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World Cup adds anger archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, June 27, 2014 July 22, 2014

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Church leaders have denounced the use of images of Rio de Janeiro’s Cristo Redentor statue to promote betting on the World Cup. Last week the ad agency McCann Copenhagen pulled a commercial entitled “Iconic Celebration” created for Ladbrokes after the Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro threatened legal action. The ad featured the Cristo Redentor statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro wearing a red Ladbrokes football shirt over its head as if celebrating a goal. The archbishop has also filed suit against the Italian broadcaster RAI for a similar ad, claiming violation of copyright. The Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Rev Jeffrey Driver last week told The Australian newspaper that the use of a 46m high Cristo Redentor balloon with Christ wearing a green and gold Austrian soccer jersey emblazoned with the slogan “Keep the Faith” that floated above the skies of Adelaide was troubling. The use of the image was a question of taste, but “much more offensive is that it’s being used to promote betting and I think that’s deeply worrying because Australia does have a problem with gambling,” Dr. Driver said.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 102: July 9, 2014 July 9, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican.TV.
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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate athttp://anglican.tv/donate

Story Index
00:00 New Archbishop for Anglican Church in North America
10:54 News From Australia with David Ould

Anglican Unscripted Episode 101: July 7, 2014 July 7, 2014

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican.TV, Property Litigation, San Joaquin, South Carolina.
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Published on Jul 7, 2014

Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe. Please donate athttp://anglican.tv/donate

00:00 Australia Dumps Seal of Confession
05:52 Breaking News from South Carolina with AS Haley

Aspinall to step down as primate: The Church of England Newspaper, June 20, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Most Rev. Phillip Aspinall, has announced that it is his intention to step down from his post this month before the church’s 16th General Synod set for 29 June to 4 July 2014 at St Peter’s College in Adelaide. Dr. Aspinall (54) will remain Archbishop of Brisbane and Metropolitan of the Province of Queensland, but announced he was resigning now in order for a new primate to be elected by the August visit to Australia of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Chosen by a Panel of Electors, comprised of 12 clergy and 12 lay members chosen by General Synod, and the members of the House of Bishops, the primate of the ACA is selected from among the church’s diocesan bishops by a simple majority vote. Traditionally, the office has fallen to one of the five metropolitan archbishops in Australia. The office of primate in Australia does not confer metropolitan powers over the church on its office holder and is largely a ceremonial position.

Bishop of Gippsland dies suddenly: The Church of England Newspaper, June 13, 2014 June 26, 2014

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The Bishop of Gippsland of the Anglican Church of Australia has died following a brief illness. The Rt. Rev. John McIntyre died on 6 June 2014 at Monash Hospital in Clayton of a respiratory infection. He was 62. Ordained the 11th Bishop of Gippsland in February 2006, Bishop McIntyre gained an international reputation within Anglican circles as an outspoken maverick, calling for a coal mining ban in Australia due to its safety and environmental hazards as well as his support for changing the church’s teachings on homosexuality. In 2012 the bishop said he would not conform to the Australian House of Bishops protocol banning the licencing or ordination of gay clergy, arguing that science had shown the Bible’s prohibitions against homosexuality to be wrong-headed. At the 2014 House of Bishop’s meeting Bishop McIntyre’s motion to change church discipline on gay clergy was rejected and a new protocol introduced that reaffirmed the church’s traditional teachings on sexual conduct of the clergy.

English bishop for Riverina: The Church of England Newspaper, April 11, 2014 May 10, 2014

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The rector of Holy Trinity, Sloane Square, and St Saviour, Upper Chelsea, the Rev. Alan (Rob) Gillion, has been elected the 10th Bishop of the Diocese of Riverina in the Anglican Church of Australia. A special meeting of the diocesan synod on 4 April 2014 elected Mr. Gillion to succeed the Rt. Rev. Douglas Stevens, who retired in 2012. Educated at the University of London, Mr. Gillion worked as an actor and director for 12 years before entering the ministry. After studies at the Theological College of Salisbury and Wells, the bishop-elect was ordained in 1983 in the Diocese of Norwich and served in the dioceses of Southwark and Hong Kong before taking up his current post in 1999.  Covering a third of New South Wales, the rural diocese of 23 parishes is based in Griffith and takes its name from the confluence of four rivers, the Murray, Murrumbidgee, Darling and Lachlan. The new bishop will be consecrated and enthroned on 15 August 2014 at Saint Alban’s Cathedral, Griffith.

Church property cannot be used to compensate abuse victims says archbishop: The Church of England Newspaper, March 7, 2014 March 20, 2014

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The Anglican Church of Australia has urged a Royal Commission investigating child abuse to distinguish between legal and moral responsibility for the crimes of abhorrent clergy and church workers, noting the national church is not liable for the actions of individuals.

Church lands and buildings thus cannot be sold to compensate victims of child abuse, the church argued.

submission made following investigations into the Diocese of Grafton’s handling of child abuse at a church run children’s home in Lismore stated, the Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Most Rev. Phillip Aspinall wrote “However, as the assets of all dioceses in Australia are usually held on charitable trusts the Commission should examine the terms upon which assets are held before concluding that they are available for a purpose such as paying compensation claims.”

The paper prepared by Dr. Aspinall, the Anglican Church of Australia’s General Secretary Martin Drevikovsky and the Diocese of Brisbane’s Professional Standards Director Rodney McLary came in response to a finding by the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, that the Diocese of Grafton had sufficient assets to settle abuse claims arising from the North Coast Children’s Home abuse cases.

In a harsh indictment of the diocese and its leaders, Mr. Beckett concluded the church had put its financial interests ahead of the good of the victims.  ”The evidence established that the diocese was able to liquidate a substantial number of assets in order to service the debt incurred from the Clarence Valley Anglican School,” Mr. Beckett wrote, “but did not do so for those claiming they had suffered from child sexual abuse.”

While not excusing the actions of the Bishop of Grafton and diocesan officials, Dr. Aspinall urged the commission to be more precise in its terms.

“The Anglican Diocese of Grafton was at all relevant times an unincorporated association with a fluctuating membership. At all relevant times prior to 1 January 1962 the Anglican Diocese of Grafton was part of the Church of England. The Anglican Church of Australia did not exist until 1962. It is submitted that the Commission needs to be explicit as to what is meant by the term ‘had responsibility’. If it is legal responsibility then that was with the particular Management Committee constituted from time to time. If it is ‘moral responsibility’ it raises a range of issues and circumstances in which individuals could, in good faith, reach different conclusions about what are the relevant moral principles and how they should they be applied,” the submission stated.

The question of compensation for abuse has arisen in a number of the cases examined by the commission, however under Australian law the charitable trust status of churches and some institutes is a legal bar to their being held liable for abuse.

Diocese found to have put money above justice in child abuse cover up: The Church of England Newspaper, February 14, 2014 March 20, 2014

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The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse in Australia is expected to hand down a report that will accuse the Diocese of Grafton of withholding information from police and failing to exercise proper oversight of a church run children’s home.

Last week the counsel assisting the commission, Simeon Beckett, released a report stating the church’s “legalistic and cumbersome” clergy disciplinary process allowed priests accused of child abuse to escape punishment if they retired or left the ministry.

Mr. Beckett further stated that he believed the Diocese of Grafton’s first priority in addressing child abuse claims was to minimize potential claims for compensation from victims and make the problem go away rather than seeing that justice was done.

In his report Mr. Beckett said the former Bishop of Grafton, the Rt. Rev. Keith Slater, failed to refer allegations of sexual abuse at the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore to the church’s professional standards director. This failure to act had prevented police from investigating the claims, he concluded.

The report further stated that while the diocesan registrar was aware that one priest associated with the home had been convicted of sexual offences against a child, he failed to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the sex offender clergyman.

The report recommended the diocese initiate an investigation into two priests accused of abuse and “regularly review” its clergy disciplinary proceedings and keep its professional standards director appraised of all outstanding claims of sexual abuse. Final submissions arising from the November public hearings into abuse at the home closed on 24 Jan 2014.

In May 2013 Bishop Slater resigned in the wake of charges he had mishandled the Lismore abuse investigations. Last August the diocese released a statement saying it “apologises  unreservedly to children who, in the past, suffered from sexual abuse, harsh punishment or a lack of appropriate and nurturing care while resident at the North Coast Children’s Home, Lismore.

“We also apologise, and ask forgiveness, for the unacceptable manner in which those who in recent years reported their abuse were hindered by church leaders. Our Diocese acknowledges with sadness the serious and long term effects of such abuse. We are committed to assist in the provision of appropriate support and assistance for those who were harmed and who continue to suffer.”

Clergy discipline not subject to civil review, Australian court rules: The Church of England Newspaper, January 17, 2014 January 27, 2014

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The South Australia Supreme Court has ruled that clergy discipline is an internal affair, not subject to civil court review. In Harrington and Ors v Coote and Anor [2013] SASCFC 154 the court held disciplinary canons were a “consensual contract” between clergy and the church, and that the Australian Church’s Professional Standards Board had the authority to investigate and discipline clergy.

The 23 December 2013 ruling ended an 8-year legal battle waged by the former Archdeacon of the Murray, the Ven. Peter Coote, who was dismissed from office in 2007 for sexual misconduct.

In his ruling Chief Justice Chris Kourakis held the constitution, canons and rules of the church were binding under civil law on the bishops, clergy and laity in matters relating to property.

The right to appoint a member of clergy to a benefice and the licence held by a member of the clergy to conduct spiritual ceremonies on church property were “matters relating to property” under the Act, he held. Having voluntarily agreed to submit to the constitution and canons of the church, Archdeacon Coote could not seek to circumvent the process through the secular courts.

“Cross does not save” says Australia’s first diocesan woman bishop: The Church of England Newspaper, November 29, 2013 November 28, 2013

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The Diocese of Grafton has appointed Australia’s first diocesan woman bishop.

On 17 November 2013 a twelve member Nomination Board appointed by the diocesan synod selected the Rev. Dr. Sara Macneil to be the 11th bishop of the New South Wales diocese.

In a statement released on the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn website, Dr Macneil, the Senior Associate Priest at Holy Covenant in Jamison, ACT, said she was “surprised, overwhelmed, humbled” to be appointed Australia’s first female diocesan bishop.

“I am awed by the confidence placed in me by the [Grafton Diocese] appointment board and by their willingness to be trailblazers,” she said.

She told the ABC: “There’ll be lots of people for whom it’s unexpected that a woman has been elected. For some people for whom it will be unwelcome, I think there’ll be some scrutiny but there’ll also be, for a lot of people, a lot of excitement and joy.”

While women have been appointed assistant bishops in Melbourne, Canberra, Perth and Brisbane, none have been elected to the episcopate.  While serving as Archdeacon of Canberra in 2008 she stood for election as bishop in that diocese, but was not elected.

In 2011 Dr. Macneil abruptly quit as Dean of Adelaide, telling the congregation of St. Peter’s Cathedral she was resigning as she could “no longer work with integrity at diocesan level.”A member of the liberal wing of the Australian church, Dr. Macneil rejects the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement, journalist the Rev. David Ould reports, and has argued the “cross does not save” but it is “Jesus’ presence among us” that saves. The bishop-elect also has gone on record endorsing the ordination to the priesthood of candidates who are in same-sex relationships — a stance at odds with the church’s teachings.

A onetime member of the Australian diplomatic corps, Dr. Macneil declined to elaborate on the reason she was resigning less than two years after her appointment as South Australia’s first female Dean – and the first woman to be appointed to the post in an Australian capital city.

Unlike other Australian dioceses, where the choice of bishop is made by the synod, in the diocese of Grafton a 12 member committee composed of six clergy and six lay members is elected by the synod to select and then appoint the bishop.

The choice of a new bishop for Grafton fell to a 12 member committee Other women have been consecrated as assistant bishops within Australian Anglican dioceses and, overseas, women have been made diocesan bishops but this is a national first for Australia.

