Southern Cross OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2022

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PRINT POST APPROVED 100021441 ISSN 2207-0648 SouthernCross Indigenous ministry in the Diocese • Chappo book Quilts for Lismore • New CityAlight album See the harvest EYES ARE OPENED AT SYNOD IN THE GREENFIELDS THE NEWS MAGAZINE FOR SYDNEY ANGLICANS OCTOBER NOVEMBER 2022

Do you see the crowds?

In his first Presidential Address to Synod, Archbishop Kanishka Raffel made a stirring and emotional appeal for visionary planning in the greenfields areas of Greater Sydney.

For the first time in more than a century, the Synod address was given away from inner Sydney at Oran Park Anglican College, in the town centre at Oran Park in Sydney’s southwest. It came as Synod considered a proposal to extend for a further 10 years the contribution parishes make to funding land purchases in new areas .

“I have invited you to Oran Park in southwestern Sydney so that you can stand in this part

of our Diocese and see the new communities that are coming into existence as we meet,” the Archbishop said. He, along with hundreds of Synod members, took part in bus tours of the surrounding areas, including the Nancy Bird Walton Airport site and the proposed city of Bradfield.

“I hope you looked out the windows across the rolling green paddocks and empty fields at the places that will become suburbs inhabited by tens of thousands of new residents.”

The Archbishop reeled off statistic after statistic about urban growth. “The city of Bradfield where the new airport will be located will have a

population of 300,000 in 2036… and as of today, the closest churches are 20 kilometres away at Hoxton Park, Leppington, Oran Park or Glenmore Park. That would be like having one church between Parramatta and Chatswood, or Miranda and Marrickville, or Hurstville and Cabramatta.”


Archbishop Raffel then read from Matthew 9: “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest,

therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field’.

“Members of Synod, can you see the crowds? Can you see in your mind’s eye, the ranks of houses upon houses that are going to be built in the places where today we have seen rolling green paddocks? And in those homes, people with hungry hearts. Can you see the crowds?”

It was a refrain he repeated at several points during the hourlong address, which was greeted with a standing ovation.

“Of course, I am not merely talking about signing people up to Anglican activities,” he said. “We want them to meet Jesus, to hear his gospel, to repent of their sins and come to him, to

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Park: The Rev Stuart Starr from New Life Anglican Church talks to Synod members on their tour of the greenfields. Kurien from Hope Anglican Russell Powell
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know his forgiveness, welcome adoption and indwelling. Things that will not happen unless they engage with Jesus in his gospel and the Spirit convicts and converts them. But I am saying, if we are to do this in newgrowth areas, we must plan to be present and we must invest in establishing churches and other centres of ministry.”

The Archbishop said the matter was urgent and foreshadowed Synod discussion of a “diocesanwide, ministry-directed property strategy to serve the mission in the whole Diocese”.

He said this had been the unanimous suggestion of nine organisations with responsibility for property interests in the life of our Diocese, including Anglicare, the Schools Corporation and Moore College as well as the Growth Corporation and the

Property Trust. “This Synod has the opportunity over the next 12 months to express its mind about how consideration can be given to the use of local assets for local mission, as well as for mission in the whole Diocese where resources exceed expected requirements locally.”

After the tours, Synod members were served lunch by a group of volunteers from local churches such as New Life Anglican in Oran Park, Grace Anglican Churches in Camden Valley, Cobbitty Anglican Church, Narellan Anglican Church and Hope Anglican Church, Leppington. The Rev Stuart Starr, of New Life Anglican Church, preached at the Synod service.

The Archbishop said the population of the new areas was increasingly multicultural. “As the Lord asks the disciples

to pray for workers for the harvest, will you pray for many more Subcontinental, Asian and Middle-Eastern background workers to be raised up from our churches?”

He left Synod members with a final challenge.

“Crowds of people from all cultures... will come to Sydney, people who will move into the greenfields, crowds of young people hungry for love and meaning and purpose. Will these suburbs be built on aspiration and consumption and nothing more? Can we not offer a gospel of new life, hope, light and love? Must we not do so?”


Within days, Synod had answered the challenge and endorsed a three-way approach to the urgent need for ministry in new areas of Sydney.

“Ten years ago we saw the crowds in the distance – it was the collective decision of the Diocese,” said the Rev Dr Raj Gupta, in proposing an extension of the contribution that began in 2012. “Since that time, every three years we have renewed that decision because we kept seeing the crowds.

“Working together, it has been so powerful – God has used our collective effects and we have bought sites in Rossmore, Bringelly, Riverstone, Marsden Park, Leppington and Vincentia.”

Dr Gupta said the Synod members’ tour of the greenfields had been an eye-opener. “We saw that Sydney is changing… not by bracket creep but deliberate policy. Government planning talks about three cities – the Eastern Harbour City, the Central River City [Parramatta] and the Western Sydney Parkland City.”

In support, the Bishop of South Sydney, Michael Stead, said the Anglican Growth Corporation already had seven sites, including Menangle Park, Werrington and Box Hill, where land could be bought. He said the extension of the contribution from parishes could allow borrowing to accelerate the purchases.

There were calls for the levy to be higher, but it was argued that money was also needed for buildings as “all we’ll do with this levy is get the raw land”. The bill passed easily the next day.

Burgeoning township: An aerial view of Oran Park with the church at the centre.
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Bishop Stead also introduced a motion, which he described as a new policy for the Standing Committee, on surplus ministry assets that arise from a parish amalgamation. Currently, if parishes amalgamate, all the assets stay in that area. He quoted statistics that, by 2056, 50 per cent of Sydney’s population will live west of Parramatta, but currently 70 per cent of the Diocese’s church property assets are to its east.

“There’s an obvious mismatch between where our churches are located and where they will be needed in the future,” Bishop Stead said. “If we keep going

has ceased in a church,” he said. “If your church is still a ministry site, it will have no effect on you.”

The third way to boost ministry resources in the new areas came in a motion moved by the Bishop of South Western Sydney, Peter

“This motion is about thinking as a family about mission, thinking ‘We’ and not ‘Me’,” Bishop Lin said. He then called for Synod members and their churches to give feedback to the Standing Committee to develop a diocesan property strategy

– specifically, feedback about population changes and how to identify surplus assets.

“If... if... if... selling property might be an option,” Bishop Lin said carefully, “we do not want to sell what we might regret later.”

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Synod members chat over lunch in the grounds of Oran Park Anglican College
1. P Pray that God would help us meet the challenges ahead of us. 2. M Make a donation to NCNC via the adjacent QR 3. T Talk to your Parish Council about allocating some of your mission budget to NCNC. 4. Provide your i input to the ministry led Diocesan buildings and property strategy. Email comments to For more information | For more information on the Growth Corporation Urban Renewal Program visit the Growth Corporation web page (see below) What you can do to help us build the future SouthernCross October November 2022 5

Growth and joy at Jamberoo

Beaming from ear to ear, the Rev Jodie McNeill spoke on the first afternoon of Synod about ministry growth in his provisional parish of Jamberoo as he asked members to approve its reclassification as a full parish.

“It is with great joy that I share with you the work of the Lord in the parish of Jamberoo,” he said.

Mr McNeill spoke of the history of the South Coast church, which began in 1842 with a congregation in the village school. The Church of the Resurrection was opened in 1867 but, he said, while the regional population grew, Jamberoo remained relatively small. In 1976 the church became a provisional parish.

“Ten years ago, we had around a dozen people at our traditional service, and around a dozen people at our contemporary service,” he said.

“Most parishioners were in

their 70s or 80s, and every parishioner but one was aged over 50. Our wardens were determined to have one last shot at revitalising ministry in the only evangelical church in the village. So, they sold the run-down rectory and bought a modern residence, and they met with the bishop to consider options for a partnership with another parish.”

The parish Jamberoo partnered with was Oak Flats where, at the time, Mr McNeill was the rector. A new Saturday night service was launched at Jamberoo, more people began to attend, ministries grew and everyone was delighted to see God at work.

After three years of the partnership it was clear a fulltime minister was required to keep the parish growing, but another $1000 a week was needed. Members were willing to take up the challenge, and so was Mr McNeill. At the end of

2018, he finished up at Oak Flats and became the full-time rector of Jamberoo.

“The Lord has been very, very kind to us,” he said. “Within two months, a few local Christian families decided to move over to our church so that they could join with us in reaching the village and valley. And by that first Easter, we met budget.

“In these recent years, we’ve found that most Christians who move into Jamberoo now choose to join our church.

“In the past, they would have driven out of Jamberoo to join a church in a neighbouring parish, but now often the opposite is true... and whilst the pandemic has been hard, it’s been in these past two years that we’ve experienced the most growth. That includes unbelievers who have come to know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, repented and believed the gospel.”

Members are deeply involved

in the community and the parish’s intergenerational approach – keeping kids in church for the first half of every service, including all ages in leading, prayers and Bible reading, and always having a meal together afterwards – is very appealing to newcomers.

Mr McNeill said that the partnership between Oak Flats and Jamberoo, and everyone’s desire to see Christ proclaimed faithfully, has meant that “an unviable parish has returned to full health”.

“This has been an extraordinary journey for the parish,” he added. “During the past decade we’ve been prayerful, faithful and hospitable. And in his overwhelming kindness the Lord has brought the growth. Not only have believers been strengthened for mission, but adults and children have been converted to Christ. And there’s nothing greater, is there?”

Family time: Church members gather to celebrate the birthdays of rector the Rev Jodie McNeill (centre) and his wife Mandy. Judy Adamson
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Historic appointments “a blessing”

Two new appointments have made history in the Diocese as Briony Bounds has become the new Diocesan Secretary and Catherine Rich the Registrar –the first women in both roles.

Mrs Bounds was appointed by the Standing Committee to replace Daniel Glynn, who has held the role for five years.

“It has been my privilege to serve as Diocesan Secretary and Secretary of the Synod... I give thanks to God for the opportunity to serve and the people I have served alongside,” Mr Glynn said. “However, after prayerful consideration, I have determined it is time to resign both of these offices… I will take leadership of a new team within SDS focused upon providing enhanced support to parishes.”

Mrs Bounds took over her roles at the end of Synod and during the session was warmly welcomed.

Dr Robert Tong, moving the motion for her election as Synod Secretary, said, “Our God has been very kind in providing diocesan and Synod secretaries endowed with qualities, gifts and experience required to meet the challenges of the time.

“When we needed finance and organisation skills, we had Wilfred Hutchinson... succeeded by Warren Gotley [1973-1997]; then we needed legal skills, so came Mark Payne, [who] was

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followed by Rob Wicks. The electronic information age gave us the incomparable Daniel Glynn; now the all-encompassing reach of corporate governance into all our activities leads us thankfully to Mrs Briony Bounds.”

Mrs Bounds has extensive experience as a professional company secretary. Before joining Sydney Diocesan Services in 2018 she worked at the Royal Australian College of Physicians, the Australian

Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority and Sydney Water. In seconding the motion, Dr Laurie Scandrett pondered: “What is the collective noun for a group of diocesan secretaries? It has to be a ‘blessing”, for we are truly blessed by them.”

Mrs Catherine Rich also took up her role after Synod. The Registrar is responsible for the records of those licensed for ministry as well as other officeholders and parish information. Mrs Rich has worked for the Diocese for 28 years and has been Deputy Registrar since 1997. She is also Registrar of the Province of NSW.

