jensen–Sydney’s almost unnoticed Archbishop-elect: The challenges facing Kanishka Raffel and the Anglican church

He must lead his churches, then, in a concerted effort in prayer and repentance. There can be no priority higher than this. It would be a grave mistake to put evangelism above this, since evangelism is powerfully effective when there is evidence that people really live as if the gospel is true. In the past, we’ve been too triumphalist, too presumptive. The grace of our message has not always been matched by the grace of our welcome.

Kanishka must lead them in a return to the Word of God. Martin Luther once said, with typical exaggeration, “the ears alone are the organ of the Christian”. The Christian church is a listening church. It is found wherever the Word of God is preached. Where Jesus is declared to be Lord, and where people gather to hear it, there you find the Spirit of God active — not only there, but certainly there. When the people of God are seeking the voice of God in the pages of the Bible — when they hear themselves addressed by him from above — then there is hope.

The Archbishop must encourage us to be local communities of loving welcome. The “action”, as it were, is not in the bishop’s office or in committee rooms. The faith is not a matter of reports by theologians. It lives in the congregations that gather Sunday by Sunday, worshipping God and hearing him address them. Archbishop-elect Kanishka has written of a visit he made while holidaying to a small congregation, unimpressive by normal standards and few in number. And yet, he wrote later that he saw there “the stunning beauty of the gathered people of God”. It is my experience that people who are you might think the least likely to find a spiritual home in an Anglican Church in Sydney do so when they find that the hospitality they experience is for real.

But there must also be a courageous and prophetic engagement with post-Christian culture. The great Swiss theologian Karl Barth once said that sermons should be written with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other. The Bible gives us eyes to see what is really in the newspaper. But it is also the case that news may help us to see better what is in the Bible. The mistake that many American evangelicals have made is to imagine that political and cultural means are the way to pursue or to defend the kingdom of God — mostly in alignment with the political right. That is a fool’s errand. It leads to an idolatry of political power, as was seen the Trump’s presidency. It shows no faith in the ultimate Lordship of Jesus, who is the church’s only Lord.

But neither should the church simply follow the spirit of the age. Its calling is not to provide a chaplaincy to contemporary narcissism. It finds laughable talk of “getting with the times” or “history being on our side”. It does not pursue relevance, as if that were anything worthwhile. It outlasted Rome: it will surely outlast Atlassian.

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Posted in Adult Education, Anglican Church of Australia, Australia / NZ, Other Faiths, Religion & Culture

(CW) New Sydney Anglican archbishop ‘gladly trusts in Jesus’

A convert to Christianity from Buddhism, Archbishop-elect Raffel is the first person from a non-European background to hold the position. He’s the 13th leader of the Anglican Church in Sydney since Bishop Broughton was first appointed in 1836.

“I’m humbled and somewhat daunted by the responsibility given me by the Synod,” he said in a statement. “We believe that the Lord works through his people — both in making this decision and in enabling the Archbishop to fulfil his role. Like every Christian, I gladly trust in Jesus.”

Aged 56, and born to Sri-Lankan parents in London, Mr Raffel and his family emigrated to Australia from Canada in 1972. He and his wife Cailey have been married for 32 years and have two adult daughters.

He has been the Dean of Sydney for six years, previously leading a large Anglican church in Shenton Park in Perth for 16 years. He has been described as a gifted preacher and communicator who at the age of 21 underwent a conversion to Christianity after reading the lines from St John’s Gospel: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day”.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Buddhism, Ecumenical Relations, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic

(David Ould) Kanishka Raffel Elected Bishop of Sydney

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

The Archbishop of Sydney’s 2020 Christmas Message

Archbishop Davies referred to the deeper meaning of Christmas, declaring that Christmas represents “the great unmasking of God”.

“In the coming of Jesus, we see God’s face. The Bible tells us “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. God took off his mask and revealed himself in such an extraordinary way as a human being.”

Dr Davies said lessons had been learned during the isolation of COVID-19.

“When lockdown stripped away so many things that used to fill our lives, we learned what was important to us. Relationships. From Christmas we learn that the most important relationship we can ever have is with Jesus – God unmasked.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Christmas

(Tenterfield Star) The Rev. Rod Chiswell is elected as the new Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Armidale

As the current senior minister at the St Peter’s Anglican Church in South Tamworth, Rev Chiswell has served the Tamworth community for the past 13 years with his wife, Jenni. The couple have two children – Sam, who is married to Clare and has three children, and Georgia who has just completed her HSC this year.

