Embrace Compassion as the World Rejects Life’s Sanctity — Archbishop Kanishka Raffel writes

“In the past five years, two momentous decisions have been taken by our State Parliament, both under the banner of ‘right to choose’.

The first, the abortion liberalisation in 2019, was a change against which Sydney Anglicans, led by my predecessor Dr Glenn Davies, took a firm stand.

The other was in 2023. On November 28, the Voluntary Assisted Dying Act 2022 (NSW) (the Act) came into force in this State, enabling eligible people to choose to access euthanasia in accordance with the regulations and guidelines stipulated by the Act.

This watershed shift in medical practice and community expectation marks the final abandonment of one of the cornerstones of Western civilisation over the past two millennia: the sanctity of life. …”

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel writes at SydneyAnglicans.net.

The article includes two helpful links.

Field Notes from Kenya

From Anglican Aid in Sydney:

“On Monday 4 March [from 5.30-7pm], Anglican Aid is holding a special event, “Field Notes From Kenya” to hear from Norm Gorrie, our partner from Kenya. All are welcome!

Norm will be sharing the latest updates from Marsabit, Kenya about recovery after the East Africa Hunger Crisis, a clean water project called ‘Generate‘, and the Bible Leadership program there.

We would love to see you and any of your friends there! There is no cost to attend, but please let us know you are coming…”

– Details and links at Anglican Aid’s website.

Evangelism for the terrified

“I don’t know about you, but I find evangelism utterly terrifying.

It didn’t start that way. After becoming a Christian in my late 20s, one of the things God did in my heart immediately was help me see that following Jesus and sharing the news of Jesus were two sides of the same coin.

“How hard could it be?” I thought. Very hard, as it turned out. …”

Dave Jensen begins a regular column in Southern Cross magazine.

Why the “equality” Bill is a threat to religious freedom — and what you can do about it

“The Equality Legislation Amendment (LGBTIQA+) Bill 2023 introduced by Independent MP Alex Greenwich is due to be debated next month and voted on in March.

The bill makes wide-ranging changes to 20 pieces of NSW legislation that will undermine religious freedom and entrench a radical gender ideology in NSW. …”

Bishop Michael Stead writes at SydneyAnglicans.net.

He emphasises,

“Christians need to act immediately to make our opposition to this bill known.

We need to contact our local State members. Most politicians have little idea about the contents – let alone the consequences – of this bill.

It is important they hear our concerns before the bill’s scheduled voting day on March 14.”

This is an important article and deserves to be widely shared.

See also contactyourmp.org.au for background and helpful resources.

Pray for Mothers Union Sydney

Today’s GAFCON Prayer Request:

“The Mothers Union (Sydney) is hosting an event at the Cathedral on February 23: ‘It takes a Village – stronger together in the family of God.’

Pray for a good attendance, online and in-person, and warm fellowship of Word and Spirit.”

See more here.

Hundreds watch as Sydney’s latest ministers make their promises

“On one of the hottest days of February, a congregation of more than 700 gathered to support ordination candidates as they made the final official step to ordained ministry.

Twenty three men and women lined across the Cathedral, and in a first, in the front row was seeing-eye dog Trixie. …”

– Russell Powell provides this encouraging report on today’s ordinations at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney.

Mother’s Union Sydney Annual Seminar 2024

Mothers Union Sydney’s Annual Seminar for 2024 is coming up on Friday 23rd February at St. Andrew’s Cathedral and on livestream.

It’s a free event. Topics:

Lovebound: the beauty of church – Tim Clemens

Being church: life in the family of God – Dani Treweek

Raising children: the church as your village – Jocelyn Loane.

See all the details, register to attend or to watch the livestream (and download the livestream seminar booklet) at the Mothers Union website.

Praying for 2024 Ordinands

“Please pray for these candidates as they prepare for ordination on February 17, 2024 and for taking up positions at the following parishes …”

SydneyAnglicans.net has the list – for your prayers!