“Mrs Rich has a wealth of experience and an encyclopaedic knowledge of our parishes,” Archbishop Raffel said. “I’m delighted to appoint her as Registrar. We have been blessed by her work.” SC

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The first female Diocesan Secretary and Registrar. Welcomed into their roles: Briony Bounds and Catherine Rich.
SouthernCross October November 2022 7

The need for Indigenous ministry

“Why do we need Aboriginal ministry? I’ve been asked that so many times,” said the Rev Michael Duckett, pastor of Macarthur Indigenous Church and chairman of the Sydney Anglican Indigenous People’s Ministry Committee, who spoke to Synod about the report of a task force into Indigenous ministry in the Diocese.

A recent painting by Mr Duckett, which he asked Archbishop Raffel to hold up for Synod members to see, showed the geographical Diocese with just three circles to represent Aboriginal congregations: one at Tregear, another at Nowra – which covers the coast right down to Ulladulla – and Mr Duckett’s church.

He spoke briefly of broken families, communities and multigenerational trauma, and how entering a church can feel like going to court for some Indigenous people, adding:

“When I preach sometimes [they] say, ‘Brother, the moment you start preaching you look like a white man’... they just go into this traumatised state of hearing a white man preach at them, and wanting to convert them and change them”.

This was why ministries by Aboriginal people tailored


Sydney Synod gave its first female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander member a standing ovation on September 13 following her speech about a First Nations voice in Australia. Larissa Minniecon (above), a lay member from Scarred Tree Indigenous Ministries at St John’s, Glebe, moved a motion that committed Synod members to learning more – and educating other Anglicans – about the Uluru Statement

to Aboriginal people were so important, he said.

To that end, a ministry established by the Sydney Anglican Indigenous People’s Ministry Committee in a bush setting at Wedderburn had created just such an environment.

“We’ve doubled in our number

of church attenders even though we’re 12 [kilometres] out of town,” Mr Duckett said. “People have to go further to get to church. But they come... because they get to sit in God’s creation and hear the birds sing, and we light a fire up and they can relax.”

In an environment where his people can feel safe, he

of the Heart. The motion also welcomed the conversation about establishing a First Nations voice in the Australian Constitution and encouraged church members to give “generous consideration to the case to vote ‘Yes’” to the upcoming referendum question on the issue.

“Fifty-five years ago, I would not be allowed to stand here before you... I was not considered a part of the population of Australia,” Ms Minniecon said. “That is the power of the 1967 Referendum... that I am a citizen.

“Today, I stand before you as an Australian citizen – it says it on my passport and birth certificate, but I am also a proud Kabi Kabi, Gureng Gureng, Australian South Sea Islander and Torres Strait Islander woman.”

She reminded members that Australia was “the only Commonwealth country to not have a treaty with its Indigenous peoples – not to have an Indigenous voice enshrined in the Constitution.

“Synod, I ask this question: will you have this courageous conversation with us?” The motion passed to further applause.

“Jesus grafts us together as family”: Michael Duckett gives the Archbishop a multi-timbered boomerang cross. Judy Adamson
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Synod also agreed to a motion by the Dean of Sydney, Sandy Grant, aimed at “giving every parish a concrete step” it could take towards recognition of local Indigenous people.

“There has been a varied, often sorry, engagement of colonial settlers, and later arrivals, with the original inhabitants of this land,” he said. “One of the fundamental Christian virtues is truth-telling. Honesty is enshrined in the Ten Commandments – and that should include honesty about our land’s history.”

He noted the importance of identifying the Indigenous history of an area, adding that “it’s simply respectful of past and present inhabitants of this land to make an honest attempt at identifying the Indigenous history of the area in which your parish is situated.

“I think it’s also a matter of common human courtesy in our community, and often of justice, to identify any current Indigenous community, ministry or other significant matters of Indigenous concern in your area to take into account.”

Ways a church could do this included:

• talking to members of the congregation;

• contacting the local land council or other Aboriginal community group;

• research in the local studies section of the library.

Another important element was recognition, and Dean Grant urged members to try going beyond a “formulaic” welcome to

explained, they could then be touched by God’s love and begin to heal.

“I’ve seen men who hate white people – who’ve been traumatised and abused by them their whole lives – but when God comes into their lives, their hearts are changed. They know, ‘This is my brother now’, and they’ll sit with them. Only God can change the heart of a person... to love their neighbour as God has said.”

In seconding the motion, Tony Willis spoke of the report’s recommendations to seek further reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, encourage more partnerships between parishes and Indigenous ministries and develop an ongoing action plan to support and increase Indigenous ministry in the Diocese.

“Members of Synod... we have a biblical and moral responsibility to seek reconciliation and restoration with those whom we have dispossessed, either directly or indirectly, through the benefits that we have all gained,” Mr Willis said.

“To empower others, we must surrender the power that we

hold over them, pointing only to the cross of Jesus – for that is the power of God, the wisdom of God.

“We will take the next step after tonight in determining what this looks like for us personally, and for our churches and organisations. Our Indigenous committee will work with the bishops, regions and parishes to develop gospel partnerships to encourage, support and resource ministry with our First Nation peoples into the future.”

Added Mr Duckett: “The key is just walking, talking, loving, respecting. It’s not rocket science, and I can assure you that when God puts a burden on your heart for Aboriginal people you will be challenged – you will be blessed.

“All I ask is that you’d be willing to be praying for Aboriginal ministry because we need to make a difference. We need to make a change. We need to show the state of NSW what it means to be reconciled to God.”

The motion about the report’s recommendations was enthusiastically adopted by the Synod. SC

country. Churches could use a range of different recognition statements, or perhaps a prayer, or create a welcome sign in a number of languages spoken locally and include the Indigenous language among them.

“We know we can have a go at doing this recognition thing better,” he said. “I’ve found a polite and listening discussion with Aboriginal people – both Christians or other local Aboriginal leaders – often finds other acceptable ways of expression.”

The Rev Michael Duckett, who seconded the motion, noted that when people went travelling, they usually went out of their way to find out about the history and people of the place they were visiting.

“Funny thing is, we’ll do that when we travel overseas but we don’t do it in our own country.” he said. “Few will bother to think about the people of this land. Few will bother to think, ‘What’s the history of this place’?

“If Aboriginal people come to a church and see an Aboriginal flag, or a little plaque on the wall, or a painting, do you know what it says to Aboriginal people? ‘They must recognise us. They must have some care for us.’”

Added Dean Grant: “[It is] a small step to take, helpful to greater understanding of each other, and sometimes even to reconciliation in relationships.”


Synod passed a number of bills and ordinances last month with regard to standards in ministry and reportable allegations.

An update in the Ministry Standards Ordinance provides for, among other things, the option of an early resolution process between parties before a complaint formally begins.

A new piece of legislation was also passed – the Reportable Allegations and Convictions Ordinance – which deals with an update to the NSW Children’s Guardian Act. The Act now includes “a reportable conduct scheme for monitoring how certain organisations (including religious bodies) investigate and report on certain allegations and convictions made against their employees, volunteers and certain contractors who provide services to children”.

Another important item to note is that the Director of Professional Standards has now become the Director of Safe Ministry. As a result, the Professional Standards Unit will change its name to the Office of the Director of Safe Ministry.


Synod responded to the House of Bishops’ failure to support Jesus’ teaching on marriage at General Synod, noting “with godly grief” the deep breach of fellowship it exposed in the Anglican Church of Australia. “This Synod recognises that there are contexts, both national and international, where our Archbishop and the assistant bishops may withdraw from fellowship,” said Dr Robert Tong in summarising the motion that was passed. “Further, Synod recommends collegiate action with other orthodox bishops to respond to this state of broken fellowship.”

Synod hears from Indigenous members.
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God’s mission and ours

At Mission Hour, Synod members heard from church leaders across the world – and those who support them – about how God is at work to win people for Christ.

The Rev Al Lukabyo from St James’, Croydon, who has a long association with Madagascar, spoke of extraordinary growth in the number of churches and believers, despite a crippling famine and dreadful poverty.

In a video Patrice Lamazava, a catechist and evangelist in the Diocese of Toamasina, said courses and trainers paid for by Sydney’s Work Outside the Diocese Committee “helped us to study the Bible and to grow in Christ... I cannot thank you enough – I really can’t. May God bless you.”

The principal of St Patrick’s College in the Diocese of Toliara, the Rev Berthier Lainirina, also shared how the Spirit was drawing many to Jesus in the midst of severe famine.

“In partnership with you we provided food to thousands of families,” he said, “and by God’s grace... they saw the love of Christ through what we do. We baptised 1129 new Christians within one week. Praise God!”

Mr Lukabyo said prayers for rain had been answered and, through Anglican Aid, seeds were being distributed so people could grow crops. In addition,

wells were being built, students sponsored for theological study and emergency relief provided where needed. The PTC is also being translated into Malagasy.

The greatest need, however, is for leaders. In Toamasina alone there are nearly 500 churches and only 16 presbyters. “One parish has 90 churches within it!” Mr Lukabyo said.

“Of this you may be sure: churches in the Western world are not queueing up to partner with the Anglican Church in Madagascar. The locals find our fellowship and generosity genuinely amazing and moving.

“If you want your parish to be involved in a work that God is evidently blessing, support the Centre for Global Mission, MegaVoice or Anglican Aid to deepen this partnership.”


The Bishop for International Relations, Malcolm Richards, interviewed the Rev Wilston Trin, who is spending two years studying for an MA at Moore College on a bursary provided by the Sydney Diocese.

The Rev Trin is from the Diocese of Kuching, which covers the Malaysian province of Sarawak as well as Brunei.

He told Synod members that the diocese was established about 170 years ago when missionaries arrived from

England. The worship tradition has traditionally been Anglo Catholic, but “over the years there has been growth of gospel mission and evangelical ministry in the diocese”.

Bishop Richards said the plan is for the Rev Trin to become one of Kuching’s key theological educators in a re-established Bible college.


The next speaker was the Rev Canon Dr Bill Salier from the GAFCON Theological Education Network or G-TEN. He described it as “a network of colleges and seminaries that serve Anglican churches around the world”.

It is estimated that more than 90 per cent of the pastors leading congregations in the majority world have little or no theological training.

“Many colleges are underresourced and students are often poor in terms of financial resources and educational background,” Dr Salier said. “The needs are great, but the opportunities are extraordinary as people are converted and, daily, churches are planted. God is powerfully at work.”

He added that, as part of the next GAFCON conference in Kigali, Rwanda next year, the G-TEN hoped many principals, teachers and bishops could attend to “encourage our partnership together, form new

relationships, learn from one another and plan together.

“We need help for members to attend... We are looking for individuals and churches willing to sponsor [their] attendance through conference bursaries.

“We cannot overestimate the importance of helping our brothers and sisters to attend this gathering for the encouragement they will receive, knowing that they do not labour alone.”

LANGO, UGANDA Mission Hour concluded with a video from Bishop Dr Alfred Olwa in northern Uganda, who spoke of the “huge challenges [and] social disruption” his region has faced as a result of the violent, family-shattering Lord’s Resistance Army, cattle rustlers and now COVID.

“Twenty-thousand girls [in the region] got pregnant during the COVID lockdowns,” he said. “What will happen to these children who will be born if they are not given good education and foundation?”

Although poverty continues to be an issue, he said that after “all this disrupted growth and the development of faith and a normal life for everyone... we thank God that we are on the way of recovering.

“Our burden is to do mission work and make sure that the gospel is taken to other parts of the country.” SC

“Thank you”: Patrice Lamazava (left) and the Rev Berthier Lainirina. Recovering community: Women from the Ugandan Diocese of Lango. Mission Hour at Synod. Judy Adamson
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Bathurst support continues

Synod will continue to provide $250,000 a year to the Diocese of Bathurst until at least 2030.

The Bishop of Bathurst, Mark Calder – also a former Sydney rector – spoke to members on the third day of meetings to inform them how the support from Sydney has been encouraging growth in his diocese.