Between his current role and previous roles, Rev Chiswell has served in the Armidale Diocese for the last 25 years – as Vicar of Mungindi, Walcha and South Tamworth respectively.

Consequently, the Anglican Synod say they believe he understands the challenges facing a rural diocese in these times; challenges such as recruitment of clergy, support of clergy and their families, and the training of laypeople.

“Having lived most of his life in the Armidale Diocese, Rod has the heart to introduce people of the region to Jesus and help them home to heaven,” Rev Brian Kirk, Armidale Diocese Vicar General said.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Ministry of the Ordained

(David Ould) “Erroneous and Unconvincing”. GAFCON Australia responds to Appellate Tribunal Opinion

Gafcon Australia exists to promote the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Anglican Church of Australia. We are convinced that the fullness of life that only Jesus gives is experienced through hearing, trusting and obeying his word of grace and life, in the power of his Spirit and the fellowship of his people. For this reason, the Board of Gafcon Australia expresses its deep regret that the recent majority opinion of the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia relies upon a disputed definition of the meaning of ‘doctrine’ rather than on a whole-hearted and glad embrace of the life-giving Word of God. In doing so, they have seriously undermined the basis of national unity in our church. We regard their conclusions as erroneous and unconvincing.

A majority of the Appellate Tribunal affirmed that certain legislation passed by two Australian Dioceses was ‘not inconsistent with the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of the Constitution’. In doing so, the Appellate Tribunal declined to follow advice they had requested from two other Australian Anglican bodies – the House of Bishops and the Board of Assessors. Both of these bodies unanimously affirmed the historic and biblical teaching on personal sexual ethics. The General Synod will respond to the opinion at its meeting in May/June next year. It is possible, indeed likely, that in the meantime some Dioceses will take steps to authorise their own services of blessing of same-sex marriages in the near future.

Around the Anglican Communion where developments of this kind have occurred (notably, the US, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland) orthodox Anglicans have found themselves ostracised or isolated from their own Dioceses and Bishops.

Gafcon Australia assures Anglicans who affirm the Scriptures as ‘the ultimate rule and standard of faith given by inspiration of God and containing all things necessary for salvation’ (to quote the Constitution) that we will support and assist you in maintaining a faithful Anglican witness.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Moore College) Mark Thompson–Preliminary thoughts on the Appellate Tribunal ruling

It is with great sadness that I note the opinion of the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia on the matter of proposed services to bless same-sex unions. Setting aside the unanimous advice of the House of Bishops and the unanimous advice of the Board of Assessors, the majority of the Tribunal has decided that there is no impediment to such services of blessing going ahead.

This opinion, if acted upon, may indeed have devastating consequences for the Anglican Church of Australia, as similar decisions have done elsewhere in the world, but it cannot change the revealed will of God. The opinion is deeply wrong because it opens the door for the blessing of behaviour which the Bible clearly says will exclude people from inheriting the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:10). As the Board of Assessors and the House of Bishops made clear, the prohibition of this behaviour is not limited to an isolated passage in the New Testament but is consistent through the entire Bible. God does not change his mind. He does not need to. He has always known the end from the beginning.

Since its release, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Geoff Smith, has described the decision of the Tribunal as ‘an important contribution to the ongoing conversation within the church’. He clearly does not see it as the final word. It is important that only Scripture occupies that place.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology

The Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia releases its ruling on the matter of proposed services to bless same-sex unions.

You can find the ruling at the top of the page here. You may find the ruling itself in a 123 page pdf there. It is a lot to digest.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney’s 2020 Easter message

The leader of the largest Anglican diocese in the country, Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies has spoken of the hope Jesus brings in declaring that the joy of Easter will not be extinguished by the coronavirus.

“I was asked by a television reporter recently whether COVID-19 is the virus that killed Easter,” Archbishop Davies said in his annual Easter message. “My answer was a resounding no!”

