10 - 16 June
A study commissioned by the Church finds the incidence of domestic abuse greater among Anglicans than the general population, bishops' plea for Tamil family, former Primate leads Anglicans honoured on Queen's Birthday list, British PM's wedding in a Roman Catholic cathedral prompts changes in naming C of E bishops, and much more.
June 16 2021
A landmark report has found the incidence of domestic abuse is greater amongst Anglicans in Australia than the general population. The report, commissioned by the Anglican Church, also found that perpetrators used Biblical teachings to justify abuse, and that those who attended church regularly were more likely to have been in an abusive relationship than those who didn't. Despite this, the research showed almost nine out of 10 victims of domestic violence did not seek help from their church.
Melbourne Assistant Bishop Genieve Blackwell writes following the release of the Anglican Family Violence Research Report last week that it is tragic that noble and beautiful Christian teachings – for example, to forgive others as God has forgiven us – are perverted by abusers to demand that their spouses, overwhelmingly women of course, put up with it. But Bishop Blackwell writes that she believes the church is “finally and purposefully moving away from our failings and insensitivities on intimate partner violence”.
Bishops from across Australia write to the Prime Minister, other ministers and the Opposition Leader appealing for a Tamil family from Sri Lanka long detained on Christmas Island and now reunited at their younger daughter’s sickbed in Perth to be returned to the Queensland town of Biloela, where they had settled. “As Christian leaders, we echo the call for a compassionate, fair, safe, common sense and permanent solution,” the bishops’ letter says. “We stand in solidarity with this young family seeking peace, safety and stability, and with the Biloela community who are waiting to welcome them back home.”
A former Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Brisbane’s Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, was one of only five Australians to be named a Companion of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Other Anglicans honoured included former Senior Police Chaplain the Revd Jim Pilmer, a benefactor of several Melbourne Anglican educational institutions Mrs Louise Gourlay, the author of a history of Bishopscourt in East Melbourne, Dr Liz Rushen – and a clergy couple from Brisbane recognised for their contribution to medicine who have also taught Zen!
Penny Mulvey doesn’t have time to be the new chair of a major, national Christian organisation. But, she will make time. There are three compelling reasons why Penny has decided to take on the role of chair of industry group Christian Media and Arts Australia (CMAA). The first is God has called her to it through the voices of others. “Initially I was reluctant, just because there’s a lot going on in my life, like this job that I currently hold,” Penny, who is also Chief Communications Officer at Bible Society Australia, admits to Eternity.
The task of sending the names of new Church of England bishops to the Queen is likely to pass from the Prime Minister to the Lord Chancellor, Robert Buckland following Boris Johnson’s marriage to Carrie Symonds in the Roman Catholic Church last month. The Roman Catholic Relief Act of 1829, which enabled Roman Catholics to serve as MPs, states that: “It shall not be lawful for any person professing the Roman Catholic religion directly or indirectly to advise his Majesty … touching or concerning the appointment to or disposal of any office or preferment in the Church of England, or in the Church of Scotland… Anyone guilty of this offence would be “deemed guilty of a high misdemeanor, and disabled for ever from holding any office, civil or military, under the Crown”.
Celeste Liddle reflects on the burden on Aboriginal families when their children turn 10, the age of criminal responsibility. “Even if most [Australians] were aware that their 10-year-olds could be taken away and locked up for misdemeanours, it’s not something they would expect to affect their child. For me as an Aboriginal aunty of Aboriginal children, and for most other Aboriginal people, this is a real concern. This concern stems from a history of racist policing and profiling, and from the massive over representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system. We are the most incarcerated people on earth.”
Sister Patty Fawkner, the Congregational Leader of Australia’s first Roman Catholic women’s religious order, the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, writes about the importance of a consistent ethic of life – one not limited to abortion – as US bishops meet, with some wanting to exclude President Joe Biden from the Eucharist because of his views on abortion.
Once a week, at 7.40am, children on their way to school, office workers and all kinds of local people attend the Spiritual Gym at Marylebone Church in London. “We are good at thinking about our physical health,” said Assistant Priest and Chaplain to Schools, Father Jack Noble. “Increasingly, we’re good at thinking about our mental health – but we are less good at our spiritual health. We wanted to help with that.”
Juneteenth is recognised by most US states as a secular holiday and celebrated in many American communities on 19 June. This year, the Episcopal Church’s Diocese of California is taking its Juneteenth commemorations a step further with its inaugural feast day worship service for the holiday, which celebrates the emancipation of American slaves in 1865 – two years after the Emancipation Proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln had taken effect on 1 January 1863.