“By God’s grace, we have welcomed 14 new ministers into the diocese in 2½ years –graduates either of SMBC or Moore College – and we expect to make maybe another five more appointments to parishes without ministers before the end of the year,” he said.

“These appointments are already making a difference on the ground. Parishes are growing. New Bible study groups are being formed. In one parish, a Sunday children’s

ministry has started, where there had been none on a Sunday for 30 years!”

Parishes in Sydney are partnering with parishes in the Bathurst diocese through prayer, short-term mission and contributions to staff costs, and Bush Church Aid is involved in partnerships at the diocesan cathedral and in the parishes of Cobar, Cowra, West Wyalong and Mudgee.

Bishop Calder also introduced

a short video where church members and ministers in the region spoke with joy and thanks about the impact of Sydney’s support.

The Rev Andrew Thornhill from Coonabarabran said:

“We’re so grateful for the gift from Sydney, and for their generosity, that enables a godly bishop”, adding: “I think people’s hearts are being captured – or recaptured – by Jesus.”

Bec Choi, an assistant in the

parish of Blayney, said, “We have only just begun. Our diocese is only really waking up... and there is just so much more to be done. And we need time. Because rebuilding gospel ministry from the ground up just takes a lot of time”.

In a motion put forward by the Bishop of South Sydney, Michael Stead, and lay member Dr Karin Sowada, Sydney voted unanimously to give them that time.

The initial six-year support package for Bathurst is in its fourth year, but it will now continue past Bishop Calder’s anticipated retirement in 2027.

Bishop Calder told members that, “In the kindness of God, we feel we are turning a corner. Our finances may be distressed, but our people are not. Rather, we are rejoicing in your kindness and our Lord’s provision”. SC

“So grateful”: Bec Choi and the Rev Andrew Thornhill. Synod hears from the Bishop of Bathurst, Mark Calder.
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New mission initiative for the Global Anglican future

“This conference couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Bishop Richard Condie, the chairman of GAFCON Australia, as he looked out over hundreds of Anglican leaders at the National Convention Centre in Canberra in August. “We are at an important moment in the history of the Anglican Church in Australia.”

The 350 Anglicans from Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu had gathered for the Global Anglican Future (GAFCON Australasia) Conference.

Bishop Condie said one of the goals for the conference and GAFCON leadership was to “get on with the task of reaching Australia for the gospel through Anglican churches”.

To that end he formally announced, on the first day of meeting, the formation of the Diocese of the Southern Cross. It was a response, he said, to an emergency in the Anglican Church.

“You know as well as I do that there is an emergency,” he said to those at the conference. “When some of our bishops have failed to affirm basic biblical teachings [on marriage and sexual ethics] at the recent General Synod – when 12 of our bishops failed to uphold

what Christians have taught for millennia – you know there is an emergency.”

But Bishop Condie said the issue was wider than marriage and sexuality. “The issue for us is the authority of the Bible.”

The Diocese of the Southern Cross is a new structure for Anglicans in Australia who can no longer sit under the authority of their bishop.

The initial bishop of the diocese will be one of Australia’s most experienced church leaders, Bishop Glenn Davies, who was formerly the Archbishop of Sydney.

The diocese was described as a new ecclesial, extra-provincial structure for Australia.

Just 24 hours before the conference began, the first church of the new diocese, Southern Cross Anglican Beenleigh and Logan, met under the leadership of the Rev Peter Palmer.

This month another minister in Queensland – the Rev Peter Judge-Mears, rector of St John’s, Wishart – officially joins the diocese.

“The Diocese of the Southern Cross is thoroughly Anglican,” Bishop Condie said, which drew applause from the audience. He then announced the commissioning of Bishop Davies

at the end of the conference on Thursday, which drew further acclamation.

“We have been led by the faithful example of Anglicans in the US, in Canada, in Brazil and in New Zealand,” he added.

“We long to see all Australians come to know the love of Christ. This love of Christ cannot be known unless our witness is faithful and clear.”


The diocese has been recognised by the international GAFCON movement, which embraces the majority of the world’s worshipping Anglicans. The Diocese of the Southern Cross, however, is not for those in Sydney.

Said Archbishop Kanishka Raffel: “The Diocese of the Southern Cross has been established for those elsewhere

who have left their diocese because they cannot in good conscience accept the authority of those who have departed from the teaching of Christ,

“The Diocese of Sydney is an integral part of the Anglican Church of Australia and we have no intention of leaving.”

He added: “Parishes, schools and organisations in the Diocese of Sydney are not affected by this development and there will be no change to our structures. We are committed to the reform of the Anglican Church of Australia from within our existing ecclesial structures, including the General Synod.

“It is a sadness that this new diocese has become necessary but I extend the hand of fellowship to the Diocese of the Southern Cross and may God bless Bishop Davies and his work.”

Authority of the Bible: The chairman of GAFCON Australia, Bishop Richard Condie, interviews the Rev Peter Palmer (far left) and the Rev Peter Judge-Mears. New role: Bishop Glenn Davies is now Bishop of the Southern Cross diocese. Russell Powell
12 SouthernCross October November 2022

Orthodox bishops reaffirm biblical teaching at ‘partial’ Lambeth

The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches has reaffirmed a landmark agreement on marriage and sexuality, calling for a “resetting” of the Anglican Communion back to its biblical roots. The statement came at the end of a meeting in Lambeth called by the English Archbishop Justin Welby.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has traditionally called a meeting of Anglican bishops from around the world every 10 years. However, the last full meeting of bishops was in 1998, when the Lambeth Conference passed what is known as Resolution 1.10.

The resolution made clear that “in view of the teaching of Scripture”, Christian –therefore Anglican – doctrine is “faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union”, and “abstinence is right for those not called to marriage”.

Soon after that meeting, North American provinces, including the US Episcopal Church, flouted the agreement.

Since then, biblically orthodox bishops and leaders representing the majority of Anglicans in the world have joined the Global Anglican Future movement (GAFCON) and the Global South (GSFA). They attended the Global Anglican Future Conference in 2008 in Jerusalem instead of the gathering in Lambeth that year. A biblically orthodox province, the Anglican Church in North America, was also established to serve the US and Canada.

The Lambeth Conference this year, delayed by COVID, was only a partial meeting as a number of key leaders did not attend, including 10 Australian archbishops and bishops and the

primates of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda. Global South leaders who did attend made it clear they were attending to call the Anglican Communion to biblical faithfulness.

Archbishop Justin Badi Arama, Primate of South Sudan and chairman of the GSFA, declared that one of the aims of the group was to “spur on the faithful in the Communion to get the gospel out into the world”.

During the conference, Archbishop Welby wrote to delegates to “to affirm that the validity of the resolution passed at the Lambeth Conference 1998, 1:10 is not in doubt and that whole resolution is still in existence”. However, he said there would be no disciplinary action against provinces that had disregarded the agreement.

The chairman of the Global Anglican Future Conference, Archbishop Foley Beach, said that Lambeth 2022 had been like recent Anglican events, which “routinely mixed heresy and orthodoxy; treating both positions as equally valid.

“The clear teaching of Scripture is treated as one of many valid options with no accountability for those provinces that depart from the Bible. I wish I could be writing to you and sharing that the recent Lambeth Conference was different, but it was not”.

Archbishop Beach pointed to

retired Archbishop Mouneer Anis who, he said, eloquently pinpointed the problem: “The Anglican Communion cannot deal with the brokenness of the world if she herself is broken”.

In his regular GAFCON chairman’s letter, Archbishop Beach commended Archbishop Justin Badi Arama as well as Archbishop James Wong (Indian Ocean) who “admirably led the

orthodox cause for biblical theology and morality in the midst of a situation in which the balance of institutional power was stacked heavily against them. It was also helpful that they reminded the conference that we have not agreed to walk together no matter how many times the Archbishop of Canterbury says otherwise”.

The GSFA said 125 bishops from 21 provinces, representing more than 7 million Anglicans at the conference, had signed up to reaffirm the original Lambeth resolution on biblical teaching. The provinces of Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda – whose primates and bishops did not attend the conference – account for up to 30 million Anglicans in the Communion. SC

“Spur on the faithful”: Archbishop Justin Badi and Archbishop James Wong “Get the gospel out into the world”, say Global South bishops.
Whether you want to prepare for pastoral ministry or cross-cultural mission, or simply want to know God and his word better, come to the SMBC Info Morning and learn about your flexible study options.
SouthernCross October November 2022 13

Ministry to the heart of Bankstown

St Paul’s, Bankstown and South West Evangelical Church (SWEC) have launched a combined Sunday service to better engage their congregations while remaining separate church entities.

The partnership grew out of the churches’ passion for reaching the people of Bankstown with the gospel, recognising each had different strengths and challenges.

While St Paul’s was struggling with reaching a critical mass, its congregation depleted after two years of lockdowns, SWEC was in desperate need of a space to meet – particularly to support its young families. The resulting partnership means both churches have begun to thrive.

“We’re driving a stake for the gospel in a key suburb, in the middle of southwest Sydney,” says the Rev John Bartik, the rector of Bankstown. Senior pastor of SWEC, the Rev Peter Ko, agrees, saying: “We’ve been given a fresh sense of church, especially post-COVID”.

The idea of partnering on a

Sunday came about after a local youth ministry began to meet in the St Paul’s hall.

This ministry, which combines two Anglican churches, two Vietnamese churches and SWEC, blossomed in its new location, consolidating the idea that collaboration could work. The subsequent need for SWEC to launch a morning congregation brought it and Bankstown to consider a combined service.


Both pastors are clear that the partnership works because of their unified faith and desire to reach Bankstown.

“SWEC had a really strong gospel attitude – their priority the whole time was to see the gospel go out to the suburb,” says Mr Bartik, emphasising that neither side was focused on concern for its own “brand”.

He adds: “The shared theological heritage from Moore College and SMBC has meant that there haven’t been any differences of theological alignment or concepts of mission. SWEC is well aware of

the Sydney Anglican Diocese, its history and manner of administration, and is happy to accommodate us.”

Despite the unity in faith and gospel attitude, there were lots of elements to work through – from welcoming, follow-up and finances to how the service would run.

Eventually, the churches decided on a six-month trial period, which began on Easter Sunday.

In the months leading up to the launch, the congregations were given the opportunity to communicate, ask questions and vote about whether they wanted to go ahead with the partnership.

“There was a nervousness because of the unknowns around merging, but not quite merging,” says Lisa Truong, a SWEC member who attends the new combined combination. “It felt unique in that we’re not one church, we’re sharing a service together.

“There’s been no room for pride – neither church has held tightly to the way we’ve always done things.”

One of the key things both congregations had to work out is what it means to be a member of the various churches.

Says Mr Ko: “We’re not protective of our people, but we are making sure they don’t fall through the cracks”.


So far the trial has almost unanimous support, with each group benefiting from the other.

“It has been fantastic – getting to know St Paul’s, serving them and being served by them,” Mr Ko says.

While there are still differences and areas each church has had to compromise on, they believe the benefits far outweigh the cost.

Lisa Truong says that, from a mission perspective, the combined service is exciting: “We’ve got a much better vision of what it looks like to have a church that is multiethnic and multigenerational.

“Someone from the local community could walk in and see someone that looks like them.”

Together in gospel work: Members of St Paul’s, Bankstown and the South West Evangelical Church share morning tea after their first combined service.
SC 14 SouthernCross October November 2022

A tree grows in Leppington

In a new twist on the traditional “turning of the sod”, the establishment of Leppington Anglican College was marked by a tree-planting ceremony in August at the nearby Leppington Anglican Church.