“Like you, I am astounded by what I am seeing as each day passes. We have never experienced a crisis quite like this before. We have so many fears – unemployment, loneliness, the safety of our loved ones. Of course, the greatest fear of all from this virus is the fear of death. But the message of Easter is that death has been conquered.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Australia / NZ, Easter

(ACNS) Archbishop Geoffrey Smith elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Archbishop Geoffrey Smith, has today (Tuesday) been elected Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia. Archbishop Geoffrey assumes his new responsibilities with immediate effect as his successor, the Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier, retired from the primacy on 31 March.

In a first round of elections, held on 14 March, Archbishop Geoffrey won majorities in the Houses of Bishops and Laity; and the Bishop of Tasmania, Bishop Richard Condie, won a majority in the House of Clergy. A majority was required in all three houses.

A second round of electronic voting opened yesterday and concluded today.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

(SA) Bishop Ivan Lee RIP–“We have lost a great champion for the gospel”

“We have lost a great champion for the gospel, for evangelism and for healthy churches engaged in ministry and mission,” said Archbishop Glenn Davies. “Our Diocese has lost a faithful bishop and teacher of God’s word. I have lost a good friend and loyal colleague. Virginia and her family have lost a loving husband, father and grandfather.”

Bishop Lee was the first Bishop of Chinese descent in Sydney Diocese and only the second in Australia. He served a record 17 years as Bishop of Western Sydney after his consecration in 2003. Even though his successor, Gary Koo, was appointed last year, he continued to serve as Bishop for Evangelism and Church Growth until he was forced to go into hospital in January.

Speaking to Southern Cross last year, Bishop Lee reflected on the fact that the cancer had been in remission after his initial operation and chemotherapy in 2015, until it reappeared in 2019.

“That’s a pretty good run,” he said at the time, adding that people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer “typically last months, not years… so it’s quite a blessing (to be given that time)”.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(David Ould) What Future For The Anglican Church Of Australia?

All the above seems pretty straight forward and I can’t see anything happening to change the outcomes I’ve described. But what then? Well, on the basis of how things have played out in almost every other western province of the Anglican Church I think we’re going to see the following:

  1. A number of revisionists (possibly even a Metropolitan Archbishop) will ignore the clear (restated) mind of General Synod and push on with a renewed energy to legislate for same-sex weddings and related changes in disciplinary structures.
  2. Conservatives will begin disciplinary procedures against any clergy who participate in or preside over the new liturgies and against bishops who approve of them in their own dioceses.
  3. Conservatives will also refuse to meet with those who continue to openly reject Biblical standards as reiterated by the General Synod.
  4. The new Primate will be faced with a difficult decision – will they uphold the clearly-stated position of the General Synod and refuse to invite to meetings those who reject it, or will they still act as though we’re all united?

In one sense the answer to 4. will be partly academic. Either way I don’t expect conservatives to continue to pursue fellowship with those who have shown no desire to maintain catholicity, undermine the doctrine and discipline of the church and won’t uphold their ordination vows.

So what will the Anglican Church of Australia look like in 2021? My best guess is that we will have a sadly fractured church. Whether we are meeting nationally as the entire church depends on whether the new Primate will be robust in upholding the position of General Synod. If we don’t meet in this way then expect the bonds of fellowship within the GAFCON movement to be only strengthened and expressed more formally.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

(Aus AP) Few Australian Anglican Submissions back blessing same-sex marriages

Australia’s most senior Anglican, Melbourne Archbishop Dr Philip Freier, referred that decision to the church’s internal appellate tribunal in September.

The tribunal was asked to consider whether the regulation was consistent under the church’s national constitution and valid under canon law.

The tribunal then called for submissions on the matter.

A second referral – to be considered concurrently – asked the tribunal to decide more generally if blessing services other than for heterosexual unions should be allowed.

In her address to the Wangaratta synod in August, which forms part of the diocese’s submissions to the tribunal, Reverend Dorothy Lee argued the blessing of same-sex Christian couples “seems a small thing to ask”.

“There are no theological grounds for refusing to bless civil unions,” Rev Lee said.

“On the contrary, faithful and loving Christian couples, whatever their sexual orientation, gender, race or class, should be able to ask for and receive the church’s blessing.”

However, of the 33 other submissions to the tribunal, just four support blessing same-sex marriages.

Read it all.

