Newsstand 2 - 8 April
New Primate elected, Chancellor Michael Shand QC retires, celebrating Easter digitally, Scott Morrison and prayer, and why apocalyptic texts can offer solace in these times.
April 8 2020
“Even in the worst of situations – and the COVID-19 pandemic is one of those – the Christian celebration of Easter speaks of new life in Christ.” Archbishop Philip Freier shares his Easter message, in what will prove to be a very different Easter.
Archbishop Geoff Smith of Adelaide is Australia's new Anglican Primate. He succeeds Melbourne's Archbishop Philip Freier, whose resignation took effect on 31 March after Dr Freier had served almost six years in the post. The new Primate takes office immediately following an electronic ballot by the Primatial Board of Electors that was held over a 24-hour period from 4pm on Monday 6 April.
The Chancellor, Mr Michael Shand QC, has retired after nearly 13 years as the chief legal officer of the Melbourne diocese. Mr Shand, a familiar figure sitting next to the Archbishop at diocesan synod meetings, retired on 31 March and at the same time ceased to hold the office of Chancellor to the Primate.
It was Thursday 2 April and, for the first time, the St Paul’s Cathedral Easter Sunday service was being pre-recorded on video. It’s an insurance policy. Cathedral Dean the Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe said that if a complete shutdown of city buildings is announced, which will mean no one is allowed in the Cathedral to conduct even a live streamed service on 12 April, this pre-recorded one can be screened on the Anglican Cathedral’s Facebook page and on YouTube.
The Prime Minister is a genuine Christian who is open about his faith – he is going to pray about everything, often, and yet when evidence emerges he has been, then some – immediately, furiously – wield this as instant evidence of insincerity, writes Julia Baird.
From unprecedented bushfires over summer to the global spread of a deadly pandemic, 2020 has felt "apocalyptic" to many. Apocalypse is derived from the Greek word for "revelation", and refers to the unveiling of prophecies. It's a common theme in Christian, Jewish and Islamic writing. But unlike apocalyptic zombie films, religious apocalyptic texts were created not only to scare, but also to offer solace.
Anglicare Australia says the government’s JobKeeper wage subsidy could leave thousands of charity workers behind. “Charities are seeing huge falls in their income – but the JobKeeper scheme will still leave many of their workers out,” said Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers.
COVID-19 has “shattered the illusion that we live in a world free of plagues” and placed us in a time of isolation and economic uncertainty, writes Melbourne curate the Revd Patrick Senn. He argues that for all Anglicans, a good response to the present crisis is to pray the 1662 Litany.
“In these times of uncertainty, we must welcome and take care of everyone in our community, in particular those living in vulnerable conditions – we must lay down palm leaves to soften the ground on which they walk, and move forward together with love.” Australians weren’t able to march together for #justice4refugees on Palm Sunday this year, but many people and communities came together online to send prayers of support, love and hope for people seeking asylum in our country. Watch these videos from Love Makes A Way.
How can the disorienting changes of COVID-19 life be ministered to by the practices of Lent? And, is there any way that the befuddling practices of pandemic life might actually teach us something of Lent’s strange mercy?