23 September 2023

Some synod questions ‘manifestly out of order’

Melbourne synod has kicked off online. Picture: iStock

12 October 2022


And we’re done! Archbishop Philip Freier has closed with the grace. The key points from tonight:

  • The archbishop’s charge.
  • A query related to questions to synod.
  • A working group will be established for Anglican kindergartens and child care centres.
  • The synod lamented the perverse effects of poker machines and online sporting forms targeting youth and children.
  • Archbishop in Council has been asked to initiate a longitudinal review of ministry live cycles, while delegates have been urged to pray God would raise up the next generation leaders for the church
  • And the council has also been asked to investigate the causes behind a disparity in the number of men and women clergy in full time roles.
The Safe Ministry video presented to synod on Wednesday night.

Remember you can email us with questions, comments or corrections at editor@melbourneanglican.org.au. Thank you for joining us, we’ll be back tomorrow night.

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Archbishop in Council has been requested to investigate the causes of a disparity in the numbers of men and women clergy in full time stipended roles.

The council has been requested to include in its investigation:

  • Reasons why the average age for women at ordination is significantly higher than for men;
  • Differences in the typical vocational discernment process, including: age on entering theological education, and the stage of the theological education at which postulants enter the year of discernment;
  • Women’s experience of accessible and appropriate models of ministry during their years of formation in ordained ministry;
  • Obstacles to women being appointed as vicars of parishes.

It has been requested to report on the findings of this research be reported to the synod in 2023. The motion passed with 85 per cent in favour.

Mover the Venerable Jill McCoy said this was not just an issue for women, raising issues already discussed such as clergy burnout and raising up the next generation of vocational ministers.


Synod has celebrated the work undertaken by the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne over the past 10 years to promote the integral relationship between the scientific world and Christian faith.

This includes the appointment of the archbishop’s adviser for science-faith education, and the long commitment of The Melbourne Anglican to fruitful dialogue between the scientific world and the eyes of faith, and the commitment of many within the diocese to ISCAST – an organisation for Christians in Science and Technology.

Here’s an example of some of ISCAST’s work:


A motion regarding the raising up of the next generation of vocational ministers has passed with 96 per cent of delegates in favour.

Moved by the Reverend Cannon Dr Rhys Bezzant and seconded by the Reverend Dr Fergus King, the motion reads:

That this Synod noting the pressing need to communicate the Gospel to a
generation which has ever fewer connections to the church, the challenges all
around Australia to raise up the next generation of vocational ministers, and the
alarming number of vacant parishes in Melbourne:

  • Notes that the first mark of mission is to proclaim the Good News of the
  • Rejoices that God wants to bless local churches with leaders after his own
    heart; so
  • Commits itself to pray that the Lord of the harvest would raise up new
    workers for vocational ministry in Australia and overseas;
  • Asks bishops along with clergy and lay leaders in our parishes to see
    themselves as talent scouts to identity and nurture future clergy;
  • Requests all clergy and religious to preach once a year to call on parishioners
    to consider vocational ministry;
  • Gives thanks for all those involved in the selection and training of ordination
    candidates in the Diocese, and at both Trinity College Theological School and
    at Ridley College.


The Reverend Dr Rhys Bezzant called on synod delegates to commit to pray that God would raise up leaders in the church, speaking to the motion.

He called on listeners to consider who they might tap on the shoulder to consider vocational ministry, and to support them in that.

Dr Bezzant said parishes should consider how they could make this part of their mission budget.

He said the Melbourne diocese had been blessed by clergy from interstate and overseas, but he feared members had taken their eyes off the ball in terms of raising up leadership.

Dr Bezzant said the diocese desperately needed more workers in the harvest, particularly in areas such as Clyde, Tarneit and Donnybrook – as well as a vast number of opportunities to serve the Lord overseas.

“The Lord’s heart breaks for parishes that have no leader to nurture and to guide,” Dr Bezzant said.

Dr Bezzant said the diocese must find new ways of nurturing vocations, and ask how it went about spotting, training and recruiting vocational ministers.


We’re talking about the order in which we address certain matters relating to the budget, and what the synod can and can’t do prior to receiving the budget. I’m going to confess, I’m a bit lost – but I think this mainly relates to the order of proceedings.


