Thinking Anglicans

Sydney Anglicans

Updated Saturday

ABC in Australia has published this article by Muriel Porter: Sydney Anglicans and the threat to world Anglicanism. It starts:

Sydney Diocese has always been an important player in the Anglican Church of Australia.

It is the oldest and largest of the 23 Australian dioceses, and until its recent catastrophic financial losses, was the richest. It is also the most conservative, and is strident in defence of that conservatism.

But how could Sydney Diocese be a threat to the international Anglican Communion? After all, Australia, with just 3.7 million Anglicans according to the 2006 census – the same number as those Australians who claimed no religion – should be but a small player among the 80 million world Anglicans.

Yet in the first decade of the twenty-first century, under the leadership of Archbishop Peter Jensen, Sydney Diocese has become a force to be reckoned with in the Anglican Communion. As a leader of the alternative international Anglican movement focused in the Global Anglican Future (GAFCON) project, his diocese became what can only be described as a destabilizing influence.

And it ends with:

Overall, Sydney’s influence is of real concern for the future of world Anglicanism.

The article is an edited extract from Dr Porter’s new book Sydney Anglicans and the Threat to World Anglicanism.

Dr Porter is a journalist and author, a Fellow of the University of Melbourne School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, and a member of the Australian General Synod.

Update

ABC News has published this response by Mark Thompson Religion & Ethics: Serious flaws in Muriel Porter’s misguided polemic.

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rjb
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rjb

While I don’t disagree with the general thriust of the article, it paints a simplistic picture. Sydney is a big diocese, and not all “Sydney Anglicans” are alike. Despite what the ABC article suggests, there are still Anglo-Catholic and liberal parishes in Sydney, and they tend to kick against the pricks. What we are really discussing is not “Sydney Anglicanism” as a whole, but the rather narrow sectarian elite associated with Moore Theological College and with the brothers Jensen. It’s also notable that some of the most implacable opposition to the ambitions of the Sydney elites comes from other dioceses… Read more »

Robert ian Wiliams
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Robert ian Wiliams

Muriel can’t get over the fact that Sydney are growing and her brand of Anglicanism is dying.
Sydney Diocese is far from conservative..

lay presidency ( radical) and unfermented fruit juice at communion. vestments virtually abolished.

Archbishop Jensen has fearlessly stood up for decency to Asylum seekers.

The investments may be down but they will rise again, but Sydney Diocese’s real wealth are her dynamic people. Over flowing vocations and growing churches everywhere..with much outreach to ethnic minorities.

Yes there are some liberals and a handful of Anglo Catholics..but they know their place.

Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

I remember, when in Australia ten years ago, that God seemed peculiarly absent from the Cathedral in Sydney and all the choir offerings had to be in English, Latin is not allowed. At Christ Church St Laurence the celebrant at High Mass wore a cope since a chasuble was forbidden by the diocese. It is worth reading the submission by CCSL to the Archbishop’s Commission (on CCSL website) which analyses the causes of the Diocesan financial crisis and the cultural elements behind it. These deny the diocese the best talents and minds by its insistence on the acceptance of narrow… Read more »

Steven McQuitty
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Steven McQuitty

I met a man from Sydney at a recent conference in Glasgow who said he would rather worship in Morhdorh (dwelling place of Sauron…) than in Sydney! Sounds like he was on to something…

Savi Hensman
Guest
Savi Hensman

Robert Ian Williams

Even if you would take communion where the celebrant was a lay person, can you not see that this might be a problem for some?

Kurt
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Kurt

Oh, please Robert Ian Williams, everyone who knows anything about Sydney knows that it’s the Anglo Catholic and liberal parishes there that are among the fastest growing churches in the diocese!

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Brian Ralph
Guest
Brian Ralph

Too true, Kurt Hill. I travelled 80km each way on Sunday to attend a church in Sydney where I was accepted. I knew elderly people living nearby who were upset they could not find a true Anglican church nearby and were unable to travel such distances. At least, being straight, they were accepted at the pseudo-Baptist offerings at the local so-called Anglican church. I saw the writing on the wall and 2 years ago migrated to NZ and a city where an associate priest in the cathedral is a partnered gay man, the Vicar on my first Sunday preached in… Read more »