Dr. Macneil’s election comes at a difficult time for the diocese. Her predecessor, the Rt. Rev. Keith Slater, resigned in May 2013 in the wake of an abuse scandal involving the Church of England North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore.

On 18 November 2013 a Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse began hearings on the diocese’s conduct in the North Coast Children’s Home affair.

However, Bishop-elect Macneil stated: “In recent times the Diocese of Grafton has faced financial difficulties and is now appearing before the Royal Commission… There is a determination among the people of the diocese to understand what has gone wrong in the past, to ensure that it does not happen again and to embrace the future with hope, trusting in God.”

Episode 86: Anglican Unscripted, November 23, 2013 November 24, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican.TV, Church of England, GAFCON, Quincy, The Episcopal Church.
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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.

Show Index
00:00 GAFCON and the ABC
09:56 Allan Haley and TEC Legal Fantasy
22:00 Raceophobic Church
28:56 GAFCON Down Under
42:52 Marriage
4719: Extinct COE
59:00 Closing and Bloopers

Australian diocese warns it may opt out of marriage: Church of England Newspaper, November 8, 2013 November 11, 2013

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The Bishop of North West Australia has warned that if the state or federal governments legalize same-sex marriage, Anglican clergy in his diocese would no longer serve as marriage registrars.

The statement by the Rt. Rev. Gary Nelson follows the decision last month by the Australian Capital Territory to legalize same-sex marriage – a move that has been challenged by the federal government as being unconstitutional.

Bishop Nelson told The Western Australian “If we were compelled as marriage celebrants to marry same-sex couples then, as far as this diocese is concerned, I would be withdrawing my approval for ministers to act as marriage celebrants.

The bishop said his clergy would be permitted to perform marriage services according to the rites of the Church, but couples married in the church would need to go to a civil registrar to have their marriage recognized by the state.

Australia was in the midst of a culture war between those holding a traditional Christian worldview and post-modernists.

“The post-war rise of deconstructionism impacted ethical thinking, suggesting that humans are free to create their own natures and decide upon their own purposes — so marriage could be regarded as one social construct among many,” he said.

“But in forming an ethical position, you have to decide if you are committed to a relative or absolute set of values. For us as Anglicans and Christians, we ask what is the Bible, as God’s disclosed word, saying on any issue.”

Bishop Nelson told The Western Australian he would be voting “no” at the 14 November 2013 provincial council meeting when the Diocese of Perth motion on same-sex marriage is reviewed.

The bishop said the Perth motion “seems benign, but the underlying perspective is not consistent with the official view of the Anglican Church held recently and historically.”

Perth archbishop vetoes same-sex marriage motion: Church of England Newspaper, November 8, 2013 November 11, 2013

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The Archbishop of Perth has withheld his consent to a synod motion affirming same-sex marriage.

On 28 October 2013, the Most. Rev. Roger Herft vetoed a motion put forward by the Rev. Chris Bedding that “acknowledge[s] that legal recognition of same-sex relationships may co-exist with legal recognition of marriage between a man and a woman.”

Mr. Bedding had brought the motion to the 2012 meeting of synod, where it passed on a majority vote. However, Archbishop Herft withheld his consent saying the motion could be construed as being contrary to church teaching on marriage.

Mr. Bedding brought the motion a second time to the 2013 Perth synod last month, where it received a two thirds majority from the clergy and laity. He told the AAP the motion sought to counteract negative comments on same-sex marriage voiced by some Christian groups.

“When they come out and say things like ‘it’s unnatural to be gay’ or ‘it’s against the bible’ or ‘all Christians reject homosexual behaviour’ … we want to say ‘that’s not the case’,” he said.

“And if the government … goes ahead with any kind of recognition, whether that’s something as simple as changes to superannuation laws or marriage equality, we’re comfortable with that,” Mr. Beddings said.

In his letter explaining his reasons for vetoing the motion, the archbishop stated the word “recognition” connotes “formal acceptance. The Church cannot formally accept certain behaviors. “

Archbishop Herft, who comes from the liberal Catholic tradition, noted the theology behind the motion was faulty. The first part of the motion which recognizes sexual diversity and differing theologies on sexuality in the diocese “gives our sexual identity and theology on sexuality a place of prominence that is not theologically sound.”

The motion could be construed as being a statement in support of same-sex marriage, he added, and this violated the Book of Common Prayer’s teaching on marriage. “The members of synod who passed the motion may not have intended to depart from the Fundamental Declarations and Ruling Principles of the Anglican Church of Australia,” but that is the “effect of the motion.”

Archbishop Herft stated that he had referred to the matter to a special meeting of the Western Australia Provincial Council on 14 November 2013 for adjudication of the dispute between bishop and synod.

Australian diocese insolvent: The Church of England Newspaper, October 18, 2013 October 27, 2013

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The Bishop of Bathurst in New South Wales reports the Commonwealth Bank has frozen diocesan bank accounts in an attempt to recoup A$36 million debt.

In a letter to his diocese read to churches on 6 Oct 2013, the Rt. Rev. Ian Palmer reported the garnishment would not touch parish accounts or diocesan payroll accounts. “At the moment there are some accounts that are frozen, these are affecting myself ,“ he wrote, adding “it’s affecting things like being able to use a credit card, but it’s not affecting  wages.”

“I am unable to see clearly what the diocese may look like in the future,” he said, as the debt “is large and we cannot repay the bank in full.”

Last year, Bishop Palmer’s predecessor, the Rt. Rev. Richard Hurford told the diocese it was a guarantor of $38 million in debts incurred by the Orange and Dubbo Anglican Grammar Schools and All Saints’ College in Bathurst.  The diocese was unable to make a balloon payment of $8 million due in September 2012 prompting its creditors to push the diocese to liquidate properties to raise cash.

The September sale of the two grammar schools had “crystallised” the diocese’s debt leaving it in a “very difficult place” Bishop Palmer said. The diocese was in “intense” negotiation with the bank, he said and “we’re still doing our sums”

But “it’s a fairly urgent situation,” he reported, however, “the important thing is the parishes are continuing to operate as normal.”

“We will need to give financially and sacrificially for the work of the church in this diocese” to continue Bishop Palmer wrote, noting the November meeting of synod would be asked to review a variety of options to pay off the loans.

Ballarat endorses women priests: The Church of England Newspaper, October 25, 2013 October 25, 2013

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The Ballarat diocesan synod has voted to allow the ordination of women to the priesthood.

On 18 October 2013 the synod voted by over two thirds margins in the clergy and lay orders to permit women priests. The vote by the conservative Anglo-Catholic diocese means that only three Australian dioceses: the Anglo-Catholic diocese of The Murray and the conservative Evangelical dioceses of Northwest Australia and Sydney do not permit women priests.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation after the vote, the Rt. Rev. Gary Weatherill noted the vote was highly symbolic.  Ballarat had been one of the most conservative Australian dioceses on the issue of women’s orders. “Tt’s really a very significant change at that Australian level”.

“For ordinary people, there’s not going to be hundreds of women priests suddenly running into the diocese, it’ll just mean women can be ordained,” he said.

“I think there’s a changed understanding amongst many people that ministry is something that women can do well and the priestly ministry probably ought not to be exclusively for men,” the bishop said.

Reports from the synod proceedings stated the debate was unexceptional and that no new arguments had been put forward. Supporters argued it was a matter of justice for women to be allowed to be priests. One speaker stated that if women could be baptized then they should be able to be ordained.

Other supporters spoke of the pastoral skills women clergy would bring, and argued the question of women clergy was a second order issue that should not divide the diocese.

Opponents cited the example of the church’s traditions, Scripture and the ecumenical implications of the move. Support for the legislation was found among younger clergy and lay delegates, and age and retirements appeared to weaken the strength of the “no” lobby. Bishop Weatherill said he supported the decision and will give his assent to the legislation.

“Change is always tough. I feel a great weight for the people who are not happy for this to happen,” the bishop said.

Women were first ordained as deacons in the Anglican Church of Australia in 1986 and as priests in 1992.

Perth endorses civil same sex unions: The Church of England Newspaper, October 11, 2013 p 5. October 15, 2013

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The Perth Diocesan synod has endorsed a resolution affirming civil same sex unions. The motion received a two-thirds majority from the lay and clergy delegates attending the 5 Oct 2013 meeting, but is unlikely to receive the assent of the Most Rev. Roger Herft, Archbishop of Perth, as he rejected a similar resolution endorsed by the 2012 meeting of synod.

The sponsor of the resolution, the Rev. Chris Bedding, rector of Darlington-Bellevue Anglican parish, said the motion did not seek to authorize church blessings for same-sex couples, but was a symbolic gesture to affirm members of the gay community.

“As a church, we are not ready to have marriage-like ceremonies for same-sex couples in our churches yet, but we wanted to say that if the government has civil recognition of unions or equality, than we are comfortable with that,” he told AAP.

Mr. Bedding said the motion sought to offer another perspective from Christians that would counter comments made by traditional groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby. “When they come out and say things like ‘it’s unnatural to be gay’ or ‘it’s against the bible’ or ‘all Christians reject homosexual behaviour’ … we want to say ‘that’s not the case’,” he said.

Archbishop Herft withheld his consent from resolution 58.12 from the 2012 meeting of synod – a near identical motion. It stated in part the synod “acknowledges that legal recognition of committed same-sex relationships may co-exist with legal recognition of marriage between a man and a woman.”

In withholding his assent last year, the archbishop stated that the resolution “as worded” could be construed as being contrary to the church’s marriage canons. Endorsement of a “legislative framework that does not currently exist” he wrote, “could be construed as having its real purpose as conveying the recognition of and call for same-sex marriage.”

The archbishop has thirty days to respond in which to withhold or give his assent to the new motion.

Sydney to sell archbishop’s residence: The Church of England Newspaper, September 6, 2013, p 6. September 12, 2013

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Bishopscourt, the residence of the Archbishop of Sydney will be listed for sale this week with an expected asking price of £14.5 million.

The landmark 6216 sq m property on a hilltop in Darling Point was built in 1841 and acquired by the Church of England in 1910 for £6750. Over the years the property was expanded with a chapel, formal gardens and reception rooms added to further the work of the archbishop.

Calls to sell the Gothic mansion had been raised in the diocesan synod for the past 50 years, and in 2010 a motion to sell the property to help recoup the diocese’s losses in the global financial meltdown were rebuffed by a vote of 249 to 218. Support for retaining the property was found amongst those who objected to disposing of the diocese’s patrimony and by those who believed that selling in the midst of a depression was not good stewardship.

However at the 2012 meeting, the Synod voted by a two thirds majority to sell the property. Proceeds from the sale will be used to build a new residence for the archbishop and to further the work of ministry in the diocese.

An Australian real estate website Domain.com.au reported there was interest in the property among potential buyers. It quoted estate agent Craig Pontey as saying: “The prestige market has bounded back strongly this year which is why we’re confident of getting more than $25 million.”

Sydney archbishop-elect to continue ban on diaconal celebration of the Eucharist: The Church of England Newspaper, August 23, 2013 p 6. August 27, 2013

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Glenn DaviesThe archbishop-elect of Sydney, the Rt. Rev. Glenn Davies will not authorize diaconal administration of Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper.

In response to a query from The Church of England Newspaper, Dr. Davies stated “As Archbishop, I am not intending to change the policy of my predecessor, i.e. that presidency by deacons or lay leaders could not be authorised by a General Synod canon.”

Diaconal and lay presidency at the Eucharist has enjoyed strong support from the evangelical diocese for over 30 years – and sparked vociferous opposition from Anglo-Catholic and liberals as well as non-Sydney Evangelicals in Australia. In 1983 the Sydney Diocesan Synod chartered a committee to undertaken a theological and scriptural review of the issue. A report prepared by a committee led by Bishop Paul Barnett in 1993 concluded there “are no sound doctrinal objections to, and there are significant doctrinal reasons for, lay presidency at the Lord’s Supper.  There are also sound reasons based on our received Anglican order for allowing lay presidency.”

