Bishop Stuart Robinson: Farewell message in Anglican News

Posted on February 18, 2018 
Filed under Australian dioceses, People

“Though we are retiring from episcopal ministry we are … ‘refiring’ back into full-time parish ministry. I’ll be inducted as Priest, St Michael’s, Vaucluse and Rose Bay, on Saturday May 5th at 4.30pm.

And my formal farewell from this Diocese is Saturday March 31st at 11.00am is a ‘Laying Up Of The Pastoral Staff’ event.”

– Bishop Stuart Robinson reflects on his ten years as Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn in his last message for the diocesan newspaper.

As well, there is news of clergy moves in the diocese – all on page 2 of the February 2018 Anglican News (800kb PDF file).

Twenty-six ordained at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney

Posted on February 17, 2018 
Filed under Encouragement, Sydney Diocese

“There was thunderous applause in St Andrew’s Cathedral and hugs and plenty of pictures outside as 26 men and women were ordained as Deacons for various ministries around Sydney and Wollongong. …”

– Russell Powell has the story about today’s ordinations – at

Abp of Canterbury: Anglican Communion is in ‘a better place’ than five years ago

Posted on February 17, 2018 
Filed under Anglican Communion

“In a wide-ranging interview with the Church Times to mark five years in office, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has said that the Anglican Communion is in ‘a better place’ than it was five years ago. …

The interview was conducted by the Church Times’ editor, Paul Handley, in Lambeth Palace, the official residence and offices of the Archbishop of Canterbury.”

– Read the summary from The Anglican Communion News Service, or the full Church Times article. Not all would necessarily share his optimism.

(Photo: Lambeth Palace.)

Church Nightmare a Wake-up Call on ‘Tolerance’

Posted on February 17, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars

“It’s absolutely crazy.” That’s all Pastor Jeremy Schossau [Metro City Church in Detroit] could say about all that his church has endured in the last several days. From shutting down their social media to being on a heightened security alert, the congregation of Riverside, Michigan never dreamed this much hate could exist over such a simple, Bible-based workshop.

“People have literally threatened to kill me and my family, to burn our house down, to burn our church down, to assault the people of our church and our staff.” … At one point, Metro City Church was getting 40 messages a minute. …

All Metro City church wanted to do was walk families through what the Bible has to say about the issue of gender and sexuality. And for that, legislators want Pastor Schossau to be formally investigated. …”

– A disturbing story from the Family Research Council. Link via the American Anglican Council.


Amid downriver church controversy, Michigan lawmakers propose conversion therapy ban.

Explanatory videos from the church.

History Bytes – Remembering Sir Marcus Loane

Posted on February 17, 2018 
Filed under People

“I was Rector of Berridale. The clergy of the Monaro were invited to dinner in the Cooma Rectory to meet Sir Marcus Loane, then Archbishop of Sydney and Primate of Australia. I found him a shy and reserved person, but when Church history was the subject his face lit up. …”

– On the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn website, Fr. Robert Wilson remembers a great man.


From Strength to Strength — A Life of Marcus Loane by Allan M. Blanch reviewed at Australian Presbyterian.

(Photo courtesy of Ramon Williams.)

Ramon Williams, Australian Christian media powerhouse, decides it’s time to retire

Posted on February 16, 2018 
Filed under People

Ramon Williams, the unassuming one-man Christian media powerhouse behind Worldwide Photos, has tonight announced, on medical advice, that his ministry will conclude.

Dan Wooding at IPA News published a profile of Ramon in July 2017 –

“Now 86, Ramon Williams has been supplying news articles and photos to the Christian media from ’down under’ for more than 50 years, and he is considered by many, including myself, as one of the great heroes of the Australian Christian media.

This self-effacing former missionary has, for more than half-a-century, been running the equivalent of a Christian AP (Associated Press) news wire…” – Read the full article at IPA News.

Ramon and his wife Dorothy, both graduates of SMBC, served as missionaries with WEC (Worldwide Evangelisation Crusade) in South East Asia from 1959 to 1967, and originally established Worldwide Photos as a department of WEC.

In this June 2017 profile in The Salvation Army’s War Cry, Ramon explains –

“… the mission called for someone to open a new department to produce good-quality audio­visuals. I accepted the challenge and (with wife Dorothy) came home to Australia in November 1967, to start the work.

I noticed in the ministers’ meeting, prior to the 1968 Billy Graham Crusade, that nobody was photographing the event for the Christian media. New Life, an Australian Christian newspaper, was willing to accept my offer to photograph the crusade but they could not pay. Afterwards I found The Australian Baptist was willing to accept photos but could not pay. I’ve been doing it ever since—supplying photos to people who cannot pay! …”

Astute observers will notice that the ACL website is one of many beneficiaries of Ramon’s cheerful generosity, and it is only appropriate that we publicly thank him here, through our website.

We are sure that many will echo our heartfelt thanks.

Photo courtesy IPA News.

When heresy is accepted in the Church of England

Posted on February 16, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars, Opinion, Theology

“If one is to claim that a certain teaching is heretical, we need to be clear what we mean by the term.