The college will open next year with more than 150 students from pre-Kindergarten to Year 7. It is expected to become a P-12 college of 1300 students in the next 10 years.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel joined the chairman of the Anglican Schools Corporation, Philip Bell, for the ceremony, in which soil was symbolically placed on a potted olive tree to be planted in the grounds of the school.

Mrs Naomi Wilkins, the principal of Oran Park Anglican College – of which Leppington is a campus – also joined senior students in the ceremony.

Speaking to prospective parents and students in the audience, Michael Newton, the foundation principal of Leppington Anglican College, said: “As we look forward to opening our school next year, the tree we plant today, we hope, is symbolic of a growing college and community, and of seeing our students flourish in every way in the ensuing years.

“I am so grateful for your willingness to come on this journey, your faith to enrol, when… all we had was a block of

dirt, and for your enthusiasm to partner with us in our college’s vision to build a dynamic learning community, inspiring every member to find life to the fullest in Christ.”

The ceremony was followed by a family barbecue lunch and fun day. As the first college buildings took shape only a few hundred metres away, Archbishop Raffel spoke from John 10 about the school slogan, “Life to the fullest”.

“Here at Leppington Anglican College we want to be able to share this story of God’s love, of Jesus coming into the world, and not only to share the story but to give it three dimensions in the kind of community that is

established here,” he said.

“We are so pleased to commit this venture and Mike and the team to the Lord from whom all good things come. It is our prayer that as this school gathers, with children and their families, carers, grandparents – as this school seeks to serve this community – it will be a place where people come to understand what it means to have life to the fullest.” SC

See the school taking shape at

Plant a school: Archbishop Raffel added soil to an olive tree for the college grounds along with Oran Park principal Naomi Wilkins and student Kimberly Thorson. Sydney’s newest Anglican college puts down roots in the southwest. • 9173 9894 • • Estate planning • Estate disputes • Elder abuse cases • Cross border issues Partnering with you to avoid and resolve disputes through wise planning. YOUR BOUTIQUE CHRISTIAN LAW FIRM Daniel Grace Funerals As God is my judge, Jesus Christ is my redeemer. Partnering with your family and church community in saying thank you. Servicing the southern, western and greater western suburbs. Bradley Sinclair 0418 447 753 SouthernCross October November 2022 15

Chappo speaks through history

The sound of Chappo’s voice telling one of his trademark anecdotes reverberated around St Andrew’s Cathedral once more at the launch of Sydney’s One Special Evangelist

The subtitle of this monograph by the Rev Dr Baden Stace is “John C. Chapman and the Shaping of Anglican Evangelicalism and Australian Religious Life, 1968-2001” –which is the kind of phrase that the evangelist, who died in 2012, would probably have joked about as being too grandiloquent.

But Dr Stace’s statistics confirm his description of John Chapman as Australia’s “mostcapped” preacher.

“John preached more times, in more places, to larger combined audiences, than any Australian before him,” he said. “He preached an estimated 7500 sermons across five continents to audiences of three quarters of a million people. Few [other]

Australian preachers can lay claim to such a legacy. I argue, none.”

Many in the audience at the launch didn’t need convincing, as they had either been direct beneficiaries of Chappo’s friendship and influence or, for the younger Christians watching on, his legacy. Dr Stace, once an itinerant evangelist himself in the Department of Evangelism that Chappo pioneered, had the

benefit of both. He hopes people will draw lessons from the late evangelist’s faithfulness.

“The speed of change in which John’s generation ministered was breathless,” he said. “At the time, they felt acutely that the 1960s were a difficult and barren time for gospel witness. But interestingly, by the 1980s, John and many others began to speak of a new harvest being reaped.

“This is instructive for our time.

It reminds us that we can trust God to ordain the circumstances for his kingdom to grow at every point.”

The trust, too, was in the word of God to save, as Chappo was quoted in an often-heard refrain: “We need to recapture a confidence in the power and effectiveness of the gospel. The gospel is not weak. It is a word of power of which we need not be ashamed”.

Archbishop Raffel told the crowd: “This is the first book I have launched as Archbishop of Sydney and I am absolutely thrilled that it is about Chappo. We have to learn, from Chappo and his day, something about the primacy and the sufficiency of the gospel if we are to have an adequate, Christ-honouring, mission-advancing ministry.” SC

Sydney’s One Special Evangelist is published by Wipf and Stock as part of its Australian College of Theology Monograph series.

Pakistan flood emergency hits children

Unprecedented flooding has hit Pakistan, with monsoon rainfall 10 times heavier than usual flooding 30 per cent of the country.

More than 1400 people have been killed, with children making up more than a third of the death toll.

Pakistan’s disaster agency says it may take up to six months for the flooding to recede, and in the meantime the population is under threat from water-borne diseases such as cholera and dengue fever.

The Archbishop of Sydney’s Anglican Aid is working to provide relief with local partners including the Church of Pakistan

and One2Another in Punjab.

“Almost all of the villages we work with have been flooded to a certain extent,” says Paul Stock, who has been working in an outreach program in the Diocese of Hyderabad for 35 years.

He adds: “In just one village there are 15 families; five of the families are believers. The flooding has put them back for years. They must rebuild their homes… many of them also have children that are getting sick so there’s a lot of need here.

“We want to show them the love of God, the love of Christ, and we are so thankful for people being willing to partner with us.” SC

Our “most capped” preacher: The Rev Dr Baden Stace on John Chapman. Nothing left: A Pakistani woman sits on the broken remnants of her home. A new book chronicles the influence of Sydney’s special evangelist.
16 SouthernCross October November 2022

The Diocese mourns

Thousands of people filed through St Andrew’s Cathedral to sign condolence books as the Diocese mourned the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. From early on the morning of September 9 the public also placed floral tributes at the Cathedral door, which were then taken to Government House.

The Cathedral bells tolled 96 times on the day of Her Majesty’s passing, one for each year of her life. Bells also rang out across the city, including nearby at St Philip’s, Church Hill. Services at the Cathedral, including prayers for the Royal Family and King Charles III, were held, culminating in a memorial service on September

21 attended by the Governor of NSW, the Hon Margaret Beazley.

“The death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth is a profound sadness, the depth of which is difficult to express,” Archbishop Raffel said. “We have delighted in her visits to this nation and to our churches. She has been for many a tower of strength in times of adversity and a model of compassion, faith and selflessness in the service of humanity.

“But we do not grieve as those without hope (1 Thess 4:13). We give heartfelt thanks to God for her long reign marked by dignity, grace and unstinting humble service, motivated by enduring Christian faith.” SC

The invitation that only Jesus gives

His Leading the Way ministry reaches 10 million people every week, and Dr Michael Youssef (right) has been proclaiming the gospel on radio and television for more than 20 years, “but when it is all boiled down,” he says, “I am a pastor at heart”.

“There are thousands of people coming to Christ from the 195 countries we reach electronically – the vast majority of whom I will not meet till I get to heaven. I try to meet as many as I am physically able. The reason I travel extensively to speak in person around the world is because I do not want people to think I am just a TV preacher.”

Dr Youssef is visiting Australia next month, and Leading The Way: Finding True Peace will be held live in Sydney at the International Convention Centre on Saturday, November 26.

As well as Dr Youssef’s address, music will be provided

by Grammy Award-winning Christian artist and former Third Day lead singer Mac Powell. The theme is “Come unto me… and I will give you rest”.

“Only Jesus could have issued an invitation,” Dr Youssef told Southern Cross. “No founder of a religion, no philosophical theory, not even a scientific guru could issue such an invitation.

“Australia experienced a very difficult couple of years with hard lockdowns and severe social isolation. Statistics have shown that the mental,

emotional and psychological toll on all Australians has been devastating. A message of absolute hope in Christ alone is what all of humanity needs right now and Australians are no exception.”

He believes the time is right for such an event.

“Due to the internet and social media, falsehoods and false teachings are spreading faster than ever before. People are more thoroughly confused than at any time in my lifetime.

“I am so thankful for so many

faithful pastors and teachers in Australia. I am a product of these faithful teachers and preachers at Moore College. But since God entrusted us with an extensive media apparatus I want to be a faithful steward in the use of these platforms to preach the truth of the gospel to the masses.”

As the huge task of organising the night and its follow-up gets underway, Dr Youssef’s words will resonate with Sydney Anglicans.

“I am hoping and praying that not a single believer comes alone to this event, but invites a seeker or an inquirer with them. The gospel has the power to impact both Christians and nonChristians. Remember this: the power is in the gospel itself, not in the preacher, even though it needs to be proclaimed even by inadequate human beings such as this one!” SC

Recognition: Christopher Wilcoxen signs the Cathedral’s condolence book. Thanks and sorrow after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
SouthernCross October November 2022 17

Handmade with love

Like most of us, the members of St Peter’s, Cremorne watched in horror at the devastation caused by repeated flooding in northern NSW earlier this year.

The desire to help those who had lost everything gave one of the congregation members, Noreen Bernie, an idea: instead of giving the leftover fabric from the parish’s quilting group to a charity as usual, why not cut it up into squares and “make it into quilts for people wanting to get their lives back together”?

Thus began Quilts for Crisis – a group of 10 busy sewers, quilters and first-time learners, who have already made two dozen quilts and delivered them to a local MP in Lismore to give to those who need them most.

“We wanted to make what we’re doing as simple as possible so people who aren’t necessarily quilters could feel free to get involved,” Mrs Bernie says.

“People have been interested in trying it. Some people started sewing who have never done it before, others like to work on their [home] machine... and bring it back. It’s not a regimented thing, and we work with the people who are helping us.

“When we started, we had more people sewing quilts than we had quilting them, so we had a bit of a bottleneck... But some of the people who do the quilting have been training up others who’ve never quilted before, so we’re flowing along now!”

The design for each quilt is reached by consensus – the fabric is cut into 8½-inch (21½ centimetre) squares, which are laid on top of a sheet on the floor and moved around until the group agrees on a design.

The squares are then numbered (and photographed) in their pattern, and members either get sewing while the group is together or take a packet of squares home to work on.

The St Peter’s congregation has encouraged the venture by donating cotton, extra fabric and funds to pay for the wadding that fills each quilt.

Cremorne’s rector, the Rev Tim St Quintin, is delighted by the initiative. “It’s been a great encouragement to me that

people in the congregation saw a need and an opportunity to use the skills they have to help people,” he says.

“They’re consciously looking to demonstrate God’s love to people in need through the particular gifts he’s given to all those involved.

“They especially wanted to give something handmade. They could have just given money to buy off-the-shelf products but for people who’ve lost everything, to have something handmade specifically for them is very special.”

Mrs Bernie agrees. “A quilt is a tactile thing you can hang on to,” she says. “It’s not just something that can warm you, it can give you comfort.

“The Lismore floods motivated a lot of people to help because it was just so heartbreaking… but there are other groups who need support – women escaping domestic violence is another area of concern – so we plan to make many more quilts.” SC

Ready to go: Quilts are laid over the pews for the congregation to view. Motivated to help: Members of Quilts for Crisis prepare the squares for another quilt. Cremorne congregation creates quilts for those in need. Judy Adamson
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North West by northwest

The Anglican Diocese of North West Australia, which covers the majority of the state of Western Australia, has chosen the Rev Darrell Parker as its new bishop.

Bishop-elect Parker (right) replaces Bishop Gary Nelson, who had oversight of the largest geographical diocese in the Anglican Church of Australia from 2012 until his retirement a few months ago.

“We thank God for the election of [the] Rev Darrell Parker,” said a statement from the diocese. “He has extensive experience in regional and remote ministry for 24 years, including 18 years as archdeacon, and ministry among Indigenous Australians. Darrell is firmly committed to the gospel and proclaiming Christ.”

