Australia loses Indigenous Christian pioneer

Archbishop of Brisbane Sir John Grindrod and Bishop Arthur Malcolm at St. Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney, February 1988. Photo by Ramon Williams Worldwide Photos.

“Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has paid tribute to Australia’s first Indigenous Bishop, Arthur Malcolm, who has passed away at the age of 87. …

His influence and ministry led to the public apology from the Anglican Church to Aboriginal people in 1988.

At St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australian Anglican Bishops led by the Primate, Sir John Grindrod, delivered an apology to Bishop Malcolm, saying

“My brother in Christ: … May I express on behalf of all non-Aboriginal people of our church profound sorrow for the suffering that your people have had to endure, with its violence and hurt. We humbly ask God’s forgiveness; and we seek your forgiveness as a leader of your people, for the actions of the past and those causing hurt at the present time. We have longed to share with your people the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. We confess our endeavour has often fallen short of his love.”

In turn, Bishop Malcolm said

“My brother in Christ: For a long time we have been hurting… but it is through the message of Jesus Christ that we have learned to forgive.  We have received this forgiveness, and now in turn we must also forgive.”

– At, Russell Powell has this story about Bishop Arthur Malcolm.

Top photo: Archbishop of Brisbane Sir John Grindrod and Bishop Arthur Malcolm at St. Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney, February 1988.

Below: The Australian Bishops gathered at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney for the Apology in February 1988.

Both photos by, and with thanks to, Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos.

The Australian Bishops gathered at St. Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney for the Apology in February 1988. Photo: Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos.

Vale Bishop Arthur Malcolm

Archbishop Sir John Grindrod and Bishop Arthur Malcolm at St. Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney by Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos.

News via The Anglican Board of Mission’s Facebook page –

“ABM is sad to report the passing of Bishop Arthur Malcolm. Bishop Arthur was Australia’s first Aboriginal Bishop and an outstanding leader and pastor in the Australian church. Bishop Arthur retired from his episcopal role in 2001 but has continued to inspire and encourage from his home in Yarrabah, North Queensland. ABM expresses our sincere condolences to Aunty Coleen and the entire family.

Bishop Malcolm was born at Yarrabah (Queensland) and began training as a Church Army Officer in Stockton (New South Wales) where he completed a Certificate course in Evangelism in 1959. During his time as a Captain in the Church Army he served at Lake Tyers (Victoria) and Brewarrina (New South Wales). People from Victoria and New South Wales express great affection for their beloved “Captain”.

He returned to Yarrabah in 1974 as Chaplain and was ordained by the Bishop of North Queensland in 1978. As well as ministering to his people at Yarrabah he had responsibility for Anglican people at Palm Island. He was made a Canon of St James’ Cathedral, Townsville in 1984 and consecrated Bishop with special responsibility to Aboriginal people in 1985.

During this time he developed an outstanding leadership amongst Aboriginal people and encouraged them in their education, community life and in the many struggles which Indigenous people in Australia encounter.

He has also been engaged in leadership and pastoral support in the non-Indigenous community and is well respected and admired for his sensitive and reconciling counsel. …”

Read the full post here.

Photo: Archbishop of Brisbane Sir John Grindrod and Bishop Arthur Malcolm at St. Andrew’s Cathedral Sydney, February 1988. – Photo by, and with thanks to, Ramon Williams, Worldwide Photos.

An open letter to the Archbishop of Brisbane

In response to Archbishop Phillip Aspinall’s Address to the Brisbane Synod on 25th June 2022, The Rev. Peter Judge-Mears, the Rector of a parish in the diocese, has written an open letter –

“Dear Archbishop Phillip,

I wrestled hard with how I should respond to your Presidential Address last month. I remain grateful for your gracious invitation to address my concerns with you in person. However, I feel that the very public nature of your comments and the impact they have had on our Diocese demand an equally public response. …”

Read the full letter here (PDF file).

It would be good to pray for all involved.

And read Archbishop Aspinall’s Presidential Address here (PDF file).

Photo: Archbishop of Brisbane Phillip Aspinall.

Bishop of Gippsland: “There is no obstacle” to Same-sex Blessings. Is Brisbane next?

