Newsstand 19-25 November
House of Bishops responds to Appellate Tribunal decision on gay marriage blessing; Sydney Anglican priest forced to resign over marriage breakdown; will you be able to sing Christmas carols this Christmas?; Cartel boss arrested over 2019 mormon murders in Mexico; and more.
November 25 2020
November TMA is online now here. The print editions of November and December TMA will be posted out to arrive by the second Sunday of each month, as is customary for what are usually our Synod and Christmas editions respectively.
Australia's Anglican bishops say the recognise that the Appellate Tribunal finding earlier this month on legislation for the blessing of same-sex civil marriages affirm that it is possible for clergy, in some contexts, to exercise this ministry. But they also declare: "It does not authorise Anglican clergy to officiate at weddings other than those between a man and a woman."
Next year's General Synod will consider a ruling from the Anglican Church's Appellate Tribunal saying services of blessing for same-sex marriage are constitutional, under a narrow opinion of what constitutes doctrine of the Church. Sydney's Archbishop Glenn Davies has written to clergy, saying he finds the opinion "hard to fathom, as it is contrary to the teaching of the Bible".
One of Sydney’s most high-profile Anglican priests has been forced to resign from his church or face the sack after his marriage broke down. Fr David Smith – a two-time Australian of the Year nominee who is popularly known as “Fighting Father Dave” due to his boxing exploits – told Guardian Australia he faced total loss of income by the end of the year and possible homelessness after the Sydney diocese learned his marriage had ended.
New laws before the Victorian parliament will outlaw a practice that attempts to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. Attorney-General Jill Hennessy on Wednesday described the practice of gay conversion therapy as "bigoted quackery".
Depending on where you live in Australia, Christmas during this COVID year might be almost normal. Well, sort of, if the new normal is the measure. With limits on gathering numbers, singing and taking communion, 2020 will finish on the same strange note sounded throughout the year. Eternity News has compiled a list of guidelines on what you can and can not do in your place of worship in your state, during the Christmas season.
In their new book, The Upswing: How America Came Together a Century Ago and How We Can Do It Again, political scientist Robert Putnam and writer and social entrepreneur Shaylyn Romney Garrett argue that in the Gilded Age of the late 19th century, America was strikingly similar: polarised, unequal and corrupt. Then it all changed. A more egalitarian, cooperative and altruistic nation emerged in the so-called Progressive Era — beginning around 1900. If the country is ever to move beyond its current morass, Putnam and Garrett believe religious narratives or themes may once again play an important role.
Online training to help people identify the signs of domestic abuse is being offered by the Anglican Communion. The webinar, Domestic Abuse: identifying the signs, is one of five webinars being offered by the Anglican Communion’s Director for Gender Justice during the 16-Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. The international campaign takes place each year between 25 November – the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women – to 10 December – Human Rights Day.
Archbishops Justin Welby and Stephen Cottrell liken 2020 to 2001 with the destruction of the Twin Towers, 1914, 1929 and 1989 as a year in which huge changes are happening in society and the world and consequently in the Church. "For let us be clear: there is no possibility of changes in society failing to have a profound effect on the shape, calling and experience of mission in the Church."
Mexican security forces have arrested a local drug cartel boss implicated in the 2019 murder of nine women and children from an isolated Mormon community, raising hopes among victims’ relatives it might lead to an explanation for the attack. Even in a country long used to violence, the 4 November massacre of three women and six children as they travelled a lonely road through the Sierra Madre mountains shocked many Mexicans – not least because there seemed no explanation for the bloodshed.
A survey on "fragile" rural parishes by two Church of England priests/academics finds that "too many parish churches are running out of money, running out of people, and now running out of time". They conclude that COVIC-19 has hastened the urgency with which the problem needs to be addressed and that "Perhaps now is the time to engineer a second Reformation in England’s green and pleasant land".