Greens Bill a serious attack on religious freedom

Posted on October 18, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars

“The Greens party has introduced a bill into the Senate dealing with a number of the issues that have been discussed in recent days about the right of religious schools to conduct their education in accordance with their faith commitment.

The so-called Discrimination Free Schools Bill 2018  would remove the capacity of religious schools (and, importantly, many other religious organisations) to make staffing decisions in line with their religious beliefs.

It is a serious attack on religious freedom, and should be voted down by the Senate when debate resumes. …

The Bill is straightforward, with the simplicity of a sledgehammer destroying a wall. Schedule 1, Part 1, item 2 in relation to s 38 says: “Repeal the section”. Religious schools will then not be able to take into account “sex, sexual orientation, gender identitymarital or relationship status or pregnancy” in decisions relating to staff or students. However much those who run the school, or the parents who choose to send their students to the school (often at significant cost), would like the choice to have a school which actively supports a religion vision of human sexual behaviour, they will no longer have that choice if this provision were implemented. …”

Important reading from Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia.

How to run an effective evangelistic course

Posted on October 18, 2018 
Filed under Encouragement, Resources

“So you want to reach the lost with the gospel?

Fantastic! Evangelistic courses are an effective method of doing so – particularly in a post-Christian culture.

The following are small but crucial steps you can make to ensure you maximise the effectiveness of your evangelistic course. …”

– Here are some very useful, practical tips from Dave Jensen, at

Schools would be pushed into an impossible corner

Posted on October 18, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars, Opinion

“Faith-based schools are places of education and learning, but they are also communities that educate in a context in which the spiritual life of the child is nurtured and the convictions and beliefs of that faith community are upheld. This particularly means that the staff of the school – the people who most substantially represent and carry forward that school’s culture and ethos – need to wholly support those convictions. It also means a school must have the freedom to shape its community life according to those beliefs. That is why the school exists and parents have the option of choosing that particular perspective.

This is like the freedom that is afforded to political parties. Political parties become a nonsense if they are forced to employ people who fundamentally disagree with their philosophy and who expound contrary views even if only in their private life. …”

– from an opinion piece by Annette Pereira, Executive Officer of the Australian Association of Christian Schools, in The Sydney Morning Herald.

See also: Freedom of Religion policy-making debacleSMH.

A Hell of a Difference: How our understanding of Hell affects the Christian life

Posted on October 18, 2018 
Filed under Resources, Theology

From Moore College’s Centre for Christian Living:

“What does the Bible teach us about Hell? Does our view of Hell change our view of God? How should our understanding of Hell influence how we live now?

Hell can be a difficult, awkward subject. It’s easy to talk about why we’re looking forward to Heaven at church morning tea, but there’s likely to be award silence if we try to open a discussion on Hell. Jesus, however, spent a lot of his time talking about Hell, so perhaps we need to think about it and talk about it more.

On the evening of Wednesday 24 October, Paul Williamson will help us to start this discussion.”

Details from Moore College.

‘Avoid cheap grace’ says Domestic Abuse task force

Posted on October 17, 2018 
Filed under Sydney Diocese

“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 ACL Synod Dinner Address

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

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.

The great need of the hour

Posted on October 17, 2018 
Filed under Encouragement, Resources

“I’m confident that the gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is being regularly preached in Sydney Anglican pulpits.

But that is not quite the same as giving adequate, let alone urgent priority to the task of evangelism. How much of the ministry team’s time is spent in relationship with people who are not yet followers of Jesus?

I need to quite deliberately make time to spend with my friends of other faiths and none –  and the same can be true for church members who can just as easily find themselves with few non-believing contacts.”

– There are many helpful takeaways from this article by the Dean of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel. Read the full article at The Australian Church Record.

Ruddock Report (part 3): religious schools and gay teachers

Posted on October 17, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars, Resources

“Following the recent debate about whether religious schools in Australia should be entitled to expel gay students on account of their sexual orientation alone (as to which all seem to be agreed the answer is, No), there is now a push to remove the freedom of religious schools to make staffing decisions on these issues.

The ALP has announced that they want to pursue this issue when amendments relating to students are debated in Parliament. It even seems that some members of the LNP Government are unclear about the issue. …”

– Associate Professor Neil Foster writes at Law and Religion Australia.

Later in the same post, he writes,

“Of course the community at large has now indicated its support for homosexuality in changing the law to allow same sex marriage. But in the course of those debates, it was regularly claimed that allowing same sex couples to marry would not have a wider impact on those who disagreed with this change…”

Read it all.

Canberra-Goulburn Episcopal Election set for 8-10 November

Posted on October 16, 2018 
Filed under News

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).

Archbishop Glenn Davies speaks about the Ruddock Review

Posted on October 16, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars, Sydney Diocese

Here is an excerpt from the Diocese of Sydney 2018 Presidential Address, by Archbishop of Sydney Glenn Davies. Courtesy

Anglican Super moves from AMP to Mercer

Posted on October 16, 2018 
Filed under Australian dioceses

“AMP Limited has lost a key corporate superannuation mandate …

Anglican National Super announced today at the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Sydney that it had appointed the Mercer Super Trust to manage its superannuation fund …

Anglican National Super will transition its $250m superannuation fund to the Mercer Super Trust next year. …”

– Story from Super Review.

‘Gay teacher law changes will have to wait: PM’

Posted on October 16, 2018 
Filed under Culture wars, Sydney Diocese

“The federal parliament will this week remove the power of faith-based schools to discriminate against children on the basis of their sexuality. …”

From SBS. However, note the clip from the Archbishop of Sydney’s Presidential Address in the video file. (Also on page 17 of the printed Printed Presidential Address.)

Related: Hey Fairfax and ABC: Why tell the Truth when an Untruth will do? – commentary from Stephen McAlpine in Perth.

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