Southern Cross magazine February-March 2024

The latest issue of Southern Cross magazine from the Diocese of Sydney is now available – in printed form at churches – and electronically at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Find the latest issue here.

Anglicans honoured in 2024 list

“Anglicans are among the Sydney recipients of Australia Day honours, including two Professors of Medicine for their roles in the COVID-19 response.

The honours are awarded by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Council of the Order of Australia. …”

– Russell Powell has the details at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Photo: Professor Charlotte Hespe AM.

10 books to add to your Summer reading list

From SydneyAnglicans.net:

“The days are long, the breeze is cool, we’ve got a good book and we’re lounging by the pool. Sounds like a perfect summer day to me!

Here’s a short list of great books from the past 12 months that are worth stashing into your suitcase this season, as reviewed by our team and invited guest writers. …”

See the list here.

Remembering Broughton Knox after 30 years

David Broughton Knox, Principal of Moore College 1959–1985, was called home 30 years ago, on January 14th 1994.

Who was Broughton Knox? Take the time to read these two tributes:

Sir Marcus Loane, Archbishop of Sydney 1966 – 1982, preached at his funeral at St. Andrew’s Cathedral:

“There were many strands in Broughton’s complex make-up as husband and father, teacher and friend. But all who knew him know that his life was ruled by a profound faith in God. That life was to span just a shade over seventy seven years from the time of his birth. And they were years crowded with quiet achievement as well as moments of high drama.

It was a life rich in friendship, in world-wide contacts, and in special fields of service. And it has left a mark for God that will endure in and beyond his own generation. …”

And Donald Robinson, Archbishop of Sydney 1982–1993, wrote a tribute for ACL News in 1994:

“It is no doubt too soon to estimate Broughton’s full contribution to the Australian Church. We can note something of its character, its thrust, and its scope, and we can voice our gratitude where we have personally been its beneficiaries.

Broughton was a theological person, whose mind and heart was focussed on the living God as He has made himself known. …”

See also:

Broughton Knox: servant of Christ Jesus – Dr Mark Thompson, May 15, 2017.

The Legacy of David Broughton Knox – October 24th 2018.

Expository Preaching on the wane? — David Cook, August 20th 2020.

Man articles by D B Knox – at Matthias Media’s The Briefing website.

A quote from Dr Knox’s address at the Annual General Meeting of the Anglican Church League in July 1993:

“We mustn’t limit the gospel to the feudalism of the past. Our present territorial boundaries, like a diocese or a parish, are feudal. … where the gospel is needed to be preached, we ought to be preaching it.”

Shortly before he and Ailsa left to help establish George Whitefield College in Cape Town in 1989, he spoke at Moore College on “What is a Christian?” – and prefaced his address with some comments on what he hoped to do in South Africa. (While the Vimeo page has the date as 12/10/1980, the year is almost certainly 1988.)

Thanks to Moore College’s Donald Robinson Library for making this available.

2024 Summer Prayer Diary

“Our summers are filled with camps, conferences and missions. People across greater Sydney are diving deep into God’s word and taking it out to those who need to hear it.

So we’ve put together a 10-day prayer diary featuring some of the great kingdom initiatives that could use our prayer.”

A great resource from Tara Sing at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Photo: Sans Souci swimming baths, Summer 1957.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel’s Christmas sermon 2023

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel shared the good news of the Lord Jesus at the 10:00am service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney this morning.

Speaking of the Lord Jesus, he reminded us, “There is no other Saviour. … No other has provided purification for sins.”

Watch here. (Link should go to the start of the sermon – or see the service from the start here.)

Related:

Two Ways to Live – a very helpful outline of the Christian message.

Kanishka Raffel: We must not lose sight of this simple Christmas message

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has written this editorial which was published in The Daily Telegraph today.

What can we say when people come face to face with evil? How can we make sense of this desperate world? We need a word from God, which is exactly what Christmas is. God has spoken through his Son, Jesus.

