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Maverick bishop backs mining ban in Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, August 19, 2012 p 6. August 23, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Environment.
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The Australian Bishop at the center of that church’s controversy over gay clergy has taken up a new cause, writing in his diocesan newspaper that he would close down local coal mines until the government had determined they posed no threat to the environment.

Speaking to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation last week, Bishop John McIntyre of Gippsland said that if he had the power, he would “lock the gate and I would invite my neighbours to do the same” until Exxon Mobil and other mining companies agreed to his terms.

Writing in the August issue of the Diocese of Gippsland newspaper, Bishop McIntyre said coal seam gas extraction was unsafe and posed a threat to the environment.  The Victorian state government had an obligation to study its environmental impact before permitting any further mining and drilling.

Exxon Mobil had a “questionable reputation in our communities for not being transparent in its dealings with local people” he wrote, adding that he was surprised the Victorian National Party was “standing with the landholders” in this dispute.

He told the ABC: “I did that to be a little bit provocative I guess because it strikes me that too often a lot of decisions that get made by governments are made sometimes more often for political reasons than they are for actually looking at the facts of the matter.

In his presidential address to the 36th meeting of the Synod of the Diocese of Gippsland in May, Bishop McIntyre said that as a matter of conscience he could not conform to the House of Bishops protocol on gay clergy.

“I will appoint to office in our diocese those whom I believe God is calling to minister among us,” he said adding that this as “my commitment to God and to you, and I am willing to live with any consequences that may arise from remaining true to that commitment.”

At their March meeting the bishops agreed that they accepted “the weight” of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution on Human Sexuality as well as resolutions adopted by the Australian General Synod as “expressing the mind of this church on issues of human sexuality” and agreed not to ordain, license, authorise or appoint persons known to be in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Australian bishop rejects church ban on gay clergy: The Church of England Newspaper, May 27, 2012 p 7. June 4, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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Bishop John McIntyre

An Australian bishop has told his diocesan synod that as a matter of conscience he cannot abide by the church’s policy forbidding the ordination or deployment of non-celibate gay clergy.

In his presidential address to the 36th meeting of the Synod of the Diocese of Gippsland, Bishop John McIntyre said that as a matter of conscience he could not conform to the House of Bishops protocol on gay clergy. At their March meeting the bishops agreed that they accepted “the weight” of the 1998 Lambeth Resolution on Human Sexuality as well as resolutions adopted by the Australian General Synod as “expressing the mind of this church on issues of human sexuality.”

The bishops stated they would “uphold the position of our Church in regard to human sexuality as we ordain, license, authorise or appoint to ministries within our dioceses.”

In a statement given to Eternity magazine, a spokesman for the primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall said “In effect it is an undertaking not to ordain, license, authorise or appoint persons whom the bishop knows to be in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.”

In his 19 May 2012 address, Bishop McIntyre said that he would not conform with this protocol.

“I will appoint to office in our diocese those whom I believe God is calling to minister among us,” he said adding that this as “my commitment to God and to you, and I am willing to live with any consequences that may arise from remaining true to that commitment.”

The bishop explained that his defiance was based upon his reading of Scripture.

“Only in light of reflection on God’s Word did I finally come to understand. Despite what I or others may believe is their worthiness, the fruit of the works of many gay and lesbian people has brought God’s blessing to me and to many other people, both in and beyond the church. That is the measure of their worthiness to minister in the name of Jesus Christ in the life of the church, and in the community in the name of the church. That indicates their place in the life of God’s people.”

“Put simply, I think God has been saying to me for many years now ‘If it is good enough for me, John, why is it not good enough for you?’” the bishop said.

Science and new ways of reading Scripture had led the bishop to this conclusion.

“The world is round, not flat, despite what those who first penned the words of the Bible thought and assumed. It took the church a long time to acknowledge this, and in the name of orthodoxy, it treated Galileo rather shabbily along the way.”

The medieval church’s rejection of Galileo was an “exegetical parallel” for the church as it wrestled with homosexuality.

“Because of recent new understanding, we now all know that same-sex attracted people are not heterosexual people who have made a perverse choice about how they express their sexuality. They simply are what they are. We might like to argue about whether this is how life should or should not be, but that will not change the way it is. And we have to respond to what is,” Bishop McIntyre said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Gay clergy banned in Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, April 22, 2012 p 7. April 20, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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Bishop John McIntyre

The annual meeting of the Australian church’s House of Bishops in Melbourne has adopted a protocol reaffirming the church’s position banning the ordination and deployment of non-celibate gay clergy.

On 29 March 2012 Anglican Media Sydney posted to its website the statement adopted by the meeting. It noted that “in comparison with other Bishops meetings, especially those associated with the Episcopal Church in the United States, the Australian agreement is being seen as a conservative stance.”