“In his recent Presidential Address to the Diocesan Synod, Bishop Richard Treloar has told his diocese that there is no longer any bar on the blessing of same-sex marriages. …

Having summarised the position, Bishop Treloar then makes his announcement, presenting this as a fait accompli that he has no power as bishop to resist …

Gippsland is the first of what may be many dioceses taking similar steps; simply acting as though the matter is now decided rather than passing the relevant motions at their synod. Next up is the Diocese of Brisbane which begins tonight.”

– David Ould shares the latest from Gippsland and speculates on what might be announced at the Synod of the Diocese of Brisbane.

I contend that twelve bishops did defy the will of the General Synod over human sexuality

“In a recent opinion piece, Matthew Anstey provided an account of the recent debate in the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia over the meaning of marriage.

While this piece largely elaborated the Archbishop of Brisbane’s recent letter to his clergy, it contained such egregious errors of fact and attribution of motive that it calls for a response. …”

– Principal of Moore Theological College (and former ACL President) Dr Mark Thompson writes for ABC Religion and Ethics.

He concludes,

“This General Synod was remarkable for one other thing. It brought to light the remarkable work God is doing among Anglicans across the country. Anglicans with a vision for reaching the nation with the message of salvation, hope and life in Jesus Christ — Anglicans from every diocese in the national church — are joining together. Joyful in the grace they have received and wish to share with others, confident in the teaching of Christ given to us in the Bible, prayerfully dependent upon our heavenly Father, led by the Spirit as they live as disciples of Christ, they see the future as full of opportunity.

The shape of Anglicanism across the country is changing, and I believe that is a very good thing.”

Take the time to read to better understand what happened at General Synod.

Speech in support of General Synod Resolution on Ukraine

The question of the blessing of same-sex relationships was the big news at General Synod, however there were Resolutions on other topics, including this one on Ukraine, which passed unanimously:

General Synod 18 Resolution on Ukraine

That General Synod

(a) deplores the clear and flagrant breach of international law by the Russian government invading Ukraine and also the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been and are being allegedly committed there;

(b) condemns the actions of President Vladimir Putin of Russia in initiating and continuing the war against the democratically elected government of Ukraine and the slaughter and dispossession of the people of Ukraine;

(c) expresses its support and prayers for the people of Ukraine and the extraordinary suffering that they are experiencing in so many ways and assures them of the love and sympathy of this Church for them in their plight;

(d) calls upon our Christian brothers and sisters of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Protestant churches to use their voices and influence to oppose the continued deaths, destruction, displacement and dispossession of the people, the homes and the country of their neighbour, Ukraine and their fellow Christians; and

(e) commends those priests and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church and Russian Protestant churches who have called upon their Church leadership and the Russian state leadership to condemn and desist from this invasion and war.”

(Passed unanimously, special Synod prayer for Ukraine following immediately thereafter.)


The Rev Patrick Cole, House of Clergy, Canberra & Goulburn, gave this speech in support of General Synod Resolution on Ukraine, 13 May 2022.

Mr President, on 24 February Russian armed forces started an unprovoked, premeditated, and violent invasion of Ukraine. We’ve seen massive aggression; indiscriminate attacks on civilians; apparent mass murder of civilian men, women and children; and Russian threats of the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear weapon states.

Reckless destruction of human life; breaches of international law, the laws of war, and humanitarian law.

Barbarism and destruction unparalleled in Europe in kind since the Yugoslav crisis, and in scale since World War 2.

On its independence in 1991, Ukraine inherited one third of the Soviet Union nuclear arsenal. In return for giving up these weapons, and becoming a non-nuclear weapon state, in 1994 Russia, the United States and the UK agreed at treaty level “to respect the independence and territorial sovereignty of Ukraine”, and “refrain from the threat or use of force against Ukraine”. An undertaking flagrantly and unilaterally breached by Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council.

The catastrophic results are not only a huge humanitarian disaster, but an immediate threat to the basic fabric of international order, and – unthinkably – genuinely risk full nuclear world war.

As humans knowing the compassion of Christ, our hearts are torn and outraged as the innocent suffer and are forced to flee, and as others as conscripts are forced to fight and kill.

As Christians, we know Kyiv’s role as the cradle of Orthodox mission outreach to bring the gospel of the Prince of Peace to Russia itself.

As Christians, we grieve the way President Putin has garnered support and spiritual endorsement for this invasion from Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, and from some other churches.

We commend those priests and laity of the Russian Orthodox Church and of other Russian churches in Europe, the US, Canberra, and even Russia itself, as they act in costly courage in publicly condemning the war, and church leaders supporting it.

