Thinking Anglicans

Australian bishops complain about other Australian bishops

Readers will recall the recent letter from the Primate of Australia concerning the participation of certain Australian bishops in the consecration of Andy Lines as an ACNA bishop.

A complaint about the action of those bishops has now been raised by four other Australian bishops, and the primate has referred the issue to the Anglican Church of Australia Appellate Tribunal for a ruling.

Here’s the documentation, well part of it. The whole file can be found over here.

Dear Archbishop

We refer to your letter of 2 July to all the Bishops, and to the participation of three of our colleagues in the consecration of a person in a church not in communion with this church.

We believe that this action raises fundamental questions of ecclesiology in respect of the Anglican Church of Australia. Failure to have the questions which arise from the actions of the Archbishop of Sydney, the Bishop of Tasmania, and the Bishop of North West Australia properly determined will mean that our fellowship in the college of Bishops will be gravely impaired.

We would therefore urge you to refer to the Appellate Tribunal pursuant to S.63(1) of the Constitution questions which arise both from the actions of our colleagues and the letter under reply.

With every blessing
Yours sincerely

The Rt Rev’d Andrew Curnow AM
Bishop of Bendigo

The Rt Rev’d Bill Ray
Bishop of North Queensland

The Rt Rev’d Kay Goldsworthy AO
Bishop of Gippsland

The Rt Rev’d John Stead
Bishop of Willochra

Questions for consideration by the Appellate Tribunal

GIVEN THAT

A. Archbishop Glen Davies and Bishop Richard Condie participated in the consecration of a bishop for Europe in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), a church that is not amember of the Anglican Communion and is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia.

B. Section 5 of The Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia (“the Constitution”) provides that subject to the Fundamental Declarations and the provisions of Chapter II of the Constitution (Ruling Principles) the Anglican Church of Australia has plenary authority to make canons, ordinances and rules for the order and good government of the Church, and to administer the affairs thereof and that such authority and power may be exercised by the several synods and tribunals in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS arise under the Constitution and otherwise:

1. Does the consecration, or purported consecration, of a person as a bishop in a church, or purported church, which is not a member of the Anglican Communion and, or alternatively, is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia constitute a breach of any of the provisions of—

a. Chapter II of the Constitution;
b. the Consecration of Bishops Canon 1996; or
c. the Episcopal Standards Canon 2007

— and, if so, of which provision or provisions and in what manner.

2. Does the consecration, or purported consecration of a person as a bishop in a church, or purported church, which is not a member of the Anglican Communion and, or alternatively, is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia constitute an act which is in breach of the ecclesiastical convention of the Anglican Communion (as expressed in Lambeth Conference 1878 or otherwise) and, if so, in what manner.

3. Does a Bishop of the Anglican Church of Australia have the power or, alternatively, the capacity to consecrate a person as a bishop in a church, or purported church, which is not a member of the Anglican Communion and, or alternatively, is not in communion with the Anglican Church of Australia.

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AlfredMark Calderrobert ian williamsFather Ron SmithMarshall Scott Recent comment authors
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Nicholas Henderson
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Nicholas Henderson

They are quite right to complain, ACNA, the Diocese of Sydney et al have unilaterally ‘torn the fabric’ of the Anglican Communion.

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

The diocese of Sydney is a joke. It has never been ‘Anglican’ and became a preposterous evangelical cult under the Jensens.

Father Ron Smith
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The Sydney Diocese, thank God, is not truly representative of the Anglican Church in Australia. Ultra conservative Moore College is largely to blame for Syndey’s fundamentalism. However, Australian Anglicans will not be led into schism by the likes of ex-archbishop Peter Jensen, whose malign influence is still being felt in the Anglican Communion dissidents in GAFCON and FOCA.

Sadly, we now have a branch of FOCA (spawn of GAFCON) in ACANZP, doing its level best to provoke schism in New Zealand. They will not succeed!

Brian Ralph
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Brian Ralph

It is good to see some of the other Australian bishops finally standing up to Sydney and its followers. Recently a friend who is a churchwarden in Sydney told me I should be more accepting of Archbishop Glenn Davies of Sydney as he is not as extreme as Jensen. However I believe it is just that he is not so noisy, this action shows he does not differ much. I was not surprised at North-West Australia. That large in area but small in population diocese has always depended on Sydney for finance and clergy. I have long felt the heat… Read more »

Brian Ralph
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Brian Ralph

As Father Ron says the Sydney Diocese is not representative of Anglicans in Australia but their influence is all out of proportion. In researching the Bishop of Tasmania I discovered that the Australian General Synod is being held this week. Each Australian Diocese is represented by its bishop and a proportionate number of clergy and laity. Most only have 1 of each, some larger rural dioceses have 2 of each. Tasmania 3, Newcastle 4, Adelaide 6, Canberra/Goulburn 7 Perth 9, Brisbane 11. Melbourne 18. This all seems proportional to population but then I find that Sydney has 35 clergy and… Read more »

Brian Ralph
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Brian Ralph

And finally on a much happier note, my research also found the wonderful news (August 29) that Bishop Kay Goldsworthy, currently bishop of Gippsland, has been elected Archbishop of Perth and will take up the position in February. Bishop Kay has been a pioneer for women as she was in the first Australian ordination of women as priest in Perth by Archbishop Carnley in 1992. She was then the first woman bishop in Australia in 2008 (Assistant bishop in Perth). She was the second woman to become a diocesan when she became bishop of Gippsland in 2015. It is now… Read more »

Jim Pratt
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Jim Pratt

As to the second question put to the tribunal, I am not sure that it is a proper question for them to rule on.
Even assuming the participation in the consecration is a violation of resolutions of Lambeth 1878, the proper answer to the question should be that the resolutions of Lambeth have no force of law or binding authority, and no sanction can be imposed for any violation.

T Pott
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T Pott

@Brian Ralph – Interesting about the large number of deacons with no chance of becoming priests. The RCC has a permanent diaconate which is predominantly for married men who, on that ground alone, are unsuitable to become priests (in the RC view). Do you know why the Sydney Anglican deacons have no chance of becoming priests? Are they, to be blunt, not that bright, or is there some other reason?

Father Ron Smith
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Brian Ralph is correct when he says that the Sydney Diocese (and its connection with Moore Theological College) seems to exert an authority out of all proportion to its numerical representation in the Anglican Church in Australia. Having endowments the other Australian dioceses are not privy to, Sydney continues to exercise a conservative Evangelical (some might says Christian fundamentalist) influence in the Australia General Synod – a matter that needs to be addressed by the more middle-road theology of the majority of Australian Anglicans. African Churches of the GAFCON group have been wooed by the wealth/power of the Sydney Diocese… Read more »

Stephan Clark
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Most Australian Anglicans are in the Catholic middle of our Church (like, I suggest, 90 % of most Anglicans worldwide…they are neither high nor low..they are typically Anglican…middle…very British way of being)
I happen to be on the extreme Catholic (high) end but have always felt comfortable in the ‘via media’.
What I don’t like is being told by the Sydney Puritans that their’s is the only way, and having it dogmatically rammed down my throat.
I am sad that the rich and powerful feel they can dictate to the rest of us what we intuitively get is not true.

Brian Ralph
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Brian Ralph

I think I read my information about deacons in one of several books on Sydney Diocese by Muriel Porter, a journalist and member of General Synod from the Diocese of Melbourne. I have found the following on the Sydney Anglican website though from 2010 in a discussion of lay presidency. “Sydney’s Diocesan Synod has reaffirmed its conviction that lay and diaconal administration of Holy Communion is consistent with the teaching of Scripture and “may” be allowable. ….. However, since 2008 Sydney Diocese has been implementing a permanent diaconate in an effort to fulfil a number of mission goals, not least… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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“Why they do not continue to ordination as priests, I cannot answer.” – Brian Ralph – Is it, Brian, because the Sydney diocese has a somewhat lower expectation of the role of a priest in the Church? After all, they want Lay Presidency to become a fact in their diocese. Perhaps these vocational deacons are being prepared in order to facilitate priest/lite ‘eucharistic celebrations’. As they call their priests ‘ministers’; this would perhaps get past the problem of introducing Lay Celebration. However, with Sydney’s fundamentalism on the matter of women clergy, no doubt WOMEN deacons will not be permitted to… Read more »

FrDavidH
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FrDavidH

One assumes that, since only a priest in Sydney is assigned to head a parish, it is unnecessary to ordain a deacon to the priesthood since their function is indistinguishable to the puritan sect in Sydney. A deacon can celebrate the Eucharist but can’t be a vicar.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

I think Brian restricted the prebyterate to those taking on a parochial charge…ordination as prebyters accompanied induction to a parish.Whether that is still the case I’m not sure .Abp Glenn may be a bit more flexible than his predecessor..

Jenny Petersen
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Jenny Petersen

Dear fellow Thinking Anglicans

Can we be please a bit more nuanced in our criticism of Sydney Anglicans and Moore College, otherwise aren’t we in danger of being the pot calling the kettle black? As an ordained woman, and gay to boot, I don’t agree with everything they do or propound, but I am a deeply grateful graduate of the place and thank God for my many friends there.

Marshall Scott
Guest

Brother Jim Pratt: I see your point, but I think the question is sufficiently nuanced. “Ecclesiastical convention” speaks to tradition and the reference Lambeth has made in the past to the Nicene Canons, without claiming that Lambeth statements have jurisdiction. Just how important maintaining those “conventions” would be in Australia would be an interesting question. I suppose the Appellate Tribunal could express an opinion. In the Episcopal Church (USA-based), there is an active vocational diaconate. It is viewed as a separate vocation from the presbyterate, and so not expected to seek that order. Sometimes folks feel a new call to… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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“Deacons in TEC can, under certain circumstances, distribute communion that has previously been consecrated, but we wouldn’t refer to that as “presidency.” – Marshall Scott – In ACNZP, any qualified Lay person, with a licence to administer the Reserved Sacrament may so so: either in the absence of a priest, or at a hospital or nursing home. All that is required is the bishop’s Licence and the permission of the local vestry. As you say, Marshall, this has nothing to do with the presidency at the Eucharist, which can only be carried out by a priest in Aotearoa/New Zealand. A… Read more »

robert ian williams
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robert ian williams

Two comments .. 1)RC married deacons can proceed to priesthood if widowed…2)over half the Church attending Anglicans in Australia are in Sydney.

Mark Calder
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Mark Calder

Wow. Just wow. The ignorance here is breathtaking. I cannot understand the way some Christians speak about others who are brothers and sisters in Christ. From Ephesians 4: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind… Read more »

Alfred
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Alfred

Its a franchise dispute. The ACNA and other churches are Anglican – their orders are valid and their doctrines are traditional Anglican – so why can’t they be in the AC. Its because the EC and others hold the Anglican Communion Franchise in their area.
I think this is a childish response to a very serious matter for the Christianity. The other matter is that the AC is trying to impose woman’s ordination and other doctrines as articles of faith.