The bishop-elect is the senior minister of St Paul’s, West Tamworth in the northwestern NSW diocese of Armidale.

The two-day election Synod gathered in Geraldton on the last weekend of August to make its choice.

The Diocese of North West Australia encompasses about two million square kilometres, with churches stretching north from Dongara – four hours’ drive north of Perth – to Wyndham in the northeastern Kimberley region, and east to the borders of South Australia

and the Northern Territory.

As well as long-term residents, ministries serve 6500 seafarers each month through the Mission to Seafarers, which is based at the ports of Geraldton, Port Hedland and Dampier.

Miners and transient workers make up a sizeable proportion of the diocese’s population and there is also a significant ministry to local Indigenous people, especially in the

Kimberley and Pilbara regions.

“I love rural ministry,” said Mr Palmer, who grew up on a farm in southern NSW. “It’s being part of people’s lives on a day-byday, week-by-week basis, even if they don’t come to church.

“You become part of the community in ways you cannot in a big city, and these relationships bring lots of opportunities for evangelism.”

The diocese is also not unfamiliar territory, as his wife Elizabeth is the daughter of a former Bishop of North West Australia, Tony Nichols.

“I’m looking forward to being part of a very committed gospel team in the North West that is committed to engaging the world with the truth,” Mr Palmer said. He will be consecrated in Sydney on February 3, 2023 and will begin in the role in midFebruary. SC

Australia’s newest bishop elected. New bishop for NWA: The Rev Darrell Parker with his wife Elizabeth.
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People of Sydney, do you see the crowds?

As part of “Synod in the Greenfields”, K anish K a R affel gave his first Presidential Address as Archbishop in southwestern Sydney, at Oran Park Anglican College. This is an edited form of that address.

It is an immense privilege for me to serve you in this way.

I am deeply grateful for the many kindnesses that have been shown to me and Cailey since assuming this role, and for the many people who pray for us regularly. As I come to this first Presidential Address, I wish to pay tribute to my predecessor Bishop Glenn Davies and his wife, Di, for their unstinting service of the gospel in the life of the Diocese over many years.

It was the greatest honour for me to be presented for consecration by Bishop Peter Jensen and Bishop Harry Goodhew, who so graciously consented to do so. I, along with us all, remain indebted to the Lord for the fruitful ministry and godly example of these two faithful and vigorously evangelical servants of the Lord.

Throughout the pandemic, we have been thankful for those who serve – supermarket workers, cleaners, nurses, medical staff, transport workers and teachers. I want to especially acknowledge our senior ministers, who have been faithful, courageous and creative, generous, sacrificial and devoted in their efforts to care for their congregations, serve their community and lead ministry teams while caring for their own families. I thank them all.

I’m grateful to all who served over this time in our churches, schools and organisations, as chaplains in hospitals, prisons and aged care, especially those responsible for providing leadership that gave attention to God and his word and led people to pray, trust and serve. The achievement of our ministries at this time may never be recorded in history books, but it is written in eternity


When [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt 9:36-38).

Do you see the crowds? I have invited you to Oran Park so you could stand in this part of our Diocese and see new communities coming into existence. I hope you drove along the perimeter of

the Nancy Bird Walton Airport site – which takes about half an hour! – and I hope you looked across the rolling green paddocks and empty fields at the places that will become suburbs inhabited by tens of thousands of new residents.

By 2062 there will be nearly 3.5 million more people in Sydney. The current population of the council area that includes Leppington and Cobbitty is about 38,000 people. In 10 years that number is projected to be 70,000, and in 15 years the population will be more than 90,000. Those numbers are almost identical for Marsden Park in the northwest corridor.

Members of Synod, can you see the crowds building homes and planning to move to this area in the next five and 10 and 20 years? Can you see, in your mind’s eye, the ranks of houses built in places where today there are rolling green paddocks? And, in those homes, people with hungry hearts. Can you see the crowds?

When Jesus travelled through Galilee, Matthew tells us he taught in their synagogues, proclaimed the good news and healed the sick. He had compassion on the crowds because they were “harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd”. We are told two things about Jesus’ engagement with the crowds. He ministered with authority. And he ministered with compassion. Jesus is the man of consummate authority. The only man in history to exercise authority with unalloyed integrity. That alone is good news.

But in addition to this, Jesus is the man of compassion. He cares deeply. He is stirred inwardly and viscerally at the sight of the people. He cares for the helpless and the hopeless. He cares for the weary and worn. He cares for the sick – sin-sick, sick in body, sick in mind. He cares for shepherdless sheep.


Do you see the crowds? We are Sydney Anglicans. From the arrival of Richard Johnson with the First Fleet, we have said we will have concern for the people of this land to hear the gospel of the kingdom. As Sydney has expanded, previous generations have embraced the opportunity and shouldered the responsibility

20 SouthernCross October November 2022

for ensuring Anglican ministry would be provided in new growth areas. Will we do it in our era?

We have taken steps already. Oran Park was first identified by Archbishop Donald Robinson in 1989 as an area requiring a future church. It wasn’t until 20 years later that we could purchase land, and 2015 before the doors of the church opened. Today the Rev Stuart Starr leads a team of seven full- and part-time staff. A congregation of about 300 gathers each Sunday. This school stands on land purchased in the first decade of this century. It began in 2012 with 13 staff – today there are 95 staff and 800 students. Anglicare opened stage one of the Oran Park retirement village in 2013 and the Barry Marsh House Aged Care unit last year.

The opportunity to partner in ministry in the same district is a way of contributing to the growth of new communities while also providing a platform for people to meet Christians employed in those places, and be helped by our work in this way.

There is an urgency for us to respond to the gospel challenge before us. As Bishop Peter Lin pointed out in his address to the last Synod meeting, if we do not get in “on the ground” before development plans are settled, we will either be locked out for a long time or need to find considerably more money to enter later.

Bishop Lin drew our attention to the fact that, by 2056, 50 per cent of the population of Greater Sydney will live west of Parramatta. But, as of today, 70 per cent of our property assets are located east of Parramatta. Can we deploy our existing assets in a way that best serves our mission in the whole Diocese? Can we build into our ministry strategy a deliberate consideration of how local parish assets can serve the mission of Jesus across the Diocese?

Not all the growth is in new areas! The Anglican Church Growth Corporation is working with a number of parishes in urban renewal, or so-called “brownfields” areas. These pilot projects aim to see development of existing property assets in ways that contribute to the local community, providing services of various kinds – child care, education, disability services – while also allowing the parish to enhance church and ministry property and

generate income, some of which will be used to fund new work in greenfield areas. I am not speaking of either/or, but both/and.

Standing Committee is putting before you a policy to also allow consideration of whether surplus assets may be held in trust for the establishment of new work in new areas. Are there parishes willing to make a sacrifice of what is familiar and consoling for the sake of future generations in yet-to-be-built suburbs, so that they will not be left without an Anglican gospel witness and community? We are not simply liquidating assets – we are reinvesting resources into areas where the needs and opportunities are great and resources are few.

The people who will benefit from these decisions cannot speak on their own behalf. We must be the people who respond to the opportunity of the greenfields because there are no people there yet to make these decisions or invest resources or plan for the future. That privilege and responsibility belongs to us and this Synod enables us to make a start. Do you see the crowds?

So far I have drawn your attention to the resource challenge. But our ministry is not primarily about land and buildings. The gospel is a summons to people – made in God’s image, redeemable by his Son, precious in his sight – and the church is the community of God’s people. The ministry challenge before us is to bring the gospel to the people God has brought and will bring to Sydney.


Last month marked 50 years since my family migrated to Australia. My father and mother, of Sri Lankan birth but at that time living in Canada, moved to Sydney with me and my two sisters. There was a Sri Lankan community here at the time, but it was relatively small and dispersed. In 1972, the only place you could buy Sri Lankan spices was a shop in Bondi run by a Sri Lankan man of Jewish background whose name was Moses.

When my father died of a heart attack six months after we arrived, my mother wasn’t able to take out a home loan because she was a single mother. In 1979, a boy joined my high school class who

SouthernCross October November 2022 21

had recently lived in India where his parents were missionaries. By the time we were in third year at university, we had a conversation about the gospel and he gave me John’s Gospel to read. When I did, God in his great mercy saved me and made me his own.

After Australia and England, the Census reveals India is our third-highest country of birth, followed by China and NZ. India has overtaken China as the country from which most migrants have come to Australia, surpassing the UK and followed by the Philippines and Vietnam. Four of the top five countries sending migrants to Australia are Asian. It is also projected that the majority of greenfields-area residents will be of Indian, Chinese or Middle Eastern background. Already, in Leppington, 30 per cent of residents are of Indian background; in Oran Park it’s 20 per cent.

Many churches have changed their demographic profile in line with the suburbs where they are located, but the NCLS reveals that while a third of Greater Sydney residents were born in a non-English speaking country, only about half as many Sydney Anglicans were.

Welcoming people of culturally diverse backgrounds requires a generous, gospel-driven focus to reach out in thoughtful, kind and patient ways. In many places, this is happening. People have been willing to welcome newcomers, to forgo the familiar and embrace the gifts and experience newcomers bring. They have often found themselves wonderfully blessed in doing so.

As the Lord asks the disciples to pray for harvest workers, will you pray for many more Subcontinental, Asian and Middle-Eastern background workers to be raised up from our churches? Will you support the cross-cultural evangelists employed by Evangelism and New Churches? There are numerous ethnic congregations in our Diocese – Nepalese at Liverpool, Sudanese at Quakers Hill, Liberian at Whalan, Assyrian and Arabic congregations at Bossley Park and 40 Chinese congregations and ministries throughout the diocese. What a blessing this is!

I migrated to Australia and was found by Jesus. How I long for this blessing to come to many, many more of those who have come “across the seas”. Do you see the crowds?


We began rightly by acknowledging the traditional custodians of these lands and waterways from time immemorial – the Dharawal people. Across our Diocese we meet and serve on the traditional lands of the Kuring-gai in the north, the Eora, Dharawal and Yuin nations on the coast and Illawarra, and the Dharug and Gundungurra nations to the west and southwest. I’m glad to acknowledge the original custodians, their elders past and present, and to thank them for their wisdom, stewardship and their hospitality. And I greet any Indigenous people here today. How glad and grateful we are to have you with us.

The opposite of acknowledge is dismiss, deny, disrespect. This is the experience of countless Indigenous people, and they have suffered in this way from us as much as anyone. The impacts of dispossession and prejudice are by no means only in the past, but in the past our church was often an instrument of the State. Perhaps there was an intent for good, sometimes we were the best of a bad

bunch, some undoubtedly represented Christ and his gospel with courage and integrity, but often there was cruelty and wrongdoing. For more than two centuries the legal fiction of Terra Nullius meant we did not officially acknowledge Aboriginal people at all. But for us, as Sydney Anglicans, there is much reason why we should acknowledge the first peoples of this land we now share.

Survivors of the policies of forced removal of children, the Stolen Generations, are among us, as are their children and grandchildren. This is not ancient history, it is present-day experience, and it calls for present-day responses. The Doctrine Commission very helpfully addresses the kind of responses that might apply between individuals, at church level and the level of the Diocese. These are conversation starters, and I hope you and many others will decide to have this conversation among yourselves in your churches, as we will at diocesan level.

We have slowly taken small steps on the road to genuine friendship, mutual understanding, respect and partnership in the gospel with Indigenous brothers and sisters. It was a great joy to ordain Michael Duckett in February this year. He has been the pastor of Macarthur Indigenous Church for 14 years and also serves as chairman of the Sydney Anglican Indigenous Peoples’ Ministry Committee.