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

Like rjb I agree with the general thrust of the article and indeed the general thrust of Muriel Porter’s book. However, rjb is correct. There are other kinds of Sydney Anglicans even among the minority who attend church. But the great majority of once moderate or central or liberal evangelical PARISHES have over the years been captured by the successful tactics of the Anglican Church League and by what the late Archdeacon R.B.S.Hammond once called “carnal” methods. In recent years the situation has become far worse. The number of “Anglo-Catholic and liberal parishes” is smaller than rjb suggests and middle-of-the-road… Read more »

rjb
Guest
rjb

For once, I think I agree with Robert Ian Williams. Whatever the Jensen brothers and their coterie are – and they’re most certainly something – they cannot really be described as ‘conservative’ (I for one wouldn’t dignify them with that term). The question, perhaps, is: are they Anglican?

Father Ron Smith
Guest

With rjb, I agree that the big question about the Jensen sodality is: Are they truly Anglican? And, I’m fairly certain that their own answer to this question would be: “We are Christians”, the identity of their Faith Family being peripheral – if at all considered as any different from the ana-Baptists. Thank God, however, not all of Sydney’s Anglicans (at least in name) are fundamentalists, misogynists or homophobes. In the City Centre there are at least 2 significant parishes – St. James and Christchurch St.Laurence – whose vibrant spirituality is both Catholic and Inclusive – after Christ in the… Read more »

Chris Smith
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Chris Smith

After reading this post on the Anglican hierarchy in Sydney and their identification with the far right, just goes to show it is as much a political front organization as it is a so called non-profit. It is sad but also a wake up call for progressives, to make sure their voices are heard and that the so called Fundamentalists are NOT the ONLY voices allowed in the public forum.

Robert ian Williams
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Robert ian Williams

Sydney represents the intrinic Protestant soul of Anglicanism. Pity you can’t face the reality of it. When the Jensens retire, the same Churchmanship will continue.In fact Peter Jensen has tried to restrain it and furthermore he has a social conscience and has unashamedly denounced racism and other social injustices. He even allows for women preachers , which his brother doesn’t like. And it was Archdeacon TC Hammomd..an Irish missionary to Catholiocs who shaped Sydney Anglicanism , when he became the Principal of Moore College in 1935. And don’t worry about Sydney fnances, they are still better than the rest of… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
Guest

There is a significant minority of clergy in the Church of Ireland, at least in the North, who openly admire Sydney – we are, after all responsible for the Sydney ethos being what it is – and who see that as the future of the Church of Ireland. I think an unlikely prospect but sadly not an entirely impossible one.

And of course there is the Church of England in South Africa, which holds to all sorts of strange un-Anglican and un-catholic doctrines, and is very chummy with Sydney Diocese.

EmilyH
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EmilyH

Lest we forget Matthias Media, a substantial international evangelistic outreach of the Jensens. To see their personnel working in the US see: http://www.matthiasmedia.com.au/information/our-people. offering “outreach growth training and follow-up” Here is their mission statement: “In the part of the world where our ministry was born (Sydney, Australia), ‘evangelical’ is a way of saying that you walk in the footsteps of the Reformers and of the evangelical movements that followed them. For us, being evangelical means that we love the famous ‘solas’ of the Reformation: Christ Alone, Scripture Alone, Grace Alone and Faith Alone, all to the glory of God alone.… Read more »

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

I was shocked to the core when I read a book recently published by Mathias Media, that said it was ok for single teenagers to masturbate! I am also afraid that they are also very liberal on divorce. However at least you know where Jensen stands on homosexuality…unlike Rowan, who has a private face and a public face! The sad thing about the Church of Ireland is that it gives a disproportionate representation to the liberal southern dioceses, whilst the evangelical north is actually 75 per cent of the Church’s population. However Reform Ireland have a vision for the Church… Read more »

John Bunyan
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John Bunyan

Robert E.Williams is confusing the learned Irish-born Archdeacon T.C.Hammond (1877-1961), Principal of Moore College, with Archdeacon R.B.S.Hammond (1870-1946), Rector of S.Barnabas’, Broadway, the latter a great evangelical Anglican, missioner and practical social reformer.

Father Ron Smith
Guest

re EmilyH’s link to ‘Matthias Media’ – Sydney’s outreach arm in the U.S.; I notice they have a ‘shopping cart’ installed on the web-site. I’m just not buying into any of it.

