Sydney Service of commemoration for Orlando victims

flags-at-Veterans-Cemetery-photo-C-MackellarA special public Christian service of commemoration for those who lost their lives in Orlando will be held in Sydney’s St Andrew’s Cathedral on Wednesday 15th June, at 6 pm.

Premier Mike Baird will attend the service, along with the Governor, General David Hurley and the US Consul-General, Hugo Llorens.

“This service is an opportunity for people to gather together to express sympathy and compassion for those who have been affected by the terrible events in Orlando.” said the Dean of Sydney, the Very Rev. Kanishka Raffel.

“It is a time to acknowledge our common humanity, to pray that all people will be able to live in peace and safety, to affirm the dignity of all people as made in God’s image, and to reject utterly violence against people because of their sexuality.” Dean Raffel said.

The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, will preach at the service, with Bible readings to be given by the Premier and the Governor.

At least 49 people were killed and 53 wounded in a massacre early on Sunday by a gunman, believed to have been inspired to terrorism by ISIS, who targeted a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

– From

It’s unanimous — ARV and Anglicare to merge

The Rev Gav Poole, ACL PresidentACL President Gav Poole wrote this opinion-piece for the current issue of The Australian Church Record:

“Pray that such a key diocesan organisation will be used for kingdom growth and the proclamation of the gospel.

Full text:

Very rarely does every member of the Sydney Diocesan Synod agree. If they do, it is usually on minor matters. Given the size and significance of the decision to merge the Anglican Retirement Villages (ARV) and Anglicare, it is amazing that the entire Synod agreed. When Synod met on Wednesday, 27 April, it had one decision to make – ‘Should ARV and Anglicare merge?’ When crunch time arrived there was not a ‘nay’ in the house.

There were however amendments to the motion but most of those were easily decided. The exception was one amendment which entailed whether or not to retain the phrase, ‘at least’. Retention of the phrase was won by one vote. A small phrase took up a lot of time and was carried by a small margin.

Most debating time was taken up on two left field amendments concerning branding. Five speeches were against them, with one of the opposing speeches labelling them as ‘ridiculous’ and that they needed to be ‘booted out’. They were ‘booted out’ on the overwhelming voices. If nothing else, they offered comical relief.

The decision could have been made by Standing Committee but it would only take three people to insist that the ordinance be promoted to Synod. Standing Committee would have been unwise to try it. Imagine the objectors, ‘Standing Committee did what? How could they?’ But now … we’re all in this together. This had to be decided by Synod.

This was a significant decision. Consider the sheer size of the merged organisation – $1.5b in gross assets. If the company was publicly listed it would imaginably be in the ASX300. Consider the people – over 10,000 will be serviced by the new organisation in one form or another. Consider the history – the Church Society (Anglicare’s genesis) was established in 1856. And consider the partnerships with the many parishes across the diocese.

It’s not every day you get to make a decision of this calibre. Very few Synod members would have experience with any company merger, let alone one of this size. So how can so many people, with so little experience make such a large decision and be united in it? The answer – information and after that, more information.

For this reason, the decision to postpone the Synod was a good one. It would have been near impossible to be well informed if Synod had been held in March. Questions had to be asked, alternatives had to be properly entertained, numbers had to be crunched and advice sought. Although it was slightly embarrassing and inconvenient, a month’s deferral meant that Synod members were informed.

Synod members should be commended on their preparation. Most of the questions were asked at the three pre-Synod briefing meetings, where approximately 170 members were in attendance. Comprehensive reports were completed by the CEOs and Standing Committee. Seven good questions were asked at Synod, all of them demonstrating that they had read the subject matter. This was proof positive that given the chance Synod will educate itself and come prepared.

It is now over to Standing Committee to pass an ordinance that closely reflects the motion of Synod. Synod has noted the reports, including draft ordinances. Things like objects and the board make up must closely resemble that of the draft ordinances. Standing Committee’s work is all but done.

Synod’s work however continues. The decision to merge is only the beginning. It will be important for Synod to receive the promised reports and keep the merged organisation accountable. The legal makeup of the organisation will only go part of the way to ensuring the conditions of Synod are met. The board must be committed to these conditions and work in partnership with other parts of the diocese. This will take careful attention during elections. Synod’s motion will be fulfilled legally, politically and prayerfully.