I had the opportunity to spend a few hours with Michael at the Wedderburn property purchased to facilitate the ministry of Macarthur Indigenous Church earlier this year. It is harder to get to than the church in Campbelltown but that hasn’t stopped ministry growth, especially through welcoming Indigenous men into a space that they feel is theirs in which Michael is able to open the word, offer hospitality, pray with men about their lives and struggles and see the gospel take root. We’d like to do Wedderburn again, a couple of times! Do you see the crowds?


There are about 18,000 children and youth in our churches every week and nearly 40,000 students taught the gospel by chaplains and Christian teachers in our schools. Only a fraction of those in our schools are also in our churches, so the vast majority of young people in our schools are from unchurched backgrounds.

This explains the need for distinctive patterns of ministry in schools and churches. I praise God for the 1900 Anglican SRE teachers who teach the stories of Jesus in 1200 Government schools across the Diocese each week. They are heroes of the faith. I’m encouraged to hear of senior ministers and heads of school reaching out to one another, seeking to build mutually strengthening ministry partnerships.

The social research coming out of the pandemic confirms our fears that mental health outcomes for our young people are devastating, and family stability is under huge pressure. We must acknowledge that parents raising their children in the knowledge and instruction of the Lord, and churches and schools seeking to assist them in that privileged and sacred task, are grappling with our vastly changed social context.

Once, the vision of the good life as we find it in the Bible was essentially endorsed and approved by the wider culture, only

... there is much reason why we should acknowledge the first peoples of this land. ”
22 SouthernCross October November 2022

perhaps with less intensity. Today, the cultural milieu is not only distinct from what we might call a biblical worldview, it is also hostile at points to the biblical vision.

The discipling of children is urgent and more necessary and challenging than it ever has been, and it will take a partnership of families, churches and schools to make it happen. Ministry to our young people is vital – and fruitful! I hope you will join me in thanking God for the work of Youthworks College in training youth ministers – the only college worldwide devoted to this task alone – and for Youthworks’ ministry support and training team, who are building local church capacity for effective youth and children’s ministry.

Over the first phase of the pandemic every local church assisted by Youthworks experienced growth. This may very well have happened in other churches, too – I don’t doubt it. We mustn’t lose heart or focus when young people in Sydney are desperate for the good news of the God who knows them, loves them and is for them, who will not abandon or banish them but sent his Son into the world for their sakes.


In May, General Synod received the report of the National Family Violence Task Force (chaired by the Rev Tracey Lauersen from Gippsland), whose members included Dr Karin Sowada and Dean Sandy Grant. The headline finding was that Anglicans were as likely or more likely than people in the general population to have experienced Intimate Partner Violence. This did not come as a surprise to clergy, 75 per cent of whom, nationally, reported that they had assisted parishioners experiencing domestic abuse. The Sydney Diocese began to engage with this issue in 2015 when we established the Domestic Violence Task Force.

Since then, significant progress has been made in our understanding of and response to domestic abuse. After listening to survivors and identifying key themes and experiences, this Synod, in 2018, adopted possibly the first diocesan Domestic Abuse Policy in Australia. Our work has also resulted in enhanced training – including through the Professional Standards Unit, Moore College, Ministry Training & Development, Youthworks and Anglicare – to ensure best practice for those in training for ministry.

In 2017, compulsory training for all clergy and lay workers was conducted through the Faithfulness in Service conference. We have online and print resources, which I have been gratified to see on display in many churches I have visited. The six-hour online training course, KNOW Domestic Abuse, is a vital and important resource available to all clergy and lay leaders. In coming months an updated version will be released and I commend it to you.

Anglicare employs a full-time family and domestic violence advisor, Lynda Dunstan, and the Synod maintains a Domestic Violence Monitoring Committee so we can continue to respond to need and develop our capacity in providing support to people experiencing IPV, and training for those in positions of leadership.

We have defended and advocated for biblical teaching on the nature of marriage. I want to say as clearly as I can in this, my first Presidential Address, that there is nothing in Scripture that

justifies, excuses or permits any kind of abusive or controlling behaviour by a husband towards his wife or, as does occur in far fewer cases, the other way around. The family violence survey found that, across church traditions, most clergy identified that the misuse of Scripture could be an element in the perpetrator’s abusive behaviour – and that misunderstanding of Scripture often meant victims remained in unsafe situations out of a mistaken sense of duty to God.

We must recognise that carelessness in teaching on subjects including the nature and purpose of marriage, the “roles” of husbands and wives and the place of forgiveness, among others, have contributed to some people’s experience of domestic abuse.

We must grapple with the fact that some perpetrators are members of our churches and sometimes church leaders. This is not acceptable. It does not honour God or uphold God’s plan for marriage. We must do everything we can to support and protect women and children suffering at the hands of husbands and fathers and ensure their safety, and we must do everything we can to help perpetrators acknowledge the reality and depth of their wrongdoing, repent and, we pray, be transformed by the Lord.


The General Synod had the opportunity in May to affirm the teaching of Christ in relation to marriage, which has always been the doctrine of our Church and reflected in our marriage liturgy. Although affirmed by a majority of the Synod in the House of Clergy and the House of Laity, the statement failed to receive a majority of votes in the House of Bishops. It was a moment that resulted in audible grief across the Synod floor, with small groups spontaneously gathering to pray as we all processed this failure by the majority in the House of Bishops.

The House of Bishops is made up of the 23 diocesan bishops plus the Indigenous bishop. I am the only Sydney bishop to vote in this house. Our regional bishops, like all assistant bishops, vote in the house of clergy not the House of Bishops.

The following day, a petition signed by 123 Synod members, more than half of those in attendance, was presented to the Synod.

It read, in part: the petitioners humbly pray that Synod commits to praying that all Members of the House of Bishops would clearly affirm and be united in their support for the teaching of Christ concerning marriage and the principles of marriage reflected in the Book of Common Prayer. Since then several dioceses have announced they will offer blessings of marriages contracted under the Commonwealth law, regardless of the sex of the parties.

For Australian dioceses to proceed in this way inevitably means the “tear in the fabric of the communion” identified by the primates of the Anglican Communion meeting in 2003 has now manifested itself in Australia. I urge you to continue to pray in the terms of the petition presented to General Synod. I covet your prayers for the national bishops’ meeting in October. Please pray for our Primate, Archbishop Geoffrey Smith, who has convened the meeting.

In response to such departures from the doctrine of our Church, a congregation in Brisbane decided to leave its diocese, surrendering all its property and assets. This congregation of

“ We must grapple with the fact that some perpetrators [of abuse] are members of our churches.
SouthernCross October November 2022 23

lifelong Anglicans, still pastored by their rector, have joined the Diocese of the Southern Cross, an extra-provincial diocese that is not part of the Anglican Church of Australia but is in fellowship with the primates of the GACFON Council. The bishop of this new diocese is the former Archbishop of Sydney, the Rt Rev Dr Glenn Davies, who has put the pastoral care of ordinary Anglicans above his own comfort and a quiet retirement.

The Diocese of Sydney has not split from the Anglican Church of Australia. There are no plans for us to leave. We will not do so. Nor have we provided any funding to the Diocese of the Southern Cross. On the contrary, we financially support the national Church by more than $500,000 a year, almost twice as much as any other Australian diocese. But I am glad to extend the hand of fellowship to Anglicans, wherever they may be, who seek to be faithful to the Scriptures and our Anglican formularies, and in doing so find themselves unable to accept the leadership of their local Anglican structure.

The Diocese of the Southern Cross is a pastoral response to the painful reality of division over irreconcilable visions of the shape of the life of obedience. Our commitment is to the prayerful and humble study of the Scriptures in fellowship with others who are willing to do the same.

Undoubtedly, one of the dimensions of the pain these conversations produce is that experienced by LGBTIQ people who listen, either from within our church or outside. We affirm without hesitation that all people, without exception, are made in God’s image and precious in his sight. We rejoice to affirm that as bearers of the image of God, all are equally to be treated with respect, dignity and honour. Inasmuch as carelessness in these conversations injure, offend or distress LGBTIQ people or their loved ones, I am deeply sorry.

People who experience attraction to people of the same sex, or identify as LGBTIQ, are members of our families, members of our churches and of this Synod, members of our communities, our colleagues, neighbours, friends and loved ones. What we want is for all people to know the deep, deep love of Jesus.

For those who know it already, you know that love makes all the difference in our lives, and is constantly reshaping and reordering our loves, our priorities, our way of thinking about and being in the world. This includes countless numbers of men and women who experience attraction to the same sex, who model lives of joyful, fruitful, relationally rich and gladly obedient discipleship. We honour you.


Jesus says to his disciples, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest field”. In the next chapter, he sends the Twelve in answer to their own prayers and, in Luke 10, he sends the Seventy Two. How the Lord has answered the prayers of the first disciples to pray for workers for the harvest since that time!

Do you see the crowds? Crowds of people from all cultures who will come to Sydney, who will move into the greenfields, crowds of young people hungry for love and meaning and purpose. Can we not offer a gospel of new life, hope, light and love? Must we not do so?

Prophetic silence?

An idea I sometimes hear from the pulpit or read in books is that there was a prophetic silence of 400 years before the birth of Jesus.

The story runs something like this: God brought the kingdom of Judah, ruled by the Davidic dynasty, to an end, because of its covenant unfaithfulness. God exiled the people to distant Babylonia, but a few generations later, God enabled them to return to their homeland. With the prophetic encouragement of Haggai and Zechariah, they rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem.

A few generations later, Malachi prophesied about the coming Day of the Lord. Then there was prophetic silence. For over four centuries, no prophet arose among God’s people, so there was no divine revelation. God’s people waited in this silence for the promised Messiah. Eventually, angels heralded the birth of John the Baptist as the Messiah’s forerunner, and, of course, the birth of the Messiah himself: Jesus.

This notion of prophetic silence for 400 years before Jesus has itself been around for many centuries. But it has several problems with it – the chief one being that it is actually not biblical.

The writer to the Hebrews states at the outset of his discourse, “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb 1:1-2a). If we look carefully at how the author expresses his ideas, we see that he did not think God had fallen silent at some point, let alone for more than four centuries. On the contrary, he saw Jesus (“the Son”) as the climactic fulfilment of a long and complex, but unbroken, history of God’s relationship with his people, Israel.

Jesus himself did not think there had been any prophetic silence at all. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus states, “For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John [the Baptist]” (Matt 11:13). Notice how Jesus mentions the prophets before the Law, and counts John the Baptist as one of them. We see from this that Jesus was not talking about the prophetic books in our Old Testament, but rather about

SC 24 SouthernCross October November 2022

the prophets as an historical phenomenon –the human agents God used within history to impart his revelation.

Jesus viewed John as the last in an unceasing progression of prophets, showing that he did not think God had fallen silent for several centuries beforehand. In fact, there was a prophetic crescendo with John, rather than a prior silence ended by a sudden prophetic blast out of nowhere.

This helps explain how there could be prophets at the time of Jesus’s birth. Luke’s Gospel mentions Simeon and Anna, who uttered prophetic oracles after crossing paths with Jesus and his parents (Luke 2:25-38). Luke also names John the Baptist’s father, Zechariah, as a prophet (Luke 1:67). The ongoing phenomenon of prophets also explains why people so readily identified John the Baptist and Jesus as prophets in their own day.


