Sydney Anglican Schools – Media Statement

Anglican Diocese of Sydney

Media Statement

The Archbishop of Sydney has apologised to anyone distressed by a letter to Federal MPs about religious freedom, saying the issue has led to hurt and pain.

Here is the statement from Archbishop Davies:

The letter was addressed to Federal MPs and the intent was to promote religious freedom for Anglican schools but I realise that it had the unfortunate consequence of affecting many gay students and teachers in our schools, for which I am deeply sorry.

I have been told by the Heads of our schools of the distress the letter has caused. There were fears that gay students were going to be expelled or gay teachers sacked. This really saddens me. Our schools do not expel students or dismiss staff on the basis of their sexuality, nor have they ever wanted this right. All people are created in God’s image and valued in his sight, and in the sight of our schools. Our schools are open to everyone, without discrimination, for parents who desire an education for their children in the Anglican tradition.

The Heads, councils and staff of our schools are committed to the welfare of students and have been tireless in addressing the concerns expressed by their school communities. I commend them for the statements they have made and their caring responses.

This past week has demonstrated it is untenable that religious freedoms be expressed as exemptions in discrimination acts. Some exemptions, such as those relating to sexuality, we do not use and have no wish to preserve. But the mere fact these remain on the statute books has alarmed people. Therefore, I have approached the government and the opposition for an immediate bipartisan approach which would remove these exemptions and create legislation which provides a positive protection for freedom of religion.

Dr Glenn N Davies, Archbishop of Sydney, 8 November 2018.


Real freedoms will end the broken chain of exemptions

“Bad legislation is made in a rush. But when it comes to religious freedom we already have bad legislation and there seems to be no urgency to fix it properly – just a rush to create more. …

Let’s be very clear, before you read any further. Anglican schools in Sydney do not expel students for being gay and do not sack teachers for being gay. It is an absurd proposition and it strikes at the very heart of our faith, that all people are created in God’s image and valued in his sight and in our schools.”

– has published the full text of Archbishop Glenn Davies’ open letter in The Australian of 6th November 2018.

Do take the time to read it – and share it widely.

Schools’ letter misinterpreted as homophobic, Anglican Archbishop says

“The Archbishop of Sydney says Anglican schools did not ask for and do not want exemptions from the Sex Discrimination Act but are seeking ‘a positive right to religious freedom’.

Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies said that a letter to federal MPs asking for exemptions for religious schools under the Sex Discrimination Act to be maintained until alternative forms of legal protection are brought in has been misinterpreted as being homophobic. …”

– Story from The Sydney Morning Herald.

See also:

Real freedoms will end chaos – Archbishop Davies opinion piece in The Australian. (Subscription)

“Bad legislation is made in a rush. But when it comes to religious freedom we already have bad legislation and there seems to be no urgency to fix it properly — just a rush to create more. …”

Faith school freedoms ‘broken’ – The Australian. (Subscription)

“The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney has warned that existing legal protections for faith-based schools are ‘broken’ and urged the ­government to fundamentally reframe them in its response to the Ruddock review into ­religious freedoms. …”

And the Letter from the Heads of Schools. (PDF file)

Fellowship with New Zealand Appeal

From The Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid:

“In May this year the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia decided to allow diocesan bishops to authorise the blessing of same-sex marriages and civil unions.

Following the decision of the General Synod a number of clergy and their congregations decided to leave the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, while still wishing to remain Anglicans. They felt that they could no longer stay in a Church, which had abandoned the teaching of Jesus and compromised the fundamental principles of their faith.

At the end of September, there were nine clergy and four congregations, representing approximately 1000 members who have or are planning to disaffiliate from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, in addition to a parish in West Hamilton, which has already disaffiliated in anticipation of these developments. In taking this step, church leaders have forgone their income and possibly church property.

The Archbishop is encouraging Sydney Anglicans [watch video of his Presidential Address, 15 October 2018] to support these faithful brothers and sisters who wish to remain part of the Anglican family as they seek to establish an extra-provincial diocese. Gafcon Australia, with the support of Synod, has launched an appeal through Anglican Aid to assist them as they set up this new structure. Funds will be disbursed through the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans New Zealand.”

– Read the details, and donate, at Anglican Aid. (Links added above.)

For some background to what’s been happening in New Zealand: Related posts.

Evangelism and the Sydney Diocese: Our DNA

“At the 2017 session of synod a report was given in relation to diocesan mission and church growth. While there were some positives, the general tenor of the discussion was fairly bleak.

Church leaders might be tempted to despair at the apparent fruitlessness of their efforts and perhaps withdrawal into a ‘holy huddle’. Spending all our effort on current members may seem like a more rewarding enterprise.

To take this course, however, would not only be a dereliction of the gospel mandate entrusted to all Christians, it would be a radical departure from one of the most enduring and significant aspects of our diocesan identity: evangelism. …

Evangelism in Sydney Diocese has never been easy. It was not easy for Richard Johnson. It was not easy for D.J. Knox. It was not easy for John Chapman. Yet, evangelism is an essential aspect of Sydney Anglican identity. Our society has changed radically over the last 230 years, but our mission remains the same.”

– Ed Loane calls us back to our great task – at The Australian Church Record.


In 1988, Dudley gave this address to the ACL’s Annual General Meeting – Reaching Out In Difficult Situations.

‘Anglican bishop defends same-sex marriage ban’

Bishop Michael Stead was interviewed by Linda Mottram for ABC Radio’s PM yesterday.

The Legacy of David Broughton Knox

“David Broughton Knox was one of the most influential Anglican leaders in the second half of the twentieth century.

His long service as principal of Moore Theological College, Sydney, had an impact much further afield than that city. Along with this, the unique place Sydney Diocese has in the Anglican Communion has been significantly shaped by Knox’s ministry and theological priorities. …”

– The Latimer Trust has published the papers presented at the Moore College Library Day in 2016.

The Legacy of David Broughton Knox is edited by Ed Loane and is available from The Latimer Trust in the UK, and from several other booksellers (prices in Australian dollars).

Sydney Diocese church use policy passes

“A policy for the use of church property has been passed by the Synod after amendments to clarify the scope and implementation of the policy.

The use of church property has always been governed by various regulations and the latest policy consolidates these into a single document. …

The policy guides churches and Anglican organisations on renting out and leasing properties.”

– Story from Russell Powell at
(Photo of Bishop Michael Stead by Russell Powell.)

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: media release.

‘Growing Sydney’ — Synod video 2018

This video from the Diocese of Sydney Mission Property Committee was shown to the Synod on Tuesday afternoon.

Thanks to, you can watch it above – or download it to show your congregation / home groups.

More info at the New Churches for New Communities website.

‘Avoid cheap grace’ says Domestic Abuse task force

“The Archdeacon for Women spoke with sadness and anger in her voice, as she told Synod of the damage wrought by domestic abusers.

Archdeacon Hartley, along with Canon Sandy Grant who chairs the Domestic Abuse Task Force, came to Synod to present the final version of the Sydney Anglican Policy on Responding to Domestic Abuse.

Although the provisional policy has been in force and circulating among churches since the 2017 Synod, the Task Force had left open the policy and guidelines as it gathered further information on the best ways to combat the scourge of Domestic abuse and family violence. …”

– Sydney Synod news from Russell Powell at

Hear the 2018 ACL Synod Dinner Address

Canon Phil Colgan gave the address at the ACL’s 2018 Synod Dinner on Monday.

If you missed it (or if you were there and want to hear it again – or if you would like to share the address with others), you can listen below:

A 10 MB mp3 file.

A capacity crowd heard the address.

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