News Stand

Newsstand 19 - 25 March

Churches begin moving to online-only services; Primate vote deadlocked; new diocesan resources for coronavirus; Archbishop of Sydney to stay on; and more

March 24 2020


Churches close but streaming takes off 

All worship and group activities have been suspended within the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne due to the coronavirus pandemic following a directive by the Archbishop of Melbourne, Philip Freier. Many churches are responding by switching to online streaming of worship and small groups. 


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. 


Coronavirus guidance for Anglican Diocese of Melbourne parishes, clergy and employees

A new page has been set up on Melbourne’s diocesan website with regularly updated information about coronavirus and its implications for parishes. 


Join a virtual Communion service, posted online each week

Bishop Paul Barker, who has oversight of the Jumbunna Episcopate in the Diocese of Melbourne, and Archdeacon of Dandenong Johnsan David, lead a traditional Communion service at St David’s Moorabbin. Bishop Paul will be posting a video on Anglican Media’s YouTube channel each Friday throughout the coronavirus crisis, as well as a service for Good Friday uploaded the day before, to provide a means for people to gather for worship at a time when they are unable to attend their own church. “I want you at home to think of this as your church service,” says Bishop Paul. 


Bishops lead prayers on church steps as visitors keep social distance

Church bells will ring twice a week before ministers pray outside on the steps of Anglican cathedrals in Sydney, Parramatta and Wollongong for the first time since World War II, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The bells will ring at midday on Mondays and Thursdays as a call to prayer as communities face the threat of the coronavirus pandemic. The Dean of Sydney, the Very Revd Kanishka Raffel, said: “We’re asking God to protect this city not only from the disease but from fear and selfishness; and to strengthen and help those caring for the sick, to provide for the most vulnerable and to give success to those seeking a cure … Most of all we want to call people to remember Jesus’ invitation to turn to him, with all our weariness and burdens, to find the rest that only he can provide.” 


Anglican doctor helping to lead international fight against COVID-19

A former missionary who is a bell-ringer in his English parish church and who previously worked as a senior adviser at the World Health Organisation has been called back into service due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr Ian Smith, who previously served as Executive Director of the Office of the Director-General and advised two previous Director-Generals of the WHO, is serving as a senior adviser to the current Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.  


Meditations from Trinity College staff

These times of disruption and uncertainty provide no shortage of challenge and angst, and the church is by no means immune. However, even with these ongoing troubles we have a great hope that we can turn and cling to. Drawing upon this hope the faculty of Trinity College Theological School will be assembling a series of meditations and reflections, which will be added to each week. 


Sydney Archbishop to stay

Sydney Archbishop Glenn Davies’ retirement has been delayed from September until March next year  after his term was extended in the emergency circumstances of the coronavirus.


Catherine Hamlin: Grief in Ethiopia as trailblazing Australian doctor dies

No-one came to meet Catherine Hamlin the day she arrived at a tiny airport in Ethiopia in 1959. More than 60 years later, the news of the Australian gynaecologist’s death was met with an outpouring of grief in the country she had made her home. Dr Hamlin – an Anglican – and her husband the late Dr Reg Hamlin established treatment centres for women suffering from the debilitating effects of obstetric fistula, a crippling condition that results from complications in childbirth almost unknown in the West. 


Bishop of Clogher, John McDowell, elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland

The next Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland will be Bishop John McDowell, the Bishop of Clogher, a diocese that straddles the border between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. The Archbishop-elect was chosen by the Church of Ireland’s House of Bishops to succeed Archbishop Richard Clarke, who retired on 2 February. The translation will take effect on 28 April, but the date of his enthronement has not yet been announced. Bishop McDowell grew up in Belfast and pursued a career in business before training for ordination.