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Archdeacon T.C.Hammond (1877-1961)

wrote In Understanding Be Men. I studied it long and hard in my teens and still have it. Lovely hard back. He was a great Anglican Evangelical.

Robert ian Williams
Guest
Robert ian Williams

Sydney Anglicanism was drifting towards liberal evangelicalism in the 1930s and Archbishop Mowl imported TC Hammond to save the day. Hammond actually drew up the Constitution for the Church of England in South Africa. A staunch evangelical, his son became an Anglo-catholic in the English diocese of Rochester! Interestingly the Anglican missionary society which works for the conversion of Catholics is still going strong and very well endowed. Its headquarters in Dublin and the head of it is an ordained Anglican cleric, heavily involved with Reform Ireland.They are rather “chagrined” that Roman Catholics in the south have converted for liberal… Read more »

Joe
Guest
Joe

It’s the phrase ‘world Anglicanism’ in the article’s title that’s really unsettling: I thought the point about Anglicanism is that there was only the local sort.

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

I am curious as to what it is about liberal thinking that so threatens posters like Robert Ian Williams to use such vicious attacks on those with different ways of looking at the world and religion. I see very little evidence of love in his words but a great deal of anger and control issues. I find this very sad. Dialogue between Christians of differing views must first begin with respect for each other. We should not do this with insulting remarks that devalue the other person or their opinions.

Gerry Lynch
Guest

RIW, I don’t think it’s accurate to describe the northern C of I as evangelical as baldly as you have just done. It certainly has a large evangelical contingent, but an awful lot of it is just old fashioned ‘low, slow and decently done’; indeed, a lot of it would be described as ‘central tradition’ if it were across the water, especially in Belfast. There is certainly a very large minority contingent of evangelicals in the northern C of I, but we are a very long way indeed from being like the Diocese of Sydney (laus deo); my own parish,… Read more »

Gerry Lynch
Guest

RIW, I missed your post of 2.48 pm. While the Irish Church Mission (a body with strong links to Sydney and indeed TC Hammond) is well endowed enough to maintain an office on the Quays in Dublin and pay for a full time staff, I’m not sure I’d describe an organisation that has achieved not much more than zero since the 1870s as ‘going strong’. Unless you define ‘going strong’ as producing tracts, pamphlets and a website none of which are read by anyone. As you youself note, they are more likely to put off the sort of person moving… Read more »

John
Guest
John

I was shocked to the core when I read a book recently published by Mathias Media, that said it was ok for single teenagers to masturbate!

Well, at least they’re sensible about one thing. But I thought said practice was now regarded as venial (at worst) by the Vatican.

This is all absurd.

Rosemary Hannah
Guest
Rosemary Hannah

‘I was shocked to the core when I read a book recently published by Mathias Media, that said it was ok for single teenagers to masturbate!’ Good grief, riw, if that shocks you you really do need a wider social life!!

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

This is one of the drollest articles I have ever read. Just about all the allegations of “unAnglican” and “irregular” tactics and methods which she flings as accusations at the Sydney Anglican archdiocese were employed by the proponents of WO in Australia in the 80s and 90s, until their final “triumph” there in 1992. Not only that, but Mz Porter was cheering them on at the time, and even wrote a book on the subject after their “triumph” in 1992. Pot and kettle, anyone? Sauce for ganders and geese? In fact, I have a very vague recollection that Sydney some… Read more »

Fr Mark
Guest
Fr Mark

William Tighe: calling a lady “Mz” is just offensive and childish. It’s not even funny in an Evelyn Waugh/grumpy old Catholic codger sort of way, just discourteous.

Evelyn Waugh, by the way, badgered his friend Nancy Mitford relentlessly for many years, saying he could not understand why she did not come to The (i.e. his) Faith. Ultimately, she told Waugh that she could not find it attractive as it had evidently made him neither nice nor happy. There is a lesson for us there.

Grumpy High Church Woman
Guest
Grumpy High Church Woman

Mr Tighe: Actually it is Dr Porter. PhD Melbourne, I think, though am not absolutely sure.

Counterlight
Guest

I think all the spite and malice that underlies Mr. Tighe’s remarks, which torpedoes any claim to seriousness or credibility, can be summarized in one title, “Mz.”