The Barnett committee concluded that “prohibition of lay presidency at the Lord’s Supper does not seem justifiable theologically.”

The issue was brought before the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia which in 1997 held the requirement of priestly presidency at the Eucharist was canonical, not doctrinal and ruled deacons or lay people could administer Holy Communion so long as General Synod authorized the practice.

On 19 Oct 1999 Sydney adopted an Ordinance permitting diaconal and lay presidency at the Eucharist, by a vote of 122 to 66 amongst the clergy, and 224 to 128 amongst the laity. However, the following day the Primate Archbishop Keith Rayner, urged Sydney Archbishop Harry Goodhew to withhold his assent. He argued the vote represented a “fundamental break with catholic order” which would place the diocese at odds with the “constitution and canons of our church.”

On 10 Nov 1999 Archbishop Goodhew withheld his, stating it would have pastoral and ecumenical ramifications for Sydney and the wider Anglican Communion.

Following his election as Archbishop in 2001, Dr. Peter Jensen said, “Lay administration, should it be legal, would be a contribution to the common task of bringing the gospel to Australia,” adding that “it is strange not to allow for this ministry in an ordered way.” Unlike the Church of England, the Episcopal Church and other churches that have reintroduced the permanent diaconate, in Sydney deacons and priests obtain the same level of theological qualification. Approximately one third of the ordained clergy in Sydney are deacons and are assigned to posts held by curates and assistants in other dioceses.

At the October 2008 synod Bishop Davies moved Resolution 7.2 which stated “lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper is consistent with the teaching of Scripture”. The resolution asked Synod to affirm that the “Lord’s Supper in this diocese may be administered by persons other than presbyters.” The resolution was adopted.

Opponents of diaconal presidency brought a complaint to the Appellate Tribunal, asking the court to rule whether, as Sydney believed, the national church’s 1985 Ordination for Deacons Canon permitted diaconal administration of the Eucharist. On 10 Aug 2010 the Tribunal ruled the original intent of the authors of the canon was not to permit diaconal celebration. The ruling was widely criticized as being based on political considerations rather than canon law or doctrine, as the Tribunal had earlier rejected the theory of original intent. While the authors of the Canon on the appointment of assistant bishops may not have understood their new law to have permitted women bishops, the Tribunal argued it could be interpreted that way under the rules of grammar. However rules of grammar and logic were not applicable to the diaconal presidency issue, the Tribunal held.

Sydney endorsed diaconal presidency again on 15 Oct 2010, adopting a resolution proposed by Dr. Davies that said while it noted the “advisory opinion of the Appellate Tribunal”, synod nonetheless reaffirmed its 2008 declaration that “lay and diaconal administration of the Lord’s Supper is consistent with the teaching of Scripture,” and that it “affirms that the Lord’s Supper in this diocese may be administered by persons other than presbyters.”

Though it has been endorsed by synod four times, Dr. Davies told CEN he was not licence diaconal or lay presidency at the Eucharist.

New archbishop for Sydney: The Church of England Newspaper, August 16, 2013, p 5. August 22, 2013

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Archbishop-elect Glenn Davies of Sydney

The Sydney Diocesan Synod has elected the Rt. Rev. Glenn Davies to be the next Archbishop of Sydney.  Dr. Davies (62), who currently serves as Bishop of North Sydney, will be installed as archbishop on 23 August 2012 at St Andrew’s Cathedral in succession to the Most Rev. Peter Jensen.

In addition to assuming the leadership of Australia’s largest diocese, Dr. Davies appointment as archbishop will propel him to the centre of the evangelical movement within the Anglican world. Although he is not the primate of the Anglican Church of Australia – as archbishop he will be metropolitan of New South Wales – Dr. Davies will likely be the one of the most influential archbishops in the Communion – second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury in spiritual authority among the church’s “white” archbishops.

On 6 August 2013 over 800 clergy and lay delegates began voting in a series of elimination ballots to elect the new archbishop from among the two candidates: Dr. Davies and the Rev. Canon Rick Smith (49), rector of Naremburn/Cammeray on Sydney’s Lower North Shore. After the first round an error in the vote tally gave Canon Smith the lead, but it was found that approximately 170 votes had been miscounted. After the recount, Dr. Davies was found to hold a strong majority among the clergy and a comfortable majority amongst the lay delegates. At the start of the evening session Canon Smith proposed Dr. Davies name alone be moved to the final list – and by a show of hands the new archbishop was elected by what observer tell the Church of England Newspaper was a unanimous vote.

A native of Sydney, Dr. Davies was educated at Sydney Church of England Grammar School and the University of Sydney. He trained for the ministry at Moore Theological College and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and earned a PhD from Sheffield University in 1988.  Dr. Davies served as a parish priest in the diocese and as a lecturer in Old and New Testament at Moore College before being appointed assistant Bishop of North Sydney in 2001.

Dr. Davies has served as a member of General Synod Doctrine Commission for 20 years and as a member of the General Synod since 1996 and its standing committee since 2007.  From 2002 to 2012 he was chairman of EFAC (Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion) Australia and was one of the authors of the 2008 Jerusalem Statement of the GAFCON conference. A father of two and grandfather of three, Dr Davies has been married to his wife Dianne since 1979.

In a flurry of interviews with the secular press, Dr. Davies fielded questions ranging from refugees and asylum seekers to the role of the Anglican Church in contemporary Australia. He told reporters he hoped to be able to “facilitate as many grass-roots ministries as possible. We’ve not only got parishes, we’ve got schools, we’ve got organisations like Anglicare and Moore College, Youthworks and retirement villages” that are lay led. “They all reflect different aspects of our society where they are bringing the love of God and the saving message of Jesus to bear in their particular context.”

The archbishop-elect dismissed claims made by some newspapers that his election was a rebuke to the current archbishop and signalled a shift away from the diocese’s evangelical roots. “I can’t imagine there would be a lot of difference” between his priorities and those of his predecessor Dr. Peter Jensen.

The two shared the “same theological framework and passion about God’s word and the Gospel being brought into the lives of people around us, and we’ve got the same passion with regard to justice and injustice and the desire for people to be treated with dignity and respect.  At that level, as issues come up, I will seek to address them with as much wisdom and grace as I have” the new Archbishop said.

A spokesman for the diocese told CEN that while he was stepping down as archbishop of Sydney, Dr. Jensen was not stepping down as secretary of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (FCA).

Anglican Unscripted Episode 78, August 9, 2013 August 10, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican.TV, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England, Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & the Middle East, Property Litigation, The Episcopal Church.
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Anglican Unscripted is the only video newscast in the Anglican Church. Every Week Kevin, George, Allan and Peter bring you news and prospective from around the globe.


Silly Story Month 00:00
News from Sydney 08:06
Egypt and Zanzibar 12:06
AS Haley 18:03
Peter Ould 32:42
Closing and Outtakes 40:51

Glenn Davies elected Archbishop of Sydney: Anglican Ink, August 6, 2013 August 6, 2013

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Glenn Davies

The Diocese of Sydney Synod has elected the Rt. Rev. Glenn Davies as its 12th archbishop in succession to the Most Rev Peter Jensen.

On 6 Aug 2013 the 800 members of synod chose Dr. Davies, the Bishop of North Sydney, to be the archbishop of Australia’s largest diocese, besting Canon Rick Smith, (49) rector of Naremburn-Cammeray Anglican Church.

Read it all in Anglican Ink.

Anglican anger over Australian asylum policy: The Church of England Newspaper, July 28, 2013. p 6. August 1, 2013

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Anglican leaders have denounced as “inhumane” Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd new asylum policy. The Bishop of Tasmania, the Rt. Rev. John Harrower denounced the new policy as un-Christian, taking to Twitter to write: “Dear Prime minister, Jesus weeps.”

The prime minister’s plans to settle asylum-seekers arriving by boat in Australia in Papua New Guinea as was “politically driven, based on popular myth, and inhumane” the Archbishop of Adelaide, the Most Rev. Jeffrey Driver said on 19 July 2013.

Under an agreement signed on Friday with the Papua New Guinea government, asylum-seekers arriving by boat will be sent PNG for processing and those judged to be refugees will be settled in PNG.

Mr Rudd said his government would “make no apology for the decision we’ve taken”. The Australian government sought to end the trade in immigrant trafficking he said, which saw smugglers load unsafe boats with desperate immigrants. “These folk are merchants in death and their business model needs to be dismantled, part of this policy response is to do just that,” he said.

However Dr. Driver, the chairman of the Anglican Church’s Refugee Network, said the new “policy claims to address the risks to people arriving by boat, yet it comes into play only after people have made the dangerous journey to Australia by boat.”

“This policy plays to the myth that somehow boat arrivals have ‘jumped the queue’, but in the disorderly and dangerous world of displaced people there is often simply no queue to jump. People do what they can to save their own lives and the lives of people they love,” the Archbishop said.

The Australian government should take “strong action against people smugglers”, Dr. Driver said, but added this plan penalizes the refugee, not the smuggler.

Mr Prime Minister, Jesus weeps. Whatever you do for the least of these… http://wp.me/p2E1Yz-78  via @wordpressdotcom

Bishop of Plymouth to lead Australian diocese: The Church of England Newspaper, July 7, 2013 p 5. » July 10, 2013

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The Suffragan Bishop of Plymouth in the diocese of Exeter has been named Bishop of The Murray in the Anglican Church of Australia. On 28 June 2013 the diocese released a press statement saying the July 2012 election of the Rt. Rev. John Ford had been confirmed by the Archbishop of Adelaide and the Bishop of Willochra.

On 24 Sept 2010, Bishop Ford’s predecessor, the Rt. Rev Ross Davies resigned as Bishop of The Murray one day before a tribunal met to hear nine counts of misconduct laid against him by the Archbishop of Adelaide and Bishop of Willochra.

After two days of hearings, the tribunal found the former bishop guilty of misconduct in absentia and recommended he be removed from the episcopate.

Bishop Davies was adjudged to have subverted the Professional Standards processes by failing to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct made against his archdeacon.  The tribunal found he had displayed a lack of commitment to the Anglican Church and acted at times in an abusive manner “inconsistent with his pastoral role as a Bishop of the Diocese.”

He was also found guilty of having improperly influenced the composition of diocesan council in order to gain financial advantage “at the expense of the interests of the Diocese.”

Archbishop Philip Aspinall deposed Bishop Davies having June 2011 the former bishop was received into the Roman Catholic Church.

A special meeting of the Diocesan Synod in February 2012 was unable to elect a new bishop, and a  Bishop’s Election Committee was formed to make the selection. Their choice was forwarded to the Metropolitan of the province of South Australia in July 2012, but the announcement of the election was only made public this week after it was confirmed.

Bishop Ford told the diocese: “That I will love them, pray for them and serve them to the best of my ability.”

“I am aware that recent history in the diocese has been less than ideal for the mission of the local church and I ask the whole people of God in the Diocese of The Murray to join together in prayer for me that I might minister amongst you as a true shepherd and guide, faithfully proclaiming the gospel of God and that we might share joyfully in our common calling to be disciples of Our Lord and therefore rejoice in our vocation to worship, prayer and service,” he said.

Bishop Ford will be installed as the fourth Bishop of The Murray in Murray Bridge on 6 Dec 2013.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Australian church readies for criticism from child abuse report: The Church of England Newspaper, June 30, 2013 p 6 July 2, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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The primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, the Most Rev. Phillip Aspinall, Archbishop of Brisbane, has warned the church will come under heavy criticism when The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse publishes its findings.

In his address to the 22 June 2013 meeting of Brisbane Synod Dr. Aspinall said the “truth will come out”.

“It will. And we want it to even though there will be times when we will feel ashamed and sickened at that truth,” he said.

Dioceses across Australia have been stung by revelations that some clergy and church workers abused young people and that a culture of silence once governed the church’s response. However child safeguarding reforms and an aggressive policy in combating and reporting abuse to police has been in place for over 10 years.

