News Stand

Newsstand 3 - 9 December

First same-sex marriage blessing conducted after tribunal decision, ADF Bishop appalled by findings of Afghanistan Inquiry, gay conversion therapy legislation moves forward in Victoria, why disability advocates hope churches don't go back to normal, the Ugandan monk bringing Buddhism to Africa, and more

December 9 2020


November TMA is online now here. The December edition of TMA will be posted out to arrive by the second Sunday of the month, as is customary for what are usually our Synod and Christmas editions respectively.


First same-sex marriage blessing conducted after Tribunal decision 

The first blessing of a same-sex civil marriage in an Australian Anglican church since the Appellate Tribunal cleared the way for the liturgical act by a 5-1 majority last month has occurred in the Wangaratta diocese. Bishop John Parkes, the retired Bishop of Wangaratta, blessed the marriage of retired clergy the Revd Dr John Davis and the Revd Rob Whalley using the liturgy approved by Wangaratta Synod in August 2019. The service, delayed from September last year to await the Tribunal’s decision, was held on 21 November in St Paul’s Church, Milawa, where Dr Davis is the locum. 


Gay conversion legislation puts Andrews on a collision course with churches  

A Victorian Government plan to crack down on churches using prayer to change LGBTI people has been branded as the biggest threat to religious freedom in years, placing Premier Daniel Andrews on a collision course with the nation’s faith groups. Days after introducing a long-awaited bill to criminalise gay conversion practices, Mr Andrews and Attorney-General Jill Hennessy have been accused of “over-reach” as a contentious debate regarding human rights and religion looms in Parliament. 


Afghanistan allegations 'horrific, appalling': ADF Bishop 

The Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force has called the allegations against some Australian soldiers in the report of the Afghanistan Inquiry “horrific, appalling and disgraceful”. Bishop Grant Dibden – a former senior military officer in the Australian Army – said the findings, released last month, were “deeply disturbing”. 


Paralympian, doctor and deacon: The extraordinary story of Gemma Dashwood — a champion swimmer mixing medicine and faith 

Gemma Dashwood always wanted to be a doctor. Shortly after her birth, she got an infection in her hip. It was septic arthritis which destroyed the bone and the joint. Dr Dashwood took up swimming as therapy and went on to win gold, silver and bronze medals at two Paralympic Games — in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000. Last weekend, she was ordained an Anglican deacon. "I've always been involved with the church," she said. "My mum was born and bred an Anglican. My dad was born and bred an atheist." 


For families living with disability, churches mustn’t go 'back to normal' after COVID-19  

With COVID-19 restrictions easing in most places across Australia, the sentiment I continue to hear from friends and families, my students and fellow church-goers, is I can’t wait until everything goes back to normal, writes Louise Gosbell, Dean of Students and Lecturer in New Testament at Mary Andrews College, Sydney. "And while there is a large part of me that wants to echo that cry, there is also another part of me that grieves the possibility that in rushing too quickly to get back to normal, we might just miss an incredible opportunity to pause and reflect on the way we 'do' church." 


The Ugandan monk bringing Buddhism to Africa

Bhante Buddharakkhita, who became a Buddhist while studying in India, is on a mission to use mindfulness meditation to heal trauma. As the first Ugandan Buddhist monk, the most venerable Bhante Bhikkhu Buddharakkhita has ambitions to train 54 novices, one for every African nation.


Citing rise of ‘Christian nationalism,’ Secular Democrats unveil sweeping recommendations for Biden 

A Democratic group dedicated to representing secular values has unveiled a slate of recommendations for President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration, outlining a sweeping agenda designed to roll back many of President Donald Trump’s actions involving religion and to “restore a vision of constitutional secularism”. 


Tonga's noble solution for worship 

Revising the Tongan liturgy of the Eucharist has put the translators into a balancing act between Tonga's most formal patterns of speech and the language Anglicans might want to use when they relate to Jesus.  


Isaac Newton’s manuscript reveals his desire to unlock the bible’s mysteries 

Isaac Newton – the physicist and mathematician responsible for science’s Laws of Motion and Theory of Gravity – attempted to figure out the unit of measurement used by ancient Egyptians, so he could then determine the real-life dimensions of the temples mentioned in the Bible, according to a newly discovered manuscript. 


Faith: C.S. Lewis, my guardian and my friend 

Paul Edmondson says that in the writings of C.S. Lewis, "I find the essence of my youth, the beginning of my independent reading, and the gateway to my imagination". "Lewis’s own love of literature goes before me and beckons me; but he also points me back to my past, and the moment when I first became aware of God."