Posted in --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(Church Times) Australian bishops respond to bushfire crisis

Bishops of the two regions most affected by the current Australian bushfire crisis have issued pastoral letters to their congregations.

The Bishop of Gippsland, Dr Richard Treloar, in a letter read in churches across his diocese on Sunday, wrote that “our hearts and hand go out” to the people in the fire-ravaged areas of east Gippsland. Two people have died and hundreds of homes and other buildings have been destroyed.

He continued: “We commit ourselves to a sustained relief effort, working within and beyond our churches with people of good will to support those most affected by the fires and their aftermath, and to rebuild hope where hope has been lost.”

The Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Dr Mark Short, has also written to all parishes in his diocese, which extends to the south coast of New South Wales. Some small towns in the south coast region have been virtually obliterated, and at least one church was burnt down.

“We grieve with and for those who have lost property and loved ones”, Dr Short wrote. “We groan with and for creation as it waits for rescue. We long for quenching rain and relief. . . Please join with me in thanking God for every act of courage and kindness.”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Australia / NZ, Police/Fire

(ABC Aus.) Albury Anglican priest suggests Church may need to divorce as he pushes for embrace of 21stc Western anthropology

A regional priest has questioned whether it Is time for the Anglican Church to split, as the debate on the Religious Freedom Bill leaves some of his parishioners feeling anxious over the Christmas period.

The picturesque Saint Matthew’s Church, which lies in tranquil gardens in the heart of Albury, has become a battleground over the identity of the Anglican Church’s future.

The push for the Church to become more progressive has become such a personal fight for local priest Father Peter MacLeod-Miller that he has now removed his clerical collar as he campaigns for equality of LGBTQI+ parishioners.

“It’s such a bad brand,” Father Macleod-Miller said.

“It’s a bit like you walk down the street and people associate you with bad things….”

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(David Ould) Some Interesting Developments at the recent consecration of the new bishop of Western Sydney

So great was Archbishop Freier’s objection that one assistant bishop from Freier’s diocese, Melbourne, was told not to robe, process and be part of the consecration. He was seen, instead, sitting in the congregation. davidould.net also understands another assistant bishop from a metropolitan diocese chose not to even attend under similar pressure.

Archbishop Freier’s objection to the presence of Bishop Behan is in direct contradiction to a motion passed by his own synod only a few months ago, which voted to approve the following:

Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa / New Zealand
That this Synod:
a) Welcomes the newly formed Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa / New Zealand.
b) Assures the Church of Confessing Anglicans Aotearoa / New Zealand and its bishop, Jay Behan, of our love and prayers.
c) prays for God’s blessing on all Anglicans in New Zealand as they seek to proclaim Christ faithfully to New Zealand.

davidould.net spoke to a senior member of clergy in the Diocese of Melbourne who described Archbishop Freier’s actions as “not very welcoming, really, is it?!”

Readers of davidould.net will have to make up their own mind on whether Archbishop Freier’s decision would leave bishop Jay Behan assured of his love and prayers. The majority that voted in favour of the motion may also take an interest in their Archbishop’s rejection of the position of synod.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

(TMA) Archbishop of the Anglican Church of Australia to resign

Melbourne’s Archbishop Philip Freier is to resign in March as Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia after almost six years in the role. Dr Freier is to remain Archbishop of Melbourne, a post he took up in December 2006.

The shock announcement from the Primate’s office on 25 November said Dr Freier would step down on 31 March 2020, before his term was due to expire, and would not seek re-election. He would have been eligible to seek a three-year extension as Primate.

No reason was offered for Archbishop Freier’s decision.

Dr Freier wrote to all Australian Anglican bishops on 25 November to say he would not accept a further term, and that he would conclude on 31 March to allow his successor to prepare for the next General Synod (national parliament) of the Church in Maroochydore, Queensland, from 31 May to 5 June next year.

He had been due to chair the synod.

“I am hopeful that my early advice to you will enable a smooth transition to be made,” he wrote to the bishops.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

(SA) “We are struggling to make room” – Gospel growth in Western Sydney

“[Berala’s] been a provisional parish for at least 50 years,” rector the Rev Mike Doyle informed the Synod. Yet, despite this long struggle, God has been faithful – working alongside the parish as members sought to share the gospel.

