ACL Annual General Meeting 2017 Report

Posted on June 14, 2017 
Filed under Sydney Diocese

ACL Council member Caitlin Hurley reports on this year’s Annual General Meeting, held in the Chapter House of St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney, on Thursday 8th June 2017.  

The Rev Andrew Bruce
, ACL President, opened the 2017 Annual General Meeting of the Anglican Church League by praying for our city.

Following the reading of Romans 5:1-11 and prayer by ACL Chairman, Dr Robert Tong, Andrew delivered his first Presidential address, a summary of which follows:

He reminded us how difficult it is to speak about Jesus Christ in public. When Christians stand up and speak, time after time, they are held up for ridicule. This is the pastoral issue we are facing in our city at the moment. What will we do with the clear teaching of Scripture in light of what is going on in the public sphere? Will we be ashamed? This is a pastoral issue, because the people in our churches will face this issue every day.

But Paul wants us to be unashamed. In fact, he wants us to “boast”. Although we cannot “boast” before God when it comes to our salvation (Rom 3:27), in Romans 5, Paul mentions three key, legitimate “boasts” (the word translated “rejoice” in the ESV is the same as “boast” in the original):

We boast in the reconciling love of God in Christ (Rom 5:6–11):

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

God drew near and saved us in Christ, and reconciled us to him. We have peace—not just a cessation of hostilities. God, who was our enemy and judge, is now our heavenly Father. That is life-changing news.

We boast in the hope of glory (Rom 5:1–2):

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

While there is a continuity between the new creation and the old creation, there is also a massive disjunction. Our hope is fundamentally future: in the resurrection. While people often talk today about the benefits of Christ for life now; we need to realise that there is a greater hope: the future hope of the resurrection.


We also boast in our sufferings; and we are not put to shame (Rom 5:3–5):

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

We should expect people to oppose our message today. And we will face trial and hardship for our faith in this life; especially in this city. We follow a crucified Messiah, and he calls us to lay down our life in following him. But we are not put to shame, because we will stand before him on that great and last day.

It seems that the tide is going out for the Christian faith at many levels in our society. There is a growing, aggressive, irrational secularism. It’s on the rise in our culture, and it bears on us as Christians. This give rise to two challenges of modern ministry in Sydney today. Firstly, we need to be willing to be shamed, versus being unwilling to be unliked. Secondly, we need to be willing to suffer cultural cringe, versus being unwilling to look unsuccessful. In ministry, we need to teach our people to be lovingly unashamed of the gospel. How can we not speak?


Council members The Rev. Caitlin Hurley and The Rev. Dr. Lionel Windsor.

Over this last year, the ACL has been about getting the right people, in the right places, doing the right things. There are five areas to note:

The prayer of the colony’s first chaplain Richard Johnson, 229 years ago, is a great prayer for our Diocese now:

This will be my daily prayer to God for you.

I shall pray for your eternal salvation, for your present welfare, for the preservation, peace, and prosperity of this colony; and especially for the more abundant and manifest success of the Redeemer’s cause and kingdom, and for the effusion and outpouring of his Holy Spirit, not only here, but in every part of the habitable globe, longing, hoping, and waiting for the dawn of that happy day when the heathen shall be given to the Lord Jesus for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession: and when all the ends of the earth shall see, believe, and rejoice in the salvation of God.

The Presidential address was followed by the Treasurer’s report.

The Treasurer, Mr Mark Boyd, reported that League is in a good financial position. This is mostly due to a reduction in expenses and an increase in member’s subscriptions. He fielded questions regarding the accounting of, and restrictions upon, the reserve fund.


Council members The Rev. Mike Taylor and Mr. Dan McKinley at the AGM.


The Rev. Andrew Bruce was re-elected unanimously as the President of the League, with acclamation.

The following members were elected to the Council (also listed here.):

President: Andrew Bruce
Chairman: Robert Tong
Treasurer: Mark Boyd
Secretary: Tom Harricks
Minutes Secretary: Matthew Whitfield

Vice Presidents (Lay):

Laurie Scandrett
Claire Smith
Jeremy Freeman
Peter Mayrick
Clive Ellis
Debbie Blackwell
Malcolm Purvis
Rod James

Vice Presidents (Clergy):

Phil Colgan
Mark Thompson
Gavin Poole
Stephen Gibson
Ivan Lee
Craig Roberts
Raj Gupta
Lionel Windsor

Councillors (Lay):

Elisabeth Arnett
Dan McKinlay
Hannah Blake
Peter Blair
Joanna Warren
Martin Robinson
Michele Morrison

Councillors (Clergy):

Ken Simpson
Ian Wood
Caitlin Hurley
Michael Leite
Scott Newling
Mike Taylor
Kate Haggar
Gavin Parsons
Nigel Fortescue
Jason Ramsay
James Warren
Scott Blackwell

The newly re-elected President, Andrew Bruce, informed the League that, in the coming twelve months, the Council will be seeking to embark on a discussion of the size of the Council in an endeavour to make it as effective as possible.   

He reported that invitations for the pre-Synod briefings will be distributed shortly and encouraged all members who are on Synod to attend. 


Andrew also commended the book Inside Sydney by Canon Dr. Bruce Ballantine-Jones (ACL President 1994–2001). (Learn about the book. Interview with BBJ.)

Members of the League moved the following motions:

Andrew closed the meeting with prayer.