10 to 17 October
The Melbourne synod meeting opens; sobering news in Anglicare's latest jobs report; and how English cathedrals are getting creative in a bid to balance the books.
October 17 2019
Same-sex marriage and the blessing of same-sex civil marriages is "the issue of our times" for the Anglican Church, Melbourne's Archbishop Philip Freier has told the opening session of his annual diocesan synod, and seems to be the one that most polarises Christian denominations despite the many other challenges that properly concern Christians.
Archbishop Freier, delivering his Synod Charge (address) to clergy and lay people from Melbourne and Geelong in St Paul's Cathedral on 16 October, said debates about human sexuality struggled to be carried out in moderation.
As members of Melbourne Synod gather for their annual meeting, there’s a new person in charge of making sure all goes smoothly. Read a bit more about the diocese’s new Registrar, Mr Michael Urwin, here.
At least five people are applying for every entry-level position advertised as Australia’s most disadvantaged jobseekers are forced to compete against growing numbers of underemployed people for a dwindling number of suitable jobs, Anglicare’s Annual Jobs Availability Snapshot has found.
On 5 October, Archbishop Philip Freier, in his role as Australian Anglican Primate, joined Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and the Council of the Church of East Asia in a service at the Kundasang War Memorial in Borneo to commemorate the 1787 Australian soldiers who lost their life in the World War II death march. Watch videos of reflections by Archbishop Freier and Archbishop Welby here.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has asked Australians to pray for rain, but can God answer prayers? Philip Almond, Emeritus Professor in the History of Religious Thought at the University of Queensland, explains petitionary prayer, the likelihood of miracles and whether we should rely on prayer alone to help drought-stricken farmers.
Archbishop Glenn Davies, who is to retire as leader of Sydney’s Anglicans in July 2020, says that in the wake of Wangaratta Synod’s decision to approve the blessing of same-sex marriages – since referred to the Church’s highest court, the Appellate Tribunal, by Australia’s Anglican Primate, Melbourne’s Archbishop Philip Freier – he fears for the stability of the Anglican Church of Australia. “These developments have the potential to fracture our fellowship and impair our communion,” Dr Davies warned.
The Coalition government’s proposed religious discrimination bill has been criticised for the potential problems it poses for women, the LGBTQI+ community, people with disabilities and people from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Yet, there is another group who may also be adversely affected if the bill becomes law – religious people themselves, especially minorities.
Archbishop Justin Welby clarifies a controversial statement on Brexit by Church of England bishops, saying that to honour or respect the 2016 Referendum result “is not to sign up to Brexit at any cost” and that a binary “winner-takes-all” approach has severely tested the unity and cohesion of the UK.
Britain’s Ambassador to the Holy See, Mrs Sally Axworthy, tells a Foreign and Commonwealth Office press briefing in the days before John Henry Newman’s canonisation by Pope Francis on 13 October that the 19th century former Anglican who became a cardinal “… exemplifies the outward-looking nature of the UK as a country because he’s somebody who has had a global impact”.
English cathedrals have sought to maximise their income from visitors through means ranging from entrance fees to the eccentric, such as installing a miniature golf course in a Norman cathedral. A new system of governance for cathedrals is likely to come into force next year, which aims to reduce the risk of financial disasters while allowing cathedrals to exploit their assets. The UK’s Charity Commission will gain a share of responsibility for cathedrals, a task shared with the Church Commissioners, a discreetly powerful agency that manages the Church of England’s assets and pays for some cathedral staff. “On some matters the Church Commissioners are likely to take a broader view of a cathedral’s remit than the rule-bound Charity Commission,” The Economist predicts.