Synod representatives have voted to request Archbishop in Council to prepare for a position of Diocesan Climate Change Mitigation Officer.

It also noted the passing of a motion at the General Synod which encouraged dioceses and agencies of the Anglican Church of Australia to work towards net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

It also noted and gave thanks for the work of the Social Responsibilities Commission pursuant to recent motions passed at the synod to honour the synod’s commitment to the General Synod Environment Canon 2007.

The motion put by St Paul’s Cathedral Dean the Very Reverend Andreas Loewe passed 341 for, 69 against, with 16 abstentions.


Synod has passed a motion by the Reverend Chris Porter (number 18) relating to pathways for continuing professional development of clergy.

Dr Porter said he was concerned with the ever growing list of parish vacancies, saying clergy burnout was part of the concern.

Read more: Unaddressed burnout, heavy workloads amid ordination shortage

The motion called on the synod ask Archbishop in Council to assess the existing efficacy of existing programs for identifying, training and equipping senior clergy; with an interim report to Synod in 2023.

It also requests Archbishop in Council initiate a longitudinal review of ministry lifecycles and training, especially considering:

  • impacts of increasing non-pastoral administrative and compliance
  • existing training and development provided to clergy in administration and management;
  • effects of clergy retention and burnout, especially in a post-COVID era;
  • efficacy of clergy mentoring and spiritual direction programs; and
  • perceived needs for clergy effectiveness and wellbeing in the
    diocese with interim reporting at each Synod from 2023 onwards.


The motion lamenting the perverse effects of poker machines has passed, with 405 for and nine against.


A motion on gambling is currently on the table, with mover the Reverend Dr Gordon Preece speaking to the issue. Dr Preece is also chair of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne Social Responsibilities Committee.

The motion is that the synod:

That this Synod:

  1. Laments the perverse effects of the enormous economic, social,
    familial and generational damage done by the gambling industry’s
    poker machines, and its increasingly online and
    sporting forms targeting youth and children;
  2. Seeks to make our churches and their leaders aware of the need
    to actively prevent and minimise the damage through teaching,
    pastoring, protection of families, particularly children;
  3. Alerts the State government and opposition to the above damage and their
    complicity in it through gambling industry donations to political parties.
    Further, their addiction to various vice and gambling taxes in order to make
    up Federal funding shortfalls, especially through the impending bipartisan
    tax cuts for the rich, is fundamental to gambling industry growth. These
    Federal tax cuts and the consequent reliance on gambling with its criminal
    and money laundering associations lead to much larger long-term losses to
    the social and governance fabric than any gains.

Remember, you can email if you’ve got any queries, comments or corrections relating to anything reported tonight! The email is editor@melbourneanglican.org.au.


We’re dealing with motion 15, on Anglican Child Care Facilities and Kindergartens. Mover the Reverend Colleen Arnold Moore is speaking to the motion, which is seconded by the Reverend Michael Danaher.

No one has spoken to it, so the President of Synod (the archbishop) has said it is considered passed.

The outcome of this motion is to establish a Working Group appointed by Archbishop in Council, and to report on it by 30 June, 2023 on:

  1. The ministry opportunities for parishes through child care facilities and
  2. The legal, compliance and other risks for parishes of child care facilities and kindergartens;
  3. the relative merits of alternative models for child care facilities and kindergartens within parishes, ranging from fully parishes-delivered to fully outsourced models; and
  4. recommendations for which model/s should be applied to each child care facility within the Diocese and how it/they should be implemented, including what legislative and governance arrangements are required to support it/them.


Our break is up! One reader has used it productively to email about the music. I’m not sure if he wants to be named or not, but he thinks it’s “Pretty groovy stuff!”.

I had my computer on mute during that break, so I couldn’t comment.

We’re hearing from Registrar Malcolm Tadgell with a few more tech problem-solves on voting.

Here’s the Commission for Children and Young People’s presentation to synod. We’ll have the diocese’s section up online tomorrow.


Synod is taking a break! We’ll be back at 8.45pm.

Shoot us an email if you’ve got any queries, comments or corrections! It’s Elspeth Kernebone, editor of The Melbourne Anglican bringing you tonight’s live blog. The email is editor@melbourneanglican.org.au.