Nevertheless the church’s current are “not going to stop us from copping heavy criticism in the years ahead,” Dr. Aspinall told reporters at the end of the meeting. “People ought not to be discouraged by the criticism.”

“Yes we have to face squarely and cop criticism where it is deserved we have to face the fact that abused happened and fix it,” he said according to press accounts from Australia.

Australian bishop resigns over abuse complaints: The Church of England Newspaper, May 26, 2013, p 7. May 30, 2013

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An Australian Bishop has resigned after an internal review found he had failed to conform to the church’s child protection and abuse reporting guidelines.

On 17 May 2013 Bishop Keith Slater of the Diocese of Grafton announced he was stepping down for having mishandled abuse allegations brought to his attention by former residents at the North Coast Children’s Home in Lismore NSW. “The abuse took place over a number of decades (1940’s to 1980’s). The alleged perpetrators included staff at the Home, visiting clergy, members of holiday host families and other residents,” he said.

Bishop Slater said that in 2007 the diocese settled 39 claims of abuse and paid up to $22,000 to each of the victims.  The names of two clergy still living that were alleged to have engaged in the misconduct were also turned over to the police.

After the settlement had been reached the additional victims came forward, some contacting Bishop Slater directly.  Under a 2004 protocol adopted by the diocese all allegations of sexual abuse were to be reported to the professional standards director. Bishop Slater is accused of ignoring some of these complaints.

“I acknowledge that I was responsible for ensuring full compliance with the Protocol and that I failed in this duty. Some matters detailing sexual abuse at the North Coast Children’s Home were not referred to the Professional Standards Director as they should have been,” the bishop wrote.

“I apologise to those complainants who were not given access to the Professional Standards Director. I also acknowledge that, by not referring these matters, the Professional Standards Director was not provided with information that could have assisted ongoing internal and Police investigations. All information has now been provided to the Professional Standards Director who is currently liaising with the Police to ensure that all relevant information has been provided to them,” he said.

On 10 May 2013, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall and the general secretary of the Anglican Church of Australia, Martin Drevikovsky, met with Bishop Slater and urged him to consider the consequences of his actions.

“I put to him that if there was substantial truth in the report then I believed that he needed to consider whether it was tenable for him to continue as bishop,” Archbishop Aspinall told Australia’s  Daily Telegraph.

“I told him to go away, pray and take whatever advice he wanted,” the archbishop said.

Sydney churches lobby parliament to defeat euthanasia bill: The Church of England Newspaper, May 19, 2013 p 6. May 22, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Abortion/Euthanasia/Biotechnology, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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Church leaders in New South Wales called for the rejection of a private members bill that would legalise euthanasia and assisted suicide, urging parliament to support palliative care.

“This is a dangerous bill. If enacted, the bill will redefine the value of the lives of some people as not worth living. Our challenge as a society is to transform the experience of people who are disabled or dying, not to intervene to end their lives,” the President of the NSW Council of Churches, Dr Ross Clifford, said on 8 May 2013.

Greens Party MLC Cate Faehrmann on 2 May 2013 presented “The Rights of the Terminally Ill Bill” to the NSW Legislative Council for debate. Supporters stated the bill would ensure that a patient who has a terminal illness and who is experiencing unacceptable pain or suffering can lawfully receive assistance to end their life if that is their wish.

The bill states that to receive assistance to kill themselves a patient must be: at least 18 years old, be suffering from a terminal illness that is causing severe pain or distress unacceptable to the patient, be fully mentally capable and able to make informed decisions, be a resident of NSW, and have received counseling on other options, including palliative care.

NSW President of Dying with Dignity, Richard Mills said “This legislation provides for people who are suffering terribly and with no prospects for recovery the choice to determine when their life should end,” he said, adding the bill reflected “community attitudes” toward euthanasia.

“Advances in palliative care make assisted death unnecessary. Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on reviews of every death by euthanasia, the NSW Government should improve resources for palliative care so that terminally ill patients in our community receive the care and comfort they deserve at the end of life to minimize suffering,” Dr. Clifford countered.

In his 2010 Synod address the Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Peter Jensen said: “My fundamental problem with [euthanasia] is that we are sinners and we do not have the moral capacity to administer it. It is the myth of so-called voluntary euthanasia. At a moment in time of adversity and suffering we ask people to make up their minds about termination of a life. We cannot – we can never – know what is going through the mind of the sufferer or of those whose lives will be changed by the death of the patient.”

Dr Jensen said the assertion that autonomy was the paramount moral value was a”boldly sectarian and secularist assertion. It is based on the denial of original sin and it leads to a denial of the full humanity of others, since it asks us to be self-centred.”

“It really says that no matter how many cultures there are in modern Australia, the only culture which can be trusted to provide moral guidance is the culture of unbelief. And this is the horrifying culture of individualism, the culture, the cult rather, which is bleeding our society dry of compassion and friendship.” Dr Jensen said.

Anglican Unscripted Episode 72, May 18, 2013 May 18, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Tanzania, Anglican.TV, Church of England, Church of Nigeria, The Episcopal Church.
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Episode 72 of Anglican Unscripted brings even more news about the Anglican Church (Communion) around the world. Kevin and George talk about stories from Tanzania and Nigeria, who are dealing with internal conflict and Muslim-on-Christian violence.

It is also time to give an update on the Temporary Same Sex Liturgies the Episcopal Church passed at General Convention last year and who is using them and who is not.
AS Haley updates all the major legal cases around the country and discusses the late breaking news from The Falls Church.

Peter Ould talks about the growing conflict and investigation in Jersey. It is hard to tell if the biggest issue is jurisdiction or lack of trasparency.
Finally, in the blooper real at the end of the episode (after the credits) one of our contributors reveals a hidden talent. #AU72 Comments to AnglicanUnscripted@gmail.com

No election in Newcastle: The Church of England Newspaper, May 5, 2013 May 5, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Women Priests.
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The Rt Rev Kay Goldsworthy

The Assistant Bishop of Perth’s bid to become the first woman elected to the episcopate in the Anglican Church of Australia has fallen short as the Diocese of Newcastle failed to elect a new bishop at its 12-14 April 2013 meeting of synod.

The Rt. Rev. Kay Goldsworthy was among five nominees that included two local clergy and the Assistant Bishop of Canberra & Goulburn Dr Stephen Pickard and Dr Peter Stuart Assistant Bishop of Newcastle to succeed Bishop Brian Farran. Four women priests have been appointed assistant bishops in Australia—Perth, Melbourne, Canberra & Goulburn and Brisbane – but none have been elected.

In a note to the diocese after the election, Dr. Stuart said: “sometimes the Synod elects quickly and sometimes the process takes time. Synod elected Bishops Farran (2005) and Holland (1977) in one sitting. Synod elected Bishop Herft (1992) over two Synod sessions and refereed the decision to elect a bishop in 1972 to the Diocesan Council which elected Bishop Shevill.”

The Synod “resolved to begin the process afresh” he said, though the candidates may place their names in nomination a second time.

Melbourne archbishop testifies before Parliamentary commission on abuse: The Church of England Newspaper, April 28, 2013, p 6. May 2, 2013

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A culture of denial had hindered the Church’s handling of child sex abuse cases, the Archbishop of Melbourne told a parliamentary committee last week. On 22 April Dr Philip Freier said that “as you look backwards you can see broadly as a culture we’ve not readily listened to children when they’ve made complaints.

“There have been opportunities for people who wanted to breach the trust of children to do that, and often for children’s accounts of that trust being broken, being disbelieved,” he said adding that some victims were “even punished for having raised a question about the conduct of an adult.”

The diocese had received 46 complaints of child sex abuse since the 1950s, the Archbishop said, and had paid out $268,000 in compensation to 10 victims since 2003, but only reported 12 of the 46 complaints to police.

Dr Freier told the committee of the reforms instituted by the Church since the implementation of a professional standards practices regime in 1994. In his concluding remarks he spoke of the church’s abhorrence for abuse and its zero-tolerance about the issue. The archbishop apologized for the pain and misery that such abuse has caused both victims and the broader community and welcomed the Inquiry as a way in which that confidence might begin to be restored in the church.

Bishop to the Forces for Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, April 21, 2013 p 7. April 22, 2013

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The Assistant Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn Ian Lambert has been appointed as the next Bishop to the Australian Defence Force effective 1 July 2013.  “I am thrilled to receive the invitation to serve both the Church and the Military in the capacity of the Anglican Bishop to the Defence Force.  I am confident in Christ, that this is God’s call, and I pray that the grace of God will enable us all to work and minister together for His glory,” he said.

Educated at the Royal Military College Duntroon, Bishop Lambert was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the Royal Australian Corps of Transport – and in 1984 while attending a character leadership course led by an army chaplain accepted Christ.  Leaving the army with the rank of major, Bishop Lambert was ordained in 1995 and served as a parish priest until his consecration last year as assistant for the region of the South Coast, Monaro and Snowy Regions in the diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.

Easter messages from across the Communion: The Church of England Newspaper, April 7, 2013 p 6. April 9, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Aotearoa New Zealand & Polynesia, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Church of Kenya, Anglican Church of North America, Anglican Church of Southern Africa, Church in Wales, Church of England Newspaper, Church of Ireland, Church of Nigeria, Church of the Province of Uganda, Church of the Province of West Africa, Scottish Episcopal Church, The Episcopal Church.
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Easter messages from the overseas leaders of the Anglican Communion sounded a common theme this year of hope and joy. While the archbishops of the church touched upon issues of local concern, each spoke to the victory of Christ over death and the grave.

The Archbishop of Uganda Stanley Ntagali urged Christians not to lose heart in the face of economic and political uncertainties. “There could be social pressures in the country and many people might have lost hope. Many people no longer trust fellow human beings, but let the risen Lord Jesus whose victory over death we are celebrating this Easter give us a new hope.”

He also warned of the dangers of alcohol. “I urge our people not to celebrate [Easter] by drinking. They should go to church and worship the Lord and return home. This a time to repent and make our homes, offices, schools and business places more enjoyable and suitable to glorify God who gave us the greatest gift of salvation through his Son Jesus Christ,” he noted.

Archbishop Eliud Wabukala of Kenya, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates’ Council, also spoke of the joy found in life in Christ. “In his resurrection from the dead there is the glorious ‘yes’ of the fulfilment, actual and yet to come, of the promises and purposes of God. Through repentance and faith we share in his risen life and at its heart, our calling is to simply say the ‘Amen’ and glorify the God who has triumphed over sin and death.”

The GAFCON leader also urged Christians to reject the “ungodly innovations” coming from Western liberal churches which seek to “substitute human effort and speculation for divine grace and revealed truth.  It is a profound contradiction to say this ‘Amen’ and then go on, as some do, to deny the real physical resurrection of Jesus.”

When Christians say ‘no’ to false teaching it is for the sake of truth. “There can be no more positive a movement than one which gives an unqualified ‘Amen’ to the fulfilment of all God promises in Jesus Christ.”

The Archbishop of West Africa Dr. Tilewa Johnson said the Christian’s response to the sufferings was to turn towards God. “Where to start? We have tools and guidelines to hand. One of the greatest tools we have is prayer. Prayer is a means of communication with God.”

“As with so many things, it requires practice. We know what it is like when we become close to another human being – a husband, wife, brother, sister or close friend. In time it is possible to read their thoughts, and know what they are going to say before they say it. It is the same with God. To sit in the presence of God – maybe in silence; maybe with a few words – it is possible increasingly to come to know God and the will of God. Gradually we know the way to go,” the Gambian archbishop said.

The Primate of All Nigeria, Archbishop Nicholas Okoh said that when celebrating Easter it was “important” to “re-emphasize the incontrovertible fact that Jesus has risen from the dead and He is alive for ever. Through His resurrection power, therefore we can overcome all sorts of challenges we might have as an individual, as the Church of God and as a Nation.”

The Archbishop called on “all Christians and Nigerians as a whole to reaffirm their trust in God, and in corporate Nigeria.”