Roland Cartwright
Guest
Roland Cartwright

“Oh, please Robert Ian Williams, everyone who knows anything about Sydney knows that it’s the Anglo Catholic and liberal parishes there that are among the fastest growing churches in the diocese!” Kurt Hill Brooklyn, NY All I can say is that Kurt Hill either has a deep sense of irony or is deluded. Until this Easter I attended St James’ King Street for over three years and I can tell you from firsthand experience that this parish is quite literally dying. Few members are aged under 60, it has only a handful of families, limited children’s ministry, and nothing for… Read more »

Brian Ralph
Guest
Brian Ralph

What absolute codswallop, Mr Cartwright. As of the September newsletter, offertories for this year are above budget with 300- 400 regular attendees each Sunday from a parish roll of 600. The rental from the office block is needed to maintain the oldest church in Sydney but it is expected that within 5 years the ministry of the church will be covered by parish giving. The fact that the church is surrounded by office blocks and has few residential buildings within the area naturally reduces the number of young people. Most of the parishioners come from all over Sydney seeking to… Read more »

Leo Ladenson
Guest
Leo Ladenson

Mz Grumpy High Church Woman: Actually it is Dr. Tighe, PhD (Cantab), for certain.

Grumpy High Church Woman
Guest
Grumpy High Church Woman

Leo: I know. But since he couldn’t use Dr Porter’s title, I thought ‘Mr’ was appropriate.

Richard Ashby
Guest
Richard Ashby

I always think it ironic and an example of the mysterious ways in which the Holy Spirit works, that in Sydney, the most homophobic and mysogynist of Anglican diocese, there is also the largest, most open and visible gay and lesbian community and the annual Mardi Gras is celebrated and draws visitors from around the world.

Roland Cartwright
Guest
Roland Cartwright

Brian Ralph, One swallow does not a summer make. If you had read back to the April 2001 edition of the SJKS Parish Connections you would have seen that the 60% figure (and consequent 40% deficit) relates to the full years of 2010 and 2011 and was provided by the Parish’s then General Manager. He said in that edition: “The stark reality is that the current model has overwhelmingly relied on distributions from St James’ Hall to cover all annual costs. Excluding this amount (which currently funds 42% of expenditure), the operating deficit for 2010 was $603,000 and is forecast… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I imagine there remain ( esp in the suburbs) parishes with a lowish church tradition that are recognisably Anglican in style…surplice / a prayer book liturgy / hymns etc. If not a lot of Anglicans ( esp those who come to Sydneyfrom other parts of Australia) must be unchurched.Perhaps a “Sydney moderate ” might enlighten us? Of course the “newer style” might be popular with the 16-30 group..but they may begin to want something different as they get older…assuming they dont just lapse entirely,as a lot of keen Christian Union types do in the UK.

Roland Cartwright
Guest
Roland Cartwright

Brian Ralph, Apologies, I meant the April 2011 edition, where the title of the article is “Busting the Myth that this Parish Supports Itself”. Perry Butler, Your imagination misleads you. Other than at some first services of Sunday (say 8am), where surplice may be worn and the prayer book used, at most main services (say 10am) in Sydney, suburbs or city, the clergy wear casual clothes, or at most formal a suit, no surplice or vestments, use limited or no liturgy and few if any hymns. There is a lively discussion in the Diocesan magazine, “Southern Cross”, which cannot be… Read more »

Todd Granger
Guest
Todd Granger

Of note there has been no response whatever to the substance of Dr Tighe’s criticism’s of Dr Porter, simply a taking refuge in denunciation of his dis-honorific, “Mz”.

Is there an answer? What makes Dr Porter’s strategies (or those with whom she agrees) “Anglican” and those of Sydney “unAnglican”?

(In the interests of full disclosure, I reject the innovations of both.)

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Why is Roland Cartright posting such attacks on that parish ? Beats me. But then I am one of these dreadful (apparently) over-60s who are such a drain on himself …

Geoff
Guest

“Other than at some first services of Sunday (say 8am), where surplice may be worn and the prayer book used, at most main services (say 10am) in Sydney, suburbs or city, the clergy wear casual clothes, or at most formal a suit, no surplice or vestments, use limited or no liturgy and few if any hymns.”