It hasn’t been an easy task. As the demographic of Berala changes, so must the evangelism strategy. According to the 2016 Census, 79.1 per cent of Berala’s population speaks a language other than English at home. To accommodate this, and ensure the parish is proactively connecting with the community, Berala hosts international food nights, and provides multilingual services and Bible study groups in languages other than English. These efforts have resulted in many baptised as they come to know Christ plus a thriving kids’ and youth ministry.

Mr Doyle also said that Berala aims to begin a second service next March catering more to younger people, and continue to “make followers of Jesus and bring about growth in our members’ relationships with God and each other”. He hopes, in time, this will “raise leaders from within those languages and cultures” in the local community, so that the gospel can spread more easily without fear of miscommunication.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

(CEN) Paul Richardson reviews Jonathan Holland’s new book on Philip Strong–A forgotten hero of Anglicanism

A significant figure in the Anglican Communion in his time, Philip Strong will be remembered by few people in the Church of England today. In an age of ‘expressive individualism’ and the quest for personal fulfilment Strong’s devotion to duty marks him as the product of a very different period in time. This is someone who made a definite religious commitment at the age of 14, wrote it down and never swerved from the path he had chosen. For the distinguished Cambridge historian Owen Chadwick he was ‘the most Christian man I ever had the pleasure of knowing.’

Strong was born in 1899 and grew up in a country vicarage. He studied at Selwyn College, Cambridge, where he was friends with Malcolm Muggeridge and formed a close bond with Alec Vidler. Ordained by Hensley Henson, who was suspicious of Strong’s Anglo-Catholicism but who came to respect him, Strong served a curacy and two incumbencies in working class parishes in the North of England.

In 1936 the call came to go to Papua as the diocesan bishop. The night before his consecration Archbishop Cosmo Gordon Lang pointed to a crucifix and told Strong ‘you can thank God there will be more of that in your life than there is in mine’.

Jonathan Holland describes the challenges Strong faced as he took up his new responsibilities in this carefully researched and well-written biography.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Books, Church History, Papua New Guinea

The Anglican Diocese of Queensland struggles with Mind-Bending Insurance Premium Increases

Under law, our insurance premiums are not due until 14 days after we have received notice of the new premiums. As of this date we have not officially received notice. However the following applies:

• Our current premiums for ISR work out at about 15 cents for every $100 insured compared to a national average of around 30 cents for every $100 insured; a reasonable insurance rate would therefore be about double our current premiums.

• Our new premiums for ISR are likely to be around $900,000 which represents 72 cents in the $100. This represents an increase of about 4.5 times our previous premiums. It also comes with an increased excess.

• It is not possible for individual ministry units to take out policies; only an incorporated body having ownership of the property can take out insurance. This means that only the schools, the aged care facilities, Anglicare NQ and the Corporation of the Diocesan Synod of North Queensland can take out property insurance.

• Heritage buildings must be repaired if damaged, but if substantially or totally destroyed they can be demolished rather than replaced.

• Properties that are leased by the Diocese usually require property insurance as part of the Tenancy contract: currently we lease out approximately 25 houses, one church hall and the offices, shop and house at St Johns Cairns which are leased to Anglicare NQ.

• The two stores (Kowanyama and Pompuraaw) need to be insured as ongoing businesses.

• Removal of debris only insurance is not going to be made available to us.

• We are legally and morally obliged to insure people and other people’s property, but we are not legally obliged to insure our own property.

It is also absolutely clear that we cannot pay insurance of $900,000; and that ministry units are not in a position to increase their insurance premiums by over four times. In the end we are here to carry out the Great Commission and the Great Commandments: we are not here to maintain buildings. Yearly premiums of $900,000 would lead to the effective end of financial support for any ministry.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Stewardship

(David Ould) Was the recent Newcastle Synod Decision A “Stitch-Up”?

The FAOC set about the task of considering the topic of human sexuality. A number of additional people were added to the core group and they were sent copious amounts of reading to begin their work. But the FAOC never met, let alone produced the promised “theological and biblical resource” on human sexuality. So it was a great surprise to many in synod that the two human sexuality bills arrived as private bills introduced by the chair of the FAOC when the FAOC had no report to deliver to inform those debates (as was its mandate) nor, it appeared, had even met once to consider the matter.

