24 - 30 June
Primate's appeal for Tamil family, ABC survey shows highest satisfaction for independent schools, churches burn in Canada as country reckons with discoveries of unmarked graves at sites of former boarding schools for Indigenous children, and Dark Mofo in Tasmania has a surprising message with Christian overtones as Torres Strait Islanders celebrate The Coming of the Light 150 years ago and much more
June 30 2021
Production of the July edition of TMA has been delayed due to a staff bereavement and illness. The newspaper will be delivered to parishes and individual subscribers the week beginning Monday 5 July. We apologise for the inconvenience to our readers and advertisers.
Immigration Minister Alex Hawke should exercise his discretion to allow the Murugappan family to stay in Australia, according to Archbishop Geoff Smith of Adelaide, the Anglican Primate of Australia. Archbishop Smith said there was no real reason why the family could not have remained in the Queensland town of Biloela, rather than being detained on Christmas Island until recently – even if they are ultimately judged not to be refugees. “I believe this family has been treated so badly that the law must be tempered with mercy.”
Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders on both sides of the English Channel have expressed concern about the refugee situation in northern France. In a joint statement issued to mark World Refugee Day on 20 June, they called for a “climate of welcome and understanding”. In 2020, an estimated 1500 people, including unaccompanied children and women with newborn babies, were living in forests or makeshift shelters in northern France. Human Rights Observers said that there were 973 evictions by police in Calais in that year alone, not including the dismantling of hundreds of tents each month.
The ABC reports that its Australia Talks National Survey 2021 has found that parents at independent schools had the highest rate of satisfaction with the education their child is receiving at 92 per cent, compared with 85 per cent in the Catholic sector and 77 per cent for public schools.
Bishop Paul Bayes calls for a “gender-neutral marriage canon” to be adopted by General Synod, making him the most senior figure in the Church of England to explicitly back a change in church law and teaching. The “world beyond the church” had found the Church’s stance to be offensive, oppressive and hypocritical, he said.
There is, self-evidently, a tipping point between independent self-reliance and being crushed by systemic inequity and disadvantage, writes Barry Gittins. “Not only is it not our place to judge who is deserving or the undeserving poor, it is not in our capability — or seemingly our governments’ — to do so either.”
A slew of church burnings across western Canada have left six churches on First Nations land badly damaged or destroyed as of 29 June. The burnings come at a time when Canada is reckoning with the recent discoveries of unmarked graves on the sites of former boarding schools for Indigenous children — many of which were run by churches. The remains of nearly 1000 bodies have been found so far, most of them Indigenous children.
Bishop Tim Dakin of Winchester will remain “stepped back” from work at least until the end of August. This follows the threat of a vote of no confidence in Dr Dakin’s leadership at a diocesan synod in May, which was averted after Dr Dakin was persuaded to step back after senior clergy and laity in the diocese approached the Archbishop of Canterbury. Dr Dakin was facing allegations of poor behaviour and questions over the governance and financial management of the diocese.
Roman Catholic bishops in the US have voted to press ahead with moves that could result in President Joe Biden being banned from receiving Holy Communion because of his stance on abortion, the decision a rebuff to the Vatican, which had signalled its opposition to the proposal.
Following the year of everything being cancelled, Dark Mofo returned to Hobart this month, with a startling theme, “Come to the cross”. The winter festival hosted by the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) has a strong record of courting controversy — and the symbol of the cross has been a recurring motif, writes Natasha Moore, a Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity.
The State Library of Queensland marks the 150th anniversary of the arrival of representatives from the London Missionary Society arrived on Erub (Darnley Island), accompanied by South Sea Islander evangelists and teachers, on 1 July 1871. The people of the Torres Strait Islands adopted the Christian rituals and ceremonies and continued to uphold their connection to the land, sea and sky, practising their traditional customs and cultural identity. Each year on 1 July, ‘The Coming of the Light’ is a day of celebration, performance, oral tradition and reverence.