Historically, many prophets arose among the ranks of God’s covenant people. There were, of course, those whose prophecies were written and compiled into books that we now have in our canon, such as Hosea, Amos, Isaiah and others. There were, however, many other prophets about whom we know, but from whom we have no specific books – such as Nathan, Elijah, Elisha, Ahijah of Shiloh, Jehu son of Hanani, Uriah son of Shemaiah and Huldah wife of Shallum.

The fact that we do not have any specific books from the pen of these prophets does not mean they were any less significant than the prophets whose books now populate our Old Testament. On the contrary, they were just as much the agents of God’s revelation to his covenant people as, say, Micah and Jeremiah. There were presumably also others who arose, but about whom we have no historical record.

It reminds us that prophecy was an historical phenomenon first and foremost, before it was a written one. In that regard, we notice how the writer to the Hebrews talks about the “various

ways” in which God spoke through the prophets (Heb 1:1). He was clearly thinking of more than just the written Scriptures. He was highlighting what God did in the past and drew special attention to Jesus, who wrote no books, as the climax of this.

To put it another way, God said and did things through his

Bringing biblical ethics to everyday issues
to the CCL Podcast
SouthernCross October November 2022 25

prophets in real time and space before the memory of these was committed to writing. God’s revelation was primarily historical before it was literary. The biblical documents in our canon today are sufficient to reveal God to us, so that we may know him and his past acts for the purpose of salvation, and thus be at no disadvantage for not having witnessed his revelation firsthand. However, the biblical documents do not represent the totality of God’s past acts.

This does not mean we put other things on the same level of authority as the Bible. The Scriptures are uniquely and irreplaceably our sole authority. Nonetheless, God said and did many more things that have not been preserved for us in written form – not because they never happened, but because what has been preserved is sufficient for us today to know God.

I am reminded of the end of John’s Gospel, in which the author writes, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written” (John 21:25).

It should not surprise us, therefore, that God was still raising prophetic figures throughout the centuries in which he was dealing with his old covenant people, Israel. It is one of the reasons why studying ancient history is so valuable to our study of the Bible, including the centuries immediately before the coming of Christ.

Although the Bible is our singular authority as Christians, the Bible was not hermetically sealed off from the rest of reality. If we affirm that God really did speak and act within human history, then understanding human history will give us an even better perspective on the God we know through the Scriptures. After all, prophecy was God’s comment on human affairs, so understanding those human affairs will aid our understanding of God’s revelation.


So, where did this whole notion of prophetic silence come from?

The answer is long and complex. I explore the issues in my forthcoming book Bridging the Testaments but here are some of the key highlights.

In 142BC, the Jewish nation gained its independence from Seleucid (Syrian Greek) rule. Its new head of state was the high priest, Simon Thassi, the last of the five Hasmonean brothers who had taken up arms against the Seleucids and their allies. The most famous of the five brothers had been Judas “the Hammer” Maccabeus, who died in battle in 160BC.

Simon saw himself and the Hasmonean dynasty he founded as God’s chosen instrument for the restoration of Israel – the fulfilment of God’s prophetic promises. But there was a major problem with this claim: Simon was not a descendant of David, and this went contrary to God’s prophetic promises.

There were many Jews, therefore, who gave Simon only qualified support, because they believed God had not finished his restoration work. Rather, they held to the conviction that God’s chosen instrument would be a king from David’s line –a royal messiah. They managed to insert a key clause into the constitutional document that described Simon’s political powers. It stated that Simon would be “leader and high priest perpetually, until a reliable prophet arose” (1 Macc 14:41). The clause essentially gave God, through the agency of a prophet, the right of veto over Simon and his Hasmonean dynasty.

However, Simon and his dynasty soon began to suppress the notion that God was still raising prophets within Israel. After all,

they would never have allowed a sunset clause on their power if they truly believed they would have to relinquish it someday in favour of a Davidic king. Indeed, Simon’s grandson, Aristobulus, proclaimed himself “King of the Jews” in 104BC, thus turning the Jewish nation into a “kingdom of priests” (cf. Exod 19:6), or more accurately, the “kingdom of a priest.”

Although prophetic figures continued to arise, the Hasmoneans – and their supporters, the Sadducees, who ran the temple – suppressed them. They took the view that prophecy had functionally ceased and took action against anyone who encroached on their own power.

It is against this backdrop that Jesus, recognised widely as a prophet, announced the coming of God’s kingdom (Mark 1:15) and rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, hailed by his followers as king (Matt 21:6-11).

Upon entering the temple, he commanded that it be torn down (John 2:19). It is quite telling, therefore, that the temple authorities confronted Jesus and asked who gave him the authority to make such a radical call. Jesus replied by asking the temple bosses about the authority behind John the Baptist’s ministry. The crowds understood John to be a prophet, but the national leaders predictably refused to acknowledge this (Matt 21:23-27).

The implication of Jesus’s challenge was that John had been the “reliable prophet” – the one who would expose the flaws of the nation’s leaders and call the nation to repentance. But John himself pointed to the greater one who would come after him – the true leader of the nation: Jesus the Messiah.

Just days later, the temple authorities arrested Jesus, assaulted him, goaded him to prophesy about who would hit him next, and then handed him over to Pontius Pilate for execution. Jesus was crucified on the charge that he was the “King of the Jews”.

When the first Christian martyr, Stephen, was put on trial by these same temple authorities, he lambasted them for their suppression of prophecy, seeing the execution of Jesus as the most heinous example of this:

“You stiff-necked people! Your hearts and ears are still uncircumcised. You are just like your ancestors: You always resist the Holy Spirit! Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him – you who have received the law that was given through angels but have not obeyed it” (Acts 7:51-53).

One wonders what words Stephen might have for those who perpetuate the notion of prophetic silence before Jesus.

There were several other key moments in the development of the idea of prophetic silence. Eventually, it evolved into the notion that prophecy ceased with Malachi about four centuries before Jesus – a view stated by Jewish Rabbis of the late second century AD. This was, in part, motivated by their conviction that Jesus had not been Israel’s messiah, and that he had been rightly suppressed for his claims. Ironically, this view then filtered into Christian circles.

Perhaps it’s time to lay this unhelpful and unbiblical notion to rest. SC

The Rev Dr George Athas is director of research and lectures in Old Testament and Hebrew at Moore College.

26 SouthernCross October November 2022

A shout-out for our ministers

Oh man, I’m really tired...”

Do you identify with that? It’s been a really tough couple of years doing life through a pandemic.

I realise everyone has been made weary through this time but there is one group of people particularly on my mind: our ministers.

In my current role with Ministry Training & Development (MT&D) that is how I spend a lot of my time – relating to our current (and future) ministers. I could not tell you the number of times I come home from meeting with them feeling deeply humbled by their dedication to the congregations they serve.

When I go to our church on a Sunday, I seek to engage fully with what is happening and the people who are there and then I go home. Our ministers, on the other hand, never stop thinking about church, who was there, who wasn’t, what was said and not

said, who needs to be followed up this week and what needs to be done to prepare for next week (and beyond).

In one sense they never go home – their people are always on their minds. Being a minister really is a 24/7 role and the pandemic has just amplified their concerns for people. Who has disconnected? How are they going? Will they return? And what about those plans and ministries to reach out to others in the local community?

The apostle Paul puts it this way:

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches (2 Cor 11:28).

So, how do we encourage our ministers in their ministry to us? How do we encourage them so that they might never be lacking in zeal but keep their spiritual fervour in serving the Lord (Rom 12:11)?

SouthernCross October November 2022 27

I had the privilege to serve a congregation for a long time who did encourage me as their minister. They were generous and affirming, there were tough times and difficult decisions, but I knew they appreciated what I was trying to do (even when I did it poorly). So, with those experiences in mind and a couple of ideas that relate to my current role, here are a few suggestions. I’m not suggesting we need to do them all but even some might encourage your ministers.

Words of affirmation This is really important. When you are helped or know someone else is, express your appreciation (our ministers often hear where they have not done well). Saying thank you after a sermon is good. It’s even better if you can say what particularly helped you but I am really thinking of words of appreciation more broadly, about how they conduct themselves and what they do in ministry for people.

Acknowledge anniversaries of their service Five, 10, 15 years of serving your church. Express your appreciation publicly (at church).

Pray for them and their family Occasionally ask whether there is anything in particular you might pray for them? Especially do this when you are with them (so they know you are thinking of them and their families).

Extra time When I moved out of parish into my new role I encountered this new thing – the long weekend! Three days off in a row that was not part of my annual leave! Of course, our ministers don’t get these because Sunday comes right in the middle. Is it possible to rearrange things so they can get a long weekend and go away for a short break like we do?

Development In our working lives most of us need to do professional development. It helps us stay fresh and develops our skills. Could we make sure there is some money in the parish budget and time allocated so our ministers can also do professional development?

They may also need encouragement from their churchwardens to actually take the time to do this. My experience with MT&D has shown me that in the busyness of ministry our ministers frequently push their own development down the priority list and it doesn’t really happen. There are always so many church needs, of course, but for many PD also feels self-indulgent. It’s not.

Hospitality Many of our ministers, depending on their stage of life, are very good at exercising hospitality but how often do we have them over to our home or take them out for dinner? This is the perfect time to express our appreciation for who they are and all they do.

These are just a few thoughts – I’m sure you can think of others.

I guess the big thing is that our ministers work very hard in serving the Lord and us, and they, too, could do with some encouragement from us along the way to refresh them. Paul did not have an easy time with the Corinthian church but he was able to write:

In addition to our own encouragement, we were especially delighted to see how happy Titus was, because his spirit has been refreshed by all of you (2 Cor 7:13). SC


The Rev Gary O’Brien is the director of Ministry Training & Development.

After 11 years as Anglicare chaplain at Wollongong Hospital – and co-ordinating chaplain of the Illawarra-Shoalhaven Local Health District – the Rev Ian Rienits retired on July 25.

During his time as chaplain, he led a team of 70 volunteers at the eight hospitals across the region, helping to care for patients, families and staff.

Mr Reinits will continue to volunteer as a disaster recovery chaplain.

He has been replaced by Mrs Sarah Kinstead, who has many years’ experience in pastoral care, hospital chaplaincy, chaplaincy training and supervision, and also lectured at Mary Andrews College from 2014-19.

The Rev Ray Vassallo retired from Yagoona on September 12 after 13 years in the parish, and 37 years of ordained ministry across the Sydney Diocese.

After eight years at Wentworth Falls, the Rev Jon Guyer will leave the parish at the end of this month. He begins his new ministry at Panania on December 13.


The Rev Craig Potter (above) draws to a close his tenure at Longueville after nine years of fruitful ministry, along with significant chaplaincy roles with the Australian Army and NSW Police. Mr Potter was recently awarded the Police Commissioner’s commendation for leadership in the 2019-20 bushfires. Mr Potter will finish up on December 31, with the new rector to be the parish’s current assistant minister, the Rev Conor Smyth

List of parishes and provisional parishes, vacant or becoming vacant, as at September 16, 2022:

• Ashbury** Corrimal

• Eagle Vale

• Guildford* Lavender Bay

• Lawson

• Lithgow Liverpool South

• Mona Vale**

• Northbridge

• PeakhurstMortdale**

• Regents Park*

• Robertson

• Rooty Hill

• Rosemeadow*

• St James’ King Street, Sydney

• South Hurstville

• Ulladulla

• Wentworth Falls West Wollongong

* denotes provisional parishes or Archbishop’s appointments

** right of nomination suspended/on hold

28 SouthernCross October November 2022

Clergy moves and Clasified.

VALE produced part of the Lausanne Covenant.

The Rev Canon Dr David Claydon OAM died on July 28.

Born in 1936 to English parents, his birthplace and original name are unknown, as all records were destroyed by bombing. His parents had been killed in crossfire, in what is now Israel, in skirmishes between Zionists, Palestinians and the British.

