Newsstand 21 - 27 November
Freier to step down as Primate; new Bishop for Bathurst; call for secular voices to be heard on religious discrimination bill; Anglican women prepare for 2020 UN conference; the crisis facing Palestinian Christians; and visitors flock back to cathedrals in droves in the UK.
November 27 2019
Melbourne’s Archbishop Philip Freier is to resign in March as Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia after almost six years in the role. Dr Freier is to remain Archbishop of Melbourne, a post he took up in December 2006. The shock announcement from the Primate’s office on 25 November said Dr Freier would step down on 31 March 2020, before his term was due to expire, and would not seek re-election. He would have been eligible to seek a three-year extension as Primate.
The Bishop-elect of Bathurst, Mark Calder, has been consecrated in Sydney prior to his installation as the new Bishop in the Central West of New South Wales two days later. Assisted by a large contingent of visiting bishops, the bishop-elect was consecrated by the Metropolitan of New South Wales Archbishop Glenn Davies at St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney on Thursday, 21 November.
Sydney Anglican News’ Russell Powell reports on the Anglican Church of Armidale’s recent Synod, held at a time where the regional diocese is facing the worst drought in a century and bushfires burning near Armidale.
In an exclusive report in The Australian, Federal Political Correspondent Geoff Chambers writes that National Secular Lobby ambassadors Julian Burnside and Jane Caro have accused Attorney-General Christian Porter of giving preferential treatment to faith-based groups, ahead of the government’s religious discrimination bill being tabled in parliament next week.
Pope Francis has condemned the “unspeakable horror” of nuclear weapons during a visit to Nagasaki, one of two Japanese cities destroyed by American atomic bombs towards the end of the Second World War. Speaking on the second day of the first papal visit to Japan for 38 years, Francis urged world leaders to end the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, saying it offered their nations a false sense of security.
Eight Anglican women have been selected as the Anglican Communion’s delegation to the 64th annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, to be held in New York City in March 2020. Supported by staff from the Anglican Communion Office at the United Nations (ACOUN), the delegation will bring expertise and diverse experiences from around the Anglican Communion to engage in two weeks of advocacy, learning and fellowship centred on the realisation of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.
A gathering of the Anglican Indigenous Network (AIN) in Hawaii has led to a call for a greater voice for indigenous Anglicans in the work of the Anglican Consultative Council and its partner organisations. Representatives from Australia, New Zealand, the US and Canada came together for a week-long programme at Epiphany Episcopal Church in Kaimuki, which was chaired by Bishop of Tai Tokerau Te Kitohi Pikaahu.
With the US recently deciding it will no longer view Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank as illegal under international law, the decades long conflict looks set to heat up again. Even though the Israel-Palestine dispute is territorial, there is a religious aspect to the tension and Palestinian Christians are caught in it. As they prepare for Christmas in the Holy Land, Palestinian writer and academic Ramzy Baroud discusses the challenges the season will bring on the ABC’s The Religion & Ethics Report podcast.
England’s cathedrals have witnessed their highest Easter congregation numbers in recent years, while visitor numbers increased by a million on the previous year, statistics published today show. In the report, published today, Cathedrals reported nearly ten million visitors in 2018, an increase of over 10 per cent on the previous year. There were additionally over a million visitors to Westminster Abbey.
Anti-Semitic harassment against Jewish school students in Australia is far from uncommon, as is made clear with Monday’s release of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) 2019 report on antisemitism. It details a wide range of anti-Jewish incidents including, worryingly, several involving children. Nikki Marczak says that anti-Semitism never truly disappears, there are steps that can be taken to roll it back.