Full text below:

The beginning of this year seemed to offer a ‘fresh start’ as we came out of COVID. Yet, as 2023 unfolded, the cost of living rose beyond the means of many, we witnessed with grief and horror, man-made calamity in war and conflict, as well as natural disasters, tragic accidents, and terrible crimes. 

We in Australia were not isolated from the international conflicts. Many have family and friends in war-torn areas and watch helpless as the television news brings the horrors into our lounge rooms. In Gaza, Israeli hostages are held by the terrorists while civilians have been tragically killed or displaced. The salt in mothers’ tears is the same, whether they are in Ukraine, Sudan or the Middle East. In far too many places around the world, children suffer in wars and conflicts not of their own making. 

Neither have we been insulated from rising inflation and the consequent effect on interest rates. The price of grocery items soared as home-owners were hit by five increases in interest rates this year. According to the research by Anglicare in its Rental Affordability Snapshot, the crisis in housing security has deepened for those in low-income households and the most vulnerable family groups. Basic affordable housing is beyond the reach of single parents, or single people, on any of the various welfare payments. The crisis in affordability has been made worse by rental availability plunging to levels not seen for more than a decade.

During COVID, there was a rise in domestic violence and we continue to see cases resulting in the death of women of all ages. I am told that younger women, between the ages of 18 to 34 years, are at greatest risk. These are terrible statistics and I commend the work of services such as 1800 Respect (1800 737 732). No women should have to suffer any form of abuse or coercive control. This is not God’s way for our families.

The introduction, last month, of the Voluntary Assisted Dying laws is a backward step for our society. Although introduced with what many consider to be the strictest protocols, I believe this will create pressure on already under resourced palliative care and diminish our commitment to protecting and valuing every human life. 

We have seen this play out in Canada, a country not unlike our own. While euthanasia was introduced in 2016, initially only for the terminally ill, it now accounts for 4 percent of all deaths in that country. New measures next year will extend the availability of assisted suicide in Canada to situations where a person’s sole medical condition is a mental illness.

The idea that all human life is inherently precious was not generally affirmed in the world into which Jesus Christ was born (although it was a tenet of Judaism). It spread with the growth of early Christianity and finds expression today in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Laws create culture. Practices shape values and community expectations. For two thousand years, Christian teaching has asserted the inestimable value of the individual created in the image of God and precious by virtue of life’s sanctity, not merely life’s utility or quality.  We abandon that principle at our peril. 

The horrors we see overseas, reach deep into our society too, as the Middle East conflict has brought a rise in anti-semitic sentiment. Flag burnings and aggressive verbal incitements to violence against Jewish people have shocked and repulsed our city. The sin of antisemitism has a long and shameful history. It must be repudiated in the strongest terms, so in October, I joined other faith leaders in calling for national unity and harmony so that our multi-cultural, multi-faith community may continue to thrive without hate or violence.

What can we say when people come face to face with evil? How can we make sense of this desperate world? We need a word from God, which is exactly what Christmas is. God has spoken through his Son, Jesus. The Bible describes Jesus as the Word of God – he is God’s word to us in good times and in bad.

When God came into the world he came in the vulnerability of childhood. He was born, amidst whispers of scandal, to an unwed mother. His parents searched fruitlessly for a place to stay. The secular power of the day sought his death and propelled his family to flee their home. He was born, unmistakeably, into this world with all its threats and insecurities, especially for children and the poor.

Yet, Jesus came to bring a word from God. To those who received him he gave the right to become children of God, St John says in the majestic opening to his Gospel. To a world wearied by war, human wickedness, death and decay – Jesus speaks a word of life, light, hope and adoption into God’s family.

Rising costs may have forced a stripped-down Christmas this year yet when you strip away the tinsel you have the simple message of Christmas, so simple a child can believe and yet so substantial that its wonders and glories can fill our hearts and sustain us through life’s challenges. At its heart the message of Christmas is nothing other than Jesus, and nothing better than Jesus.

May I wish you and those you love a very happy Christmas.

____________________________

– See also the Archbishop’s shorter Christmas video.

(With thanks to Russell Powell for the text. Image: SydneyAnglicans.net)

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