Pray that such a key diocesan organisation will be used for kingdom growth and the proclamation of the gospel. Pray that the board, executive, employees and partners will act wisely and efficiently to protect the gospel character of the organisation. Pray for those who will be the object of the new organisation’s compassion. Most importantly pray that Christ be honoured as Lord and Saviour in every community.

Realistically this is unlikely to be a part of your regular quiet time. That would be great but you are most likely to pray when you receive prayer bulletins or booklets (every organisation seems to be doing this), or when your congregation is visited by a representative. Pray when prompted.

Such organisations can quickly go off track and after a while resemble their secular counterparts. Hopefully, this one will not. It is the motivation of such an organisation that will inevitably distinguish it. Truly righteous acts are seen by God, an audience of one. In Jesus Christ, we have freely received and gifts from God are to be freely given. A life impacted by the gospel will delight in expressions of generosity and compassion. We resemble our Father in heaven and such an organisation gives us access to the vulnerable and needy. Synod was unanimous in its decision, let the diocese be unanimous in its ongoing support.

The main motion agreed to at the Special Synod, 27 April 2016

2/16 Approval of the merger of Anglicare and Anglican Retirement Villages

Synod, noting the report of the Standing Committee in relation to the proposed merger of Anglican Retirement Villages Diocese of Sydney (“ARV”) and Sydney Anglican Home Mission Society (“Anglicare”) together with accompanying draft ordinances and other documents in relation to the proposed merger received at this session, approves in principle the merger of these two organisations on the basis that –

(a) the indemnity provided by ARV to Anglicare is intended to ensure that survivors of child abuse have at least an equivalent level of recourse as if Anglicare had continued to operate in its own right,

(b) the merged organisation will actively aim to continue to deliver services provided by Anglicare and ARV to socially disadvantaged people at an enhanced level,

(c) the merged organisation will actively aim to continue the work undertaken by Anglicare with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples at an enhanced level,

(d) the merged organisation will actively aim to continue to alleviate necessitous circumstances through the provision of education at an enhanced level,

(e) the legal name of the merged organisation is “Anglican Community Services”,

(f) consideration is given to making provision in both the Anglicare and ARV constituting ordinances for a gift fund for both entities,

and requests the Standing Committee to pass such ordinances and take such other action it considers necessary or desirable to give effect to the merger on this basis.

(Reprinted from the June 2016 issue of The Australian Church Record.)

Winning the Good Fight — Queen’s Birthday Conference

Winning the Good Fight - Two Ways MinistriesTwo Ways Ministries and Phillip Jensen are holding an encouraging afternoon of thinking and praying about our progress in evangelism.

Queen’s Birthday Conference – Winning the Good Fight, Monday 13th June, 1:30 – 4:30pm at Moore College in Newtown.

Click the image for a larger invitation.

And, to help with catering, they would be very grateful if you could let them know you are going – there’s an e-mail address on the invitation.

(Learn more about Two Ways Ministries.)

Death and the Life Hereafter in focus

Moore College Annual Lectures 2016“What happens after death? Will I get a spot in heaven? Is hell for real?

We’ve all asked ourselves such ultimate questions and the Annual Moore College Lectures will dare to provide answers.

Held between August 19 and 26, ‘Death and the Life Hereafter’ will be an engaging lecture series which investigates some of the most important aspects of our existence…”

– Dr Paul Williamson is giving this year’s Annual Moore College Lectures.

NZ Anglican Synod ‘fails to approve gay marriages’

nz-bishops“Gay Anglicans are reacting with a mix of fury and resignation after the Anglican Synod today failed to approve the blessing of gay marriages. …

This week’s synod voted to set up yet another working party to report back on the issue at the next synod in 2018…”

– Report from The NZ Herald.

See also this report from Anglican Taonga:

“The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has tabled the ‘A Way Forward’ report on blessings of same-sex couples until General Synod 2018, ‘with a firm expectation that a decision to move forward will be made’ at that time.