Sisters and brothers, faced with a broken world that needs Jesus, what do we do?

We pray. Pray that Jesus, the Lord of peace and justice, brings his peace and justice, and as Lord of hosts, turns back the armies and causes war to cease.

We speak. And commend that the Synod now speak to:

Image with thanks to David Ould.

Anglican synod angst

“Mrs Naylon was an observer at the Anglican synod … and described the processes as ‘eye-opening’.

She was impressed by ‘the very strong involvement of laity and clergy in decision-making processes’. …”

– This story from The Catholic Weekly shares a few impressions of General Synod from an outside observer, Margaret Naylon, Executive Officer for the Brisbane Roman Catholic Commission for Ecumenism and Inter-religious Relations.

Photo: David Ould.

Anglican Church is ‘heading for a division’

“The Institute for Spiritual Awareness Director Mark Durie says ‘the Anglican Church is heading for a division’.

‘It’s going to be a slow process, but you’ve got two very different world views I think that will be coming up against each other increasingly in the years ahead,’ he told Sky News host Andrew Bolt.”

– Brief video clip from Sky News Australia.

A perilous moment – with Kanishka Raffel, Richard Condie and Jennifer Hercott

A special edition of The Pastor’s Heart, 15th May 2022 –

“‘A perilous moment.’  – That’s how the Archbishop of Sydney Kanishka Raffel described the situation that the Anglican Church of Australia is in – after an important vote failed to win support of the nation’s bishops at the denomination’s National Synod…

We are speaking first to the Archbishop of Sydney Kanishka Raffel and then to the Gafcon Australia Chair, Bishop Richard Condie of Tasmania and Rev Jennifer Hercott from Queensland.”

Watch or listen here.

Whither The Australian Anglican Church?

“This week the General Synod of the Australian Anglican Church has been debating what its stance is to be on human sexuality. A vote to affirm the church’s traditional position on marriage was strongly supported by clergy and laity but was narrowly rejected by the bishops.

A split is looming, but in this, Australian Anglicans are not unique.

In recent decades, Christian denominations all across the West have been dividing along progressive versus conservative lines. Anglican Churches in Scotland and New Zealand have been impacted by this trend. In North America, denominations affected by splits include the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the American Baptist Churches USA.

The trigger in all these cases has been whether the church will endorse same-sex unions. However, the fault lines run deeper than attitudes to human sexuality. …”

Melbourne Pastor and Academic The Rev. Dr Mark Durie looks at what is happening in the Anglican Church of Australia and where it may be headed.

He argues that ‘Anglican progressives’ have misread the theological landscape.

For some very helpful context, here’s a chart of Diocesan Representation at General Synods 1962-2022. Click the image for a two-page PDF file.

Table initially complied by Robert Tong, updated by Daniel Glynn 6 May 2022.

(Fun fact: The Diocese of St. Arnaud, mentioned in the table, was in the Mallee and Wimmera regions of north-west Victoria. It merged with the Diocese of Bendigo in 1976.)

General Synod Wrap-Up – The Anglicans Who Don’t Want to be Anglican?

“Friday saw day 5 of General Synod as we wrapped things up and then made our way to the airport and began the long trip home to our various dioceses.

I’m sure each of us will have had our own thoughts as the plane lifted into the early evening sky. Is it too melodramatic to suggest that as a beautiful sunset washed across the horizon we had also witnessed the sunset of the Anglican Church of Australia?

I wouldn’t go so far myself. But one burning question would not leave me be:

Why did some Anglicans not want to be Anglican?

One debate on the last morning crystallised much of what we had experienced over the week. …”

David Ould shares his final report on General Synod 2022.

Anglican Church on brink of revolt, says Primate

“The ‘green light’ for same-sex marriages to be blessed by Anglican priests could cause boycotts of national church meetings and parishes to split, Primate Geoff Smith warned, as the fallout from this week’s General Synod showdown deepened. …”

Story by Jamie Walker in The Australian. (Subscription.)

General Synod calls on MPs to oppose euthanasia

“The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia has reaffirmed its principled opposition to euthanasia or physician assisted suicide.

The strong statement came as the NSW Parliament considers a Bill to allow for such a practice. …”

Story from Russell Powell at

(Photo: James Levingston via

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