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

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

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Church of England Newspaper.
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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).

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.

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.

Orthodox lay presidency at the Eucharist?: Get Religion, April 21, 2012 April 21, 2012

Posted by geoconger in Get Religion, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic Church.
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Reuters has a dispatch from Athens on the difficulties the Greek financial collapse is causing the Orthodox Church. The article entitled “Crisis proves a curse for Greece’s Orthodox Church” will appear in various forms in newspapers and websites this weekend and I encourage you to read it, as it provides a strong account of the hardships facing the Church.

However, a GetReligion reader, Dominic Foo, was struck by one section of the article. He wrote:

I find it incredibly hard to believe that an Eastern Orthodox Church would permit lay celebration of the Eucharist, unless of course, this is merely sloppy journalistic reporting and what is permitted is not “mass” but a prayer service.

He was questioning this section of the story:

To cover the shortage of priests, some bishops are permitting laymen to take services. These volunteers receive no state wages and don’t wear the characteristic vestments.

For instance, a retired army officer recently started holding mass at Avantas, a village close to the eastern border with Turkey, said Father Irinaios. “Priests in small villages retire or pass away and there is nobody to replace them,” he said. “We are going to have a huge problem.”

If Reuters is correct in its reporting, this is highly significant development. In the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions it is inconceivable that a lay person would be permitted by a bishop to celebrate the Eucharist as the administration and celebration of the sacraments is the essence of the priesthood. For Roman Catholics this teaching is set down in a number of formal statements and encyclicals: Lumen Gentium 28; De ordinatione episcopi, presbyterorum et diaconorum 2; 6; 12.

For the Orthodox lay presidency is a non-starter. The doctrinal confessions most accepted in the Orthodox world, The Confession written by Dosietheus, Patriarch of Jerusalem (1672) and The Orthodox Confession written by Peter Mogilas, Metropolitan of Kiev (1643) state the Eucharist may be celebrated only by a “lawful” priest.

In my corner of the church world, the issue of lay celebration of the Eucharist has the potential to supplant the fights over homosexuality. The Diocese of Sydney — the most influential evangelical diocese in the Anglican Communion — supports  allowing lay people licensed by the bishop to celebrate the Lord’s Supper. The diocese has debated this issue for almost a generation and prepared a number of theological papers in support of its views.

One clue to the debate is the use of the phrase “Lord’s Supper” rather than Mass by Sydney Anglicans. Their understanding of what takes place in Holy Communion is very different than that of High Church Anglicans, not to mention the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. However, the Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Peter Jensen, has so far declined to implement the diocesan synod’s request as the wider Australian church — and Anglican Communion does not agree with this innovation.

If the Greek Orthodox Church is allowing lay celebration of the Eucharist this would be a break with tradition. For a religion reporter this would be great news — I have visions of a pan-Orthodox council being called (allowing me a trip to Greece on my editor’s dime.)

Perhaps something less dramatic, but still highly significant is taking place. Has some form of Liberation theology arisen in Greece? That would be news! In marginalized or deprived communities where a priest is not present to preside at the Eucharist, such as in Latin American base communities, Leonardo Boff and other radical theologians have proposed holding a eucharist-like fellowship meal as an admittedly less than adequate substitute for the Eucharist.

Or, as is most likely, the Reuters reporter was confused or his article was mistranslated. I’m afraid I won’t be jetting off to Greece this summer as I suspect the liturgy being used at services where no priest is present is the Typica or Reader’s Service.

While the Typica may not be common in areas where there is a settled Orthodox presence, it can be found in places like the American South or Africa where there are new Orthodox congregations but no resident clergy. Here is a link to a Greenville, NC Orthodox Church that explains the value of Lay-led Services.

While this Reuters story focuses on the effects of Greece’s economic implosion on the Orthodox Church, the statement about lay led masses should be addressed. If wrong, I would hope it would be corrected. If right, then there is a major story here that has so far gone unreported.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

First printed in GetReligion.

Sydney rejects Anglican Covenant: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 21 2011 p 7. October 25, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Covenant, Church of England Newspaper.
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First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

Sydney has rejected the Anglican Covenant. The 11 October vote by the 49th meeting of the Diocese of Sydney Synod likely spells the death knell for Dr Rowan Williams’ plan for a global agreement to set the parameters of doctrine and discipline for the Anglican Communion.

Support for the Covenant peaked in the run-up to the 2009 meeting of the Anglican Consultative Council in Kingston, however, Dr Williams’ untimely intervention into the Covenant debate and changes made to the document have alienated both left and right.

Liberal dioceses in New Zealand, Australia and the US have rejected the plan as un-Anglican, while the Global South Primates last year stated that “while we acknowledge that the efforts to heal our brokenness through the introduction of an Anglican Covenant were well intentioned, we have come to the conclusion the current text is fatally flawed and so support for this initiative is no longer appropriate.”

The Sydney motion was moved by Dr Mark Thompson of Moore College, and assistant chancellor Robert Tong, and followed a September recommendation by the diocesan standing committee to reject the Covenant.

In his report to Synod, Dr Thompson said the Covenant was “the wrong approach to the crisis in the Communion; the proposed Covenant has serious theological flaws; and it just won’t work: it won’t solve the crisis.”