“Let us remain resolute and resilient, having our hope in the strength and power of the Almighty God. Our prayer for our country, Nigeria is that we shall overcome the present challenges of lingering insecurity: bloodshed, destruction of lives and property; poverty and political squabbles. We should keep hope alive of a corporate Nigeria,” he said.

Preaching at the Easter Vigil at the Cathedral of St. George the Martyr in Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba told the congregation he had just returned from a retreat in “frozen rural North Wales”, staying in an attic room overlooking the Irish Sea in the mountains of Snowdonia.

“I was there to follow the 30-days Full Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola,” he explained “to explore what God was wanting to do in my life.”

But even found that the spiritual journey did not end there as God was leading him “to integrate all I’ve experienced and learnt into my ministry and life” –  “And I certainly came back to find an awful lot had been going on,’ he said.

“The over-riding lesson of my retreat is that God, in his redeeming love, is everywhere. Nothing is beyond his care, or his desire to bring healing and new life to you, to me, to everyone,” the archbishop said.

“If you truly want to know what Easter is all about, look at the places where there are tough challenges, difficult issues, hard wrestling, painful contexts – and where God’s people nonetheless dare to go, and to stay for as long as it takes, witnessing to light and hope and life.” Archbishop Makgoba said.

In in his final Easter message before he retires in July the Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen reflected on his tenure in office. “As I think on my time as Archbishop, naturally I look back and try to judge myself – not with much success!” he says. “Like you, I have a real judge. Think how much more God, who knows all the secrets of our hearts, must be able to hold me to account. It should make us tremble.”

But Easter filled him with hope. “What happened at the first Easter reminds me of the love of God. Through the death of Jesus even I, and all of us, can have forgiveness as we turn to him in sorrow and trust him for our lives” he says.

“Our failures are not the last word over our lives. And, through the resurrection of Jesus I have a great and undeserved hope of my own resurrection and future,” Dr. Jensen said.

Archbishop-elect Philip Richardson of New Zealand reminded Kiwi Christians that “life comes out of death; the horror of crucifixion bears the fruit of redeemed and renewed humanity; the worst that we are capable of becomes the access way to that intimacy of relationship with God that Christ makes possible; it is in the bowl and towel of the servant that true power is expressed; it is in losing ourselves that we are found.”

The “heart of the message of Easter,” he observed was not the “passion or the suffering, but the resurrection.”

“As Martin Luther King rightly reminded us, ‘Hate begets hate, anger begets anger, killing only begets more killing. The only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend is the power of love’,” he said.

In a joint message released with the leader of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada celebrated the bonds of friendship between the two denominations and also urged Christians to “pray for the peace of Jerusalem”.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church stated: “Easter celebrates the victory of light and life over darkness and death.  God re-creates and redeems all life from dead, dry, and destroyed bones.  We are released from the bonds of self-obsession, addiction, and whatever would steal away the radical freedom of God-with-us.”

At Easter “our lives re-center in what is most holy and creative, the new thing God is continually doing in our midst,” she said, “practicing vulnerability toward the need and hunger of others around us” thereby cultivating “compassionate hearts.  We join in baptismal rebirth in the midst of Jesus’ own passing-over.”

The Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, writing from Juba where he was standing holy week with Archbishop Daniel Deng of the Episcopal Church of the Sudan, wrote: “This Easter I am looking back,” he said – “I am asking, ‘What does it all mean?’ Whether in Juba or in Pittsburgh – and wherever you find yourself – what I testify is that the Gospel is my strength and my song, and that Jesus has become my salvation.”

“Easter is the day that lights and gives meaning to all the others, wherever I – we – spend it and with whomever I – we – spend it.  The tomb is empty.  The world, the flesh and the devil are defeated.  Jesus is alive.  In Him, the alien becomes familiar, loss becomes gain, sorrow becomes joy, and death becomes life.  This Easter I am also looking around and looking ahead,” Archbishop Robert Duncan wrote.

The Archbishop of Armagh Dr. Richard Clarke said what Ireland need this Easter was “confidence – a full–blooded confidence – that we actually want to allow Christ to run loose and dangerous in the world around us. We need to recover that spirited confidence to assert that Jesus Christ, crucified and risen, is not our private property as churchy people, but is truly for the whole of society and the entire world.”

Dr. Barry Morgan the Archbishop of Wales in his Easter sermon preached at Llandaff Cathedral stated that: “If you wanted to sum up God’s work, He is a God who is in the rescue business.  That is the root meaning of the word ‘salvation’ – it means being saved from something or someone.”

“Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we too as members of His body, are rescued from sin, despair, meaninglessness, disaster, and death,” he said, adding that “this offer of rescue, of salvation, by Jesus, is for all people not just for the select few – a bit like being rescued by a lifeboat.   When a life-station receives a distress signal, no enquiry is made about the social status of those who need rescuing, or whether they can pay for the service, or whether they are at fault for having got themselves into danger in the first place by being careless in going out without life jackets when a storm was forecast.  Lifeboats simply go to the rescue.”

The Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church Bishop David Chillingworth of St Andrews, Dunkeld & Dunblane stated: “We greet with joy the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We look forward to welcoming many people to worship in our churches at Easter.  We hope and pray that they will experience joy and hope in our congregations.

“As disciples of Jesus Christ, we believe that we are people of the resurrection.  We are Easter people – shaped in our baptism through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We feel deeply the pain of the world and its people.  We bring compassion and care to the ministry which we exercise in our service of others.  We have a passion for justice.  We are also people of hope.  Because of the resurrection, we believe that good will triumph over evil and life over death.”

Australian Anglican Indulgences: Get Religion, April 3, 2013 April 3, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Gambling, Get Religion, Press criticism.
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An Australian bishop’s veto of a gaming industry proposal to donate funds to a church social service agency to hire additional gambling addiction counselors has been met with incredulity by the Sunday Telegraph.

In a story entitled “Unholy fight over gaming as Bishop refuses money from clubs” the Sydney-based newspaper’s editorial voice spoils an otherwise interesting story. It does not appear to comprehend that the Anglican Bishop of Armidale Rick Lewers is taking a moral stand that the gaming industry cannot buy redemption.

This is not a bad article in that there is an attempt to present both sides of the story. We do hear from the bishop and the casinos — but the context is missing and the story framed so as to paint the bishop as a prig. The article begins:

A BISHOP has refused thousands of dollars from clubs to pay for more counsellors to help problem gamblers.

Clubs around Tamworth and Armidale, in the state’s north, want the local Anglicare counselling service to put on extra staff as demand grows across the region. After nearly two years of talks, the clubs have agreed to give a percentage of their takings – up to $30,000 a year – in return for access to additional counsellors. However, the talks unravelled last week after the Anglican Bishop of Armidale, Rick Lewers, canned the idea as he felt it would compromise his ability to speak out about gambling.

Instead, Bishop Lewers wants gamblers to consider joining their local church to socialise instead of spending hours “pouring pension money” into poker machines.

The construction of the lede determines the trajectory of the article. Proposition A holds that clubs, private gaming establishments, have created a need for gambling addiction counseling services. Proposition B is that these counseling services are provided by Anglicare– a church-run social services agency.

Fact A is the news that the casinos and Anglicare have been in talks about providing addiction counseling services and that the casinos would donate “up to $30,000 a year”. Fact B is the bishop’s refusal to take the funds. Fact C is the explanation that the Bishop believes he would be compromised by taking casino money.

Assertion A by the Telegraph is that the bishop does not want to help gamblers and B he wants to steer them away from casinos so that they may join “their local church to socialize”.

Standing in back all of this are the assumptions that the casino industry can atone for its sins by giving money to the church — Australian Anglican indulgences — and that the church should be a good sport and take the cash. The implications of the construction of the lede are that the bishop is opposed to a good deed because of petty concerns about pumping up church attendance — perhaps pulling in the punters to the church hall for bingo rather than have them use the slot machine at the casino.

The Telegraph does give the bishop three paragraphs to explain his position — that gambling is a social evil; the church’s social service agency will help anyone with a gambling addiction problem; the church would welcome the opportunity to minister to those with gambling problems on casino grounds; taking money from the casinos — who facilitate the addiction — in order for the church to help them break the gambling addiction is morally compromising. Well and good.

The article then moves to comments from the casino industry criticizing the bishop’s moral qualms. It then closes with a jab from a casino executive that seeks to puncture when he believes to be the bishop’s moral pomposity.

ClubsNSW CEO Anthony Ball said: “The real losers here are the people who have a problem with gambling or alcohol who would have really benefited from the range of initiatives .”

By crafting the article in this fashion — premise, assertion, side a, side b — the Telegraph is telegraphing its agreement with side b’s closing statement from the casino executive.

A church complaining about an unfriendly article that treats its leaders as moral humbugs for standing on an unfashionable principle (gambling is socially harmful and, oh yes, a sin) is neither new nor extraordinary. What is exceptional about this story is the unsubstantiated assertion that the Bishop wants people to go to church not casinos to socialize. Nor does the Telegraph seem to comprehend that it is reporting on an issue present in literature, the movies and in newspapers across the globe. American readers may remember the New York Times report last year about Mexican churches and the drug cartels.

There was an opportunity to tell a great story here — but lack of knowledge and prejudice prevented that from happening.

First printed at Get Religion

Overseas Anglican applause for Francis: The Church of England Newspaper, March 24, 2013, p 6. March 26, 2013

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Anglican leaders around the world and joined with Archbishop Justin Welby in applauding the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Buenos Aires as the next Pope and 226th Bishop of Rome.

The Bishop of Argentina and former primate of the Anglican Church of the Southern Cone, the Most Rev. Gregory Venables, gave Francis high marks as a champion of the poor and critic of government corruption.

In a note released after the election of Cardinal Bergoglio who has taken the name Francis on 13 March 2013 Bishop Venables wrote: “Many are asking me what Jorge Bergoglio is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written. I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary.”

“I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him,” Bishop Venables said.

Other Anglican leaders have also praised the election of Pope Francis. Archbishop Peter Jensen, in a statement released just after the election, said “The papacy continues to have huge global significance in testing times for humanity.  We join those who pray that Pope Francis will use the office to further the gospel of Jesus Christ for the sake of all humanity.”

The Most Rev David Chillingworth, Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church welcomed “the election of Pope Francis. He is known for his simplicity of life and his compassionate humility. The church in South America expresses vigorous life and a deep commitment to justice for the poor. God has called him to this ministry at a time when its demands seem overwhelming. We pray that God will equip him with the grace which he needs to fulfil the task. We also pray that his many gifts and his experience will enable him to lead the church forward in mission and service.”

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “We welcome and assure Pope Francis I of our prayers and our best wishes for his future ministry. We hope he will bring an ecumenical perspective to the role, a desire to work with Christians of all traditions and a goodwill to people of other faiths.”

Dr. Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland wrote: “In company with millions of men and women throughout the world of different Christian traditions to his own, I assure the new Pope of our prayers as he begins his new ministry. An Argentinian of European parentage, he brings together in his own person the cultures, hopes and spiritual needs of the first world and of the developing world, so much to be valued amidst the complexities and apprehensions of our globalised earth. He has been a champion of the needs of the poor and dispossessed, and, in the simplicity of his own lifestyle, he has sought to reflect the life of the much–loved saint whose name he now carries in the future, Saint Francis.”

“As the Church of Ireland’s Archbishop of Armagh I extend also to Cardinal Seán Brady, to Jesuit friends throughout the island and to all the Roman Catholic people of Ireland, our best wishes, with the hopes and prayers of many fellow–Christians, as Pope Francis now embarks on the ministry to which he has been called,” Dr Clarke said.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada noted: The new Pope comes from humble beginnings and he is known to have lived modestly throughout his entire ministry.  In taking the name of Francis after Francis of Assisi he has already given us some indication of the holiness, simplicity, and courage of gospel conviction he will bring to this new ministry.”