Perhaps some kindly province might step up to act as a “Southern Cone” for Sydney to plant churches adhering to the Book of Common Prayer for the beleaguered faithful Anglicans of Sydney.

kcrichton
Guest
kcrichton

Todd, since you asked, there’s a relatively simple answer to William Tighe’s substantive point. The whole point of the debate over ordaining women was premised on the threefold order of bishops, priests, and deacons being an essential expression of the ministry of the church. The fact is that the talking could have gone on another twenty years and the issue would not have been remotely close to resolution. Ordination is an action, not a theory, after all. As Dr Porter makes clear in her book, the majority of diocesan synods in Australia reached agreement that arguments over women’s ordination were… Read more »

Roland Cartwright
Guest
Roland Cartwright

Laurence, The answer is easily given. I’m simply seeking to demonstrate that Kurt Hill is wrong. If St James’, the largest and wealthiest of the Anglo-Catholic/liberal parishes, actually isn’t growing and will crumble due to its demographics, then he’s wide of the mark. I also reference it as I have personal knowledge and so can speak (write) more accurately than I can of others. As it happens, I have little sympathy with what might be regarded as hallmarks of Sydney Anglicanism, and there are reasonable criticisms to be made, but much of the commentary here in response to Dr Porter’s… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Its difficult to see the Sydney agenda ( as outlined here) really having much impact on the other conservative Anglican provinces though.Evangelical Provinces like Nigeria/Uganda etc may be steamed up about homosexuality and have a semi-fundamentalist view of the Bible but I cant see them abandoning presbyteral celebration of the Eucharist or liturgical worship rooted in an Anglican tradition. The Jensenite”revolution” of the 90’s resemble ( in the opposite direction) the takeover of the High Church movement by the young Turks of what became the Oxford Movement in the 1830’s, but will it become a legitimate part of the overall… Read more »

Brian Ralph
Guest
Brian Ralph

I grew up in the Diocese of Sydney and went to University and was a leading participant in the Evangelical Union with many of today’s leaders, Phillip Jensen and John Woodhouse were good friends. Today they do not want to know me. Like them I planned to study at Moore College. However I had to come to terms with my homosexuality. I saw one priest have several breakdowns(and eventually commit suicide) over that ‘problem’. For years I worshipped in various parishes but discovered that if I let my guard down and revealed my sexuality I was no longer welcome in… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

Thanks, Brian Ralph, for your openness and honesty in your personal account of your connections with the Diocese of Sydney. An ounce of experience is worth a tonne of theory; and those of us who do not inhabit the Diocese of Sydney can only have a faint understanding of what goes on there. My only experience of worshipping in St. Andrew’s Cathedral there, was when the present Primate of All Australia was given his first welcome in the City – in the Cathedral. It could hardly be called a ‘liturgical welcome’ because the ceremony consisted of an evangelical gathering of… Read more »

Robert Ian Williams
Guest
Robert Ian Williams

There’s an interesting article here, written by a Michael Jensen ( relative of the Jensens?) about Sydney Anglicanism and its claim to be authentic Anglicanism

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2011/09/01/3307437.htm

Laurence Roberts
Guest
Laurence Roberts

Thank you so much for sharing that with us on here, Brian Ralph.

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

Michael Jensen’s article may be interesting, but it is not entirely accurate… Cranmer wrote the 42 Articles… the 39 Articles were part of the Elizabethan Settlement and were re-written esp by Parker with significant changes… and of course there were alterations to the BCP and Ordinal in 1662 ( and before that the sacramental sections of the catechism penned by Overall, no calvinist he). Anglican calvinists became rarer post 1662 and while the evangelical revival gave a boost to reformation doctrine Anglican evangelicals were very moderate calvinists..Simeon was typical with a great love of the Prayer Book and a strong… Read more »

William Tighe
Guest
William Tighe

“kcrichton’s” comment “That’s not argument so much as a public airing of one man’s problems. If I weren’t trying to avoid (Tighe’s) blunders, I’d be curious to know when he stopped beating his wife” (which seems to fall some considerable bit below the wit that one might expect of “thinking” Anglicans) puts me in mind of that wonderful piece of Augustan prose that the Rev’d Dr John Johnson of Cranborne (1662-1723) wrote in response to a critic of his learned, vast, and eccentric tome, *The Unbloody Sacrifice and Altar Unvailed and Supported …* (1714, 1718), Dr Thomas Wise: “We know… Read more »

Perry Butler
Guest
Perry Butler

I think it was John Johnson of CRANBROOK not Cranborne….. his eucharistic doctrine was, via Scotland, rather important for the Episcopal Church thanks to Samuel Seabury.