He lived as a ward of the Bethlehem Orphanage until, after World War II began, he was found – suffering from measles and pneumonia – by Australian social worker and former CMS missionary Lora Claydon. She took him to hospital in Jerusalem, where he slowly recovered.

At his thanksgiving service in St Andrew’s Cathedral, the Rev Dr Roger Chilton said that, during this time of convalescence, a “visiting pastor spoke to this little boy from Bethlehem about Jesus.

He showed a particular image of the Lord with a lamb across his shoulders and this little boy thought to himself, ‘If Jesus cares that much about a lost lamb, he must care about me, so I belong to Jesus’”.

It was the beginning of a lifetime of trust in the Lord. The little boy loved Psalm 23 and chose to be known by the same name as its author – the Old Testament shepherd and king from Bethlehem. Lora Claydon became an adopted aunt, and he took her surname.

Protected from many dangers (including starvation, illness and rogue U-boats), he and Lora arrived in Melbourne in 1944. In the book When Oceans Roar by Ernest F. Crocker, which includes the Claydons’ testimony, young David said: “As I stepped onto Australian soil... I recalled all the things that had happened to me and I thanked God that I was alive. I dedicated my life to God and told Him that I would serve Him. I was eight years old”.

He studied Economics at the University of Sydney in the 1950s, married in 1961, and was director of Scripture Union in Australia, as well as East Asia and the Pacific, from 1960 to 1981. During this time he also studied at the Melbourne College of Divinity, graduating in 1971.

In 1974 Mr Claydon took part in the first Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation and was chairman of a group that

Mr Claydon was ordained in 1979, spending the next three years as curate at Pymble and Lindfield before becoming rector of West Pennant Hills in 1988. He then became the Federal Secretary of CMS – a position he held until his retirement in 2002 – and not only completed a Doctor of Ministry during this time but was made a Canon of St Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney as well as All Saints’ Cathedral in Cairo.

He was involved in ministries in a range of countries, including India and the Middle East, in addition to serving locally in places such as The King’s School, where he was a member of the council for 35 years.

After his retirement, Dr Claydon became international director of the Lausanne movement, was director of the 2004 conference in Thailand, and was also chairman of the Human Rights Organisation for the Middle East and North Africa – through which he advocated for refugees such as Mahmoud Elmaadawy, an Egyptian Christian from a Muslim background, who spoke at Dr Claydon’s thanksgiving service.

“I was persecuted by my own country and my family, and through Dr David and Robyn [Claydon’s] ministry I landed safely to Australia with my wife,” he told the congregation. “I owe Dr David much, and


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to his ministry. My baby is born Australian – a Christian, Australian baby – because of him.

“Dr David will be greatly missed but I’m sure that his ministries will continue because it’s God’s ministry before being David’s ministry.”

Said Dr Chilton: “David’s journey is a testimony to what God has done in and through him as his good shepherd, and now he has completed that earthly journey and is safe with his Lord and Saviour.

“But David would have us know for certain the goodness and mercy of the shepherd God, that we might know and rejoice in being found by him when we were lost. To have God as our father. To have a name that will never be blotted out and a home in God’s house in the new creation for ever.”

A Family Owned Funeral Service
We aim to fulfil the needs
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personal way. North Shore 9449 5544 l Eastern Suburbs 9326 9707 I Northern Beaches 9907 4888 Visit our official site for the latest news and information. And while you’re there, sign up for the weekly newsletter. SouthernCross October November 2022 29

God’s work at CityAlight

Songs and hymns that tell the truths of the gospel are a precious thing, so it’s not surprising that the music of the CityAlight team at St Paul’s, Castle Hill has struck a chord with Christians and congregations – not just here in Sydney, but across the world.

A new 11-track album, There Is One Gospel , has just been released, and as with previous work the songs have a solid biblical foundation, pointing those who sing them to Jesus as saviour and Lord, and God as our mighty, rescuing father.

A few songs released over the past year or so have been included, such as “It was Finished Upon that Cross” and “This is the Day”. And although it’s been four years since the group’s last album, the writers of CityAlight took each song very seriously and weren’t about to rush the process.

“The writing process isn’t just sitting in a room and going for it – what comes first for us is the theme, or a topic,” says Rich Thompson, one of CityAlight’s founders and songwriters. “For the song ‘Your Will Be Done’, it began with the idea of God’s will rather than ours, and what that means, and what Jesus might have been feeling as he prayed that prayer in the garden.

“We go into writing a song with a mindset of curiosity. We listen

to lots of sermons, read books, read through parts of Scripture –it’s filling up the well before we try and draw on it. And even prior to really starting with our melody or lyrics we essentially map out the journey of the song.”

Thompson explains that while, generally, people listen to a sermon once, perhaps twice if they really love it, it’s a very different situation with church songs, “so, consciously or unconsciously, we pick up a large chunk of our theology through music. We would certainly not be happy if our preachers were preparing their sermons glibly, or without proper thought, so we’ve got to take time to prepare our songs.”

It’s an even more interesting proposition given that none of the team work full-time on their music. Writing, recording and touring get squeezed into what are already very full lives.

“We like having day jobs and we think it brings a lot to the songwriting,” Thompson says. “It’s also one of the things that we see as a point of difference, if you will, in terms of our ministry.

“We’re trying not to make our livelihoods dependent on music because we don’t want to push out lots of songs and feel any financial pressure behind it.”

Just how busy they are is reflected in their schedule over the

Judy Adamson All for God’s glory: CityAlight band members get ready to record another song.
30 SouthernCross October November 2022

past couple of months, which has included a workshop in the US, the release of the album, and another trip to the US for the Sing Global conference, begun by Keith and Kristyn Getty in 2017 to encourage and equip musicians in theologically sound congregational worship.

CityAlight has also just released a duet with Nashville-based Christian artist Sandra McCracken called “In The Valley (Bless the Lord)”, which was written to coincide with the release of a new book by Canadian pastor Tim Challies about the sudden death of his son in 2020.

Says Thompson: “Sometimes [God] leads you through the valley, and it sucks, and it doesn’t feel like you’re ever going to get out. But in the valley he gives us his strength, his presence and he’s been through that valley himself. I don’t know what the purpose of being in the valley is – I may not even know this side of heaven –but there is, again, this great comfort in saying, ‘Your will be done’. It’s one of the most freeing things to pray. This is what I want but I know what you want is better, so your will be done, not mine.”


One of the things that gives Thompson the greatest joy is hearing stories about the impact CityAlight songs are having in the lives of believers and congregations. “Honestly, we’re shaking our heads most days,” he says. “It’s unbelievable what God is doing though this. We sat down at the beginning and said, ‘This is what we want this thing to be’ and we didn’t ever dare to think we would have a global impact – especially in the Asian churches.

“One of my favourite stories is about a little church in a women’s prison in an Asian country, where the sound of ‘Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me’ was echoing down the halls from a Bible study.

“Another story is from a missionary working in a place where Christians are persecuted. Their group was singing ‘Only A Holy God’ really quietly, and there’s a line in there that says, ‘Who else can whisper and darkness trembles’... and I thought, far out, what we wrote in our living room is being sung in this really intense place, plus in congregations. We’re just deeply thankful to God.”

Thompson says that on the Sunday before CityAlight members left to attend the Sing conference he asked the congregation at Castle Hill to join them in an important prayer.

“It’s a prayer that we’ve been praying since day one,” he explains. “We’d recently been to this workshop conference, and [we were about to attend] the Sing conference with 10,000 or so people, where CityAlight was doing a bunch of stuff and being on the main stage and so on. And we just said to the church that we wanted to double down on this – to pray that God would bless the ministry insofar as it gives him glory and builds his kingdom and encourages his church. And if it becomes anything beyond that, that he would shut it down.

“There are a lot of temptations, and we just don’t want what we’re doing to be for anything other than the glory of God.” SC

from page 32

Tolkien’s universe in The Lord of the Rings films by using the voice of Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) to provide viewers with backstory: the creation of a spotless, perfect world, how it was tainted, and the many battles and sorrows that followed.

These backstory events form the first “age” of Tolkien’s mythology, but The Rings of Power focuses on the Second Age. It’s a smart move, for two reasons: first, it’s the era of Middle Earth history about which Tolkien wrote the least, so inventive imaginations can fill out the story while (hopefully) keeping the main events similar to what was originally written.

Second, among the TV series’ numerous plot threads and new characters are names that, thanks to the movies, are familiar to many, such as Galadriel, Elrond and bad guy Sauron. We are also introduced to settlements of Elves, Men, Dwarves and Harfoots (a nomadic forerunner to hobbits), learn about the issues that are dear to them, and see their uncertainty about whether evil still lurks undiscovered.

This is the linchpin to the series opener because, naturally, evil is still out there. Tolkien’s histories contain many echoes of the Bible, so the sorrow and misery in our world caused by greed, lust, the desire for power and misplaced loyalty are all mirrored in Middle Earth. And, of course, even those who seek to do the right or good thing regularly fail because of their own flaws.

The Rings of Power begins by showing us that, unlike many

others, Galadriel is certain that evil does remain in Middle Earth. It is clear she has travelled the length and breadth of the known world to find proof of Sauron’s presence, but without success.

For other Tolkien nerds I will briefly mention that Galadriel is portrayed as a hot-tempered warrior, which she never was, and by this point in the author’s history she had been married for a long time – and she’s single here. No biggie, but worth noting.

In addition, it looks as though more than 2000 years of Tolkien’s history will be compressed for the sake of a more exciting storyline. This could also be okay, but time will tell if it works. Certainly, it’s necessary to provide a ripping yarn that’s easy to digest for those who will come to The Rings of Power with no real knowledge of Tolkien’s work, and the story so far has plenty that will engage viewers.

Production values are high, there is a wealth of detail in the costumes and set design and it’s all beautifully shot. Most of the performances are also excellent – although, so far, Robert Aramayo’s characterisation of the younger Elrond seems a little superficial, and I wish the Harfoots didn’t look and sound quite so twee. I also have a strong suspicion that the pace of the plot is going to be glacial.

While not thrilled with all the story choices that have been made, I am still impatient for each new episode. And I guess that’s the ultimate litmus test. SC

New album and global impact for Castle Hill group. Busy schedule: Rich Thompson at last month’s Sing Conference.
SouthernCross October November 2022 31

Welcome back to Middle Earth

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power

Streaming on Amazon Prime Fantasy themes and some violence

It’s been a five-year wait for Amazon’s blockbuster series

The Rings of Power , which – if you haven’t been keeping up with the TV ads and online buzz – is based mainly on the voluminous appendices to The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

And when I say “blockbuster”, it’s no exaggeration. Amazon bought the television rights to The Lord of the Rings in 2017 for $US250 million (about $A368 million), and a number of reports have pegged the additional cost of this first season at more than $US460 million ($677.5 million).

So, big bucks. Very big risk. And probably the biggest series launch of the year. The question is, has all this effort been worth it? Based on the episodes available so far, the answer would have to be “Yes”.

Regardless of whether fans of Tolkien’s books (of which I am one) agree with all the creative and dramatic decisions, the producers and writers of the TV series have done an excellent job of recreating the majestic sweep of Middle Earth that first appeared in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (LotR) film trilogy.

As with the films, The Rings of Power was shot in New Zealand, most of its peoples look similar in dress or style, and the soundtrack for the TV series contains echoes of the work done by Howard Shore for LotR. While the music for the series itself is written by Bear McCreary, the opening theme for The Rings of Power was composed by Shore – a nice touch.

The Rings of Power also follows the cinematic introduction to

continued on page 31 SouthernCross

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