Alister McGrath writes, ‘Heresy arises through accepting a basic cluster of Christian beliefs – yet interpreting them in such a way that inconsistency results. A heresy is thus an inadequate or deficient form of Christianity. By its very deficiency, it poses a threat to the Gospel.’ The reason why heresy gains traction in the church is because it contains at least an element of truth; as such it is parasitic on orthodoxy. ‘In the Catholic faith, we recognise that a heresy is not so much a false doctrine as an incomplete doctrine. It has rejected part of the truth and is representing what is left over as the whole truth. But what a heretic usually ends up doing is attacking the greater truth.’

Jayne Ozanne illustrates this well.

In July 2017, Ozanne placed a private member’s motion to the General Synod meeting in York (GS 2070A) calling upon the Synod to effectively repudiate the practice of conversion therapy for those who experience same sex attraction. …”

– Melvin Tinker takes a sobering look at a very important topic.

Top image from Jayne Ozanne’s persuasive speech at the Church of England General Synod, 8th July 2017. (Youtube.) How persuasive was it?

See the voting result for the Private Member’s Motion.

The full text of the Private Members Motion may be found here.

The World is not Exposed to Chance (Article 17)

Posted on February 16, 2018 
Filed under Theology

“We are not living in a world exposed to chance. We are in the hands of an Omnipotent God. No matter how difficult it may be to realise it in the changes and chances of this mortal life, there is a Divine determination that must reach its true conclusion. …”

– T.C. Hammond’s 1957 reflections on Article 17 have been republished by The Australian Church Record.

Religious Freedom Implications of Same Sex Marriage in Australia

Posted on February 15, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars, Opinion

“I am presented a paper at a conference on “Freedom of Religion or Belief: Creating the Constitutional Space for Other Fundamental Freedoms” … The paper, “Protection of Religious Freedom under Australia’s Amended Marriage Law: Constitutional and Other Issues” is linked here for those who are interested: Freedom of Religion or Belief paper Foster.

I argue that, while some religious freedom rights are protected under the amended marriage law, there are some serious gaps in protection for some involved deeply in the celebration of same sex weddings, and also a failure to deal with a range of other issues, such as the ability of faith-based schools to operate in accordance with their fundamental commitments in both engagement of staff and teaching pupils, and whether people who conscientiously believe that same sex relationships are not best for human flourishing will be penalised in the workplace or elsewhere.

I note that at least one State in the US has enacted legislation to deal with these issues, which has survived one challenge in the US Supreme Court, and I recommend that Australia seriously consider also legislating in this way.”

– Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

How’s your heart? Lent reflections from Dr Peter Jensen – Part 1

Posted on February 14, 2018 
Filed under GAFCON

In the first of seven videos during the season of Lent, Archbishop Peter Jensen asks ‘How’s your heart?’, looking at the book of 1 Samuel. Published by GAFCON.

‘Yes’ victors seek abolition of all church exemptions to anti-discrimination laws

Posted on February 14, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars

“Religious schools should be forced to hire LGBTI teachers and all church exemptions to anti-discrimination law should be abolished, the “yes” campaign has told Philip Ruddock’s religious freedom inquiry. …”

– Report from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Update: Here’s a Media release from the Coalition for Marriage, February 14, 2018:

Equality Campaign reneges on No consequences promise

The organisation that led the push for same-sex marriage has conducted itself in bad faith and reneged on its promise to the Australian people of ‘no consequences’, the Coalition for Marriage today.

“The Equality Campaign made its case to the Australian people on the basis that a change to the marriage law would have no consequences,” Coalition for Marriage spokeswoman, Monica Doumit said today. “Their submission to the Ruddock Review has shown this to be a lie.

“They have belled the cat. And now we can see the full extent of their agenda to wind back fundamental freedoms.

“It’s disappointing, but unsurprising that they waited until the day submissions for the Ruddock Review closed before showing their true colours.”

During the plebiscite campaign, Prime Minister Turnbull said: “I just want to reassure Australians that as strongly as I believe in the right of same-sex couples to marry, even more strongly, if you like, do I believe in religious freedom.”

“It now rests with Prime Minister Turnbull and every single one of the MPs who said gay marriage would not threaten religious freedom to ensure that protections for religious freedom are strengthened.

“Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten now owe it to all Australians to spell out how they intend to protect religious freedoms in the face of a strengthened and emboldened radical LGBTI lobby that is seeking to undermine Australians’ fundamental freedoms.”


Image: Religious Freedom Review Submission. (closes today)

Challenge for new Oak Hill President in avoiding ‘Good Disagreement’ trap

Posted on February 14, 2018 
Filed under Church of England, Opinion

“With the leadership of the Church of England increasingly expecting its future ministers to be enthusiastic about theological diversity, the new president of the one distinctively Reformed Anglican training college, Oak Hill in north London, faces a demanding task.

The Revd Jonathan Juckes took up the newly created role of college president last month at the age of 56. This was after the college council decided to appoint a president to work alongside the academic principal following the sudden death last year of former principal Dr Michael Ovey (1958-2017).”

Julian Mann’s opinion piece is a good reminder to continue to pray for Oak Hill College – and to give thanks for the great blessing that college has been for so many.

And continue to pray for Moore College, of course, as the ministry year begins.

Photo: Jonathan Juckes at Oak Hill College.

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