“As the new Pope endeavours to call people back to the Faith, to rebuild the Church and to strengthen the integrity of its witness to the Gospel in very diverse global contexts, we join our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers in upholding him our prayers,” he said adding “for Latin Americans this is a particularly proud moment — a moment of great rejoicing!  For from the church there the new Pope carries a passion for evangelism, a stance of solidarity with the poor and a posture of perseverance in the pursuit of peace and justice for all people.”

The presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church Katharine Jefferts Schori was less effusive. The Episcopal Church will pray for the new Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis I, and for the possibility of constructive dialogue and cooperation between our Churches.”

Doping scandal rocks Australian sport: The Church of England Newspaper, February 24, 2013, p 7. March 18, 2013

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A report released last week by the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) that found “widespread” use of performance enhancing drugs by athletes, match-fixing and links between sport and organized crime has prompted the Anglican Church to call for a ban on sports gambling.

On 8 Feb 2013 Bishop Phillip Huggins, chairman of the Diocese of Melbourne Social Affairs Committee said a moratorium on betting on major sports, including football, rugby and cricket, should be considered by the government.

A suspension of sports betting would give the leagues time to “complete the clean-up now under way, and would remove any possibility that the winter games of the [Australian Football League] and [National Rugby League] would attract unsavoury speculation.”

At a 7 Feb 2013 Canberra press conference, Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said “multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of currently using or having previously used peptides, potentially constituting anti-doping rule violations”.

“It’s cheating but it’s worse than that, it’s cheating with the help of criminals,” he said.

The 47-page report found “clear parallels” between doping amongst Australian athletes and the case of cyclist Lance Armstrong. These links underscored “the trans-national threat posed by doping to professional sport,” the report said with the “difference” that “Australian threat is current”, covers multiple sports and “is evolving.”

Mr. Claire added that “links between organised crime and players exposes players to the risk of being co-opted for match-fixing and this investigation has identified one possible example of that and that is currently under investigation.”

No names were mentioned in the ACC’s report, Mr. Clare said, as police investigations were on-going.

The “alleged linkages between organised crime and sport require a strong united response aimed at restoring integrity,” Bishop Huggins said, adding “the word ‘play’ is used in relation to sporting ‘games’. These words speak of an innocence and integrity we all want to recover, both in sport and in our community.”

Diocese reviews plan to make redudant half its city parishes: The Church of England Newspaper, January 20, 2013, p 6. January 25, 2013

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The Diocese of Newcastle (Australia) has begun a consultation on re-organizing the diocese, with one proposal making redundant nine of the city’s 15 Anglican churches.

A copy of the draft report leaked to the Newcastle Herald last month recommends closing the congregations due to falling attendance and rising costs.  Several of the congregations are in areas that have seen a shift in population with a flight to the suburbs.

Nine congregations would be closed, and the remaining seven reorganized into “tiers”. Tier-one churches are churches with a congregation of more than 450 and capable of sustaining a ministry and administration team, tier-two churches have a congregation of more than 250 people with two full-time staff and tier-three churches have more than 150 members and one staff member.

‘‘Churches falling below these benchmarks may not be sustainable in the longer term,’’ the report stated.  Only one parish, Christ Church Cathedral, with an average Sunday attendance of 250, would qualify as a tier one church under the scheme.

Selling redundant building and redeploying assets to serve middle class families with children was a more rational use of church assets, the report said. ‘‘The opportunity for the Deaneries lies in a consolidation of the wealth of resources to help tap into the emerging young professional class of families and couples.’’

However, the Assistance Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt. Rev. Peter Stuart, said the leak of the report was unfortunate as it gave the impression he proposals were diocesan policy. The report “does not represent the views of the Diocese but contains preliminary data which will be the subject of consultation in parishes beginning in January,’’ the bishop said.

In 2010 the diocese launched a five year plan to revitalize the diocese, updating the way it undertakes mission and ministry in the Twenty-first century.

Brisbane’s first woman bishop appointed: The Church of England Newspaper, December 9, 2012 p 6. December 12, 2012

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Alison Taylor

The Venerable Alison Taylor, Melbourne’s Archdeacon for International Partnerships and Vicar of St John’s Church Camberwell, has been appointed by Archbishop Phillip Aspinall to be the next Assistant Bishop for the Southern Region of the Diocese of Brisbane.

Archdeacon Taylor will become the fourth woman assistant bishop in the Anglican Church of Australia joining Genieve Blackwell Assistant Bishop of Wagga Wagga in the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn, Barbara Darling Assistant Bishop of the Eastern Region of the Diocese of Melbourne, and Kay Goldsworthy Assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Perth.

Appointed to the steering committee of the Anglican Alliance for Development, Relief and Advocacy in 2009 by Dr. Rowan Williams, Archdeacon Taylor has also served as chairman of Australia’s Anglican Overseas Aid agency.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr. Philip Freier welcomed the announcement saying: “Alison Taylor’s ministry in the Diocese of Melbourne has encompassed a breadth of experience as vicar and archdeacon. I am delighted that her leadership, developed within the Diocese of Melbourne, now takes her on to this senior role in Brisbane.”

Archdeacon Taylor will be consecrated Bishop in St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane 6 April 2013.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Call for Royal Commission on child abuse in Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2012 p 7 November 29, 2012

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Anglican leaders in Australia have welcomed Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s creation of a national Royal Commission to investigate institutional responses to instances of child sexual abuse.

“The Diocese of Sydney expresses its unqualified abhorrence of child abuse, wherever it occurs,” Archbishop Peter Jensen said on 12 November 2012.

“While the terms of reference have yet to be decided, we will work and pray for an outcome that will result in a safer society for the most vulnerable,” Dr Jensen said.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Dr Phillip Aspinall, voiced his support for the Commission also. “Of the nearly 3.6 million Australians who call themselves Anglican, statistically, one in four women and one in eight men are victims of abuse, so it is something that affects our Church on many levels,” he said.

A spokesman for the Primate said: “A decade ago Brisbane Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall called for a national Royal Commission into child sexual abuse. His call was dismissed by the Prime Minister of the time, and also rejected at a state level. Archbishop Aspinall believed then, as he does now, that the evil of child sexual assault needs to be addressed nationally, without fear or favour, respecting only the facts.”

On 12 November, the Prime Minister told reporters that she had asked the Governor General to charter a Royal Commission with wide-ranging powers to investigate church, charitable and state child care institutions as well as the responses of child service agencies and the police to allegations of abuse.

The formation of a Royal Commission comes amidst mounting media pressure in Australia to investigate child abuse committed in institutions such as orphanages, hostels and foster care homes. Last week a senior New South Wales police official accused the Roman Catholic Church of covering up child abuse in its institutions and protecting paedophile priests.

“The allegations that have come to light recently about child sexual abuse have been heartbreaking,” Ms Gillard said at a Canberra press conference.

“These are insidious, evil acts to which no child should be subject.”

“Australians know… that too many children have suffered child abuse, but have also seen other adults let them down – they’ve not only had their trust betrayed by the abuser but other adults who could have acted to assist them but have failed to do so.

“There have been too many revelations of adults who have averted their eyes from this evil.

“I believe in these circumstances that it’s appropriate for there to be a national response through a Royal Commission,” the Prime Minister said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Age no barrier to a full life, daredevil clergyman says: The Church of England Newspaper, November 18, 2012 p 7. November 21, 2012

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St George’s Cathedral, Perth

An 85-year old clergyman has rappelled down the side of the 131 foot bell tower of St. George’s Anglican Cathedral in Perth to demonstrate that age is no barrier to leading an active live.

The Rev. Tim Harrison, an assistant priest at the cathedral and chaplain to the local Royal Marines and Airborne Associations, said the last time he had rappelled had been in 1944 during the Second World War.

He told the Sun-Herald, “All my life I have put my faith in Jesus Christ – but for the last ten minutes it has been with the Mick upstairs,” referring to the abseiling instructor from outdoor activity specialists, Adventure Out.

“It is a question of trust. You trust your gear and you trust your mate, and that also goes for life. I have had some good mates and I have had some good gear.”

The abseil was organised by Amana Living, a local community care provider in Western Australia to mark the state’s Seniors which seeks to challenge negative stereotypes about aging.

“Driving around Australia gets a bit boring the third time round, so what are you going to do with yourself,” Mr. Harrison asked.

“This reminds me I am still quite young – although I am a bit stiff. Maybe same time next year,” he told the newspaper.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Australia rejects gay marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, October 21, 2012 p 6. October 27, 2012

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The Australian parliament has rejected gay marriage. On 19 September 2012 the House of Representatives rejected the private members bill by a vote of 98 to 42. Labor Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition Conservative leader Tony Abbott voted against the bill.

The Archbishop of Sydney welcomed the vote, rejecting claims made by its supporters that gay marriage was “inevitable.”

Dr. Peter Jensen said it was now up to the church to be clear about what marriage was. “The problem is that we have become so confused about the nature and purpose of marriage that it is easy for those with unbiblical ideas to trade on this confusion and to distort the meaning of the fundamental institution of human society.”

Citing the centrality of a mother and father to the propagation and rearing of children, Dr. Jensen said “the solid platform on which a family is built is the public exchange of certain promises – promises of exclusive, life-long faithfulness – consummated in the marriage-bed.”

He added that “at the heart of our difficulty is the exaltation of the individual self and the idea of freedom being the capacity to choose as we will. If the self is the  most important person in the world and the desires of the self have the right to be satisfied, it is not surprising if sex becomes unsatisfying and marriage very difficult to create and sustain.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Appeals court doubles ex-youth worker’s jail time: The Church of England Newspaper, October 6, 2012 p 6. October 11, 2012

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The New South Wales Court of Criminal Appeal has doubled the jail sentence of a former youth worker of the Diocese of Newcastle following an appeal by prosecutors.

In April the Director of Public Prosecutions in Newcastle, Australia announced his intention to appeal the sentence of James Michael Brown, 60, a former youth work and member of the staff of St Alban’s Boys’ Home in Aberdare. Brown had pled guilty to charges that he molested 13 boys aged 11 to 17 between 1974 to 1996, committing 38 counts of sodomy and 60 indecent assaultss. On 2 March 2012 the East Maitland District Court sentenced him to a term of imprisonment of from six to ten years.

On 18 Sept a three-judge appeals court panel doubled Brown’s sentence to a term of 12 to 20 years imprisonment. The original sentence had been “manifestly inadequate to reflect the seriousness of the offending over 22 years upon 20 victims,” the judgment said.

In a statement released after Mr. Brown’s arrest in 2010, Newcastle Bishop Brian Farran confirmed he had worked for the diocese in the 1970s and early 1980s in a variety of duties, including youth work and as a carer at the St Alban’s Home.  The diocese had assisted the police with their inquiries and was ‘‘strongly committed to addressing the issue of current and historical child sexual abuse in the church,” the bishop said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Australian Christian leaders appeal to MPs to reject gay marriage: The Church of England Newspaper, September 16, 2012, p 5. September 20, 2012

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The Anglican and Roman Catholic archbishops of Sydney have endorsed a public letter urging the Australian parliament to reject calls to widen the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex couples.

The statement endorsed by Dr. Peter Jensen and Cardinal George Pell and by over 250 other Orthodox, Anglican, Catholic and Protestant clergy comes as parliament in Canberra on 10 Sept 2012 takes up four bills that seek to amend the Marriage Act to permit same-sex weddings under law.

Marriage is the “lifelong commitment and faithful union of one man and one woman. As such, marriage is the natural basis of the family because it secures the relationship between biological parents and their children,” the preamble to the statement declared.

“As Christian leaders” those signing the statement affirmed their “commitment to promote and protect marriage. We honour the unique love between husbands and wives; the vital place of fathers and mothers in the life of children; and the corresponding ideal for all children to know the love and role modelling of a father and mother.’

“Marriage thus defined is a great good in itself, and it also serves the good of others and society, as it has done for thousands of years. The preservation of the unique meaning of marriage is therefore not a special or limited interest, but serves the common good, particularly the good of children.’

They called upon Parliament to “protect this definition of marriage in Australian law, and not change the meaning of marriage by adding to it different kinds of relationships.”