The archbishop has queried a question submitted to synod, and what they can contain. Archbishop in Council advocate Dr Ian Gibson is answering. Dr Ian Gibson has said questions cannot contain any argument or opinion.

“In some cases I’ve looked through them and they’re manifestly out of order,” Dr Gibson said.

He did say some parts of some questions may be salvageable.

I’m not entirely sure which question this query relates to. There are nine questions on today’s standing order. They relate to the MATC trustee election, professional standards resourcing, a reconciliation action plan, the triennial audit, The Melbourne Anglican, stipend determination, parish sickness liability and investment performance.

The Melbourne Anglican question relates to the process of appointment of the editor of The Melbourne Anglican, the editor’s experience, church affiliations and qualifications, and the appointment of the diocese’s chief communications officer. In the interests of full disclosure, it is Elspeth Kernebone here reporting on the live blog – I am editor of The Melbourne Anglican so there’s an obvious a conflict of interest.

The archbishop has said he’s not proposing to answer any of the questions tonight.

Trinity College’s the Reverend Chris Porter has appeared with a point of order.


We’re watching a video presentation about Victoria’s Child Safe standards. It looks like that’s available on YouTube here, with an ADOM-specific addition featuring Floss the Puppet.

Should you choose, you can also follow synod live yourself on YouTube.

Read more:

Shoot us an email if you’ve got any queries, comments or corrections! The email is editor@melbourneanglican.org.au.


We’re onto procedural matters, with Anglican Diocese of Melbourne Registrar Malcolm Tadgell speaking to these. We will not bring you these in detail.

Legislation discussions are expected to begin on Friday!

We’re watching a four minute instructional video about how to use the website, we’ll then do a test vote.


Archbishop of Melbourne Philip Freier is speaking of the decline in the number of people attending Anglican churches in Australia, and the move by two parishes in Queensland to leave the Anglican Church of Australia and align themselves with GAFCON-linked Diocese of the Southern Cross.

2022 Melbourne Synod begins online. Picture: iStock

You can read more about both those issues using the links below:

Dr Freier ended with a prayer:

O God, the protector of all who trust in you, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy:
increase and multiply upon us your mercy;
that with you as our ruler and guide,
we may so pass through things temporal
that we lose not our hold on things eternal; through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Synod has begun! We started with prayer from St Eanswythe’s Altona, and now Archbishop Philip Freier is delivering his synod charge. So far, he has acknowledged the traditional owners of the land from which he is joining the synod – the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation.

Dr Freier has spoken about working with First Nations people towards a more just settlement.

He has also spoken of the change in people’s lives caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the challenging journey Australian society is on.

Dr Freier has linked this to the Diocese of Melbourne’s Reimagining the Future program, and the Children and Youth Ministry team, and child safety. He said Victorian Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People Liana Buchanan would speak to the synod on Wednesday evening about the 11 Child Safe Standards, and compliance to these.

Dr Freier said a culture of child safety was one of the most protective aspects any organisation could develop.

“The harm to people who have survived child sexual abuse is very great, we need to be
strenuous in our continuing efforts to ensure that harm is avoided,” he said.

Dr Freier has also spoken of changes to compliance requirements, meaning changes to the information the diocese requires from churches.

We will bring you a full copy of the archbishop’s charge after this evening’s session of synod.

Should you choose, you can also follow synod live yourself on YouTube.

Shoot us an email if you’ve got any queries, comments or corrections! The email is editor@melbourneanglican.org.au.


Hello and welcome to The Melbourne Anglican’s 2022 Melbourne Synod Liveblog. Editor Elspeth Kernebone here with you for the first night of three online evening sessions.

We’ll be bringing you the key events of each evening, and then reporting from Saturday’s in-person event at St Paul’s Cathedral.

On the timings for tonight, we have prayers, the President’s Charge (that’s the archbishop’s charge), procedural matters, questions and answers, a break (phew!), announcements, and a few reports. Then about 9.10pm we get into Anglican Childcare Facilities and Kindergartens, Gambling, pathways for continuing professional development of clergy, and the environment.

Read more:

Should you choose, you can also follow along live yourself on YouTube.

Shoot us an email if you’ve got any queries, comments or corrections! The email is editor@melbourneanglican.org.au.


For more faith news, follow The Melbourne Anglican on FacebookTwitter, or subscribe to our weekly emails.

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