Archbishop Brown Turei, Archbishop Philip Richardson and Archbishop Winston Halapua will appoint a working group to establish a structure that allows both those who can and cannot support the blessing of same-sex relationships to remain within the church with integrity.

‘We are aware of the considerable pain that this decision will cause to those most affected,’ said the three archbishops today.

‘But we are confident that our determination to work together across our differences will bring us to a place of dignity and justice for everyone.’

(Photo courtesy Anglican Taonga.)

NZ “Anglicans’ last-ditch bid to avoid split over gay marriage”

NZ SRTM derived“The Anglican Church is in yet another last-ditch effort to avoid a split over blessing gay marriages.

The Church’s two-yearly General Synod, meeting in Napier, yesterday failed to approve a contentious report from a working party which spent the past two years developing a proposed liturgy for “blessing” same-sex marriages — a compromise which stopped short of actually performing the marriages in a church.

Instead, another small working group has been set up to report back to the synod tomorrow on amendments that might somehow keep the Church together…”

– Report from the NZ Herald.

Budget Considerations

Diocese of Armidale“With an election in the offing it is never surprising that the political rhetoric around the Budget indulges self-interest. While we might expect that, and while we are critiquing the Budget, should we not critique our self-interest and how we became so addicted to ourselves? Budget time seems like a great opportunity to consider our hedonistic materialism…”

– Bishop of Armidale Rick Lewers asks if we should ‘budget God back into our economy’.

‘The Bathurst Diocese decision and legal personality of churches’

bathurst-diocese-map“Today at the Law and Religion Scholars Network (LARSN) Annual Conference (5 & 6 May, 2016) at the Cardiff University School of Law and Politics, Cardiff, Wales I presented a paper discussing a recent Australian case on the ‘legal personality’ of churches and how they are held accountable for debts. …

The abstract is as follows:

In the NSW Supreme Court decision of Anglican Development Fund Diocese of Bathurst v Palmer [2015] NSWSC 1856 (10 Dec 2015) (the Bathurst Diocese case), a single judge of the Court held that a large amount of money which had been lent to institutions in the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst, and guaranteed by a “Letter of Comfort” issued by the then Bishop of the Diocese, had to be repaid by the Bishop-in-Council, including if necessary by that body “promoting an ordinance to levy the necessary funds from the parishes”.

The lengthy judgment contains a number of interesting comments on the legal personality of church entities and may have long-term implications for unincorporated, mainstream denominations and their contractual and tortious liability to meet orders for payment of damages. The paper discusses the decision and some of those implications.”

Read Neil Foster’s post, and download the linked files, at Law & Religion Australia.

FCANZ Opening Conference audio

jay-behanAudio files from the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand’s opening conference have now been posted online.

In his closing address, FCANZ Chairman Jay Behan (pictured) reminds his hearers that human sexuality is not the gospel. However it is a gospel issue which must not be ignored.

Take the time to listen, and be urged to pray for our brothers and sisters in New Zealand as they seek godly wisdom for the days ahead.

(The General Synod of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia meets in Napier 06–13 May 2016.)

Keith and Sarah Condie to spearhead new mental health and pastoral care initiative

keith-and-sarah-condie“Dr Keith Condie, Dean of Students, and his wife, Sarah, have been appointed Directors of the Mental Health and Pastoral Care Institute with Anglican Deaconess Ministries…”

– News from Moore College.

Sydney Synod votes to merge Anglicare and Anglican Retirement Villages

Sydney Synod“The Synod of the Diocese of Sydney has voted to merge Anglicare and Anglican Retirement Villages (ARV) to better meet the need for their services in the future.

Anglicare is celebrating its 160th anniversary, having been established as the The Sydney Church Society in 1856 by Bishop Barker. ARV was founded by Archbishop and Mrs Mowll in 1959 and has grown to be a significant force in aged care services.

But Archbishop Glenn Davies told a special synod called to consider a merger that the landscape of aged care in Australia has dramatically changed…”

– Full story from Russell Powell at

Here’s a media release from Anglicare: ARV and Anglicare Sydney merge to further expand services in the community.

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