The Queen’s Christmas message for 2018 – and other recent news

Here’s is Queen Elizabeth’s Christmas Message.

In other news you might have missed the last few days:

Jesus shows how to lay power aside for the sake of the foreigner – Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, in The Australian Financial Review.

“The 2000-year-old story of the Middle Eastern family of modest means seeking a safe lodging place speaks to the weariness of the modern world with a surprising relevance. Because it is at heart, the story of the laying aside of power for the sake of the lowly. God comes to us, so that we may come to him. …”

Russell Powell, CEO of Anglican Media Sydney, had this published in the Letters section of The Sydney Morning Herald on December 24 – in response to Elizabeth Farrelly’s regular column.

“Farrelly states that the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney had ‘reaffirmed … the ban on divorced people – even women divorced after being abused by clergy – being remarried in church’. There has never been such a ban.

The link embedded in the online story shows the resolution carried by the Synod: ‘Synod, noting that it is the prerogative of the Archbishop or a Regional Bishop, in accordance with the laws of this Church, whether or not to approve the remarriage of a divorced person, requests the Archbishop and Regional Bishops to consider approving the remarriage of a divorced person, where that person has been abused physically or emotionally by their former spouse.’

The effect of the motion was simply to urge bishops to be vigilant on this issue. The fact that Bishops have permitted the remarriage of victims of domestic violence shows there is no ban.”

Canberra-Goulburn Episcopal Election set for 8-10 November

In the October 2018 issue of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn’s Anglican News, Canon Robert Arthur provides an update on the episcopal election process: (Note: the names of the nominees has not yet been made public).

“The Episcopal Election Nominations Committee is preparing for the Electoral Synod to be held from 8 to 10 November.

It has recently met with the Prospective Nominees and is now preparing an information package on each Nominee for confidential distribution to Synod members prior to the meeting. The package will include the Episcopal Selection Criteria, which were prepared by the Committee after consultations around the Diocese and an online survey.

At the September Synod, in preparation for the decision they will make in November, Synod members broke into groups to discuss the Selection Criteria and to assess the weight they would give to each of the 24 Criteria on a scale of 1 to 10. Three criteria were given weights of 9.0 or more. These were:

Please continue in prayer during the next month for God’s guidance and wisdom in the choice to be made.

A bible study and other resources prepared by the EENC are available on the Diocesan website.”

– From page 2 of Anglican News (PDF file).

Director of St Mark’s National Theological Centre, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Cameron, has written a series of Bible studies for members of the diocese as they pray and think about the election (PDF file).

Hitting the right note

“A music ministry stream is to be added to Moore’s Advanced Diploma of Bible, Mission and Ministry course.

… designed for music ministers, for all who serve in music ministry and those preparing and leading church services …”

– News from Moore College.

David Peterson on Romans — one of Albert Mohler’s ’10 Books Every Preacher Should Read’

“Dr Albert Mohler, theologian and current President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, sees the personal collections of preachers as an indication of their preaching priorities, style and engagement. In his annual book review for Preaching Magazine, he highlights the ten books that he believes essential in 2018 for pastors to be reading, reflecting on and shaping their own ministry now and into the future. …”

– Good news from Moore College.

GAFCON — Uniting and Reforming

In the run up to this month’s GAFCON 2018 in Jerusalem, GAFCON has begun publishing reflections from some who attended precious gatherings.

Published so far: Melvin Tinker, Jane Tooher, and Winnie Njenga.

‘Men Praying for Moore’ Breakfast — Saturday 5th May

Here’s an opportunity for men to gather, to pray for Moore College.

“…to share in breakfast and pray, and to be informed on how they might continue to pray. … Archbishop of Sydney The Most Rev Dr Glenn Davies … will lead a brief devotional.”

Saturday 5th May 2018, 8:30 – 10:00am.

RSVP by April 27.

Details from the College.

New trial expected soon for Asia Bibi

“On Saturday, the Chief Justice of Pakistan confirmed a new hearing will be held soon and has ordered full security provisions to be given to Asia Bibi’s legal team. …”

– Report from Premier UK.

God’s Strategy for Evangelism

“Whether it’s war, sport or business, everyone needs a good strategy. Strategy is the ‘how’ question. You might have a vision – what you want to see happen. You might have a mission – what you are going to do. But do you have the strategy – how are you going to do it?

What is our strategy for evangelism? As Christians, we have our vision: the nations before the throne praising the Son (Rev 7:9-10). And we have our mission: to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19). But what is our strategy? How are we going to do this?”

– Encouragement from Tom Habib at The Australian Church Record.

Katoomba Christian Convention planning major redevelopment

“In one of the largest developments ever seen in the Mountains, Katoomba Christian Convention has plans for a $64 million rebuild on its premises at Cliff Drive.

Plans for the major redevelopment are now on public display with council.

They call for the demolition of several existing buildings and building of a new auditorium for public worship, a 500-seat dining hall, six eco-lodges and three eco-chalets to accommodate 390 people, a new reception building, bookshop and cafe. …

The DA is on public exhibition until April 11. It will then go to the Sydney Western City Planning Panel, rather than council, because of the size of the development.”

– See the full story from The Blue Mountains Gazette.

Related: Development application – Blue Mountains City Council.

Image: The Blue Mountains Gazette. Link via

Archbishop Davies on Q@A tonight, 23 October

Archbishop Glenn Davies will be on the panel of Q&A tonight on ABC television –

“Joining Tony Jones for the Q&A Same-Sex Marriage debate: actress and author Magda Szubanski; Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies; Jesuit priest and law professor Frank Brennan; ‘No campaign’ spokesperson Karina Okotel.

Monday 23 Oct 2017, 9:34pm.”

John Howard criticises Malcolm Turnbull over handling of postal survey

“Former prime minister John Howard has criticised the Turnbull Government’s handling of the same-sex marriage survey, calling for the details of any bill to be released before the vote. …”

– Report from ABC News.

Presbyterian response to the announced postal marriage plebiscite

“The 2016 GAA resolved as follows:

Min 67.8  “The General Assembly urges congregations to support the ‘No’ case in opposing the redefinition of marriage.”

Without binding consciences, please read the following as a request from the PCA that when the government asks for your opinion that you consider supporting the “NO” vote.

The Australian Government plans to conduct a postal vote seeking the opinion of Australians on marriage. Ballot papers will begin arriving at our homes on 12 September, just a month from now.

The Presbyterian Church of Australia opposes the introduction of legislation for so called ‘same-sex marriage’. We affirm that the true definition of marriage is found in God’s Word: the life-long union of one man with one woman, voluntarily entered into, excluding all others.

It’s important to urge every Presbyterian Christian to engage in the process and vote, and to “support the NO case”. We ask every attendee at church to both register and vote, and then seek to persuade as many of their family and friends to do likewise.

There’s no doubt that the postal vote can be won in favour of the current definition. There is a large number of Australians, many of whom have not had their say, who affirm the common view of marriage as God-given and God-blessed.

Your participation will make a difference, but we need you to be earnest, active and in prayer about it. There are many powerful voices clamouring to tear down what God declares to be holy. The church must not be silent on this.

While we speak up and have our say, we do so with a gracious engagement and with respect for those with whom we disagree.

John P Wilson

Presbyterian Church of Australia.”

Source: Presbyterian Church of Australia.

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