The difficulties in the Anglican Communion “ought to have been addressed in terms of the New Testament patterns of fellowship rather than with a fresh appeal to law or regulation,” Dr Thompson said.

He added that “fellowship is nourished by our common commitment to truth and so faithfulness to the teaching of Scripture; it is undone by a refusal to submit to the teaching of God’s word.”

Creating a Covenant that establishes a “new legal structure that is incapable of distinguishing between the betrayal of biblical principle on the one hand, and unpopular but faithful adherence to biblical principles on the other” will not work, he argued.

Dr Thompson cited five theological flaws in the proposed agreement. “It fails to give sufficient attention to historic Anglican formularies; It embodies a confused ecclesiology; It expresses an inflated view of the Anglican bishop; It gives formal expression to an accrual of inordinate power and authority by the Archbishop of Canterbury; and the Covenant fails to give due weight to the teaching of Scripture.”

The Anglican Communion Covenant as it has been drafted is “fundamentally concerned with maintaining structural and institutional unity rather than with biblical faithfulness,” Dr Thompson argued.

“Those who have created the problem won’t sign it; and if they did without repenting of the departures from the teaching of Scripture it would only demonstrate the uselessness of the Covenant itself. What is more, a number of orthodox Anglican provinces throughout the world have already indicated they won’t sign it for various other reasons,” he noted.

“It’s the wrong way of dealing with the problem; the draft given to us has serious theological flaws; and in the end it just won’t work,” Dr Thompson said.

Synod adopted the motion by an overwhelming majority.

Sydney synod begins: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 14, 2011 p 7. October 19, 2011

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Dr. Peter Jensen

First published in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Archbishop of Sydney has denounced the use of church courts to bypass the Anglican Church of Australia’s General Synod to set doctrine and discipline. However, Dr Peter Jensen also reaffirmed the diocese’s commitment to the Anglican Church of Australia, saying Sydney Anglicanism had a central place in the faith life of Australia.

In his hour-long presidential address to the diocese’s 49th synod on 10 October, Dr Jensen addressed social questions, noting the parlous state of family life in Australia and urged politicians to push back against the country’s “gambling culture.”

He also touched upon the spiritual and financial health of the diocese. Participation was ”more than holding its own,” he said. Growth was “not vast but in a world where clubs, political parties and voluntary organisations are struggling to stay alive, it is significant.”

Taking as his text 1 Kings 19, Dr Jensen stated that “Like Elijah, we sometimes feel alone … But what we have is what Elijah was given – not God in earthquake, wind and fire, but the God in his Word. We live by faith, not by sight. Our business, whatever our situation, is to consult the Word of God, to trust it and to keep it.”

As Elijah was “emboldened by God’s Word, so you too take heart,” he told synod.

Speaking about the diocese’s difficult relations with the national Church, Dr Jensen noted the “division or dismemberment of the Anglican Church of Australia is not in the best interests of Christianity in this country.” The Archbishop’s remarks follow an attack last month upon the diocese by journalist Muriel Porter on the ABC, who accused the Sydney diocese of perverting Anglicanism.

The Archbishop stated that from Sydney’s perspective it was “best” if the national Church was “committed in form and fact to orthodox doctrine and behaviour.”

Sydney also laboured “to retain the integrity of the national Church,” he said, adding the diocese “always insisted that the national federation be decentralized in ethos and diocesan in structure as it is under the Constitution. Sydney also had an ongoing “role to encourage and support the growth of evangelical ministries throughout the national Church,” Dr Jensen said.

He also criticized the process by which women were permitted to be ordained to the episcopate, saying the circumvention of the national synod by an appeal to the church courts harmed the integrity of the institution.

“We want to establish the point that the ready appeal to the law to solve relational and political problems is unfruitful and to ensure that there is minimum interference with the life of the dioceses, in line with the spirit and intent of the Constitution,” Dr Jensen said.

He also touched upon the “For Kid’s Sake” report prepared by Sydney academic Patrick Parkinson. The Parkinson paper chronicled an increasingly dysfunctional youth population, with alarmingly high rates of substance abuse, self-harming behaviour and sexual promiscuity. The rise in bad behaviour could be linked to the decline of the family, he said. “The missing ingredient [in Australian family life] is commitment – a public commitment in the marriage vows,” Dr Jensen said.

“There is a cultural malaise here, a tsunami is beginning which, should it be unchecked, will engulf us. At the base of it the problem is spiritual – it is sin and evil, broken promises and broken hearts, our abandonment of God and our elevation of the individual self to the throne,” the Archbishop said.

Over the next two weeks, the synod will address the diocese’s financial situation and plans for future growth.

Anglican Unscripted: October 17, 2011 October 18, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican.TV, Church of Ireland, Episcopal Church of the Sudan, Property Litigation, South Carolina.
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http://blip.tv/play/g5IjgtjoSgI.htmlhttp://a.blip.tv/api.swf#g5IjgtjoSgI
Kevin and George both seem to be qualified to perform the Sacrament of the Eucharist under new rules readopted by the diocese of Sydney. Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury had a very successful visit to Zimbabwe and our hosts tip their hats to the new and improved head of the communion. Almost predictably, Allan Haley builds a defense for the Diocese of South Carolina while stacking the deck against the most arrogant Presiding Bishop to serve in North America. Kevin also interviews Bishop Abraham Neal (formally one of the Lost Boys) of the Province of Sudan.

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