On 16 June 2012 Dr. Jensen released a statement urging Anglicans to lobby their MPs to vote against the proposed amendments to the Marriage Act. He stated the “parliamentary success of this revolutionary re-definition is not inevitable. It will help however if in the near future Christians who wish to stand for marriage, as instituted by God, would thoughtfully and courteously let their views be known to their Federal parliamentary representatives.”

“We should speak up for the sake of love,” he said, “however hard it may be and whatever pressure we may face, we do not love our fellow Australians if, knowing God’s grace and his written will, we do not speak up and point them to God’s plan for the flourishing of human relationships.”

The first votes on the amendments are likely to take place by month’s end.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Newcastle dean defrocked: The Church of England Newspaper, September 16, 2012 p 7. September 20, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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Graeme Lawrence

The Bishop of Newcastle (Australia) has defrocked three priests for misconduct, including the former Dean of Newcastle, the Very Rev. Graeme Lawrence.

On 10 September 2012 Bishop Brian Farran announced he had accepted the recommendation of the diocesan Professional Standards Board and removed Dean Lawrence, the Rev. Bruce Hoare and the Rev. Andrew Duncan from the ministry.  The Rev. Graeme Sturt was suspended from the ministry for five years, while cathedral organist (and Dean Lawrence’s partner) Gregory Goyette was banned from working in Anglican churches.

“There will be people in Newcastle who will be extraordinarily angry with me, but unfortunately the processes must be followed,” Bishop Farran told the ABC. “The Professional Standards Board considered some very disturbing material and determined that some of the respondents engaged in sexual misconduct, including misconduct when the complainant was a child,” he said.

The five men had been brought up on charges before the Professional Standards Board for sexual abuse and misconduct and on 15 Dec 2010 the board found that Dean Lawrence and Mr. Goyette had engaged in sexual relations with a 17 year old man at a church camp in 1984, and that Mr. Sturt had observed the act and recommended their dismissal.

Dean Lawrence and Mr. Sturt asked the New South Wales Supreme Court to review the proceedings, charging the standards board failed to observe procedural fairness.

On 27 April 2012 NSW Justice John Sackar held the civil courts did not have the authority to intervene in the church’s internal deliberations by issuing an order granting a permanent stay on the proceedings of the standards board, as the standards board was not a statutory tribunal subject to government oversight.  His ruling dismissing the cleric’s appeal did not address the merits of the charges of abuse brought before the standards board, but held the board’s proceedings had not been arbitrary or capricious.

Dean Lawrence, who served as Dean of Newcastle for 25 years until his retirement in 2008, was a member of the Anglican Church of Australia General Synod Standing Committee task force that in 2003 created the recommendations for the current professional standards proceedings.

The 2003 Sexual Abuse Working Group recommended that the church change clergy disciplinary proceedings from an adversarial procedure involving a prosecution for an offence before a tribunal, to panel review process that looked at the fitness of the church worker to hold office.  The Standing Committee subsequently accepted these recommendations, which were subsequently adopted by the 2004 General Synod.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Australian church apology for forced adoptions: The Church of England Newspaper, September 9, 2012 p 3. September 12, 2012

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The Diocese of Brisbane has offered its apology to those harmed by forced adoptions.

The diocese “sincerely apologises to the mothers, fathers and babies, now adults, who have experienced hurt, distress and harm as a result of past forced adoption practices in homes which operated in the name of the Church. We are aware that these practices occurred at St Mary’s Home at Toowong and the Church of England Women’s Refuge in Spring Hill,” the statement printed on the diocesan website said.

An Australian Senate inquiry found forced adoptions were widespread across Australia from the 1950s to the 1970s for unwed or unfit mothers.  In February the senate recommended church agencies, the government and other entities involved in coercing unwed mothers to give up their children for adoption offer an apology for their actions.

Up though the 1970’s, Australian adoption practice favoured a “clean break” practice that kept the names and locations of birth parents and children secret, so that the adoptive parents were free to raise the children as if they had been born to them.  The practice was gradually ended however, with the enactment of adoption reform laws in the 1980s.

The Brisbane statement said the senate “inquiry heard that mothers’ consent to have their babies taken for adoption was often coerced and, in some cases, was not obtained at all. Often fathers were excluded completely from this process. It heard that mothers were denied access to information about their babies, including birth records and information about their child’s survival or well-being. Those adopted babies have often not had access to accurate records of their birth and parentage.”

It was “with deep sadness and regret, this Diocese acknowledges that mothers suffered emotional trauma and abuse in these adoption processes. We apologise that they were subjected to shame, isolation and humiliation while in the care of homes operated by the Anglican Church. The Church acknowledges that the resulting grief and loss for both parents and children is ongoing and significant.”

The diocese apologized for its “failings” and would “assist those who suffered harm while in our care in the past.”

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

57 Communists – McCarthyism from The Australian: Get Religion, September 10, 2012 September 11, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Get Religion.
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I have in my hand 57 cases of individuals who would appear to be either card-carrying members or certainly loyal to the Communist Party, but who nevertheless are still helping to shape our foreign policy.

One thing to remember in discussing the communists in our government is that we are not dealing with spies who get 30 pieces of silver to steal the blueprints of new weapons. We are dealing with a far more sinister type of activity because it permits the enemy to guide and shape our policy. …

This brings us down to the case of one Alger Hiss, who is important not as an individual anymore but rather because he is so representative of a group in the State Department. …

Joseph R. McCarthy (R-Wisc.) Congressional Record, 81st Congress, Second Session, Vol. 96, Part 2, 1954-1957.

One month after Alger Hiss was convicted of perjury, Senator Joseph McCarthy began his now famous series of speeches on Communist infiltration of the U.S. government. He told a Wheeling, West Virginia Republican Women’s Club there were 57 Communist spies in the State Department, repeating this charge in a speech to the Senate on 20 Feb 1950.

Exaggeration, hyperbole and guilt by association were among the tools used by Sen. McCarthy in achieving his political ends — and he was also helped by the fact that there had been Communist spies in the U.S. government — Alger Hiss being one.

My mind turned to Joseph McCarthy and McCarthyism as I read a story this morning in The Australian, the largest daily newspaper in Australia and a part of the Rupert Murdoch media empire. The article entitled “Fears Anglican abuse linked to Catholics” is filled with exaggeration, hyperbole, guilt by association and the omission of key facts. But yes, there are abusers in this case — though not 57 of them.

The news behind this article is the September 2012 announcement from the Anglican bishop of the Diocese of Newcastle, Brian Farran. Acting upon the recommendation of the diocesan professionals standards board he had defrocked three clergy, suspended one priest for five years, and banned a lay employee from further employment in the church for having engaged in sexual misconduct with a teenaged boy.

Here is how The Australian reports this story:

NSW police are investigating allegations four Anglican priests, including the former dean of Newcastle, had sex or were involved in group sex sessions with a teenage boy aged as young as 14.

The establishment of the inquiry, which was referred to police by the church itself, means detectives are now involved in two separate investigations into alleged child abuse by church officials in Newcastle during the 1970s and 80s. The second, Strike Force Georgiana, is investigating the Catholic Church and has charged six priests with pedophile abuse.

While neither police investigation is looking specifically at any connection between members of the two churches allegedly involved in pedophile abuse, detectives believe such relationships may exist. One source within the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle said: “It’s possible there are links. There’s no strong evidence of it, but it’s possible …

“There’s certainly been a strong network up here and they infiltrated the church.”

It is not suggested any of the four priests currently under investigation were involved.

The article then goes into details of the abuse, quoting graphic extracts from the professional standards report. This is followed by:

Each of the four priests has previously denied the allegations against them while a previous police inquiry was suspended after the state Director of Public Prosecutions found there was insufficient evidence to lay charges. Mr Goyette could not be contacted yesterday.

And closes with a statement from the unnamed victim:

In a written statement, M said: “Making my complaint and having it heard has been a long and difficult journey. “I urge anybody else who has had similar experiences to speak out.”

What is wrong with this story? Where is the exaggeration, hyperbole, guilt by association, and omission of facts? Let me start off by saying I have been following this closely for two years and have written a half dozen articles on this story. So I come to this story encumbered with a degree of knowledge.

Let us begin with the lede. It reports that police are investigating the four Anglican clergy for child abuse — and they may be part of a clergy pedophile ring that includes six Catholic priests who are suspected abusers. And then we have an unnamed source within the Diocese of Newcastle saying that it might very well be possible that there is a clergy pedophile ring involving priests from the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Newcastle-Maitland

But then again, the third and fifth paragraphs tells us that there is no evidence of a clergy pedophile ring and the police had investigated the four Anglican clergy once already and had taken no action.

And — the Catholic Church has nothing to do with the actions of the Anglican clergy. Does The Australian work on the principle that any abuse story by any cleric must somehow be tied into the Catholic abuse scandal? As the story states there is no link between the Anglicans and Catholics, what else is this but Catholic-bashing?

What is omitted from this story are several key facts that provide context for this story. Two of the clergy and the lay employee — a cathedral organist — had filed a civil suit that was heard by the New South Wales Supreme Court. They argued the professional standards board process violated natural justice and their due process rights. Supporters of the accused have brought Bishop Farran up on charges for the way he has handled this case. The diocese also halted disciplinary proceedings for over a year while this issue was taken through the civil courts and has defrocked the accused clergy now that the Supreme Court has held that it will not intervene in the church’s internal disciplinary proceedings.

There is omission of the fact that the lay employee, Gregory Goyette — the former organist of the Anglican Cathedral in Newcastle — and the most prominent of the accused, Graeme Lawrence, the former dean of the cathedral are same-sex partners. What we have are five gay men (and Angl0-Catholics) being accused of being part of a pedophile ring by persons unknown. Is it because they are gay men and hence potential pedophiles? That is what I hear in the unnamed quotation in the lede.

By raising the spectre of a pedophile ring and omitting the legal battles and questions about probity of the professional standards board’s actions, The Australian crosses a line. Whether this is a subtle form of gay bashing (“Well, we know that all Anglo-Catholics are like that don’t we”, wink wink) or a case of improving a story — sexing it up — is hard to tell. But to me this smells bad.

One of the odd things about this is that Lawrence, who served as Dean of Newcastle for 25 years until his retirement in 2008, was a member of the Anglican Church of Australia General Synod Standing Committee task force that in 2003 created the recommendations for the current professional standards proceedings.

He was a member of the 2003 Sexual Abuse Working Group that recommended that the church change the clergy disciplinary proceedings from an adversarial procedure involving a prosecution for an offense before a tribunal, to panel review process that looked at the fitness of the church worker to hold office. His complaint to the Supreme Court was that he never had an opportunity to face his accusers or dispute the charges — and now he has been deposed by the process he helped create.

Also — here is what I am not saying. I am not excusing or condoning the behavior described in this article.

There are evil people in this world. Some of the clergy sexual abuse stories I have covered have sickened me, while stories on the cover up of abuse have left me ashamed. Yet in the evil and sickness that I have seen, I am always mindful that the perpetrators of crimes are still human beings — and deserve to be treated with fairness and dignity — even if they never showed this compassion to their victims.

In writing clergy abuse articles there is a temptation to paint the abuser in the blackest of terms. Monster A is as bad as Monster B who is just short of being another Charles Manson. Yet there needs to be nuance and clarity in reporting on these cases so that the truth can be told.

The bottom line in this article is that the whole truth has not been told by The Australian. It throws in a gratuitous and unproven assertion of a pedophile ring, omits important facts that provide context to the case, takes an uncalled for swipe at the Catholic Church, and relies upon an unnamed sources to make its most important point. This is not the way to write a newspaper story. It stinks.

First printed in GetReligion.

Adelaide Supreme Court to review Australia’s church disciplinary canons: The Church of England Newspaper, September 2, 2012 September 6, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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An Australian diocese has asked the Supreme Court of South Australia to uphold the legality of the Anglican Church of Australia’s clergy disciplinary code following the successful appeal of a suspended archdeacon.

