6 December 2022

24 - 30 November

Melbourne Anglican reader survey open

It’s been a big year at The Melbourne Anglican. We’ve launched a new-look edition, grown our online reach, and started a podcast. Let us know what you think with our 2022 reader survey. It’s a chance to let us know what you like – and what you’d change – about The Melbourne Anglican. You can find the survey at: surveymonkey.com/r/TMAreadersurvey2022. 

 

Council split over ‘heritage vandalism’ at historic church site – The Age

The City of Parramatta has smoothed the path for the Anglican church to build a 45-storey tower next to St John’s Cathedral in the heart of the CBD, in the face of strident opposition from critics who fear the development will overwhelm the historic site and restrict activities at odds with church doctrine on surrounding land. 

The church is proposing changes to planning rules to allow for construction of the tower for offices and parish facilities, a low-rise commercial building, and a public square on land it owns around the state heritage-listed cathedral bordered by Macquarie, Hunter and Church streets, adjacent to Parramatta and Centennial squares. 

 

Heritage-listed Herberton church destroyed by fire in Far North Queensland – ABC

One of Queensland’s oldest churches has been destroyed in a blaze. 

The heritage-listed Uniting Church at Herberton, west of Cairns, caught alight just before 10am on Friday morning and was burnt to the ground. 

Lay preacher Shaaron Linwood said when she arrived at the church this morning it was completely destroyed. 

 

Liberating Australian theological education from its colonial bondage – ABC

For several decades I have been on my own journey of discovery to explore the rich religious, cultural, and spiritual heritage of my people and to affirm and embrace my people’s teachings and epistemology within the development of my own academic research, writes Professor Anne Pattel-Gray.  

Our cosmology, Weltanschauung, and epistemology are central to our ontological quest and fundamental to what we know and embrace. 

The basis of this research is that we are the oldest living culture in the world, and I am always amazed at how little this means to white Australia — how they give little recognition, respect or value to this immense treasure of knowledge and wisdom that Australia has at its fingertips. 

 

Clinging to ancient faith, India tribes seek religion status – AP News

The ritual began with a thunderous roll of leather drums, its clamor echoing through the entire village. Women dressed in colorful saris broke into an Indigenous folk dance, tapping and moving their feet to its galloping rhythm. 

At the climax, 12 worshippers – proudly practicing a faith not officially recognized by the government – emerged from a mud house and marched toward a sacred grove believed to be the home of the village goddess. Led by the village chieftain Gasia Maranda, they carried religious totems – among them an earthen pitcher, a bow and arrow, winnowing fan and a sacrificial axe. 

Maranda and others in Guduta, a remote tribal village in India’s eastern Odisha state that rests in a seemingly endless forest landscape, are “Adivasis,” or Indigenous tribespeople, who adhere to Sarna Dharma. 

 

Calls grow to disestablish Church of England as Christians become minority – The Guardian

Census results revealing that England is no longer a majority-Christian country have sparked calls for an end to the church’s role in parliament and schools, while Leicester and Birmingham became the first UK cities with “minority majorities”. 

For the first time in a census, less than half of the population of England and Wales – 27.5 million people – described themselves as “Christian”, 5.5 million fewer than in 2011. It triggered calls for urgent reform of laws requiring Christian teaching and worship in schools and Church of England bishops to sit in the House of Lords. 

 

God is in the house – and so, now, is Nick Cave – Church Times

Vestries are usually home to boxes of printer paper, shelves of comb-spined guidelines and reports, and donated mugs of various vintages. On an autumn Tuesday afternoon, the vestry of the west London church I have been asked not to name contains all the above – but also the musician Nick Cave, drinking builder’s tea. 

He credits his church presence to the memoir written recently with the journalist Sean O’Hagan – raised a Roman Catholic but no longer practising – featuring their discussions about religion. The book’s wellspring was the death of Cave’s 15-year-old son, Arthur, in 2015, and the profound changes that grief brought on him and his fashion-designer wife, Susie.

 

The Theological Foundations of Natural Science – Christianity Today

In my university teaching experience, my Chinese students often tell me, “From the very start of our elementary school, we have been taught to ‘believe in science’”. This is accepted even in the West. Many people adopt a view shared by the philosopher Bertrand Russell, among others, that natural science can bring about “definite knowledge.” 

Natural science involves the human activities of interpreting empirical observations by reasoning through induction. However, in the realm of theology and metaphysics, there is a set of beliefs that the natural sciences cannot prove or disprove by simply applying scientific methodology. Therefore, science in itself is not neutral, writes Shao Kai Tseng.

 

Eight Billion in Need of the Saviour – Sydney Anglicans

I am not sure how they keep track of it but the world’s population clicked over to eight billion people on November 15 2022. I am told that the figure is an educated guess. It’s a comfort to know that someone was not sitting at the door signing people in like we did during COVID.  

Back in 1804, the world population was just one billion. One columnist asked “How did this happen?” which I found humorous. My guess is that people have been very busy in the bedroom. To be fair the journalist reflected on the less harsh modern existence: plentiful food, better housing, productive economies and modern healthcare. While some warn the planet of extinction dangers, the journalist noted what a success story the past 200 years have been, writes Rick Lewers. 

 

Headwear and hegemony: how ‘turban tossing’ protests are threatening Iran’s ruling clergy – The Conversation

The ongoing protests in Iran over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the country’s “Guidance Patrol” (or morality police) have made world headlines. But there is another form of protest that has received less mainstream attention in Western media. 

Whereas Amini was arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab “improperly”, thereby violating Iran’s mandatory hijab law, this new protest campaign involves another form of headwear – the amameh, or turban, worn by Shi’a clergy. Protesters have been deliberately knocking amameh off the heads of passing clerics.