3 February 2022
Growing into the boundaries
Our church’s mission in “new Melbourne” was one of my passions in synod. At my final session, a couple of months ago, I asked about progress in this sphere over the last decade in view of synod commitments made ten years ago. The archbishop’s response I received is disappointing. The question for others is “Does the Anglican Church have a mission to new Melbourne … including its urban fringe, or will our pattern continue much as it was in the 1950s?”
My interpretation of the official response is that over the last decade $57 million (cash basis) has been received from the sale of parish and former parish properties. $31 million was retained by parishes, $19 million used for central costs and $7 million expended on “new parishes and ministry extensions”. Significantly, of this $7 million, less than $2 million could be said to be associated with “new parishes and ministries in growth areas in the Diocese of Melbourne”.
There are five properties due for future sale, which will presumable generate $10 to $20 million. My hope and prayer is that others will ensure that these funds are used in accord with the main thrust of the 2011 synod resolution. This would mean that these funds will be used to focus on new Melbourne, recognizing that ministry and property resources are both essential of outer urban mission.
Medical developments fulfil mandate
As a Christian, I have been disturbed during the recent pandemic by the number of fellow Christians who have questioned or sown doubts in the value and safety of the recent national vaccination program. This has included pastors of some congregations.
Sadly, this reveals a very shallow or faulty theology, and inadequate understanding of the Bible and our responsibility as stewards of the God-given creation.
In our foundation story in Genesis 1:26-27 Christians learn that we are created in “the image and likeness of God”. We also learn that God has given us authority over creation and entrusted us with the stewardship and care of it, and the discovery and unfolding of its wonders.
One of the roles of scientists such as biomedical researchers is to fulfill that mandate. This is particularly so in their work of preserving life, in aiding the healing of the sick, and in preventing disease.
For many Christian scientists this is seen as a sacred privilege, duty, and vocation in which they engage with great dedication and care. They are also aware of the great tradition in which they stand of the Church’s long commitment to compassion for, caring for, and the healing of the sick. In this they follow the example of Jesus in the gospels, for instance see Mark 1:29-42.
Vicar Emeritus of St Hilary’s Kew
Tutu’s words fall on deaf ears
“We have a moral right and responsibility to name and shame institutionalised separation and domination by one ethnic group over others” and “I know first-hand that Israel has created an apartheid reality within its borders”.
Both quotes are from the pen of Desmond Tutu, late Archbishop of Cape Town.
The Australian press in the 1970s had much to say when South African apartheid reached its climax, but when Tutu’s criticisms of the Israeli government were reiterated following his death, the local press stayed silent. Why?
Several moderate letters were sent to The Age and The Australian pointing out Desmond Tutu’s condemnation of the plight of Palestinians at the hands of Israel. I should know, I was one of the writers. None of the letters was published.
Naturally an editor cannot publish everything they receive. But a Nobel-prize winning archbishop has worldwide prestige, and brushing aside Tutu’s real feelings about one corner of the Middle East while saluting his condemnation of white South Africa is consistent with a pattern of adroit and careful censorship.
Archbishop Tutu’s poignant words might well be addressed to the Australian secular press: “if you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”.
Dr David Wetherell
Time to ensure a safe climate future
The upcoming federal election is a great opportunity to help achieve a safe climate future. What Australia does, can make a difference, as we are the world’s second-largest thermal coal exporter.
The United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres has warned that time is running out to choose between saving the world, or condemning humanity to a hellish future.
That is why nearly every country has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 and by nearly half by 2030. Instead, Australia aims to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to 26 to 28 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
International Energy Agency’s Fatih Birol has warned no new fossil fuel projects should be built. The internationally acclaimed think tank Beyond Zero Emissions has said one million renewable energy jobs could be created in Australia – more than in the fossil fuel industry.
Yet our government is funding up to $600 million for a gas-fired power plant in the Hunter region, for sun and wind power back up. But the Australian Energy Market Operator says pumped hydro and battery storage could address this.
If representatives from several churches met their local MP calling for action and advertised this on social and traditional media, we could help ensure a safe climate future.