National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse — Public Statement

Anglican Church Diocese of Sydney
Public Statement

National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Institutional Child Sexual Abuse

The Anglican Church in the Diocese of Sydney welcomes the decision of the Federal Government to issue a National Apology to the survivors of child sexual abuse. While this apology comes in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, it is an important step for the healing of survivors, though nothing will ever rid them of the memories of past abuses.

As Archbishop, I recognise and respect the wishes of the survivors to have no leaders of institutions present in Parliament House when the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison, delivers the National Apology, nor in the livestreaming of this important event in the Opera House, hosted by the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Gladys Berejiklian.

In respecting survivors’ wishes, I take the opportunity again to offer an apology on behalf of the Anglican Church in Sydney, where such abuses have happened in the past. That our Church was complicit in any way in these events, by ignoring them, disbelieving the testimony of survivors, or allowing sex offenders to continue their horrendous conduct in what should have been the safe environs of a church, is itself a matter of deep shame. While I and my immediate two predecessors have issued apologies in the past, let me reiterate my apology to the survivors of child sexual abuse, for our failure to protect them as children. While we have adopted rigorous processes to ensure the safety of children in the present, I recognise that this will not overcome the trauma that accompanies the sins of the past.

My fervent prayer is that today’s National Apology will in some measure provide healing for these wounds, raise the national consciousness of the seriousness of child sexual abuse, and enable us as a nation, and individually as citizens, to play our part in protecting and giving voice to the most vulnerable among us, for the benefit of future generations of Australians.

Archbishop Glenn Davies
22 October 2018.

– Source: SydneyAnglicans.net media release.

‘Uniting Church Ministers might be forced to stop marrying same-sex couples’

“Same-sex couples planning to wed in the Uniting Church in coming months might be forced to make alternative plans, after the general secretary warned that all same-sex weddings could be paused from November. …

Under the church’s constitution, within six months of a decision being made at the assembly, if 50% of the presbyteries (local bodies) in 50% of the synods (state bodies) lodge an objection and say there was not enough consultation for a decision, it has to be paused until there can be another vote. …”

– Story from BuzzFeed. (Photo: Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer.)

Related:

Resources from last month’s Assembly of Confessing Congregations National Conference in Sydney have now been posted on their website. (Bishop of South Sydney, Dr. Michael Stead, gave the keynote address, explaining the Anglican situation, and the reasons for the formation of GAFCON.)

Conscientious Objection in the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 (Qld)

“On 17th October 2018 the Queensland Parliament passed the Termination of Pregnancy Bill 2018 (Qld).

This law will, among other things, allow abortion on demand up to 22 weeks’ gestation, and abortion up to full term if approved by two independent doctors who agree it is appropriate taking into account all the circumstances.

Setting aside for one moment the significant objections to the primary function of this legislation in general, a major point of contention with the bill was the extent to which health practitioners are able to refrain from providing abortion services because they have a conscientious objection. …”

– In a guest post at Law and Religion Australia, Dr. Alex Deagon, Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology, looks at the implications of the new bill for health practitioners.

Evangelical Bishops open letter to Church of England: ‘Do not abandon biblical truth on sexuality’

“Eleven bishops of the Church of England have positioned themselves against opening a debate about the Anglican teaching about identity, sexuality and marriage. …

After tense debates that questioned the traditional biblical perspectives in places like Scotland and the United States, these key evangelical leaders have called to continue to proclaim the Christian “ethic”.

The open letter (download here – the original article had an incorrect link) has been signed by the Bishops of Carlisle, Durham, Ludlow, Birkenhead, Willesden, Peterborough, Plymouth, Blackburn, Maidstone and Lancaster, and by the former Bishop of Shrewsbury.”

– Read the full story from Evangelical Focus.

The authority & responsibilities of a senior leader — with Peter Jensen


In this week’s The Pastor’s Heart, Dominic Steele spoke with former Archbishop of Sydney Dr. Peter Jensen.

“In this revealing and frank discussion with Dominic Steele he discusses the particular responsibilities of senior leaders and the pressures that senior leaders are under.

Also … Dr Jensen outlines the ripples in world Anglicanism from the important GAFCON 2018 event and its Letter to the Churches and ponders what happens next.”

Ruddock Report: religious schools and same sex attracted students

“A media outlet here in Australia has released what it says are the 20 recommendations made by the Expert Panel on Religious Freedom chaired by the Hon Philip Ruddock. The Report itself was delivered to the Government in May 2018, but has not officially been released. Apparently the Government is planning to release the Report at the same time as announcing its official response.

The main issue which has generated controversy during the last week, in which there was a selective leaking of some of the recommendations, were proposals dealing with the rights of religious schools to take into account the sexual orientation of students in certain areas. The changes proposed were not radical changes to the existing law, but were presented as such when first publicised.

In this post I want to briefly set these recommendations in context and offer my preliminary response. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Assoc. Prof. Neil Foster provides some helpful background to the media reports.

The enduring vision of Albert Mohler at Southern Seminary

Here’s an encouraging 15 minute video about the rejuvenation of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, celebrating 25 years since Albert Mohler was appointed as its President.

It’s also a good reminder to pray for Moore College and other theological colleges, they they will remain faithful and committed to the truth of God’s Word.

GAFCON Chairman’s Letter — October 2018

“My dear people of God,

Last week, the Standing Committee of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) issued a communiqué in which it affirmed the unanimous decision of the House of Bishops not to attend Lambeth 2020 unless the Archbishop of Canterbury reverses his policy of inviting those who have rejected biblical teaching and not inviting those who remain faithful but have been forced to leave their traditional spiritual homes. …”

– The Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, Archbishop Nicholas D. Okoh, has released his pastoral letter for October 2018. As well as addressing the bigger issues of the Anglican Communion, he also writes of the double tragedy in the church of South Sudan.

Religious Freedom at Australian Universities

“I presented a paper today to a seminar at the University where I work, on the topic of ‘Religious Freedom at Australian Universities’.

It explores some of the challenges facing staff and students in this area, and explores some of the ways that religious freedom is currently protected (and where there are gaps in that protection.) I use examples from the policies framed in my local context, but similar policies and legislation would be relevant at most Australian Universities.

Others involved in this area may find the paper helpful in outlining issues and options.”

– Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia. His paper can be found here.

Pakistan top court hears blasphemy appeal – reserves verdict

“On Monday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court began the hearing of Asia Bibi’s final appeal against her 2010 death penalty.

The three-judge bench said it has reserved the verdict on the appeal, however the judges did not say when they will announce it.

If the top court upholds her death sentence, the only recourse for the 53-year-old would be to appeal to the country’s president for clemency. …”

– this report from Deutsche Welle.

A Pastor pushes forward as a Drought threatens his town and his church

“The Rev. Bernard Gabbott bumped along on a road so remote the asphalt had given way to gravel, heading out to see a farmer who had been working seven days a week, straining to keep his cattle and sheep fed.

He pointed to an empty patch of earth. The farmer had plowed it to plant as pasture for his livestock, but instead, the afternoon wind kicked up clouds of dust. …

Mr. Gabbott, who is gregarious and quick to laugh, grew up in Sydney, the son of missionaries.”

This story in The New York Times is a good reminder to pray – not only for more rain, but for those who minister the gospel in the bush.

Photo: Wee Waa Anglican Church, Facebook.

See also:

Final death penalty appeal for Asia Bibi to be heard by Supreme Court judges on Monday

“After repeated rejection, on Monday 8 October 2018, the long awaited final appeal to prevent the execution of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy, will be heard at Pakistan’s Supreme Court …”

– News from the British Pakistani Christian Association – and cause for much prayer.

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