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Minister’s Letter – Synod Update

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Synod

Archbishop Glenn Davies, in his Presidential address opening the 2016 Synod. Photo by sydneyanglicans.net.

Friends, I and your other Synod reps are over half way through serving the cause of Christ through decision-making at Synod (our Anglican ‘parliament’) for the local Anglican churches in and around Sydney and Wollongong. Our other reps are Greg Engel and Ian McKensey. Sue Radkovic, with her regional Anglicare ESL perspective, is representing Port Kembla-Warrawong, who did not have someone local to send.

We’ve considered church legislation, for example, updating the ordinance which oversees Anglican schools. And we’ve considered motions to do with gambling reform (pokies, sports-betting and online); looking forward to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 (celebrating the great truths of grace alone, Christ alone, faith alone, and Scripture alone); addressing domestic violence, welcoming our Muslim neighbours (while noting differences in belief); on euthanasia; and on our involvement with the Australian Syrian-Iraqi additional refugee intake (noting opportunities for churches from the 202 visa sub-class). It would be fascinating to explore this last opportunity…

Detailed information about such Synod matters can be tracked down via the Synod link on the diocesan website, and headline reports at sydneyanglicans.net, or you can await next month’s edition of the diocesan Southern Cross newspaper. Otherwise, it there is something that catches your attention, simply ask me or one of the other Synod reps.

Some of you may be interested to read or listen to Archbishop Glenn Davies’ Presidential address to Synod, where he raised the strength of our laity (voluntary church members) for mission, the increasing demands on clergy and church workers, and the place of Anglicans in Australian society.

One issue that is repeatedly in the media is to do with the churches’ involvement in the marriage definition debate. Here’s the start of text of a longer motion I moved to remind people of what Scripture says and what the settled understanding has been across the Anglican communion in Australia, not withstanding some disappointing departures by bishops and others… It was passed without dissent as far as I could hear.

Synod trusts the teaching of Scripture about marriage, above all the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said of marriage that –

‘From the beginning of creation God made them male and female. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” So they are no longer two but one. What therefore God has joined together, let no one separate.’ [Mark 10:6-9]

Synod also recalls with gratitude the teaching of our Prayer Books that one of marriage’s key purposes is that in it –

“… a new family is established in accordance with God’s purpose, so that children may be born and nurtured in secure and loving care, for their wellbeing and instruction, and for the good order of society, to the glory of God.” [An Australian Prayer Book, p561…

The final draft of our Anglican booklet on the topic, What God has joined Together, was released. If you’d like a link, email sandygrant@mac.com. It will soon be in print.

Sandy Grant,
Senior Minister

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