News Stand

Newsstand 12 -18 March

Primate vote deadlocked, coronavirus waylays religious festivals, claims World Vision threatened Costello, Christchurch Cathedral set to reopen, and more.

March 18 2020


Please note: The Archbishop's Conversation that was scheduled for Wednesday 25 March has been cancelled due to the prevailing uncertainty around community events. Please click here for more information. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes.


Vote for Archbishop Freier's successor as Primate deadlocked

The election of a new Anglican Primate of Australia to succeed Melbourne’s Archbishop Philip Freier is unresolved, with Archbishop Geoffrey Smith of Adelaide reportedly falling only one vote short in the House of Clergy in four of the seven ballots held by the Primatial Board of Electors in Sydney on 14 March.


Church services go online and Muslims urged to avoid mosques

Large religious gatherings have been cancelled and churches plan to video-stream services to help contain the coronavirus, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Roman Catholic and Anglican churches have already stopped serving wine from a common cup, sharing food and passing collection plates.


Religious festivals cancelled or scaled back due to coronavirus

Next month, most of the world’s major religions have festivals involving large gatherings of people. Easter is on 12 April (a week later for Eastern Orthodox churches); Passover begins on 8 April; Rama Navami, an important Hindu festival, is on 2 April; while the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi is a few days later. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan begins around 23 April. Each is at risk of being cancelled or curtailed. 


Fear not, sneer not: A healthy Christian response to COVID-19

Confronted with fear, uncertainty and open questions, we would do well to review the current state of coronavirus research and reflect on what makes a healthy Christian response to this threat.


Barbara C. Harris, first female bishop in Anglican Communion, dies at 89

Barbara C. Harris, the first woman to be ordained a bishop in the US Episcopal Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion, died last Friday in Massachusetts. She was 89. Bishop Harris was elected as a suffragan, or assistant, bishop in September 1988. On 11 February 1989, she was consecrated as a bishop in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.


How World Vision threatened its former head, Tim Costello, with legal action

Charity World Vision threatened legal action to halt the publication of a book by Tim Costello, its former chief executive, amid fears of Israel’s reaction to his account of the 2016 arrest of the head of the charity’s Gaza office. World Vision's Gaza project officer Mohammed al-Halabi has been imprisoned in Israel for four years and is accused of diverting tens of millions of dollars in aid funds meant for Palestinian children to militant group Hamas. However, reviews by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and World Vision itself found no evidence any Australian aid money that flowed to the charity's Gaza office had been diverted to Hamas.


Concerns of conservative value shift at Launceston Grammar

Teachers and parents of Launceston Church Grammar School have expressed concerns about recent staff changes, claiming they are a move to a more conservative form of Anglicanism. Unionised members of staff at Grammar have passed two no-confidence motions in headmaster Richard Ford, who was appointed in 2018, due to a perceived lack of consultation and a culture change. Over the past two years 38 teachers have left the school.


Easter start date planned for reinstatement of New Zealand’s Christ Church Cathedral

Work to reinstate Christ Church Cathedral in the New Zealand city of Christchurch could finally get under way by Easter. The cathedral has been closed since it was partially destroyed in an earthquake in February 2011.


It's time to talk about family violence

While family violence and intimate partner violence are spoken about in Australia, there isn’t much general knowledge when it comes to the court process and what happens next.


Review: 150 Psalms is a monumental choral event

Melanie Walters, a PhD candidate in music at the University of Adelaide, reviews 150 Psalms, a series of choral concerts performed by The Tallis Scholars, Netherlands Chamber Choir, The Song Company, and The Norwegian Soloists’ Choir for the Adelaide Festival. She describes it as “a monumental event”, bringing together four internationally acclaimed choirs to cover 500 years of musical terrain.