One member of synod reports what happened during the debate (the events of which have been corroborated by a number of sources also present):

On the floor of Synod the Dean had the question put to her. “Why did this bill not come to us via the Faith and Order Commission?” She paused, turned to Bishop Peter, and then replied haltingly (with some confusion in her voice), “I understand that the Faith and Order Commission has been disbanded.”

Surprise has been expressed to davidould.net that even the chair of the FAOC didn’t know whether the body had been disbanded or not.

And so the synod considered the matter. More than one person that we have spoken to have expressed a similar opinion on the mind of synod; that they are deferential to the bishop and will consider something that he approves of as something that should be approved. So it was with these two bills. While proposed by the Dean, they were understood by many to have the Bishop’s clear backing. As one synod member put it to us, “the Dean is the Bishop’s agent for getting things done”. It may have been a private bill but the implication was that this was “official” and “from the leadership of the diocese”.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(David Ould) Newcastle Synod Decision Pushes Australian Anglicans to Precipice

There does appear to be an inconsistency here. Bishop Stuart rightly notes that only an ordinance that has received assent can be referred to the tribunal. But in his pastoral letter he told us that “I have communicated with the Primate and he has indicated that he will refer the Ordinance to the Appellate Tribunal.” Yet how can the Primate refer the Ordinance and have an opinion on it issued if Bishop Stuart has not yet given assent? Make up your mind, please.

So where to from here? Newcastle now has an ordinance in limbo that effectively states that marriage between a homosexual couple is perfectly ok. It is, by any assessment, an attempt to introduce a de facto change in the doctrine of marriage without having the courage to just say “we’re changing the doctrine of marriage” or having provided anything like the necessary theological justification. Given the deep debate over this topic in the recent years (not to mention the repeated motions in General Synod affirming what the church’s doctrine of marriage – not least that it is between a man and a woman), those that claim this is not a change in the doctrine of marriage can only be understood to be disingenuous. Or utterly ignorant of the current debate. The latter is simply impossible. But the bishop is is signalling that he won’t give it assent and so the Appellate Tribunal cannot consider it, even though that’s just what Bishop Stuart wants them to do in order to provide him cover to give assent.

And so Newcastle, led by its bishop, has pushed us further to the cliff edge.

What will the Appellate Tribunal say? Will they even ever meet? Will the Primate publicly back the position of General Synod and call on revisionist bishops to cease their deeply damaging actions? What will happen when the bishops meet in Melbourne next month?

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology

(Church Times) Consecration of GAFCON bishop in new NZ Church is criticised

“Is this the moment . . . when the fracture in the Anglican Communion becomes irreversible?” Bishop Carrell asked the Archbishop of Canterbury in a message posted on Twitter on Saturday. “Australian bishops out of protocol control, two of their synods greeting a breakaway diocese. Archbishops from Rwanda, Australia and ACNA combine to inaugurate a new Anglican Church!”

On Monday, he said that there was a “range of reactions” to the consecration in his diocese. The failure of bishops in the Communion to inform the diocese of their intention to minister there was “bewildering to many here”.

“I fear that the significance of the weekend’s incursion goes beyond the inauguration of a new Church and is a sign that the slowly emerging schism in the Anglican Communion is speeding up,” he said. “When the two largest dioceses in Australia recognise a new Anglican Church in another Anglican jurisdiction, we have a straightforward confusion of the goal of the Anglican Communion that we seek to fulfil the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they may be one.”

In their joint statement on Tuesday, the Archbishops of ACNZP, the Most Revd Philip Richardson and the Most Revd Don Tamihere, wrote: “The disrespect for the normal protocols of the Anglican Communion and the lack of courtesy shown to our Church by these boundary-crossing bishops is disturbing, and we will be making an appropriate protest about their actions.

“We are especially concerned at the boundary crossing of bishops from the Anglican Church of Australia. We value our trans-Tasman relationship with our neighbouring Church and are disappointed to find a lack of respect for the jurisdiction of our Church….”

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Posted in Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Ecclesiology, Ethics / Moral Theology, GAFCON, Marriage & Family, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(David Ould) Diocese of Perth approves extra-marital sex for clergy and church workers

davidould.net understands this change was the subject of significant debate in the legislative committee for several months prior to synod but liberal voices were insistent.