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, has also joined the Diocese of the Murray in seeking an order from the court overturning the findings of Neville Morcombe QC, who last April held the diocese’s Professional Standards Board did not have jurisdiction to examine Archdeacon Peter Coote’s alleged misconduct.

Dr. Aspinall argued that unless the Supreme Court reaffirms the legality of the diocesan and national church disciplinary canons, the church’s ability to discipline its clergy could collapse.  The latest court proceedings in the Coote affair cap an 8-year saga for the Diocese of the Murray, which led in part to the dismissal of its former bishop, the Rt. Rev. Ross Davies.

In 2004Archdeacon Coote was accused of sexual misconduct by three female members of the diocese.  After investigation the diocese’s Professionals Standards Committee found the allegations to be credible and in July 2007 Fr. Coote was dismissed as archdeacon and his licence to officiate as a priest suspended in 2008.

The diocesan decision was sent to the national church’s Professional Standards Board for review, and in 2009 the board upheld the decision.  Fr. Coote appealed that decision and review by an independent attorney followed, which included a new hearing before a newly constituted Professional Standards Board.

The new board issued its decision in March 2011, which Fr. Coote subsequently appealed, and the case was sent to Mr. Morcombe for review.  In April 2012 he concluded the board had no jurisdiction to investigate Fr. Coote and ruled the board had no jurisdiction to undertake its inquiry. The diocesan standards committee responded in June with its appeal to the civil courts asking for a declaration that the Professional Standards Board had jurisdiction to hear the case, and a ruling that the Morcombe finding be dismissed.

Attorneys for Fr. Coote urged the Supreme Court to uphold the Morcombe decision, and argued the 2007 disciplinary canon was inconsistent with Article IX of the church’s constitution.

Represented by the Adelaide law firm Iles Selley, Archbishop Aspinall asked permission to intervene in the case to defend the “constitutional validity” of the diocesan and national church disciplinary canons.

“The Professional Standards Ordinance 2007 of the Diocese of the Murray is largely mirrored in some 21 of the 23 dioceses which constitute the Anglican Church of Australia,” Archbishop Aspinall’s pleading said.

“Were any challenge to the validity of any professional standards ordinance to succeed, or should such a view be expressed by this honourable court, it may have widespread and adverse consequences for all of the dioceses that make up the Anglican Church of Australia,” the archbishop argued, adding that as primate, he had “an interest in the proper interpretation of the National Constitution and, in particular, insofar as it affects the rights, powers and responsibilities of individual dioceses.”

On 24 Sept 2010, Archdeacon Coote’s former superior, Bishop Davies, resigned as Bishop of The Murray one day before a tribunal met to hear nine counts of misconduct laid against him by the Archbishop of Adelaide and Bishop of Willochra.

After two days of hearings, the tribunal found the former bishop guilty of misconduct in absentia and recommended he be removed from the episcopate.  Among the charges that led to his being deposed, Bishop Davies was adjudged to have subverted the Professional Standards processes by failing to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct made against Archdeacon Coote.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Australia’s asylum policy ‘un-Christian’: The Church of England Newspaper, September 2, 2012 p 6. September 6, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Immigration.
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Retired Australian Defence Chief Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston

Church leaders in Australia have voiced objections to new legislation to regulate entry of asylum seekers and control illegal immigration.

The Archbishop of Adelaide, Dr. Jeffrey Driver – the chairman of the Anglican Church of Australia’s Refugee and Migrant Network – said he welcomed some of the reforms, but was perturbed by the underlying philosophy of the government’s “Houston Report” on asylum seekers.

On 13 August 2012 a report commissioned by the government from an expert panel convened by Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston made 22 recommendations for reforming the government’s asylum policies including processing asylum seekers in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.  The report, which the panel described as “hard-headed but not hard-hearted” and “realistic, but not idealistic”, also recommended increasing the current number of asylum places from 13,000 to 20,000 immediately, and expanding it to 27,000 within five years.

Air Chief Marshall Houston said there were no quick and easy solutions to Australia’s boat people problem, but argued the panel’s recommendations were guided by fairness and  a sense of humanity. “Like all Australians we are deeply concerned about this tragic loss of life at sea … to do nothing is unacceptable,” he said.

The “Houston Report’s recommendation that boat people processed on Naura and PNG’s Manus Island should be forced to wait as long as those who claim asylum through more traditional channels before they are resettled is inhumane and will be prohibitively expensive,” Dr. Driver said.

“Using the fate of asylum seekers in this way to discourage people smugglers is like using the victims of crime to fight crime; it is punishing the victims in order to discourage the perpetrators,” he said.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr. Philip Freier welcomed the quota increase, but worried there were no guarantees that asylum seekers will not be detained indefinitely on Nauru and Manus Island.

“It has been clearly established that long and indefinite detention severely affects the mental health of detainees. This is of particular concern in the case of children and unaccompanied minors,” he said on 16 August, adding that he urged “the Federal Government to place a limit on the time detainees, especially children, are held in detention.”

Prof. Andrew Dutney, President of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, said his church was “deeply disappointed at the recommendations of the Houston Panel on Asylum Seekers. And we are dismayed by the enthusiasm with which the Parliament has passed legislation which will see Australia close its doors to asylum seekers arriving by boat.”

The new policies a sign of a “grave moral failure” and of a “political process that has completely lost its moorings in the Christian heritage” and were “based on a theory of deterrence. The aim is, effectively, to punish new arrivals so that when others hear about it they will be deterred from attempting the same thing. The horrifying message we are sending is that, not only are strangers not welcome here, they are risking further harm at our hands,” he argued.

“A nation that is so determined to turn strangers away – to oppose the God whose mission begins with the stranger, the disadvantaged and the unwanted – cannot prosper in any way that matters,” Prof. Dutney said.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

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.

Archbishops’ ‘no’ to gay marriage in Australia: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2012 p 5. June 27, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, Marriage, Politics.
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Peter Jensen

The Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox archbishops of Sydney have urged Christians to reject gay marriage. The “revolutionary re-definition” of marriage was not “inevitable”, Dr. Peter Jensen said in his 17 June 2012 letter, but those “who wish to stand for marriage, as instituted by God, would thoughtfully and courteously let their views be known to their Federal parliamentary representatives.”

In separate letters read to congregations last Sunday, Dr. Jensen, Cardinal George Pell, and Archbishop Stylianos Harkianakis called for the rejection of two private members bills that will amend the Marriage Act introducing same-sex marriage.  A social policy and legal affairs committee inquiry report was presented to Parliament on 18 June, but declined to endorse or reject the bills introduced by Australian Greens MP Adam Bandt and Labor MP Stephen Jones.

Archbishop Stylianos urged Orthodox Christians to lobby their representatives in government to vote against the bill.  The proposed legislation was ”diametrically against” the teachings of the Christian faith and Greek Orthodox tradition and must be stopped, he said.

Cardinal Pell told Catholics that said same-sex relationships were “contrary to God’s plan for sexuality.”  The proposed amendments to the Marriage Act would harm Australia.  “Instead of removing discrimination and injustice, [it] will cause them.”

A spokesman for Australian Marriage Equality Alex Greenwich responded the churches’ views were behind the times.  ”With polls showing a majority of Australian Christians support marriage equality and with prominent Christians … and a growing number of clergy endorsing the reform, I don’t expect many people will be influenced by their priest this Sunday,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

In his letter, Dr Jensen urged Anglicans to “oppose this move as out of keeping both with the word of God and also of the best interests of our community.”

The Anglican archbishop opened his letter by saying it was important that the debate must be civil.  “God’s love for all teaches us that we must not be glib or unfeeling as we discuss, pray and act according to our convictions.”

But civility should not be construed as weakness.  “Christians are led by the word of God itself to bear witness to our strong commitment to marriage understood as the public joining of two persons of the opposite sex from different birth families through promises of enduring, sustaining and exclusive love, consummated in sexual union.”

Marriage “is one of God’s blessings upon us as a race” the archbishop said, for “through it God allows for the pure expression of our sexual natures, for the faithful companionship of one we love and the opportunity for the nurture of children.”

It was a “tragedy” he said that “marriage is so little understood or honoured and that so many people are denying themselves or others the experience of a public commitment and life-long union.”

“The education of children must not be distorted by the state-imposed idea that a family can be founded on the sexual union of two men or two women as a valid alternative to that of a man and a woman,” Dr. Jensen said, as the call for changing the law “only adds to the confusion by taking a God-given social institution for the creation and nurture of families and extending it to those who by God’s design and by nature cannot be married to each other.”

“This is not a matter of ‘marriage equality’ nor of human rights, since the right to be married extends equally, but only to those who are qualified,” he said.

Debate on the bills is not expected until year’s end, however, as its supporters concede they do not have sufficient support to pass the amendments to the Marriage Act at this time.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Re-branding for Australian church aid agency: The Church of England Newspaper, June 24, 2012 p 4. June 27, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper, NGOs.
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The Australian church aid agency, Anglicord , has adopted a new name and logo.  The Melbourne-based Church Aid agency announced last week that it would now be called “Anglican Overseas Aid”.

Anglican Overseas Aid’s CEO, Misha Coleman said the re-branding came in “response to supporter feedback that our name needs to better reflect what we do, which is to work through Anglican connections to reduce poverty in some of the world’s poorest communities,  in some of the most difficult to reach locations.”

“We accept that our name should say what we do,” Ms Coleman said, adding that the agency also believed it was necessary to adopt a new name to differentiate its work from that of other church organizations.  A spokesman said the agency sought to “remove the confusion between ourselves and other Anglican agencies, which is an ongoing issue at the broader public and government levels” in Australia.

The name change, and a move to new offices, will not change the mission or ministry of Anglican Overseas Aid, Ms. Coleman said.  “We still have the same commitment to our vision of a world free of poverty and for justice and peace for all.”

The foreign aid arm of the Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Overseas Aid raised approximately A$2.2 million to support education, relief and development programmes in Africa, Asia and the Pacific.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Perth bishop denies abuse cover up: The Church of England Newspaper, June 10, 2012 p 6. June 12, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Abuse, Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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Bishop Michael Challen

A retired Australian bishop has denied claims made to a government commission investigating child abuse in Western Australia that he took no action for almost a year after learning that the head of a church-affiliated youth hostel was a child molester.

The former warden of St. Christopher’s Hostel in Northam, Western Australia was alleged to have indecently assaulted boys during his 14 years as head of the home. On 23 May 2012 a former principal of a local high school gave evidence to the commission stating that he had learned of abuse being committed by the warden, Mr. Roy Wenlock, and reported the abuse to the chairman of the hostel’s board, the Assistant Bishop of Perth, the Rt. Rev. Michael Challen.

In his statement Mr. Claude Riordan said he approached Bishop Challen in 1976, but no action was taken against Mr. Wenlock until 1977 when he was forced to step down.  Mr. Wenlock, who was in charge of the boys home from 1963 to 1977, was never charged with abuse and died in 2007.

A spokesman for the Archbishop of Perth, the Most Rev. Roger Herft told The Church of England Newspaper the archbishop was travelling and not able to respond to the allegations, but noted Bishop Challen was scheduled to address the commission last week.

In his testimony, Bishop Challen said that he had not waited for over a year to dismiss Mr. Wenlock but acted immediately upon hearing of the reports of abuse. Bishop Challen, who was chairman of the hostel board from 1976-1979, said he first heard about the allegations of indecent behaviour from Westeran Australia MP Ken McIver and immediately held a meeting with the parents of the abused boy.

“As far as I was concerned, to invite boys into your lounge…often in pairs and ask them to strip down to their underpants and for him to just be in a pair of black shorts only and to wrestle…I thought that was quite inappropriate and action had to occur,” Bishop Challen told the committee.

“I just simply asked him ‘have you been behaving like this, boys in your room wrestling with your shorts on and asking them to wear their underpants’…and he said yes.”

“I said here’s a piece of paper you can write your resignation. I think I gave him 24 or 48 hours to get out,” the bishop said.

The inquiry continues.

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.