The protocols “express the common mind of the bishops as determined by consensus at our National Meeting” the bishops wrote, noting that they had agreed to “abide by them and renew this commitment annually by consensus.”

The bishops said they “accept the weight of 1998 Lambeth Resolution 1.10 and the 2004 General Synod resolutions 33, 59 and 61-64 as expressing the mind of this church on issues of human sexuality.”

They “undertake to uphold the position of our Church in regard to human sexuality as we ordain, license, authorise or appoint to ministries within our dioceses.”

And they “understand that issues of sexuality are subject to ongoing conversation within our Church and we undertake to support these conversations, while seeking to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

In a statement given to Eternity magazine, a spokesman for the primate, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall said “In effect it is an undertaking not to ordain, license, authorise or appoint persons whom the bishop knows to be in a sexual relationship outside of marriage.”

Spokesman for Changing Attitude Australia did not respond to a request for comments, nor did the Bishop of Gippsland whose licencing of a partnered gay priest to a parish living last year prompted sharp criticism.  Bishop John McIntyre told the ABC radio service the appointment of a partnered gay priest did not violate the 1998 Lambeth Conference resolution on human sexuality, “because I didn’t actually ordain this man. He was ordained over 30 years ago in the diocese of Melbourne.”

The new protocol, however, clarifies the understanding of the issues for the Australian church as it forbids the call and employment of clergy whose personal lives do not conform to the church’s teaching on marriage and sexual relations.

Gay clergy row heating up in Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, March 2, 2012 p 4. March 8, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Human Sexuality --- The gay issue.
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Bishop John McIntyre of Gippsland

A new hot spot appears to be forming in the Anglican Communion’s decade old war over human sexuality following the appointment of a partnered gay clergyman to a parish benefice in Australia.  The Bishop of Gippsland has rejected suggestions he violated the letter and spirit of Australian canon law and pan-Anglican agreements on human sexuality by licencing Mr. David Head to serve as minister of the Anglican Church in Heyfield, Victoria.

On 27 February 2012, Bishop John McIntyre told the ABC radio service the appointment was not improper.  “If [conservatives] think that I have acted against the Lambeth Resolution [1.10 of 1998 on human sexuality], they need to think again, because I didn’t actually ordain this man. He was ordained over 30 years ago in the diocese of Melbourne.”

The appointment of Mr. Head has caused some controversy in the rural diocese in Victoria as the announcement was made via a front page article in the December issue of diocesan newspaper that pictured the minister with his partner.  Sources within the diocese tell The Church of England Newspaper they were perturbed the bishop had chosen to make the announcement in this way, and one large parish has already voiced its objections to the bishop’s unilateral decision to change diocesan policy.

One Gippsland clergyman, who asked not to be named, told CEN that the bishop’s actions were not unlike shifting abuser clergy between posts with the new diocese taking no responsibility or notice of inconvenient truths arising from the old diocese.  The issue will likely be brought before the May meeting of synod, CEN was told.

The Sydney-based Anglican Church League (ACL) released a statement expressing its “dismay” with the bishop’s actions on 12 Feb 2012, which it said violated Scripture, Lambeth 1998 Resolution 1.10, the Jerusalem Declaration of 2008 and the Australian Church’s professional standards for clergy.

“Appointments like this put unwanted strain and tension upon relationships between the various dioceses of the Anglican Church of Australia.  It also contributes to the fragmentation of the Anglican Communion,” the ACL said.

Bishop McIntyre rejected this argument, saying he had told his diocese at is 2011 synod that Gippsland would be a welcoming diocese for gays and lesbians.  Nor had he violated any rule, guideline or canon.

Mr. Head “has been a priest in a parish in the diocese of Melbourne where, when he was inducted into that parish the bishop of the day welcomed not only him, but his partner Mark into the life of the parish and the people of that parish were well aware that David was in that relationship, living in the vicarage of that parish,” he said.

“I see myself simply as having appointed to a position in this diocese a person who was, to use the formal language, ‘a priest in good standing in his previous diocese’,” Bishop McIntyre said.

ACL chairman Dr. Mark Thompson told CEN this argument was specious.  “In the face of all that has gone on since Lambeth 1998 Bishop McIntyre’s decision cannot be excused as a mere oversight,” he said.

He noted that while the appointment of Mr. Head “may not be an ordination – what an extraordinarily narrow reading of the central issue – it was still an appointment which should not have been made.”

“Bishop McIntyre is aware” he added, of the “official reiterations of biblical teaching on the subject [of human sexuality] by Anglican authorities in Australia and elsewhere. Nevertheless he would seem unwilling to draw back from this scandalous appointment and by going ahead he has heightened tensions within the Anglican Church of Australia.”

“Actions such as this have torn the Anglican Communion apart. In the face of all that has gone on since Lambeth 1998 Bishop McIntyre’s decision cannot be excused as a mere oversight.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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