The revised standard, which now means that sexual activity outside marriage is now considered appropriate for clergy and church workers, was adopted on the voices by synod.”

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Anthropology, Australia / NZ, Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Religion & Culture, Sexuality, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Archbishop Glenn Davies’ final Presidential Address to the 2019 Synod of the Diocese of Sydney

The Archbishop also referred to moves in the Diocese of Wangaratta, as well as in Newcastle, to offer services of blessing to same-sex couples. The Primate has referred these attempts to the body known as the Appellate Tribunal, which rules of matters of church law. Dr Davies called the endorsement of same-sex marriage a ‘serious breach of fellowship’ and against teaching of Scripture and the doctrine of Christ. “Yet our view of marriage is not a popular one in Australia, nor is it consistent with the definition of marriage under the amended Marriage Act 1961, after 60% of the population endorsed, by postal vote, a change to the Marriage Act, which would permit same-sex marriages. Nonetheless, God’s intention for marriage has not changed. We honour him when we abide by his instruction. We cannot bless same-sex marriages for the simple reason that we cannot bless sin. I am grateful for the Primate’s intervention by referring the decisions of the Wangaratta Synod to the Appellate Tribunal. He also requested that no clergy in the Wangaratta Diocese use the new service until a decision had been reached …” the Archbishop said. “Friends, we have entered treacherous waters. I fear for the stability of the Anglican Church of Australia. These developments have the potential to fracture our fellowship and impair our communion. I have stated this on numerous occasions at the annual National Bishops’ Conference, but sadly to little effect. Next year the General Synod will meet in a special session to confer on the issue of same-sex blessings and same-sex marriage. It has been planned by the General Synod Standing Committee as a consultation, with no opportunity for making decisions. However, the time has come to take action and make decisions, and these recent events have made it all the more imperative to do so. The General Synod must make a clear statement about the teaching of the Bible on the sanctity of sex within the marriage bond of a man and a woman, so that marriage is held in honour among all and the marriage bed is not defiled (Hebrews 13:4). My own view is that if people wish to change the doctrine of our Church, they should start a new church or join a church more aligned to their views – but do not ruin the Anglican Church by abandoning the plain teaching of Scripture. Please leave us. We have far too much work to do in evangelising Australia to be distracted by the constant pressure to change our doctrine in order to satisfy the lusts and pleasures of the world.”

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia

(Sightings) Peter Sherlock–Religious Discrimination: The Australian Debate

Most submissions in response to the consultation draft of the bill agree that discrimination on the basis of religious belief—or its absence—should be prohibited. In this respect, the bill simply gives effect to article 18 of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, that everyone should have a right “to manifest … religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.” Moreover, in Australia, the national Constitution was written in the 1890s with a view to preventing religious interference in the making of laws. While Parliament still opens each day with the Lord’s Prayer, there arguably is a need for legislative protections against religious discrimination.

Several submissions, however, indicate significant opposition to the bill as it stands because its religious protections would facilitate other forms of discrimination. This includes, for the first time in modern Australia, the introduction of religious exemptions in discrimination legislation covering race and disability, paralleling those in sex discrimination legislation. Furthermore, the bill does not go far enough for some religious groups, who argue it would open them up to what the Catholic Church has described as “lawfare” in relation to employment practices at faith-based schools or agencies. The Sydney Anglican submission, for its part, dramatically argues that, as it is presently drafted, the bill would force the church to make its campsites available for hire for satanic black masses.

All the same, the debate surrounding the bill has largely overlooked two aspects of religious liberty. The first is religious harassment. This is a concept found in other discrimination laws, such as measures to define and prosecute sexual harassment. What will happen when conflicting religious beliefs and behaviors come into contact, including not only religious speech but religious dress, sounds, or rituals? How can the rights of people of no religion be protected? What are the limits of accommodation and respect?

The second regards the nature of power. We can glimpse this point in a unique provision of the bill: companies with a turnover greater than $50,000,000 would be prohibited from preventing its employees from expressing religious views that discriminate against others unless it can prove that such expression would lead to serious financial harm for the company. Discrimination which may lead to the harm of others is acceptable, in other words, unless it is going to cost a business a great deal of money. In modern Australia, money equals power; the widow and her mite would appear to have no protections whatsoever.

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Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Australia / NZ, Corporations/Corporate Life, Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution