Comments: Australian bishops complain about other Australian bishops

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

Posted by Nicholas Henderson at Friday, 1 September 2017 at 7:35pm BST

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

Posted by FrDavidH at Friday, 1 September 2017 at 10:19pm BST

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!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Saturday, 2 September 2017 at 12:50am BST

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 and isolation has made them even more extreme in their statements.
I was surprised at Tasmania. My one visit to St David's cathedral in Hobart way back in 2003 gave me the impression that it was Anglo-Catholic but then I was still worshipping in an Evangelical Sydney parish albeit one of the less extreme versions. In 2006 I finally fled to St James, King Street one of the very few inclusive parishes despite a 2 hour train trip each way. It was a parish I had been taught to deride as popish when I was a student at Sydney University and a leader in the Evangelical Union.
I was saddened to find Tasmania has recently elected as bishop a fundamentalist from Melbourne who apparently is very active in GAFCON. (Melbourne Diocese usually elects its leaders, including the archbishop, alternating between an Evangelical and an Anglo-Cathollci
In 2010 I moved to live in NZ. Escaping the diocese of Sydney was only one factor in my move, others were seeking a cooler climate and a smaller city. I did consider Tasmania which would have been less dramatic (I am now a NZ citizen) but am very thankful I did not make that choice. In considering the South Island I knew enough not to go to the diocese of Nelson, long holding connections with Sydney and was told of a large contingent of Sydney tyoes stirring up trouble in Christchurch. I made the best decision to choose Dunedin, the first diocese in the world to appoint a woman as Diocesan, and where the bishop at the time was currently (2008) ordaining an openly gay man despite controversy. The following bishop, Kelvin Wright, has also stood up for gay acceptance and continued to license gay priests although he would not ordain any more until the whole province agreed. Kelvin retired at Easter and I wait to learn the views of the new Bishop , Dr Steven Benford currently serving as vicar of St Joseph the Worker, Northolt, in the Diocese of London. He is to be consecrated on September 22.

Posted by Brian Ralph at Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 2:08am BST

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 35 laity. I read somewhere that Sydney has ordained large numbers of deacons with no plans to ever become priests. This includes men as well as women who have no chance of being ordained priests in Sydney. Apparently this is factored into the numbers on General Synod.

Posted by Brian Ralph at Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 2:29am BST

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 stated she will be the first woman archbishop in the Anglican communion but of course that is a matter of terminology as Katharine Jefferts Schori was presiding bishop in TEC
Of course Jensen and Mulready the then bishop of North west Australia objected to her becoming a bishop. They have both now retired but I wonder what the current bishop of North west Australia is thinking as that diocese is part of the province of Western Australia soon to be under Bishop Goldsworthy as the metropoiitan of Perth.

Posted by Brian Ralph at Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 2:53am BST

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.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 10:42pm BST

@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?

Posted by T Pott at Monday, 4 September 2017 at 12:27am BST

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 - especially during the tenancy of Sydney's former Archbishop Peter Jensen, whose continuing role in GAFCON & FOCA is still fermenting schismatic activity within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

However, the election of Bishop Kay Goldsworthy to be Archbishop of Perth is a step in the right direction of balancing the fundamentalism of the Sydney Diocese with the application of a little more moderate, catholic and Anglican influence.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 4 September 2017 at 1:55am BST

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.

Posted by Stephan Clark at Monday, 4 September 2017 at 7:50am BST

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 making it easier to start new congregations, especially those catering for the vast ethnic diversity of new migrants settling in Sydney.

New churches led by deacons have also been planted in extra-parochial contexts such as Anglican schools.

In Sydney, deacons and presbyters (priests) obtain the same level of theological qualification. There are 215 deacons actively ministering in Sydney Diocese and they make up 36 percent of all clergy appointments."

Why they do not continue to ordination as priests, I cannot answer.

Posted by Brian Ralph at Monday, 4 September 2017 at 8:23am BST

"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 do what Sydney might be looking to male deacons to do in 'eucharistic' enablement. That would be a step too far away from their basic sexist attitude.

However, taking that attitude to its furthest extent; with a 'Low' view of both the sacraments and women's ministry in the Sydney diocese; they might yet allow a woman deacon to preside at the Lord's Supper - with no threat of the 'Real Presence' of Christ in view.

Sydney is such a maverick diocese that the rest of the Anglican Church in Australia must wonder what its bishops are going to come up with next.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 4 September 2017 at 11:03am BST

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.

Posted by FrDavidH at Monday, 4 September 2017 at 2:36pm BST

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..

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 4 September 2017 at 8:36pm BST

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.

Posted by Jenny Petersen at Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at 9:19am BST

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 that, and are considered again. Deacons in TEC can, under certain circumstances, distribute communion that has previously been consecrated, but we wouldn't refer to that as "presidency."

Posted by Marshall Scott at Tuesday, 5 September 2017 at 3:47pm BST

"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 Deacon in New Zealand may administer the sacraments but not preside at the Eucharist.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 6 September 2017 at 8:50am BST

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

Posted by robert ian williams at Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 7:53am BST

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 and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Posted by Mark Calder at Thursday, 7 September 2017 at 11:49am BST
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.